luckybear · norfolk · Sewing

Slow stitching

img_0245Welcome to my new followers! I’ve had several notifications lately that I have new ones, so thought I’d better step up and write something for you all as I have neglected this blog this year – life has been so busy! It’s also easier and quicker to whack stuff on Instagram! I love the instant nature of it all. It’s very visual (I have learned in recent years that I am a very visual learner!) And there are fewer words to have to think about! Follow me if you aren’t already!

So, what’s been going on sewing-wise? I wanted to tell you about a great workshop I did in the spring with textile artist Ingrid Duffy. I went on one of her workshops last year and absolutely loved it so wanted to do another. This workshop was called the 30 Day Project and is to encourage daily creative practice to stimulate creativity and also foster mindfulness on a daily basis. I also wanted a more portable sewing project that I could: A) take to my monthly craft group and B) do in front of Netflix! This was perfect and I have met some lovely fellow creatives that totally ‘get’ my need for a sewing fix!

We spent the day at Ingrid’s beautiful home on the Norfolk-Suffolk border. She can see the River Waveney from her studio, which forms the county boundary. It’s an inspiring landscape and a lovely place to work. I met some great people, including someone I’d met 15 years ago when I was doing my PGCE but not seen since – small world! We had an introduction to some hand-sewing stitches and worked on a sampler, and had access to a range of great books and the choice of a wonderful array of glorious threads and yarns.

As part of the package, Ingrid gave us all a box with all the materials we needed for the month’s project – 30 linen squares and 30 wool squares (for backing). Within about a day of starting, I was hooked. I usually do only machine sewing, so slow stitching has been really good for me and I have loved it. It’s very therapeutic and stimulating at the same time!

My chosen theme was Norfolk, and each day I stitched a square to depict something to do with Norwich (where I live) or Norfolk. I began by making a list of things I wanted to include (Norwich Castle, Colman’s mustard, etc.) but then got more enjoyment out of being a bit more spontaneous and just going for things that came to me each day. I have explored different stitches, techniques and embellishements and have loved the process. It’s really fun to write with a needle and thread, although you have to think about it! It made me empathise more with my primary pupils who are learning to join their writng! Posting to Instagram each day was exciting and rewarding, with lots of great feedback and followers (hello, you!), as well as me discovering loads of other great people and their work!

So, when it came to an end, I was really sad! I then decided to carry on with a new project – the next time it was just a journal of things I do, see, eat, etc. each day. I found time every day to devote to it (Ingrid suggests at least 15 minutes but it usually ends up as more because it’s so engaging!) I then progressed to making some stiched cards, which have been popular at craft fairs! I am thinking of what to do next, slow stitch-wise!

Do you have a daily creative routine? Would love to see what you are up to if you have new projects on the go! And if you’re interested in what I’m stitching, please follow me on Instagram!

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luckybear · norfolk · Sewing · sewing bags

My new favourite pattern

Sometimes I get a new pattern that I fall in love with and have to make not just one or two but lots! (Tilly & The Buttons Coco is one of those – I have quite a collection of them now!) It happened again last month: I bought my first Dog Under My Desk pattern, the Two Zip Hipster, and I love it! Friends have been asking me for a top-zip cross-body bag as the ones I usually make are either open-top or close with a magnetic closure. So I’ve been searching for a good pattern and have seen several recommendations in the sewing community for Dog Under My Desk.

I made the first one in plain denim with a blue stripe cotton lining. I didn’t have any sew-in interfacing or canvas, as was suggested, so used the thinnest wadding (batting) I had, which in hindsight was a bit too thick, so made quite a puffy bag, although it is very sturdy and will protect whatever is inside. But the pattern and the instructions are great, so I have since sewed up 4 more, in different fabrics, and have a fifth and sixth cut ready to sew (I’ve run out of zips so have to wait for more to come – aarrgggh, the torture!)

I then bought a second pattern from Dog Under My Desk, the Daytripper bag. Again, another lovely pattern with amazing instructions and great step-by-step photos. I highly recommend these patterns and will be back for more. The Daytripper took a lot longer, but I have ended up with a lovely, huge bag that is great for stashing all my stuff! It is even big enough to carry a magazine, and the back zipped pocket is roomy enough for a large notebook/journal or iPad. I am one of those gals that carries so much junk with her, (it’s all necessary junk, of course!) but this bag takes it all, and then some! I made it in a cool Rose and Hubble cow print fabric and it’s really nice and has been so useful!

I have a couple of other new bags and pouches in the pipeline…more on them soon! Hello to my new followers! Great to have you here – drop me a message!

In the meantime, if you’d like to see the bags I have for sale, please check out my Etsy shop  or my brand-new nuMonday shop.

luckybear · norfolk · Sewing

I made TROUSERS!

Guys, I made trousers! Yep, you heard me – TROUSERS! To be honest, I’m still wondering why. I don’t wear trousers. I’m not sure I really like trousers (for me). I own precisely one pair of jeans that I wear when camping or country-walk-walking and a pair of black stretch trousers that I got for about £2 at a charity shop. So whatever possessed me to make them, I’m not sure. But I did. And you know what? It was ok, and I learnt some things too, which is always good. And best of all, they look like proper trousers!

Why trousers? As I was leafing through the Love Sewing magazine I spotted this cute pair of Paperboy Trousers.  The pattern is a Wardrobe By Me pattern that was featured in the magazine, along with an article about the founder, Christina. Free PDF (and I do LURVE a PDF!) I loved the colour and style and kept going back for a little look, so after a while I thought, come on, why not just give it a go? The pattern calls for only 1.5m of fabric – much less than the normal dresses I make, so I ordered a lovely teal Ponte Roma  and thought “what the hell – if they’re awful, it’s only £11 (including postage) I’ve forked out. No biggie.” The pocket facings were cotton poplin from my stash.

So, I like quick sewing. I like to start something and have it finished the same night, or the next night at a push. This pattern was fine – completed in two nights but only because I didn’t have the required width of elastic in my stash. I learnt some new things (pockets with facings, belt loops and false fly) and realised while working on it that I have come quite a long way in my sewing journey – I could spot where there was a small printing error in the pattern (before I cut the pattern pieces and fabric!) and also could read between the lines of the instructions (I don’t think it’s suitable for complete beginners).

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Making the pockets – with facings!

I love the colour of the trousers, although I don’t have much that “go” with them, because I mostly wear dresses and am not really one for separates (cue online search for sewing patterns for tops and tees!) I do also think I should have gone with my instincts and cut the slightly smaller size 12 rather than the 14 (waist measurement was nearly 14 but hips 12 so I erred on the side of caution and thought I’d cut 14 all through and take the side seams in if necessary, but in the end the waist was also a bit big too, and I’d already done the pockets so couldn’t really take in side seams on hips.) Another lesson learned!

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Attaching the waistband

But they’re ok. I am still not sure I like me in trousers – maybe some more fitted ones would be good as these are quite baggy and make me feel a bit ‘hippy’ (of the too-much-on-the-hips rather than flowers-in-your-hair variety).  But I am mostly proud of going out of my comfort zone and making actual trousers – YAY!

Houston – we have belt loops!
Finished article showing pockets with facings
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Ta-Dah!

 

 

luckybear · norfolk · Sewing

Down to Business!

I’m planning action! I’d like to step up my game, increase my output and make more sales. I’ve already planned in a few craft fairs/events this year and have others on the back burner (watch this space), and want to try to reach a wider audience.

A full-time teaching job means that time is limited for making and selling. But I love it, especially the making part! It’s my switch-off from schoolwork and lets me indulge in my creative side. Plus it gives me an excuse to buy yummy fabrics! And I get a real kick out of each and every sale, either in my Etsy shop or face-to-face. Some of you reading this are already loyal customers! So thank you to every one of you who has bought a luckybear item so far, because I love it when you choose to buy something of mine. I always hope that you will love it as much as I do!

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So I am determined to make more time to sew and sell. One thing I have decided to do is to take part in the Make May My Month Challenge – #makemaymymonth – , run by a fellow Etsy seller (Jade Hargreaves of  The Pattern Parade Design). It’s a month of challenges to refocus you on the business and I hope it will enable me to get some things sorted. This looks like it will be great collaborative support and networking. It’s good to share the love!

I am also planning some exciting special offers and giveaways, so follow me on twitter, facebook and instagram and I’ll keep you posted!

Fingers crossed that May will be a productive month! If you’d like to check out what I have in stock right now, have a look at my Etsy shop. I will add new items regularly. Have a great bank holiday weekend, everyone!