McCall’s 7357

It has been an age since I have last been able to get down to some proper dressmaking, my first true craft love.  Below is the post I did for Pattern Review,

click here    McCall’s 7357

if you would like to see more!

 

 

 

Pattern Description: Loose fitting pullover tops have neckband, self lined yokes, applied tab, side front and side back seams, three piece sleeves shaped hemline and narrow hem

Pattern Sizing: 6-22  I cut size 12 UK

Did it look like the photo/drawing on the pattern envelope once you were done sewing with it? Yes I made view C

Were the instructions easy to follow? Yes, but there was a lot of hand sewing and the neck band was awkward.

What did you particularly like or dislike about the pattern? The seaming gives the top a nice flowing shape and the sleeves hang well. I also like the lined yoke, it makes the top neat and tidy inside.

Fabric Used: A slippery synthetic I bought a few years ago now, and I cannot remember what it was. But it freyed quite badly so overlocking before I fiddled with the neckline was a must.

Pattern alterations or any design changes you made:  I didn’t alter the pattern, except to reduce the front opening by 3 inches. I did not see the point in a bigger neck opening, and I didn’t embellish the front as suggested. Neither did I sew the neck band as directed. As my fabric was so temperamental I fused the interfacing onto the fabric before I cut it out, thus I was able to stop it stretching out of shape
I interfaced both the band and the band lining to keep the whole thing stable, on my second attempt. I used a very sheer fusible interfacing, but it was enough to make the fabric easy to cut so it lay along the neck edge cleanly. I over locked the edge of the neck band lining to keep down the bulk, and stitched in the ditch on the machine. I hate hand stitching, though I did hand stitch the sleeve finishes.
Would you sew it again? Would you recommend it to others?I will keep the pattern and sew another in the future, probably in a pretty thin cotton. I recommend it too, but plan your sewing before you start.

Conclusion: A pattern that you can adapt, dress up or down.

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Etsy 13th Birthday Event

Sewn Up Gifts Sale

This is a bit of self promotion, but I hope you don’t mind!  I have been enjoying working in my little on line shop ” Sewn Up Gifts” it is great fun.  I have been creating things that I get great pleasure from  and hope others like my efforts.

I am now holding my first ever Sales Event to help celebrate Etsy’s 13th Birthday. I am offering 10% off selected items.

Would be great if you could take a quick peek, no pressure, I like visitors all the time! The link is at the top of this page.  Happy visiting.

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Fairy Princess

 

Etsy 13th Birthday Event

Thrifty Work

Its April and I have continued my pledge of not buying sewing fabric of any type, craft dressmaking or upholstery, that’s such a lot NOT to look at or buy!  Yes its been hard, but you don’t achieve great things without a bit of effort.  Restraint for me, is always an effort, so I have stayed away from markets shops and most difficult of all, the internet.

By writing about it here it becomes a therapy, commit it to the ether and you cannot erase the promise even to yourself.

Here are a couple of shots of my recent makes, resourced from my drawers and cupboards.

charity quilt1IMG_1916IMG_1920 Continue reading

I wont forget you!

I have been very remiss this year.  Not much sewing or writing has got done, and on a wet and dreary Monday afternoon I felt very pleased with myself .  I actually got something made, not much but at least it is something!

I have also set myself the task and challenge of not buying any more fabric this year (2018) just in case I try and cheat!  There is so much already waiting for the scissors, you know the feeling!

My first creation at zero cost, this year, is my little Elephant card!  Now this has used up a real huge amount of fabric, but I needed a card for tomorrow. and as they say ” every little helps”.

Now I wonder how many cards it will take to make even a dent in that fabric stash?

 

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A clutch of Kindle Covers

I shall open this little post with a pub quiz question, ” what is the collective noun for kittens” ?  Answer is a kindle, well I never?  Why did Amazon call their e-reader a Kindle, now there’s another question.

Anyway I digress, I have just finished another batch of Kindle cases, made totally from pre-loved denim (it has been pre-washed too in case you are wondering).  I have nearly used up my denim stash which is a bit sad as  it has been real fun designing the cases never quite knowing if what I imagined became reality.

Each case is different as denim takes on its own character as it is worn, and then I mess about with the bits and pieces of the jeans when I have deconstructed them.  See here for more covers if you want more choice.  I reckon they would make great gifts for those book worms or Kindle kittens, at Christmas time!

Ethical Rice Sack Bag

I have had fun recently with a couple of very quirky basmati rice sacks I brought back from Kerala India in January this year.  I went from buying silk to sacks, two extremes from an extremely intriguing country.

The silk is still languishing in my stash, but I had to try my hand at the sacking, something different to create with and so tactile.  I didn’t realise how messy it was to cut and sew and I looked like a real wild woman when I had finished.

 

But I like the result.  The design with Ali Baba and his sacks of money in the centre made me smile, and the print is on both sides, too, which pleased me.  I am wondering whether to make a more structured bag with another sack, and reduce the size of the design by taking off the address at the bottom.  I shall have a ponder.  It really satisfied me that something can be re-used so successfully and so lengthen the life of such a utilitarian item.

Little sleep sacs

This is the third set of  sleep sacs I have made.  I didn’t know they would be such a hit!  And they were all for twins, there must be “something in the water” as they say!

Must say they have been on the to do list for a couple of months, so I hope these New Zealand babies have not got too big already.

Now, what is next on the list, oh dear yes that last dining room curtain …….

E reader covers

I have been having great fun sewing these Kindle covers. This one has just gone on Etsy, but over the weekend I made three, two were requests, so it’s lovely that people like and use them, gives me a little kick.

Next on my sewing list is to finish off curtains started a while ago for the dining room.  I thought I would do the job properly, but didn’t realise how much hand sewing is involved, still only small windows in this cottage of ours so onward and upward and raise the curtain I say!

Off for coffee now, with a pic of finished curtains with any luck.  X

My New version Dog Walking Bag

I have chewed over this little bag design for ages (excuse the pun) and have decided my first effort, Beagle Bag Version 1 ,  though it worked well and has been used a lot, was a little over the top for a simple activity.

So number two is pared down but still practical, using the same waterproof outer and ripstop inner.  The top simply folds over and fastens with a magnetic snap and it has an outer zip pocket and an inner slip pocket. The strap is long enough to be worn across the body, and could be used as an emergency lead.  At the side is a D ring to attach to a belt or whistle.

The way its been raining here lately, think I will make one for myself!

 

Elf on the Shelf

 

These are the diverse sewing requests I have been asked for since starting a market stall.  I had great fun with the elf, and the aprons took me back to the first school sewing lesson I had; the stockings for two cats a hamster and fish was something completely new.

I do hope the recipients like them, and a very Happy Christmas sewing to you all, just in case I don’t get back here before then! X

My first Market Stall

Yesterday saw me and my long suffering Hubby working a stall in a local town indoor craft market, a mixture of excitement and fear!

Met some really lovely stall holders and shoppers and had a thoroughly good time, learned a lot and came home slightly better off, and wanting to get straight back to the sewing!  Was standing there thinking of my next projects, though probably no time now before Christmas!

I am hoping , now, to have a regular stall at this venue, Sewn Up Gifts will soon become a little goldmine, you never know!!

Beagle Bag Version 1

 

Those of you who have a very good memory may remember I was attempting to create an indispensable doggie walking bag for my favourite furry friend Louis, above?

With a month long holiday and various other interruptions I was only able to finish it off last week.  I had made the interior before we went away in July, so it wasn’t too bad. But the requirements were quite exact, so it took a lot of head scratching.

I have ended up with something usable and practical, but I am thinking of making the second version with a flap across the top rather than a zip inside.

Would be very grateful for your thoughts!

 

It is made from waterproof jacket fabric with a rip stop lining and waterproof top zip.

Holiday Dilemmas

Hello to all you lovely fellow creative stitchers!  I am after your help, I am going on holiday for a whole month, and yes I know I am really, really lucky!

I need your help because if I don’t have anything to do during those quiet moments(?) I think I will go a bit stir crazy.  We are holidaying with family in Cyprus, and we know the place very well.  So sight seeing will not be top of the list in the height  of the Mediterranean summer .  Also there is only so much swimming and sunbathing/napping you can do!

I am already cramming a braid making wheel in my case, which is very light, and the makings for some hand quilting, Folded Star or Somerset QuiltIng.

Somerset Quilt

I have given you a link to a lovely example shown on Pinterest, don’t think my effort will be anything like that.  I should get out and about a bit and see if the Cypriot ladies enjoy patch work quilting or fabric crafts in general.  I know the ladies up in the Troodos Mountains make the most pretty laces. Lefkara used to be the centre of the hand made laces you see, but  I do not know if the tradition is still ongoing.  When we were in India, the people I chatted with were perplexed with the idea of cutting up perfectly good fabric to sew up again in a pattern to make a quilt.  My explanations when asked what I was buying for, were obviously different!

Any portable sewing ideas would be very welcome!

 

Little Pixie with wings!

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Dear friends, I wanted to show you this little creature I have just stitched with the help of Annie Smith designs.  Not sure what she is exactly, does a pixie have wings? Or should she be a fairy?  I don’t believe in either but I do believe in the spirit of Christmas and think she would be a charming Christmas decoration or would look really interesting on the top of the tree!

In honour of Shakespears’ 400 th anniversary I have given her the grand name of Titania from Midsummer Nights Dream, with that pinkish jute hair I think  it suits!

She is up for grabs in my Etsy shop, Sewn Up Gifts and her creation has been told in pics on my Face book Page Sewn Up Gifts! If you fancy taking a look and liking the page that would be great!

Thanks for stopping by !

Lindy

Burda 6633

Its been an age since I have got around to any selfish sewing, but I did make this little number this week, and I am quite pleased with the result.  I bought the lovely fabric a couple of months ago with nothing in mind really, but then saw this tunic pattern which I thought would suit. My local shop was “Backstitch” just outside Cambridge UK .                See website

I haven’t used Burda patterns very often and my first boo boo was to not cut the front out on the fold. School girl error I know!  Am used to arrows and there are none on Burda!  Luckily I had enough fabric as I always over estimate how much I need. From then on plain sailing, although the neck and front bands are sewn in a very odd way, but it worked.

I do recommend you use light and floaty fabric for this, as otherwise it would be sticky outy and look like maternity!

This is a new pattern from Burda,  Burda 6633  here in UK anyhow, and is average sewing skill rating.  There is a longer version with a collar included too, which I may try.  I like the shaped hem and sleeve length especially, though I do have to wear a t shirt underneath as it does gape at the front, ooh er.   Should have tried it on, not just relied on Vera my dress form!

Wrist Bags

I wanted to show you what I have been enjoying making these last couple of weeks.

I really like the idea of these wrist bags, you don’t always want your handbag to carry along yet you do need cash keys and phone so this is the answer I reckon.  All attached to your wrist so you cannot forget.  I fancy making some from glitzy fabrics for evenings, my daughter wants a waterproof one for her dog walking and gym trips, so I will be refining the pattern as I go and having some creative fun.

 

Sewing Machine Central

I have bitten the bullet and decided to have 2 + 1  machines  serviced!  Not one of them has seen the inside of the sewing machine shop since they were bought, and they are all still sewing, or sort of!  I let them go tomorrow and they are promised back in a week, what will I do till then? Use my others I suppose!

 

Singer Hand Machine

Singer Hand Machine

This little and heavy Singer was the machine I first learned  to sew on and it belonged to my mother.  It was made in Glasgow in 1941, and my mother said it went down the underground with her across London during the air raids!  I remember I was always having problems with the tension regulator, but myself and my sister produced many “creations” on it despite it only having  basic straight stitch or lock stitch.

My grand-daughter (8) now wants to try it so hence the Singers’ trip to the service dept.

Second up a bit more sophisticated

Elna Lotus SP

Elna Lotus SP

This machine does in fact belong to a friend of mine, and it in turn  belonged to her mother!   But she likes to take it to workshops as it is relatively smaller and lighter, and does what is required for patchwork and quilting, my friends greatest love.  This Elna has not been serviced either and buzzes along quite satisfactorily!

Last, this Bernina 2000DE overlock or serger.  I saved up for this in the 90’s and am still so happy using it.  It made the world of difference to my dressmaking, the finished garment looking so much neater  and professional looking.

Bernina 2000DE

Bernina 2000DE

I have oversewn so many miles on this and it tackles any fabric shoved at it.  But I think it may be getting noisier, so its off for a bit of TLC.

I don’t know if I am the only sewer who gets attached to their machine?  I guess it’s a bit like car ownership, you remember those happy journeys with your foot on the pedal and a full stash of fabric!

I wonder what is the oldest machine out there which is still sewing without ever having been looked after?

 

Create your own dog walking bag!

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Louis the Beagle after a long and thirsty walk.

Now I don’t own a dog, but I seem to go on a lot of dog walks with my favourite doggy friend, Louis the beagle and his friends.   He belongs to my daughter and her partner. There always seems to be much that needs to be taken along when you go for a short walk, which I find strange.  I always thought all you needed for a dog walk was a dog, a lead and perhaps a ball?

No!  We need treats, of various enticement value, a whistle, dog poo bags, (here in England anyway), hand sanitiser, mobile, toy, water and lastly and most important this, the dog and lead, phew have I forgotten anything?

I had a challenge given me, can I design the perfect dog walking bag for longer walks? My daughter knows I am  into bag making and thought this the ideal starting point for designer bags, I like a challenge!  I am usually found sewing toy animals, clothes, accessories and more recently patchwork quilting.

I thought I should ask here, if anyone has thoughts on this very important matter for dog walkers.  Now is your chance, what size is best, a cross body bag or round the waist? How many pockets, waterproof etc?

I would love any thoughts and I will do my best to design a bag that fits the bill. This is the fabric I am thinking of using.

guthrie & ghani

Take a peek at this great website for something different.

I am off on a short holiday, but there will be no dog walking, and will be dreaming of things to make on return, so don’t be shy  any suggestions will be considered!

 

 

Cuthbert the WI Rabbit is looking for a new home

I have decided that Cuthbert has been with me long enough and deserves to find himself a new home in the big wide world this Spring!  I will post a couple of mug shots here, as he is not shy, and you can find him in my Etsy shop if you want to take pity on him.  I must warn you, however, he does attract attention and he adores it!

If you are interested in his inner self, I posted  how I created Cuthbert last year, you can read all about it here.  Cuthbert Rabbit “How To”

The Faces of Kerala

I have just returned from another amazing visit to Kerala India, and thought to share with you some of the fascinating faces seen in the Kerala Folklore Theatre and Museum Thevara, Ernakulam.  This museum has been created on three levels each depicting different architectural styles of Kerala,  Malabar, Cochin and Travancore.  The building and its artifacts have all been rescued and it has taken 25 years to complete the project, so very worth it. Here is just a very small taste of the artifacts with a link to the Museum site at the end.  Enjoy!

 

 

Kerala Folklore Theatre and Museum

Zip and Clip Bag

Since making the rather large Long Week End bag, and I am away soon on my hols, I set to with this small zip and clip bag from a pattern by ” Around the Bobbin” .  I have had it ready for about 18 months, but I like a deadline so made it in a day.   The instructions are so clear and precise I felt that if you go wrong it is your own fault!  I needed a pretty bag to use in the evening, yet one that could hold all the bits you need when over seas.

I am happy with the result, and my only wish is that the Eiffel Tower was the right way up on the front, it is one of those fabrics that goes in all directions, so I shall live with it!

Pattern

Around the Bobbin zip and clip bag

front & side

Quite a deep bag

Front

zip and mobile pocket

inside

Passport and card slots behind a zip for safety

Elephant Bag finished!

I last posted a photo of all the pieces needed to make up the Long Week End Bag designed by Touch My Heart Designs.  I am very please with the way finished bag my version has turned out, but I thought I should add a note of warning. I found it impossible to one, match the top seams so as to make the zip opening central, and two, once the opening was made make the seam neat enough to sew smoothly.

original zip instruction

inside zip showing bulk problem

There was no way this would lie flat!

inside zip

bulky zip

Close up of messy corners!

applying bias to zip edge

Strip of 4 inch wide fabric to finish zip opening edge

To get a better outcome and make it easy with no corners to sew, I resorted to binding the zip edge, and  sewing the tabs on each end of the zip as instructed in the the pattern.  But then instead of them lying inside I made them the zip extension and treated the tabs like the zip.

fold over bias

stitch in the ditch

Stitch in the ditch from the right side

applying tabs to zip

finish the Zip ends with tabs as instructed originally

attach zip

Make the tab ends part of the zip top.

sew zip almost to the end

One side in!

The only thing to remember is that the outside and the lining of this bag are made separately, so do not sew the zip or the  strip right to the end.  When you come to join the end panels to the lining and outer you will have to fiddle a bit to make sure you can sew each end panel in individually. It was impossible to photograph this clearly I am afraid, but you should be able to follow if you think it through.  You want the outer and lining only to be joined by the zip as described in the original instructions.zip sewn in

I found it easiest to start sewing the side panels from the top and down each side.

attaching bag sides

bag zip and sides join

Sew the sides in from the zip top down .

My only other amendment was to make the shoulder tabs from the webbing off cuts, if you have any of course.  It just saved time making up fabric ones and is just as strong and professional looking.

I enjoyed this sewing experience, but it was one of those that you HAD to finish quickly or you could get disheartened, now I just want to use my new bag.  I hope my solution has helped others!

strap tabs

I used webbing for the strap tags.

Long Weekend Bag Or Elephant Bag.

I have spent a most enjoyable Sunday with a small group of  new sewing pals, on this project, a Long Weekend Bag by ” Touch My Heart Designs “.  My first attempt at a real complex bag, having only made tote and beach bags before, it certainly is a steep learning curve!  It took me from 10.00 to 16.00 to cut out and treat each piece with either interfacing or foam stabiliser to give it shape.

Just wondering whether all these 22 pieces, some of which still have to be cut out, will fit together into the very useful and attractive travelling bag shown in the photo on the pattern, hmmmmm?

It was very interesting to note that one of us totally ignored the instructions and left the session with a complete bag!  Mind you there were no pockets or pocket zips, as it was pointed out that with no pockets you cannot lose things in them.   Think that may be a very good point.  I am returning tomorrow evening for two more hours of concentrated effort, perhaps it will look more like a bag then!

 

My Elephant Bag under construction!

Long Weekend Bag by Touch My Heart Designs

New Easter Bunny

I want to introduce you to my new little rabbit, finished today.  I have great fun making these soft creatures, and they are so easy to look after, I can even leave them home alone while I go on long holidays.   I need two more animals  and think I may try a Mr Fox, but will he and the rabbit be good companions in my little crafty bolt hole, hmm.

 

Wallets

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My latest love, these wallets are such fun to make!  You use all your know how from dressmaking and craft work to come up with something new each time. They do take a lot of my time to make, however,  and I deliberate for hours over what fabrics to use, my next may be more subdued I think.

These two are made to hold loads of money and cards and one even has a little padded coin purse to match.  A zipped pocket on the back keeps your phone safe, you are ready to go!

Sewn Up Gifts Shop

Give The Dog a Bone

Today has been a bit of a gift for me, I had unexpected time to mess about, as you are supposed to when you have “retired”.

It has snowed, and this wonderful country of mine, though I wouldn’t live anywhere else, cannot cope with snow. The place closes down and people hibernate! I holed up in the kitchen with my powerful Sailrite sewing machine, making dog bone toys from recycled denim leftovers! This is continuing my effort to not buy any fabric this year and I have made a slight dent in the denim pile in the corner of my sewing room.

I am also halfway through making a patchwork denim toiletries bag, I am winging it a bit as I never think shop bought ones are exactly what you want. Will post a picture when finished,during the next snow storm?DSC_0158

Walkers’ Wallets

These are new into my Etsy shop “Sewn Up Gifts” Wallets   The fabric wallets are light and easy to use ideal for walks when a handbag does not quite “go”!   I have made one for dog lovers especially,  but they both would make nice small gifts for walkers on the go.