Appliqued Scatter Cushion

Oh look. Here I am showing off a basic cushion. Blogging has hit new and exciting heights, people.

diy heart applique scatter cushion

Looks like a cushion, smells like a cushion, acts like a cushion but it is so much more. This is an urgent reminder that I can actually sew. This mere cushion is a symbol of the end of my hibernation period. I’m back, bitches*.

*AND WITH EVEN MORE ANNOYING GIFS. YOU’RE WELCOME.

My triumphant return began with a desperate need for curtains in the new house. Let me set the scene: New house. No curtain poles. Crippling fear of drilling holes in new walls. Lack of skills to install curtain poles, even if I wanted to. ‘Temporary’ solution of tension curtain rod in the bedroom that could only hold the weight of 2 sheer voiles before crashing to the ground.  Daylight streaming through the window at 4.30am. Waking up at 4.30am every single morning. Fixing that problem by buying 2 SUPER ATTRACTIVE sleep masks. ‘Temporary’ solution remaining for 8 weeks. Finally caving and admitting that we need actual curtains. Charging the drill and assembling all the parts necessary for curtain pole installation. Chickening out and calling my dad for help. Make my dad do the job while I critique his work. Finally have functioning, light-blocking curtains. Halle-freaking-lujah.

After hemming the curtains to fit the window I had some left-over fabric and this was the outcome. A very simple cushion, zip and all, will an appliqued heart motif because I’m so original.

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I basted the heart to the cushion first then used a really tight zig-zag stitch to enclose all the edges to make sure it wouldn’t fray. I think this is probably the first time I’ve done any proper applique-ing and I actually found it pretty therapeutic.

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I padded it with a cheap Ikea pillow form and it’s now happily residing on our cloud-like bed. Thank goodness for simple and satisfying projects!

Christmas Bedroom (part 2)

Earlier this week I was all excited about my new Christmas bedding and the joy hasn’t subsided one bit! I was contacted by the lovely people at Aspace* who challenged me to make a Christmas decoration for my bedroom. Cue me running about Hobbycraft the mothership like a mad-man on the hunt for supplies 🙂 Once the hysteria dissipated, I composed myself enough to gather everything I needed to make a couple of festive cushions to compliment my Christmas bedding 🙂

merry bright diy chritmas cushions

I’m certainly feeling merry and bright, even in these dark mornings. The one problem about loving your bed so much is that it’s a MAJOR struggle to leave it for 10 hours every day. These cushions were pretty simple to make. Not to mention that the supplies are easy to find and they certainly won’t break the bank! I used about 1m of calico fabric, an A4 sheet of red adhesive felt and 1m of pom-pom trim to make both cushions.

First I printed off a template of my words, cut out the letters and stuck them (wrong side facing down) onto the back of the adhesive felt. Then I cut round each letter carefully and was left with my two words. I then peeled off the backing of the felt and stuck each letter down onto a 50cm x 27cm rectangle of calico fabric. I sewed around each letter using my free-motion quilting foot on my machine. This is the part of the process which took the most time. It was a bit fiddly but you could totally skip this step by using fabric glue on the back of each letter to secure them instead. I quite like the stitched look, though!

diy merry and bright cushions

The next step was to cut four 50cm x 25cm rectangles of calico. Hem one long side of each piece – I just used a zig-zag stitch for a decorative effect. With that done, I then laid 2 pieces of the calico on top of the piece with the letters, making sure the hemmed edges are in the middle, and sewed around the outside edges with a straight stitch.

festive bedroom cushions with pom pom trim

Once the cushion was turned right-side out, I attached the pom-pom trim to the top and bottom edges of the cushion with a simple straight stitch. I really love the effect this gives the cushion – it’s even more festive now! To make them all plump and lovely, I ripped apart an inexpensive Ikea pillow form and stuffed each cushion with filling. The great thing about making your own cushions is that you don’t have to stick to a set size or buy an expensive form which I love.

I’m really chuffed with the final product and now my bedroom is certainly ready for Christmas. Thanks to ASpace* for setting this task! Definitely check out their range of home-wears, and for you guys with kiddies, they have an amazing selection of Children’s furniture.

*Collaborative post. All views and opinions are my own.

 

Wonder Tape

I’ve recently discovered the wonders of Prym Wonder Tape and I need to share it will all of you!

prym wonder tape stay tape

This probably isn’t new to the advanced sewists amongst us, but to me it was an absolute revelation! I LOVE sewing with knits, that’s no secret. However with certain fabrics I’ve had a bit of trouble stopping them from warping and stretching out of shape. Case in point: The most cringe-worthy example of this is shown below:

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Silly, silly Amy! I will say that this disaster occurred whilst using a walking foot so I did at least try to take some precautions before I battered in. Anyway I’ve held onto this piece for quite some time now in the hopes that I can salvage it. I’m not optimistic but now with the help of my new BFF I should avoid failures like this in the future! I really love it because it’s so easy to use – just place the tape around the folded edge of the neckline, take off the backing and fold under again. Not only does this stabilise the hem, but it also negates the need for pins as everything is glued in place. Once you’re finished, bung it in the washing machine and the tape will dissolve leaving you with a beautiful finish. I LOVE this stuff.

prym wonder tape stay tape

prym wonder tape stay tape

So you have any sewing tools that you just can’t live without? Let me know as I’d love to try them out!

Colette Wren Dress

I’ve been sewing! After wearing myself out over the summer I didn’t make a single thing for 8 whole weeks. It was actually quite refreshing so when I was ready to go back to it, I jumped in with a great deal of enthusiasm. My return was actually prompted by 2 patterns; the release of Cashmerette’s Appleton wrap dress and the Colette Wren dress. My past successes with Colette patterns swayed me to start with that, so that’s what I have to show you today!

colette wren dress

My day job’s been pretty intense recently (I’m killing it like a damn boss) so it was about time I mixed up my workwear wardrobe. I think its actually pretty versatile as I wore it on the day that I went straight from work to drinks in town with Roisin, Elaine, Nuala and Elise. We went to Gin71 in Glasgow which I can do nothing but recommend for gin lovers young and old. It was lovely to have a good natter with some fellow sewing ladies and to meet Roisin who’s blog I’ve been following for a while. Seriously, I can’t get over this little section of the internet – everyone is so bloody nice!

I bought this grey ponte fabric from Gold Thimble in Glasgow and the quality really is lovely. It gives a fair bit of structure to the overall dress which was the look I was going for with this version, although I would really like to try the pattern with a more drapey knit too. Speaking of the pattern, lets point out a few things my amateur brain noted when putting it together.

  • I like how easy it is to cut and tape Colette PDF patterns. There’s clear grid lines to trim which makes life A LOT easier.
  • The instructions are very clear without being too hand-holdy which I really like at this stage because I’m pretty comfortable with sewing knits.
  • The skirt was WAY LONG. Like crazy long. I made version 2 with the gored skirt and (stupidly on my part) didn’t even notice the length of the skirt pieces. I swear it came down t my shins! I hacked off 7 inches and then hemmed to get a length I was comfortable with but I wish I had thought to shorten the pattern piece before I cut! The skirt would definitely look better with the intended shaping rather than me having to cut a massive chunk off the bottom. Le sigh.
  • The bodice is a bit of a funny one. I have only ever made 1 other wrap bodice but with this one there is a fair bit of excess fabric at the sides when it’s on. I thought I had maybe secured the wrap pieces in the wrong place but not according to the line drawings. I actually had to unpick this part because the first time I sewed the bodice to the skirt, I ended up with a very wonky waistline. It’s still not perfect by any means but I really don’t know how to fix it! The wrap is also quite gape-y (hence the black tank underneath) but it doesn’t really bother me too much as I hear this is a standard complaint of busty ladies.
  • I like how the instructions have you finish off the neckline seams before the bodice is constructed. I think I might try to do that with more garments as I definitely took a bit of time on this stage whereas usually I end up rushing it at the end to get the thing finished.

So lets have a look at some closer bits… Firstly, I really like the gathers at the shoulder seams but I might extend the basting stitches a bit further than suggested to spread them out a touch more, especially on a bulkier fabric like this.

colette wren dress shoulder gathers

I know I mentioned the bodice is a bit gape-y but I really like how wide the neck bands are.

colette wren dress wrap bodice

Also with my new-found enthusiasm I actually took the time to overlock all my seams.

colette wren dress finished seams

Even with that extra step, this took no more than 4 hours over 2 nights to put together which I’m really pleased with! Even though I’ve noted a couple of problems I had with the pattern I would still make it again (and I already have). It won’t take the place of my beloved Moneta, but it’s definitely a nice alternative when I fancy a bit of a change.

Wardrobe Planning

Happy Friday! I’m singing a big ol’ TGIF today. My week has not been great to say the least. I won’t bore you with the details but let’s just say I’ve had it about up to here points to top of head with one area of my life recently. Needless to say I’m making changes, but those changes take time. For now I will just passive aggressively rant about them on the internet because that’s always a good idea.

So the weekend can’t come quick enough, mostly because my wonderful man-friend is indulging me with a tour of Glasgow’s new-build developments. YES WE ARE BUYING A HOUSE. Not that I don’t love our house right now, but it’s rented and it just makes sense for us to actually own something. Well, own as much of a thing as you can when the bank will technically be fronting 80% of the cost. It’s all very technical and I don’t do well with numbers unless it’s talking about how many metres of fabric I can realistically carry home from the shop without my arms dropping off (the answer is 17.5 FYI).

So hunt for a house we shall! I always said I would like an older house but after a bit of soul searching (read scouring rightmove and zoopla) a new build is probably the best bet for us right now. I’ve seen a couple which are BEAUTIFUL and within budget so fingers crossed they are as nice in person as they are in my head. In-between houses we’re also going to Costco for Sample Saturday – Can I get an Amen?

This has turned into a bit of a brain dump which is quite appropriate considering what the point of this post actually is. I want to say I’m feeling uninspired to sew right now, but that’s not it at all. I want to sew but I have too many ideas in my head of what I want to make. I needed a serious brain-dump of all the things cluttering up my mind so I could make room for a bit of focus. I tried listing the things I wanted to make but that wasn’t hitting the spot. Then the crazy notion came over me to draw what I wanted to make and then BOOM! Clarity. You might be thinking that it should have been really obvious, but let me tell you I am not a drawer. I don’t consider myself arty. I consider myself crafty. So it was quite overwhelming when I felt so much better after drawing my ideas out. The little sketches kept flowing until finally I was 3 pages of A4 down with a blunt pencil in hand.

sewing imspiration

After all that, this it was easy to pin-point the things I want to make right now. I’ve narrowed it down to 3:

  • A Sewaholic Davie dress with contrast panels which will become a good piece for the office.
  • Simplicity 1801. Thanks to Rosin I now need this dress in my life. I’m planning on making it in a knit fabric which after a bit of research does seem to work. I actually own a RTW dress like this and I’ve been dying to make another version. This pattern is basically spot on and will be a cute dress for an upcoming holiday.
  • Finally I want to forget all about my circle skirt fail and use the leftover fabric to make a more flattering gathered style. I will also remember to interface the waistband and not bugger up the invisible zip 🙂

So even though my sketches are pretty poor, it did me the world of good to get them down on paper. I did a bit of research on fashion sketches for sewing and was a bit bemused as to why all the models looked like stick-men. Surely that can’t be an accurate representation of how clothes will look on the average lady? I believe it is called a croquis and it freaks me out in a BIG way. After a bit more searching I came across Cashmerette’s Curvy Fashion Sketchbook which is way more accurate. I’m really half-tempted to buy one just to stick it to the (stick) man!

How do you plan your sewing? Are you a list aficionado or does sketching float your boat? I would love to hear if you use a fashion sketchbook! If you’ve made it this far thanks for listening to my nonsense vaguely disguised as wardrobe planning 🙂 I’ll be back on Monday with a new DIY project!

Swedish Tracing Paper

Have you ever heard of Swedish Tracing Paper? I hadn’t until a couple of months ago whilst I was in the deep, dark crevasses of the sewing internet. As someone who can’t seem to resist any kind of sewing tool I thought I would give it a go and placed an order with the Swedish Tracing Paper Shop.

swedish tracing paper sewing supplies

So what is it? Well if you can imaging something between heavy weight tissue paper and very lightweight cotton fabric you might get an idea. I would say it’s marginally less transparent than tracing paper but much more flexible.

swedish tracing paper swedish tracing paper transparency

The idea is that it can be used to trace over paper patterns while also having the option to sew pieces together. Yes it can be sewn to test out fit! I’m trying hard this year to work on the fitting of my projects so this very much appeals to me right now!

swedish tracing paper sewn togetherswedish tracing paper sewn together

It’s also easy to use when making adjustments to fit as the marks show up clearly in pen or pencil and there’s no worry of chalk marks rubbing off the fabric.

swedish tracing paper markings

It comes in a 10m roll for £15 which is hella less expensive than fabric for a toile would be. I’ve being using it to both trace patterns and check the fit of garments which really does work pretty well. The pieces sewn together can then be taken apart to use as pattern pieces with all the fitting marks already transferred onto them which definitely saves a step and some time. All in all I think this is quite a handy thing to have in your sewing supplies!

DIY Peg Bag

The weather is finally starting to change and you know what that means…

…I can hang my washing outside! You thought I was going to wax lyrical about summer days and cocktails in the sun, right? Nah, these days I get excited about washing hanging from a line in my back garden. In the spirit of indulging my inner washer-woman, I decided to whip up an overly-fancy peg bag, as you do.

diy peg bag quilted

Not one to do things by halves, this is a SELF DRAFTED pattern for a bloody peg bag. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again now; I have too much time on my hands.

diy peg bag quilted
LOOK! So functional.

What else can I say about my peg bag? Well it’s structure comes from a wire coat hanger that was just begging to be fiddled with. I drew around it one Sunday morning and before I knew it I was cutting, pinning and QUILTING into the afternoon. That’s right, my peg bag is QUILTED.

diy peg bag quilted

I used this pretty fabric from the old stash and bound the edges with some rogue bias binging left over from that time where I made a make-up brush pouch. I swear I lead a fulfilled life.

Anyway I was practically giddy when I finished it, only to be brought back down to Earth with a hard smack when I showed it to Ian. “It’s quite good,” he shrugged, “but what was wrong with the little basket we already had?” I refused to dignify that with an answer and barricaded myself if my craft room for the rest of the day. I don’t need that kind of negativity in my life.

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I love my peg bag.