Sunday, 30 September 2012

Skirt + Sheet = Satchel (obviously!)

I discovered a skirt with the most amazing Hawaiian print on it.  As you do.  It's just one of those gut instinct things - see it/love it/know that it will come in handy.

I already had a blue/teal coloured sheet that I wanted to use and thought it would go perfectly with the skirt.

I found a satchel pattern.  Jolly handy that.

And bingo - I created a satchel!


I'm really rather chuffed with the way it turned out. 

There was enough skirt fabric to make the front pocket, the front and back/flap out of.  I think I even have enough left over to make something else!  For the rest of the satchel, I used the sheet.

The outside of the bag is quite structured thanks to a new-to-me extra super duper solid interfacing.  I didn't know that existed - it's surprising what you discover!

All of the metalwork was brand new - I might see if I can find some preloved clips/rings etc for the next version. 

I always like to follow the pattern to the letter when I first sew something to see what happens.  Next time I might tinker with it slightly.  I love having a play with the pattern!

It's expandable in every which way.  Perfect for school maybe?

And I've just found the picture of the original skirt so thought I would add that to the post too to keep it all in one place :)

Already onto the next project!


Saturday, 29 September 2012

A quilted cushion cover

Many moons ago I took a soft-furnishings evening class.  I loved it.  The teacher was wonderfully supportive and believed that everybody could sew - which is the case - it's all about learning techniques and playing - well, that's how I do it anyway!

One of the projects was to learn to quilt and then make that into a cushion cover.  I chose the fabric because my eldest was tiny at the time.  She's now a teenager LOL!

This was the first time I'd put a zip in - ok it's a little wiggly but not a bad attempt!  I always used to worry about zips - I'd been told that it was really difficult - but it's all a matter of knowing *how*.  Once you know, it's easy peasy - honest!


Friday, 28 September 2012

Forays into applique

I applied to be on a television sewing programme here in the UK.  When filling out the application form I was surprised at what I *did* know - I could pretty much say I'd tried my hand at every aspect of sewing.

But there was one section that I'd not tried before - applique.  So that was to be the focus of my next project.

I used the lime green linen skirt as the outer fabric

and added the pink almost-tie-dye-but-not skirt to the front.  It was lined with an offcut of pink fabric that I already had.

It took a couple of attempts before I was happy with the applique but it looks like I can tick that one off my list too!

 I love using such vibrant colours together!

And I just know that it will be the perfect journal cover/book cover for somebody out there!


Thursday, 27 September 2012

Sunflowers and gold thread

Imagine the scene...

- you've lost lots of weight
- you have a much loved skirt that no longer fits
- you want something to remind you of how far you've come

That was the dilemma one of my friends had.  So she gave the skirt to me to see if I could make something out of it - oh maybe a journal cover.

Well, it just so happened that I could!

I added a sunflower coloured lining because I didn't want anything to detract from the skirt fabric.

The cover fits the journal that it's supposed to with wiggle room built in!

And because it's a journal cover to celebrate with and remember, I topstitched all around with gold thread.  I think it looks really pretty when it catches the light!

Because the skirt was made of panels I cut out the fabric along one of the panel joins (which you can just see here on the spine of the cover).

I do hope she likes it!

Sparkle sparkle

'Hot pink and sparkly' was the remit.

Hmmm.  I looked everywhere.  I knew precisely what I was looking for, but I couldn't find it in my usual haunts (charity shops).  I eventually found some in a fabric shop - my last port of call.


It's difficult to describe the fabric - it's almost as if it has tiny reflectors on it and it flashes in all sorts of different colours - yum! It's at its most beautiful on an autumn day with the warm golden sun on it. Or is that just the poet in me?

Softly padded, I added some pink satin for the lining and voila - one more journal cover makes its debut!

It was designed to hold the Your Body Speaks journal snugly - hugging it tightly - we all need hugs, right?

More to follow!

Monday, 24 September 2012

All you ever needed to know about duvet covers

Because I have a lovely friend who knows that I enjoy using preloved fabric, she gave me a beautiful pink embroidered double duvet cover.

I have had it sitting in my airing cupboard for a while now so I brought it out to see if I could get some inspiration.  Looking at something generally helps rather than keeping it hidden away LOL!

But before I had a chance to think about it, my daughter said - oh, I LOVE that mum, can I use it?

What could I say?

So I asked her to measure how wide her single duvet cover was and I set about making a cover.  Easy peasy lemon squeezy, right?  Cut down two thirds of the cover, sew it up - done.

And then I used some of the remaining duvet to make a pillow case.  I looked at a pillow case I already had, used the existing hem and made that too.  It's funny, I didn't know how to make a pillow case with a fold over top before.  But I do now!

So last night my daughter put the pillow case on while I did the duvet cover.

It fit really well, no problems whatsoever, nope, none, until I got round to shaking it out and found a surplus of about a foot left at the top of the cover.

How the heck did that happen??

And then it dawned on me.

It would appear that single duvets are shorter than double duvets  LOL!

So I'll lop off the top of the duvet hopefully avoiding the embroidery and my daughter will be able to sleep without an excess of duvet cover tonight!

The things you learn when you are sewing!!

Sunday, 23 September 2012

Furry cushion covers

I had some cushion inners that were looking a bit sorry for themselves - they were sitting in a pillowcase of all things!

So I looked at them with fresh eyes and thought, hey, I can sew, what fabric do I have lying around that would make great cushion covers?

I had a bit of a rummage and came up with an off-cut of fur that I'd bought from a fabric shop.

Fur is always fun to play with - cutting it does get rather interesting when the cut fluff starts to fly everywhere! 

But I'm happy with the way they turned out! 

And it's something fluffy to hold onto when Doctor Who comes on!

Letting go

Because so much time and love goes into each of my creations, it's sometimes hard to think about parting with them.

But that's why I set up this blog - to remind me of what I've made and how I've made it.

And I know that each of my creations will be going to a loving home.

So I can think about letting them go - releasing them into the world to have their own adventures.

It would be wonderful to think that I could see what they're up to.

Do you have a picture of your Sew Selena creation somewhere exciting?  On holiday maybe?  Meeting a famous person?

I'd love to see photos on my Facebook page!

Friday, 21 September 2012

A journal cover story

I've been tinkering with my journal cover pattern lately.

I knew there must be an easier way to make them.  I knew that if I kept on playing that I would eventually stumble across a solution.

So I got some paper out and had a play - very technical stuff!

And then I got some scrap fabric, labelled it and had another play.

Then I used some actual preloved fabric because I thought I'd sussed out how to make it.

Ahem.  It would appear not!  (Never fear, I'm going to remake this one!)

But I didn't give up.

I tried one last time.

And looky here - it not only worked but I'm really pleased with how it turned out!!

I knew there was an answer in there somewhere LOL!

This cover was made from a preloved tea-towel that I fell in love with!

Now, at first glance it may not look much different to any of the other covers I've created.  But I am now 100% happy with it rather than 99.5%.  And that 0.5% makes a big difference to me!

So now I've updated my pattern instructions and I have cut out lots of fabric and I'm looking forward to having more fun with them!


Thursday, 20 September 2012

Leatherette handbags and all that

I had some leatherette leftover from covering the dining room chairs - it was too good to waste so I set about making something out of it.

I wanted to make a bag so I discovered a preloved silky top to use as a lining and put them together.
And I just knew that the leatherette was going to be super resilient.

I just went with the flow to make this one.  Small bag - check.  Handle - check.  Tab - check.  Lining - check.


I added a magnetic snap to the tab and used preloved O rings for the handles.

Ah, the handles LOL!  I had a go at making the handles with the leatherette.  But that meant sewing through maybe 8 layers of thick leatherette with my sewing machine.  My machine decided she wasn't having any of it so I opted to use the lining to add a smattering of colour to the outside of the bag instead.

I had loads of fun putting this together!

It's also got a bottom on it so that you can put more things into it.  My kind of bag!

Wednesday, 19 September 2012

Preloved fabric

I love buying and using preloved fabric. 

And if that happens to be a preloved floral skirt that will fit one of my daughters, then that's absolutely fine with me (and her)!

Because one day it won't fit her any more.  And then I can get it double preloved and can use it for my next creation.

Ah, happy days!

More oilcloth adventures

Now I've got the hang of it, I do love using oilcloth!

There's something ever so satisfying about its look and feel.  And they always look fab too.

This bag was created with no pattern, I simply used my bag-making skills to fashion it into the desired shape.

I lined the interior of the bag with a pink polka dot dress which I thought went nicely with the rose print.

I added a pocket and magnetic snap fastening too.

One lucky lady snapped this bag up as soon as I'd made it.

Righto - on to the next...

Tuesday, 11 September 2012

Lunchbag recipe

I'm not sure why but sometimes I confuse the colours pink and orange.  I know that it's pink but my brain says 'orange'!

In the same way I sometimes use the words 'patterns' and 'recipes' interchangeably.  So I thought I'd devise a little recipe for making a lunchbag:


- floral vinyl tablecloth
- clear vinyl
- thread
- velcro
- time
- stitch unpicker


Cut up floral tablecloth to desired size and then make handles and strap

Add a sprinkling of velcro to keep the strap secure and the sides from gaping open

Using copious quantities of thread and time, mould the tablecloth into a lunchbag

Repeat for clear vinyl lining

Insert lining into outer and secure with yet more thread

If at any time you are unhappy, use the stitch unpicker - it's very therapeutic

When you are 100% satisfied with your creation, go and make yourself a cup of tea - you deserve it!


And here is one I prepared earlier:


Thursday, 6 September 2012

Everlasting Summer shopper

As you may know, I love using unusual fabrics - they can be anything from preloved clothing to PVC.

So when I saw the fabulous print on some vinyl tablecloth, the Everlasting Summer Shopper was born!

I was looking for a way to reinforce the corners of the shopper but nothing sprang immediately to mind.

And then I remembered that many moons ago we recovered some white fabric dining chairs with leatherette to make them more durable.  They have been brilliant and so hard-wearing too.  And I was sure I had some of it in the loft still...
So I used the leatherette to protect the corners.

I had so much fun trying to figure out how to add them to the bottom of the bag!

And then I thought, what the heck, let's line it too.

So I added a red cotton lining to make it even more cheerful.

Et voila! 

Another shopper has arrived!

Monday, 3 September 2012

Chrysanthemum bag

I have a thing about really large, bold designs.  And colours.  And textures.  Oh, ok, I love fabric of all descriptions really LOL!

But some fabric speaks louder to me than others.  And this refashion is no exception.  A while back I discovered a curtain with a huge chrysanthemum on it so I brought it home.  I could spot its potential from a mile off as it had 'please make me into a bag' written all over it.

So I did:

Its lovely, slouchy style is perfect for days out with the girls, a shopping trip or three or to carry all of your books to college.

And of course, it's unique!

I lined it with some fabric from a teal dress.  And added a magnetic snap.

I think I might make more bags in this style - what do you think?