Jungle Chums

flamingo square

My progress with the jungle chums blanket I started for Bertie quite some time ago is slow but I am gradually getting there.

Work is constantly  busy and because it stays at our house, I only get to work on it at weekends. Recently there has been no time and we have had visitors so there hasn’t been much sewing for me.

tiger and banana tree ready to appliqué into place

There are 7 squares completed and 5 more to go before I can attach and appliqué them to the main green cover. The finish will be plain backed, a brown edge and then I will hand quilt the spaces between the animal blocks.

If I were doing it again, I’d probably do it a bit differently and make it more like the patchwork of Max’s blanket or Henry’s blanket with the appliqué squares forming the middle of each repeat. I am attaching the animal squares by appliquéing them to the blanket so I will have to get my edges spot on.

elephant

I love the characters, especially the lion (who has also become a favourite cushion for little boys like Jack and Arthur), the tiger and the elephant.

the leopard waiting to get his spots

I’m hopeful that my next blog about this will be it completed!!

canine cushions

JRT cushion on my sewing chair

JRT cushion on my sewing chair

I made a JRT cushion for our sofas a while back and have found a few minutes to finish the other ones that I cut out and prepared at the same time.

grey gaberdine cushion with stone coloured daschund

grey gaberdine cushion with stone coloured daschund

I love the striped linen daschund one & I’m really tempted to keep it but we don’t have a daschund (yet!) so it’s not necessary, really.

stone coloured daschund detail

stone coloured daschund detail

Silhouette appliqué is simple and effective and with a huge soft spot for dogs, these canine cushions are becoming my favorites.

My sis & friends have labs and we also have friends with a beautiful lurcher, all of which would make fabulous silhouettes.

grey striped linen cushion with grey daschund

grey striped linen cushion with grey daschund

They will have to go onto my huge the list of ‘to dos’.

Once I’ve finished the jungle chums blanket which is my next unfinished project to get done, I need to get on with a patchwork quilt requested of my by a very special girl what seems like a very long time ago.

grey daschund

grey daschund

I think I need to give up work, it’s definitely getting in the way.

soft furnishings

JRT cushion

JRT cushion

I rarely make things for myself or our home these days but I have started a range of cushions inspired by our JRT, Max and one of them is now on our sofa.

detail

detail

I’m not the first so nothing new there, there are lots of makers who are putting silhouettes of their pooches on bags, cushions and T-Shirts.

detail

detail

But the covers on our sofa cushions, have become a bit shabby and with a plan to build an extension and fit new curtains soon (I think I know which will be easier), it got me thinking about bringing some of the colours together.

detail

detail

My inspiration for all the decor in our living/dining room has been 2 limited edition lithograph prints by Brenda Hastin. They aren’t worth anything more than about £40 each but I love them with a passion.

Max

Max

The colours are gorgeous and as a result, everything in our living/dining room is based on these colours and the textures in these 2 prints.

The walls are white like the clouds, the floor is american black walnut like the substrate, the sofa is dark grey like the layers of the rocks, the rug is pale grey, winter white and the pale teal like some of the other layers of rock, sea and sky. So far, this is about it really.

weiner!!

weiner!!

It’s a simple and easy pallet that I love and one that I could inject any number of other colours into (if I felt so inclined).

I’m fundamentally lazy though (& scared of colour – can you believe it?) and things stay the same for very, very long periods of time.

I fancy lime, I fancy yellow and I fancy khaki but I probably won’t go there (although I do have some lime napkin rings!!!) so working with the pallet that I have and love, this cushion fits in perfectly. I just need to add more of the colours to the next ones now.

ready to start

ready to start

 

 

I’m going to add to the range with other slightly different cushions (sausage dogs, labradors and other popular breeds) that I will sell but finishing this one has inspired me to make more things for us. I’ll finish accessorising our living room which will enable me to tie together the colours from the prints onto the additional cushions for the sofa that sits in the bright light of our lovely victorian window.

same colour way as our JRT cushion

same colour way as our JRT cushion

Another job to add the ever lengthening list of things to do!!

 

Vintage Apron

ready to wear

ready to wear

All the aprons I make are generally long bib aprons with decorative appliqué.

wide pocket

wide pocket

I have just finished a short waist apron in vintage floral fabric that is decorated with yellow velvet ribbon and I rather like it. It is something I will make again.

pocket trim

pocket trim

It is roughly based on a very old apron that my gran used to use (I think it was hers – it has certainly been around a while) which is very thread bear and much the worse for it’s years of service.

waist band trim

waist band trim

The pocket detail is full width and divided to hold cloths, tools and anything else you need when wearing it, be that in the kitchen or elsewhere.

tie at waist

tie at waist

I love this fabric. I picked it up a few months ago and I have already used for a different apron but I have been waiting for an excuse to use this lovely yellow velvet ribbon for an age and this was it.

 

 

Pooch Pouches

cosy cave

cosy cave

Ages ago, I spied a rather lovely dog bed with a flap on the top that meant the dog could climb underneath it for a little comfort & cover. We know terriers like to burry themselves and I think they were actually call Terrier Sacks (unfortunately that name conjures up all kinds of awful images of drowning puppies!!!).

hamlet heaven

hamlet heaven

It piqued an idea for a dog bed

keeping and eye on proceedings

keeping and eye on proceedings

With nothing more than a duvet (hypo allergenic in this case for Max’s skin) and a few metres of paw print fleece, I set about making my own version.

It couldn’t have been easier.

Max likes to get right inside and hide his face

Max likes to get right inside and hide his face

So for any one out there who might want to try the same, here it is in it’s most gloriously simple form.

Cut fleece and duvet to desired size (I based our JRT’s bed on about 700mm square)

You can either turn in raw edges of duvet along cut and zig zag edges (this is where I put the overlocking machine I have long lusted after back to the top of my wish list) or finish it with bias tape for a bit of extra rigidity

Sew up ends and sides of fleece (right sides facing) like a furry duvet cover

Attach duvet at each corner (still inside out – this will keep duvet from migrating in the wash)

Then turn right way (duvet is firmly fixed into corners so won’t have moved)

Turn in raw edges and hand sew the opening closed

Fold in half and hand sew the 2 side edges together (leaving end open for your pooch to clamber in)

it was chilly last night and this was hamlet and max mod of the evening

it was chilly last night and this was hamlet and max most of the evening

Eh voila!!

I love this old campaigner

I love this old campaigner

A Pooch Pouch that is snuggly and cosy when it is cold and drafty.

snuggly warm and sleepy after a lovely long walk

snuggly warm and sleepy after a lovely long walk

My sis’s JRT is on holiday with us at the moment so we couldn’t miss him out. He absolutely loves his, his old bones love being toasty warm and he gets to hide away from all the insanity of a younger model nearby.

and a blanket always helps

and a blanket always helps

I think it might have to go home with him when he goes back to Norfolk.

Instructions for making pooch pouch

Decide on the size you want for your dog (we chose 500 and 600mm square for the 2 sizes seen in the post)

Get your chosen fleecy fabric in measurements that are equal to 4 squares (I got fabric 1300mm wide so bought 2.5m for both beds) with an allowance for a little wastage on the selvedges etc.

Cut it to suit your chosen bed size (i.e. 2no pieces at 500mm x 1000mm for the small bed)

Sew then together (right side inside) along 3 of the sides leaving one of the 500mm sides open.

Turn it the right side out. You have a long fleecy sack that forms the covering of your pooch pouch.

Get a single lightweight hypoallergenic duvet per bed. You will need to cut this down so mark it up with your measurements (i.e. 500mm x 1000mm for the small bed or 600mm x 1200mm for the slightly larger bed)

Overlock (or zizag) along the edges of the duvet that will need trimming to achieve your dimensions

Fold it in half. Push it into the top of your fleecy sack with the fold at the open end of the sack.

This leaves half of your fleecy sack empty at the bottom. Secure the duvet to the open edge of the fleecy sack

Push the empty bottom part of your fleecy sack inside the folded duvet.

Secure the inside corners to the open part of the sack.

Hand sew your sack closed and voila. Your pooch pouch is born

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

 

 

 

kindle case

kindle keyboard

kindle keyboard

I have a kindle keyboard that my husband bought me not long after they were first launched and I absolutely love it. I never thought I would be able to leave paperbacks behind but I have and I have never looked back.

 

new case lining

new case lining

I know the kindles have evolved and now have illuminated screens and colour and bells and whistles  but I’m happy with my old style black and white screen keyboard kindle. I have an iPad Air so if I want colour, the kindle App on there and I can have all the same books on that too if I need to.

 

But, the kindle is small and neat and it weighs nothing so I prefer to have that in my bag rather than the iPad and unless the battery has died, I pretty much have it with me everywhere I go.

 

detail

detail

Recently I started having problems with it crashing and it needed to be rebooted all the time. A little research on the internet revealed that the hard case that was bought with the kindle caused problems with the way it connects to the kindle and shorts it out. Eventually causing permanent irreparable damage.

 

No sooner read than the hard case was off and I’m very pleased to say that there hasn’t been a minutes trouble since.

 

button fastening

button fastening

So my poor little caseless Kindle needed some clothes.

 

I liked the cases I made for V’s birthday and I also liked the same black fabric I had used so off I went to measure up and make up my new kindle case.

 

tada!

tada!

It works a treat and I’m very happy with it.

 

On reflection, it probably doesn’t need the flap and it could simply be an open topped case perhaps with a button fastening over the top rather than a fastening flap but it fits perfectly and my kindle is now snuggled safely in it’s case in my bag ready for the next chapter of my current read.

Clothes Cloning

my joules tunic

my joules tunic

I went to a talk at Stroud Green WI last year that was about cloning your clothes. The talk was by Claire-Louise Hardie of Great British Sewing Bee fame and it tweaked at my old skills of pattern cutting and making my own clothes.

I keep threatening to do it again after years and years of filling my wardrobe with off the peg instead of unique made to measure items.

joules original and my clone behind

joules original and my clone behind

Inspired by Claire’s talk, I dug out a few items of clothing and all the tools that I hadn’t had occasion to use in a while.

I promptly set them aside when I got distracted by work, christmas, commissions and work again to name but a few.

It has sat for months and looked very like it would be condemned to my large pile of unfinished works.

almost identical - no zip, slightly smaller & pocket detail adjusted

almost identical – no zip, slightly smaller & pocket detail adjusted

Until last weekend.

I’d actually got around to making the pattern some time ago. I’d bought a dirty cotton drill remnant in my favourite little sewing shop (The Cloth Shop) in Market Hall of Wood Green Shopping City and had also cut it out (remembering to mark it up properly with fold lines, tucks, darts etc etc thank goodness).

neck detail - should have cleaned the lose thread off!!

neck detail – should have cleaned the lose thread off!!

The cloning process and the pattern making had gone quite well but I wasn’t convinced that I had got the slight shape and size changes I wanted to make quite right. It would be fine, the remnant was only £5 and if all else failed, I’d repurpose any disaster into something else entirely.

needs washing and ironing again but it fits

needs washing and ironing again but it fits

It only took me a few hours to assemble the various parts and it went much better than I expected. Even the dreaded sleeves eased into the holes with only a tiny unwanted crease.

pockets adjusted to hold my sewing bits and bobs while I work

pockets adjusted to hold my sewing bits and bobs while I work

It needs washing and ironing again but I’m delighted with my new sewing tunic that is cloned from a Joules tunic that I rather like.