Wednesday, 10 September 2014

I've Got You Covered!

Uni Care Package: Elasticised Bike Seat Cover
One Uni Care Package coming up! One of my nieces, aka: Miss Smarty-Pants, is going off to university in less than a month, so a special consultation and a postcard later, here is the first of the things I'm making for her: an Elasticised Bike Seat Cover with Tie-On Straps!

As the daughter of a retired accountant, I've created my list of things to make, mend, or alter on an Excel spreadsheet, along with their "due dates/ideal completion dates".  Scary! <;0) (The box by my work-table, which contains my miscellaneous minor sewing projects, has been dubbed The Lucky Dip Box.)

Monday, 25 August 2014

Je Ne Sais Quoi!

VOICI!  Here is my "Reversible Savoir-Faire Tablecloth"!
Reversible Savoir-Faire Tablecloth With Lace Corner Detail
I've been saving this charming French vinyl material since I bought a metre of it, (and a metre in one other pattern), on a stall during the Annual French Market in Saffron Walden last June.
Coordinating Blue Fabric Side
French-Vinyl Side
It's the first thing I've made for myself for quite a long time! I'm very pleased with how it turned out. I've received compliments from visitors already!

CLOSE-UP Of Reverse-Side Material
I used the entire metre of vinyl material - it was the perfect size for my work table by the window.  The blue reverse-side fabric (shown to the right) was purchased at the Tuesday Market in Saffron Walden, and was only slightly larger than the metre of French vinyl.

The Tuesday market stall that sells various fabrics has a large basket with off-cuts and remnants selling for £2.00 each or £5.00 for three, regardless of size, fabric type, or quality. I've found some really good deals in that basket!

CLOSE-UP of Lace-Edged Corner
The tablecloth was super-easy to make, and took less than half an hour! I had to trim the reverse-side material to match the vinyl.  After placing the fabric right-sides facing, I pinned them in place.  Then, I opted to cut two lace doilies in halfFolding over both ends of each doily-piece, centred at each of the four corners, I pinned them in place - I don't know about you, but I've noticed that vinyl tablecloths tend to curl up at the corners, so I added the lace corner-keepers as a decorative means to hide any curled corners.

REVERSE-SIDE With Lace-Edged Corner
Once everything was pinned in place and pleasing to the eye, I straight-stitched about half-an-inch from the edges, using Coats & Clark Dual-Duty XP Variegated Blue Cloud Thread.  I left about a 4-inch opening to pull the material right-side out again.  In retrospect, I should have left a larger opening because I was worried about splitting seams when pulling the vinyl through; but, (thankfully!), no harm was done! Lastly, I chose a zigzag stitch all around to finish it off and close the opening.

 This was my first attempt at working with vinyl.  It was surprisingly easy to work with, needing nothing more special than a standard 90/14 machine needle.

I still have the full metre of the other French vinyl fabric which is, currently, earmarked for place-mats, and a lunch bag...  I'll add pictures of recently acquired fabrics to my "Material Girl" page soon.

Now that my French-chic "Reversible Savoir-Faire Vinyl Tablecloth" is finished, I think it adds a little...

 Je Ne Sais Quoi!

Sunday, 20 July 2014

A Moving Experience.

No.  I haven't fallen off the face of the earth.

I'm in the middle of organising my move from my brother's home to my own place.  It all happened very quickly, and has had "bumps in the road" along the way to smooth out before I can actually properly move in.

In the time since my last post, the only things I have managed to make and actually finish are a scrunchie for one of my nieces (a special request), and a very pretty floral scrunchie-style hair-band I made for my long-suffering sister-in-law.  I didn't even get a chance to take photos of either of them, much less publish a post. [Sigh]

However, I have a long "laundry list" of things to make, mend, and/or alter; as well as promising my other niece a "Student Care Package" of hand-made useful things for when she starts University this year.

Eek! I need a whiteboard next to my sewing machine to keep track of all my mounting projects!

I'm sure my posts here will be a bit sporadic while I get settled and try to get the necessities of my new life sorted.  None of which would have been possible without the amazing kindness and support of family, friends, and the local community.  For me, it's most definitely

A Moving Experience.

Thursday, 1 May 2014

"What's Your Sign, Then?"

CLOSE VIEW Of Sign-Front
What can you sew for a teenage boy's 16th birthday...that he will actually like?!  Hmmm...A challenging conundrum, more trying still when skint!

My much-loved nephew is a "normal", and (at times) moody teenager, with a cheeky sense of humour.  He has gadget cases, doesn't use a wallet; and, none of the usual sewing ideas for teens on the web seemed right for him for one reason and another.  What to do! What to do!

One evening, I witnessed my teen-aged nephew stomp off to his room, he angrily scrawled a note, haphazardly taped it to his bedroom door, then slammed it shut.  It read:


Well, now! Both of my eyebrows raised, I noted: his scribbled-in-Biro sign was hard to read - the white piece of paper blended invisibly with the white door; and, the fine point of the ballpoint pen necessitated nose-pressed-to-door posture, eyes squinted, in order to read it.  This will not do! It will not do at all! 

Full View Of Sign-Back
Auntie to the rescue! My nephew is not the first, nor will he be the last teenager expressing an exasperated need for some cool-off space and privacy.  So, I thought, why not provide him with a real sign, laced with a bit of cheeky humour, in the form of a word-search puzzle on the flip-side? [Okayed by his parents first, of course!]

Both my brother and sister-in-law got a good chuckle at my sketched-out idea.  Their verdict was that their son would get a kick out of it. Cool!

Off to the market I went to buy a couple of 9-inch x 9-inch felt squares @ .50 p. each: 1 in red, 1 in white - his favourite football team colours!

It was super easy to make with virtually no sewing - I used Liquid Stitch. After deciding how big I wanted the sign to be, here's how I did it:

Basic Signboard

Using plain black flannel from my stash, I cut a couple of 12-inch x 10-inch squares.
  1. Lining them up, I machine-sewed the squares together on 3 sides to make a pocket using 1/4-inch seam allowance.
  2. I cut a piece of sturdy cardboard, slightly smaller than the flannel squares.
  3. Ensuring a snug fit, I slipped the cardboard piece inside the pocket.
  4. I set the pocket aside a moment.
  5. Using plain black webbing, (also from my stash), I cut 2x 7-inch pieces.
  6. Next, I folded both pieces of webbing in half to create 2 loops.
  7. I inserted the loose ends of the webbing loops about 1-1/2 inches deep into the unsewn seam of the pocket at the left and right corners.
  8. I folded the rough edges of the pocket down about 1/2-inch, then pinned the loops and seam together.
  9. Using 1/4-inch seam allowance, I sewed that final seam together; making sure the loops were even, and securely in place.
  10. I set aside my new bare-bones, black flannel, and cardboard signboard.
 "Go Away" - FRONT
Full View Of Sign-Front
  1. Taking my felt squares, I cut them in half width-ways.
  2. I used one white felt-half as the background for the "Go Away" side.
  3. I used one red felt-half to cut out the letters to spell "Go Away", using a combination of my Fiskars Rotary Cutter and my Westcott scissors.
  4. Using the remaining piece of red felt, I cut out 4 small triangles.
  5. Using my Liquid Stitch, I attached first the white background onto the black flannel signboard.
  6. Making sure the letters were evenly-spaced, I glued each letter onto the white felt background.
  7. Then, I "liquid-stitched" the 4 triangles to all 4 corners.
 Word Search Puzzle - BACK
  1. Using the remaining half of the red felt, I cut out a 12 cm x 10 cm square.
  2. I set aside the cut-out square.
  3. I had already created and cut out my paper word search puzzle: a 13 cm x 11 cm square (It is slightly larger than the 12 cm x 10 cm window created, so the puzzle edges could be glued without obliterating any of the puzzle letters.)
  4. I glued the paper puzzle to the windowed felt, making sure the whole puzzle showed.
  5. I attached the puzzle window to the reverse side of the black felt signboard in the top centre.
  6. I used the 12 cm x 10 cm red felt cut-out square as the word list  background.
  7. From the remnants of the white felt, I cut out a slightly smaller square.
  8. On that piece of white felt, I used a black, fine-point Sharpie marker to list the words used in the puzzle (in alphabetical order).
  9. Grabbing my handy-dandy Liquid Stitch again, I applied it to the back of the word list, centred it on the slightly larger red felt square, pressing it in place.
  10. Then, I cut out the curved arrow from the white felt, and pasted it on the space adjacent to the word search puzzle.
  11. Now to grab a bamboo rod cut to size.
  12. Lastly, I put in a few stitches in the webbing loops to help hold the bamboo rod securely in place...and added one more to hang the finished sign on a hook..
Personally, I've always wanted a "Go Away" door mat. >:0} Unfortunately, the door mat fairy hasn't yet delivered.  Perhaps she was put off by the lack of welcome? [Sigh]

Having said that, you can probably guess the response if I'm ever greeted with the tired and cheesy question:

"What's Your Sign, Then?"

Monday, 28 April 2014

Waste Not, Want Not.

Floral & Lace Leggings Refashion Ensemble
Last year, I bought a really pretty pair of floral leggings from  Normally, I don't care for flowery prints and what-not; but, I really liked the "autumny" colours.  However, I've been on refashion mode for a while, and thought these leggings would look much better at ballet-length.  Not wanting to waste any part of the pretty fabric, I turned the cut-off bottoms into matching, lace-trimmed fingerless gloves.  Ta Da! They're truly new designer label-worthy: Hooda Thunkitt ;oP

This refashion was REALLY simple! I LOVE simple! Below are the super easy steps:

Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Up The Empire!

Refashioned T-Shirt to Empire-Waist Maxi-Dress
Here is the result of my latest sewing brainstorm!  I refashioned one of my very  favourite old t-shirts, and turned it into this Empire-Waist Maxi-Dress with Wide Sash-Belt.

My poor t-shirt had been chucked to the back of a drawer.  It had a stain smack-dab in the front that just wouldn't come out. [Sigh!]  Unfortunately, the location of the stain did not lend itself to the use of appliqu├ęs, or similar creative disguises.

You see, I fondly deem my lovely t-shirt, with its feminine, crocheted bib front, carefully symmetrically-placed gold sequins, and fluttery cap sleeves as "an oldie, but a goodie", so I hadn't the heart to retire it to the rag bag.  [Sniff! Sniff!]

Saturday, 5 April 2014

Hunt For A Good Deal With This!

FRONT of Tote showing Tiger in the Tropical Print
I feel like I must, surely, have earned my stripes with this latest creation! I made it for my Mum who really liked the tropical print and coordinating-contrast fabric in citrus I picked to go with it, (shown within the "Material Girl" page of this blog).

BACK of Tote showing Tiger on the reverse
This "beast of a bag" idea started out as a simple tote design, then morphed into something a bit more elaborate; partly because the fat quarter wasn't quite large enough for what I had in mind.

Then, another complication occurred: originally, I thought it was a random tropical print, until I took it out of the plastic sleeve and unfolded it... Behold! A lovely tiger motif appeared! As the print direction became apparent, I had to alter my plans in order to accommodate this surprise: I had to cut the fat quarter in half, then arrange the halves so the print wouldn't be upside down on one side of the bag.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Cosy Up To This!

I survived a self-inflicted, gruelling sewing bonanza to get this finished in time for my sister-in-law's birthday.  So, here is my first-ever cafetiere cosy!

I reviewed several cafetiere cosy design ideas; but, none of them seemed versatile enough for what I had in mind.

Y'see, this household has three cafetieres of various sizes... and, a motley collection of teapots.

To adopt the popular wrap-around cosy design would have meant making a separate cosy for each cafetiere.  Plus, I'd feel compelled to, also, make a separate teapot cosy... Well, I had neither the material, nor time, for such a project.

Hmmm... What if I make a "one-size-fits-all" cosy?

Monday, 24 March 2014

"Too Smart For Your iPhone?"

After a first time around "whoopsies" while "winging it" with the original owl-print phone wristlet, I created this one... Woo-Hoo! 

Phew! During my first attempt at this creation, my needle-clamp screw broke; so, I had to send off for a replacement.

I thought I was going to run out of "March" before being able to successfully finish my project for this month's blog post!

My design features:

Sunday, 16 February 2014

Reversible-'Faux Infinity' Scarf Is Something To Tweet About!

Voila! My first proper creation of 2014! I promised my sister-in-law's best friend, Jenny, I would make her a scarf, if she would pick the material from my currently available stash.

Jenny loved the autumn colours in this charming print, featuring branches, berries, and garden birds on a creamy-ivory and beige background on high-quality medium-weight 100% cotton.  Luckily, I still had plenty of the plain, chocolate-brown cotton flannel for the coordinating flip-side!

Wednesday, 5 February 2014

Hemming... and Hawing

Finally got to use my new sewing machine today.  Nothing more exciting than fulfilling a promise to hem my niece's jeans, so no pictures of a new creation yet.

I am not someone who likes to rely on an instruction manual when doing something like getting started on setting up a sewing machine.  For me, reading a manual has all the appeal of watching paint dry: my eyes glaze over and roll to the back of my head... Zzz...

Thursday, 30 January 2014