Monday, 31 October 2011

Halloween delays

I have a huge pile of sewing waiting to be done for this weekends craft fair (if you are in the area, I'll be at the Lomond Centre on this Sunday afternoon in Glenrothes, Fife), and I also have two big blog posts almost fully written and illustrated. Have I finished any of these things? No. Why? Well we don't really go for Halloween that much in the UK, but my toddler was at nursery today and they were invited to come in fancy dress as they'd be having lots of Halloween fun.

Well. This presented somewhat of a dilemma for me. 

Do I pop her in one of her dressing-up box outfits (which includes some carboot sale Halloween costumes), buy her a supermarket cheapy, or make one myself? There is also some history to this issue. My Dad made some absolutely AWESOME fancy dress costumes for us when we were kids, and no he didn't sew things, he soldered and hammered and the most amazing 3D creations from wire and wood and all sorts in his workshop. If I ever find some of those old photos I'll post them here to show you what I have to live up to. Plus, thirdly even, if I start making her costumes now...I feel like I will always need to make them. A shop bought costume in the future just wouldn't do. So what choice did I make? I chose to make her a costume of course! 

Goodbye to having decent stock for Sunday, and hello to a life of sweating over my sewing machine for last minute outfits! There wasn't much of a choice really :) So since I seem to have had a recent obsession over foxes...guess what my little girl dressed as today? Let's cut to the piccies! A little warning though. I only took the piccies when she got back home tonight, so everything is a little 'worn in', and she looks pretty tired too!
Awww tired toddler. Here's the costume front. The 'hat' with ears got a little stretched (it was only single layer fleece with no lining), and you can't see the cute gloves with paw pads stitched on in pink felt. The hat pattern was based on my hooded scarf pattern from my last post.
Love, love love the cute little tail! The main outfit was a cheap pair of leggings and a long sleeved top I picked up at the shops. I stitched on a white fleece belly, and made a cute stuffed tail that tied on with a ribbon. The colour match was amazingly good!
Phew...halloween is tiring! Hopefully back to your regularly scheduled broadcast next time!

Monday, 24 October 2011

It worked!

If you read my last post, you'll know that I've just had a major sewing-space tidy up in the hope that it would generate some actual renewed interest in machine sewing. has! Hurrah! One of the first things I did was sew up some of the fox embroidery I finished and blogged about here. These little guys had just been sitting under a pile of fabric, waiting to be cut out and brought to life. Some felt backing and lovely ribbon hangers and rings and we have little keyring buddies! I did have to do a resew on a few of these as I got the ribbon angle wrong on the inside several times so they came out squint! I tried not to let this get me down and I had a break, then carefully took then apart and fixed them. I was not going to let a little setback ruin the positive affect of my tidyup!
Also, I whipped up a cute winter hat for my little two year old! I'd made a hooded scarf out of faux fur with animal ears for my brother last christmas, and a kids version always seemed so obvious but I'd just never got around to it. Well, thanks to my tidy I found a stash of white fleece, and some cute robot fabric I'd forgotten about for a lining, and here's the finished product. It took me a while to get pics as my daughter spent most of the afternoon dancing and I can't take good motion pics! She finally got a little tired and sat down so I whipped out the camera while she wore it to relax.

Love that robot fabric, so bright and cheery!
That is one tired little girl...
 For my brothers hooded scarf I just sewed together two side pieces, but after studying a few coat hoods I decided to add a sort of 'gusset' between the ears. This made it much easier to add the ears, and meant that the hood 'sat' much better. The whole thing was whipped up in no time, and I think I might even do a few more to take along to my next craft fair. If only I could get my daughter to come along and model them for me...

Monday, 17 October 2011

How about a tidy up?

I hate going upstairs to use my sewing machine.

There, I've said it. A lot of it is to do with the fact that it's usually at least 9 o'clock in the evening before I have any time, and by then I'm tired and just want to veg and watch TV or do some hand sewing. Its also partially to do with the fact that I am just intrinsically lazy. Anything that involves getting up or going somewhere else sometimes just seems impossible to me. The poor husbandbot has to cope with this reluctance to move every time I take a bath.

“Are you done?”
Me: “No, I'm not. I'm staying right here”.
Husbandbot: “Yes, but the water's cold now”.
Me: “I know. Can't I just top up the hot water?”
Husbandbot: “Forever?”
Me: “YES”.

Combine this with the fact that our study is so absolutely packed full of rubbish and is not a nice place to be, then no, I don't want to go upstairs to use my machine. The husbandbot works from home and he has to perch at a tiny desk while my sewing mess takes up a slightly larger desk, and a huge desk houses our main desktop computer and A WHOLE LOT OF STUFF. 
This actually shows my desk mid-tidy. I forgot to take a snap before we started!
Eek! Things stuffed everywhere!
Obviously the poor husbandbot needs more room, and I should tidy up my sewing mess too, but finding the motivation has been hard. We've been working so hard to spruce up the rest of the house, and there was just nowhere else for any of this stuff to go. However, after a couple of weeks of trips to charity shops and the recycling centre, we managed to shift enough stuff to come up with a solution. I would move to the large desk where I had room for my machine, all my bits and pieces and even some measuring and cutting room (Ooooooooooooo). The husbandbot would relocate to my old desk, and have much more room. Hurrah! So began a mad few days of shifting and boxing, but we are almost there. And you know what? I WANT to go upstairs now. Even if just to LOOK at my sewing supplies, all visible and arranged in nicely labelled tubs. Would you like to see too? Now, I must admit, don't expect to be blown away by fantastic studio space like some of those I regularly drool at on other blogs (maybe someday?), but I finally have room and things are organised. SEWING BLISS. 

Looooooook. It's not great but it's better right? I can see ALL of my sewing things at once. I love it! A few things need to find a permanent home and hopefully all the boxes on the left will move, but it's getting there!
I even got to dig out my old label machine. Boy do I love to organise and label things :)
These Ikea tubs were a great buy, and now I know what's in them all! 
Awww little label remains. I must find more things to label now...
This looks lovely and tidy, but oh my gosh I don't have nearly enough buttons! This terrible situation must be remedied, and remedied fast! (browses favourite button-selling websites)
Pattern pieces added to labelled files in a folder with labelled dividers. Am I going too far?
This old port box currently houses all my ribbons and trimmings. They are rather stuffed in for now but I have plans for this box, plans that involve a simple piece of dowling and some power tools. And before you ask, I don't think we've even opened the port. Mind you, I've been hearing recently that it goes rather well with cheddar. I love cheese so I may crack it open as the weather worsens and we need a bit of cheering up! 

You know what's best about this organising though? It has really inspired me. After I finished the final clear up, I found a little sketch of a hare crumpled in a box, and I grabbed some calico and my new frixion pen and this pattern appeared.
I can't wait to bring this 'Dappled hare' to life with pretty colours! Off now to spin around in my sewing chair and cackle at all the labelled tubs and boxes! Have any of you tidied your sewing stuff lately? I'd love to hear your stories!

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Sketches reborn

I suppose, considering I've signed up to do some Christmas craft fairs, that I really should have spent the last week working on those notebook covers right? WRONG! Not when there are sketchbook sketches waiting to be turned into embroidery! So I spent one lovely, indulgent evening with my light box, and my new fabulous frixion pens (thanks for the top tip Lilipopo), flipping through my sketchbooks looking for sketches to turn into stitches. 

I did this while the Husbandbot was out though, as to me my sketchbooks are a very, very personal thing. I'm not really sure why either, I mean there's nothing dodgy in there in terms of content, but plenty of bad art! I know I have posted sketchbook pics in the past, but those were from a recent sewing notebook where I simply jot new sewing designs. My other sketchbooks contain just everything and anything. Any mad idea I have or sometimes I would just open them and put pen to paper and see what happened. I guess because of that they are sort of raw outpourings of what makes me ME. So yes, they are very personal. However, it's also a little sad to have them sitting gathering dust and not being used, so to sit and look through them, even though I cringed a few times, was a very fun process, and I now have a neat stack of linen blend all marked up ready to be sewn. Here are a few that have been through the whole process.

I love his pensive look!

Still on a bit of a fox kick after my recent fox embroidery, I picked out this sketch. It's from a series of sketches the rabbits from my last post came from. I was actually thinking about putting together a children's book called 'Superfox' with some of these sketches and ideas, but I never got any further than designing a few characters and jotting down some plot points. Maybe one day?
Ran out of the brown thread! Tsk!
A WIP this time, more rabbits from the same series, though different characters. For some reason, I love giving rabbits big hair. Must remind me of the animated Watership Down I think. 
Hmmmm...I'm not entirely sure what this is! Just a random sketch but not really that sure about it. Is he underwater? Why does he look so unsure? I think he doesn't work as well on linen as the rabbits do, so maybe I should keep the 'weirder' stuff for a plain cotton. We'll see. Any ideas for this fella? 
I've decided the two rabbit pieces and the fox will form a trio of little cushion covers, edged with maybe a more vintage-looking fabric that my usual bright choices. I think that might work really well. Tonight I really MUST get on with the pile of machine sewing sitting by my desk, but I haven't looked through those sketchbooks yet so.....hmmmm.....