Wrist Pincushion Tutorial

This wrist pincushion is not only quick and easy to make, but great for when you have your hands full!
Materials

– 30 cm by 30 cm square

– 30 cm of elastic (enough to go around your wrist)

– contrast embroidery thread

– a button

– sewing thread
1) First you need to need to decide how big you want yours to be. The pincushion in the picture has a diameter of 6cm. To get this size I drew a circle with a diameter of 14cm. Double the size you want and then add 2cm.
2) Once you have cut out your circle, run some stitches close to the edge all the way around.

3) Pull the end of the thread, to gather it up. As you go, gradually put in the stuffing until it is firm.

4) Stitch the pincushion closed on the bottom.

5) Using embroidery thread, divide the pincushion into 8. Start the stitch at the bottom of the cushion (where you closed it up) and then, at the middle of the cushion finish that stitch and start the next one to go down the other side. Finish the stitch at the bottom on the cushion. Divide the pincushion is half, then into quarters and then into eighths.

6) Add a button to the top of the pincushion, where all the embroidery thread lines cross.

7)  To make the wristband, I used elastic. Wrap the elastic around you wrist, so that it rest comfortably. Add another 3cm to the length and cut.

8) Overlap the the two short edges by 1.5cm and use a zig-zag stitch to secure them.

9) Handstitch the elastic wristband onto the bottom of the pincushion to hide the closing.

There we go! You now have a beautiful wrist pincushion.

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Making a Flapper Dress

 

 

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Recently, as you may know, it was World Book Day. At my school, we had to dress up as our favourite character to raise money for charity. I chose to dress up as Daisy Buchanan from The Great Gatsby, meaning I would need a 1920s inspired dress. Here is how I adapted the pattern, so that you can create something similar.

Firstly, I used the Shift Dress pattern from The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion with Fabric book. If you don’t have the book, don’t worry, you can download the pattern here. As I am not very tall, I shorten the pattern so it would rest just above my knee. Please check how it relates to your size before cutting any fabric out.

I added a layer of black lace over the top of the silver satin. To do this, I cut out the front and back out of both fabrics and then stitched them together at the shoulders and at the sides. You can now sew this as one layer.

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The original dress has sleeves attached to it. I didn’t think the sleeves would suit the style of dress I was aiming for. To make the arm holes neat I made up some arm facings from the front and back pieces of the pattern. I traced 5cm from the arm holes along the side and the shoulder of the pattern. From these points, I drew a smooth curve to match the arm hole shape. You will need to draw up both a front and back arm facing as they are different shapes.

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I added a black satin band around the bottom, which also allowed me to add the fringing neatly. To create the band around the bottom, I extended the pattern by 10cm (including seam allowances). I cut two pieces for each the front and back. I stitched one front band to one back band to create two long strips of fabric. I then stitched the fringing to the right side (along the long edge) of one of the strips. Place the second strip on top of the first, so that they are right sides together. Sew along the top edge, where the fringing is, with a 1.5cm seam allowance. Once you have done this, take the two short end and sew them together with the same seam allowance. You now have a band which to can sew to the bottom of your dress.

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And now you have your own flapper dress!

 

Fabric Printing

As part of my GCSE course, I have had to add my own print to some fabric. Here is how I did it and I hope you can use this to make your garments more personal.

You will need:

  • fabric
  • fabric paint
  • a paint brush
  • a cookie cutter
  • newspaper

1) Cover your work surface with newspaper to avoid the paint soaking through onto it. To create a uniform shape I used a cookie cutter. I use a star shaped one throughout this tutorial, but there are many other interesting shapes to use. Place your cutter where you want to put the shape.

 

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2) Add a decent amount of paint onto your brush. Don’t put too much on, as you could drip it across your fabric. Hold the cutter steady with one hand, whilst painting inside it with the other. As you paint near the edge of the cutter hold it down in that area a little more to avoid the paint leaking out.

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3) Carefully remove the cutter, so you don’t smudge the paint. You should now how a crisp edge to your shape. You will have to make sure the paint is dry before doing anything with you fabric.

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4) Now repeat these steps until you have covered all of your fabric!

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Sophia Top

 

This is the Sophia Top, which I finished making today. It is from the Love Sewing magazine (issue 19). I have used some lovely tartan fabric, which I brought in the sales for a mere £3.49 per metre. I loved the fabric so much that it did take me awhile to figure out what to make with it. The pattern I chose, was a simple yet cute top. I adapted the pattern from the sheet by extending the length by 5” to make it more of a t-shirt length to go with leggings and jeans rather than the cropped length to go with the skirt in the pattern.

The top is made from five different pieces: front bodice, back bodice, front neck facing, back neck facing and arm hole facings. You simply sew the pieces together at the shoulders, attach the facings, sew up the sides and hem. It is a wonderfully simple top, which I thought would be a break after the Megan Dress I made. The facings give the edges a sharp finish in a way hemming couldn’t. It doesn’t say to do so on the instructions, but I topstitched the arm hole facings onto the shoulders 1/4” from the edge. Before this they were quite loose and didn’t give the right shape to the arms. The topstitching secured them and I would definitely recommend doing this.

The top is a great fit for me. I used the size 8 from the pattern, which gives you room to feel comfortable. The pattern comes in sizes 8-20. There is also a 3/4 length pleated skirt in the same pattern.

You can buy the magazine and pattern here.

You can buy the same fabric I used from here.

 

 

 

 

 

Sewing Books

As with any subject, there are hundreds and hundreds of books on sewing. These can be about techniques, stitches or projects. Then there are books for beginners or advanced sewists. Getting the wrong type of book could be confusing and a waste of your money. Good sewing books can be expensive, so it is always best to check what the book contains and what type of sewist it is for. This way you can save your money and get a great book that is suited to you. I have gathered a small collection of books, mostly on clothes, but also on techniques, stitches and accessories. Here are some of my favourites!

1) Sew Many Dresses, Sew Little Time- Tanya Whelan

 

This book is amazing! I got this for my birthday back in September and it is genius. As the title suggests it is all dresses, but it is completely different from any sewing book I have ever seen. Sometimes when you see a dress, you think a different skirt or bodice would look better. In this book, you choose a bodice and a skirt, then put them together to create a dress you really want. Every skirt and bodice fit together, so there is no alteration needed for different designs. According to the book, there are more than 200 combinations! This is amazing value. If you were to buy patterns for 200 dresses, it would cost a fortune. This book was about £20 when I got it. It was one of the most expensive books I had had, but it so worth it. In addition to the skirts and bodices, there are also sleeves, which fit into some of the bodices (you can’t put them on a strapless or halter neck), and necklines or collars. The necklines are usually added by slightly altering the bodice, which is easy with the step-by-step instructions. It has full size pattern pieces in the back of the book, which is spiral bound so it can lie flat on a table.


 

2) Love At First Stitch- Tilly Walnes (aka Tilly and The Buttons)

This book has some amazing clothes in it. There are seven different projects in this book, all of them beautiful in their own way. The book takes you through all the techniques needed as you work your way through the project. This means you have all the information in one place whilst you are sewing and you don’t have to do searching around in the book to find the relevant pages. This books also has all the full sized pattern pieces in the back. This is a great book for beginners, as it has very clear instructions for each stage of the projects and pictures to make it crystal clear. One of my favourite bits about this book is the fact that it gives the measurements of the finished garment, as well as what size to choose based on measurements. If you are halfway between to two sizes or share your measurements over two sizes, this is a real help, as you can compare your measurements to the finished size and see which would offer the best fit.


 

3) Sew It Up- Ruth Singer

This book is now an instant favourite of mine. The book has great pictures and instructions on a lot of the different sewing techniques. It is a hardback book and certainly weighs a ton, as do a lot of my sewing books. One thing that is noticeable about this book is the rage of techniques that it covers in 300 pages. I read several of the different tutorials of how to do different zip and buttonhole finishes and everything was very clear. The book demonstrates different ways of doing each technique, like finshing a seam, so you can find one appropriate to what you would like to make. It would be a great book for beginners looking to learn or an advanced sewist looking for a reminder. There are also some small projects which allow you to practise the techniques in the book. These include a needlebook, placemats and a purse. Even if the projects don’t tickle your fancy, it is well worth buying for the techniques.

 


 

4) The Great British Sewing Bee: Fashion With Fabric- Claire-Louise Hardie

There have been three Great British Sewing Bee books now, one to compliment each series of the show. I love that they use the patterns from the show, so that you can make the same things the contestants make. I have all three of the books and each one is beautifully presented with instructions and pictures. My favourite of the three is the one from last year’s series. The garments in this book are more modern and fashionable, as the title suggests, than the latter two books. I have make several things from this book, including: a kimono, casual trousers and the camisole top. The top is actual the top half of the jumpsuit above and the casual trousers the bottom part. There are some lovely patterns for all sorts of garments. There are a few patterns for men such as the cargo shorts or casual t-shirt. My favourite garment is the walkway dress. It is inspired by similar dresses made in the 50s and is said that one could be made in the morning to be worn to afternoon tea. It is a truly beautiful dress! The book comes with a full pack of patterns to make everything in the book. This sheets come in a separate pack from the book to keep them neat and safe.

Megan Dress

 

 

I have just finished making a wonderful Megan dress from ‘Love At First Stitch’ by Tilly Walnes. It is a lovely dress with amazing gathered sleeves and curved skirt. What’s not to love about it. Go over to the My Makes page to see more about this dress!

Christmas Sewing Goodies!

Here are some of the sewing themed presents I received this year!

1) Sewing Basket

My brother was obviously steered towards this by my parents instead of buying me a load of chocolate again. The basket has a magnetic seal concealed by a cute wooden button, which suits the beautiful floral fabric which surrounds most of the basket. Inside, attached to the lid, is a small elasticated pocket to keep smaller sewing objects safe. There is also a circular pincushion, which is very handy, as I am always mislaying my normal pincushion. Down in the main part of the basket, there is a tray which is about half the size of the basket, but there is space underneath. The tray is split into smaller sections, which is great for buttons, ribbons and anything else I find. The box isn’t massive, but it is a great place for putting all the essential little bits, as I have done.

2) Corduroy

One of two fabrics I received was an amazing wine coloured corduroy. I have been wanting some corduroy for a while, as there is a skirt from a magazine I brought, that I would like to make. The wine colour is my favourite at the moment and is lovely for the winter. I will post some pictures of the skirt when I have made it.

3) Flamingo Fabric and Orla Pattern

The Orla pattern is the newest pattern from ‘Tilly And The Buttons’. I really loved the shape of the collar and that it was a longer length of top. I plan on making the shorter sleeve version, which will be great for the summer. I was lucky enough to be able to choose my own fabric for this, as my parents were struggling to find something that I might like. I found a wonderful flamingo cotton print. I thought it looked lovely on the website, but it is even better in the flesh. It feels very smooth and it should be great to wear. As with the corduroy, I will post some pictures of the finished top.

If you would like the same fabric, you can buy it here!

4) Sew It Up- Ruth Singer

This book is now an instant favourite of mine. The book has great pictures and instructions on a lot of the different sewing techniques. I spotted this book a couple of months back whilst shopping with my dad. He must have been looking out for Christmas presents all the way back then, as I was delighted to see this reappear. It is a hardback book and certainly weighs a ton, as do a lot of my sewing books. One thing that is noticeable about this book is the rage of techniques that it covers in 300 pages. I read a few of the different tutorials of how to do different zip and buttonhole finishes and everything was very clear. It would be a great book for beginners looking to learn or an advanced sewist looking for a reminder.

5) Dressmaking Mannequin

This was my main present this year. I managed to find a very pretty dummy, which wasn’t an easy task as I needed a petit sized one. It has three dials on the chest, waist and hips. This means that it is great for making garments, without having to try them on all the time, though it is still necessary. I have already put my latest dress on and it looks right at home in my sewing room.

 

I hope you all had a lovely Christmas. Please leave a comment below if you got an exciting sewing present!

Happy Christmas!

I hope you all have a merry Christmas! I’ve certainly asked for plenty of sewing goodies. I will post a few photos in the next few days of any fabric or books I got. Please add a comment if you got a sewing related gift, I would love to know what you got!

Christmas Sewing

Check out my Pinterest to see fabrics, patterns and ideas for Christmas. There is also a gift board, which suggests presents for sewists.

There are also fabric and pattern ideas for all year round. All of them are gorgeous and well worth making. Please leave a comment below if you make anything from my page. I’d love to see them!

Check it out here.

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Secret Santa

It’s the first year we’ve done Secret Santa at school and I luckily got a good friend of mine. He recently brought up in conversation that he like bow ties, so I decided to make him one for his present. It took longer to figure out how to tie the thing than it did to make it! It would be a great quick gift to make for any man and can be made in so many different fabrics!

If you would like the fabric I have used to make this, you can purchase it here.

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