Tag Archives: Sewing

Slacker Update

15 May

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For the first time in years I actually don’t feel like a serious slacker.  After writing about being the Queen of Unfinished Projects a few weeks ago I went into sewing overdrive and actually finished most of my half-done and half-sewn projects that have been lingering and taunting me in my sewing room for the last months (years).  I hemmed, I mended, I button-holed, I zippered and I even hand sewed until the wee hours of the morning.  I guess writing it all down and addressing the fact that I needed to get my act in gear helped me to realise it was time.  Time to have a clean sewing slate and move on to new and fresh projects without the niggling feeling of having all those almost-finished purses, bags, dresses, shorts and wallets that I would eventually have to deal with.

These dresses were supposed to be ready for my twin daughter’s 11th birthday.  Obviously that didn’t happen as it was on March 28th (it was too cold and rainy in March anyway to be able to wear dresses like this).  As I mentioned last time the pattern is one of the basic dress models from the book Stof Voor Durf-Het-Selvers (only available in Dutch).  The book has some great patterns  for children’s dresses, skirts, tops and accessories and gorgeous photos using the most lovely fabrics.  I used contrast colour zippers on the dresses to give them a little something special and actually ended up making one dress with a side zipper instead of back zipper by mistake.  Don’t ask.  These will be perfect for special occasions this summer while we’re in Umbria and Canada.

IMG_8298I did a double lined hem on these seersucker shorts for my son and actually sewed on all 4 buttons needed (miracle).  Unfortunately they’re still too big so he’ll most likely only get to wear them next year.  Until then I’ll display them for all to see and admire (poor guests).  These were some seriously complicated and time consuming shorts to make and I’m pretty sure I could buy similar (even nicer?) ones in H&M for a fraction of the cost to make them.  But I guess I shouldn’t think about that…

IMG_8374I also finished this simple summer sleeveless shirt.  Very quick to sew up and comfortable to wear (even if I did make mine 2 sizes too big).  Fabric is from Max Mara and the pattern is Simplicity New Look 6871.

IMG_8356And today in my sewing group I managed to finish up this boxy shopper bag with zipper closure.  Just what I needed in my life…another bag.  I think I could open up a shop with all my hand made bags and wallets that I’ve been stockpiling over the last few years. Stay tuned for details of my Etsy Shop in the near (or far?) future.

I’m still finishing off the last of my projects and I’m feeling great about it.  Now to get busy with my new projects that I’ll most likely have to finish in a few years time….

Queen of Unfinished Projects

30 Apr

This morning I was tidying up my sewing room (seriously one of my favorite things to do) and I came across quite a few projects that I enthusiastically started but never actually got around to finishing.  Some of them I started  in the past few weeks and a few are from the last few… years.  The shame.  Last month I actually found a half sewn pair of pajama pants that I started when I was in university in the 90’s.  So now I’m mentally gearing myself up to finish up these projects  once and for all and get started on some new ones.  Please tell me I’m not alone with this problem.  Do any of you out there also have some unfinished projects taking up space and taunting you whenever you see them?
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Here are some Seersucker shorts that I made for my son.  The pattern was one of the most difficult I’ve ever done (thank goodness for friends with such great knowledge of pattern language!).  There are fancy pockets, belt loops, a zipper and way too many buttons and button holes.  I learned a lot of great sewing techniques from these shorts.  But I will never make them again in my life.  Now I just have to motivate myself to hem them.  Hemming is always my weak point.

20130430-143759.jpgOne day I holed myself up in my sewing room (about 8 months ago) and sewed up all of these fabric leaves and circles.  I never really had a solid idea of what I was going to do with them but I was confident  it would come to me sometime.  It still hasn’t come to me.  Any ideas for what to do with these out there?

20130430-143906.jpgMy mother-in-law and I started these dresses above during her time here at Easter.  The pattern is from my newest sewing book Stof Voor Durf-Het-Selvers by Lies Bottermans and Griet De Smedt (as far as I know it’s only available in Dutch).  They are absolutely lovely and so close to being finished.  One needs a zipper installed (not my favorite job) and they both need to be hemmed.  In any case, I’ll make sure they’re done by summertime.  Maybe my Mother-in-law should return to finish them with me (hint hint).

20130430-144044.jpgA little summer sleeveless top made with Max Mara fabric.  I’ll be finishing it up with my sewing group this Friday.  So at least I can check that one off my list right away.  It’s a start!

20130430-144350.jpgThis is the project that I started about 18 months ago.  I made about 8 of these purses for Christmas gifts and I guess by the time I started this one I just couldn’t bring myself to finish yet another one.  It’s made with black linen and a soft  thick cotton.  I think I’m finally ready to finish it up and make a few more.  If I can remember the pattern of course.

So wish me luck on finishing all of these projects and making room (mentally and physically) for some new projects that I’ve had simmering in my head for a while.  And if a few of you harassed me every now and then to see the finished products  I’d really appreciate it.

Tutorial: Small Fabric Basket

19 Mar

{Here’s  little simple sewing project from the Jillian In Italy archives.  I think this would be a great project to do for Easter for the kids or even with the kids.  I can just imagine a garden full of these sweet little baskets filled with Easter eggs and candy.}

Here is a very basic tutorial that a good friend of mine designed for a very sweet little fabric basket.  Very quick and gratifying.  I used oilcloth for the outside and a cotton for the inside but it would be possible to use only cotton as well (or even nicer would be linen).  If using cottons or linens I would recommend using interfacing to make it stiff enough to stand up on it’s own.  The paper clips are used to avoid getting little pin holes in the plasticized material or oilcloth. Please let me know if I wasn’t clear on any of my instructions (I know the corner part is a bit hard to see in the photo).

Read on to get full tutorial. Continue reading

Cucito

5 Mar

For some reason I’ve been really busy at my sewing machine lately.  Every day I find myself holed up in my sewing room with little bits of  thread hanging from my hair, on my clothes and pretty much all over every surface in the entire house.

Once I start on a project I seem to lose my sense of time and what else needs to get done around here.  In other words, we’ve been living off take-out pizza and canned tuna  for a few days now and the house is looking a little worse for wear (not yet squalor state yet though!).

Here are a few finished items from the last week:

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I’m trying to bring the funky back to smocks for the little ones.  Oh yeah, it was never there.  But seriously, I’m going to change the way the world sees smocks.  I have big plans.

Unfortunately I had some issues with this MaxMara fabric running (see the little white lines coming from the bias?) due to the stretch in the fabric.  Any tips out there on how to avoid this?  Thinner needle perhaps?

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I’m in the process of taking a creative map making course over on Skillshare and I decided to step away from the computer and do something handmade.  I printed off a map of Europe on some cotton muslin and embroidered our first trips as a family.  Now I still have to figure out whether I make it into a pillow, or something to hang on the wall etc.  Any ideas?

1-IMG_6816Last week I finished making up a few wallets in our sewing group.  It was always one of those projects that seemed too advanced and complicated but in the end it was actually quite do-able.  There are a lot of pieces involved and three weights of interfacing but I didn’t have a breakdown…not even once.

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Look!  A zipper pouch, credit card pockets, and a snap closure! What more could you want in a sewing project?  Pattern from 101 Fabric-by-Fabric Ways To Sew a Metre by Rebecca Yaker.

1-IMG_6814And last but not least, today I whipped up this little bag  (similar to this one from a few weeks ago).  This beautiful cotton fabric is Point of Sail by Michael Miller.

Echino Purse

15 Feb

The other day some good friends and I got together for our weekly sewing morning  and we decided to try out a pattern from a new sewing book I received my mother called 101 Great Ways to Sew a Metre by Rebecca Yaker and Patricia Hoskins.  The book is full of patterns for various bags, purses, clothing, toys and other household items and no project asks for more than a metre of fabric.  The patterns are all really well explained with clear instructions.  I have to admit that the spats (cowboy boot covers) found on page 147 will not be made by me though.

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We decided to sew the Scrunchie Bag (page166) because it’s a big and roomy casual purse that we thought would come in quite handy.  I decided to use a gorgeous fabric with vintage typewriters on it by the Japanese brand Kokka (Melody Miller’s Ruby Star Shining).  For the inside of the bag I used a spotted linen that I purchased in Japan last year.  The two fabrics compliment each other perfectly.

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We loved the fact that there were rings for the strap and that the top was elasticized.  Both new sewing techniques for us.  We cut and finished sewing the bag in less than three hours.  My kind of sewing project.

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I’m quite in love with my new typewrite purse.

(here’s my last sewing project using Echino fabric)

Embroidery With Kids

6 Feb

 

The last ten days have been a little rough around this household.  A few kids caught an evil virus and were laid up with high fever for over a week.  I don’t remember the last time any of my kids were so sick.   And I had forgotten what it’s like to be house-bound for OVER A WEEK.  But we survived.  And we had some lovely moments together over the past ten days.

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At a certain point I was fed up of playing Connect Four, Phase 10 and Ingenious so I went and started rummaging through my sewing room for some ideas of something creative to do with sick kids.  I found an old box full of wooden embroidery rings, a roll of old burlap, large needles and some colourful yarn and thread.  A perfect activity for kids who don’t have the energy to get off the couch but are bored and in need of something to do with their hands.

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Using burlap to teach kids embroidery is ideal because it’s so easy to get the needle and thread/yarn through the largely woven fabric and even possible to reverse if a mistake is made.  And the contrast of the earthy textured brown material with brightly coloured thread  is absolutely lovely.  One little piece of advice would be to always zigzag the edges of the burlap beforehand to reduce fraying.

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I quickly showed the kids the basics of embroidery and then left them to create whatever pattern came to mind.  We all sat around the living room with the fire blazing and listening to classical music playing in the background.  So cozy and slightly Little House on the Prairie-ish.

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After the designs were done we made them into little miniature pillows using different coloured velvets for the back.  The kids are so proud of their creations.  Their mama as well.

 

Folkabilly Apron #3

29 Jan

And another folkabilly apron has been made!  As some of you may remember, last year I received a stack of vintage apron patterns from my grandmother and I have a goal to slowly make them all.   This is the third pattern I’ve tried (others are here and here).  These patterns are relatively easy to follow and have the bonus of having all the pattern pieces pre-cut (amazing how much time that saves!).

This is a really pretty half-apron that is actually really flattering when on.   My sewing group and I decided to sew the red version seen on the pattern envelope below.

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The pattern involves some patchwork, rickrack, bias edging and a shaped high waistband.  So feminine and pretty.
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I used some cotton fabric my mother had brought me in the fall and the floral/stripe combination ended up matching beautifully.

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If I had had more rickrack on hand I would have included at least two more rows of it. You can never have too much rickrack on a vintage apron my friends.

1-IMG_5653I’m going to send this apron to my grandmother who just turned 91 years old.  She may not cook too much anymore but I think she will appreciate it just the same.

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