Trick or Treat?

I was very excited to start my Halloween Sewing as it was the first thing I made with my shiny new amazing sewing machine!

I had a new sewing machine for Christmas (Singer Simple) however I’ve been really disappointed with it, I had numerous problems and Argos wouldn’t have it back as my husband hadn’t kept the receipt! I ended up reverting back to my 20 year old Janome which was very clunky but surprisingly reliable.

I looked at lots of you tube reviews and had a few machines in mind, but knew if I was going to spend ‘that’ much money I needed to test them out first.

I planned to go to the NEC stitching show, but that was on holiday, then I planned to go to a shop on Sew Saturday, but I knew with two bored children in tow that wouldn’t work well either! Then one lunchtime at work I drove past a see it machine shop and decided to pop in and have a look (had to be a sign surely!).

The lady in the shop was so helpful! I tried out the Janome M200 QDC and the Brother F420. They were both amazing but it was the Brother I fell in love with and I ended up going back to the shop on my way home and buying one.

I was lucky that I bought it when the special offer was on with the free quilting kit. I love the extension table and I’m sure the walking foot is going to be ever so useful. I ended up buying a new sewing table from Ikea so I can fit my sewing machine and overlocker on.

The first thing I made to try it out was some Halloween Bunting, nice and simple straight lines!

Once I’d got use to the controls and the speed I was well away and I’d soon made a Tilly and the Buttons Lilou dress with secret spiders.

I was very pleased with both the bunting and the dress for Halloween, the bunting looked fab and I wore my dress all day, including a trip to the market.

I think the Lilou dress is a fab pattern and I’ve now made three of them. I ended up lengthening the bodice by 2 inches and shortening the straps by 1 inch which has made the perfect fit for me.

Now time to start Christmas sewing I think!


Fabric Shopping and Night out

Finally 8 months in to my sewing adventure I managed to go actual fabric shop, fabric shopping! Up until now I’ve bought pretty much everything online. After taking the boys to see Dippy the Dinosaur I managed to drag them along to Barry’s Fabrics in Birmingham.

I had heard a lot of people talk about it and was very excited. I went with a list though and had to stick to my budget! I could not believe my eyes when I saw inside

I bought some lining for a couple of dresses and I bought a lovely £2/metre fabric for an Autumn dress, but my main fabric was for a dress to wear on my work night out. I bought this lovely embroidered chiffon and some crepe de chine to line it with.

My initial plan was to make the “silk woven tee shift dress hack” from The fashion with fabric great British Sewing Bee book. However, I messed Up The lining on the neck and it would not sit right and I didnt have enough time to fix it.

Luckily I had enough fabric left over for a skirt, so I had to do a morning before the night out emergency make and went with the Lace Pencil Skirt pattern from the same book. It was a quick pattern and I whizzed through it while watching Back in time in the factory on my iPad

I was worried that the fabric would be a nightmare to work with but I overlocked the layers together and it all went together really easily even the zip

I needed a bag for my night out as well so I made another Necessary Clutch Wallet, this time with some pvc snakeskin! It was however a nightmare to sew and too thick for my machine, so I had to go without card pockets. I made a strap this time and it’s the perfect length having made it myself! Usually cross body bags are too short on me as I’m tall.

I’m really pleased with this skirt and it’s a super quick pattern to make! I wore it with a RTW silk cami and leather jacket.

I’m thinking of making a work version and some holiday ones next year as the pattern was so good.

Introducing Woody and his new bed

I’d like to introduce Woody, our retired racing greyhound who we adopted 6 years ago, Woody will be 10 next week. Woody is often on my photos of my makes as he loves to be around me while I sew and will often lie on the floor next to me while I make things.

Woody in his racing days was known as Farron Nodrog (Noddy for short) but when he came to live with us we changed his name to Woody.

I knew I had to rescue a greyhound after hearing all about them at one of their awareness stands outside of Sainsbury’s years before we actually adopted. Greyhounds can be treated very badly and are often “disposed of” in horrific ways if they don’t perform well or if they can’t be rehomed. A lot of people don’t like them because of the way they look, but I absolutely love them and their funny ways, they’re certainly very different to other dogs and surprisingly very, very lazy (until they see something small and furry to chase).

Originally we set out to have one greyhound and the one we chose was Nikki, or Bens Nikita as she was known in her racing career. Nikki was a lovely happy greyhound and absolutely no trouble to look after. After having her I kept looking on the Hall Green greyhound trust website and getting drawn to “Noddy” and wondering why no one wanted him? I researched Nikki’ s career and found out her owner had another dog Farron Nodrog. Well that was it! I couldn’t have Noddy without a home so, we ended up with them both!

They absolutely loved each other. Nikki was definitely the boss and Woody would do anything for her and would always protect her. We’ve been camping with them, on a ferry and on lots of very long walks.

Very sadly almost 2 years ago we had to have Nikki put to sleep because she had pancreatic cancer and got very, very poorly. It was such a horrible time and really difficult for us all to accept.

Now it’s just Woody. We love him lots and we were all very sad when we lost Nikki, but we were also sad for Woody as he lost his best friend, and how can you explain that to a dog. Woody seems to have adapted to being the only dog and he seems happy with his human family, although he’s not too keen on Alan the hamster.

Nikki and Woody used to share a huge bed and since Nikki has gone Woody likes to sleep upstairs with us (greyhounds are a bit awkward on stairs and Woody didn’t learn to climb stairs until Nikki died, because he wanted to be with us!).

The bed was huge and ugly and made the bedroom look a mess. I couldn’t find another one I liked at a reasonable price and so we lived with it.

Then I had a bit of a lightbulb moment and realised I could make a cover! But first it needed to be smaller, so out came the electric bread knife!

Due to the lumps and bumps I kept the old cover as an under cover and then made a piped cushion cover with a zip fastener to go on top. I used this fantastic Little striped cushion tutorial from Peg Baker on You Tube. I bought the piping but the tutorial covers making your own.

My Singer machine has stopped working again (it lets me down so much and as yet singer haven’t got back to me) so I used my 19 year old seized up Janome which I only have a standard foot for so I struggle with going straight by the zip, but the messy bits are hidden as is the very orange zip! Also a piping foot would have been nice but I managed without.

The zip is actually a tent zip I think! It was the perfect length and I got it in a £9.99 mixed bag of 65 zips from eBay! The only thing I did different from the tutorial was put some fabric end pieces on the end of the zips as I didn’t want it to rip when I have to keep taking it off to wash!

Piping was much easier than I expected and I love the finish it has given the bed. I used a cheap duvet cover for the fabric which is similar to our covers on our bed.

I added a handle so it’s easier to move it round to Hoover under it.

I’m really pleased with it and it looks so much better in the bedroom than the old one which bent up the walls!

I think woody likes it, now he’s got over the fact it’s a little bit smaller and smells nice instead of all doggy.

I have a few Woody related makes on my to sew list, so I’m sure you’ll be seeing him again soon.

Big ideas

I have a Dorothy Perkins Maxi dress, from their Tall range, which I love but it’s falling apart. Last time I wore it I sat there thinking ” I could definitely make one of these”. I had a look around for a pattern but couldn’t find one I liked so I decided to have a go at making a pattern myself.

So off I went drawing around bits of the dress and adding seam allowances….confident that this was going to be amazing!

Then I ordered some gorgeous summery Viscose and then when it arrived I lost my bottle part way through cutting it. It was a bit awkward to cut, and I was hot and flustered, so I literally scooped it all up and threw it to one side whilst I sulked and made bags and bunting and other none clothes items!

This weekend it was cooler and I was desperate for some clothes sewing so I decided to have another go. I finished cutting it out and started assembling.

I think part of my fear was the shirring elastic at the back, but that was probably the easy bit! I whizzed through that and it’s such a good way to avoid lots of fitting issues.

It was a bit tricky attaching the waistband to the bodice and the skirt but I managed it with no problems….or so I thought…..then I realised I’d sewn the skirt to waistband inside out.

Seriously gutted…..I was on a high from it all going so well that I really had to make myself unpick it all and have another go. It was so tempting to throw it back in its heap to think about how uncooperative it was being!

However, I gave it another go and I’m pleased I did. It’s far from perfect, but I did bite off more than I could chew with this so I’m happy with what I’ve got! It’s long enough which is amazing as this is not something I often get with dresses. I absolutely adore the fabric and it’s nice and cool and floaty which is definitely what’s needed at the moment.

I think I may stick to patterns for a while….more relaxing that way. My To Sew list is huge at the moment. I have two more summer dressed to make then I think I’m going to move on to my autumn wardrobe.

I just edited this post to add a photo of the dress on, having worn it for a day out I have forgotten the pain of making it and want to make another one!

Birthday Bunting

It’s coming up to birthday season in our house! One a month for the next three months. I have some cardboard bunting which is getting really scruffy so I thought I would venture into the world of bunting, it’s something people keep asking if I make so thought I should try it out.

I found a tutorial on you tube from Ashwood fabrics. I used all their sizes and spacing but cut out in triangles so I had less waste of the fabric.

The fabric is from Oh Sew Crafty’s eBay store, although I must go to their actual shop soon as it’s not too far away.

The bunting was ever so easy to make and came together very quickly. I can see me making it for all occasions now….Halloween, Christmas, Easter…can’t have too much bunting can you??

The flags are quite large so I may make them a bit smaller next time. It looked lovely hung up though andI managed not to set it a light with the scary firework type candle I bought, which was good!

Schools out for Summer!

It’s that time of year again, schools out for six weeks! Unfortunately this year we aren’t going on holiday, but still looking forward to lots of adventures closer to home, and the weather has been amazing so far so don’t feel like we’ve missed out too much.

This year I was very prepared with teachers end of year gifts and had them made in June! I decided to make something practical and went for these book bags in some fab pencil fabric that I found on eBay. The lining is a fitted sheet I picked up on sale and I’ve been using it to line everything!

The tutorial I used I found on Pinterest from the life in color blog and will definitely be making some more of these!

June Make’s

I am a little bit late posting this but here are my June makes!

1. New Look 6532

Another New Look 6532, this time two sizes smaller (a combination of losing weight and it coming up very large). This one I made an inch longer and finished on my overlocker, so even quicker! Fabric from Adam Ross (before it was pound fabrics!). It’s a nice top for work and has been great in the heat.

2. New Look 6217

Using up my butterfly dress fabric so I made another 6217 (lack of adventure so far in June!). These tops are fab with a denim skirt and leggings, which I live in if I don’t have a cleo dress on!

3. Cleo Pineapple dress

Talking about cleo dresses! I ordered some pineapple fabric from the sewing quarter website and didn’t read the description properly! It wasn’t suitable for a top but made a lovely cleo. This time I lined the pocket with the same fabric as the facing which I love, it’s left me wishing my other 3 cleos had lined pockets. I’ve already ordered the denim for a 5th cleo so will be lining that. I’m preparing for autumn with the denim one.

4. Necessary Clutch Wallets

Already done a post on these, love them so much. Plans to make a black leather one and a denim one (recycled jeans), also know I’ll be making a few as presents for Christmas.

5. Teachers book bags

I’ve got a pending post on these, just need to add the tutorial links. I made these for end of year gifts for teachers, loved the fabric so much I made my necessary clutch out of it.