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Craft fair cancelled

Just to let you know that the Christmas craft fair at the Golden Star pub has sadly been cancelled.

But I am working on uploading all my goodies onto my etsy shop http://www.luckybear.etsy.com for your perusing pleasure!

Some fabrics cut and ready to be made into pouches & purses for my shop!
Some fabrics cut and ready to be made into pouches & purses for my shop!
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Sewing

DIY applique – or How to cover up a boo-boo!

I made this denim skirt several weeks ago during the summer (Tilly and the Buttons Delphine pattern).

Delphine number 1 - in denim
Delphine in denim

I was pleased with how it turned out (lovely shape!) but after trying it on a few times, realised that the ‘give’ in it was annoying me and I had made it a little too big. I needed to adjust it slightly from the waist through to the hem and so I did. But in the process, because I was hurrying to finish it, I stuck my seam ripper through the fabric by mistake and left a little hole…eek!  I tried darning it but it’s a heavy weave denim and so it just started fraying. Oh no! What to do? Never mind, thought I, nobody will notice. So I hung it in my wardrobe.

Well, it’s been hanging in my wardrobe ever since, and every time I go to wear it, I realise that the little nick is really noticeable and frankly looks rubbish. So finally today, I decided to sort it out. I’m not wearing it, so even if it went a bit wrong, what did I have to  lose?!

Oh dear - pretty noticeable 'nick'!
Oh dear – pretty noticeable ‘nick’!

I do love a bit of applique, so had a quick think and a browse through my many craft books for some inspiration. I thought about foxes and giraffes, trailing vines and spots. But finally I settled on flowers, sixties-stylee. I rummaged through my scrap box (always keep little scraps – they do come in soooo useful for many bits and pieces!) I chose a few pieces and drew a freehand flower shape and went to work.

I cut 5 shapes for the front (in different fabrics) and arranged them. I then decided it needed to have flowers on the back too, so I cut a further 5 flower shapes for the back. I ironed on Bondaweb to the fabric and cut the shapes out.

Iron the bondaweb on the reverse of the fabric, then draw the shape and cut it out.
Iron the bondaweb on the reverse of the fabric, then draw the shape and cut it out.
I cut out 10 flower shapes altogether.
I cut out 10 flower shapes altogether.

I then stitched the flower shapes on. I do like doing ‘proper’ applique with beautiful satin stitches around the edges. But I also like the folksy-style of straight-stitched edges that are then allowed to fray. So I did it that way, because I think denim is quite a casual fabric and lends itself to a bit of folksy-style decoration! I wanted a random placement of flowers as the nick was next to the seam!

Stitching the flowers on.
Stitching the flowers on.

Well, it took me about an hour and a half (including going downstairs to make a cup of tea!) and I am quite pleased with the finished result, front and back. Hopefully I’ll get lots of wear out of it.

Let me know what you think! I’d also love to see any of your rescue remedies for when things don’t go quite right with your sewing!

The front
The front
The back
The back
Sewing

My new toy

My lovely Mum queued at 8am yesterday to be one of the first in to her local LIDL in order to get me a Singer overlocker which they had in on special offer. I teach all day so they would have sold out by the time I could get there. Have wanted one for so long! As it happens, Mum was one of the first into the shop but by the time she got to them, there were only two left! Wow! She picked it up, along with some cones of thread. What a lovely Mum!

So, I got it tonight and after a bit of confusion with the manual and the need for a glass of wine, I managed to thread it up and try it out!

Am obviously going to be using it for neatening seams etc. but can anyone recommend a good book or blog/website for other tips and ideas in getting the most out of it?

IMG_5248-1.JPG

IMG_5249-1.JPG

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Getting my stall ready – two days to go!

I’ve been busy over the summer getting things made for a charity coffee & craft morning we are holding on Saturday. I have been stocking up my selection of handmade bags, pouches, purses and little bits and pieces like brooches, hair clips and so on. It’s in aid of the NICU (the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit) at the Norfolk & Norwich Hospital where my son Jack spent his first two weeks as a baby. The NICU is staffed by the most wonderful team of people – nurses, doctors and other staff – and they saved Jack’s life. When he was born following an emergency caesarian section, he had to be resuscitated for 7 minutes and then spent the first 3 days of his life in the NICU on a TOBY cooling mat

He is going to be 5 next week and is a bright, clever and energetic little boy. You would never know by looking at him that he had such a traumatic start to life, and we are eternally grateful to the amazing care that he received from the NICU. Last year we held a similar event and it was a lovely day, raising lots of cash for the NICU.

So this year we have been busy again, my mum making lovely jewellery & jams, me my fabric bits and bobs, and we’ll also have other stalls (pre-loved clothes and books, homemade preserves, handmade cards and a tombola stall too). All alongside yummy cakes, bakes and cups of tea and coffee! My kitchen tomorrow should look like the set of Great British Bake Off, with any luck! Although no bin tantrums, I hope!  Now, we just need a bit of sun, and lots of friends to show up with lots of pennies to spend!

Lots of pouches, purses and iPad covers ready for sale.
Lots of pouches, purses and iPad covers ready for sale.
Other bits & bobs - brooches, hairclips, tea cosies, bookmarks and mini sewing kits.
Other bits & bobs – brooches, hairclips, tea cosies, bookmarks and mini sewing kits.

 

Jack Day 1
Jack Day 1 – this is why we are raising money – to help all the other babies like Jack.
Jack now - nearly 5, full of beans and a lovely little lad. Thanks to the amazing NICU.
Jack now – nearly 5, full of beans and a lovely little lad. Thanks to the amazing NICU.

 

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Now some things for me…

I do love making bags. Love it. But this summer (as well as keeping the bag-making going), I decided to give myself a new challenge and make some things for me to wear. Yup – actual clothes!

I have made a couple of simple A-line skirts before, and a pair of pj bottoms (I do love my pjs and think you can never have enough!) but what I love about bags is, they don’t have to FIT anyone. So you don’t need to be uber-precise with cutting, etc. So, I thought I would step outside my comfort zone and give it a go.

The first thing I did was purchase a pattern from Tilly & The Buttons: the Coco dress. I love Tilly’s blog and have been following her since she was on the Great British Sewing Bee back in 2013. Her blog posts are fun and helpful, full of good advice, but the best thing is that she explains everything really well for the novice dressmaker. If you want to try your hand at making clothes, you should get her book: Love At First Stitch. A lovely collection of patterns with great, detailed step-by-step instructions.

Anyway, I ordered the Coco dress from her shop and chose some fabric and it was actually really simple. Her instructions are so good and clear and there are plenty of photos to show you what yours should look like! I have never worked with jersey fabric before so was a bit nervous but it turned out well and I’m really pleased with it. I have worn it loads, and it’s had lots of positive comments. It’s a slip-on dress with no fitted elements and it’s really comfy. I’d like to try my hand at matching stripes next to make one in Breton stripes, a la Tilly!

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The Coco Pattern. You can buy it from Tilly’s shop.
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I fell in love with this quirky fabric. Chocolate & orange – one of my favourite combinations!
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The finished dress. I love it.

I then got the bug and decided the next thing should be a fitted dress! Having never ever made a dress before the Coco, this was a bold move on my part, to jump to something with shaping, darts and facings. It  was scary! Luckily I had bought a gorgeous piece of fabric, then I discovered the perfect pattern and decided to dive right on in…you can see the results in my next post!

Oh, but before I go, some exciting news to share. I have had one of my cosmetic pouches featured in an Etsy treasury this week – go have a look!

https://www.etsy.com/uk/treasury/NTY5NzEzMHwyNzI0MTAwMjc5/autumn-sunburst 

Have any of you tried Tilly’s patterns?

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My life as a bag lady

So, a few years ago I began to sew. I’ve always loved crafts and making things, and apart from a couple of small things I made at school (more years ago than I care to remember!), I had little knowledge of sewing. I bought a cheap, basic machine, signed up for an evening class and that’s where the passion was ignited!

The first thing I made was a cushion cover, then a simple skirt and a bag. The first bag of many hundreds of bags that I have made over the years! I have to admit, I love bags. The first one I made was following a store-bought pattern and under the supervision of my sewing teacher. I still sometimes use it, years later. It’s not the best I’ve made but it was my first, so I love it.

Well, once I had started making more bags, I realised that while I do love them, there is a limit to the amount one girl could use. Even someone who carries tons of stuff around, like me! So I began making them for presents. Then someone said “you should sell these” and so I did. I began by doing a couple of craft fairs and then signed up with Etsy. I now have an Etsy shop and it is so exciting when people like (and even buy) one of my bags. I have sent them all over the world.

So, following my first post when someone commented “show us yer bags”, here they are! You can find my shop at www.luckybear.etsy.com  If you drop by, do let me know what you think. And if you like something, please feel free to buy! Here are a few to give you a flavour…

A book bag in one of my favourite fabircs. I LOVE orange - you will discover that about me!
A book bag in one of my favourite fabrics. I LOVE orange – you will discover that about me!
Love this print from IKEA.
Love this print from IKEA.
One of my tweed bags...with a Scottie dog motif.
One of my tweed bags…with a Scottie dog motif.