Tuesday, 29 December 2015

Is it a quilt? Is it a bag? No it's a UFO...

With the end of 2015 drawing close I've been reflecting on this year. Last Christmas I received Tilly and the Buttons sewing book for Christmas and began my journey into dress making. Since then I have learnt a lot, failed a lot but also created some clothes which I adore. I also received a tapestry kit to make a beautiful Felicity Hall clutch bag. I have been completing tapestries for a while now and have some lovely cushions so this is by no means my first yet a year later here it is...
It's not that I don't enjoy completing it. If anything I become slightly obsessive about it when I start. However, something else will then take my attention and it will lay untouched for weeks or months.

New Years Resolution Number 1: Finish the clutch bag.

I'd like to say that this was my only UFO. Sadly, there are many more. I completed a quilt for my bed a few years ago. It was actually what got me into sewing and why I bought my first machine. I loved it and completed it in the summer holidays (I have six weeks off due to being a teacher). I decided to make a smaller quilt which would be nice to have on the sofa on cold evenings. I spent hours cutting, piecing it altogether and teaching myself how to free motion quilt. All that is left to do is to sew on the bias binding...yet it has laid in a cupboard untouched for a year. It's not that I don't love it but some how I just can't motivate myself to finish it.

New Years Resolution Number 2: Finish the quilt.

Sadly clothes don't escape becoming UFOs. many of my UFOs are items which I discover to be failures on the way...poorly fitting or bad fabric decisions. But then there are the others...such as this full circle skirt. I like the skirt and the only reason it remains unfinished was that the zip went in poorly and ripped. I needed to buy a new zip. However, in this time gap my mind has wandered onto something else...something new which seems more exciting.

New Years Resolution Number 3: Finish the successful items of clothes.

All of my UFOs have a key theme...I become distracted by something new...a new patterns, piece of fabric or even craft itself. I may need to have a new rule; no new items until the last one is finished. But then again, maybe that's too many resolutions for one year. How do you combat ending up with piles of UFOs?

Friday, 18 December 2015

Present sewing

With Christmas looming, sewing for myself has taken a back seat. The past three weeks have been a mixture of delight and panic at the amount of sewing I needed to do. Phew though, as of about an hour ago I made my way to the end. This was mainly thanks to the fact that work tends to slow down heavily in the last week before Christmas holidays so I have been able to sew in the evenings which is usually impossible. My first Christmas make this year was a pair of tote bags. I made them with a meter each of Liberty Lawn which I bought in the Abakhan Liberty sale over Black Friday.
I'm really pleased with how they turned out and with the new shopping bag policy I think that they're a pretty useful gift. I'd like one myself but it seems so indulgent to use a meter of Liberty lawn for a bag for myself.
The pattern came from the rather lovely book 'The Liberty Book of Home Sewing' which gives very clear instructions on making the bag. It also gives ideas for how to take your product further. For the bags it shows you how to make a small bag carrier so you could clip it into your handbag. The book doesn't come with patterns but gives easy to follow instructions on how to make your own.
The bags have a small amount of top stitching. Something which I'm not very confident doing and which could definitely be better on the bags as you can see! I tend to wobble off line as soon as there's a curve!
The bags are joined by the handle and strengthened by sewing triangles. Whilst this isn't the prettiest finish (I considered many others) I came to the conclusion that it was the most practical. Here's hoping that the recipients like them as much as I do! How is your Christmas sewing coming along?

Sunday, 6 December 2015

I admit it...I'm a selfish sewer.

It's confession time...I am at heart a selfish sewer. Despite having made many things for myself, clothing, quilts and cushions to name but a few I still really prefer to sew for myself. But Christmas is upon us...and I find myself considering sewing gifts for other people.

Making gifts for people is so personal, the time spent choosing patters, fabric and sizing. Then there is all the time which you invest making the item itself. Making something is so personal that I really only do it for people who I am sure will like what I make. I'd feel incredibly sad if I made something for someone only to find that it either sat collecting dust in a cupboard or worse...never even made it into the cupboard to start with.

Despite this I have decided to be brave and attempt to make some Christmas presents this year... for people who I think I know well enough to choose pattern and design for.

So here is my first unselfish make...

I made these pyjama bottoms for my boyfriend using the Tilly and the Buttons pattern in Love at First Stitch. As I want them to be a surprise I used an existing pair he has to choose the size to make.
I made them using a cotton I found at Walthamstow Market. I really like the design on them but boy do they crease! I'm sure you won't believe that I actually ironed these before taking photos! I'm pretty pleased with how well I managed to match the stripes going across the trousers. Pattern matching is usually disastrous for me! Tilly recommends having a tie go through the waist band but I wanted to use elastic instead. To use elastic I cut it to size then sewed the grosgrain ribbon on each end. This could then be fed through the waist band and top stitched it down to secure it.
As they are a present I couldn't resist adding a little extra detail...
I decided to cross stitch the initials of his name onto the top of the pyjamas. I did this by using soluble cross stitch canvas. It's brilliant stuff, you stich your design on, pop it in warm soapy water and hey presto 10 minutes later it's disappeared!

All in all I am please with them...here's hoping that he is too and I may become more open to a little more unselfish sewing.