One day / Bank holiday project

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I was watching the telly earlier (Tour de France 🚵‍♂️ to be precise), and thought I’d rather do something relaxing but productive. Didn’t fancy working on embroidery or a big project. Couldn’t face making any masks. So a little afternoon project for a bag of my inhaler it was. I had been using a plastic sandwich bag with a clip to close it but had decided to make something a bit nicer.

Feels like I rarely make something for myself. My little sewing projects tend to be presents for others (friends and family).

I referred to a tutorial I had used before. Today I kept messing up: rushing and stitching in the wrong place or stitching the wrong thing. A lesson in perseverance for life: if at first you don’t succeed, don’t give up. But unpick and try again, and again.

I was running out of thread so was getting annoyed at the unpicking. But then I realised one of the colours I was using wasn’t a great match anyway. Then stopped, had a snack and remembered about some other thread I could try… A much better fit! Having a break and a rest and going slow is another of those life lessons I keep having to put into practice again and again as I forget and for go it.

So without further ado, here is my new creation. A lined double drawstring bag. A bit roomy, but better that than too small!!

At last

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Whilst the world has turned somewhat upside down over these past few months, I have finally finished my first piece of ‘successful’ sewing (after a failed attempt at a simple face mask/ face covering which was too small and too tight).  During lockdown I have done a lot of sport but not much sewing- pretty much none.

Until now! During a rifle through some material the other day, I spotted this lovely fabric and decided to make a zip purse for a running friend who has a birthday this week.  I haven’t run with her since February. We were due to go out tonight in a socially distanced fashion, but she called off.  I have spoken to her a couple of times and seen her once but miss the regular chats and spurring one another on as we remind each other of teaching from God’s Word and have a laugh and catch up on one another’s lives as we run.

I have largely been avoiding the shops but went into one earlier today and bought some sports nutrition to go in the pouch.  When the run tonight was called off, I had finished measuring the sachets to cut the material to size, allowing for an inch bigger for a seam allowance and room for manoeuvre.  Then spent the time making it, going slowly as I worked through the steps from this tutorial I have used many times before but not at all recently!

Next step will be wrapping it up and hope she likes it. Bye for now, hope you are doing well and taking each day as it comes. What sewing creations are you making, if any?

Riveting

I’ve made a matching reversible cafetière cover and trivet for my aunt’s upcoming birthday.

After my Mum dropped me some hints and told me the dimensions! Following on from the one I made last Christmas, I decided to try and make the most of the reversible qualities- something velcro doesn’t allow for.

Initially I had thought to use magnets on the flaps. But as I didn’t have any to hand, and couldn’t easily source any and wanting to get on with it, I decided to use ribbons. A great idea, but in retrospect, I didn’t need the big flaps at the ends (that previously I had attached velcro too). The way I’ve tied the ribbons on now it means the flaps don’t overlap and it’ll be too wide.

Hmm. I might take my travel sewing kit with me tomorrow in case I can make some last minute adjustments after I see it on the cafetière. But I’m pleased with it. Please see below. (Also I need to improve my quilting technique- I didn’t do any basting and the material started to scrunch up at one end when I sewed the horizontal lines. Thankfully not too noticeable given it will be round the back of the coffee pot.)

Bye for now.

Bag for a little lady

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My friend’s little girl turns three at the end of the month. During a recent holiday, I made her this little number:A little shoulder bag with a kanzashi flower detail, plus a matching scrunchie to go inside.

If she doesn’t like it, I’m sure her Mum (for whom I made this previous creation) will use it instead!

As I was away from home, I took the materials (fabric, scissors, sewing kit) with me and made it all by hand. First time I’ve made a bag without a sewing machine! When I got home, I added on the velcro and strap. Again I hand stitched it all.I rather enjoyed making it and am pleased with it.

I might make an altered version for myself… Watch this space. (Though I may need some more annual leave to make my idea a reality!)

Christmas quilting

My brother and his girlfriend have recently moved house.  I asked them what they wanted for Christmas, and they asked for a cover for their cafetière.  A WhatsApp message with a picture and its dimensions soon followed.  

I was given the diameter of the base in another message, and later turned to google to figure out the circumference.  Wikihow explained,

The circumference = π x the diameter of the circle (Pi multiplied by the diameter of the circle). Simply divide the circumference by π and you will have the length of the diameter. The diameter is just the radius times two, so divide the diameter by two and you will have the radius of the circle!

I haven’t done a calculation using pi since leaving school!  I gave it a go.  But, not quite having faith in my maths, when I was round theirs at the weekend, I got my tape measure out.  I’ve just realised I made it to fit my measurements rather than the maths – and it could be that it’s 2cm too short.  I won’t be able to find out if it fits until my brother takes it home after Christmas.

But I decided to make a matching trivet to go with it.  I’m pleased with how they turned out – and hope the cover will fit ok.  (The velcro fastening provides a bit of room for manoeuvre but not much!)  I quilted simply following the pattern of the fabric as you can see.  Here we are!

Thanks very much to these tutorials which guided me through.  For the Cafetiere cover and for the trivet.

Without further ado, a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you!

Chicago bag

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Tonight I finished making a friend’s birthday present.  It’ll be her birthday next month, but I’ll be seeing her at the weekend, which gave me the impetus to finish.

She is heavily pregnant, so I hope the bag below will come in handy for carting around baby paraphernalia in the coming months.

I bought the fabric in the ‘Tomato’ shop in Tokyo’s fabric town earlier this year.  I found directions from this site incredibly helpful, when I made a quick dash before catching a shinkansen/ bullet train up north. (ありがとうif Rin the author of that site reads this!)  My friend had asked me for some Japanese fabric- I think – and the lining came from fabric I’d bought in Bristol (Bedminster, a lovely fabric shop I stumbled across once when I was there for work), which I saw and bought with the same friend in mind.  (Apologies for the slightly wonky photos below.)

The bag gets the name in the title from the Whole Foods bag I saw in Chicago, referenced this previous blog post.  I liked the idea of the double handle option to carry or sling over your shoulder.

As you can see, I’ve put a little pocket inside.   This is the first time I’ve made a lined bag using the ‘French seam’ method.  Surprisingly easy!  Bye for now.

Bday band

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I’ve made another kanzashi flower hairband.  This time, using these nifty hairbands from Wilkos, it’s a birthday present for someone.  Idea is it goes over the whole head, rather than a ponytail.  I used the same tutorial as before.  Using smaller squares, 2 and a half inch square to be exact, I added the centre from a self-cover button with contrasting fabric.  You may recognise the fabric from previous projects I’ve written about.  I’ll likely have to adjust the length of the band (by measuring and sewing a new ‘join’) so it will fit the head of its recipient.  It’s a birthday present for the same little girl who I made this for previously.  I quite like using matching fabric for gifts when I can.  It gives some continuity.   Next time, I think I’d a) sew 8 petals rather than 6, so there is more even coverage of the flower; b) if I use the same sized button, I’d try using slightly bigger squares (maybe 3 inch) for better proportions.  I got these self-cover buttons from Dunelm (22mm, sold in a pack of 5).

Hair again…

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Another Friday evening sewing.  Tonight’s project was much quicker than making a handmade flower out of fabric.  But using the same fabric as last week, I made this 80s* throwback:

A scrunchie!

I used to love these as a kid.  I remember my Mum used to make them quite frequently and I’d sometimes help her.  I can still remember some of the scrunchies I enjoyed wearing as a little girl.  My favourite was a slim one made out of purple silk which we picked up in some kind of industrial fabric shop in London.  It was very soft!  I also had one (that Mum) made out of some rather scratchy material which looked great due to its wacky and unusual colours and sparkle, but wasn’t the most comfortable to wear, which my Mum picked up in Hong Kong after a sad family funeral she went out there for.  These scrunchies bring back memories!

I’m not sure how often I’ll wear this one, but I was inspired after reading this article on the Guardian online.  All linked to a new film out- I Tonya.  Well, if scrunchies do defy the odds and make a big comeback, I know where to turn for mine.  Or how to make some more.  You can too, I followed these easy to follow tutorials: here and here.  The first one is quite simple.  At first I liked the little videos that play automatically in the second, but then I must admit they made me feel a bit seasick.  More likely that I’m still recovering from a virus that has wiped me out all week.  Bye for now!

* Late 80s, early 90s

PS Next time, I’m going to have to do a better job of learning how to ladder stitch/ do an invisible stitch to sew up the opening.  I’ve never quite got the hang of it!

At it again

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After my Japanese inspired hairband I made last night, I’m on a little roll.  At the same time as buying my kanzashi hairband in Sapporo, I also bought a present for a little friend. Which I later thought could be replicated by self cover buttons.  A few years ago, when I first got into sewing, I bought a packed of self-cover buttons, and promptly enjoyed covering them with some fabric I’d been using.  Since then, they have been left in my sewing box, abandoned and unused.  So, although I fully intended to get some more and cover with Japanese fabric, I thought I might as well use up the supplies I have initially!  So here goes…

First hairband and the original pack of self-cover buttons.

Then I got out the little present I’d bought in Japan and realised they used two embellishments rather than one.  So I got sewing again and came up with this! Wait for it…Here’s my dual one!  And a collection with my kanzashi hairbands.

I’d better go and get on with my day.  Have a good weekend!

Kanzashiiiii

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Tonight, I made a kanzashi flower hairband!  The inspiration behind it is a bit of a long story which I won’t go into just yet.  But please see my finished article here:


The blue fabric was some that I picked up from a lovely young family from Church who moved away to prepare for missions work overseas.  It goes well with a big button from an old jacket, in my button box.  Here’s what my collection of items looked like when I started out tonight:You may notice on the table a completed hairband.  This is one I picked up on a long lost trip to Japan a few weeks ago.  I bought it in a lovely little shop in Sapporo Station, before I ventured out up into the cold for the amazing Yuki Matsuri (Snow festival).  Tell you what, the weather here in the UK this week is giving Hokkaido a run for its money!

During my trip to Japan, it was great to see many familiar faces, food stuffs and fashions.  But I also found other things which, though were there before, were new to me.  Such as white sesame tantan men (a kind of white sesame ramen – delicious) and these flower hairbands.  Which I later learnt are called ‘kanzashi’ flowers – and typically adorn ladies’ hair when they wear kimono.  Thanks to these two blogs, I made my own one tonight.  I look forward to wearing it!

Jya ne (bye for now) xx