Sunday, 25 November 2012


I've seen pinafore dresses in this style and thought it would make a great apron if I used PVC fabric.

John Lewis have some lovely designs at £15/m but I found some on a market for £5/m which I thought was good until I saw some at Dunelm Mill for £2.50/m! Grace is a bit small to be playing with paint and messy things but Rose is about right. This is a bit of a prototype, after I made it I tweaked the pattern a bit because the shoulders don't lay as well as they could. Also I think as an apron the arm and neck holes should be lower so it can easily go over other clothes.

It is a really simple shape and should be easy to pull on. I traced round a dress to get the general shape of the front then sketched out the back pieces. As it is not hemmed I only needed to add seam allowance at the shoulders and sides. This meant that when I was cutting the pieces out I had to remember to cut the other edges really neatly and not do my normal hack job.

Working with PVC has some challenges. You can't pin it because it leaves big holes and you can't get redo a seam for the same reason. I traced the pattern on to the fabric to avoid pining and for the seams I pinned in the seam allowance. I was worried that it would stick to the foot but it machined really easily.

To get the seams to lay flat, I top stitched on each side. I think the result looks really nice, especially with the handmade label. I might put bias tape around the edges of version two, once I'm sure I have the shape right. It'll be more work, this was supper quick to make, but it will look more finished. Or I am tempted to cut it out with my pinking shears.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

handmade lables

I've been thinking about making some handmade labels for my sewing projects. I wanted something professional looking but easy to make. I thought I'd try out some transfer paper for inkjet printers.

I made the design in Inkscape so I could draw the flower and adjust the text how I wanted. I printed several designs on plain paper to get a feel for how they would look. At first I had coloured flowers but I'm glad I went with black and white.

I made the label specifically to fit on some white ribbon. First time round forgot to reverse the design before I printed it so the text was backwards. My fault for not reading the instructions! The transfer leaves a white backing over the whole area which  is a bit of a shame but that's not noticeable when they sewn in.

christmas cards

Inspired by the bookmarks I've been mulling over some christmas card ideas. I really like mixing fabric with card, it has a bit more texture than just using card and paper. Having said that I'd like these cards to have a bit more texture. I am going to try very lightly padding the tree next time.


I love to make as many christmas presents as possible but this year I am running out of time and energy, it's halfway through November already. Luckily the Sewing Dork got me inspired with her bookmarks.

I had a some time whilst Mark took Grace out and the hardest part was finding some plain card stock. Turns out I have lots of twinkly, shiny card but not much plain cream. I wanted the material to stand out not the card. I used pinking shears to cut the fabric and cut it just short of the top as my hole punch was not sharp enough to cut through fabric.

I like them, I wonder if you could put fabric on both sides of the card? They are all blue because I had blue thread in my machine and the blue fabric was at the top of my stash!

Friday, 16 November 2012

pencil case

My goddaughter wants a pencil case for christmas. My first thought was brilliant there is fab new stationary store in town, now have an excuse to go in. Then my creative genie reminded me of some new fabric I haven't found a use for and that zip would just be perfect and it wouldn't take long.....

It didn't take long at all, 2 rectangles, a zip, some spotty material for the pockets and some bias tape is all there is to it.

I sewed the zip to the front and back with a double row of top stitching. I chose red thread deliberately to stand out and then did some of my most wobble stitching ever. The pocket is a double sided rectangle. As the stitching was going to show up on the outside I decided to go for red again and make a feature of it.

I finished the seam with bias tape to keep it neat.  I'll write about the hand made label separately, it's the first time I have used one and I think it looks great.

I may have to check out the new stationary store too, just in case there is something funky to put in it.

Sunday, 4 November 2012


I actually got out of the house without Grace this week and went to a plabric workshop run by Transition Cambridge. Plabric is fabric made out of plastic. It gave me some ideas and if I get round to making something I'll write a post about it.

One of the participants had a bag full of old dress patterns that she was giving away. They are mostly Vogue and Simplicity from the 60's and 70's. The prices on them are 3 or 4 shillings, vintage Vogue patterns will set you back about £12 these days so I am very grateful to the lady who gave them to me.

I had a read through some of them, my how things have changed. Some have pattern pieces that are not printed, you have to interpret a type of braille with different size holes meaning darts or tailor tacks. And the meaning of a quick and simple pattern has definitely changed.

I knew sizes would have changed but I didn't realise by how much. A 60's size 14 was 34" 24" 36". Today it's 37" 31" 40" not only bigger overall but a lot less curvy. I know people have become a lot more sedentary which might explain the bigger bum size but reason for the tiny waste became apparent when I found these fitting instructions. Seriously - a girdle!

One particularly lovely Jackie O style black dress has a detachable dickie, collar and cuffs. A bit if research was needed to find out that a dickie is basically a false shirt front. They came into being because it was difficult to properly starch a dress shirt, it's the comedy bit that flaps up and catches an unsuspecting cartoon character in the chin! I was intrigued as to how you made the collar and cuffs detachable. Answer, hand baste them on, presumably you cut them off when didn't want them and basted them back when you did. I can't imagine todays Primark shoppers sitting down to do that every time they fancied a change of style.

I am really looking forward to having a go at making some of these. Some things have become easier, like iron interfacing but resizing will definitely need the help of the Oracle. Maybe one day in the far far distant future when I have time....