Archive | February 2013

Coin Cufflinks

Mr M and I enjoy travelling and exploring places all over the world. When you read this, I’ll be in Malta πŸ™‚

Whilst on this holiday we will be using the Euro, we have used many different currencies. I have enjoyed taking out millions of dong when in Vietnam, but there, and in many places in Asia (or indeed the States) I do get frustrated with the number of notes I have to carry. I like coins for small purchases. I guess that’s what I’m used to!

When packing for Malta I found a few small coins left from our travels last summer. It seemed a pity to just resign them to a jar of loose change, so I got out a few bits:


And with a bit of glue, and some drying time later, Mr M has some new cufflinks!


The coins are 10c pieces from Singapore. I like both sides, but didn’t have enough coins to make two sets.

There you go, another very quick and easy make…


My strange shaped body!

I tacked together the front and back of my top this week and tried it on. Well, that was a bit eye opening!

My whole class (luckily for me they are all lovely!) had to analyse the fit to see if any adjustments needed to be made. The most obvious one was the way it sat around my chest – it almost appeared to be gaping! I have an ample bosom and am going to have to put an extra dart in at the front to cope with this. I have no idea how I’ll cope with that when putting it back together. I think this is different to the FBA which I’ve heard of on various sewing blogs.

One shoulder didn’t quite sit right, so I’m going to have to sew it down slightly. My tutor said that my shoulders are wonky! Apparently it is common. She said you could see how one shoulder is quite square and the other is more rounded. I guess that’s why some bought tops slide off one shoulder!

Here it is pinned to show how much to take in on the shoulder:


I have a few other small tweaks to make it fit better. Other than my wedding dress, this will be my first made to fit piece if clothing!

I’m now see why people do muslins first!

Happy Valentine’s!

Happy Valentine’s!

Mr M and I aren’t really celebrating today. We usually cook a posh meal at home on Valentine’s itself or go out for a nice meal either that night, or a night either side. This year I am at school, behind the scenes for a production, supporting my colleagues and students.

Mr M and I are exchanging cards today, and that is all. I couldn’t bear to give him a bought card, despite having no time to make one. Besides, one of my crafty goals for 2013 is to only send handmade cards. Here is his card:


I did toy with a greeting, but decided to stick with fairly simple.

This has got to be the easiest valentine’s card ever! All I did was cut out a variety of different sized hearts out of paper and stacked them in alternating colours. You don’t need any crafting equipment, all you need is a pair of scissors and a glue stick.

As for our nice Valentine’s meal? It will be in Malta: we fly out on Saturday πŸ™‚

It’s Starting To Come Together…

My first ever clothing sewing project is starting to come together. I’m sure experienced sewists wizz through at lightning speed compared to me, but I’d prefer to do this relatively well and learn techniques along the way.

After my last class I did a little work at home. I removed the pattern pieces from all the pieces I cut last lesson and did tailor tacks to mark the tips of my darts. I also cut out the interfacing and ironed it to the relevant fabric. I didn’t want to do any more as that involved sewing!

At the class I stay stitched around the neckline on all four pieces. I then sewed my darts. Whilst relatively simple I was actually quite proud and pleased with these!


The joys of a small pattern means sewing lines will be fairly well hidden – I doubt you can see them in this photo.

I then sewed together the back. I pinned it, tacked it and then machine stitched. The pattern advised finishing the seam and one method they gave was to zigzag. Stupidly I zigzagged over both together, which didn’t sit well. The joys of a 5/8″ seam allowance meant that I could cut this off and zigzag over the edges separately. That sits a lot better!


This isn’t sitting flat as you can tell from the middle, but it will do so happily. It even looks like the back of a top! I also had time to sew together the front, but I haven’t finished that seam yet.

When I wasn’t sewing, Jenny, our tutor went through a few things. I’m amazed that I’ve never noticed the dent in a machine needle before. I now have notes on what size needle and length of stitch to use with a wide range of fabrics.

I also learnt about a wide variety of types of seam. I’d heard of French seams, but didn’t know about mock French seams or channel seams or lingerie seams and more. Luckily I have a handout with instructions on as otherwise I’d never remember how to do all the demonstrated techniques.

Finally, I’ll share a snippet which I will use. Mr M has commented that I do more ironing for sewing than I do day to day. Well I was told in my class that pressing is not ironing, so next time he makes such a comment I’ll tell him I’m not ironing!

It’s slowly starting to come together…

Handmade Books

I spent all day on Saturday February 2nd at a workshop learning how to make handmade books. It was a really enjoyable day πŸ™‚

We made two books, we made them concurrently, but I’ll show you them separately…

For one book we cut out cardboard the size we wanted our book to be, and then cut out a small sliver (we used 7mm) to act as our spine:


You need one for the front and one for the back.

Then cover in paper, fabric or whatever you want.


We were advised to cover the spine first with the book cloth, but I did it the other way as book cloth doesn’t fray, whereas my fabric does. Most people did it the way were we advised. I decided which would be my front and back as my fabric pattern had a right way up.


I still really like this fabric. I bought it ages ago from fabric land and made a crochet hook roll with it, as one of my first sewing projects.

After making holes through the paper and front and back covers, we then sewed it together using Japanese saddle stitch.


And inside…


The book is lined with paper I took along, which I originally got free from Simply Homemade magazine. This is a good stash busting craft!

I think a book like this would be perfect for a guest book for a wedding, or travel journal, well it could have so many uses!

The other book had a leather coating, which we lined with paper. I used more paper from the Simply Homemade set.


When trimmed to size, I had some lined leather left over. It seemed a shame to throw them out, so following Sian’s from Buttons and Paint suggestion, I trimmed them down to make bookmarks.


OK, they aren’t standard bookmark size, but they will still be useful and a reminder of the day πŸ™‚

Anyway, back to the book…

I folded five lots of paper to make the pages:


We used an awl to make holes in the paper:


Before stitching them into the leather:


When open it looks like this:


I think the lining works well πŸ™‚ Here it is at the back:


I used a button and some thread to secure it shut:


I’m also really happy with this book. The book binding technique can be adapted in many ways and there are a lot of possibilities with fastenings.

I’m now off to order a few bits so I can do this at home πŸ™‚

That’s one of my resolutions for 2013 met – try a new craft.

Cover Buttons

Having seen some lovely items made with cover buttons, I decided to try to make my own. Here are my best ones:


I soon learnt that you need to ensure you have the back piece in exactly the right place, as otherwise when you push down, you will bend at least one of the metal pieces:


If you try to force them the metal distorts more and becomes unusable. However sometimes you can recover slightly and make something that you can use, but isn’t as pretty at the back:


Unfortunately I had to completely discard some buttons as I’d distorted them too much.

I got better with placement of the pieces after a while, but then run out of buttons. I have pretty fabric scraps and left over fabric from my top which I think I’ll use to make more. I think i may focus on which bit of fabric to choose next time, so that a pattern is central. This is a quite quick activity which I hope to be able to do in front of the television after a while.

Now what do I make with the buttons?