Image 01

Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

Corner View – Something to Celebrate

Wednesday, April 16th, 2014

Op-shop find

Op-shop find

I know this doesn’t seem particularly exciting but – for me anyway –  it is definitely worth celebrating.  Late last year I visited Dunedin – a lovely city in the south of New Zealand’s South Island and a second-hand shop in Port Chalmers – a small port town near Dunedin I found this lovely dress.  I tried it on and it was way too big for me but I loved the fabric and the style so much that I bought it thinking vaguely to myself that I might be able to wear it with a belt.

Anyway – I took the dress home and I tried wearing it with a belt a few times but it didn’t really work. Things kept slipping and sliding the way they do when you’re wearing something that’s too big for you so the dress ended up sitting sadly at the bottom of a drawer until a few weeks ago when I had a bit of a brainwave . . .

A friend of mine had very kindly given me a beautiful Annah Stretton dress that didn’t fit her well and it had ribbons attached to it which you could arrange in various ways in order to drape the dress differently and I thought to myself – perhaps if I attached ribbons to my green dress then that just might help draw things a little.  So I pinned the ribbons on, tried the dress on and voila – it worked!

Then – me being me – the dress sat on the arm of my couch for several weeks with two long green ribbons attached to it with safety pins waiting for me to get around to sewing them on. But on Saturday – while I was going over my words and music for a show that night – I got out my needle and thread and sewed those ribbons on!   And when I tried on the dress  – those ribbons actually worked! Sadly I forgot to take a photograph of myself wearing the dress but here are some pictures of the finished product 🙂

Oh yes – definitely something to celebrate!

My sewing efforts :-)

My sewing efforts 🙂

The finished product

The finished product


Little Purse

Monday, July 11th, 2011

Another little sewing project successfully completed – it’s not perfect but it’s pretty darn good for a first attempt. I’ve never put a zipper in anything before! I have been wanting to learn how to make a little coin purse for a while now and I finally found a really good tutorial on the internet – here – on a lovely blog called twelve22. I have just ordered my first swatch of La Traviata fabric (I have tweaked my ‘Violetta’ so she looks good on fabric) from Spoonflower (a wonderful website which allows you to upload your own designs and get them printed on fabric) and I am really keen to get good enough at sewing to whip up a few little purses, bags, cushion covers, headbands and various other bits and pieces using my own fabrics. Hopefully they will turn out well enough to be able to sell – perhaps at a market stall during the summer months, perhaps in my Etsy shop. Who knows . . . it’s all still pretty experimental right now. I’m having fun though and that’s got to be a good thing!

A crafty weekend

Monday, May 23rd, 2011

Wide Headband

. . . and here it is on Brianna

Organza Bag

I found a tutorial for a wide headband (aka serre-tête) on a fabulous new blog I just discovered – Between the Lines – and I couldn’t resist having a go!  I had just chopped up an old skirt that was frayed beyond repair but was made out of several panels of different shabby chic fabrics that I loved – two of of which I used to make the headband (one for the main part and the other for the elasticated back section). I was totally tickled pink with the result. Like the applique I showed in my last post it’s not perfect and there are things I would fix if I did it again – but I was so proud of myself for having a go!

Then I decided to try making an organza gift bag. The impetus for this was having no party bags for Brianna’s 6th birthday party this Saturday last. God knows why I have bought into this whole ‘party bag’ thing but, sadly, there I was, despairing because I had nothing to put their little take-home gifts into. Then I had the completely mad plan that perhaps I could make all eight girls organza gift bags – in true ‘Party Mom’ style! Not surprisingly I never ended up actually doing that because I quite simply ran out of time – the girls took their stuff home in paper party princess cups. Just as an aside the party itself was an absolute ordeal – with the birthday girl behaving very badly at various points in the proceedings and her frazzled mother wishing she could just pull the plug on the whole jolly thing. Anyway, I digress . . .  I did make one little organza bag – and in so doing learnt how to execute my first real French seam (here’s a link to a great tutorial for doing French seams – a site called Sew Neau). So much easier than I thought – even on a slippery fabric like organza.

Just loving this sewing thing . . . and yet when I was at school I always used to hate sewing class. So glad I’ve discovered it again.


Friday, May 20th, 2011

I have finally managed to finish my first little piece of applique work!! It isn’t perfect – as any of you with super-sharp eyes will be able to tell – but it did work! And I can only get better. I loved doing it – and I also found it very meditative. It’s a great thing to do when you’re chatting with friends, listening to the radio, even watching TV – if you don’t mind having to look down every now and again!  You can applique in many different ways – including with a sewing machine – but the method I used was a hand-sewing technique and very simple. I found it on my favourite blog – Tiny Happy and would definitely recommend it to anyone who hankers after adding a little bit of whimsy to otherwise plain T-shirts and sweaters.  I have now moved onto another applique project – putting a flowery love-heart on one of Brianna’s stripey sweaters. And I am getting better!

Autumn Weather – Summer Skirt

Tuesday, April 26th, 2011

Today I made Brianna a little skirt from a couple of frills taken off the bottom of a maxi-dress I bought myself in Golden Bay this summer just past. I just sewed two of the frills together to make a decent length for a skirt and then folded the fabric down a couple of centimeters along  the top to make a channel for elastic – making sure I left a gap to get the elastic into of course!  Then I folded the fabric – right sides together – and sewed a seam down the side. All ready to thread the elastic through – a remarkably painless procedure accomplished by attaching elastic to the end of a safety pin and just sort of pushing and pulling it through the channel.

Then I tried the skirt on to make sure it fitted around the waist before undoing the safety pin and sewing up the gap – Voila! My first skirt!  I didn’t need to worry about hemming it, cos the frill at the bottom already had a nice little hem.  It’s not perfect but it works – and Brianna loves it. She pranced around in it for several hours despite the chilly temperatures. She’ll be able to wear it with leggings underneath even if it is cold.

I’ve always loved the idea of making something new out of something old or unwanted.  I’ve talked about it for years. Wouldn’t it be great if I could sew . . .  but I didn’t think I was clever/creative/practical enough to actually do it. It was only when I discovered an inspirational blog called TinyHappy by a wonderful crafty woman named Melissa that I finally stopped dreaming, borrowed my Mum’s machine, and started sewing.  Melissa made it sound possible – fun even!

After lots of practising long straight seams my first effort was an A-line skirt with an elastic waistband for Brianna’s big doll Jasmine. I’ve also adjusted a couple of things – most pleasingly a lovely waistcoat which was always too big for me and so languished unworn in my wardrobe for 15 years (yes, I am a hoarder – you never know when you might suddenly decide you need something!). That waistcoat now fits me perfectly and I have worn it several times in the last week!  And now I’ve made a skirt for Brianna! Onwards . . .