No more ill fitting clothes? I can customise them instead!

I’ve just applied for a new post and to bring me luck I’ve already invested in the interview dress. Surely if I already have THE DRESS they got to offer me an interview? Fingers crossed!

PETER JENSEN RABBIT DRESS

The navy Peter Jensen Rabbit dress is from People Tree which is one of my favourite stores, and it specialises in Fair Trade and environmentally sustainable fashion. Although I absolutely loved the dress before I’d even ordered it I knew the high neckline would make me look frumpy so I was already planning on altering the neckline once it arrived.

Making the first cut was pretty scary though. I’ve never altered a garment before and at £68 I couldn’t afford to mess this up. To get the shape for the neckline I pinned the dress up against a v-neck t-shirt that I wear all the time and used tailors chalk to draw around the outline. I then cut down the middle of the shape, turned the material inside and pinned. After trying it on to check that it looked ok I sewed up the seams and wa la, here’s the finished garment:

peter jensen rabbit dress navy
PETER JENSEN RABBIT DRESS
peopletreeVstraighton copy

The neckline has ended up slightly to one side but I don’t think it’s really noticeable once on. Even if it is I’m not too bothered, I have the ability to alter garments to suit my shape, even if it does go a little bit wrong being able to alter my own clothes is still a special skills to have!

Thursday sewing club

Hello friends, I hope you’ve had a good weekend. With Saturday being an absolute scorcher I spent the day inside hiding from the sun, I think I’m the only person who spends all summer pinning for winter. As today was a little cooler I ventured into the garden to take pictures of the bag that I’ve been sewing as part of a five week bag making course at The Craft Studio in Nottingham

As the first class was this week we started out making a ‘simple’ reversable bag. Well it seemed to be simple for the others but due to my dodgey cutting skills the handles on my bag ended up way too thin so I started it again on Friday. I gave v.1 of the bag to my mum, she’s a lot less fussy than me and has tied the handle material together and used it today to carry her work stuff.

At Thursdays class we’re going to learn how to sew the handles together. I have looked at the pattern and contemplated having a go myself but I don’t want to end up ruining my first handmade handbag so I’m going to hold fire and finish it off later this week.

I’m loving the course, as I’ve never had sewing lessons before I’m getting to learn lot of new techniques and really useful tips. However the style of the bag isn’t really me, of course I’ll use it a few times so that I can brag that I MADE IT but as red’s my grandma’s favourite colour ultimately it’s going to end up as her bag.

By the way I’ve just bought my first DSLR and am still getting the hang of it so I apologise for the blurry images.

bagv.1

v.1

Handmade reversible bag

Very Purple Person Reversible Bag

Bag

Country Living Fair

As promised here are a few photo’s of the items that I bought at the Country Living Fair in Harrogate. Spring Lark were a new discovery  but I’ve been following Ruby Spirit Designs and Charlotte Macey Textiles for a while and am so happy to finally own a few of their pieces. I’ve worn the Ruby Spirit necklace quite a lot this week and have had loads of compliments. I love it! In fact I love it so much I’ve asked a friend to buy something else from them for my Christmas present.

Ruby Spirit Designs

Charlotte Macey

Spring Lark

Draught excluder

I was inspired to make the draught excluder this weekend after reading Emma Hardy’s tutorial in Mollie Makes (issue 18)

I’d never created a piece using patchwork before and as we are now officially in autumn here in the UK a draught excluder will certainly be useful for keeping me toasty during the cold and windy months.

The tutorial in the magazine was fairly easy to follow and the illustrations really helped. As did the hexagon templates on the Mollie Makes blog. I decided to use the dark patch fabric to make the back of the draught excluder so fingers crossed it will look cleaner for longer.

Overall I’m impressed with the project although a few of the seams are a bit wonky and it isn’t as chunky as I’d like. As the draught excluder measures 35inches in length I did get fed up half way through the project as it took a long time to cut and sew the pieces together so instead of three lines of patchwork I made mine out of two.

I’m not overly fond of using the Catherine Kidston style material for making home furnishings for my living room as I want to create a more contemporary feel. I’ll probably end up remaking the draught excluder in brighter colours and once it’s been re-made I’d like to make some matching cushion cases to go with it. I decided to use the material this time as I wasn’t sure how the piece was going to turn out so I wanted to use material that I already had in the house instead of buying new..

How to make a half apron

As I’m forever losing things during a sewing session such as my measuring tape, pin box, scissors etc, I decided to make a half apron with a large front pocket so that I have somewhere to store my bits and pieces whilst I’m working.

In my fabric stash I have a beautiful piece of the Parisian inspired material ‘Mademoiselle’ by Lisa Bengtsson which I bought a few years ago from Northern Lights in Oxford. As the style of the material was inspired by Paris I decided to make the Parisian madame and the Eiffel Tower the focal points of my apron.

This is how I made the apron:

Step 1

Gather your materials.

You will need two pieces of fabric  one large enough to make the body of the apron and a smaller piece to make the pocket. I measured the fabric around my body before I began so that I could get the perfect fit, my measurements were: body 23″ x  13″, pocket 9.5″ x 11.5″. You will also need two pieces of material measuring 17″ long to make the apron string – I upcycled a material bag strap for my apron strings.

Step 2

Press (iron) all of the pieces  -this will help to prevent creases when sewing

Step 3

Fold and pin tan 1/2 inch seam around every edge of the material pieces. Press each edge as you finish it to help to keep it in place and makes it easier to sew.

Step 4

Using a straight stitch sew around the seams. Only stich around the top seam of the pocket as you will sew the other edges when you secure the pocket to the apron.

Step 5

Position the pocket on the apron and pin in place. I kept my pocket to one side as I wanted it to be positioned over my hip – you can place it where ever’s best for you.

Step 6

Keeping the straight stitch sew the remaining three edges of the pocket to the apron. I sewed two lines on each edge as not only did this add a decorative feature to the pocket it also added strength to the join.

Step 7

Position and pin the apron straps to the inside top edge of either side of the material.

Step 8

Continuing with the straight stitch sew the straps to the apron. Reverse over the stitch in order to provide additional strength and security to the straps.

Step 9

Wear your apron with pride!

How to make a pin cushion

After making a sewing machine cover on Wednesday I had a strip of fabric left over so I decided to turn it into a matching pin cushion.

Haberdashery themed pin cushion

Making a pin cushion is a great project for a novice sewer as it will help you to practice sewing in a straight line and you’ll learn how to seal an object on all 4 sides.

To make your own pin cushion you will need:

  • A strip of fabric (large enough to make a pin cushion when folded in half)
  • Matching thread
  • Toy stuffing
  • A sewing machine

Step 1 – Gather your materials

Step 2 – Iron (press) the material

Iron the material in order to smooth out any lumps or creases. As my strip of material was fairly long I decided to fold the material in half so that I could press both sides at once. I then cut along the seam to produce two pieces of fabric

As this was such a small project I didn’t fancy getting the ironing board out so I laid a towel on the breakfast bar and ironed the material on that.

Step 3 – Pin the piece together

Line both pieces of fabric together and pin along three sides. You need to leave one side open so that you can insert the toy stuffing later.

Leave enough space between the pins and the edge of the fabric so that you can sew the seam without the pins getting in the way of the sewing machines needle – 2cm should be enough. The pins are needed to hold the material together so that it doesn’t slip during sewing.

Step 4 – Sew along three of the edges

Sew a line approximately 1cm from the edge of all the three sides in order to create the seams. Turn the material inside out and fill with toy stuffing making sure that the stuffing goes into the corners of the cushion.

Step 5 – Close the remaining side

To close the bag turn the remaining sides of the material about 1 cm inwards and join the sides together. Again leaving enough room so that you can sew with out the pins getting in the way.

Once the seam has been secured sew along the edge. Reverse the stitch in order to strengthen the seam. Your pin cushion is now finished!

The finished product

A wonky start

Although I did own a mini sewing machine many years ago I am now the proud owner of my first ‘proper’ sewing machine. I couldn’t wait to use it and as I’m a more get stuck in and see what happens kind of girl I jumped straight into my first project, a simple, or so I thought, Ipad case.

My inspiration for this project came from the craft magazine Mollie Makes.  As an avid reader I buy the magazine every month and a few issues ago there was a feature about creating your own iPad case/bag. Not only was the case gorgeous it was also highly practical – I needed one! Unfortunately although I wanted to at the time I neither owned an iPad or a sewing machine. Seen as this months wages also covered by birthday (Aug 12th) I decided to rectify this and have bought both this week.

Mollie Makes issue 15 iPad case

Even in my over enthusiastic mind I knew the Mollie Makes case was far too complicated for a beginner therefore Google Images became my starting point as I searched for images of ‘fabric iPad cases’ for inspiration. I then decided to jump straight in and make a simple rectangular bag with a zipper fastening – well the zipper was an after thought when I went to get the padding from the habidasherys.

Fabric iPad Case Cover, Handmade in Teal Brown Fabric Pattern

Fabric iPad Case Cover, Handmade in Teal Brown Fabric Pattern

Unfortunately when I was sewing the pieces together I got slightly confused about which pieces to sew first so I ended up putting the case together in a way which meant I had to leave the padding out. This left the piece feeling far too flimsy to be used as an iPad case. Also to my disappointment once I’d finished the bag the wonky bottom edge revealed that I am not a natural at sewing straight lines therefore a lot more practice is needed before I unleash my machine on any more of my best fabric.

1st attempt at iPad case

I need to work on inserting zips