Here is the latest addition to the mountain of cushions currently breaking it’s way through the surface crust of my bedroom and out into the open.
This time I decided to have a go at applique. I used a flower pattern from trusty Cath Kidston’s book, and cut out three in two contrasting, retro-orange florals fabrics. Bright orange colours are a spring/summer 2011 must have, and I think I’ve almost hit the fashion-nails into the soles of the fashion-wedges with this one.
I used my sewing machine to stitch around the edges of the flowers onto the plain cream backing. I chose a contrasting pink colour so that the row of stitches would stand out, and make the cushion look even more home made. I didn’t put any hems around the edges as I quite like the ’vintage’ frayed look. I then hand-stitched a load of contrasting coloured buttons onto the centre flower just to add a bit more to that eclectic look I was striving for.
The back of the cushion uses the same fabrics as that of the applique flowers. I think the contrasting panels works quite well. This cushion wouldn’t look out of place in a retro fashion store (or indeed my grandma’s living room).
This weekend I’ve been working away on this cute drawstring storage bag. My friend has recently got herself a new flat, but alas, has told me she has nothing nice to decorate it with… so out came my new book of gifts (Fast Fabric Gifts by Sally Southern) and here’s the project I chose.
The bag is made up of two pieces of fabric in contrasting patterns, which are simply pressed and seamed together to create the rectangular shape. This was the easy part. I continued on with the pattern, marvelling at how easy it was to make… and then had a slight panic attack when the next instruction was to SEW BUTTON HOLES.
Let’s make this clear – I have never stitched a button hole in my life. I turned to the instructions for my sewing machine, armed with a practice piece of floral material and several deep breaths, and was quietly surprised by how SIMPLE it was. You place the fabric under the foot, and then turn the dial from setting 1 through to 4 and…. voila! From now on, everything I make is going to be adorned with buttons!
I then stitched around the button holes to create a channel for the drawstring, and threaded through some bright pink ribbon for a dramatic finish. Now all I need to do is finish the other bag I started for my own use, and get this one in the post to my friend’s new flat. Fabulous.
I got the latest issue of Sew Hip! magazine the other day, in hope that in being the November edition, it would contain some Christmas-sy patterns. Unfortunately it didn’t, which I was a little disappointed about, but I did find a pattern for this cute little hamper basket.
It’s made up of 2 long pieces of fabric for the sides, 4 strips for the handles and 2 round circles for the base. The outer and lining layers are sandwiched around corresponding lengths of wadding to give it some structure. I decided to have a go because the pattern looked simple, and I figured it’d be a nice container for my grandparents’ Christmas presents when I’d finished!
As expected, the pattern was easy to follow, but I did have a few issues with the thickness of the material and trying to fit it under the sewing machine foot. I had to hand-stitch the base onto the sides because it was just too bulky. All in all, a good little project that passed a morning. And the perfect size for a Christmas hamper too.
After making various cushions I decided to begin something a bit more adventurous. A skirt. I went down to the Remnant House and bought (far too much of) this lovely navy floral cotton. It’s quite thin and so easy to sew with. The photo doesn’t quite do the pattern justice, as the little roses are more red in real life.
I was originally going to trace around an existing skirt to create my own pattern, but decided that this was possibly a little TOO adventurous. Instead I had a flick through various pattern catalogues and came across one by New Look. It’s a pattern for 5 different a-line skirts, some with extra darts, some a bit longer and some with a side split. I cut out the pieces for the simplest design (top left skirt on the photo below), and away I went.
The skirt consists of 4 pieces of mateial: a front piece, 2 back pieces and a waistband. It also requires a 7″ zip and a bit of interfacing for inside the waistband. I cut out the material according to the ‘size 8′ guidelines but soon discovered that it was going to be far too small. And that I’m a secret size 16. It turns out this pattern is made for a skirt to go around the wait. I want a skirt that goes around the hips. This meant re-cutting the back 2 pieces to extend the width a bit. I also chopped off half the length to create a more youthful look.
As a first-time dressmaker, I’m finding the pattern a little difficult to follow and have had to either Google/ask my mum what some of the terminology means. ‘Layering’ seams and ‘line with interfacing’ are not expressions I’ve previously encountered. That out the way, I’ve so far managed to piece my skirt together, machine stitch it all, and have just attached the (interfacing lined) waistband. More to follow.
Now that I have somewhere safe to store my pins, thanks to the adventurous pin cushion I made previously, I decided to embark upon my first real project. Cushions. These are supposedly the easiest pattern in the book, and once again the book proved to be correct.
The cushions are made up of 2 back pieces and 2 side panels in a crinkled floral cotton, and 1 front panel in a contrasting striped floral cotton. I think the contrast between stripes and flowers makes the cushions look more intricate than they actually are! A good result all round. They look lovely against pine furniture, as in the photo I took in the dining room, and have a lovely country house sentiment to them. Move over Laura Ashley.