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Friday 30 November 2012

Frugal Fabric Fridays: Christmas Special #1

The 'Frugal Fabric Fridays' will start officially in January, but I'll share some Christmas themed ideas with you until then.
This week I've not had chance to do anything new so will share with you the fabric based items I've made recently with some ideas of what you could do with your own scraps.
Click on the title of each section to be linked to the original blog post.

The three projects I wanted to share with you are
these are made from a 100% wool jacket accidently felted in the washing machine. If you've not been this daft, you need to use some other non fraying fabric.
Fleece, felt and boiled wool would all be suitable. The idea of this whole series is to not go buy anything new but use up scraps, so if you don't have any of the above, you can still do this project with ordinary woven fabric scraps, but will need to either sew right sides together and turn the hearts through, or cut the raw edges with pinking shears and live with a bit of fraying.
Red, pink and prints containing those colours are the obvious choices, but neutrals/tan also work well, as do other 'pretty colours', blue, yellow etc.

these are made from a chartreuse silk scrap in a scrap bag from a fellow sewer. The trunks are made from a little tab of felt. Because the edges are enclosed you can use a fabric which is more likely to fray for these.
As it's a very stylised, you may want to stick to the roughly green palette in order to remind yourself it is a tree. Having said that if you plan to hang this actually on a Christmas tree, a lighter or contrasting colour would work better.
Gold or cream could be really nice and work with lots of colour schemes.

these are based on the patterns you can find at FleeceFun.com. No affiliation but why re-invent the wheel? I've used the lined curly toed stocking and my fabrics were as follows:-
main stocking a small piece of velvet remnant in my stash; cuff - cut from a sheet in a fabric sample book; lining cut from sheeting leftover from making a fitted sheet for my folding guest bed.
I’ve used blue which although not a traditional Christmas colour is a favourite colour for many people.
You can use all kinds of things for Christmas stockings. It does help if the fabric used for the main body has some weight to it, e.g. velvet, fleece, drill, upholstery fabric etc. The lining can be any thinner/lighter weight fabric, and the cuff can match or contrast. I’m planning to make some more stockings using the blue velvet and various contrasting cuffs from the fabrics in my sample book. I’m also going to look in my scraps to see what I have in red and green, and maybe even cream, gold etc

Thursday 29 November 2012

Frugal Fabric Fridays

Well thank you all for the responses, 'Frugal Fabric Fridays' have been born!
My aim is to show a fabric based craft or sewing project each week which uses either fabric scraps, or some sort of yardage which no more than 1 metre in length. This will include knits, wovens, fleece, faux fur, leather scraps etc depending on what inspiration strikes me.

My intention is to use the scraps and remnants already in my posession since I genuinely want to use them up. I'm very excited about this project because its about using our resources wisely, about creativity, about creating useful things from stuff you might have thrown away and about having fun. I will try to edit out the naff projects but the odd one might sneak through :-).

Wednesday 28 November 2012

Would there be interest?

Dear blog reading folks, would you be interested in a series in the New Year on 50 ways to use up scraps of fabric?

I plan to start it in the New Year and post pretty much weekly a different project to use up remnants or scraps of fabric of all different sorts, this would probably include, bags, cushions, Christmas decorations, small gifts and other things I get ideas for.

If you would like to see this, please do leave a comment.
Ok I have compiled a huge list of possible projects, but could start early (ie next week) with some Christmas themed ones, rather than waiting until new year to start. Thoughts?

Tuesday 27 November 2012

SWAP: Week and Weekend Blues

Here's the latest plan for the 'Week and Weekend Blues' SWAP.

As you can see I have introduced a bit of red on the weekend side, plus on the week side I have added a knit dress instead of a top (the fabric just wanted to be a dress). I've recently taken some lovely leather knee boots in to the cobblers to be fitted through the calf and got all inspired to do a few more skirts.

So let me walk you through it.
The week. 
This is work approprioate garb. The tweed jacket is collarless, and a dark navy blue with little flecks of white. I already have several pairs of work trousers which work with it, so decided not to sew any more at the moment. The leftover tweed will become a skirt, giving me a suit, this can then be worn with either the silky print tie neck blouse or the white/turq/navy print cowl neck tee. In addition the cowl neck print dress gives another smart look with the suit jacket, but can also be worn alone or with a neutral jacket

The weekend. 
This is where I have added the pops of red. The red knit top already exists as it is my Rhonda Buss 'Lend me your shoulder' top. This would be great for going out with either the dark red leather pencil skirt or the dark denim trouser jeans. Then I have two stripe knit tops. The first has wide stripes in navy and oatmeal and is for really casual days at home. The second has irregular narrow stripes in dark navy, white and light blue, this is a drapier knit so slightly dressier and appropraite for dress down fridays worn with the trouser jeans and the jacket.

I can actually imagine wearing every single piece for various things in my actual current lifestyle, so am sold on it for practicality. The red knit top will be my previously sewn item, the dark red faux leather skirt should get sewn up between now and Christmas (so is the sewn since the rules got announced garment) as the red pieces can get some use over the holidays for the various dinners and visits to family.

I'll then start on the jacket and skirt and the knit pieces which can be sewn up in navy thread and then the print blouse. Finally I will switch to white thread at the end to sew the last print knit top.

It has a bit of red, a bit of print, some fun stripes and I really like it. Let's hope it sews up as planned, as I've not followed my own advice and built in any spares!  I guess I will play it by ear and add extra pieces later if required.

Friday 23 November 2012

Blue velvet Christmas Stocking

Here's the first of (hopefully) many different Christmas stockings for my friends and family.
This is based on the Curly Toed Stocking pattern from Fleecefun.com with the centre section made wider to take a small picture frame as the wrapped gift inside.
The main fabric is a rich denim blue velvet. The cuff is an upholstery weight cotton stripe. The lining for both the cuff and the stocking is a lighter weight cotton sheeting fabric. The curly toe is stuffed with batting to keep its shape, and the lining is just a 'normal' shaped toe.

Even though it is the first I love it very much, and plan to make lots more, all different, with style and fabric variations.

Wednesday 21 November 2012

SWAP thoughts

I've been thinking about how I'm going to approach the SWAP this year since I've not yet started sewing.

Contrary to previous years, I think this year I am going to start with the jacket. And that jacket is going to be lined, collarless, princess seamed from an old Burda envelope pattern which needs only minor tweaks. The tweaks will be to shorten it to the hip bone (its a longer jacket) and do my forward head alteration.
I'm also going to cut out a skirt at the same time. Again using a pattern I already have, this time Simplicity. This is going to be initially quite a long skirt, but I'll shorten it to whatever length looks right in proportion with the jacket. The skirt will also be lined.
(as prep I shall find the patterns, thread, lining, zipper etc and bag up with the fabric ready for cutting later). This suit will be made from the navy/white tweed in the bottom of the picture below.
I'll also made a couple of loose cowled collared tops (my version of a turtleneck) from the knit fabrics and have some instant outfits. I can also wear some of these with my existing navy trousers and a brightly coloured boiled wool jacket (red, green, purple).

Next I'll make some side zip tailored trousers from the pinstripe navy wool (far left of above picture). Using an existing Burda WOF pattern which fits quite well. This will give an alternate smart bottom to the matching suit skirt. I may then also make the tie necked blouse from the silky fabric. (The white, navy, turquoise print fabric 3rd from top right). This fabric has been in the stash a long time, but would make a really nice blouse with a bit of pattern matching.
The casual group has two more knit tops, a casual shirt (style tba), corduroy trousers and jeans. These are not currently hugely clear, other than the knit tops will be more cowl necks as I need that style in my wardrobe. Depending on how some of the tops pan out I may re-introduce the planned brown leather skirt and remove the cords.

I've only got three of the cowl neck tops at the moment and they are great in the winter under wool jackets and sweaters which would otherwise chafe, so a bunch more would bring those sweaters/jackets into play more. So I shall probably make a few, including some which won't be part of SWAP. They are quick to make, though somewhat dependant on thread colour!!! and as we all know I am somewhat resistant to chnaging thread, and laike to sew several things before changing :D

Monday 19 November 2012

Christmas Stocking Plans

Sooooo I have cunning plans to make Christmas stockings - probably small ones for the extended family/friends on Christmas day, and larger ones for the people who are getting a bit more presentage!
So being me I have now got a pattern, have watched videos to understand how to make that pattern, and have downloaded various online inspiration pictures, but not actually sewn anything yet.
 This does seem to be how I work so I am not going to give myself a hard time over the lack of production right now, as I am sure it will come.

Sunday 18 November 2012

Gingerbread family

Four of the recent gingerbread men were made with a different cutter and I added them as a little extra novelty gift for my friend E and her family. I hugely enjoyed these, but will understand if they don't get packed away with the genuine treasured heirlooms!
They seemed a bit bare so I made them little outfits from the scraps bag a fellow SG member gave me recently.
The clothes are the same on the back, but they are lacking hair, maybe there will be some customising happening in E's house.
You really can use teeny scraps for this and it is huge fun, though they are very home-made looking!!!

Monday 12 November 2012

New SWAP thoughts - Week and Weekend Blues?

I'm still letting SWAP percolate at the back of my mind.

I definitely want to do work week and weekend as my theme. And I want both a brown leather skirt and some sort of jeans in the weekend part, but the week part hasn't clicked for me yet. Since I definitely want a matching tailored suit with both trousers and skirt (and maybe an extra of a little waistcoat) I need a good amount of yardage. As yet I haven't found anything in the stash which says 'use me' plus is suitable and given the sheer volume of stash it seems imprudent to buy specifically for this contest when I have so much fabric already. I need 4 to 5 metres of suiting fabric, and it may be that actually I don't have that much of the right thing in my stash.

If I broke away from the matching suit idea and mixed a plain dark navy trouser with a navy based tweed jacket then maybe I'd be on to something. A skirt could then be either from the plain navy or the navy tweed depending on the remaining yardage. And I could probably wear that jacket with a lot more other bottoms in my wardrobe. I shall think on.

[Ruthie rummages in stash]
New plan emerges in various fabrics containing dark navy blue. (I realise this parks the brown leather skirt).

Above we have the fabrics for the working week. Draping over the edge of the ironing board you can see the navy and white flecked tweed fabric, this will be a jacket and the bridging piece between the two collections. There are two suiting fabrics to the left, one plain navy, the other a navy self stripe, these can both be tailored trousers, any leftovers from either of the trouser fabrics or the jacket fabric can be a skirt or if very limited then waistcoat fronts.
Tops are a navy and tan print knit, a silky bold print for a blouse and a fan print knit for another knit top.
Next we move into the weekend, the same tweed jacket still works, but now is paired with dark denim jeans or navy babycord trousers at right. Tops are more casual too, two different stripe knits, made into simple tees and a casual print cotton shirting.

Its all already in stash, it expands the navy already in my wardrobe and hopefully works with some existing work trousers also. All it needs is a name! Week and Weekend Blues?

RTW Wide leg jeans

My home sewn jeans are not quite there yet and I like to have one pair of smartish jeans for more casual social occasions. My current favourite pair are wearing out, and a few weeks ago I tried on many many pairs to try to find some. By the end I was so fed up of the whole experience I didn't buy any, but made a note of the best ones, and waiting until I could get a second opinion.
So I went back to Wallis this Saturday and bought them. They are now out of stock on the website, and I bought the only pair in my size in that store at 20% off so I'm pretty happy about that.

The reason I am struggling is because trouser legs have gone skinnier in recent seasons, but my body shape has not, and I'm a pear with both a full derierre and chunky thighs. So these 'wide leg' jeans look like bootcuts on me! I shall keep an eye out now and hope Wallis bring out some black ones later in the year.

Even better news is I've found a cobbler who can alter knee length boots, so I shall take a pair in for alteration (I have several pairs from my plus sized days which are baggy in the calf now). I may find I suddenly have loads of boots back in rotation and a rush to wear skirts!

Sunday 11 November 2012

At the Christmas Market

Here I am at the Christmas Market. I sold over half my stock I think and made over £60. I also have a commission for some more cushions and will be sending things to the Christmas Tree Festival, so will make more on top of that total.
A lot of good fun and money raised to keep the village church watertight for the whole community!
Most popular items were the medium sized Christmas decorations with detail, and the shopping bags.
I sold all the clay snowmen and the gingerbread men with a 'bite' taken out of them.
Unfortunately I did not take individual photos of things before the show as I was still making things at 11pm the night before and needed all my time for setup once the hall opened in the morning. So anything which sold out isn't there anymore. I may make some more of things which sold very well for the Christmas Tree Festival.

Note: I think having a Christmas tree to display the ornaments would have really helped. I had planned to take one but just forgot to get it out of the garage on the morning of the market.

I'll do some posts this week on the things I made (remaking where necessary). The gingerbread men with a bite out were made from air drying clay from an art shop. I rolled out with a rolling pin and cut out with a cookie cutter. I then used a different cookie cutter to take the 'bite' out allowed to dry and then painted with a 'gingerbread' colour paint I had mixed up. Once the paint was dry I threaded ribbons through the head (or limb) and they were ready to sell.

Friday 9 November 2012

Mini tree decorations

A lovely member from SG gave me some fabric scraps, and I used a strip of green gold silk to make these dinky little Christmas trees. The trunks are just scraps of brown felt, and the hanging loops are ribbon from stash.
I love these and can't quite bear to sell them tomorrow at the Christmas Market - well maybe I can.
I have also made large numbers of clay decorations which have all then needed painting on both sides and the edges, and some then varnishing as well. Hopefully these will all sell well.

Wednesday 7 November 2012

SWAP Planning

I am still madly creating things for the Christmas Market on Saturday. However in the odd moments of down time I have of course started thinking about SWAP (Sewing With A Plan).
I am thinking along the lines of week and weekend. The 'week' part being formal office wear - probably even a suit, with skirt and trousers which match the bridging piece which is a jacket. The 'weekend' part would then wear the tailored jacket with jeans or a leather skirt, and I'd have several tops in each collection which were more formal or more casual.

This would be a few challenges for me - making a (speed) tailored jacket, making jeans, sewing my first ever leather garment, and creating a suit for work. I would then have mostly knit tops as they are my simple pieces, but things I wear a lot out of the home-sewn section of my wardrobe.
The blue and brown prompted a thought of a length of suiting fabric given to me a few years ago. This is a really nice check with includes both blue and brown. I wonder if 3.4 metres of 150cm wide fabric is enough for a simple jacket, a pair of wide leg trousers and a skirt in a size 16? (That's 3 3/4 yards of 60" folks, BUT its a 3" check)

Here's a shot of the fabric, with a 6" gauge showing the size of the check.

If I go with this plan I have quite a few challenges
1 - sewing a suit good enough to wear for work
2 - sewing a jacket that fits (see 1)
3 - matching the check on 3 garments!
4 - sewing a blouse good enough to wear to work
5 - sewing a garment from leather
6 - sewing jeans good enough to wear out

The co-ordinating knit tops should not be too much of a problem, but are only 5 of the 11 pieces!

Monday 5 November 2012

Home made Christmas decorations

In addition to the felted wool hearts I've also used air drying clay for other decorations - red hearts, gold stars, green sparkly Christmas trees and surprisingly my favourites 2 little candy canes. Everything was dry today so I added ribbons and hung them in my display case.
For those interested in the display case, it is a wide but shallow drawer saved from a broken ikea desk lined with cork floor tiles cut to size, glued down and varnished. For transport I lay it down flat, but for display lean it up with the drawer front as the base. I'm also planning on taking a small Christmas tree and displaying some of the ornaments hanging from the branches, hopefully people will buy them off the tree.

Once the Christmas market is over I shall use the display case flat for threading bead necklaces. A great way to stop all those beads rolling about the place.

I also already have sewn 12 cushions, 7 aprons, a laundry bag, a christmas stocking and a shopping bag. I'll add some fabric and clay gingerbread men, and definitely some more shopping bags, anything else may be time permitting!

I think the candy canes are gorgeous though and am wondering if I need some more.

The Christmas Market is on Saturday!!!!

Saturday 3 November 2012

SWAP 2013 at Stitchers Guild

SWAP 2013 Official Rules are now up on Stitchers Guild.

No purchase neccesary anywhere; this contest is open to anyone with a needle and thread, regardless of budget or availability of items.  Just jump in and join the fun.

Hurricane Sandy, site outtages and a fairly wide-spread sentiment among the members has convinced me to keep this year's rules simple and uncluttered.

We'll be following JenSA's suggestion to make two 4 or 5 piece collections, with a single other garment that can be worn with both capsules. 

Each collection is either 3 tops and two bottoms, or 2 tops, 1 bottom, and 1 dress, which all form a cohesive group.  The 11th garment should be a jacket or other piece that coordinates with both collections, both in style and color.

These collections can be for different occasions, or in different colorways, or simply reflect two very different styles or images. 

There will be no requirement this year to use a particular fabric or pattern choice, no fussy print matching or need to master any new skill. 

Sewing will begin December 26th, and all garments must be finished by April 30th, 2013.  Muslins, pattern fitting and cutting may be started whenever you are ready.

One garment may be sewn before the official sewing start date, and one may be purchased or previously sewn.
 This is a new approach to the original SWAP (Sewing With A Plan) wardrobing contest where everything had to work with everything else, and frankly I need to digest it a bit.
I will almost definitely be sewing along, and if I finish in time will be entering. I'm not sure this is a good idea, but hey!!!!

Friday 2 November 2012

Fabric purchases

I had a day of leave from work today and spent the first part sorting out receipts, but then I rewarded myself with a trip out to Economy Fabrics, where I purchased a few bits of fabric.
This is a budget roll end shop, so you get what they have, and it wasn't all stuff I wanted, but a good rummage about produced some goodies, and I thought you might like to see them.

First off the bolt at £2 per metre, dark charcoal brown trouser fabric with slight stretch. Mystery content so will wash before using. In the centre thin cotton Christmas fabric, will use to trim stockings etc. And at the end some stretch orange knit, planned for tops.

Next up some striped fabric in a tube, just 1.5 metres of this for a little top to wear with jeans but at £1.00 a metre from the remnants bin not breaking the bank. Some scraps of ribbon to make more red woolly hearts.
and finally this adorable high end fabric (leftovers from dressing showhomes apparently), just remants at £1 per metre. The 'Sonar' from Crowson will become Shopping Bags for the Christmas Market, and any left will be Christmas Gifts for friends/family.
I may be unable to part with the 2m of "Kya" by Romo as its a modern take on my all favourite leaf motif and I just love it so much, so that's just going to go into stash for now, whilst I plot what I shall do with it. It doesn't work with any of my colour schemes though so may end up as bags in the end.

So a happy shopping trip and all of the above for £15.00. Right better get back to Christmas Market sewing.

Thursday 1 November 2012

Christmas woolly hearts

Made these for the Christmas market next Saturday, but they are so sweet I'd quite like to keep them for myself.
Source fabric was a rather nice dry clean only jacket I machine washed. Ruined it as a jacket, but the slightly open weave felted up really nicely! So I decided they would make CUUUTE Christmas decorations.


A few details on how I made them. First up the heart shape was traced from the some cutters I have, the hearts come in 3 sizes and I used the larger two sizes. The large heart s about 5 1/4" across, the smaller about 3 1/2". The first attempt I tried sewing the right sides together and turning through, but the fabric is very bulky now it is felted and was rather lumpy when turned, so I tried in wrong sides together and liked the look much better.

Cut 2 heart shapes from your felted wool fabric, you could also use boiled wool scraps, felt or fleece, but has to be something that wouldn't fray too badly. Cut a ribbon hanging loop, fold it over and tuck it between the layers, and put one pin through it. Next pin all the way around the edge through both layers, once you have pinned about 3/4s of the way round stuff the heart with soft toy stuffing, poking into place with a finger. Now pin the last section and make sure no stuffing is spilling out. You might find you need a lot of pins. Use ones with large heads so you can locate them to pull them out as you sew.

Starting at the bottom point work round anticlockwise sewing just outside the pin line to ensure no stuffing gets caught in the stitching. Dip down at the V of the heart to get a nice shape (don't sew straight across) and sew round the other side back to the point pulling out the pins as you go. Cut off your threads and trim round the edge with shears. Squish the heart a bit to distribute the filling nicely and give it a happy shape. Hang on Christmas tree, from hook or even on a door knob. Enjoy!!!