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”
My craft ‘room’ is actually about 1/4 of a room as it also functions as our guest room so most of the space is taken up by a bed. We also don’t really have enough storage space so my craft stuff ends up getting quite messy quite quickly. So I was spending my second weekend tidying it up when I came to my stack of crafty books. There’s a mixture of sewing, paper craft, knitting, and photography books. Continue reading “Craft Books”
I took a 5 day trip to Edinburgh recently, and decided to continue my travel scrap booking. It wasn’t quite the mammoth job that my USA scrap book had been, and I just picked up an A5 notebook from a shop in Edinburgh.
It’s mostly photos, but I did also include a few other things like train tickets, restaurant business cards, and maps. I got my photos printed out at Boots, where the 7×5 size was the closest to the size of each page of my notebook. So I created collages of the photos in Picasa in 7×5, then cut out the individual images when I had printed them. I used some full sized images, as well as a mixture of smaller sizes. I left some white space to do some ‘journaling’. I did a much better job of keeping it all chronological this time around, the America one all got a bit jumbled up.
I like that I used a note book from Edinburgh to use as my scrap book. My next trip isn’t until October to Riga, Latvia and it would be nice to find another little book there to use but I’m not sure how much time we’ll have to go shopping.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
I had some nice wrapping paper left over and decided to use it to make a fridge magnet. I bought a little empty fridge magnet from Samuel Taylor. I used some left over wrapping paper to fill it. Simple.
Full disclosure, I found this sewing organiser on pinterest. Good ol’ pinny…all the cool kids call it that I’m sure. The sewing organiser is a mat placed under your sewing machine, with little pockets to put your sewing scissors and pins and whatnots.
You need two pieces of fabric in a rectangle that’s long enough to to over your sewing table. Make it at least 10cm longer than you need to make the little pockets.
To make the sewing organiser sew the two pieces of fabric right sides together, leaving a couple of inches open so you’ll be able to turn it all the right way around. Turn is the right way around, then sew up the gap you left. Then fold one end over to make the pockets. Sew vertically along the edges, and also at various intervals along. I made the pockets different sizes to accommodate different sewing tools.
It’s bloody freezing right now, and I’m forcing myself to go outside and walk to the gym. It’s sheer madness I know. It has forced my hand though to get on and make some microwavable rice pack because it’s cold and I’m aching.
I bought a fat quarter of fabric for £2.85, and a 500g bag of rice for 88p. I already had a little bottle of what I thought was lavender essential oil but was actually lavender massage oil.
I cut the fat quarter into a piece that was 32 x 58 cm (I just eyeballed the size I wanted).
I folded it in half longways right side together. Then I sewed closed two sides, and about a third of the way along the third side.
I turned it inside out, so right way out really. Then poured in the rice, and a few drops of the lavender. Then I hand sewed the open side using my terrible version of slip stitch. I was worried that my hand sewing wouldn’t be strong enough and rice would explode everywhere but so far so good.
I put mine in the microwave for two mins and it came out very hot, so I think 1min 30secs might be better. I did notice it didn’t keep it heat as long as a hot water bottle, although if you spend four hours trying to pose with it and take pictures for your blog then what do you expect?
Just a few crafty bits and bobs I got for Christmas. A new copy of Selvedge magazine which is stupidly expensive, but has pretty pictures and articles on artisanal* crafty things. A book of 20 different fabric flowers for me to try making, and some pretty silver tape. Continue reading “Crafty Christmas Presents”