Sewchet

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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?

 

 

 


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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:)


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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


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Upcycled Needlepoint

On one of our regular visits to our local charity shop, I spotted this framed needlepoint. It was wedged in a basket at the back of a stack of picture frames and would probably have been consigned to the bin had I not rescued it.


I was struck by the hours of work that had obviously gone into it and was disappointed, if not surprised, that the value that had been attributed to it was just ONE pound.


Unfortunately, as a picture, it just does not work.

It’s old-fashioned and the cheap gilded frame couldn’t be further removed from current interior trends, yet it totally misses the ‘vintage’ vibe, too.

Without really thinking it through, I knew I had to buy it and try to reinvent it as something I would be proud to have in my home – no small task!

A number of Instagrammars had the great suggestion to turn the needlepoint into a tray by adding handles to the frame, or a suitable alternative frame.


I love this idea and very nearly went for it until I was honest with myself and admitted that I have lots of trays and this one simply wouldn’t get used, which seemed such a shame.

Going with my initial idea, I decided to turn it into a cushion cover, after all, the colours would tie in seamlessly with the ones currently in our lounge.

I started by running a blade around the edge of the backing to remove the needlepoint from the frame.


The canvas had been criss crossed with thread to hold it in place, so I was careful not to cut through the canvas when removing the thread.


Having liberated the needlepoint from its frame, it was obvious that it had been a kit originally. I used the colour guides on the side of the panel to choose a fabric from my stash that would serve as the cushion back. 

Luckily, this herringbone tweed matched the colours in the needlepoint exactly. There was just enough cord left on a roll to make some piping, too.

The piping cord was made first, by cutting strips of fabric on the bias and basting it around some cord.


I basted the piping as close as possible to the edge of the needlepoint, clipping up to the stitching to turn the corners.

I had to piece the remnants together to make a 15″ square backing to match the size of the needlepoint front. 

The zip was inserted into the back section rather than any one of the side seams to minimise bulk at the seams. I top stitched it down close to the zip to stop the fabric getting caught in the zip when removing the cover for cleaning.


With right sides facing, I pinned the backing to the front, remembering to open the zip for turning through later. 

As the zip was too long, I would just sew all the way around, in effect creating a new zip stop in the seam, so I didn’t cut it to length at this stage.


The excess canvas was trimmed and the corners were cut across.

Turned through to the right side, this is the finished cushion, shown on a grey chair for contrast: –


I think it will actually live on this sofa.


When I said it coordinates with our existing colour scheme, here’s what I meant – it sits perfectly with the other cushions. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it looks at all dated now, quite the reverse, in fact and I love it!


The total cost of the cushion was…….£1.00

Not bad when you consider that this kit is currently available for around £40.00, not including the backing fabric or insert!


Not so old fashioned now, is it?!


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Vogue 1496 Linen ‘Cocoon’ Dress

This is a make from way back in May that has been so useful and worn so much that I just had to get around to doing a blog post about it.

There’s nothing particularly special about the pattern, other than the fact that it is a Vogue original which has been my favourite pattern brand since the Eighties.


I think we can agree that the shape does nothing for the model’s slim physique on the front of the pattern envelope but, on the contrary, I could envisage it working well for my 5’2″ size 14 figure.

The ‘cocoon’ shape has rather a daring low neckline, short sleeves and the length falls to the knee – perfect to show off my best bits (boobs, arms and legs) and skim over my non-existent waistline.

It also features pockets in the side seams, which are a must for me.


I went to a bricks-and-mortar shop to buy my fabric, and chose this linen with a large floral design from Hanson’s in Sturminster Newton.


A quick make, I sewed it up in no time in anticipation of a long, hot Summer (ha, ha!)


I do love hand-worthy pockets.


No bra needed because the pattern is busy enough to distract the eye from any potential embarrassment – perfect for our up-coming foreign holidays where it would be far too hot to wear a bra.


The armholes were an interesting design.


No waist-hugging meant it promised to be the perfect outfit for a meal with plenty of space to accommodate a full belly!


Yep, overall, I’m pretty pleased with how it looks on me.


It certainly has proved to be a worthwhile make as I’ve worn it lots over the Summer – and I mean LOTS.

Here it is at Desert Springs in Spain in May.


Back home in England it has regularly been a comfortable outfit for meals out.


Another holiday in Spain saw it worn even more as the temperatures soared in July.


Paris in August – I’m definitely getting my money’s worth out of this one!


There was even enough left over fabric to make half a dozen little fabric storage pots to donate to the school Summer fair.


Having been away for most of the school holidays, not much (ie. none) sewing got done and I’m looking forward to getting back to the sewing machine again.

 Sewing 100+ name tags into school uniform doesn’t count, does it?!


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Beach Wrap/Bikini Cover-Up

Looking ahead to the Summer holidays, I wanted to make a simple cover-up that would be quick to throw on over a swimsuit. You know those times; when you want a drink at the pool bar and don’t want to get dressed, but don’t want to sit there in a pair of bikini bottoms!

You can read all about it in my blog post over at Minerva Crafts :- Beach Wrap/Bikini Cover-Up


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Dress For Royal Ascot 

As usual, I made myself a new dress for Ascot this year – to read all about the slightly rushed experience (I made it the day before!) just click on the link below which will take you to the full blog post over at Minerva Crafts.

Burda 6869 Dress For Royal Ascot


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Sunday Sevens #126

Sunday Sevens is a weekly blog series started by Nat at Threads & Bobbins whereby you show seven photos of your life outside of the blog. 

In theory.

This week is a combination of three weeks worth of photos, ‘cos I seriously haven’t had time to organise many blog posts lately, and there are considerably more than seven photos so you might want to get a cup of tea before you start!

1. We have been having a lot done on the house over the last couple of months, most of which I haven’t yet blogged about…..does a wall of mirrors in our en-suite and Koi Carp in the cloakroom ring any bells?

We’ve also finally got around to having the massive extension at the side of the house rendered, which meant bacon sandwiches and endless cups of tea for the plasterers.

2. We also had the builders in to put a new roof on the old downstairs bathroom, which is now a sun room. I know, I know, I haven’t blogged about that yet either! The old concrete tiles were replaced with slate ones to match the rest of the house.

3. I’ve done quite a lot of sewing, starting with my trusty old leggings pattern. I made these in brown leatherette.

4. This top was made in one sitting too.

5.  I made this dress  in a bright floral linen.

I just need to get Mr H-L to take some photos of me wearing them, then I’ll blog them all.

6. The Boy’s school asked for contributions for a stall at their Summer fair, so I’ve also been making things for that. These are handbag tissue holders.

7. There was enough of the same fabric to make four wash bags as well.

8. I bought a large piece of blue canvas for £1.00 from a charity shop a while back and used this, together with the remnants from the dress mentioned earlier, to make six little storage pots.

9. I had a little leftover oilcloth from a previous project, which was just enough to sew a quick shopping bag.

10. We had friends round for supper so I spent a whole afternoon making a decent meal for them.

11. Home serves as both office and restaurant for Mr H-L!!


12. It’s not been all work and no play though, and we’ve been out a few times.

13. We found a new coffee shop in Sherborne that does “Bloody Good Coffee”.


It was – and the chocolate brownie wasn’t bad, either. They serve half-slices, which is perfect for someone without a sweet tooth but, despite ordering “Half a brownie and two forks”, we still struggled to eat it!


14. Spot of lunch whilst shopping for a new kettle with a friend in Sturminster Newton.


15. Said kettle – the old one developed a leak. Mr H-L likes this one because it has lights and makes a beeping noise. Men!


16. This was just after a quiet, relaxing facial – not easy to take a selfie in these conditions!


17. After collecting a friend from hospital, we had lunch at Summer Lodge in Evershot.


17. Sewing classes are still going strong.


18. We found this little cutie in the hen house one morning.


19. Couldn’t resist a cuddle!


Sadly, the chick didn’t survive the night:(

20. Our friend is a new Artisan cheese producer – if you come across “Renegade Monk” in the future you must try it.


21. Just as we were looking forward to Summer, Winter made a late appearance in the form of a prolonged hailstorm.


22. A lovely Thai lunch at The Old Bakehouse in Castle Cary with Mr H-L.


23. The latest addition to our mug collection by Wrendale Designs. I just love the illustrations!

24. And finally, to end on a high, this is No.3 Son working the dance floor like his hero Patrick Swayze in Dirty Dancing. Enjoy!


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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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Sunday Sevens #123

This week’s Sunday Sevens is actually two week’s worth so may have just a few more photos than usual….

1. First week of the Easter holidays saw us spending some time on Exmoor as the warm spell continued. Mr H-L took a week off work so we decided to make the most of it while the weather was nice.


2. Tarr Steps is classified as an ancient monument and has a lovely circular walk starting and ending there that is one of the ‘must do’ walks every time we go to Exmoor.


3. One of the picturesque scenes for which the West Country is so famous.


4. This surely is the original chocolate box image?

5. The Boys had fun honing their stone-skimming skills.


6. No need to carry water bottles when you can drink water straight from the spring!


7. All that fresh air and exercise gave us an appetite for a cream tea.


8. Another day found us at a wetlands and willow centre on the Somerset levels.


9. A blustery selfie during the walk.


10. Tasty lunch back at the café afterwards.


11. Exhausted boys on the way home.


12. Closer to home, this picture was taken whilst walking the dogs in the next village. Don’t you just love the fields of yellow at this time of year?


13. Another day, another walk, this time featuring some inquisitive steers.


14. A pub lunch after the walk – it was so nice that we ate in the beer garden.


15. Plenty of opportunities to have the roof down in the last couple of weeks.


16. It’s not ALL been fun in the sun – the builders have finished the messy work so I spent a couple of mornings painting the sun room. 


17. Back to the fun stuff – another barbecue.


18. Mr H-L took us out for lunch as he was going away on business for a few days.


19. The closest I got to doing any sewing last week was hemming the mister’s new suit trousers. Like most sewers, I loathe alterations of any kind and couldn’t even be arsed to change the overlock thread, so white it is.


20. The Husband looking dapper in The New Suit. Can you see the chain hanging from his waistcoat?


21. You know the way all the pockets in new suits are sewn up and you have to unpick them, well, as I was opening the smallest one we found a pocket watch sealed inside! Has anyone else ever found this before?


22. First night on my own was craft night at mine with the girls. I didn’t do much actual knitting as I was at the stage where I needed to concentrate on decreasing, but a new pair of socks has been cast on.

23. I gave The Boys a much needed haircut!


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25. No.3 Son needed new football boots and chose some gold ones. No surprises there, then.


26. Whilst he was at goalkeeper training (he’s made it into the advanced squad) I took No.2 Son out to a nearby pub for pie and mash.


27. Hubby bought me a lovely gift in duty free…..


28. …..my favourite perfume.


29. Meanwhile, I had been meaning to buy another blender since ours gave up the ghost a few weeks ago. This KitchenAid one was half price – bargain!


30. Quick drink in the pub after working up a thirst playing football in the playing field behind. 


31. Progress on the socks went well as I relented and agreed to let them all watch Rogue One, the latest Star Wars film, in which I have no interest whatsoever.


32. My latest piece of sewing has been a real challenge this week. I’m making a denim-style jacket out of some sequinned, pearlescent leatherette. Yes, really!


33. I told you it was a challenge – before I’d even got to the sewing bit, I had blisters from cutting out!


34. A good friend stayed with us this weekend and we went out for Easter lunch today.


35. I was saved a job this year as the hotel put on their own Easter egg hunt after lunch and The Boys were happy to join in. I reckon the Easter Bunny would have been sweating his n**s off in this get up!


Linking up with Natalie at Threads & Bobbins for a somewhat extended version of Sunday Sevens.