Saturday, 17 March 2018

Vintage Bag

Day 1: For a long time  I have admired the photos of the Vintage Bag on the kits and patterns displayed in craft shops. On Thursday I bought the kit that included the fabric for £24.95 at a craft show at the NEC. .

Day 2: I decided to use the pattern to make a practice bag before I cut into the material in the kit. Well I've had fun finding materials and scraps from my stash . It took some time but I have realised that I definitely buy an excess of blue.

The fun ended when I tried to make sense of the pattern. The instructions are not clear and there are not enough pictures/diagrams. There seems to be some instructions missing, for instance  regarding the side pockets.

I turned to a sewing group on Facebook for advice. Someone kindly answered and agreed that the instructions are poor but she has managed to create a semblance of the bag. She says if she makes it again she will make the strap longer and she will create a way of fastening the top so that her belongings do not fall out.

Day 3: I have sewed all day but I walked away when I was tempted to act upon my correspondent's last piece of advice - "If all else fails, stamp on it!"

Sunday, 11 March 2018

Tracing Patterns

The Facebook group "Sewing in the UK" is one of several groups used by people who love sewing to share their ideas, advice and sewing experiences. It is a great example of the positive use of social media.

In a recent thread several people shared what they use to trace patterns so that the originals can be kept safe.

I use baking paper. Do you trace your patterns? 

Saturday, 10 March 2018

View C McCall's M6983

I have made view C of McCall's M6983 before. I had forgotten that I'd had problems with the sleeve frills last time. It may be that fully lining the dress causes me problems around the armholes or just clumsiness on my part. Thank goodness everything else came together easily. 

Wednesday, 28 February 2018

Raising a Vein to Assist Cannulation

Nurses regularly had trouble putting in the cannula in my husband's hand as they couldn't find a vein. Several attempts would leave his hand bruised plus it wasted a lot of the nurses' time.  

I bought two lavender/wheat bags. I sewed one of the bags in to two halves then attached elastic to each piece so they would fit round his hand. Before we set off to each appointment I heat up all the bags in the microwave and he travels with one of the bags on his hand. (Sometimes he wears a fleece glove underneath the bag if I have made the bag too hot!)  I keep the other  small bag wrapped in the bigger lavender/wheat bag and carry them in an insulated food bag. 

When we get to the hospital I swap the bag on his hand for the one in the food bag and wrap the big bag around the used one to reheat it to use if waiting times are longer than usual. 

It has worked well so far -  the constant warmth raises his veins so it is much easier to put the cannula in. There are different warming bags at the hospital but they take a long time to work whereas my husband is wearing his for ages before he reaches the ward. 

Friday, 16 February 2018

Latest Makes

A drawstring bag . A hanging loop on the back so that it can be hung on a cloakroom peg. Pocket on the front for notes.

A dress for a Baby Annabell doll

A sunhat - just need the weather. Reversible - other side is deep red.

"What the Ladybird Heard" - costume for World Book Day (I will raise the wings!)  Three adult male relatives thought my first attempt was not anatomically correct as it was all red with spots even on the front. The first thing the wearer did was full her bright wings round to show at the front. 

A Little Miss bib for World Book Day Lined with white fleece.

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Pingu Costume

World Book day 2018 is on March 1st. What to make for little girls who are one and nearly three years old. I think it is important that they have costumes similar to characters they know well. So how about a one year old Pingu?

There are lots of penguin costume ideas on Pinterest but I am hoping to make something that is comfortable enough for B to be happy to wear all day.  I decided on a basic peasant style dress and I consulted the notes of Amy on her Little Bean blog .

I made dress from black sheeting. I  added a layer of white fleece to the front and made yellow bias binding to bind part way around it. Yellow feet are padded and  attached to the bottom of the dress.

 I  made a comfy beanie for B's head.The added features of eyes and beak were made from scraps.

Tuesday, 26 December 2017

First Try Making a Backpack

My daughter asked if  I would make a drawstring bag to hold  child's coats, hat etc in the  nursery cloakroom. I like a mission. 

The bag is not for the child to carry but rather for her parents to ensure the child has everything she needs each day. My daughter would like the bag to easily sling on her shoulders so hands are her free to manage her children. A shorter hook  or hooks on the bags would be useful for hanging on the pegs. An optional extra would be to have the child name on the bags.

I started searching Pinterest for ideas and then I used google. There are lots of You Tube tutorials. It is so easy to spend hours just looking. 

Then I was shocked to find an article about a nursery child who was left in her cot with a drawstring bag. I messaged the Facebook group "Just Sew" and six people sent me ideas and reassurances regarding safety. After all they are cloakroom bags I am making not cot bags,.

I planned a bag based on my researches and the advice I'd been give. I wrote it all down. I'm sure planning helped to some extent but I made lots of mistakes when I was making the first bag by not following my plans closely enough. I blame having a very bad cold.

The colours are not what I would have chosen normally but I had them in my stash.

Here is my planning which I will follow more closely next time.
Backpack for Nursery

Outer: 2 pieces - Length 18 inches, width 16 inches at the top tapering out to 18 inches at the bottom
Bottom - 35 inches in diameter
Pocket - 8 inches by 8 inches
Lining (measurements as above) : 2 pieces - Length 18 inches, width 16 inches at the top tapering out to 18 inches at the bottom
Bottom - 35 inches in diameter
Pocket - 8 inches by 8 inches
Applique for pocket - Initial
Straps : Cut 2 - 3 and a half inches by 30 inches.
Strip Top for Drawstring: 33 inches by 5 inches wide
Tag for hanging from a cloakroom peg::  4 inches by 3 inches.

To make:
Applique the outer pocket.
Place the pocket front and lining with right sides together. Sew all around except for a two inch opening on the edge at the bottom of your applique.
Turn the pocket to the outside through the opening you have left. Handstitch the opening .

Top stitch edge of the pocket that is above your applique. This will be the pocket opening when it is placed on your bag.

 Position the pocket in the middle of the front piece. To get the middle simple fold front piece in half long ways and press a line down the middle. Do the same for the pocket and then line up the pressed marks. 
Top stitch around leaving top edge open. 

For the straps I cut 2 strips 3in. by 28in. long and sewed them right sides together. I pulled it through with the loop turner above. I ironed them flat so the seam was down the middle of the back. 

Fold an end of the strap over an inch and sew a square evenly on the back panel. I lined them up 2.5 inches down from the top and 4 inches from the sides. Line the other end with the darts on the bottom and topstitch.

Sew the front and back panels right sides together.

Sew the bottom circular piece right sides together Trap the strap ends in the seam edge that will be at the back of the bag.

Sew the liner by repeating the steps above but without the straps.

Turn the liner to the outside and sew right sides together except for approximately a 3 inch hole so you can pull it through. 

Top: Fold the top strip in half lengthways and iron. Press under a on one of the edges.
Put a small erasable make  half way along the  part of the strip that will be  at the front of the bag. Iron on a piece of interfacing  about 4 inches wide at the bag of the strip. ( The marker should be in the middle of the where the interfacing is placed.. Sew two button holes about an inch each side of your marker. Fold to the inside and top stitch through all the thicknesses. 
Sew the cloakroom tag securely to the  the top strip.
Pull a drawstring through one buttonhole and around the bag to the other buttonhole.

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Another Useful Gadget

I am always dropping pins and I have eye problems so I don't always find the pins before someone's foot does! This gadget is a magnetic pick up tool . 

It is capable of picking up objects up to 2.2 kg though I haven't needed that . It extends from 125 - 605mm so no more bending for me.

I bought mine from Amazon and consider it a bargain at only £2.99 thought my son-in-law says he has seen them in shops for less!

Thursday, 14 December 2017


Mid December, snow and ice outside so I cheered myself up making little sunhats!

The pattern is free and by Oliver and Schwinn. Without the bow the hat is reversible.