Dance like no one is watching.
Blog like no one is reading.

Thursday, 27 September 2012

Utility Sewing

What does utility sewing mean to you?  It's a term I use for all the unexciting sewing tasks in my life.  It includes obvious things like repairs but it also includes things like making shopping bags.

I have pondered previously if I would enjoy making things so much if it were more of a necessity.  Things I define as utility sewing I do because it makes economic sense to use what skills I have to repair clothing or make useful everyday objects, I don't do it because I particularly enjoy it.  Or is it a no-no to say any sewing is boring!  I guess I can't just make pretty dresses when my son has holes in his socks!  Tempting though..... :-)

Thursday, 20 September 2012

Why don't I like this more?

Do you ever have a sewing project idea just pop into your head as you are about to drift off to sleep, which then keeps you awake thinking about it?  Or is it just me?

I have wanted to do a 'valleys' fabric picture for a while now but could not think what I could use if for.  I did think of making cards but thought that they may take too long to make for something so disposable but then it hit me.  I thought of a way I could make it into a brooch.

One bad nights sleep later I gave it a go.  By the time I had finally got to sleep I had somehow convinced myself that I would be creating a work of art which I would instantly fall in love with!  I can't put this down to eating cheese before bed or anything but the reality was rather different.  The 6 centimetre square brooch just had me going 'meh'.  It's no good, I just don't like raw edge applique and no amount of sleep depraved planning can change that.

Monday, 17 September 2012

Many Hats to Make!

I have taken advantage of a reduced price Burda pattern offer and intend to make many hats!  I thought it was a good way of using up leftover dressmaking material.

So far I have made two children's hats, including this one for my daughter's friend.  I will get around to making some adult hats soon but a few of them are rather odd and seem unwearable unless I am going to a fancy dress party as a nun.  Still, you never know....

Friday, 14 September 2012

Free Motion Embroidery

My friend asked me last week if I could show her how to free-hand machine embroider.  Luckily there were tea and cakes offered in return so I was more than willing to oblige!

Beforehand, I decided to make a little example to show her.  Now, I am not an expert on free-hand work as previously noted but I do enjoy it.  I suppose I just don't find that I need to do it that often so I am still in 'wobbly picture' mode.  I would like to think that I could get away with calling in 'naive'!!!

As I was embroidering a single layer and I still had fresh in my mind my machine eating up a thin jersey recently I decided to use a stabilizer.  However I didn't have stabilizing material so I decided to use grease proof paper.  This worked very well with regards to keeping the fabric lovely and taut for doodling on but removing it did snag a few stitches.

Nevertheless I made a little bag out of a scrap of calico, some buttons from my charity tin and a cord from a gift bag! says 'for lisa'! :)

Monday, 10 September 2012

French Knitting and Knots

French knitting is the stuff of childhood memories.   Both myself and my sister had a french knitting 'doll' when we were young.  Although I'm pretty sure one of us just had a wooden cotton reel with nails knocked in it made by my Dad, so maybe calling it a 'doll' is a tad far fetched!

I haven't done any french knitting for many years but my daughter was given a kit for Christmas one year and it has been around the house ever since.   I thought it was an ideal technique to try now that I had a surplus of wool from my holiday splurge.

I think this yarn knits to 4 ply and it was £1.99 from Oxfam.

It was surprisingly easy to remember how to do this but the doll did come with instructions for how to 'cast on' which would have been the only thing I would have struggled with.  Once I had started it I became about seven again and kept tugging the end of the yarn every couple of rows impatient to see the chain coming out the other end.  When I was a child that seemed to take FOREVER!

I knitted a length of about 25 inches I think with the initial thought of making it into a coaster, but the yarn was pretty thin so I quickly realised it would not be bulky enough really to provide the depth that a coaster needs.  A quick look on the internet didn't really inspire me with any other ideas.  I could only find french knitting either coiled up as above or looped into flowers so I decided to try something else.  I went onto YouTube and looked up 'decorative flat knot' and spent an inordinate amount of time tangled up and hitting the pause button every two seconds.  Lots of rewinds and 'what did he just do then?' queries later and I ended up with this....

Which I quite like - even if it is tiny.  I have sewn a brooch back onto it and whilst I may not make hundreds of these I am quite pleased with my creativity on this one (ooh hark at her!). 

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Paying For Pembrokeshire!

This is all the yarn and fabric I bought on my holiday!

Now I come to look at it, it is rather a lot!  The whole lot came to about twenty pounds, and I had such fun finding it.

Problem is, I am running out of space.  I am starting to think I will become like the Princess and the Pea - but instead of sleeping on a hundred mattresses I will be forced to sleep on piles of folded fabric.   So, I have a plan (Stan - can't say 'plan' without adding 'Stan' - it's like an okey without a dokey).

So anyway I thought I would give myself a little challenge up until Christmas.  I intend to make as many things as I can with the hope of:

  • Firstly, selling a few small handmade pieces to hopefully get some of the twenty pounds back - and then the fabric will be free!!!!  Really, it will be.
  • Make some Christmas presents for family and friends - thus hopefully saving a bit more money to help me justify buying so much stuff!
  • Then make myself a couple of dresses.  There is a double duvet in that lot which is just crying out to be made into a simple sixties dress.
  • Finally, I will hopefully have a few things left that I haven't sold/given away/put in my wardrobe that I can then give back to the local charity shops which they can sell and reap some benefit from my hours of work (did I say work?  I'm so looking forward to it it can't possibly be called work!)
This way I can save money, help charities, give handmade gifts and get a few new garments for myself in the bargain.  There must be a catch but I'm too excited to think what it is!

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Stripey Vest

Well I am back from my holiday and am busy sorting through my many fabric and yarn purchases.  I feel refreshed and am raring to make as much as I can in the next couple of months.  I have a plan Stan but more on that in future posts....

I ran up a stripey vest for my daughter just before the holiday - literally.  Her suitcase was already packed but she made her Mummy proud by putting it on as soon as I finished it so that she had it with her as an extra layer for the beach. 

It may have been the fact that I was sewing 'against the clock' but I did find the jersey stripe fabric a nightmare!  My sewing machine just loved eating it up.  I tried a narrow zigzag stitch,  nope.  I tried twin needles, nope.  I tried shouting, nope nope nope.  In the end I realised the only way to go was a very fine ball point needle and I'm guessing some tear away stabiliser would have been useful but I was in a hurry!!!

I'm glad I persevered however as my daughter has worn it several times.  The pattern, if anyone fancies making it, is Simplicity 'Hannah Montana Forever' 2267.