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Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

I’m not sure that this project is exciting enough to warrant a blog post, but he ho- I’ve been a neglectful blogger of late. The following project came about as a result of my frustration with having to constantly lug my laundry basket up and down stairs. Invariably it ends up dumped in my tiny kitchen, where I would have to shift it around constantly in order to negotiate my way about the room. Given that I am notoriously slow when it comes to fixing problems, I have persevered with my awkward laundry basket for a good 5 years! It only dawned on me recently, that an easily transportable laundry bag would be the answer to my wash day prayers.

The thought of traipsing around the shops in search of the laundry bag of my dreams didn’t fill me with much enthusiasm. So I decided instead to raid my fabric stash, and a quick search of the web  led me to a lovely free pattern for a draw string bag on the Selvedge website-  perfect!

It was really easy to construct, and I was done in a couple of hours, if that. I purchased some lovely sturdy cotton cord to act as a drawstring, and hey presto- one pretty and functional laundry bag! Bring on wash day.

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Last Summer (my how time flies!) I blogged about my first foray into the world of Clothkits. Since then, I’ve tackled another two projects, both in the form of A-line needlecord skirts. First up was ‘Hold Me‘ designed by Rob Ryan, in a pewter shade. It was a pretty straightforward sew, and thankfully the fabric wasn’t nearly as tricky to handle as I’d found it whilst making the purse.  The second skirt features the Jane Foster design (‘Big Birdie‘) to match my bag and purse- but don’t worry, you won’t catch me sporting all 3 at once :-). I absolutely love both of the designs, and they have had a lot of wear, which is always a good indicator of the success of a project! Here they are floating in the Huddersfield breeze (can you spot Castle Hill?):


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Elephant brooch

This Elephant brooch is the second of my ‘Sew Hip‘ projects. Coincidentally, I purchased one of these brooches from the designer (Kiss Prudence) at the Christmas Craft Candy fair in Sheffield. So, when I spotted the pattern in Sew Hip I couldn’t resist making it. I struggle to find decent felt in the shops locally, so I treated myself to a bundle of brightly coloured pieces from Lupin Handmade who I’ve previously bought felt brooches from. This felt is 30% wool, although I must say it’s nowhere near the quality of that used in my Kiss Prudence original. Given that the felt wasn’t quite as thick as I could have hoped, I compensated by using 3 layers of interfacing as opposed to the suggested 1. Eagle-eyed readers might recognise the ear fabric as one of those I purchased at the Knit and Stitch Show! Elephant is a belated birthday pressie for a friend, so I hope he is well received 🙂 I think he would make any lapel look most fashionable!

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Mr Bear

Issue 29 of Sew Hip magazine contained a bunch of projects that appealed to me, including a couple by local designers. Having recently inherited some fun fur which had been languishing in my Mum’s fabric stash since the 1980’s, the Plush bear toy by Sian Wheatcroft (aka Strawberry Kitten) was an immediate draw. I’m really pleased with how he turned out- probably the favourite toy I’ve made so far (fun fur makes for a much cuddlier toy than wool). The only problem I had with the pattern was attaching the paws. I don’t know if it’s that I incorporated too much of a seam allowance into the arms (there was no indication on the pattern), but I just couldn’t get the paws to fit their corresponding holes. I got round this by simply trimming them down to an appropriate size, and I’m happy with the result. I guess my only slight niggle with the design is the raw edges of fabric around Mr Bear’s snout- but my poor little brain struggled to find a solution to this. After heading over to Strawberry Kitten’s Flickr site for inspiration, I decided Mr Bear would look even more dashing in a little scarf. Here he is challenging gender stereotypes in a fetching pink number:

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Handmade holidays

I had ample warning this year that I would be hosting Christmas at my house. Ample warning, yes. But did I get my Christmas crafting butt into gear in good time? Of course not! To be honest, hours of trawling the net for inspiration had left me feeling a bit cold. Then, I happened to spot an advert in a friend’s craft mag for festive tea towels at Gossypium. Aforementioned advert suggested using tea towel to create fabric tree decorations. Feeling immediately inspired I ordered the tea towel, and purchased some co-ordinating red checked gingham to back the heart shapes depicting the 12 days of Christmas. They were a bit faffy, and involved a fair bit of pinning, tacking, and hand-sewing but it was worth it in the end. I now have a lovely set of tree decorations which I hope will last a lifetime 🙂

Having never decorated my house previously I hadn’t exactly acquired a wealth of decorations over the years but certain Eagle Eyed Crafty Friends might be able to spot their handiwork below, along with a few gifts I was treated to following the recent Craft Candy Christmas fayre down in Sheffield (c/0 Kiss Prudence, Strawberry Kitten, and Molly’s Mum).

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Summer sews

I’d been hankering after the goodies on the Clothkits site for some time when their sale came around in June. The kits are pretty pricy, so I used the sale as an opportunity to justify the purchase of a Birdie bag and purse kit, and a Rob Ryan ‘Hold me‘ skirt. For those unfamiliar with clothkits, essentially they contain everything you need for one sewing project. There are no paper patterns to deal with, as these are printed direct onto the fabric. Clothkits was originally launched in the late 1960’s before being taken over in 1988. It was relaunched back in 2008, and immediately caught my attention, given that I was a clothkits child of the 80’s 🙂 I still have photos of me sporting some of the original designs, and fondly recall ‘Little Ted’s’ matching outfits (kits incorporated doll-sized garments into the spare fabric).

The kits are aimed at beginners, so I was slightly disappointed (okay, more than slightly) to find that the Birdie kit was completely lacking any instructions to create the purse (so I followed instructions from elsewhere), and that the bag instructions contained obvious omissions in measurement details. I’ll make sure to provide Clothkits with some feedback along these lines.

Here’s a snap of the finished articles. They are a lovely red needlecord (one of my absolute favourite fabrics), lined with a heavy striped fabric. They look great, but I actually found the fabric a bit of a nightmare to work with. Will definitely never be attempting another purse in cord- far too bulky for such a small fiddly article. Here’s hoping the skirt project runs more smoothly!

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Retro sewing

Hot on the tail of the Jacobs Ladder project was the following pin cushion- yet another pattern from the BBC ‘Discovering patchwork’ book. I was making this one for another keen crafter’s birthday, and it seems to have been a hit 🙂

This project was rather more interesting than the cushion in my previous post, in that it involved hand sewing, and the use of paper patterns. On a small project like this I’m quite happy hand sewing, and the paper patterns method isn’t half as fiddly as it might look. I’d definitely encourage others to have a go at this method, as it’s very satisfying.

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