Tag Archives: sew

The Covid-19 Chronicles: Day 75

Creativity has continued, but slowed since those first weeks. Parenting, exercising and working have taken a front seat more often than not. Still, we’ve been busy, individually and collectively.

Baking has definitely continued to be a major part of life, both pragmatically and for culinary delight. Bread a couple of times a week means some form of cinnamon roll, or pesto roll or pizza alongside the bread. Various cakes for birthdays and just because…

No knitting or crochet, though the yarn keeps peeking at me, especially when we rearranged all the furniture the other day which involved unpacking and reorganising all the fabric and yarn stash…

Lots of ‘art’ with chalks and stamps and paints. We’ve even lured the Tall one into our creativity…sometimes protesting gently that he’ll just sit and watch, but almost always unable to resist the temptation to get involved. Just today we’ve tried out making some white clay to imprint flowers.

Sewing though, little bits here and there and a pair of cobbled together dungarees – no printer = no pattern. They work though, and I know what I’ll change for next time. There’ll be a next time!

All links to any recipes or instructions or patterns at the end of the post.

I’m sure I’ve forgotten something along the way, but if I have the spirit of it is here in this collection. I’m loving that Small one talks about ‘doing craft’ and that she wants to do her own sewing and knitting. Our favoured quiet time activity is watching the Sewing Bee or Bake-Off. She just doesn’t understand why someone always has to go home…

Things are changing up again, within the next two weeks we will, perhaps, know how soon we will both be back to work and pre-Covid life…mixed feelings about this as I for one have finally settled into a happy groove of working, family adventuring and creating. Just being…

Wild Things to Make – Kirsty Hartley

Sew Adorable – Vanessa Mooncie

Flatbread recipe

Baker’s clay recipe

Bubble mixes

Little Brian Paint Sticks

Rabbit Biscuits

Mary Berry Fork Biscuits

Chocolate and beetroot blitz cake

Sopapillas

Vegan lemon and lime loaf (used for strawberry cupcakes and adapted for chocolate cupcakes)

Month 12

As always, December has been full to the max with projects being wrapped up (mostly for Christmas). There’s been baking, knitting and sewing. 

The month began with finishing a project from the month before (a very familiar scenario this year) knitted wrist warmers which had been requested as a birthday gift. 

   

Then some Christmas gifts. Prettified notice boards, lined zipper pouches and pencil cases. 

   

  

 For the first time I felt I  might need my own actual Christmas stocking. After seeing many in shops, I decided to make one…

   It was happily filled with delightful gifts from Father Christmas!
Our pre-Christmas Christmas weekend with friends (a tradition of almost a decade now!) meant baking biscuits for creative decoration, and the adults taking way more time than the children colouring in!

 This wasn’t the only biscuit making, there were three other batches of Christmas biscuits.  

  There were also chocolate muffins and chocolate fudge made with my help by excellent mini bakers, we were so busy I missed the photos though!

A last minute visit to the sewing shop for some necessities (!!) meant the purchase of a little fabric suitable for making a Christmas gift for a three year old…but I lacked inspiration as to what, until I found this pattern for a bunny from Purl Soho in NY. It seemed very well received!

   
  He’s been nicknamed ‘Wonky’ by me!

Finally finished today, another wood project using the last of the wood gathered on our Scottish adventure. Inspired by something seen on Pinterest. Hanging up at last, until tomorrow when all the decorations shall be taken down until next year…

   
   

A small photographic moment ahead of a cycle ride.  

  And now I’m busy knitting a neck warmer, even this evening whilst enjoying a small NYE snifter 😊.  

 In 2016, I’m thinking of making a dress every month…I’ll let you know how I get on 😉. 

  

Month 11

I’m so proud that I’ve continued on my creative journey throughout this year. I think I can genuinely say that creativity has become a habit. One which needs nurturing, but a good habit to keep. The month started with a long journey home from the Lake District. There’s been ribbon tree making with sticks gathered from Scottish woods. The plum and bramble vodkas have been decanted into bottles. More sticks have been turned into a hanging Christmas tree ready to decorate. Christmas tree hanging decorations sewn and embroidered for gifts. Finally I’ve molded and now decorated some air dry clay bowls inspired by this post. Mine, though, are somewhat neon. 

   
       

   
   

   
       

I think the pink and gold are my favourites, closely followed by the yellow! Something about neon really makes me smile. 

December will bring more sewing projects, bound to be making some fudge and baking some Christmas biscuits. There’s a birthday cake to be baked for one birthday and finally completing these for a sixth birthday next weekend!

  

Month 8

Got a little distracted yesterday so playing catch up tonight!

It’s been another month of all sorts…

August began as July ended, holidaying with parents and taking plenty of photos 

   
     

 

  
On returning home there was plum jam to be made…plum and cinnamon – inspiring me for Christmas preparations!

   
   

Then I had a moment to fix the pencil case from last month, sewing the lining the right way around this time!

  
Some time walking by the sea

  
Than another moment of sewing, a gift for an almost new baby…

   
   

Followed this up with some sewing for myself, a new key ring. 

     

A visit to London and more photography:

   
 

Chartwell, home of Winston Churchill, beautiful gardens 

   

  

 

Another pasty baking practice, eaten on the beach

   

 Walking then riding (cycle) in the grounds of a favoured National Trust property 

   

  

  

 Exploring Somerset 

   

  

  

  

 More jam made from windfalls collected and gifted to me

  A moody sky day 

 more time in Somerset exploring new corners

   

  

 Finally some new corners of Wales 

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

Month 7

A typical July I think, squeezing moments here and there. A visit from Mum brought an opportunity to repeat the apricot jam experiment…

   
 

We had a lovely hour or two making, the splitting of the jars was a little painful, this jam is seriously tasty! 😊

Planning to go away I decided to take my colouring, so, with not enough time left before leaving I decided to swiftly make myself a new pencil case…

  
One of my favourite fabrics ever, with enough left for a pencil case! A very quick 25 minute job, sped up through helping 10 students make the same pencil case just a few days previously!

The rest of the month has involved photographic creativity…At home and then at Somersault Festival before bicycle adventuring with Dad in East Yorkshire. 

    
                                                                      

   
             

Month 6

This has been a month of photography in the main. A little sewing at the beginning of the month to finish the top from last month, a little baking just because. Mostly though, photographs. 

The baking involved cookies mainly, Yr11 final revision before their final exam the inspiration!

   
 

There have been many hours spent in the wide outdoors this month, some close to home, many in Northern France visiting the battlefields on our annual trip.  First of all, some local meandering. 

   
         

A delightful day with a DofE team, up hill and down dale…

   
   

Northern France. 

   
                       

The Ring of Rememberance, a new memorial listing the names of all those who lost their lives in this area. 580,000 names in alphabetical order. It’s an awe inspiring sight and a personally moving one as I found the names of two relatives of my own. 

There has been some further local mooching…

   
    

The ropes particularly caught my eye for colour and texture. 

  

 

The month has ended with hanging out with friends, doodling and colouring…

  
Oh, and before I forget, some letter writing too, which resulted happily in receiving this in return. 

  
Drawn by me, coloured in by niece no. 3…

Month 5

This has been an unexpectedly busy month of creativity. The month began finishing off the grey pinstripe dress from the end of April. It is proving an absolute pleasure to wear! A pattern mash-up of the bodice from Simplicity 1652 with the skirt from Simplicity 1873. The fabrics all came from Ditto in Brighton. You can read all about them in Month 4, meanwhile here’s the finished product!

   
           

There’s been adventuring in the woods, and so photo taking. 

   
   

Then there has been a wonderful weekend away for a friend’s very important birthday in Boscombe, and so baking and more photographs. A coffee cake and birthday biscuits!

      
  
All month I have been wearing the items made last month, they’re bringing smiles to my face! This past week there has been bag making for a friend’s Mum, daytime pyjamas (at least, that’s the plan!) and making some alterations to a top I made last summer – another project which will run into another month. 

   

 The bag is coated cotton, with webbing straps and Laura Ashley pink spotty cotton for lining. 

   

  

  

  

  

  

  

  

 These are another fabric from Ditto (did I mention I love that shop!) feeling proud of myself that I’m actually using them! I remembered I had an old favourite pair of pjs perfect for taking apart and using as a pattern. I plan to wear then as daywear, but not sure yet what I’ll wear with them….there’s a little left over, enough for a top – not convinced by the idea of matching, never mind what the current fashions might be! 

  
I made apricot and ginger jam this week. The ginger is very subtle, but enough. I also took inspiration from a blog which mentioned using far less sugar. This is only around 500gr of sugar to a kilo of fruit. There’s a glorious soft set to it like a french preserve. It brightened up my morning toast this weekend. 

   

 Finally a little pattern cutting. I took a cotton top and used it as a template. Wimped out of trying to organise the darts, partly due to the amount of fabric available. I’m altering a top I made last summer, it was too big and too square and too see through. It’s still going to be a little square, but lined so hopefully appropriate for work and I’m still loving the neon! 

That’s all for May, until June x 

Month 4

All excited about sewing this month. It’s been a busy one, fuelled by fabric shopping at Ditto in Brighton and a holiday from work! First of all I got all excited about some pretty bird fabric and gloriously soft tulle, so created this:   

   

I’ve been thoroughly enjoying wearing it with a little hint of tulle. No pattern, just pleated to waist size, lined with a bright blue muslin cut in an a-line and a couple of rows of finger pleated tulle. 

Next up was finally working up this pattern, Simplicity 1652, using some vintage fabric from my Mum’s stash. I used the fabric last year for an idea which just didn’t work, but here it’s found a perfect form. I debuted it last evening, and felt brilliant in it.    

   

     

Then a pattern mash-up, pattern hacking fun! The bodice from Simplicity 1652 mixed with the skirt from Simplicity 1873. The fabric, another from Ditto (apparently a Paul Smith cotton with a tiny bit of stretch) is grey and pinstriped. Alone it looks in this design a little 1950s school dress, but I’ve a plan to line it in hot raspberry pink muslin, perhaps with a little more of the pretty tulle attached! That way it’s a little bit formal with a twist. Should be finished soon…

   

       

For those setting out on their sewing journey…

There are so many blogs out there from lovely and talented creative folks who can tell you all about their sewing journeys and with hints and tips of how to do the best job. I make no claim to this blog post being one of those, but it is a blog inspired by @vivschreibke @LesleyMunro4 @ms_jamdangory @blondebonce amongst some other truly lovely people with stitching in their fingers (or at least daydreams of stitching!)

This blog itself started with a plan on 1 January 2014 to feed my creative soul and give me some ‘flow’. I think I talked then or at least on my first sewing post, about how I learnt to use a sewing machine from my Mum. She wasn’t overly fussed about patterns, for my first attempts we drafted patterns ourselves. At 12 I made a crop top and skirt from an old sheet (old bedding is great for cutting up and experimenting with!). Wore them proudly all summer 😊. I returned to sewing about 5 years ago, and gradually I’ve built up my repertoire, it’s still building. 

Here I thought I’d share some of the blogs and books and resources I’ve accessed to develop my skills as they might be of use to others. (Special mention here for Ellie, hope you have some particular inspiration!)

Books: 

  • Library – check them out for free, see if you like the contents, if there’s enough good stuff, think about buying. 
  • When buying visit The Works, great for discounts! Also of course, you can flick through before committing 😉
  • Choose carefully, what does a book add to your creative library?

These are some of my favourites:

 

I’m not much of a hand stitcher, but it has some lovely motifs and a great luggage tag pattern and passport cover pattern. I used this when I added the embroidery to my cardigan. 

 

Love the ideas in here, it’s been the starting point for embellishing (and sometimes mending) small people clothes, making handmade cards and generally using my sewing machine to doodle! (also makes me feel pangs of sadness for the demise of Mum’s old Singer sewing machine 😔 though the production of pretty things soon fixes that😉)

 

This was a fabulous gift from a friend right when I was reacquainting myself with sewing. The photographs and explanations are so clear for almost any skill you might need (if it’s not in here, try YouTube or searching the net!). There are also some great simple projects for accessories and for clothing with clear guidance on how to draft simple patterns for items such as a circle skirt (and who doesn’t love to twirl?). As they are patterns for you to draft they are also suitable for numerous ages and sizes. 

 

Like this of all Kelly Doust’s books best, again some glorious and generally simple and straightforward ideas, and more than just sewing. I use this for purses particularly, but I’ve taken inspiration for several different creative ideas.  

Patterns online/blogs/websites:

  • Ditto Fabrics – a must visit whenever I’m in Brighton. They are so helpful, love fabric and they’ve a fantastic range at really reasonable prices, even after postage. 
  • Simple paperbag pattern dress with free printing of a pattern – I confess I have yet to make it, but possibly going to give something similar a go soon. 
  • Any ideas as to why I might love this? I say again, who doesn’t love to twirl? Simple Tulle Skirt she also has several other free patterns which again, you draft yourself, so good for all sizes and ages. 
  • Several free patterns here from Peppermint Magazine many different items of clothing with reasonable instructions. 
  • Free patterns for quite small people from Oliver & S
  • Want some fancy shoelaces? Here’s the site you need 
  • Fabulous blog where the creator uses all sorts of mainstream and sometimes independent patterns along with some pattern hacking (using the parts you like best from different patterns to make something new)
  • Pyjama trouser pattern. Fairly straight forward to follow or adapt, look at your own quite closely to see how they’ve been made up. 
  • The Purl Bee, all kinds of different crafting ideas.

There it is, all the lovely things I can think of for now. Last year I made all kinds of things and usually explained where the inspiration came from or how to do it in the blog, feel free to steal away 😊 all posts are tagged so you can search for sew or sewing and will find all related posts! Hope this helps…always feel free to ask as I’m always happy to help as far as I’m able x