Sunday, 22 July 2012

Saturday, 14 July 2012

Beginner Sewing Project ~ Cellphone Case

We bought Miss Missy her own cell phone recently, and she wanted to make a case for it.  We had fun working on it together, and when we finished, I thought, wouldn't it be cool to share how we made it?

This is a really simple project, perfect for kids or beginner sewers.  I've made a pattern which is available here.

I can't put together a step-by-step photo tutorial for you because I didn't think of it till we'd already finished making it  ^_^  but I did take a few photos to show how it goes together, and I think it should be easy enough to follow.

All you will need is a pretty button and some scraps of fleece (we used scraps left over from the last batch of Blankie Babies I made).  You will also need the usual sewing supplies of scissors, pins, a needle, thread, and a sewing machine.

Using the pattern pieces provided, cut out the back and flap piece from one colour of fleece.

Cut the front from another colour of fleece.  We decided to use two colours of thread, so that the stitching would contrast with the fleece - pink with the purple and purple with the pink.

Pin the front piece to the back and flap piece with the wrong sides together and the curved edges even.  Stitch together as shown.  Use a pin to mark the position of the button hole and button, then put the cellphone inside to check the fit (Mr K's fitted fine, as did Miss Missy's of course, but I would have moved the button a bit if I'd made one for my phone).  Move the markings if needed.   Make a buttonhole in the flap, and stitch button to the front.

A lovely cellphone case!
Happy Sewing

Blankie Babies are available for sale at my Felt shop

Sunday, 8 July 2012

New Old Blue Jeans

So a while ago, I told you about an old pair of jeans that I patched once or twice (make that a hundred times) because I loved them so...well, now I have a new pair of favourite jeans that need patching, so I thought, rather than just show you the final patches, why not do a wee tutorial?  Ok, I guess patches aren't exactly hard to figure out, but I have learnt a few tips after making a hundred or so patches, so why not share what I've learnt?

To make Bronwen's Super-duper Jean Patches you will need:

  • jeans that need patching (you probably figured that one out already ^_^) 
  • funky fabric for the patches (I like to use quilting or craft fabrics) 
  • a bit of fusible interfacing 
  • colour co-ordinating thread
  • a pair of scissors, a tape measure, and pins 
  • and of course a sewing machine

One of the fabrics I chose is a beautiful hand-stamped piece, made specially for me by the talented Nicola of Coulter and Coulter.  My plan for that fabric is to make a couple of log cabin patchwork cushions for my sewing room...but I need more fabric before I can start that project, and I figured I could spare one motif to make a patch.  I decided to use the light blue, perhaps I'll use the dark blue for the next patch (the other leg is getting a bit thin already)

I cut two squares 10cm by 10cm (4" x 4") then turned under 1cm on all sides, and pressed well.

I like to turn under the edges of my patches as this gives a neat tidy finish, and ensures that the fabric doesn't pull away from the stitching with wear.  Next, cut a piece of interfacing a little smaller than your square.  Fuse in place, using the interfacing to hold the folded edges in place.  I use the interfacing not only to hold the edges, but also to strengthen the fabric, as quilting fabric isn't as robust as denim.

Do the same with the other patch.

Now place the patches over the hole, arrange in a pleasing way, and pin in place.  I am patching just one hole with my two patches, but I prefer the look of a few patches to just one lonely old patch.  Somehow having more than one patch takes it from repair to fashion statement.  Remember that the pins, and your stitching too, will just go through one layer of your don't want to inadvertently stitch the leg of your jeans together!

The next thing you need to do is hand tack the patches in place.  I'm not big on tacking, I hardly ever tack things if I can help it.  In fact, I'm not big on pinning either.  But you really do need to tack the patches in place.  Just use a big running stitch right round the edge.  

Note how I've tacked it well away from the edge.  This makes it easier to remove your tacking stitches once you're finished, and also means that you can flip the top patch out of the way so that you can stitch the bottom patch, like this:

If your sewing machine has a free arm option, now it the time to use it.  Set the machine to zig-zag, and starting with the bottom patch, stitch all the way around both patches, taking care at the corner to have your needle on the right-hand side of the zig-zag before you turn your work.  This makes the corner look neat and tidy.

This step can be a bit awkward, because you have so many corners to go round, and the leg of the jeans can get sort of tangled up round the sewing machine, but that's why we tacked the patches in place.  Just make sure that the seam you are working on is smooth, and don't worry too much about the rest of it. If your patches are anywhere near the front pocket, remember to move the pocket lining out of the way, you don't want to inadvertently stitch your pocket closed any more than you want to stitch your leg shut!  >_<

And there we have it!  All you need to do now is pull the threads through to the back and tie them off, and unpick the tacking stitches, and you're all done.  And here is a very low-tech self-portrait of me in my newly patched old jeans!

Thursday, 28 June 2012

My Felt Shop Showcase

Hello Gentle Reader,

Perhaps this is the first time you have visited my blog, or perhaps you are already a regular visitor, either way, I wonder if you know that I have a shop where I sell some of my crafty creations?  I've decided to try and put together a wee showcase of some of the things I have for sale.

Thanks for visiting my blog, I do hope you come back soon.  ^_^

Little Red Riding Hood costume set by Purple Dress-Up Box
Cars-on-the-go Toy Wallet
Delft Blauw Tie-side Pinny
Car-car Tee - Blue
Keystone - Shoot for the Moon
Twirly-top Hat - Pink
Quite Contrary - Pink Tie-side Pinny
Blankie Baby - Pastel Pink

Monday, 25 June 2012

Our Mosaic Pathway ~ Work in Progress ~ Part One

Many years ago, when I was on my Big OE, I stumbled upon an antiques and junk shop somewhere in California (I can't now remember exactly where I was) that had absolutely stunning pathways, all made of broken china mosaics.  I absolutely loved them, and wanted to make one of my own.  Years later, when I had a house that needed new pathways, I set to work on my first little bit of mosaic path.

For this mosaic, I used coins that I collected from my travels, and some old New Zealand coinage, as well as broken china, off-cuts from our kitchen tiles, and stones from our stone pit which was swallowed up by extensions to our house.

The path has grown slowly over the years.  This little section is outside my sewing room window, so I wanted to do something that would look a bit like a quilt.  It's a bit rough in places :)

It's a family project...Mr K and Miss Missy have also made their own bits.

A lot of our inspiration has come from the mosaic garden at The Giants House in Akaroa.

We've learnt a lot along the way...some things work better than others... and we are still learning :)

Monday, 28 May 2012

Mighty oaks and baby acorns

On Saturdays, Miss Missy goes to horse riding, and while she is having her lesson, I take the Young Lad to the park up the road so he can play in the playground.  Last weekend we noticed lots of acorns on the ground.  He was quite fascinated by them, with lots of exclamations of "What's that, Mum? What's that?!"

He gathered up handfuls of them, some with caps, some without.  I used to love collecting acorns when I was small, and helicopters (sycamore ones, that is) and conkers.  Especially conkers: I loved the beautiful, swirly, shiny patterns they have.

While we were admiring all the acorns, I had a sudden idea: how cute would a knitted acorn cap be for a little baby?  I haven't made up my own knitting patterns for years, although I used to when I was making dolly clothes, but I really think I should give it a go.

What do you think?  Cute, no?

Monday, 14 May 2012

Apple Crumble...from tree to table

Our apple tree has been loaded with fruit again, and Mr K has been busy bottling.

With only a few fruit left on the tree, I thought I'd better get in quick and make an apple crumble!

When we were kids we used to drop the peel and see if it would make a letter, and that would be the first initial of the person you would marry when you grew up :)

All sliced up and in the dish.

Crumble topping made with sugar and spice and all things nice.

Pop it in the oven...

...then eat and enjoy!  Mmmm-mmm!  
And the best part is, left-overs for breakfast, yum!

When I was small, my Mum planted a Lord Wolseley apple tree.  It was years before it had any apples on it.  In fact, the first year that it did was the year we moved house.  I picked some, and made a delicious apple was so good that while the house stood empty, I rode my bike back to the house specially to pick apples to make more apple crumble.  And now I've planted a Lord Wolseley in my garden, and it's always loaded with delicious apples.  The crumble recipe I use is by Alison Holst from her book Meals Without Meat.