Catching up

Wow my blog post writing has slipped, a lot! I’ve been really busy stitching and also cutting fabrics for the shop, it’s been a little bit crazy but I’m not complaining.

So I plan to do some catching up.

Last month my friend Sharon’s husband Rob asked if he could buy something from me for her birthday. I explained that since I’ve stopped selling at craft fairs I don’t have much in stock but would be happy to sew something to order. He popped round one evening and talked about what he wanted, it was lovely to work with someone who had a clear idea of what he wanted.

Sharon has her own business; Soap Daze making the most gorgeous soaps, face oils and hand balm which she sells locally in shops and at craft fairs. Rob said she could do with a pencil case/pouch to put things in for when she’s at fairs, such as scissors, sellotape etc. He said he would like to have the lettering from Sharon’s signage on the case too. I’m not sure if he knew that I had supplied the fabric for the letters but I had enough scraps left to use again:

Pencil case - commission

I made this simple zip pouch and appliqued the letters on as requested, I made sure it was big enough to fit in a large pair of scissors too.

Pencil case - commission, applique detail

I used Essex Linen for the main body of the pouch which allows the letters to stand out clearly. I’ve seen some applique recently where both fabrics were ‘busy’ and it made the letters hard to read which seemed a real shame.

I do love a good zip end:

Pencil case - commission, zip detail

It was a fun commission to work on and even nicer to know that the recipient has an appreciation of handmade, unique work and that it will gratefully received.

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There is more to show, just please be patient!

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I do do dishes

Last week’s Patchwork, Please! project was simple and fun.  This week…I was taken by the idea of the tea towels and for some reason decided to make all of them!

I bought some Essex linen approx 18 months ago, in the packing up of the dining room and my sewing cupboards I misplaced it.  I looked for it on a number of occasions and eventually found it the middle of last week.

So tracing, cutting, sticking and sewing I have been.

(Beware picture heavy)

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I pulled charms from my Addicted to Text Charm Swap pile:

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Just seen that I need to add some holes to the top of my salt and pepper pots:

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We are still without a proper kitchen, but we do have a nice big empty space which is great for photography. I also bought a table from the charity shop a few weeks ago, I just happened to be passing and spotted a yellow vintage formica drop leaf table and decided it would be great for my new sewing space. Tobit used it to photograph on hence the rather bright yellow background:

IMG_0173Breakfast, lunch and dinner towels

I pretty much followed the pattern to the letter, I’ve full of miserable summer cold for a week or so and my imagination wasn’t up to much, I didn’t even think about just making one!

Breakfast, lunch and dinner towels

Maybe I’m just dreaming about the day when the floor screed is dry and we can lay flooring and fit the kitchen, we’re almost at 60 days since it went down!

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For the letters I used scraps from the Sew Cherry FQ bundle I had last year for 2 Siblings Together quilts, I’m so glad I kept them, only small bits but plenty for the letters and still some to spare for another project.

Breakfast, lunch and dinner towels

So probably the most labour intensive tea towels ever, but I love them, tempted to keep them for a lovely gift for someone, but I think that once we have a kitchen again I’ll be celebrating the reinstallation of our dishwasher and hanging them somewhere to look pretty!

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Holiday Lane Pillow

Today is the start of the Holiday Lane Pillow blog hop:

Jill Findley from Jillily Studios is the designer of this pillow pattern, Pauline from Quilt n Queen is the hostess for Holiday Lane, and Madame Samm from SewWeQuilt is the QUEEN OF BLOG HOPS, who comes up with amazing ideas and giveaways.

I signed up for the hop back in September without really thinking about what fabric I might have available to use.  A couple of weeks ago I’d scheduled some time in to make this pillow and wasn’t going to spend money on more fabric.  But a friend of mine had donated 3 (or maybe 4) pairs of old jeans knowing that I like to do a bit of upcycling so I decided to use a pair of these in my pillow (thanks Martin).

I had a rifle through my fabric stash and pulled out some Summersville (Lucie has it on sale in her shop right now), a spotty fabric from the Quite Contrary range by My Minds Eye for Riley Blake and another spot:

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I like how it’s turned out, I like to think it’s maybe a bit of a funky street somewhere!  The children can’t wait to use it!

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I did a bit of FMQ messing about really and trying out the functions on my machine, I used bondaweb too for putting the snow on the roofs and the windows and door on.

As often is the way I adapted the pillow to suit my needs.  The pattern instructions are to encase the pillow but the thought of not being able to wash it with 3 small children in the house was not good.  So I made a two piece back incorporating the back pocket of the jeans.  Not sure what the pocket will get used for hopefully not snotty tissues!

I used the automatic buttonhole function on my machine for the first time – it’s brilliant and makes me want to put buttons on everything!

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Oh and the inner is made from some leftover curtain lining stuffed with scraps from my scraps bin!

So go on hop along and see what these other people have made:

Just Let Me Quilt
Simple Sew
sew.darn.quilt
Color My World
Sew Maybe I Can
Sew Many Yarns
Pig Tales and Quilts
Tea Time Creations
Jane’s Quilting

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Feeding the animals

You know sometimes you intend to write about something and then you don’t?  Well this is one of those!

Way back in May I won a wonderful prize in the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day, it was from the lovely Amy who blogs at Lots of Pink Here and has a great Etsy shop Pinked Fabrics.  The prize was to choose 2 yards of fabric from her shop and a pattern.  Well I ummed and ahhed over the fabric and then cheekily asked if I could have it in charm packs, Amy being the kind lady that she is said yes.  The pattern was easier to choose, not fancying clothing patterns for the children I was taken by the ‘feed the animals’ coin purse.

SMS giveaway win from A Lot of Pink Here

I’m ashamed to say the charms are still in their packs awaiting the day when I find the perfect project for them.

During the summer I pulled the pattern out, traced all the pieces and then put it away again.  Then in September once the children were back at school I took the opportunity to get it out again and spent a few happy hours sewing.  As you can see from the pattern cover there are a number of little pieces so the cutting did seem to take forever but then the sewing of the purse was pretty quick.  Yes, it took a while to choose fabric and the buttons for eyes, but once that was done…

So I made a cute cat, with a white applique nose and white stitched whiskers which you can hardly see:

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This has gone off to live with my 3yr old niece who has filled it with hair clips and bands safely away from her little sister!

This gorgeous dog I made for Mathias, he was well aware that his big sisters have their own purses (none of which are as cool as this) and had been asking for a purse for a while, so this was wrapped up and given to him on his 3rd birthday last month.

Feed the animals coin purse

Should I at this point mention that he has no money to put in it and the poor dog has been chucked in the toy cupboard…

Feed the animals coin purses

I’m delighted with how they turned out.  The pattern is by the Straight Stitch Society which is part of Oliver + S.  I’ve never sewn with any of their patterns but read great things about them.  This pattern is well written, I understood all of it, at no point did I make any errors or get confused (believe me that happens regularly to me).  They don’t use a lot of fabric and you can customise them however you like.  So yes, I would recommend it.    Oh and the bonus is that if you do want to make some of these yourself you can buy a digital copy of the pattern and not have to wait for it to arrive in the post.

Next up: the monkey?

Ok I’m off to play at Emily’s, have a great day.

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August’s projects (or lack of!)

Hmm the first of September, summer has hardly shown it’s face and the children are already talking about Autumn, the school holidays are nearly at an end and I’m looking forward to finding more time to sew.

August appears to have been about sewing with and for children:

August's projects

I also have a top secret project on the go, but I can’t tell you about that for another 12 months!

Linking up with Lynne, go on over and see if anyone has been less productive than me!

Lily's Quilts

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Sewing with mother – part 2

Last Saturday morning I was due to go and meet with Laural at Arrietty to talk about workshops for the coming months.  I’d planned it this way thinking that I could go without any children in tow but Leah decided she really wanted to come so she packed a bag with colouring pens and a pad of paper and came with me.

While Laurel and I talked she did some drawing and colouring and then wandered around the shop looking at everything including old sewing machines.  I mentioned that I would like a new sewing machine and she said the she and Bethan could then have my old one and the ‘wheely round handle’ one – I like that idea!

In the afternoon Leah asked if she could do some embroidery and applique with me on the ‘old’ machine.  So I pulled out Poppy Treffry’s book Free and Easy Stitch Style and Leah decided that she would like to make a purse with flags on.

She pulled out fabric from her own stash kindly donated by Kerry for the flags and the base fabric was from a swap.

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It did turn into a bit of a family affair:

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With Mathias keen to see what was going on:

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and thinking about what project he would like to work on:

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The finished project:

Leah and her bunting purse

Funnily enough after the flags were sewn on the novelty of sewing wore off and the x-box called from the other room leaving me to get on and finish it.

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and a shot of the back:

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Fairly successful in all, although she’s not used it for anything and last time I saw it it was chucked on the floor in her bedroom!  Now maybe I can get on with some other sewing which includes sewing some curtains for her ‘den’.

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A quick birthday gift and an Etsy shop!

Some lovely friends of ours moved to a new house just over a week ago, we’re delighted, it’s much closer to us, a walk across the park and we’re almost there.

Following on from moving house, their daughter celebrated her 3rd birthday and I decided I could create something for her new bedroom:

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So I spent half an hour rummaging around my boxes of scraps to find some fabric with tiny prints on, the bunting flags are approx 1cm across the top.  I should have measured the hoop so you have an idea of size, but I didn’t!  It’s small, not tiny but small!  The background fabric is some I got at the swap at the Oxfam International Women’s Day event held by The Craft Hub.  I free motion embroidered the name on using my Janome rather than my hand operated Singer, and I’m rather pleased with how it went!  To be honest I was too lazy to lift the Singer out of the fire place (yes!) and onto the table, I’ll put that down to being a bit poorly this week.

Anyway the present has been delivered and delight was expressed!  I tied some ribbon to the clamp for hanging but did that after Tobi had taken a slightly wonky photo (not that I’m complaining)!

I was inspired by Katrien Van Deurens contribution to the Zakka Style book, her work is beautiful, if you want to see more hoops then go and look at her Flickr set.

Oh yes and as I mentioned in the the title as last I have opened my Etsy shop!  And hurrah made my first sale within minutes (that’s what friends are for!).  I’d love any feedback (constructive please!), I hope to be adding more to it as time allows!  I’m thinking vintage sheet FQ bundles, vintage sheet quilt kits and vintage sheet scrap packs.  What would you like to see in it?

I should be back tomorrow with something for the Fugly Fabric Party…

Linking up with:

Sew Happy Geek

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Zakka Style sew along: The House Pouch

After the success of week one I was more than ready for week two and encouraged by the very lovely and talented Amy host for this week, I got my materials together and got sewing.  This project was done in fits and starts due to it being the school holidays, concentration levels were low and so was my attention to detail.  So much so that I cut the lining wrong and had to start again, sadly I only noticed once I had sewn the zipper in perfectly!

On my recycling/upcycling kick I used leftover linen from making this shirt (which had previously been a skirt!):

Easy Linen Shirt

We do live in a red brick house so it seemed quite fitting (although we don’t have a green roof).

I used crochet trimming which came in the Trimmings Tin as a Christmas present from Tobi, it’s the first bit I’ve cut into from that tin, it’s all just waiting for the right project!

The roof of the pouch was from my green scraps box, the denim I actually took out of the bin!  I’d put it there the day before when I was cutting the pieces for another project thinking that I had so much denim I didn’t need to keep scraps but it was ideal for the front door!  The buttons all came from my stash the big yellow one and large green one are both vintage – well, I have no idea of their age but the style and colouring suggest ‘old’ to me!   The lining is a red and white dot (previously seen here).

Zakka Style - House Pouch

Aside from the actual sewing together of the pouch and the mishaps in cutting this was a joy to make.  I loved choosing the fabrics and playing with the layout of the ‘flowers’.  I like to machine embroidery so had a play with the flower stems and added in a few leaves on some of them, you might not be able to make out the detail from the photograph but it’s there I promise.

Back of House Pouch

So what am I going to do with this?  I don’t know yet but I think I might just keep it for me! Suggested use? Sewing bits and pieces, ideal to fill with ‘stuff’ for the FQ retreat. The saddest thing about this project is my youngest daughter having a little sulk/strop about it this morning asking why I only make things for me now! I guess she momentarily forgot about the quilt I’ve been slaving over for her!

Zakka Style - House Pouch

Are you tempted to join in?

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Soft book for Daisy

At the beginning of December one of Tobits sisters commissioned me to make a soft book for a friend of hers who had just had a baby.  I was happy to take it on but made it quite clear there was no way I could get it done before Christmas.  I already had one on the go and a couple of other commissions to work on so it had to wait.  A couple of days into the new year it was being to prick at my conscience so with 2 children back at school I was able to crack on and get it sewn, actually I think I did most of it while they were in their beds but anyway it is done!

Mosaic of soft book for Daisy

I suggested last week that I was going to finish this book differently, I didn’t.  The binding works like this, it’s quirky and I like it.

My machine struggled with the 10 layers of denim and 3 of wadding so much so that Tobit went off and did a bit of research on industrial sewing machines!  It looks like my friend who has just had twins and given one of them a name 9 (I think) letters long won’t be getting a personalised soft book, there is no way I or my machine would cope!  But, I do have a plan for a more ‘off the shelf’ book!  I just need time to work on it!

Don’t forget to pop over to Very Berry Handmade tomorrow for the start of the fantastic giveaway.

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That raglan tee… (Sewing for Boys sew along)

The raglan t-shirt that I made for Mathias last week has now been embellished…

First though thanks to Karen (one of the book authors) for her helpful comments on Flickr, I now know that when using old knits you should add a bit of length to the neckband as it will have lost some of it’s stretch, also it’s very important to make sure you cut using the grainline indicated on the pattern piece. I fortunately didn’t make a mistake on that but I know it has been done and then you really can’t get the shirt over the head!

So once the shirt was out of the wash I had a think about what to do to spice it up a little.  I’ve done quite a bit of t-shirt applique in the past:

Appliqued t-shirts mosaic

As you can see this has all been what I call ‘traditional’ applique in that it’s pieces of fabric stitched on top of another. I fancied a change and decided to have a go at reverse applique. This believe it or not involves applique on the reverse of the t-shirt! You may remember I wrote here about which way the shirt goes on, I had to be extra careful when doing the applique that is was on the inside not the outside!

So I ironed the t-shirt and the piece of fabric I was using for the applique and positioned the fabric piece on top of the t-shirt (inside out) and then ironed tear-away stabiliser on top of this in an attempt to hold the fabrics together and stabilise them whilst sewing.  The stabiliser was also good for drawing my shape onto for stitching.  For my first attempt I kept it simple and drew around a star template that I had.  I then stitched along my pencil line with quite a short stitch.  The stabiliser worked well and stitching was not a problem and much easier than in the construction of the t-shirt (but this time I was only sewing through 2 pieces of fabric).

Once I sewn the star shape I turned the t-shirt the right way out and took a pair of very sharp scissors and some caution and cut through the TOP LAYER OF FABRIC ONLY, 3-4mm inside the stitching line, so removing the inside of the star and revealing the contrasting fabric behind.  (I then turned it back the other way to trim the excess fabric from around the outside of the star to make it more comfortable to wear)

Mathias was coerced into changing his t-shirt in the middle of the day for a photoshoot because despite it being winter here the sun was shining brightly into our living room:

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He was actually pretty compliant as one of his sisters had just returned from a birthday party and had brought balloons with her, he’ll pretty much do anything to play with a balloon (or 3).

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I decided not to stitch in a contrasting colour, or more to the point I didn’t really think about it until afterwards but you can just about see the stitch line on this close-up shot.  Maybe next time I’ll remember and be brave enough to try.

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In conclusion I really enjoyed having a go at sewing with knits and making this t-shirt, I’m definitely tempted to make more as long as I can find some nice knit fabric, so far my search has been fairly unproductive, if you have any suggestions for sellers of knit fabrics in the UK please let me know.

If you want a tutorial rather than me waffling about it go and read Crystal at Little Bit Funky’s post here which has photo’s to help you on your way.

Linking up with:

Sew Happy Geek

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