fabric

A little sewing, repurposing garments, a little quilting, a little musing

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Been a little productive, craftwise, in the past few days, sorting fabric and playing with repurposing some charity shop bargains.  I have ideas to make new summer tops and a pair of culottes.  Having cut out two commercial paper patterns, realised I am so inbetween sizes and  thought about past disasters  I am jigging those patterns so finished garments will hopefully fit me in the right places.  I am not the body size or shape I wish I was (oops! too much good living and too much time spent sitting!)

So I bought a huge men’s shirt for less than £3.00 – am cutting it up. I llke the fabric but it has a stain on it so bought it for the fabric not the garment itself.  I have also taken apart a gorgeous broderie anglaise dress I had two years ago, it had a huge snag on the front (grrr, the washing machine ‘ate’ it!).  I have chopped into it to make a sample fitted top, making sure the darts are in the correct places, then will use it as a sample as a pattern.

I bought some beautiful linen trousers too.  They were made for someone with the longest legs ever – so I have rehemmed them to fit (I actually have long legs but these were ridiculous!)   Also a blouse, which was too short in the body, I added a trim to the bottom and voila – perfect for me.  In fact I wore this combo to work yesterday – so can’t show it off as it’s now in the laundry pile – will show off pics next time.

So, for a pic today …. I have chosen one of a bag I made for a friend last year.  A little quilting, lots of fun I had one Sunday afternoon.

quiltbag

Thanks for reading my blog post(s).

A week of stitching

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Over the Easter weekend I was poorly, but I did get a little stitching in before the weekend and a lot (a lot!) since then. I’ve been having a sewfest (if there is a word – or if there isn’t one, there should be).  It’s been like an obsession.  Whenever I could I sat and stitched, pieced fabrics together, played with design,  patchworked, quilted, sorted fabrics, etc.  I’ve made mistakes, undone the mistakes, restitched, rejigged old patterns, browsed sewing books and so on and so on.  It’s been total indulgence in my crafting world.

I started with the beginnings of a bright green and orange quilted playmat, the cutest nursery prints, mostly fabrics donated to me by a very good friend.  She heard I was sorting out my stash and thought she would add to it. It was so much fun chopping up fabric and piecing it back together.  The top went well and I was on a roll!  In fact, we sat and quilted together. The backing was not quite as successful… more later.

Next I undid a peg bag I had started two weeks ago – I wasn’t pleased with it, slightly skew on the measurings.

pegbag
Second time lucky – ta dah!

 

Then I was sorting through some more of the fabric from the same friend. I found the beginnings of a baby patchwork quilt – I asked what she might have been making and for whom – she couldn’t remember! There were random sized strips stitched together – the prettiest designs in pinks and yellows.  I turned it into a bag, lining it with dotty pink fabric from my stash (so I did get to use some of my fabric after all).  I tried to follow a pattern in a book – which presumed you knew a lot about making bags – well, that was fun (sarcastically said, there was more than one attempt with the lining and a lot of frustration!)  Still, you learn a lot as you go sometimes, and I learnt a lot this time!.

tote

Then I still had some of the same fabric left.  I pieced it, backed it, quilted it, chopped it, added a zip – and voila – a fabric pouch. I based this on a previous project, which I still use as a make up pouch.  However, my own one had nasty raw seams inside.  This one, has posh french seaming. Having only done french seams once before I was quite proud of myself. Now who wouldn’t be happy to have this for girly bits and bobs such as hair accessories?

fabricpouches
And then that pouch got a brother – in blues and greens – maybe not for hair accessories this time –  for a picnic bag/day out bag to store tissues and wet wipes 

You can see a few things went well.  Back to the first project, that baby quilt.  I attempted the backing, totally off kilter – I was still feeling under the weather.  I should never craft when I am poorly. Whether it’s sewing or knitting, it just does not go well! So, off came No 1 backing.  A trip to a fabric shop later (why is it sometimes your stash does just not have the right fabric for the job?)  and No 2 backing was perfect.  Just to add the quilt padding, stitching the opening and then maybe hand tying, or maybe not – when finished it will be on show here.

As for what’s going on around me the rest of the week? We are currently having a new roof on our house.  There is noise and chaos surrounding me! I am squirrelled away indoors.  Occasionally I step out of the front door, look up for falling debris, before offering the roofers more tea and biscuits.  A happy builder is one full of tea and biscuits I find! So far, so good. Two skips full of 80+year clay tiles, one wasps nest discovered.

Bye for now.  Back to creating.

In need of knitting and sewing therapy – so thankful for this morning

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padded coathangers 2 nov 14What a shattering week it has been.  A week of disappointments and frustrations.  I am over tired, have been over-wrought and thank goodness the week is almost over itself!  (It’s now Saturday afternoon. When do you say your week begins, Sundays or Mondays?  For me it is Mondays.  I digress…)

A frustrating week: buses were late, trains cancelled, colleagues absent, work extreme, teenager a ‘stroppy’ teenager.  The weather turned cold and chilly, the skies were grey all day and to see photos on line of my hubby in the Dubai sunshine enjoying his holiday (oops, business trip!) added to the despair of the week.  Disappointments briefly: work ethic not being appreciated, being a good mother, being a successful wife.  There were a few bright lights, namely a morning spent with friends on Thursday and a satisfying parents evening giving praise to my teenager (no strops that evening from either of us, wahay!).

When I am a lone parent for a few days I revel in the chaos of my life and home.  I rule the roost, I tidy when I want to (usually half an hour before anyone else comes over), I craft more and generally have a ‘break’ from week to week routine.  This week it just has not worked out that way.  The knitting did not take off – I kept running out of time to knit – my time management sucked.  The sewing remained on the dining table space, left neglected and unloved.

So thank goodness for this morning! Look what I made – mine is the navy spotted one.  Four friends met and sewed together.  The lovely Carrie helped us make a padded coathanger (one friend popped in to say hi, sup a coffee and did not stay long, so did not sew).  This has been a project on the back burner for months.  Twice we had arranged to meet and make it but with all of us and our chaotic lives it wasn’t until today that it actually happened.  Friends, sewing needles, fabric, girl heaven.  Therapy in a couple of hours.

I fancied a bit of sewing time

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Imageng, I have a stash of fabric as well as a stash of yarn. I’ve always dabbled with making things. Watching the Great British Sewing Bee recently has really spurred me on to get the sewing machine out again. The programme’s participants skill and knowledge astound me but I also love that they get it ‘wrong’ sometimes too.  It is so real!  I wouldn’t say sewing comes to me as easily as knitting does but I learn more techniques as I make different things. Perhaps other people make things quicker but I am enjoying what I am doing and that’s important to me.  If I look back at some of my ‘disasters’ I can still laugh at myself !  I remember a cotton summer top I made about 4 years ago. It was always too long and didn’t fit properly as the facing was too stiff.  It lived in a drawer for a whole year, then the next summer I jiggled with it and loved wearing it so much that the colour faded and it look quite jaded by the end of just one season.

My mother was a dressmaker when I was a very little girl.  When us children went to bed mum would sew for her customers. I guess we just got in the way and we lived in a little house so there wasn’t much space for cutting out when we were up and about. She was very skilled and passed on a little knowledge to me, though I don’t think I was really interested at the time.  Oh, what I would give to have her here now. It now seems a shame to have lived my teens through the 1980’s when it was more ‘fashionable’ to buy cheap foreign imports and not make my own garments.  I have memories of my mum fingering ready made clothes, saying ‘look at that price, you could make it for a lot less!’, whilst I grimaced and dreamed of owning something not homemade!  I hated my homemade school uniform in particular, but I think I got off lightly compared to my sister who definitely had more than me.

So, here’s just a little pic showing things I made this week. I am on a bit of a pincushion frenzy! 

Bunting

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Bunting

Classic Fabric – time to string out the bunting!

A fabric bag, a little head-shaking and confusion on the way!

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sew bag no 1I investigated my fabric stash at the weekend and discovered I have too much beautiful fabric to leave it sitting in the cupboards and not being shown off.  So, I made a bag!  I wouldn’t say I am a very confident sewist (I blogged on Saturday about saying ‘sewist’ or a similar word, ‘stitcher’ was a good suggestion for someone who sews too).  I am not a very competent one either, however I now have something I am proud of.  I won’t be showing the finishing off to too many people, “admire from a distance”, I shall say, but one project down and many more to go. I used a pattern called Sea Of Flowers in ‘Patchwork Bags’ by Search Press (their Love to Sew range of books).  It has turned out kind of how I thought it would but I think the writers presume you know quite a lot about sewing already, and it’s classed as an easy project (one ‘heart’ in difficulty, rather than 2 ‘hearts’).  

To the detriment of my usual hobby, I have neglected the knitting for a few days, although I did a few mini triangles in lime green and white whilst I was being driven to London on Saturday afternoon. I shall be putting them together to make something very soon. What’s the latest project?? You shall have to wait and see.  I have carried my bag of knitting into work for two mornings but it just went along  for an outing as I didn’t knit at work at all.  I was at my ‘non’ knitting job but thought I might get in a few rows in a break. There was no break – it was all hands to the deck both days. Oh well ..

I love my new sewing group! Are we deemed sewists? A bag to make, knitting still too!

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I had such a fabulous morning at my sewing group.  It is very new and we are all just starting to get to know each other. I took along fabric and pattern books to cut out the pattern for a lovely, big, voluptuous bag, however we were lucky enough to enjoy a spot of sunshine so we sat on the deck and chatted about past, present and future projects instead.  Our host had the perfect venue for a bit of ‘time out’ and despite not starting the project I do not think it was a waste of time or anything like that. I so enjoyed picking up hints and tips and planning things we are going to attempt as a group and as individuals.  I think I may be one of the more inexperienced sewists but will try my best.  I can’t wait to produce something I can show off to everyone – although it’s a bit scary having shown everyone a photo of what it should look like! I make no promises mine will be as professional!

I was thinking about the word ‘sewists’.  Why are we ‘sewists’?  Why not ‘sewers? Well, obviously when you see it written down it has different connotations!  However, why aren’t knitters called ‘knitists’ or plumbers ‘plumbists’ and electrians ‘electricitisists’ and so on? There are probably linguists out there cringeing when they see this.  I guess there is an easy explanation. 

Now I have sorted out all the fabric I have – oh my, there’s an awful lot there – much of it was ‘hiding’ in a cupboard untouched for months.  I have knitting still on needles too, that is my first love.  I have my work cut out (and lots of pleasure) for the next few weeks, don’t I? Yippee.

Happy crafting everyone.  I shall chart my progress, big or small.  Tonight I am doing a ‘taxi’ run for my son who is out at a concert.  I am already missing that crafting time at home!