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Archive for the ‘Sewing’ Category

Another birthday present

But this one’s for you, not me.

It’s been a little over a year since I started blogging here. Since I moved a couple of the early posts over from another blog the official birthday is unclear, but hey, close enough is good enough for gifts.

(Before you get too excited, these luggage tags found a happy home with my mother. But you get to make your own! That’s nearly as exciting, right?)

I prototyped them for a workmate who was leaving to travel, but couldn’t actually bring myself to give them to her because, uh, they sucked. Well, what do you expect when you attempt something for the first time ever, with no clear pattern, the night before you want to give them away? (Actually yes, I do expect miracles, but I’ve mostly come to terms with them not often happening.)

The pressing need for a gift having passed, I thought no more about them until mum mentioned she was planning a trip to Vietnam. Little cogs started to whir…

Another couple of attempts later, the useful, pretty and not sucky luggage tags were born.

And so, without further ado I present the very first Craftini tutorial: how to make a fabric lugagge tag. (It’s also over there on the right in the sidebar.)

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Rockstar magic

You know how sometimes your job title just doesn’t do justice to how awesome your job actually is? When you’d rather be a ‘Director of First Impressions’ than a receptionist, or a ‘Nerd-Rustler’ instead of an IT recruitment specialist? Or, as James and his workmates debated, something much, much cooler-sounding than a ‘digital modeller’.

I think they’ve got proper fancy titles hidden away somewhere, but what they really wanted was something that said, ‘Yes! I make magic! With pixels! But not ordinary magic. Rockstar magic! Rockstar pixel magic! Yes! You heard me! Magic!’. But ‘Rockstar Pixel Magician’ kinda says Siegfried and Roy — not the Penn and Teller they were hoping for.

Then inspiration struck.

And I stitched it onto a pencil tin for posterity.

[Caution: contains adult language. Viewer discretion advised.]

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Fabric shopping

And it’s not mine for once! I got a plea for help in the comments:

Now, I’ve come here in the hope of being directed to some seriously cool fabric places… you have a lot of different kinds of fabric in your pics so I’m thinking coming to you for sage fabric advice is a step in the right direction. I recently bought the pattern for this little lovely…  and I adore that fabric. It seems a little Amy Butler-ish to me…. do you know anyone in Welly that might stock that style of fabric? Or any online places that can be recommended?

How fabulous is that bag? Can’t wait to see the finished item.

For craft fabric I mostly just cruise the front half of Arthur Toye in Willis Street, or the quilting fabric section of Spotlight. Spotlight has a larger selection, Arthur Toye has better prices. Plus, my decision-making time gets out of hand when faced with too many choices, so it’s best to keep focussed. I know the shop assistants must see hundreds of people vacillate their way around the store, but it doesn’t stop me feeling shady if I’m there ‘too long’.

There’s also Global Fabrics on Garrett Street, but they don’t usually have a lot of craft-esque material. That said, it’s where I got the fabric for the less-than-50-cm-of fabric tote so it can be worth checking out. (The tote fabric isn’t plain cotton, but since it’s lined in cotton it makes almost no difference.)

I haven’t ventured far into buying fabric online, but in New Zealand Blooming Quilts and Scrapbooking By Design both carry Amy Butler fabrics and patterns. SBD also has Joel Dewberry-designed fabrics, which I love but never know what I’d do with. Probably use it as very expensive wallpaper. Further afield, I’ve heard good thing about Fabric Tales and Repro Depot.

Does anyone else have any suggestions? Fire away in the comments if you do!

In case anyone was wondering, I’m the worst decision-maker in the world when it comes to fabric – sometimes I just make a leap of faith that the fabric in my hands will still look respectable/appropriate/wearable when I’ve finished with it. I um and ah and dither and pick up and put down and half the time leave with nothing — only to go back later and repeat the process. And this is leaving aside the question of how much I should get, once I’ve made up my mind… Some little part of me thinks haberdashery should just have bolts labelled ‘skirt fabric’, or ‘warm winter top fabric’, or ‘the fabric that pattern X is made out of’.

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…if I only just put it into my stash?

Pear Dress No, I didn’t think so. Oh well.

On the bright side, my newly acquired fabric was all half price, as was this toddler’s dress pattern (McCall’s 5304) that I completely failed to resist.

Granted, Hannah probably has a year or so before it’ll come anywhere near fitting her, but I swear it looked small when I was cutting it out. Perhaps it’ll be a Christmas present… which also gives me time to find the perfect button for it, because even I know you can’t give a kid clothes held together by pins.

The pattern calls for miles of bias binding on all the seams, but I figured I’d fully line the dress instead. It does away with the need for facings on the front edges, but I still had to bind the armholes (and even cut my own bias binding to do it. I didn’t think that would ever happen).

Initially I tried to sew the outer fabric and lining together at the armholes to eliminate the binding altogether, but empirical evidence showed it would no longer be possible to turn the dress right side out. To those with a modicum of spatial awareness this is apparently self-evident, but James wasn’t around to ask. (I say that as if I would’ve asked if he’d been home, but I think it’s safe to assume I really wouldn’t have.)

Hit the jump for full front and back views, if you’re interested.

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Pencil tin

Craft: had a link to a great tutorial from Elsie Marley the other day — how to make a tin can cover — that I just couldn’t resist.

Pencil Tin

The concept (originally from a Japanese magazine called “Cotton Friend”) is simple, but seemed to waste the lining. It ends up against the tin and is barely seen! That won’t do at all in my book, so I came up with a variation that’s slightly more work but results in a fully lined tin.

Instead of cutting a separate piece of fabric to line the rim, I pieced together the fabric until it was a couple of inches longer than twice the length of the tin. The tin was still a little sticky from where the label came off so I used that to hold the fabric in place while I sewed it on (press the raw edges in first for a neat finish). Once that’s done, the interior fabric just folds into place. I didn’t sew the inside edges of the fabric together, but it wouldn’t be too hard to do.

To neaten everything up, I ran a running stitch close to the edge of the fabric at the bottom of the tin, pulled it tight and taped the thread to the bottom to hold it in place. Then I cut two circular pieces of card: one’s glued to the base of the tin to hide the raw edges, thread and tape, and the other to the bottom of the tin on the inside.

I have a feeling James might sneak this away to hold his pens and pencils at work…

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Kasia skirt from Burda StyleWe’ve established, haven’t we, that I really don’t need more reasons to search for fabric. Nonetheless I’m absolutely in love with the Kasia skirt from Burda Style.

The pattern’s free — that’s a good start — and I have some grey fabric that I no longer recollect what I was going to make out of it, so really, all I need is some contrast for the pockets… If I’m lucky, I might even have that in my stash too.

It won’t be the ultra-fractal madness of the sample skirt, but I think I’m okay with that.

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A quick birthday treat

But, alas, not for me.

The bunny and eggs are a result of Anna complaining that she hadn’t brought any of her Easter eggs back from Christchurch, so was missing her customary stash of post-Easter chocolate. Just as well one of the local stores had over-ordered and were selling their Easter goodies half price. (Also just as well Anna doesn’t read this blog. It’s the thought that counts, right?)

I didn’t embroider the bag they’re in, but I did whip up the card from Still Dottie‘s fabric stitched notecard tutorial. Not having any cute festive fabric on hand, I used a square of Basic Grey Hippie (from the Romani range) and stitched it with pink thread. I didn’t think about how to hide the thread ends until I’d finished, but they’re just pulled to the wrong side, tied in a knot and cut short. Unbelievably easy.


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