Tag Archives: fat quarter

Box bag, needle book, and trying to find a knit circle skirt pattern (!!)

28 Oct

It’s been a slow few weeks sewing for me, as work has been busy and I’ve been engrossed in a few books (my favourite was We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson, I didn’t find out til after finishing that there’s a film of it out this year! Odd that I picked it up from deep in the fiction section of the library)

But I got the sewing machine back out this weekend, for a little bit of sewing therapy using only my stash for maximum satisfaction!

First I made a box bag, using the tutorial from Truly Myrtle. It’s a great tutorial and I’d recommend it! I admit that I can’t quite figure out the maths of it, so I made it exactly the same depth and width as the tutorial, but my fabric wasn’t wide enough so I used pieces about 10*17 inches. All the pieces were from my stash, the pink was from a FQ bundle and the blue was a half FQ from a charity shop ☺️

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Last time I made this (for a sewing kit for uni my sister) I was too scared to add the handle, so I thought I’d try it this time. It was really easy to add but I think next time I’d try to make it half as thick as it’s difficult to hold it.

Next, I made myself a needle book for my hand sewing needles. I used four of these small rectangles I got in assorted packs from Durham market, some Vilene H630 for a little body to it, and some leftover white felt.

I didn’t add a closure as I’ve decided to invest in some Prym pliers and some non-sew snaps, so I want to add one of those when they arrive. I love this fabric so much, I am really glad that I found a way to use it!

I am slightly baffled by all the available fasteners and tools, but I am going to get the Prym love vilio pliers, some colour snaps, and a mini metal snap set including the tool. That should cover all my needs in the near future!

Then I made the second one of the circular pot holders that I made a few years ago (I cut out the fabric for two but only made one), but added a much longer strap this time so I can hang it up easily.

Now, I think I am ready for some garment sewing next! I have this stretch crepe – this shade of blue is exactly right for a half circle skirt to coordinate with some of my favourite tops (the black is a woven crepe that I plan to use for a skirt or dress)

My problem is that I can’t find a pattern for a skirt like this that seems like it would be ok for knits. I like Simplicity 1200:

When I read an article about things to sew with knits, it suggested the hollyburn skirt, but it only recommends wovens and all the reviewers online seem to have used wovens.

So, I would love some help to help me make this perfect blue skirt!

  • Has anyone used a knit fabric for a pattern intended for wovens? Did you have to make any changes?
  • Can you recommend a knit skirt pattern that is like (but not necessarily exactly like) a circle skirt? I’m terrible with self drafted patterns but that’s all Google will give me.
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A lined tote bag and a new laptop case!

3 Dec

I am doing a lot of travelling for work at the moment (not to anywhere exotic :( ) and so I need a sturdy tote bag to carry my laptop, notepad, etc, between the hotel and the clients’ offices, letting me keep a small handbag for my essentials and a small suitcase for lugging everything on the flight.

Enter a lined, box bottom, tote bag!

I was super chuffed to find that my local charity shop has opened a haberdashery section, and even moreso to find that they had 2m of this gorgeous blue Laura Ashley fabric for just £7!

I used the tutorial from CrazyLittleProjects but only used one outside fabric (instead of two) and the lining fabric. I also made my fabric pieces 14″ wide and 18″ tall, but next time I might make the bag wider and straps shorter. To make the box bottom I measured in two inches from the corner, which gave a nice size bottom to put A4 papers in the bag. The right side of the strap should face the right side of the outside fabric when sewing them in – took me a while (and a few pin pricks) to work it out in my head…

I love that the fabric is interesting but work-appropriate!

Although the bag has a bit of padding with the interfacing, I just got a new laptop so I want to keep it extra safe. I used the same tutorial, cutting the fabric to the same size as the laptop and replacing the strap with a 4*7″ piece of fabric to act as the flap to hold the velcro to close it. It used two fat quarters of fabric.

The outer fabric, lining, velcro, and battng were all from my stash – and it only took an hour! Very happy with it :)

Child’s drawstring backpack

22 Dec

I wanted to make my nephew a small backpack with some cute teal elephant fabric I got from Goldhawk road a few months ago – but obviously, at the time, I had no idea what I would use it for I just loved it so bought some!

Joseph's bag.png

The photo on the left is closest to real colours – terrible winter light!

I used the tutorial from Hobbycraft’s blog, but make sure you read it through carefully and slowly before you start – it is an easy process, but they have made it fairly confusing. I wanted to use the Hobbycraft one despite the many good ones out there because I REALLY wanted to use the eyelets. Here’s the changes I made:

  • I used 4mm drawstring (because then I could get it in grey, and it’s comfier too).
  • I used Prym’s 11mm silver eyelets as the 5.5m ended up too small to fit the drawstring.
  • I didn’t use the quantity of fabric they said to use. Instead I used 4 pieces of 14×12 inches to make this a little bit smaller.
  • As the bag was smaller, I only needed 2m of drawstring, which is great because that’s all I had received despite ordering 3m!

I then filled it with lots of chocolate coins – I don’t expect a 2y old to be particularly delighted by a bag so this is to make sure he still loves his Christmas present!

I still have two sewing Christmas presents to finish off – I hope yours are all going well! :)

Laptop cover: Sew Selfless September

7 Oct

This is the last of my SSS items! I didn’t actually finish it in September, but that is due to a combination of: making the beanbag cover from my last post when I should have been doing this, then being ill, then my sewing machine going haywire after I’d only sewn about a quarter of it. Anyway, my sewing machine perked up again on Sunday so I decided to finish it and hope that it could still count.

Sew Selfless September_bigger

Click to go through to Sometimes Sewist’s SSS intro

My boyfriend has decided to replace his 8-year old laptop (surprisingly) with a shiny new, fast, smaller one since he is starting his PhD. He got a MacBook Pro 13″ (normal, not air). Ages ago he chose this zig-zag fabric without us knowing what to do with it, and when he got the MacBook I hoped that the single fat quarter which we bought would be enough for – and it turns out that it definitely is!

I decided to opt for an envelope-style, as he wanted it to be waterproof and I felt that needed something which was covered on all six sides. So this needed a FQ of outside fabric, a FQ of batting (I used quilting cotton batting), and a FQ of waterproof fabric (mine was navy nylon).

Laptopcase_bottom

Here’s the stripes all lining up next to the flap:

Laptopcase_tom

And a close-up of the binding which I used to close the edge where the case opens to let the laptop in/out – it is not perfect by any means and I think the envelope style makes it a little harder to have neat edges – I wonder if somehow a zipped-up case might have actually made it easier to have all the raw edges enclosed and everything a bit neater? Anyway, I made my own bias binding for the first time! It was only about 25cm worth but still.

Laptopcase_binding1Laptopcase_binding2

I haven’t written out all of my instructions but I kept all of my measurements and doodles, so feel free to ask, though there’s so many out there already that unless you are as fussy as me I am sure you can find what you want.

He is really happy with it and it kept his laptop dry when he and the contents of his bag got quite wet during a cycle in the rain (yay British autumn) so it serves its purpose!

I didn’t have any sew-on Velcro and my metal snappers/fasteners risk scratching his laptop so it doesn’t fasten for now, but the flap is just long enough to get away with that until I can get to Hobbycraft / John Lewis.

If that is allowed to count in my Sew Selfless September, then I managed to complete my task successfully! Though if it doesn’t I don’t mind much, as I was able to make plenty of things for people and three people have benefitted well from it :)

Mini sewing kit, a lingerie bag, and more fabric!

18 May
2014.05.18 EllisSewingKit_upright

See below for link to tutorial (and the inside!)

I’ve had a busy week! Yesterday I popped down to Ilford lane (a little bus ride from where I live)

I managed to get the below, plus 3 yards of black 0.5″ bias binding and some thread, for £10! 1.5 yards of each fabric, with the big floral pattern being 60″ wide and the others 45″ :)

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I think I might make a blouse out of the fabric on the right, and bag of the one on the left. The white is for a quilt but it is more sheer than I thought in the shop (maybe she picked up the wrong roll!) but I’ve found some cream fabric at home which might work anyway.

Well, now my main stash looks like this, but I have just as much again waiting in plastic bags…

2014.05.14 Fabric stash

At gone midnight last night/this morning, I decided to do something about it. I bought those mesh bags to keep my tights in in the wash, however the pack of three have now all broken. I salvaged a zip from one, and  hit my stash to find a fabric I didn’t mind if only I ever see, and in about 30 minutes made the following (including french seams). I rushed as nobody will ever see it apart from this blog, and it is already half full!  The lines are inches, for scale :)

2014.05.17 Lingerie bag

But that used only a little bit of fabric… so today I tried a new project; a mini sewing kit! My boyfriend often asks me to lend him supplies to fix his clothes, so I thought I could give him his own set. There’s a great little tutorial at ‘roseycornercreations‘, which was really easy to follow. I didn’t have any felt so I just used that pink velvety fabric, which does work well but is hard to handle in a machine, resulting in a slightly wonky finish, but not too much I think :)

2014.05.18 EllisSewingKit_closed

All I needed was 13″x7″ of one fabric (the tutorial recommends 9″ of one and 4″ of another, but I didn’t have manly coordinating fabrics), 4″x7″ of felt/velvet, a button, and an elastic hairband.

2014.05.18 EllisSewingKit_materials

I’ve sewn buttons before, but I’ve never actually followed any method. So today I decided to use the instructions from ‘theartofmanliness‘ which was really easy to follow and has made it really strong with less thread than I usually use, and a lot neater!

Then I loaded up some cardboard pieces with the colours most dominant in his wardrobe (plus a few empty spares), added some pins, needles, and buttons, and it looks nice and full (the lines are cm, for scale):

2014.05.18 EllisSewingKit_open

From find the fabric to taking the finished photos took about 1h20mins – I really hope he likes it! I will see him next week to give it to him :) I am clearly loving my new rotary cutter and mat :D

Next up: I am working away on my quilt, hope to make a blouse, I’ll be making some luggage tags, and I am about to finish off my father’s day cross stitch :)

 

His and hers: passport covers

9 Mar
Dad's and Mum's wrapped

All wrapped up and ready to be gifted!

For the last two years, I have been wanting to send my parents on a holiday. And I decided: what better way to give them the news than with some personalised, hand-made passport covers?

Dad's and Mum's

The finished products :)

I used a different approach for each, and started with the floral one: It was easy to pick the fabric for this, as I fell in love with it on eBay (it also comes in gorgeous red and blue, for only £2.59+P&P for a FQ from ‘thefabricfrieze‘ – click here), and I had some leftover pale yellow cotton with white polka dots which matches nicely for the lining.

Mum's closed

The finished product :)

I started using a pattern which is for an American passport. Although the internet assured me that this is the same size as a UK passport, I realised it was too big when I pinned it together. The pattern is from Unify Handmade and was really easy to follow but do adjust the height and width a bit. Including allowances, you need:

  • 15 x 22 cm of both your main and lining fabrics
  • 15 x 22 cm of fusible interfacing, two pieces
  • 15 x 6 cm of the main fabric, two pieces
  • 15 x 6 cm of fusible interfacing, two pieces

Then follow the pattern as it is – I used a size 90 needle to assist the machine through the tough bits. I am pretty happy with the finished product.

Mum's open - redacted

With a UK passport inside

Now for the male version – my dad is awful to buy presents for so you can only imagine how hard it was to choose a fabric! Luckily, ‘thefabricfrieze‘ also had some lovely shirt fabrics available as FQs, so I snapped up this one for just £2.95+P&P.

Looking manly

Looking manly

You can imagine how much of a nightmare it would have been to match up those stripes with the above 3-section design! So I went for a simpler design, measuring the necessary fabric size myself and checking this tutorial by 1hungryhippie to make sure I wasn’t going to make any big mistakes along the way. Again, size 90 needle! I enjoyed making this one but matching the lines up was difficult! I must consider getting a rotary cutter to make cutting more accurate, to make it easier in the later stages :)

The dimensions which I used (UK passport, remember) are:

  • 15 x 26 cm of both your main and lining fabric
  • 15 x 26 cm of fusible interfacing, two pieces
Not perfectly lined up - but I tried!

Not perfectly lined up – but I tried!

Have you made passport covers before? I’d be really keen to see some more designs, I might make one for myself :)

Also I am keen for recommendations on rotary cutters in the UK! Is it necessary to use one of those boards? I imagine it is?

First machine project complete! Floral coin purse

23 Oct

I finally found the time to do some sewing! I have been working extra hours to finish my project on time, and also decided to start an online course… bad timing! Anyway, I needed something to do to de-stress while I had a migraine, so out came the sewing machine and this cheap fabric I bought ages ago for sewing practise :)

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I used this great tutorial from sewmehappy, which has step-by-step instructions with really helpful pictures.

I had some problems, mainly with the zip – I didn’t have the right needle, I didn’t use the recommended 8″ length (6″is not enough!), I couldn’t sew in a straight line around it, and eventually the zip pulley fell off… twice!

I am glad I persevered with this zip though as I love the contrast with the light green of the fabric :)

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Ta-da! Pattern from sewmehappy.blogspot.co.uk

I really enjoyed making it and, even though it is far from perfect (not so good at straight lines around a zip yet!) I am feeling encouraged and hope to get set on my next project soon!

My mum asked if she could have it to store her tissues in (those handbag tissue pouches never stay closed!) so even though I feel quite attached to it as my first completed project, I was too flattered to say no. She is very happy with it and I have an excuse / motivation to make something new :-)

What I learned today:

  • how to change a needle
  • which needle sizes are appropriate for different fabric types
  • how to change the machine footer
  • I really enjoy machine sewing :-)