Monday, 20 February 2012

In Reverse

Backtracking a little, a while ago (just before I made a medical bag for the children) I actually cut my teeth on making shoulder bags for grown ups.

At my Christmas my elder sister gave me a length of Amy Butler fabric in olive and yellowy green spots. And my sister in law is handily quite a “green” person, so that seemed an ideal place to start. It is quite a full on colour effect though, so I decided that the inside/other side (as it is technically a reversible bag) should be calico, with a small stitching detail to tie in the greens.
Reversible Bag

And so I ended up with a rather nice bag which both its recipient and myself are very happy with. (Oh, and my Mum wants one too!)

Friday, 17 February 2012

I did it!!

Denim Ribbon skirt
At last, I have actually made a garment of clothing for one of my children. It is not the most stylish of articles – just a simple gathered skirt in bits of denim salvaged from a trouser leg, and a remnant of ribbon – but it fits and looks right. Not that Robin has kept it on much this afternoon, but that is more to do with her recently acquired skills in undressing herself than any reflection on my sewing (or so I like to think).

Robin is really working the urchin look at the moment!

FYI, the large warts over her right knee are in fact gathered flowers (one in denim, the other in white satin ribbon). I could not get them to photograph at all well.

The key benefit of this skirt (aside from the fact that Robin gets an item of clothing out of it) is that I was able to practice a few new techniques. Namely, fake overlocking the edges with zigzag stitch, fitting elasticated waistbands and binding seams with ribbon to hide the unsightly edging and reduce bulk. I may well have another go with lighter weight fabric and other decorative techniques. Watch this space…

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

Still reeling, and utterly biased

Since Christmas I have been rearranging and massively tidying my working area so that I can actually do things at my desk other than just move the same pile of rubbish around.
Part of this involved sorting out all my thread so that I can see what colours I have when setting up for a project. I have quite a lot.
Cotton Reels1
Cotton Reels 2
I then realised a needed more reels for storing all my biased binding and other ribbons and strings. I found these very reasonably priced at The Stamp Attic.
Reels 3
Some of the binding/tapes are shop bought, but now I need never buy bias binding again as I have these:
Bias Tape Maker
They look a little odd, but are very good! Once you have fed the unfolded tape into the gadget  you then pull it through and it comes out folded and just needs ironing to stay flat. A distinct improvement on my previous technique which mostly involved singeing my finger tips! Thank you to everyone who gave me one of these for Christmas or my birthday!

Monday, 13 February 2012


I have just sent my lovely Vintage Singer 201K off to be serviced and now I feel a little forlorn.
My Machines
I know the rational among you will say “but you still have AWLNS”, but that’s kind of not the point. It’s a bit like saying,”well, Matthew’s gone away but you still have Piper and Robin”. (not that I am likening my children to machinery, or my machines to my children really). It’s just that having one thing doesn’t stop you missing the other.

However it greatly deserves its full service vacation, and will hopefully come back happier and healthier than ever.

Tuesday, 7 February 2012

Flappity flippers

Which makes sense if you have under children under 6 who are obsessed with the Octonauts. One of the most heard phrases in our house is “I’m Kwazii and Piper’s Peso”. (Sometimes followed by the slightly more cryptic “and Robin is Pinto”).
So you can imagine the fun that they had with the Octonauts comic Matthew bought recently, especially as it came with a medical kit for Peso. Less fun for me as the bits (bandages, medicine tube, stethoscope) tend to end up lying all over the floor. So I have just indulged in my first secret overnight project (Christmas and birthdays not included) and Peso now has a case for the med kit.
Med Kit
Can’t wait until they see it.

**UPDATE** Sometimes I don't know why I set myself up like this! Piper's response was great - non-verbal squeaks of excitement. Matthew (to paraphrase) said "it's great. Why didn't you do it like this though?" Hmmph.

Monday, 6 February 2012

Zig Zag

Apparently birthday party invitations work both ways. Since Matthew’s party a few weeks ago he has received 3 invitations to other children’s parties. Unfortunately we couldn’t make the first one, but a present was called for so I rustled up this:
Back Pack
(By rustled up I mean cut out the carefully measured fabric, realised that I had cut it wrong, and then cut out some extra bits to attach in order to make the bag bigger. Then tested the zig-zag stitching a lot before appliqueing the front of the bag, applying the fabric paint and then sewed the whole thing up. See, easy.)
I was so pleased with this that when I have a few minutes (not this week then!) I may well list this kind of bag for people to order/customise in my folksy shop. It is certainly going to be revisited for the upcoming birthdays.

Saturday, 4 February 2012

A wooden leg named Smith

There is a new addition to the household. Well, not so much new as allowed out of the loft.

Wooden Leg Named Smith 2I had half forgotten that I had another sewing machine in the loft – my sister acquired it from friends years ago when they found it in the cellar of their new house. The first time it moved house with us the case gave up and fell down a flight of outside stairs. Since then it has lived in a big old leather bag in my loft (moving house at least 3 more times).
Just before Christmas we unearthed it and Robert gave it all a good clean and replaced the motor (three cheers for ebay) and now it works beautifully. I just need to rearrange everything so that it no longer has to live in its bag but on the table top ready for use – it is nearly as heavy to move as my vintage Singer. On top of that it lost a leg in that earlier tragic accident, so now it has a temporary wooden leg (named Smith).
Wooden Leg Named Smith 1-1
The advantage of this machine is that it does zig-zag stitch so I can now do more feature details, and I am also planning to have a go at making leggings for my girls. I have already tested it out – details in the next post!

Also, a brief aside for those who care. We now have actual new drapes. My Mum took pity on us living with '80s relics with brick red/orange circles in squares and has let me have a lovely pair of heavy weight cream curtains she isn't currently using. Completely changes the lounge! (not least because now we are not shielding our eyes from the curtains we can see the battleship grey walls. Hmm...)