At the end of last term, I made a promise to myself that I was going to get a proper school bag. Before then, I’d been lugging folders, books, my lunch etc around in any bag I could find at home. Not great for my back or keeping track of my stuff. I wanted a very specific style of bag – a messenger bag. It’s perfect for keeping my planner in and all my other bits that I need for school every day. But when I looked about, I couldn’t find one that I wanted or one that I liked. So, I thought, lets make my own!
I had a look about on Pinterest for a suitable pattern and came across this tutorial. It was straightforward to follow and broke down the different stages really well. When I’d bought my fabric, a lovely blue corduroy for the outside and a gorgeous spotty pattern for the inside, I set about cutting out the shapes I needed from baking parchment.
Once I’d cut the shapes out in fabric, it was surprisingly quick and easy to put the pieces together. Instead of having the bottom and sides as one whole piece, like the strap, I cut them into three and joined them individually. For me, that was easier to manage. I decided not to put any pockets or embellishments on, as I won’t use them.
While the bag isn’t perfect, I found sewing the strap in a bit tricky, it’s not bad for a first go. I did buy enough fabric to make a second one if I needed to, but I’m happy with it enough to stick with this one. If I could shorten the strap, I would and I might try to find a way to do that, as it is a bit long, meaning the bag hangs lower than I would’ve liked so I might change that when I get some time. But overall, I’m pretty pleased with it. Using something that I made everyday is pretty cool too!
Recently I’ve been going to the dressmaking class at the Darn It & Stitch workshop, Pinworks, in Oxford. I decided that I either had to learn how to use my sewing machine with confidence or I needed to get rid of it. Plus, I’m always rather envious of the sewers on the Great British Sewing Bee. The ability to use a sewing machine so confidently and are able to turn beautiful fabrics into great garments. I wanted to be able to make something to wear and improve my sewing skills.
I chose to make a skirt, as I wanted to be able to make something simple and straightforward. Most of the other class members made dresses, but had to do some work in between lessons. I didn’t want to have a project that I had to work on outside of the class. We all finished our garments in the seven lessons we had. I picked my fabric and pattern up from Masons in Abingdon and used the Simplicity 1109 pattern. While my sewing still isn’t perfect, it’s come a long way. Not only has my sewing improved, but my confidence and understanding has grown loads. I can’t believe I’ve made something that I can wear, and have worn. I’ve got my sights set on a few other things, including this gorgeous pattern from Tilly & the Buttons! I’ve definitely rediscovered my crafty mojo.
Last summer, my sewing machine and I had a huge falling out. Reluctantly, I’ve admitted that it was my fault. I blame Pinterest, with its gorgeous images and promised of easy projects – I couldn’t go wrong. Right? But I did. My impatience to make things quickly was my downfall. I didn’t measure, I didn’t press my fabrics and I didn’t take the time to think my projects through. And I expected my sewing machine to make up for my failings. It didn’t. So with my machine in a prominent place in my newly decorated craft room, I either had to make amends or move on. I decided on the former and signed up to a dressmaking class at Darn It and Stitch.
Armed with a relatively simple skirt pattern and the recommended amount of fabric (all bought from Masons in Abingdon), I headed to my first class. Everything’s going really well and I’ll share the finished product in a few weeks when it’s all done. I already feel so much more confident using my machine and troubleshooting the pattern that I know I’ve got a summer of making ahead of me. Instead of dreading using my machine, I’m looking forward to it and have loads of ideas in my head, including more skirts!
Last Saturday found me getting my sew on. I signed up to a class at Darn It & Stitch to make a cosy pair of pyjama bottoms. I love pj bottoms, the cosier the better and I’m pleased to say that the ones I made do not disappoint! Let it be known that I can be a bit of a haphazard sewer. Sometimes my creations are great, sometimes they are only fit for the bin. But the help of Anna from Custom Made, I was able to make something wonderful!
The first thing we had to do was pick out our fabric. I picked this dreamy flannel cloud fabric & I love it! I can remember my Mum making me flannel nighties way back when so I really wanted something flannel, plus the clouds! How cute are they?! Then it was back upstairs to cut our patterns down to size, though I could skip this step, thanks to my generous thighs! Next came the scary step of pinning the pattern to the fabric and cutting it out. I picked up quite a few tips like how to pin correctly, so the fabric doesn’t pucker. This is just one of the reasons why I wanted to do a sewing class – the little tips that no one ever tells you online or in books.
The next step was to start sewing. This bit terrified me, as it’s when things start to go haywire. But I had no problems stitching the legs together. The only problem I had was that my sewing machine hated doing the zig zag stitch, which was a slight issue as I had to do this on every seam to stop the fabric fraying. At first it was just me, but then it did for Anna too. It was quite frustrating. I felt as if everyone was miles ahead of me and I wasn’t going to be able to finish them. Fortunately, with a bit of luck, Anna was able to talk the machine into it & it succombed to our will! I was finally able to move on to the waistband and threading the elastic through. While sewing the waistband, the machine let us know that it didn’t like the thickness of the materical & decided to bend the needle. After a prompt needle change, and hemming the legs, my pyjamas were complete. I was so relieved – mainly because I didn’t want to have to finish them off at home. And I didn’t. I was able to pop them on as soon as I walked through the door. (and I’ve barely taken them off since!)
I really, really want to be able to sew well & now I feel much more confident, especially as I’m currently wearing my little creation! Plus, I came away with something useful and wearable & I learnt loads, which is awesome. The only downside was the dodgy sewing machine. It made what should’ve been a lovely peaceful afternoon into an inwardly stressful one. (Had I been at home on my own, there would have been tears & swears!) Despite that, I had great time & I love my new pjs! Great class, great value for money, happy, warm & cosy me 🙂