Category Archives: Parties and presents

Pisces baby quilt

If you follow me on instagram you’re probably bored of me teasing you with pictures of this quilt buuuut it’s all done now so here it is with our resident newborn model, Kermit the Frog!

salt water constellations quilt 1

I put Kermit on it for scale so you can see that I accidentally made it totally massive (42 x 52 inches). Oh well, the baby can use it until it’s old enough for sleepovers, plus it’s a nice size for using as a lap quilt on the sofa (as I discovered when I was hand finishing the binding in front of the TV this week!).

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This quilt is for the same baby that got those little trousers a few weeks ago. The baby will be a Pisces like me, so (even though I don’t really believe in horoscopes), I thought this mix of sea on the front and stars would on the back would suit the little one. The salt water fabrics that I used for the top are so much fun, with all manner of sea creatures (and submarines!) hiding in the patterns.salt water constellations quilt 7

I made up the pattern on the top as I went along. It was nice to take a lot more risks with quilt, compared to the last baby quilt I made where I was quite “safe” with my fabric choices and the pattern. I started from the top with full stripes of all the different fabrics, and then worked in strips down from there, epiecing the fabrics together. I started with some bits precut, but in the end I was just cutting the fabric and playing with it like a jigsaw and then sewing it together. It was fun! One thing I learnt was that some of the fabrics that I wasn’t that fond of when they arrived (like the stripes), actually looked sooo good once they were cut up into little pieces and up against other patterns.

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I ordered the fabrics online and when the arrived I was a bit worried that the two different hues of blue on the front and back didn’t really go…. But once it the top was all sewn up I took into into my local quilt shop with the backing fabric and spent my lunch break browsing fabrics. Once I found this beautiful yellow the two blues really started to sing and I fell in love.

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Here’s one of my favourite bits! I had this seagull ribbon in my stash and at first I just sewed it into the binding, but then I figured it would be nice to reinforce it so that the baby’s mum (my friend) could use it to hang the quilt up on a hook if need be.

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Here’s a better view of the backing fabric with all its funny constellations. I quilted it with a triple zig zag stitch on my machine for some more wavy-ness. I wasn’t thrilled with the way this turned out (I have got to figure out how to work the walking foot I got for Christmas!), but I think it works.

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I attached the binding using the machine for one side and then secretly hand stitching on the other. I did all this using yellow thread that matched the binding, but as I was doing the hand stitching, I realised that I should have matched the machine thread to the quilt not the binding, so that it would be less visible if any bits did stick out of the binding.

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Materials:

Front: six skinny quarters of various Salt Water by Tula Pink fabrics in the ‘aqua’ colourway from the Village Haberdashery (I emailled Annie the shop owner and she cut them skinny not fat for me so that I could do the long stripes at one end of the quilt).

Back: 1.5 metres of Lizzy House constellations night blue from Backstitch (this was the harrrdest blue to photograph ever but look at the gorgeous pattern!)

Binding: about half a metre of Kona Solids mustard yellow (I think! It doesn’t look like any of the swatches online but what does that mean?!)

Batting: Bamboo Blend 50/50 bamboo cotton batting (I bought this off a roll at my local quilt shop though).

(I really like this batting! It’s snuggly and warm but still folds up really well so the quilt isn’t too much of a behemoth. I think the technical terms to describe it are: high drapability, low loft and high resilience. The lady in the shop said it wasn’t really necessary to pre-wash it before use (unless you were making a very pale quilt – the washing is recommended to remove any traces of oil from any cottonseed husks left in the batting). It will shrink about 5 per cent in the wash for that wrinkly look.)

Time: Started after work last Wednesday, finished Tuesday lunchtime. Two solid evenings and a Saturday morning, the rest in bits and pieces.

Cost: quilt top £24 (I have scraps left over but nothing else), quilt back £18, binding £3.50 (I used half a metre of £7/metre fabric), batting £8.10 (1.5 metres of the baby quilt width). Total = £56.50 (Plus p&p on some items and three – count ’em! – three 100m spools of gutermann thread at £1.55 a pop) (two blue and one yellow) (I only finished one of those fully though)

(I put the time and cost just to show why custom quilts cost so much on places like Etsy and why I won’t be going into business any time soon! I also thinking quilting cottons might be more expensive in the UK than the US?)

My favourite quilting tutorials: All linked up in this blog post

Let’s finish this up with one more picture of our beautiful baby all wrapped up!

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I love making quilts for babies! I spent a lot of time while I was making this quilt, just thinking about this little baby that we’re all so excited to meet. One of my other friends said that maybe I should be careful of setting a precedent that everyone’s babies get quilts, but for now I’d rather work on getting faster at quilting than give up on giving them! (Ask me again in a few years though.)

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Baby trousers! (Winter Pinterest Challenge)

Here’s a short and sweet post for a short and sweet project.

 Rae's basic newborn baby pant lined

Kermit loves modelling, and he’s so good at it too.

The first of my close friends is due next month and we are all SO EXCITED, yet also a little unprepared because we’ve never done this before! I plan on making the baby a baby quilt, but when one of her friends organised her a last minute baby shower dinner thing, I wanted a quick project to give her (the quilt won’t be finished till the baby is born).

 

So I turned to my pins and found this lovely free pattern from Made by Rae and got to serging (oh yeah! I did all the guts of these on my new overlocker). I was going to just make them unlined in this black and white elephant fabric, buuuut then after cutting them out and sewing them up, I realised I had cut the elephants out upside down. Ruh-roh.

So I pulled out my copy of Anna Maria Horner’s Handmade Beginnings and copied the construction of her quick change trousers to make a these into lined pair of trousers.

To do this, you make two identical pairs of trousers and sew everything except the waistband and leg openings. Then slip one pair into the other, right sides facing. Sew a seam along the top of both pairs of trousers. Turn inside out, then top stitch about half an inch under the waist band, leaving a small opening to slip quarter inch elastic through. Thread the elastic through and then zig zag stitch the ends of the elastic together and complete the top stitching so it looks all nice. I didn’t take any pictures of this but thankfully I used horribly clashing thread for the top stitching so you should be able to figure it out…. Once you’ve turn that, turn all four leg openings up quarter of an inch with the iron and top stitch all the way around. You’re done!

 Rae's basic newborn baby pant lined

And those upside down elephants on the inside? Perfect turn ups!

This post is part of the Pinterest Challenge, organised by Katie (Bower Power), Sherry (Young House Love), Michelle (Decor and the Dog), and Megan (The Remodeled Life).

Thanks guys!

Sewing presents!

This is waaaay overdue but I wanted to share with you some lovely things that came in the post lately (recently would be a lie, this post is long overdue!).

First up, waaay back in November, I woke up one morning to discover I was the winner of Megan Nielsen Patterns’ incredibly generous anniversary giveaway

So I spent a little while anxiously tracking my parcel’s progress across the globe (how awesome is DHL’s tracking?!)

DHL tracking

And then my glorious package arrived! So much lovely sewing goodness!! I can’t wait to get sewing my new patterns (I chose Darling Ranges and the Banksia top and I’m so excited!) I just still have some Christmas presents to sew before I can get back into dress making for meeeee.

Megan Neilsen giveaway

All of this loveliness all bundled up in an “I make fashion” tote! Thanks, Megan.

And that’s not all the sewing goodness I’ve received lately… Thanks to KraftyKat’s sewists secret Santa, I got this lovely bundle in the post just before Christmas. (Click here to see what I sent Karen from Did You Make That?.)

Sewists Secret Santa

The green fabric is just dreamy and so perfect for making a top from and I love everything else. Thank you so much Santa! If you’re reading this and don’t mind revealing who you are, leave me a comment!

Aaaaand, while I’m on the subject, here’s a peek at my sewing-related Christmas presents (and a gorgeous tin I plan to keep sewing stuff in)….

Sewing Christmas presents

I was spoilt rotten this year…. it was ridonkulous. You should have seen the non-sewing presents I got!

So, that’s a long overdue round up of some things I’ve got lately.

I’ve felt so spoilt lately that I’ve decided to do a tiny giveaway on the blog this week to return a little bit of the favour. So check back for that…

What was your favourite present this year? I’m torn between that lovely box, a dragonfly necklace from Mr V and a collapsible washing up bowl for camping (I’m a practical girl!). I’m also over the moon to finally have a pair of pinking shears courtesy of my aunt.

Lots of elephants and a giraffe

Happy new year, team! I hope everyone had a jolly Christmas and a spendid New Year. We had a lovely Christmas at Mr V’s parents’ house with the whole family and then we whipped down to Devon to welcome the new year with my friends.

Beach

We swam here on the 1st of January to wash the old year away! It was frrrrrreezing, unsurprisingly.

Anyway, I thought I’d just update with some Christmas sewing I did for the tiny nieces and for the homemade secret santa that we do at New Year.

First up, I made our toddler niece a dress with elephants on it.

Every little thing dress elephants

It’s the Every Little Thing Dress pattern from Schwin Designs, which I bought in their Black Friday sale.

Not going to lie, I pretty much hated sewing this dress. My sewing machine kept ripping thread, my gathering kept messing up, my iron got dirt on the white bit of dress… basically everything that could go wrong, did go wrong! (And most of the things that did go wrong, were my fault either that day or at some point in the past.) Eventually I called it a day, whapped some polka dot bias tape on it to cover some sins and accepted how wonky these elephants are on the back.

Every little thing elephant dress back

I was a bit aware that making clothes for babies and toddlers is more of a present for their parents than the kid themselves, so I wanted to make a simple softie to match the outfits I’d made (the baby niece got these polka dot dungarees).

So, using this Little Softies Zoo Pattern (amazing, so well designed and written!) I made big and little elephants in the same fabrics.

Little Softies elephants

I was happier with how the baby elephant turned out. It really felt like I was short changing the toddler niece as I wasn’t happy with her dress or elephant and I was thrilled with her baby sister’s dungarees and elephant. Oh well, luckily she’s only two so she didn’t care!

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I was thrilled to get this message from the nieces’ mum a few days ago: “I spent a long time this morning trying to get a picture of the girls playing with their elephants but they move too much! I hadn’t even set it up, they absolutely love them!” (She really liked the dungarees and dress too!)

I didn’t have much time to make my present for homemade secret santa so I decided to stick with the Little Softies pattern, adding a giraffe to the mix. I made them out of lovely printed felt and did a bit more embroidery on them (as they were for an adult). I still realised that I’d essentially made a 29-year-old a baby toy, but she seemed to like them!

Felt elephant and giraffe

I only managed to snap a picture of these with the iphone after I’d given them, so sorry there’s not much detail.

So that’s the last of my pre-Christmas sewing all caught up! Homemade secret santa marked one year since my first sewing project since school (pyjama cat). It’s been really fun – I’ve loved learning so much and nothing beats the feeling of making a whole new thing out of fabric and thread.

I’m looking forward to sewing a lot more in 2013. I’m also hoping to get a lot more technically proficient and make many more wearable garments.

Making the felt elephant also ignited a new love – hand embroidery – so there might be a bit of that too!

Embroidered flower

I made this last week. The really rough petals and leaves are from before I got the embroidery hoop…

Did you make any Christmas presents this year? I wanted to make more but ran way out of time (I owe Mr V some pyjama shorts!). Next time I’ll start earlier, because I’ve missed my selfish sewing.

Merry Christmas from our home to yours!

Hello!

Our Christmas tree theme this year? If you’re going to go fake go really fake.

Sylvester silver christmas tree

Meet Sylvester, our silver tinsel tree. We love him!

But our less tacky decorations didn’t get along with him, so we hung those on a bough cut from the bottom of Mr V’s parents’ tree, which we helped them put up a few weekends ago. (You can see this on the left in the picture below, with the Christmas cards hanging above it.) We hung our stockings from the lower shutters and stacked all our presents underneath them.

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And then Doris wanted in on the action.

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Happy, happy scene.

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Ahh. tis the season.

I hope your Christmas is filled with love, just a teensy bit to0 much food and a lot of laughter.

xoxoxo

Christmas bunting with lace trim

If you follow me on instagram, you’ll know that last week I started making bunting for our wedding (I’ll post about this at some point). Seven months (eeep!) is a long time to make the amount of bunting I need to make, but I knew that I’d get side tracked into other projects so I should give myself plenty of time.

Sure enough, I’d only sewn wedding bunting for two evenings when I got distracted by making some Christmas bunting as a present  for my mum’s birthday on Wednesday.

Without further ado… here it is!

She has a lovely mantelpiece to display this on, we don’t, so I had to stick it to the wall with masking tape.

I love it.

The birds are cut out from this Ikea fabric (£3 a metre!), and appliqued using my sewing machine. I outlined some of them in straight stitching or a zig zag stitch for emphasis. I was surprised at how many different birds were hiding in the fabric!

I used the same fabric on the back of the flags (because I have about a million metres of it. (I also used it here. )

I bought the two different fabrics for the front of the flags from the remnant bin at my local quilting shop. I picked them up a long long time ago but I think they were around £3-4 each for just under half a metre.

The red tape at the top is a red woven ribbon from the same quilting shop and the lace is from there too.

I attached a tiny bell (5p each) by hand to the bottom of each flag.

Even though it was only stuck up with masking tape, I loved how jolly it made our living room, so maybe for my next project I’ll get side tracked into making some Christmas bunting for us!

PS. I’m so sorry to bring Christmas to your blog reader so early! I just made this and love it so much I had to share!

Make a fabric party hat in under a minute

Party_hat

Ok, so there are other blogs out there where you can go for your perfect Martha-Stewart style crafts. I’m more of a I’m-already-five-minutes-late-when-inspiration-strikes kinda crafter. The sort you don’t feel in the least bit intimidated by, in other words (mainly because anything I make always looks a little like your average eight year old could have done better).

Anyway. The other day I was putting together a birthday parcel for my mum. As I was digging around in my wrapping drawer I found a bunch of ugly but fun party hats and some fabric I’d been saving (actually the cut off legs of a pair of pyjamas that had sadly died). Even though, as I said, I was already late, I thought I’d use the two to make my mum a unique little birthday hat to put on her cute head.

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Here’s where we started. If you don’t have an old hat, I think the best template is here on oh happy day. (Whilst there, you can see the sort of beautiful hats you can make if you put a bit more time and effort in.)

The rest is so easy you’ve probably already worked it out, but just in case.

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I lined up the already hemmed edge of the fabric (the bottom of the trouser leg) along the bottom of the party hat with a couple of centimetres overhang, then pulled it taut to the tip of the hat. (If you’re using unhemmed fabric it would also be fine, I just put my hem where it made most sense as I already had it)

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Tape along that line with tape.

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Line around the inside of the hat with double sided tape and rip off the liner bit of the tape. (Mine’s dirty from something in the junk drawer… luckily that was the bit that got pulled off!)

The next bit required two hands so there’s no pictures. But you need to stick the bottom of the fabric to that double sided tape. Then trim the fabric just past the point where the two ends meet (you want a bit to cover the masking tape.

Then I swept the excess height of the fabric up and around the cone (I was going for a princessy vibe!) and tied it in a bow.

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Is it perfect? No. Would it make you smile if you received it in the post on your birthday? I reckon.

I’ll be back tomorrow or later in the week with more details with the rest of the party-in-a-parcel I sent my mum.

Here’s the finished party in a parcel!