Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Pin it

I have recently discovered the joys of Pinterest. If any of you haven't heard of it, it is basically a website where you can collect ideas and inspiration for whatever you want and put all this information onto boards which includes click through links to the original source.

Without a doubt, it is one of the best things to happen to my life recently (exaggeration? orrr just don't have a life?)
Until recently I was using bookmarks to store all the things I had seen online that I liked or wanted for future reference but then I'd forget to look back at the bookmarks for ages and then by the time I remember, I am no longer interested in the content.

With Pinterest, you can look over the boards you have created whenever you want and keep inspiring yourself to be creative or make nice food or decorate your house or whatever you're interested in.

Ive only had it for a week or so and already I have been inspired to make new things, including this white peter pan collar I made with some white felt I had left over.

I say left over...more like bought with good intentions but never used.

I got the idea from honestlywtf.com and I certainly think it adds a new feel to an old dress or makes a new one look even better!

Here's a link to my Pinterest boards if you want a look.

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Sew on and on

I have been a busy sewing bee.
I am proud to present my second handmade bag.

After the class at Oh Sew Brixton, I had a million ideas I wanted to try out, so the first chance I got I went and bought some calico and whipped up this little beauty. (whipped up is probably not the right word to use as it took me a whole weekend…)
I didn't think I could be any prouder then when I made my first bag but this nearly tipped me over the edge.

I went with a simple but crowd pleasing design of a variety of vegetables - which are all hand embroidered. After the lavender bags I made at Christmas, I am keen to keep practising hand embroidery, I find it so relaxing and rewarding - also its something worthwhile I can do whilst watching the tv and I certainly think adding that personal touch to a bag makes it much more special.
For this pattern I used split stitch, which I find covers a larger area in a shorter space of time - very useful for doing outlines.

I had to improvise a bit when making this bag, as I didn't have any template paper stuff (is there a special name for that?!) so instead I used Marks and Spencers christmas wrapping paper as it has a grid on the back to make sure the lines are perfectly straight (it doesn't have to be christmas paper...but I feel it gave it that extra specialness)
I used this for the template of the bag and also to draw the design on which could then be traced.

I also decided to line the bag to hide the messy back of the embroidered section (I am still learning...) with some red and white flower print fabric I got for £2 from a fabric shop in Peckham.
 I know that you're probably thinking that lining something on the first time I am to use a sewing machine on my own in years sounds like complete madness but trial and error is certainly the way forward.

After a haze of sewing machine fury I ended up with a proper bag! A bag that is hand embroidered and lined.
All with my own two hands!

Gosh! The world is my oyster.

Gifts galore!

For christmas gifts this year, I made my friends and family small lavender bags with embroidered initials on- anything to avoid christmas shopping.
I stupidly didn't take any pictures of them together but my friend Sophie has taken one of it on display in her room...


Monday, 16 January 2012

Grin and thread it

Last week I grabbed the sewing bull by the horns and went to an introduction to sewing class at Oh Sew Brixton.
I figured that it would be best to get some professional advice before I start out as I really don't know where to begin.

The first half of the class covered most basics including how to thread a machine, a bit of practise of how to sew in a straight line (MUCH harder then you think) and info on the different types of stitches and their purposes.
I really enjoyed the class and with the 6 other girls I felt like we were all in it together and certainly didn't feel out of my depths.
I was hoping to get some pictures whilst I was there but focusing on the job at hand got the better of me.

After being taught the basics we put our new found skills to the test and made a basic shopper bag with an embellishment on and here is mine:


To say I am proud of this bag would be quite an understatement.
The stitching isn't too straight and the sewing on the embellishment could be much neater but you can't deny that it definitely is a bag!
Apparently the material I used for the body wasn't the best choice as it is quite floppy and wouldn't stay still when I was cutting it but I dived in head first and voila!
I certainly learnt a lot and came away feeling very inspired and eager to get started on my own crafty-ness.
To do list: get my sewing machine out, thread it and get practising.

Monday, 9 January 2012

1, 2, 3, sew!


My name is Jo and 2012 is officially the year I am going to learn to sew. 

Why do I want to learn to sew I hear you say? 
Why not be content with working, coming home, watching tv, eating and working, coming home, watching tv and eating?
Wellllll...for that exact reason. I love watching tv and eating and I kinda like working but I certainly need something else to do, especially when he's watching the football. Also, adding a new string to my bow is always a good thing. 

I am not setting myself any goals or targets to meet as that will suck the fun out of this and if I don't meet them, I will give up. Believe me, I am too weak for that. 
Instead I just want to learn different techniques as and when I need to know about them depending on what project I am doing. 

This is the place where I am going to document my successes and (probably many) failures and everything in-between. Hopefully documenting my progress in a blog will inspire me to keep creating and keep productive. 

So, basically I don't even know how to sew in a straight line - I guess that's the first task? Or maybe learning how to thread a sewing machine?...hmmm....wish me luck.