Wednesday, October 08, 2014

Digital Printables, a new crafty adventure.

If you follow me on social media , Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, or pop into my Etsy shop or follow me here on the blog, you will know that although I love sewing and that is mostly what you will find in my Etsy shop, I also love all kinds of crafts and crafty things.

With this thought in mind I have been expanding the range of items available in my Etsy shop, you might remember here , I was creating sewing patterns , still available to purchase in my Etsy shop, I also have been enjoying creating jewellery with these fabric pendants.

Following on from the pendants I have been getting crafty on the computer and creating my own digital printables that can be used in creating pendants, bottle cap jewellery, magnets, key rings and scrapbooking to name but a few.

I have been having great fun with these graphics programmes Inkscape and Gimp both of which are free powerful graphics programmes, although I admit what I can do in Gimp is limited and I do find Inkscape easier to use. Using both of these programmes I have created two digital printable PDF files available to purchase in my Etsy shop, both of which contain 1 inch round printable images.

The digital printable sheets both have a different theme, and yes you guessed it, the first one is sewing themed and here it is , but please note the online pictures are a low resolution to prevent theft.

You can purchase this collage sheet for personal and commercial use.
And the other pdf I have been working on is a different theme altogether, it contains , original art paintings , hand painted by myself, a cat, a giraffe and lovers kissing at sunset, and you might recognise the fourth picture , you may have met him somewhere before , possibly here.
You can purchase this collage sheet again for personal and commercial use.
As you can see two totally different styles of art , one computer created the other created by hand and computer , but both resulting in similar but very different products.
I am really pleased with how these collage sheets have turned out, I am not a graphic designer by trade or training, the skills I have are all self taught, just one of the many things owning an Etsy shop has taught me.
I look forward to creating more digital art for my Etsy shop, along with sewing patterns and maybe some crafty tutorials, you never know you might even see some of my crochet popping up in my shop.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Vintage teddy bear, a crafty beginning

I wanted to share with you a little bit of my crafty beginnings. I always enjoyed making things as a child, and when I was about six or seven I had a compound fracture of my right wrist (both bones snapped falling off the top of a slide in case you are interested).
Due to this little incident I spent a couple of weeks in hospital with disgusting tasting antibiotics and a couple of operations to try and re-set my arm so despite being in hospital I was feeling relatively well  so pretty bored.
I had my teddy bear with me and I started making him paper clothes, sewing them together with the help of my mum with a needle and thread, this was the first time I remember doing something crafty outside of the usual painting and drawing.
I think teddy had more than a full wardrobe by the time I left the hospital.
Another memory I have of this time , sorry off on a tangent , was a boy that was in hospital at the time as me, who would have been I think maybe 15 or 16 at the time he lost his arm in a farm accident , I don't remember his name but I do remember he used to help the nurses bring toys and books around for the younger patients like me, he was always happy always smiling, despite what he had lost. It really does prove that people don't remember what you said or what you did necessarily but remember how you made them feel.
Back to teddy again, moving on a couple of years when I was  about eight years old my mum taught me how to knit and here is the proof , teddy who was given to me the day I was born wearing a scarf I knit for him over thirty years ago.

This teddy is a vintage soul, he is shall we say over thirty years old , and just look at that funky scarf I think I was inspired by Tom Baker as Dr. Who, I really was fascinated by that scarf.

And here is a close up of the handcrafted with love scarf, still going strong after all these years, proof that handmade really does last.
I haven't knitted for a long time , but look at all those colour changes, I had knitting talent then  and I am hoping I haven't lost it as I am going to have a go at knitting again , I had a little tinker with crochet last year and it has got me thinking about yarn again.
Don't worry I don't think anything will detract me from the sewing , you can find my sewings and doings in my Etsy shop, but if I can squeeze another few hours in the day I will hopefully get a little knitting done too.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Upcycling tiny fabric scraps and jewellery making

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A bit of an unscheduled blog post , but I am really excited about a new line I am creating in my shop so wanted to share, plus the vapours from the Epoxy glue may have infiltrated my brain.
I have started venturing into fabric jewellery making, yaaay, what's not to love fabric and jewellery combined.
If you follow me on Instagram you may have seen a few weeks ago I ordered some new supplies , pendant trays and cabochon glass tiles , only one type and size at the moment to see how things go, as being a small business I just can't afford the outlay of a 1000 different types of supplies , as much as I would love to.
This little foray started with a small piece of fabric I found in a charity shop, a lovely print with such pretty flowers but too small really to make much from but too pretty not to take home, so off it came with me, where I had this little idea of making it into jewellery , it's beauty forever frozen behind a glass tile.
So here is the story of my fabric pendants, first I gathered my supplies, you can see just how cute the fabric is and why I had to have it.

Fabric jewellery making supplies
Supplies at the ready

And a closer look at the floralicious fabrilicious flowers on the fabric.

Floral fabric for pendants
The pendants have been handmade by me , hand cutting the circle of card that backs the fabric, hand cutting and individually selecting the area of the fabric to go into the pendant.
The pendants are then constructed using a strong glue to bond all the layers together and you have the finished result , individual original floral fabric pendants , preserving that tiny scrap of fabric that would have ended up in the bin.

These pendants really show what my Etsy shop is about, handmade and constructed , and using up bits that would normally go to waste , upcycling and giving a tiny little scrap of fabric 1 inch in diameter a new lease of life.

These pendants will be available for sale in the shop shortly .

Floral fabric pendants
Finished pendants

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Sewing a girls pillowcase nightdress without elastic tutorial

You might have seen my previous post on how to make a girls nightdress from a pillowcase here , I had the pillowcase ready to make the nightie at the time but had run out of waistband elastic, so used an elastic trim that I had already, but this got me thinking , how would I have made the nightdress if I didn't have the elastic and just had a pillowcase, scissors and a sewing machine and ruler, so I came up with this alternative pillowcase girls nightdress that only needs the pillowcase no ribbon, binding or elastic, so perfect for a beginner .
You could also create a dress from a less sheer pillowcase using the same method .
Have you got your pillowcase  and want to make one of these , I did mine to fit my six year old daughter but measurements can be adjusted to fit other ages.

Then gather your supplies together , not much needed , thread, sewing machine, pillowcase , scissors, tape measure or ruler , tailors chalk , pins and a couple of safety pins.

We are now ready to make this awesome girls nightdress that should take about 20-30 minutes , it will take me longer to write this post than it will for you to make it, you will be running them off in their dozens once you have made one.

First off the flap bit inside the pillowcase, you need to cut this off and put it to one side, cut along the fold where it folds to the inside of the pillow, also cut off the hem on the opposite side to this flap , cut along the stitch line.
Now cut across the top of the pillowcase , the end opposite to the open end , just snip right across the fold as close to the fold as you can get , to open up the pillowcase so you now have a fabric tube.

I found at this stage one of my side seams had started to unravel a little so I just used a straight stitch to sew it back up again, starting a little higher up than the unravelling and remembering to backstitch at the start and finish.

The next stage is to hem both of our open ends of our pillowcase tube, at one end of your tube turn the raw edge from the right side to the wrong side of the fabric 1/4" and fold over again encasing the raw edge , pin and do this all the way around this edge.

Sew using a straight stitch all the way around to create a nice hem with no raw edges , easy peasy lemon squeezy, now repeat the folding the hem, pinning and sewing for the opposite end , so we end up with a nice neat hemmed tube.

Next we are going to get the straps done, grab the flap that we cut off earlier and fold in half lengthways right sides together and pin along the long raw edge, I am not a pinner but you should be.

Sew along the long edge only straight stitch 3/8" seam allowance , un pin and turn your fabric tube right side out.

With the tube finger pressed flat and the seam you have just sewn pressed flat and running straight along the length of the tube, sew a topstitch (straight stitch along both long sides of the tube using a 1/8" seam allowance.

Fold your tube in half with shorter sides together and cut, across the fold giving , you two identical strap pieces.

Put your straps to one side, and we are ready to give the nightdress some shape, this next bit might seem complicated when written down but it is really simple so don't be put off by the next step.

You will need your child's chest measurement , no adding wiggle room or seam allowances , just the exact measurement of a tape measure held comfortably around your child's chest.
My daughter's measurement was 23 inches .
Divide your chest measurement by 2 , this gives me a measurement of 11 1/2 inches.
Add 3/4 inch to this measurement , my number is 11 1/2 +  3/4" which gives 12 1/4 inches.

12 1/4 inches is my measurement that I want from side seam to side seam to measure both on the front and back of my nightdress , so keep this number in mind while I explain how we will get the nightdress measurements to end up where we want them.

Grab your tailors chalk , and safety pins and ruler as we will need to mark and measure the pillowcase.

Make sure your pillowcase is right side facing out , fold your pillowcase in half long side to long side so side seams are touching, mark using your tailors chalk at the top of the pillowcase on both sides where the fold line is

This is marking where the centre front and centre back of your nightdress will fall , lay your pillowcase out flat with the edges you have just marked at the top.
Grab your ruler . do you remember the measurement from earlier 12 1/4 inches
Divide this by two which gives you 6 1/8 inch Remember these are my measurements yours may differ.

Measure along the top edge from side seam in toward the centre along the top edge in my case 6 1/8 inch on both sides left and right and mark with tailors chalk, do the same on the flip side of your pillowcase , so you have marked the front and back.

Now you will need your safety pin, doing one side at  a time, you will have three marks on your pillowcase on each side, grab the fabric at the point , where the mark is on the left , still with right side of fabric facing you and pull this in till it meets the centre mark and safety pin in place, now do this again for the mark to the right , pull it in to meet the centre mark, all three marks will meet and safety pin in place.
You will have a nice pleat , repeat for the other side of the nightdress , this will create a centre pleat on the front and back of your nightdress.

I have suggested using safety pins, as you now want your child the nightdress to fit to try it to make sure it is not too tight or loose around the chest, safety pins will hold everything in place without poking anyone.

When you are sure everything fits sew using a straight stitch and as close to the hemline as you can two rows of stitches across the top of the pleats , you only need to sew across where there are two layers of fabric, do this for the front and back , I suggest two rows of stitches to make sure the pleats are secure.

You can see from the photograph how the pleats should look from the inside and outside of the nightdress.

The final stage now is to attach the straps , decide on strap placement this will depend on the recipient of the nightdress but mine I placed 2 inches in from the side seam , so I marked on the front and back of my nightdress and the left and right a mark two inches in from the side seam marking my strap placement.

 Grab your straps and doing one at a time fold the raw edge of the strap under 1/4 inch and under 1/4 inch again encasing the raw edge in the fold , place on the top edge of your nightdress on the outside with the folded fabric facing down and sew along the short edge of the strap with a straight stitch , sewing the strap to the outside of the nightdress , this is so the garment is more comfortable with any bulk on the outside.
Now do the same again for the other end of the strap but you are going to be sewing it to the opposite side of the nightdress ( the back/front)
Repeat this step for the other side of the nightdress and strap and you have a perfect finished nightdress.

 I promise you will be whizzing these off in no time at all and once you start you can't stop.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Creating curves when sewing with french curves

Welcome to another little adventure in sewing land , I wanted to share with you a nifty little find, I found in our local recycling shop , not another one I hear you say !
I actually do pop into the recycling shop once a week if I can and I usually find something that I need / want, sometimes it is a combination of the two , like this week, have I kept you in suspense long enough ? This week it was tadaaaaa

French Curves for sewing
French Curves

French curves, now these as you can see from the photograph are the plastic type not the croissant type. These nifty plastic curves were brand new in the packet and I bought them for a princely sum of 20 pence .
That is all well and good I here you say, but what does it do ? I can tell you now it is doing it now, being all curvy. French curves are also known as dressmakers curves and draftsmen curves and probably have a 100 other names but those are the ones I have heard of .

French curves are just pieces of in this case plastic with a series of curves that can be used for drawing curves on drawings, sewing patterns and cutting fabrics etc.

I became in dire need of these little curves today when I discovered that I have lost the A line dress pattern that I had created for my daughter, since my daughter had already spotted the mermaid fabric to be upcycled there was nothing for it but to draw up a new pattern.

Luckily I found the dress I had made from the pattern, folded the dress in half lengthways , drew around it and added a seam allowance to create a new pattern.

Although I was not over the moon with the curve of the neckline or the curve of the sleeves from the tracing , so in came my french curves.

Using a french curve to draft an armhole

You can see from the photograph above I used the curve to create a nice evenly curved  armhole on the dress pattern , I just picked the curve that looked most suitable and lined it up and drew along the curve and cut the pattern. There was nothing technical to it just picked the curve that gave me the shape I wanted.

I also used a curve for the neck line , you can see from the photograph below

Using a french curve to create a neckline

Again nothing technical just use the curve that best suits your purpose . There may be a really technical way to go about drawing curves on sewing patterns when manually creating a pattern but this is the best way I have found.
If you don't have French curves , you can use objects that you have in the house, plates , cups, glasses , bowls , I admit to having used a dinner plate before and it did a fine job of creating a curve.

Please note I am not a trained seamstress, everything I have learned has been self taught and trial and error , so what I may be showing you may not be the "right" way but it is my way.

I thought I would also show you the finished mermaid dress created from an upcycled curtain that cost £3.00 from a charity shop , sorry it is not an amazing photograph, it was taken on my phone , and I can't get the dress of my daughter's back long enough to get a proper photograph, but you can get the gist from the picture, just a slip over the head A line dress , no zips or buttons , easy to wear my daughter's favourite type of dress and with the pattern ready to go it takes 30 minutes to make .
Upcycled girls mermaid dress

Saturday, July 05, 2014

A day at the Beach , Etsy Treasury created by Fashionelle Studio


Today my upcycled beach tote has been given the honour of being included in this beautiful Etsy treasury  yaaayyy , the treasury has been compiled by Fashionelle Studio, there are some really beautiful items in this treasury collection,  to see the treasury in full and comment and favourite items, and purchase , all items are available to purchase as this post went to press , click here

A Day At The Beach by Fashionelle on Etsy--Pinned with

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

How to make a little girl's nightdress from a pillowcase tutorial

My little girl has been dying to have a nightdress like her grandma for ages , and I have hunted high and low but found it difficult to get hold of  a little girls proper nightdress at a reasonable cost , it is all pjs and t shirt nighties .
I don't know why I didn't think of this sooner but I decided to make my own, and forever thrifty bought two pillowcases for 99p from a charity shop to make some out of , and here is how I did it .

You will need a pillowcase

Pillowcases to recycle to a little girls nightdress

Scraps of fabric dependent on size of nightdress to be made
elastic trim
thread and scissors
ribbon (optional)

I will start by saying my daughter is 6 years old but quite a small 6 and these measurements are for her but you can adjust to fit.

                                                   This is what you will be making

Little girls nightdress made from a pillowcase


First you need to deconstruct your pillowcase , that flap bit that holds your pillows in we want to take that our you will need to cut along the fold line of the pillowcase , that is fine, keep your cut off though we need this.

Deconstructing pillowcase to make a little girls nightdress
And you see this hemmed edge on the opposite side to the flap we cut off , snip it off along the stitch line otherwise our final nightdress hem will be too bulky.

trimming hem from pillowcase

Snippety snip , now turn your pillowcase around and cut as close to the folded edge as you can right across the width of the pillowcase to open up the pillowcase into a tube.

creating a tube from the pillowcase
Jut a note at this point , if any of your side seams start to unravel, mine did , just sew them back up again at this point.

Next we need to create a hem at one end of the tube, fold your raw edge into the wrong side of the pillowcase 1/4 " and fold over again 1/4" enclosing the raw edge, pin in place and sew using a straight stitch, do this for one end only.

Folding hem of nightdress
Fold hem enclosing raw edge
I decided to sew some princess ribbon and ric rac around my hemline for decoration as my pillowcase was plain but it is entirely up to you what you do.

Next we are going to create the straps , grab your large piece of fabric that you removed from the inside of your pillowcase . I cut mine into two pieces measuring 9 1//2 inches x 4 inches , this was to make my straps 1 inch wide and I measured on my daughter , where I wanted  the nightdress to start on her chest and over her shoulder to the opposite point on her back and added 1 inch

To make the straps fold your fabric with the wrong side of the fabric facing up, in half lengthways and finger crease and open up, fold your long raw edges to this centre line so they meet then fold in half again enclosing the raw edges, open again and fold in the raw edges on your shorter sides by 1/4 inch to the wrong side of the fabric and fold up again along your crease lines and pin, you should have no raw edges protruding , do this for both straps.
Sew along all four sides of both straps using a straight stitch and 1/8 inch seam allowance.
I also sewed a strip of ribbon onto mine to jazz it up.

A note , if you don't have enough fabric from your pillowcase flap for the straps use another piece of scrap fabric that does fit.
sewing pillowcase nightdress straps
Next we need to attach the straps and hem the top off the nightdress , first measure where you want the straps to be set on the nightdress , measure your child for this but allow for the fact the nightdress top will be gathered , for my daughter the outside edge of the straps needed to be 4 inches in from the edge of the pillowcase so this is where I marked the pillowcase for strap placing on front and back of the pillowcase.
We are going to do as before for hemming this end of the pillowcase fold under 1/4" to wrong side but before folding again trap your strap in the fold and fold 1/4 inch again and pin in place, do this for the four strap positions , both ends of the two straps , and sew all the way around creating a hem using a straight stitch.
Attaching strap to pillowcase nightdress
attaching strap for pillowcase nightdress
Next we need to elasticate the top of the nightdress to stop it swinging around in the breeze, I used this , an elasticated trim
Elasticated trim
Measure your child's chest measurement and cut your elasticated trim to this size plus 1/2 inch, my daughter's was 24 inches so I cut the elastic to 24 1/2 inches .
Sew your elastic into a loop by overlapping the ends 1/2 inch, be careful not to twist it, your elastic will end up 1/2 inch smaller than your chest size.
Now we need pins , you are going to fold your elastic in half , with the sewn ends at one end, pin your seam to one of your side seams , on the outside of your pillowcase , the end with the straps and pin the folded end of elastic to the other side seam , so your elastic is distributed equally between side seams.
Next find the halfway spot on your elastic between these two points and pin it to your halfway point on your pillowcase between seams quartering your pillowcase and elastic, now gently pull and your elastic should stretch all round your pillowcase.
Switch your sewing machine to a zig zag stitch as we want the stitching to stretch with the elastic, and slowly sew the elastic to your hem , stretch your elastic gently as you go and you will see this gathers your nightdress top.
And you have your finished nightdress
An alternative for gathering the top of the nightdress is to make an elastic casing and thread elastic through , but for this example the elastic trim was quicker and I had it to hand .
Don't be put off by the length of this tutorial it took me longer to write it than make the nightdress, if I wasn't stopping to take photos, I could easily have had it done in half an hour , so a great thrifty and quick project.



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