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.

Advertisements
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).

img_9631
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!

img_9638
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
img_9684
Ta-Dah!

 

 

Sewing

Sewing September

It was a fab month for me with regards to sewing. After a summer of family stuff, including trips to Spain and camping in North Norfolk & Suffolk, many rides on roller coasters and oohing and aahing over lovely animals in wildlife parks, September rolled around. Amid all the back-to-school stuff, I had the most lovely month and feel really inspired!

A couple of weekends ago, I started Saturday with a wee drive out to a open house event in a village just outside Norwich. A friend had been involved with a massive clearance of a small house that was absolutely packed with stuff. She said that it had been like one of those hoarder programmes and they’d hardly been able to get through the front door. Well, among the many collections in the house was a whole room full of craft materials, including boxes of vintage fabrics, sewing patterns and notions. Would I be interested, she wondered? Hello!!! So I was there despite it being my little boy’s birthday party that day, having a good old rummage. I bought some great bits of fabric and some original sewing patterns from the 50s, 60s & 70s. Nice! Even better, the proceeds of the house sale went to How Hill Trust (one of my favourite places!)

Here are the great vintage patterns I got!

Then the next day, I tootled off down to London, picking up my lovely friend Dana in Ipswich on the way. She is equally as fabric-obsessed as me, so was the ideal choice of companion! We went to ExCel to the Great British Sewing Bee Live and it was a brilliant day! So lovely to be with someone that totally got my excitement at the bolts of beautiful fabrics (lots of stroking of cosy jerseys and lusting after gorgeus prints!) There were demonstration workshops by some of the past Bee contestants, and fashion shows showcasing famous patterns such as The Walkaway Wrap Dress. I spotted many of the Bees! We both came away tired but with bags full of fabricky goodies! You can see the gorgeous clothes she makes for kids here.

 

Last weekend, I went to a workshop in Suffolk to make fabric books, at the beautiful home of textile artist Ingrid Duffy. I met Ingrid at The Forum in Norwich at an art fair a few months ago and loved her books. I had such a wonderful day among gorgeous fabrics and spent all day sewing and chatting about sewing – my idea of heaven! She also kept me well fed and watered with a delicious lunch, homemade cake and copious cups of tea! A really lovely day which I thoroughly enjoyed. Here is the book I made. I am nearly finished my second, using pieces of my own favourite bits of fabric. Something completely different, with some new skills learnt. Very good for my well-being!

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!

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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!

 

Sewing

Lottie Coat

This time of Twixtmas, the no-man’s land betwixt the Christmas and New Year festivities, has been a very productive one chez Baker. So lovely to have some sewing time to myself while the males of the house entertain themselves with Netflix and their Christmas pressies (not to mention the building of yet another guitar…), so I have had fun (and of course a bit of muttering under the breath) making stuff.

Yesterday I cut a batch of pouches to make. I sold lots of them before Christmas so need to replenish my stock. I made 10 yesterday, whilst listening to my new David Bowie greatest hits CD that Santa brought for me!  As you know, I love making pouches and they went well, so I need to get stocks going again as once back at school, there isn’t so much time for sewing!

But today I made something for myself. A coat! Very pleased with it. It’s just a simple, unlined shell coat with pockets in the seamlines and three-quarter length sleeves “for a nod to 60s design” as the pattern says! The pattern was a free pdf download from Issue 33 of Love Sewing magazine.

Now, although a printed pattern is usually my choice, especially indie ones as the packaging and production is always lovely, I do now and then love a pdf. I find the printing, cutting and piecing together of the sheets of paper very satisfying, and of course the resulting pattern pieces that you cut from it are very sturdy – great if you are using a tricky, oft-shifting fabric, or if you want to make multiple copies of the same garment.

I ordered the fabric for this several weeks ago from Abakhan (my first ever purchase from them, it was very reasonable and I love it!) and it’s been sitting in my cupboard waiting until I had a clear day. I washed this first on a cold wool wash in the machine, just in case of any shrinkage. My overlocker was indispensable as this is a fairly loose-weave wool blend and frayed like a bugger. The pattern instructions were really clear, although definitely not for beginners. It was fairly straightforward to make (very proud of myself for doing these pockets!) but the facings were what made me a bit puzzled. But I worked it out in the end! Once made up, all that was left to do was the buttonhole – easy peasy on cottons but a total nightmare on layers of this thick wool fabric. Hence the swearing (I said muttering before but it was a little stronger than that!) Finally I realised it just wasn’t going to work and I had to improvise – it’s not perfect but you can’t see it!

So, am very proud of myself. First coat and with pockets and everything! Am now thinking I need a new selection of Jackie O-inspired shift dresses…

Sewing

Me-Made May – 1/2 way mark! (Beware: cringe-making photos ahead!)

Here we are, half way through the month and at the half-way point of Me-Made May 2016. I had great intentions to document more regularly – such as each week. However, week one came and went, with me busy with this and that, so now I am doing a 2-week update. As it’s now fourteen days’ worth of the project, I won’t bore you with 14 different photos. (Yawn!) Just a quick update – I have been really pleased with myself this year – it’s gone much better than last year! I have managed every single day wearing something that in some way has come about at the hands of ME!

There have been a couple of days when the me-makes have been accessories or bags, or on one day, an altered garment, but otherwise I have managed pretty much to wear an outfit I have made myself. Me. (Hence the “Me-Made” in the title!) Oh, just remembered – pyjamas too (no way am I showing you shots of me first thing in the morning, though. Nobody deserves that!)

So here is a little montage of some of the outfits! You will have to feel very honoured that I am sharing them with you – I HATE photos of myself, and some of these are totally goofy (blame my photographer!)

img_7283IMG_0017IMG_0021.JPGIMG_0037.JPG

L-R: Stripey Coco dress (awful selfie, as aforementioned photographer had already left for work!), appliqued Delphine skirt, green lined wool skirt with flounce, Dottie Angel frock.

IMG_0039.JPGIMG_0046

Ladybird spot Coco dress, wool felt corsage (on a day I wore a store-bought dress!)

IMG_0052.JPGIMG_0053.JPG

What I call my Minnie Mouse dress! Worm for a friend’s 50th – I love this petticoat! I also made matching earrings (can you see them?) Apologies for coats and schoolbags in the background!

IMG_0058.JPGIMG_0057.JPG

My Spider-Man dress! My son got new Star Wars curtains for Christmas, so said I could have his old Spider-Man ones! He has now asked for PJs with the other curtain once he saw my dress. Think I need a Wonder Woman one next!!!

So, will try to continue to do the Me-Made thing for the next 2 weeks! (This will include a camping trip – the pjyamas might get another outing!)

 

Sewing

Me-Made-May 2016

Last year, I signed up for Me-Made-May. This is hosted by Zoe from So, Zo, What Do You Know?  I tried but it didn’t go so well as I found I didn’t really have an awful lot of stuff I’d made!

So this year I am trying again. More to show myself what I need to make to fill the gaps in my wardrobe! But it’s a bit of fun, so here goes…this is my Me Made May pledge!‘I, Lucy, of luckybearnorfolk (www.luckybearnorfolk.com), sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’16. I endeavour to wear something I have made, altered or refashioned each day for the duration of May 2016’. 

   

This will include accessories as well as clothes. I will post some photos on at least a weekly basis to show you what I’m wearing! Yesterday I started it off with a Coco dress I made last month. It’s quite a thick jersey but the British spring weather is so changeable that I’m sure I’ll be wearing it more than once in May! I totally forgot, however, to take a photo until husband was out at a gig and son was in bed, so have had to take some pretty poor selfies that only show bits of it. Must do better from now on!