Monday, 21 January 2013

Pressie for an eagerly awaited arrival...

Both myself and my very lovely friend Julia are expecting our second babies at the moment and as we both have pretty much everything we need for our new arrivals stored away from our first children I thought it might be nice if I hand-made a baby gift. I found a great tutorial for a lovely baby play mat/ pram blanket which you can see here, that I decided to follow. The tutorial is fab and tells you everything you need to know.

This is how I got on...

I did struggle a little getting flannel fabric which I eventually bought from a ebay retailer- there wasn't a great choice of colours and much to my annoyance the three meters I purchased came up rather short along the one edge- 80cms!!! Due to this I was not able to make a square mat (well I could have but it would have been pretty small!) Any way I laid out my fabrics- three layers of flannel topped by the cotton patterned fabric (I went for a neutral colour with cute elephants on- also from ebay but I did get a full meter from this seller!)

One really important part of making this blanket is that you find the bias as you need to stitch in rows along the bias so when you cut the flannel it frays in the right way. I ironed a crease to mark the first stitching line so I had something to follow (in the tutorial she uses a piece of string and a fabric pen I think).

Before you start stitching you have to pin the layers together securely- mine didn't line up very well as you can see but you square the blanket up later so it still worked out ok. The layers do move a bit when stitching anyway.

I used just a normal straight stitch, starting with the centre crease I had ironed along the bias.

As you can see I managed to pucker the flannel- I carried on anyway and to be honest once the flannel is cut and frayed you can't see it so I figure its ok.

It takes a while to sew all the lines- and plenty of thread, I used nearly 200m in total. Clearly I'm not the best at sewing in straight lines and the lines which were closer together (approx 1/2" apart rather than 3/4-1" apart) worked better once frayed- just something to bear in mind!

Once you've sewn all your lines you should have something which looks a bit like this- probably a bit neater!

Next job is to cut the flannel between the stitching lines- prepare for hand-ache, you could do it it batches if you are not as impatient as I am!!

You should end up with this...

Then you need to square up all the layers of you fabric so you'll be able to bind the blanket edges (sorry about the colour of the pic!!).

I used a bowl to round the corners...if you have managed to get you blanket square and lovely then it is probably a good idea to use the bowl for one corner and then use that corner as a template for the other corners so that they all match.

The final stage before chucking the blanket in the wash to fray is binding. I used bias binding to do this but you could just as easily make your own if you want something particular (well maybe not quite as easily but you know what I mean!).

There are lots of tutorials about binding. After pinning the binding on right sides to right sides with an opened out edge lined up to the raw edge of the blanket I machine sewed along the first crease right round the blanket edge.

Then I pinned the folded bias tape onto the back of the blanket and hand sewed along the edge using a ?slip stitch so you don't really see a line of stitching on the binding. You can use your machine to top stitch on the binding if you prefer.

Here is the blanket with the binding completed...

All there is left to do now is chuck it in the washing machine and fingers crossed it frays ok (I wasn't sensible enough to do a test strip first!!) I put mine though on a quick was with a mild detergent and on full spin and then into the tumble dryer until dry...and here it is...

Thanks for looking x

Back again before schedule...

Hi there, didn't think I would be posting again until sometime in February but it turns out that I'm getting rather ahead of myself. In the past couple of weeks I have managed to complete not just one extra project but two (well maybe one and a half as one was pretty small).

The weather here has gotten pretty cold and we have had a couple of inches of snow on the ground (quite a lot for us here in Nottingham!) for the past four days. This has caused one of my sausage dogs to be reluctant to venture out for his daily perambulate so I decided to make him a little jacket and I must say it has worked a treat. He is now as keen as ever to take a stroll of an evening. I looked for a pattern to follow on the internet but didn't manage to find one and as walk time was fast approaching I decided to crack on and make one for myself.

To make the pattern I measured from the base of Dillon's back to about and inch from the base of his tail, around his neck and also around his chest (behind his front legs- widest part of chest) I then joined up the measurements with a few curvy bits! (Not very technical but you can see how it turned out). I was lucky enough to have an old fleece jacket that I was going to give to charity which rescued  from the donation box as I thought it would be perfect for keeping Dillon cosy.

 I cut out the fabric- you could do this on the fold - due to a few pleats and things on the coat it was easier for me to do it as one flat piece.

I then zigzagged around the whole thing.

This picture (below) shows an adjustment I had to make to the coat after trying it against Dillon, I figured out that if he peed he would get the coat so I had to make the under-belly bit narrower (duh!).

I put buttons on the neck and underbelly fastenings as figured they would be nice and secure.

After another fitting I had to take in the body a bit so the coat wasn't flapping about-  I just put a couple of dart-type things along the side edge.

And here is the final coat which took me about an hour to make- its not fancy but does the jobs well.

Thanks for looking x

Thursday, 10 January 2013

Well I must say I am feeling pretty darn pleased with myself...10 days into the first month and I have completed my first sewing project. Not the project I intended to start out with but who cares right? I am also doubly pleased with myself as I remembered to take photos of my they are...(I am not much of a photographer- please don't judge me too harshly!!)

As I had this lovely cheery piece of fabric in stock (Teeny Tiny Zoo by Alexander Henry) I thought I would attempt to hand make a tunic for my scrumptious three year old daughter- she is quite particular about what she wears (already? I know!!) so this may have been misguided- we'll see. As mentioned before I am a rather avid pinterest browser and have a host of tutorials at the ready for such an occasion. The tutorial I chose to follow this is from a wonderful blog call craftiness is not optional, here's the link (now very excited as I have just independently, without having to ask my husband, added a link- all by myself). This is a great tutorial so I'm not going to attempt to do my own version but I'll show you some of the pics I took during the make.

 Thought I would put this pic of my pattern pieces up- as all you expert sew-ers have probably spotted I cut my sleeve pattern wrong but did adjust it before cutting the fabric.

 In the tut Jessica uses a lace looking trim but all I had in stock was some ric-rac so that's what I used!

This is how the tunic looked once the sleeves were attached...most tricky bit for me

I made some binding for the collar by cutting a long strip 2" wide pressing it in half and then folding each half into the centre...

Then pinning and sewing it round the collar- I did adjust my collar opening once the tunic was part assembled as I realised I had only left a big enough opening for a head the size of an orange to fit through!!

This picture is of adding the bottom band on- didn't quite get what Jessica had done and I don't have a serger so I cut a 5" band which I folded in half length ways, folded in the raw edges and sewed onto the bottom of the tunic and viola! (Not without a few sticky moments but think it turned out ok)

It can't be that bad as Scarlett was willing to try it on and even looks happy in it!

 Now technically I don't have to complete another project until the end of February but who knows whilst my enthusiasm is high I might just crack on and start something else. Becky - 1 ; failed new years resolutions - 0.

Tuesday, 8 January 2013

From collector to crafter

In line with the new year I have decided to set myself a target of making/crafting one project per month for 2013. This is not the first time I have started a year with such intentions but (like many of us I'm sure) my initial enthusiasm wanes and little becomes of my best laid plans. This year things will be different. I have to admit that much of my attraction to needle crafts is to do with the paraphernalia surrounding such hobbies. I adore fabrics and haberdashery - I can spend hours browsing the internet for fabrics to add to my collection and perusing the likes of pinterest marveling and the wonderful items people make. What I then fail to do is use the items I have so lovingly gathered to create the treasures they have been intended for (I have had similar 'dabblings' with baking and cake decorating and a whole host of other 'crafts'). So, I have decided to start a blog in the hope that sharing my experience (even if no one reads it and it is just with myself!) will aid my transition from collector to crafter...