Saturday, 9 May 2015

Sew very tidy

I'm so happy. I actually made something without a pattern! My crafting friends made these "sewing tidy mats" and I have to admit at first I wasn't too sure I'd want one. Theirs were beautiful, but it's not something I ever felt I needed.... until now. All my sewing supplies are in my wonderful Prym snap-on trays, which I love, but it meant opening them up every time I wanted something out of a tray. So I started looking on the Internet for a pattern. I found LOTS of pictures but no patterns except about two that looked incredibly complicated, so I just thought about it for awhile, then did some measurements, then boldly started cutting out. Here's what I ended up with:

I've had this sewing-themed fabric forever but never knew quite what to do with it and this seemed like the perfect project. It's a bright cotton, same fabric front and back and a layer of wadding in between. In case you haven't seen these, there are lots on Pinterest but few have any kind of dimensions or instructions, so I did my own thing. It turned out fine, but if I had to make another one, I'd measure better (especially the wadding or stuffing) and I'd be much more careful when sewing it. If someone looked at this one closely they'd find all kinds of craziness. The bottom line, however, is that it works:
And here's a hint... I wanted somewhere to put bent pins, broken needles, or small items like buttons, snaps, etc. and didn't want to just drop them into one of the pockets. So I took a plastic cup and stuck it into the pocket. That way, when I'm finished, I can pull out the cup and dispose safely of the pins and needles or find easily the small buttons, etc. It looks like this:

Of course, inevitably, my sewing room is now a mess! I sew in my little garden cabin but there's NEVER enough room, even if I sewed in a palace. 

I still have my blouse to sew. It's cut out but I can't find the kind of lace I want. I've bought some blue ribbon and green ribbon, but neither are "just right"!



















This is the fabric and the trims I've found. Below is the blouse I'm making with it all. Sigh.... the world moves on!





Tuesday, 21 April 2015

A Little Something

Once again, like the pincushion, I have a (very) little project. This one is a case for my iPod Touch. First, a little background: for some time I’ve been searching everywhere for a case that also has storage for the headphones. What good is an iPod case without headphones, after all?! But nowhere could I find anything suitable.Someone suggested I make one, so off I went in search of a pattern (first mistake). I always think I can’t do anything without a pattern….. anyway, I found a very  promising project on YouTube so I followed the instructions for that, thinking it wouldn’t be too far off (second mistake). It looked easy enough also. Well, it was easy, but the finished product was too wide and not long enough to be perfect, but then perfection has never been my “thing” anyway.

So I cut it out from some fabric I’d been hoarding, bought the fusible fleece for a lining (a bit too heavyweight, but useable), and took it to our monthly craft get-together. I’ve mentioned our group many times in past posts. We used to be scrapbookers and cardmakers, but now ALL of us bring our sewing machines and have a right old-fashioned “sewing bee”. Here’s my finished case:

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As you can see, I barely got my iPod into the case and it’s much too wide. I think I may attempt another one, as this WAS basically easy, but I’ll narrow it and lengthen it. I also changed the strap to close on the same side as the earphone pocket. It just makes more sense to me.

On the day of our “bee”, we all went to visit a new shop in Birchington called Daisy Buds. If you’re local, they’re well worth checking out! Most of their stock is for quilters, as it’s colourful cottons and cotton blends, but it’s such good quality that it will make fine tops for summer. If I had a little girl to sew for, I could make LOTS of pretty little cotton dresses and playsuits, too. They also carry patterns (Simplicity, McCall’s, and New Look) and lots of pretty ribbons and trims. The prices are reasonable, so I did buy a couple metres of some gorgeous red print for making a peasant top.

I now have plenty of patterns, plenty of fabric, plenty of supplies and tools, so just now need to find plenty of TIME to get it done. I’m not going to go overboard too quickly, however, as I’m still struggling with Slimming World to lose more weight.

Speaking of Slimming World, I just this morning got the newest cookbook, “Mediterranean Magic” and it looks like the best one yet:

Slimming World's Mediterranean Magic

I love the food of Italy, Greece, Turkey, Morocco, and the Middle East in general. This cookbook has ALL my favourites: spanokopita, stifado, moussaka (all from Greece); lamb stew with aubergine, baba ghanoush (aubergine dip), falafel with houmus (all from Turkey and the Middle East), as well as lots of others. I’m now all enthused about Slimming World again!

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

New Friend

This is a quick post, just to introduce my new friend, Rosie! She arrived in a box  with a label that said "New Rose" (her model name) so that's why I named her Rosie.

I've never had a dress form before but there have been more than a few occasions when I could definitely have used one! She has lots of dials so I can adjust her measurements in several ways, including around   (bust, waist, hips) but also the length from back to waist, etc.

She's covered in a nice soft foam with a beautiful rose print (see photo below).

She also has a hem measuring thing. I haven't actually used her yet but have big plans! I have the patterns, the fabric, the thread, the sewing space, etc. but now just need to find the TIME! Sewing is not something I can do in short blocks of time (10 minutes here, 20 minutes there...). I need a whole morning or whole afternoon, or better yet a whole DAY!


And speaking of days, the past week has been the most beautiful ever. Today was warm, sunny, and only a light breeze. I threw open the door to the cabin, even a window, and turned up the CD player. It was heavenly! I know it won't last but it's great while it does.

We're also having much longer daylight hours now, which helps my mood considerably. I have more energy and feel much more positive. I never realized before how much the deep, dark winter months affect my mood. Onwards and upwards now!

Monday, 30 March 2015

A Craft Space

Although I mentioned in the last post that I would do a video of my craft cabin, I just haven’t had time to do it. So, I thought I’d post a couple of recent photos instead.

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This is my newest corner. I’m “transitioning” it into a sewing area. This photo was taken last week and I’m still making changes.

On the top shelf are my patterns. I’ve now put them all in order by maker (Butterick, Simplicity, etc) and then pattern number. I’ve made a Pattern Record, which is a word document that lists all my patterns and the yardages required. I can take that with me when I shop for fabric and/or patterns to avoid duplication.

On the third shelf I have my fat quarters and smaller yardages. Below those I have the fabric waiting to be made into clothing.

The bottom shelf is for sewing books and magazines. I just got the newest book from the Great British Sewing Bee, called “Fashion with Fabric” and it came with two metres of beautiful fabric and all full-size patterns. Yum!

Saturday I did the most exciting thing! I ordered a dress form. Now there’s no excuse not to get cracking! I’ve got the patterns, the fabric, the machine, the overlocker, and lots of bits that I probably DON’T need, so I’m going to cut out a blouse first.

I still have a paper pattern ready to cut some fabric to make a case that I found online for my iPod touch. But because that’s a small project, I’m planning to cut it out and then take it to our next crop-turned-sewing bee.

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The other side of the room is  basically unchanged. It’s still my scrapbooking, card making, stamping, and die cutting areas. I am finding however, that a lot of my old stash is easily transitioned to my sewing. For example, all my buttons, ribbons, and fibres that I  used for card making can also be used to make lots of fabric embellishments. Many of my dies can cut fabric, too, which makes them useful for applique. [Oh, and it drives me crazy on the Create and Craft TV channel when they say a-PLEE-kay instead of -- I looked up the correct pronunciation just to be sure -- APP-li-kay.]

So now I have to put together my dress form. It’s still in a HUGE box, so I have no idea what’s ahead! I’ll post a photo when I get her up and ready to greet the public.

Sunday, 29 March 2015

All about Time

Wow.... it's Sunday afternoon and I just had a much-needed little nap in the recliner. So many thoughts are running around in my head today......... mostly about time.

First, we changed the clocks today. We're now on "British Summer Time". I spoke to my son in Texas last night and he said they'd changed already to "Daylight Savings Time". I just find this absurd... why change at all? Or just leave it as "new time" and we "save" daylight all year round?!

Anyway, the "Style" magazine in the Sunday Times today is all about bringing back the fashions of the 1970s. More time distortion, IMHO! I can't say I look back at the 70s with any fondness. Not the fashions, not the culture, not the music (well, except for the Bee Gees perhaps), and certainly not my life in that decade. I started out as a married woman and had my second child in 1972. By the end of the decade, I'd just about lost my way.... divorced, went halfway around the world to live and work, and barely knew who I was anymore. Maybe a little nostalgia is okay but I certainly wouldn't want to revisit it! Big hair, wild fashions and colors in both clothing and home decor (who would want "avocado green" and "harvest gold" kitchens and bathrooms, deep orange shag rugs, macrame plant hangers, and ugly furniture?), a winding down of a horrible chapter in history called "the Vietnam War", and a feminist movement that derailed many of us. Not me, thank you.....

Yet, if you look at the sewing patterns now available, there is a real push for nostalgia there, too, called "Vintage" fashions. How funny! I remember making some of these when I was a teen-ager. The full skirts (and teeny-tiny waists) were actually popular in the late 1960s.

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One of my best friends (about 1961) in school was Evelyn Hildreth. We were just babes of course!  Her mom sewed for all Evelyn’s brothers and sisters (and there were many, I seem to remember). I’m sure she made this one or one just about like it for Evelyn.

I had a white dress with a full skirt and tiny straps and I thought I was just the “bees knees” in that dress, especially as I was always nice and tan in the summer. I can tell you, however, that our waists were NEVER quite THAT tiny!

 

 

 

confused s7009 The "shift" dresses (short, shapeless, simple to sew) were also popular in the late 1960s to the early 1970s. I'm sure I had some dresses made exactly like these in high school.

I read today that Simplicity pattern company has invested $1.2million in some machinery that reproduces and remaps these old patterns, and they’re now re-issuing them under the “Vintage” label. You can find patterns all the way back to the early 1900s.

But the prices have changed. Look at the Vintage ad below. The price has increased from 15 cents to 15 dollars, a one-hundred times increase!

 

vintage1920s I do think, however, that these 1920s dresses are among my favorites. They look so feminine. Unfortunately they didn't have the wash-and-wear fabrics we have today, so everything had to be handwashed unless it was plain cotton, with lots of ironing. No thanks to that malarkey  either!

So time marches on, then. And here I am, after all these years back into sewing again.

Tomorrow I’m going to post a video of my craft room since it’s been reorganized since the last one.

Oh, and sorry about all the US spellings: organize/organise, favorite/favourite, etc. I do know better, but it’s just easier and I have visitors from both sides of the pond.

Monday, 23 March 2015

Tisket a-Tasket and A Pink Craft Basket

As a member of our local South Street WI, I volunteered to make a basket to sell at the Annual Conference Meeting this week. All the WIs in East Kent will descend upon Margate for a day of WI business, a little entertainment, and a keynote talk by Michael Portillo, the journalist. I'm really looking forward to it.

The baskets can be for any theme, so of course I chose crafts. Last time I bought a beautiful little basket of sewing goodies, which I then gave to the woman who looks after our dog when we're away. At that time I wasn't into sewing so much. Now I'm not into papercrafts so much, so I just pulled from my own stash to fill this basket:
I loaded it with stamps, stamp pads, embossing powder, punches, packs of card blanks, and lots more. Sadly it didn't even make a dent in my stash collection! Even so, at £10 it will be a bargain to someone who does cardmaking or scrapbooking. Even the basket itself cost £4 and there is easily £50 worth of supplies. 

To finish it, I tied a pink ribbon around the basket, wrapped in cellophane, then tied a pink netting ribbon on top. I think it turned out pretty festive looking:


































I just hope that someone else will find it attractive as it's a fund-raising effort for the East Kent Federation of the WI. Who knows, I might find another sewing basket for myself, only this time I'd probably be selfish and keep it!

Friday, 20 March 2015

Organizing for Sewing

I'm slowly (well, maybe not so slowly) getting organized now for my sewing projects. I've got my fabric all lined up and ready. I've organized all my patterns by manufacturer, then by pattern number, and my sewing space is taking over my papercraft space. Of course, I still have a lot of "weeding out" to do of the old crafts, but it's progressing.

My latest acquisition is a sewing box. I spent HOURS looking online for a good sewing box that I could store most of my supplies in, but yet still take along to our sewing meetings.  Everything I found was either too small, too big, or too expensive (DH is beginning to get nervous now about all my purchases!), but then I found this:


 It's called a Prym Jumbo Click Box and it surely IS "jumbo", but very lightweight and I think it's going to be just right. It came with the two boxes (7 liters each) and a lid. I've also ordered an extra box, which will be here next week. 

The plan is to use the top box for small supplies. I ordered a divider insert for that top box and have now put all my small supplies in there: needles, thimble, tracing wheel, seam rippers, tape measures, etc. In the second box, I've got my pinking shears, dressmaking shears, bobbin box, bobbin winder, and other things that wouldn't fit in the divider.



This is the divider insert. Several people online have said they use this system for their sewing supplies, also, and have found it ideal.

I'll use the bottom box, when it comes, for storing things like fat quarters, interfacing, batting, quilt rulers, etc. as the need arises.

My only complaint would be that the little "click" bit to open the box is pretty stiff and I can see a broken fingernail in my future. I'll just have to remember to go slowly and maybe use a key or something to pop it open until it's been opened a few times.

I've also spent much too much time online looking at sewing rooms. Just try a google search for "sewing room images" -- or Pinterest search for similar.... you'll lose a couple of hours! And then there are the sewing forums, the sewing online shops, and... take a deep breath... the YouTube videos for every kind of sewing technique, sewing project, sewing room decoration, or anything else related to "sewing".

I found a project on YouTube for making a cell phone ("mobile" phone in the UK) case that is just what I've been looking for. That will probably be my next blog post!

And thanks to the people who have left comments. I get very excited when I think someone has bothered reading this!