Sewchet

Sewing, crochet, crafts, accessories, baking, tutorials,


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A ‘Tilda’ Birthday Present

Having been invited to a friend’s birthday party at the beginning of December, I found myself in the unusual position of knowing exactly what to make her as a gift.

She had previously shown me a book purchase in which there was a typical Tilda doll, and mentioned that she loved them in all their whimsical weirdness. As I happen to own several of Tone Finnanger’s publications, it was an easy decision to actually go ahead and make one for the first time.

I had some wool left over from knitting the Westie, but had to add in some pink to make two-tone sleeves as there wasn’t quite enough of the cream. Although just a small project, the jumper and stockings took the best part of a day to knit – but aren’t they cute?

Cutting a star shape out of some firm interfacing, sequins were individually sewn on until a sequin star was achieved.

The use of pink sequins ties in with the pink sleeves.

Now, on to the doll itself.

The instructions direct you to draw around the pattern pieces and sew BEFORE cutting them out. This is the best method when dealing with narrow pieces of fabric.

This is what you end up with and then comes the fiddly bit – turning them the right way out!!

It took at least an entire hour to turn, stuff and assemble the doll, probably nearer two – then you end up with the weirdest proportioned doll you have ever seen!

Following the instructions to the letter, the hair was added.

I ran out of cream yarn so, instead of winding tiny balls for the side buns, I wound what was remaining around two miniature pom poms for the same effect.

Two dots for eyes were added along with a smudge of blusher, and she’s finished.

The trousers were a simple and quick finishing touch.

I added a thread chain at the base of her neck so she could be hung from a hook as well.

Here she is sat on my table just before being wrapped and gifted an hour later. I know, I know, yet another by-the-skin-of-my-teeth project!

My husband thinks it’s ugly and odd, and I kind of see where he’s coming from but, luckily, my friend loves it and that’s all that matters.

Will I make another one? Well, it’s time-consuming and extremely fiddly in parts, but Tilda’s creations are strangely attractive partly because they’re so unusual and Scandinavian in character, so I think I probably will. The fact that I have four of her books on my shelf is rather telling……


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#Stitching Santa Update – Upcycled Cross Stitch

A couple of weeks ago I rescued this beautiful cross stitch from our local charity shop. It was mounted and framed but needed reinventing into something more usable in today’s modern life and was far too wonderful to leave there.

Only measuring a modest 5″ x 7″, I ummed and aahed about what to do with it for a while, having some brilliant suggestions on Instagram.

Ultimately, this is for one of my Stitching Santa recipients (I’m doing both sewing and yarny versions) so I wanted to make it a useful object. This lady is multi-talented across many craft disciplines, as are so many of my blogging pals, and she dabbles in cross stitch herself so I thought this would be perfect for her.

I decided to make a zipped pouch, about the size of a cosmetic bag, which could have a variety of different uses. Maybe for a portable cross stitch project, a small crochet or knitting project, or maybe as an actual cosmetic bag – it is rather swanky, after all!

So here’s a quick run-through of what I did, which might be informative if you have a similar piece of needlework that needs reinventing.

It had been spray-mounted to card and well laced across the back, so all that had to be undone. I then gave it a little steam press.

After trimming the needlework to a useable size, I used it as a template to cut two lining pieces and a back.

Iron-on interfacing was attached to the reverse of the front and back sections to stabilise the bag.

I used the covered tab method for the zip to give as neat a finish as possible (there are plenty of tutorials online on how to do this).

The zipper tabs should be about 1/4″ shorter than the width of the bag to ensure that they don’t get caught in the seam allowance when the bag is stitched together.

After inserting the zip, I topstitched close to the seam through the lining as well. This means that the fabric won’t get stuck in the zip when opening and closing.

OPEN the zip.

With lining-to-lining and front-to-back (right sides together) stitch all the way around, leaving a gap in the lining through which to turn.

Be sure not to catch the tabs in the seam as you sew.

Trim the tabs to reduce bulk.

Cut across all the corners before turning the right way out.

Close the gap in the lining either by hand or machine.

I added a coordinating leather tassel from my supplies.

The sequinned fabric is a small piece cut from a length of fabric that will become a dress later in the week. It adds a touch of glamour.

Some matching blue lining is a nice vibrant surprise when you look inside.

I hope she likes it!


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Topsy-Turvy Doll

This has been gifted now, so I can share with you what I made for our granddaughter’s second birthday.

Do you remember having a Topsy-Turvy doll as a little girl? I do, and I also remember absolutely loving her, so I knew I was going to have to make one for our granddaughter.

I found a free tutorial at Keepsake Crafts and pretty much followed it to the letter. This is her version, a daytime/bedtime doll: –

Although you can be more creative and do many other things like a Red Riding Hood/Wolf doll, or a Beauty/Beast doll, I decided to stick to the traditional daytime/bedtime doll.

You start off by embroidering the faces and I simply coloured in the eyes and mouth with permanent marker pen.

I wish I’d backed the faces with interfacing now, as the black embroidery thread shows through in places, but hey-ho.

When the body is assembled and stuffed, at this stage it looks a bit like Frankenstein’s experiment!

I used coordinating fabrics for each dress, originally from Ikea, I think; floral for the day dress and spotted for the nightgown and cap.

I had plenty of lace in my stash to trim both dresses.

The hair was easy enough – just a ball of yarn wrapped around a book and sewn through all layers in the centre to keep it together.

The wig is then stitched on to the head, sewing over the previous line of stitching. Easy.

The daytime doll had her hair drawn back into a neat ponytail and tied with a bright red ribbon to go with her dress.

The bedtime doll had her hair in bunches held with some red heart ribbon.

A nice touch is to create fingers with three lines of stitching.

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Here she is, all finished, in her daytime mode.

Doesn’t the hair look pretty from the back?

The sleepy side has a matching bonnet to go with her nightgown.

It’s a great tutorial which includes an easy to follow pattern, so why not give it a go for a little girl you know?


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How To Make Wellington Boot Bags

Remember these socks?

And these wellies?

Well now they have a welly boot bag to keep them in – click on the link to see the full blog post over at Minerva Crafts.

Tutorial: how to make welly wellington boot gumboot bag free pattern


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Stitching Santa Gift – Handmade Sewing Kit

So, before I even knew who I would be sending a parcel to for this year’s Stitching Santa, I made this not-so-little sewing kit. Well, what needlewoman couldn’t do with a new sewing kit?

Tilda's Sewing Kit handmade needlecase

Made entirely with fabric offcuts from my collection, the pattern comes from Tilda’s Toy Box, although you could easily copy mine just from the photos as it is pretty straightforward.

Tilda's Toy Box

Hopefully, you can recognise the shape of a house with its front door and a pot plant under the window.

A little robin perches on the sign above the door which, instead of the house name, says “Sewing Kit”.

The whole thing is quilted with a layer of wadding to add support.

Inside, there is a heart shaped pin cushion and two little pockets…..

…..a place to store hand sewing needles and embroidery scissors.

I’m adding my new labels to my handmade things now.

Including some “Handmade With Love” labels, buttons, pins and needles (all from my own supplies) will make the sewing kit more complete.

I haven’t included any scissors though, as I think I’m going to spend the whole budget on some fabric – a good pair of embroidery scissors could use it all up!

handmade sewing kit needlecase

handmade sewing kit needlecase

How are you getting on with your handmade gifts this year?


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Tutorial: How To Make A Faux Sheepskin Bag / Tote

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No, your eyes don’t deceive you, this IS yet another post featuring the lilac faux sheepskin fabric I bought last month. It really has been the fabric that keeps on giving as I have made not only a full length coat and two pairs of mittens, but also TWO tote bags!

If you would like to make your own, either from similar fabric or from a thick fleecy fabric, here’s a quick tutorial on how I did it.

Materials: Approx. 3/4yd of 45″ wide Faux Sheepskin or fleece

2 Magnetic Snaps

Cut pieces from your fabric following the diagram below (which is NOT to scale). If your fabric has a nap or a directional pattern, be sure to take this into account when cutting out.

You may have to adjust the size of the pocket to suit your particular ‘phone – this pocket is the perfect size for a normal (not ‘plus’) iPhone and you may well have to make it larger for a Samsung Galaxy or similar.

Sheepskin Tote Pattern

This photo shows the main pieces; front and back, gusset and interior mobile ‘phone pocket.

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Seam allowances are 1/4″ throughout.

All raw edges are left unfinished and the seams are constructed with WRONG sides together, making a feature of them.

If you have your own labels, sew them to all pieces before any construction takes place. This avoids any fiddly sewing later on.

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Sew your pocket to the inside of the BACK section of the bag around three sides only, leaving the top open.

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Apply the magnetic tabs according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the photos as a guideline for placement.

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Pin a tab to the top centre of the front and back sections.

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Sew in place.

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Pin the gusset to the back section with WRONG sides together. There will be surplus fabric to cut off later.

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Stitch with 1/4″ seam allowance, being careful not to get any puckers as you sew around the corners.

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Pin the front to the remaining long edge of the gusset and stitch as before.

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Trim the corners off the front and back sections to give a rounded finish.

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Onto the handles.

Fold in half lengthways with WRONG sides facing in.

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Stitch close to the raw edges.

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Pin handles about 3″ in from the sides of the bag, on the INSIDE.

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BASTE loosely in place if necessary, although I just pinned them.

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Take your 4 little squares – these will cover the ends of the handles to lend a neat finish on the inside of the bag.

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You will need to remove as much of the pile on the reverse side of the fabric as possible. This will reduce the bulk and leave a flatter surface.

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Pin each square over the raw edge of a handle and stitch in place, crossing your stitching to strengthen the base of the handles as shown below.

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And that’s all there is to it!

This is the first one I made.

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I even managed to make a second one using the rest of the scraps. There wasn’t enough to cut the main sections out in one piece, so I had to make a seam for the centre front and back, and I actually prefer this version.

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I added my label in a slightly different position and it looks just as good.

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The inside is nice and roomy with the all-important interior pocket to keep your ‘phone easily accessible.

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The magnetic tabs give an element of security and stop the bag falling open.

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As always, your own label adds a professional touch both inside and out.

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The handles are short enough not to have the bag dragging on the floor (if you’re around the 5″ mark like me!), but also long enough for you to carry over your shoulder if that is your preference.

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One of these is to be a Christmas gift for family and the other one may well end up in my Stitching Santa parcel, depending on who I get in the draw.

Which is your favourite?


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Stitching Santa – How To Make Faux Sheepskin Mittens

Remember the faux sheepskin coat I made a couple of weeks ago?

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Well, despite messing up the sleeves and having to re-cut them, I still had some largish scraps of fabric left and started looking for ways to use them up, preferably for Christmas presents or for something to add to my Stitching Santa parcel. The first and most obvious thing that came to mind was to make a pair of mittens.

Having trawled the internet for a pattern, I discovered that it would probably be just as easy to design my own based on a few that I’d seen, so I gave it a go and this is the result.

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They turned out better than I imagined and only took a couple of hours, most of which was taken up hand-sewing the thumb in place.

Boosted by my success, I thought I’d do a quick tutorial as these would make a great handmade Christmas gift. They would be great in a fleecy fabric, too, as the raw edges can just be left as they are without fraying.

There are just two simple pattern pieces to this pair of mittens; click on the links below to download and print.

Printable Mitten Template

Mitten pattern

Printable Thumb Template

Thumb pattern

Cut out the pieces as below for each mitten, reversing the template for the second mitten.

You will notice that the TOP of the mitten has been cut out WITHOUT the curve. To do this, simply draw a straight line connecting points D+E on the MITTENS template.

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Make sure that any stretch in the fabric goes ACROSS the hand width – you can see where I am pulling the fabric to find the stretch in the photo below.

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You may also spot in the photo above that the first draft was one piece folded in half. I later adapted this to make two separate pieces so that there would be a seam all the way around.

Pin the top of the mitten (no curve) to the bottom (with curve) with WRONG sides together. You may find this easier with quilting clips if the fabric is thick like mine.

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With 1/4″ seam allowance, sew from A to D and from B to E, leaving an opening for the thumb.

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With WRONG sides together and 1/4″ seam allowance, fold the thumb in half and sew from C to D.

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Pin the thumb in place.

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Hand-sew the thumb to the body of the mitten with a BACKSTITCH, 1/4″ from the raw edges.

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You can trim any excess fur from the seams if you like, to tidy them up, but that’s it – finished.

How simple?

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They really are lovely and cosy and much more pliable than real sheepskin, so are much more comfortable to wear.

I managed to get a second pair of mittens out of the scraps, so I am going to put one pair in my Stitching Santa parcel and the other will be a Christmas gift for someone in the family.

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Talking of Stitching Santa the deadline is 31st October – have YOU signed up yet?