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.


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.


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.


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!

Monday, 16 March 2015

Owl's Things with You?

Our craft group met on Saturday. We can't really say "crop" anymore, because we're all into sewing now! Blame it on the Great British Sewing Bee, I guess! Whatever the reason, we're all thoroughly enjoying this new twist. On Saturday, each of us brought a sewing machine, so there were six of us going! What fun!

It did get a bit noisy but we didn't mind. We've gone from scrapbooking to cardmaking to Project Life to beading to knitting and now sewing.
Sometimes change is good.

That's my machine in the foreground, or rather its case. I'd already finished at this point and Barbara had moved her machine temporarily. Andrea's and Hazel's machines aren't in this picture.

Everyone said they're having lots of fun rediscovering the joy of sewing. I highly recommend it!  Our group has been meeting for the last eight years (!!) and we really look forward to getting together once each month to catch up on news, encourage each other's craft efforts, share patterns and tools and expertise, and of course share the all important cups of tea/coffee and pieces of cake or something similar. 

Barbara was making a round cushion. Diane was working on a pincushion which would be similar in style to Barbara's cushion, but on a smaller scale of course. Andrea was making a patchwork jewelry (yes, that's the American spelling of "jewelry") case and Hazel was working on a small quilt. Hazel had some stunning hexagons that she'd embellished with scraps of lace, ribbon, and doo-dads.

Hazel's Hexagons

How beautiful are these?! I'm afraid I don't have the time or patience for these, although Hazel says they're really quite quick to do. She used some beautiful dark blue silk.

She really did a beautiful job on these and used all sorts of odds and ends from her left overs.

And what did I make? A precious little owl pincushion from the book, Simple Patchwork Gifts by Christa Rolf. I have a couple of her other books, too, and love them. She provides the patterns and easy-to-follow instructions for each project.

The lighting on this owl makes it look very yellow in the photo. It's actually got no yellow at all, however. The felt piece on the eye area is actually off-white.


We just returned from a short break to Bournemouth and I found a shop called Fabricland. Oh my.... I thought I'd died and gone to heaven. Hundreds of rolls of fabric - all sorts - and inexpensive. I bought several pieces for clothes and for more "projects" like bags, aprons, etc. So now I'm off and running!

So much fabric, so little time!

Tuesday, 3 March 2015

Yes, I am!!! I'm doing it!

I finally have started sewing again. I suppose I'm weird because it takes me forever to actually DO anything. When I start thinking about a project, I'll buy a few books, collect a few websites in my Bookmarks/Favorites, spend lots of time dreaming about it, then... if I haven't lost interest by then ... I'll actually start working on it. So first, I had to drag out my sewing machine:
My Brother Innovis 600 - sadly neglected for about 4 years!

Of course, then I had to play awhile on scraps to make sure it still worked. It took about 30 minutes just to figure out how to get the self-threading needle to work! But it didn't let me down. It still sewed a near-perfect stitch. So I proceeded to cut out my project.

I decided to start small just to get back into the swing of things. I chose a little owl pincushion from the book by Christa Rolf titled Simple Patchwork Gifts. It's got all kinds of cute little sewing projects.

Christa Rolf's book

After I cut it out I realized I needed some rick-rack for the trim on the apron, so from my boxes of ribbons, I chose one that was perfect with the fabric. But although I have boxes and boxes of thread, I didn't have any that were THAT color, so off I went into town to get one little spool of lime green thread. Well, that took about 45 minutes as traffic on the (only) main street was snarled up with two buses, a big cement lorry ("truck" for those in the USA), and a fire engine (apparently just passing through). This main street is only wide enough for one car at a time in most places, so you either have to back up, to wait until the oncoming car can pass, or whatever. In this case, a black BMW got tired of waiting and drove on the sidewalk! It reminded me of traffic in Iran when I lived there.

But back to my story:  Once I got the thread, I was off and running. I now have it all cut out, the apron is done (thanks to the lime green thread!) and I just need to hand-stitch the apron on the front and the felt face to the front body. Here's the work in progress:
The various pieces in their raw state.

It's beginning to take shape!

It's going to be so cute! Of course, hand-stitching isn't my thing so it will take a little while to do that among all the other things (non-sewing) I'm doing. Once these are hand-stitched, I have to sew the front and back body pieces, then the wings, and of course stuff it all.  I'll post the final picture once that's done.