Sewchet

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


20 Comments

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……


44 Comments

#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!


42 Comments

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?


28 Comments

Tutorial: How To Make A Faux Sheepskin Bag / Tote

img_3365

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.

img_1304-1

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.

img_3344

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

img_3345

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

img_3321

img_3322

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

img_3346.jpg

Sew in place.

img_3323

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

img_3348

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

img_3350

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

img_3324

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

img_3349.jpg

Onto the handles.

Fold in half lengthways with WRONG sides facing in.

img_3352

Stitch close to the raw edges.

img_3327.jpg

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

img_3328

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

img_3329

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

img_3330

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.

img_3358.jpg

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.

img_3331

img_3335

And that’s all there is to it!

This is the first one I made.

img_3359

img_3368

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.

img_3365

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

img_3361

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

img_3367

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

img_3334

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

img_3366

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.

img_3339

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?


22 Comments

Sunday Sevens #140

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series showing seven(ish) photos of your week outside the blog. Anyone can join in at any time.

1. Half term started well, with lazy mornings allowing plenty of time for a leisurely cooked breakfast every day.

2. My mother and sister came to visit for a couple of days, one of which was spent doing art and craft type things. We visited Ilminster Arts Centre and enjoyed a couple of hours at the current exhibition, together with tea and cake in the café and some time browsing in the shop.


3. I gave in to temptation and bought some handmade ceramic buttons. I don’t have a plan for them as yet, but they’re sure to be the perfect finishing touch to a future make.


4. On the way back home we made a short detour so we could try this Railway Carriage Café, as recommended by a friend a while back.


5. It was lovely inside, full of original character and a great choice of gluten free options on the menu.

6. Later that evening, my mum and sister both got their sketching pencils and paints out and had fun with a squash.

7. Next day, The Boys had two brothers around to play for the day whilst their mother went to work. No technology allowed (my rules!) so they were all worn out by the end of the day with ‘real’ playing.

8. To wind down after their friends had gone, I let The Boys watch a film. They loved it and were totally engrossed, as you can see from this photo. The film?


9. Snow White, the original animation from 1937!


10. Christmas has taken over our local garden centre and the singing reindeer were back for a second year.


11. A family friend came to stay for the weekend and we went to Bath for the day, starting off with breakfast. You can just see the trio in the background who played some wonderful classical music whilst we ate.


12. A few hours later and we stopped to eat again, this time at Yo! Sushi, The Boy’s favourite treat.

13. Crafty things still happened over the course of the week. Progress is good on my Eastern Jewels blanket.


14. I’ve included my new labels on a couple of things I’ve made for this year’s Stitching Santa parcel.

15. Yes, yet more made from the leftover lilac faux sheepskin – it’s the fabric that just keeps giving! I will reveal all in a future blog post.

No.2 Son is at home for a second week of half term, but his little brother goes back to school tomorrow, so I’m looking forward to some time together before he goes back to boarding school. I hope your half term is going well, too!


27 Comments

Faux Sheepskin Coat

Last week, I drove over to my ‘local’ fabric warehouse half an hour away to collect my dressmaking shears which had been sent away to be sharpened (a student had tried to cut over a pin). In theory, I could have been in and out in two minutes and saved myself a bit of money, but I couldn’t resist having a quick look at the fabrics to see what was new.

As soon as I spotted this faux sheepskin in lilac I immediately thought ‘Coat’, and McCall’s 7480 was the perfect pattern as the envelope even shows it made in a similar fabric.

I cut it out that night using weights instead of pins as the fabric is very thick.

The coat has a simple shape which comes together as soon as the shoulder seams are sewn.

I adapted the pattern to suit the fabric in several areas, the first being to use the same fabric for the pockets rather than the suggested lining fabric.

The pockets are top stitched to the front of the coat to stop them flapping around inside.


This type of fabric doesn’t fray so none of the raw edges needed finishing. All the seams were top stitched to ensure that they lay flat. I actually quite like the way the seams look on the inside.

So this is the coat finished according to the instructions and they suggest that a purchased belt will act as a closure.



However, in my mind I pictured a single button of the traditional leather kind and found exactly what I was looking for after a quick rummage in my button tin.

Obviously, an ordinary buttonhole wouldn’t be any good, so I decided on a bound buttonhole using a scrap of the same faux sheepskin. I trimmed the pile right back to make it possible.




Pretty good from the outside….

….but I could have chosen a slightly larger scrap to make the inside a bit better. It’s surprising how much fabric a tiny bound buttonhole takes up!

That’s what I picture when I think of sheepskin coats, so I’m happy with that – much better than a belt.


A couple of extra details added were a tab to hang the coat up with – how annoying is it when coats don’t have one?

I also decided to turn the cuffs up. so that the furry side would show a little bit.


The unlined collar would have to look neat on both sides as the inside would be exposed at the back neck.


I was careful to match up the seams everywhere as there is quite a lot of top stitching which would stick out like a sore thumb if it was out of line.


The pockets are nice and cosy thanks to the decision to make them from the same fabric..


Number 3 Son was chief photographer on this occasion, and did OK despite the windy gusts.





I wore it to the carnival at the weekend and was almost too warm, so I’m confident that it will be a good Winter coat.


Mind you, it might have been all the prosecco that was making me feel warm:)


19 Comments

Simplicity 1238

Simplicity 1238
Meet Ellie, the star of this month’s blog post for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network.

She has this rather splendid suitcase home complete with a whole wardrobe full of clothes.

Simplicity 1238
To see lots more photos of how it all came together, click on the link: – Ellie The Elephant And Her Suitcase Home