Getting my ‘sew-jo’ back

Since we moved house at the end of December and I had a baby in early January, my sewing machine has been lying packed away, unloved. I had reason to get it out last month though when a friend asked me to make her newborn son some personalised bunting for his bedroom. Here it is:

DSC_0311

I love making bunting, particularly the appliqué part, so I really enjoyed doing this. In fact, I made bunting for this little man’s big sister back in July 2014.

Another friend then asked to me make a sash for her friend’s hen do. She didn’t like the look of all the pink naff ones you can get online and wanted something a bit classier. She choose the fabric and I then found some coordinating fabric in my stash for the lettering. I combined bits of two online tutorials here and here, as neither worked fully for the fabric I had. Here’s how I made it, step-by-step.

I took a wild guess at how much fabric I would need, and told my friend to get 1 metre. In hindsight, it may have been better to have gone for 2 metres, as I had to make the sash in two pieces. But, there would have been loads of leftover fabric if I’d opted for 2 metres just to have one single length.

I cut two strips of fabric, 1 metre long by 26 cm wide. This was for a tall bride, otherwise, I may have gone a bit shorter in length.

As advised in the wikiHow tutorial, I added interfacing to the fabric strips.

DSC_0389

I laid the strips right sides together and, having worked out the centre point, marked on the edge of the fabric 2.5 inches from the top, and drew a line to the centre of the fabric, on both sides as below. I then sewed along this line to create the shoulder seam. If you had just one piece of fabric, this would be easier and involve drawing just one line. I later had to adjust the angle (see below).

DSC_0391_1

Then I cut off the fabric above the line/seam.

DSC_0392

I don’t seem to have a picture of this, but at the hip end of the sash, I folded the sash in half, as it would be once sewn, and cut the fabric at an angle, to create a diagonal edge. By cutting through both sides of the sash at once, it ensured that both sides had exactly the same angle.

Having traced my letters onto Bondaweb, ironed this onto my contrasting fabric and cut the letters out, I then ironed the letters onto the front of the sash, ready for appliquéing.

Then I folded the sash, right sides together and sewed 1/2 inch from the edge all around the raw edges, leaving a gap at one end of the sash to turn it out.

DSC_0404

It was at this point, once I’d turned the sash out and draped it over my shoulder, that I realised the shoulder seam wasn’t sitting right. So I had to unpick that bit and recut the edge, this time marking on the side 1.5 inches from the top and cutting on the diagonal from the side, so that there was less of an angle. In hindsight, I think I should have had the diagonal going the opposite way, but never mind…

This time, once I turned it out, it was sitting much better on my shoulder. All that was left to do was join the hip edges of the sash together, about an inch from the bottom of the sash.

Ta-dah:

DSC_0407

I used the leftover fabric to create some matching bunting, about 7 metres long.

My friend kindly sent me a photo of the bride/hen modelling her sash, it looked great!

IMG-20160318-WA0002

My sewing machine has now been temporarily put away whilst I get on with Easter crafts. I hosted an Easter egg hunt on Saturday for 8 toddlers and their mums (madness, I know. But my house actually ended up tidier than before they arrived thanks to their post-Easter egg hunt tidy-up). I whipped up this little sock bunny on Friday, who is now kept company by some felt chicks I made for last year’s Big Comic Relief Crafternoon.
image

Next up, I’m going to attempt an Easter wreath!
 

My 2015 makes

Here’s what I got up to in 2015 …

January saw me complete my 2nd commissioned memory quilt, for a friend’s little girl’s 3rd birthday. It was made up of her baby clothes.

January-1

In February, I made my niece some teddy bear/doll’s sleeping bags for her 3rd birthday.

Feb-1

In March, I finally completed my cross stitch of a West Highland terrier. I made some felt chicks and a mouse as part of the first ever Comic Relief Crafternoon; these were sold at my workplace along with other crafty contributions to make money for Comic Relief. March was a productive month, as I also made another niece a pirate doll for her 3rd birthday.

Mar-1

In April, I had somewhat of a baking disaster. Attempting to make Waitrose’s ‘bunny scones’, mine ended up rather scary looking – very much like they were modelled on Donnie Darko! However, I did have a baking success too, a car-themed birthday cake for my nephew’s 2nd birthday. I also did an embroidery hoop for a friend’s birthday.

Apr-1

In May, I finished my nephew’s memory bear, made from his baby clothes. This was also for his 2nd birthday (the one I made the car-themed cake for). I also made a ballerina doll for a friend’s little girl’s 2nd birthday. The memory bear was probably my favourite make of 2015, it came out really well.

May-1

June and July were fairly quiet months on the crafting front, no finished objects to show. But I did begin knitting a baby cardigan and I’d also begun the bunting for my friend’s wedding. In July, a summer crafternoon was had by myself and some colleagues.

August was the culmination of my months of work making things for my friend’s wedding, at which I was also a bridesmaid. I made about 90 metres of bunting, hay bale covers and heart-shaped decorations, all for the wedding reception. All the hard work was worth it on the big day when it all came together and fitted the colour scheme and festival theme perfectly.

Aug-1

September was another quiet month, perhaps as a result of working myself so hard finishing all the wedding bits in August.

In October, my son turned 2. I made two birthday cakes, one for a joint party with his friends – a chocolate finger and Smarties decorated cake. For my son’s party, I recreated my nephew’s car-themed cake as my son is also car-mad. I also finally finished knitting the baby cardigan I started in June. A little crochet was even involved, to do the edging and buttonholes on the front.

Oct-1

In November, again with work colleagues, we had our annual Christmas crafternoon. I didn’t get any good photos of this, otherwise I would have done a blog post about it. I moved house at this point, so crafting very much took a back seat.

Onto December, and settled into our new house, I made a last-minute sheep costume for my son’s pre-school nativity play. I also did a wreath-making workshop with my Mum – a lovely Christmassy way to spend an afternoon. And, very recently, I finished my second baby cardigan. Unfortunately, like the first one I knitted, this one is also too small for the intended recipient. So, I’ve started a third one and have kept the second one for myself as I’m due to have a baby any day and I’m convinced it’s another boy!

Dec-1

So that’s my round-up of my 2015 makes. Lots of things made for children! This is obviously where my interest lies. This year, I’m hoping to get some sort of craft business going, in the hope that I may not have to return to work from maternity leave in Jan 2017, or at least it’s something I could run alongside work. That’s the dream, anyway! Whether it happens as a mum of two, I’m somewhat doubtful …

My ‘to do’ list for 2016 currently looks as follows:

  • two memory cushions – one to match each memory quilt I made
  • make the hay bale covers from my friend’s wedding into a quilt
  • a memory lion, commissioned
  • poppy tapestry for my mum
  • froggy cross stitch
  • baby cardigan no.3, 3rd time lucky, hopefully this one will fit my friend’s not-so-new-anymore baby

 

What makes do you have planned for the year ahead? I’d love to hear about them. Wishing you a happy and crafty new year!

Kate

 

 

 

 

Flagging

I’ve now cut out 419 flags for the bunting for my friend’s wedding. I’m one of her six bridesmaids. Her colour theme is ‘sunset’ and the six of us are all wearing different dresses, two in each colour: coral/orange, fushia and daffodil. I think it’ll look great.

So, I finally got around to using my new toy, the pinking blade I bought for my rotary cutter. Once I was up and running, I was cutting through 4 layers of fabric at a time. So it hasn’t taken me long to do. MUCH quicker than cutting by hand with pinking shears. 

  

I cut the fabric into 8″ strips, then marked the points of the triangles using tailor’s chalk. No messing around with washable fabric pen this time.

 
I switched to a different bunting template, which left me with 419 flags in total, instead of the 426 I’d calculated.

  
Work has stopped while I await the arrival of my ebay bargain – a job lot of 120 metres of bias binding for £10!

So, I’ve done a little on my cross stitch and, today, I’ve started thinking about the rag doll I’m making for my friend’s little girl. Like my pirate rag doll, she will be based on Laura Hunter’s Mollie the Dolly pattern, which was featured in The Big Comic Relief Crafternoon. Having raided my scraps box, I was toying with putting her in a t-shirt and jeans …
  
But having discovered Laura Hunter’s Facebook page, I’m now overwhelmed by possibilities … Pretty dress or ballerina outfit … Decisions, decisions. 

This week, I’ve also finally embraced Instagram. Better late than never, hey?! You can follow me here, I hope.  

I’m playing around with watermarking my photos, having found that some of my photos are coming up in Google image searches now. I know opinions are divided over doing this, but I read a very compelling argument for doing it here.

Back soon!

Mother and daughter craft time

Third attempt at this post …

Little man and I have escaped the noise of the Farnborough Air Show for a few days in Suffolk with my parents. Having realised on Monday that the bunting I’d offered to make for a friend’s little girl’s 1st birthday needed to be done this week, not next, I brought all the stuff with me.

It was a great excuse to test out /show my Mum how to use her new sewing machine (which is a newer model of the one I have).

She made a patchwork cushion and I made my bunting in one evening. A lovely time was had by all!