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

Holiday fun!

It’s kind of quiet from me at the moment, no stitching getting done or words posted on the Internet! My little world is all upside down, in fact we are enjoying the delights of Kerala, India again. Such a wondrous place, but just to show you I have not completely switched off, I spotted this very smiley chap busy running up a few garments. He was very happy to give me a lovely bright smile and it made my  day!  There are just a few things I have found to stash away, will show you later!

 

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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.

A New Year “Fit Bit” bag!

Now don’t get me wrong, I haven’t joined the new year flight to the local gym, the only exercise for me is my foot on the sewing machine pedal! But my fitter other half was very lucky to have been given a Fit Bit to spur him on to even greater lengths. Each time he disappears to the gym, on his bike most times, I grab the chance to get to my machine. This morning though, he was gathering his strength with a lie in and I remembered him saying he could do with a little bag to put his Fit Bit in. Once I had worked out to what he was referring I reckoned it was just the job for Sewn Up Gifts. Rushed down stairs for a cup of tea and set to!

Here is the result, made in an hour just in time for the next gym trip!

I made this from a sturdy cotton moleskin. As it is thick fabric I didn’t line it and it does not fray but still my trusty old Bernina only just made it through the layers.  You can make this from scrap fabric and any size depending on your zip collection.  You can always cut nylon zips down to size remember.

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Add binding strip to top edge

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Turn over and press.

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Add tabs to zip ends.

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Stitch zip to binding

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Add any straps etc before sewing together

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Sew together

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Good to go!

I can report this little project a great success, I would have liked to have added an outside pocket for any other bits and pieces but I did not want to risk an expensive repair bill at the sewing machine shop!
Happy New Year everyone!

My Australian Adventure

My feet have just touched ground after a long anticipated journey to Australia, a country that I have always heard so much about through out my life.  My father grew up there and returned to England in his twenties. I believe he always wanted to return but never had the opportunity, even for a holiday.

As an anniversary and birthday celebration my long suffering husband and I embarked on this voyage of discovery!  I had always intended to see where my father had lived and went to school in Melbourne, and I was welcomed to his old school, Trinity Grammar, Kew,  Melbourne, and taken on a tour of the old building just before the original assembly hall and class rooms were replaced by more user friendly new ones.  Timely or what?!

Earlier in the year I posted about my Grandmothers art work in Melbourne Victoria  Read here.   and I asked if anyone in Australia had a painting of hers, well I was in luck!

Lo and behold I was contacted on my way out, by a very kind art lover who said his family had bought a water colour by Bess Golding in the 1920’s and it had hung on the family home wall until the 70’s and still remains in the family.  It was lovely news, especially as it is hanging on the wall next to one of  her contemporaries Australian water colour artist,  Harold Herbert, who she much admired.

Everyone was so kind and helpful through out this personal expedition, and had time to spend helping me find a bit of my past.  I have fallen in love with Australia, but whether I will ever return is doubtful,  even with modern travel the journey is long but worth it!IMG_1143

McCalls 6658 My Monday Make!

McCall's M6658

McCall’s M6658

I seem to be having a few pink moments lately, glad its not blue ones!  Am chuffed with my Monday make, just 4 pieces to cut and 5 seams plus hems, what could be easier.  Fleece is so forgiving, I cut the sleeves out separately and forgot to turn over the second, so I had 2 right sleeves, oops!  But I managed to fudge it as my sewing   mentor used to say!

Anyhow this top is right on cue as its rained all day and I waited in for a ” consignment” as I was promised, but of course zilch! So this success cheered me up and will warm me up tomorrow!

Happy sewing everyone

Lindy

Vogue 7055 Sandra Betzina Dress Pattern

V 7055 Dress V 7055 Neck V 7055 sideV 7055 Pattern CoverI am going to meet up with my sisters soon, in London, and I am getting so excited as we don’t often get the chance to get together with our other halves too!  Felt a new frock was called for and just because it will be October and probably freezing cold, I wanted something bright!  Well frocks in the shops (oh that rhymes!) are so dull in colour, or for the young things so I went scurrying through my wadges of dress patterns and found this vintage little number.  I made my first version in the naughties for work and now I am free I have this version!  

Sandra says to use a moderate stretch knit for this “easy” category dress.  But as ever, I can never find the exact requirements.  So I ordered this lovely VERY stretchy jersey knit from Croft Fabrics UK who have some lovely dress materials to order on line. I recommend them!

Anyhow I decided to self line the front top and use stay tape around the neck edge and along the shoulder seam.  This will prevent the whole affair sagging down to my ankles, and give more substance to the dress.  It also gets around the very stretchiness of the jersey.  At least that is the thought.  The instructions also advise to just turn over the neck edge to finish, I don’t think this looks as nice or “finished” as using self fabric to bias bind the neck edge and then top stitch through. Just me perhaps, but if you have time its worth the extra effort.

I also used a stretchy interfacing on the placket to prevent it sticking out from the line of the dress.  I am so pleased with the result and it is so easy to wear!  No zip to worry about and minimal crease, so I can just throw it in my case and not worry!

I must add, though, that without the overlocker and  coverstitch sewing machines, the whole thing would have been much more complicated.  As it was, the sleeves are inserted flat and there are only 3 pattern pieces, even the front and back are cut out in a single layer so no trying to get the fold of the fabric exactly on line.

Now whats the next thing in my dressmaking list of makes, I have loads of fabric burning holes in me!

The weekend flew “past” !

I was all set for a busy weekend at the sewing machine, but no, the sun came out instead.  The garden, or rather undergrowth, was calling me and my t’other half to come out and cut it back before winter.  Not a small task, hacking through two years growth and thinking I wish I was doing something more creative than destructive!  Anyhow on the last of 3 three runs to the recycle centre with the 7th huge builders sack of debris there was a rumble in the jungle.  Over our heads flew 5 Spitfires and a Hurricane giving us a huge “Well done” for our efforts.  They were obviously going home after a very busy weekend celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Battle of Britain.  What a sight they were and they brought a lump of emotion to my throat.

All about Spitfires

Back to the sewing machine then.  I went to one of my sewing groups on Friday to see how to ” Whack and Stack”.  Well it was not what I thought, probably a relief all round,  but a random way of cutting and piecing patchwork.  I am not sure I am now a fan of the method but perhaps it was just the choice of cottons I used?  I put the sashing and border on this morning and think it may suit a summer beach house or the garden shed, neither of which I have!

I also made a piggy handbag for a little girl, and I have put it in my shop on Etsy.  I made one for my great niece for her birthday in August and it seems it was a hit, so I hope others like it too.  Was fun to make and the pattern shows other animals to sew up so perhaps I will make those too.

Pictures say more than words so here you go!

Stack and Whack lap quilt top

Stack and Whack Lap quilt top

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Little Miss Piggy Bag