Wednesday, 19 October 2011

Autumn (?) colour...

I took these photos on our little country walk on Sunday afternoon, when the air was still warm, the sky was blue and the oak trees didn't seem to think it was autumn. (Or perhaps it is still too early for them? I really should know!)

Well, since the weekend, autumn has well and truly hit with a vengeance! In fact it feels more like winter. We have the worst winds here, truly, I'm sure I would be much more enthusiastic about getting outdoors if they weren't so bad. For now I think I'll just use them as an excuse to stay indoors and make soup.

Sunday, 16 October 2011

Back in the sewing seat...

I have a new sewing machine! My little sewing nook is relatively tidy for the first time in months, too, which means I've been inspired to get back to it, so hopefully I'll have some new projects to share here soon. First I thought I'd better post some photos of the hobby horses I made for the girls' birthdays last month. I used this pattern for K's horse. She asked for her horse to be green, so I used some lovely vintage style quilting cotton from Fabric Rehab together with some multicoloured merino yarn I originally bought for doll-making.

Once I'd collected together all the bits needed for the pattern, the sewing, stuffing and assembling was quite straightforward, and the pattern uses a clever method incorporating cable ties to fix the horse's head to the handle nice and securely. Ki is rather fond of him. She loves to comb his hair and use his handle as a balancing beam when she'd not riding him. Hmm.

El, on the other hand, told me in no uncertain terms that she did NOT want her horse to be a stupid colour like green. Horses are brown, or black, or ideally as white as pure snow. 

Bearing in mind that a pure white horse was likely to become a grubby grey horse within a few days of her company, I was pleased to find some zebra-pattern fur at my local fabric shop, and steer her towards that. The size of the print meant a bigger head was needed, so I drafted this pattern myself.

The only black yarn I could find locally was some floppy acrylic stuff, so he had to have his hair braided.

Now I just need to work out what to do with the zebra fabric I have left over. And with 94 cable ties.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Current Work-in-progress and a thrifty find

There are only so many baby clothes you can fit into a memory box, and yet some hold too many memories to part with. So I've spent the past couple of evenings sorting through stacks of knit rompers and bodysuits and turning them into this:

And even though it's painful to cut into some of those cute itty-bitty clothes, there's something quite satisfying about a stack of neat 4 1/2" squares. I don't have enough for two quilts, so I think I'm going to turn them into two super-soft pillow covers. Pillows are very popular in this house, especially with the nearly-two year old...  

Meanwhile, I thought I'd share these lovely bowls I spotted a few weeks ago in a charity shop window.

Usually the charity shops pickings are pretty poor around here, but I was rather pleased with this set of a large and six small glass dessert bowls for £10.

Not exactly cheap, but they are old (the ticket said 1930s although I'm not sure they are quite so old), they are in perfect condition, and I love the combination of frosted and clear green glass, especially on a sunny day.

Saturday, 30 July 2011

Beach days

I want to share the finished Jester costume I made for El last month. It was a success, and in fact she won first prize at the church medieval fayre, although I think the judges were rather more impressed with her wellies than the costume itself! I made the hood based on photos of a traditional medieval costume I saw online. (Can't find the link just at the moment though - I'll add it here when I track it down.)

Both the hood and tunic were made from two adult-sized t-shirts I bought from the supermarket. El picked the colours herself, and I think she chose well (if not quite authentically!).

Sorry for the lack of posts recently. I've been in a bit of a creative flunk; first sewing machine troubles and then the general level of clutter and things-to-do taking up not only my time but my energy too. Add to this school holidays and that little Miss Ki (who is not yet 2) deciding daytime naps are a thing of the past and, well, I'm often so busy watching the children and talking with them and playing and learning and tidying and tidying and tidying that I don't seem to have time to plan sewing projects, never mind think about writing tutorials. I'll be back, I expect, when I have space to breathe. 

But for now, we'll be on the beach!

Wednesday, 22 June 2011

A simple skirt and a couple of sneak peeks

I've been rather neglectful of this blog in the past few weeks; first we were away in Devon for a very welcome summer holiday and then Andrew and I had the luxury of a weekend trip sans kids to the beautiful city of Edinburgh. In spite of the stacks of suitcases that have been living in my sewing nook for the past few weeks, I have managed to do a bit of sewing, so here's a little update.

I made this skirt for El using the fabulous simple skirt tutorial by Dana over at MADE. You can probably tell her love of yellow has made a lasting impression on me! I love this beautiful print, too, Song Birds in Bright, by Alexander Henry, sadly now out of stock at my usual online fabric store.

Next up I thought I'd show you a couple of sneak peaks into projects I'm working on and that I hope to share tutorials for in the near future.

Child's jester costume:
 - made from upcycled t-shirts, featuring a (kind of) authentic medieval hood!

DSLR pouch: 
- I'm not a fan of the black neoprene cases that seem to be the only choice for protecting your camera when it's in another bag, but my poor Canon EOS was desperate for a bit of padding. So I thought I'd have a go at making my own padded pouch. This is a photo of my first prototype made from oilcloth and bias tape. Hopefully with mark II I'll have a free pattern to share!

Sunday, 22 May 2011

From an English country garden

Today was an event I really look forward to each year - the day the owner of this beautiful house opens its gardens to the public.
For a few hours we got the opportunity to explore the formal gardens and beautiful woodland walk, enjoying the flowers and trees in their full glory.


I decided last year that I wanted to sew dresses for the girls for this year's open day, and although I left it to the last minute, I just got a couple of simple little frocks done in time.
For El I made this sundress from Carefree Clothes for Girls, my first attempt at clothes from this book. I really enjoyed making it. I was worried, based on the photo in the book, that it might be cut a little low and loose at the front, so I changed the front to a round neckline rather than square.
I used a tie at the back instead of a button, to allow for a little adjustment and avoid hair getting caught up.

For Kiki, I used this ruffle shirt pattern by Heidi and Finn and added a couple of inches to make it into a dress.

This is the only photo I have of her wearing it - a rare moment of stillness between bouts of running around as fast as her little legs could carry her.

Contrary to the impression the photos above might give, the weather was very changeable today, with showers, lots of cloud and a very strong wind that shimmered through the meadow grass quite beautifully. Not the easiest thing to photograph!

Monday, 9 May 2011

A skirt for dancing

When I saw this ladies' (UK) size 8 cotton skirt in a charity shop last week, I knew it had to come home with me.

This might have been my most satisfying sewing project ever! I just chopped out the side zip, cut a couple of inches off the width to neaten it up, sewed a new side seam and then turned the top outward to form a channel for some elastic. Voila! A dancing skirt for El.

I added a drawstring at the waist just for extra security when those dance moves get too erratic.

Didn't get a photo of her dancing in it, of course, just this face when I asked her:

But it proved good enough for exploring, and sulking in too.

Incidentally the first photo above was taken on a hilltop near us, at a beacon tower (the type where fires were lit in Elizabethan times to signal the invasion of the Spanish Armada). It has the coolest old graffiti.

Just look at those fonts! I suppose if you go to the trouble of taking a hammer and chisel up a hill, you're more likely to take a bit of time and care with your lettering.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

May the fourth be with you!

Goodness me, with all the celebrations for Easter and the Royal Wedding and various family get-togethers, I very nearly forgot all about one of the most important days of the year. ;)

Luckily, thanks to Facebook I was reminded in time, and we had chance to celebrate with a snack of what else but Aunt Beru's blue milk and cookies? (Hurrah!)

(Aunt Beru didn't have time to bake today so she had to fall back on the old emergency favourite of sliced bread spread with Nutella and dipped in coloured sprinkles)

And a quick lightsaber battle in the garden to finish it all off.

Happy Star Wars Day!

Friday, 29 April 2011

The final shirt (and another!)

In the end I wasn't too happy with just the stencilled Union flag for El's shirt, so I made another print with a further stencil of three hearts and a crown (which I drew by hand) on top. I appliqued the final design to a white t-shirt , added some off-cuts of knit fabric as bunting around the shoulders, and she was ready to go.

I loved the look of the bunting so much, I decided to make a shirt for Kiki too, using an old white hand-me-down t-shirt that was getting a little short on her. I added a couple of ruffles at the bottom and a string of bunting made from more offcuts and some ribbon.
I didn't have interfacing to iron on to the back of the triangles to stop them curling up so I had to sew them in place. I think I might make more in other colour combinations as I have a lot of fabric scraps and old t-shirts to use up!

As for the wedding itself, I loved Kate's dress, and those trees in the Abbey. The girls were not terribly impressed (neither of them are really the princess type, except for princesses who fight baddies and fly on spaceships). But they did approve of the mini Victoria sponge cakes and strawberries we had at tea time. And Daddy's home made bread.

Wednesday, 27 April 2011

Union Jack freezer paper stencil

Hope everyone had a relaxing Easter break! This is just a fly-by post to share a freezer paper stencil for a Union Jack flag (yes I know, pedants, strictly it's just called the Union flag). I'm in the process of making El a shirt for her Royal Wedding celebration day at pre-school tomorrow and I thought I'd share this now when it might actually be of use!

Here's the finished image.

This is the first time I've attempted freezer paper stenciling and I love it! Freezer paper isn't too widely available here in the UK, but you can get it from Hobbycraft. I got mine from Ebay. There are very many tutorials out there on the technique of freezer paper stenciling - for example here and here.

For this flag you need two colours and hence two stencils - one for the red and one for the blue (for use on white fabric). I've made the two part stencil into a pdf which you can grab here:

Click here to download from mediafire
Or here on Scribd

Just print out on to freezer paper (non waxy side), cut into two halves, then cut out the black parts using a craft knife and ruler.

(The pdf should print out OK on both US and UK paper sizes; just make sure you are not scaling to fit the paper).

Iron the "blue" part onto your fabric first, then sponge on your blue fabric paint. When it's completely dry (ours dried after a couple of hours in the sunshine), remove the paper and iron on the "red" part of the stencil, using the little grey markers to line up the cross correctly with the blue parts you've already printed. Then paint on your red fabric paint.

So easy! Miss El did this part herself.

Wait again, then peel and reveal!

As you can see I was rushing and got the positioning just off slightly so that some of the thinnest stripe at the bottom right is a little messed up. But imperfections are the beauty of handmade right? :)

I used scrap fabric so I can temporarily applique it to a shirt for tomorrow, but you can apply straight to a tshirt, of course.

Off to finish the shirt now!

ETA: click to see how it turned out.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...