Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

The busy girl’s guide to sewing

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

Do you love sewing and/or other crafts and you don’t find time to do anything?  Do you spend hours jumping from blog to blog reading what other people have made and you end up wondering how they manage to do all that and blog about it?  Well, you are not alone, I am the same.  So when I saw Carrie Maclennan’s new book, The busy girl’s guide to sewing, I saw a light at the end of the tunnel.

But then again, I have had this book for quite some time and I haven’t managed to write a review :S  what I have been doing is going through the pages and choosing projects and fabrics to make it.

I like the book for many reasons, it has a very fresh and realistic approach.  It even has a chapter on Making Time!  The answers are not difficult or out of this world, so it won’t ask you to leave your day job, or to avoid going out with your friends, all the opposite it suggest to make friends with similar creative ideas and get together and make something.  Not difficult eh?

Carrie has organized the projects by the time it takes to make them, so you will find pincushions and needle cases in the 30min chapter; Christmas decorations, aprons and phone covers, etc in the One hour or less chapter, and more elaborate cushions, a pouffe and even a skirt made out of a duvet cover in the Four hours or less chapter.

In between projects and chapters you will find a bit more of information about blogging, going shopping and meeting makers.  This book is a truly XXI century approach on sewing.

Now, one very clever thing that the author has done in this book is to break down projects in “chunks”.  What is that? Well, in her own words “the projects have been organized into manageable little blocks of sewing activity”.  You might not have 4hrs to make the embroidered bag, but you might have 30min spare every day and in a few days you will have a brand new bag sewn by you!  Once you get the hand of it, you will probably see every project in “chunks” and you will be able to make anything you want to, regardless of how busy your agenda is.

 

The busy girl’s guide to sewingby Carrie Maclennan is published by David and Charles.

A new skirt

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011

I was looking for a quick and easy skirt to make when I went to my Google Reader and to my surprise the Noodlehead blog will be running a sewalong next week.  I have already done the Proper Attire Skirt so I thought of give it a go at this Simplicity pattern.  I have everything I need, so I just went over the shop and chose a fabric.  Since winter is upon us, I decided to use the soft corduroy in Silver.  I think it will be great, and I have the perfect boots already, and I am sure I have a top somewhere to make a whole new outfit.


So wish me luck, I am terrible at finishing projects, so I thought that joining a sewalong will help me stay focus and get things done.

I tried to take a photo of the lovely cord but the light was terrible, so you will have to wait for images of the finished skirt.

Noodlehead

Patchwork inspired projects by Cath Kidston

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Most of the time when I think of patchwork I think of new modern patterns or traditional simple patterns with contemporary fabrics.  I had almost forgotten that the roots of patchwork was not only to create an heirloom quilt, but to make the most out of fabrics in times long before mass production.  The new Cath Kidston book, Patch!, has reminded me that crafters from past times washed their fabrics before cutting them into little pieces, not to preshrink them, but to remove stains and odours, since the fabric they were about to sew together it was likely to be a shirt or an old dress.  So if you think that recycling and upcycling in a new trend, think again.

Patch! remains true to the brand and follows the same style than their previous books.  The photos are very warm and allow you to admire the beauty of vintage fabrics and the instructions seem quite straight forward, but don’t quote me on this one as I have not made anything from it yet.

There is a bit of everything in the book but there is a lot about bags and quite a few ideas for cushions and pillowcases.  You will also find things for the rest of the house, children, a dog bed, and a couple of applique project… after all applique is a close relative to patchwork.  Most of the projects are easy to make, there are no big complicated quilts, or anything that will take you ages to finish.

The beauty of this book is that it clearly shows how you can use old and new fabrics in the same project and nobodwil raise an eyebrow.  On the other hand, if you like making things exactly like the ones in the book with exactly the same fabrics, you are going to have a challenge to find the same designs.  To me, one of the great things is to make something and stamp my own style, so I wouldn’t have a problem making some of the cushions entirely with solids, or a mixture of linen in natural colour and bright cottons.

As in their previous books, it comes with a kit to get you starting in making a tote bag or a cushion cover, so there are no excuses of why not to get stitching.

 

Patch! Cath Kidston ® is published by Quadrille Publishing Limited. ISBN 978-184400-988-6

Sewing to reinvent and upcycle your clothes

Friday, June 24th, 2011

Marion Elliot’s new book Get the most from your clothes, published by David & Charles is certainly bang on trend.  If there is a person that  has not heard about ‘make do and mend’  or ‘upcycle’ has probably spent the last few years in a cave.

The aim of this book is to make you see your wardrobe or the charity shops in a different way.  It is full of ideas of how to give a second chance to those clothes that you haven’t worn for months, if not years.

It also has a few projects for children clothes and little charms, so if you want to get your children busy this summer without spending too much, they can learn a few things with this book and proudly wear the finished project.

To my taste, most of the projects look a bit homemade.  So if you are looking for a more professional finish the photos might not inspire that much.

This book however does have good advice on fitting garments, which is crucial if you want to upcycle your wardrobe or vintage garments.  The Perfect Prepping chapter is also very useful, it teaches you among other things on what to look for when buying used clothes and how to get more out of what you buy.

Have you thought of giving a second chance to something in your wardrobe?  Have you already turned a dress into a bag?  If you would like to win a copy of Get the most from your clothes and get a few more ideas of how to reinvent your wardrobe, share a few photos of something that you have made,whether upcycled or made from scrash, in Facebook or in our Flickr group.  I will announce the winner next 29th June, 2011.  Each photo is an entry, so the more you share, the more you increase your chance to win!

Good Luck!!!

This giveaway is open only to UK and Europe.

Get the most from your clothes by Marion Elliot is published by David & Charles.  ISBN 978-0-7153-3842-1

Unfinished projects

Friday, June 17th, 2011

I am sure I am not alone on this one, I have a few unfinished projects.  Is it because they are difficult? No, they are suitable for beginners.  Lack of time?  I am afraid I can’t use that excuse this time.  Have I run out of fabric? Certainly not!  Then????? Well, I just got carried away and started too many things at the same time and I couldn’t finish them for today’s post.

Last night I started making a little purse with this fabric from Momo’s Just Wing It collection, and I loved it so much, than I thought of making a clutch too. So I started cutting fabric for that too.  Then I thought that a larger purse was going to be very useful to take with me for a weekend break, so then I started choosing fabric for that too.  When I realised it was a bit late and my eyes were tired, I decided to call it a day.

Four Petals in Jelly and Stripe in Jam by Momo

I really wish they were all finished and I could proudly show them here today, but you can be sure that I have learned from this lesson, so everytime I am tired, I just leave it for a moment or a day or two until I can trust my senses again.  The fabrics are so beautiful and the design of the pattern is so simple and nice that I don’t want to mess things up.

Flower garden in jelly, Four Petals in Jelly and Stripe in Jam by Momo

I leave you know with photos of unfinished projects and with a promise that next week you will see them all stitched together.

Have a lovely weekend, see you Sunday!

Style Stitches

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Amy Butler is a lady who needs little introduction, we all have seen her fantastic fabric designs, timeless patterns, books and now even wallpaper! For this post however I am only going to concentrate on her new book Style Stitches, mainly because if I don’t I could possibly break the Guinness World Record for the longest blog post ever (and if it doesn’t exist I would be setting a very high bench mark which would be difficult to beat).

I have used Amy Butler’s patterns before and her designs are simple and perfect lines that create beautiful things, and the instructions are easy and precise which means that you can make a garment or a bag with confidence. This book is not an exception and I fully recommend it.

It has a good variety of bags and purses, to suit most tastes and skills.  Most of them have variations, almost as if she had read our minds, so before you can finish saying  “I like the Cosmo Bag but short handles would be better” you will discover that there are instructions for that, or “If the Ruffled Handbag was larger I could carry all my gym stuff” yeap youv’e guessed it there are instructions on how to do that too, she has done all the adjustments so you don’t have to fiddle with the pattern and design.  How clever is that!

The bags vary from a simple tote (with a twist of course) to a pleated clutch, to the most fantastic Take Flight Handbag/Shoulder Bag.  This last one along with the Everything Wristlet have such a beautiful vintage look that they will make you feel like Grace Kelly.

The instructions in this book have not only been written to help you sew together a bag, but to efficiently use the material and your time like a pro.  When you look through the pages you get the impression that attention was paid to every single detail.  Not only on the designs and the instructions, but also on the diagrams, the spiral book format and photos, which by the way not only show the designs in the different alternatives, but in different fabrics to help us awaken our imagination on how to create a unique one of our own.

At times like this when sewing books are being released by the dozen, we have lots to choose from and we can be picky… but if you ask me, I would certainly pick this one as a ‘must have’ for your collection.

Amy Butler’s Style Stitches is published by Chronicle Books, £19.99 (ISBN 978-0-8118-6669-9)

Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts and….

Friday, September 10th, 2010

Almost everybody that knows me will know that I am a huge fan of Martha Stewart, so when this book arrived a few days ago I knew I was on a good start.

If you are familiar with Martha Stewart’s books, The Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts follows the same great formula.  This book has been well thought out and all of the information is very well organised and structured; so well in fact that this might be one of the best sewing reference books that you will find.  For me, what makes a good reference book is not just the photos, but how easy you can find what you are looking for, this book has both, lots of cool pictures and easy to follow layout.

The book is aimed at both the newcomer and seasoned crafter alike, starting from explaining the different types of fabrics, and moving on to tips on setting up a sewing area, through to basic techniques, including hand sewing, appliqué, different types of embroidery (yes, it also includes sashiko too!), quilting, patchwork, dyeing fabric, and even printing.  It comes with a CD that includes all the patterns and templates needed for the projects in the book.  So there is no need for guessing shapes, sizes or risk of damaging the book trying to get a photocopy of a pattern!

The projects are many and varied and to be honest quite a few of them you will find on Martha Stewart’s website; but if you are a little bit like me, I much prefer having all of those instructions, tips and photos in a beautiful hard cover book.

The projects are very creative and inspiring.  Reading through the book over last few evenings I found myself saying several times in my most affirmative and almost imperative tone “yes, I am going to make this bag, after this patchwork cushion cover, and these felt book cover are just perfect Christmas presents, but first I must make this pincushion too, I need it for all this sewing (by this moment my tone has changed and I sound a bit more like I am reading a letter to Santa), and our bathroom towels would definitely look nicer if I add this little touch…OMG Japanese sashiko patterns, I have always wanted to learn…”

Of the long list of pretty things that I want to make from this book, I might only get around to making a few, but I know that time and time again I will look to this book for some inspiration and a bit of guidance too.

Well I close for now, I must get started with one of those pincushions.

Lizzet xx

Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Sewing and Fabric Crafts is published by David and Charles click here to buy it.

Dressmaking Classes in Oxford area

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

For all of you who live in the Oxford area here is some good news for you, there is going to be a new Dressmaking Course and a Saturday Sewing Course.

I met Caroline King a few months ago thanks to one of her previous students, she is not only a great and patient tutor but also a very hard working woman and passionate about what she does.

Starting next month she will be running a Dressmaking class on Saturdays and also a Sewing Club that will be held once a month where you will be able to work in a range of projects of your own and have  Caroline’s advice and guidance at hand.

If you are interested or would like more information about either the course or the club, drop Caroline an email at shelbee-sewing(at)hotmail(dot)com for more information.

Caroline has not asked me to advertise this course for her, but after I found out about them I thought that our blog might be a good way to get the message out there to people that are looking for an opportunity to learn some sewing skills or if you want to improve your skills and be more adventurous.