Friday, 29 July 2011

Tutorial: Wrist Pincushion

 (Yet another pincushion tutorial!)

Something I’ve been intending to make for a while has been a pincushion that I could wear on my wrist. I realised that - especially when sewing bigger garments and projects - a wrist-mounted pincushion would be incredibly useful!

Pincushions themselves are simple enough to put together, so all I needed to do was add an elasticised wrist strap.

As before, I used leftover scraps of fabric and stuffed the pincushion with an old sock (I have tonnes of them!)

Here’s a how-to; the measurements used in this tutorial make a 6cm x 6cm pincushion.

Time needed: 30-45 mins (approx)

You’ll need:
Scrap fabric (1-3 different colours/patterns)
Stuffing or similar
Scrap card
Needle and thread

1. For the strap, sew a tube of fabric slightly wider than your elastic and long enough to slip over your hand in a loop, plus 2cm. Trim off excess and turn the right way.
Cut an 8cm x 8cm square of fabric for the bottom of your pincushion.

2. Cut a piece of elastic to fit around your wrist (don’t stretch it) + 2cm. Thread this through the fabric tube, pinning securely at either end so the elastic doesn’t slip completely inside. The fabric will gather as you go. Once the ends of the elastic are secured, smooth out the fabric down the centre of the strap.
Pin to the centre of the right side of the 8x8cm square and add two lines of stitches to secure.

3. Sew together the ends of the elastic. Turn in the ends of the fabric tube and sew together hide the elastic.

4. Draw out a 5cmx5cm template on a piece of card and use to cut out a total of four squares of fabric for the top of the pincushion. Sew these together with a 1cm seam allowance and press the seams.

5. Taking the bottom of the pincushion, pin down the wrist strap so it’s clear of the edges of the square.

6. Sew the top of the pincushion to the bottom, right sides of the fabric facing in. Be sure to leave a gap to turn the pincushion the right way around.

7. Turn the right way around. I found it was easier to pull out the pins holding down the wrist strap and then pull out the wrist strap first. Fill with the stuffing of your choice and sew up the gap.

8. Sew a button onto the centre of the pincushion, drawing the thread all the way through. Trim off any loose threads, and enjoy using your shiny new practical sewing toy!  


Thursday, 28 July 2011

Photography Challenge Week #1

Thanks to one of the awesome link parties I frequent each week, I happened upon A Step in the Journey, an awesome blog by Laura Beth.
I was just in time to find out about her fabulous new photography challenge, which I signed up for sharpish!

I used to love photography and even now I rarely go out without my camera in my bag. It's only a little compact camera (Casio Exilim Z850)  but it has a whole range of features including the option to go entirely manual. Yay!

Week #1 of this challenge is 'Self Portrait'.

Here's mine:

As you can see, I decided to go for something a little different! It was a lovely sunny day and I was relaxing a little with a post-lunch cup of tea, watching Alfie (one of my feline friends) rolling around in the sun.

I'd hoped that the sun would be in a position to stretch and exaggerate my shadow a little but no such luck--and within five minutes the sun had disappeared behind a mass of ominous-looking clouds! That's British weather for you!

Looking forward to next week's challenge and hoping my camera skills will improve over the coming weeks--it's been way too long since I took anything more with my camera than snapshots!

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Tidied and Thrifted

When I went to volunteer on Friday, I told myself, ‘No more purchases!’

I am an utter devil for charity shops. I see things that I fall in love with, discover the bargain price and before I know it I’m handing over a few coins in exchange for something awesome.

Of course, my resolution to not spend anything crumbled once I reached the shop!

I found these lovelies, for 50p:

They’re retro pillow cases; the stitching has come undone in places and there are a couple of small holes, but that doesn’t matter since I bought them for the fabric. I love the pattern--isn't it gorgeous?

I’ve plenty of ideas for how to use this fabric so keep watching to see what I do with it!

On the subject of using up fabric, I sorted my collection yesterday...

This lot fills two large boxes that live under the bed. The boxes have lids that I have to sit on in order to close!
Originally the fabric was all over the place, but I decided it was about time to have a little organisation--now it’s sorted by colour which is much better.

From there I went on to deal with my collection of patterns. They were stored in an A1 art folder, but it was becoming tiresome to find what I was looking for. Shop-bought ones weren’t so bad since they were in the original envelopes, but the ones I’ve drawn myself were are a nightmare to find, since they were folded up and without shiny pictures.
I needed to make a change.

Then I remembered the ring-binders I turned out recently. 

Problem solved! 

The patterns are pretty bulky so I’m weighting them down with books before putting them away. It's such a relief to get this sorted!

Friday, 22 July 2011

Tutorial: Multi-chain charm bracelet

This Assad Mounser-inspired multi-chain charm bracelet is a great stash-busting project, perfect for using up leftover bits of chain and charms.

Time needed: 30-60 mins

You need:
Assortment of chain
Selection of charms
2 connectors
Split ring
Lots of jump rings
Tape measure
Round nose pliers
Flat nose pliers

Eye pins

1. Measure your wrist and deduct 1-2 inches from the measurement, depending on how wide your connectors are. I had to take about 2 inches from the measurement because I used fairly wide connectors.  
I learnt this part the hard way; the first time I made the bracelet I put it on and it slipped off over my hand!

2. Cut several lengths of chain to this measurement.  I used a premade length of beads as well as regular chain--to make these:
  • thread a bead onto an eye pin,
  • bend the end in a loop using round nose pliers
  • connect on another eye pin
  • repeat!
In addition, I made strands using two shorter pieces of different styles of chain by opening a link in the chain and joining them together.

3. Use jump rings to join the lengths of chain to the connectors. In some places I joined on two lengths of chain to one hole of the connector. For the bracelet in the picture, I used 8 strands of chain across 5 connector holes.

4. Add charms to one side of the bracelet.

5. Fix on a clasp and voila!

Will be linking up to the awesome link parties in my sidebar!
Also linking up at:

Saturday, 16 July 2011

Tutorial: Bow Shoe Clips

On a recent shopping escapade, I bought shoes. Specifically, these shoes:

They’re cute, huh?
Admittedly I don’t usually go for open-toe shoes, but I loved the design of these and when I tried them on, they fitted beautifully!
Also they were £16, which slightly encouraged me to buy them.
They also match a retro leather handbag that I picked up from a charity shop for £1

I’ve worn these shoes a couple of times now, but decided to jazz up the style even more with some shoe clips!
The great thing with shoe clips is that they can be moved around the shoe to create different looks. So effectively you’re getting six or seven different pairs of shoes from just the one pair (or more, if you make more shoe clips). Bargain! 

There are plenty of shoe clip tutorials around online, but here’s how I made mine:

Time needed: 30 minutes (approx)

You need:
Scrap of vinyl
Scrap of felt
2 clip on earring bases (or shoe clip bases)
Multipurpose glue
Glue gun & glue sticks
Newspaper or scrap card for protecting your work surface.

1. Put down some newspaper/scrap card for doing your glue gun work on. Plug glue gun in and switch on to allow it to heat up.

2. Cut two strips of vinyl the height you want the bow and twice the desired width, plus 2cm. Wrong side facing up, put a line of multipurpose glue down the centre of the strip (widthways) and one end. Stick the gluey end to the right side of the other end to make a loop (right side facing out) then stick down onto the back centre of the strip.
I totally forgot to take more pictures of this step, sorry! Hopefully the explanation makes enough sense :)

3. Put your half-finished bows aside to allow the glue to dry. Cut four small circles of felt, big enough to cover the back and front of the earring clips. Half-open your earring clips. Put a dab of hot glue down the centre of two of the circles and stick to the back of the clips. For the front, apply hot glue to the front of the clips and stick on the remaining two felt circles.
Tip: use hot glue sparingly. Too much makes a real mess, as you can see on the clip on the right!

4. Cut a thin strip of vinyl (around 1-1.5cm). Take one of the bows you started in step 2 and pinch it down the middle to make it more bow shaped.
This is where it gets a bit fiddly--it took me ages!
Wrap the end of the strip around the centre of the bow so it overlaps at the back. Secure with a dab of hot glue and trim off the excess.

I decided to use hot glue rather than multipurpose for this step, since it dries much faster and is easy to peel off if I made a mess (which I did).

5. Add a blob of hot glue to the back centre of the bow and stick to the clip base.

6. Play with your new shoe accessories! Or make another set. How many different looks can you make?

Total cost of project: £0 (I had everything lying around; it would have cost more if I’d decided to buy shoe clip bases!)

And for those who are curious as to the contents of the lovely little vintage case in the first picture...

Lovely little vintage photographs!

Linking up to the fabulous link parties in my sidebar!

Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Tutorial: Pinbox Pincushion

I have now joined Pinterest, thanks to the lovely Suesan at Frou-FruGal! Thanks Suesan!
I'm having lots of fun pinning all the pretty things I see, and checking out what other people are pinning, too! 

When I first started sewing, I bought a little box of dressmaking pins, which I still use. The box had its own little pincushion on top, effectively a little dome of sponge.
Like everything, it wore out through heavy use and was starting to fall off!

So whilst I was sewing my old sock pincushion, I replaced it: 

This is stuffed with another old sock and made using a little scrap of leftover fabric (and bright pink cotton to use up what was left on the reel)

Here’s a quick tutorial on making a pin box lid pincushion--it's super-simple!

Time needed: 10-20 minutes

You’ll need:
Old sock or toy filling (for stuffing)
Scrap card
Needle & thread
Multipurpose glue
Glue gun & glue sticks
Sewing machine (optional!)

1. If you’ve got a pin box like mine, pull off the old sponge and draw around it onto a piece of scrap card. Alternatively, draw around the lid and take off a few millimetres all around.

2. Cut out the circle you drew and use this as a guide to draw two circles onto the wrong side of your fabric--one around 1cm bigger all around, one approximately 3-4cm bigger. Cut the circles out.

3. Using multipurpose glue, fix the cardboard circle to the centre of your smaller circle and leave to dry.

4. Stitch around the edge of the large circle using a running stitch and pull the end threads to gather. At this stage, switch on your glue gun to allow it to heat up.

5. With the right side of the fabric facing inward, stitch the two circles together, leaving a gap for turning it the right way. Try not to stitch through the card.

6. Turn the right way (I had the bend the card a little to do this). Sew up the gap by hand and use the glue gun to fix the pin cushion to the top of the pin box.

Friday, 8 July 2011

Tutorial: Buttons & Beads Bib Necklace

Recently I am really digging the combination of blue and gold! I decided that the quickest way to get these colours into my (mostly black) wardrobe was through jewellery.
So I sat down and made this buttons and beads bib necklace:

Bib necklaces like this are pretty easy to make, but they’re really darn time-consuming!
However, I think the eye-catching quality of the necklace completely makes up for the time it takes to make. I wore mine today and received so many compliments!

Here’s how to make a bib necklace of your own.

Time needed: 3-4 hours

You’ll need:
1 m ribbon
Beads (two sizes)
Needle & thread
Multipurpose glue

1. Cut a crescent shape from the felt for the backing, of the size you want the finished necklace. Use this as a template and cut out a piece of fabric the same size plus approximately 1cm seam allowance.

2. Hem the fabric and sew 50cm ribbon to each side. It doesn’t matter if your stitching isn’t perfect (mine certainly isn’t!)

3. Sew or glue trim around the edge. I picked the lazy option and glued it on.

4. To make the rosettes:
  • Cut a strip of fabric the width you want your rosette to be
  • Fold it in half
  • Gather using a running stitch along the cut edges
  • Tie the ends together to form the rosette shape and trim off any trailing threads

5. Sew or glue on your buttons and rosettes. (I glued the rosettes and sewed the buttons.)

6. Fill in the gaps with beads.

7. Glue the felt shape onto the back of the necklace.

8. Go out and enjoy all the compliments you’re going to get on your gorgeous new statement necklace!

Here’s another that I made previously. I used a different shape and along with buttons and beads I embellished with flower motifs and googly eyes!

Going to be linking up at the fabulous link parties in my sidebar! Also:

Strut Your Stuff Saturday @ Six Sister's Stuff
Nifty Thrifty Sunday @ {nifty thrifty things}
Tuesday Time Out @ Reasons To Skip The Housework
The Inspiration Board @ Homework
Tuesday To Do Party @ The Blackberry Vine
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