Christmas Bunting Tutorial (and template)

A couple of years ago I made this Christmas bunting and have finally got around to blogging this tutorial so you can make some yourself. I went for the maybe slightly garish but traditional Christmas colours of green and red but I think it would look cute with gold or silver with red or green. Or all in the same colour!

I didn’t really write proper notes on how much fabric I used, but I would have thought half a metre of each colour would be enough and 3.1m of bias binding for the top.

You can download the background template and the Christmas tree pattern here. The text I used was stencil font in size 185pt but you can pick a font you especially like.

I cut out 18 red backgrounds and 16 in green – you need 2 pieces per triangle. I wrote out a plan of which letters I needed in which colours so that the colours were opposite to the backgrounds, making sure the Christmas trees were all on red – which worked out perfectly!

I stitched each letter on with a narrow zigzag stitch to minimise the fraying potential. You could, of course, use felt for your letters so then you could stitch them with a straight stitch.

The letters ended up looking a little hairy but from a distance I think they look fine!

For the Christmas trees, as well as zigzagging around the edge, I used some yellow thread from my stash to make it look like it had some tinsel on – without it it looked a bit bare and like…..just a tree, instead of a Christmas tree.

The background pieces have a 1cm seam allowance. Once you’ve sewn all your letters (and trees) onto a single layer of backing fabric, then place it right sides together with a matching backing piece and stitch around the 2 diagonal sides, but NOT THE TOP. Then trim the point, and turn it the right side out, pressing them so they lie flat. Then line them all up, in order, and stitch the bias binding on the top! And voila! A new Christmas decoration!

I know this Christmas is probably not going to be like it has been in previous years but I think making things feel festive at home is a small thing we can each do to try to celebrate however we can.

Do tag me on instagram if you use this tutorial – I’m @sewingmachinations.

 

 

Blaire Shirt (I have a shirt-making problem!)

I’m pretty sure I kinda said I was done making shirts a while ago (though I think I acknowledged that I had 2 more planned…..this is one of the 2. And then I’m really going to stop, honest!

I’d kinda forgotten about the Blaire pattern (as I was on a Kalle- and Archer-making kick most recently) but I really like it! I’ve made it once before, in peachskin, which is really quite a sweaty fabric so I don’t wear it as much as I could. But I think this one will get loads of wear (once the weather is warm enough for short sleeves (with or without a cardigan).

I again made the size 8 without any fitting changes, though I did leave off the underneath panel which I added last time (I’m still not entirely sure whether the different bottom panels are interchangeable or meant to be used together, and Style Arc’s instructions have to be the sparsest in the business, even more so than the big 4). I did this because my fabric was very limited – I bought I think 3 separate remnants of it from Guthrie and Ghani at the Sewing Bee Live. I knew I would be pushing it to be able to make much but I’m glad I managed to squeeze out all the pieces for this shirt, though I obviously couldn’t fully pattern match but I don’t think it’s too obvious.

I love the little peek of skin on the side from the shape of the side seam – and wearing it with my high-waisted black dawn jeans, the peek isn’t too much for what I’m comfortable with!

As I mentioned before, although the instructions are very limited, this is a slightly simpler shirt pattern than, say, the Archer or Kalle as there is no back yoke – so you don’t have to wrestle with a burrito! And there are no cuffs/ sleeve plackets. So if you’re looking for an easier shirt to try for your first one this could be a good choice. Though I would also really recommend the Archer as the instructions are excellent and there’s a full sewalong on the Grainline blog, including some videos for the trickier parts.

I used plain black buttons which I had in my stash, and I’m amazed how well they seem to blend in in these photos!

Do you have a particular garment that you can’t stop making? I don’t know why I’ve made so many shirts! I’ve got a white Melilot made (I just need to photograph it) and then I really am don’t for a while! I think I might love shirts because often the kinds of fabrics I’m drawn to, I think ‘that would make a great shirt’ if it’s a woven – because I don’t really wear dresses that much and making a plain tee would be less interesting somehow (though I’ve also got loads of those thanks to my Inari binge over the Summer).


 

Reusable Make Up Pads (finally)

I’ve been meaning to make some reusable make up pads for aaaaages and kept procrastinating for some reason.

I started off my measuring one of my last disposable cotton wool pads to get a rough size, and decided to round up to 6cm for ease of measuring – instead of going for, like, 5.8cm!

I had been keeping this leftover sweat-shirting (from my CocoWawa crafts chestnut sweatshirt) specifically for making these pads because it’s fleece-lined and I figured that would be nice and soft on my face. I’ve read some other people’s posts about making these and it seemed like softness was key.

I also used some striped jersey scraps for the backs. It was necessarily deliberate that both fabrics I used for the back were stripey but it’s a happy accident as I think they look cute!

I decided to go for squares instead of circles because a) it would be less wasteful of fabric and b) it would be easier for overlocking as I don’t think I’m that dexterous to feed tiny circles through my overlocker.

I spent an evening in front of the TV tying off all of the overlocker ends and now they look all neat and nice! I did get a little carried away and made, like 60! But my thought process was the more I make, the less often I have to wash them. I think I need to make a bag to wash them inside but obviously it has to be loosely woven to allow them to actually get washed – but I don’t fancy having them floating un-tethered around the washing machine. Any suggestions?

I had this jar lying around (which I was using for porridge oats but I don’t really eat porridge any more) and it’s the perfect size for all of the pads. I have used them for a week or so since finishing them and I have to say I prefer them to the disposable versions. They’re actually softer than cotton wool, and my face feels just as cleansed. I haven’t been wearing much make-up recently (and don’t generally wear loads) but I did have eye-liner and mascara on one day and there was no problem removing it all.

I’m sooo glad I finally got around to making these – I felt bad every time I threw one of the cotton wool ones in the bin! What are your favourite sustainable things (homemade or not) which have reduced your impact on the planet?

 

 

Victoria Blazer Coat Hack

Do you ever have projects in mind that you mean to make for literally years and you somehow don’t get around to? I clearly do (as with my Sallie Jumpsuit) and this make is no exception! I’ve had it in my mind to do a coat hack of the By Hand London Victoria Blazer since they blogged the hack back in 2013!! And it’s finally come to fruition!

I honestly have no idea when I bought the fabric, but it was from Rolls and Rems in Holloway Road (which is no longer there) and it was a 3m ‘remnant’ of curtain fabric. The lining I think was also from there. I have had both pieces in my stash for years and always ear-marked them both for this coat. I kinda put off making it for so long because of the pattern hacking involved – not that it was especially complicated – and always pushed it to the back of the sewing queue in favour of a quicker or easier make.

As they recommend in the blog post, I traced the pattern a couple of sizes bigger than I made the jacket versions (which I’ve made 3 times, see the bottom of this post for links), so I traced the size 12. I also have not liked in my jacket versions how, because there is no facing, the lining basically always tries to flip out at the front. This hack would be really really simple if you don’t want a facing, but I added one and that was the part that gave me a little head-scratching!

I am about 5’3″. I added:

  • 16cm to the sleeve length (they’re cropped in the jacket version)
  • 25cm to the length of the coat
  • I cut the lining 2.5cm shorter than the shell
  • I cut the lining with an extra 2.5cm on the fold of the back piece, which I took out with a pleat to add extra fullness to the lining (which is how I prefer a coat to fit)
  • I added 25cm to the lapels (though I think it should have been less, but I just stitched the bottoms into the hem to keep them in place)
  • I used the collar as drafted for the size 12
  • I didn’t use the cuffs
  • I used the pockets as drafted, and placed them according to the markings on the longer jacket view. (the shorter one doesn’t have pockets)

To make the lining with a facing, I took the front piece and drew a straight line down to the dart point, then a straight line down to the hem.

You’ll then need to trace both pieces, adding seam allowance (I did 1.5cm, as with the rest of the pattern) from the dart point, outwards, to the hem.

You can then stitch the dart and the seam in one – following the pattern instructions, but just carrying on stitching the new seam all the way to the hem. The thin piece (on the left in the below photo) should be from shell fabric and the other piece (on the left) should be from lining fabric.

I stitched the facing to the lining, making the lining look like it would without the facing, then I attached the lining (and facing) to the shell along the front edge, as dictated in the pattern instructions.

Since it’s not quite totally freezing yet in the UK, this is a great jacket to have added to my Autumn/Spring wardrobe. I’ve been alternating between this jacket and the trench coat I refashioned as part of my Miss Fisher costume.

Sorry, not sorry for a bajillion photos!

I really like the loose, easy fit of this coat/jacket. I’ll definitely wear it basically every day it’s not too cold or too hot for it!

What’s the longest you’ve planned a make before it came to fruition – or are you still counting? I don’t really know why I procrastinated about this for so long – I thought the pattern hacking would be harder than it turned out to be!

 

 

Sallie Jumpsuit

This has to be one of the longest-waiting makes ever. Luckily I keep a (not very comprehensive) list of when I cut things out (and when I’ve finished it, photographed it etc) and according to that list, I cut out this Sallie Jumpsuit in June 2017! I clearly slightly lost enthusiasm for it, though I don’t totally hate it now it’s finished.

I made the size 4 and due to the amount of fabric I had to slightly crop the legs – if I’d have had enough fabric, I would have made them longer for sure.

The fabric was a £4.99 remnant from Rolls and Rems, which I bought way before I moved away from London almost 5 years ago! I think for my taste, the fabric is a bit too slinky for me to really love this jumpsuit. It’s also quite thin and I made it towards the end of Summer, so I haven’t had a chance to wear it yet. I think I’ll keep it in my wardrobe until next Summer to see if it’s a nice thing to wear on the, like, 4 really hot days we have here in the UK.

I suspect what will happen is it will sit in my wardrobe, I won’t wear it and then I’ll give it away. Funny considering how long I had the fabric, and how long the thing was cut out before I sewed it together. Though maybe it’s not a surprise I don’t love it as I clearly put off the whole make for aaaages!

I bought the fabric when I hadn’t been sewing for a super long time – and definitely when I hadn’t sewn much with jersey. I did have a tendency to buy lots of remnants from Rolls and Rems (which I think isn’t there any more) just because they were a decent length and they were cheap. But really cheap fabric is not necessarily made from a fibre you actually want to use!

I do really like the top half of the jumpsuit though, especially the back. I slightly wish I’d used this bodice view on my Sallie dress instead of the version that ties on the shoulders. I have also only worn the dress version a couple of times.

I’m sure lots of sewists have gone through the same thing, but it’s interesting how my style has changed through the years I’ve been making my own clothes. I’m sure part of that is feeling like ‘I’m not ready yet’ to, for example, make jeans and also the general shift which seems to have happened away from more vintage styles and lots of dresses to more stylish basics, like jeans, boxy tops, looser fitting trousers and shift dresses. Obviously some people are still into sewing vintage styles – but while I still love the look of so many vintage garments, I’m not drawn to wearing them in the same way! I think this jumpsuit maybe fits into an earlier iteration of my style – but maybe I wouldn’t have realised that if I’d have never actually sewn it up.

Have you been through a style evolution as a result of learning to sew? Before I sewed I felt restricted by what was pretty cheap in H&M or Primark and so I didn’t especially think about what I might actually like to wear – but with sewing, and being a straight size – I could actually think about what I wanted to wear and make those things, like shirts!