Grown Up Colouring + Me-Made-May 2015!

Hello! I feel like I haven’t been around very much lately and have probably missed a lot of your posts but I will try to work my way through the backlog!

I’ve just been really busy recently; I have been sewing behind the scenes – I’ll share one little project below – and I started tutoring dressmaking on Wednesday. So I’ve been spending a lot of time planning and prepping for that. It started off really well – everyone is lovely and friendly and I’m looking forward to next week!

So I have to bring some stationery with me so I thought I’d better make a pencil case since I haven’t owned one for several years.

Colour in pencil case

Do you recognise the fabric? It’s that colour-in Tidny fabric from IKEA. I coloured it myself :P I was going to ask my daughter to do it but a selfish streak came over me and I wanted to do some fun colouring!

How cute is the cow print I chose to line it with?! I was being a big kid!

colour in pencil case

I love the shape of it. I used this tutorial on craftster.org, which I thoroughly recommend.

And check out my seam matching! You can’t see in the photo but the other side is bang on, too. I just had to point that out.

colour in pencil case

Good points over – this is probably my worst topstitching ever. Don’t ask why I used such a visible colour of thread. OK – I couldn’t be bothered to change it. I don’t even know how it ended up so wiggly. I blame the fabric, I think.

colour in pencil case

In other news…. Me-Made-May ’15 is coming up… aaaand I decided it would be wrong to not take part!

So…

I, Beth from http://www.afterdarksewing.wordpress.com sign up as a participant of Me-Made-May ’15. I endeavour to wear at least four me-made or me-refashioned garments each week for the duration of May 2015′

I think I’m the 309th sewist to sign up! Wow!

I chose not to pledge to wear one garment every day because I just don’t have that many wearable garments and I don’t want it to get boring! I think trying to wear at least four a week is a reasonable challenge. Luckily I have yet another Clemence [Tilly and the Buttons] in the making and a GBSB Shell Top, too. I also went fabric shopping on Friday (whoops… my resolution went out the window…) so will be making more nice things – but not stress sewing!!

I will share a roundup of the ‘me-made-garments’ I wear at the end of each week.

I hope you’re having a lovely relaxing Sunday. I’m going back to cooking my roast whilst browsing the Liberty website. Oh, I can multitask all right!

Beth x

Arts & Crafts 6th Birthday Party

As some of you already know, my daughter turned six last week and I held an ‘arts and crafts’ birthday party for her and a handful of her friends.

Well, I’m pleased to report that it went down very well with all the girls – myself included!

You may remember that the lovely Thimberlina sent me some fabulous fabric from IKEA for me to make into simple tote bags for the girls to colour in.

Well, here they are, all ready to decorate with cardboard inside:

IKEA PARTY TOTE BAGS

How fun do they look?! The designs are so random! There’s a rooster having a shower… a lamp…  a mushroom… a washing line…

Ikea fabric tote bags

I used the IKEA fabric on one side, and plain on the other – so that the girls could draw on that side and colour in the designs on the other.

tote bags

Well, that was the plan.

As it happened… NOBODY WANTED TO DO ONE!!

Can you believe it?!

The one part of the party that took me the longest to prepare, cost me the most money, and NOBODY WAS INTERESTED!! :'( :'( :'(

Luckily one of my daughter’s friends stayed on for 30 minutes after the party so I managed to persuade her to start one and she took it home – I know she loves dogs so there was one with a cute pup on which helped!

At least the girls were happy, which was the main thing, but it would have been nice if my effort was appreciated, haha!

I might just have to colour one myself, now.

One of the other activities – which went down very well – was decorating cardboard dolls.

arts and crafts party

I cut little garments out of scraps of fabric for the girls to stick on to their pre-cut cardboard dolls. They stuck on googly eyes and drew on the features. Oh and added woolly hair! They loved it! Here’s my daughter’s (first) creation on the right and two others that are ready for sticking.

making dolls

I bought plain gift bags from Crafty Crocodiles (where I got most of the goodies from) and the girls got really creative and decorated them with stickers, pompoms, foam stickers, pens, sequins, and more! They used these as party bags to take all their creations and other bits and bobs home in.

party gift bags - make your own!

The girls also decorated biscuits, made bracelets and necklaces with pony beads and alphabet beads, and made paper fans. And we had time for a game of pass the parcel, too. But I was busy and didn’t take photos of everything!

Oh and of course they had tea and cake!

birthday cake

My daughter’s friends loved it all and have been telling her it was a really fun party – and they want to have one like it.

I can’t deny that I’m happy with that!

Beth x

P.S. In case you’re wondering… I have put a hold on my Sunday Sevens posts for a while because I’m just a bit busy at the moment! I am starting my new dressmaking course this coming Wednesday so I have been spending a lot of time organising all the lovely paperwork for that.

Personalised Apron

Not a lot of sewing – or blogging – has happened recently, what with it being the Easter break from school. But I did finish making an apron for my sister to wear for her new business venture in nails and other beauty treatments.

This is not just any old apron, I’ll have you know. It is a fancy apron, with hand embroidered company name; pretty gathers; and no baggy neck.

Apron with gathers

The inspiration came via Good Old Pinterest from ‘Style Me Pretty’. My sister and I liked the gathers. I downloaded and printed the free pattern and that’s when I realised that a nicely styled photo for Pinterest isn’t everything; the pattern and instructions were… not good. So I improvised.

Just look at the pattern piece for the skirt:

apron pattern piece (skirt)

Why not fold the fabric in half – so you’d need a pattern piece half the size and save paper?!

So I chopped it in half…

apron pattern piece (skirt)

Then I tackled the bodice piece. Hmm, it turned out a lot narrower than it was supposed to…

rubbish pattern for apron

So I cut my losses and made it up myself, using an apron I own as a template!!

I began by hand embroidering the name onto the bodice, using stem stitch. I used a very expensive tool to transfer the font onto the fabric. It’s called the sun through my window.

hand embroidery - apron bodice

I’m really happy with how this turned out; it’s pretty neat, even if I do say so myself.

apron embroidery

If you’re a sewer with a bit of experience, do go over to the website and read the instructions. They leave a lot to be desired! You would be left with a lot of raw edges as “borders” are just pinned and sewed.

Well, I used the measurements from the page, and made the rest up myself. The biggest difference is that I lined the apron in white cotton. I think this gives it a very nice finish.

Lined apron

I used the ‘bagging’ method, then topstitched all the way around. I do love topstitching.

Apron bodice

I made the ties by pressing both edges into the middle of the tie, then pressing in half so that the raw edges are trapped in the middle. Who wants raw edges on display?! I chose to just have one neck ‘tie’ because if there’s one thing I don’t like about apron’s it’s the bagginess of the neck. Yes, you can pull it off and on more easily, but taking your glasses off to do that is not a big price to pay when you can have a snug fit.

The original pattern suggests two neck ties, to be tied at the back. This makes sense, but I’m sure having a knot at the back of your neck all day can be uncomfortable.

Apron with gathers

The gathering is really cute!

gathers on apron

And check out the spacious pockets. I also made two slim ones in the middle, which I hope will be ideal for nail files etc.

apron pockets

I love it; I gave it to my sister for her birthday and she loves it too. Hooray!

Now I hope she doesn’t spill any nail polish on it!

Beth x

 

Sunday Sevens [Week 30]

OK, Sunday Sevens is Monday Fives this week but I’m not going to apologise because I’ve been enjoying Easter with my family! And I’m not totally depriving you because I am here now :P

I don’t have any photos from the weekend to share but I do have a few from earlier on in the week so I thought I may as well make a quick post…

With this week being the first week of Easter break I have been busy with my girls and have hardly done any sewing. I can’t conclude whether that is a good or bad thing…!

Monday:

As promised in my last post sharing my free motion bookmark, here’s the second bookmark I made. It’s pretty similar but I forgot to add the ribbon at the top, which was a bit silly because I really like that bit! And I decided to sew a border, partly instead of ladders stitching up the gap. I think it looks nice either way!

free motion bookmark

Tuesday:

Ali @ Thimberlina is a wonderful person. She sent me this fantastic fabric that she went and bought from IKEA for me! It’s to make little tote bags for my daughter’s birthday party, that they will colour in.

IKEA fabric

Wednesday:

I was so proud of my daughter cycling a four mile round trip, on top of walking round the shopping centre! She didn’t even want to sit down when we got home!

cycling

Thursday:

I did my few hours training for my new job as adult learning tutor; now I just need to prepare the course material to start in a couple of weeks. Eeeekkk!

training folder

Friday:

I dropped my daughters off at my mum’s and popped into Dunelm and Hobbycraft on my way back home for some uninterrupted browsing!

Their stuff is mostly overpriced but I did buy some fat quarters [like I really need fat quarters…] and a sewing kit for my daughter’s birthday. She’s going to be 6 and the kit does say age 8+ but I imagine I can help her with it!

hobbycraft bits!

I hope you had a lovely Easter and enjoyed the sun today (Monday) if you had it – we had a picnic and were not prepared for the 20 degree Celsius temperature… The sun got me! But I hope it continues…

Beth x

Scrap-busting, free motion(!) bookmark

Last week saw one of my favourite members of staff at my local children’s centre leave for retirement. She was amazing. She was the one who told me about the sewing tutor job, and she was the one who made me a volunteer and let me support staff to run courses – as well as run my own sewing group. I will definitely miss her!

So of course I had to sew her a little something. I was sure that she was going to be bombarded with gifts so I just wanted to make something little that she would actually use.

And I came up with – a bookmark. I know she likes reading, and after all she is retiring so will have plenty of time on her hands to sit out in the sun and read. And she deserves it!

Anyway without further ado, here it is:

Applique, free motion sewing bookmark

This was my first attempt at free motion sewing. It’s a bit odd that I’m giving my first attempt away as a gift; you’d think I’d practice a bit first… but I’m pretty happy with it!

I totally copied the idea from the picture below that I saw on Pinterest. Isn’t the bird adorable?!

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/originals/3d/00/db/3d00db1b828da259bd89ad0a17011790.jpg

[Source: Pinterest… Here’s the link]

My sister gave me a universal free motion foot for my birthday back in February. The only problem was that it came with no instructions. It took me 3 HOURS on a school night (I went to bed at about 1am…) to figure out how to use it. I finally came across this post by Susie D Designs which explains that you put the screw between the two prongs…. ohhhhhh.

free motion foot

Very obvious now I know. I feel pretty dumb actually. Then I struggled with the tension and the foot was so tight against the fabric that I couldn’t move it without tugging! I realised I could lessen the pressure foot tension on my machine, which helped a bit. So I finally got it on the right settings at midnight. I left it exactly as it was and got cracking with the bookmark at a more sociable hour the next day. In fact, it was the same day, but that’s confusing…

I already bondawebbed [if that’s a word] some scraps of fabric to make the bird on to a rectangle of backing fabric the day before. I LOVE bondaweb.

Handmade bookmark

When I say scraps, I mean really do mean scraps… It felt good to use them but it hardly made a dent in my ever-growing scrap bag!

scraps!

I ironed some heavy interfacing on to the back of the backing fabric, and dove in. I stitched round a few times to create a nice scribbly effect. It’s messy but that’s actually what I like about it.

Handmade bookmark - free motion sewing

The legs were tricky because they were meant to be straight! But I think he looks cute with his wobbly legs!

I also stitched the recipient’s name, ‘Anne’ on the back for that personal touch. I could do with improving my lettering, but at least you can read it!

Handmade bookmark - applique, free motion sewing

I totally guessed the measurements of the bookmark, based on how much of that pink fabric I had in my scrap bag! But I was having a lucky day because it turned out perfect!

Applique, free motion bookmark

I added a bit of ‘Home Sweet Home’ ribbon in between the layers, which I think finishes it off nicely. (The lovely ‘Sewchet’ gave the ribbon to me in my Sewing Santa bundle! Thank you!)

So, right sides together, turn, press, ladder stitch the gap up, and….

Handmade bookmark

Done :)

Oh, and, luckily, she seemed to like it!

I actually made another one on Monday for my stepmum – I’ll share it in Sunday Sevens this week – it’s pretty much the same but in different colours! I had fun doing the free motion sewing, once I got to grips with the settings. I should make one for myself as I’m currently using a scrap of blue paper as a bookmark…

Beth x

Sunday Sevens [Week 29]

Last week we had a lovely sunny Sunday; today it’s so windy and rainy out there we are having an ‘in’ day! And it’s meant to be British Summertime now!

If you’ve joined me this week, this post features a collection of photos from my week, which don’t warrant a whole post themselves. Click the image below for more info!

sunday-sevens-new-logo

Monday:

I spent several hours this evening getting my head around the free motion sewing foot. I’m writing a post to show you what I made in a few days. You can hardly wait, can you?

free motion foot

Tuesday:

I got baking again and made this yummy flapjack-come-cake type of thing. Recipe here!

By the way, it was cut into squares! And that’s my daughter sneaking George Pig into the photo!

Cherry oaty cakes

Wednesday:

I had a delivery of loads of crafty things for my eldest’s arts and crafts birthday party in a couple of weeks. Exciting!

Crafty Crocodiles order

Thursday:

Tired toddler in the supermarket. Need I say more…?!

tired toddler!

Friday:

I’m slowly but surely getting on with my pretty needlework, which is to become a purse.

Needlework purse

Saturday:

My daughters and I spent a while in the local community market painting wood with Annie Sloan’s chalk paint – the first time I’ve ever used it! My 2-year-old’s is the star, my nearly-6-year-old’s is the heart and egg and mine is the chunky keyring slab type thing – in case you were wondering!

Painting wood

Sunday:

A few board games with my eldest!

Chess game

I hope you’ve had a fun, creative week!

I’m currently sat next to my toddler who is sat on the potty,  not doing anything… she’s held it in four at least four hours now… I have my face painted as a butterfly… and it’s blowing a gale outside…so I think we’re definitely staying in today!

Beth x

Mens Sweatshirt to Ladies Tank Top *Refashion*

My boyfriend is one of those people who wears something once or twice and then gets bored of it.
This sweatshirt was one of those things.

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank Top

When he said that he no longer wanted it, of course I swooped in and hung it on my to-refashion rail. I like the design, and it looks new because he probably wore it only once. Now it’s all miiiiiiine. I got out my scissors and sewing machine, and an hour later I had this:

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank TopI love it!

Here’s a quick how-to if you’re interested:

Refashion a mens sweatshirt into a ladies tank top!

Firstly you need to find a tank top that fits and place it on top of the sweatshirt.

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank Top

Cut around it, leaving some seam allowance. You should leave a good couple of inches if the top you’re using as a guide is stretchy and the sweatshirt isn’t. You might also want to cut off the store label!

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank Top

I chose to leave the hem in place until I tried the top on. Only then did I decide to cut it away, too – but you could do this at the beginning. If so, put it, along with the sleeves and neckline, to one side (you may use these for something else; waste not, want not!)

Next, with right sides together, sew down the two sides.

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank Top

You may leave the top like this if you like – after turning it right side out, of course – as the edges shouldn’t fray if it’s made of a normal sweatshirt material. However if you are not too keen on this look, you can turn under the edges of the hem, neckline and armholes and sew, close to the edge. (Which is what I did, after some deliberation!)

Mens Sweatshirt Refashion Into Ladies Tank Top

And there you have it – a new top in an evening, and an old sweatshirt saved from landfill.

Quick selfie!

*Refashion* Mens Sweatshirt into a Ladies Tank Top

Beth x