I have been very bad about keeping everyone updated – lots of sewing, lots of trying to get organised. I have had a load of custom orders and need to be very sure the requested fabric doesn’t get used for any other projects.
current custom orders:
3 pairs of slippers
5 drawstring bags
2 zipper pouches
2 evening clutch bags
1 phone case
1 Ellen Mouse
2 Dr Who christmas stockings
As if this is not enough to keep me out of trouble, my favourite season is starting to take hold and I am loving the colours and that hint of chill in the air. To celebrate I have been making Cinderella pumpkin pincushions (also perfect for Halloween) with cloves tucked in the stuffing and cinnamon stick stems: available in my shop
The house smells delicious – I am just going to have to make some more!
Of course no Cinderella can carry out her housework duties without a good apron! I am hooked on these little cool and contemporary ones, and they really show off some of the lovely fabric in my fabric stash. My only problem is that it would be nice to include a photo of them being modeled when I put them in my shop and me standing on a chair taking a photo in my workroom mirror just does not cut the mustard…I am going to have to rope in friends and neighbours!
The aprons are fully lined – thank goodness for the fab fabric shop on Green Street in Bath (Fashion Fabrics) as I am getting through quite a bit of fabric.
My non-sewing activities have been taken up with the lovely crab apple tree in our front garden. Last year there were so few apples we left them all for the birds, but this year it has more than I have ever seen. I have already had 5kg and there is still plenty left for both us and the birds.
I am a big fan of cookery books but when it comes to jams and preserves I always come back to Gloria Nicol’s Fruits of the Earth; I do like to tweak recipes though and add cinnamon and cloves and ginger to the fruit when I boil it up before straining.
To finish, I have to share another photo. I just popped outside to photograph the crab apple tree and Rio the cat was in his favourite position on the door mat…he’s even there if you look at our house on google maps street view (not going to put my address here, you’ll just have to take my word for it!)
I love bees – do my best to plant my garden to attract them and am forever taking photos of them – so when I saw this bee fabric in Country Threads in Bath I just couldn’t resist. The bag seemed to be calling out for a daisy and I remembered a tutorial I pinned on Pinterest and made my first Kanzashi flower; certainly not my last as they are so much fun to make!
Years back I treated myself to a bundle of seaside fabrics and you know how it is, some fabrics are so pretty it seems a shame to cut in to them, but finally I decided that this one needed to fulfill its destiny. I love it…and have enough to make another one.
I made a pincushion as a gift with some of this cute Westie fabric but had some left and thought it would make a nice little bag for a dog lover, and was the perfect opportunity to use one of the dog buttons I stumbled across.
Now the new bags have been added to the shop I had better get on with some more sewing – a contemporary apron and then I need to get out the fabric paints to create a couple of Beauty and the Beast panels…eh Karin? Mark has a day off so I might finish early today and get him to help me pick crab apples – the jams and jelly season is with us, and spiced crab apple jelly is my favourite!
A little while back I stumbled upon a little online shop called Viva La Frida that sells wonderful Mexican print oilcloth along with Mexican folk art bits and pieces. The colours and patterns all but throw themselves at you and, just as the wand chooses the wizard, I believe the fabric chooses the project and a bag of Viva La Frida remnants all but shouted at me “bunting and bags!”
Oilcloth is an odd thing to work with. Firstly pins mark forever, so I always use clips to hold it in place and, secondly, the vinyl side tends to be reluctant to feed through the sewing machine, so it is quicker and easier and results in far less swearing if you sew through tissue paper both sides of the oilcloth. Actually the nice people at Viva la Frida provide some hints and tips for working with oilcloth.
The nice lady down the road let me hang the bunting on her front fence to photograph it; she doesn’t even seem surprised by my strange requests these days!
For years I have sorted my fabric stash by colour – the quilter in me, no doubt – but you know these days it’s just not the most useful arrangement. So today I did a stock take and arranged the fabric by type of material and pattern:
plain and background patterns
animal themed prints
Christmas and Winter prints
other themed prints
Not only can I now find exactly what I am looking for but I have reminded myself of what fabrics I have and that has refueled my enthusiasm to make a load more things.
Kilner jar pincushions with sewing kits
Finding I had so much silk and velvet, I put a piece of shot purple/blue silk to good use by adding a pincushion to the lid of a kilner jar. I made one a few months back and now both are in my shop. I have added a simple sewing kit to each jar – I particularly like the vintage style embroidery scissors.
In other news…
After much searching I have found a fabric supplier who also provides details of EN71 compliance, which means that once the fabric arrives I can carry out the CE certification testing on the new fabrics and start making and (hopefully) selling Ellen Mouse!! There are some limitations – no plain brown fabric, so no Freja Mouse production line, and they will all have to have the same pink inside ear fabric, but I am looking forward to getting back to sewing mice. We have visitors next week, so I won’t be sewing (although I may be picking my friend’s brain for crochet help), but soon Ellen Mouse will be back!
Don’t forget I will be making the draw for the lavender heart tomorrow morning! Just comment or like here or on my facebook page.
Bear with me here; I am not used to teaching. I am assuming little knowledge, but if I am teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, as they say, let me know and I will step it up a notch.
I do not believe in rules. I am not one for doing what I am told. If a recipe calls for lemons, I am likely to use limes or oranges…because what do they know? I think the great thing about sewing is that you can read books and blogs and go on courses and then ignore a chunk of it (or all of it) and just do what you want to do. So just consider this an idea to play with as you will.
You can use this approach with whatever fabric you have to hand and you don’t have to use any patchwork, just skip the first few steps and use one oblong of fabric for the outside and another for the inside. For mine I have used quilting fabric – a pack of pre-cut 15cm squares (which some may call cheating, but as I said, I don’t believe in rules, so how can it be cheating?) – which is a light weight cotton. This means the bag is very light and easy to fold up and pop in your handbag. However, it works well with heavier fabric too (old curtains are my favourite), which makes it stronger; you may need to experiment with sewing machine tension and stitch length. I am not going to try to cover using a sewing machine – just look at the handbook, google any problems and perhaps find a blog written by someone with more technical know how than me.
IngredientsMaterials: 8 x 15cm (6inch) squares of cotton fabric (wash it first in case it shrinks), matching thread (or contrasting for the top stitching, if you prefer), 3 x 15cm (6inch) square border fabric and cut each border fabric square in half, two strips of border fabric each 3cm x 72cm (1.25inch x 28.5inch), lining fabric approx 30cm x 72cm (12inch x 28.5inch)*, 2 strips border fabric and 2 strips lining fabric each 5cm x 71cm (2inch x 28inch)
* wait until you have completed the outside layer of the bag as you can use it as a template to make sure the lining is the right size.
Unless otherwise stated, I use approximately 0.7cm seam allowance. This is the equivalent of 0.25inch and on my sewing machine (and I think most machines) is what you get when the edge of the fabric runs along the edge of the standard sewing foot, so is just a convenient allowance.
I like to finish the bag with a ribbon rose brooch, but that is for another day….