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.

 

 

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!

 

 

FREE Halloween Cat Pattern

A couple of years ago I made a couple of this pattern for a work secret santa and since then I’ve been meaning to make it into a pattern/tutorial in time for Halloween and I’ve never yet got around to it. Until now!

You can download the printable pattern here and there is a printable version of the instructions here. There is also a text-only version of the instructions if you want to save ink if printing.

You will need:

  • approx 24 x 42cm knit fabric
  • toy stuffing
  • small amount of rice

Here is the cutting layout I used (though if your scrap of fabric is a different shape feel free to play pattern tetris. You also need to cut a third gusset on a single layer.

The pieces you need to cut out are:

  • 2 body pieces
  • 2 tail pieces
  • 3 gussets

  1. With right sides together stitch the 2 body pieces together, leaving the bottom between the notches unsewn. Use a 1cm seam allowance.

Leave the body inside out.

2. Sew 2 gusset pieces together with a 1cm seam allowance, leaving a gap in the stitching (for stuffing).

3. Stuff some rice into the gusset pieces. This will act as a weight in the bottom of the cat. This is quite fiddly – if you have a little funnel, it would be very helpful here!

4. Being careful to make sure no rice goes under your needle, sew the gap shut.

5. Baste the third gusset to the pouch of rice, stitching 0.5cm away from the edge.

6. With right sides together, stitch the 2 tails together with a 1cm seam allowance. Leave the straight edge open (for stuffing).

7. Turn the tail the right way around (this is very fiddly, sorry!). If you have a loop turner, this will be very useful. Stuff the tail with toy stuffing. Leave 1cm at the open end un-stuffed – this is the seam allowance to attach the tail.

8. Place the tail inside the body of the cat, with the tip of the tail going into the head and the open end being lined up to the notch on the back of the cat. You may have to slightly curl the tail up to get it to fit.

9. Pin the gusset/bottom to the bottom of the cat, with the plain side (the third piece you attached) on the inside. Sew with a 0.5cm seam allowance, leaving one side open for stuffing.

10. Turn the cat the right way around, stuff and hand sew the gap closed.

11. Admire your new familiar!

Note that I used the same pattern for both cats but due to the different amount of stretch in the jerseys, they ended up a slightly different size.

I think you could stuff the whole cat with rice (it would need quite a lot) to make it into a door stop. If you were to do that I obviously wouldn’t bother with the little weight made from 2 gussets – so you would only need to cut out one. You may want to reinforce the bottom seam by sewing it twice too.

Halloween 2020 isn’t going to be the same as in any other year but you can still decorate your home for spooky season!

 

 

Recovering My Ironing Board

I recently finally got around to recovering my ironing board, which was long overdue! I haven’t done a huge amount of sewing recently but my partner irons a shirt most days and he was finding the old crappy cover particularly painful to use.

This was the cheapest ironing board that Argos sold when I bought it a few years ago. I didn’t hate the colour but the elastic around the edge gave way pretty quickly and for more months than I care to admit, I had it safety pinned to stop the cover falling off completely!

Also even when this was new, it wasn’t the best because it had this tiny thin piece of foam as the only padding, which really didn’t last very long before you could feel the frame underneath!

Luckily because the elastic had all stopped being springy, I could use the old cover as a template for the new one. I used this amazing sewing-themed cotton I had in my stash. I did have to seam it but you really can’t see it on the cover because I pattern matched it.

I then used the new cover as a template for the wadding. I bought a really thick wadding from my local sewing shop – it was the one the lady in the shop said she used for her ironing board.

She advised me to overlock the wadding and the fabric together, which I did, but it was then too thick for the width of bias binding I bought so I had to unpick the overlocking – which is always fun!

So the method I used was based on the one from Tilly and the Buttons – you make a channel with bias binding and thread string though the channel and pull it tight around the frame. You can also use elastic but since that was the downfall of the first cover, I wanted to use cord so I could re-tie it if it loosened in the future.

I can’t tell you how pleased I am with how it looks, and how useful it is to have a working ironing board!

Have you ever put off a relatively simple job out of laziness even though you know it will improve your life to do it? ……..no, me neither………

 

 

Make It: Pin Pennant

After I was lucky enough to win a voucher for The Pink Coat club in the raffle at the Sewcialite Soiree, I realised I had quite a few pins in my collection. But I often forget to wear one as I had been keeping them in a little box next to my make-up bag. Since I know how to sew (duh!) I thought I could easily make something that would look nice, display all my lovely pins and remind me to wear them!

I started off with some of my beloved mustard denim (originally from Sew Me Sunshine and featured in such projects as my Cleo Pinafore and my mute bags) and drew a line 20cm long, plus 1cm each side for seam allowance. I then measured the centre of this line and measured 20cm away from this line and joined this point to the 2 sides of the line to make a triangle. I totally made up these measurements and I think if you have more pins than me you will almost certainly want to increase these measurements.

I cut out 2 triangles with the above measurements and stitched them right sides together along the 2 long lines, leaving the top edge unstitched to be able to turn it the right way around. I trimmed the seam allowances, especially at the points, turned it the right way around and top stitched the sewn seams, though I would wait to top-stitch until you’re sewing the top edge shut.

I then made 2 straps, measuring 12cm x 5.5cm. I stitched each one folded in half length ways, then turned them the right way around – this took ages as they ended up so thin!

I then arranged the straps with the seams down the middle of the ‘back’ and top-stitched them. Lastly I placed the straps into the opening at the top, turning in the seam allowance of the top edge of the triangle, and top-stitched the straps in place, stitching the open edge closed at the same time. I would also carry on with the top-stitching around the other 2 sides at this point.

This was such an easy project – it took about an hour from beginning to end. I found an old knitting needle in a local charity shop and tied some wool on to hang up the pennant and VOILA! I’ve got a lovely way of displaying my gorgeous pins!

Do you collect sewing pins? I’ve got more pins than I realised – I thought I would have space to expand into but the pennant is already full!