Sewchet

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


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#stitchingsanta 2017!

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The last three year’s #stitchingsantas were such a roaring success, that I promised to do it all again this year and the time has come to sign up!

It’s a Secret Santa with a difference aimed at all the like-minded crafty folk here on the internet – YOU!

Whether you’re one of the lucky few whose family know and understand you so well that you receive endless perfect gifts based on your love of sewing/crochet/knitting or, like me, your wish list is met with a “What do you want one of those for….what is it anyway?” – #stitchingsanta is for you.

Can you imagine unwrapping a gorgeous skein of wool, a perfect metre of fabric, some vintage buttons or some embroidery silks? Perhaps a little handmade gift has been popped in the parcel too? All lovingly thought out with your interests in mind and guaranteed to be under your tree on Christmas morning. What a treat!

There are TWO categories to choose from – you can enter both or just one but PLEASE state your preference in your email. Choose from “Sewing” or “Crochet/Knitting”.

The idea is simple: if you would like to take part, comment below by the deadline of 31st October and I’ll send you the details of your lucky recipient.

You may already know this person as a follower of their blog but, if not, have a good look around their blog and try to put together some gifts that they would really appreciate. See my experience of previous #stichingsantas for what to expect: –

Gifted to my Secret Santa recipient 2014

Gifted to my #stitchingsanta recipient 2015

Gifted to my sewing #stitchingsanta 2016

Gifted to my yarn #stitchingsanta 2016

Received from my Secret Santa 2014

Blogging about Secret Santa 2014

Blogging about #stitchingsanta 2015

Received from my #stitchingsanta 2015

Received from my yarn #stitchingsanta 2016

Recieved from my sewing #stitchingsanta 2016

I will update this page with details of the blogs that are taking part so why not follow along and make some new blogging buddies!

How To Enter: –

  1. You can enter from anywhere in the world but I will try to match countries in order to keep postage costs down.
  2. State which swap(s) you would like to enter and send your email address, blog site and postal address to me at info@sewchet.com by midnight on 31st October 2017.
  3. I’ll email you the details of your recipient by 7th November.
  4. Spend a maximum of £10 (€13, $15US, $20AUS) excluding postage.
  5. Blog about your #stitchingsanta (linking back to this post) and share using the hash tag on social media.
  6. Post your parcel in time for Christmas – check last posting dates well in advance!! International dates are much earlier in December.

UK Inland: –

last post

I hope lots of you join in – don’t forget to share, share, SHARE with your own followers, the more the merrier, HOW exciting!

Here’s who has signed up so far: –

sewchet (that’s me!)

The Crafty Creek

Squirrels Knitting Conquests

Mad About Bags

The Tialys

Mollie And Claire

Power Tools With Thread

The Contented Crafter

Appleby Makes

Wendy Searle – IG: @wendywendal

The Small Sewing Room

Thimberlina

Sewing Nikki

Jo – Through The Keyhole

Let The Sewing Begin

Jana Kaiser – IG @ja_ma_ka

Pins, Needles and Thread

Little Black Dog SA

The Material Lady

The Snail Of Happiness

Julia’s Creative Year

Nana Cathy Dot Com

Lilly My Cat

Creative Chaos

 

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Upcycled Needlepoint

On one of our regular visits to our local charity shop, I spotted this framed needlepoint. It was wedged in a basket at the back of a stack of picture frames and would probably have been consigned to the bin had I not rescued it.


I was struck by the hours of work that had obviously gone into it and was disappointed, if not surprised, that the value that had been attributed to it was just ONE pound.


Unfortunately, as a picture, it just does not work.

It’s old-fashioned and the cheap gilded frame couldn’t be further removed from current interior trends, yet it totally misses the ‘vintage’ vibe, too.

Without really thinking it through, I knew I had to buy it and try to reinvent it as something I would be proud to have in my home – no small task!

A number of Instagrammars had the great suggestion to turn the needlepoint into a tray by adding handles to the frame, or a suitable alternative frame.


I love this idea and very nearly went for it until I was honest with myself and admitted that I have lots of trays and this one simply wouldn’t get used, which seemed such a shame.

Going with my initial idea, I decided to turn it into a cushion cover, after all, the colours would tie in seamlessly with the ones currently in our lounge.

I started by running a blade around the edge of the backing to remove the needlepoint from the frame.


The canvas had been criss crossed with thread to hold it in place, so I was careful not to cut through the canvas when removing the thread.


Having liberated the needlepoint from its frame, it was obvious that it had been a kit originally. I used the colour guides on the side of the panel to choose a fabric from my stash that would serve as the cushion back. 

Luckily, this herringbone tweed matched the colours in the needlepoint exactly. There was just enough cord left on a roll to make some piping, too.

The piping cord was made first, by cutting strips of fabric on the bias and basting it around some cord.


I basted the piping as close as possible to the edge of the needlepoint, clipping up to the stitching to turn the corners.

I had to piece the remnants together to make a 15″ square backing to match the size of the needlepoint front. 

The zip was inserted into the back section rather than any one of the side seams to minimise bulk at the seams. I top stitched it down close to the zip to stop the fabric getting caught in the zip when removing the cover for cleaning.


With right sides facing, I pinned the backing to the front, remembering to open the zip for turning through later. 

As the zip was too long, I would just sew all the way around, in effect creating a new zip stop in the seam, so I didn’t cut it to length at this stage.


The excess canvas was trimmed and the corners were cut across.

Turned through to the right side, this is the finished cushion, shown on a grey chair for contrast: –


I think it will actually live on this sofa.


When I said it coordinates with our existing colour scheme, here’s what I meant – it sits perfectly with the other cushions. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it looks at all dated now, quite the reverse, in fact and I love it!


The total cost of the cushion was…….£1.00

Not bad when you consider that this kit is currently available for around £40.00, not including the backing fabric or insert!


Not so old fashioned now, is it?!


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Sunday Sevens #135

Two week’s worth of Sunday Sevens this week….

1. My sister and niece came for a couple of days. Always something to look forward to and we just chatter non-stop the entire time. And go out for coffee, obviously.


2. We have actually had a few open fires already and The Dogs are first there to hog the best spot and soak up all that heat.


3. Other days it’s still been mild enough to throw open the French windows and let the fresh air in.


4. No.3 Son did some target practice with the BB gun under Daddy’s supervision. Note the newly pruned back blackberry bush:)


5. Mr H-L obsessed over the weather forecasts and finally found two four-hour windows in which he could oil the decking.


6. We cleared out the last of the storage unit and completed the difficult task of sorting through Mr H-L’s late parents’ possessions.   A tough job but it had to be done.


7. It’s been quite a productive week, creatively speaking. The Cow-Print dress I made had it’s first outing that very evening as we went to see “Dunkirk” at the cinema. We did something we NEVER do – had pizza! Having eventually committed to going gluten-free a month or so ago, I really fancied a pizza and, luckily, a place right next to the cinema offered a gluten-free option. With prosecco, of course.


8. This will be another Christmas present. I’m ticking off the list slowly but surely.


9. It’s beginning to look like an elephant.


10. Christmas sock number six is under way after a break of a few weeks. Well, I needed something portable to take to a football match.


11. No.3 Son picked up his knitting again.


12. Talking of knitting, I picked up these two books at a bargain price and, having put it on Instagram, have already been asked to do a commission of a West Highland Terrier. Fab – an excuse to make one!


13. One of my students proudly showing her newly finished fabric storage pot.


14. Although I forgot to photograph the finished article, a friend asked me to make her a roman blind from this Orla Kiely fabric.


15. No.2 Son came home for his first Exeat weekend and he and I spent some time together whilst his brother was at football.


16. It is the GBSBlive in London this weekend. I couldn’t be there in person so decided to get in the spirit of things by making a skirt from the book instead.

17. I whipped up a second “Laurel” too, both inspired by a scarf I had in the wardrobe. See, I told you I’d been productive!


18. Not only that, but I managed to squeeze in craft night at a friend’s on Thursday. Look at all these lovely ladies!


19. We took The Boys out for an Indian on Saturday night. I must admit, we did miss not being able to have poppadoms or naan bread, especially as The Boys were obviously enjoying theirs so much.


20. Still, gluten-free isn’t always a hardship – does this look like we’re missing out?!


See you for more Sevens next week:)


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Cow Print Colette “Laurel”

Yes, I really am wearing Cow-print!

To see more, click on the link to the full blog post over at Minerva Crafts.


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Vogue 1496 Linen ‘Cocoon’ Dress

This is a make from way back in May that has been so useful and worn so much that I just had to get around to doing a blog post about it.

There’s nothing particularly special about the pattern, other than the fact that it is a Vogue original which has been my favourite pattern brand since the Eighties.


I think we can agree that the shape does nothing for the model’s slim physique on the front of the pattern envelope but, on the contrary, I could envisage it working well for my 5’2″ size 14 figure.

The ‘cocoon’ shape has rather a daring low neckline, short sleeves and the length falls to the knee – perfect to show off my best bits (boobs, arms and legs) and skim over my non-existent waistline.

It also features pockets in the side seams, which are a must for me.


I went to a bricks-and-mortar shop to buy my fabric, and chose this linen with a large floral design from Hanson’s in Sturminster Newton.


A quick make, I sewed it up in no time in anticipation of a long, hot Summer (ha, ha!)


I do love hand-worthy pockets.


No bra needed because the pattern is busy enough to distract the eye from any potential embarrassment – perfect for our up-coming foreign holidays where it would be far too hot to wear a bra.


The armholes were an interesting design.


No waist-hugging meant it promised to be the perfect outfit for a meal with plenty of space to accommodate a full belly!


Yep, overall, I’m pretty pleased with how it looks on me.


It certainly has proved to be a worthwhile make as I’ve worn it lots over the Summer – and I mean LOTS.

Here it is at Desert Springs in Spain in May.


Back home in England it has regularly been a comfortable outfit for meals out.


Another holiday in Spain saw it worn even more as the temperatures soared in July.


Paris in August – I’m definitely getting my money’s worth out of this one!


There was even enough left over fabric to make half a dozen little fabric storage pots to donate to the school Summer fair.


Having been away for most of the school holidays, not much (ie. none) sewing got done and I’m looking forward to getting back to the sewing machine again.

 Sewing 100+ name tags into school uniform doesn’t count, does it?!


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Beach Wrap/Bikini Cover-Up

Looking ahead to the Summer holidays, I wanted to make a simple cover-up that would be quick to throw on over a swimsuit. You know those times; when you want a drink at the pool bar and don’t want to get dressed, but don’t want to sit there in a pair of bikini bottoms!

You can read all about it in my blog post over at Minerva Crafts :- Beach Wrap/Bikini Cover-Up


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Royal Ascot Ladies’ Day – The Fashions

So, our day started well – six of us met at Templecombe station, cracked open the champagne on the platform and caught the 9.45 to Reading for the first leg of our train journey to Ascot.

Two stops in (Tisbury) someone laughingly asked if we’d all got our tickets. Mr. H-L and I thought each other was joking when we both said “No”.

Oops.

This is us after alighting at Tisbury, ready to catch the next train back to Templecombe. Luckily, a friend had a house key and popped in to collect the tickets. She dropped them off at the ticket office for us to save time as we had got a lift to the station and had no means of getting home.


Having caught the next train, we were only an hour behind. Of course, all the food and champagne had gone on ahead with our friends, so we had to try and recreate the excitement with Pringles and Prosecco bought on the train.

We’d opted to travel First Class so it was no problem. We got chatting to a few other race-goers on the two and a half hour journey and two changes of train.


And at least we’d got our tickets!!


Safely in by 1pm, we had time for proper bubbly before the Royal Procession at 2 o’clock.


Bubbles were flowing like a river and everyone was having a great time, gearing up to the first race at 2.30.


We ambled over to the parade ring in time to watch the Royal Carriages arrive. Queenie looked radiant in cerise, although Prince Phillip was too ill to accompany her this year so Prince Andrew is sat next to her.


And then the action began!

We had our race card and picked this patriotic-looking bookie with which to place our bets.


We won some, we lost some. The viewing is great despite the thousands of people as the huge screen means you don’t miss a thing, which is otherwise possible despite the horses thundering past just a few yards away as the photo below illustrates.


On to the fashions of the day. Our party of six scrubbed up pretty well, I think.

These are two close friends who feature a lot on the blog.


Another friend who joined us for the first time this year.


Lovely Ruth from the USA was in England for just a week and her first day coincided with Royal Ascot, an event that was on her bucket list – AND she even got to see the Queen! She was one happy American!


And, of course, you’ve already seen pictures of The Mister and Me.


Dress codes are slightly less formal in the Queen Anne Enclosure, but there were plenty of gents still choosing top hat and tails.

Yes, that is a man touting Stella Artois by the pint in a barrel on his back.


Three piece suits seemed to be the most popular mens’ attire by far, and there were a surprising number of different looks.


How about this bright red one, scarlet right down to the matching shoes and trilby!


More variations on formal menswear, some good……



….and some not so good!



As for the ladies, hmmm.

A few got it very right and embraced the elegant, classy look that Ascot is famous for.






A lot more were almost there, but missed the fact that hemlines should ideally be knee length or lower.


Some girls thought bodycon Lycra was an appropriate choice!


But, unfortunately, there were far too many girls in their early twenties who just didn’t get it. I couldn’t bring myself to photograph them, but this press photo from Aintree races gives you the gist. More like “Barbie Goes To The Races”.


The hats were incredible as usual.



Although not my thing, fascinators were a very popular choice with many ladies. A massive hat wins every time for me:)

The six races were over all too soon, then it was off to do the traditional singing around the bandstand at 6pm.



Just time to nip into the shop before heading back to the train.


There was even a mobile seller with Cuban cigars.


The fifteen minute walk back to the station saw the majority of ladies in flip flops, hobbling after a day in ill-fitting-but-gorgeous shoes. Not me – I kept mine on all the way home!


First Class was full to bursting on the return journey, but we were fortunate enough to get seats on all three changes of train.

On this leg, the carriage was silent until The Mister pipes up at the top of his voice “SWEET CAR-O-LINE….!” And the rest of the carriage finished it with “…..Bah, bah, bah!” What followed was a spontaneous rendition of all the other songs that had just been sung around the bandstand that continued until the next change of train – great finish to a fabulous day!!


I’m already thinking about next year’s dress – we’re going to upgrade to fine dining so an even posher dress could be on the cards. 

Any suggestions gratefully received!