Monday, 21 May 2012

Re-use and recycle

Question : What do you do with a gorgeous stripy cardigan that has been sat in your wardrobe waiting for you to wear it?

Answer : Make it into a gorgeous stripy cushion cover!!

In my efforts to revamp our old but perfectly comfortable sofa, I have been making new cushion covers in an assortment of beiges, chocolates, and even a bit of duck egg blue to tie in with the sofa colours.  I love colour and stripes so what better excuse plus it livens it all up a lot.

As I like to keep it simple, I basically bought a  20 inch square duck feather cushion pad (thankyou Dunelm) and cut out a 21 inch square from the cardigan.  I cut through both front and back of cardigan to keep stripe alignment and also made use of what existing seams were left - I did say I like simple!  After turning it wrong side out,  I sewed seams along top and bottom and two short sections on the sides where the cardigan shape tapered out and I lost the existing seams.  

The added beauty of using a cardigan is that I didn't even need to go to the lengths of creating an envelope back as I used the button bands, buttons from the original.  And voila!

I plan on making a couple of round afghan- block style covers using a hexagonal motif - this is also great as I can just sit and hook a motif up in the car on the school run.  Let me know if you've done any great upcycling as I'd love to know..

Thursday, 17 May 2012

Only in the UK...

After returning from a lovely family holiday in Dorset, it struck me when I was unpacking that we had taken (and used!) a vast assortment of items.  From hats and hand warmers, sunglasses, suncream, shorts, skirts to leggings, long boots, fleeces and wellies - almost four seasons in one week.  After the terrible bout of wet weather the UK has experienced in the last month, only 2 wet days out of 7 was marvellous!!

Years of UK holidays when growing up has made me resilient and resourceful and I am reaping the rewards now.  I remember building dams in the drizzle and rain in a Snowdonian stream behind our home for the week - in fact, this was the same holiday where we experienced earth tremors from an earthquake in nearby Porthmadog.  I even remember galloping Miranda- like everywhere when all I could think about was horses and looking forward to going riding on holiday.  It never did me any harm and did wonders for the imagination - this might not be true for kids now as they rely on gadgets, games and gizmos far too much.

Ship ahoy!

and another one!
I seem to have hit a bit of a hiatus on the craft front.  I'm in between crochet projects and have both too many ideas and projects ready to go - I'm not sure what to start first but may opt for an easy project that requires a low level of concentration.

On the sewing side of things, I have just made the brave (code for foolish) decision to embark on a dress that has to be ready for a fast approaching deadline - this was early June but now moved to July.  When you can't find the style or colours you like on the high street, plus not having the budget to blow either, I am going to have to take matters into my own hands.

I love this Simplicity pattern 2927 for either a dress or tunic.  The beauty of the Project Runway patterns is that you can really put your mark on a garment as there are plenty of design tips and almost limitless possibilities.  I even drew up a croquis for this pattern and also for Simplicity 2588 as I was torn between the styles.

I've done much scouring of the shops and internet alike for smart frocks and I was staggered when looking in a local boutique at the prices being charged for the simplest of styles.  On closer inspection, I really find it hard to justify the price when the quality of finishing and sometimes the fabric does not fit the exorbitant price tag.  Anybody would think I was an expert seamstress but I like to think that I have quite exacting standards.

Polished cotton in a sophisticated  black and creamy beige

I've found a gorgeous classic fabric with a paisley design in my local fabric shop and am going to get cracking and cut the pieces out over the next week.  I have to make sure I have plenty of time to pin it and cut it out in the one session - with a little person and three cats on the prowl I have to make it an evening job.  Oh how I would love a hobby room but that's just a distant dream...

I will keep you posted on the progress of this and hopefully will get my crafty mojo back up and running.  If I could only decide whether to make myself a cardigan, finish a hexagonal block cushion or ... I think I may be tempted into making a cardigan for my rapidly growing daughter as this has the added benefit of being smaller therefore quicker gratification.  Oh decisions, decisions ...

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Japanese Knot Bag

I have been meaning to make one of these for months, when I first got the January 2012 issue of 'Making' magazine.  

I have even had the pattern pieces for the shoulder size bag cut out for over a fortnight to give me the added kick up the bum to make it as I think it may be a fairly quick make.  The atrocious UK weather has made me get my act together and what better rainy day project than this?  Especially when I plan on using it on our upcoming holiday to Dorset.  I am just hoping that our 'drought' stricken country will be having some better weather soon...

an action shot...

I have used some camouflage butterfly print cotton for the outside with an oddment of bright turquoise burnout fabric for the lining.  This bag is reversible though which makes is even more of a versatile fun project.  You can have one side slightly more plain and have one side really wild and funky for when   you need to put a smile on your face.

This is a really quick make and probably took me a (leisurely) hour and a half - by which I mean that included drinking a cup of tea and eating a Kit Kat.  I like to enjoy myself totally when sewing!...

And here it is,  the finished article.  Perfect bag for chucking in any bits and bobs, odds and sods, and the way the long handle passes through the short one is genius as it stops any things dropping out.  However,  I would use interfacing on at least one side of the bag to help retain the shape and integrity of the bag.

book, phone, crochet hook, yarn, etc...
Unfortunately, I have discovered to my cost that this is the perfect size for a cross body version for a nearly 5 year old!  It is just the right size for a couple of princesses, a teddy bear, a note book and pen and a tube of Smarties...

When I make this bag again, I think I may make the actual body of the bag slightly larger just to accommodate all the extra odds and sods.  I know the best solution would be not to carry so much crap round but its amazing what you find you need and/or get asked to out in your bag. 

I have imminent plans to make an evening version of the hand bag sized one  - I think a nice black velvet or similarly posh bit of fabric with something a bit wild for the lining.  I can also see the use of sparkly bits on it too and I may also want to slim the handles down a little depending on the fabric choice.  

Right, now for the next item on my sewing to do list....