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Quilted Fabric Thread Catcher Tutorial

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I’m so pleased to share this make with you all. Such a pretty little fabric basket that could be used for a number of other uses, and as usual with me – fairly quick to make using small pieces of fabric.

You will need:

  • 2  coordinating pieces of  fabric. Out of each piece of fabric you will cut 2 rectangles measuring 8″ x 10″
  • Quilting wadding (batting), or medium to heavy weight interfacing. From this you will cut 2 rectangles measuring 8″ x 10″
  • Pins
  • Fabric scissors or a rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen (not essential you could use an ordinary pen or pencil if you are careful).
  • Ruler
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board

Before you start it is always a good idea to iron your fabric. This ensures that your fabric pieces are going to be nice and neat and a perfect size.

Cut out the 2 pieces of fabric which you have chosen to be your outer bag, the 2 pieces of fabric which you have chosen for your lining fabric and the 2 pieces of wadding or interfacing.

To make your quilting stitches neat, you will need to take your 2 pieces of wadding and mark out a diagonal grid pattern. I started by marking this out using a vanishing fabric marker pen, however my lines disappeared more quickly than I wanted so I decided to use a regular pen for this. Take care if you choose this method that your pen lines will not visible through the fabric.

You will also notice that I marked out these lines using an 45 degree angle. Do not just draw them corner to corner as this will result in uneven and wonky diamond shapes when you stitch it. I marked one line first and then used the width of my ruler to make even parallel rows of lines thereafter.

If you are using iron on interfacing, you will not need to do this. Simply iron your interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric pieces which are going to be the outer bag pieces.

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Take one of the wadding pieces and place it on top of the wrong side of one of the fabric pieces which will be the outside bag. Pin in place. Repeat for the other wadding piece and outside bag piece.

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Take these pieces to your machine and stitch along all of these lines. Take care not to miss any out!

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Continuing with these pieces, place them right sides together and stitch around both sides and along the bottom edge (leaving the top edge open). I used a 3/8″ seam allowance. Take care if you are using a directional fabric that you are sewing it the right way up!

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Press the seams open as well as you can. This is a bit awkward and I used my tailors ham/sleeve pressing roll for this. Next you need to pinch the bottom corners in order to make your bag stand up nicely. Pinch each bottom corner to make a triangular shape and pin. Measure 1.5″ from the point and draw a line across at this point. Repeat this for the other corner. This is hard to explain, I hope the photographs help you to understand this.

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Take to the sewing machine and sew along the lines you have marked. Cut away the excess, leaving a small seam allowance.

 

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Great! Then you can turn the bag right sides out.

To make the lining bag, place the two lining pieces right sides together and sew along both sides and along the bottom edge – but this time leave a gap of approximately 3″ along the bottom edge. This gap should be large enough for you to pull your bag through at the end. Again be careful if your fabric is directional – think about how it will lay when it is made up and which way up it will sit when the lining is rolled over to the outside, and choose what will be your top edge and bottom edge accordingly. If your fabric has no directional print you don’t need to worry about this.

When you have done this you need to pinch both bottom corners just like you did with the outer bag, pin, stitch and trim excess. Again if you can press the seams open at this stage it will look neater when it is finished.

Place the outer bag inside the lining bag. The right sides of each bag should be facing each other. Pin all the way around the top edge and take it to the machine and stitch all the way around this edge.

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Turn the bag over and you will see the 3″ gap that you left open when you made the lining bag. Gently turn the bag ‘right side out’ by pulling the outer bag through this hole.

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Now it’s time to close the opening in the lining bag. Pin the opening closed and either machine stitch the opening as close to the edge as you can, or hand sew it closed. I chose to machine sew it because I was feeling lazy however this will create a little ‘ridge’ along where you have sewn. It is not particularly noticeable but if you want a neater finish I would suggest you hand sew it using a ladder/slip stitch.

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Push the lining bag inside the outer bag now and you’re almost there. Pin all the way around the top edge and machine stitch all around this edge. This will stop your outer or inner bag slipping and looking messy. This is the finishing touch and as well as serving a purpose it really gives the bag a professional finish.

There you go, you’re all done! You can leave it as it is or roll the top over to expose the pretty lining fabric which is what I will do with mine.

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I made this basket from 2 fat quarters. There is enough left to make another basket, so if you were using 2 fat quarters maybe you could make one for yourself and one for a friend – after all it doesn’t have to be used for threads only!

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Thanks for reading! I would love to know if you are going to have a go at making one of these, and what you are going to use it for.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Lovely Day out at the Leicester Dressmakers Meet-Up

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I was so chuffed when I heard that Sarah and Freya from Crafty Sew and So in Leicester were going to arrange a meet-up, I have been counting the sleeps! Leicester is my home turf so naturally I was all over it.

The day started with an informal gathering at Kai Kitchen Cafe in St Martins Square. This is very conveniently situated just over the way from the Crafty Sew and So shop. I’ll be honest, this was the most difficult and nerve wracking part of the day for me as I’m pretty shy, and walking through the door to meet a group of strangers was a little difficult for me to say the least.

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However I was very warmly greeted by Freya, and a large gathering of very friendly sewists, many of whom were also there on their own, and before long the room was buzzing with laughter and excited conversations. It was the perfect opportunity to break the ice and get to know some very lovely people. Delicious food and drinks were consumed, and after an hour or so we were ready to hit the fabric shops.

The weather was a little cold unfortunately, but never mind at least the rain held off. We headed off and were first shown The City Rooms where the upcoming Dressmakers Ball will be held in May. From there it is just a short walk to the market where our shopping began.

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Stuart’s Fabrics in Leicester market
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Ash Fabrics in Leicester market

Time to move on, and next we were taken through to Odeon Arcade which is the home to  Material Magic. Lots more purchases were made before wandering over to a lovely little haberdashery shop called Button Boutique, in Malcolm Arcade. This really is a great place to stock up on all your sewing notions and it has the best choice of loose buttons of anywhere I know.dressmakers-meetup-5

Finally it was time to move on and walk back round to St Martins Square and the warmth of the Crafty Sew and So shop. We were welcomed with tea and very delicious looking home made cakes (what a shame I’m on a diet), and given the chance to take advantage of a generous discount off all items in store.

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Such a welcoming window display

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This place really is a little Aladdin’s Cave of all things sewing. An extensive range of sewing supplies, fabulous range of independent sewing patterns, fabrics, machines, fabrics and a sewing workshop to boot. The team there were friendly and helpful and it really was a pleasant way to spend some time with your friends.

A little while later and it was time to gather to enjoy a talk by Charlotte from https://englishgirlathome.com/ What a delight! This was an informative and funny talk through the world of blogging and vlogging from Charlotte’s perspective and I really enjoyed it.

I thoroughly enjoyed my afternoon. Many thanks to Sarah, Freya and all the team involved with arranging this get together. I was so happy to meet up with so many like-minded sewists and have the opportunity to chat about sewing to our hearts content all afternoon!

I may have made a few cheeky purchases, none of them needed of course, but, well you know…dressmakers-meetup-8

Thanks to all for a very lovely Saturday.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon.

Kathy x

 

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Sew Over It Tulip Skirt Pattern Review

I thought it was about time that I made a skirt. I’ve made lots and lots of dresses lately and I fancied a change. I have had this fabric in my stash for a little while now and knew I wanted it for a skirt. During the Black Friday sale in November I treated myself to the Tulip Skirt PDF and I was excited to make it. I have made a Sew Over It Erin Skirt recently here and loved it, so I was pretty sure I would enjoy this one too!

Is anybody else taking part in the #2017makenine challenge?  This is the first of my nine choices. A good start to the new year!

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So just to let you know that it is only available in PDF format. I must admit I do prefer a paper pattern, but it didn’t take too long to put together as there are only 4 pattern pieces – a skirt front, a skirt back, pocket and waistband. Nice and simple. You can choose to make it in 2 lengths. I chose the shorter length as I am only 5’2″ and it was spot on.

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I was so pleased with my fabric choice. The style of this skirt definitely requires at least a medium weight fabric. The pattern recommends a medium to heavy weight cotton, wool or crepe.

It was quick to make up. I prepared the PDF, traced the pattern and cut it out on one afternoon, and then it only took a couple of hours the next afternoon to sew it up. The pleats are easy to fold if you simply follow the written instructions, don’t try to overcomplicate it and then end up scratching your head for 10 mins like I did. There are photos to accompany the written instructions. I also struggled a bit with the waistband for some reason, but got there in the end!

My only other ‘alteration’ was that I used a standard zip and not a concealed zip as suggested. This was a bit of an error on my part. The pattern calls for an 8″ concealed zip and I was beyond excited to find that I actually had one which was the perfect length and colour already in my stash. Off I jolly well went fitting it to the skirt with my invisible zipper foot on my machine, thinking that the teeth didn’t feel like invisible teeth normally do as they run through the grooves on the zipper foot. It was only as I finished and zipped it up I realised that I had used a regular nylon coil zip, and therefore due to the width of the pull tab it wouldn’t be invisible at all. Ho hum, you live and learn, it doesn’t really matter that much I don’t think. At least the waistband seam matches up pretty well!tulip-skirt-5

I chose to make the skirt without pockets. Unusual, as I normally can’t get enough of them but I wondered that in a skirt of this style whether it would make for too much bulk around the hips. On reflection I don’t think it would have made much difference as they would lay so flat inside the skirt anyway.

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The back of the skirt is lovely and simple. Just a couple of darts for shaping and a nice smooth finish.

I’m really pleased with how the skirt came out. The shape is very flattering, feminine and very wearable.

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I would love to hear if you have made a Sew Over It Tulip Skirt too. How did you get on?

Thank you for taking the time to read my thoughts,

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

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Fabric Coffee Cup Cozy Sleeve Tutorial

Happy New Year!

I ate too much chocolate this Christmas. It’s a fact. This January, therefore, I shall be walking lots and lots. There is nothing better when you come in from the cold outside than a great big cup of steaming hot coffee.

Now that many coffee shops will charge you less for your coffee if you provide your own reusable cup, I reckon we can cut down on paper waste even more by making our own fabric sleeves too! So much prettier than the cardboard version and environmentally friendly too. You will need a sewing machine to make this but it is super simple so is a rewarding project for an experienced sewist, but at the same time very satisfying for a beginner sewist too.

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You will need:

  • Some pretty fabric for the outside and inside of the sleeve
  • Wadding, fleece, batting or fusing to give the sleeve some padding
  • Cardboard coffee sleeve to use as a template
  • Pen, paper and paper scissors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Button
  • Elastic hair tie
  • Needle and thread
  • Point turner or something similar like a knitting needle or chopstick

Before you start you need to make sure that the cardboard coffee sleeve that you have picked up to use as a template fits the cup that you are making it for.coffee2

This is a perfect fit. You will then need to peel open the cardboard sleeve and lay it on some paper and draw around it to make a template. I drew around mine and also added a 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around. Just to mention that this sleeve had no overlap so I knew that my finished fabric sleeve would meet edge to edge. I prefer this as there is no bulky lump of fabric where it overlaps a little, but if you prefer an overlap go ahead and simply add a little more length when you are cutting out. You can now cut around the line you have drawn using paper scissors.coffee-4

Now that we have a template we can cut out our fabrics and wadding. Make sure your fabrics are pressed and free from any creases.  I pinned and cut out two matching pieces of pretty cotton fabric for the outside and inside of the sleeve. If you prefer you could use a different fabric for the inside piece, making it reversible. As I was using a directional print I was careful to place the template so that it was not upside down!  It is also important to flip over the template when you are cutting your second piece so that it is exactly opposite to the first one. I also pinned and cut one piece of wadding from this template.

Time to make a fabric sandwich! Place the wadding on the bottom, then place both pieces of pretty fabric on top of that – the pretty fabrics need to be placed right sides together. Pin this in place. coffee6

Before we sew this together we need to insert the button loop (hair tie). Measure how large the loop needs to be by slipping it around the button and either sew a few stitches in it to keep it in place or wrap a thread around it a few times and tie it off. You need to do this or the hair tie won’t stay closed when you are sewing it together and it will look untidy. coffee5

In my case, the smaller loop will be the loop which goes around the button. Remove a pin or two from one end of the fabrics which you just pinned together and insert the hair tie with the loop that is needed to go around the button inside the two layers of pretty fabrics. In my case the larger loop that is not needed will be sticking out. Also remember that the stitches where you have kept the hair tie closed together need to lie along the line of your seam allowance. As I am using a 1/4″ seam allowance I was careful to place the threads of my hand stitching on the hair tie 1/4″ in from the edge of the fabric.coffee8

Re-pin this edge closed again and we are ready to take it to the machine. In order that we can turn it right side out again when we have finished sewing around the edges I will leave  a gap of approx 2″ along the bottom edge of the sleeve. coffee7

Simply sew around the edges (leaving a 2″ gap along the bottom edge) using your chosen seam allowance (in my case 1/4″). Back stitch a few stitches at the start and finish so that your seam doesn’t pull open when you are turning it right side out. Stitch slowly when going over the hair tie. You may also like to backstitch over this area for extra strength. Snip all 4 corner points to make it less bulky – don’t clip too close to your stitches though! You can also trim back the hair elastic (not shown on this picture) so that you aren’t left with this bulk inside your sleeve.coffee9

Turn the sleeve right side out now. Use your point turner, knitting needle,chopstick or similar to push into the corners to make the points sharp. Take to the ironing board and give it a good press ensuring the raw edges of the opening are turned neatly inside.

Again take to the sewing machine and neatly sew a line of stitching 1/4″ all the way around all four edges. This should catch in the opening that you had at the bottom so that the sleeve is totally enclosed now. If you have quilting skills now is the time to show them and go ahead and make those fancy free motion patterns that I so admire. I, however, do not possess such skills and therefore chose to sew a couple of neat horizontal lines following the curves of the long edges. At this point you will want to give your sleeve another good press.

Place the sleeve around the cup and work out where you need your button placement to be. Hand stitch this in place. That’s it, you’re done! So easy and so so quick.

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Do you have a ‘coffeeholic’ in your life that you could make this for? Or would you treat yourself to this? It is a great unisex gift idea – you could really personalise your gift with fabric relevant to the recipient, maybe it could be a little extra present to give along with a coffee gift card?

If you were wondering, the coffee cup here is from www.lauraashley.com  (a couple of years back), and the pretty fabric used was from a fat quarter bundle purchased from www.hobbycraft.co.uk a couple of months ago.

I do hope you have enjoyed this quick tutorial. As always I would love to hear if you have made one of these.

Wishing you all a very happy new year, stay warm and enjoy your coffee!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Simplicity New Look 6262 Pattern Review – My Christmas Dress.

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Forget Christmas jumpers, I’m a dress girl through and through.

I have had this Simplicity New Look pattern since July, and just haven’t got around to using it. It came free with the July issue of Sew Style and Home and the style is right up my street. As usual there are a few variations that you can mix up to make your ideal dress. I chose to make the boat neck version as opposed to the v-neck style. I also wanted short sleeves rather than sleeveless or cap sleeves.

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The construction is pretty straightforward, suitable for an advanced beginner I would say. Anyone who is confident with zip insertion, gathers and darts will be fine with this pattern, although these steps are all explained very well on the instruction sheet, as always from Simplicity New Look patterns.

The fabric was an eBay purchase, and once again slightly disappointing. When will I learn to resist a cheap fabric on the internet! It is a poly cotton and was a bit of a bargain, however the quality is not the best, but Hey Ho! you get what you pay for and I reckon I will only wear this dress a couple of times a year given it’s Christmas feel so it doesn’t really matter that much. It  has the cutest reindeer and snowflake design and the green background colour is just that of a perfect Christmas tree. So festive! I wanted to break up the colour a little though so decided to insert some berry red piping at the waistline and sleeves and I absolutely adore how it turned out. I will definitely be popping in some piping on more dresses in the future – a great little detail!

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Take your time with piping, your patience will pay off!

Overall I am very pleased with how the dress came out, it’s very comfortable and I will certainly make it again. I would love to make it up it a pretty ditsy floral fabric (Liberty style). Next time I would probably shorten the bodice as the waist is a little low for my body length, easy enough to shorten using the shorten/lengthen markings on the bodice pattern. Also the skirt was slightly too ‘poofy’ for my liking so I slimmed it down a little along the side seams. Oh and as I’m only 5’2″ I shortened the length about 3″. All these things are just my personal preference, I love this pattern and look forward to making up many more versions next Summer.

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I would love to hear your opinions especially if you have also made this dress pattern.

I can’t wait to wear it on Christmas day. Sending you all best wishes for a peaceful and happy Christmas, and I look forward to a busy 2017 with lots more pattern reviews and tutorials.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Tilly and the Buttons Coco Dress Pattern Review

Alright, I know I am a little late to this party, but I have finally made my first Coco dress. I have wanted to try sewing with knits for a while now and decided that this would be the perfect pattern to start with. I picked up this medium weight knit fabric from a recent trip to The Fabric Place in Nottingham (along with some other fabrics which will be making an appearance on the blog at some point)! It’s lovely. Originally I wanted a classic navy/white stripe in a ponte but this was the closest I could get and I’m so pleased with it. The stripe is still there but with a pretty detail to it.dsc04660

As usual there are different options available on the pattern, you can make a top or a dress on this pattern. Choose different necklines, sleeves, cuffs and pockets to make it just right. I chose to make the dress with 3/4 length sleeves and a plain neckline. I also decided against giving the sleeves cuffs as it is likely that this will be worn with a cardigan and I didn’t want any bulk. The amazing thing about choosing this option was that there were literally 3 pattern pieces to cut out! How simple and quick – result!

This was also the first time that I had cut out fabric for a dress using my rotary cutter (only ever used for a little bit of quilting previously). The stripes lined up beautifully despite the dress pieces being cut on the fold -so no stretching or shrinking had occurred during the pre-washing of the fabric. I was also pleasantly surprised that this fabric doesn’t fray! I was very aware of the stripe pattern matching at this stage, so took time to match up my notches. This dress can be made up using your regular sewing machine. I was thinking that the overlocker would surely be needed for a knit project but no, this was all done on the regular sewing machine. No fraying seams means no neatening of them too. Woohoo!

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The sleeves are finished by simply turning them under and zig zagging into place. The same goes for the neckline ( yep – no facings), and the hem. I like the way the sleeves are set into the dress, instead of sewing the side seam and shoulders first and setting them in, the top of the sleeves are stitched in first and the side seam of the dress runs right up the side of the dress and then down the sleeve. Very easy – kind of a cross between a set in sleeve and a raglan. I must admit I did find the sleeves a little baggy. Not a problem but I will make them slimmer the next time I make it.

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Take care with your pattern matching

This is probably the quickest dress to make that I have ever made. I wish I had made one sooner, I love to wear knit fabrics in the Winter months, but it hadn’t occurred to me to sew with it until now. It’s comfortable, cosy and it doesn’t crease – winner. I do love pockets in a dress and the pattern gives you the option of patch pockets, although these aren’t my preference maybe next time I will pop some in-seam pockets, I don’t think this would be too much of a problem. The length was perfect for me, I didn’t adjust this at all.(I’m 5’2″).

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Little details make all the difference

So, another winner from Tilly and the Buttons, and I’m not surprised that I love it. This is my third Tilly dress, do check out my previous posts on the Bettine and the Cleo. Again this is simple enough for a beginner, but should you need help there is lots of advice to be found on http://www.tillyandthebuttons.com/p/coco.html do check it out – it’s brilliant!

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Hope this helps those who, like me, were nervous to work with a knit fabric. I know I won’t look back now. Have you made a Coco? I would love to hear from you.

Thank you again for stopping by, take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Fabric Wine Bottle Bag Tutorial

Don’t panic, it’s nearly Christmas and you’re looking for a quick last minute gift idea –  I’ve got your back. This is such a pretty and thoughtful way to gift a bottle of wine, it takes very little time to whip up and you may well have enough fabric in your left over stash pile without buying any more. I have made it with 2 fat quarters of Makower Christmas fabric from their Scandi collection but it is perfect using any fabric you like for whatever occasion you need a bottle of wine for!

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You will need:

  • 2 pieces of fabric measuring 6 1/2″ x 15″ for the outside of the bag
  • 2 pieces of fabric measuring 6 1/2″ x 16″ for the lining of the bag – note this is slightly longer than the outside pieces which allows for the ‘turnover’ at the top of the bag
  • 2 pieces of fabric measuring 5″ x 2″ for the casing which the ribbons thread through – use the same fabric that you have used for the lining
  • ribbon – the ribbon I used is 1/2″ wide, and I used 2 x 24″ pieces
  • fabric scissors or rotary cutter and board, pins, coordinating thread, sewing machine, tape measure or ruler
  • needle

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Firstly take your 2 small pieces of fabric which are going to be the casing which the ribbon is threaded through and press a 1/4″ hem all the way around on the wrong side of the fabric. You’ll need to do this with both pieces.

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Pin one of the casings on to the right side of one of the outside fabric pieces. I placed it so that the top of the casing was about 2 1/2″ below the top edge of the fabric piece. Repeat for the other casing on the remaining outside fabric piece.

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Take both of your fabric pieces to the sewing machine and sew along the top and bottom long edges of the casings, leaving the short ends open so that the ribbon may be threaded through later.

Next place the two outside fabric pieces with the right sides together, pin, and starting at the top, stitch down one long edge, along the bottom, and up the other long edge. The top edge should remain open. I used a 1/2″ seam allowance for this. Take care if you are using a directional fabric that it is laying in the right direction!

Repeat this step with the lining fabric pieces. Pin them with the right sides together and stitch from the top down one long edge, along one short edge and back up the other long edge. Again you should have one short edge left unstitched. If your fabric isn’t directional then it doesn’t matter which way up it is when you stitch it, but if it has a directional pattern like mine then you will need to stitch the three edges so that when it is attached to the outside bag and pulled through,the turnover  will be the right way up. This only applies to the lining bag – it almost feels like you are sewing it upside down – but trust me when it is finished the one inch band at the top will be the correct way up!

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Although not the best photo, above shows both outside and inside bag stitched around three edges. Although the wrong sides of the bags are shown you may notice that the lining bag (with the little heart pattern) is ‘upside down’. As explained  this means that when it is stitched to the outer bag and turned through the pattern will show the right way up!wine-bottle-bag-6

The next step is to give the bottom of the bags some shape so that they will sit nicely. Pinch open one end of the bottom of one of the bags so that you have a triangular shape. Measure down 1 1/2″ from the point and draw a line across with a pen or pencil. Pin it in place, and repeat with the other 3 corners. Take your bags to the sewing machine and stitch along the lines you have just drawn.wine-bottle-bag-7

When all 4 points have been sewn, trim the edges. The bottom of both bags should now have a bit of shape.wine-bottle-bag-8

This is the fun bit. Turn the lining bag right sides out now. Place it inside the outside bag so that the bags are inside each other with their right sides together. Make sure you match up the side seams. Pin into place. Again using a 1/2″ seam allowance stitch around this open edge leaving a gap of approx 2″ so that you can turn it through to the right side. You will probably need to remove the extension table on your sewing machine and just use the free arm as this opening is quite small.

When you have done this turn it inside out through the opening you have left and take it to the ironing board and give it a good press. You should be left with a neat little 1″ band around the top of the bag. If you feel that topstitching the top of the bag will help keep it’s shape then go for it! Thread your needle and sew the little opening closed with neat small stitches.wine-bottle-bag-10

Time to thread the ribbon, starting from the right side of the bag thread the ribbon through the casing to the left side, take it around to the back and thread through the casing back through to the right side of the bag again. Repeat with the other piece of ribbon but starting at the left side of the bag and threading it the opposite way around to what you did before. I used my fancy new ‘elastic glides’ from Hemline for this but you could simply attach a safety pin and thread it through using that too. Take care not to twist the ribbon, it will look much better if it lays flat in the casing.wine-bottle-bag-11

Tie the ends together and slide the ribbon around so that the knot is hidden inside the casing and Voila! You are done. Pop your bottle inside, draw the ribbon tight and there you have a beautiful fabric wine bottle bag – so much prettier than those bottle bags you can buy from the shops

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Made for each other..

I hope you have enjoyed this blog post, I think it makes that boring bottle of wine so much more special. Let me know if you give it a go!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Tilly and The Buttons Cleo Dress Pattern Review

The day I saw that Tilly and The Buttons had released a pinafore dress pattern was a great day for me. I had been trawling the internet for a decent pinafore pattern for a very long time and whilst I could find patterns with bibs and ‘skater’ style skirts I couldn’t find any with this all in one style with no waist seam. This was perfect! Last Winter I had admired a couple of patterned pinafores I had seen in the shops and this was what I wanted my Cleo to look like.

I was very excited to read that Tilly and the gang were going to be hosting a Cleo sewing party on November 26th, where you could share your progress on Instagram. Do check out the hashtag #sewingcleo for tons of inspiration. I very much wanted to be a part of this so the pattern was promptly ordered and whilst I waited for this to arrive I searched for my perfect patterned Cleo fabric. I ordered a gorgeous cotton drill from eBay – bit of a risk but it was just right. The only other supplies I needed to buy were a couple of buttons as I already had black thread, interfacing and some leftover lining fabric.

I chose to make the mini length version of the dress, which was perfect for my 5’2″ height. There is a knee length version with a front split if you prefer it longer. I also only cut and used the top pocket as I decided the hip pockets would not be flattering on my shape. I  decided to use buttons as the fastenings, as I thought using dungaree buckles would be too tricky – I am really happy with the button finish but have seen so many versions online made with the buckles that next time I will definitely be giving them a go. They can’t be that difficult can they?

As always the instruction booklet is superb. Great step-by-step photos and written instructions guide you through this project easily and it sews up in very little time – it would have been even quicker if I hadn’t chosen to line it. It’s a perfect pattern for any skill level. I must admit I prefer to cut out my pattern the day before sewing but on this occasion I wanted to do it all in one day.cleo6

I was concerned that the weight of the fabric would make the pocket too bulky to lie flat but this was not a problem and I enjoyed the placement of it and the topstitching. I love a bit of topstitching!

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Simple buttons and more topstitching

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I chose to line the dress with some pretty emerald green lining as I know this will always be worn with tights, and I hate it when dresses and skirts ride up over tights. It was simple enough to do I just cut the lining with the front and back dress pattern pieces and lay it on top of the dress pieces and tacked them into place. Easy.

It was such fun to be a part of the Tilly community for the day, I am thrilled with how the pattern came out – I may cut it a size smaller next time. If you love Tilly and The Buttons patterns too you may like to check out my Bettine pattern review on the blog. I am also currently just finishing my first Coco dress and of course that pattern review will be on the blog too very soon.

I love the finished dress, and I know I will happily make many more, I will probably try a corduroy or denim for my next one, or even a pretty upholstery fabric…

Have you enjoyed making a Cleo? Did you take part in the Cleo sewing party too?  As always I love to hear from you.

Thanks for joining me here and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy xcleo5

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Christmas Tree Bunting Garland Tutorial

December is here, which means it is time to think about putting the Christmas tree up and decorating the house. Several years ago I wanted to make some bunting to decorate our staircase, but didn’t want regular triangular bunting so I made some in the shape of Christmas trees. Each year they come out and I love them, and as this is the first Christmas that I have been writing my blog I thought I would share with you how to make them. They are very quick and easy to make. If you can sew a straight line on a machine then you are good to go!

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You will need:

  • A Christmas tree template. Print off from the internet or sketch your own. Mine is approx 18cm tall
  • Scraps of pretty fabric for the ‘front’ of the trees, these need to be slightly bigger than the size of the tree template
  • Interfacing or polyester wadding to give the trees some structure. I chose to use the polyester wadding as I think it bulks it out just enough to give the trees a bit of body
  • Plain fabric for the ‘back’ of the trees
  • Bias binding or cotton twill tape
  • Sewing machine and thread
  • Pinking shears or fabric scissors
  • Star shaped buttons, needle and thread

Directions:

Firstly cut out your Christmas tree template. Roughly cut out a scrap of pretty fabric, some wadding and backing fabric just a little bigger than the size of the tree. Layer them so that the backing fabric is on the bottom, the wadding is in the middle and the pretty fabric is on the top. Finally place your Christmas tree template on the top and pin in place.dsc04599

Take your fabric to the machine and carefully sew around the edge of the tree, sewing as close to the paper edge of the template as you can. This just requires a straight stitch on the machine – when you change direction remember to leave your needle in the down position so that your fabric doesn’t slip.dsc04601

Unpin and remove the template. Your fabric should now look like this.dsc04602

Now you need to cut around the outside edge of the stitching using pinking shears or regular fabric scissors. I use pinking shears because I like the effect this gives. Take care not to accidentally snip your stitches.dsc04603

Repeat this with as many trees as you like!dsc04604

If you haven’t already, decide on the length of the bunting you want and cut your tape or binding to this length. I am using bias binding to hang my trees from so I folded it in half along its length and machined it together, encasing the tops of the trees inside the tape at regular intervals as I went. I also sewed little loops at each end to make hanging easier.dsc04607

If you are using a thicker tape that doesn’t require folding in half then simply attach your trees with a few hand stitches through the top of the trees. When all your trees are attached to the tape finish them off by sewing a pretty star shaped button to the top.Perfect!dsc04624

You’re all done! Now all you need to do is hang your garland and enjoy it! You could embellish your trees with buttons, sequins or ric rac if you wish – let your imagination go wild!dsc04620

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I hope you have enjoyed this and will have a go at making them yourself. Let me know how you get on, I would love to hear from you.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

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Sew Over It Erin Skirt Pattern Review

This skirt has been on my wishlist of things to make since it came out in September. I love the idea of a pattern eBook capsule wardrobe and had been seriously considering making a purchase of this when I came across this pattern free inside Simply Sewing Magazine. I must admit I had first been attracted to the magazine because of the free Fold Line Joni dress pattern. Imagine my delight when I discovered that part one of the Erin skirt was included in this issue too! It gets better – the paper pattern pieces were included too – not even a download to print off and stick together. Just dreamy!

After I had finished making the Joni dress (check out my review on the blog), I couldn’t wait to make the Erin skirt. I have admired so many versions of this popping up on Instagram, and I knew I wanted a knee length button-front skirt this Autumn/Winter to wear with warm tights and boots. Lush.

The pattern was incredibly simple to follow, with clear images as well as written instructions. Although these were the instructions from the magazine I would expect them to be the same as you would receive if you purchased the eBook.

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I love all the topstitching details in this pattern.

Part one in issue number 22 takes you through cutting out, darts and pockets. The second part in issue 23 completes the skirt by taking you through adding the waistband, hem and buttons and buttonholes. I particularly like the slanted pockets on this skirt.

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Love these buttons, I originally wanted wooden buttons but when I saw these marble effect beauties I knew I had to have them!

I chose to use a soft denim with a slight stretch which was perfect. No interfacing was necessary for this fabric choice. It sewed up really quickly, nothing complicated at all. There is a fair bit of topstitching required ( on the pockets, skirt front edges and waistband), so I was super slow and careful when stitching these parts as any wobbles would be noticeable, but my patience paid off and they all came out nice and neat. I chose an olive green thread as this gave a lovely contrast to the denim without being too crazy.

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I only needed 1.5 yards of fabric as I made the shorter version of this skirt. I’m 5’2″ so thought the longer length would drown me, and as I know I will be wearing this mostly with tights I chose to line it with a pretty bright emerald green lining. Can’t be doing with my skirt sticking to my tights can you? I’ve never lined anything before and it was a doddle and apart from being really practical it gives the skirt a really fancy finished result!

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I will definitely be making this skirt again. I would love it in a nice corduroy or cotton drill. Imagine it in a fabulous African wax. Yes please. The only thing to be careful of when using denim is to watch where it has been folded on the roll. If it has had a fold in it you may find a line in the denim as I discovered on the back of my skirt and waistband. Never mind it’s not too bad – I have learned to watch out for this next time I use denim.

It also came out a little on the small side for my measurements. I think this must have been an error on my part and that I must have cut the wrong size as other reviews of this pattern don’t seem to have found this. Silly me.

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This has been my first experience with a Sew Over It pattern and I was thrilled. I have been following Lisa and the Sew Over It team for a long time now I don’t know why it’s taken me so long to make one of their patterns. I am really interested in the other patterns in the City Break collection, and would love to try the Molly top and dress, so cute and comfortable I imagine.

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Love my garment labels – the finishing touch!

Have you made the Erin skirt too?  I would love to hear about it. As always I’m delighted that you are here and I hope this will inspire you to make this easy cute wardrobe staple.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x