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.
A few years ago, I found a little pug cushion on Folksy. As my OH & I really wanted a pug, but couldn’t find one to adopt, we settled on the little cushion as a kind of dog-substitute! Our little pug was designed by Sarah Waterhouse. Only recently have I rediscovered Sarah’s amazing hand printed textiles and they are just as lovely as our little cushion. One of her designs has really caught my eye and it’s this delightful bird brolly print, which comes as a kit to make this lovely lampshade. I included it in little roundup of possible new lampshades for our redecorated hallway.
I’ve decided to order the kit and have a go at making my own lampshade. It’ll either go in the hallway or replace the hideous lampshade at the top of the stairs. It’s such a cheery pattern and I love the bright yellow. I’ll let you know how I get on – I’m really excited about it! (Despite the fact I have a ton of craft projects waiting for me to do!)
But not only does Sarah produce beautiful and colourful designs, everything is ethically sourced and created. She only prints on environmentally friendly fabrics such as hemp and organic cotton, the packaging is biodegradable and reused where possible and even her business cards are made from recycled card. Excellent environmental credentials, wouldn’t you say? I think this lamp shade will be the perfect addition to our house – handmade, hand printed, ethical and beautiful.
Have you found any really great craft kits recently? Let me know how you’re getting on with your projects – are you as swamped as me?!
This week Folksy Finds have a competition based on Textile Love. You simply have to pick 18 images from Folksy that show textiles that you love. In other words, spend some time looking at the pretty handmade things on Folksy and collect the images together!
I picked mine & pinned them onto my Textile Love Pinterest board. There are so many lovely handmade things out there. Below is a snapshot of what I picked. What would you pick?
This week I blogged about replacing some seat pads using fabric from the lovely Melin Tregwynt. While I was doing it, I had an idea about using some of the fabric as placemats. We didn’t have any spares when people came over to tea & I hadn’t found any in the shops that I liked, well, none that didn’t cost an arm & a leg!
So, with my new-found sewing machine confidence, I set to work. Now that I know what some of the buttons & wheels meant on the machine, I feel that I can pretty much sew anything! I realise that this may be a tad over opemistic, but I’m actually enjoying using the machine & happy that I don’t have to battle with it.
Anyway, the remnents that I’d bought were practically perfect for placemat size on our little kitchen table. So I just had to trim them to size & stitch the edges to prevent them from fraying. While this was a simple task, & I even got to use the reverse key (yes, before I discovered this I was simply pulling the fabric!), I had to get some more bobbins. When I finally got the right size (!) I discovered that my Nana had wound a bobbin with black cotton. This made me smile, as does finding half used cotton reels from my Nana’s huge sewing box. My Nana also has a needle wallet with her name on it, ‘The Boss’, which is very fitting. It also has a patch from her time serving with the Royal Engineers during the Second World War! I love this sewing box & am happy to have the change to use it whenever I can. I will think of her every time I use the placemats, hemmed with her cotton. x