Category Archives: Miscellaneous

Scissors Cases & Clam-shaped Pouch

I originally had 4 metres of the Red background floral printed cotton that I have been using for the sewing accessories. I checked the amount left and thought I had better check to see there was sufficient for a dress. There was and I will be posting photographs etc., as soon as the hem has been finished. So back to some more accessories…..

I used a couple of TNT patterns to make 2 scissors cases. The large one will take pinking shears and dressmaking scissors whilst the smaller one is just right for a small pair of scissors plus a stitch ripper. I used a double button for the closure on the large case and a White KAM snap on the small. Neat!

Regular readers of my blog will have seen several versions of the clam-shaped pouch (sometimes referred to as a ‘dumpling’). This iteration was made using some leftover Bosal ® wadding with a plain White poly/cotton lining. I have run out of Red zipper pulls so instead used White plus some Yellow hair bungees for the pulls.

Now I have just two more small items – an extra small pouch for my wonder clips and a small storage ‘bin’ for odds and ends to put by the side of my machine whilst I am working.

Then finally, I will have used just about every scrap of the 4 metres and move onto dressmaking projects that have been cut out and are ready-to-sew:- a spring-themed cotton print dress and two jersey tops.

Needle Organiser

Needle Organiser (C) New Threads Quilt Shop

Over the years I have found several ‘must have’ accessories that make my sewing life easier. This needle organiser designed by Meg Leach of New Threads Quilt Shop is just one of those items.

“Have you ever wondered what needle was in your sewing machine? Do you lose your needles or get them mixed up? Keep track of them with this handy needle organiser. Whenever you put a needle into your machine, place the daisy-headed pin in the appropriate section of the needle organiser and you will never wonder again.”

I have made many of these organisers to gift to my sewing friends and of course I needed to have a coordinated one to take on the Sewcial Retreat.

The panel is printed onto cotton which is then bordered with 1.25 inch wide strips and a backing added. I insert a piece of thick card (which stops the needles poking out at the back) before stuffing firmly with polyester toy filling.

Completed needle organiser does exactly what it says on the tin!

Machine Needle Storage Pouch

Now that I have a smart new needle organiser I also needed some form or pouch or purse in which to store new and unused needles. I was inspired by the clear vinyl pockets that are in the Sew Sturdy Sewing Organiser by Annie Unrein and also the Peek-a-boo pouch by Caroline Fairbanks-Critchfield featured on the sewcanshe.com website. This roll-up pouch seems to be the answer.

I cut a long length of my chosen outer fabric, layered it up with some trellis pre-printed wadding and quilted. I then layered up some plain White polyester cotton which I quilted in channels approximately 1 inch apart.

I cut 4 pieces of clear vinyl the width of my outer panel x roughly 3 inches deep. I made bindings for the tops and bottoms of each vinyl panel from 1.25 inch printed fabric. It was easy to slide the vinyl into the folded bindings and because there was fabric top and bottom, the machine coped well with feeding the fabric through for stitching.

I placed each vinyl pocket onto the lining panel and stitched the bottom edge of each binding. I then basted the sides to the lining panel. Next was the slightly more difficult bit of stitching as the vinyl kept sticking to the underside of the foot. However, with determination I succeeded in stitching sections through each pocket to make a total of 12 sections.

I added a Gold sparkly bungee loop to the top edge of the outer panel together with a ‘handmade’ faux leather label. I placed the outer and lining panels right sides together and stitched around both long edges and the short edge where the loop was basted. Turning through to right side out was a little fiddly and I carefully pressed the fabric, taking care to avoid the iron coming into contact with the vinyl. I turned in the final short edge and hand stitched closed.

I folded up the pouch and checked button placement. I found this lovely ‘jewel’ button in my stash which is the icing on the cake!

Now that I have a pouch for my woven fabric needles, I need to make a second one for storage of the jersey/stretch fabric machine needles but that can wait for another day……

Daisy the Dachshund Pin Dog

Daisy the Dachshund

As part of my new coordinated set of sewing accessories that I want to take with me to the Sewcial Retreat in Oxford next month, I have just completed a new Pin Dog. This is a favourite TNT pattern that I have made many times. For this set of accessories I am using some pretty Red-background floral cotton print from Fabricland that has been in my stash for a very long time. Even after making the Sew Sturdy Sewing Organiser featured in an earlier post plus the pin dog and a couple of pouches, I will still have sufficient fabric remaining to make a dress- but maybe not to wear to the Sewcial Retreat!

Daisy came together quickly and easily, the only real points to take special care of is the matching of the notches for the head gusset and the underbody gusset.

I used polyester toy stuffing, making sure that the tail and feet were well-stuffed before moving onto the head and body. Once fully stuffed, Daisy has her belly closed with some neat hand stitching. Her eyes are two black glass-headed pins that will be replaced with drawn eyes once I am completely happy with eye placement.

Finally, a pretty gold collar from a hair bungee to complete.

What I made in 2018

Be warned – this post is text only. A post of my favourite makes will follow shortly.

A Happy New Year to my readers – I know that there are not many of you but hopefully my subscribers will increase in 2019, especially if I finally manage to get a You Tube channel operational!

I have checked through my notebook of all the projects I made last year – phew! There were a lot! NINETY FOUR to be precise. But be advised – some were only very small, quick and easy projects and some were fails though thankfully not too many were the latter.

In 2019 I will be shopping my stash of patterns and fabrics for two reasons; 1 to reduce the quantity of sewing ‘stuff’ around the house and 2 – saving funds to be spent on experiences, travelling and making memories.

I will also be concentrating less on quantity and more on quality – I feel a need for some slow sewing to feed my soul.

When working in the financial services industry I needed formal business attire and when acting as President of a Women in Business Club, some ‘smart’ outfits. Now that I am fully retired my wardrobe requirements are much more for casual (and comfy!) garments to keep me warm in the winter, cool in the summer, emphasising any good figure features and hiding the bad. Although some people may think that dresses are less casual, I prefer them to separates although I have a feeling that I have made many tops throughout 2018.

Some of my working life skills have transferred to my personal life – I love a spreadsheet and from that I can see exactly which type of garments I have made most frequently, which fabrics stores and pattern companies I have used and more importantly what I need to concentrate of making in 2019 to fill gaps in my wardrobe.

My initial thoughts regarding which type of garment most frequently made has been borne out in the analysis of the spreadsheet. Twenty-three dresses and twenty-eight tops with only three pairs of trousers, two jackets, one gilet and just one skirt. I will continue with my love of making dresses but maybe cut back on the number of tops, although I still want to find my perfect raglan-sleeved top and tie front cardigan/shrug (to wear with sleeveless dresses). I usually wear tops and tunics with leggings, jeggings and jeans although I do also own a couple of RTW denim skirts. I don’t feel a particular need to make more skirts as they are my least favourite garment to wear. I would like to make a coat to wear over my full-skirted dresses, some fancy pyjamas for the sewing retreat and a pinafore dress as I have only one RTW denim version in my wardrobe.

Analysis of patterns used shows that only 9 projects were made using the major pattern company designs, Indie patterns are most definitely my preferred option. Fabrics were purchased mostly from Fabricland, New Threads Quilt Shop and the Textile Centre.

This analysis of my sewing through 2018 has been most interesting and informative. I will be continuing with my record-keeping and see what 2019 brings.

Rookwood Sewing Retreat Day

Just before I fell ill with chronic Bronchitis I, together with my great friend, Adrienne, attended the Rookwood Sewing Retreat Day. This has become an event held twice a year when we like-minded sewing enthusiasts descend on the Rookwood School for a day a sewing, chatting, eating and downright 100% enjoyment with our sewing sisters!

On offer were several projects to make starting with a Jelly Roll Rug, mat or bag, something that seems to have taken the internet by storm.

Jelly Roll Rug by Lizzie

Jelly Roll Place mats by Lizzie
Jelly Roll Baskets

I had prepared by bringing along a jelly roll, some pre-cut wadding and plenty of pre-wound bobbins as I knew that the project was particularly ‘thread hungry’.

Before commencing on that BIG project, we were also shown some clam-shaped zip-top pouches.

Clam-shaped Pouches

They looked really cute and the pattern was available in several sizes from extra small to extra large. As I knew that I would be needing some form of pouch or bag in which to put Christmas gifts, I started the sewing marathon with a Medium-sized pouch.

My completed Clam-shaped Pouch

During the day we undertook a block stitching challenge which was really well-prepared with all the triangles of fabric pre-cut. All we had to do was stitch into the CORRECT order and ensure that we kept to a strict ¼ inch seam allowance. All the completed blocks were then drawn and distributed to lucky winners to make up into a project of their choice. I was unlucky but Adrienne did win a set of blocks with which she was delighted.

We stopped for a delicious lunch to which everyone had contributed. All very tasty.

After lunch I started on the mammoth task of the jelly roll. I intended to make a bag which I continued stitching at home. I can only say that this turned out to be the most unusual-shaped bag that I have every made! Banana-shaped!!

Banana Boat Bag (Minus handles!)

We ended the day tired but happy, loaded up with a head full of inspiration and new ideas for our sewing.

The next retreat will be in May 2019.

Lucky Black Kitty Cat Pin Cushion

I have promised to offer an alternative to the Dachshund Pin Dog at the next meeting of Sprat & Winkle Quilters. I previously made up my first ‘trial’ using a free pattern from the internet.

Free internet pattern

My first attempt – version1

There are several areas that I would like to improve  and so I sat down and re-drafted/redesigned the pattern.

I added a long upright tail to the body and spent some time working on a design for the head that would also be included on the body pattern. By doing this rather than attaching the head separately it should do away with the ‘weakness’ that one often gets at the join. We don’t want a floppy-headed Kitty!

I used a fat quarter of Black background cotton fabric from my stash to make version 2 of the Kitty Cat Pin Cushion.

Pattern payout on a Fat Quarter of fabric

First, I made the ears which were turned right side out and folded before inserting into the dart on the side head part of the pattern.

Stitched up and ready for stuffing

Unfortunately by not paying attention, one of the ears is folded the wrong way and I think they are a little bit too ‘perky. They need to be wider at the base and set slightly lower down the side of the head but for this trial version I don’t think that it matters a great deal. I found that I still needed to make the darts in the leg parts of the underbelly gusset as otherwise Kitty would have legs splayed out flat rather than standing on all four paws. There is a gusset for the head which still needs some refinement as I think it looks more like a terrier dog’s head. Stuffing took a while, starting with the tail, moving onto the back legs, then the head and front legs and finally the main body.

  

Version 2 – Ready to play!

I feel that I have nearly perfected this project. Hopefully the next version will be the definitive Kitty Cat. Miaow.

Kitty Cat Pin Cushion

As mentioned in previous postings, I regularly make and teach ‘how to’ a Dachshund Pin Dog.

Personally I am more of a cat lover so thought I would make my very own Kitty Cat Pin Cushion.

After surfing the internet I came across a free pattern for Terry cat. (http://dollmaker.nunodoll.com) that I printed off.

The instructions were rather sparse and were originally been designed for construction from towelling, so it was a good thing that I have previously made stuffed toys.

Here is the first version of Kitty made from a scrap of fat quarter of quilting cotton. I have used a felt tip pen to draw in her features. She is not perfect as her head definitely requires some ‘finessing’. 

For now though, I have a ‘jumping off point’ to perfect my pet pin cushion.

Fabric covered Lever Arch File

I always find it difficult to find the perfect gift for teenagers.

Inspired by this project when it was featured on Sewing Quarter I have made a version for my friend’s daughter’s 16th birthday.

I used a pack of fat quarters from New Threads Quilt Shop plus some fusible wadding and a length of plain White polyester cotton from my stash. I had previously purchased a kit for a similar project featuring gardening print fabric, so had the instructions to hand. I also watched the you tube video (Sewing Quarter 7th February 2018) to clarify a couple of points of which I was unsure. If you want to make this project, be aware that the seam allowance is ¼ inch which I could not find mentioned anywhere in the instructions.

   

The construction went easily enough as I made a strip of patchwork pieces from 5 of my different prints, fused the wadding and worked a few rows of quilting. The only slight confusion arose when I was folding the ends of the work to make the flaps at each end into which the file is slipped. I especially liked the glitter clear plastic vinyl that is used for the label pocket on the spine.

I hope to purchase an eyelets kit as I plan to make the coordinating inserts using eyelets to place the envelope pocket and zip pocket into the file. The gift has to be completed by Wednesday so tomorrow I shall be on the lookout for eyelets!

SEW SOUTHAMPTON – 28TH JULY 2018

Yesterday I was fortunate enough to be able to join with over 30 like-minded ladies (and 1 gentleman) on a get together arranged by Sian, Gemma and Clare.

We met at the entrance to John Lewis at west Quay Shopping Centre for general introductions and group admiration of each others hand made garments. Sian arranged for us to be grouped together into ‘mini groups’ (not compulsory!) and goody bags were distributed.

We then invaded the Haberdashery department of John Lewis. There was a fair selection of fabrics and ‘habby’ but I think, like me, most were saving themselves for Fabricland and Ikea!

We retired to Ed’s Diner for lunch, Halloumi salad and a Diet Pepsi (!) where I shared a table with Laura.

Next, onto Fabricland which is the largest of their stores that I have visited, it even had an ‘upstairs’ (although personally I don’t think there was any more variety and stock than the Salisbury store). I was very restrained and purchased a single length – 4 metres of a pretty (and for me fairly subtle) cotton print.

Not quite sure what it will be but at time of writing has been overlocked and laundered, just waiting to dry.

By now I was pretty much exhausted so left the others to refresh in ‘The Slug and Lettuce’ before going on to IKEA.

A straightforward drive home before collapsing into an armchair and enjoying a fresh cup of tea!

This morning I checked out my goody bags, as just by chance I was given two! Lots of discount vouchers, brooches and badges, Spoonflower sample set, business cards and fabric!

A fabulous day out that I thoroughly enjoyed and cannot wait until the SEW SOUTHAMPTON TAKE 2.

Pearl’s a Singer!

For my birthday next week, my DH has bought me an old sewing machine! Not as bad as it sounds. The old machine in question is a Singer Featherweight ‘born’ just 14 days after me some X years ago. Pearl’s a Singer (Elkie Brooks song – see what I did there?) is a Centenary edition of a famous machine produced in the Singer factory based in Kilbowie on Clydebank in Scotland.

In 1933 when the first Featherweight machines were displayed at the World’s Fair in Chicago, the domestic sewing machine market was dominated by big heavy machines usually housed in cabinets or on treadles. The Featherweight appeared on the scene and was immediately hugely popular. It was marketed as the ‘Perfect Portable’ and salesmen predicted that it would be passed down from mother to daughter and beyond. It was compact and came in its own small box and moreover it was easy to maintain. Today, 48 years after manufacture ceased, it is highly sought after, especially by quilters who love its perfectly formed unique lock stitch. The 221 version was made both in the USA and Scotland where it was called the 221k. From 1933 – 1969 3.5 million of these 221’s were produced so there are still plenty out there looking for a good home!

Over the years that the 221 and 221k were produced there were only small changes in its appearance. Pearl’s a Singer is an early model with a ‘gothic’ faceplate and has Celtic Knot decals .

It is possible to date each machine using the serial number underneath and that is how I was able to obtain a machine ‘born’ in the same year as me.

With very many thanks to Lizzie I made contact with ‘featherweight Phil’ who restores these machines beautifully, he makes them safe and does not charge the earth! Should you wish to contact Phil to purchase your own featherweight – contact him at philip.enstone@virgin.net.

My DH was delighted to be able to purchase such an appropriate gift for me and I can’t wait to settle down and stitch!