Felt play phone

EXACTLY one year ago today I won a giveaway over at Me and My Veritas for a pre-cut felt play phone kit. And I just finished sewing it up!! So I have to quickly share… Jana, I’m not sure if you blog anymore or if you will read this but just in case you will, I would like you to know it’s no longer sat in the drawer!

It was dead easy to sew up, yes I don’t know why it took my so long to get round to it. Jana cut all the fiddly pieces out and all I had to do was sew them together and stuff it.

If you want to make your own, you just need some scraps of felt – here’s the tutorial and free pattern!

Now without further ado… ta dah!!

felt play phoneThat’s the front! This is the back:

felt play phone

I sewed half of it up at the poolside when S had her swimming lesson last week, almost all the other half in the car at the weekend and I stuffed it and sewed up the gap this morning. I wish I always remember to take something light to sew in such situations as I hate to sit and do nothing. And now I feel accomplished!

And A likes it. She immediately called Grandma!

felt play phoneAnd took some snaps of me!

felt play phone

So thank you to Jana at Me & My Veritas for the adorable kit! 🙂

felt play phoneI’m just sorry it took a whole year for me to put it together!

Beth x

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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

A Jewellery Wrap and a Make-Up Brush Roll

Here are the last two gifts I made for Christmas 2014 – after this I’m done talking about Christmas!

But you might be inspired for Christmas 2015…

*Warning: Photo Overload!*

First up is my mum’s jewellery wrap. I knew I wanted to make her one, but it took me ages to find the best tutorial. In the end I settled for this one by Dirt Cheap DĂ©cor.

Sew a Jewellery Wrap/Roll (link to free tutorial) @AfterDarkSewing

My mum is a bit cycling-mad hence the cute bicycle fabric!

I love the lace section, for holding earrings! And it has a nice roomy pocket at one end…

Jewellery roll

… and another pocket split into two sections at the other end (the pockets are fastened with Velcro – nice and easy!)…

Sew a Jewellery Wrap/Roll (link to free tutorial) @AfterDarkSewing

… and it has a cute ring holder, which was fun to make! This was one of the sections where I deviated from the pattern; I used a popper and a button for decoration instead of a snap fastener. Because I’ve never used snaps and I didn’t have any anyway and wanted to get cracking!

Sew a Jewellery Wrap/Roll (link to free tutorial) @AfterDarkSewing

The outside is a sweet blue polka dot fabric:

Sew a Jewellery Wrap/Roll (link to free tutorial) @AfterDarkSewing

And it folds up like a little book. The only other thing I changed is the way it fastens. I used a hairband instead of ribbon, because I like how it’s elasticated!

Sew a Jewellery Wrap/Roll (link to free tutorial) @AfterDarkSewing

Last time, when I shared my travel sewing kit, I mentioned in some comments that my mitered corners are not always so good!

Well, in this project they weren’t so good. Some were good:

Mitered corners on jewellery wrap

But others weren’t. I had a problem with the binding more than the corners, really. For some reason it kind of puckered sometimes along the edges. It must have been my handsewing!

binding the jewellery wrap

But it’s not too bad. I’m still really pleased with it! 🙂

And here’s the make-up brush roll:

Make up brush roll

make up brush roll

I just made it like I made my crayon roll – only changing the dimensions, of course. I’m far too lazy to figure out the best dimensions myself; Pinterest is my friend and I found this great tutorial by Mimi G, and pinched the dimensions from there. Oh, and I made the ties like they described, too, instead of using ribbon.

I totally cut a corner at the sewing-vertical-lines stage. Who can be bothered to cut the thread every time they sew a little line? Not me.

Cheat's way of sewing many lines

Don’t worry, I did cut all the strands afterwards. 🙂

nice neat lines...

I made a bit of a boo-boo at the sewing-the-ties-into-the-roll stage. Basically, I forgot to sew them in. It was all going swimmingly until then!

Forgot to sew in the ties!!

Arrggh. But never fear, I just unpicked a few stitches on the side and stuck it in! There’s always something, isn’t there?

Remembered to sew in the ties

And here it is displayed with my brushes; now you can get a better idea of how they fit in! 🙂

make up brushes roll

Like all of my Christmas makes, the fabrics for these projects were already in my stash, so didn’t cost me too much extra. (Of course I shouldn’t forget that I did buy them one day so they aren’t actually free! Except for the fabric that came free with Love Sewing magazine a few month’s ago…)

Ooh, I do love handmade.

Beth x

A Men’s “Dopp Kit” & Luggage Tag

I sewed gifts for four people in total for Christmas 2014. Go me! One lucky recipient received a gift that was 100% handmade by me; the other gifts were mixed handmade and bought.

Today I will share with you the gift that I made for my mum’s partner; a “dopp kit” and a luggage tag. This was the 100% handmade gift. I showed you my sister’s sewing kit last week, and I’ll share the other two gifts together very soon!

So here’s the “dopp kit”:

Handmade Dopp Kit

Perhaps I shouldn’t admit this but this gift cost me very little – I used the leftover fabric that I used for my Sew Simple Lottie Skirt – and only needed a few extra bits.

I found this fab tutorial for the “dopp kit” on The Cottage Mama. I say “dopp kit” because that’s what they call it but I have never heard the term before. I would call it a washbag!

My washbag turned out smaller than it would have had I followed the instructions to the tee. The tutorial called for pieces cut 13″ by 14″ – meaning that [obviously] the kit would turn out almost square. Once I cut one of the sides, I realized quite how big this really was. So I cut rectangles instead, with the vertical sides being about half the instructed size. (Of course silly me can’t remember the exact measurements I used now!) I’m glad I did this because I think the size I ended up with is pretty much perfect. The bag would have been very roomy if cut 13″ x 14″. OK, half the reason I cut it smaller was because I had a limited amount of fabric!

I really wanted to use this wool fabric for the kit because it’s fantastic quality and very smart-looking. I wish I had more to make more bags with, now!

I’m so pleased with how it turned out, and as far as I could tell my recipient was happy with it!

dopp kit

My favourite part is the joined sections because I joined them up so neatly!

Handmade Dopp Kit

Dopp kit

My least favourite part is the inside. It is lined, so the zip is caught between the layers, but the raw edges are on show. I’m pretty sure that this is what it’s meant to look like, but I’m not too keen. It means that the lining can’t come away from the bag, but it just looks messy. Also I didn’t finish the edges (I was thinking that they’d be hidden!) Luckily, they won’t fray, but it would probably not look so bad if they were overlocked.

Handmade Dopp Kit

Handmade Dopp Kit

Nevertheless, it’s a nice roomy bag and I recommend the tutorial! I will probably make one for myself out of a pretty fabric – maybe I will even brave some oilcloth… one day.

Handmade Dopp Kit

And let’s not forget the luggage tag that I made as a little extra:

Luggage tag made with scraps of suiting @AfterDarkSewing

Made with a couple of pieces of fabric, a scrap of vinyl and a little square of cardboard. Then finished with a sweet little rivet and a piece of twine. Simple, but effective.

Beth x