weekend workspace

vintage table cloth

vintage table cloth

Well I have finally got my little sewing corner finished and the wine box shelves are in place with everything just where I need it now.

workspace shelves completed

workspace shelves completed

I started arranging this little weekend workspace in spring 2014 but managed to finish it in October (just not had time to talk about it).

rows of buttons

rows of buttons

I’m really pleased with the use of the wall space that the wine boxes provide and it is an inexpensive way to get storage and shelving.

It also appeals to the recycler in me so ticks many boxes (!!) and only took about 10 minutes to install.

my gorgeous little singer featherlite

my gorgeous little singer featherlite

I have somewhere away from my sewing table and sewing machine to store my collection of vintage table cloths, napkins and cloths, the staggered line breaks up the width and the spaces between are perfect for those long awkward knitting needles.

sewing table

sewing table

There is a stash of unfinished work (no!!) in a trunk nearby and some fabrics in a rather nice basket ready to be turned into something. All this and a commission for the pooch pouches (Sorry it is taking so long, Barb. I haven’t forgotten!!)

cut glass bowl of threads

cut glass bowl of threads

Now I need to find some ever elusive time to sit there and get busy.

scraps and spares

scraps and spares

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.

 

 

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

 

 

 

Weekend Workspace

IMG_6996

I have long hankered for an out-of-the-way sewing space where we spend some of our weekends.

I now have a wonderful sewing space in our spare bedroom in London and it has spoiled me somewhat.

getting a little nourishment

getting a little nourishment

Our weekend dining table is pretty useful and it is right in the heart of what goes on in the house but it all has to be put away again at the end. It kinda puts you off a bit and I definitely do less at weekends when we are away than when we have weekends in London.

I have a spare sewing machine for here (well, I have a couple as it goes but I don’t say that out too loud in case JC is listening), I have sewing baskets and accessories that I have been given, found, inherited, car boot bought or had already so I’m set up in that respect.

The spare bedroom is out of bounds because we have people staying here loads and need it to be ready all the time.

set up in the alcove

set up in the alcove

But we do have little box room/bedroom (which is really only a glorified cupboard) that has become a dumping ground and somewhere for JC’s drum kit but it has 2 windows and gets lots of light so it is just about perfect.

I’ve had my eyes open for a little table to sit into the alcove in this room so that I could set up a tiny tucked away space. If I’m clever and don’t allow my workspace to spread, there will still be space to put up a single stow away bed for any extra bodies that might be staying at any given time.

In my search for a table, I have taken to dropping into a super little antique shop on Albert St in Spalding. (I think it is called The Attic) and is run by a very jovial chap called Jeff.  At my last visit, and on the back of a casual conversation about needing a small table has sorted it out; Jeff had the very thing on his van, just collected that morning and needing some attention.

my little Singer 221K set up and ready to use

my little Singer 221K set up and ready to use

It was cold having been in an unoccupied house so needed bringing up to temperature. It also needed cleaning and nourishing to bring out it’s best qualities. It has an all important drawer and was incredibly inexpensive.

It is now sugar soaped, waxed and in place. I haven’t managed to use it yet as my machine now needs some repairs but it is there and ready.

one of my mum's sewing tins

one of my mum’s sewing tins – I love it

I have plans for shelves above so watch this space.

fabric cases

button fastening

button fastening

One of my best friends has a january birthday (there seem to be a few in our group!!) and it was the first week in the month.

inside the iPad case

inside the iPad case

I have been toying with adding glasses cases to my makes as they include sewing and appliqué and V’s birthday was the perfect opportunity.

glasses case

glasses case

I also happened to know she was getting an iPad too so what better than to make a matching case for that since the glasses and the iPad may well be used together!!

button loop

button loop

The glasses case is so much fun and I enjoyed making it so I will definitely be making more of those.

pink details

pink details

Perhaps the odd iPad case or little purse might sneak in there when I get some more time.

Bright Birthday Bunting

bright bunting flags

bright bunting flags

I was pretty busy leading up to the festivities of 2013 and some of that busy was commissions.

My all out favourite was some jolly bunting for 2 little people I met at Harringay Market on the 8th December.

leonard bunting

leonard bunting

They have December & January birthdays very close to Christmas and their mum Ellen ordered them some birthday bunting amidst all the festive bits and bobs.

I have a January birthday and always got ‘combined’ christmas and birthday presents when I was little and that meant my birthday became a bit of a none event.

nancy bunting

nancy bunting

As a result, I have adopted the Queen’s approach to birthdays and I now have an official birthday 6 months after my actual birthday. It means that I share my official birthday with my mum’s birthday mid July. It work s very well & it means I can barbecue with chilled fizz instead of being on the post christmas wagon and huddled in front of the fire with a mug of coffee.

nancy letters

nancy letters

Thankfully for Nancy and Leonard, Ellen separates her little one’s birthdays from Christmas and they will have their bright bunting presents by now.

more letters

more letters

Many happy returns to both!! 🙂