Sewing Softies

For most of 2015 I was a bad blogger. I had so little brain power that managing to get crafty was a trial, writing about it was impossible!

This year I’m determined to be different! I’ve realised that the biggest thing holding me back is the dreaded goggle box so this year I’m going on a bit of a TV diet. My evenings are for reading and making, with the odd film thrown in for good measure!

Already this year I’ve managed to pick up an unfinished plan and get going with it! I found this book hidden in the depths of my sewing room.
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Sewn Toy Tales by Melly & Me. I bought it when I was still very new to sewing and I was determined that I would hone my skills making beautiful soft toys for my children. Unfortunately, always reaching a bit further that I should, I decided to start with one of the more complicated patterns in the book. I discovered it was all a bit too fiddly for me and I put the book away and forgot about it.

I was having a bit of a clear out before Christmas (my sewing room had to be fit to accommodate some guests over the festive season) and discovered loads of books I forgot I even had. Sewn Toy Tales came back into my life just in time for me to sew up a present for my niece’s birthday. January birthdays are hard to remember to fit in after the craziness of Christmas so I’m really glad I found this book in time to sew her something!

I had planned since I bought the book to make Mabelle the Mouse for her so once I hoked out some suitably lovely floral fabric I got cracking. And then I promptly realised why I hadn’t made her the mouse before! Everything is on such a small scale that it was so fiddly! The tiny arms and feet were so hard to sew well. Then once they were made I realised I had over stuffed them so machine sewing them into place was incredibly difficult. There was a lot of hand sewing done at the end to make sure everything was well secured. I’ll definitely do the next one better!

I love how she turned out though and my niece was delighted. Apparently this mouse has been renamed Squeak and is very happy in her new home!

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Squeak!

I’m looking forward to making more toys this year. It was a great way to improve on my sewing skills. I’d advise any novice sewists that this book is great, there’s loads of really useful information in it and the patterns are beautiful but start with the easier patterns at the start of the book so you don’t put yourself off!!

I have another kiddo’s birthday this January(on the 7th!) so I better get cracking on another pattern!

Triangle Pouch!

Having a nosey on Pinterest the other night I came across triangle pouches! This was a total revelation to me, they are super cute and not too much different in construction to the wee zipper pouches I had made before.

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With help from this tutorial from Crafty Gemini I put together this cute pouch.

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Triangle Pouch Interior

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I could definitely refine my technique a bit. I’d like the top of the zip to look a bit tidier but I think it didn’t turn out too badly for a first go! I can see lots of these in my future, in lots of different sizes for holding all my bits and pieces.

This is a great pattern for using up scrappy bits of leftover fabric. I used two 9×5 inch pieces of polycotton. I interfaced the exterior with firm interfacing and medium interfacing on the interior to give it enough body to stand up without adding too much bulk. I used a 7 inch closed end zip but the next time I think I’ll be a bit more careful with the placement. It would look a bit better with the zip top at the top of the pouch rather than centering the fabric on the zip, which is what I did.

All in all a very versatile method for making cute pouches and I can’t wait to make some more!

Pattern Review – Jade Skirt by Paprika Patterns

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I first spied this skirt in my Instagram feed. Someone had made it with the most awesome fishy fabric but what really grabbed my attention was the construction. I couldn’t work out how on earth those layers at the front were made but I needed to know! Thankfully the poster had linked to the designer of the pattern, Lisa Kievits of Paprika Patterns, and I was able to rush off to her website to buy it. To my dismay I discovered that I was a bit too big for the sizes the pattern was made for and I’m definitely not confident enough at stitching clothes yet to take on the necessary modifications!

Regardless I kept one eye on the Jade Skirt pattern with the hope that one day I’d lose enough weight to fit into it however my willpower is weak so I wasn’t really holding out much hope! Imagine my delight when I discovered that the pattern was being re-released, and not only had it been rejigged but it was now coming in BIGGER SIZES! To say I was happy was an understatement and doubly happy because with the re-release I got a chance to review the pattern!

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The finished article

My major problem with this pattern is a totally personal thing, but I’m really not a fan of PDF patterns. Unfortunately it seems like they are a necessary evil, especially if you want to get your hands on patterns from indie designers. Personally I’d much rather buy from small designers and support the other crafty people out there so I suppose I’ll just have to suck it up. If we had a local printers I would definitely have paid to get it printed out on one A0 sheet rather than printing on A4 and sticking it together myself.

There is a choice of two views, either a mini or a midi skirt. Although I’m a shortie at 5 ft I opted for the midi length. I do love a good mini skirt, especially in winter with heavy tights and long boots but I have two small kiddies and mini skirts really aren’t practical for me at the minute. My skirt comes to about knee length although I wear it on my waist rather than just below. The fact that it’s made from jersey means there is loads of movement in it and it held up well to a day of running around after my kids and because it’s fully lined it doesn’t ride up which is a definite bonus.

This skirt is really a work of art in fabric origami. The front is made up of a series of horizontal pleats. This had the potential to be a serious pain in the bum if it were not for Lisa’s very helpful video showing you how to fold it, and of course the pattern is marked very clearly with exactly where the folds need to go. I marked the fold points on my fabric with little stitches of different colours. It meant that I was able to practice the folds until I was 100% happy with them and I didn’t have to worry about pins falling out.

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My stitches were well within the seam allowance (you can just see them if you look hard at the picture above) so they didn’t show up on the outside of the skirt and they all ended up trimmed off in the end. Even if my stitches were still in place you’d not be able to see them because of Lisa’s clever construction, all raw edges are encased within the skirt.

Before the waistband goes on there is a chance to alter the fit a bit and good instructions on how to do this. I found this invaluable because mine needed a bit of tweaking to fit but now it’s possibly the most comfortable thing I own!

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All in all I loved this pattern. It was clear and easy to follow. I’ll definitely be making another! Next I might try making myself amini version with the added zip detail in the hope that I might get a night out.

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Hard to make our the pleats but they're there!