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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!
Sewing

Christmas Crafts at my favourite pub

I’m having a stall at the Golden Star in Norwich on Saturday 29th (see pic for details).
That’s my little boy in the photo. The NICU saved his life. They’re amazing. IMG_5416.JPG
Please come & support this worthy cause. Also a few small tables left
if you’d like a stall. Let me know! Continue reading “Christmas Crafts at my favourite pub”

Sewing

Q-tips and the sewing machine

So, there I was, doing a wee bit of sewing a few evenings ago. As you do. (Or as I do, anyway!) I must confess,  I’m a bit of a monkey for sewing across pins without taking them out (although I am getting better, honest!). One of my bad sewing habits is that I’m a bit reckless on the sewing machine, throwing caution to the wind in my desire to get things finished! I find it annoying to have to stop to take out bloody pins!

Well, there I was, merrily sewing when…Doomfph! Crack! Ooops! One half pin left in my fabric, the other bit nowhere to be seen. Eeek! “It’s gone into the underneath, the bit where the bobbin lives,” thought I (as I do not yet know what that nether-chamber is called). “I’ll just have a quick look and see if I can get it back out.”

Well, therein began a journey of massive proportions. For the fluff that confronted me when I took the plate off was really something else! “Oh bugger”, thought I. “I really must clean this out a bit more regularly!”

So I went in search of Q-tips (cotton buds to those of us in the UK). Not just good for cleaning ears, but amazing for cleaning out the sewing machine. Much better than the silly little brush gadget that comes with the machine. So, I don’t know if you’re supposed to use them for this, but I’ve found it works for me…and it’s soooooo rewarding and satisfying getting into all the little nooks and crannies and getting the blessed fluffy stuff out!

Doing the business
Doing the business

Please take care if you are doing this at home – voided warranties, etc. may ensue. I’ve no idea. But definitely turn the bloomin’ thing off at the wall first, please!

So, quite a few minutes and a whole pile of cotton buds later, and my bobbin-house was lovely and clear of fluff. Such fun too!

Lovely and sparkly-clean!
Lovely and sparkly-clean!
What a lot of fluff!
What a lot of fluff!

But I never did find the half-pin. That’s for another expedition. Tweezers, anyone?!!!

Sewing · Uncategorized

Feeling tweedy

Well, although the weather here is still very mild for the time of year, my thoughts are gravitating towards chillier times. With Christmas not too far off in the future, I am readying myself for some craft fairs…so stock is needing to be produced! Luckily it’s half term and although I’m having to entertain my little lad by day, my evenings are blissfully full of fabric, thread and all the accoutrements of my craft. Sorry, but I love that word, accoutrements, so needed to get it in somewhere. I promise that’s it for today, though!

Last year, I made some cute little tweed handbags using pieced bits of handwoven Harris Tweed that my lovely Mum brought me back from her hols there. Beautiful fabric, lovely shades and they made sweet little bags. Well, they all sold out (to various parts of the world, including France, Scotland, Canada, New Zealand & Japan, which is lovely!) So I thought I’d better get some more ready for the coming festive buying season!

Well, having not made any for a while, I finally located my pattern but the first took ages as I’d completely forgotten the order I did things in! But the second took a little less time. This time, I have used some regular wool tartans (plaids) mixed in with some of my remaining pieces of Harris Tweed. I do love them, and I think they look great teamed with a lovely coat, some cosy tights and boots. Am hopefully going to get a couple more done over the weekend. Do you like them? I used some lovely vintage buttons to finish them off (I love a beautiful button!)

First one – purple & grey:

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Second one: green & white:

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I am wondering whether to do little matching coin purses to go with them…what do you think? I love these gorgeous tweedy fabrics! Hello autumn!

 

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?

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Forgive me, reader, for I have sinned…

…It’s been more than three weeks since my last confession post and I feel I must make amends.

In my day job, term has begun in earnest and it’s been a manic couple of weeks getting to know my new class and getting myself back into the swing of teachery things like planning, marking, etc. But I wanted to share some exciting sewing news…I have bought myself a tailor’s dummy!

Exciting for me – maybe not so for you, but am feeling very pleased with myself, having secured what is (hopefully) a bargain on eBay. I’ve been after one for ages and have missed out on several by just a few quid. So I decided to up my top price this time and yippee! I won! Once she’s here, I’ll post a photo.  She’s a vintage blue Venus dummy. Any suggestions for names?

So, the next thing is…what to make? I have some lovely fabric given to me by my American sister-in-law that is crying out to be made into a sassy wee skirt – I have already made the Delphine skirt by Tilly & the Buttons (must have told you before how much I love her stuff?) and it is a nice shape, so might try it out on different fabric…watch this space!

Delphine number 1 - in denim
Delphine number 1 – in denim

You can see what other people have done with their Delphine on Tilly’s pinterest board.

Am also really happy to have purchased two new craft books, which arrived in the post today. Chloe Tells You How…to Sew by Chloe Owens, and Stuart Hillard’s Sew Fabulous. My bedtime reading for tonight!

On the making front, I have dipped my toe in the water this weekend with some new coin purses. A friend wanted one and I had a depleted stock following the success of the craft sale in August, so have whipped up a few in some cute fabrics. Am thinking of keeping the spool print one myself, for putting notions in when I go to craft club.

Some wee coin purses
Some tiny coin purses – enough for a credit card and your pocket money

So, anyway, that’s it for now. Be back soon…!

Oh, I almost forgot to introduce the newest addition to the family…this is Rocket and he is nearly 5 months old! Named after Rocket Racoon from Guardians of the Galaxy!

Say hello to Rocket!
Say hello to Rocket!
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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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Sixties dress – The Simplicity “Jiffy”

Free pattern from Sew Magazine
Free pattern from Sew Magazine

A few months ago, I was pinning things on Pinterest. I came across this pattern in a search for “Sixties Dress”. Lovely, isn’t it? So anyway, I kept meaning to buy it to give it a go. But then a few months ago, I spotted it as the free gift on the cover of Sew Magazine! Haven’t bought that mag for ages (as I’d become a Mollie Makes fan). Really glad I did – it got me back into the magazine big style! It also seemed to match perfectly to the fabric I’d bought in my favourite little vintage shop here in Norwich – Junk and Gems. I think I bought this fabric for £12 for over 2 metres, which is a bargain as I love it so much.

So, anyway, this was the next item in my ‘things to make for me’ list. The pattern is from Simplicity – Ref number K1609 – and is called the “Jiffy”.  It was a pretty quick and straightforward pattern even for a novice dressmaker like myself and I’d recommend it to newbie sewers looking for a simple sixties style dress. I chose the view with the bow – it’s the blue dress on the cover – and set to work. Since making this dress, I have started to keep notes in my scrapbook about each project I make – partly to share with you, dear reader, and partly for when I make it again. And I will – it is a really cute dress and I am going to enjoy wearing it.

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My sixties-stylee “Jiffy” dress, made indeed in a jiffy! I highly recommend this pattern – it’s lovely, doncha think?

Here it is: I’m quite pleased with myself! My notes in my scrapbook say next time, I would choose a fabric with a smaller print – although this is gorgeous, the way the pattern has you cut the front means that the print didn’t quite match up. A bit annoying, but a learning curve. I suppose had I followed traditional sewing advice and made a toile, I would have realised this, but I am not the most patient of people and actually for £12, I had nothing to lose really!

I’d love to know what you think of it! Maybe once I lose the few pounds gained from a summer with a 4 year old eating fish & chips and ice cream at the seaside, I will post a photo of me actually wearing it. I really fancy another one – perhaps in a block colour with a cute little collar like the green one on the pattern envelope!

Has anyone else tried the Jiffy pattern? Would love to see your photos!

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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?