Author Archives: Sewist

A Quick Storage Basket

A new year always seems to make people want to tidy up, and once I’d taken my Christmas tree down I realised that the table it had been on, could do with a little sorting out. The worst culprits for making it look a total mess, were the bundle of charger leads draped over a letter rack. The chargers get used too frequently to justify them being tucked away in a cupboard, so I felt the next best thing would be to make a little fabric basket to keep them tidy while still being accessible.

The pattern actually makes three baskets, but I only wanted to make one in this particular size (and wanted an excuse to use up some of my larger fabric scraps). I did make it slightly shorter than the pattern, simply because the fabric I was going to use for the cuff wasn’t quite long enough otherwise!

The fabric was actually part of a duvet cover I’d used as a ‘wearable muslin’ for a dress pattern previously – the main pattern was one side, and the cuff was the reverse design.

To quilt the basket, I simply stitched down some of the edges of the boxes. I don’t (yet) have a darning foot for my machine, so I decided that free-motion quilting was going to be a bit beyond my skills at the moment!

As you can see, two chargers fit perfectly into the basket, and if I make a couple more baskets for my relatives’ phone chargers too, there should be a lot less chance of getting in a muddle with which charger is for which device!

Nine things to try in 2018

Most years I’ve set out my New Years Resolutions, and a lot of the time I can’t keep them past March. So when I decided to plan ahead for 2018, I took the idea from a “9 things” post on Instagram last month to make my Nine Things to try in 2018.

Top row:

  • Cheyenne Tunic* by Hey June Handmade
    I’m hoping this will make a change from trying to find jersey to make t-shirts, and give me a more varied selection of tops suitable for the spring and summer.
  • Zen Pants* by 5 out of 4 Patterns
    I was drawn to the Zen Pants as there are so many rise variations included – I tend to wear medium waist trousers, but I usually wear them a bit lower than they’re designed, so the medium rise of these might work brilliantly. It’s also the first pattern I have that recommends using Ponte fabric, so that will be an interesting experiment!
  • Marigold by Blank Slate Patterns
    I was planning on making the Marigold last summer, but time ran away without me and it was winter before I looked at the pattern again. But maybe this year I will get one made!

Middle row:

  • Novelista by Blank Slate Patterns
    I really dislike sewing buttonholes, so you might be wondering why I have a Novelista button-up shirt on my list…. well, either I’m going to cheat and use poppers, or I’ll add in a hidden button placket so you get a neat front without the stress of ensuring all those buttonholes are perfect.
  • Giverney Blazer by Winter Wear Designs
    Back when I started trying to sew clothing, I hadn’t read the information that said “jackets are hard to make” so naturally I made myself a few blazer-type jackets from duvet cover fabric. Other than one collar being put on the wrong way around, they came out surprisingly well! So I decided I really should make myself a decent blazer this year, out of some fancier fabric than a simple duvet cover. This pattern uses woven fabric, so there should be a great selection available in my local fabric shop.
  • Bat Plushie by BeeZeeArt
    On to the bats, and I admit I have made a few of these bats before! But when I was sorting out my bag of fabric last month, I came across some spare black and blue plush fabric which is just calling out to be made into a bat or two (or maybe three!). Because the wings and inner ears are made from woven cotton fabric, it’s a great pattern to use up oddments, or to so slightly crazy with glow-in-the-dark fabric like I did for the latest two bats I made.

Bottom row:

  • Refined Raglan by Winter Wear Designs
    Another top, but it’s not quite what you’re thinking – the Refined Raglan is made from woven fabric, not jersey! It includes details on how to alter the pattern to fit your individual shape, so it should be more successful than some of the previous woven tops I’d tried making – those never quite fitted ‘right’.
  • Willa Bear by Emma’s Bears
    On the theme of plushies, I’ve been wanting to make a Willa Bear for a while, but haven’t managed to get to grips with adding in non-jointed limbs…. hopefully this year I’ll find enough patience to sew them on, without arguing (too much) with my sewing machine!
  • Real Deal Jeans by Winter Wear Designs
    The thought of sewing jeans is quite scary to be honest, but if I can get to grips with some of the other patterns, then maybe (just maybe) I’ll hunt down some stretchy denim and try making some jeans! As with the other Winter Wear Designs patterns, the Real Deal Jeans have a section on getting the perfect fit, with the relevant pattern alterations you need for each fitting problem.

 

So there it is, my 9 things to try in 2018…. but it remains to be seen if I manage to make any of them this year! If I don’t, it’s no big deal, but I thought having an aim at the start of the year might help focus my attention a little!

 


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Glowing Spooky Spidery Bat

I actually made this bat back in August but I had to wait until now to share this post, because it was a Christmas present. Using the tried-and-tested BeeZeeArt bat pattern, I got on much better sewing the head gusset and feet than I did with my starry bat.

Strictly speaking, the spiders are a little large for the wings, as it’s only the spiders and strand they’re dangling from, which glow in the dark.

But as a gift for a friend who likes Halloween and bats, it should work really well. The dark “minky” fabric means the spiders seem to glow even better than the stars do on my blue bat.

Fingerless Gloves Inspiration

Have you seen the 12 days of Christmas discounts and freebies over at Winterwear Designs? One pattern in particular caught my eye – the Alpine Fingerless Gloves are exactly what I’ve been trying to find. Unfortunately the eczema on my hands is so bad at the moment that I can’t sew anything, but I couldn’t resist planning a few pairs of these gloves!

The Alpine gloves are designed to be made from stretchy fabric, so they could look fantastic in sweatshirt fabric, or fleece.

  1.  Lucky Cards Sweatshirt Fabric – Minerva Crafts
  2.  Aztec Stripe Ponte – Minerva Crafts
  3.  Forest Animals Fleece – Minerva Crafts
  4.  Bugs Sweatshirt Fabric – Minerva Crafts

And for Spring, when my hands still need covering, but fleece might be too warm, a couple of pairs in jersey might be ideal.

    1.  Floral Print Stretch Mesh Jersey – Minerva Crafts
    2.  Rainbow Geometric Stripe Print Jersey – Minerva Crafts
    3.  Blue Butterfly Meadow – Fabric Land
    4.  Zoo Cotton Mix Jersey – Abakhan

Maybe if I’m lucky, Santa will take the hint and leave me some stretchy fabric under the tree, so i can make one (or five) pairs of these Alpine Fingerless Gloves in the new year!

Halifax Funnel Neck

After my success with the Halifax Hoodie, I thought I would use up some oddments of sweatshirt fabric on another Halifax*.

I had just enough of the spotty and red fabric left over to make view D this time, but I kept the thumbhole cuff idea as that will save me needing to wear gloves!

I don’t normally wear funnel necks, so this was going to be a total experiment and a learning curve on how to fold the funnel to make it work properly. After reading the instructions through a couple of times, I folded the fabric the right way, and even inserting the eyelets went smoother than before!

If I want to be really picky, I could actually have made the funnel neck a little higher, so it would be cover my nose on a chilly day! But for a first attempt at a funnel neck, it’s come out surprisingly well.

If I’d thought things out a little better on the colour blocking, I would’ve used grey for the cuffs, probably grey for the pocket with the red on the edge, and maybe even red for the funnel. But that might have looked a bit too crazy!

 


* affiliate link

Pattern: Halifax Hoodie by Hey June Handmade*
Fabric: Fashion Fabrics
Trim: Sew n Sew

 

Fake Fur Ideas

There’s nothing better for inspiration than a rummage through a fabric shop. On this occasion, I found two soft long-pile fake fur fabrics. They were more like 1/3 to 1/2 of the standard width, but at £8 a metre, I knew that 50cm of each would be enough to make a few small bears.

The red is quite a bright intense shade, which looks plain until it catches the light at a certain angle, when you can see an almost silvery shade to some of the fur strands.

The forest green is a more muted shade compared to the red, but the two tone look with the silvery tips caught my eye in the shop.

I will admit I normally wouldn’t pick green fabric, but this was too sleek and soft to pass up! It should definitely make a bear that you can’t resist running your hands through its fur.

Happy December 1st

The weather here certainly thinks it’s winter already – to say it’s “chilly” outside would be an understatement! But it makes the first day of Advent seem even more seasonal. And what commonly goes with Advent? Yep, you guessed it, a chocolate advent calendar. I spotted the fabric panel for this calendar in my local Hobbycraft store (unfortunately they didn’t stock it online). Priced at £8 for a metre, I thought it was better value than some others I’d seen online…. but when I was told I could have one panel (50cm) for £4, that was one of the quickest decisions I’ve made to purchase anything!

The fabric came with a printed panel, complete with marked and numbered squares, plus all the individual printed pockets.

I added a piece of 2oz wadding to the back of the panel, and stitched through the edge of the pocket markings, just to hold the wadding in place.

The instructions say to fold over the pocket edges before attaching them to the calendar panel, but I found that way too fiddly to get a neat finish. So I improvised and added a polycotton backing to the pocket pieces, which also helps to make them sturdier.

That was quite easy to do – just place both fabric pieces right sides together, sew down one side, along the base and up the other side, Turn the pocket the right way out, fold the very top edges of both fabrics towards the inside, then top stitch that top part to close it up completely. Then the pocket can just be sewn on as normal.

I decided to stitch the pocket pieces on using white thread, as I didn’t want to try colour matching the blue of the sky, and thought that black (like the markings on the panel) would be a bit too heavy.

But how do you get the calendar to hang? When I cut some plain white polycotton for the backing, I added a couple of inches more in height than I needed, and folded that back over itself to make a tunnel. Recycling a sturdy straight plastic tube ‘handle’ from an old broken bag, I threaded some red and white ribbon through it, to allow it to hang from the door.

At this point, it was almost finished, but there were still raw edges around the entire thing, so some basic white bias binding was the perfect finishing touch. I did have to be creative and leave a gap for the ribbon to stick out, but you don’t notice that unless you look too closely!

All I need to do now, is get more chocolates to fill the pockets – the packet of Heros I used only contained 19 chocolates (and 6 of those were ones nobody in my family likes), so we’re still a little short!


Advent Calendar panel: Hobbycraft

Dotty Dinosaur

Having made a dolphin, I could hardly pass the opportunity to make a dinosaur! The body shaping was a lot easier, although I will admit his face is slightly off-centre.

I used black faux suede for the eyes and mouth but looking closely at the stitching, I should practise my applique skills for unusual shaped pieces! The spines are also faux suede, just to add a little colour to lift the grey.

The faux suede was quite stiff, which made it challenging to turn such small pieces, but I think it was worth the effort, as it sets off the dotty grey really well.

Both Dotty Dinosaur and Dotty Dolphin are just the right size to sit on your hand, and despite having never made either of them before, didn’t take too long to make up.

An Early Christmas Present

Seeing as the Halifax Hoodie went so well, I had a crazy idea to make K a hoodie as an early Christmas present. Hey June Handmade’s Hatteras Hoodie* is made in exactly the same way as the Halifax, so I felt reasonably confident at my ability to make it.

I chose some blue spotty sweatshirt fabric for the main body, along with some ‘cops and robbers’ t-shirt fabric for the hood lining. To break up the spots, I also cut the cuffs and waistband from the t-shirt fabric.

The Hatteras pattern doesn’t include a drawstring around the hood, which meant I could skip hammering in any eyelets! It also doesn’t include binding on the edges of the pocket, but I added those in just to give some interest to the front panel.

The sweatshirt fabric isn’t brushed like you would expect – it has a furry feel to it, and a definite nap. This means it should be snug and cosy to wear, but did give me some challenges when it came to sewing. I’ve sewn faux fur fabric before, but never anything with the furry side facing out. Of course that resulted in the fabric slipping mid seam, which was a nightmare when it came to attaching the hood.

After two mis-sewn seams, and unpicking far too many stretch stitches, I was at a loss for how to resolve the problem. In desperation, I attached a walking foot, and reverted to a zigzag stitch instead of a stretch stitch – it was the only thing I could think of to try.

Much to my amazement, that did the trick! The hood stayed pinned as it was meant to, and even the cuffs weren’t as terrible as I thought they could be.

The pattern on the cuffs is upside-down…. but that’s an intentional design. I like the idea of K being able to see the pattern the right way up when he’s wearing the hoodie.

The sleeves are a little snug for the bear that’s modelling it, but hopefully it will fit K perfectly, and keep him warm when he’s playing outside this winter.

 


* affiliate link

Fabric: Fashion Fabrics