Sunday, 27 October 2013

"I want to ride my bicycle" cushion

I've got some slightly different sewing to show you today. Recently I was asked by a group of friends to create a bicycle-themed cushion for another friend's birthday. After a bit of consideration of different designs, this is what I came up with...

I had a look around online to make sure that a bike was actually the shape that I thought it was, then I used a combination of appliqué and embroidery to create the bike on the background material (purchased from a local shop).

The basic frame of the bike is made from some pretty floral bias binding folded in half widthways, which I then pinned and machine stiched into the frame shape.

I then embroidered the rest of the bike around the frame. For the saddle, I used satin stitch then a double line of chain stitch for the handle bars, a single line of chain stitch for the wheels and a simple running stitch for the wheel spokes.

When I'm doing embroidery, I tend to draw out my designs on paper then when I'm happy, I go over the final design with a black felt tip. Unless your material is really thick or dark, if you put the felt tip drawing under the material you can usually see it and trace it onto the material. I use Frixion pens to trace the design onto the material as you can see here...

The lines are really clear, and once you've done all the embroidery, they'll disappear when you iron the material. This does mean that you have to be careful if you're ironing as you go along (so I don't usually iron till the end - the excuse for the massive outline of the embroidery hoop in this picture!), but I don't find that a problem.

I completed the cushion by embroidering "I want to ride my bicycle" under the bike in simple back stitch, and I think the whole thing is quite effective. Thankfully the birthday girl like it and fellow present-givers approved, so it can't be bad!

I'm now off to hide away under a blanket on the sofa until the imminent storm passes. See you next time!

Linking up to: 

Sunday, 20 October 2013

Deer & Doe Sureau Dress

Another completed dressmaking project to show you! This time it's the Sureau dress from Deer & Doe, and here it is...

This is another great beginners' pattern (which is printed on proper paper, not tissue like most patterns - definitely a plus in my book because I'm always worried about ripping patterns!), and the end result is probably my best completed garment so far. The instructions were possibly not quite as thorough as some of the others that I've used, but they were still really clear and easy to follow. The sew-along that Anna from Paunnet ran is also really helpful if you need some pointers and tips on making adjustments.

I lengthened the bodice of my dress by 2 inches (I'm about 5 ft 9 and long in the body), but apart from that I followed the instructions and pattern exactly, and I think the fit turned out quite well. 

As buttonholes are still on the (long) list of skills I need to master, I love the fake button placket - it gives me the opportunity to use pretty buttons and make things look more professional while putting off learning slightly scary new skills until another day!

The fabric I used is cotton and, like the poplin I used for my Pattern Runway dress, was a bargain at half price in the John Lewis sale. I bought the cute little buttons in a little local shop and, although it doesn't look like it in this photo, they match the colour of the spots on the fabric really well.

Another good thing about this dress? It's great with tights and boots, but not so heavy that I won't be able to wear it on slightly warmer days too, as I proved on a day trip to the beach at Lyme Regis yesterday...

Sadly it wasn't that warm (as you can probably tell, it was VERY windy) but, being the slightly crazy person that I am, I still felt the need to go paddling in the sea - here I'm waiting for my legs to dry off so I could return them to the warmth of tights and boots again!

So overall, another success! And the best thing about sewing my own clothes so far? I'm too distracted by choosing my next pattern/fabric combination to be lusting after expensive clothes that I can't afford in the shops/on the Boden website. Does this mean I've officially caught the dressmaking bug?

Monday, 14 October 2013

Rainbow Granny Square Crochet Cushion

I had an enforced break from my current dressmaking craze last week while I was waiting for a new pattern to arrive, so I turned my attentions to some crochet instead and finally finished my rainbow-coloured granny square cushion. I first blogged about this project back in August, when it was just one lonely little square. That has now multiplied into 18, which have come together to create this little beauty that is now brightening up my living room...

I made up the 18 squares first (I used Rico Creative Cotton Aran), then spent a very dull evening fastening in all the ends. Lesson learned: for future projects like this, I will sort all the ends out as I go along to spread the boring job out a bit!

I then joined them up into six lines of three...

Then I joined three lines up to make a nine by nine square for the front...

For the back, I joined two lines together to form a two by three rectangle, attached this to bottom of the front and attached the last line of three separately to the top of the front to leave an opening a third of the way down the back of the cover. I popped the cushion pad inside, and threaded ribbon through the holes in the squares to fasten them together...

I finished it just at the right time as well, because the rainbow colours brightened up a very gloomy and rainy Sunday, and it's a lovely snuggly cushion because of it being crocheted. I've got a load of dressmaking plans that I want to put into action at some point, but I think there will be some more knitting and crochet going on too - it's nice to be able to snuggle up on the sofa with some wool now that it's getting a bit colder! I'll leave you with one last blast of colour, and I'll see you again soon...

Sunday, 6 October 2013

Autumnal Colette Laurel Blouse

Here's my latest completed dressmaking project - my second version of the Laurel blouse from Colette Patterns...

After completing my first Colette Laurel top, I was really pleased but then in the bad weather that quickly followed it it felt like it was more a top for spring so I fancied making a slightly more autumnal version. I then remembered that I had a decent-sized piece of this pretty floral fabric that had been sitting in my stash waiting for the right project for a good few months...

When I bought it on ebay, it was advertised as 3 metres of brushed cotton - it was more like a metre and a half and it's not brushed cotton (I'm not 100% sure of what fabric it actually is, it's cotton of some sort but not brushed), but I liked it and I only paid a couple of pounds so I wasn't too worried, and now I'm even less worried because it's turned into a lovely new top!

Excuse the messy hair (it was windy!) and the fact that I seem to have left a big crease down the front of the top when I was ironing - I totally didn't notice that when I was wearing it and nobody felt the need to point it out to me!

I found the top fairly easy to stitch up first time around, and this time was just the same apart from some slight fabric fraying issues at times. I know I'll get a  lot of wear out of this top and I think I did a pretty good job on it - my sister didn't realise I'd made it myself until I said that I needed to take some pictures of it for this post, and she wouldn't be backwards in telling me something didn't look right! Always best to be (tactfully) honest about things like that!

I'm now impatiently waiting for a new sewing pattern to arrive in the post and keeping my hands busy with some simple crochet (which hopefully might be featuring here soon) in the meantime!