Sewchet

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


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The Jordan Jacket by Serendipity Studio – aka Bling Denim Jacket!

This month’s project for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network is now live – follow the link to read all about this challenging make!

Sequinned Denim-Style Jacket


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First Christmas Present Hot Off The Needles!

Exactly one month ago I popped into Sew Vintage in Wells, looking for nothing in particular and happy to just drool over all the lovely things on display.


Amongst all the yarns, I spotted some lovely self striping “Regia” sock yarn, designed by Arne and Carlos for Schachenmayr. There was also a pattern for knee-high socks complete with two labels to sew in to the finished socks. How cute? I couldn’t resist it, so bought both the pattern and four balls of yarn.

(I still can’t find any see-through wellies, though!).


When I got home and put on my glasses to read the pattern, I discovered that it was written for DPNS – and I only know how to use circulars. To be honest, I think I would have had a go on circulars if the instructions had been more straightforward, but they seemed overly complicated to me so I chose a pattern from “Coop Knits Socks”, by Rachel Coopey. I bought this book at Yarndale a couple of years ago and have made several different pairs from it already.


These are the “Brighton” socks and feature a stunning fair isle design in three colours. I decided to follow the pattern for construction without following the charts for the colourwork, so the style would be the same minus the fair isle – knee-high socks with a deep ribbed cuff.


That evening, I cast on using the long-tail method as usual for a nice, stretchy top.


I love my row counter which was gifted to me in a Stitching Santa parcel last year – it makes keeping track of where you are a piece of cake.


Of course, The Dogs like to be close by when Mummy’s knitting at night. 


I’ve taken these in the car with me whilst The Boys play football. I love that socks are such a portable project.

I also LOVE this yarn!

The body of the sock is in stocking stitch and just look at how different the stripes look from the deep ribbing. The combination of colours are really lovely, too, and they’re quite accurate in this photo.


I tried it on for size just before I started turning the heel and this is when I noticed just how good the yarn is.

It’s quite expensive at £5.49 a ball, meaning that this pair cost £22.00 to knit, but they feel expensive, too, and surprisingly soft for such a high wool content (75% wool, 25% polyamide). As they are destined to be a Christmas present I felt it was worth it, especially after feeling how nice they felt against the skin.


One sock down and the second one almost finished, when I made a mistake and had to frog a whole evening’s work back. Poo!


Finally finished and ready to put away for Christmas – my first present made and it’s not Easter yet!

I’ve a feeling they’ll be worn over trousers as welly socks, hence my modelling them as such.


I’m very happy with the pattern matching as it can be tricky to find the exact spot in the ball at which to start the second sock.


As with all Rachel’s socks, the fit is absolutely perfect.


The extra deep ribbing will mean that the socks will hug the leg without slipping down.


Nice neat heels – the frogging was worth the effort!




Next up, some pink ones – another Christmas present in the making, but with some much cheaper yarn. I wonder if I’ll regret it…?


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Portable Doll’s House

When Issue 62 of Mollie Makes dropped through the letterbox, it was a good one. See the text on the front saying “Kid’s Doll House”? 

Easily missed, I know, but when I opened it onto the relevant page I did a little virtual skip – this would be the perfect present for a little three year old girl in the family.

A fold-out doll’s house, ideal for taking out and about to keep any little girl entertained (and better than handing over your smart phone, any day).

The details were a joy to put together and customise with whatever scraps of fabric I had to hand.

See, I told you that bag full of two-inch scraps would come in handy one day. I can’t throw any fabric out, no matter how minuscule the leftovers.

The teeny tiny tea set could have Velcro on the back for an older child, to make it removeable. As this was for a toddler, I sewed them to the table permanently.

Some of the bits were embroidered by hand….

….and others were stitched on by machine.

Dolly herself also has a dress and some hair bows, but those will have to follow in the post as I didn’t have time to make them before we visited.

Here’s the bed which is open for the doll to get in. She even has a little removeable pillow.

Of course, she needs a bedside rug to step out onto.

A bedside table has open-topped drawers to store those hair bows, and a little lamp.

I added a last minute dog in its basket, for added fun. Kids love things that ‘do’ something, don’t they?

The bathroom had some lovely details, like the bubbles and towel rail. I embroidered the tap using metallic gold thread to make it more realistic.

Once everything had been sewn on, it was just a case of attaching the front to the back and then turning it right side out.

Roof on, handles added.


Isn’t that just the cutest front door?

So, the house opens up and lays flat for play, like this: –

To close it, you simply fold the side in…..

….fold the bottom up to meet the top and then fasten the popper.

It transforms quickly and easily into a ‘bag’ with carry handles – simple enough for any toddler to use without help.

The iron test is, of course, if the girl in question actually likes it.

What do you think?!


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#Stitching Santa Progress

I’m taking part in both Stitching Santa swaps again this year and thought I’d share my progress so far and perhaps provide a little inspiration for others taking part or, indeed, anyone wishing to make some handmade gifts this Christmas.

I’ve already spent my £10 budget for the yarn swap, so am now able to concentrate on making a few small items to include in my parcel. As knitting takes far longer than sewing does, I looked for some quick makes which could be whipped up in an evening.

This first one is a mini stocking and is a free pattern by Julie Williams (aka Little Cotton Rabbits) on Ravelry. 

The charts are clear and easy to follow – a great introduction to stranded colourwork if you haven’t tried it before.


The finished stocking measures about five inches plus the hanging loop and took just a couple of hours all in.


Next up was a project from Wooly Woofers, a book by Debbie Bliss.


I bought it two years ago, more for the wonderful way the dog models were integrated into the brilliant illustrations – pure genius.


I cast on one night…..


…..and made good progress.


By the second night, and a total of about three hours knitting, the bandana was complete. Here it is after blocking.


I chose the distinctive ‘paw print’ design which was fun to watch taking shape.


Tess was a reluctant model, but I managed to get this photo of her wearing it.


There is also a ‘Scottie’ motif, if you prefer. This image is taken from the book, of a much more cooperative Yorkie. Looks like she’s being bribed with treats!


Another photo from the book showing that one size fits all dogs.


I think this one is going to be next on the list of doggy makes – perfect for Fifi.


I will share more ideas with you as I make things, so watch this space!


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Cross Body Messenger Bags

We’re still in Spain, but I took some photos of some bags I made a couple of weeks ago on the off chance that I might find time in my sunbathing  busy schedule to do a quick blog post.

I was lucky enough to be given this brilliant book by someone (so sorry, but I can’t remember who!) which has some great designs in it.


A student of mine, who is just eleven years old, asked if she could make a bag as her next project and who am I to refuse? I gave her some books to look through and she chose a cross-body bag (as opposed to a body bag – totally different connotation!) from one of my books aimed at adults.

After having a quick scan of the instructions, I agreed that it was doable for a beginner, with a little help, and sent her off to go and buy all the supplies in time for the next lesson.

In the meantime, I thought it would be a good idea to just whip one up myself, so that I knew what I was looking at. After all, with four kids in each class, I have to split my time between them all and would be unable to give her one-to-one attention for the duration.

I found some canvas-like fabric in my stash that I bought on a whim ages ago that was waiting for the right project. The bold pattern was crying out for a contrasting lining, so I used up the last of my fuchsia linen and chose a matching zip.


Just over an hour later, this is what I ended up with: –


I just love the bright surprise when you open the zip.


I had everything in stock already, except the something suitable for the strap, so popped out quickly to buy a few metres of webbing which was stitched on securely in the usual way.


The back is just as attractive as the front.


I was so pleased with how it turned out that I carried straight on and made some more!

The next was made of a pale lime fabric with a cream fruit motif which I paired with……


….a vibrant turquoise lining, leftover linen from my stash.


This is probably my favourite, though – made from a butterfly print fabric that I bought from Kirstie’s Handmade Fair in Hampton last September.


I chose a cotton in various shades of blue for the lining.


Of course, I don’t need a cross-body bag, so these are destined for sale either in my Folksy shop or the school fair next weekend. 

Have you found a pattern that you couldn’t resist making again and again just for the fun of it?


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Personalised Christmas Sacks – A Tutorial

In case you hadn’t noticed, Christmas is just around the corner – nine days, to be precise and I’ve got a great last-minute make for you; a personalised Christmas sack for that special little person in your life.

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I’m not joking when I say last-minute as I made TWO personalised sacks yesterday afternoon, each one taking about two and a half hours from start to finish. They’d make great gifts, too, with a little something popped inside and they only cost £12.94 each to make so won’t break the bank.

This is the parcel that arrived from Minerva Crafts: –

P1060959For each sack you will need:

Trim your gingham fabric to the same size as the hessian – 39″ x 56″.

Put the offcuts to one side as you will use these for the tie and the fabric letters.

Draw a reindeer on a sheet of paper and cut out the individual elements separately.

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Cut these out of the felt squares using the picture below as a guide.

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Stitch the nose and eyes onto the felt face – I used free machine embroidery throughout to achieve a ‘scribble’ effect which works well on children’s gifts.

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Fold your hessian in half and arrange the felt pieces in the centre as shown.

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Hessian has an open weave which tends to move quite a lot, so either tack your appliqués on first or use LOTS of pins to keep them in place while you sew them on.

I loathe tacking so I opted for pin overkill instead.

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With the reindeer face stitched securely in place, it’s time to move on to personalising your sack.

You can download a suitable font or just freehand it like I did onto thin card. As I was making two sacks I had both blue and red gingham offcuts to cut the letters from. I also decided to use some paper backed fusible web to secure the letters to the hessian before stitching them.

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Arrange the letters evenly in a curve around the bottom of the reindeer, remove the paper backing and iron in place.

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Two rounds of stitching on each letter gives a good effect.

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When all your stitching is done, sew the top edge of the sack to the top edge of the lining with right sides together (sorry, no photo). Press the seam flat to create a crisp edge.

Then, lay your fabric out on a large table or on the floor and fold in half lengthwise, right sides together to create a ‘tube’.

Pin all the way around, leaving a gap in the lining where shown through which to turn. (I forgot to photograph this step on the first sack so the lining is shown in red).

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Put pins at 8″ from the top edge and 9″ from the top edge – this will be a break in the stitching to provide a channel for the tie.

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Sew all the way around the three sides with breaks in the stitching as described above.

Trim the corners and turn the sack through to the right side. Sew the lining closed at the gap through which it was turned. Press.

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With a soft pencil or tailor’s chalk, mark two parallel lines all the way around at 8″ and 9″ from the top edge of the sack. Pin through both layers of fabric. Stitch along the lines.

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For the tie, use your remaining offcuts of gingham to assemble a length that measures about 70″ x 2″.

Fold in and press 1/4″ at each short end.

Fold in and press 1/4″ along each long edge.

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Bring the folded long edges together enclosing the raw edges.

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Stitch close to the edge to finish your tie.

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Use a safety pin to thread the tie through the channel in the gap left for this purpose.

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And that’s it – finished!

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A beautiful sack which any child would be delighted to have on Christmas Day to pop all their opened presents into.

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They’re huge, too, I would have added The Boys to the photo for scale except that the sacks are a surprise for them.

You’ve still got time, so who fancies whipping up a Christmas Sack for their little boy or girl?

 

 


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#stitchingsanta Sewing Update

I’ve been making steady progress with the handmade items that I’m including in the parcel to my #stitchingsanta recipient and it’s about time I showed you.

I’m taking part in the knitting/crochet swap as well and have already given you a glimpse of the things I’ve made for that – you can have a look here.

As soon as the latest issue of Love Sewing dropped through the letterbox, I knew I was going to make this cute tree decoration, so that’s going into the parcel – although I’m going to have to make another one for our tree ‘cos I’ve rather fallen in love with it myself:)

tree decoration

Having bought these colourful stork embroidery scissors, I added a needle-keeper to one of its handles.

needle keeper

I embroidered an image of a sewing machine on one side together with the word ‘needles’. The other side is kept plain with a tiny floral print cotton.

needle keeper back

Not a very Christmassy make, I know, but this daisy print ‘Ikea’ bag can be used all year round. I wrote a tutorial on this which you can find here.

Flowery Ikea Bag

I had a few hours fun covering some buttons with tiny cross stitched motifs. My eyes could barely see to sew such minute stitches!

Stag head cross stitch button

covered button4

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I had a small amount of leftover Rose & Hubble fabric in my stash which was just enough to make a coin purse and matching tissue holder, both handbag size.

Coin Purse tissue holder

These bright orange gloves are made from the softest cashmere sweater and, although I’ve never seen her wear orange, I think they suit her bubbly personality.

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I snapped up this unused Simplicity pattern from a charity shop for just a pound – I can see her looking good in all of these!

sewing pattern

There are a few other bought bits and pieces to go in and the main handmade gift – if I can finish it in time!