Archive | September, 2014

Sew Selfless September: A sewing kit

14 Sep

My sister leaves in two weeks for university, and doesn’t have anything resembling a sewing kit. Not even some black/white thread and a needle. She can definitely hand sew to mend her clothes as she sometimes borrows my stuff to do so. It is also her birthday today, which is a perfect coincidence. I decided to make her a hand-picked sewing kit. I used Truly Myrtle’s Box Bag Tutorial, which I should say upfront was really excellent. It is quite a tricky process (for me as a beginner) and you have to look at the pictures carefully to make sure that you understand as you go along, but it works really well and I was so pleased with the result. I’ll definitely be making another sometime, maybe for my cross-stitch stuff. I was originally going to make the one which I mentioned in this post, however I feel that the box bag offers more opportunity for expansion, and I am hoping that this will be the main kit she uses – the one in that link would be better suited to a travel version. 20140914 Sewing kit_equipment I wanted my bag to be the same dimension as that in the tutorial, so I used:

  • Two pieces of fabric 13.5″x17″ (from fat quarters)
  • Two pieces of interfacing 13″x16.5″ (one heavy, one light)
  • One 14″ white YK zip
  • Scissors, pins, zipper foot, ruler, rotary cutter, cutting mat, white thread, and my SEAM RIPPER

20140914 Sewing kit_closed bag 3 It is not symmetrical as you can see there, however I take comfort in that the line is at least straight so it is ok for it to be off-centre. 20140914 Sewing kit_bag contents 2 I hand-sewed on this ribbon that I got from eBay (only half of those red stitches are mine) You’ll notice that I left off the handle. By that point of the tutorial I had found it so hard (I am a little ill and it was 2am, my fault not that of the tutorial!) that I was convinced that it would be a royal mess when I turned it out, so chose not to add the handle. I regret not adding the handle, as it was one of two really good things about this tutorial (the other being that it is lined and seamless) and I think it would have looked nicer than I thought in my tired state. 20140914 Sewing kit_bag contens full It contains:

  • 6 spools of thread (black, white, red, beige, blue, brass)
  • two needle threaders
  • a thimble
  • safety pins in 4 sizes (36)
  • sew-on snappers (helpful for gaping tops/dresses!)
  • a dressmakers’ measuring tape
  • hemming web
  • a seam ripper
  • 24 needles in a felted needle book which matches the box bag!
  • some nice sewing scissors which my mum has bought her separately

I made the needle book quite quickly out of some scrap fabric – I had been planning to make this really awesome one from Diary of a Crafty Lady, but again was a bit tired and couldn’t face it, but I wouldn’t have had enough matching fabric for it anyway. Maybe I’ll buy a pretty fabric and make her one for Christmas and she can use this one for her pins? 20140914 Sewing kit_needle book closed 20140914 Sewing kit_needle book p1 20140914 Sewing kit_needle book p2 The needle book took about 10 minutes to make and just uses two bits of felt and two bits of fabric. I bought the ‘hook and loop’ (John Lewis brand instead of Velcro) and didn’t realise it was adhesive until I went to use it. I also didn’t realise that you can’t sew through adhesive hook and loop (unless it is the special ‘stick and sew’ kind) until my needle got stuck and subsequently broke. Oops. It was a really simple process. Sew two rectangles of fabric together right sides together, with a small seam allowance all around, leaving an inch un-sewn to turn it right side out. Turn it right side out, iron it, and top stitch around the edges. Sew the two pieces of felt onto the book with a line completely down the centre of the fabric and felt, and iron it folded so that it holds that shape easier. Attach two pieces of hook and loop, and it’s done!

20140914 Sewing kit_maythethoughts

I am giving it to her alongside my favourite book, a collection from a London artist from http://www.maythethoughtsbewithyou.com (a personalised signed copy!)

With this post I am two-thirds of my way through my Sew Selfless September pledge. Jess of the Sometimes Sewist  set up Sew Selfless September to encourage us all to sew for others this month. I pledged to make items for three people: my sister-in-law (posted here), my sister (this post), and my boyfriend (which won’t be easy, but I have some ideas – watch this space).

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Sew Selfless September: a pillowcase and an eye mask

6 Sep

Sew Selfless September_bigger

This is my first Sew Selfless September post (see my pledge here), and I’ve made two items! It has been a bit hectic this week so I am posting them together :)

It was my sister-in-law’s birthday this week. She had asked me to make a baby pillowcase, and I had some fabric leftover from the baby quilt which I’d been (secretly) making. The pieces of fabric that I had were perhaps an inch or so too small, so it didn’t fit perfectly, but I am happy with it (the closest I have ever got a line of stitching to the zip – unfortunately no close-ups)

Baby_pillowcase_front

baby_pillowcase_back

The back – excuse the poor lighting/angle/background

And it matches the quilt, so I gave them to her together:

SAM_2303

I was so happy about the zip that I couldn’t face ripping it out when I realised that I’d sewn it in upside down. I wanted the zip pull to be at the TOP of the pillow when closed so it’d be away from the baby’s face. I have several potential solutions: cover it in ribbon/soft stuff; use the pillow upside down; or cut off the zipper pull and attach ribbon or some other soft thing. Hmmm.

Another snag about the zip: I didn’t really think about merging it in. I normally insert zips like in this coin purse, so didn’t really think about the zip being in a corner. I’d appreciate any tutorial recommendations / tips!

 

My SECOND make this week, and one that took about half an hour without a pattern, is an eye mask also for my sister-in-law.

20140903_EyeMask_front_1

20140903_EyeMask_back

I used some of the fabric which I used for her Christmas presents, and bought some purple lingerie elastic as I didn’t know how big her head is and it has plenty of give, is pretty, and comfy! I decided to use two straps, as that is what I have on the shop-bought eye mask which I have, and it is MUCH better than having just one strap – highly recommended.

I used a fleecy material for the back, which is so comfy. I wonder if I should have used interfacing – though as I had half an hour to make and wrap this I didn’t have time to find and cut some once I realised!

Even though I made two items, I am still only really a third of the way through my pledge, as I pledged to make items for three separate people – I’m hoping to get some time today to make my sister’s birthday present….

 

Baby quilt: completed and gifted!

5 Sep

I have finally finished the baby quilt which I have spent LOADS of time making for my baby neice-or-nephew who is due in the next couple of weeks!

It is only a small (cot-sized) quilt, but it has been quite a big task for me – well lots of little ones which started around March

  • Find gender-neutral fabric to suit their chosen baby room theme (I went for this)
  • Work out what style / arrangement would suit the fabric (I went for one from Oh, Fransson!)
  • Decide what to use as the backing, and whether to use batting/wadding (frantic post here)
  • Buy new sewing equipment, including: walking foot, rotary cutter, cutting mat (excitement here)
  • Sew the squares and strips together (here) and work out how on earth to install a walking foot to quilt it (here)

Finally, the last stage was to use bias binding to finish it off – which I did this week. I decided to follow the advice on my previous posts (those in the last bullet point above) and only machine stitch one side of the binding. I think that was sensible and I am much happier with the result than I’d have been with messy machine stitches – even though the binding seems to have puckered the whole way around I tried everything to stop it (I even basted it). I gave it to the mum-to-be earlier this week and she was really happy with it :)

20140902_BabyQuilt_1

Click to enlarge

I used the Charm Squares Quilt tutorial from Oh, Fransson! which is a really nice design as it avoids teddy print overload.

As you can probably tell from the massive number of links to other posts/blogs, I have had SO much help from the blogging/online sewing world in making this quilt, and while it is not perfect I think that it is SO much better than it would have been had I just ebayed some fabric, found a pattern and flown with it. It feels very bragging/uppity but thank you to everyone who commented or even happened to have something on their blog which helped me – if I liked your quilt/binding post it was probably helping me get through this quilt!

I really enjoyed doing it, and would be keen to try another sometime, though I have two questions – I’d be so grateful for any help with either of them:

  1. are people generally able to quilt with a normal sewing machine? I had ok space with this with my Singer Tradition, but I was only using one layer of cotton with one layer of fleece. I’m worried a double quilt would get to be too much to fit under the arm of the sewing machine?
  2. How do I stop that puckering?? I had it flat when I was basting it :(