Tuesday, 30 October 2012

Watch out - there's a monster about

My daughter wanted a furry phone holder so here he is...

I had fun trying to get just the right size for the phone, but it all worked out well in the end!

He's lined with felt to protect the phone. 

This next picture makes me think that he's in need of a good haircut too!  Which is a bonus :)

I have lots of oddments of fur - I think I might just make some more!
Somebody's asked if I could make them into little bags - hmmm, I think I might be able to do that!

Thursday, 25 October 2012

Seaside costumes

Some more dance costumes -

I was asked to make some old-fashioned seaside/bathing costumes - you know the ones, mop cap (actually, mob cap, but that's another story!), tie top and bloomers.  From the Victorian era or so my research showed me!

The most fun part was figuring out what sizes to make the costumes. They were to be designed for little ones and I was asked what measurements I would need in order to make them.  Now, if I have a pattern then that's easy peasy - all the hard work's done for me.  But I only had dimensions.  This was beginning to sound like a challenge!

I had a rough idea of what the costumes should look like so began with the easiest first - the mob cap. The inspiration and expertise behind the cap came from a book on how to sew clothes for your 5 year old. I added elastic to the hat in much the same way that elastic was added to the baby's bloomers in the book. 

Like everything - it's easy when you know how!

It's surprising how much fabric these caps take to make too!
Next I made some straight forward tie tops - again utilising the elastic and picoting at the bottom.

That's another thing I learned from this project - how to picot edges so that they don't fray. 

Again, easy when you know how!

And then came the bloomers.  I took a pair of kids shorts and resized them using baking parchment, made them slightly longer and then added the ubiquitous elastic and picoting at the bottom.

And this is what they looked like on!  I made 7 of them in total.

I loved working with pink gingham!

Were they fun to make? 


Did I learn loads of new skills that I can use next time?

I sure did!


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

Monday, 22 October 2012

Beautifully different fabric with potential

Do you remember the satchel I made recently?

Well, luckily for me there was some of the Hawaiian skirt left over - enough to have a play with at any rate.

As I thought that the skirt and the sheet went so well together, I combined the two again and created a book cover.

You see, THIS is why I love using preloved fabric so much

THIS is why I get so much enjoyment out of sewing

Because each item is unique.  You won't come across fabric like this on a bolt in a fabric shop, no sireeeeeee. 

So by constantly being on the look-out for beautifully different fabric with potential, it's surprising what you can conjour up.  And I love every minute of it!



Sunday, 21 October 2012

It's surprising what you can do with a blouse

Take one shiney preloved satin blouse...

Did I say it was shiney?

Add some coloured cotton to contrast in not only colour but also texture...

Add the button from the blouse cuff to the front of the tab for extra interest...

And you have another book cover!

This book cover was made before I'd perfected the sizing for the Your Body Speaks journal.  I love it anyway!


Friday, 19 October 2012

Felt cakes

My 11 year old daughter sees me making things left, right and centre and so she wanted to have a go too.  Why should I be the only one to have all the fun?

After receiving a sewing book for Christmas last year, she has been busily making felt cakes to sell on a stall next month.

Swiss roll or jam tart anyone?

Thursday, 18 October 2012

The Hope chocolate lime bag

Take one belt, some oilcloth, a sheet and a little leatherette...

...and you get a Hope handbag in chocolate/lime.  Almost good enough to eat!

The interior has a magnetic snap fastening and a phone pocket too.

This lime oilcloth was used in the lime shopper and the sheet was used in the satchel.  I always love to think about my creations being connected through their fabric; perhaps around the world. 

I thought the preloved belt went nicely with the leatherette patches.

I do love a good bit of top-stitching so the Hope bag is topstitched throughout - I always find it gives it a nice, neat finish.


I'm still playing around with the design so watch this space as there will be more on the way...


Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Yeah! I made it myself

I used to think that sewing was stuffy and could only be done by following patterns.

I didn't realise that it was a form of self-expression and that you could make things to suit the eventuality - you want to make longer sleeves?  Go ahead!  The dress is too long?  Well, just make it into a skirt then!

There is a whole world of fabric possibility out there.

When I bought my first skirt for a sewing project last year, I could *see* its potential.  So I made a bag from it.  Why should such beautiful fabric be left in a charity shop just because it doesn't fit? 

So when I discovered this fabulous book in the library sometime last year, I pretty much made it my own.  I returned it every so often - but I must have taken it out again about 17 times.

Eithne Farry has such a laid back approach to sewing - there are no rules, just potential.  You want to make a dress from a pair of curtains?  Go ahead!  It will be beautifully unique.

Several weeks ago I was drawn to go into the library again even though I wasn't looking for anything in particular.  They had a sale table.  And this book was on it.  Having had it in my house for months already, I recognised it straight away.  And now it lives with me :)

Thanks Eithne!

Tuesday, 16 October 2012

Another tutu picture

You may remember some time ago that I made three tutus
I made pull-on tutus that would go over existing leotards.  It took acres of net and patience - I also discovered how sharp net was!
Here, at last,  is a picture of the final costume!

Monday, 15 October 2012

Why 'Sew Selena'?

Up until 14 months ago I had pretty much ignored the ease with which I could sew and make things.  It was NOT somewhere I wanted to go or something I wanted to do, thank you very much. 

But by creating a single bag from a skirt because a) the skirt didn't fit and b) it was too beautiful not to keep, it began a chain reaction.

Things began to flow.  One skirt/bag became another.  I became more adept and had more fun by creating the next item.  And the next.  I set up a blog to keep track of what I was making as my items were going out into the world. 

After a while I needed a name that would encapsulate who *I* was and what I was doing.  But nothing felt quite right. Nothing felt quite 'me'.

And then it dawned on me.  What if I came up with a name to describe how I have embraced my
'me-ness'?  What if it could be 'So Selena' because it is part of who I am? 

Because it was actually ok to be who I am rather than being who I thought other people expected me to be.

I love working with fabric - the more unusual the better.  I love being able to create things from an existing item.  I love what I do.  I love every item that I make - they all tend to be an expression of who I am in one form or another.

And so it began - Sew Selena it was!

Friday, 12 October 2012

How to make felt

Felt - you just buy it in, don't you?  Surely it's far too difficult to make??

Well, that's what I thought until I read about a way to make it.  Here's how:

- make sure you have 100% wool fabric (or jumper or beanie hat)

- put it in the washing machine at its highest setting

- let the washing machine do all the hard work!

That's it!!!!

So I had to have a go and see if it really was that easy.

I had some preloved woollen tweed so experimented with that.  Here's a before picture. 

And here's what it looked like when it came out.  Unsurprisingly it had shrunk and seemed to be extra thick felt.

I put both together because I was gobsmacked at the difference between the two!

If you have a look at a picture of the cut end of the felt, you can still see the original tweed weave.

So when you have your felt, you can make anything you choose in the knowledge that it won't unravel and you don't have to hem it.  Perfect!

I am always excited about discovering a new method!  I'll put '100% wool' on my charity shop shopping list now!


Thursday, 11 October 2012

You don't see one for ages and then three show up at once...

Oilcloth.  I like it!!!

So I made several more shoppers - all roomy enough for plenty of shopping!

Here's the red polka dot shopper (oh, did I say that I like polka dots too?)

All of the shoppers have taped seams and a snazzy internal pocket.  This one just so happens to have red taped seams.

And then there's the sage rose shopper:

Which has flocked leatherette patches on the handles:

And of course a rose print pocket:

And last but not least the 'Time for tea' shopper:

I don't like to make the same thing twice so these shoppers are all unique.

I do like playing with oilcloth!


Wednesday, 10 October 2012

Felt bag - the creative process in action

I discovered a great way to make your own felt recently which I'll share in a future post.

I wanted to make a bag out of the felt I'd made.  The original idea was to make a completely vertical bag with a handle at the top.  But it was a little bit plain for my liking.

Because I didn't have a set idea of what the bag would look like, I thought I'd share the process that I went through to make the final bag.

So I tapered the sides and shaped the top.  But it looked too deep for me.

I added a lining of not-made-by-me contrasting felt which helped to strengthen the handles.

And then I thought, well, it's a bit plain, why not add a felt flower to the bag?

It was supposed to be a corsage that you could unpin and use separately.  But because the felt I'd made was so bloomin' thick, it just flopped and there was no way I would want to wear it like that on my coat!

I added a Sew Selena label, but because of the chunky felt it wouldn't stay straight so I removed it.  I had shortened the bag by that point though - it seems so much more proportionate now.

And then I wondered what the 'corsage' would look like on the front of the bag - not bad.  But not quite right.

But would it be better if it was on the side of the bag?  This didn't look quite right to me.

But when I added it to the other side I was happy.  That was it!

A close up picture of the extra-thick felted tweed - you can just see the original tweed in the middle of the felt.

It even has a straight label!

I'm happy now!


Tips on how to sew oilcloth

I went into a fabric shop the other day on the hunt for more oilcloth.  I didn't manage to find any but I did come away with some fabulous faux fur, clear PVC and a plethora of zips!

While I was there I put some fabric down on the counter top and wandered off.  A customer shouted across the shop to ask if she could have a look at how I had put a zip into some oilcloth (I had cut it out of the bag I was making - it hadn't worked as well as I'd planned)

There began a chat about oilcloth and how to handle it.  Here are a few tips if you are planning on playing with oilcloth (and it really is easy peasy if you know how!):

* Use a non-stick teflon foot as normal feet tend to stick to the oilcloth

* Use large stitches and make sure you are sewing in the right direction first - sewing makes holes which don't recover

* Don't pin the oilcloth - use special clips instead (or garden pegs!)

* Go slowly

* Be patient

* It doesn't need to be hemmed

* I like to cover inner seams with bias binding or cotton tape however you could just as easily make French seams

And that's it really.  If I think of anything else, I'll let you know.

I even told this lady that I got my oilcloth from Dotty Brown.  She was very grateful!


Tuesday, 9 October 2012

Lime polka dot oilcloth shopper - and tips

You can't beat a pretty shopper made from oilcloth.  And polka dots.  In lime green.  Well, at least that's what I think anyway!

I just love the colour of this shopper!

When I make something I always like to think through what particular features I would like to see in a bag.  So I added an internal pocket to keep keys and phone in.  I've found that there's nothing worse than having to ferret about in the bottom of my bag trying to unearth them.

Pinning oilcloth isn't a good idea as it leaves holes in the fabric.  You can get special clips to hold the seams in place.  But I prefer to use garden pegs! 


Monday, 8 October 2012

Flocked journal cover

I don't like to throw fabric away - you never know when it will come in handy!

So when I remembered that I still had some of this flocked leatherette/suedette (I'm not really sure of its technical name!) on another project I thought it would make a fabulous journal cover.

I really must try harder at cataloguing my fabric supplies.  I vaguely colour coded it into huge bags a while ago but that has somewhat gone awry!  But I don't think that's a bad thing - you never know which colour will go with which pattern until it's next to each other.  Well, that's my excuse and I'm sticking to it!

You can get an idea of the textured surface from the above picture.  Methinks it will be quite hardwearing - well, my daughter has had no problems with her bag modification using this fabric!

It is lined with the gorgeous gold throw fabric that I have used elsewhere.  I do love using preloved fabric from the same source on a variety of projects.  I then get to imagine the different pieces of fabric family dotted around the world.

And it is perfect for a journal!