fabric shopping

I tend to go a little crazy when I go into fabric shops. I think it's to do with all the colours and textures, the pretty prints and the endless possibilities for each piece. I find fabric shopping quite inspiring but I have to be careful not to go overboard as I already have a box FULL of lovely fabrics (though there's always room for more....)

At the moment, I have been focusing on buying  fabrics with the intention of sewing them into bags, purses, bibs and accessories like yo yo flowers and ruffles for tank tops.  Having a focus when I go shopping is helpful in guiding my purchases so they are completely justifiable. :)

Today I was lucky enough to see Corrie from Retromummy at the Mathilda's Markets. She had lots of beautiful fat quarters of fabric and I spent ages pouring over them while chatting away. Check out her blog, she's fab.

From Corrie I managed to pick up some sweet fabrics from the 'flower sugar' range that I think would be nice for sewing purses, bags and yo yo flowers. They have a bit of the 'Cath Kidson' look to them I think. 

I also got some super cute Japanese fabrics that I think will make cute little bibs, purses and maybe even diaper bags.

I have also been asked by my friend Kylie to make her some little purses and drawstring bags to give to the little girls in her ballet and dance school. I knew exactly what I wanted for this and managed to hunt down some gorgeous kokka ballerina fabric online. I get so excited when I get to go and pick up my little parcel of goodies from etsy after patiently waiting for weeks! Don't you just love shopping online?

Here are the ballerina fabrics I plan to use for sewing the drawstring bags and coin purses:

I am really looking forward to getting started with all of this. I'll post pics as I go. Wish me luck!

Lindsey. xx

Tips for a successful market stall

As I start to sew up a collection of bags, purses, bibs and things with the aim of an end of year market stall in mind, I thought it would be a good idea to do some research on the topic.

There is a lot of advice out there for things like setting up a market stall, displays, signage, tags and labels, how to attract and retain customers, packaging etc, and to a complete market selling newbie it can be a little overwhelming and scary. While the internet has a plethora of wonderful advice, my tiny brain has started suffering from information overload, and I think if I keep on reading it all at once l'll probably end up rocking in a corner somewhere thinking it's all going to be too hard.

So, I thought it would be a good idea to just put some links to some helpful articles I have found in one blog post so I can revisit them as and when I need them. Hopefully you might get something out of it too!

From a finance perspective, here's an article from nineMSN written by Allison Tait with their top 10 tips for starting up a market stall.

Handmade Canberra have a nice little article with some tips for looking professional  advice on banners and displays and other practical suggestions.

Handmadeology have heaps of great articles about selling your crafty wares, mostly from an Etsy perspective. I found this helpful piece about branding which I'll need to think about before I put myself and my things out there.

Handmadeology also have a post on successful craft fair tips that has links to all their favourite tips from the last year. I love it when someone does all the hard work for me!

On Flickr I found a group called show me your booths where members show off their displays. Lots of inspiration here for all the visual learners out there.

Phew! I think there is enough information here to give me something to think about. If you have any other helpful hints and tips on running a successful market stall I'd love to hear them!

Lindsey. xx

Market stall beginnings

Part of the reason I started this sewing blog was to try and hold myself accountable. I am queen of saying 'I'm going to do this or that' then getting distracting by something shiny or furry and forgetting all about it.

Part of the plan for this year was to sew enough things to have my own market stall at the end of the year. I like making baby and kids things and sewing things for adults and for the home, so I will probably need to have two different stalls so things don't get confusing. I'll have to read more about this as an idea so if anyone has any tips about market stalls, I'd love to hear them!

Anyway, I have started getting my 'collection' underway by sewing some bags and purses. It has been good to wear down my stash of fabrics as it means I now have some space to go out and buy some more! Yay!

Here is what is have made so far:

vinyl covered cosmetic bag

pleated wristlet purse
small satchel (pattern by keyka Lou)

Let me know what you think, i'd love to hear your feedback! All comments and suggestions welcome!

Lindsey. xx

little owl lucky's giveaway

I just had the pleasure of discovering Chloe-Anne's sweet blog little owl lucky. She likes owls and tea so I think we're going to get along. :)

Anyway, she's having her first giveaway on her blog. You should pop on over and have a look! I love the little tea cup and saucer ring the best.

Who doesn't love owls and tea, right?

bags of love for bags

Ok, that's a really daggy blog post title but I'm sticking with it because I'll bet you probably have a thing for bags too, right?

Now, I don't own a lot of bags myself- I have a few in different colours and styles but I tend to stick to using an old purple faux leather handbag with a broken zipper. It's the perfect size and seems to go with most of my outfits so I use it almost everyday.

I do enjoy making bags though as they're a short sewing project and make good gifts for friends. I made the following little tote for my friend Mandy for her birthday using one of my favourite fabrics from the 'it's a hoot range'. She really liked it which made it easier to part with. I make things for people with them in mind but they usually reflect my taste too so sometimes it can be hard parting with my project babies! That sounds so sad. :)

I also gave Mandy a handmade bag for her birthday last year (luckily she likes bags) which was made from a pattern from the Keyka Lou range. If you'd like to have a go at sewing bags and purses, check out Keyka Lou's patterns using the link on my sidebar. The patterns come as a pdf and have great instructions with lots of pictures.

When I got married last year I made myself a little clutch using leftover ivory silk from the train of my dress. (I'm a little on the short side so there was quite a bit leftover) The purse has a couple of pleats and a yo yo flower. I managed to find a sparkly button for the centre of the yo yo that coincidently matched my shoe bling. It was a happy accident.

Here is a pic taken by Rasha, our wonderful wedding photographer:

For my friend Lyndal's birthday last year I made her a make up bag using some sweet babushka print fabric. I had a go at applique for the first time and appliqued a doll and a mushroom to the back. She uses the bag all the time even though she busted the zipper trying to squeeze too many things into it. :)

I think it's about time I either bought or made some more bags as my 'ye olde faithful' bag has seen better days and probably needs to be retired.

Where else to search for some inspiration other than etsy? Here are some cute bags and clutches I have found that suit my taste. You can click on them to go through to the shop. What do you think?

Etsy Love

Lots of cuteness! These should keep me motivated for a little while.... What cute bags have you spotted lately in the blogosphere? I'd love to know!

Crafty birthday presents

Lately I have spent more time making things for people for their birthdays than trawling the shops to find something. Luckily, I have lovely and encouraging friends and family members who graciously accept whatever dodgy experimental crafty piece I have made them.

This week it's one of my oldest friend Mandy's 30th birthdays and I wanted to make her a couple of different things using one of my favourite fabric lines, 'it's a hoot' by MoMo for Moda fabrics. it's bright and a bit retro looking and uses lots of pink which is my friend's favourite colour. I went for a cute little tote bag and a fabric covered canvas.

Here is the tote bag I made using one fat quarter piece:

Mandy is a Kindergarten teacher and I thought she might use it to take a few books or bits and pieces to school with her. The girls in her class would probably like the colours and print with the pretty birds etc. Since i only had one fat quarter I backed it with denim and lined it with some pink cotton.
I used interfacing and some fusible fleece to give it some body and I boxed the corners to give it a little base. To finish, I added straps, a loop and a fabric covered button for the clasp. I filled the bag with some goodies I thought Mandy would like- chocolates, hand cream and a beautiful smelling candle.

Next task was to make fabric canvas wall art using some heavier fabric from the 'it's a hoot' range. Here's how it turned out:

I love love LOVE the owl and all the cool retro trees. I'm definitely making one of these for myself one day soon!
If you want to make your own fabric canvas art, it's pretty straight forward. I looked at tutorials online but worked it our fairly easily myself.

  • fabric
  • a canvas stretched over wooden frame
  • staple gun
  • scissors or a rotary cutter

iron your fabric and position your canvas face down over the area you would like featured in your wall hanging. Cut out the fabric generously so you can staple it easily to the frame.

Starting on one long end, staple the fabric to the canvas. repeat on the opposite side, gently stretching the fabric across so it is nice and smooth.

Staple the shorter ends, folding up the corners similar to how you would wrap a present. (You can probably find a tutorial for doing this part perfectly but I'm impatient and just had a go at it).

To make it look a bit neater at the back, I used double sided tape to stick the raw edges to the canvas frame. If you were making them to sell, you would probably need to either work out how to do it perfectly neatly, or cover the back with cardboard (which I have seen and looks good).

To hang on the wall you can use a picture hook, or put small nails on either side and attach some string or thin wire. 

Too easy! this is a great way to display your favourite fabrics, and if you're making one for a friend, you can customise it to suit their taste or the colour scheme in their house.

Happy crafting times!

ruffled singlet/tank top tutorial

Recently I had a go at making a boring blue singlet look more interesting by adding a cute little ruffle with a fabric panel on top. The results can be found here in an earlier post when I was in 'experimenting' mode. It turned out pretty well I thought, so I decided to make a little tutorial to show you how easy it is to add a ruffle to your singlet/tank top.

Here is a picture of the final result:

  • boring, plain singlet/tank top
  • fabric strips for ruffle (length and width to suit your desired ruffle)
  • contrasting fabric strip for middle panel
  • buttons, ribbon or other additions of your choice

gather your materials

Step one: measure your tank top

First thing to do is to measure the length of the area you would like the ruffles to go. Mine will be covering up some buttons and is 5 inches long (12.5cm).

measure the length of desired ruffle

Take this measurement and times by 2 to allow for the fabric to gather into a ruffle.
My final measurement is therefore 10 inches (25cm).

Next we need to work out how wide we would like each ruffle to be. I measured from the middle of the buttons (as this is the centre of the singlet)  and got 2.5 inches (6.25cm)
measure desired width from middle of singlet
Take this measurement and times by 2, then add seam allowance, (1/2 an inch/1cm or so) to your width.
My width was therefore 5.5 inches in total (about 14cm)
N.B You probably know your own seam allowances so feel free to moderate and ignore me if necessary. (Please note also, I'm Australian so my understanding of inches and divisions of inches is pretty poor!)

Next we need to work out a measurement for our middle panel, which will be hiding all the raw edges of the ruffles.

The panel length will be the same as your original length (5inches/12.5cm) + seam allowance.
The width is entirely up to you, it just needs to be wide enough to hide your raw ruffle edges. I measured my singlet and decided on a width of 2 inches + seam allowance. I don't have a photo for this step but you can work it out.

Step 2: cut your fabric

using these measurements cut out 2 ruffle pieces and 2 panel pieces.

cut out your ruffle pieces and panel pieces
 Step 3: prepare ruffle and panel

Fold ruffle pieces lengthways right sides together. pin.
place panel pieces right sides together and pin.
pin fabric
On the ruffle pieces, stitch the short ends of each piece ONLY. Turn the ruffle pieces the right way out and press the seam and the long folded edge.

On the panel piece, stitch around all 4 sides leaving a GAP on one long side to turn it out the right way. (makes sure you backstitch at the start and finish of your gap to reinforce it.) Turn the panel piece the right way out and press the seams.

turn pieces right side out and press
Step 4: embellish your panel piece
Stitch your buttons, ribbon or other chosen embellishment onto your fabric panel.

add your embellishments to the pane

Step 5: make your ruffles

To make a ruffle, loosen the tension on your sewing machine to the loosest setting. Select your longest stitch. I also increase the stitch width as it helped it to gather better for me, but I'm not sure if this is the same for every machine (test it first on some scrap fabric). 

Make sure you have a long tail of cotton coming out of your machine before you start sewing so you have something to pull on at the end.
Stitch along the long, raw edge of one of your ruffle pieces. Leave a long tail at the other end so you can pull it.

NB: don't backstitch at either end of your ruffle as you want to be able to pull the threads easily.

Repeat with your other ruffle.
You should now have two long ruffle pieces with long cotton tails. To really gather up your ruffle, find the top thread at each end and pull the fabric along the thread until it gathers to your desired length. Don't knot the cotton tails just yet.

gather your ruffle pieces
Step 6: line up and stitch your pieces

Place your ruffle pieces alongside your panel piece and check the lengths. You want the raw edges of your ruffles to be completely hidden by the sides of your panel, so you may need to adjust the lengths by pulling the tails again.
When you're happy with the lengths, tie a knot in each end of the ruffle piece to hold them in place.
line up and adjust ruffle to fit under panel
You can see my ruffles are curved because of the gathering. don't worry, you can pin it straight and it will sit in place nicely with the panel on top.

Time to stitch it onto your tank top!

Place your ruffles on your tank on either side of the centre. Don't pin. Mine sit on either side of the row of buttons like so:

Place ruffles onto singlet
Place your fabric panel on top and pin around the outside, trapping the ruffles carefully underneath.
Pin panel to singlet
Top stitch around the edge of the fabric panel. (don't forget to put your tension and stitch length back to its normal position before you start).

Give your panel and the ruffles a little press. Done!

This is totally customisable for any size singlet and would be cute for a little girl's top too. The possibilities are endless with fabric type and embellishments and also length of ruffles and type of top you use too.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, feedback is always welcome!

Featured at Make and Takes

Today's Creative Blog


The Shabby Nest

Angry Birds are go! Part 4- The finale

In our final instalment of the adventures in Angry Bird costume making (or 'Avian Fury' as we have dubbed it) we come to the end of what has been a really fun and sometimes hilarious sewing project.

If you'd like to skip to the part where you learn how to make your own costume, I've written a tutorial which can be found here

Anyway, those darling cross eyed birds really get into your heart, and have even been found flapping around in my dreams. Last night I woke up with a fright because I thought my curtains were the big black Angry Bird looming over the bed. Scary!

We left off last time after I had finished the red bird costume and given it to the boys to test out. We went to a nearby park so the boys could run around and see just how hot it is to wear a pillow in the middle of the day.

Here's a little montage of those pics, taken as usual by Mr Elegantpaws.

handmade red angry bird costume

After much fun and laughing at Seb running around like a crazy person, I went away and bought the rest of the fabric, 5 bags of polyfill, some felt and some vliesofix to attach the face pieces to the body.

I got to work on the yellow bird and black bird, cutting fabric, stitching on the bellies, making the front pillow form piece and the back piece. Our cats Claude and Madeleine decided to chip in by sitting on the pattern pieces as I tried to position them correctly, or helpfully rolling around on the fabric covering it in fur.
I got there in the end, with only a few mistakes and one near disaster which I managed to recover from.

Here are some photos to give you an idea of the process.
the patterns

Madeleine enjoying the yellow bird

pinning the lining to the main fabric

cutting out the fabric using a rotary wheel

Madeleine being cute

nom nom nom I love rope

We all decided it would be good for the boys to come over for a little 'working bee' to help finish off the costumes. This way they could get creative and  contribute to the end result making wearing them all the more special.

To prepare for the working bee, I traced all the face pieces onto the Vliesofix so all they needed to do was cut them out, fuse them onto felt, cut them out again and fuse the face pieces onto the body of the costume.

Here are some pics of Josh and Seb working it and the cats continuing to enjoy the costumes. They love fabric!
Josh gets cozy with the iron

attaching the face

Seb irons on his face while the other birds chill out

Madeleine and the yellow bird face off

Claude emerges from the red bird's arm...

The final stages involved stuffing the remaining birds (then pulling some of the stuffing out as it was too tightly packed and VERY heavy) and stiching up the gap in the seams. Done!

Here are some photos of me having fun in my creations. I am really happy with how they turned out.

D day: Playground Weekender Costume Night

All reports from the festival suggest a fun time was had by all. The boys managed to get me a few snaps and I was happy to hear the reaction from other festival goers was enthusiastic! The costumes did turn out to be really hot (given that it was 30 degrees all weekend i'm not surprised!) but they held up well and the boys enjoyed their time as crazy, squawking crossed eyed Angry Birds.Win!

Here are some pics from the festival:

I like the one where they're kicking back with Fred Flintstone. 

So, boys and girls, we have come to the end of our adventures in Angry Bird costume making. It was fun seeing it all come together slowly and I definitely learned a thing or two about sewing. 
I hope you enjoyed the story and feel inspired to make your own one day!

Let me know what you think of the end results!!

As seen on CraftGossip.com
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...