Category Archives: Homemade

Sewing with stretch: Attempt 2

I’ve seen a lot of posts this past week from sewing bloggers reviewing their 2013 makes, highlighting the good, the bad and the ugly and sharing their new year resolutions with the world. This is easy for me. This year I haven’t made enough for such a list, which leaves me with one resolution: Sew more!

After my Christmas dress success I want to use this same pattern and my last few days off work making a couple of dresses to introduce to my January wardrobe. I’ve started with a very stretchy fabric I bought at New Fabric Shop in Walthamstow… I think this would be called an Interlock knit?

Bought for a mere £1 a meter I should have bought a lot more. This fabric came folded in half and on a bolt. Try as I might I can’t get the marks of the edges out of the fabric:


I cut open the fabric on the worst edge to open flat, but I haven’t got enough to miss out the second line altogether. I’m hoping with this type of fabric pattern it won’t be too noticeable?! I’ve also realised I don’t have enough for full sleeves so I’ll be adapting the look to include short ones instead. And one other challenge so far… How to work with these rolling edges?!




Filed under Dress, Fabrics, Homemade, sewing

A Fabric Footstool

Whilst I haven’t been blogging, I have been sewing. I finished my version of the New Look 6050, finally got round to making Tilly’s Mathilde blouse (unexpectedly met Tilly herself… became star-struck), experienced sewing with jersey for the first time, on my new overlocker (love, love, love this birthday present. Thank you, Tom). But right now, I’m sharing a make that didn’t involve sewing. But it does involve fabric, so it kinda counts…

I’ve wanted a big footstool / tablestool for our living room for a long time but I couldn’t find one that I liked in our price range.  So I decided I would make one! I roped my Dad into helping me with the wooden base, and he did a great job with some legs I bought on ebay. He created the exact size I  was after.

I spent some time staining the legs with some varnish and fixed a piece of foam to the top with some adhesive spray. I covered it with a layer of wadding. And then it stayed like that. For a long time! It was ugly in our living room, but we sort of got used to it.

footstool 1

I was waiting to find the right fabric, and then I spotted a grey/yellow roll in The New Fabric shop in Walthamstow market which was great for my colour scheme for the room. So I set to work… and it started to look like this:

footstool 3

And then the project stalled again! This fabric has a bit of a stretch to it. Which meant if anyone sat on it or put their feet on it, it started going baggy. And that wasn’t the look I was going for.

So a few weeks later I went to Ray Stitch in Islington and found some gorgeous cotton fabric. I cut it out with about an inch to turn on each edge for a nice finish. Me and Tom fixed it down over the skin wadding using tacks and finished it with a nail/stud strip that I bought from ebay. This was so easy to add and creates a really nice finish!

footstool 5

I got some great guidance from J A Milton’s video and I’m really happy with the result! Its exactly what I was after.

final footstool

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Filed under Fabrics, Homemade, Uncategorized

What happens when you don’t make a muslin…

Well whaddya know… the dress doesn’t fit! That is what you get for not making a muslin. In one way I’m lucky though, it’s on the big side so it is a matter of taking the dress in, but I have my usual dilemma of deciding where to take it in from.


Putting it on after basting the zip, it was clear that although the bottom half fit, waist upwards has too much give. I haven’t sewn it all up yet, it’s currently still sleeveless and I haven’t added the neck facing, so before I make any changes I will baste these as they’ll change the fit of the dress.

PicMonkey Collage2

 I think it fits better once a few cms of fabric are pinched in on each side. If I hadn’t already sewn in my waistband I would  take the extra material from the pleats and the back darts or the side seams. But the waistband is sewn,  seams layered and I have even gone so far to “stitch in the ditch” (I hate doing this by the way – does anyone else?) and I really don’t want to undo it. So I will attempt to take this material from the centre back…. wish me luck!

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Filed under Clothes, Homemade, Pattern, sewing

Hello blogging world! It fees like such a long time since I’ve posted anything, or even read anything sewing related.  But I’m back! And I’ve got a lot of catching up to do.

First off, vjstracener voted the little blog of sewing for a Liebster Award. What a nice surprise! Thanks vistracener ,this made my day 🙂 I’ll have a think about my answers to your questions and pass the award love on.

I haven’t been sewing so much lately but I did turn this fabulous fabric from NY….


…into 6 of these cute cushion covers for a friend’s Mum. She’d bought the fabric on a recent shopping trip in the States and wanted to make it into cushions.

PicMonkey Collage

“A square cushion cover? That shouldn’t be too hard” was my initial thought. But the tricky bit was sewing a zip into those tiny seam allowances that were SO SMALL! To make the most of the images I wanted to keep the gold border so had to cut just outside it on each edge. Giving me about 5mm! I’ve never put in a zip on such a narrow seam but thankfully they turned out ok.

Because of the border issues I could only make 6 (taking the two images from each edge) and now we’re left with the middle section, where the fabric has been cut right up to the gold edge. Dora wants some more cushions made with the rest of it and has left me to decide how they’re done. Any suggestions how to make the most of the rest of this fabric? I’m thinking of cutting out round the gold borders and fusing the image onto some other fabric, with a bit of applique to stitch them down…. what do you think?

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Filed under Crafts, Homemade, sewing

A Sunday afternoon project: The ‘bill’ board

If you’re anything like me, you’ll sift throught the post in the morning (or after a long day at work), open what you think looks important, make a mental note of “I need to action that”, add it to the pile of papers on the side and forget about it until that niggling feeling of not doing something comes to you. Typically it will suddenly dawn on me that “Oh gawd, I didn’t post that cheque”, or our most recent experience, Tom: “When did the house insurance run out?” Me “Ummm… 26th-ish?”, Tom: “What’s the date today?”, Me: “Oh, the 26th…Damn.”

So to fix this, and try to make our personal admin slightly more organised, Sunday afternoon saw the making of what’s now called the ‘bill’ board. Next to the regular stash of letters, our kitchen wall has a nice empty space that I decided to use. I popped down to the local Hobby Craft, picked up a blank canvas and some cute material, grabbed the staple gun and some elastic I had in the drawer and set to work.


Step 1: Measure out your material

Place your canvas face down onto the wrong side of the material. Measure from your selvedge to the edge of the canvas to make sure any pattern will be straight. You need to leave enough material around the edge of the canvas to be able to turn the edge before stapling it to the canvas back.


Step 2: Staple
Once the material has been cut, start with the bottom edge. Fold the raw edge over, and then staple this folded neat edge to the canvas. Start in the middle of the canvas edge and work your way to the side edges, spacing the staples out.


Step 3: The corner
At the corner, you want to pinch the 2 edges of the fabric, turn it on itself to make a neat corner and staple into place.

pic2    pic 3    pic 4

Step 4: Repeat for all sides and corners.
Trim the corners to make it neater, and it should look something like this!

pic 5

Step 5: Add the elastic.
Using the staple gun, fix the elastic to the back of the canvas. I thought that I would measure it out, use my Maths skills and do it properly, but in the end I went with what looked best. I’ve measured it after incase you want a guide, (this is for an 18 x 14 inch canvas), but really go with what you think. The blue rectangles are where I stapled the elastic to the back of the canvas, and the thin blue lines are where they matched up on the other side. Just make sure that you pull your elastic tight enough before you staple it!

pic 6

And that’s it!
Hang your board on the wall (preferably with a hook rather than a hand…)

board 2

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The last of the Christmas makes

Happy New Year! I can’t believe how quick 2013 has come around. I hope you enjoyed the holidays as much as I have with family and friends.

Christmas and New Year gave me a break from the sewing mania that I created for myself the past month. Trying to finish presents and decorations in time became a bit of a rush and by Christmas day I was exhausted! So here are a few of the things I made that I didn’t get to blog about…

ImageThe Christmas Pudding Doorstop
This was a real trial and error project, but I was so pleased with the result of this final pudding!

 Christmas Aprons

The Christmas Aprons
Ok, the under eye bags are a clear sign of the sewing mania in this picture. But these are the aprons I made for Christmas cooking. This year me (Head Chef) and my boyfriend, Tom (Sous Chef) were cooking Christmas dinner with the help of my mum, who earnt the name Topper Upper as she will never leave a glass empty for long (and is not much of a cook – sorry Mum). I used freezer paper to draw and cut out the stencils and silver paint on a grey heavy cotton, I’ll definitely be trying it again and I’ll upload a how to guide.


Christmas wall decoration
We decided our dining room needed a bit more Christmas cheer on the walls, so with some  stamps, paint, red cotton and a blank canvas we created this masterpiece! Next year I’ll be using some freezer paper to create my own designs to use as stencils, as these stamps can look a bit messy. But it got people talking and brightened up a white wall.

The new year brings with it lots of new ideas and projects which I’ll post on here in the next few days. I’d love to know what you think!

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Filed under Christmas, Crafts, Decorations, Gift, Homemade, sewing

Handmade Character Stockings

After seeing the stockings I made for Freddie and Oliver (see my earlier post), I was asked to make some stockings for the neighbour’s children, a bit bigger, to fill with little goodies for them. I decided to be a bit more adventurous this time, adding a cheerful Christmas character to each one.

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Which one do you prefer? I think I like Santa best. And I quite like them on my windowsill, shame I have to give them away! I’ve kept all my paper pieces, so I will be sharing the pattern on here. But Christmas is coming along so quickly I’m not sure ill have time to do it before the restive period is over! Maybe for next year!?


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Filed under Christmas, Crafts, Gift, Homemade, Present, sewing