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. 

27 February 2015

Superman washbag and some selfish sewing

It feels like an age since I wrote a blog post, I think because I have been pretty good for a change at blogging in advance, where as this one is coming straight at you from my lap! 

So this week one of the projects on my sewing list was to make Master Fox a washing bag. Until I had a child I never even contemplated how much washing a baby creates! Our machine has been going non stop ever since his arrival. Because of the amount of clothes he goes through it felt like a sensible idea to make a washing bag which we can keep in his room to quickly dump everything into to make doing the washing with one hand a little easier! It's a very simple rectangular bag which includes a drawstring channel, a drawstring (of course) and a fabric loop to hang it up by.

Of course to make this I use a bit of the leftover superman fabric in a bit of a stash busting effort. I think there might be a slight chance we overdid the use of the superman fabric in his room! What do you think? Mr Fox would disagree though, apparently you can never get enough superman, at at least it all matches though right? Functionally the washing bag is working a treat, though the drawstring is a little thick making it a little hard to pull on. I will probably thin it out at some point but for now it serves it's purpose beautifully. 

So, what else have I been up too? Well despite me saying that I wasn't going to sew for myself until I had lost a bit of the baby weight I decided I'm also fed up of not actually fitting in any of my clothes and not having anything nice or flattering to wear (hello leggings and oversized cardigans). So I have started to make up a dress in some of the cheaper cotton sateen fabric which I got off eBay. This stuff was less than £5 per meter so one dress is not going to break the bank, and I can always repurpose the zip etc when I have finished. 

I will of course give you more details on this dress once I have it finished, though with only an odd hour here and there to spend it might take me a little while. I am really enjoying getting back on the horse and doing some selfish garment sewing. I was however a little shocked when I saw the size I needed to cut out to get this to fit! 

Finally, just because it's really cute, I did a print of Master Fox's tiny little feet! I used a non toxic ink pad, as paint can be a little too thick for something so delicate. It worked really well and I have this cute little print of his cute little toes to remember when he was so small. I would definitely say this is worth a go as a really cheap moments of your little ones. 

20 February 2015

New Look 6235:Baby Shark Dressing Gown

How adorable is this! I'm not sure Master Fox needs a dressing gown quiet yet but why would he not want this adorable shark one?!?

The pattern is New Look 6235 and it comes with two dressing gown variations as well as knit Jersey pants and top. Of course I chose the pattern for the shark dressing gown, but the jersey pants will no doubt come in very handy, especially as Mr Fox has donated a couple more t-shirts to the sewing cause! 

Because he can't even sit up yet I decided to make the dressing gown in one of the larger sizes so he can wear it whilst sitting about the house. It's about 18lb which roughly equates to 3-6 months, but I anticipate us fitting in this by autumn. It does feel a bit on the large side though but it will give him plenty of room to wrap himself up and grow into. 

I didn't want to spend a whole lot of extra money making this up so I decided to use this project as a bit of a stash buster. I used some grey fleece (formally a blanket) and some plain white cotton to line (formally a bedsheet!) which I already had cluttering up the craft room. They are great for the project, the fleece is warm and snugly and the cotton perfect for next to the skin, warm in the winter, cooler in the summer. However if I was to purchase fabric to make this it would be great with a soft toweling lining to dry off after a lovely warm bath.

I only made a couple of very minor amends to the pattern. I stitched black fleece circles to the hood before attaching the lining instead of using buttons - babies and buttons are not the best combo in my opinion. I also omitted stuffing the teeth as the fleece fabric is pretty sturdy already. 

The pattern was very simple and easy to follow. As others have mentioned the sleeves are a little complex when finishing off but if you read the instructions clearly it makes sense. There are minimal pieces to this, they go together well and as its loose fitting there is no need to get a perfect size. Even the tie was easy to do. I will definitely make this again either in a bigger size or as a gift for any future mums to be that I know. 

I was inspired to make this by seeing That's Sew Amy's version on the Minerva blogger network Blog post. I love it though, it's definitely my kind of sewing :) 

Mr Fox has a fear of sharks but he surely can't be scared of the cute little Master Fox when he is wearing this!

13 February 2015

Marvin the Sock Monkey

Meet Marvin the Sock Monkey! You will probably already know that I have been making cuddly toys for years (take a look at my Monster Magic page if you didn't already know) but I have never ventured into the world of sock creations. There are two reasons for this, firstly that I much prefer the idea of using plain fabric, I think I decided it was less restrictive. Secondly, and more importantly, I have a good friend who makes sock creatures and is much better at it than I will ever be. She does make them to sell so if you are interested in purchasing a sock creature, or just want to have a nose at her brilliant work check out her Socksy Beasts page on Facebook.

Anyway, back to Marvin, why did I made a sock monkey? well because I was gifted a sock monkey kit of course! A great excuse to take a sneak peak into the world of sock creations. The kit is from www.sockcreatures.co.uk and contains everything you need to make your very own sock monkey. Of course they don't just do monkeys. there is a huge range of sock creature kits from a sock fox to a sockasaurus, you really need to take a look to really appreciate how many different kits there are.

So, what do you get in the kit? Well, the bag contained a pair of socks (doh!), I have to admit the colour put me off making this for a while but never mind. You also get some printed instructions on how to make the sock creature, stuffing, thread, needle, accessories to decorate your creature and some sweeties (which really do help the creative process!).

The instructions were very easy to follow and the kit was a doddle to use so I would recommend this. It would be a brilliant gift for a young child to help them learn to sew, but is also a bit of fun for adults too. There are however a couple of comments I would like to make about this particular kit. Firstly, why they sent neon orange/black socks with lilac thread I will never know, the stitching is really obvious. Secondly the pattern shows the arm being cut the wrong way round. The diagram implies you cut the arms with the ribbing close to the body, I did this and it looked really daft as the ribbing on the legs and tail are all at the opposite end to the body. So I had to chop the end open and re-sew to make it look less daft. Apart from that a very lovely kit.

After following the instructions to make the sock monkey you are then left with the option of customising your creation. Now as he is a very dapper monkey, and orange and pink are one of my favourite colour combos I made him this lovely giant pink felt bow tie <3. I think it makes him look very sophisticated!

So what do you think to Marvin? I hope you like him, even if hes not the most perfectly sewn.

If anyone would like to adopt him he is free to a good home, I will happily cover postage, just leave me a comment at the end of the post expressing an interest. If I get more than one response we will do a random number generator by the following week. Please don't post your address details in the comments I will get in touch with you for more details. I should point out though he is not brilliantly sewn so should not be given as a toy to very small children as he is not CE tested for safety.