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Thursday, 20 April 2017

How to sew very Easy Totes and Shopping bags

A blog post

I am often told that many of us are inspired to make our own bags and we go and buy a lovely pattern, but that's as far as we ever get - mostly. The reason seems to be that these patterns require so many different and unfamiliar fabrics,interlinings and other notions which are either hard to obtain or are too expensive, or both.
In this post I am going to show you how to make a very easy Tote bag for your shopping and then I will  adapt the same design by first of all adding a lining, and then by making the bag larger to make a practical beach bag and finally a stylish faux leather large Tote with embroidery. 
Although I am using my wonderful embroidery machine - which is quite honestly the best thing I have ever had - it takes sewing to a whole new level, you can omit the embroidery.
Why not use a patterned fabric, do some simple applique or even hand embroidery, it doesn't really matter. In fact it's a great way to use up fabric scraps or even discarded clothes. The whole point is that we all need shopping bags and if you know how to make your own you will never be short of a bag again. The best thing is that if you use leftover fabric they are free!

Skills learned

  • French seam
  • Machine embroidery (optional)
  • Making a basic tote
  • Adding a lining
  • Sewing with faux leather 
  • Using a commercial bag pattern
  • Adding a zip

Monday, 17 April 2017

How to up-cycle your jeans

This is a mini blog post showing you how to bling your jeans - and how to make them smaller!

It is easy to take jeans in at the waist, and there are a lot of tutorials online showing you how to remove the waistband at the back, add a dart and reduce the waistband before stitching it back on .
There are only a few tutorials showing you how to take them in at the hip downwards, so this is how I do it - adding some embroidery at the same time

 Unless you have some top stitching thread in the same colour as that used on the jeans you need to find a seam which doesn't have any top stitching. In my case the outside side seams are left plain below the pocket, so these are the seams I am going to use.

 Take your seam ripper, mine is by Prym from Jaycotts, it has a soft grip and comes in small medium and large. Seam Ripper
Start unpicking the side seams carefully from just below the pocket, where there is likely to be some top stitching and finish about four inches above the hem so that we do not have a new hem to cope with.

So now we have the side seams open part way. Press at this point, i used some starch to stiffen the fabric.
If you are going to embroider as I did then choose your design and measure where you want to place it. If you are adding a bought applique then you can pin and tack 
 It in place now and sew it in place by machine. You could use a diamante trim!
To hoop the fabric for machine embroidery, your jeans are likely to be in a stretch denim so they need stabilising firmly. I pressed on an iron on stabiliser to the back  first, this one is called Totally Stable by Gutterman Iron on stabiliser  I also used a layer of Gunold tear away stabiliser and hooped it with the jeans fabric Gunold Stabiliser. Stretch fabrics can be difficult to embroider unless they are held really firmly in the hoop.


This is my amazing embroidery machine, it has totally revolutionised my sewing and if you find yourself near to Chester I do urge you to call in at Jaycotts and ask for a demonstration. Brother Innov-is 800E . This machine is an investment I agree but if you are serious about making most of your own clothes and household items the money you will save justifies the cost, and you can then easily embelish  just about anything, even your bed linen, giving everything your own personal touch.

This is the design I chose which took twenty minutes to embroider. You can add more embroidery if you like and you could also add some to the back. If you do have some top stitching thread the same colour then you could remove the back pockets, carefully, embroider them and stitch them back on.

Remove the backing stabilisers and turn inside out. Pin the seams together again and stitch along your new seam-line.I took mine in at this point.
Then overlock the seam to match the rest of the inside and press.

This is my finished design . I chose a design in four colours which sits on the thigh . The design would look great repeated just above it.
The whole project took just over an hour from start to finish.
 You will have lots of ideas of your own to embelish your jeans. It will certainly give them a new lease of life and they will fit better too.

Thank you for  reading this post


#jeans #up-cycle #recycle #alterations #embroidery

Thursday, 6 April 2017

My review of Prym Pressing tools from

A blog post all about pressing 

What is your most important sewing tool? You might be surprised!

In this post I am going to demonstrate some of the pressing equipment by Prym which you can obtain from Jaycotts and I will show you why they are as necessary as your sewing machine when undertaking any sewing project.

What do you imagine the number one rule of sewing to be? Would you be surprised to learn that THE top rule for any sewing project is to press as you go. That's every seam, every time.
You would be amazed at the difference it makes to your finished garment, it makes all your garments look Handmade (Bespoke) not the dreaded " homemade"
And what is the number one rule in pressing? Its simple, don't rush.
Notice too that I used the word pressing not ironing.When you are ironing your iron is moving back and forth over the fabric constantly, with pressing the iron is set down and then lifted up before moving to the next spot.
Every time you sit down to sew get your pressing equipment set up before you start sewing so that it is easily available.  If you leave pressing until after you have finished sewing you will not produce a quality look to your garment.

So, let's discuss which products you need, and I do mean need. The basics are

  • A good quality heavy steam iron
  • An ironing board with a padded cover. Avoid the teflon coated covers as they reflect heat into the back of fabrics and can cause shine and problems with interfacings
  • A pressing cloth 
  • A Tailors ham and/or sleeve roll
  • A sleeve board

My collection of pressing tools 

Tuesday, 4 April 2017

Sewing a Nautical BURDA Anchors Shirtdress

This is a #MCBN post.

What a fabulous dress this is. Shirtdresses are so fashionable at the moment and this dress not only ticks that box but it has a nautical theme and can be worn with or without a net petticoat. This dress is made in stretch cotton but picture it in a floaty cotton lawn too. However you make it this is one stunning dress.
The fabric is very well behaved, and easy to sew for all abilities. I love the anchors don't you! And the buttons are just stunning!

Please do follow the link under  read the full post on the Minerva Craft Blogger Network . It explains how I made it, and what fabrics I used and how you can make one yourself.

And do leave me your comments,They are very much appreciated.

Thank you

Angela x 

How I made my lovely Sew Over It BETTY Dress for  were kind enough to send me this Sew Over It BETTY dress pattern and I could not wait to make it. This is a new range of patterns which they  are  now stocking. I was so excited by it that I wanted to feature one in a blog right away

See the full range of Sew Over It patterns, including this one , on their website Sew Over It at Jaycotts

 I originally wanted to make it up in this "Paris" fabric but after trying every way I could gave up trying and raided my stash for this cotton viscose mix.
When choosing your fabric bear in mind the width of the skirt and choose something with a good drape which will hang well. I suggest a viscose mix. Minerva Fabrics have a great range of suitable fabrics and if you look at the selection on this page you will find florals and spots which will all look fabulous Viscose mix dress fabrics

The dress has a full circle skirt so it does take a lot of fabric. The only other things you need are some interfacing, an invisible zip and some thread.  A large spool of thread!

The pattern instructions are fabulous, inside the strong envelope is a booklet explaining each step in great detail. Fantastic.

The very first thing I did was to make a toille of the bodice. I used some lightweight cotton fabric and transferred all the pattern markings onto it with a fabric marking pen. Jaycotts have a good selection of water and air erasable marker pens. For a toille you need to use a water based or even a permanent marker Marker pens