Friday, 30 September 2011

Bucket bag from a skirt and dress

I do love a good bucket bag - it's one of those designs that you can put anything into and it always looks good.

This is the last of the preloved skirt fabric that I have so there are now only two in existence. 

 I don't like making two things the same so I used different fabric for the base and inner of the bag.

The inside fabric was taken from a girl's polka dot dress.  As it had a pocket on the side of the dress I added that to the inside too.

Wednesday, 28 September 2011

College bag

I was asked to make a bag for a friend of a friend to take to college.  The brief was for it to be able to hold an A4 leverarch file and have a pocket for a pen.  It could be made from any fabric whatsoever. 

Oh what fun!  I get to create something that *I'd* like!! 

After hours of deliberation and pencil-chewing pattern-making, this is the bag I created.  I'm still using William Morris curtains - there's nothing quite like preloved fabric to really bring a new creation to life. 

The bag itself has gently rounded corners at the bottom, is softly padded and has a comfortable, long shoulder-strap which can be used across the body.

There are side pockets on both sides and channels for those all important pens and pencils.

The bottom has been pleated and sewn for added reinforcement.

There is an interior mobile phone pocket and a magnetic snap fastening.  Plus plenty of room for all those other necessary college items.

And it fits an A4 leverarch file with ease!!

Monday, 26 September 2011

Monday Make - easy fabric flower headband

Here's how I made the flower headband:

First, I cut out 6 circles of fabric (I used a glass as a template)

Then folded it in half

Then in quarters

Turn it around and hold the pointy end.  Then sew a couple of stitches in the bottom to secure it.

Make all six of them. 

Then stitch them to a headband (in this case a cuff from a pair of shorts)


Sunday, 25 September 2011

Thai silk adventures

I discovered a really gorgeous irridescent orange silky shirt (not sure of the technical name!) recently.

Because I love to know how things are constructed, I was looking at the seams and thinking how beautifully it was made.

I then spotted the name tag - Mike & Co Tailor - a company that I'd never heard of before. I googled it and it was made in a bespoke tailor in Hua Hin in Thailand where they use only the most sumptuous of fabrics including silk.

I checked out Thai silk and you can tell how 'pure' it is by burning a few threads.  If it burns and smells like pork scratchings then it's pure silk LOL!  So I tested it out and it is definitely the real thing.

And it's not orange silk; it's a combination of pink and yellow threads which makes it look like orange.  How do I know?  I pulled a small portion of it apart :)

I don't know as I have the heart to cut it up and make it into a lining for a clutch bag now - I do love the history behind these items of clothing though - where has it been, who ordered it, how did it end up in my town?

I think that's why I like working with preloved fabric so much - they are not off a bolt in a fabric shop, so you can pretty much make unique items with them.

Friday, 23 September 2011

How to use an Ikea throw

I'm the kind of girl who thinks that texture and fabric is really important.  So when I spotted a bright red fleece throw with a wonderfully cut-out border, I just knew that it had to come home with me.

But after a while I decided to convert it to a skirt (as you do!) 

It was super easy as it didn't fray so I just sewed up the back, added some elastic and wore it!

The story isn't over... it was too hot to wear as a skirt and it clung to my legs.  So it is now being used as a cushion cover and as a fleecey lining for the mini-bucket bag I made earlier. 

I have some more of the throw fabric just crying out to be used on my next project! 

Thursday, 22 September 2011

Happy accidents

I had a beige skirt that I liked, but it was so, well... beige!  So I dyed it blue. 

The first time it looked just as though it had been put in the wash with a pair of jeans - not the look that I was particularly after!

The second time it actually worked better than I imagined.  As the embroidery was polyester it didn't take any of the colour whereas the skirt itself was cotton and supped up all of the blue. 

I like it better like this!

Monday, 19 September 2011

Monday Make - make-up bag

I had this embroidered brown cord skirt that I loved but didn't wear very often.  I didn't want to throw it away so I decided to see if I could create something special out of it; something that I would use more often. 

This is the make-up bag that I came up with:

I cut around the embroidery so that there was enough of a gap for the seam. 

I cut two, one a little smaller than the other for the front. 

I also found a matching scarf for the lining.  Using the pieces I'd already cut out as a template, I made two of those too.

As the scarf was so, um, scarf-like, I added some interfacing to the back of it to ensure it had a little more body.

I put both pieces right sides together and sewed around the sides and bottom.  I left a small gap at the top so that I could finish off the edges later on.

Before I turned it right side out I carefully cut into the seam allowance with scissors so that it would lie flat once it was the right way round. 

I then turned over the raw edges of both pieces and pinned them:

Once I'd turned over and pinned both inner and outer edges, I then put one inside the other with one set of pins:

Once pinned, I sewed around the flap and top edge of the bag:

Added a popper:

 And did it up!

It's so much more useable now!

Saturday, 17 September 2011

Roll-up pencil case

I loved the idea of a roll-up pencil case so set about making one.

First, take one sheet of A4 paper and draw round it on a piece of fabric (curtain fabric is ideal)...
then round off the corners...
that's about as technical as the pattern making got.

I quilted the lining fabric (a skirt lining) and added a partition for several pencils.  To do that I inserted a pencil into the lining and using a zipper foot just sewed nice and close alongside it.  At least I know they fit!

I finished it off with shop-bought (gasp!) bias binding around the edges.

And added a piece of matching ribbon to the back to tie it up with. 

I also learned how to prevent ribbon ends from fraying by melting them! 

One completed roll-up pencil case:

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Is it a skirt or is it a bag?

Ok, so I spotted this to-die-for skirt - the fabric was totally scrummy - so it just had to come home with me (how could I say no??)

Was it in my size?  Nope! 

Did it matter?  Not a chance!

So with a bit of cutting, pressing and stitching I transformed it into a clutch bag. 

I lined it with the lining that came with the skirt so it complemented the colour perfectly, added an internal pocket and a magnetic snap fastening and hey presto it's now a bag!

Was it perfect?  Nope! 

Did I love the challenge of making it?  Absolutely!

Will I make another one?  You just try and stop me!

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Mini bucket bag

Who says just because your pattern is one size that you have to keep it that size?

So I played around with resizing the pattern and made a half-sized bucket bag.  For little ladies. 

It's lined with red fleece which I have loved using in other projects.  It's amazing what you can do with an Ikea throw!

I've branched out into a whole new world of magnetic snaps too!

I even added a felt flower to the tab too.

This could easily have been made from a pair of jeans.  Hmmmm, maybe next time...

Sunday, 11 September 2011

Sunglasses cosy

You know the story - forever ferreting in my bag for a pair of glasses; getting sunglasses scratched - argh!!

So I decided to make a case/pouch for my glasses.  I had a quick look online and didn't find anything I liked.  Then I spotted a pattern in a magazine that looked promising.  I tried it and um, it wasn't to be.

So I set about creating a pattern for myself.  It had to be lined, it had to be padded and it had to be something that I was happy to pull out of my bag. 

Two teeny weeny prototypes later and here it is:

I love felt so it had to have a felt flower on it too!

Friday, 9 September 2011

Endless summer pencil case

The days are getting shorter and I wanted something to keep that summer feeling alive.

So I armed myself with some fab fabric (a pair of swim shorts no less!), added a zip and lined it with warm orange fleece.  And here's the resulting pencil case:

Wednesday, 7 September 2011

How to... make a fabric flower

I've just made a fabric flower for a bag and thought I'd share how I did it -

1) Cut 6 circles of fabric approximately 7.5cm/3" in diameter (I used a glass to draw round - much easier!)

2) Fold one of the circles in half

3) then in half again

4) Then sew about 9 times in and out through the round part of the petal.  

5) Continue with the rest of the circles until you have a whole pretty line of them.  Make sure the circles are put on the right way round.  Or not.  It's your choice - you see, YOU get to play with this and make it your own!!

6) Then comes the fun part - pull the loose thread and see your flower magically appear...

7) Sew it together so it doesn't come adrift.  Add a button and ta-da - your very own fabric flower!!!

8) And then you can add it to your newly made bag...

or a hairslide...
or a brooch back...
or make some earrings...
or put a clip on it...

Monday, 5 September 2011

How to rescue a short skirt...

I've had this skirt for a while now.  I love the colour and texture of it - it's baby cord with velvet detailing and a little lace at the bottom.  But I'd be happier if it was a bit longer so I'd say it was a 3 out of 5 rather than a 5 out of 5.

I've been racking my brains trying to figure out what fabric to add to the bottom to lengthen it - was I going to get an exact match?  Would a different colour look right?  Decisions, decisions!

Anyway, it occurred to me that it had an underskirt attached to it.  Not only that, the underskirt was the exact same colour and it was also made out of cotton rather than polyester.  Woohoo, result!!

So I cut off the underskirt, cut it into three equal strips, hemmed it, gathered it and then attached it to the bottom of the lace.  You'd never know it wasn't meant to be there.

It looks great with boots and it's a definite 5 out of 5 now!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Candy stripe sunhat

Ok, so I saw this fabulous sunhat in a magazine.  Thankfully it also had a pattern with it.

Then I found the most adorable pink candy striped fabric.

Well, I just had to, didn't I? <grin>

Added a felt flower and ta-da - one sunhat!

(Picture courtesy of my official photographer - Mia)

Friday, 2 September 2011

Following instructions - green scoop top

It distinctly said 'recommended material: jersey'. 

Well, that means 'stretchy' doesn't it?  I'll just use some stretchy material (it had the required 'stretch') - so what if it also says 'suiting'.  What do pattern manufacturers know anyway?

Um, as it happens, quite a bit.

I followed the scoop top pattern religiously but nothing in this world will make it look any less voluminous than it did.  To be honest I was worried about taking off in a strong gust of wind.

I refused to give up.  There had to be something I could do with it. 

I thought about ungathering the back seam to make it lie flatter.  But what I decided to do in the end was unpick the bottom from the top, cut off about 8" from the side, regather it and then sew it back up again. 

And it worked!

Perhaps I'll pay attention to the instructions next time LOL!