Sewchet

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


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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……


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Crocheted Project Bag

Early on in the Stitching Santa, I had already decided that I was going to make a project bag for my ‘Yarny’ recipient as I knew I had lots of odd balls of yarn lying about. In effect, this was to be a ‘free’ handmade extra to add to the parcel as my £10 budget had been spent entirely on yarn.

Rooting through my leftovers to see what colours went well together, this is what I ended up with.

Quite nice and pastel-y, I thought, and the limited palette should be enough to make granny squares in a variety of colour combinations.

So, colours decided, I started on the squares and soon had a growing pile.

I used single crochet on the front to join the squares together, adding a bit of texture for interest.

I ended up with a rectangle of squares 10 wide by 3 high, and a base panel of 4 squares.

If you fancy making your own, you can use the photo below as a colour guide.

Obviously, the bag needed to be lined to prevent any knitting needles or crochet hooks slipping through. This was simply a process of cutting around the crocheted sections and adding a seam allowance.

Next, I crocheted the short edges of the bag together to form a tube.

Then the bottom panel was single-crocheted in place.

The lining was sewn by machine in the same way.

Two handles were crocheted as below with a starting chain of 75.

The handles were sewn in place by hand, before sewing in the lining.

The lining was just oversewn around the top edge only.

Here’s the finished bag: –

I added one of my labels, of course:)

It’s a good size for a jumper or something similar, so should prove quite useful to my secret recipient – let’s hope she agrees!


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#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!


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Topsy-Turvy Doll

This has been gifted now, so I can share with you what I made for our granddaughter’s second birthday.

Do you remember having a Topsy-Turvy doll as a little girl? I do, and I also remember absolutely loving her, so I knew I was going to have to make one for our granddaughter.

I found a free tutorial at Keepsake Crafts and pretty much followed it to the letter. This is her version, a daytime/bedtime doll: –

Although you can be more creative and do many other things like a Red Riding Hood/Wolf doll, or a Beauty/Beast doll, I decided to stick to the traditional daytime/bedtime doll.

You start off by embroidering the faces and I simply coloured in the eyes and mouth with permanent marker pen.

I wish I’d backed the faces with interfacing now, as the black embroidery thread shows through in places, but hey-ho.

When the body is assembled and stuffed, at this stage it looks a bit like Frankenstein’s experiment!

I used coordinating fabrics for each dress, originally from Ikea, I think; floral for the day dress and spotted for the nightgown and cap.

I had plenty of lace in my stash to trim both dresses.

The hair was easy enough – just a ball of yarn wrapped around a book and sewn through all layers in the centre to keep it together.

The wig is then stitched on to the head, sewing over the previous line of stitching. Easy.

The daytime doll had her hair drawn back into a neat ponytail and tied with a bright red ribbon to go with her dress.

The bedtime doll had her hair in bunches held with some red heart ribbon.

A nice touch is to create fingers with three lines of stitching.

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Here she is, all finished, in her daytime mode.

Doesn’t the hair look pretty from the back?

The sleepy side has a matching bonnet to go with her nightgown.

It’s a great tutorial which includes an easy to follow pattern, so why not give it a go for a little girl you know?


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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?


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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!


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Stitching Santa – How To Make Faux Sheepskin Mittens

Remember the faux sheepskin coat I made a couple of weeks ago?

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Well, despite messing up the sleeves and having to re-cut them, I still had some largish scraps of fabric left and started looking for ways to use them up, preferably for Christmas presents or for something to add to my Stitching Santa parcel. The first and most obvious thing that came to mind was to make a pair of mittens.

Having trawled the internet for a pattern, I discovered that it would probably be just as easy to design my own based on a few that I’d seen, so I gave it a go and this is the result.

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They turned out better than I imagined and only took a couple of hours, most of which was taken up hand-sewing the thumb in place.

Boosted by my success, I thought I’d do a quick tutorial as these would make a great handmade Christmas gift. They would be great in a fleecy fabric, too, as the raw edges can just be left as they are without fraying.

There are just two simple pattern pieces to this pair of mittens; click on the links below to download and print.

Printable Mitten Template

Mitten pattern

Printable Thumb Template

Thumb pattern

Cut out the pieces as below for each mitten, reversing the template for the second mitten.

You will notice that the TOP of the mitten has been cut out WITHOUT the curve. To do this, simply draw a straight line connecting points D+E on the MITTENS template.

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Make sure that any stretch in the fabric goes ACROSS the hand width – you can see where I am pulling the fabric to find the stretch in the photo below.

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You may also spot in the photo above that the first draft was one piece folded in half. I later adapted this to make two separate pieces so that there would be a seam all the way around.

Pin the top of the mitten (no curve) to the bottom (with curve) with WRONG sides together. You may find this easier with quilting clips if the fabric is thick like mine.

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With 1/4″ seam allowance, sew from A to D and from B to E, leaving an opening for the thumb.

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With WRONG sides together and 1/4″ seam allowance, fold the thumb in half and sew from C to D.

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Pin the thumb in place.

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Hand-sew the thumb to the body of the mitten with a BACKSTITCH, 1/4″ from the raw edges.

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You can trim any excess fur from the seams if you like, to tidy them up, but that’s it – finished.

How simple?

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They really are lovely and cosy and much more pliable than real sheepskin, so are much more comfortable to wear.

I managed to get a second pair of mittens out of the scraps, so I am going to put one pair in my Stitching Santa parcel and the other will be a Christmas gift for someone in the family.

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Talking of Stitching Santa the deadline is 31st October – have YOU signed up yet?