Tag: craft

Handmade Messenger Bag

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.

Beautiful fabric Handmade messenger bag

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!

Making a skirt at Darn It and Stitch

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.

Dressmaking at Darn It and Stitch Simplicity pattern 1109 Dressmaking class at Pinworks

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.

The Great British Sewing Bee

I don’t know about you, but I have been well and truly transfixed by this year’s Great British Sewing Bee. The standard of sewing has been impeccably high, making my own sewing skills look non-existent! I have no idea who’s going to win, as they’ve all made some amazing things.

Great British Sewing Bee

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For me, the show highlights how difficult and time consuming it is to make clothes, the skill involved and the fact that clothes shouldn’t be cheap and disposable. The amount of time, care and attention that goes into everything they make is inspirational – it makes me want to be a better sewer, though I have a feeling I’m a lost cause! One of my favourite things they do is the alteration challenge. I would love to be able to buy some clothes from a charity shop and alter them to fit me properly or make something completely different. Who knows, I might just have to give my old sewing machine another try to see if we get on this time!

Personalising my iPad with Cricut Explore

I have a long list of things I want to do, make and create, but making time for them is tough. So, while we were in between guests last weekend, my OH popped out to the garden centre and I sat down with my (c/o) Cricut Explore, in a bid to personalise my iPad a bit. I had no excuses – the house was clean, the washing was done, food was in, Poppy was walked. I had an idea about what I wanted, well, a few actually. As time was of the essence, I went with the quick and easy option of using some of the images from the Cricut Design Room. I knew I wanted to cover the edge a bit and have some kind of repeating pattern on the back. Plus, I’d never cut the vinyl before, so it was a little bit of a test all round. I settled on a basic border and a rain cloud.

Rain Cloud ipad vinylIn the design room, you can set your canvas, but unfortunately, they don’t have the iPad Mini, which meant I had to set my own measurements (always a risk!) So the border isn’t perfect. What I’d really like is a border set in the design room, which includes the buttons and camera and cuts them out to. Mine didn’t and I didn’t have time to figure it out (so if you know how, please let me know!) so I just went with this. I love the cloud shape and raindrops – it’s very simple, which is fine for a first attempt. And the beauty of the vinyl is that it can be removed very easily and changed for something else when you fancy a change.

ipad vinyl with cricut exploreUsing the vinyl was surprisingly easy. As I didn’t have a lot of time before our guests arrived, I used the same colour throughout but there are a number of colours available. Now I actually have something on my iPad, giving it a bit of protection, I want to work on something a bit more personal, maybe even designed by me!

Another thing I had on my list, was making some wall art, in the way of a slogan to go in my my office. I’ve been wracking my brains, trying to think of a quote or a slogan that isn’t too cheesy or too long, that will inspire me when I’m lacking in confidence. I’ve yet to find one! However, I did just want to have something small and quick on my computer – after all, I face it every day. This is what I went with:

Cricut Explore SloganHey, I never said I was Shakespeare! (And yes, I realise it’s not straight!) But sometimes I just need a reminder not to give up, no matter how frustrated I am or lacking in self-confidence. It’ll do for now. If you’ve got any suggestions of quotes, phrases or slogans, then let me know!

Disclosure: I was sent the Cricut Explore to review, but as usual, all opinions are my own.