Dear Declan

letter 'D'

letter ‘D’

One of my most loyal bunting customers, Catherine, contacted me recently to let me know that a friend would be needing some bunting pretty quickly.

Letter 'E'

letter ‘E’

Although the order for the friend went elsewhere in the end, it was lovely to hear from Catherine again.

letter 'A'

letter ‘A’

It was especially lovely because it came with the news that she has a new ‘little man’ in her household. .

Letter 'N'

Letter ‘N’

Baby Declan has arrived to join brother Ronan.

letter 'L'

letter ‘L’

As a token of thanks for all her support, I have made some bunting for Declan.

finished bunting

finished bunting

It is all parcelled up and ready for posting to it’s happy destination in Dublin.

flags

flags

My little Moo stickers came in handy to fasten the tissue paper and this turquoise and blue ribbon is rather cute.

moo tinyinc stickers

moo tinyinc stickers

I hope to hear from Catherine again when she receives her parcel and perhaps again if the family numbers increase or those of her friends do.

parcelled up and ready to go

parcelled up and ready to go

If there is more bunting required to travel over the Irish Sea to Dublin, I will be very happy.

congratulations tag

congratulations tag

Encouraging Culinary Skills

cute skull cap

cute skull cap

JC’s godson, Henry, is 5 years old this weekend and finding something to make as a present to celebrate his birthday is getting trickier as he gets older.

I’ve made him bunting before, a blanket and a bean bag but at 5 years old, something made is less and less appealing I think, so what else could there be?

personalised

personalised

Having picked his mum’s brains about what would be a good idea, we have settled on things that encourage his recently acquired interest in cooking.

His dad likes to fire up the barbecue and does a mean sunday roast so it is lovely that one of his boys is showing an interest too.

Henry helps with supper every night after school and does a fine job it seems.

scull cap and apron

scull cap and apron

He is somewhat envious of his brother’s personalised apron made for him in the past so what better making opportunity than to fill that gap in his culinary equipment so I’ve been making

William’s apron is blue and white checks with his name across the top so we have chosen green and white for Henry with his name across the top.

I have made it with a few extra details such as a big front pocket divided into 2 with another slim divide on the side so that he has somewhere to pop a wooden spoon or whatever implement he needs to have on him.

There are plenty of loops for tying on towels and things as I don’t think you can have too many of this kind of thing on a working apron.

To add to the look (makes it all seem so grown up and professional!) I have done a chef’s skull cap with his name on it too.

applique letters

applique letters

We found a beautifully illustrated Dorling and Kindersley book that is full of skills and advice on equipment and techniques to go with it.

We also came across some very cute ‘mini me’ cooking utensils that are real and useful, but small and pretty handy for 5 year old hands (not kiddy plastic ones which I don’t think he’d appreciate one little bit).

book

book

We see them later today for a birthday tea so fingers crossed they go down well.

cooking equipment

cooking equipment

 

Busy Weekend

I like planning but there’s a maverick in me that loves a bit of freestyle.

This weekend was supposed to be a chillaxing, much needed rest (apart from late night football games!) and in typical fashion it has been none of those.

I think I’ve washed everything that can possibly be washed and dried it all in the sun (ooh that fresh air smell, you can’t beat it!).

I’ve made more skincare (which I will post about another time), I’ve replaced a zip in a favourite pair of shorts, I’ve mooched around a giant car boot sale (disappointing, but I do have another few meters of fabric than I did before I went, cooked, weeded & finally got down to working on Bertie’s blanket. (Another one for a different post).

So, the zip……

 

JC's favourite shorts

JC’s favourite shorts

The zip replacement was quite a challenge but it went well. Getting the broken zip out involves dismantling the front of the shorts. Fitting a zip from scratch is by far and away easier.

Scary and tentative first snips

Scary and tentative first snips

As a much loved and much worn pair of shorts, they had acquired a few of those unironable creases, and random folds that make working with them pretty tricks.

Checking the detail

Checking the detail

Nonetheless, said shorts have been nervously disassembled. It’s a little like taking a bike apart, you don’t want a load of  spare but crucial bits left over at the end so it’s worth checking all the details.

Freeing the bottom of the zip

Freeing the bottom of the zip

They now have a new zip (from a stash Of varying sorts that have of salvaged, are unused or I acquired) that matches the contrasting waste band.

They are also whole again, with no bits spare.

image

A bit of tidying up to get rid of the bits of thread and they’re ready to go  (& they’ve been washed!).

The finished zip

The finished zip

 

Four Corners of the Globe

flowery 'A' flag

flowery ‘A’ flag

 

Whilst it isn’t quite the four corners of the globe, the places that my bunting has gone are pretty far away.  To date they are hanging in nurseries in Canada, new zealand, ireland, Australia & Brazil.

 

letter 'O' flag

letter ‘O’ flag

 

This little collection of flags are going to make the 2nd in canada so far.

 

pink 'L' flag

pink ‘L’ flag

 

I love making bunting and I have missed doing it so I was delighted to be asked to rustle up something for a little granddaughter Lola Mae.

 

flags on bias

flags on bias

 

I have another commission for bunting that will be needed in August. Without knowing whether this little one will be a boy or a girl or indeed what their name will be, I can’t even make a start.  Except that I do know it has to be green.

 

lola mae

lola mae

 

 

sewing machine cover

my singer

my singer

 

My lovely vintage machine is never put away now that I am lucky enough to have a dedicated sewing space so it gets dust and the lint build up that you already get from sewing is worse for being out in the open all the time.

 

hemming the cover

hemming the cover

 

It’s original storage case is a big old rigid thing that is stored away out of sight and out of mind as it is more about transporting the machine rather than protecting it between uses.

 

Sooooo….

 

top stitching

top stitching

 

I scrabbled through my stash of fabrics to find something pretty but understated that would make a nice sewing machine cover. I don’t want to draw attention to the machine in the small room that I use for sewing, I want it to disappear a little.

 

This vintage Arthur Sanderson furnishing fabric has a very gentle yellow and turquoise floral print that I really like.

 

finished and fitted

finished and fitted

 

The measuring is easy as it is overall a rectangular shape that needs covering and although there are features that mean it is not an actual rectangle, a good fitting one would be perfect.

 

fitted straight after being made

fitted straight after being made

It is generally 45 x 35 x 25cm and could not have been easier to make.

 

 

pooch pin cushion

drawing up the cutting pattern

drawing up the cutting pattern

 

Ever since the Great British Sewing Bee’s Heather’s little pin cushion dog appeared on the last series, I have fancied one for myself.

Heather’s is very stylish and made in full 3-D so it really looks like a dog. His tape measure collar is particularly fabulous I think.

 

sewing the undercarriage to the body

sewing the undercarriage to the body

 

I wanted something a bit retro that was a cross between Gromit from Wallace and Gromit fame and our dog Max and although it needed to stand firm, I wasn’t too fussed about it being too realistic.

I sketched out what shape (at full size) I thought I wanted and made a pattern for a body with a central back seam and a 3-d underside so that there were 4 legs.

 

the ears need to be sewn inside the right side and all the seams notched

the ears need to be sewn inside the right side and all the seams notched

 

Tip – The base centre seam is where it will be stuffed but I like to sew this up first and iron the seam open. The reason I do this is to make sure that I get a nice neat and sharp join to hand sew at the end (I sew up to the gap I need from both sides and then do the gap in a larger stitch and don’t finish off the ends. That means I can pick it out easily when I turn it the right way for stuffing).

 

getting a nice share finish

getting a nice share finish

 

Getting a neat and even join where the base and top meet is tricky but if you are accurate with your sewing and don’t leave it short of where it needs to finish or over sew it, you should get the perfect join.

 

opening for the stuffing

opening for the stuffing

 

When all the seams are joined and you have your ears attached, unpick your base middle seam between the finished points (see tip above) and turn it the right way (your sharp ironed join will make sewing up at the end much easier and neater).

Push out all the corners and points like the nose and tail with a nice fat knitting needle or similar and start stuffing these extremities.

 

seam join at the rear where the legs and the body meet

seam join at the rear where the legs and the body meet

 

The stuff needs to be firm and so fill the pointy bits and the ends fully first before you start working your way back to the seam that needs sewing up.

 

nearly stuffed

nearly stuffed

 

I started with the tail, then the head, followed by each leg and finally the body. Be careful not to leave any loser cavities which might leave your legs floppy.

 

leg join at the underside of the chin

leg join at the underside of the chin

 

When you are happy with the stuffing and how tight it is, pin up the stuffing hole ready for sewing and stand your pin cushion up to check the fill and also to see that it stands straight. Now is the time to adjust the fill if you are not happy (it needs to be a very firm fill for the pins to slide into the body. Too lose and they dog will give way underneath).

Once it is stuffed it is ready to use or ready to decorate and finish as you see fit.

 

stuffed and ready to use or decorate

stuffed and ready to use or decorate

 

I wanted to see eyes and nose and a collar.

 

eyes nose and collar

eyes nose and collar

 

We have a JRT and he has a few spots on his back which made me think what a good idea to have one place to pop all your pins (Heather uses her dog’s head as well as his torso in Great British Sewing Bee).

 

pins on the spot

pins on the spot

 

Our JRT wears a red collar that would have looked very smart but I love the turquoise in my logo so a turquoise collar it had to be (when my tape measure becomes too tatty to use, I think he will get that too).

 

finished pin cushion pooch

finished pin cushion pooch