Tuesday, 31 August 2010

Make your own... cloche hat!

Hats, hats, hats! Autumn is finally (well, almost) here, and in my book this means that hat season is officially on! These two hats were made out of a pattern I bought online at www.etsy.com/shop/McHats. Both hats can be worn inside out, so you have 2-in-1!


Wednesday, 25 August 2010

Make your own... fascinator out of a cd!

Today was a day for crafts: rainy, moody and cold. I took out all my (new, labelled) IKEA boxes with ribbons and beads, and started experimenting with designs and combinations. Somehow nothing felt original and fresh, and while I came up with a couple of hair accessories that were decent, they were predictable. So, I decided to take a break and listen to some music. As I was going through my stack of cds, inspiration struck! How about making a hat out of a cd?

And here is my creation to the left. I covered the cd in a warm purple velvet fabric which I glued in place with some hot glue. Then I arranged a few blue feathers on one side, and a small piece of black French net at the front. In the middle, I put a decorative button of unknown origin. Cost? Cd: free. Velvet: free sample. Feathers: 1 euro for the entire pack, used maybe 1/4. Button: free. All it needs now is some elastic or hair clip to keep it in place!

Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Happy Birthday Alice and Rosie!

This month it is Alice's and Rosie's (my nieces) birthdays! So, I decided to make them two special bags to match their personalities. Alice is a girly girl, so I picked this beautiful pink cotton fabric for the outside and a floral lining. I had in my remnant bin a small piece of yellow fabric with butterflies, which I ironed on fusible interface to make it more manageable. Then I cut out three butterflies and glued them on the bag, and used some of the wings to form a flower (bottom left corner). To finish it off, I sewed beads along the top edge and put a snap fastener in the middle.
Rosie is into dinosaurs, so imagine my enthusiasm when I found this fabric at John Lewis today! I bought enough fabric to make sure there are two full dinosaurs in the pattern, and then cut them out and made this tote bag. I used heavy interface to make it sturdy, because the bag is quite large.

Sunday, 15 August 2010

Don't throw out that ... placemat! Small patchwork handbag

This cute handbag is made of an old ribbed (and quite thick) placemat, a button from an old coat, a piece of string from a gift bag, and fabric samples! Inside I made three pockets for my mobile phone, my make up and my Oyster card.

This is the placemat. Fortunately it was big enough for a small bag! I folded it in half, and sewed the sides to create the shell of the bag.

To line the bag, I used a blue cotton fabric which I reinforced with a piece of plastic netting. That made the bag very sturdy, but it also made my life very difficult, as stitching a layers of this net onto the ribbed placemat was quite a challenge. It was worth it though!

This is the cord I used as a loop for the button at the front of the bag. I almost threw out this bag twice, as it is quite big and torn. Now I am happy I kept it, I got two quite long cords out of it!

After the bag was finished, I glued some fabric samples both for decorative and practical purposes (the placemat had a few stains that I needed to cover).

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Don't throw out that ... tablecloth! Bridal birdcage fascinator

My fascination with ... fascinators started a few months ago, when I started thinking about the headpiece I would wear at my wedding. I absolutely loved the idea of a veil mysteriously covering part of my face, but the prices of the birdcage veils that I liked were a bit too high for my budget! I figured it cannot be THAT difficult to make one, so I started looking online for tutorials. Surprisingly, I could not find much on birdcage veils, but I did find out what materials I needed to make one. After long hours on my computer and on the phone with suppliers, I found the best price (so far) for the netting at The Trimming Company (www.thetrimmingcompany.com) for £1.10 per metre plus VAT (they call it 'merry widow' veil). For this fascinator I used only about 40cm of the veiling. The rest of the materials are:

  • an old tablecloth, which is made of really good ivory cotton and has a nice slightly raised pattern. Unfortunately it is very worn at certain places and I could not use it. 
  • A teardrop fascinator base (£1.90 from the same shop).
  • ivory beads from an old necklace
How I made it:
  • The first part was the hardest and the most time-consuming. I cut a piece of fabric from the tablecloth to fit around the base, leaving about 2.5cm seam allowance. I stretched it over the base and secured it at the edges with pins. Then I flipped the base on its back, and starting at the pointy part of the base I stitched the fabric onto the base, folding in 1.5cm as I was going along, so that I don't leave raw edges. I used clear plastic thread, so that the stitches would be invisible.
  • Then I went around the edge of the base and sewed small ivory beads all the way around, using the same plastic thread.
  • After I was done with the base, I started making flowers and leaves. This hat has three rose-shaped white flowers and four leaves, which I stitched on the round part of the fascinator (partly because the fabric was a bit discoloured at that part, and I wanted to hide it). At the centre of each flower I glued a big ivory bead. To vary the patterns, for the leaves I used a different fabric of the same colour.
  • Finally, I added the veil. Veils come in 9'' and 12'' widths. For this fascinator I used 12'', because I wanted it to cover most of the face. I left the pointed part of the base bare to show off the pearl bead design. 

In this picture you can see the two different kinds of fabric used for the flowers and the petals.

Friday, 13 August 2010

Denim bag

                                                           Yesterday I went to a (rather expensive) fabric shop in Muswell Hill to look for fancy ribbons, and  while I was looking around, my eyes fell on a small carton box which contained small pieces of fabric on sale!  This denim was about 1.30 x 43, perfect for making two small bags, and cost £1! This is my first project with this fabric: a small messenger bag with pink cotton lining (which I had also used as lining on the previous bag I made). On the flap I glued a piece of decorative fabric, which I also used on the sides to match. I can't wait to use it!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Make your own ...wine gift bag

This wonderful blue satin fabric which I have already used to make flowers, jewellery and a drawstring bag for my ribbons, is perfect to make a great wine gift bag!

It took me a while to make the pattern. First, I took the dimensions of the bottle. I cut a couple of patterns out of an old newspaper, until I got all the measurements right, seam allowances and all.

Then (see left picture below) I cut a piece of fabric 28.5 x 47cm. I  folded and pinned 1cm on either side lengthways, and then folded the top part inwards (the fold measures 12cm). This is going to be the top part of the bag, and it has to be long enough to go a few cm under the drawstring tunnel, so that the raw edges won't show.

Then I had to create the tunnel for the ribbon. I marked a 1cm tunnel starting 7.5cm from the top (see right picture below). I sewed along both lines, then folded the bag rights side in, and stitched down the sides and the bottom part, leaving an 1cm gap where the tunnel starts and finishes on the side. As simple as that!

Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Don't throw out that ... old tablecloth! Canvas tote and potato sack

When my sister visited last month, she brought along a bag of old clothes to give to charity. Among them was a very cute small tablecloth. I kept it, although it does not fit my table, hoping I will find another use for it. And so I did! I also made use of one of my old Primark canvas bags--two projects in one.

Not much work on this one. I cut a piece that fit the front part of the bag, turning the edges inwards. Then I used fabric glue to stick the fabric on the bag. I always iron it on, as it makes it sturdier. And that's it! I have a whole new bag that is perfect for carrying my veggies.

Potato sack
With the remaining fabric I made a small drawstring bag to store potatoes and onions. When I was sewing it together I realized that I had folded it the wrong way, which meant that I had to cut an opening for the string to go through and then sew it back again. The tunnel for the drawstring has to be an uninterrupted fold--note for next time!

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Red tote for carrying books ... and not only!

Operation 'de-clutter and organize' continues! I needed a small tote bag to carry my Greek textbooks and handouts for class. I kept using uncomfortable laptop bags or canvas totes from Primark which were convenient but did not quite make a personal statement.

This red fabric is fabulous, as it is waterproof and sturdy. I bought it half price at McCulloch and Wallis--quite a bargain! This is the second bag I have made with it and there is still a lot left! I did not use a particular pattern, but did have a Body Shop canvas tote as a guide. Now I have to figure out what to do with my old canvas totes! Hmmmm, I smell a new project!

Don't throw out that .... sheet! Drawstring bag with snap fasteners

Use that old sheet ..... as lining!
As my collection is growing, I need more room to store both my sewing tools and my creations! Today I wanted to practice sewing a bit more (I am still working on getting my stitches straight!) so I cooked up this simple project: a small drawstring bag to keep my ribbons and fabric samples.

This blue/teal satin fabric is really beautiful, and I got it very cheaply (I paid £3 for 2.5 metres) at my local Indian fabric shop. (See my first couple of posts to see the flowers and cuffs I made from it!) For lining I used a piece of an old sheet. The bag closes with three snap fasteners (for information on snap fasteners look at www.denverfabrics.com/pages/sewinginfo/hsc-sewing-hints/sewing-snaps.htm), which I hammered in, and a piece of satin ribbon from the wrapping of one of my wedding presents. It looks so good, that I am half-tempted to put on straps and use it as a handbag! Total cost of the project: less than £1.5!

Small messenger bag

This weekend I bent the rules a bit, and made a handbag out of non-recycled fabric. The reason: I needed something sturdy, and unfortunately the clothes/curtains I found at my local Oxfam and Cancer Research were either visibly old and worn or too soft for the project. So, I went to John Lewis and bought the cheapest fabrics they had at the curtains/tapestry floor: a fuchsia one for £3.95 and a flowery one for £6.95 per meter. They are both very girly and fun! I decided to make a small messenger bag, using the fuchsia on the outside and the flowery one as lining and on the flap.

  • First, I cut the pattern out of old newspapers. 

I always leave a margin of about 1cm around for seams. 
Tip: Trace the outline of the pattern on the fabric. This way you know what the back side of the fabric is. Also, it serves as a good guide when you stitch the pieces together.

  • After I cut all the pieces for the outside of the bag, I used the same patterns to cut the lining. Here's a picture of one of the lining pieces, where I fit pockets to fit my mobile, my make up and my Oyster card.
Here is the same piece on the finished bag! 

Friday, 6 August 2010

Patchwork bag

Ah, the joy of recycling leftovers. Here's the second patchwork project made from (free) fabric samples. I organized the samples by size, selected the ones that were roughly the same size, and arranged them on a piece of fusible interface. On most sides the pieces of fabric had a nice zig-zag pattern, but on a few they were cut unevenly. To hide the frayed edges, I glued two pieces of ribbon, and then ironed the samples on the interface. I stitched the bottom and side parts closed, and turned the top parts inwards to create a tunnel, through which I slid a red ribbon to tie it up. The dimensions are about 14 x 26 cm. The bag is very sturdy, because of the interface. It is a perfect case for my straightening iron, leaving enough room for the cable to turn inside. One more thing off my dresser and on the wall!

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Ania fascinator

This is a headpiece I made for a friend to wear at a wedding. She is wearing a dark blue dress with green shoes, so I came up with a hat that combines teal and dark blue velvet roses with lime green feathers and pewter sinamay leaves. Here's how I made it:
  • First, I covered the teardrop buckram base (it costs about £2) in teal velvet (I had a piece just large enough for the project) and hand-stitched the edges all the way around, tucking in about 1/4'' to hide the frayed edges. 
  • Then I made the leaves out of sinamay. I cut the patterns, turned the edges about 1/2cm in and ironed them, and then pinned them on the base in various configurations until I was pleased with the arranged them. Then I added two more leaves that I made by curling the edges instead of ironing them.
  • The flowers were next. Following Elizabeth Searle's instructions (Fun-to-Wear Fabric Flowers) I made three velvet roses, two in teal and one in dark blue, and two small leaves in a colour called 'chartreuse yellow', which is something between green and yellow. I love an unexpected splash of colour!
  • Now that all my materials were ready, it was time to stitch and glue them on the base. First I stitched the feathers, then the leaves, and left the flowers for last. 

Grocery bag tube

This is one of Lexie Barnes' (Sew What! Bags: 18 Pattern-Free Projects You Can Customize to Fit Your Needs) projects. As I mentioned in the previous post, I didn't want to spend a lot of money on trendy fabric, so I made this 'collage' from the samples I got. I glued these three samples on a lime coloured piece of fabric, and then followed the instructions in the book. This is an incredibly practical little case that neatly puts away all those grocery bags that are lying around. You tuck them in at the top and pull them out from the bottom. Genius!

Mobile phone case

Yesterday I received an amazing book by Lexie Barnes, Sew What! Bags: 18 Pattern-Free Projects You Can Customize to Fit Your Needsand couldn't wait to start making some of the bags and cases in the book! I went straight to John Lewis for some supplies but unfortunately all the trendy fabrics were too expensive for my wallet (£10.45 per meter). So I went to McCulloch and Wallis across the street--they have a carton box downstairs where they throw old samples and leftover pieces of fabric, some for sale some for free. I took all the free samples and bought three quite large pieces of fabric (project to come!). Here's the first thing I made with two of the samples: a case for my mobile phone! First I ironed fusible interface on the back of the fabric to make it more durable, I stitched the edges, and voila a handy girly case with the same design in two different colours front and back!

Monday, 2 August 2010

Cuffs from linen

Here are some more cuffs I made with the linen fabric samples. The first one is about 5cm wide, and has a clean, white summery look. It matches the hairclip and the necklace flowers. For the second one I kept the zigzag edges of the fabric and used a pearl from an old bracelet as a button.

Sunday, 1 August 2010

Ethnic velvet bracelets

This is one of my favourite cuffs so far. I used small samples of velvet and a gorgeous ribbon I found at my local fabric store.

A similar bracelet, to which I added some green tulle.