Tuesday, 19 February 2013


Why do we do it?  Constantly putting ourselves under pressure to achieve something. I like so many had so much pressure when I worked that eventually my hair started coming out! Yet here I am retired, well, not too poor and possibly the envy of a lot if today's workers and I am still giving myself time schedules as if it really mattered to anyone but me. Daft I know, but how to cure myself I have no clue.
At the moment I am cross with myself because my decorating mojo seems to have left the building. Whether its the combination of short dark days, freezing temperatures and the occasional snow blizzard,

(A pain but oh so beautiful)

or just a case of too much in a short space of time before Christmas. Whatever the reason I cannot motivate myself and so I have decided to stop beating myself up about it and to concentrate on those things that have to be done, customers orders and decorations for our grandson's birthday party at the end of the month and then to just do whatever takes my fancy!

At the moment this means dressmaking and alterations.
My wardrobe cull is going well, several coats and dresses sold on EBay and more ready to go, and a fair pile for the local charity shop. All good stuff I hasten to add, having watched that Mary Portas programme on the tat that is offloaded to many of the shops, and I am trying to stick to my new mantra one in one out!
So during the cull I came across several items I really liked, but no longer fitted. Some were colours which I have had to really search for and I was loathe to get rid of. So what do you do but become your own alterations shop and I am very pleased with the items I have done so far. One pair of dark brown bootleg cords now straight leg, one pair of rather wide legged tweed trousers which not only fit but are a much better width for my small frame (and height! being decidedly vertically challenged),  and the chartreuse skirt which I made a while ago now several inches smaller. So three more items I don't have to replace.

And then  I came across this Vogue pattern from several years ago, which I never made up.

 Vogue 2659 

 So I rummaged through my boxes of fabric and found some fairly firm brown jersey and in a couple of hours had this......

 So I don't quite look like the model, but I love it and am so taken with the fit have found this rather super piece of stretch denim fabric to make up the skirt and am trying to decide what colour tee and jacket to make.

 Not too sure about the crops though I suppose I could again use stretch denim or something similar to make them a bit more classic for this old bird.

So you see although I am a bit sorry not to be reporting on my brand new bedroom, my hands will never be idle, nor I suspect will my wardrobe be empty!!

Off to track down some lovely gabardine, and perhaps some striped jersey.............

Jenny xx

Tuesday, 5 February 2013


Hi lovely sewers
This week as well as churning out candy bunnies, I have been giving a bit of thought to the bedroom makeover. I have a walk in wardrobe, and in it storage baskets in a frame in which I keep all my lingerie and hose. However my socks and tights are fighting for space so I decided I could do with a drawstring bag to add to the storage and which could be hung decoratively on the built in cupboard doors.
So I chose a couple of pieces of the fabric I had already sorted as possibilities for the room, and set to.

This is how I did it....a little tutorial.....

You will need..

1/2 yard of cotton fabric, either medium furnishing weight or patchwork fabric for the outer layer
1/2 yard of a contrasting or toning cotton, similar weight. ( both about 45 inches wide ) for the lining.
3/4 yard to 1 yard  of piping cord.
1 yard cotton tape, ribbon or string.
Matching thread.

First find a template to draw a 10 inch circle. I could only find the base of a 9 inch cake tin so used that and added 1/2 inch all round for my seams. Starting at the edge of your fabric cut one circle out of each of your fabrics.
Cut a rectangle from each fabric 14 inches by 27 inches
Cut two strips from the lining fabric, one 28 inches by 1 1/2inches and the second 28 inches by 2 inches.

Take the 1 1/2 inch strip and fold in half along the length, wrong sides together. Take the piping cord and place it right up against the inside of the fold. Starting a couple of inches away from the end and using a zipper foot stitch as close as possible to the cord and continue to within 2 inches of the end of the cotton strip.

Take the circle cut from the outer fabric, and starting where your stitching began, carefully pin the corded strip around the outer edge of the circle keeping the cut edges matching. It is usual to have binding cut on the bias when using piping cord, but this does take rather a lot of fabric and as I was using some vintage fabric, I didn't want to waste any. For this project it worked OK, even though I did not snip into the curved seam, but I would not recommend this for anything on a bigger scale.

When you have pinned all around, again using the zipper foot carefully stitch the piped strip around the circle again starting and finishing where your original stitching on the tape began and ended. You should have a small amount that is not yet attached. This is where you cut the cord so that it meets flush and turn in one end of the tape and let it overlap the other end to give a neat join. Pin when done and finish stitching this portion.

Next take one of the rectangles and with right sides facing sew a half inch seam down the short sides, creating a tube. Do the same with the lining piece. Press the seams open.

Now you will join the outer tube to the already piped circle. With right sides facing pin the tube to the outer edge of the circle and again using your zipper foot stitch close to the piping.
Next with right sides facing join the lining tube to the lining circle in the same way, this time you need a 1/2 inch seam as there is no piping to sew against.

Having the outer bag piece inside out, and the lining bag piece the correct way, slide the lining inside the outer bag. The right sides should now be facing and the top of the bag pieces level.. Stitch around the top with a 1/2 inch seam leaving about 4 inches unsewn to turn the bag right sides out.  Pull both parts of the bag through this gap and then push the lining down inside the outer bag and press the top edge before top stitching all around closing the gap as you do.

Take the remaining 2 inch strip and fold it in half lengthwise with the right sides facing. Stitch the long edge with a 1/4 inch seam. Fasten both ends of your stitching securely as you will now turn this tube right side out. Press the tube with the seam centred at the back. Turn one short end in and neaten with hand stitching.

Now mark a line on the outer bag about 2 inches from the top all around. This is the placement line for the  casing you have just made. Pin the top of the casing under this line starting with the neatened edge about 1/4 inch away from the back seam, and finish the same distance from the other side, if necessary cut the casing to fit allowing about 1/4 inch to tuck in and neaten as you did at the beginning. Attach the casing by stitching close to both the top and bottom edges ensuring that you secure it well at both the start and end on each row of stitching as this is where you will thread your ribbon or tape to draw the bag closed.

Finally thread your tape through the casing and then either knot or neaten the ends before knotting them together and voila....

one useful drawstring bag for all manner of things....hosiery, hair equipment, face cloths in a bathroom...the uses are endless and the look too depending on your fabric choice. You could even use lightweight velvet and store your jewellery, or use fun 50s nursery prints and use as pyjama cases.

I would love to see your versions if you decide to have a go......

Must be wine o'clock by now so will bid you all goodnight and happy sewing.

Jenny xx