Category: Sewing

Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing-Book Review

Gretchen Hirsch began her blog, Gertie’s New Blog For Better Sewing, began when she tried to follow the 1950’s book, Vogue’s New Book for Better Sewing.  As well as sewing and fashion, she has written about gender and body image.  Her popularity grew and she ended up publishing several books herself.  Gertie’s New Book For Better Sewing, there are 14 projects inspired by the original Vogue book with patterns including.  They are all pretty vintage in style, but modeled by Gertie with her fuller figure and tattoos there’s definitely a modern touch.

I was given this book as a gift which was sweet.  But it didn’t take long for me to realise that none of the outfits suited my body type, style, or lifestyle.  And, while full patterns are included you have to trace them first before cutting out as they all overlap.  When I got this book I hadn’t used patterns in a book before, and just used single patterns that you can just cut straight out.  I understand why books do this, it saves a lot of paper and expense but it’s a real pain to use.  I attempted to make a skirt a while back but it ended rather disastrously and looked atrocious.  Although I really appreciate Gertie’s work this was not the book for me!

Save

Save

Save

Sewing Bee Leggings- First Attempt

Mum bought me ‘The Great British Sewing Bee: Sew Your Own Wardrobe’ a while back, when that show was the hot new thing.  I’ve only just got around to looking it over properly.  To be honest most of the garments weren’t my style but I wanted to give a couple a go.  It’s supposed to be accessible if you’re a beginner, and the leggings were marked as ‘easiest’ difficulty, so how could I go wrong? Continue reading “Sewing Bee Leggings- First Attempt”

Flower Pot Cover

For slightly mad reasons I decided to make a cover for the flower pot of out (boyfriend’s) Yucca tree. Boyfriend is planning to fill the living room with greenery apparently, he has not though.  I didn’t like the horrible brown plastic flower pot the Yucca is in, so decided to make a simple cover for it.  It is essentially, a rectangle of fabric (isn’t everything?) with elastic in the top.

I measured the flower pot, 29cm high and 79cm diameter. So I cut my fabric approximately 31cm x 84cm to allow for the hems.  I was using some left over fabric so I couldn’t quote get a bit enough piece, and had to add in a little bit on the corner.  I cut the jagged edge off to give a nice straight edge, then cut a triangle out of some off cuts.  The tricky part was getting the pattern to line up.  I’m pretty pleased with the result.

Once I had my beautiful rectangle, I folded over the top about 1cm to create a tube for the elastic.  Given that my elastic was so skinny, and it’s always a ball ache to pull elastic through I decided to put the elastic in first and then sew.  At full stretch my elastic was about 81cm.  I pinned one end of the elastic to the end of the fabric to keep it in place.  It meant when I got about half way along I ran out of elastic, so I stretched the elastic to its limit and pinned that end to the other end of the fabric.

I kept the elastic pinned into place for the time being.  Then I hemmed the bottom edge of the fabric (much easier to sew a straight line, then trying to hem a skirt).  Then I folded it in half right sides together, and sewed the two pieces together.  And it was done!

 

Inkodye- Experimenting with Sun Printing

I bought some Inkodye about four years ago, and had a go then.  It’s a dye that reacts to sunlight or UV, and I was living in a shared house without a garden.  It meant doing this project in my bedroom next to the window and it didn’t really work.

It’s fairly easy to play with.  You do need to plan it a bit first though.  The most obvious idea is shadow printing.  You paint the dye onto the fabric in a thin even coat.  Then quickly place items with clear silhouettes on top.  Leave in bright sunlight for about 20mins.  It was really windy when I was out, so I had to weigh my fabric down with coins!  You don’t have long before the dye starts to react, so I arranged my items in advance to make sure I could put them on quickly after painting my dye.  You can see in the pictures above how the dye started to change colour in just a few minutes.  You can also see how I splatted the Inkodye over the table I was using!  I also got it on some of the plants in the garden.  Be careful not to get it on your clothes, I think you would struggle to wash it out.   

I used pieces of card cut into hearts, a key, safety pins, horse shaped paper clips, scissors, buttons, and film negatives.  The best results came from the heavier items that lay flatter on the fabric like the key and scissors.  The card hearts would have worked better but I used a spray bottle for the dye on that piece instead of painting it and that made it all splodgy!  The negatives did nothing!  They were too dark and entirely blocked the light.  What you can do it print an inverted image of a photograph onto a piece of acetate or the ‘Transparency Sheets’ that Inkodye sell.

Afterwards I carefully transferred the pieces of fabric onto a tray to bring them inside.  The dye is still light sensitive, so once you remove the items onto the white bits underneath with start to react and change colour.  I put them all into the washing machine as quickly as possible, with the special Inkodye Detergent.  My washing machine refused to obey my command immediately, and they were waiting inside for a few minutes before I set it going.  In that time I lost the definition of the safety pins and horse shaped paper clips.  It was fun to play around but I don’t think I am quite ready to attack another piece of real clothing.

Save

Save

Turning a Long Sleeve Top Into A Short Sleeve Top

I bought this long sleeve top about 3 years ago in San Fransisco. I liked the fact that it was long sleeve, and also looked like pajamas!  It was one of the few things I bought that actually also made sense in the UK weather, unlike the very tempting summery items they were selling in California.

Buuuuut…the sleeve ripped on the right side around the elbow.  And everytime I put it on I put my arm straight the hole making it much worse.  So finally I decided to do something about it.  Inititally, I wanted to keep the cuff that was at the bottom of the sleeve but move it upwards.  But that proved too complicated for me.  Obvs the sleeve was a narrower at the bottom than the top so moving the cuff up would have been fiddly, not very neat, and I wouldn’t have been able to fasten it afterward.

So instead, I just cut the sleeves short to T-shirt length, and hemmed them.  Pretty easy in the end.

iron-on patch

How to Use An Iron-On Patch- Cool NASA T-Shirt

I picked up an iron-on patch on my recent trip to America, it found it really easy to use.

The NASA t-shirt is super ‘in’ right now.  But I didn’t feel I could buy one without having visited something NASA related.  Like wearing a band t-shirt because it makes you look rock ‘n’ roll but you’ve never listened to the music.  I’m not planning on joining NASA anytime soon, but I have now visited the Smithsonian Air and Space museums in Washington DC and Virginia.  It was the Virginia one that I bought this $6 iron-on patch from.  Back in the UK I bought a t-shirt from H and M for £3.99.

iron on patch

I tried the t-shirt on first to eye-ball where I wanted the iron-on patch.  Then I laid it out flat and placed down the patch.  I placed a piece of cotton fabric over the top (you could use a pillow case).  Then put my iron on the hottest setting and placed it down over the patch for about 45 seconds. iron-on patch

Don’t use steam, and don’t move it back and forth!  Then I turned the t-shirt inside out and did the same thing again.  And that’s it!  Pretty simple, and it’s stuck fast as people said in the 1840’s.  I feel like this post has had a lot of anachronistic slang…  This cost me less than £10 to make, I’ve seen them online for as little as £15 but a lot that were over £30.  So I feel I’ve got a pretty good deal, and it’s a wearable souvenir of my trip.

iron on patch

Save

Homemade Net Curtain

I have made a net curtain for the downstairs toilet.  I am slowly trying to improve my new house (which for a long time was just boyfriend’s, then I moved in).   It’s quite nice that we have a downstairs toilet, although not really that essential.  The decor is quite dated, so I’m trying to spruce up the least exciting room of the house.  There’s no point in investing large amounts of money or time into it, so I’m just trying to add some little touches.

I’m making us a home.

The blind in there below was brown and let in no outside light.  It was also pretty dusty, and at one point I think it rolled up and down but no longer. The net curtain I made also does not roll because I couldn’t quite figure that out.

curtanin

 

It’s just a simple rectangular piece of fabric and I cut to fir the window.  I allowed an extra few cm on each of the long sides for the hem. I also added an extra 15cm to the length.  Hemming the long sides was both simple and fiddly, as the fabric was a bit curled under already.  I folded it over twice, pinned, then sewed.  The same with the bottom hem.  I was going to make the bottom hem bigger and include curtain weights but they just looked weird when I tried it.  The weights ensure the curtain hangs straight down, but they’re not crucial.

At the top I created a loose loop through which I could feed the curtain rod.  I used a tension rod so I didn’t have to have a proper curtain rail or drill into the wall.  For this one you just unscrew it to make it longer and then it wedges in place, but without damaging the wall.curtanin1

The net curtain is still fairly see-through, so I may embark on a proper curtain if I can figure out how to get it to work.

Save

Save

Snoopy Play Mat

Snoopy Play Mat

play mat I found some fun fabric in a shop in Manchester a few months ago.  It was a quilt panel of Snoopy as the Flying Ace, which I thought might make something nice for my niece.  It was the wrong size for a dress unless I cut up the design which kinda defeated the point.  So I opted for play mat, as in something she can sit on while she plays.  Honestly, not sure how useful it’ll be.

Method

So, totally making it up as I went along.  I cut out the panel piece, which was a simple large rectangle.  Then I cut the same size piece in a plain red drill fabric, as well as two pieces in some quilting I had bought.  It’s quite a bit piece so it was awkward to cut out and get them all the same size.   I just eye balled it really and tidied it up later.

play mat

I pinned the pattern fabric onto one of the quilting pieces, then I sewed it in place.  I sewed around the edge, as well as picking out key details in the Snoopy pattern and sewing around them.  I wasn’t super neat, but I don’t think niece will be overly bothered, although I’m sure she’ll appreciate the extra effort I put in…  I then sewed the red fabric to the other piece of quilting, I used two to make it nice and soft for her to sit on.  Then I put the Snoopy piece of fabric and the red fabric right sides together and sewed them together.  It was difficult at times to sew through the quilting, perhaps a sign I was doing this all wrong?  Anyone know?

I left a gap of a few inches open on one side (near the bottom) so I could turn it inside out.  Actually, I didn’t, so I had to unpick a few inches first!  Anyway, I then turned it inside out, which made it the right way around really.  Then I sewed up the gap with a messy slip stitch, because how do you do a neat one?  I ironed the play mat, and then wrapped it cute wrapping with little pink cats on it.

Peg Bag

How To Make A Peg Bag

Well it’s the post you’ve been waiting for, this is it people, it’s how to make a peg bag!

The weather FINALLY turned decent (it had torrentially raining for days).  I was able to put a few loads of laundry in and use the washing line.  It was an exciting time for us.  But I realised we needed a peg bag.

What You Need

  • Fabric- I used 4 fat quaters, because I lined mine.  Without a lining you could get away with 2.
  • Coat hanger

What You Do

  1. Position your coat hanger at the top of your fabric and draw a line along the top of it.   The cut along that line, leaving some extra seam allowance.  Then figure out how long you want the bag to be and cut the fabric to that length, again leaving some extra seam allowance.  I did this in my main fabric and lining fabric.  This was the back
  2. I sewed those front sides together, leaving a gap of a few inches in one corner so I could then turn it right side out.  I didn’t bother to sew this up yet, just pinned it closed.
  3. I used the remainder of those fat quarters to make the top of the front.  Again I followed the curve of the coat hanger for the top.  The amount I had left went about a third of the way down which was perfect.   Again I sewed them right sides together, leaving my gap in the top right corner.
  4. And I used my other fat quarters for the bottom of the front, pretty simple just a rectangle for the bottom two thirds of the front.  And sewed these right sides together, with a gap bottom right.
  5. Then I put the coat hanger on the top piece again and marked on where the head went so I could leave a gap for it.  Then I sewed the front pieces to the back pieces, right sides together. The front is just left open for easy access to the pegs.
  6. Then I ironed it, and inserted the coat hanger.  And done!

With hindsight, a neater way to do it would have been to create the lining in one piece and the outer layer in one pieces and then attaching them. Also I should have ironed the fabric first but there we go.  Still it took about an hour to make, it’s pretty, it’s got dinosaurs on it, and it’s actually practical.  Win, win, win, win!

Save