there are quite a few of us now committed to not buying any new clothes for a whole year.
i have suceeded so far and i plan to make a few items and refashion some others, although since i started i have sewn a lot for others but not yet for myself.
Morwhenna has started a virtual sew along on a tuesday between 7 and 9 pm so we can share what we are working on and also ask the group for advice. this is a great idea and as i still haven't started on a project for me i thought i would tackle the large repair on my guys linen jeans that i had been putting off as i wondered whether they could even be repaired!
take a look
the fabric has worn so thin over the holes and it is a pretty lightweight linen anyway. here's a close up.
Jen wanted to know how to patch. i have patched many denim jeans before and these were a little different but essentially most of the process was the same. so here is what i did for these;
first i looked in my stash for a good colour match. normally i would use a similar weight but i wanted greater stability so i decided not to use linen or cotton but i found a lovely soft wool. now i knew wool may not be great from a laundering point of view but as i plan to cool wash or hand wash these i'm happy that this will avoid any shrinkage.
Next i cut a piece of wool to cover the holes and the area where the fabric was thinning. I placed the trousers inside out over the end of my ironing board and pinned the patch on from the inside first.
then i turned over to work from the right side and re-pinned from the front (i then took the pins at the back out). It is really important to get everything flat. The wool fabric is now creating a new fabric behind the holes. please note that the holes cannot be pulled together as you risk getting an unsightly pucker and altering the drape of the garment.
with a matching sewing thread and taking small stitches i stitched around the whole area to secure the wool patch. i then took further small stitches, about 1cm apart around the holes to keep the fabric flat. you may be able to see a few hand stitched areas on the next photo.
when i was happy that the patch was secure i threaded up my sewing machine thread in a close colour match. Many people now use contrast threads and funk it up but as these are his 'posh' summer trousers i thought i would go subtle.
as i was going to 'darn' over the patch i needed to drop the feed dogs on my machine. Feed dogs are the rough teeth that sit under your presser foot and move the fabric along as you sew. on some machines you can drop the teeth and on others you cover them with a clear plastic cover. I then attached my darning foot, which is also the embroidery foot. The process is the same as with free machine embroidery (think poppy treffry). with freehand and darning you move the fabric independently to create the stitches.
i set the stitch length and width to zero for darning and then placed the fabric under the foot ready to sew. i stitched lines up and down over the patching with just a few stitches across at the top and bottom to flow one line into the next.
with darning the fabric stays facing the same way and is not turned as this can cause the needle to break. when i had finished my up and down stitches i stopped, took the fabric out and turned it 90 degrees, replaced it under the foot and stitched over the first lines up and down again to create a 'weave'.
can you see?
and another detail
so here they are finished and not a hole in sight!
i also had to neaten up and restitch the fell seam too as some of the threads where coming away.
i don't know how long they will last but hopefully most of the summer, when it finally arrives.
the final thing i did was trim back the wool patch on the inside to remove any excess fabric. usually i would turn a hem and stitch this in but as the wool is thick i haven't bothered. it's pretty secure and looks ok from the inside too. this next photo is before i trimmed it back close to the stitching, but it gives you an idea of how the inside looks.
well i hope you held with me there on this very long post and that the photos are clear enough ( i took them with my phone camera in very poor light).
i do hope that this will be of interest to those of you who wish to have a go at patching. this method is, i think is a fairly traditional one but there are also many other methods, so if you don't fancy this one, google 'patching' and i'm sure there will be lots of alternatives.
happy new year to you! i hope you are having a good 2013 so far x
the few weeks off over the festive holiday were very welcome for me as I had been working very hard. It was so good to have some time to relax and reflect.
2012 was both busy and fulfilling. i faced a few fears, applied myself to tasks which at times where difficult and was pleased for the first time in my life to have fairly successfully managed to balance all the different areas of my life.
a few things i was proud of in 2012 were,
finally getting round to making my girls quilts for their beds,
although my youngest prefers to wear hers!
devising and delivering a 45 minute solo talk to a large group of business ladies. kinda scary but hugely enjoyable and i want to do it again!
running my first vision board evening; something i had wanted to do for some time as i wanted to share my enjoyment of this process with others. it was a little departure from my usual sewing teaching and it was fun. i ran my second one last night and helped a lovely group of ladies create their vision boards for 2013.
in 2012, along with my gorgeous sewing partner Alice, i taught lots and lots of people how to sew and how to use their sewing machines. it is so rewarding to facilitate and help others on their sewing journeys. Many of our students really got the bug this year and we are both so proud of all they have achieved.
Alice and i also wrote our third book. It's another sewing book but this time it's for children, though we suspect many adults will enjoy making the projects too. It's release date is in March, so more on that soon : )
So 2012 was a good year. I ate better than ever and returned to my yoga practice, which felt like coming home. i have realised how i need to have that space and me time and how my body needs to stretch. yoga grounds me, brings me into the moment and helps me to feel positive and energised. so more of this in 2013!!!
Since the new year has arrived, it's all been about decluttering. Even the family have got involved. decluttering years of stuff is an ongoing process but it is all moving in the right direction.
and we have made some family plans;
to finish off all those unfinished jobs around the house. our first project was to tile the kitchen which has been without tiles for, hmmm, 5 years!
we are thinking of inter- railing with the kids in the summer but still need to work out where, although a separate trip to Scotland is a definite. if you have any recommendations please do let us know.
we are also going to spruce up the garden so we can feel like we are on holiday at home, think tuscany, alfresco : )
My personal aim is to 'Keep it Simple', which is my mantra for the year and i am going to follow my interests and continue to live lightly.
This is my 2013 vision board.
what are you inviting into your life this year? how do you want to feel in the months ahead?
after having seen a few of these snakes on Pinterest i decided to make one for Rufus who is just 4.
i searched the charity shops for a suitably patterned tie to stuff and found one in our local heart foundation shop for £2.50
I thought it would be a simple case of just stuffing the tie, sewing on the eyes and adding a forked tongue but the back seam on the tie i had chosen was catch stitched through all the layers to keep everything in place. When i undid this so i could stuff the tie the seam unravelled making it a bigger job than first thought.
I checked online to see if other folks had mentioned how they had made their snakes but no one had so i will tell you how i made Rufus's.
1. First unpick any stitches along the back seam which hold all the layers of the tie together until you have a tube to stuff.
2. If the seam unravels as it did in my case then carefully pin the two back edges together and sew with a small slip stitch or overstitch making sure you don't sew through all the layers. I kept about 10cms open at the wide end.
3. Take some stuffing, (kapok/polyester hollowfibre from a cushion pad or pillow/or chop up old tights) and gently push the stuffing in from the small end. Do this in small bits to avoid any lumps. I used a long wooden ruler but a pencil would work.
4. I stuffed half from the narrow end then the remainder from the wide end.
At each end of a tie you will find a small facing, usually in a polyester lining fabric. This can be lifed out and the stuffing can be placed behind it. It can then be folded back, pinned in place and sewn to the main tie fabric. I hope this picture shows what i mean.
5. Once your snake is stuffed and sewn up, cut out and sew on a forked tongue in red felt and sew on some button eyes.
and there you have it, one snake for a 4 year old to play with (or whack his brothers with which i expect may be more likely, hence using stuffing and not rice!)
Morsbags is a not for profit organisation set up in 2007 by Claire Morsman who
was so shocked by the devastating effect plastic bags have on marine
wildlife that she decided to promote the making and giving away free of
reusable cotton bags to show that there really is an alternative to
I am very lucky to have a man who makes jam. we have enjoyed many different jams from blackcurrant to gooseberry made by his fair butch hands over the years.
one year we gave some strawberry jam to family as presents. I found a gorgeous tutorial by Amy from Lucy Kate Crafts for this felt strawberry pot cover so made a few up for our gifts. Amy has some great free tutorials on her blog as well as patterns for sale too so it's well worth a visit.
As strawberry jam is out of season now to make, it got me thinking. Perhaps some apple jam or apple sauce would be nice with the cover adapted and finished with tiny apples? Or maybe an apple chutney. This recipe from one of my new favourite blogs looks delicious. One year my OH made cranberry sauce to take over to family at christmas too, not sure if a cranberry would translate but if he wants to do this again maybe a plain hand written label and simple hessian fabric cover tied with twine would suffice?
Have you ever made or received preserves as a gift? I'd love to hear your preserve gift giving ideas
I have agreed to not buy any new clothes for a year from nov 1st 2012 to nov 1st 2013 (with the exceptions of footwear and underwear, although i shall attempt to make some knickers! and thrift some footwear)
So what does this mean?
I shall wear what i have and make my 'wardrobe' work harder.
I shall look after and repair my clothes.
when i need something i shall either buy second hand from thrift shops, car boot fairs and ebay, upcycle and refashion clothes i have or second hand ones i buy, or get creative making clothes from scratch. I am hoping to use fabrics i have (i have a lot) but will buy new if neccesary and try to source more ethically produced fibres too.
Morwhenna has set up a facebook group and blog so we can follow her progress. If you would like to join in the challenge then do share your journey on the facebook page too. About 20 people are now participating in' Love what you wear', so there will be lots of moral support and sharing of ideas.
In the last few months i have been collecting inspiration pins on clothes refashioning ideas for a make do and mend course I will be running next spring so this challenge has come at the perfect time. I have always loved buying from charity shops and can make clothes too (trained as a costume maker). My main concern is that i often have little time, but i am determined that this is what i would like to do from now on so i am pleased that this project will give me the final push to start experimenting.
i hope that by participating i will become mindful of how much i actually need, learn to be more resourceful , learn some new creative skills and meet some lovely likeminded folk too x
i think some swishing events may be involved too : )
We all need them as we all have surfaces to clean, dishes to scrub or you could you them to clean your body too (only don't do both with the same cloth!).
Even if you like me only a basic knitter, a knitted dishcloth or wash cloth is not difficult to make, knits up pretty fast and makes a great gift. Tie a few up some ribbon, add some natural or homemade cleaning materials such as vinegar, lemons or bicarbonate of soda and you have a useful gift for an eco loving friend. My old blog post on natural cleaning has a few suggestions and links on natural cleaning.
Alternatively wrap your knitted wash cloth with some handmade soap purchased from a local maker or made yourself. There are lots of great tutorials online for making soap too or you could go on a course. The lovely Sarah Harper from Rowan Tree Studios teaches one at her home in Devon. She also makes and sells gorgeous soaps too.
When making your dishcloth avoid wool and choose a cotton yarn. Dishcloth cotton is, as it states on the label, especially designed for dish cloths. Any cotton yarn of a meduim weight would do though. You could even make your cloths in lovely organic cotton in other colours to the basic cream or white that dishcloth cotton usually comes in. For a posh cloth in a beautiful shade this organic eco baby cotton looks lovely! Washability and durability is important to consider though. Kate Carpenter has written an excellent article on choosing the best yarn for dish and face cloths.
There are so may great dish cloth tutorials online and free patterns that you are spoilt for choice.
i am thinking, a new month, and a new start... back into blogging.
as well as being very busy with my home and working life i have been spending my online time more on twitter and pinterest recently and haven't quite been able to have the mental space to write a blog post.
But today inspired by some twitter communication this morning with a new twitter friend Jen it seems that an idea has taken shape (partly) and will hopefully, organically transform into some blog posts.
Jen has set up a blog to document a year of not buying anything new and will make do and mend, salvage, refashion, upcycle or source second hand all her and her family needs for the following year. She writes about her reasons and self imposed rules here.
Having been brought up in a very make do and mend family; mum was a primary school teacher, think Blue Peter and dad is very handy with his hands and even made me a netball post when i was younger, you will realise that i love reading about these type of challenges. To me it's about resourcefulness, about being creative and valuing what we have. It's also a lot of fun and you can develop new skills which result in a great feeling of accomplishment, not to mention the pleasure sometimes of having saved yourself some money.
This morning Jen tweeted that it's first of November so Christmas is getting close. Obviously she has a challenge to make, find or upcycle stuff to create into gifts. We were chatting about suggestions and i thought that perhaps my blog was a good place to share some ideas and to show some of the gifts that we as a family have made in the past.
Hopefully it will get me motivated for this years gift making too.
If you would also like to share your gift making ideas , please do email me with gifts you have created or are creating and i will either add them into a post or link to your blog post.
What do you think? a good idea? would you like to share and join in?
i am not going to give myself any rules (you probably know i am not good with those) so am unsure whether the ideas will be themed or random. I will however aim to link to some great tutorials and inspiration and also may even do a tutorial myself. Hopefully it will open discussion and also help us all get motivated. are you up for it?
thank you for reading and do let me know if you'd like to contribute and share your ideas.