25 April 2015

Felt Dinosaur

 
This is Mick the Felty Dinosaur! Hello Mick. 

Mick is another pattern which I got from the second issue of Simply Sewing magazine. As soon as I saw this pattern in the mag I just new it had to be done. I mean it appeals to all my sewing whims. Plushie, cute, quick, perfect for the boy. He just had to get made. 


He is made from pure wool felt. When I saw the pattern I knew I had the perfect piece of material to make him out of. The body is a hand felted piece of fabric in teal and green, I hear you, its like it was made for this project. I've had it in my craft room for years and you know when you can't bear to use something because you know the perfect project will come along... well here's proof it does in the end. Because its hand felted real wool as well it gives it a gorgeous texture, its almost scaly just like a real dino!


The pattern was really easy. Its thankfully mostly machine sewn which just a few sections of the feet being hand sewing, perfect! The instructions were really clear and easy to follow. I also love the way the feet are sewn on so that it makes the dino stand up.

The Simply Sewing magazine, whilst not always being chocca full of things I would make, has at least always had really clear instructions, and with the pattern pieces provided this makes things a lot easier. I hate it when you have to upscale pattern pieces, I mean we don't all have access to a copier do we, and the idea of doing it on graph paper is just too much of a chore. I have had issue 3 through the door now, and this one is a little lacking in projects which interest me personally, but I suppose you can't please everyone all the time. It comes with a lovely felt pack, but again i'm not inspired by the projects included so need to rack my brains for a different one.

Anyway. I think I'm rambling!! I hope you like Mick (he was named by Mr Fox, don't ask me why Mick). I would definitely suggest giving him a go if you have a copy of the mag. If not, get googling for some felt dinosaur sewing patterns of your own!


17 April 2015

Blue Baby Moss Print Hoodie


Baby knitting is so awesome! Its so much easier to finish something when its this tiny, and i'll be honest i'm not brilliant at finishing my knitting projects. Admittedly, with a little baby it still takes a while, but at least its a finishable project. I mean it seems daft to put something this small on you hibernating knitting pile when a few extra evenings will see it finished.

This little hoodie is a pattern I got from Ravelry called Manda Ruth which can also be purchased from the designers website. I really like the all over moss print which adds a lovely bit of texture, and of course the cute little hood.

This is the first time I have ever knitted anything 'in the round' (its a cardi, so esentially not round but you get the point). Knitting in the round is where you knit the whole body, front and back, as one piece so there are no seams to be sewn. You then pick up the arms and knit them in the round on dpns so again no seams. This is not a very British way of sewing, and although the technique itself wasn't difficult I think I actually prefer to knit all the pieces and sew them together at the end. I'm not brilliant at picking up and knitting, but at least this project gave me some much needed practice. 

The pattern itself was very straight forward to follow and it knitted up really quick being an aran weight hoodie. I would definitely recommend this pattern, and I might make up another one for when hes a bit older.

I did make a couple of boo boos here and there, but nothing too noticeable I hope, and certainly not something which is going to bother me (or Master Fox).
 

I chose this really lovely blue Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran which I got from Love Knitting. It was meant to be a superman blue, as Mr Fox is a huge fan of blue, but it is ever so slightly off. The colour and feel of this wool is so gorgeous though, its so fresh and bright.

The sad thing about this pattern is that it has come up really small :(. Master Fox is a little boy and is still in 0-3 month clothes despite being 4 months now (how is he already 4 months old!?!). I chose to knit this in the 6 month size and as you can see from the picture below its a little on the snug side, especially the hood. So if you do decide to knit this double check your gauge and maybe knit the next next size up to be on the safe side. Its ok when the hood is down though, and we will get a few wears out of it as its the perfect cover up for these spring days.


3 April 2015

Fabric Storage Basket


Well, its Good Friday so I hope you are all planning to cram as much chocolate into your cake holes as possible over the next few days... I know I am!

So issue 2 of the new Simply Sewing Magazine turned up last week (it was a bit over a month and I eagerly anticipated its arrival!). It has a lot of cute little patterns in it, my favourites being the stuffed felt dinosaur which I am totally going to make, this fabric basket and a cute pintucked top. The pintucked top is however very similar to the free Colette sorbetto pattern though it does make a cute little variation and has some very nice dipped hems.

What I think I like most about this magazine though it that it contains loads of simple, yet lovely small makes. Things that don't require a huge amount of fabric or time and whats so perfect about this is that its totally a way of me sewing stuff out of the massive amounts of fabric I already have lying around doing nothing.

Now don't get me wrong, I am terrible at using fabric. I buy its because its pretty and then I fear using it for making something which turns out to be a huge failure, or something which I don't actually like. Well, time to get over that fear, I need to get using some of this stuff I'm hording!.


So this months issue came with a little floral tea towel and some patterns on how to best use the tea towel to make it into something else. These included a roll bag, a lunchbox, a pinny or cutlery roll. They are all very nice ideas but do you know what, non of them are practical to my life (and the idea here is to destash, not create stuff I don't need). So instead of making one of those I used the pattern in the magazine for this fabric storage basket and turned this tea towel into storage instead. 

The pattern called for some lining fabric as well so I used this teal and black fat quarter which I bought about 2 years ago from ebay. Its a lovely colour match and makes a very nice lining in my opinion. The nice thing about this basket is its also reversible. 

The pattern was really easy to follow, just a few straight lines and folds here and there and you have a basket. I did omit the interfacing as the free tea towel was pretty sturdy, it is a little floppy though so you might want to use it anyway. It doesn't fall over though so is perfectly servicable. Its now sat in the living room keeping my current knitting project in order instead of being strewn all over the side! perfect.

 

Have you been reading the new sewing mag? do you have any favourite patterns, or makes from it you want to show off? Please feel free to leave a linky below.

Happy Easter :)

27 March 2015

Tulle Bow Tutorial


So I did a quick pinterest the other day to see if I could find a tutorial on making little tulle bows which could be used as hair clips/brooches/sewn onto headbands etc and to my surprise there was a distinct lack of them. I decided that the internet deserved one so here you go... your very welcome :)


You will need: 
  • Some tulle or net fabric. I used some 6inch tulle which came on a roll which was left over from our wedding decorations (like this). You will need one piece approx 55inch by 6inch (enough to wrap around a place mat about 6 times) and one piece which is just 3inch by 6inch.
  • A regular coffee mug mat
  • Scissors
  • Matching thread and needle
  • A Pin

 Using your coffee mug mat, starting at the back put the tulle about 2/3 of the way across making sure it crosses the middle of the mat. 


Wrap the tulle all the way around the mat until you have 6 layers of tulle covering the front. Making sure once again that the end of the tulle is 2/3 of the way across the back and passing over the center. 


Ensure you have a hold of all the layers and carefully slide the mat out from the middle.


 Pop a pin into the center through all layers to hold it together (the folds want to be to the side and the open edges to the top/bottom). 


Using a basic running stitch and matching thread sew through all layers from one open end to the other. 


Pull the thread to gather the bow in the center and wrap the thread around a couple of times. Secure with a little stitched knot. 


Taking your small piece of tulle, and starting at the back wrap it around the middle of the bow 2 or 3 times. Trim any excess making sure the end is at the back and hidden in the middle. 


Using your needle and tread sew a few stitches to secure the loose end down so that it doesn't unravel.


Finally using your scissors you need to carefully cut through the folded edges at the end of the bows so that they poof out nicely. Do this part carefully and trim any stray bits which might end up sticking out. 


And there you have a pretty finished tulle bow. You can pop a bobby pin through the end and wear it in your hair, a brooch for your coat or it can be sewn onto a garment for a bit of upcycling glamour.

I would love to see what you decide to use these for, so if you use this tutorial to make one for yourself leave me a comment with your picture or instagram me @thediyfox



20 March 2015

Simply Sewing Polka Dot Headband


I finally got round to stitching up the headband from the first issue of the new simply sewing magazine using the free polka dot fabric which came with the magazine. The mag did provide patterns and instructions for three things which could all be created from the one piece of fabric provided. First was this headband, second a gathered fabric flower and third a fabric covered book. I have done both the gathered flowers and a covered book on the blog already so I have gone for the headband (and I used the rest of the fabric to make the pockets of my new dress!) 


The instructions were really easy to follow, and the headband was really easy to make. All you need is a sewing machine, some thread and a small piece of elastic. I decided to make my headband a little snazzier though. I used a pink thread for my top stitching instead of black and also made this really cute little pink fabric bow out of a bit of scrap fabric I had. I hand stitched the bow onto the headband to neatly sit about where my parting lies. Now this cute little headband matches my hair and includes a little extra detail and interest which I really like. 


I don't tend to wear headbands all that often, however I have posted before about how stupid I look in hats! Being fair, and needing to keep the sun off my head, a nice thick fabric band like this is perfect for keeping me sun safe and still looking sharp. I definitely think I will be making up another one of these once we get summer fully into swing (really hoping we get a summer!). It would work really well in any kind of polycotton, quilting cotton or cotton poplin. 

If you want to make one of these for yourself hurry out to the shops for your own copy of the new simply sewing magazine. But hurry, I think issue two will be out very soon. 

 



13 March 2015

I found time to make a whole dress!


Woo Hoo! I got my sew on! So, as I wrote about in the last couple of posts, I decided to bite the bullet and instead of waiting for all the maternity weight to drop off I jumped in and made a dress which fits my current size. Why did I do it? simply put its because the weight is not shifting as fast as I would like and I'm fed up of having nothing to wear that I fit into! Too small for maternity and too big for my regular wardrobe. I wanted something a bit nicer to wear that wasn't a pair of leggings and an oversized cardi for a change.

As part of my recent fabric splurge I bought this very cheap striped cotton sateen from ebay (it was like £3.50 a meter or something stupid) so thought sod it, at that price it doesn't matter if I don't get that much wear out of it. 


The dress is a hack of the top part of Cynthia Rowley 1873 (which was free from a magazine) and the skirt from the belladone dress by Deer and Doe. I didn't like the skirt that was part of the Cynthia Rowley pattern but because of the stripes I needed something with a pleat rather than a circle skirt to keep them straight. The belladone skirt pattern worked perfectly. I had to do a bit of playing with the darts and pleats to get them to sit in line with the bodice but I'm really pleased with how they came out. It also includes a cheeky pocket which I love (even if it does accentuate the hip).

I REALLY tried with this dress to get the stripes to match across all pieces, which I wasn't far off, but I could hear May Martin in my head the whole time I was doing this telling me that it's a shame that they are slightly off. The perfectionist in me really wanted to pull the thing apart and re-sew the seam a fraction of an inch to get them perfect. Thankfully the realist in me took over and made me realise that it had already taken me three weeks to do about four hours of sewing so it just wasn't a sensible idea. I think for the meantime I just have to accept that having something wearable is the end goal, not something which is a thing of perfection. Also, sleepless nights are not very conducive to perfect sewing!  

 

I have learnt a bit about fitting to my new post pregnancy shape as well. Needless to say, my bust has grown, and so has my waist. So taking these measurements (and the finished bust size on the pattern) I cut out my new size, which graded from a 12 in the bust to a 14 in the waist (this scares my pre-size 6 waisted self) and stitched it up without any bust adjustment as it didn't imply I needed any with this new bigger size. Well, turns out, just because my bust and waist are bigger, it doesn't mean my back has grown, turns out my back and shoulders are pretty much the same as they were before. Next time I need to do a bust adjustment and grade from a smaller size in the back and shoulders to a bigger size at the bottom. The result of this is that the neck and shoulder lines are a bit baggy, but that's nothing a good cardigan (which I never don't wear anyway) won't hide. Thankfully the bust darts are sitting ok on this.

So despite the things that bug me about this dress, there are a few things I am really proud of. Firstly, I did my first bit of topstitching to make the facing stay to the inside. That stuff actually works! Who knew, and it was very neat. I am really pleased with the movement of the pleats and darts to get them to line up, the side seams aren't perfect, but they are pretty darn close, and finally, the pockets. I love that these babies are done with a different fabric, it just takes away from the dominant stripe a bit. You can probably guess I did this on purpose because the thought of trying to match the stripe across the pocket as well just made my brain hurt, but I do like the outcome. The fabric was some of the free polka dot cotton which came free with the first issue of the new Simply Sewing Mag. Thankfully I still have enough left to make the headband pattern from the insert.


So in the end I have made myself a cute little dress which I can wear out and about, despite a few flaws and problems along the way. I hope you like it and can forgive me my little sewing faux pahs, at the end of the day, I have decided I don't care ;) 

7 March 2015

Leather and Lace!


So, we are nearly at the final of the 3rd season of the great British sewing bee. I have loved this season so far and I can't wait to see what they need to make in the final episode. I was a bit sad though to see Deborah leave, she made some great fabric choices in her makes. I am going to have to make sure I keep an eye on what she gets up too after the bee (you can find her blog here: http://dfabricate.blogspot.co.uk/)
I loved the theme of this week! Leather and lace have to be my favourite of all wardrobe fabrics ;) it's just a shame they aren't easier to sew with. I have done a couple of small leather accessories but never a whole outfit (can you imagine the cost!!). It did however make me have a little look back at some of the lace projects I have made which I am still super proud of, especially the zinnia skirt, I can't wait to fit into this again! 

Take a look at a couple of the other leather and lace projects I've managed over the last year: 




The good news is I have actually nearly finished my dress, so hopefully I can take advantage of this weeks lovely weather and get the pictures taken ready to show off for you next week. 

I'm also hoping to make a couple of book purchases, and hopefully issue 2 of the new simply sewing mag will land on my doorstep next week so there will be plenty to keep me inspired and entertained. 

Whatever you are up to this week I hope you enjoy it.