Cushion making

In 2015 I was on a mission to acquire sewing skills that would enable me to produce clothes more ethically. I completed a number of evening classes which took me to the heady heights of producing my own (lined and pretty fancy) party dress, which I wore with pride on Christmas Day. I didn’t even care that I was the most overdressed person in the family(when did everyone start dressing down for December’s main event?!)

However, while I do well at sewing under the instruction of an experienced teacher, I drop back a few leagues when I’m sitting by myself at home with my own sewing machine…

A few months ago, I decided to replace the cushions on a sofa – to clarify, I mean the scatter cushions, not the actual big cushions that make up the sofa! I decided that this should be a task within my capabilities but, alas, when I got out my beginners sewing book, even altering the measurements of the cushion in the book to the size I wanted to make, sent me into a bit of a panic so…I signed up for another short course.

As a result I replaced the cushions (my kids chose the fabric):

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I made another for a different seat:

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and I even managed to make some as Christmas presents in this fabric:

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I’m fairly delighted with my progress for the following reasons:

  • While party dresses are all well and good, in my life they are of limited use! What I need to be doing is using my sewing skills to avoid relying on chain stores. My issue is that these shops generally fail to inform me who sews their products, or what conditions their employees are working in.
  • To be able to allow my children to pick fabrics adds more meaning to the items in our home, plus I hope it shows the kids one of the benefits of making your own things. (I have a grand plan that in several years’ time when they leave home they will take with them some basic skills – including sewing).
  • I have increased the repertoire of gifts that I am able to make. I’m keen to get away from purely consumer-driven culture of just throwing money at things, in an attempt to show someone how much you care. The more time and thought that you can demonstrate has gone into a gift, surely the more meaningful that offering actually becomes?
Plus
  • Sewing cushions is really quite satisfying and (now that I know how) very simple!
Hmmm…what will I sew next?

Bunting for Zero Waste Week

It’s Day 7 of Zero Waste Week and I have to admit, I’ve thoroughly enjoyed both the writing side of the reuse theme, as well as the creative side. Although today’s post is the last of this week, I’m sure that this is a topic I’ll be writing about again soon on the blog – I certainly have enough fabric at home from old clothes to use up, plus I now have a list of things I’d like to make. The project I’m sharing today is still a work in progress but I’m hopeful that this post will be enough to inspire and instruct, should you be tempted to do something similar.

Click here for National Zero Waste week 2015

One of my children is surprisingly fussy about the clothes they wear. There are key pieces in the wardrobe that are firm favourites, and said child will wear them whenever possible, whatever the occasion. Inevitably, of course, eventually those outfits stop fitting and (unlike toys which I have almost a 100% success rate of sneaking out of the house without anyone ever noticing) those favourite outfits carry on being requested.

For a while I’ve been trying to come up with ways that I can upcycle the outfits for other children in the extended family so that they are still useful, and so that my wee one knows they haven’t just disappeared. Nothing was acceptable though until yesterday (perhaps inspired by Friday’s bunting birthday card), when I suggested that we used the material to make bunting to hang around the bed.

Bingo! My wee one loved the idea, and so I’ve been working away on a mock-up, to ensure I get the bunting right when cutting up the precious outfits. I actually really love the idea that the bunting can be added to over the years, with each piece of fabric  having a story to tell.

Here’s my progress so far…

I made a triangular template from a sewing book – the straight line at the top of the triangle is 19cm and each diagonal side is 22.5cm.

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I then found an old pyjama top of mine and ironed the larger panels of fabric (remember this is just a mock up!)

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I then cut off a front side panel and folded it in half. I pinned my triangle to the fabric.

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I cut out my triangle on the folded fabric which gave me two triangles.

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I then pinned these together (right sides facing each other) and sewed on the two diagonal lines.

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I turned the triangle inside out and snipped the extra material away from the point of the triangle so that the bunting would have a sharp tip.

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I flipped the triangle back the right way around, and poked the point of the triangle with a knitting needle as suggested by my sewing book (for extra sharpness!)

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The next stage is to make all of your triangles and sew them together with bias binding, leaving equal spaces between them. I didn’t have any bias binding so I have improvised with a piece of white paper for the purposes of illustrating what to do! This is as far as I got…

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To hang your bunting, it’s suggested that you make loops at each end of your bias binding. It’s therefore obviously important to factor in a good length of binding when attaching your triangles. The loops may be a good hiding place for the extra binding if, like me, you are hoping to add triangles as time passes.

I’d love to see pictures of any homemade bunting you have!

A massive thank you to everyone who’s read my blog, commented and liked posts during Zero Waste Week 🙂

 

T-shirt shopping bag for Zero Waste Week

The King of the reusable item is surely has the cloth bag. Here in Scotland we have been charged 5p for plastic bags since 20th October 2014, and that has dramatically reduced our consumption, as this article via the BBC explains.   Wales has been on board since 1st October 2011 (go Wales!), and Ireland since 8th April 2013. England is to follow suit on 5th October of this year.

I have a lot of cloth bags, which I discuss in this post. I thought I was prepared for the bag charge and, for a while, my supply of bags was more enough. However, what I failed to account for is the plastic bags I used that had nothing to do with shopping. For example, when I passed on clothes, books etc. to family members or friends, I would usually have put these in a bag (guilt free of course as I was reusing the bag). I also used them as bin liners, for separating items in my case when I went on holiday, and for kneeling on when I worked in the garden. The list purposes for these bags went on and on. The other thing I failed to account for was that, although I already refused most of the plastic bags I was offered in shops, I acquired them (whether I liked it or not) – usually from people giving me useful items they were passing on.

My plastic bag collection saw me through a few months but slowly I stopped finding myself in possession of them, meaning that my stash of cloth bags had to be put to good use, as I started using them instead of plastic bags for things other than shopping.

I now have numerous bags around the house which hold knitting and sewing projects. I always use one for the kids’ water bottles when we are out to stop them leaking into my own tote. I now lend them out when I pass things on to the family and, although I get them back eventually, it can take time.

My very favourite cloth bags are the Onya bags which are fantastic for the following reasons:

  • They are super strong (some of mine are made out of parachute material)
  • They fold up into a tiny pouch so are very easily transportable
  • They come in a variety of shapes and sizes so you can pick whichever size best meets your needs
  • They are machine washable

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I was going to invest in some more (I have about 10 already), when I started thinking about projects that I could blog about during Zero Waste Week. Perhaps I could make some cloth bags! I remembered that Jen from MakedoandMend-able site had made a shopper out of an old t-shirt, so I searched her fantastic blog and found an easy-peasy tutorial.

My other half had a clear out earlier in the week and gave me a whole bunch of weird and wonderful items that had been languishing in his wardrobe. I think that after he saw my shirt to skirt project, he perhaps overestimated my sewing skills and thought I could turn them into a whole wardrobe of loveliness for me 🙂

There was a t-shirt in there that I thought would make a great shopper. (I am still taken aback that this t-shirt exists – we have been together for years and years and I don’t think I’ve ever clapped eyes on it before! Apparently it’s too small so he’s never worn it.)

I pretty much followed Jen’s tutorial to the letter.

Here’s the t-shirt

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I chopped the arms off

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I took the liberty of also chopping off the bottom seam as thought that would make it easier for me to sew.

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I then simply turned it inside out, pinned and sewed along the bottom seam (zig zaging the edge to prevent fraying), turned it back the right way and I had myself a new – if not especially photogenic- shopper.

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Here it is in my car boot full of shopping!

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I may cut the neck to make it a bit bigger as I found myself stuffing items in the arm hole, but that was okay!

If you like this idea but don’t sew, then I found this tutorial from mommypotamous who offers the same bag, but uses a clever method to join the two sides of the bag at the bottom. She also uses a much prettier t-shirt than mine, which makes the bag look very cute. I reckon making her version would be a good craft project for kids who are able to use scissors.

Happy Zero Waste Week everyone!
Click here for National Zero Waste week 2015

Draft excluder for Zero Waste Week

Click here for National Zero Waste week 2015

My other half gave me a pair of his old trousers a few months ago that were fraying at the ankle, and were generally looking past their best. In short, they were no longer suitable to wear. In the past I’d have put them into the Rag Bag collection, but now that I’ve got a sewing machine, I’m keen to upcycle anything that I can into something that would be useful.

It struck me that a leg of the trousers could be converted into an effective draft excluder. Our home is very drafty in places, due to poorly fitting doors and original floorboards. I’ve been meaning to attempt this project since I acquired the trousers but, even here in Scotland, the summer weather has meant it wasn’t a priority.

With the theme of Zero Waste Week this year being ‘reuse’ however (and my theme being specifically to reuse fabric), I felt that the time had come to turn those tatty old trousers into something that could help me keep our home warm, as the temperature drops like a stone. This actually turned out to be super simple, and only took me an evening.

Here are the trousers

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After ironing them, I decided that the trousers alone were a bit boring, so I found myself some leftover felt from the kids’ craft box and cut some hearts out (as you know from this post, I have a lot of options for heart templates!)

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note the zero waste cutting!

Using a craft & fabric glue I have, I glued a heart on to the trousers to check that it would stay in place. Satisfied, I cut the leg off the trousers and chopped down one of the seams to make my trouser leg less leg shaped and more rectangular.

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I then pinned and sewed the seam back in, and also closed the fraying ankle hole. All of this was done with right sides facing.

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I then glued all of my felt hearts in place. ‘What is it about you and fabric hearts??’ My other half wanted to know. (The answer is that I think they’re sooo pretty!)

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I should at this point have let all of the glue on the hearts dry properly, which would have saved me reapplying more later when the hears started slipping about.

I then went to my bag of old clothes, towels and fabric scraps and put as much as I could inside for stuffing *

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All that was really left to do now was close the top of the leg. I used the sewing machine which wasn’t the neatest finish (or the easiest, as I had to hold back the bulge of stuffing) but it did the job.

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I was pretty delighted at how my draft excluder turned out. I fully expected it to look like the stuffed pair of trousers that it is, but I actually think this little addition to my home is quite delightful. I won’t be hiding it when guests come round.

*It may be wise at this point to check that your stuffing is safe (ie avoid flammable items)

Shirt to skirt for Zero Waste Week

Welcome to the start of Zero Waste Week. The theme for 2015 is reuse.

Click here for National Zero Waste week 2015

When I found that out I thought ‘good work Rachelle’ (Rachelle Strauss is the founder of Zero Waste Week). It’s a great theme. Reusing things you already own, or have at your disposal, is a key component of the sustainable lifestyle. Less waste is generated because items are used for longer, or repurposed into something more useful. Furthermore, of course, there is a lack of ‘stuff’ coming into your life which will inevitably end up as more rubbish at some point in the future.

Far from being anywhere near zero waste in its purest form (is anyone?!), I have been reusing things and writing about those experience since I started getting a bit green. Throughout the week, I’ll dust off some of those old posts and tweet them out.

This week, while writing my own posts on reuse, I have decided to challenge myself and put my newly acquired sewing skills to good use. I will be reusing fabric. I’ll show you some of the projects that I have carried out recently, and will work on a few more during the course of the week. There will be examples of upcycling old clothes, adapting clothes that no longer fit, using fabric that I would have otherwise sent to the RagBag*, and using up fabric scraps from other projects.

For those of you who are new to the blog, I took up sewing properly at the start of 2015 when I made it my New Year’s Resolution to learn to sew. There were two main reasons behind this goal:

  1. I wanted to make clothes more ethically. After the Rana Plaza tragedy of April 2013, I wanted to ensure that I wasn’t supporting a fashion industry that uses extremely low paid workers, who are sewing in tretcherous conditions. I also wanted to source my own more ethically made material, and work towards using organic materials.
  2. I hoped to reuse some of the clothes I already had – whether that would be making things fit better, mending old favourites that are looking a bit shabby, or adapting my kids’ clothes so that they could keep them as they get bigger.

Much to my surprise, I had pretty much cracked my goal of learning to sew by about March when I made this dress in a dressmaking class.

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I loved the experience so much that I promptly made another one, and signed up for more classes. I now do a fair amount of sewing on my own second hand sewing machine.

It was easy to get into the sewing part of this challenge, but after about six months of simply enjoying the creative side, and, being in possession of an increasing number of wacky and wonderful bespoke pieces (welcome additions to my wardrobe after my year of buying no new clothes), it was time to get started with point number 2 above.

A real opportunity arose when I found a course, run by a local sewing school, which promised to teach me to upcycle an old shirt into a skirt. The timing was perfect. I did my preparatory work (left my other half in charge of the kids’ Saturday morning schedule, and mugged him of an old shirt), and off I went.

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I turned up to the three hour class with a shirt and a metre of material that I’d been asked to bring plus another metre of fun material that I thought would be a nice touch to include in a homemade item of clothing .

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I chose grey as I felt that it would ‘dull down’ the reds and yellows of the shirt. While I love bright colours, my confidence in producing a wearable outfit was fair to middling and I reckoned a sensible grey might forgive the inevitable flaws in my skirt.

At this point I ask that you will forgive my lack of photos of the process – I felt weird about taking pictures during the class. However I have drawn some lovely pictures for you with my kids’ felt pens so that you can fully experience the process! 🙂 **

Step 1 was to button up the shirt and pull it on so that the neck was (sort of) my waist band – I had to leave a few buttons undone, obvs.

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This was to see how much material I had at my disposal from the shirt. If you have a very big shirt then refashioning is fairly simple without having to use extra material. No one in the class had a big enough shirt for this option though, so we moved on to…

Step 2 which was to cut the shirt as below (with the red dashes being the cut marks).

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To explain better, I cut out the side seams to remove them, and I cut under the collar and round the yoke on the back – basically saving the easy-to-work-with material. I cut it to the size I needed for the length of the skirt.

Step 3: I then cut out panels from my grey fabic. I got to choose the shape for these. The length should obviously correspond with the length you want the skirt but the wider it is the more the skirt will flare out. I decided on the smallest size of panel I could get away with to join the pieces of my shirt. I made them rectangular. I felt making a skirt from a shirt was a statement enough, without it flaring all over the place!

Step 4: I sewed the four panels together so that they looked like a big wide skirt. (I thought about attempting a drawing for this but hastily reconsidered…)

Step 5: I created a waist band and chose to sew on a frill, made out of the ‘fun’ piece of material above. This was mainly to ensure that I kept the pocket where I wanted it and to stop it sneaking into the waistband.

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The frill (suggested by the tutor) was a cute addition that I think creates a little interest. When I sewed on my frill, I added in my elastic to ensure that the top of the skirt hugged my waist.

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Voila!

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The finished article took me longer to make than the time that had been allocated in the class – I took it home and worked away on it until I was happy.

Pretty pleased with the end result, I modelled it for the children who found it hilarious that mummy was wearing daddy’s shirt as a skirt. Cute as this was, I couldn’t objectively tell whether my skirt actually looked fabulous, or if it did simply look like a shirt with the arms cut off (oh no!).  I therefore dressed it up and wore it to a family party – a safe environment.

I’m not saying that there weren’t jokes. I (stupidly!) complemented someone on their shirt and had to dodge accusations that I wanted to turn it into another skirt, and – my personal favourite – someone else requested that I make a show-stopping outfit for an upcoming school reunion, using the old school uniform! Ultimately my new skirt got the thumbs up though, so I will be happily teaming it with long boots and a polo neck this autumn and wearing it with pride!

*from my general reading around the subject of clothes waste, I believe it is likely that these would be likely to have been shipped abroad, plus it is possible that a proportion of it would have ended up in landfill

**please direct all requests for illustrative work to my agent.

I made a dress!

Finally, and, as a result of popular demand (a few requests on Twitter) I’m posting about the dress I sewed.

I know! Me!  I made a dress!

If you follow my blog you’ll know that I’ve had a bee in my bonnet – pardon the pun – about sustainable fashion for a while now.  It probably dates back to the Rana Plaza disaster of 24 April 2013 which shocked me, and made me stop and think about my consumption of clothes…and then made me feel guilty.  What could I do about it though?  Give up buying clothes?  A-ha-ha-ha! As if…

By December 2013 my guilt was still hanging around, and I thought what if, just maybe, I could stop buying new clothes for 2014? The whole of 2014?  I did it though.  With the exception with an emergency replacement bra purchased in July, I didn’t buy a single other item of clothing for myself, and it was so darned easy!  (Of course it was easy, I had a wardrobe full of stuff I’d accumulated over the years without giving much thought to where it came from).

In my last post I explored ways that I could start adding to my wardrobe that might be considered ethical, or at the very least, not completely unethical.  Anyway, I reckoned that if I could learn to sew, I might just be able to make some of my own clothes, and source ethically made material to boot. Again, at the time that seemed ridiculous.  I had no sewing experience except for lessons at school when I was about 8. Those were so traumatic for me that my mum had to go in and speak to the teacher.  Even if you look back on my blog, I mention in passing trying to hand sew the hem of a cloth hankie in this post, and I gave up because I was so rubbish.

However, there’s a crazy gene of determination that runs through my family.  Those affected get a wild look in their eyes when they decide something needs done and the best thing to do, frankly, is step aside and let them get on with it. I thought it’d skipped me, but I became possessed with the desire to learn to sew and, ignoring the sniggers of friends and family alike, I signed up to a sewing class and learned the basics. I loved it, but the sewing school promptly stopped offering classes and subsequently closed. (I haven’t read anything into that, I’m sure it was just a coincidence…)

In the meantime I acquired a second hand sewing machine, watched the Great British Sewing Bee a lot and made a small bag for lego figures. I know I should copywrite that idea, but I don’t mind if you want to make one too – it’s too special not to share 😉

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Finally, after some internet searching I selected another sewing school to shut down attend. I picked a dressmaking class because…er…I wanted to make dresses. For some reason when I picked the class it didn’t occur to me that I’d actually be making a dress in the class.  When the realisation struck I was part delighted, and part overwhelmed by the responsibility of selecting a fabric. Cue more smirking from the other half what did you think you were going to be doing?!

I turned up on the first day of class with my lovely red fabric all washed, ironed and ready to go.  There were six of us there to learn together – all female, quelle surprise! The teacher was a fabulous lady who had not long finished a textiles degree, or something of that ilk. Much more importantly than actually, you know, being able to sew, she had a perfect temperament, and not once did I see her get stressed. Even when she pointed out I was about to sew backwards…and I managed to do it anyway.

The class took place over four weeks and in that time I learned how to cut out fabric using a pattern, how to pin (and how to stab myself with pins), I sewed seams, corners, hems, pockets and elastic, and I even got to use some interfacing stuff.  I learned (from experience) which side you iron it on, and that if you get it wrong then you actually end up ironing it onto the tea towel you’re using to protect it from the heat. I also learned that if you’re using a tea towel from home, don’t use one that you’ve dried in the next room to the kitchen because you’ll end up making your dress-to-be smell of onions.

While all that stuff was invaluable in terms of sewing experience, I had a fab time chatting away to other people that were equally as thrilled as I was to watch their fabric turn into something that hints at being wearable one day.  On top of the perk of sewing class getting me out of the post-bedtime tidy-up, it was great just to take some time out to immerse myself in something so completely different.

Despite being the dunce of the class – the others being motivated to develop a talent they actually had in the first place, opposed to me pursuing the goal of sustainable fashion – I thoroughly enjoyed building on my very limited skills and…did I mention…I made a dress!

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In the last class we finished up a bit early and sat about in our new dresses drinking fizzy grape juice in champagne glasses, and eating cake. There was joy in the room!

I was determined to actually wear the damn thing, despite the fact that it has the odd bit of clumsy stitching. It therefore got its first outing to the theatre, and its second to a kids’ party. I have received compliments on it – probably because it’s bright red and the first new thing I’ve modelled in over a year! Despite my decision that I’d be modest and not tell anyone of its origins, I’ve found myself blurting out ‘I made it!!!!’ if anyone so much as smiles at me while I have it on.

The reactions have been amazing. I think so few people make their own clothes these days that it’s big news to be wearing your own work. It makes me feel really proud, so much so that sometimes I even forget I’m holding my bag over a dodgy seam.

Dress number 2 is very nearly finished. It’s pretty much a carbon copy of the first one but in a different fabric plus without the pockets which are a bit tricky – I just wanted to have FUN! So far I’ve just bought fabric from my local fabric shop to enable me to get a feel for it, but my next step will be using this great post from Make Do and Mend-able to source ethical material.

I’ve got the sewing bug and ain’t nothin’ gonna stop me now!

My first sewing project

A few weekends ago, I was given the gift of time – a few hours to myself, with which to do whatever I pleased.  Sometimes I feel dizzy with the responsibility of how to spend this precious time, but on this occassion I knew it was time to get the sewing machine out and ‘actually make something’.

I leafed through my lovely little sewing book for an easy beginners project, and decided to make a tiny drawstring bag. It was really designed for hand sewing, but I was sure it’d work on the machine too.

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I’m keen to make things we can use. There doesn’t seem to be any point in reducing my general consumption (as I’m always trying to do), just to produce a lot of crap we don’t need in the name of learning to sew…but a tiny drawstring bag, in all honesty, is of limited use!

However, I knew the kids would enjoy it.  They are (surprisingly) fascinated by my sewing machine that just sits in its box for most of the time, and I knew they’d appreciate me making something for them.  It would also allow me to learn to make something that I could give away as part of a gift for other children. We have endless parties that we take presents to, and I’d love to limit the amount of mass-produced ‘stuff’ that is made abroad.

A while ago I bought some fat quarters in Hobbycraft. I managed to forget that I was aiming to buy UK material, in the hope that it is made under fair working conditions. However the label says ‘Designed in England’.

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I went on to the website and couldn’t get further information about where the material was actually produced. Having already purchased it I’ve decided not to pursue that as the deed has been done,  but should I wish to replenish my supply, I will follow it up, and avoid it if it wasn’t made in the UK (which I strongly suspect it wasn’t!). Jen Gale of My Make Do and Mend Year has written a really wonderful post which covers purchasing UK and ethical materials here. I have no excuses the next time!

Anyway, I selected a dinosaur design (which came in a variety of colours such as cream, pink and blue) as it was a bit more appealing to both boys and girls than most of the fat quarters I come across. It will probably be of no surprise to you that I’m not keen on gender-specific toys where they can be avoided (my kids don’t necessarily share this opinion though!)

I got my sewing machine out and then took a look at the material. Whenever I look at sewing blogs there are always ironing boards set up in the background and now I know why – there were heavy creases in inappropriate places.

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I followed the instructions and pinned the material into place, then started sewing, while removing the pins. (Does the novelty of pressing that pedal and zipping down the material ever wear off??)

I’m not going to pretend it was totally easy. For example, I had to stop when I got loose threads caught inside the machine…

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…and I got some ‘bobbly’ stitches (I can’t remember how I managed this!) but I had to take the bobbin out – because of said bobbly stitches! – and like the last time, couldn’t get the damn thing back in again!

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Some of my stitches went decidedly off straight and narrow.

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But finally my bag was made…and it even looked a bit like the one in the book!

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My kids loved it and immediately filled it with their mini lego figures, so the bag turned out to be hugely useful!!!

Kicking off the sewing adventure

A while ago, I blogged about taking a sewing lesson. I really enjoyed it and, as a result, decided to buy myself a sewing machine.  I wasn’t confident about buying a second-hand machine (what if it didn’t work?) so I had planned to invest in a decent new one. I did my research and was on the cusp of making a purchase when I was invited to a party.

When the party night came, I wasn’t feeling in the party mood, but it was one of my good friend’s birthdays and I wasn’t going to let her down.  I reasoned with myself that I’d go and see how this experience was going to enrich my life – employ some positive thinking, if you will!

I’m glad I did – I bumped into an old friend I was in danger of losing touch with, a colleague from a decade ago, and…someone who was winding up a sewing school and had machines she was selling (that were still under guarantee!)

I am now, therefore, the proud owner of a lovely new (to me) machine that cost a fraction of what I was initially prepared to pay.  I even got a tutorial from the lady I bought it from, and she told me to phone her if I get stuck – I’m delighted 🙂

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This beauty has however been sitting in a box in the house for the past few months while the festive preparations of last month took priority. Unlike my knitting which I’m able to pick up and work on for 10 minutes at a time around the family, I knew the sewing machine was going to need a bit of my undivided attention (away from my children who are very keen to have a shot!)

Yesterday I had an hour and a half to myself in the house, so I wiped the glitter off our dining table (don’t ask!), and extended it so that I had plenty of space.  I then unpacked the sewing machine, gathered the stash of bobbins and thread that I’d been collecting in anticipation of this moment, and opened the manual.

It started reasonably well.  I managed to wind a bobbin.  I cut the thread in the wrong place and somehow the bobbin has two thread ends which will no doubt come back to haunt me, but I’m ignoring that at the moment… I then threaded the needle perfectly which was where I’d anticipated problems. My problem area was loading the bobbin into the ‘bobbin holder’.   As you can see, it’s the kind of holder that is erm…front loading?  as opposed to sitting in the bottom of the machine (I’m sure my terminology will improve in time).

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Instead of just taking the bobbin holder out of the machine to pop the bobbin into, I removed the other parts too and then just couldn’t get them back in.  Part of the problem was that I didn’t realise I’d taken too much out, and the manual wasn’t helping me as it had assumed a bit more intelligence on my part and didn’t cover my particular problem.

Determined that I was bloody well getting this machine working in my precious 90 minutes, I did what all the cool kids do, and got onto You Tube.  Within 5 minutes a lovely calm lady from America had solved all of my problems.

Thrilled, I proceeded, managing to get the thread ‘pulled up’ from the bobbin holder to beside the threaded needle, and then I sewed some stitches on scrap fabric. I’m not going to pretend that it wasn’t exciting!

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Apologies for white thread on white fabric…

With my time just about up, I packed the machine back in its box and prepared a delicious nutritious dinner for my family in my last five minutes (okay, I actually scrubbed some baked potatoes, but that still counts…).

Join me for the next exciting instalment of my sewing adventure – coming soon!