Pjs done- sort of

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I enjoy sewing, haven’t done all that much recently.  But at various points in my life, I realise it has an excellent virtue. As well as being enjoyable and creative, it requires a fair amount of attention.  Tonight was one of those nights when I found it helpful to finish off a sewing project… Sometimes it helps to focus on sewing rather than thinking about boys!

I finished off a pair of pajama bottoms.  As in years ago, I used this tutorial.  Though I soon found I was kicking myself because, as I was making the pattern and cutting out, I remembered it wasn’t the best tutorial at all!!  I had bought 1metre of lovely fabric from a shop in Bristol.  

But given the width and the size of my pattern, I didn’t quite have enough fabric and so had to skimp around the crotch area.  As I only had 1metre, I didn’t have any extra length.  In fact, in order to try and make the most of the fabric to hand, I ended up with one leg with the pattern ‘upside down’.  I only remembered this as I’m typing it up.

So it wasn’t ideal.  I have made a pair successfully before, but sadly can’t quite remember how I did it!  (If only I’d noted down here how I’d tweaked it, as the pair for my friend turned out really well.)  I should probably try a different method to blindly following the above mentioned tutorial.  Currently the dimensions for the trousers are the same front and back, so no space for my bum.  They do fit but are a bit tight.  In fact, though I love the print and they are 100% cotton, I noticed that my current PJ bottoms are more of a jersey fabric – looser knit.  So I may have to start again.  – A trip to a fabric shop beckons perhaps.  Or potentially turn these into a daytime pair of trousers, given funky patterned cotton trousers being quite fashionable.  For example, I could do something to the bottom of the trouser leg- either gather or add in some elastic.  Hmm.  But it was good to somewhat ‘finish’ a project (as I had found myself half way through the tutorial steps for a few weeks), even though a fair bit of tweaking is involved so I can get to a point where I’ll end up wearing them!

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Presto chango

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Yesterday afternoon, I fashioned a skirt out an old pair of jeans.

It went from this,

to this:


I was able to complete it within three hours.  With thanks to some of these tutorials.  I’m pleased with it, and enjoyed wearing it out last night.

As I was ripping the stitches along the inside seam, I thought… Sometimes in life it feels like we’re being torn apart.  But actually in the hard times and through and despite difficulties, it could be that the Lord is bringing about change and transformation.  From the old pair of jeans I no longer wore, to a much more beautiful and wearable skirt.  Hang in there if things are tough – a transformation may be happening and on the way, bringing about something glorious!

 

A change for a short season

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Between Easter and Pentecost, I plan to do something a little different.  Here’s a hint:

EVELYN IN THE GARDEN

If you can’t spot it, I plan to eat a Vegan diet for the next fifty days.  You may ask or wonder why.  & In a sense, I’m not entirely sure myself.  But that I have read a few articles, such as this one, over the past few months about athletes who have adopted a vegan diet, and note quicker recovery times and feeling less sluggish and thus that they have more energy.

So I’m going to give it a go.  I did my usual supermarket shop earlier today and for the first time ever, I intentionally didn’t put any meat; fish; milk; eggs or any other animal products in my trolley.  Instead, in went almond milk, almonds (with which I promptly made a batch of almond butter); extra veg (which I may use to make a bacon substitute – see here!), as well as the usual porridge oats, bread, fruit and veg, and some healthy ish snacks.

Over the next few weeks, I may well post a little bit about how I get on and what I end up eating as well as reflections on it.
For the menu this week, I plan to rustle up a batch of Leon Gobi (aka cauliflower curry) which should last me a few nights, and Portobello mushroom burgers, adopted from my first foray into the UK based ‘Boston Tea Party‘ eatery (sadly no longer on the menu).

In the meantime, may you reflect on a Happy Easter!

 

Summer Time Cushion

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I ended up making a cushion cover tonight.  An impromptu act, but something I’d been hoping to learn to make for some time.

It was approaching 7:30pm and, being the first day of British Summer Time this year, was still light outside.  So I felt more awake than I would usually at this time on a Sunday evening, and got out my latest crafty project.  Whilst I was cutting out some material, I realised the amount I had left over could be perfect for a cushion cover.  & That it would go well with the other item I was making (more on that later, I’m sure).

Armed with the knowledge from friends that, ‘it’s easy’.  & ‘Just fold it over’, I embarked on making my cushion cover.  I consulted some online tutorials, as per usual.  But rather than cut out various pieces of fabric, as suggested here, I did it all in one piece, referring to this one (envelope pillow cover is another name for it apparently), but making it up as I went along mostly.

It could be even quicker next time, but we’ll see.  Without further ado, here’s what my latest creation looks like:

Bonus find

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As a bonus, as I was putting away my pink embroidery thread from the sunset scene below, I spotted this in my tin filled with threads:

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The threads at the top of the pile were given to me by my aunt over Christmas… They’re embroidery threads that belonged to my Grandma.  (Who died when I was about five years old.)  So I have these family treasures to look forward to using in coming weeks/ months/ years!

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Does anyone know the correct way of unravelling embroidery thread?  Is there a way you can do it whilst keeping the shape/ tapes in tact?  Please comment below if so!  Thanks.  Otherwise I may have to Google… My threads tend to get very tangled and messy as soon as I start using them!  Which isn’t the best.

Splendid sunset

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I’ve finally finished – and framed in a clip frame – my latest piece of embroidery.

It’s been a while since I embroidered an image.  Years in fact.  I really enjoyed it.  I was inspired on a walk with some friends in the Cotswolds around the time of my birthday last year.  On our walk, we saw an amazing sunset.  & We returned to the friends’ art studio and I tried to paint the scene on canvas using acrylics.  I’m not very good with a paintbrush, and still haven’t quite finished the scene to my satisfaction.  But not long after coming home, I started embroidering the same scene!

For the foreground and background, I used the bottoms of an old pair of pyjamas, so the lace was already attached to the material.  I embroidered the tree and then started on the clouds.  Using embroidery thread and some Double Knitting wool.  It’s a bit slopshod but I like the 3D effect of the clouds and the lace for the foreground.

Here’s a photo I took of the scene itself:

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So I you can see I don’t do it any justice in this piece of embroidery!  The colours were out of this world.  & As you can imagine, it was even more awe inspiring through the naked eye.  I was amazed by our creative Creator God – the colours were fleeting but spectacular.  An artist imitating creation can never really do it justice!  Well, speak for myself anyway 🙂 . Anyone else been making anything inspired by nature/ the outside world recently?

 

Bookmark Tutorial

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Here’s how I made my reversible bookmark & how you can make one as well, just as easily!
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img_54101. Make a tassel to dangle at the bottom of your bookmark.  I used some spare wool, but something finer would look even better.  Follow the instructions from this wikiHow tutorial.

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2. Cut out two pieces of fabric, the same size.  You can use contrasting fabric or the same for both sides.  I opted for two pieces of contrasting fabric.  Each measuring 10 inches by 2 and a half inches.

 

 

img_54143. Place the fabric right sides together, and carefully place the tassel so that it is upside down (as in the image), but sandwiched in between the two pieces, so that all that is visible is the bottom loop poking out of the bottom.  Pin in place.

 

 

img_54164. Sew around the edges, I used a 1/4 inch seam allowance.  Be sure to leave a gap of a couple of inches, so that you can turn it inside out.  (I mark where to stop sewing with two pins, to ensure not to sew around the whole piece accidentally.)  Snip the corners off.

img_54185. Turn inside out/ the right way round & get a blunt tool such as a pen, to gently ease out the corners.

6. Press and then topstitch all the way around, as close to the edge as possible.  This will finish it off, as well as close up the gap that was used to turn it the right way out.

img_54207. Voila, you have successfully made a reversible bookmark.  If you have followed the instructions and made your own, please comment below and send me a picture or a link & I’d like to see how yours turned out!

Marking Christmas

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I have been doing some knitting recently, but not much sewing.  I have made some ‘first anniversary’ presents for colleagues who joined the team at work last year.  This included a scarf and hat for one person’s children, and a personalised zip case for another.  Using the scraps of the latter, for some reason, I had in mind to make it into a bookmark for my Dad’s Christmas present.  & On Christmas Eve, after a day with family and catching up on some odd jobs, I have managed to make and finish it.  Here’s a sneak preview of what Dad will be opening tomorrow…

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With wool used from an old sewing project to make a tassel & using fabric used on last year’s Christmas present to Dad, I’m pleased with the reversible bookmark.  Were I to do it again, I wouldn’t start sewing the top stitch in a random place down the (right hand) side, but would start off in a corner, to make it a bit more inconspicuous.  & If I had some thinner cord or thick embroidery style thread to hand, I would use that instead to make the tassel.  

Merry Christmas!  Have a restful and joyful time.

Airport dash

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I’ve got back from a holiday which was my first overseas big adventure in many years – I had a great time.   Before I left home a few weeks ago, I thought I’d maximise my time between getting home from work and getting a lift from friends to the train station, where from I’d go up to the airport.  I dreamed something up in the morning before fully waking up and the last minute, adrenaline junkie in me, decided to do it.  It was fun, but not something I plan to make a habit of.

Inspired by the laundry bag from a few weeks ago, and remembering there are lots of poppers on a duvet cover, I made a mad dash bag.  My quickest sewing project ever.  But so quick, I didn’t take photos as I went along, only these ones you see below, taken before jumping in the car to the station.

  
  

Having made sure I had some ready made handles (pre cut fabric scraps from an old piece of clothing), I lay out the duvet cover flat on the floor and had a rough idea how large I’d like the beach-style bag to be.  I made sure the popper (snap) was in the middle and actually got a couple of extra poppers in at the edge of the sides of the bag.  With the opening of the duvet cover and poppers facing me, I cut out my bag shape – three cuts- down, across and back up again.  Then I raced to the sewing machine with matching magenta thread.  & Right sides together, sewed along the edges I’d cut – the start of the French seaming.  

Then I must have attached the straps whilst top stitching along the, you guessed it, top of the bag.  Then turned it inside out and whizzed another line of stitches in to complete the French seam.  At this point my friends had arrived (a few minutes early) to pick me up and I explained my crazy sewing.  Thankfully they were patient and forbearing and she is a sewer too & pressed the bag as I unplugged my machine and put my suitcase in their car.

In the car as we raced off, I realised I’d stitched a little too close to the edge when the bag was inside out, so some of the threads were showing.  I thought a few snips with some (not with me) scissors might help.  & Knew the ideal of having a lining and a pocket were not going to happen.  But I was pleased and impressed by a bag within thirty minutes.

I knew I’d be seeing another friend on my travels who may have a sewing machine so didn’t worry too much.  But before I got there, I was staying elsewhere in Chicago and had put the beach bag at the top of my hand luggage.  When the person I was staying with asked if there was anything I needed, just ask, I spotted this behind her:

 

A few minutes later, she’d showed me how to use her neat machine.  & After a stressful few days in the sun, I felt very content and overjoyed to be tidying up the stitches – I ended up running another line all the way through the inside out bit- I don’t know the technical terms.  Which sorted out the French seams.  & Elsewhere in Chicago, I’d pressed out the corners to make triangles so that the bag would have some depth & I sewed those in.

The only thing I realised I did do which was a bit stupid, was to have snipped the corners before turning out, back home.  & As I later did the extra depth work, it meant the inside corner wasn’t as neat as it could have been.  I’d taken a peek at a similar shaped bag in a whole foods store, and saw they left the triangle bits in the sewed bag, so did the same.  WFC toteI saw a couple of bags like this and the double handle option gives another idea for ‘next time’.

A few days later, I presented it to a friend in Minnesota and so far so good.  It is appreciated and being used.  Phew!  Now to get over some jet lag…

Laundry bag ta dah

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Here’s the other item I made for my housemate.

Having noticed her bringing her laundry down to the washing machine either immaculately folded or in a carrier bag, I thought she could do with a laundry bag.  Last year the present idea I made seemed well intentioned in my mind, but not sure she ever used it.  So that might happen this time too.  But well, in case, I made the simplest laundry bag ever.  Using an old pillow case, I transformed it so simply yet effectively following this marvellous method.

Here’s before and after: