Simpicity 2906: How I did….

IMG_2849I saw this ‘Cath Kidston esque’ fabric in Trago Mills a few weeks ago and then went back to get it. I have no idea who it’s actually by. Its very summery though. The pattern was another simplicity sale one, as I needed a plain slightly flarey skirt pattern.

It is a fairly straight forward pattern.

Firstly you sew up the side seams, bottom to top on the right side and up to the stitching mark on the left side, as this is where you will insert the (lapped) zip.

Next you insert the zipper. A 7 inch normal (so not invisible) zipper.

First pin and sew the right hand side of the zipper as normal.

As you can see I’m using my zipper foot to get a close stitch.

Next, pin the left side of the zipper with a folded over lap to create the ‘lap’ of the lapped zipper. I had never created a lapped zip before, this is how the directions in the pattern said to do it, so this is how I did it 🙂

Now onto the waistband. This requires webbing, again something I have never used (had to ask in the haberdashers what it was 🙂 ).

The instructions in the pattern said to pin and stitch the top edge of the webbing onto the top edge of the waist.

Then, flip it over to the wrong side, thus creating a nice encased edge to the waistband. Pin and stitch.

Now, I’m only 5ft 1 inch, so most things are too long on me. When I cut this pattern out it seemed like it was going to be a midi skirt. It was, but with the width it did not look good, so I wanted it to be knee length, meaning I had to adjust the length (ahem, cut the excess off haha) IMG_3206

Penultimately was the hemming. I am not great at this on curved edges but we got there.

Lastly was the buttonhole and button. I had one of the lovely pink buttons left over from the sailor dress – it happened to be perfect for this skirt so it got used. I think it looks lovely.

Finished! I really liked this pattern, it was very easy. I would highly recommend it if you want to practise your zips, as it was easy to put a zip in as its a straight seam and you can just do an exposed zipper (or invisible) rather than a lapped one 🙂 It didn’t take me long at all to make 🙂 very recommended for beginners.


M6913: How I did…. Part three

Final part to the lovely sailor dress pattern and how I did. The bodice is the hardest part on this pattern, and so now this is done! There are a couple of fiddly bits on the skirt part.

First there is a cut line on the front bodice pattern piece IMG_3100

You need to mark onto the fabric on both sides where this line is – giving you a V once the piece is opened out. You stitch along this line – stay stitching – and then slash inbetween these two lines so you have an open V.

The piece for the opening is just a rectangle piece, which you pin and stitch to the right side of one side of this V.

Next you turn this to the inside of the skirt and then stitch the piece of fabric onto the other side of the V, and stitch the bottom shut, giving you a V pocket. IMG_3106

Next I put two rows of pink binding onto both the front and the back skirt pieces, measuring where I felt they needed to go so they were at the same height front and back.

Next, you sew the front and back skirt pieces to one another. IMG_3140

Then you need to gather. I did this in 4 parts: 2 at the front either side of the V, and 2 at the back breaking in the middle.

I do the lazy way of gathering. You don’t get as even gathers or as good looking results with the ‘proper’ way to gather, but at the moment its good enough generally. All you do for the lazy way of gathering is to set your machine to the longest stich with the highest top tension and sew 🙂

There are 2 threads, the bobbin and the top thread, you need to pull one of these, I like to pull the bobbin thread. When you pull it properly gathers the fabric 😉 viola 🙂

Next is to attach the skirt to the bodice. I pinned and stitched the skirt to the bodice right sides together, starting at either side of the V and matching seams.

One thing I always seem to do when stitching a gathered skirt to a bodice is catch some of the bodice so I end up with this: IMG_3156

Soooo, unpicker time…. and restitch.

The pattern requires 3 buttons on the opening of the bodice. So you sew button holes onto one side of the bodice (above the V in the skirt) IMG_3157

I have been lamenting only having a automatic button hole more than normal recently. I wish that I had a 4 step buttonhole as an option, as it is such a nightmare when bulk etc stops the buttonholer working to complete the buttonhole fully. You have to unpick and restart every time, where as with a 4 step buttonhole you just select the stage you are at and continue. IMG_3161

In order to keep the sailor collar ends together there is a stitched on ‘woggle’. This is just a loop of fabric stitched between the button holes on the bodice.

And then hem the bottom

Lastly to sew these pretty pink buttons on 🙂 I did it whilst watching the great British sewing bee 🙂

And the final product, in age 1-2 years this time. I do love a sailor dress and can’t wait to see my niece wearing it 🙂

M6913: How I did… part two

Welcome back to how I did for the gorgeous sailor dress pattern for my niece in Australia.

I’m now going to briefly cover how I did on the bodice. I say briefly because I didn’t take many photos. This was because I rather struggled so was concentrating too much to remember to take pictures! sorry :/ I am very much learning at all this 🙂

The next stage was to attach the collar to the bodice. You only need attach it by the unsewn bit around the back of the neck on the inside of the collar.

You pin this to the right side of the bodice, with the wrong side of the collar to the right side of the bodice, just the way it will be once the dress is complete. IMG_3014

Next is to make up the bodice lining, this is made up the same as the bodice, sewn at the shoulder seams. This is then placed right side of the lining to right side (so upper) of the collar. Once again stitched at the gap. Once this is turned to the inside all the stitching on both the collar and bodice should be encased between the lining and the bodice.

Clever, yes? IMG_3020

Next is the sleeves. Now, I made a booboo (again haha) with these. With set in sleeves I usually don’t sew up the side seams until after I have sewn the sleeves to the sleeve curve, it makes it so much easier. I was on auto-pilot and following the instructions on this pattern so I had already sewn up the side seams! ooops! so of course I had to do the sleeves the hard way.

Firstly I put the pink binding on, and gathered the sleeve caps

Next, I sewed up the centre seams on the sleeves

and turned them right way out. IMG_3027

Next is the hard bit – setting in the sleeves. You have to insert the sleeve into the sleeve hole, with the sleeve right side to the bodice right side (always check when its folded back out the right way it is right as you don’t want to set it in more than you have to!)

then (very slowly and very carefully) sew – if you have a freearm and its small enough to do it put the sleeve around the free arm as this makes it very much easier. IMG_3028

Once this is done turn the sleeve right side out

Bodice done! phew! in part 3 I’ll move onto the skirt – it does require quite a bit of different techniques this pattern and it took me 3 days to complete 🙂 I enjoyed it though and the end result is definitely worth it!

M6913: How I did…part one

One of my lust makes before I started sewing was a sailor dress. I absolutely adore children in sailor collars – maybe its a sound of music thing – I don’t know haha.

I saw this pattern and just had to have it. IMG_2843

It says easy, but I find it challenging (in a good way).

One day I’m sure I’ll make it up in a print, but I have only made it in contrasting solids. This time this baby blue and darker pink. The first time I made it in a taupe and a mint green.

I really liked this colourway.

I like the collar shape of the back of view C, but the rest of the dress and collar of view B. That’s what I made up.

Firstly is interfacing! I use medium weight, iron on interfacing for most things, but especially as I mainly use cotton in my sewing.

In this pattern you are required to interface the two front bits and the collar. You cut these pieces out of the interfacing and iron on according to the interfacing manufacturers instructions.

The interfacing I use asks for the iron to best on a medium heat ie wool,IMG_2961 and for the iron not to be moved, to be placed, and for no steam!

As you can see I couldn’t be bothered to get out the ironing board haha

As I like to keep all the pattern sizes for each pattern – unfortunately I don’t have the cash to splash to get a new pattern for each size. I often need to cut out the biggest size and then trace and trim to the correct size on the smaller, fiddlier pattern pieces.

Next I sewed the front bodice pieces to the back bodice pieces, at the shoulders and the side seams.

Now I put this to one side, and work on the collar. First is to sew the two halves together. IMG_2987

As you can see, you don’t sew the inside middle of the collar.

Then I trim the seams so as to (hopefully) get a crisper finish once it is turned right way out.

And because of my love of topstitching… IMG_2994

I do enjoy this next bit – applying the binding that really makes this sailor collar. First is to mark the distances on each side where the binding is going to go. I did make a mistake in this but didn’t realise until I’d finished – see if you can spot it after!

Once you have marked on the position you just pin on the binding

and sew at top and bottom edge

I think such a simple thing looks really effective (if you don’t make any mistakes like me haha – although mistakes make you better at sewing I think!) I also put some binding onto the points of the collar as I like the look of them.

That’s the collar finished!

I have had to split this how I did into several parts as there are quite a few steps to it 🙂 in the next part I’ll cover how I did the bodice 🙂

Flutterby Romper: How I did….

Some of the best clothes for kiddies are ones they can just throw on.

I made the girly a romper in the spring and she loved it. I made it from quite boyish fabric as she still prefers boyish clothes a lot of the time, although I hadn’t realised there were jack daniels bottles on the fabric with the rabbits! haha IMG_8996

Its not that noticeable when she’s wearing it.. honestly!

I was also given some really pretty poppy border print fabric so I wanted a project that incorporated that too.

This is a PDF pattern by little kiwis closet, which I got off etsy. I print my PDF patterns off once, then trace the size I need onto greaseproof paper and then save the patterns in A5 envelopes. IMG_2827

As I said, I really wanted to use the poppies fabric, and so I had to find some other fabric from my stash that matched – the best I could find (that I had enough of!) was this left over polka dot Ikea fabric. IMG_2838

I used my new rotary cutter again, the problem I had was that there wasn’t enough for the border to be used on both front and back of the shorts, so I just cut out the front short pattern pieces with the border on.

This pattern has sooooooo many options, long sleeve, short sleeve, flutter sleeve, sleeves with elastic, shorts, long trousers to name but a few! and it goes right the way through the ages. I choose a short sleeve and shorts as its for summer.

The short sleeve is a raglan, so much easier than a set in sleeve. I hem the sleeve first.

Next is to attach the sleeves to the bodice, firstly to one side, then to the other.

As you can see it now looks like a huge off the shoulder top. As the only way in or out (there are no fastenings on this romper at this size) is through the neck the fabric has to be able to expand large enough for the child to get in it, but shrink small enough to fit around the neck.

This is done via the medium of elastic haha 🙂 You create a casing all around he neck opening

Whilst doing this you need to decide which will be the front and back (both bodice pattern pieces are the same front and back, the shorts pieces are not)

You need to mark the back, and I do this with a wee piece of ribbon folded into a loop.

You need to leave a gap the stitching so as to be able to thread the elastic in.


Once you have threaded the elastic through you need to sew the ends in order to make it into a loop. I use a small zigzag stitch in order to do this.

Then stitch the gap shut.

Bodice done! Onto the shorts.

There are many ways to make shorts. I made these the way the pattern asks you to.

So, I sewed the fronts to the backs, rights sides together, at the sides first.

Next is the crotch seam, so I opened out the shorts and put them right sides together to each leg.

I then pinned the crotch seam and sewed.

After this is to sew the under seam. To do this I opened out the shorts again, front and back in the correct place IMG_2909

Then I pinned the under seams together, fronts to backs IMG_2910

Then sewed

and hemmed

Next is to attach the bodice to the shorts, whilst creating the channel for the waist elastic.

You pin the shorts approx. 2cm above the bottom of the bodice

and sew

then fold down the top of the shorts a little bit (approx. 1/4″) and pin and sew to the bodice to create the elastic channel.

Remember to leave a gap to thread the elastic through, and then zigzag the ends of the elastic together once they are threaded to make a loop.

Sew the gap shut, turn the right way out and voila! a romper 🙂

and the girly looking gorgeous as usual wearing it 🙂

Custom (spotty!) mixer cover….

A friend asked me to make her a mixer cover, after giving me the dimensions.

 She asked for it to be made in spotty duck egg fabric. I had no idea how I was going to do it so queue my saviour pinterest (again!)

I drafted the measurements and some ideas down based on he other projects pinterest users had uploaded. IMG_2758

Very rough, but this is how I plan, I just vomit ideas onto paper helps me organise my thoughts. Would be interesting to see how others do it?

Next was the cutting out. Having watched the sewing bee I wanted to try one of these new fangled rotary cutters. No idea what to do with them, but thought I’d give it a try…. I just bought a cheap 45mm one and I already have a cutting mat. IMG_2765Next was drafting a pattern piece for the end pieces. Just a rectangle would do for the side pieces. I just did this on a piece of greaseproof paper (necessity I find, sooo much cheaper than pattern paper etc) and used my quilting ruler to draw an dome at the top.

Next I pinned and cut out the pattern pieces. I really should of practised with the rotary cutter on a scrap piece of fabric – and I knew I should – so that didn’t go too well! But I ended up with usable pieces (2 end pieces and two side pieces)

Not content with using a rotary cutter for the first time, I also decided to use backed quilt wadding for the first time too. So I needed to cut out the same pattern pieces form that. I wasn’t confident using my rotary cutter on these so I went back to my trusty scissors.

 I actually really liked this material! But I have no idea what you’re supposed to do with it so I just made it up as I went along (as usual! haha)

I decided I wanted to put piping around the end pieces, so made it up as usual (see my post about binding and how to)

Next I decided that I would just attach each wadding piece to each corresponding fabric piece, so as to get 4 pieces with the wadding on.

So, wrong sides to wrong sides I pinned and sewed.

Next was to attach the piping to the end pieces so that they would run around the edges once the cover was complete.

NB: due to the thickness of the material I used a nicely thick needle, 100/16. IMG_2791

it was at this point I was mortally wounded: IMG_2806

A blood transfusion later and I survived – so it wasn’t a mortal wound! phew! haha

Next was to put together the pieces, starting with the side pieces, right sides together to form one wide piece, with the seam in the centre of the top of the cover.

As you can see this straight rectangle has straight sides. The end pieces have curved sides. It is pretty hard to get straight fabric to curve around curved edges. The way I get around this is to put small snips along the straight edges so as to help them to curve easier.

Once I am satisfied with the curve its time to (carefully) sew

I then need to trim the bulk off the seams and any excess fabric at the bottom

Next, I attached binding around the bottom edge so as to finish it off.

All done! Hope she likes it 🙂 here it is covering my sewing machine 🙂

Bunting and bags…part two

I do love bunting! Girly, patriotic, vintage, any type catches my eye! It was one of the things I desperately wanted to sew prior to learning, so it was one of the first things I sewed! IMG_1873

This particular bunting was the first ever bunting I sewed and the 3rd thing I ever sewed – it is farm fabric out of fat quarters which I got from hobby craft and I still have it hung in my kitchen 🙂

I was asked by my friends mother in law if I would sew her some nautical themed bunting to be hung above the bar in her boat themed private bar. I also wanted to sew some bunting for the Jamberry coffee afternoon I’m putting on next week.

There are many, many ways to make bunting, none are wrong, all are right, its just however you want to make it.

For my Jamberry bunting I just wanted to quickly sew it up, for the nautical bunting I obviously wanted to produce a more substantial bunting.

Firstly I needed to cut out the triangles. I decided to try the pre-printed bunting triangles from Rose and Hubble fabrics

I will definitely use these again, so much easier than how I had to do the Jamberry triangles

Next was the lettering, I do this by measuring the width and height I need for the letters (make sure and measure the width at the most slim part of the triangle where you want the letters to go)

I draw squares on  felt or fabric I’m using with these measurements and then draw the letters in to fit within these dimensions

Hands up if you spotted the (non) deliberate mistake? yep, I wrote the letters the right way round, they should of been the wrong way round! I still do that almost every time by the way haha IMG_2596

Cut one out the wrong way around before I realised my mistake!

I cut the rest out correctly. IMG_2597

Next is to pin the letters onto the triangles to ensure they fit.

Prior to appliqueing the letters on you need to ensure they are approximately all in the same place on the triangles. I do this by measuring up from the bottom point of the triangle and put the bottom of the letters the same distance up on each one.

I personally like a large zig zag for applique

10 is my zig zag stitch, the 4.0/6.0 is stitch width, 2.0/3.0 stitch length.

Next is to carefully applique around the letters

I did make a good mistake on the first R I did, of stitching the front to the corner haha

This is where the nautical bunting differs from the Jamberry bunting. I made the nautical bunting double sided.

I pinned another triangle onto each flag, right sides together.

Then sewed them together, leaving a gap on one side so as to turn the flag right side out.

So as to attempt to get crisper sides and points when turned right way, I then trim the seams. I leave the gap with more fabric though to make it easier when sewing it shut 🙂 IMG_2636

I then turned it right way out,

I then topstitched around both to close the gap and to give the flags a crisper view

I went to my local haberdashery place bought some nautical ribbon. I love this ribbon, it is gorgeous. I was going to make a channel for the ribbon to go through the flags, but this ribbon is so cute that I decided to sew it to the actual flags.

I sewed it both at the top and the bottom of the ribbon so as to make sure it was secure.

For the Jamberry bunting as this doesn’t matter so much the finish I decided to use my pinking shears to cut around the edges to prevent them fraying instead

 and then put to ribbon on in the same way as the nautical bunting as it was a quicker way than making a channel, even though I’d done it for aesthetics on the nautical bunting.


and some other bunting I have made over the last 21 months, in all different ways. As I said, there is no right way to make bunting, just do what you feel like! and they all look great and are easy to do so give bunting a bash!

Bunting and bags… part one

I have been making a few smaller projects recently, most as promotions for the Jamberry business. I also had a commission to make some nautical bunting for a private boat themed bar.

I decided to make my own gift bags for any Jamberry customers who book a party with me. I couldn’t decide the best (easiest) design to do. I did some planning after looking on my favourite place for inspiration: pinterest. I decided on a Japanese knot bag. If you don’t know what these are (& I didn’t!) they are bags with two handles at the top, one shorter that the other. The shorter on loops over the longer one to form a ‘knot’ and then the longer loop goes around your wrist to keep it secure. Brilliant, simple Idea. Mini Japanese knot bags it was then.

I drafted my own pattern, using my trusty (and cheap!) greaseproof paper. IMG_2197I decided to buy some spotty, purple fabric as this would go with the Jamberry branding. However, the fabric I had bought was a little thin, therefore I decided to double layer it. This would also negate the need to hem around the handles etc. I decided to make 10, therefore needed to cut out 20 of these, on the fold.

I then sewed two of the bags together – to make a double sided piece of fabric. I did this by sewing right sides together

I left a gap on one side of the handle so as to be able to turn the bag right way out

In order to close the gap I decided to top stitch along the seam of the handle. IMG_2298Next was to join the shorter handle sides.

Now to make it into a bag, once again, right sides together, I sewed from the bottom of one handle around to the bottom of the other handle

Then I turned it right side out to complete the bag! Nice and simple 🙂

I decided that I wanted to make something extra to pop into the bags. This is were the hearts came in, once again inspiration from pinterest.

I had to draw the hearts onto the fabric, not my forte! I should have really made a template – but I was being lazy so they all turned out uniquely shall we say!

 In order to be able to make a lot of these quite quickly I stitched around the heart on the right side, leaving a gap for the stuffing

Next was to insert the stuffing through the hole I left in the side

I needed to close the gap, so I decided probably the easiest way to do this was to use my zipper foot and stitch that gap shut.

Next, in order to stop the material fraying I used my pinking shear to pink around the outside.

I thought this was a little plain, so decided to add some embellishments! IMG_2351

Buttons, lace bows and lace hanging loops, then I put these into the bags along with some other Jamberry goodies.

Hopefully they will entice people to book parties!

I will detail the bunting I have made this week in the next post: bunting and bags part two!

Simplicity 1133: How I did…

The parents are visiting this week, and whilst they are here I thought I would take advantage of the excuse and sew Mum a dress. I have had some ikea fabric that I wanted to use for an adult – but I hadn’t bought enough for me. My mum is very slight so she doesn’t need much fabric haha. I also had bought this retro reproduction of a 1960s pattern in a sale a wee while ago, and was really wanting to make it. IMG_2031

This was a fantastically easy project to do whilst I am still recovering as its only one piece – yep, one pattern piece!

How simple? Once you have cut out this so very complicated piece (haha) you can begin sewing 🙂

Firstly you prepare the neck shoulder pieces, by folding down and creating a hem

Next, the pattern asks you to cut out a little bit of fabric the size of the buttonhole, to stabilise it. I decided to do a piece the whole of the back shoulder flap as the fabric is quite thin.

Once this is done it’s buttonhole time!

Now, I don’t know if you watched the great british sewing bee this week, but on it they were playing ‘sewing top trumps’. One of the contestants asserted that in this game piping would trump darts. I have to strongly disagree, I would have to say that for me darts definitely trump piping in terms of difficulty! I think it’s because I actually have to measure out etc haha.

On this pattern there are just two darts on each side of the bodice. I drew them out under the pattern paper using my trusty air erasable marker.

Then, match up the bottom of the darts, pinching together and pin up to the top – they taper off at the top into a very pointy triangle.

Then, sew down the pin line – simple right? I just have a mind block I guess haha

Next is another of my favourite things: binding. As I was only using what I had in my home haberdashery I only had thin binding to complete the tunic. This is not as enjoyable as thicker binding (10mm ish as versus 20mm ish).

First step is to pin the binding around the edge on the WRONG side, I decided to mitre the corners of the neck shoulders. You also need to stretch the binding as best you can around curves.

Next, fold over the binding to the RIGHT side of the fabric. Pin and stitch.

I will cover binding more in depth in a late post if you’d like? I really do enjoy it 🙂

Lastly, and one of my most hated bits, the hand sewing on of the buttons. IMG_2057

 Finished 🙂

And the mother modelling it:

Simple but effective I think you’ll agree? I’ll definitely be making one for myself I think 🙂

A burst ear drum and half term.

Well, its half term this week, so the kids are off school. Hubby has gone away with work for the week also, so the parents are down for the week. On Sunday night I suddenly began suffering from horrendous ear pain – which culminated in me crying and screaming for about 10 minutes until suddenly my ear drum burst with blood and pus everywhere (lovely). So I’m on these babies for a week as it was caused by an severe ear infection. Cannot hear a thing in my right ear, hope that improves! IMG_2004

In other news my Jamberry consultants kit arrived:

I’m pretty pleased 🙂

I’ve booked myself a few parties – one facebook, and one at a local café 🙂

If anyone has stood still lately I’ve been jamberrying them haha

The eldest, youngest and my latest Jamicures, and the youngest being 3 and insisting on doing it himself haha 🙂

We have also been out and about whilst the weather was good. Prior to my exploding ear drum moment we went to the beach at Cawsand (one of our favourite beaches)

I, of course, took my knitting 🙂 IMG_1632

The next day we set up our new paddling pool 🙂 The kids went mad for it 🙂 Havin 4 kids we need a fairly large one now haha

Been enjoying my paper cutting lately too

Unfortunately though I ran out of blades and my replacements didn’t arrive until today 😦 IMG_2039

So I can resume what I was doing! yay!

I have also made a quick dress for my mum, its called a Jiffy dress, a reproduction of a 1960s simplicity dress pattern. IMG_2031

I really liked this simple pattern, it was very satisfying – I will go more in depth in my ‘how I did’ post 🙂