Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Our little holiday in Devon, United Kingdom

I thought I would share with you some of the beautiful scenery we came across on our holiday last week, we had a week in the South of England in Devon in a lovely secluded cabin in the woods
Dragonfly Devon United Kingdom

We found this little fella clinging to the cabin door frame munching on a little bumblebee

Hallsands Devon United Kingdom

This is a little abandoned village called Hallsands, part of which has fallen into the sea, you can read all about it here

Devon Beach

A lovely picture of the coastline, it was a bit misty on this day, I just thought the parked up bikes looked so lovely sat there.

Stream in Devon United Kingdom

This little stream was at the bottom of the road from where we were staying ,you could hear it at night.

Sorry it is such a fleeting visit today but the school holidays are upon us and my role in life has now been extended to chief entertainment officer, for all of those with children also at home during the school holidays, I salute you and wish you luck, until next time ......

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Girls dress tutorial using jersey fabric with a butterfly motif

Well last week , my daughter came home with a dreaded letter from school, to say they are having a mini beast day and they could dress up as a mini beast for the day, unfortunately my daughter had also been told about this and had clearly spent her time since planning out the outfit that she was going to wear and mum being a sewer was going to magic one up. My girl being my girl, with her own ideas decided she was going to be a butterfly, now I am not sure if a butterfly technically qualifies as a mini beast, maybe some one could clarify for me, but who am I to argue with a five year old who has spent a day planning her dress.
With a bit of discussion we came up with the following dress, that could also be worn on other occasions to.

Girls jersey dress with butterfly motif
Girls jersey dress with butterfly motif

I have used a multicolour two way stretch jersey I already had, but you could use old t-shirts sewn together, any stretchy fabric will do . So here is how I made my butterfly dress.

Measurements needed are chest circumference measurement + 2 inches (example chest measurement 22 inches + 2 inches = 24 inches )
Armpit to waist measurement + 1 inch (example armpit to waist =10 inches + 1 inch = 11 inches )
Waist to knee length + 1 inch (Example waist to knee measures 14 inches + 1 inch = 15 inches )
Measurement over shoulder , armpit front to armpit back = 5 inches

First cut out 2 x chest pieces measuring chest + 2 inches divided by 2 this measurement needs to follow the stretch of the fabric so that it will stretch around the childs body x (Armpit to waist measurement + 1 inch)For my example each piece measures 12 inches x 11 inches
Then cut out 2 skirt pieces measuring (waist to knee + 1 inch) across the non stretchy direction of the fabric , and following the stretch of the fabric measure (Chest + 2 inches x 1 1/2 )divided by 2 , if you want a fuller skirt measure 2 x waist measurement for this dimension. In my example my skirt pieces measured 15 inches x 18 inches

Cut out 4 x strap pieces measuring over shoulder length measurement (along the stretch of the fabric), so shoulder straps will stretch over the shoulder x 3 inches
In my dress the strap pieces measured 5 inches x 3 inches

You will also want to cut a butterfly motif out of a contrasting piece of jersey fabric, to do this fold a piece of paper in half and draw half a butterfly shape against the fold and cut out, this gives you a symmetrical butterfly , use this cut out as a pattern for cutting your butterfly shape out. I find it easiest to pin on the fold and fold your paper butterfly back up and cut fabric as you did your paper butterfly.

You now need to pin your fabric butterfly to the front of your dress centrally ensuring your butterfly is flat against the dress front , you can fold your piece lengthways to centre up the butterfly as below

Girls dress tutorial bodice piece
Girls dress tutorial bodice piece

And sew your butterfly to your front dress piece ensuring it is the correct way up using a small zig zag stitch along the edge of your butterfly, when your needle moves to the right it should land just over the raw edge of your butterfly.

You should end up with something like this

Girls dress butterfly motif
Girls dress butterfly motif

You now need to place both of your dress top pieces right sides together pinning in my case the shorter 11 inch length together on one side only and serge or sew and zig-zag to prevent fraying using a 5/8 inch seam allowance.

You will now have one length of fabric , next serge or zig-zag along the top of the dress top pieces and turn over 1/4 inch from right side to wrong side and zig-zag to create a stretchy hem.

You now need to sew the other short sides of your dress top together placing the pieces right side to right side again serge or sew and zig-zag with a 5/8 inch seam allowance so that you then have a tube .

Girls dress finished bodice piece
Girls dress finished bodice piece

Follow the same steps for the skirt pieces again sew 2 pieces together to form one long length , sew the bottom hem and then sew together to form a tube , you will now have two tubes.

To sew the top and skirt together, turn your skirt with the wrong side facing out and the hem at the bottom, and place your top right side facing out hemmed top pushed downwards inside your skirt tube until the raw edges are lined up.
Find your side seams on your skirt and your top and pin the side seam on each side together , find the midpoint between the pins on your skirt and top and again pin together . you will now have 4 equally spaced pins.

Girls dress tutorial pieces

Gather your skirt piece evenly and pin to your top using as many pins as you need to hold it in place

Gathering skirt piece of girls dress

Serge or sew and zig-zag using a 5/8 inch seam allowance all around this raw edge you have just pinned, make sure you take your pins out as you go especially if serging. Sergers and pins do not make for a happy couple.

Turn your dress right side out , you are nearly done just need the straps, sew your strap pieces together sew two pieces together, right side to right side using 5/8 inch seam allowance along the long sides of the strips only to form a tube. Turn your tubes right side out , and turn the raw edges at the end of each tube inward and pin one strap at each side of the front of the dress equal distances from the side seams on the inside of the dress front , I measured on my daughter where these needed to go, for me the distance was 1 1/2 inches but this may be different for you, pin your strap pieces same distance apart on the back of the dress .

Sew the strap pieces on where you have pinned them and your dress is done. My butterfly ended up slightly wonky on my dress as unfortunately I had a problem with my serger and some of the dress got snarled up in it , long story short adjustments had to be made . My daughter is in love with the finished dress so its all good. Take a look and see what you think.

Girls dress with butterfly motif finished

If you like my little sew along tutorials I also sell them in my  Etsy shop e patterns , or if you enjoy the finished product but not so much the process of creating you can view my finished products for sale in my Etsy shop

Until next time , happy sewing

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

How to make fabric covered buttons tutorial

Last weekend we had a little wander through our local car boot sale and found this

Fabric covered buttoons set
Fabric covered buttons set

I was chuffed to tiny pieces, I have never tinkered with fabric covered buttons before, so I thought I would share with you the how to, and also I have a real brooch making thang going on at the moment, so the buttons came along at just the right time.

What you will need is the following

Fabric to cover your button
Button, this comes in 2 parts front and back
Button covering tool , again 2 parts , a cup like piece and a smaller presser type piece
Pen or pencil

Fabric covered buttons supplies
Fabric covered buttons supplies

First grab your scrap of fabric and your button top, this is the slightly domed piece of the button, you want to place this on your fabric, wrong side of the fabric facing up, and draw around the button leaving a good seam allowance around, for example my button was 1 inch in diameter and my circle was 2 inches in diameter.
Cut the circle of fabric out.

Fabric covered buttons preparation
Fabric covered buttons preparation

Now place your fabric centrally right side facing down inside the larger cup part of the covering tool as shown below

Fabric covered buttons tutorial

And place your button front dome side facing down on top of the fabric, you can see there is enough fabric to tuck inside the button

How to make fabric covered buttons

Tuck the fabric toward centre and place your button back on top, pin side facing up

Sorry the next bit was too tricky to photograph as I was on my own and needed both hands. Use the other part of the covering tool to force the back down onto the front of the button, you may need to press quite hard and will feel a bit of a pop when they are together.
And there you have it one covered button

Finished fabric covered button
Finished fabric covered button

And for the observant among you, my button covering tool does not possess magical fabric altering qualities, nor is it a mini time machine leaping through space and time, I forgot to photograph the finished button before I used it so photographed another for you to see the end result.

As you can see below I have gone a bit mad with the covered buttons and have been making beautiful Summer brooches for my Etsy shop,take a look what do you think ?
Handmade fabric flower brooches

You can have a look at my other handmade goodies available to buy by looking in my Etsy shop

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Quick, half hour sewing upcycling projects

I thought I would share with you a couple of really quick, upcycling projects, if your like me and have children , time is difficult to come by, sohere are a couple of easy upcycling ideas , each one could be completed in half an hour max, probably less, depending on how much detail you want and your sewing abilities, these projects would be suitable from beginner upward.

Project 1 , silly length jersey dress

First project I had this dress and found the length odd, neither here nor there

Womans dress upcycling

From this I created a tube dress and small shrug/cardigan as below

Upcycled woman skirtUpcycled womans top

Firstly I cut the dress across the middle, a couple of inches below the armpit , and serged along the top of the tube, if you haven't got a serger zig zag with your sewing machine (don't forget to use a ballpoint needle).

Create a waistband casing , as we did for the pillowcase skirt previously here using 1 inch thick elastic.
To measure the length of elastic you need, measure above your bust, around armpit level, this is where you want your dress to sit so use this length of elastic, and create the waistband casing and thread the elastic as per the pillowcase skirt tutorial and you have a dress.

For the shrug top, cut up the front middle of the top part of your dress through the neckline , serge or zig zag with your sewing machine all raw edges and trim with whatever you fancy, I had lace so I trimmed with lace but use what you have and let your imagination run wild, you can use buttons , bias binding or leave as it is and sew a hem

Project 2 a boys cardigan, to a girls cardigan

I have a little problem with hand me downs with my children, as my two little ones are a boy and a girl, my eldest tiddler being a boy and my youngest tiddler being a very girly girl who rocks the eclectic boho look , none of this dressing like her friends , she wants to be individual , so here is one way I achieve this, upcycling her brothers cardigan from this

Kids cardigan to be upcycled

to this

Upcycled childrens cardiganBoho chic recycled cardigan

A Boho Chic recycled cardigan no one else will be wearing

This again took less than half an hour , I cut out lace hearts from a scrap of net curtain I had , pinned and sewed them on the cardigan using raw edge applique, used zig zag stitch to sew the hearts around the edge to attach them to the cardigan and stop them fraying.

sewing lace hearts on a cardigan

Don't forget again if you are using a stretchy fabric, jersey or knit use a ballpoint needle.

Finally I added a ribbon trim around the bottom, by sewing with a straight stitch along the ribbon attaching it to the bottom of the cardigan.
You could upcycle a child's cardigan or a cardigan for yourself, make it as simple or as complicated as you like, add buttons , frills, lace , applique, or I quite like the idea of creating buttonholes and weaving ribbon through, maybe next time I will try this.

So get rooting through your wardrobe, your children's wardrobes, charity shops , car boot sales and friends wardrobes, what isn't worn ? can it be recycled into something that can be worn ?

There are so many ways to recycle and upcycle, here are a few items I have created that are for sale in my Etsy shop

Denim bag from recycled fabrics

Details here

Dolls quilt recycled fabrics

Details here

Handmade bunting recycled fabrics

Details here

Handmade recycled green wool bag

Details here

If you want to see other items I have created please visit www.martisanne.co.uk

Remember the only limit is your imagination, if you can imagine it, you can make it, until next time happy recycling


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