Tag Archives: sewing

All my sewing stuff laid out on one rug… Now to organise it!

12 Jan

This rug is 1.6*2.3m (5’3″x7’6″) – showing just how much of my 44 square metre (475 square foot) flat is taken up with my sewing stuff 😮 the only things missing are the sewing machine and the lamp I use with it.

Lately when sewing I have been trying to find something without any idea where it is – my sewing stuff started very organised, but as I accumulated more and more tools, accessories, and fabric, it’s become a bit muddled as the categories overflowed into each other. The two safe areas were my 32l fabric box (top right) and the patterns box (just below the fabric box). Thread was *mostly* all in one place.. as for everything else, it was a challenge to find what I wanted.

For context, my first sewing box was a little wicker basket maybe 20*30*40cm

And then I kept everything in that 32l box – all fabric, thread, and tools. Nice and neat!

Inspired by KonMari on Netflix, although my flat is generally tidy with well-organised books, linens, kitchen, papers, and clothes, my sewing is the one area that I’ve let become a mess. I used to move a lot (at uni we had to pack up our room at the end of every term, then I moved once a year) so living in one place for three years has allowed the stuff to accumulate.

So, my plan….

  1. A lot of those UFOs have been there for a while. I will go through them and think properly about which I want to finish, and which I should let go of. Those that I let go of, I will work out whether to salvage the fabric and add it to my box or whether it should be donated or recycled.
  2. Some of the fabrics have been in that box for a while. I’ll go through and work out if I am still waiting for the perfect project for a fabric I’m too scared to use (in which case I’ll commit to making a toile then take the plunge), or if I’m just not excited about the fabric (in which case I’ll work out if I can commit it to something for someone else, or if I should donate or recycle it).
  3. Everything else needs to be organised in a way that makes it easy to know where things will be and to see when I look (i.e. no need for rummaging). I also need a safe way to store my blunt rotary blades (which are good for paper).

It will all have to be stored on shelves (except the fabric box which goes under my bed) so will need to be creative!

I am super excited but also scared to get started! It will be so good when it’s finished so that will motivate me…. I will post an update when it’s done..!

If you have any tips for how to get through this I’d love to hear them 😊


I acquired lots of patterns in 2018… In 2019 I’ll try to actually use them!

5 Jan

I’ve loved reading all the 2018 reviews and plans for 2019, and it has inspired me to try to have a 2019 that I’m proud of :-)

2018 has been a mixed year for me – I had some health issues that meant I had less energy for sewing (and also had to go part-time at work), and some family issues alongside it. But, I bought a new sewing machine (Singer 4423) to cheer myself up and made some of my favourite items ever. It was mostly non-clothes though:

There’s the doorway puppet theatre that my niece and nephew absolutely loved

And finally working on lapped cushion zippers, that went so well I can’t wait to make another!

And a dress that, while I may replace the top half with a slightly smaller version from the same fabric, and redo the hem, I have worn it loads and absolutely love it.

So…. What for 2019? I have got more into expanding my wardrobe in the last few months, so feel I ready to start trying in earnest to create a me-made wardrobe. I recently bought some new patterns – some from charity shops, some because they were on sale and I neeready Ied to spend another few quid to reach “free delivery”. Which means that, despite only completing two, I now have 11, nine of which I have my eye on for this year…

  • 1. Dress – New Look 6495: this is the one I made and loved. I bought it without much thought while in Hobbycraft with my mum, and was so surprised to love it! I’d love to try and work out how to make short sleeves to make it more work appropriate. Any suggestions?
  • 2. Dress – Sewaholic Cambie: I got this a couple of years ago, cut out a toile, got a bit ill and put on weight, then realised the toile wouldn’t fit any more and lost motivation. But this is so popular that I should come back to it in 2019!
  • 3. Dress – New Look 6431: I made this but it was far too large. I tried to make a toile of the torso but it wasn’t quite right so I need to try again. Something from 2019!
  • 4. Dress – Kwik Sew k4123: this is a nice dress that I hope I can make to fit my odd curves! I love the short sleeves and have a fabric in mind…
  • 5. Dress – Simplicity 4070: this is a more formal dress, I think I bought it to make something to wear to a friend’s wedding but didn’t have the energy to make something in the end. I’m attending another wedding in 2019 so I might make this – I’d like the version with the straps, and not too formal, so let’s see what I manage to find. I might have to look up examples that others have made!
  • 6. Dress – Simplify k8292: a charity shop find, I loved the sleeves on this! View B (or D) seems more my style and I’d have to be careful to fit it well to my waist, or my bust and hips could take over – I’ll have to try a toile first!
  • 7. Dress – Simplicity k8543: as my size varies across my shoulders/chest/waist/hips, I have been intrigued by the “Amazing Fit” patterns for a while. I think View C could look nice on me so I’m excited to try it!
  • 8. Top – Simplicity 1280: another one I cut out a toile for before putting on weight, I lost motivation on this one. But I love the design and hope to get back motivation to try it properly in 2019 :-)
  • 9. Skirt – Kwik sew k3637: I couldn’t find a stretch pattern for a circle type skirt (I asked here and noone could think of any either) so I bought this to try with my gorgeous blue stretch crepe. The fabric was about £4/m so it’s not too bad if it goes wrong.
  • Skirt – New Look k6327: I bought this from a charity shop without realising it’s an elastic waist – so I may never use it, if I don’t use it in 2019 I’ll re donate it…
  • PJs – McCall’s 3434: I saw this in a charity shop and figured I might want to make my own dressing gown to replace my current one that’s falling to bits, but won’t pressure myself to!

I also have a toile for Marfy 1913 and hope I’ll get around to making a proper one this year but only if I can adjust the toile to fit well.

So my clothes target for this year is summarised in a picture:

Aside from clothes, a few things I’d like to achieve sewing-wise this year are:

  • Get my old singer machine serviced
  • Sort out my sewing stuff and use up some of my stash to make a potential move later in 2019 easier.
  • Make a purse with a coin slot, card slots, and a notes pouch.
  • Make a weighted pin cushion
  • Finish off as many UFOs as I can, so they aren’t being transported with pins etc when I move.
  • Mend the zip on my boots, that broke three years ago…

So I’m ambitious but I won’t be hard on myself if I don’t manage it, as it’s a busy year and I’m still not back to perfect health. But now I have lots of great targets to aim for to keep me focused and give me a wardrobe I really want – RTW isn’t working for my newer shape very well so I’d love to learn to make things that really flatter it.

Teaching my sister to sew: another zipped purse/small bag attempt!

29 Dec

Every time I show my sister something I made, after her initial response (usually a compliment thankfully!!), she normally tells me that she wishes that she was able to sew. I think she did a little bit with a machine when she was a kid in primary school (up to 11 years old) but not since.

As we are both at our parents’ home for the break between Christmas and New Year, and I recently put my old sewing machine there, I decided to bring done fabric and show her how to make a small zipped bag.

I showed her the three tutorials to choose from (Melly Sews, Sew Me Happy, or Crazy Little Projects) and she chose Melly Sews, which is the one I used when I made a bag for my sister in law for Christmas (blog post here).

And it went much better than my last one did!

I think it helped that I used the zip that was the right length to begin with rather than shortening a longer one, so it had the softer ends.

I walked her through the tutorial, and helped her work out which bits to pin together and in which directions, but made her do the sewing machine bits all herself including reverse stitching and eventually turning corners. She did so well, and she loves it!

It took about an hour and a half including picking and cutting fabric, it went well :-)

Last bit of Christmas sewing: family aprons

24 Dec

I decided a while back to make matching aprons for my brother and sister-in-law and their kids. I finally got around to buying some fun cottons from Abakhan (as I couldn’t get into Goldhawk Road as I’ve not been too well) but unfortunately in between me placing the order and them dispatching it, they sold out of the apron pattern Kwik Sew K0255.

Stuck and with no idea how big to make an apron, I started searching for tutorials. I found the Sugar Bee Crafts adult tutorial, and shrunk it a lot for the kids. I didn’t follow the instructions for construction, and mine are less polished as a result, but I was too tired to follow them properly anyway. Maybe next time – hers do look much nicer!

They are much brighter than they look in these photos…

I really like them, modelled here by my sister. Hopefully I’ll have a chance to give them tomorrow :-)

[[Edit to add: I gave them to them all yesterday and despite an initial confused look, they seemed to love them. The kids instantly put them on and went to play with their toy kitchen 😍]]

I managed to cut my finger right where the nail meets the skin on my left index finger. I’m gutted as I think it means no sewing for a bit til my finger recovers! It’s my first ever proper sewing machine injury – ignoring occasional pin pricks and sore shoulders (one day I’ll improve my sewing posture…) I’m grateful it has taken this long and it isn’t too bad :-)

Merry Christmas!!

Liberty cushion covers – my first time making a lapped zipper

24 Dec

My sister wanted some green, brown, or blue cushion covers for her living room. To make it a nice treat as a gift, I decided to use nice weight liberty fabric (150gsm): I chose the English garden green dot, and the English garden blue leafy trail.

Next, I decided to try a lapped zip. I was terrible at this when I did it on a dress, so I sought a tutorial. This one from the little black duck is perfect – I cannot recommend it enough.

She already has the cushions so I can only give a flat photo got now till she receives them and gets them home and on the cushions.

This photo is of the side with the lapped zippers! I’m so happy with the finish

This fabric was so so so nice to work with – I should treat myself to it sometime!

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 ☺️


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.

Peg holder

9 Sep

My sister in law asked me for a peg holder for her birthday. I had bought this fabric a while back without a clear idea for it, it’s a light upholstery style fabric but frays a lot!


Here’s how I made it:

  • I bought a wooden adult-sized hanger, and drew around it onto a piece of paper.
  • I added 2.5cm of seam allowance, and 35cm in length.
  • I cut out one piece of fabric exactly like the drawn shape, and another 10cm longer.
  • Cut the longer piece horizontally a little bit below the bottom of the hanger – a bit above halfway up the hanger. If the fabric isn’t very rigid, add some interfacing here. Then along the edge I just cut, enclose the two new raw edges using double-folded hems (as narrow as you can deal with).
  • Also add double-folded hems to the top (where the metal bit of the hanger goes).
  • Then I sewed together the three pieces, slightly overlapping the two front pieces.
  • It was gaping a little, so I added a couple of poppers at the opening, about 6cm in from the two sides. I have no idea why poppers are so hard to undo but I figure it is only necessary infrequently when wanting to wash it.

And it’s done!