Thursday, 30 September 2010

Books and Patterns For Sale

I'm offering some of my books and patterns for sale - please leave me a comment if you are interested - all prices inIclude p&p to the UK

Brilliant Bags (Deena Beverley) £6 SOLD

Bags with Paper and Stitch (Isobel Hall) £12
The Machine Embroidery Handbook (DJ Bennett) £10
Embroidery Illusions (Gary Clarke) £12

Magic Wool £3
Making Birds and Insects (Barbara Snook) £2.75
Papermaking Techniques Book £8
Exploring Cross Stitch £2.75

Vogue 2915 Ladies Jacket/Coat S-XL (Uncut) £4.99
Vogue 7907 Ladies Jacket L/XL (cut to  XL) £2.99
McCalls 742 Cushions (uncut) £2.99
Style 2558 Bags and Scarves (uncut) £2.99


McCalls 5291 Dog Chicken Frog Sewing Caddies (part cut) £2.99
McCalls 3136 Bags (uncut) £2.99 SOLD
Butterick 4977 Lobster Glove (uncut) £2.50

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Just the thing to brighten up these dreary days.  I've done lots inspired by sunflowers in the past, here's a couple  ............ my first ever box adorned with a stumpwork sunflower .......

Gosh, look at all those french knots worked in one strand ................ that was a long time ago!  The box is 4" square and has a subtly quilted sun inside ........

and shanked buttons for the feet .............

A sunflower inspired tudor style headpiece (one of my C & G pieces) designed to be viewed from afar (drama costume) but here's a close up .............

With so much to do, I'm taking a shortcut with inspiration from this book and coloured up some silk ............


Monday, 27 September 2010

Daisy Shirt Done

With one model asleep and lack of co-operation from the other here's the coathanger version (not without a little fault or two but I have spent more than enough time on this now)

Never did I imagine that a shirt would cause so many problems.  It's not the pattern, nor the making up but the fabric ............. at least I hope it's the fabric and not the machine.  I have the machine back .......... the repair guys in the dealers say it's fine but I'm not sure ......... there's something that just doesn't feel right.  The local man who serviced it first, said it probably needed a new shuttle hook (mine was plastic and they're replacing them with metal now) as it had a few nicks in it so he tried filing it down.  As far as I know, those nicks had been there for ages without problem and you can't file down plastic successfully hence I could actually hear the thread catching when I got it back.  At the dealers, it has had a service, overhaul and resetting of the timing plus a new shuttle hook yet took me three and a half hours plus microtex needles to try and get a decent stitch on this simple printed cotton fabric.  It's ok on the white and yellow print but on the dark colours it's dreadful still without 5 or 6 layers ........... such resistance to the needle

There isn't a machine in the Argos catalogue (not that I would buy one from Argos) that costs as much as I have just spent on mine ........... no wonder I've been in tears and beginning to think that some of them might stitch better than mine is at the moment!  I need to play around with some more fabric.

I found Jan Messent's new book in the library on Saturday ................ it is absolutely wonderful - a must have for the Christmas list (not that I'll be doing one this year) and confirms this is where my heart really lies ........ finding a happy medium between the eyes and the heart is the problem!

Another Christmas shoebox filled - just one more to go now.  The patchwork pencil case is a lovely idea Anne - our daughter was almost obsessed with pens & crayons of all sorts throughout her school years - I might give a little more time and thought to making some a bit more imaginative for next year if I remember (and find the time)!

I am now going to do something normal to destress over the shirt ........... put some washing on and make some fresh crab cakes for dinner .............. then start thinking more about mum's up and coming birthday!

Wednesday, 22 September 2010

Deconstructing a shoebox

Having managed to cram everything in, well not quite everything, a couple of little things have had to be foresaken but nothing important, I've photographed the deconstructing in order to be able to put it all back quite happily once the box is nicely wrapped.

The bottom lined with sheets of plain paper to fit the box, exercise books, colouring book and other goodies.  I've made a simple drawstring bag (to the right) from some curtain fabric samples to either keep bits in or carry stuff to school if that is the case.

Hurray for tall husbands who spot things on top shelves in supermarkets - we just couldn't resist the little baby born doll reduced from £10 to £3!  Of course, a girl has to have a spare pair of knickers ...... a pinafore and jumper ......... a hooded coat ............ socks, shoes, mittens and a bag.  Oh dear, this knitting is quite bulky but there's still room for the purple mittens.

I am delighted to say that I can now make hair scrunchies!  That might not sound a huge achievement but when you've had four goes before finding a little tutorial believe me it is!

Just enough room for a few sweets ............ the first of three boxes of joy from things mainly bought on special offer/sale at the supermarket over the year probably averaging out at about 50p a week ........... we are happy!!

Monday, 20 September 2010

Quick and Easy Pencil Case Tutorial

I am making some pencil cases for our Christmas shoe boxes and thought I'd share how I'm doing them ............ it's very quick and easy!  Clicking on the pictures will enlarge them.

10" x 13" main fabric
10" x 13" lining fabric
Sew in Velcro
Matching thread

The main fabric should be hardwearing ie. furnishing fabrics,  corduroy, cotton velvet, denim etc. with quite a strong fabric ie. a good calico weight for the lining.  If the fabric is not too strong it can always be  backed with another fabric ie. foundation patchwork.

Right sides together, fold one shorter end up leaving a 2.5" gap at the top.

Stitch sides with a suitable seam allowance and finishing off securely at both ends.  Clip bottom corners as shown (quite close to the stitching but not too near that it's likely to meet the seam or fray) This was a trial one (the fabric was heavily painted thus quite stiff) ......... it isn't necessary to trim the side seams as in the photo above.

Repeat as above with the lining fabric.

Turn main fabric right side out and place in the lining right sides together to make a pocket as shown above.  Matching side seams and fabric all the way round, pin main fabric to lining along front of "pocket" and around flap. 

Stitch main fabric to lining across the front and all the way around the flap (as shown above) leaving about 3" gap somewhere to turn later.  Double stitch around the inner corner for about 1" for some extra strength.  Clip inner corner (not quite to the stitching) as shown.  Also, clip diagonally across top corners of flap (I forgot to photograph that bit).

Turn right side out through the gap and slip stitch gap closed.  Press if necessary.  Top stitch about 0.25" across top of front and all the way around flap as shown.  Stitch soft part of Velcro to flap and matching piece to front of pencil case.

One durable, easy to pack in a shoebox, pencil case!  The metallic print on the furnishing fabric I used wasn't very sparkly so I'm adding some glitter to make it a little bit special.

They're idea for using up all those little scraps to do a piece of crazy patchwork for the main outer fabric .............

If you decide to have a go, do let me know if the instructions and photos in my little pencil case sewing tutorial are clear enough and do please link back ........... I'd like to see them.

Saturday, 11 September 2010

The Red House

Today we took advantage of the English Heritage open weekend with a visit to the Red House and managed to take a few picks before the batteries died (the spares I took had somehow discharged themselves!).  Anyway, we had a wonderful time and could quite happily have moved in!!!!!

This was probably my favourite room .............. lovely light idea for sewing ........... with the piece of furniture complete with ladder up to the apple store in the eaves and some recently revealed paintings on the walls ........... this is the point where the camera died so I didn't get to photograph them unfortunately.

Sadly, no photographs of the outside or garden then so I've dug out this old pic of design work to remind me of the spent rambling strawberry plants ........ who can think of William Morris without the thought of strawberries?

and, just because I like the texture, the start of a Poppy design that kind of stopped where it did awaiting further development ..................

Edited to add a piccy of the door to the apple store in the eaves.

Thursday, 9 September 2010

I Love It ................

................... the embellisher that is!  My first sample ...............

experimenting with all manner of fabrics ........... cotton, silk, viscose and synthetic in addition to some fancy yarns.  Getting the feel of the machine and seeing how it reacts with the different fibres.  Building up texture and knocking the colour back ..................

I love it and, yes, I can quite easily see me getting hooked on it ............ the only downfall at the moment ........... can't see the kids wanting embellished gifts for Christmas!!!!!!!

Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Oh My Goodness

I've been doing a bit more to the limpets .................

whilst my sewing machine was away.  I picked it up yesterday and the man said it was the best he could do without some expensive Bernina parts ......... I kind of got the impression that he didn't really know what was wrong with it so that was a waste of money!

I played with it all day yesterday and couldn't get a decent stitch and it was also a bit noisy considering it had just been serviced.  Anyway, I gave myself a headache then a pain in the chest so my husband said we'd just have to take it to the dealership "Alladin's Cave" today.  We took it, paid the deposit and my huband turned and said "What are those machines you've been looking at?".

The man in the shop said the Babylock EMB12 was much better than the Janome FM725 .......... in fact he said don't get the Janome ......... well two men said it actually so guess what I have?  Oh my goodness, it's my husband's fault and I am so excited but feel so bad.


In 10 minutes I've learnt that it's a bit fierce!  It's so powerful that it only takes a few seconds to push fabric and fibres completely through to the back of the base fabric and it's very easy to make holes.  The pedal is a lot different to what I'm used to so I shall rest my aching foot and see what hints and tips I can find around the web.  Hopefully the next piece will be a bit "prettier" ........... after I've come crashing back down to earth with a dental appointment tomorrow.

Friday, 3 September 2010

More Sun Printing

Yes Rachel, we do need to experiment - Gina has been talking about the same thing. Experimentation is perhaps one of my downfalls as is spontaneity but we can't help who we are can we?  This morning I was thinking how I could use some button-printed fabric when I glanced up and caught sight of my doll .............. that's it ........... a "Button Lady"!  Which reminds me how can she lose her handbag when she's living in a glass cabinet?  Tentative enquiries with the kids still living at home (19 and 23) have met with hilarity at me talking about some doll as if she's a real person .......... well she is isn't she?  I am now on a handbag hunt but it seems nobody wants to join me!

The photos are not very good (wish I knew how to fix the Olympus camera) but I have some lovely clear button prints on cotton .................

and some not all quite so clear prints but glorious colour on silk.  The sun was hot but it was very breezy and the silk was literally drying out before I had any colour on and then again before I was getting the buttons on.  I had to work fast, far much faster than I would usually even think about!

My machine, for the first time, has been playing up this week and just wouldn't stitch nicely so it went off to the repair man for servicing/repair early yesterday morning.  I haven't heard anything yet ............. not sure if that's good or bad and I didn't think to ask how long it was likely to be so am trying to be positive.  Oh my goodness I didn't realise just how much I would miss it even though I don't use it all the time.  There were plenty of other things I could have been doing (Limpets for one) but last night I was so lost I went to bed before 7.30!!