23 May 2011

Busy week

As you might have guessed already “T-shirt challenge” is officially cancelled! I will be making more nice tops for Little Daughter, no doubt, but in the mean time my inspiration is flowing in a different direction.

Well I am busy sewing patchwork balls and letter cushions. I will tell you why and show you photos as soon as I can…

I also wanted to share a blog which I found a while ago, and who has just won the Dorset Cereal Blog Award for April...and absloutley great read...it reminds me that at one point of life everyone could be / has been an Accidental Londoner!


Irina xx

17 May 2011

A post in between

I have been thinking a lot since I read a post on another blog about what makes us read blogs. It has been quite an eye opener and it kind of really left me thinking, about a lot of blog related things. And I’ve decided that I can’t just get away with making average photos and post average posts, so I have been searching the internet for help on how to make good photos. Obviously I only have my camera – a Sony Cyber shot 7.2 mega pixels, which is great for “average, a bit blurry, but who cares” holiday snaps, but absolutely ( or maybe not so ) useless for lovely detailed photos in vivid colours ( or maybe I should research Photoshop instead).

Lovely Husband on the other hand has his Canon bladi-bladi-bla with two different lenses and who knows how many features. Well I have been gently asked not to use it and even if I did, he is the only one who has the software for downloading the snaps and also I think he still has all the photos since he first got the camera, a good couple of thousand.

So I have just found out how to take close up photos, and although the light isn’t perfect and there is still a lot ( a lot, a lot) to be desired, I had to share my latest project or at least bits of it. I hope to show you more very soon.

Also I would like to share the link to the blog Zuhause in Germany, where I read the post about 5 Reasons Why I Read Your Blog – a very thoughtful and actually funny read.

And here is a video I recently watched called The Story of Stuff, on a blog written by the husband of my friend Gingerbread Dough Mummy. This is a video about consumerism and although a tad long it is absolutely worth seeing ( if you haven’t seen it already on youtube).

I wish I could change the world!

Irina xx

16 May 2011

T-shirt Challenge - Part 2

So here is T-shirt No2 - Strawberry Jam.

I chose this one because I think Little Daughter will be too big for it by the time she will wear long sleeves again, and it is not too ruined, only slightly less red, from too many washes. Red is Little Daughters favourite colour and it actually suits her really well.

T-shirt before

So here is what I did. First I removed the sleeves. Ironed one of the sleeves and used it as a pattern (no surprise here). Initially I wanted a short puffed sleeve, but since I am not a seamstress, and don’t really know what I am doing, I cut it way too long and it ended up being sort of three quarter length.

The T-shirt after

I did puffed sleeve yesterday so today I wanted to make something different. It is funny how checks and dots shouldn’t really work together! I grew up being told that mixing colours or prints doesn’t work. I actually took this for granted, and never really tried! But today as I was playing with the different fabrics I realised that this is not completely true…and I think that the red gingham works lovely with the red polka dot!

The hardest part for me when making something is when to stop…should I just leave the sleeves, or should I add a collar or a cupcake appliqué, pockets or yo-yo’s or maybe some other kind of embellishment. Well as Little Daughter tried it I decided that sometimes less is actually more, so only sleeves!

"Yawn, oh mummy, can I go now!"

Another one on Wednesday!

Love ,
Irina xx

P.S. I have just received a permission from Lovely Husband to use his Canon camera, so I really hope I can produce some better photos.

15 May 2011

T-shirt Challenge - Part 1

I went to a little Crafts Fair on Saturday and I was absolutely pleased to see so many mums (and not only mums) who are into sewing and making lovely things here in Frankfurt. It was very nice to see what other people have made and I was thrilled that finally I found some like minded people ( a very good incentive to work on my Deutsch).

Everything was very nice and I quite liked the embellished kids T-shirts by „Obst & junges Gemüse“ and the dresses made from Daddy’s old shirt by Papas Hemd, very cute… I have taken some old shirts out of the box and hope to have a go at this soon.

But first I decided to set myself a little challenge and see what I can do with the old (and possibly stained) T-shirts of Little Daughter before they end up in the bin. I have decided over the next week to transform five old T-shirts into cool “new” T-shirts. How? I don’t know yet, but I’d like to try! However all T-shirts will be for girls so I hope mums of boys will excuse me!

And here is T-shirt No1 – Candy Floss.

I bought this T-shirt for 1euro at a flea market last year and it took a lot of wearing. No wonder it is quite stained and also it has a couple of small holes on one of the sleeves. Well rather than throw it away I decided to have a go at it and see if I can make something nice out of it.

T-shirt before

What I did was to remove the sleeves. I ironed one of the sleeves and used it as a pattern to make new sleeves out of pink gingham.  If the sleeves are in good condition I guess they can be kept and added to another T-shirt. Mine are going in the bin.

I decided to make them a bit girlie and made them puffed at the end.

Sleeves done, I had to cover the stains. I love fabric yo-yo’s. I haven’t really made or used yo-yo’s before but they took only 5 minutes each to make. I added a button to cover the thread and make it look like a flower. The steam design came out of nowhere, in fact the whole design just happened as I was making it.

And here is the result:

Little Daughter loved it!

Another one tomorrow!

Irina xx

6 May 2011

Letter Shaped Cushions

I have been busy sewing letter shaped cushions for gifts. No special reason, just thought they would make a lovely present. I first saw one last year and ever since I wondered how to sew a letter, inside out, which had a whole in the middle – like A or D or P. For some reason I can’t really imagine things and it took me ages to try and picture in my head how I could possibly attempt to make the letter A. Well two A’s, one S, one J and a half-done D, I think I sussed it. Each one looks better than the previous one so there is a lot of truth in the saying “learning through experience”. 

I did my first letter without piping and stitched the light fabrics using brown thread as I wanted to see what will go wrong – it wouldn’t have been so visible with white thread. It wasn’t too bad, although sewing the little whole in the middle was harder than I thought.

My second letter was S, and I personally think it was harder than the A. At least the A has some straight sides, compared to the S which wiggles and curves in different directions. In fact the first time I stitched everything together, the front and the back did not really align properly, so I had to do it again ( boy, how I hate unpicking). For the piping I used bias tape which was not cut on the bias and that was not perfect.
Rule: all bias tape should be cut on the bias, that is why it is called bias tape, isn't it?

The J was also a bit tricky, and what I’ve noticed is that the letter curves slightly to the front. I believe this is due to the piping, which pulls the fabric a bit. I decided to make some blue bias tape, actually cut on the bias, for the piping and I am pleased to say that it worked lovely. The piping just followed around the curves  during sewing and the letter looks much better.

I heard that such cushions could be made using a guset, but I don't even have an idea what guset is let alone how to use it! Any idea anybody?

I also found a great tutorial of how to make meters and meters of continuous bias tape – it is actually very clever and really handy if you need to make lots of fabric strips.
So I know there are lots of online tutorials but here is how I do it. I used 50cm x 50cm square which made just over 5m of bias tape.

Fold one corner of the fabric to create a square. Off course I forgot to take a photo of this. Iron along the fold to create a line. Use this line to cut the square in half, creating two identical triangles. Place the pieces one on top of the other and stitch together.

Press the seams open. It should look something like this.

Using a ruler, make long lines along the fabric. Be as precise as possible, as these lines will guide you when cutting the bias tape.

When you are finished drawing the lines, fold you fabric so that the lines meet each other. This is the tricky part – make sure you first line from one side meets the second line from the other side. I know it sounds confusing, just try it.

Pin together and machine stitch. It is very important to press the seams open, before cutting. Once you are ready start cutting from that first line which is on its own.

When finished trim your bias tape and roll together. Easy peasy lemon squeezy!

Happy sewing!

Irina xx