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!

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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: 

Trinity bag

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So I’ve made a bag in time for my housemate’s birthday. I haven’t checked with her, but I’m pretty sure that it’s tomorrow (same as Independence Day in the US). *As I type this, she’s come home with a cake in hand that a friend gave her today, ready for tomorrow – that’s confirmation enough for me!*

I made a couple of items: one simple and one much more complicated to execute.

I followed an easy-to-follow tutorial and have ended up with this:


3 bags in one. Like an analogy of the Trinity. All of them are the same bag (one God) but 3 distinct styles / persons. Not Father, Son and Holy Spirit in this instance but, shoulder bag, bag with wrist strap and clutch.

Not the best analogy, many differences for sure. But I’m pleased with how it turned out, except that the straps seem to get in the way of the fold when you close it. But that’s not a prob when you use the (detachable) wrist strap or as a clutch.

I hope she likes it. If I were to make it again/ improve on its design, I would consider making the long strap detachable as well. As currently it takes up quite a bit of room within the bag when you use it as a simple clutch or with the wrist strap.

But I like its elegant shape and pretty pleats (albeit mine aren’t as well executed as the example in the tutorial, but hey ho). Thank you sewmamasew.

Baby bandanas

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Tonight I whipped up a couple of baby dribble bandanas – as upcoming presents for friends and relatives.  With a growing number of friends with little kiddlies, I can imagine making a few more of these if they are deemed a success.  Quick and easy, I followed this tutorial.  I first got the idea from one of my lovely friends who made some for her son and extras as presents.  Whilst she used poppers, I sewed on a bit of velcro – which is what the tutorial I used called for anyway.

 

I wish all my sewing projects were conjured up, done and dusted in a couple of hours. Still, I have plenty more little children I can think of that I can make some more for too.  But I’d better not try and do any more tonight.  A good way to use up fabric from old clothing (the reverse was from an old T shirt – which actually I was given in Ichikawa all those years ago, Georgia!).  So the reverse piece is from an item from 16 years ago, and the front of the darker one is from a T shirt I loved and was given as a child.  You can tell I’m a bit of a natural hoarder – but this is a nice way to use up some special pieces, and hopefully give them a new lease of life and create something memorable!

 

Whoop!

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I’ve just finished making this money purse/ belt for a friend’s upcoming birthday. It’s a bit slopshod in the final touches and details but I hope she won’t mind. A customised appliqué/ quilted (if you use the terms loosely!) design on a humble twist on the zipped purse design. Simple yet effective I hope. With some little pockets inside for bills/ coins. Ta daah! 

   

Avocado ice cream

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The weather has been milder this week in the UK – feels like summer is coming- temperatures are around 18 degrees C, so by no means hot.   But it means I’ve been able to eat some meals out in my garden and in fact I’m typing this sitting on my patio!  Lovely to enjoy the fresh air and see the greenery coming into new growth and blossom in the garden.

Unfortunately, despite the warmer weather, I managed to catch a cold and feel rather rotten earlier in the week.  With a sore throat and seeking soothing food, I fancied having some ice cream.  I’ve been getting into reading ‘raw’ or healthy food blogs lately – the likes of Deliciously Ella and Livia’s Kitchen to name a few.  They focus on cutting out refined sugar and eating whole, natural products.  So, rather than reaching for the tub of usual ice cream, and aware I had half an avocado in my fruit bowl, I had a search and stumbled upon this recipe.  Remarkably, I had all the ingredients (including a sliced frozen banana) and quickly blended up this ice cream- come -smoothie in minutes.

If I had more avocados, and time, I would have plumped for a recipe that requires you to put the mixture in the freezer which – with various extra ingredients, would result in a much thicker / creamier ice cream as opposed to the consistency created in this quick creation.  But it was good and felt wholesome and healthy to eat.  & As with all these healthy/ raw/ natural recipes, didn’t give any sluggishness or sugar high or slump afterwards.  – What more could you ask for?!

 

 

Baby bunting

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One of my best friends has recently given birth to a little girl. I can’t wait to meet her this weekend. As well as looking forward to hanging out, I’m excited to see what she looks like! I haven’t really been using Facebook since the end of last year and haven’t seen any photos of her. I imagine there are some uploaded there but, despite a couple of requests to have snaps emailed to me, I understand new mummy and daddy have other things to be getting on with, as none have transpired yet. So, I’ll have to wait. And in the meantime, I’ve made this bunting as a little present.

I’m pleased with it. I made some bias binding in contrasting fabric (the other side of the duvet cover). I’ve used this linen for a few projects over the years and this one must be one of my favourites. 

  

Pleased, but a little bit more work to do

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I had been planning my latest project for a while. Initially thinking this would do for a friend’s birthday in the summer, I recently decided I’d make it sooner, in time for Mothering Sunday. In Britain, that’s 6th March this year. It will be my friend’s first year celebrating it as a mother.

I made her this bag last year and wanted to make something to match. I plumped on another zip purse. Inspired by this product from a company I really like, I decided I could add a simple clutch handle! (& Looked up this similar product as I created it, with the strap on the opposite edge to the closed zip.)

The little bit of work I need to do is to strengthen the raw edges of the strap. I simply cut off the extra edging from the leftover piece of zip. But didn’t take my time over it. As is often the case, if you do things in a hurry, the slapdash approach catches you out later. I hope a small zigzag along the edges will neaten it out. I had tried tying on various ribbons instead but like the simplicity of the matching/ contrasting green. & I think it ties in well with the original bag’s handles. If my friend doesn’t like the strap it is easily removable.

Anyway, without further ado, here it is! :

  
I’m pleased with it. Night night.