I Want to Sew All The Things!

So I’ve been a little obsessed with sewing recently. You may not be able to tell this from my blog because I haven’t actually gotten around to making much yet, but it’s been literally all I’ve been thinking about for about a month! (Which has gotta be better than lying in bed thinking about work or something, right?!).

I am now on holiday for a week, and am going to visit my Grandma for 4 days from tomorrow, which should be mellow and relaxing.Hopefully which I’m there I’ll finish my Miette cardigan – just the sleeves to go. I’m definitely going to make another one as it has been easy to knit and quite quick.

Miette 1

My plan for the rest of my time off is to Sew All The Things! I am probably going to end up grumpy with myself because, let’s face it, I won’t be able to sew that many garments in 5 days (minus time for cinema, lie-ins and general socialising). My plan is to take my patterns with me to my Grandmas so I can cut them out/ trace them while I’m there to save time when I can be sewing.

I bought this this week:

Gertie's New Book For Better SewingI really want to make the pussy bow blouse:


and it’s variation, the peter pan collar blouse:


I might also have a go at the shirt waist dress, though I’m not sure it’s my style and I’m conscious of spending ages sewing something I won’t wear. But it’s so pretty!


I also downloaded this pattern from BurdaStyle:

BurdaStyle 1which I’m pretty sure has this variation, though I haven’t stuck the pattern together yet to work out whether I’ve got the variation or would have to work out how to do it:

BurdaStyle 2

It does come with this variation, though I don’t think I like it without the pleats:

BurdaStyle 3

I have also bought the latest edition of BurdaStyle magazine, mostly for the men’s shirt pattern (as The Boyfriend would like a grandad shirt or two):

Why the stupid expression?!
Why the stupid expression?!

Plus there might be one or two things in there I could try. So with my copy of The Great British Sewing Bee book on order (for free from our rep at work hopefully), there should be plenty to keep me busy! I just mustn’t get annoyed with myself if I don’t make all of these things in one week off!

The very first thing I need to make, though, is a Polaroid camera case for one of my friends at work. I promised to make her one at Christmas (as it is currently sheltering in a fluorescent sock) but have been super busy. It’s all cut out and planned, so I just need to actually sew it together. In return she is going to give me a photography lesson as she is a super good photographer, so hopefully you won’t see any more blurry, wonky, dark, crappy photos from me!

Make It: Sherlock Kindle Case

So for the last 3 years, I have made Christmas presents for my wonderful Aunt. She is a HUGE BBC Sherlock fan (along with quite a lot of other people I know!) so last year I made her a Benedict Cumberbatch Calendar:

It took AAAAGES to draw all of the line for all of the days inside!(Photo from Evenlode’s Friend Tumblr)

It took AAAAGES to draw all of the line for all of the days inside!



I had to think of something to top it this year, so I decided to make her a Kindle case with a Sherlock theme. (A Kindle is approx 20.2cm high, 13.5 cm wide and 1cm thick, so I made the case 23cm x 16 cm with seam allowances. I figured it was thin enough to not need a gusset). Although I am contractually obliged to hate Kindles and Amazon, I had a brilliant idea of how I could make it awesome! On the internets, there is a LOT of fan art for Sherlock and amongst the common things are some Victorian-style silhouettes. I decided to cut these out of felt and applique them onto each side of the Kindle case:


It was quite fiddley, but worth it! I then used one of the fancy stitches around the outside, to give them, like, a frame. Look how they’re gazing at each other longingly!

So I was pretty pleased with this part, but the pièce de résistance was using some of John and Sherlock’s best-loved clothes (and the ones that so often appear in the many, many, many pieces of fan fiction) for the other side of the case – to make it reversible. Probably Sherlock’s most famous piece of clothing, aside from his amazing coat, is the purple shirt of sex:

Purple shirt of sex

I still had a bit of purple fabric left from making Norman (which is slightly wrong, using fabric bought for a child’s present to make a purple shirt of sex, but what are you gonna do?). I decided to cheat a bit and just sewed 2 lines down the middle of the rectangle but the buttons in the middle of them, to make it look like buttons and button holes. (There would be no point making functioning buttons and my machine is crap at button holes). You can just about make out the stitching…

You can just about make out the stitching...

Probably John’s most famous piece of clothing (aside from the red pants – warning, explicit content!) is his oatmeal/ biscuit coloured jumper he wears in the first episode:

John's jumper

For the other side of the purple shirt of sex, I knitted a rectangle of John’s jumper. I can’t quite remember how many stitches I cast on, though to work it out, knitting usually ends up about 1.5 times the width of the cast on stitches, not including the stitches which will be used in the cable. I practised to make sure I got all of the cables going the same way as on the actual jumper, though sadly, again, I can’t remember which way round it was – I have various notes which I worked from, but they don’t say which ones I used. Sorry!


Construction-wise, I sewed the 2 silhouettes and the shirt and jumper together as though they were small individual bags (with right sides together). I made a small button tab which was calico on one side and purple on the other side, so that it would blend in whichever way round you have the case – I sewed it together on 3 sides with right sides together (not that it really mattered as they’re pretty reversible fabrics) and turned it inside out – the un-sewn edge would get sewn into the top seam, so it didn’t matter that it wasn’t sewn. I also sewed a button-hole into the end of this (with purple thread in my bobbin and cream thread in my machine – check out the detail I went to!). The top button on the shirt allows the case to be closed up (and closed on the inside of the case if it’s the other way around).

I sewed the bottom seam allowances of both bags together a little bit, to stop the whole thing being turned inside out, rather than one bag being reversed (if that makes sense?! I’m not sure it does). Anyway, I sewed the 2 bags together at the top, remembering to put in the button tab and voila!

Finished 1Finished 2Finished 4

Finished 3

When the sillhouettes are on the inside, it looks like they're kissing!
When the sillhouettes are on the inside, it looks like they’re kissing!


Crafty goodness

So after my mammoth 11 days working in a row, I’ve had the last 5 days off (hence the many posts – I’m almost caught up on ones I had meant to post during the epic working). This has been bliss, and I’ve been pottering around and deciding what to make next.

Usually with crafty things, I make presents for other people as it seems a good way to justify the money spent on the materials. I managed to make a lot of gifts for Christmas this year, most of which I have yet to write up on here.

But I have decided that I want to make some stuff for myself, especially because that means I can do it all year round (without having to wait until Christmas or birthdays). With this in mind, a couple of days ago I went shopping! In the process I discovered a few great sewing shops I didn’t know about before, namely MacCulloch and Wallis (how did I now know this place existed, and just across the road from John Lewis, which always disappoints me?!) and Rolls and Rems in Holloway (I live in North London), which has a really good selection of fabric at reasonable prices. I also went back to The Cloth Shop, the little sewing and knitting shop in Wood Green Market place which took me ages to find the first time. They have an especially good range of wool and buttons. And I tried to shop in Wools and Crafts on Blackstock Road, but I find it really awkward to browse in there as they follow you around.

Anyway, enough of where I went, onto what I bought:


Anyone who knows me will know that my favourite colour is blue (as you can guess from the design of my blog), but I have recently been wanting to expand the number of colours I wear and I’ve been thinking how useful it would be to have a red cardigan to act as an accent for the blue/black/grey I wear a lot. So I’ve decided to knit myself one. I’ve never knitted clothes for an adult before (I’ve done a couple of baby cardis, with varying degrees of success) so watch this space for whether I have the skill and/ or patience to complete it. This wool was a bargainifourous £13 for 1000 yds, which seems to be roughly how much you need for a small-sized cardigan. I have decided to use this free pattern which I found on Ravelry (more on Ravelry another day). I’m going to see if I can knit it with long sleeves in stead of 3/4 length, but again, I might not have the skills to do this!


I’m way behind on the ‘let’s all sew New Look 6000′ fest that Scruffy Badger organised last year (mostly because I wasn’t making clothes then), but it looked like a good, easy pattern for my first clothes sewing in years, so I bought it and some fabric! I especially like the versions by Tilly and the Buttons and Dolly Clackett. As of writing this, I’ve cut out all the pieces and hope to have it finished by next weekend.


Here is a close-up of my fabric. I thought it would make the dress a bit less formal, so I can wear it regularly. I can also wear it with my new red cardigan (once I make it)!


I thought I would share this picture in case anyone had any ideas what I can sew with these 3 gorgeous pieces of fabric my friend Fran gave me for my birthday. I love them all! They are 50cm square, so I’m thinking to use each of them with a plain fabric on a top (or something) that needs 2 fabrics (for an accented yoke or something like that). They’re too nice to make into a cushion cover, which was my first thought, probably just because they’re square.


I also was given (also by Fran) some bits of her stash – so I’m building up a nice one of my own. I especially like the brown fabric with the turquoise and orange pattern on (bottom left) and the plain grey (top right). There is quite a  bit of some of them a small pieces of some others – again, any thoughts for using them would be great!

Well, back to the sewing machine……

Make It: Norman the Slug with a Silly Shell Wall Hanging


Last year I bought my friend Norman the Slug with a Silly Shell by Sue Hendra for her daughter. Little did I know then the pain I would cause my friend because her daughter loved it so much! She literally knows it off by heart! So for this Christmas I decided to carry on the pain by making a wall hanging of Norman.
This is what I bought to make Norman – felt in orange, yellow, and 3 of pink. I also got matching thread for all of this and some beads (for the hundreds and thousands on the doughnut) and some purple cotton fabric for the backing – a metre in total I think (so it could be doubled to hide all the stitching).


First I made Norman from the orange felt, adding eyes made from a bit of wadding I had lying around (but 2 layers to make it not see-through), and with embroidered pupils.


Then I sewing him onto the background…..


….and added on his slime trail.


I sewed the bead/ sequins to the pink felt, which I had cut out for the doughnut. I had to make it in 2 halves because of the size of the felt, which is a bit of a shame but didn’t show too badly.


I cut out paper patterns for all the pieces. The doughnut I cut out round, and then cut the pieces out for the irregular icing. I saved the pieces I cut out to make the bread parts of the doughnut for around the edge. I used bondaweb on them as they were so small, so I could stick them to the background and then sew them – pins would have been no good!


I cut the name out of the same pink felt.


All that was left to do was to sew it all on to the background, which was 40cm x 40cm.

Norman-20a Norman-23a

I used a piece of brown wool I had in my stash for the string Norman uses to tie on the doughnut.


The last thing to do was the loops on the top to hang Norman from. I made them 9cm x 21cm. Sewed them in half lengthways, turned them inside out/ the right way round (the fabric doesn’t really have a back and front) and ironed them so that the seams were in the middle not on one edge. I them placed the loops equally spaced (allowing for the seam allowance), folded in half on top of one of the background pieces, with the raw edges of the loop lined up with the raw edge of the backing piece. I then put the other backing piece (with Norman on) on top of this, wrong sides together, with the loops in between the 2 pieces and sewed almost all the way around, leaving a gap to turn it the right way around. I then sewed this little gap closed by hand.


(You can just about make out the pins in the corner where I sewed the opening closed.)

Sewing Machine

I finally got my deposit back from my old flat last week (the cheque cleared last Wednesday) so I bought a sewing machine! I’d been planning to get one for a while so I had time to do some research and had pretty much decided on which one to get before I went to John Lewis. I decided to go to a shop so that I would get a guarantee and a bit of advice about which one was good. It was between a Singer and  a John Lewis brand one and I got the John Lewis one as the man said it was  a better machine for the money (I guess because you’re not paying for the brand). Although I’ve been sewing with sewing machines on and off for many years, I suddenly felt really stupid being in the shop and buying a machine. I think I was scared they would think I was an idiot or something. I don’t know why I cared about what the people in the shop thought – they just want the sale I would think – but I felt a bit out-of-place all the same. I think I was also nervous to be spending so much money in one go!

I haven’t played with it yet – my weekend has completely disappeared but I plan to make many things, hopefully for Christmas – I enjoy knitting a lot but it’s just too slow to make very many presents and with about 15 people to get gifts for, I am going to try to make as many as I can.  Now I just need to decide what to make and find somewhere that sells reasonably priced fabric……..

John Lewis sewing machine