Blast from the past

Today, for the first time in ages, I was actually able to make it to the craft morning at my church. I’ve really missed hanging out with these ladies and it was fab to be back. I debated for ages about which project to take with me, but finally decided that I really ought to do something about trying to finish off my spirits of life wrap. I know… It’s been forever… And I’d stopped somewhere in the middle of a C2c section so I couldn’t even decide to call it quits and turn it into a cushion cover or something.

So the first half hour of the session was spent getting the tablet to work so I could see the pattern. Then trying to find where in the pattern it told me which size hook to use… Before then discovering the hook in the bottom of the project bag it was stored in!

But then I sped off making progress! It really helped that I’d worked recently on my c2c blanket as the technique was familiar to me. Plus I didn’t need to follow the pattern too much as I just lined the new column of blocks up with the ones underneath in the previous section.

Here’s where it started today

Where it got to by early afternoon

What I’ve added to it this evening while watching TV.

The other lovely thing is that one of the ladies put it round my shoulders to see what it would look like as I was worried it was too narrow due to my tension and would end up too long to be a useful shawl. When she did that (why had I not thought to try it myself??) I realised it was going to be perfect, and would look just gorgeous, so now I actually have motivation to finish it so I can wear it 😊.

We’ll see how quickly it progresses now!

P. S. Sorry about the blurry photos… My phone seems to be getting less and less reliable with the quality of photos


Finished toadstool

This evening I actually got out my old C2c blanket, and did a few rows on it while catching up with vanity fair on TV.

Then I put the radio on so I could concentrate on following the pattern for the rest of the toadstool. Here it is finished. I didn’t add the straw coloured skirt as I didn’t have the right coloured wool, but I still really like it.

As with all my creations it’s not perfect. I thought I’d followed the pattern correctly but I obviously did something wrong with the colour change so it’s a bit uneven on the edge… But I’m just going to argue that makes it more realistic as things in nature have little flaws too! Regardless, I still think it’s super cute!

Thank you to sonspopkes for the easy to follow pattern

A viking dress!

Hey there everyone. Sorry its been such an age. First I couldn’t craft because of our trip that involved travelling through the South of Sweden, over into Copenhagen, Denmark and then to Edinburgh. Travelling with hand luggage only rather prohibited me from taking any projects. I really missed crafting while I was away, but then found it hard to get back into it when I got home. I finally had to dust off sissy (my sewing machine) and get to work transforming an old brown curtain into a viking lady’s apron dress for a dress up day in school! I’m pleased with how it turned out, apart from not thinking through how flappy the top corners would be (not that that shows in this photo!)

While working on the ties I accidentally misjudged how many I would need, and made 4 and thought I was done! I actually needed 8,so I wondered if it would be quicker to make button holes on the front to thread the ties through and tie them back on themselves. After a bit of fiddling…. And then reading the sewing machine manual (!) I figured out how to make button holes! I decided against them in the end, but I’m glad I now know how to do them. It was kind of fun just putting my foot on the pedal and just watching the sewing machine figure out what to do!

Plus, I’ve now got out my crochet hooks and have started making an autumnal toadstool, thanks to sonspopkes. Its a simple pattern to follow and I got this far in an hour.

Little gifts

This morning I worked on making some gifts to give to some friends we’re seeing in the next few days. I say friends, they’re friends of my husband’s who I’ve only seen at our wedding 3 and a half years ago. I’m not sure if I even spoke to them! It’ll be good to finally meet them but it made it a bit tricky to know what to take as a gift. I know they have a little boy who I think is about 18 months old. I decided to make him a little reversible bag which I’ve then put two small lift the flap books and some stickers in. I didn’t really have any boy fabrics but I think the spots and owls will be fine. Making it was pretty simple and I even caught myself when I was about to pin the handles on the wrong way round. But maybe I got overexcited about that as I then sewed the inner and outer parts together with two rows of stitching so that the handles were reinforced, but completely forgot that I needed to leave a gap to be able to turn it the right way out. So I unpicked two small sections, sewed over the ends of the stitching so hopefully they won’t come undone, and then hand stitched the top when it was all the right way round. I’m really pleased with the result.

For the wife I made a pot stand /hot pad thing. I made one for another friend ages ago and she uses hers all the time so I thought it would be a good gift… Decorative but functional.

I planned to try some free motion stitching on it but have discovered that although I can put the feed dogs down on my machine I need to get an additional quilting/free motion foot to go on it. Free motion stitching will have to wait for another day.

Stitching it all together with the wadding in the middle was fine, but I hit problems when I tried to attach the bias binding around the edge. Does anyone know of a good online tutorial that would show you how to put it on properly, getting neat corners around a square object?

I didn’t have my phone nearby and decided to wing it! I actually made my own bias binding (after my experience with my top) so I could use a patterned material for it. I pinned one side on, bending the corners up and then back on themselves as I would when edging a display board in school. Then I stitched all the way round 😂😂. Oops, then you’ve stitched things in place so you can’t fold them over the top to the other side. I unpicked those corner sections and it seemed to work then but I decided against pinning it in place as it wouldn’t sit flat and opted for ironing and then holding in place.

The finished result is OK… But only because its a patterned material. I’m not happy with it and think it’s quite messy, especially at the end of the binding. It’s still going to be given as a gift though and I hope it will still be useful.

And the husband? He’s getting chocolate! 🍫😂😂

One properly finished top, and a new one started

Hey there everyone. Well this post is a bit delayed, as not only have I finished my top I’ve been wearing it for the last two days 😂.

I came home from my parents and unpicked the zip. I had marked with pins how much I wanted to take in, so then tacked the zip on using my machine. I thought I’d check it before properly top stitching it in place and discovered that although it fitted nicely i’d obviously not sewn it on evenly, so the zip caused bulges down the side. Well that’s not the look I was going for, but I discovered that the top had enough stretch in it for me to take it off over my head without undoing the zip, so then I unpicked the zip (again) and just sewed the seam together. And this is what I ended up with (excuse the weird pose – like a cormorant drying its wings – I didn’t want to obscure the sides with my arms!)

As I say, I’ve been wearing it yesterday afternoon and today and it’s really comfy and goes great with leggings. I still can’t quite believe I’ve made a top from a pattern. Thanks to my mum for helping me to get started and encouraging me to keep going even when I thought it would be too hard.

And now I’m actually feeling a bit confident with the whole dressmaking thing, and have gone ahead and cut my material for the next thing which is a dress by simplicity.

Material for the top part and the orange for the pockets
Material for the lower section

I’m super excited about this one, just nervous it will be too small. Cotton doesn’t stretch!

I finally have a top (sort of!)

Well, several days ago I started cutting the pieces to make this top

I’ve worked on it a bit at a time. I spent about 7 hours on it on Thursday and finally felt like I was making progress as I ended up with this.

Today I finished facing the waistband and attached the zip. As I’m currently at my mum’s and using her sewing machine I sewed the zip on by hand due to her not having a zipper foot for her machine. I’ve finished the rest off with her machine and can wear it!

I’m a bit frustrated by how baggy the left side is by the zip (though you can’t see that particularly in these photos), so, seeing as how i need to top stitch the invisible zip when I get home tomorrow anyway, I may just unpick my hand sewing and take it all in a bit. It might be risky and could ruin it completely… But hopefully not.

In the meantime, although this was a horrid material to cut, and a not terribly easy pattern to follow, I actually have a wearable top. I’ve not been put off following patterns and actually bought some gorgeous materials today to make a pattern by simplicity which looks a lot easier to do.

Although this pattern was tricky I have learnt loads :

  • How to follow a pattern
  • How to make my own bias binding
  • How to sew on bias binding properly
  • How to gather a section
  • The importance of shortening your stitch again after gathering and before joining seams (I felt better when I saw that Lauren made the same mistake during the final of the first series of British sewing bee!!)
  • What basting means and why it’s important (tacking the material in place with stitches you’ll later remove)
  • Patterns might not be too tricky if you take them one instruction at a time
  • Mistakes can usually be remedied (I sewed the facing on the waistband in the wrong place and then thought how good it would be to have something covering up all the raw edges that were in there… Yep… That’s the job of the facing! Once it was reattached in the right place it looked tons better… And covered those raw edges
  • Sometimes more pins are better
  • I can actually make my own clothes!

I don’t think this will ever be my favourite piece of clothing, but for now I’m pleased with it. I’ll let you see it when I finally finish the zip section.

Also today I got to try out free machine stitching with Mary, a friend of my mum’s. She invited us to have a look at her work room and it was fab to meet her and to see some of her work. She showed me how to free stitch and this is what I did.

It reminds me of those drawings where you’re not allowed to take your pen off the paper, and funnily enough I often really like the effect you get when you go back over a line. It was definitely easiest to control the movement of the fabric when it was in an embroidery hoop, and I was really pleased with what I ended up with. Now I just need to work out how to set my machine up for it and I’ll be good to go with a whole new area of craft!

Making project bags and learning to make a top from a pattern

I’ve made two project bags, as I’m considering the idea of opening an etsy shop at some point in the new academic year and would like to build a bit of a stock up before I open it. I thought I’d start with project bags as I think people would want to buy them and I can make them quite easily. But I’ve hit a dilemma with the first one I’ve made as it’s got a wrinkle in it from where I’ve top stitched round. I’m reluctant to unpick it all and start again. So I’m left with the question ‘do I just keep it for myself or list it in the shop as a flawed item? ‘ what do you guys think?

Here’s the wrinkly flaw-it’s more noticeable in real life!

Both the bags used vintage material… The owls one is left over material from curtains I had in my bedroom growing up, and the purply one is left over from material my parents had curtains from.

Then, with my mum’s help I’ve started to try to make myself a top following a pattern. The pattern reckons its easy, but I might question that! It is rather daunting being faced with all the big bits of paper with lots of code on them.

We’ve managed to cut all the pieces out, having learnt that it’s a very slippery fabric that moves whenever there’s a slight touch to it. Pinning the pieces to it usually took some time as several pins would need repositioning.

Awful not straight cutting! 😂

I also discovered that rather than working on the floor and cutting with scissors I got a much straighter, sharper line when I used my rotor blade on the cutting mat.

So, all the pieces are now cut and at some point I need to tackle the challenge of starting to sew it together. It’ll be a while as I’ve got a busy few days coming up.