An exciting week!

I’m going to give a historic quilting workshop at the Weald & Downland Museum in May. Victorian & medieval to try & lots of other sorts to examine.  I’m in the brochure & I’m so excited….

The latest quiltThe latest Victorian style Weald & Downland Museum quilt.

Tumbling blocksMy own Tumbling Blocks – grown much bigger since this was taken.

And a new skirt…

New skirtNew skirt (and Gus!)

The fabric is very felt like and I bought it from the Turkish Market in Berlin.  I used the same pattern as the patchwork skirt I made in the summer. I love the way it’s cut on the bias.

Patchwork SkirtIt was hard to find interesting  fabric in Berlin – I should have asked people for tips before I went.

New skirtIt’s also a bit of a stash bust – the lining came from a bag of fabric given to me by a friend ages ago.

New skirtHeading off to the supermarket

New skirtPurple coat and pink skirt are me-made, boots from green shoes, denim jacket from charity shop and blouse from car boot sale.

The blouse is lovely but it crumples like a rag after a really short time. I’m thinking of using a bit of spray starch. Or does anyone have a better idea, please?

Happy Weekend! xxx

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At the beach and in the woods

Gus at FerringGus at the seaside

  Gorgeous autumn day today so we took a picnic to the beach.  Of course, Gus spent an hour or so retrieving his ball from the sea.

Gus And walking with Gus in the woods on Friday I came across this:

Hen of the Woods?I think it’s called Hen of the Woods but I’m not confident enough to pick it and eat it.

And this:

Magic mushroom?I love the look of these mushrooms. I am still searching for a complete ring.

Hope you had a lovely weekend. xxx

Old jeans Reused: How to make the bag (Part 1)

Lots of you wanted a how-to for the jeans bag, so this is it.  Part 1 is how to make the fabric.

Below is the finished bag. I bought nothing new to make it so it definitely counts as a stash bust.

Please leave a comment if you don’t understand any of the instructions and I’ll try to explain as soon as possible so that you can get started.

finished bag

Finished!Close up

To make it you will need:

The legs from a pair of jeans,

2 pieces of backing fabric eg. curtain lining – this acts as a support. It will be hidden by the bag lining.

2 pieces of coloured fabric (patterns are best but you can piece different fabrics to get a patterned effect),

fabric

a jeans or other heavy duty sewing machine needle, various threads for sewing the bag and lining and some bolder thread for the zigzags eg. quilting cotton.

2 pieces of firm fabric for the lining & an extra piece for the handle.

WARNING: DO NOT CUT YOUR FABRICS YET

The size of the fabric depends on the size of the legs of your jeans. I started with pieces approximately 16ins x 20ins. My handle was about 43 ins long and 3.5 ins wide.

Let’s start:

cutting the jeans1. Cut the legs off your jeans and cut away the side seams which are NOT topstitched.

fabric

Jeans fabric with side seams cut away. Note top stitched seam in the centre.

2. Cut the jeans fabric to bag size (see sizes above). Of course, your bag can be any size you like.

3. Cut your curtain lining and coloured fabric to the same size as the jeans fabric (see fabric requirements above).

FabricI used a piece of quilting cotton and some dressmaking leftovers from the 1990s which had to be pieced together to make the correct size.

4. Place a bag size piece of the curtain lining on the table, place the brightly coloured fabric face up on top of it, place jeans fabric on top (also face up).  You should have 3 layers.  Align the edges and tack together around the edges. This is called a sandwich!

SandwichShows all the layers of the sandwich.

The jeans fabric will not lay completely flat (because of the centre seam) but smooth it out as much as possible.

5. Using bold thread – I used leftover machine quiltiing cotton – make a line of zigzags near to the centre seam.  Try out the size of the zigzag first: mine was stitch width 4, length 2. Make another line of zigzags on the other side of the centre seam.

Zigzags6. Working from the centre outwards, make rows of zigzag stitches about half an inch apart. You don’t need to be especially accurate. You can see that my lines of zigzags wobble!

zigzagsRepeat until the sandwich is covered by rows of zigzags.

ZigzagsI needed to tidy up my sandwich afterwards as I had left the underneath showing to make this easier to follow.

7. Take out the tacking stitches.

8. Cut the jeans fabric between the rows of zigzags, making sure that you do not cut into the fabric underneath.

Cutting9. Cut back one side of the beween the rows gap almost to the stitching.  This shows more of the underneath fabric than if both edges were frayed.

Cutting between the rows10. Now the messy bit!  Fray the edge of the jeans fabric.

FrayingFrayingRepeat for the other sandwich.

Frayed!You’ve made the fabric!

I will show how I made the bag in the next post.

Happy Weekend! xxx

Old Jeans Reused

I have a real passion for reusing textiles.  I will try to mend more or less anything: it’s a mainstay of my little business and of my life generally.  Once mending isn’t practical I go on to reusing.

I buy my jeans secondhand – most of the ones I buy look almost new – and I wear them to death.  After that I try to make something else from them. I think this bag is a big success so I thought I’d share it.

Jeans bagI’ve had a request for more pictures of Gus, so here he is.

I’m displaying my new recycled jeans bag and wearing Red Herring top from car boot sale and posher than usual Per Una jeans from the St Catherine’s Hospice shop.

Jeans bag close upClose up of jeans bag

I patched fabric scraps on to a piece of curtain lining, added part of the leg of some old jeans on top, sewed lots of zigzags in lines to hold the fabric together and then cut back the denim.

I didn’t take any photos of the process, but if anyone is interested I can easily do some more and post a tutorial.  Please let me know in the comments if you would: l love the process so don’t mind having another go.

Hope you are all having a good week. My treat of the week was bright red hair – better in reality than on the photo.  I’ve been working quite hard though, so I’m planning a relaxing trip to the charity shops tomorrow.

xxx

A trip back in time

Singing George Formby!I took this photo at Amberley Chalk Pits Museum on Sunday.  They had a 1940s weekend as well as their usual industrial history exhibits. This couple sang some really funny songs.  There were some amazing dancers too but I was so involved in watching them I forgot to take photos. How can I ever hope to be a proper blogger ???

Gus & meHere’s Gus getting in the photo as usual.  He hardly ever looks at the camera though. I wanted to get the buses in the photo as I think they’re lovely – so much more glamourous than a modern bus (but probably much less comfortable).

As it’s still Me Made May, I should mention my outfit.  Top refashioned from a skirt and refashioned linen skirt.   Tweed hacking jacket with velvet collar (bought about 10 years ago in a sale) and boots from Green Shoes.

The linen skirt is one of my favourites.

Worn here a few days ago with the same top:

Me Made May

It looked like this before:

Linen skirt before refashionI have a big pile of clothes to refashion – the skirt I made from my failed Sureau dress has been taken apart & I am including the fabric in a patchwork skirt.

I have lots of me mades I haven’t worn: they just don’t suit me.  I’ve been wearing a few favourites over & over so it’s time for a refashioning session.

I’m hoping to display some refashioned clothes & my new 1970s shoes very soon.

Meanwhile, this is my favourite Me Made May photo so far:

Gus! Hope you like it!

Allsorts

Gus

Another snowy day here today.   This is Gus taking his morning walk; he loves the snow and wears himself out playing in it.

On the sewing front, my bra pattern arrived so I can get started.  Hooray! I’ve chosen Elan 645. Unfortunately, I ordered the wrong pattern number (how ??? – I might have jelly instead of a brain)  but the lovely people at Vena Cava sorted me out and I’ve got the one I wanted.

Weaving

I said this post was allsorts!  I had a go at weaving at the Weald & Downland Museum – this was my practice piece.  The aim is to weave some of the plain cloth needed for Medieval peasant clothing.  It was very absorbing & I’ll be giving it another try when I get the chance.

Marmalade

Marmalade

Seville oranges were in the shops last week.   I boiled the fruit before chopping up the peel and that makes it a lot easier to make – the peel’s softer and the flesh comes out very easily. In the past I tried chopping the oranges before boiling and thought it was very hard.  I don’t think I would have made marmalade again if I hadn’t seen this method.

Pre Raphaelite Exhibition

And finally, I went to the Pre-Raphaelite exhibition at Tate Britain just before it ended; I’d been meaning to go for ages.  It was very busy, I assume lots of people suddenly realised it was about to end and like me, rushed to see it.  It was wonderful, absolutely wonderful…

A Dog, quilts and those boots again

Old quilts get cut up for dog blankets.

This was once a king size bed quilt.

My new quilt – before quilting. It looks very different afterwards.

After some manic sewing I got the quilt ready to take to the exhibition.  I forgot to take photos of the finished quilt so that’ll have to wait until next week.

I just love these boots. I wear them nearly every day.