I’ve been sewing again today. I currently have Wednesdays completely to myself so I took the opportunity to set my sewing machine / craft area up knowing I could sew a little, return to my laptop and work a little, and keep repeating without getting in anyone’s way.
I’d chosen a zipped, lined pouch as my next project. When I went to print the pattern for the first one I’d chosen to make I discovered that the pattern itself was no longer available so I went back to my Pinterest board and chose a different one. I was glad I did actually as the instructions and photos were clearer and more helpful.
I cut and ironed my pieces and got ready to sew.
Mistakes were made. Seams were sewn, and ripped out, and resewn, but I worked out what needed to be changed and fixed it. I learned from them (mainly that my poor sense of direction applies to sewing as well as any sort of movement) and hopefully I won’t make them again.
I’m happy with the end result.
I learned new things again making this; changing the feet on my sewing machine, how to use a zipper foot and making sure patterned fabric is the right way round (this wasn’t the mistake I made, I stopped and thought about this part before I did it). I also had the opportunity to practice my slip stitching again.
This is the right sort of size for throwing essentials in when I’m using a little bag and don’t want to carry my whole purse, or when I’m using my camera bag rather than a handbag. I’ve got a couple of ideas that involve this sort of pouch and some of my other crafts so watch this space for some other projects.
I’m one of those crafters who loves everything to do with threads and fibres and fabrics but is actually pretty rubbish when it comes to making things using a sewing machine. For a whole multitude of reasons I haven’t had much experience using one, I’ve always felt pretty nervous about using one and it’s become a bit of a vicious circle.
I’m blessed though to have at hand a hugely experienced seamstress in my mom. She made her own wedding dress and her bridesmaid dresses and has made some lovely things for me over the years. I used to love sitting and watching the Great British Sewing Bee with her, she’d be very patient as I paused it to ask yet another basic question, desperate to learn and understand more.
I decided I was going to stop being so nervous about sewing and just get on with it. The more experience I get sewing the more comfortable with it and skilled I will become. I made a bag last year with plenty of assistance and guidance, and then did nothing more. I kept pinning things to my sewing board on Pinterest and then on Friday decided it was time to choose something and make it.
This was the end result. It was listed as a coin purse, apparently inspired by a Japanese design, but I wanted it as part of my cross stitching set up. Rather than pile up scrappy ends of threads once they’ve been cut, and to reduce the amount of time I spend searching for my embroidery scissors (seriously, I put them down and lose them multiple times every time I stitch) I can now use this as both a scissors holder and a temporary ends bin.
I could write paragraphs on everything that isn’t quite right about it. There are mistakes I made, things I didn’t do very well, and there was a minor disaster when the iron stuck briefly to the lining fabric and distorted the end shape. I’m not going to get any more hung on the negatives though, instead I’m going to focus on the positives:
I felt far more confident approaching this and dealing with any problems
I used iron on interfacing for the first time (so easy, but it was yet another thing I’d never tried and so felt a little daunted by)
Sewing the side seams was a great opportunity to practice slip stitching, by the fourth I’d virtually mastered making the stitches invisible
My machine sewing was so much better than it’s been before, much more even and controlled
I didn’t have the right sort of snap fastener so I substituted velcro which brought it’s own sewing challenges which I conquered.
I’ve ordered a kit for fixing snap fasteners and am planning on making more of these plus some other small projects that will allow me to carry on increasing both my confidence and my skill level. I’ve got much bigger ideas for things I want to make but I’m going to go steadily and sensibly first.
After yesterday’s slightly disappointing craft fair visit I decided this morning that I needed a bit of quality making time. I do some combination of cross stitch, knitting and crochet most days but this morning I fancied something a little different so dug out my papercutting supplies.
I went on a beginners’ papercutting workshop about a year ago and really loved it. I started the day barely able to cut in a straight line let alone round a curve and by the end of the day had cut this:
Shortly after the workshop there was an issue of Mollie Makes magazine that came with a load of papercutting sheets, I’d put them to one side ready for the next time I wanted to do some. Today was that day and so I found them, and chose some straightforward gem shapes to start off with – I definitely felt the need to go back to nice simple shapes first before even thinking about attempting something more intricate.
After a few pretty hesitant first cuts it all started coming back to me. The first gem came out fine, so on the second one I experimented a little – cutting all of the interior details out using two different sorts of blade to see which I preferred. I did one side with a very ergonomic blade and the other with a traditional scalpel. The latter was definitely my preference but has the downside of being less comfortable for my hypermobile hands, I think this will become a craft I do for short, focused periods of time.
I started on a different cut after a break but then the natural light was fading so it seemed like time to stop. It was so nice to do something completely different and to take the time to think again about what I’m making and how I’m going about it.
Today sees the start of the 100 Day Project – a worldwide arts project where people choose an action to do each day for 100 days. You sign up on Instagram and then post a picture of your action every day using both the #100dayproject hashtag and the individual one for your project #100daysof_________
I wasn’t going to take part, I was going to watch and enjoy others’ projects. Today though seeing people’s first posts made me want to join in so I got thinking about what I could do.
I’m going to cross stitch 100 10×10 stitch squares, each with a unique design. Some will be pictures, some will be geometric designs, and anything else that comes to mind between now and 12th July. I’ve picked a colour palette of 10 colours – the seven colours of the rainbow plus black, white and grey. Here’s my first square:
It’s inspired by the new Power Rangers film which I went to see this afternoon – my idea was entirely planned out while I was driving too and from the cinema.
I’ll post updates here occasionally, at the very least at days 25, 50, 75 and 100.
Last night I finally put the finishing touches to two of my monthly subscription kits from The Geeky Stitching Company. This morning when there was decent light I temporarily relieved a picture of its wall space (and more importantly hook) so I could get some photos of them.
First up was this cactus themed kit:
And then this mermaid one:
I really love them both, they’re the first two I’ve finished since starting my subscription – I have a couple still in one of my as yet not unpacked boxes so I’m really looking forward to rescuing them and adding a couple more to my collection. I’m picturing a wall of fun and cute hoops in my craft room when I get one.
I’m off on a research trip tomorrow. If things go the way I’ve planned it should be the first of four, all taking places over the next few Saturdays. The destination? A local craft fair.
I’ve decided I’m ready to move on with my crafting and start turning into a side venture, a way of making a little extra money and of sharing what I’m making with more people. Having a stall at craft fairs feels like it might be the right first step for me, and so my planning is underway.
It’ll come as no surprise that research and planning is something I actively enjoy, I like to know as much about everything as I possibly can and I always prefer to have a thought out, methodical approach to everything. I’ve set up a notebook specifically to capture all my thoughts and plans and discoveries, and I’ve finally started reading (albeit slowly) Craft a Creative Business.
I want to go and visit some local craft fairs and actually see them for myself. I’ve come up with a few things I want to learn:
Who’s selling at these fairs?
Who’s buying at these fairs?
How many of those who are selling are turning up at all of them?
I’ve got a set of crafts planned out as the ones I would intend to sell but I definitely feel like I need to go and answer these questions (and any more that come to mind over these trips) before I can think about starting to make things and do all of the many other steps needed to be ready to start selling.
Exciting, creative times ahead!
This week I put the finishing touch to the cross stitch project I’d mentioned finishing the stitching on a couple of weeks ago. It was a kit I spotted by chance in Hobbycraft, a bookmark with a Charles Rennie Mackintosh design – as soon as I saw it I knew it was something I could make for my granny for Mother’s Day.
I wasn’t entirely impressed with the kit. I didn’t enjoy the aida band that the bookmark is stitched onto, it was very soft and floppy which made stitching on it tricky. I ended up using a hoop to get some tension in the fabric – normally for something that size I would just stitch it in hand. The fabric also frayed really badly, the instructions said to start stitching 3cm from the top – this fabric is then turned under in the finishing process – by the time I’d finished stitching a fair bit of this 3cm had been lost to fraying.
The actual design was lovely to stitch. I enjoyed patterns and geometric designs so this was ideal. I’d like to do a larger design along these lines at some point. The finishing was also fun, it took time and patience and careful ironing but was oh so satisfying. The end result is one I’m very happy with – it’s now waiting for my granny to open tomorrow, I’m sure she’ll like it too.