Harry Potter Tote Bag

Just a quick one to share the second of 2 successful Christmas presents I made this year (both for my second Christmas with my friends in January). I say ‘successful’ because after making 4 skirts for my sister last Christmas (1, 2, 3, 4) I cut out another Grainline Moss skirt from the leftover red corduroy from the red Delphine skirt but I forgot that last year I sewed it with a reduced seam allowance, so it didn’t fit.

Anyway, back to the successful make…..my friends and I do secret santa each year (though we buy for 2 people and not just one) because one year there were probably around 8 of us (the number changes as partners change and 2 children have been born since the tradition started!) and so all of us buying for everyone else meant a slightly obscene number of presents. Plus we all fly up to Scotland each year now, so anything that reduced the baggage allowance has got to be a good thing! One of the people I drew was the girlfriend of one of the guys in our group, who I had not met yet (though she turned out to be lovely, so that’s good!) so I did what anyone would do in my situation – some facebook stalking!

I discovered that they had been to see a couple of musicals, they’ve travelled quite a bit and then I saw that they had been to the Harry Potter Studio Tour and since I had, funnily enough, started re-reading all the books around the time I had to make a present I thought I would make a Harry Potter themed tote bag. Making things for someone you’ve never met is always going to be a bit of a gamble, but I thought a tote bag is always useful even if the design misses the mark.

I’m pretty sure I copied this design from something I saw on Etsy when I was looking for something to buy, before I’d had the thought to make something.

I used my own tutorial, which I wrote quite a long time ago now, for the dimensions of the pieces. I used french seams for strength and used medium weight calico from my local sewing shop. I used a narrow small stitch of zig zag to sew on the glasses and the scar – I looked for some felt in my stash but I didn’t have enough. I could probably have used some jersey, but I came across this cotton first and doubled it so it wouldn’t be see-through.

I reinforced the straps, as I have done with each previous tote I’ve made as I feel like one of the worst things would be for the straps to come off when someone was carrying some heavy shopping home!

This is a pretty quick post, really, as there isn’t much to say about a tote bag!

Have you ever made a present for someone you’ve not yet met? How did it go down? Did you find it as stressful as I did?!

p.s. I’m already on Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire – I only read 2 books the whole of last year, so I’m close to doubling that in January!)

 

 

Selfless Sewing: 2 Delphines for my sister

As I mentioned in my December planning post, my main task for that month was to make some skirts for my sister as she couldn’t really find any in shops that she liked, but she can’t wear a lot of the trousers she has because of her prosthetic leg. I managed to make 3 in time for Christmas and 2 of those were Tilly and the Buttons Delphines, from her book Love At First Stitch. I’ve made one of these for myself and was glad to have another go at the pattern.

The first one I made was from some lovely, soft red corduroy from Fabric Land – it’s so soft that it’s called buttersoft! I was worried the skirt might not hold its shape in such a drapey fabric, but it does, which is excellent. I made the skirts in a size 3 and lengthened them by 3 1/4 inches so it would hit just below her knee and cover the place where the prosthetic attaches onto her leg.

phoebes-red-corduroy-delphine-2As well as lengthening them, I sewed the side seams with a 1cm seam allowance instead of a 1.5cm seam allowance as Phoebe’s waist measurement is 28 in which is exactly the finished measurement of the size 3 but I wanted to give her a little ease. You probably don’t know this unless you know someone who has had a leg amputated, but initially, although you get your permanent leg fairly early on, the way it attaches at first is around the waist, so Phoebe’s waist is a little bigger than it otherwise would be. I can always take in the waists if they end up too big once the leg is attached with suction – the reason for this change is that it can take up to 8-9 months for the residual limb to shrink down to its permanent shape and size – there is swelling and fluid retention to being with – and this shrinking happens faster once you have your prosthetic. So there’s a little lesson for you!

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The navy blue drill was also from Fabric Land. It was really hard to photograph, so I apologise for the blurriness of these photos! I think this fabric is a little more on the petrol end of navy blue – I guess navy blue isn’t a colour that’s always just one colour, it’s not black or white! Phoebe’s not so keen on this one, but I think it might be easier to wear it when the weather gets a little warmer as she will hopefully have things that go better with it. Otherwise, it’s not the end of the world! It’s a quick pattern to make.

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The other change I made to the pattern was to use non-invisible zips because my sewing machine will not sew invisible zips. I think the bobbin is out of sync or something because when I put the invisible zip foot on, the needle always jams inside the bobbin case. Grrr. I should get it serviced really….. I can’t remember the last time I sewed a non-invisible zip (I kept persevering with the invisible zips, but sewing them with a normal zip foot) and I’d forgotten you need to sew the bottom part of the seam first and then put in the zip, and not the other way around as with invisible zips. So I had to unpick the first one a couple of times because I twigged!

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When I was home for Christmas, I got Phoebe to model the red skirt. It fitted really well and was the length she was after – win! It looks good with her apt Christmas jumper too! She wore it the whole of Christmas day (after she had opened the present) so hopefully that means it has the seal of approval!

I quite enjoyed doing some selfless sewing – maybe this is the solution for when I feel like I have too many clothes but still want to sew things? I could make clothes for other people!

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Make It: Meme Cushion

(*This post contains swearing*)

I love a good internet meme. And this bayeux tapestry one is one of my favourites. I was chatting to my Aunt on the phone a few months ago and I think she might have told me about it – we were talking about other ‘don’t give a fuck’ memes too.

memeWhen she mentioned this meme, I googled it and found someone else had embroidered it on a cushion and thought this was a fantastic idea. I filed it away and planned to make it for my Aunt’s birthday, which is at the end of September. We’ve both had a pretty crappy few months so it seemed even more appropriate by the time I handed it over – a little late, oops!

meme-cushion-1I used the picture at the top as my inspiration and drew a version on paper – an A3 sheet (2 A4 sheets stuck together). I started with the writing – it was quite fun to make sure it didn’t look even or straight! I would not have had the skill to do it neatly! I traced everything onto greaseproof paper, then traced it onto the calico – it’s quite good how you can draw on calico! And because you’re sewing over it, it doesn’t matter if it doesn’t all come off.

I like the 2 different kinds of ‘e’ and the random dots at the ends of some words. Also the ‘v’-shaped u’s. I did make one mistake though – can you spot it? (The a in barren doesn’t have the cross part, it’s just an upside-down ‘v’.) I sewed all the letters with really thick embroidery thread from my local sewing shop, using backstitch so the lines were unbroken.

meme-cushion-5I added a simplified version of the house thing in the photo. This is mostly to fill the space above the men! Again I used backstitch.

The men are maybe my finest hour of embroidery – again it’s a good job this wasn’t meant to look amazing! I decided to put just 3 of the men and not all 4 – I thought 4 might be pushing it! I did the outlines in brown embroidery thread – the kind you get with crossstitch kits. I used 2 strands at a time.

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I bought 4 different colours of thread – gold, red, green and black. I used the grey mixed with the brown for the cape of the dude on the right. I pretty much copied the colours from the picture as best I could. I slightly with I hadn’t done the 2 bright colours on the same guy on the left. But he does have an excellent moustache, so there’s that.

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I just used long stitches to fill in the lines as quickly as possible basically – I don’t know what the stitch is called, though.

meme-cushion-4I asked the advice of my friends when I’ve done all the above about whether to add some soil-type lines and they all agreed yes. And they were definitely right – it looked a bit bare before I added them. This is what it looked like before I sewed the front to the back.

meme-cushion-2I had left the piece of fabric quite big so I had room to change the proportions according to the cushion inner thing. But in the end I made an inner cushion and used toy filling to stuff the cushion. I think I stuffed it a bit full, though, because you can’t really see all of the embroidery unless you squish it a bit.

Here is is all finished!

meme-cushion-8And here is is on my sofa – it took so long to make it look good, it was ridiculous! I’m not great at styling I think – any tips?

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My aunt took this photo of it on her chair and made it look sooooo much better! She’s definitely better at styling!

Meme cushionDo you have a favourite meme? If so, please post it in the comments to give me a giggle 🙂 Would you be tempted to embroider it on a cushion? It could be a good Christmas present for someone!

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