Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Christmas Stocking

A quickie tutorial to use up all those little scraps of fabric to make a Christmas Stocking.  There are loads of tutorials for Christmas Stockings but I thought I would share how I did it.

Decide how big to make your stocking, the leg part needs to be wide enough to reach inside for all those goodies! You can either free hand draw a boot shaped stocking or draw around a sock!

I did mine by drawing around a sock with plenty of room around it, then cut it into patchwork pieces. You could leave it all in one piece if you have fabric large enough.

Then use any Christmassy fabric you have to cut out your pieces, don't forget to flip them over so you have a back and a front to sew together later.  I also used up my scraps of iron on stabiliser to stiffen the fabric.

It may be a good idea to number all the pieces so that its easier to fit them back together again like a jigsaw.

One side all done.

Two sides all cut out and stitched back together. You need a left and a right foot so that you can sew them together to make a whole sock. But you knew that already, right?

I used a scrap of white cotton fabric, that I had left over from lining a dress, to make a lining for the stocking. Place one completed patchwork side on top of the white cotton and cut around it. The white fabric didn't have a right or wrong side so I just cut 2 straight off. If your lining fabric is patterned then you need to cut 2 sides as before.

Place your patchwork stockings right sides together and stich the sides, across the bottom and up the other side. Turn right sides out and press.  Sew your lining fabric with right sides together but leave a gap along the bottom.

I hope you can see that I left a 3 to 4 inch gap along the "sole". Also, I used orange thread to show better on here but you can use matching thread lol.

Place the patchwork stocking inside the liner with right sides together. I used a wooden spoon to push it down so that I could match the side seams up.  Stitch all around the top.

You can see from this photo that the right sides of the fabrics are placed together, with my very useful old wooden spoon doing the smoothing.

Pull the patchwork stocking through the gap in the bottom of the lining until they are both the right sides out.

It will look like you have a very long stocking with a foot at either end.  Sew up the gap in the lining of the sole of the stocking then push the lining into the patchwork one and give a final press. Take a piece of ribbon and attach to the open end of the stocking for hanging. Don't foget to fill with yummy things before Christmas morn.

Hang up your stocking and admire with pride : )  Of course you don't HAVE to make your own stockings, you can get them from pound (£1) shop stores in the UK BUT there's such a good feeling about making your own. AND its washable and storeable for next Christmas unlike the cheap felt store bought ones!

Monday, 9 December 2013

Kids Fairytale Messenger Bag Tutorial

To make the messenger bag that was offered in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day is really simple, just follow the steps below (no pattern needed).

You will need a main fabric, a lining fabric, heavyweight fusible interfacing, 2 x D Rings, 2 x Trigger Clasps and a magnetic clasp.

Cut Your Fabric

From Main Fabric

Cut  3 panels measuring 10 1/2" x 8 1/2"  (one is for flap) front/back panel

2 panels measuring 8 1/2" x 3" (sides)

1 panel measuring 10 1/2" (bottom)

1 strip measuring 29" x 4" (handle)

2 strips of main fabric for attaching D Rings 3"x 3"

Cut the same from lining fabric apart from the long strip for the handle.

Fuse interfacing to the wrong side of the main fabric (not the handle).

Stitch the side panels (right sides together) to either end of the bottom panel to make a long strip.

Attach the magnetic stud to the front panel 2" from the top of the panel and centred, following the manufacturers instructions.

With right sides together stitch the main fabric front flap to the lining front flap around 3 sides leaving the top of the flap open for turning. Turn and press.

Attach other half of the clasp to the front flap, placed 2 1/2" from bottom of flap and centred.

With right sides together stitch the sides and bottom to front panel, pivot at corners. Attach back panel.

Repeat with lining fabric for main bag body but leave a gap along the bottom seam measuring approx 4 - 5 inches for turning.. You should have 1 flap and 2 main bag bodies as of pic on right.

Line up the raw edges of the flap with the back of the back (right sides together) and tack in place.

Take the 2 small strips to make D ring holders. Fold each one in half and press, open out then fold each edge towards centre crease (wrong sides together) and press, fold in half and press again. Stitch down long edge to make 2 strips. Slip a D ring on each one and tack to each side panel with raw edges matching.

Turn main bag body right side out and place it inside the lining main bag body which is still wrong side out. Line up side seams and around the top. The flap is now sandwiched between the main bag bodies.  Like the flap, the D ring strips will be sandwiched between the main fabric and the lining fabric.

Tack all around top edge then machine stitch together.

Pull bag through gap in lining G E N T L E Y until bag is right sides out.

Press and top stitch all around the top edge, hand stitch gap in lining fabric closed.

Looking inside bag showing raw edges matching.

Showing D Rings tucked inside raw edges lined up.

Finished Bag!!

Unfortunately I forgot to photo the process of making the bag handle but its basically a really long version of the D Ring strips.

Fold handle in half wrong sides together and press. Open out and fold each long edge towards the centre and press again. Keeping the edges folded in, fold entire strip in half length ways and press. Stitch down each long edge, folding in raw edges at each end. Slip trigger clasp on strap, fold fabric over D Ring of trigger clasp and machine stitch firmly in place, repeat with other end of strap.

If you have any problems leave a message in the comments box and I will get back to you as soon as I can. Good luck and please post photos of your finished creations!!


Everyone likes a freebie right? Well to show that its the season of goodwill I have teamed up with Sew Mama Sew for their great give away day (which lasts all week) and created this cute kids Fairy Tale Messenger Bag. It has a long handle to carry across body, an internal pocket to pop all those little essentials in, a magnetic stud fastening and best of all - your little one gets to colour it in!

The outer shell fabric and internal pocket has cute pictures that can be coloured in using fabric pens, the lining is creamy white cotton fabric.

The handle has trigger clasps so that it can be removed whilst your little one gets busy colouring in!

Eva couldn't wait to get started on hers!

This is the actual bag and pens that will be mailed to you if chosen as the winner!

To win one of these cute bags all you have to do is leave a comment stating what your little one likes to carry around with them. For Eva its her Disney Rabbit Comforter that she's had since the day she was born. Included with the bag will be a pack of fabric pens so the winner can get right to work as soon as their parcel arrives. Please note that the fabric pens will stain clothing so please protect surfaces and clothing. Adult supervision is advised.  Also the bag will need to be pressed with a hot iron to set the colours.

This competition is open internationally, the winner will be chosen by the best comment. Competition opens December 9th and closes at midnight on the 13th of December GMT for UK entrants, 5pm 13th of December PST for international entrants. Winner will be announced in the comments box so please check back to see if its you!!

To enter more great competitions follow the link Sew Mama Sew

This contest is now closed, congrats to the winner Lauren Deel. If anyone who commented below is from the UK the same contest is running on my facebook page here

Saturday, 30 November 2013

Christmas is Coming!!

At this time of year I have a mad scramble to make sure all handmade gifts are finished on time. Now after so many years of making gifts, you would think I would be better prepared. Well, no is the short answer lol. Each January my New Years resolution is to be more prepared, start making gifts in the spring for the following Christmas, give myself more time, no rushing, no frantic sewing, a nice easy gift making nine months of relaxed creativity. Then once again I find myself at the beginning of December with loads of gifts still to make. But in my defence, the list of people who prefer a hand made gift to a store bought factory mass production is increasing each year. A hand made gift is lovingly created for the person its intended for. That's not to say a store bought gift isn't bought with much consideration and after all, I cannot sew a Playstation, Xbox or any other technical gift that my teenage son lusts after.  But I can make him a throw for his  bedroom, a school bag, a pencil case, a hoodie, a gym bag - in rock star style design with his favourite band or computer game emblazoned across it (think Minecraft). This keeps us both happy!

Of course in between all this frantic sewing, including the mad dash for supplies, I soooo enjoy reading other peoples blogs. I love to see their creations, digest their tutorials (there is always a different/better/faster way of doing something) and share a little of another's creativity.

So if you would like to share in my little gift making frenzy, keep a watch out for "The 12 Handmade Days of Christmas" coming soon.  Until then perhaps you may like to browse around one of my favourite sites, Sew Mama Sew, which has links for tutorials for handmade gifts, enough for everyday of November! Follow the link for Handmade Holidays here

Keep checking back for my gift giving post.

Please feel free to leave a comment and a photo of your handmade gifts.

Sunday, 24 November 2013

Ottobre Design Blazer Pattern Review

I love Ottobre Design magazine,

 I love the continental designs for children and babies, follow the link here -  the page displays in Finnish but has a list at the side to choose your own language. They also have a blog page with links to their Etsy shop and previews of forthcoming issues, click here.

 I love everything about it apart from tracing the patterns from the pattern sheet. Its so hard to follow the right lines even though they are colour coded. Or is that just me?

See what I mean?

It sort of looks like a crazy London Underground Tube Station Map. Having said that, with a bit of time and carefully peeking under the tracing paper you can succeed.

The latest pattern that I've completed is the blazer sewn in a soft Knit/Jersey and although I have never made a jacket with a collar before I didn't find it too difficult to complete. I did struggle with the collar slightly because of the stretch of the fabric. Following the guidelines I only applied interface to the under collar and not to the back of the jacket which resulted in a bit of a jiggle getting the collar placed correctly.

If I make another one (and I'm sure I will) I think I would make a semi circle interface to sandwich the collar inside and see how that works out.  Also I would love to sew it up in a funky patterned fabric similar to the fabric used by the magazine.

Still I'm pleased with the finished result

And so is my little model Eva (she didn't choose the best place to stand) on her way out to a party.

A quick goodbye to Eddie L Izzard, the family pet Leopard Gecko and off she popped. I'm so lucky that I get to see my granddaughter every weekend, she really does light up my life.

Feel free to share your comments and photo's of Ottobre patterns that you have sewn and who you sew for, is it your children, grandchildren, or family & friends?

Thursday, 21 November 2013

Kennedy Bag entry for Sew Mama Sew Competition

So this week I decided to download the Kennedy free bag pattern by Sara Lawson at Sew Sweetness as my sister had asked me to sew her just this kind of bag. She wanted a large shoulder bag with a flap over the front that she could use for work. Well it just so happens that over at Sew Mama Sew they are running a competition (ends December 13th 2013) to sew any bag using a pattern from Sara's new book, Big-City Bags, or the free pattern available on her website. Bonus! I get to make my sister the bag she wants, take a few photo's of it for the competition and all from a free pattern.

And here is the finished item

I didn't add the internal divider pocket but did include the large zipped internal pocket. It has a magnetic snap fastener under the flap, the buckle straps make a nice decorative finish. The fabrics are cotton poplin from the local market with heavy weight fusible interface attached. A nice sized bag for work, college or school that is fashionable as well as useful. The pattern printed onto A4 size paper and the written instructions had full colour photo's to follow, couldn't be easier.

Really enjoyed making this bag, a nice change from sewing children's clothes. Definitely think I will be making more of these!

Saturday, 16 November 2013

Mishaps & Mayhem

Wow, what a week! I seem to have done lots of sewing without actually making one complete outfit or anything of any use.  On Monday I started nice and early (still in my nightie) creating a pattern for a friends daughter who happens to be very long legged and slim. By mid morning the Sophie Leggings pattern had been fully drawn up and I was now dressed with a big cup of coffee and a slice of toast.

pattern drafting

Fabric had already been chosen for the leggings (some really cool snakeskin print jersey, above) so a pair was quickly sewn up, I love sewing leggings. Being as I still had some time before school turned out I ran a couple of pairs of leggings up for my little Eva diva (granddaughter).

So where's the mishap and mayhem I hear you ask? Well, Tuesday I managed to cut a t shirt out with fold on the wrong side of the pattern so the arm hole is in the centre!

The Kennedy Bag by Sara of Sew Sweetness needed buckles so I thought a bit of recycling was in order and stripped a store bought bag apart for the hardware only to find the buckles were too small for the straps!

Kennedy Bag

Wednesday I had my fabric the wrong way round so there was little to no stretch for the leggings being cut out that were to go with the t shirt from Tuesday. They looked fabby but unfortunately would probably only fit a doll that didn't mind being mummified in a pair of denim leggings. Saying that I think even a doll would complain!

Thursday I made a super fabby ironing board cover with some retro fabric I have had sitting around for over a year (I loved it so much I couldn't bear to cut into it). It matched my kitchen exactly, it was retro, it fit the ironing board beautifully AND it wasn't heat proof whatsoever and the iron stuck to it! Doh!
handmade cover

Friday I thought that not much more could go wrong on the sewing front and then managed to break my twin needles within the first 30 seconds! I had splashed out on some twin needles (£4.25 for one set) to top stitch a blazer I was making and totally forgot it was still set to a wide zig zag which resulted in one of the needles catching the foot and snapping off.

So to recap, apart from the Sophie leggings - which she was highly delighted with and they fit like a glove - I had an ironing board cover that I couldn't use, a raglan t shirt and leggings outfit with leggings that didn't fit and an unfinished blazer to go with an unfinished outfit!

 Eva diva was still pleased with the t shirt - what a patient little girl.

Still, a big cup of coffee and an even bigger bar of chocolate while watching TV and all sewing tantrums are put aside - at least until next week!

Monday, 11 November 2013

Free Pattern & Tutorial

Go to the pattern tab to download the pattern, follow sew along on tutorial tab. Stand back and admire work.

Please note this free pattern is for personal use only, the pattern is not to be sold by any purpose. Please feel free to sell any finished leggings made from this pattern.

Sunday, 10 November 2013

New Leggings Pattern

This morning I have had the pleasure of my beautiful granddaughter, Eva,  modelling the leggings sewn from the pattern I created last week. I was pleased as punch to find that they fit perfectly.  This is the first pattern I have drafted myself and shall be sharing with you shortly. These leggings are for age four and standard "pot belly" child shape fitting. To fit different shapes just adjust the waist band bigger or smaller as they are jersey fabric they stretch anyway.

Eva giving it her best "diva" pose!

I teamed these with the Bimaa Sweater sewn from a pdf pattern downloaded from loubee clothing, find link below.

free leggings pattern

The only difference I made to the pattern was adding a pocket to the front as little miss loves her pockets!  

More diva poses below!