Category Archives: Sewing projects

A very girly baby shower

The pinkest taggie in the land

The pinkest taggie in the land

Some friends and I organised a surprise baby shower over the weekend, which gave me the perfect excuse to run up a ridiculously girly taggie blanket for the mum-to-be (I’ve only ever made unisex taggies before this). It also meant I was tasked with making the invites (OK, I may have volunteered my services before anyone else had a chance, but that’s beside the point…)

Baby shower invites

I got a set of notecards and tarted them up with a few mismatched buttons and some superglue. How they fared in the post I’ve no idea, but they looked pretty before they went!

More baby shower invites

My baking skills are on a par with my ability to read a map, so I got my sister to make some gluten-free cupcakes and we asked the rest of the ladies to bring something sweet to share (the cupcakes-in-a-cone got my vote!). Needless to say, we’re still working our way through the leftovers. Which reminds me – is it lunchtime yet?

Cupcake cones

Gluten-free cupcakes

And the rest...

 

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Filed under Babies and kids, Entertaining, Invitations, Party, Sewing projects

Make it yourself… fabric doorstop

Easy doorstop

This doorstop is so easy to make you don’t really need to bother measuring up, and there’s certainly no need for a pattern (I know, a what?)

If you’re buying fabric, you’re best to use something with a pattern so it’s less likely to show the dirt. And if you choose heavyweight or upholstery-weight cotton the doorstop will last longer. That said, it’ll work just as well with lighter cotton, mismatched fabric scraps from the bottom of your sewing bag, an old cushion cover or even a pretty top that’s seen better days. To fill it, use dry beans, pulses, or rice – or whatever you’ve got in the back of the kitchen cupboard.

You’ll need:
One rectangle of fabric, about 30x40cm
One 30cm length of ribbon, apron tie or cord
A bag of rice or dried beans
A sewing machine, or a needle and thread
Scissors
Pins

Step 1: Lay your fabric right-side facing down on the table, with the longest edges running horizontally to you. Take the top edge and fold it down towards you by a centimetre, then sew all the way along it, creating a hem.

Next, fold the whole piece of fabric in half with right sides together and the hemmed edge running along the top. Your folded-over rectangle should now have one (short) hemmed edge, one (long) folded edge and two unfinished edges (one short, one long). Sew along the two unfinished edges, about a centimetre in.

Step 2: You should end up with an inside-out ‘bag’ that opens at the top. Turn your fabric the right way around and push out the corners. Stand your bag upright and fill it with rice or dried beans – test the weight as you go, until you’re happy it’ll hold the weight of a door.

Step 2

Step 3: Once you’re happy, bring the top hemmed edges together as per the photograph below – note the wedge shape of the bag, and where the seam is running (it’ll stand up better if it’s shaped this way). Pin your cord or ribbon in a loop in the centre, and pin and/or tack along the hemmed edges.

Step 3

Step 4: Sew all the way along the top edge, closing the bag up and catching the cord as you go. That way you’ve got a handle for picking up the doorstop, which you can also use to hang it from the door when it’s not being used.

Step 4

If you’ve got a bit more time on your hands, or if you’re using quite thin cotton, you might want to make an inner bag to hold the filling. Just follow the same method as above using any old piece of thin fabric (you won’t see it – I used an old curtain lining) and pop it inside the ‘proper’ doorstop at step 2. Then follow the rest of the steps as normal.

Ta-dah!

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Neat cheat #1: pretty bedding = cheap fabric

Single duvet and pillowcase set for £10 = cute kids' fabric at less than £2.50 a metre

Single duvet and pillowcase set for £10 = cute kids’ fabric at less than £2.50 a metre

I picked up some bargain kids’ fabric this week in the form of a duvet cover and pillowcase from TK Maxx. A tenner got me more than 4 metres of fabric, plus the pillowcase (a drawstring laundry bag waiting to happen), which rings in at less than £2.50 per metre. Not bad eh? I might have to pay a visit to the bedding section more often, although not before I’ve decided what to make with this. I’m torn between running up a pair of tab top curtains, a beanbag, or a fabric tent for the garden. Decisions, decisions…

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Filed under Babies and kids, Fabric, Sewing projects, Thrifty finds

Want to be on Sewing Bee?

The Beeb are on the look-out for the next round of crafty contestants, so if you liked the first series of Great British Sewing Bee and reckon you could win the second, now’s your chance…

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Win a copy of The Great British Sewing Bee

The Great British Sewing Bee - the official book of the BBC Two series, published by Quadrille

The Great British Sewing Bee – the official book of the BBC Two series, published by Quadrille

I’m officially hooked on The Great British Sewing Bee. The BBC Two show had me at episode 1, when 8 novice seamstresses rustled up an A-line skirt while I polished off my dinner. I had wondered how the show would compare to the Bake-Off, what with the lack of cakes and all. But 3 episodes in, my Tuesday nights wouldn’t be the same without Granny Ann’s perfect stitching, Scottish Lauren’s perfect everything, and Claudia Winkleman’s giant fringe. (Not only that, but sewing is much better for the waistline than baking – especially once you’ve mastered the elasticated waist.)

With the fourth and final episode in sight, I was chuffed to get my hands on a copy of the official book to accompany the show. It’s author – Tessa Evelegh – is well-known in crafting circles, and Quadrille have a hefty back-catalogue of great craft books to their name. So far, so good. But could the book really fill the post-Sew-Off void?

In a word, almost. It doesn’t draw on the contestants’ experiences much at all, despite the fact that it features lots of their projects from the show. It’s a shame, as they’re part and parcel of Sewing Bee’s charm. But it does mean the book stands up as a bona fide sewing guide, regardless of whether you’ve seen the series or not.

That – and the lack of patterns (there’s only one included with the book – the rest you have to download and print off) are the only two niggles I found. Those aside, it’s really rather fabulous. There are 28 projects to get stuck in to, from a simple floor cushion, to Lauren’s hacking jacket from episode 3. I’m a newcomer to the world of dressmaking (one ill-fitting GCSE tunic aside), so the latter is possibly a little ambitious just yet. That said, the first section of the book lays out the basics of sewing so well I’ve at least got the confidence to give it a try. Topics covered include choosing essential tools, deciphering pattern markings and picking the right fabrics. Plus, there are 32 pages dedicated to the sewing techniques you’ll need to master in order to get through the book.

To help you choose where to start, each project is given a difficulty rating and there’s a real mix. At one end of the spectrum there’s a simple pair of curtains, which basically require you to sew in a straight line. At the other end there’s that hacking jacket, which is where the likes of darts, facings and every other technique you can think of come in.

I guess the proof, Bake-Off style, will be in the pudding, and I’ll let you know when I complete my first project from the book. But whether you’re a fan of the show, or you’re just looking for some sewing inspiration, I’d say The Great British Sewing Bee is well worth the cover price.

Win A Copy!

I’ve got one copy of The Great British Sewing Bee to give away, courtesy of the lovely people at Quadrille. If you fancy being in with a chance of winning, just tell me which Sewing Bee finalist you’re rooting for in the reply field below. I’ll pick a winning entry at random at 10pm UK time on the night of the Great British Sewing Bee final – Tuesday 23rd April – and post the name of the winner on here. (And if you’d rather just buy a copy, you can snap one up for a tenner on Amazon.)

Tea dress

Tea dress

Hacking jacket

Hacking jacket

 

Pyjama trousers

Pyjama trousers

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Filed under Craft on the telly, Crafts, Crafty reads, Sewing projects

He had a nap!

Image

…and this was the result. Happy Wednesday folks!

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Filed under Babies and kids, Fabrics, Sewing projects

A little light reading

Great British Sewing Bee - the book

Great British Sewing Bee – the book

Thanks to the good folk at Quadrille I’m flicking through a copy of this right now. It is LOVELY. I am inspired.

Proper (and more useful) review to come soon, as well as the chance to win a copy – hurrah!

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Filed under Craft on the telly, Crafty reads, Sewing projects