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.

 

 

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!

 

 

Cotton Lawn Robe

Since the weather is now getting cold, I’ve made a robe out of some beautiful light-weight cotton lawn from Sew Me Sunshine (she only has a remnant left of it alas). #sewingappropriategarmentsfortheweather

I used the Simplicity K1108 pattern which came free with Sew Magazine, which I only buy when there is a pattern I want to make. I can’t remember when it came out, but I knew I wanted to make it and I waited for the perfect fabric. I actually found this cotton lawn on a couple of websites last year when I was looking for fabric for the culottes I made for the New Craft House Summer Party (though I realise now it wouldn’t have worked) but it was sold out everywhere, so when I saw that Harriet had it in stock I bought it IMMEDIATELY!

I made the size medium and cut it at a length in between view D and C – they’re the versions without the more bat-wingy sleeves as they’re not so much my style.

Here is a close up of the gorgeous fabric! It fits perfectly into my colour palette.

The pattern is really simple to make – definitely a good make for a beginner. The only tricky bit was the bias binding around the whole neckline – and that was only tricky because I made my own bias binding using this brilliant tutorial from Helen from Stitch My Style and didn’t do the most accurate of measuring, so my binding was a bit too narrow in places so it was impossible to enclose all of the raw edges in places. I cut a couple of wider bits from the leftovers and just put them over the top of the narrow bits, it’s a bit shoddy but it worked. Sometimes you just have to bodge it!

I did manage to wear this once before the weather got a bit chilly! And I was promised that September would be warm, but so far it’s not really warm enough to wear a thin robe as opposed to a proper cardigan. Boo.

I know that for various reasons some people really didn’t enjoy the heatwave/proper Summer we had in the UK this year, but I am lucky to live in a flat that is cool (because it’s old – the pay-off is that it is also freezing in the Winter) and I work in a place with air con so I am a bit sad that we’re heading back into Autumn and Winter again already.Also I barely got to wear my Birkenstocks! Although I like snuggling up when it’s cold, last year Winter seemed to go on forever and I get a bit sick of sitting at my sewing machine usually in 3 layers, with a hot water bottle and a blanket! Maybe I need to move to warmer climes…..

Anyway, season rant over.

Have you ever actually made a free pattern from a magazine? I think this is the first I’ve made and I deliberately don’t subscribe to any sewing magazines because I don’t want to increase my pattern stash exponentially with things I know I won’t make.

 

 

Stripey Jersey Dress

One of my favourite dresses I’ve made is this electric blue one, from a free pattern by In The Folds for Peppermint Magazine. I always get compliments whenever I wear it, and I love the slouchy shape, though it still makes me feel put together.

I love buying new patterns, and each time someone releases a shiny new one (Closet Case Patterns Sasha Trousers, I’m looking at you!) I find it really hard to resist buying them. I have so many patterns I’ve not yet made so often I make things once and think ‘I really like this, I’ll make it again’…..and then I don’t. So I’m trying to remedy this by making more versions of things I’ve liked making and wearing but have made only once or twice. This is the first of those patterns.

I made the size 10, as before, and the only change I made was to cut off the pockets (which are attached to the front and back pieces) and cut them out separately as I couldn’t quite fit the pieces as they were on the fabric. Speaking of which, this fabric was the one piece I managed to snag when What Katie Sews did an Instagram destash a few months ago. I could cheerfully have bought loads of things, but I was mostly too late, boo! But I did get this great stripey jersey. It’s nice and thick but still has a bit of drape so the dress hangs really nicely.

I was telling my friends at the Sewing Bee Live that I’m not totally convinced about raglan sleeves on me, but looking at these pictures, I don’t know what my problem is! I have a hang-up that my shoulders are wide, but given that that is often the place where things are too big on me, I think I might be a little bit mental! Since making this dress I’ve cut out another Linden sweatshirt, to give it another go as I wasn’t totally in love with my first version – but that may have been due to the fabric more than anything else.

I cut the neckband with the stripes going the other way, not realising that the fabric only stretches one way. So I can barely get it over my head! I think I might remove the neckband completely and just turn the neck under as that is the one place on my other version that isn’t totally comfortable – it’s a bit strangle-y when I’m sitting down.

I didn’t add the cuffs, which I had done on my other version, so I just turned a small hem up on each sleeve end. I also left off the hem band this time as I felt it made it slightly long on the other version. I also couldn’t squeeze it out of the fabric, and I’m glad I left it off as I like the more a-line shape of the skirt when it’s not pulled in by a hem band.

I did have enough fabric to pattern match the stripes on the side seams, but the eagle-eyed among you may spot – if you look at the hem – that the hem is not straight when you compare it to the stripes. This is because I wasn’t as careful as I could/should have been when folding the fabric in half to cut out the front and back. It looked like the stripes were lined up, but they were one out so the stripes have actually formed a spiral around the dress, so it’s impossible to hem it with the stripes straight – I tried and I reached my starting point but was still pinning more and more out of the hem as the spiral moved up the dress! Oops! Lesson learnt.

And today’s outtake it brought to you by not making it back to my photo spot in time for the camera timer!

Do you make patterns more than once or are you seduced by shiny new ones, like me. Or a combination of the two? I think that’s what I’m hoping I’ll aim for as I don’t want to stop supporting all the wonderful indie designers, but also I don’t have unlimited money and time for buying and making new patterns constantly.