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!

image

 

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!

13199097_10153765045978250_1270583319_o

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.

 

Mad March

I have been feeling very smug with myself recently, I have managed to get a few gifts sewn and have erased a few jobs from my burgeoning “to do” list. A great feeling isn’t it?

Today the post man arrived with a thank you present from a happy recipient of two baby  sleep sacs I had made for gorgeous twin boys.  Stupidly I forgot to take a pic of the sleep sacs but I am dying to study my new books, people are so kind.   Have attached a link to tempt you!

On the Go Bags  Love to Sew 

I have also just finished a slightly overdue request.  A Kindle Fire slip cover made from my friends favourite denim skirt she no longer wanted to wear.  But now she has it recycled and I think it worked well. Well padded and lined it should continue to be a favourite!

Up early this morning, my best creative time, and I got the preparation done for a sewing session on Friday. All these pieces are interfaced, well almost all. And the labels are an absolute necessity.  I am helping a group of clever ladies piece together a sweet shoulder bag, I have sewn one up already and written about it  here.   Zip and Clip Bag

Look at all the pieces for just one bag, I really should calculate the time it takes to complete, so I am ready next time a prospective purchaser asks!

DSC03057

I am really looking forward to working with everyone to get this bag finished, we have already been on a Quilting Trail of 3 shops to buy fabrics and notions.  I used to go on pub crawls in my youth, but now its quilting shops so much easier on the head!

But my fabrics were all bought in India, hence the lovely bright colours, perfect!  And now I have two new books for inspiration, what joy.

 

I am no sailor!

Now I am no sailor, considering I live on a small island and am always going away, there is no chance of me getting on a”boat”.  Real sailors say ” its not a boat but a liner or a ship or a cruiser”.  Whatever it is I am not venturing forth, unless I spend all the while with my head in a bucket!

But my next statement may cause you to think I am insane.  I spent a week in Cyprus, with lots of time on my hands.  Was staring up at this sail style canopy which looked very elegant. And I scanned around our private pool at all the sun beds and chairs etc. Look at all that sewing I thought.  I could do that if only my machine could cope with all that canvas.  Now you know whats coming!  I did some research cos I have been wanting to make bags of various sorts, for a while now. I have no room for an industrial machine, but I found a compromise!

Some of you will have heard of “Sailrite”, not me!  What a revelation!  Spent the rest of the holiday pinning pics on Pinterest and convincing myself I really need this machine.

My brave husband said I should get it ” if I needed it” and so I have!

My Blue Bruiser! Sailrite sewing machine.

My blue bruiser is not delicate, she is able to stitch through denim layers like butter.  So far ( I have only had her 2 days) I have had no chance to start a project, but there are loads in my head.

Anyone else out there own this beautiful beast, would love to see your makes from it!

Happy sewing all

Lindy