Only joking, more bags really.

Made from the fabric I printed the other day (which came from the remnant bin of the shop down the road) and finished with some grosgrain ribbon someone was selling off in the Make Do and Mend Pre Loved Craft Stuff Face Book group.



I’m getting a nice collection of presents wrapped in home made bags now, ready for next month.

How’re your preperations going?

Playing with printing

Recently, I finally got around to ordering some things from Thermofax Screens with some birthday money given to me for this purpose and I’ve been having a bit of a play. I was inspired by some posts Marilla Walker put on her blog a while ago.

I thought quite a bit about what to order, I wanted something fairly versatile with many possibilities but without buying everything possible. In the end I went for a starter ink set to give me a range of colours to use and mix (although I did linger long over their metallic inks), plus 2 of their medium screens and a small one of my own design and the relevant sized squeegees  (I had to top up with my own money to achieve all this). I thought hard about screen designs and tried to pick ones that would work more than one way,for instance as a single print or a border or an all over print.

My first play was with the ammonite screen which I just used the black for and I had a play on an old pillowcase. I was using far too much ink (and partly the pillowcase was quite thin) so they’re a bit stiff and lots of ink seeped through to my drop cloth (which goes down underneath to soak up excess and protect your table). Also, I was doing the grid freehand and it got decidedly wobbly. However I deemed the result good enough to make into another made into a another reusable wrapping bag. The neater side is show above!

Next I played with my leaf screen which I chose because it would work with a variety of colours. I had a good play with mixing colours and mixing with the extender base and improved my technique so there was much less ink going through to the drop cloth behind. The kids also joined in at one point and I love the effect they developed of printing a different coloured leaf almost on top of another but slightly offset (see the green over yellow leave about a third of the way up in the middle of the picture above). This fabric is also destined to be bags (yes, I am obsessed, but it’s kind of appropriate as in England we have finally caught up with the rest of the UK and a plastic bag tax has finally been introduced, meaning most of the time you have to pay at least 5p for a carrier bag in a shop).

Last night I had a play again on some darker fabric, jersey this time. The prints with extender base didn’t work so well  on this fabric fairly predictably – you can see one half way up nearly at the right of the picture I think – it looks dark green but was printed with golden yellow, they kind of came out more shadowey if that makes sense.  Instead I mixed my colours with white which meant that they showed up better, but my planned reds and oranges went decidedly pink on me! They actually turned out really nice, but not how I imagined and more feminine than I’d panned. For contrast, the right is some prints done on plain paper with left over ink after I’d finished printing (brown by this stage, I started with yellow  leaves, then orange, red, green and finally brown as I was feeling lazy and didn’t wash and dry the screen in between). It’s really hard to tell which leaves on the left were printed with the same ink as the colours show up so differently, but I assure you, some of them are.

The resulting print is definitely much more subtle than when printing on the white fabric!  Anyway, coincidentally I’d cut my scrap fabric just the right size to make a buff, so hubby has cycled off to work with autumn leaves under his helmet this morning.

I’m having a lot of fun with this printing kit although I’m slightly worried that my sewing hobby is morphing into something larger with even more things to stash (and store tidily!) and an even longer mental project list. Any one else struggle to keep their hobby down to size?



So, where was I before I was so rudely interrupted… ah yes, bags. I was raiding my scraps to see if I could make a more unisex and larger kind of wrapping paper bag.

I found some corduroy hanging around the dark green and red were unused scraps and I cut them into strips about the right width to make into a tote. The pieces of the lighter green (the fabric that keeps on giving) and the brown (some old trousers) weren’t quite as long so I put patches of other scraps on the end to make them long enough. My 4 strips were different widths and the grain was in different directions but that was fine with me.

Then I cut each strip roughly in half, mixed them up and sewed them back together, at this point it looked like I had a quilt and hubby was liking the colours. I sort of had this bag in the back of my mind, but I was going for a more slapdash rustic look.  So I cut the sides off (vertically, about a quarter in), flipped them and sewed them back. Then I cut my big piece in half so I could make 2 bags.


The construction process was quite simple. Sew sides and base together and mitre the bottom corners (but I sewed mine down rather than cutting them off). Then I made linings for them out of old shirts – it wasn’t part of my original plan but I’d forgotten how much corduroy sheds, even when the edges have been zig zag top stitched down and it was clear that they were going to be generating small pieces of fluff for some time to come if I didn’t cover the inside. I managed to cut the shirts so each bag has an internal pocket that was the shirt. Inner and outer bags were joined right sides together (with a gap), turned and  then the top topstitched down.  I then folded the cord layer where the sides from the base up the top would be (if I’d made it with a base rather than adding depth to a flat bag with a mitre) and then stitched close to the edge, kind of like pintuck – this gives the finished bag more shape. Finally more corduroy, folded in on inself and then folded in half was stitched into thick handles (hopefully the 4 layers will make it comfy even when carrying heavy things).

And ta da, we have 2 sturdy bags, one of which now has some of hubby’s gig stuff in (leads, pedals and assorted gubbins) and the other is going to be wrapping paper.


In other news, I finally made a long strip of remaining fabric from my self drafted dress and some left over brown jersey into a scarf. Then I posted it off – it’s now keeping a neck warm in Germany.

I know some people make many items from one piece of fabric, but I find it a bit weird if I only several things in the same fabric. I don’t seem to having garments that match my kids clothes though. Not sure there’s any logic to this. How about you, do you have  numerous items all made from the same fabric?






We interrupt this sewing…


Playing with scraps

After the wrapping paper bags I  made last week I was musing on how to make a more masculine version. So I had a rootle through my recently organised scrap fabric collection and started having a play.


We interrupt this blog post to bring you breaking sewing updates…

…yesterday a parcel arrived containing some lime green sugar skull adorned sweatshirting

Calaveras green cotton sweatshirting (by the half metre)

and it got thrown straight in the wash, aired, ironed dry(ish) and made into some new jogging bottoms because the boy wants to wear his starry ones all the time and gets very cross if they are in the wash.



winging some pattern alterations

The sewing was fairly straight forward, but I did do some pattern alteration before making them as I wanted to go up a size but the last pair were made in the biggest pattern size. So I retraced the main pattern piece adding 2 inches length and 1/2 inch width (which will mean 1″ extra width at the waist) to the middle – see shaded area above. I kept the pocket opening the same size so I could use the existing pocket piece. And I just made the cuffs a smidge wider (I didn’t even use the wiastband piece, my wiastand is not as deep having only one channel for elastic).

The verdict?  He likes them, indeed he’s wearing them today as he’s going to a running event with school today. But he’s skeptical about their warmth, as they’re not fleece backed liked the starry ones, so he predicts they wont get worn as much. So the hunt for additional/replacement warm/comfy/bright trousers continues. In the mean time, bids are being put in from several sources for the leftover fabric…

Anyway, now they’re made, back to the


We interrupt this blog post to bring you more updates…


belated birthday goodies

A parcel of sewing related goodies has arrived and is just demanding to be played with so I might just go have to go and play with these instead…


We interrupt this blog post to bring you news of more arriving parcels…


some more precious’s for me

Arghgh, TOO MANY IDEA’S TOO LITTLE TIME – anyone else have this problem?

Happy Monday

Monday’s can feel a little drab and depressing around these parts at this time of year. This afternoon it is grey and overcast and on my cycle home just now I was on the verge of needing my lights on – at 3.15 in the afternoon. Gah.

Old chair + netting = throne (7 year old logic)

Old chair + netting = throne (7 year old logic)

Nevermind, I have come home to a cheery splash of colour to bring a smile to my face because yesterday I finally made my play with fabric into a cushion. I decided to keep it as 3 of us think it’s great, although its a little on the kitsch side for hubby’s taste.

lapped zipper thingy

lapped zipper thingy

I worked out how to do a covered zipper in my head (it’s basically a fold of fabric) then bottled it and did an internet search, rejecting all the tutorials I found until I came across one that matched my method. Well nearly, it had you sew down the overlapping foldy bit to the zipper. Pah, I thought, it’s held in place at the seams, I don’t need to do that. And indeed it was fine. Until I put a cushion inside it and then it wasn’t, so I had to go back and topstitch after all. Clever old tutorial. (Which I now can’t find, but there are loads out there so search if you need one, just don’t miss out the topstitching).

ahh, how sweet

ahh, how sweet

Also, when pulling the washing out of the machine this morning, this gorgeous teal/aqua coloured felt heart fell out. Which is kind of odd, as I’ve never seen it before. I think what happened is that one of the kids stashed some unspun yarn in their pocket when we at Coldharbour mill and that has randomly felted into a heart shape in the machine and worked it’s way loose from the pocket. How cool is that. I have stashed it on one side whilst I work out what to do with it.

up close and personal

up close and personal

Has anything brightened up your day?

Wrapping Paper

Yesterday I mentioned I’d been doing some Christmas sewing that I don’t want to show just in case the recipients take a look here. Then I realised that I could show the wrapping paper, right, because that’s not a secret.

You don't see this at Clinton's Cards

You don’t see this at Clinton’s Cards

I made a couple more Japanese knot from Sue’s pattern and they came out very nicely thank you. The one above is made from scraps from lining my skirt and the fabric originally came from the scrapstore, double win. The spiders web is just lines of machine stitching done free hand.

This time round I didn’t sew right up to the V of the seams when attaching lining to main fabric as I only ended up unpicking all those stitches to get the lining to lie straight. I also didn’t hand sew the holes shut but rather topstitched the edges of the handles on my machine.

Progress shot (wrong side), just before cutting out the circles on the right side

Progress shot (wrong side), just before cutting out the circles on the right side

The second one is made from some of my old jeans, what was left after the patchwork pillowcase. Then I reverse appliqued gold circles in with the scraps of the waistcoat lining left over from making the superhero mask. In the past I’ve gone over the raw cut edges with a zig zag to secure them but this time I did it a little differently. I used a slightly smaller stitch length than usual to sew the circles to make the curve smoother. When I cut the middles out I didn’t go right up to the stitching and then left the raw edges as they were, I’m hoping the denim will fray over time but that the straight stitches will hold.

Reverse applique

Reverse applique

I like the contrast of the shiny gold against the distressed (cat stropped) reused denim, although I’m a bit worried this one looks like some kind of alien egg sac or some other such Dr Who prop.

My only problem is that I like them so much that I want to wrap them up to keep them a surprise, which is kind of defeating the point of using reusable wrapping! I will try and be strong and just tie them closed with a ribbon to stop the contents peeking out and hold a tag on.

CB is for….

Comfy Boy


My latest make, a superhero mask. The kids had a Dress Down Day (i.e. they can pay a £1 to not wear their school uniform to school) for Children In Need on Friday. There was an optional theme of superhero’s. The boy decide that he wanted to wear his favourite comfy clothes and so he invented a new superhero, Comfy Boy. Which promted his sister, who wanted to go in normal clothes, to invent Normal Girl. Comfy Boy wanted a mask, Normal Girl didn’t naturally.

I used the method from this tutorial – it saved the brain ache on working out how to do the eyes (ahh, topology, it’s been a while) but drew my own template, which is a little more curvy than the one in the tutorial. The gold fabric is left over lining from the last wiastcoat project and I bought 70cm of red satin bias binding.


Prep – the rainbow cord is inside the (wrong way out) tube of fabric at this point, sewn to one end, with the purple elastic attached to the outside

I covered the elastic as the tutorial suggested but used a trick I remembered seeing about sewing a thin ribbon/cord inside the tube to help pull it the right way out and amended it slightly to attach the elastic as well so that that would get pulled through whilst I was turning.

and turn

and turn – now the rainbow cord is outside the (right way out) tube and the elastic is inside

It wasn’t as easy as I’d hoped, but it was definitely easier than not doing it.

Anyway, the mask turned out well, if a little large for the boy, but hey, kids only grow.

In other news, I’ve been sewing Christmas presents, random presents and small people underwear, none of which I’m going to post about at the moment.

My sewing seems to have got a bit bitty and random at the moment. Anyone else having concentration problems? Maybe its to do with the nights drawing in.

Scissor Saviour

A few days ago I was cutting through 4 layers of jersey with my scissors (trying to cut 2 identical skirt pieces on the fold simultaneously). Living on the edge? Maybe, but my scissors could take it.

What they couldn’t take was the pin inside the fold holding the jersey in place that I forgot about. At first I didn’t realise and persevered. I ended up with a huge ding in my scissors and could only cut fabric with the bottom part of the blade.

hard at work

hard at work

Luckily for me I number among my friends someone who sharpens knives and scissors (I feel at this point I should describe him but not sure I’m up to the task.. how about artist, woodworker, all round practical guy and complete nutcase to boot, it’s not a good enough description but it’s a start, if that sounds intriguing his current project is here) who arranged to meet me at school drop off this morning and sharpen my scissors! And when I stood him up (due to ignorance- I hadn’t read the text messages yet) he rang me and came round instead, sharpening my scissors and some knives in return for a cup of tea. Now that’s service!

The Dog’s Pyjama’s

So, recently I made dog pyjama’s. Which is kind of odd, because we don’t have a dog. However, the kids have a teacher who not only has a dog or 3, but also takes one of them out and about raising money for a dog rehoming charity and somehow when we met up with them in town I volunteered to make a set of dog pyjama’s. (Not quite sure how that happened but I don’t mind as it was an interesting challenge and she is particularly great with The Boy).

Plan view

Plan view

Luckily I was lent a pair to rub a pattern off because I wouldn’t have a clue where to start. The pattern itself was interesting as the back piece turns into the back legs (although I ended up with a seam cos it wouldn’t fit on my scrap piece of fabric), the front legs are separate, the front/underside is a lot shorter than the back to leave a large spacious hole for toileting purposes and there is a funnel neck and cuffs. (This was a lot less obvious on the orignal as it was all made from the same (mainly black) fabric).

Folded in half

Folded in half

I used the pin garment through greasproof paper into carpet method to get the outline of the tricky back pattern piece and then took the average line from the left and right sides to minimise any drafting errors.

In action

In action

I used the leftover fleece from the Boy’s Birthday Hoodie and I didn’t quite have enough. I got a couple of plain black cuffs from a bit of other left over fleece and then I found some other left over hoodie fabric for the front legs. I even found the perfect sized piece of left over black ribbing to go around the opening. The end result is pretty stylish, if I say so myself! (I even put the one red cuff at the front on his port side 😉 ). Not bad for leftovers.

What a face!

What a face!

Dog and owner are very pleased as he can now be warm and happy at his agility class even when his other set of pyjama’s are in the wash.