Sewchet

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


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Handmade Birthday Presents

It was my sister’s birthday on Monday and she had previously dropped a heavy hint for some more fingerless gloves, as hers (also made by me) had seen better days.

You may remember the knee length socks I made her for Christmas…..

….well, I had enough left over wool to make a matching pair of fingerless gloves – so I did!

I had also been inspired by some handbag charms by Tamsyn G on Instagram.

I absolutely love these and decided to use up some bits and bobs to make one for my sister. It was a totally organic process with no plan whatsoever, and this is what I ended up with.

Where Tamsyn G makes her own buttons, I used one from my button box.

The large end bead is from a broken necklace.

This fabulous ‘safety’ pin was in my Stitching Santa parcel, as was the ‘handmade’ tab.

Some hand embroidery on the surface adds extra texture.

Here it is on my bag, to give a sense of scale.

And here they both are on my sister/bag:)

I know, it’s utterly pointless but, as pointless things go, it’s bright and cheerful and I wouldn’t mind one on my bag, so I may cave in to the urge to make another.


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Sunday Sevens #155

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing your week outside the blog.

1. On the drive home from our girl’s weekend away in Cornwall, we stopped in this café in an old bus for coffee.

2. While we were away relaxing in a hot tub, Mother’s Day came and went. I opened my suitcase to find this card from No.3 Son – “Happy 27th Mother’s Day” referring to the age of his older sister. It took me a while to work that out! No idea why he’s written “Joe” on it, as that’s No.1 Son’s name – love it!

3. Meanwhile, back home, No.2 Son was back at school, but he had made me this lovely mug, painted both inside and out with nice things.

4. And underneath……!

5. A day out in Bath with my daughter for our birthday – but no photos as I left my ‘phone at home (again) and she STILL hasn’t sent me the photos she took. (If you’re reading this H-R, consider it a reminder!) This was taken the next day at our new favourite café. Yes, Tess is curled up in front of the wood burner as usual.

6. I finally found a pair of navy boots that I quite like so I bought them as they were half price and I love a bargain:)

7. We popped into The Trading Barn just outside Wincanton which supports local makers and traders.

8. I love Tamsin G’s work – check out her shop on Folksy.

9. Our Thursday Knit ‘n’ Natter includes this brave chap who was knitting socks. Check out the ones he’s wearing…..

10. ….I recognised them immediately as the Saxifrage pattern by Rachel Coopey that I have recently knitted in purple. How geeky is it to admit/know that?!

11. I haven’t had time to do much in the way of crafty stuff this past week ‘cos I’ve managed to stretch out the birthday celebrations for ten days, but I did get around to joining the first forty squares of this blanket.

21. Every maker’s dream – knitting books and knitted bits and bobs from my late grandmother were passed onto me to enjoy.

22. The Big Party!

23. I had not one, but TWO fantastic birthday cakes!

24. Far too many photos to share here, but here’s one with my sister who, at just eleven months older, is also 50!

25. Did you spot the necklace in the previous photo? This was from some yarn-mad girlfriends – they know me well and noticed all the love I’d given it on IG, so went and bought it for me! If you want your own (who wouldn’t), you can buy it here.

26. The morning after, we woke up to more snow.

27. There was nothing for it so, whilst waiting for the roads to clear enough for everyone to drive home, we walked to the pub with obligatory snowball fights en route.

28. Brother-in-law was targeted!

29. Refreshments and a warm up before walking home again.

30. No.3 Son curled up by the wood burner with Tess, still tired after such a late night.

31. This face was the result of a huge lick across the face from the new pub puppy.

The husband would quite like to get another dog as Tess is still missing Fifi’s company, but I’m not at all convinced, so watch this space….


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Sunday Sevens #128

Another couple of busy weeks have kept me away from the computer, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but means that there are thirty photos for this Sunday Sevens! 

Linking up with Nat at Threads & Bobbins, who started Sunday Sevens.

1. Summer arrived for a lengthy stay of approximately two weeks, which meant plenty of pool time for The Boys, especially after a sticky day in school uniform.


2. Mr. H-L temporarily moved his ‘office’ into the garden. Not many people can work in their pants, sipping a gin and tonic with a view like that from their desk!!


3. Father’s Day was spent with friends at Yo Sushi! in Bath. This was a new concept for the two boys that came with us – and they loved it so much that we consumed 53 dishes between us!


4. The next day we flew to Amsterdam to join the husband’s company in their 25th anniversary celebrations. We had a three course meal followed by a concert, all in the Amsterdam Arena in which the company sponsor a private box.

Here we are about to skip the queues and enter via the VIP entrance – not a bad thing considering that some of the (very young) audience had been queuing in ridiculous temperatures since the early hours!


5. The private box was huge and easily accommodated the seventy-or-so of us. With prime seats and a complimentary bar, we were anticipating a great night ahead of us….


6. ….except that none of us had ever heard of The 1975 and, even if we had, the singing was drowned out by the over-loud band and we couldn’t understand a word of the lyrics, despite them being English.

The constant use of flashing strobe lighting had us covering our eyes half the time. We had to laugh though as, when we turned around, virtually everyone in our box over forty years old was doing the same! 


7. Flying back the next day, this was the heat that greeted us – virtually unheard of in England. In fact, the last time I remember feeling this hot was when I was expecting No.2 Son back in 2005 and it only reached 36 degrees back then.

8. Hood down and air-con on full blast, we pulled off the A303 early to look for somewhere nice to have lunch.


9. A small sign pointed to ‘Howard’s House Hotel’ in nearby Teffont Evias, so we headed there.


10. Yep – glad we did, as it was amazing!

Dating back to 1623, the house and its grounds were just stunning, and the food was to die for.


11. Hot Strawberry Soufflé, Strawberry Sorbet and Strawberries went down very well with an Armagnac.


12. Later that same week we went to Ascot on Ladies Day, as you will know if you read my previous post.


13. I even managed to grab a quick snap of Her Majesty as her carriage flashed by. Shame about the lady with the blue nails, although her photo will be better than mine:)


14. I bottled up four bottles of Elderflower cordial this year. If you haven’t already, you should try a ‘Posh Flora’ – Elderflower, Gin and Prosecco. Yum! 

I think Ginger rather fancied some.


15. Ginger photobombing again, this time as some rolls are proving in the sunshine.

The makeshift patio has been weeded since this photo was taken, I promise. 


16. Two days of preparation resulted in this ambitious supper menu for six friends.


17. The food went down well and we had a fabulous evening which kicked off with those ‘Posh Flora’ cocktails and ended up with everyone leaving their cars and getting taxis home!


18. Mr H-L surprised me with lunch out to a secret destination a few days later, so he drove. It was weird to be a passenger in my own car. 

Haselbury Mill was the venue, hence the 1950’s Fire Engine as part of a collection of vintage vehicles.


19. Buildings on the site date from William The Conqueror – that’s as far back as 1066 for all our American friends out there!


20. We were invited to a 21st birthday party for the daughter of some close friends, and I just had to show you this simply brilliant cake they had commissioned.


21. I had to touch the cup and saucer to check it wasn’t actually china!


22. The Auntie who we stay with in Spain came over to stay with us for a week, and we had a morning wandering around Bruton, stopping in ‘At The Chapel‘ for a light lunch. 

I never eat pizza as there are always so many other, nicer dishes on menus in general, but this one was delicious and made to order in their own pizza oven.

I drank ‘Piston Broke’ – a real ale  with a fab name!


23. No.3 Son had his tenth birthday last week.


24. 7.30am on a school day and all three ‘boys’ couldn’t wait to start playing with it.


25. A birthday barbecue was the order of the day, finishing with the birthday boy’s request of a coffee and walnut birthday cake. Homemade, of course:)


26. The celebrations continued at the football presentation evening, where he won “Manager’s Player Of The Year” for the second year running, and “Player’s Player Of The Year”.


27. We bit the bullet and bought all of No.2 Son’s school uniform for September when the uniform people brought their shop to the school for one day only.

Yes, his new school really is called Sexey’s…….


28. No.3 Son has been trying out a few dance genres and, after discounting tap (“Too boring”) and street dance (“Too gangsta”!), has settled on Ballroom and Latin.

After just four lessons totalling five hours, he was thrown in at the deep end and asked to partner a girl in a competition as her regular partner was unavailable.

Expecting to do the Waltz and Cha Cha Cha, he ended up taking part in the team event as well, as a boy fell ill half way through. A quick recap of the steps saw him doing the Jive and Quick Step in addition!

Despite the look of concentration on his face, he absolutely loved it and did brilliantly. So much so, that his teacher has signed him up to do his first medal tests next Sunday. 

As you can probably tell, I’m a proud mum right now, particularly as he has already mastered steps that they normally teach after six months and he has already competed in them!


29. No.2 Son spent the weekend at his new school, meeting new classmates and sleeping in his new dorm. We joined him on Sunday for a barbecue at the headmaster’s house before taking him home.

The boys soon got distracted by a spontaneous game of football…..


30. ….shame No.2 Son didn’t eat his burger first!


That’s it for this week folks!


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American Girl Doll’s Clothes

Last month, No.2 Son was invited to his girlfriend’s birthday party (they’re both ten) so I had to come up with an appropriate gift idea – no mean feat when you’re used to buying for boys.

I don’t know about you, but the amount of parties The Boys get invited to means that you can end up spending a small fortune throughout the year in presents, even though I try to spend no more than £10 maximum per child.

£10 doesn’t buy much nowadays, unless you opt for the useful book token which, despite being a great gift which kids love to spend, is hard to get excited about when you open it. You never hear “WOW! It’s just what I’ve always wanted – thank you!”

So I had a little think and remembered that this little girl had recently been to America on holiday and had come back with a “Truly Me” American Girl doll.

doll

Apparently, these dolls are a bit of a cult item in the USA with girls and women alike, and you can choose the skin, hair and eye colour to match your own.

With the doll itself costing $115 and each item of clothing costing upwards of $10, she, understandably, had a very limited wardrobe thus far.

So I decided to put aside a whole day and make some clothes for her.

With a bit of searching on the internet, I found several patterns suitable for an 18″ doll, and these are what I came up with.

Remember THAT hoodie I made earlier in the Summer? Well, I used some of the leftover fabric to make a sweatshirt for the doll with popper closures at the back.

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I matched the sweatshirt with some purple elasticated jogging bottoms and that was one outfit completed.

american-girl-doll-pants-trousers

Using the same T-shirt pattern as for the sweatshirt, I made a plain white Tee to which I added a ruffle to jazz it up a bit.american-girl-doll-skirt

A velcro back was used this time.

The little lace-trimmed  A-line skirt took hardly any fabric at all and was whipped up in minutes, again with a velcro back fastening.

american-girl-doll-skirt-back

Next up was a simple dress which could be worn on its own or with the white ruffle tee as before.

american-girl-doll-dress-strappy

I knew a ‘proper’ dress would be appreciated, so this next one took a little more effort, adding full lining and ric rac trim at the waist and hem.

american-girl-doll-dress

I even inserted a back zip to make it more special.

american-girl-doll-dress-back

Finally, one more top, this time in blue, and a coordinating elasticated straight skirt with side splits.

american-girl-doll-sirt-and-topamerican-girl-doll-skirt-top

I can’t tell you quite how much fun I had making them all and, not only that, I worked out that, had similar outfits been purchased, the cost would have been upwards of £/$100!

And guess what? She said: –

“WOW! It’s just what I always wanted – thank you!”


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Last Minute Birthday Sewing

HOW expensive are goalposts?

Even though they were half price, they still cost quite a lot, so it meant No.3 Son would only have one present to open on his birthday.

Don’t get me wrong, I know one present is adequate but it’s always nice to see a little pile of gifts wrapped up with your name on. I managed to buy three secondhand children’s novels and wondered if I could make something for him as well. 

He finished these long shorts earlier in the week and decided that the best T-shirt to go with it was this red one with a picture of a camper van on the front.

Hmm, two different shades of red do not an outfit make.

Rummaging through my fabrics, I found a length of turquoise jersey left over from making this sample Coco for my stand at the school fair.


There was just enough for a boy’s T-shirt using this pattern from issue 27 of Love Sewing magazine.


I wouldn’t download and print off a pattern for anything larger, but this was just nine sheets of paper which taped together very quickly.

My French curve came in handy for grading the pattern up to Age 9.



Just three pattern pieces meant this promised to be a quick enough make to complete in the couple of hours before he came home from school.


Some remnants of blind fabric provided the perfect motif to add to the front of the T-shirt and I picked the red one to echo the colour of the shorts they were to go with.


After stabilising with some interfacing, the free motion foot made short work of the appliqué – I sewed two rounds of stitching.


Embroidery scissors were used to cut close to the stitching and remove the excess fabric to reveal the motif.


The finished appliqué.


Maybe it would have been better to place it a little higher on the chest?


Full construction details, and the free pattern, can be found in issue 27 of Love Sewing, so I won’t repeat them here. 

Suffice to say that it was quick, easy and fun to make and the finish was faultless, though I say so myself!

The overlocker (all four threads) was used exclusively for the construction, with top stitching done on the sewing machine.


Apart from the white overlock thread.  It was all I had.

I also didn’t have the requisite ribbed jersey for the neckband, but more of the fabric that I used for the body of the T-shirt worked just as well.

A slight zig zag stitch was used for the top stitching around the neckline, both for decoration and to keep the neckline lying flat.


A straightforward one centimetre hem on the bottom and sleeve hems was the final touch to bring the project in under two hours.


All wrapped up and ready to open – a free extra present for one little nine year old boy!


At precisely 4.51am, a very excited little boy bounded into our bedroom….and was sent back to bed for an hour and a half. I know. We’re mean parents.

At 6.30, Take Two. He woke up everyone in the house (No.1 Son ended up going into work early!) and we all went down to watch him unwrap his presents.

First, his T-shirt….



….then Star Wars masks and light sabres from his oldest brother….


As for the T-shirt….well, it stayed clean for all of five minutes….