Browsing Pinterest with no particular goal in mind is usually dangerous in that it will take away hours of your life that you will never get back again.
On this occasion, however, this image caught my eye almost immediately.
Now, owls are perennially popular and, when given a useful (not to mention cute) function, proved too irresistible a present-making opportunity for me.
I remember when my daughter was about ten she loved Polly Pocket and a large part of that enjoyment stemmed from its minuscule nature and the fact that, as it hung from a locket around her neck, it was a portable toy that could go anywhere with her, ready to play with as the urge arose. This purse had similar amusement potential.
Clicking on the image through to the original post revealed that the owl was a coin purse with – and this bit is crucial – a secret pocket!
Instantly I knew two little girls that would potentially love this, and I also had an idea for the contents of the secret pocket.
A couple of years ago I made this self-drafted linen dress and wore it quite a lot that year. This year, however, I’ve always chosen something else ahead of it in the wardrobe so, when I decided to make a short, sleeveless Summer dress in an attempt to stay cool, I thought I’d cut it up and re-use the fabric as I still love the colour.
I’ve used this New look pattern before when I adapted it to make a white triple-layered dress, also from linen, as in view B on the pattern envelope below.
This time, I chose view D.
Most of the time was taken up unpicking the old dress, ironing the fabric and cutting out the new pieces, after which the simple shift dress came together quickly.
I know it was supposed to be a simple shift dress, but it was a little too simple for my liking so I tried out this bit of sequinned trim around the neckline.
Much better and still no too fancy for a day dress.
I added a couple of long darts in the back through the waistline to give the dress a bit more of a shape.
Although I initially hadn’t planned on re-using the pockets, I do like pockets and, as it’s a casual dress, decided to go ahead and stitch them on.
I used French seams throughout and simply overlocked and turned the hem, armholes and neck edge.
Bust darts stop it being too boxy, too.
I had to join two short lengths of trim and there was just enough to do the front neckline only. Spot the join if you can!!
Hubby’s away on business so I had to resort to mirror selfies again I’m afraid.
So far this Summer it’s been hovering around 30°C for at least a few weeks which us poor Brits are simply not used to and, as such, the most I’ve worn is a pair of knickers whilst at home.
Luckily for the Postman, I now have a piece of clothing that I can bear to wear:)
Every year the school holds a Summer fair to raise funds for the PTFA and I make various things for them to sell or raffle, often at the last minute, so I’m feeling a little bit smug that I’ve already started this year – and it’s not until June!
In three mammoth jam-making sessions I managed to make 42 jars of Blackberry and Apple jam, 25 of which are being donated for the school fair.
Last year there was a ‘Horsington’s Got Talent’ stall, whereby parents and pupils make all manner of crafty things to sell, and for which I made lots of things. It was a huge success, selling out completely apparently, so the Committee have put out another request for handmade items.
As I inevitably end up spending quite a bit of money on things I make like sugar and lemons for the jam, all the ingredients for 50 scones and cakes for the cake stall, I try to make the crafty items out of things I can source for free or that I already have in my supplies.
Like this pile of (freshly laundered) pillowcases and tea towels, all surplus to requirements and acquired from several different people who know I can’t say no to gifts of leftover/unwanted fabrics.
I don’t know what you see when you look at this mix but, add in a bit of vintage lace trim and it screams “Patchwork quilt” to me. No? Well, that’s how my mind works, anyway:)
The very word ‘vintage’ conjures up images of faded florals and linens, so I picked out the remaining old Ikea pillowcases (some of which had been cut up to make hats for the jars of jam) and 3 or 4 neutral tea towels which would work nicely.
My Olfa quilting set made short work of cutting out the 48 6″ squares needed to make a quilt just large enough for a single bed.
I laid them all out on the floor and fiddled around until I was happy with the arrangement.
All seams were stitched with 1/4″ seam allowance and pressed as each strip was completed.
This is the finished quilt top.
For the backing, I had to piece together bits of wadding and leftover curtain lining to make up the size I needed.
With right sides facing, lay the lining on the quilt top, then the wadding on top again.
I stitched around all four sides, leaving a gap through which to turn the quilt. Then the lace trim was sewn to the edge.
Finally I added a little “Sewchet” label.
I may go back and add a bit of hand quilting if I get time, but it actually doesn’t need it.
It’s just the right size to be a comforter on a single bed, or would make a cosy lap blanket for the sofa.
It took me six hours yesterday to make, so the fact that it will probably be sold for about a fiver has to be put to the back of my mind – but at least the fabric was free!
My second Stitching Santa parcel was a sewing one from Ali who blogs at Thimberlina and it came in the guise of a stuffed-to-the-brim red Christmas bag.
On to my second glass of Bailey’s by now, as it had taken me almost an hour to open and photograph the many contents of my first parcel from Bekki at DYC, I started by emptying the bag out onto the coffee table. Just look at that little lot, every single one individually wrapped again!
This metallic top-stitching thread is for my overlocker, but could probably be used on the sewing machine, too. I’ve never used this, so am keen to have a go.
Some embroidery thread with a lovely sheen. This won’t hang around for long as I do a surprising amount of decorative hand stitching.
I just love this little tin, although I think it will become a travel sewing kit as it’s the perfect size to throw in my bag.
I love these! They’re going to be saved for those really special projects that deserve something more than my humble labels.
Next was this bag of treasure……
See what I mean? Those turquoise buttons in the middle caught my eye straight away, as did the sparkly one on the pin. Then I spotted a familiar item from the past in the form of a matchbox.
Isn’t that a blast from the past?
Inside were the tiniest cranberry-coloured beads that will be perfect for lots of different things, the first idea that springs to mind is edging for a crocheted wine glass cover to keep the flies out.
The very next present I opened was this jar filled to the brim with numerous beads in all shapes and sizes. I have a shelf in my sewing room with all my beads and buttons stored in these Ikea jars, so this will sit right next to them.
The Boys have already claimed these, so I’ll have to think of a project to which they can be added.
This horsey print fabric was earmarked for The Boys too…..but I’m going to keep it for myself ‘cos it’s cute and will be wasted on them:)
I’m hoping there will be enough of this lovely knit fabric for a Coco, as it’s thick and perfect for Winter. There’s a good couple of metres, so I’m hopeful there will be enough – watch this space.
Time for a little hydration in between the Baileys – Ali sent me some sparkling spring water from her home county!
I’ll be on Ravelry looking for inspiration for these three little Merino beauties!
Ali made me some beautiful coasters from this very same speech-bubble fabric a couple of years ago, so I was thrilled to unwrap a hexi caddy in matching fabric. Handmade by Ali, of course, and much admired by me when I’d seen several other versions on her blog earlier in the year. This will live on the table in my sewing room, keeping all my essentials close to hand. And if I feel stressed I’ll just read out loud some of those quotes – that’s sure to cheer me up!
Several bundles of homemade bias tape is such a timesaver and will be put to good use. I remember loving the blue and white fabric when I saw it made into PJs on Ali’s blog.
Lacy trims because one can never have too many.
Two chunky zips will come in handy as I’ve never got one when I need it:/
Such a pretty doily and so intricate that I don’t think Ali made this one (please correct me if I’ve just insulted you, Ali!). I made my mother two little beaded covers that keep insects out of wine glasses for Christmas, so I totally appreciate the work that goes into these tiny stitches.
The next gift I opened made my heart skip a beat. I recall being totally inspired by the Raggedy Annie workshop that Ali attended, and here is one of the actual squares she made at said workshop! I recognise the sheep on the other side, but this side has a gorgeous pin from Wool And The Gang on it. I’d forgotten all about the workshop but, now I’ve had another read of the blog post, it will be a technique I’m trying in the New Year. You MUST head over to read Ali’s post to see what it’s all about!
Yay, my very own set of pattern weights and a bag to keep them in, too! I’ve made plenty for other people but somehow have never got around to making any for myself and end up using the weights from the kitchen scales most of the time.
As I unwrapped my final gift I had my fingers and toes crossed that it might be one of Ali’s famous peg bags – and I wasn’t disapponted! She put a sneak peek on her blog or IG and you could just make out the front opening so I was a bit excited, especially as she personalised it with hens for me. I can tell you now that it won’t be a peg bag though, it’s far too good to be shut in the broom cupboard all the time. It’s going to be used in my sewing room to keep those tiny (1″) scraps of fabric that I can’t bear to throw out. The plan is to make ‘new’ fabric from the scraps and re-purpose them into a scrappy quilt eventually.
Last but not least was the card that Ali had included which threw in the casual remark that I was right at the top of her list of sewing heroes – not too much pressure for the coming year then!
Seriously though, that is the nicest blog related compliment I’ve ever had, so ‘Thank you” Ali, and that goes for all of you wonderful, supportive Bloggers and IGers out there – what a fabulous community we are privileged to be a part of. Happy New Year to you all!!
My challenge: One year - I will not buy clothes - I will upcycle to make what I need - everything from underwear to evening wear! Join me for tips, exclusive BrawHem makes, and inevitably some hilarious disasters...