Archive | Jan, 2016

A new laundry bag from curtains

27 Jan

My boyfriend and I have been taking the term ‘laundry pile’ quite literally since we moved in together a few months ago, and finally decided enough was enough. When in town we popped into the charity shop, looking for some fabric that might make a suitable laundry bag – something a little thicker than usual fabrics, with a nice pattern that isn’t too light. We found these curtains, a set of two 66×53″ for only £4.50! It’s a half cotton half polyester mix.


I previously used a different tutorial for a lined drawstring bag, but that felt unnecessary for a laundry bag, so I wanted something a little simpler. I found the Great British Sewing Bee tutorial! It’s available on the Radio Times website. It shows you how to make the ribbon as well as the bag. It took me three evenings of an hour or two each, so probably about 4-5 hours in all – most could probably do it faster as I always seem to take much longer than the tutorials suggest! It didn’t help that the fabric had a slight stretch to it which made measuring and cutting it tricky! :S


The finished bag! It looks brighter in real life but the camera on my phone is playing up.

I didn’t like the raw edges inside, as this fabric frays quite a lot and I don’t have pinking shears, so I used the zigzag stitch on a low length to hold the raw edges in instead of ironing them into opposite directions as the tutorial suggested. I first did this to the sections of the side seams where the hole is for the ribbon to pass through, so through one piece of fabric for the 4 inch gap, and then to hold the double layers of every other seam together, so through two pieces of fabric for all remaining raw seams. It’s much better now and I am really happy with it! I don’t think french seams would have worked as well as this did because of the holes for the ribbons.

I am really happy with it! And since it only used one of the two curtains, I might use the other curtain to make one for my sister, as she previously mentioned she was on the lookout for a new laundry bag. [Edit – I finally made my sister one, so that’s most of this fabric gone from my stash now, phew!]

This is the first time I have sewn using charity shop fabric (well, repurposed) and I wish I’d thought of it sooner – will definitely be going again. Maybe once I have used up some of my stash….


Hooded personalised towel / back after 12 months

4 Jan

I haven’t sewn much at all since my last post in November 2014. Other than small tasks (fixing curtains, hemming dress, etc.), I had only had one project in the 12 months since my last post, before this one. Christmas 2014 I made a purse for my sister out of some fabric I got on Goldhawk road. I used the tutorial from FortworthFabricStudio and I think it turned out nicely. It was part of her Christmas present  and she was delighted.

These photos were only just taken yesterday as I didn’t take any at the time – so excuse the PJs – I loved the contrasting red but think maybe I should have used half navy rather than using only patterned fabric, it’s a bit overwhelming!

ANYWAY – about the personalised hooded towel!

My sister-in-law asked if I would make my nephew a personalised towel for his 2015 Christmas present, and I jumped at the chance / motivation to sew again after so long. The last 12 months I’ve been pretty unwell and having to ration my energy, but I have been feeling better recently so figured it was about time to get my Singer back out!

I wanted to make it a bit more interesting than just a towel with his name on, so I was really happy when I found a tutorial from CrazyLittleProjects which sounded like it wouldn’t take too long. It needs a bath towel and a hand towel, and a LOT of thread (I used one and a half of the 100m Gutterman ones). Sewing the towel together was a little tough, even with a size 100 needle, and I discovered that the little lever that raises/drops the foot will raise the lever even more if you push and hold it up. Without that I would never have managed to get the doubled-over bits of the towel under the needle! It took a while and gave me sore shoulders, but I was pretty happy when it was done.

I had also never done applique, and have decided since that doing it with lowercase curvy letters was a terrible idea for my first time. Next time I might be able to work it, as I think I got the hang of this a bit as I went on, but in hindsight I should have used capitals only for this one! I used the great templates from Free Applique Patterns and traced them off my screen. I didn’t have any paper backed fusible webbing and so I just used hemming web to stick the fabric directly to the towel and it worked quite well I think – but it was a bit fiddly so I might have to add some paper-backed stuff to my collection for future.

Hooded Towel - appliquéd letters.jpg

I decided to make the letters wonky so I wouldn’t drive myself mad making them straight! I am quite happy with the result and my boyfriend’s advice to use dark thread against the light-ish towel was a great suggestion.

I was quite happy with the finished result (although I forgot to get a photo of the full thing) and when he opened it he gave it a snuggle – even though he had no idea what it was other than a soft thing, that one snuggle made it worth it and reminded me of why I love sewing. So I definitely won’t be leaving it that long until my next project!