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Oven Glove and Pot Holder Tutorial

 

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At the end of last year I noticed that @ute_ig and @sanaeishida on Instagram were hosting their 4th #2017sve – a wonderful secret Valentine exchange opportunity where you submit your details over to them and they secretly let you have the details of someone to make a handmade item for. I have never taken part in this before but as soon as I saw it I was all over it!

When you receive details of your Valentine swap, it is up to you to try to do a bit of detective work to tailor your gift to their taste. I noticed that my partner enjoyed recipe writing, so decided to make her something that she could use in the kitchen.

The oven glove and pot holders were fairly simple to make, and I was pleased with the outcome. My partner had divulged that she liked blues and grey and simple geometric shapes so although the idea of this swap is that you use fabric and items that you already own, I popped to the local fabric shop as I didn’t really have any fabric at home which met her criteria. I chose 3 coordinating pieces of Gutermann fabric from their ‘ring a roses’ range. I pre-washed these fabrics before sewing as I didn’t want any shrinkage after they were made. You will also need some heat resistant wadding for this project rather than regular wadding.

Before I started, I used one of the fabrics to make my own hand made bias binding. I have written a tutorial on how I did this here

The measurements for this project came from me simply measuring my existing oven glove and pot holders. You can of course adjust the sizes as you wish, but I was happy with the size that I was already using.

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To make the Oven Gloves you will need:

 

  • 2 rectangles of pretty fabric measuring 75cm x 20cm
  • 1 rectangle of heat resistant wadding measuring 75cm x 20cm. I used a brand called Insul-bright
  • 4 squares of contrasting pretty fabric each measuring 20cm x 20cm
  • 2 squares of heat resistant wadding measuring 20cm x 20cm.
  • bias binding – approx 3 metres
  • rotary cutter and mat or fabric scissors
  • small plate or something similar
  • Clover Wonder Clips or pins
  • sewing machine and matching thread
  • a walking foot for your machine is useful due to the thickness of this project

I started with the rectangles first. You will need to ’round off’ the corner points of each of your rectangular fabric pieces and your rectangular wadding piece. To do this simply place a small plate or saucer on each corner and mark the curve and cut to shape! Place one of the rectangular fabric pieces right side down on the table, then place the rectangular wadding on top of that. Finally place the other rectangular fabric piece of the top, right side up. Clip in place using your Clover clips or regular pins.

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You will need to machine quilt these layers together. I wanted to keep this simple and just wanted a nice grid of criss cross diamond shapes (there is probably a word for this design in the quilting world that I don’t know about)! So I marked one 45 degree line in the centre of the rectangle in one direction and one 45 degree line in the centre of the rectangle in the other direction. I simply sewed these lines in place on my sewing machine using my walking foot. I then used the L shaped bar attachment that comes with the walking foot as a guide to make sure all my other lines of stitching were equally spaced and parallel. I also think it is a good idea to start in the centre of your project and work outwards.

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This was probably the most time consuming part of the whole project, but very rewarding when you are finished and left with beautiful neat rows of stitching.

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Next we need to repeat what we have just done with our square pieces of fabric. These will ultimately be the ‘gloves’ of the oven glove. Layer up the squares in the same  way as you did for the rectangles. You will have 2 separate squares to quilt this time. Clip or pin them together and use the same plate or saucer to trim 2 of the corners from each square this time – do not round off all 4 corners on these pieces! – just 2 on each square.

Take your square pieces and take them to the sewing machine. Machine quilt in the same way as you did for your rectangular piece.

Next we want to add bias binding to your square pieces along each of the straight edges – i.e the edge between the corner points that you didn’t round off. See pic below for reference. This will be the opening edge of the ‘glove’ of the oven glove that your hand slips through each time you put on your glove.

Open out your bias binding and place the edge of the bias against the edge of the glove piece, right sides together. Pin or clip in place and sew along the crease of the binding.

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Fold the bias binding right over to the other side – you may need to trim your seam allowance a little, and clip/pin in place making sure that the edge of the bias binding covers the line of stitching that you have just sewn.

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Take them back to the machine and ‘stitch in the ditch’ along the seam you have just sewn. You will be left with a neat line of stitches on the back of the binding. Pictured below you can see the front and back of the bias after stitching. Trim the ends of the bias binding neatly in line with the edge of the glove.

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Nearly done now! Place one ‘glove’ piece at each end of the long rectangular piece and pin/clip in place. To make extra sure these stay in place and do not slip it is a good idea to stitch them in place around the edge using a teeny tiny seam allowance.

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Finally we need to run the bias binding all around the long edge to ‘seal in’ the remaining raw edges and give it a really lovely professional finish. Attach the bias binding to the edge in exactly the same way as you did before and sew in the crease of the binding all the way around the long edge. Start/finish your stitching on a straight edge rather than at a corner. Don’t worry about the corners, the binding will easily stretch around these curves. Fold it over as you did before and ‘stitch in the ditch’ to secure and you are done! Easy!

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To make 2 pot holders you will need:

  • 4 squares of pretty fabric each measuring 20cm x 20cm
  • 2 squares of heat-resistant wadding  each measuring 20cm x 20cm. I used a brand called Insul-bright
  • Bias binding – approx 2.5 metres
  • Rotary cutter and mat or fabric scissors
  • Small plate, saucer or something similar
  • Clover Wonder Clips or pins
  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • A walking foot is useful for your machine due to the thickness of the layers of this project

As mentioned in the oven glove tutorial it is important to pre-wash your fabrics. Also if you are making your own bias binding you may like to do this first. I have a tutorial showing how to make your own continuous bias binding here

Firstly you will need to layer up your 2 pot holders. Each piece should have 1 square of pretty fabric at the bottom with the right side facing down, then on top of that goes the heat resistant wadding, finally on the top the other piece of pretty fabric with the right side facing upwards.

Again just as for the main piece of the oven glove you will need to clip or pin these and round off all four corners using your saucer/plate as a guide. Do this with both pot holders.

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Again we will machine quilt this by marking one 45 degree angle in one direction and another 45 degree angle in the opposite direction. Sew along these lines using the walking foot on your machine if you have one and use the L shaped bar attachment that comes with the foot to make sure all further rows are perfectly parallel. It is easier to start in the middle of the squares and work outwards.

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After this you are nearly there! If you want to you can stitch around the entire edge of the squares to keep your edges stable. If you choose to do this use the smallest teeny tiny seam allowance as you don’t want your stitches to show after you have edged with the bias tape.

To edge your pot holders with bias binding tape, simply open up the bias tape and place the edge of the tape against the edge of the pot holder with the right sides facing. Pin or clip in place, and simply stitch all the way around keeping in the crease of the bias tape. It is easy to start/finish along a straight edge. Don’t worry about the curved edges, the bias stretch of the tape will easily accommodate these curves.

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When you are done, simply fold the bias tape all the way over to the other side – you may want to trim your seam allowances to enable it to lay flat, and pin/clip the bias tape on the other side making sure it covers the row of stitching that you have just sewn.

‘Stitch in the ditch’ all the way around, and there you have it! Couldn’t be easier!

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It’s fun to  use different fabrics for each side!
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Ta Dah! 

I thoroughly enjoyed making these items for my #2017sve recipient. I do hope that this may have inspired you to have a go too. They are a fairly simple rewarding make and a great gift idea for all sorts of occasions as well as a treat to yourself.

I think you may like to see the beautiful gift that I received as part of this exchange. This pretty bag which has a super practical waterproof lining was made for me by Ann at http://www.sewwatts.wordpress.com and I love it! Isn’t the floral fabric the cutest? Thank you Ann, you have me down to a tee!

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Let me know how you get on, and if you are going to make these!

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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My very first Moneta dress by Colette Patterns

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I am so delighted to finally be able to understand what all the fuss is about with this dress! I have had this pattern since last Autumn and just haven’t got round to making it before now, but since there is a #monetaparty to get entered into I decided that I should maybe have a quick practice run with this pretty floral fabric that I picked up last month from Leicester market during the Dressmakers Meet-up in Leicester organised by Crafty Sew and So  (by the way I think I purchased the pattern from Crafty Sew and So also)! It’s a lightweight scuba fabric but has the perfect drape and stretch for this project.

This is my first Colette Pattern make, and I absolutely loved it. I loved the packaging of the instructions and pattern pieces. They are presented in a little booklet and it is charming. There are 3 options: version 1 is sleeveless and has a collar, version 2 has short sleeves and version 3 has 3/4 length sleeves.

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I chose the 3/4 length sleeves and love them. Although they were a lot shorter than I expected I rather like them like that.

It was so easy to cut out. I used my rotary cutter and mat which always speeds things up. and before I knew it I had constructed the bodice. The bodice has a round neckline and back neckline is fairly low too which I think is so feminine.

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Such a pretty back neckline. Here you can see the twin needle finish on the neckline edge.

Next up is the skirt pieces, and the pockets. Yes! it has pockets. Yippee! Again no problems at all. Up until now I had used my overlocker for everything but decided to use my stretch zig zag stitch (with ball point needle) on my regular machine to sew the side seam and around the pocket edges as I thought I would have more control around the pocket shapes than if I were using the overlocker. It worked out great.

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Check out the pockets!  Also twin needle (ballpoint) was used to hem the sleeves.

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The final part of construction (apart from hemming the skirt) is gathering the skirt to fit the bottom of the bodice. This was the bit that slightly worried me as I have never used the shirring technique to elasticate a skirt waist before. Before I started I referred to a brilliant tutorial by the lovely Abigail here which really helped me. I loved gathering this way and will be using this technique again as it’s really quite fun.

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The length of the skirt was too long for me. (I’m 5’2″ by the way). I ended up trimming off 9cm from the length of the skirt when it came to hemming. No problem to do though, especially when your fabric doesn’t fray, and of course the hem was finished using the ball point twin needle for a professional finish. Next time I will know to alter the length of the skirt using the ‘lengthen/shorten’ markings on the pattern before cutting out!

I am totally in love with this dress. It’s fairly quick to make and nice and easy, plus it’s got to be one of the most comfy dresses I have. One of the most time consuming things about this make was that I used my overlocker, and my regular machine with a ball point needle and my regular machine with a ball point twin needle for this project so there was a small amount of swapping needles/machines etc throughout but really no big deal at all.

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I am waiting for a delivery any day now of some super pretty jersey fabric so that I can make this dress up again but in ‘party style’ to enter the #monetaparty later this month. I am beyond excited with my new fabric choice so do look out for updates on that project either here or on Instagram. Are you entering the #monetaparty challenge? I am loving all the sneak peeks that are popping up on Instagram at the moment.

Have you made a Moneta? Do let me know your thoughts, I would love to hear them.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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Easy Single Fold Continuous Bias Binding Tape Tutorial

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I love a bit of handmade bias. I have made lots and lots of it over the years. Up until recently they were all for dressmaking and accessories. But last week I used some handmade bias to bind the edge of my first handmade quilt – blog to follow. Whilst it is fairly easy to make by just cutting diagonal strips of fabric and sewing them all together, there is an easy way to make a long continuous strip simply with just two seams of sewing and a bit of clever marking out and cutting. Let me show you how!

Firstly, for this method to work, your fabric piece must be perfectly square. So measure carefully as if you are just a little out it just won’t work. My starting square of fabric measured 20″ square. Next step is to make a little mark on each of the four edges of the square. Just a teeny tiny mark that is so small it will stay inside the seam allowances when sewn. I marked a little ‘A’ on both the vertical edges, and a little ‘B’ on the top and bottom horizontal edges.

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Next, cut your square diagonally making 2 triangles.

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This is where you are glad that you have marked your fabric edges. Place both ‘A’ edges right sides together and pin in place. As always when using triangular pieces you will have a triangular point sticking out at each corner edge. Just place your fabric centrally on top of each other and don’t worry about these little sticky out points (technical term right there).

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Take your fabric to your sewing machine and sew along this edge using a small seam allowance of approx 1/4″. Press this seam open.

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You should now have what my 12 year old son reliably informs me is a parallelogram shape!

Now to decide on how wide you want your binding strip to be. I want to finish up with 1″ single fold bias binding. Therefore I will need to my strip to measure twice this (2″) when first cut.

Measure out your desired width (in my case 2″) and draw lines of this width along the long edge of the parallelogram. Make sure you are doing this on the wrong side of the fabric. See picture below. You will be able to get several rows out of one piece of fabric. Almost certainly you will be left with an excess strip which is not quite wide enough (seen at the bottom of the photo below). This will be a small amount of waste that can’t be used.

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Turn your fabric over now and place the two edges marked ‘B’ together. At this point all the lines should match up perfectly. But not for long!

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Right, this is the tricky bit. You will need to shift your fabric pieces so that the the rows are offset by one. Please refer to the photo below to help you. Basically you will have a sticking out piece of fabric at the top and bottom of your piece now. It doesn’t lay flat nicely now but don’t worry about it – although it feels wrong it is right!

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Pin these two edges right sides together. You are going to sew along this edge using a small 1/4″ seam allowance again so make sure that your lines will still match up when this seam has been sewn. A good way to check if your lines will match up when sewn is to pop a pin in the line on one side at 1/4″ from the edge and see if it come through the line on the other side.

Take it to the sewing machine and sew along your pinned edge using your 1/4″ seam allowance. This can be quite tricky as the fabric will not lay flat, it just feels wrong. Stick with it, it will be o.k!

After you have sewn the seam you will notice that your fabric will lay flat again. Take it to the iron and press the seam open as you did before.

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Now the fun bit! Here you will see why it was important to offset your drawn lines by one. You will now cut along the lines you have drawn in order to get one long continuous piece of bias tape. Take care to only cut one layer of fabric as you go – it’s easy to cut the fabric underneath by mistake.

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Hopefully you can see that shifting your fabric you almost get a spiral effect as you are cutting it. Had you left your lines all matching up and not offset by one you would have just ended up with lots of loops when you cut it out. I hope this makes sense it is a little difficult to explain. I really think the photographs should help more than my waffle!

Out of the 20″ square that I started with I managed to get 200 inches of 2″ wide tape! You could leave it like this of course, or follow the next step to make it into pressed single fold tape.

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In order to make it into 1″ single fold bias tape I ran it through my bias tape maker with the iron and there you have it!

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I hope that you will have a go at making this. Do let me know how you get on! After making this tape I used it to finish off my #2017sve gift. Look out later in the month for a tutorial on the secret handmade gift that I made using this bias!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

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Grainline Hemlock Tee Pattern Review

It’s so cold here at the moment, I must admit that although I am a skirt and dress girl all the way, the temperature has forced me into my jeans and jumpers rather more than usual.

Bored with always wearing the same tops I decided to make a much overdue pattern that I have wanted to sew for ages. It’s the Hemlock Tee by Grainline Studios. Better still it’s absolutely free – the lovely guys at Grainline will kindly send you a free download if you sign up to receive the newsletters on their website here . It’s a cute slouchy long sleeved tee, one size fits all, designed to be worn loose and perfect for  drapey knit fabrics.

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The PDF printed out beautifully, lovely clear instructions, measurements, cutting layouts and tips for sewing with knits accompany the simple pattern pieces themselves. The pattern itself only consists of a front piece, a back piece, a sleeve and a neck band. Simple. I also had fun cutting this one out when I rediscovered a forgotten guillotine that my husband has in the office. I will definitely use this again when cutting out my PDF’s.

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Because of the slippery, stretchy nature of the jersey knit I was using I decided to use my rotary cutter and mat to cut out the pattern pieces. This is nice and quick and I love how neat the fabric cuts out using this technique. Also just to mention as this is a one size only pattern there is no pattern tracing to your size necessary- again a time saving winner!

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I found that using lots of pins to keep things in place helped me lots with this project. Jersey is notoriously stretchy and also the cut edges have a tendency to curl over a little so use as many pins as you can to help you keep things secure. I chose to use my ball  point pins so that there would be no damage to the fibres of the jersey.

This top was a dream to sew. So quick to make I couldn’t believe it. I did refer to the Grainline Studios tutorial before I started here and one thing in particular from this that I found helpful and used in my make were the tips regarding the neckband. I think I might have struggled if I hadn’t used the techniques recommended in this tutorial.

I used my overlocker/serger throughout this project. Again such a timesaver, and I love any excuse to use it! It coped with the jersey wonderfully. No stretching, nothing.

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To finish off the neck band, sleeves and bottom hem I used my fancy new twin needle (ball point) on my regular sewing machine. Again I was so pleased with the result, although I was a little unclear as to whether the twin line of stitching should sit below the neck band seam or whether to stitch is so that the twin lines of stitching ‘straddled’ the neck band seam. In the end I opted to sew just below the seam line and I’m happy with how neat and finished this makes the neck line look. I don’t think it would have mattered if I had chosen the other option either. Just a preference I guess. Any way this gives a really professional finish to your work.

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I do know that I will be sewing this top again for sure! The grey marl fabric that I used was only £2 from Stuarts Fabrics on Leicester Market, and what with the pattern being free this was a real bargain top!

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Love the relaxed fit and the dropped shoulders.

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Just to mention a couple of things that I found useful for this project:

  • Ball point pins
  • Gutermann polyester thread, great for knits
  • Ball point twin needle

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And before I go, here’s one for the cat lovers amongst you!img_1007

I love, love, love this top and can’t wait to make more. I would thoroughly recommend it to any beginner because of its simplicity and also how quickly it comes together.

I look forward to making the Scout Tee by Grainline Studios which I recently purchased but as this is a short sleeve I may wait until the weather warms up a bit. I must admit I like the look of the Moss skirt too – am definitely interested in sewing more Grainline projects soon!

Have you made the Hemlock Tee or any other Grainline patterns that you would recommend? I’d love to hear your thoughts..

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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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 http://www.lauraashley.com  (a couple of years back), and the pretty fabric used was from a fat quarter bundle purchased from http://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