• Sewing journey (archive)

    A little pyramid pattern weight

    I hope you’ve been enjoying The Great British Sewing Bee. I’ve had lots of lovely  comments about my little pattern weights so thought I’d share a tutorial so that you too could have a bamboo steamer full of the very best sewing dim sum. Why use pattern weights? Well, there’s a time and a place for pattern weights- but generally they’re a super easy and quick way to keep your pattern in place while you cut out your fabric using a rotary cutter. Some people swear by scissors, but with scissors you really should pin the pattern in place to prevent it shifting which can be a bit long and cumbersome. Some people swear by rotary cutters. Personally I only tend to swear when I’ve managed to nick myself with the blade more than anything… (They are blooming sharp!) These particular set of pattern weights were whipped up late one evening using left over scraps from Tanzanian/Zanzibari kangas (the traditional clothes made up from one large continuous piece of printed fabric, much like a sari).

  • Sewing journey (archive)

    A little baby boom

    We’ve had a real boom in little one’s around here! Most exciting was the arrival of my brother’s little baby gal- the first grandchild in the family, our cute little pumpkin. Between fielding well meaning Aunties patting on my tummy, asking “when is she going to get a cousin?” and sewing up all sorts of treats for this little one, I’ve been a busy little bee. Here’s a few projects I’ve been working on, along with the links to patterns (all freebies!) Little Geranium- from Made by Rae– I love this little pattern. So simple and so cute. This cotton fabric was from IKEA! (Size 0-3 months) 2. Little Geranium- from Made by Rae– I did say I loved this dress pattern! This time with a little added bias tape and pockets.Tiny babies need pockets you know. The Mary-Jane style booties are from my own pattern The Little Bow-tiful Booties. Matching headband was just a simple thing I whipped up! The fabric is from IKEA again…The salesperson hovered around behind me waiting for me to checkout. Poor guy, it’s like he’d never been around crafters before! I kindly suggested he carry on with his work and I’d get him when I was ready……

  • Sewing journey (archive)

    A little hearty wrapper

    Me: What do you think of this photo? Is it a keeper? Tree: It shows your face [I’m trying to keep some vague sort of web anonymity] Me: I’m pretty sure if people recognised me it would be because of the full length heart printed dress instead of the slither of forehead… Another post to add to my “Little chronicles of a small time sewer” collection. To be honest, I probably give my sewing machine a lot more love and attention than my crochet needles at the moment which is why the next few posts are all sewing based! I decided that with each new project I would try to learn at least one new technique. First up was this heart print cotton from Cape Town. Having watched this year’s Great British Sewing Bee, I learnt that ‘pattern matching’ was 1. an actual thing. 2. apparently quite important. 3. big prints are easier than small prints…or maybe it was the other way around?

  • Sewing journey (archive)

    A little long for an apron…

    I’ve found myself waking up pretty early today, despite not having to be in for work until 11 (oh yes, it’s weekend shift no.2 in the space of three weeks!) So I thought I’d do a quick post of a skirt I made during christmas. Luckily for me, I had Christmas off. Unfortunately, Tree was working nights. And being car-less I was flat bound, with just the Christmas movies to keep me company in the evenings. The perfect environment to get my sewing machine out, wouldn’t you say?

  • Sewing journey (archive)

    Fabric haul!

    Whilst on holiday visiting family in the beautiful city of Cape Town, I ended up visiting the fabric shops. Perhaps a strange thing to do when on holiday, but when I found out where the fabric district was- I couldn’t resist! (And luckily I had a lot of luggage allowance left!)

  • Old blog,  Sewing journey (archive)

    The little protege

    My niece (in the Asian sense of the word where everyone is your relative-> spreading the love) needed to dress up as a Disney princess for the last week of school and started asking around for a purple coloured maxi skirt to dress up as Princess Jasmine. Unfortunately, I don’t own a purple skirt so I failed on ‘super Aunt’ points. But half an hour later she sent me another message asking for a yellow skirt because she now wanted to dress up as Snow White. As luck would have it, I had the perfect outfit for Snow White- as pointed out by my lovely readers on my tutorial for a crop t-shirt. Super Aunt to the rescue!

  • Sewing journey (archive)

    The little chronicles of a small time sewer: The graduation dress, Part 1

    6 years of uni. 7 days until graduation. 1 dress. 0 experience. Could it be done? Day 1 I decided to use another print at home pattern from the brilliant people at Burdastyle (this time following the pattern to the T). Guess how many pages it required? 71. 71 pages!! Perhaps somewhat ironically, I decided to print it on the back of old lecture notes to save some trees. As I was sticking reams of paper together I realised that the pattern was made for ‘tall’ people. Being a ‘petite’ meant I had to cut out a (sizeable) chunk of the length from the middle of the dress (just taking it off the bottom would ruin the ‘cocoon’ shape) and hope for the best!

  • Sewing journey (archive)

    The little chronicles of a small time sewer: upcycling

    In the middle of revision week I got it into my head that I needed a tailors mannequin. Ok, maybe ‘needed’ isn’t the right word. Perhaps, ‘wanted’ was more appropriate…[I tried the ‘need’ argument with Tree and he gave me one of those who are you trying to kid looks…] But as you do during revision time, you let yourself get preoccupied with anything else but the books sitting open on the desk gathering dust. So I went on the hunt for a mannequin which would be both practical and pretty and entered a fierce Ebay bidding war (which I won. Mwah ha ha!). And lo and behold it arrived (mid exam week!) providing a much needed pick-me-up!

  • Old blog,  Sewing journey (archive)

    A little tee hee

    My sewing skills are still very much in the ‘extreme beginner’ realm (remember my maxi skirt fail?). That said, I have since managed to make a maxi skirt win! But I’m afraid that’s not what today’s post is about. It’s actually about an experiment with the remaining cloth from the maxi skirt. I had about 90 cm x 100 cm of cloth left so decided to make a top! I don’t know about you but I love this new style of ‘box’ cut tops out in the shops, with a very wide body to the top and cropped size. They’re so comfy to wear! I love the bagginess. And being essentially a giant rectangle with sleeves I thought: I can do this….right? With my blog in mind and fellow sewing extreme beginners- I decided to experiment and really simplify things (mainly to make sure the tricky step of  ‘inserted sleeves’ is avoided!). And also, why lie, I really wanted a cropped tee to go with my growing collection of maxi skirts!

  • Craft tutorials,  Old blog

    The little spider web

    I recently got a few new readers (yay!), including one of my friend’s mum! She made a special request for ribbon embroidery tutorials- so here I am- uber happy to oblige! Unfortunately I’m a bit squeezed for time, so I only managed to do spider web roses and having left my camera at home, I had to use my phone. So apologies for the blurry photos. Ribbon embroidery is incredibly simple to do and super fast to work up. It’s one of my favourite types of embroidery (out of the two types I know how to do. Chuckle.) The problem with ribbon embroidery is that it can come out really frumpy and old-fashioned (do a quick google search and you’ll see what I mean!). [No offence to whoever did them, they are lovely…but just not my style…] It’s such a beautiful type of embroidery, it just needs to be given a new lease of life. So my tips for non-frumpy ribbon embroidery?