Monday, 30 April 2012

The joys of working with Mexican oilcloth

I love working with oilcloth - it's so darned versatile!

I'm still in the 'playing' stage as I've discovered that there's oilcloth and then there's *oilcloth*.

It's a bit like life really - the more I learn about something, the more I realise there is to learn! 

I'd not heard of Mexican oilcloth before I went looking for UK oilcloth suppliers - but look at it - it's so vibrant!  Apparently the floral designs are inspired by traditional 1940s/1950s patterns. 

Here is a hibiscus shopper that I made for a friend:

It's so roomy in there!

The pattern on the back was slightly offset to distinguish it from the front.

The interior seams are taped with green bias binding in order to a) make it look great and b) provide added strength (a tip from my favourite local sewing shop!)

Friday, 20 April 2012

Tunic top (aka curtains!)

Freecycle's fabulous!  I once asked if anyone had any sewing patterns from a particular magazine and one lovely local lady got in touch and is now saving them for me (ever grateful!) 

So I now have a whole host of patterns that have been looking rather tempting for a while now but I haven't got round to making any of them up until now.

That was until I discovered a pair of curtains that I fell in love with in a charity shop.  You can't beat a nice pair of curtains for hardwearing fabric, pretty patterns and all-round loveliness!  These particular curtains were shimmery two-tone (does anyone know what the technical term is?) so they look different colours depending on how the light catches them - always a plus point in my book!

Here is the resulting tunic top:

I veered away from the pattern slightly by adding homemade bias binding to the hem, cuffs and neckline.  It was quite therapeutic to sew them on by hand.

Ooooh, that reminds me, I'll put up a bias binding tutorial at some point!

Thankfully I managed to centre the pattern on the fabric before I made the pleats.  They turned out ok LOL!

 Righto - onto the next project...

Thursday, 19 April 2012

More costumes - A-line dress

One of the things I love most about sewing is that I get to a) play with fabric and b) figure out how to make things as I go along.

So when I was given an A line dress to see if I could make something similar as a costume, I didn't hesitate to give it a go.

Here is the dress I was given:

I always like to make a mock-up of a new garment/item first and only then when I'm satisfied with it, do I go on to make the item itself.  I learn loads along the way.

So this is the dress that I made from a pair of old curtains that were sitting in my airing cupboard:

And this was the resulting costume that I made.  I was given some really pretty lace to add to the top and bottom to make it look similar to the blue dress.

I loved the whole process of figuring out how to make the costume - especially the little puffy sleeves.  You see, the more I sew, the more I discover new techniques that I can bring to my own creative process the next time round.

Along the back seam I inserted velcro to make it easier to change into and out of.  Gotta think of these things with little ones and dance shows!

It wasn't until I was watching the dance show that I realised that the blue and pink dresses would be worn alongside each other. 


I think they went really well together!

Dancer photo reproduced with kind permission Kathryn Hurley Dance Academy
Copyright Rich McD

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Sewing thoughts - 8 months in

I've been thinking about 'sewing' and what I have learned over the last 8 months.  Sometimes I cannot believe how lucky I've been!

- it has taught me about passion and not giving up

- it has taught me about finding solutions. Can I change a zip on a pair of jeans? Well, I haven't done that as yet, but my friend has given me a pair to do and I know that I will figure it out.

- it has taught me that I can if I think I can (three tutus anyone?)

- I can value my time and energy

- even though I do not have any formal training as such; the internet and books are a wonderful resource to discover *how*

- the fun is in the creating things and putting colours and patterns together that make *me* smile

- this blog has given me a vehicle for self-expression; to be totally honest and not hide away. I am *me*. I share my struggles. I share my successes. I'm a little surprised (but glad) that people are actually reading what I get up to from all over the world!

- I wake up looking forward to the new day; wondering what delicious things I can create today

- I named it 'Sew Selena' because that's what people get - the *me* that I always wanted to be but was afraid to unmask

Life's such an adventure sometimes LOL!

Sunday, 8 April 2012

Thai silk roses

Remember the irridescent silk shirt I discovered all the way from Thailand?

Well, I made a brooch for my friend from it.  Luckily for me her favourite colours are orange and pink - you can just catch the colours on the bottom flower!

I love making these - they're so quick and easy to make too.  You can find the tutorial here.

Perfect for adding colour to any outfit.

Sunday, 1 April 2012

Pillowcase bag

I've been going through the airing cupboard recently - it's funny how I've managed to accumulate so many different duvet sets over the years.

Nobody laid claim to the High School Musical duvet set so I commandeered it.  I only wanted to use the pillowcase though - for now.

Ok, so I had the fabric, but what to do with it...

I decided to cut it in half and make a really simple bag.  No interfacing, no fancy snaps, just a bag.

I then just tied the ends at the top and voila - a bag for my daughter to put all her sewing bits and bobs in!

From an idea by Martha Stewart.