Stag Print Button Closure Cushion

 

As I’m trying to lose a little weight at the moment, I haven’t been sewing many garments, as I’m scared of putting all that effort in to them and then only being able to wear them for a few weeks. As a result, I thought I’d focus a little on home furnishings and other smaller projects, just to keep my sewing mojo ticking over! One of my favourite home decor things to make is cushions. They’re such a good blank canvas for really beautiful fabrics!

On my last trip to the UK, I treated myself to these gorgeous fat quarters. I really like stag print at the moment and little animals with antlers seem to be turning up on all sorts of my things!I thought they would make a great cushion, and now I have my serger I needed an extra “sewing chair” cushion, so decided to use these fabrics for this special project.

As I’ve made quite a few envelope closure cushions in the past, I decided I wanted to use this project as an opportunity to practice one of the new skills I had committed to learning in 2016 – buttonholes! I thought that doing buttonholes on a cushion would be a great way of practicing without having to worry that I would ruin a garment I had spent the whole afternoon making. It was also a great opportunity to use up some of my buttons from my overflowing button jar!

I decided to test the one step buttonhole foot on a scrap of my fabric first. I have to say, I don’t know why I put off doing this for so long! Although I had to spend 20 minutes or so going through my manual, finding the “button hole lever” and making sure I got my button hole foot on the right way round, it was much simpler than I expected! It tok a bit of practice to get the sizing right, but apart from that, my Pfaff made it super easy! Now I want to put buttons on everything!

Apart from the buttonholes, there wasn’t anything too challenging about this make. I love the finished effect though. I also feel like both sides of the cushion look nice, so it’s nice and versatile! I chose some quite chunky buttons in a complementary brown to finish off the cushion which I think match quite nicely.


All in all I am delighted with my finished cushion! I’m sure it will get lots of use as I get to know my serger! Now I’ve gotten over my buttonhole fear, I’m also ready to finally tackle my Tilly and the Buttons Mathilde Blouse, so watch this space for that one! How about you, how are your new year’s resolutions coming along? I’d love to hear from you!

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Hand Appliqué Peg Bag

This isn’t the most exciting post ever, and certainly not the most technical, but I wanted to share this super speedy make with you that turned out way better than expected!

After showing my mum my cute little laundry travel bag I made, she asked if she could have a little drawstring bag to keep her clothes pegs in. As I love to make little drawstring bags and they are a super simple make, I was happy to oblige!

I’ve been trying to find a use for this gorgeous floral fat quarter that I bought at the Millets Craft Shack for a while. I thought a peg bag was a sort of Cath Kidston retro piece of homeware, so actually the bright florals were a great fit!

One thing Cath Kidston does really well is Appliqué. I love the way it gives things a really crafty, homeley feel. I’ve never done any appliqué before, so thought I would take this opportunity to follow Cath’s lead and try some!

I cut out some little paper letter templates spelling the word ‘Pegs’. (Side note- I am realiably informed by some American friends of mine that America does not recognize the word pegs and therefore they had no idea what I was on about, or why I would write ‘pegs’ on a bag.  As such I humbly offer a translation for my American readers which I believe to be ‘clothes pins’.) I used these templates to carefully cut the letters out of some contrasting blue fabric. I then set about hand stitching them on with some yellow thread in a decorative but practical blanket stitch, which I’d had a bit of practice on while making my espadrilles.


You will see that my hand stitching still leaves a lot to be desired! However I did realize by doing this that I am increasingly enjoying sitting and hand stitching in the evening. It totally relaxes my mind. There’s something so peaceful about the rhythmic motion of repeatedly pulling needle and thread through fabric. Who knows, maybe a foray in to cross stitch or embroidery could be up next?!

Once I’d finished applying the letters, I finished off the bag with some contrasting blue drawstrings. This is the third one of these I’ve made now and I was quite proud that I no longer need to follow instructions. I eyeballed for sizing on everything and it actually worked out really well! The more I look at it, the more pleased I am with the finished result. I hope my mum’s pegs (clothes pins ;-)) enjoy their stylish new home!


How about you? Have you tried any new skills recently? Do you also enjoy hand stitching? Is there any easy embroidery or cross stitching I could start on? I’d love to hear from you!

2015 Retrospective and 2016 Sewing Goals

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I may be a little late with the New Year’s greetings, but better late than never ‘ey?! There are a lot of retrospectives at the moment about hits and misses of 2015 on blogs … I too have had my hits and misses of the year – I guiltily confess that I am a more zealous poster of hits than I am of misses!

Despite me thinking that all of my makes when they are finished are my best make yet, there are certainly some that have worked out better than others. For me, hit criteria include anything from having had lots of wear, to being practical, from being beautiful, or to simply bringing me joy. With these criteria in mind, here are my hits:

My Mum’s Quilt: This quilt was a true labour of love, but I love everything about it now it’s finished. I’d learned a lot from my first few quilts and enjoyed having the opportunity to put this in to practice. I love to think of my mum enjoying this quilt and I hope it stays in our family for years to come!

Collette Patterns Moneta: Moneta was the output of my first dressmaking course, so not only is she an incredibly practical garment to wear, but she also holds sentimental value of nights spent at sewing school with Christine. I learnt a lot making this dress, especially about altering a pattern. I’m almost too scared to try and make another, as I don’t think any will be as good as the first!

Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress: Everything about making this dress was a joy. The fabric choice was perfect, it was my first time using faux leather, I love wearing it, it’s cosy and warm, chic and comfortable … the list of reasons why this dress is a hit is endless! Ironically though, this pattern also contributes to my misses. I tried to make a second version in black, with a boat neckline rather than the cowl neckline and it was a disaster. The fit was bad, I tried to rush it, the boat neckline flashed my bra straps in a really unflattering way … the list of reasons it was a miss is endless. In the end I didn’t even salvage the fabric I am embarrassed to say!

Espadrilles: I love these because they were something totally new to try! The pattern is a great way to use scraps and I found them so comfortable. They were also a good opportunity to practice hand sewing. I really enjoyed wearing them on holiday in Asia, and shall look forward to wearing them all next spring and summer!

Scrappy Leather Coin Purse: This was a totally spontaneous make and it must be a hit because I’ve used it every day since I made it! I’ve become really attached to it. I never thought of myself as a small purse person before, but somehow it really works for me. It’s simple, soft, classic, and I got to try out sewing leather with my machine while I made it. Awesome!

McCall’s M6992 in florals: This is definitely one of my most worn makes. I love the colours, the fabric and the construction was a joy (apart from that incident with the two left sleeves which we shan’t mention again!). Interestingly though this is a second pattern where I had a miss second time around. I made this pattern in black lace covered jersey with solid black sleeves – exactly the same size, similar fabric, but it just didn’t come together that well. If I’m honest with myself, I think I thought the first one was so great I’d just whip up a second one in no time, and I wasn’t as careful as I could have been. It’s not unwearable, so not a total miss, but certainly not my favourite.

Burda Sweatshirt 6718: I made this sweatshirt for my boyfriend and he wears it a lot, so I think that counts as a hit! I also made a second one for my dad for Christmas, and although I am yet to see evidence of him wearing it, it does fit him and the construction was great. The second one I made was also my first full project with my new serger, so it’s a hit in terms of symbolising Serge and I finally becoming friends.

I also have an as yet unblogged hit … the Brooklyn Skirt from Seamwork. This one has been a total hit for me, from construction, to fit, to practical use! Coming to a blog post soon!

So that was 2015 … what about 2016 I hear you ask?

This year I’d love to take it up a notch … there’s a few things that I’ve not ventured towards and I’m thinking now might be the time!

  1. Buttonholes – for someone with a button collection as large as mine (I just LOVE buttons), I really do need to make more garments with buttons and buttonholes. I’ve had a very jersey focused year this year, as I love the comfort and easy care factor, but I think it’s time my buttonhole foot and I really got to know each other. I’ve never even tried one!
  2. Lining – I am yet to line a garment … I’ve always found the concept a little scary. I know however I need to master this if I would ever like to conquer my coat aspirations. I have my eye on making a Brooklyn Skirt in a wool brocade with an exposed zip which would be crying out for a lovely navy blue lining. Let’s see if I brave it!
  3. Serge – I want to spend more time learning how to optimally use my serger. I was lucky to get an amazing overlocker book for Christmas, so I think I’ll be spending a lot of time with that first!
  4. Homeware – as we are moving house this year, I’d love to try making blinds and curtains, which I’ve never done before. I think this could be a really useful skill for the future, and could also save us some money, so definitely worth a go, any tips much appreciated!
  5. Full Bust Adjustment – To be honest it’s amazing I’ve gotten away with not doing one for so long. However I’ve really come to realise that just cutting a bigger size and grading down at the waist and hips doesn’t always cut it in terms of a professional looking fit.

So that seems like plenty for me to be getting on with! I will keep you updated on my progress! Wishing you all a happy and crafty 2016!

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Half Yard Heaven Notice Board

Even I am the first to admit that my love of fat quarters may have gotten a little out of control. I’ve become somewhat of a fat quarter tourist, and if I happen to find a nice bundle on my travels, it must come home with me as a souvenir! I’ve been filling up a little suitcase with them, and have decided that I may as well use them for decorative purposes on display on my craft table!

A trunk of fabric joy … 

I did, however, receive a fabulous Christmas Gift which should help me enjoy my expansive collection to the maximum! My brother and sister-in-law got me this great book, Half Yard Heaven, by Debbie Shore, for Christmas, and it’s got lots of great projects in it! They are accompanied by lovely pictures and step by step instructions. It’s one of those lovely books to have a flick through when you have the itch to make something from your stash. Nothing needs more than half a yard of fabric, so it’s great for scraps too!

The first project I set my sights on was a fabric covered noticeboard. We’ve had a rather sad looking Ikea cork noticeboard in our hallway ever since we moved in. Prompted by the lovely pictures in Half Yard Heaven I decided it was a prime target for a makeover!

I chose to use my fat quarter bundle from Rowan, which contained a lovely selection of coral and black florals. One coral fat quarter was the perfect size for covering the cork board. I then made three small pockets using a couple of strips from two other fat quarters in the bundle. Despite following the book’s instructions, my pockets turned out quite small, so if I were making one again I would definitely make slightly larger pockets.

This was my first time wielding a staple gun, which was a little bit scary. PB ran for cover as I waved it about ominously in our lounge! Stapling in to wood was pretty hard work – but was worth it for the results!

I struggled a bit to get the pocket placement straight though. You end up in a vicious circle, as you can only place the pockets straight once the fabric is taught and stapled down, but if you do that, you can’t sew them on! As a result it took a bit of guess work, but for me they are functional enough! I finished the board with some thin elastic which minimises the need for extra pins. Overall I’m pleased with my finished make! It was pretty speedy too. I’m already plotting my next one for my craft room in the new apartment!