Archive | March 2012

Not so Quick Craft – Week Seven (Cushions for Dining Chairs)

This is my seventh quick craft, the challenge where I make something within one hour. This weeks quick craft was hit by a few hiccups including running out of materials, me resetting the stop clock by mistake and receiving a telephone call in the middle (I use my phone as the stop clock so I couldn’t stop it once I was on the phone). Anyway, I am still pleased with the outcome so I do not really mind that it all went a bit funny for the quick craft challenge.

This week I wanted to make some cushions for my dining chairs, I sit at the table for my sewing and for my study and the chairs can become uncomfortable when I am sat on them for a while. This is what my dining chairs look like:

I started of the quick craft this week as normal, by getting out all of the materials I would use and threading up my sewing machine. I used some patterned fabric, plain turquoise fabric, self cover buttons, black buttons and some washable stuffing (very important for this type of cushion as I am sure they’ll end up with food or wine on at some point). I then set the timer and got ready to start.

To start with I cut out the fabric that I would need. By ten minutes I had cut out all of the patterned fabric pieces (four circles for the self cover buttons and four squares the same size at the chair top with two adjacent curved corners) and all of the main panel pieces from the blue material, I had also cut out two of the strips for the ties meaning that I needed to cut out another six.

I then cut out the other six strips and then set to ironing the strips. I firstly folded the strip in half and pressed the seam. Next I opened it back out and folded the bottom and top edges into the middle crease and then pressed again. I then folded it in half again and then pressed, this meant that the raw edges were caught in the middle. At nearly twenty minutes I had ironed all of the eight strips.

I then used the sewing machine to sew down the edge of all of the strips. Then I laid out one of the patterned pieces right side up, laid to of the ties on top of it and then put a turquoise square on top of that (so right sides were all together). I then stitched around the edge leaving about a two inch gap for turning it back the right way out. At thirty minutes I had sewn all of the strips and done two and a half of the cushions:

Next I completed the sewing of the third cushion and the fourth cushion and then turned them all the right way out. I then started stuffing the cushions with the stuffing. At forty minutes I had managed to stuff one cushion but just as I was about to take the photograph I hit the reset but on the stop clock:

I then stuffed another two cushions which finished off the stuffing meaning that I was now down to completing three of the four today and that I would need to buy some more stuffing for the fourth. I then started to cover the buttons, just after fifty minutes I had stuffed the three cushions and covered on button:

I continued to cover the buttons and then my phone rang in the middle and I spoke to S for a while, this meant I abandoned timing (quite handy really seems as it was already obvious that I could not possibly complete the cushions within the hour). After I finished speaking to S I finished covering the buttons and then attached them to the center of the cushion on the patterned side whilst at the same time attaching a black button to the plain side. I the decided to put more stuffing into the cushions, meaning that I had two cushions fully stuffed, one part stuffed and one without stuffing, I thought that it would be best to complete the two with plenty of stuffing and then work on the other two when I have brought more. All that was left was for me to slip stitch the gap that I had used to turn the cushion the right way out.

This is the cushion on one of the chairs:

This is the cushion on the chair from the top view:

This is how the dining table now looks:

I would estimate that the completed cushions too about one hour and twenty minutes which is well over the time for quick craft, but I am pleased with the finished cushions. I will get some more stuffing soon so that I can complete the other two, two are fine for now though seems as it is just S and I.



More Fabric has Arrived

One of the things that I have loved about starting blogging is finding out about so many interesting projects from other people. A few weeks ago I commented on this absolutely beautiful dress because I looked the fabric so much. The author was so kind to tell me where she brought the fabric from, it was a website ( that I had never heard of before but it had so much beautiful fabric that I know it is going to mean a serious hit on my bank balance every time I visit.

I restrained myself quite well and just brought a selection of four fabrics, I ordered them quite a while ago but because they have come from America they have taken a little while to arrive. The first fabric that I brought was a unicorn inspired one:

The background colour is a dusty pink (it is not as red as the picture looks) and I brought it because I have always loved unicorns ever since falling in love with The Last Unicorn book as a kid. I brought two yards of this fabric so I will keep my eye out for a project that I can use it for.

I also brought some fabric with English Bull Terriers on:

I brought this one because I have a friend who has a Bully and I have always wanted some Bully fabric so that I could make something for her, I now have the fabric to do so. I brought one yard and have some ideas for what I will do with it.

I then brought some pac-man material:

This fabric caught my eye for its retro feel. I will use it to make a skirt or dress (taking the inspiration from Thread Carefully’s  Tetris dress).

The last thing I brought mainly as a bit of experimentation:

The fabric has a skirt pattern printed on it along with instructions  as to how to make the skirt. It has a box pleat at the front and has iris flowers on the main part of the skirt the fabric is beautiful so I hope the skirt sews up well. I have never seen anything like this before but thought that it was a really good idea so thought I would give it a go.

I love getting new fabric, I keep it out of my sewing cabinet for a while just so I can look at it all the time admiring the beauty of it. I am always a little reluctant to cut into new fabric at first because prior to it being cut it has so much potential which is taken away when you cut into it.

Owls – Getting to the Yoke

Today has been so beautiful that I decided to take Little One, myself and my knitting to Epping Forest. I also took my current uni book so that I could at least do a little bit of study before I settled down to my knitting. I probably read about ten pages (not too bad but not as much as I probably ought to) before the knitting called to me. Last weekend I managed to finish off the first arm and make good progress with the second arm on the Owl jumper (designed by Kate Davies).

Today I completed the second arm and then started on the yoke, which is also the point that the owls start to be knitted. I have done the first four rounds of the owl pattern (there are 19 in total) so the jumper is really coming along. The jumper has been relatively straight forward until joining the arms and the body, it took me ages to figure out how to get the arms, front and back in the right order but once I managed that it has been straight forward again. I’m not the quickest knitter in the world but this actually seems to be knitting up relatively quickly (when you consider how long I actually spend knitting and that not the amount of time between picking it up). I’m really motivated to finish it now that I am so close so hopefully I will be posting on the finished jumper very soon.

This is how the jumper is currently looking:

Quick Craft Week Six (Owl Coaster)

I am currently feeling a little under the weather and have not got around to posting for a while. I have been doing some knitting because I can just pick it up and put it away again very easily. I managed to do quick craft on Thursday but did not have time to write up the post. This week I decided that I would make an owl coaster, although I am really not particularly happy with the results.

I started off by getting out all of the materials that I would need, the owl material, some wadding, embroidery floss, hand needles, blue felt and the drawing of the owl. I also threaded up my sewing machine.

I started off by cutting out a square of the the two blue felts (one bright, one navy) and a slightly smaller square from the owl material and the wadding. I then cut out the inner part of the owl from the bright blue felt and tow circles for the eyes (although I ended up not using these). At ten minutes I had reached this point:

Next I worked on sewing the feathers of the owl directly onto the owl material. (The paper owl from the picture was used as a guide and then tore the paper away when I had done the stitches). At twenty minutes it was looking like this:

I then sew the beak in the same way as the feathers and then tore away the paper. I then used a paper guide to machine stitch the outline on the own around the bright blue felt. At thirty minutes I had reached this point:

I then laid the the blue felt material onto the top of the owl material and restitched around the outline to attach the felt to the owl material. I the added some buttons for the eyes (mainly because I was unhappy with how the cut out felt eyes looked). At forty minutes I had reached this point.

I then laid the navy blue felt square, wadding and the owl on top of one another and stitched around the outside. I managed to finished the coast within forty-five minutes, but as I have said I am unhappy with how it has turned out. I had this thought that having the owl material showing through would look good but I really do not feel that it works, mainly because now enough of the owls show through. My plan for this now is to open the top seam up, put some lavender in, attach a ribbon and use it in my wardrobe. I plan to still make some owl coasters but I will do the following things differently:

1) Use different fabric (not felt) for the main part of the coaster.

2) Use felt for the all sections of the owl and applique it on.

I’ll let you know how they turn out.


Quick Craft – Week Five (Dog Themed Cushions)

This is my fifth week of quick craft, where I try to make something within an hour. Today I decided that I would make some dog themed cushions. I started off by threading up my sewing machine, setting the stopwatch and getting out my materials, this included tartan material, red material, star material (which I ended up not using), double sided fusible material, bias binding and my drawings (a bone, a paw print and and dog outline):

I started off by cutting out the paper shapes and then cutting out the material for the three cushions (13 inch square for the front and two 13 inches by 8 inches for the back – I made an envelop type cushion)  . This is what I had done at ten minutes:

I then cut out the dog shapes from the fusible interfacing and cut the dog shapes from the red material. This is what I had done at twenty minutes (some dog shapes still needed to be cut out):

I then finished cutting out the remaining dog shapes and then attached the dog shapes to the cushion fronts by ironing them onto the cushion with the fusible interfacing in between. Next  I attached the bias binding to one edge of all of the back pieces. By thirty minutes I had attached all of the shapes (waiting for stitching) and attached bias binding onto four of the six back pieces:

I completed the bias binding on the other two back pieces and then started to do the zig-zag stitching around the edge of the dog shapes. At forty minutes I had completed the paw print and started on the bone (not shown as it was in the sewing machine still):

I continued with the zig-zag stitching around the dog shapes and at fifty minutes I had completed the bone and most of the dog (again not shown as it was still attached to the sewing machine):

I then finished off the dog shape and then started to make up the cushions. I did this by laying the cushion front right side up and then laying the back pieces on top, lining up the edge without the bias binding on to the top and bottom of the cushion front. I then sew around the edge (1/2 inch in so that it ended as a 12 inch square), clipped the corner and turned the cushion the right way out. When I had finished all three I stopped the watch…it read six seconds past the hour. I think considering that I managed to make three cushions in this time it is not too bad going. This is the finished cushion set.

I am going to put these to one side, I have a plan to give them to someone as a birthday or Christmas gift, so I will keep them until then.

Eight Way Skirt

One item that I managed to make over the weekend was a skirt that can be worn eight ways. I started off by getting out all of the material that I would need:

This included two different ribbons, one black and one navy and pink strips, navy blue and star material, peach with white polka dots material, birds material and bright pick with white polka dots material. For the rest of the post I will refer to the skirt exterior which was made up of the navy and peach material and the lining which was made up of the bird and bright pink material, however as will become apparent the skirt is reversible so referring to the exterior and lining is just to aid the instructions.

I firstly cut out one pattern piece from each of the materials:

These were all cut on the fold and were exactly the same size. I made my pattern piece by adapting the Amy Butler Barcelona Skirt pattern mainly because I have used this pattern to make five skirts for myself previously and have always been very happy with how they have come out and fit).

I then made up the exterior, I did this by placing one piece on the floor right side up and laying the ribbon on top of the pattern piece, the ribbon overlapped the sticking out bit at the waist of the skirt.

I then laid the other exterior pattern piece on the the top, so that the fabric was right side together with the ribbon in between

I then stitched up the both sides of the skirt around the bottom of the waist tab and up to the top, this fixed the two exterior pieces together

I then clipped into the corners and snipped the ribbon so that it was flush. I then repeated these steps with the fabric for the lining.

Next I place the exterior and the lining right sides together

and stitched around the top of the skirt, fixing the exterior and the lining together:

I then clipped along the top so that when it was turned right side out, the skirt would lay flat.

I then turned the skirt right side out and top stitched around the top. I hemmed the skirt and then put it on. I then worked out where to sew two buttons (one either side of my waist) and put the button holes and added these on. The skirt was then finished and can be worn in eight different ways.

Way one:

Way two

Way three:

Way four

Then by turning it inside out, so that the lining is on the outside, which gives ways five, six, seven and eight:

This was a very quick skirt to make and I like that it can be work in a variety of different ways. The only thing I would change is that I would make the waist tabs shorter next time, I do not like the way that they overlap and I think it would work better if the did not quite join and the ribbon could be tied between them.

My Busy Weekend – Dog Walks and Crafts

On Thursday I headed off to my parents house, it meant that I was away from blogging but I still managed to work on some crafty bits. I took little one with me, this is her with my mum’s dog, Zita (little one is on the right and no longer looks so little):

I also met my dad’s new dog for the first time, she is called Hunny (she struggled to stay still for any length of time so this is the best of a bad bunch):

Around walking all of the dogs, I managed to do some crafty bits. Firstly my mum asked me to take up her curtains, they were well and truly touching the floor:

I took off about a foot. The curtains are lined with a white material so I used a white thread on the main part of the machine and black in the bobbin so that the thread matched the curtains on both sides.

This is how they ended up looking:

I got home yesterday and had a day’s holiday from work, Little one was so tired from her weekend running around with Zita and my sister’s dog, Scout (I know, there are five people in my family and five dogs!!) so she slept all day meaning that I could get along with some bits. I firstly made an eight-way skirt (see following post):

I then updated a blazer by changing the buttons for some fabric covered ones. I firstly changed the buttons on the back from this:

To this:

And the front button, from this

To this

The buttons were covered in a light pink with small white polka dots material.

Quick Craft – Week Four (A t-shirt for my niece)

On the 17th March, my niece will turn nine (I can not believe that she is nine already!) so for quick craft this week I have made something for her. This is what the finished item looks like

Prior to starting I got out all of the materials that I would need, this included a white t-shirt in her size, some fabric, pink wool (it matches the hearts from the fabric), sew on velcro, stick on velcro, fabric paint, plain paper and a brush. I also had some wooden scrabble tiles.

For the first ten minutes I drew the picture of the lion (this is her favourite animal) and a speech bubble onto the plain paper (I am not particularly artistic so I traced onto the paper directly from the computer by making the image the right size, holding the paper over the screen and drawing around the edges), I then cut the pictures out to form my stencil.

I then placed a big book, wrapped in newspaper into the inside of the t-shirt (this is very important when using fabric paint because the paint does go through). I then taped the stencils into place onto the t-shirt and painted the gaps. At twenty minutes I had done the painting and carefully removed the stencil from around the lion.

Next I concentrated on the scrabble tiles to give the paint a chance to dry. I cut some of the stick on velcro into small squares and started to stick it directly onto the back of the scrabble tiles. I must be honest though due to my job I had lots of the little bits of velcro pre-cut (I make up a lot of visual communication aids which use velcro on) so I only needed to cut about fifty, this saved me tons of time and by thirty minutes I had cut out all of the squares of velcro that I needed and stuck the velcro onto the back of about half of the tiles

I then continued sticking the velcro onto the remaining tiles, when I had finished that I cut out the fabric squares for the drawstring bag, this was how it was looking at forty minutes.

Next, I cut out the sew on velcro (I had used the hook type on the back of the letters so I used loop) into three strips, one for the front of the bag and two for the t-shirt. I then attached one strip to a fabric rectangle for the bag, next I placed the fabric for the bag right sides together and sew around two long sides and one short side, clipped the corners and turned it the right way in. I then plaited three strands of wool together and knotted it at each end. This is how it was looking at fifty minutes.

Taking the drawstring bag I then folded the top over (in towards the inside) and stitched along the edge ensuring that I left enough space to tread the wool through. To put the wool through I attached a safety pin to one end and the fed it through with my fingers. All that was left was to sew the velcro onto the t-shirt within the speech bubble, the gift was then finished. I finished it nearly three minutes after the hour, so it overran a little bit.

This is the t-shirt with the letters bag.

I am visiting my family at the weekend so will hand it to my sister to give to my niece on her birthday, hopefully she will like it. I decided to do a t-shirt like this because she has always enjoyed words and can now make her own messages.

The Challenge Continued

For the last few days I have not had the opportunity to work on the challenge at all (changing bag and then work), however I got around to picking it up tonight.

I only added one round but it was good just to work on it again, I hope to have the chance to add more rounds over then next couple of days.

This is how it is looking now

This is it close up

I topped off the little purple triangles today. I a pleased that I have now got to the point where I understand the pattern and do not need to keep checking it, makes the knitting so much quicker.

Changing Bag – Completed!!!

As I posted yesterday my friends baby arrived an unexpected three weeks early meaning that I had to rush the changing bag that I am making for her. Yesterday I managed to get the main section of the bag completed meaning that today I only had to finish the changing mat….I managed this meaning that I can now post it off to her tomorrow.

I wanted to make a changing mat that would form the flap closure of the bag but also be removable (with the plan that if she wanted she could take it off and put it into another bag rather than needing to buy another travelling mat). To start with I cut out the fabric:

I cut out one red and one spotty rectangle (I got the measurements for these by measuring around the bag from the snap closures at the bottom and round to the magnetic closures. I then added ten centimeters on (mainly so I had something to play with), this meant that they measured 86cm long and 45cm wide. I also cut out some fleece this was 85cm long and 44cm wide.

The first thing I did was work out where to sew on the corresponding snap closures onto the red rectangle. I did this by lining up the bottom of the back with the edge of the red rectangle.

I held up the fabric against the snap closures on the bottom of the bag and made a mark with my tailor’s chalk. I then sew on the snap closures.

I then worked out the placement for the magnetic closures. I did this by attaching the red fabric to the bottom of the bag by the snap closures and wrapping the fabric around the bag

I then made a mark with the tailors chalk to mark where the magnetic closures needed to be and then attached them following the instructions in the pack

I then placed the red and spotty rectangles, right side together and then laid the fleece on top of the red rectangle. I sew around leaving a 1/2cm seam allowance and a gap along part of one of the long sides for turning it the right way out. I then clipped the corners and trimmed along the seam allowance quite close to the stitches because the fleece can add a lot of bulk if it is not trimmed.

I then turned it the right way out through the gap that I left. This was really tricky because the oilcloth sort of sticks to itself. I ensured that the corners were fully turned out.

Finally I top stitched around the edge, ensuring that I enclosed the gap left for turning. I generally left a 1/2cm gap with the exception of the short edge with the snaps because I did not want to break my needle on the closures.

All that was left was to attached it to the bag. This is the bag with the changing mat attached but extended out

This is the bag from the side with the changing mat wrapped around

This is the bag from the front with the changing mat closed to form the flap

I am so pleased that I have managed to finish this for my friend and I couldn’t be happier with the finished results. This is the first bag that I have made that I designed myself (I have always used patterns before) and I would happily design and sew another bag. Hopefully it will be safe in the post and arrive to Hastings quickly for my friend and her new son.