DIY: Full skirt tutorial.

I’m really loving creating projects on my sewing machine at the minute, I used to spend so much time on it, but I seem to have run out of love for sewing over the past year, I think that love might just be returning.

Its my birthday tomorrow, and we’ve had a trip to London booked for months. We’ll be booking into the rather fancy St pancras renaissance hotel, spending the afternoon on the Harry potter tour, and enjoying what i’ve be promised to be the most delicious feast at The hawksmoor (covent garden). I’m certainly in for an extraordinary day! Anyway, birthday excitement aside, with fancy plans comes the “what am I going to wear?” stress. Well, i’ve been super prepared for this, I bought my day outfit last month (and we’ve been promised gorgeous weather, (so I don’t have to change it YAY!) for our dinner out, I thought i’d make something a little pretty, which brings me to this tutorial. A full skirt (in the most beautiful retro grey gingham fabric I grabbed from the bargain bin at Abakan). There are a lot of different ways to make up a full skirt, this one is for a gathered full skirt, with a zip back. So lets get started.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fabric,  this depends on your measurements, but i’ll go through working it out below.
  • Fabric shears,
  • 8″ zip in a colour of your choice.
  • measuring tape,
  • dressmakers pins,
  • and of course your sewing machine, i’m using an overlocker as well, but if you don’t have one, pinking shears will do.

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And here’s what you need to do. 

 

So, before we even start with any fabrics, you’ll need to work out your measurements. you’ll need two. Your waist and the length you want your skirt to be. I’ve put on a little weight over the past few months (just generally given into all my urges, hello 11pm Timeout obsession!) so my waist measurement is 30″ and  my desired length for a mid calf midi skirt is 25″. So, below is the measurements of fabric i’ll be cutting out.

1 x 31″ x 5″ – This will be the waist band. The extra 1 inch is for folding under when attaching your zip, (1/2″ each side) SO whatever your waist measured at, add that extra 1″. The 5″ is the width, my finished waistband will be 2 1/2″, this piece s folding in half, hence the 5″

2 x 64″ x 25″ – The 64″ is the width, it sounds like loads, but general rule of thumb, for a gathered skirt the more fabric you gather, the fuller the skirt. I find quadrupling my waist size in fabric length gives me the perfect amount of fullness, I could do with a little less, but the length of my fabric was 64″ so instead of cutting off that 4″ I just kept it. The 25″ is of course the length I want my skirt.

I really hope I”ve managed to make that simple enough?

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Anyway, moving on. Once you’ve cut out all your fabric, we can get started on some sewing. First, grab your two large main skirt pieces (64″ x 25″) Now for some ridiculous reason, whilst making this up, I gathered one piece, then added the other. This is actually a longer way of going about it. So, place your fabrics against each other, fabric on the inside. Line up the edges, pin down and sew. You’ll end up with one rather gigantic hoop of fabric. Half ONE of the pieces of fabric and cut all the way up (be very careful doing this bit that you don’t snip the other piece of fabric. You want to end up with pone super long piece.

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Next, its time to get on that machine, before you start sewing check your bobbin is near full, if you run out of thread during this bit, its a real pain! So full bobbin and you can sew along the full length of fabric in one go, no breaks. Set your machine to the largest straight stitch, and you want tension at 5 for a basic cotton fabric.

Starting from one end, about half an inch from the top, sew a few stitches and do your back stitch to secure. Then carry on  all the way to the other end. When you get to the other end DO NOT back stitch and leave a long piece of loose thread before snipping away from the machine.

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Next, go back to the beginning of the fabric ( where you just started the last line of stitches) and about 1/4″ below your last stitches, do the same step, going all the way to the end. Remember, no backstitch to secure and leave a long piece of loose thread. Your fabric should look like this.

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Now, keep tight hold of your thread and pinch your fabric very gently pulling it down creating a lovely gather. You need to be very gentle with this step, if you snap the thread, you’ll have to unpick that whole line and re-sew. But putting two lines of stitches not only creates a prettier gather, it also strengthens for when you’re doing this step.

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Once you’ve reached the end and you’ve gathered all of your fabric, grab your tape measure and measure your now gathered fabric length. You want it to match your waist band fabric length.

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So, now we move on. Get your waistband fabric and take to an iron, fold it in half (pattern on the outside), Iron. Then fold under the raw edges of the waist band, hiding them on the inside of your band. Give it a good thorough iron and steam, this will keep everything nice and folded.

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Now, we’re going to add the gathered skirt to the waistband. Its really simple to do this, but can get a little fiddly. Simply lay your waistband down, open side facing to you. Slot the gathered edge inside your waistband and pin the whole lot together, not forgetting the back of the waistband. You don’t need to put your skirt right up to the top of the waistband, just an inch or so under, will do fine. enough so the waistband conceals the stitch lines.

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Now its time to sew. The best way to do this part is to go slow and steady. Make sure both the front and back of the waistband is in line before you start, and on the middle length stitch (you should have 3 stitch sizes for a straight stitch on your machine) start from one end, sewing right to the other, doing a backstitch for wither side to secure.

 

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By now, you have something resembling a skirt, but now we need to attach both sides together. To do this, fold both ends back, so your skirt is inside out. Line up the edges and place down. For this skirt I used an 8″ zip This is more than enough, it only has to give you enough room to pull your skirt past your hips. If you have a particularly long torso (i’m 4′ 11″ so that has never been a problem!) then maybe switch it for a longer zip. Anyway, with your skirt laying down, measure down from the top, the length of your zip and pin the two pieces together at that point.

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Now sew up from the bottom of the skirt, to where your pin is. Finish with your overlocker, pinking shears or using the double fold method, I wrote a post about it here.

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Now its time for the fussy bit, fitting in the zip. though its actually its not as hard as you’d imagine. First up you’ll need to prep your skirt ready for inserting your zip. To do this is really simple. Simply pinch in the edges, and pin. Of course this skirt isn’t lined, so when you’ve passed your waistband there’s only one layer, just fold that over 1/2″ and pin. Once its all pined, give it a good going over with the iron. *Note, don’t do this with those dressmakers pins that have a plastic ball head. If you do, plastic will melt over your fabric and your iron. I know this from experience. Sadly.

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And now its time to pop in that zip. Firstly, gather some contrasting thread, and set up your needle for some hand sewing.

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Next, fold over the end of your zip, the piece that starts just before the top of the actual zipper part.

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Now, with the top still folded over, slot it into the very top of the waistband. Grab your needle and thread, and tack the zip nice and tightly into your skirt. Do this all the way down and back up to the other side so the entire zip is tacked in.

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Next its time to sew your zip in. This is actually the easiest part. Just go slow, starting from the top left, working down until you get to the bottom. Stop your machine with the needle still in your fabric, lift your foot (on the machine, not your actual foot.) spin your skirt to the side and sew across the bottom for a couple of stitches. Once you’ve reached the other side, stop again with your needle still in your fabric. Lift your foot, spin the skirt so your angled ready to sew up the other side of the zip.

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Now using a pair of snips, or small scissors, snip out the contrasting thread. Now is also the time to re-sew any of that waistband that has come loose just before adding your zip.

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And thats all the complicated parts of your skirt made! We’ve one last thing to do, before your skirt is finished… and thats hem it. Now would be the perfect time to try your skirt on, make sure the length is as you want it, if you want it shorter, just give it a trim- remember though, you will be taking about 1/2″- 1″ off that for hemming, so don’t cut too much off.

To do this, simply use your over locker, fold over, pin and topstitch like I have. Or if your don’t have an overlocker, you can use pinking shears, fold and topstitch. Or you can use the double fold method here.

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The last thing to do, is to give your skirt a complete iron over, get every seam crisp, get the fabric completely crinkle free. and thats it, your gathered full skirt with zip back is now ready to wear!

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

DIY: Oilcloth beach bag.

This week, I’m carrying on from what i said last week – keeping with the seasons ect. ect. So, if you haven’t seen the weather reports for the next week, go look now! *Eeeks.* Its gunna’ be HOT Which means, beach days!! So, with this in mind, I’ve made up a tutorial for something you’ll probably be needing. A beach bag, a super practical oil cloth beach bag. In the prettiest, summeriest, retro-esque gingham pattern from Abakan.

 

So here’s what you’ll need:

Oilcloth, I’ve used roughly half a metre.

Dressmakers pins.

Tape measure.

Fabric shears.

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And here’s what you’ll need to do:

First, I cut out my oilcloth pieces. I cut out 2 pieces of 18″ x 20″ (These are the sides of the bag.) 2 pieces of 23″ x 4 1/2″ (These are the straps. And one 20″ x 5″ piece. This will be the bottom.

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Then  It was time to begin putting all the pieces together. First, I made up the straps. I grabbed the two strap pieces (23″ x 4 1/2″). Folded it in half – Patterned side on the outside-.

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Second, fold the tip of each side over, so about 1/4″ is folded inside. Then pin, both edges closed.

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Now pin down both sides. You’ll want a long straight stitch for this, you’ll also want to adjust your tension right up to about 8/9 (depending on your machine) Oilcloth can be tricky to get through your machine, there’s no real fibres, or friction. So it does struggle to grip – unless of course you’re lucky to be on an industrial.

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So, thats your straps made up. Its time to move on to the actual body of the bag. For this you’ll need the remaining three pieces of your oilcloth.

First, put the two pieces of main body together, pattern side facing each other (on the inside.)

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Make sure your two pieces are both lined up. Measure up 2 1/2″ from the bottom and pin, on both sides.

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Now sew down, from the top corner, a long straight stitch all the way down to where your pin sits. Sew down both sides.

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Then fold down the un-sewn bottom flaps of your bag, making it like this…

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Place your final piece of un-used oilcloth, pattern side down on this. So the 20″ x 5″ piece. Line it all up, pin it and sew it. It is a little tricky to sew, because you don’t want to sew the two sides to each other. The best way to do it really, is to place the rectangle part down first, pin the rest of your bag to it, then sit it under the machine and sew round your rectangle. (really hope that makes sense?!) When you’ve finished, you want it to look a little like the pictures below, at either side it should be joined in a T shape.

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If you peek in the top of your bag, you’ll see its almost ready. But you shouldn’t turn it out yet.

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First you’ll need to finish your seams with either the overlocker or pinking shears. This will keep everything nice and secure.

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Then you can turn your bag out the right way, getting ready to finish it all off.

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Next, you need to chop off the top 2″ of your bag – it’ll make sense soon.

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Grab your pins again, fold over the new top of your bag by about 1/4″ and pin.

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Figure out where you want your straps (i’ve placed either and about 3″ from the end seams.) and pin in place.

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Now, its time to bring back that little stop of fabric you cut off. I overlocked mine, it’s not a necessity, but it will give a better finish to your bag. Fold over one side of it – again by 1/4″.

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Next, pin the folded side, up against the edge of the top of the bag. Its easier if you fold the bag over a bit first, you can see a bit better then.

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Then comes the most difficult part, the sewing. Its tricky with this fabric because of how stiff it can be. But, be patient, go steady and it’ll be done in no time.

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So, thats it. Your DIY Oilcloth beach bag is done. If i’m being honest, I’ll probably use this as a beach bag once maybe twice a year – it is only Summer for half a week a year.- More often than not, it’ll be the girls overnight sleep bag, or even  my shopping bag (seen as we’re charged for carrier bags now. I’m being Eco friendly!)

Whatever you use your bag for, it will be strong and pretty and most importantly, Handmade by you! So carry it with pride.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

No zip cushion tutorial.

Its no secret that I love cushions. I just do! My style is kind of neutral, I like calm, relaxed, clean. BUT when it comes to cushions, I like the boost of personality, textures, colours, patterns that cushions will give a room. Hence why I’ve got so many of them. Anyway, we got a new sofa a couple of months ago. I already replaced the *lovely* floral cushions – they’re not horrible, just not my taste –  with some cooler, more varied ones from H&M home – which btw, if you haven’t had a look in their homeware section, go. now. – well, once you’ve finished my blog post. So much beauty and their prices are ridiculously low.

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Anyway, back to the blog post. Cushions, I’ve bought them all so far, But having free reign of fabrics, convinced me to make some up. And honestly, when they’re as easy as your about to see, you’ll probably only make them all,  buying ones you really ‘need‘ too – because some cushions are too beautiful to just leave in the shop. The best thing about these particular cushions, they are fab for beginner sew-ist – totally invented term for the newbies-. There’s no zips, buttons, velcro. Nothing daffy about them at all. You can’t really do it wrong, so I think they’re definitely a good motivation if you’re lacking in sewing mojo.

So cracking on. Here’s what you’ll need:

 

  • fabric, for an average scatter cushion, 1/2 a metre will do perfectly.
  • fabric scissors.
  • dressmakers pins.
  • dressmakers tape measure.
  • cushion to fill once its finished.

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And here’s what you need to do:

 

First, grab your fabric, we need to cut out the right size, the entire cushion will be one continues piece of fabric. I’ve drawn up a little something to give you an idea of what it should look like.

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My fabric dimension are 38 1/2″ length (16″ cushion F + 16″ cushion B + 6″ flap + 1/2″) x 18 1/2″ wide  this includes seem allowance  of 1/2″

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First, overlock the top and bottom edge of your fabric, – If you don’t have an overlocker, pinking shears are fine, if you don’t have either, the double fold method I have a post on here will work as well.

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Now, you want to set your fabric pattern side down. The way its being constructed, the pattern needs to be on the inside – then when you turn it out, all seams are hidden. So, once thats done turn the top down 3 inches and pin the sides.

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Now, go to the bottom and turn it over 1/2″ pinning and then sewing to secure.

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Then, fold the bottom, up to the top. Take out one of the side pins (carefully) place the folded over fabric from the bottom and re-pin. Tack your pins all the way down, then do the same to the other side.

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Now its time to sew. Run a straight stitch down either side – remembering your backstitch to secure.-

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And finish off with the overlocker.

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Finally, turn out. Run over it with an iron for crisp edges.

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You can now pop your cushion in. Wedge the bottom of your cushion, under your flap to keep it all looking nice and neat.

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Your no zip cushion is done!

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I also made up the stags head one, the fabric was just too pretty to leave behind!  So, thats two cushion-less spaces filled, but I’ve still a fair few left. So i’ve put together a little wish list of dreamboat cushions -told you I was obsessed!- that i’ll be trying to get my hands on soon.

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Red diamond print cushion – Yorkshire linen company £10.99

Feather – Etsy £14

Mustard- Tesco  £12.99

Black/copper – Freemans £22

White & black diamond – H&M  £6.99

Blue/green pattern – Etsy  £22

White embroidery – ZaraHome  £19.99

Teal pattern – Society 6   £14

Navy floral – Marks & Spencer  £19.50

As you can tell, i’m all about the colour in the living room. the great thing about adding colour with textiles, is that they can easily be changed, combined with new colours and moved around to give a whole new vibe for very little cost.

Don’t forget to give me a tag on insta (@thelittlewomanpretends) if you have a go. I’d love to see!

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

*collaborated post*

 

 

 

 

Simple Curtain cover up tutorial.

On Wednesday I posted my craft room update, part of the update was having the prettiest and most practical craft cupboard built. As lovely as it is though, I have SO much crafting stuff the shelves are packed and it looks a little bit cluttered. I toyed with the idea of having cupboard doors fitted on it, but instead decided on making up a curtain to hide away all my junk and keep my sewing area looking seamlessly pretty.

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So, if you have a particularly unsightly area you want to cover up cheaply, I’ve written up this tutorial for you.

Here’s what you’ll need.

-Fabric. I’ve got a 1mt piece of Black cotton, cheap and cheerful. its 59″ wide so just over the length I need to cover my shelves. I’ve also decided I want a bit of colour popped in there, following on from the floral theme thats settled around my sewing area, I’ve gone for a lovely floral jeresy material.

– Curtain wire. (I got a 1 metre long piece with hooks for £1.55 of ebay.)

-Dressmakers pins.

– Tape measure.

-Sewing machine

-Overlocker *Optional* If you’ve no overlocker then you can just use pinking shears. If you have neither, you can use my folded hem method (Here.)

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And heres what you’ll need to do.

First measure out the space you want covering. I only want to open area of the shelves covering so mine is (52″) drop and because These curtains will be closed most of the time I want them to hang with a pleat, so even though the width is only 23 1/2″ I’m using it at a 38″ wide.

Next you need to mark out your measurements on your fabric, using pins. Add 1 & 1/2″ to the top,  1″ to the bottom and 1/2″ either side.

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Now you can cut.

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If you’re adding another piece of fabric, nows the time to measure out how much you need. My additional pice of floral fabric is 8″ by 38″. (Both including 1/2″ either side for the hem.”

Once you’ve cut out you’re additional fabric, overlock the top (or use crimping shears).

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Once you’ve done that, pin your additional fabric where you want it. (Mines going at the bottom of the curtain.) So I’ve pinned both pieces of fabric at the bottom and either side. leaving the top (overlocked fabric loose.)

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Now, going back to the overlocked edge of your additional fabric, turn it in – hiding the edge inside and pin to the curtain fabric.

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Continue all the way to the other side.

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Now top stitch down your recently pinned area.

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*Now, the reason I’ve attached my contrasting fabric this way, is because of the different fabric types. I’m using a medium weight cotton for my curtain and the fabric I wanted to pair it with is a Jersey fabric. I can’t just attach my flower fabric straight to the bottom of my black because it just wouldn’t hang right. If you’re making one of these and using two fabrics that are the same weight you can just cut your main curtain fabric shorter and add your contrasting fabric straight on at the bottom. Its so much easier, but this is how to fix it if your fabrics are different weights.

 

Anyway, this is the easy bit. And if you’re only using one fabric, just pick up from where we left of before fiddling with additional fabric.  Use your overlocker (or pinking shears) and go around all four edges of your curtain. This will attatch the other three sides of the additional fabric to the curtain.

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Next, we need to fold other either side of the curtain (The longest sides) Pin at 1/2″ and topstitch. Its important to do the sides first, because it gives a better finish overall to your curtain.

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Next, fold the top over 1 & 1/2″, Pin and topstitch again. Make sure you don’t sew the sides up, you need the little gap so you can thread your curtain wire through at the end.

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Now move down to the bottom, fold over 1″, pin and topstitch.

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Now your curtain is finished, well nearly. Last thing to do is give it a good going over with the iron, before hanging it up.

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Such a quick and easy project that really does make all the difference.

If you have a go at making some, be sure to tag me in your photos, I love seeing all your crafty makes.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

 

Blog-aversary.

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Happy Blog-Birthday to me! Its been an entire year since I published my first post! During the past twelve months I’ve published 82 posts. 14 Sewing tutorials, 22 delicious recipes, 11 interior projects, 8 peeks into our family life and from that tally that leaves 27 random rambles . I’m quite impressed,  I spend most of my life rambling- to myself mainly- I expected SO much more.

I can’t believe I’ve hit the year point and I’m still so buzzed by it all. Anyone who knows me, knows how quickly I fizzle out, but blogging is so much fun! Of course it helps that I’ve not pocketed myself into one certain subject. I like prettiness, making things pretty, looking at things that already pretty. When you love what you do, its not hard to just keep on going.

Of course I wouldn’t have lasted this long if it wasn’t for you lovelies that come and read, every Instagram like, Facebook comment, every hit on my blog views. Its that, which stops me from giving it up when i’m lacking in inspiration.

I’m not completely mental in thinking that its a big deal, in the entire world of internetting. My little corner is just that, little. So little it almost doesn’t exist. But that doesn’t bother me in the slightest. I could have one view a day and It would be enough to keep me going.

The thing about this blog is, its not here for me to pretend I’m this super organised, perfectly crafty person that just exists to gloat about how together my life is. My life isn’t together, I spent last week having twice daily meetings with Mischa’s teacher to discuss her disruptive behaviour. I use microwave rice, because I JUST. CANT. COOK. RICE! I haven’t worn make-up in nearly a fortnight and my anxiety has been so bad these past few months I had pretty much stopped leaving my house.

For me, the blog is here as a distraction almost. Amongst the crappiness that just has to come with life, I still always have this place, and these projects. Sewing, baking, projects for around the house, these are all things i’ve always done when I need a break. Blogging about them, just gives me a little extra something to focus on and hopefully some ideas on ways to give yourself a break should you need it too.

 

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Here’s to another DIY packed year.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

DIY: Drawstring bag.

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My girls started Ballet three weeks ago, I never realised that ballet bags where such an necessity, I’ve been stuffing pumps in my pockets during the Saturday morning rush. I decided this week to make them up something a little more practical. Voila, the drawstring bag. Izzy loves her so much she wanders round the house with it on. These are actually really easy to make, and of course because you’re making it yourself it can be in any fabric, any colour and completely customised. I’ve gone with some beautiful printed leftover canvas cottons I had in.

 

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Fabric. How much depends on how big you want your bag. Mine measures up at 13″ x 11″
  • Dressmakers pins.
  • Tape measure.
  • Fabric shears.
  • Rope. Again, This depends on how big your bag is. General rule of thumb is double your width & height + a couple of inches extra.

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And here’s what you need to do. 

 

First, cut out your fabric. This is all based on how big you want your bag to be. Mine is 10″ by 12″. But don’t forget to add your seam allowance. Half an inch on each side, so add one inch in total to your measurements. You need two of these pieces, so in total a pice of fabric measuring at least 22″ x 13″.

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This next step is optional depending on whether you own an overlocker or not. If not its okay, I’ll explain what you need to do next after this. If you do, simply Pin an inch or so down from the top of your fabric. If you have thicker rope than pin a little further down. This is going to make up the hoop your rope will eventually be threaded though. Once marked of with a pin, you need to overlock round from the first pin, up and across the top and back down stopping when you get to your second pin over on the other side.

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Next, fold over the overlocked edge, turning it into the inside, Pin and  machine sew on the smallest stitch. Only sew down to where your overlocked fabric ends (so the 1″-2″ you marked of with your pin earlier). Leave the the top, right now we just want to sew the sides.

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Now its time to sew the top down. Placing your fabric pattern side down, fold over the overlocked edge, bringing it down to where you marked with your pin earlier. Pin both pieces to fabric together at the bottom, creating a loop.

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If you don’t have an overlocker just do the last two steps with a double folded edge or a pinked edge. Before sewing together. You need to have both pieces of fabric finished like this.

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Now its time to attach both pieces of fabric together. First pin them together just under the bottom of your looped bits. The overlocked line at the bottom will be your starting point for sewing when you’ve finished pinning and bring it to your machine.

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When you do come to sewing, you’ll need to leave a space near the bottom (not directly at the bottom). The photo below will show it better, but it needs to be an inch or so un-sewn. These will be the gap to thread your rope through later on.

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Once sewn up, you’ll see why you started from the bottom of your loops rather than straight from the top. You now have gaps to thread your rope through.

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So, now your two pieces of fabric are sewn together, you can turn it all the right way round and give it a good iron.

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Now we can move on to threading your rope. All together I bought 84″ worth of rope. This needs to be cut into two equal pieces, so 2x 42″.

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Grab your first piece and attach a safety pin through the end. Now thread it through one side, pull it all the way through.

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Now, thread it back through the front, bringing the end of the rope all the way back. Both ends of rope should meet together at one side.

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Grab your second piece of rope and repeat the last step again, this time starting at the opposite side. Once you’ve threaded both pieces of rope, you should have two looped pieces of rope hooked round the top of the bag, and two loose ends hanging from each side.

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If you pull the loose ends on either side, the hooped rope will tighten.

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Now its time to attach the loose ends. Turn your bag inside out, making sure the loose rope stays on the inside.

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Push the ends of the loose thread, through from the inside to the outside using the gap you left before. pin it and sew over it a couple of times.

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Your Drawstring bag is essentially done, just one last thing to do and thats neaten it all up. Keeping it inside out you can either use an overlocker, pinking shears or the double fold and stitch method.

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Turn it out and thats it! Your drawstring bag is done.

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I made another one up so both girls now have fancy new ballet bags to use this weekend.

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Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

Ten minute Christmas stocking.

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Christmas is in full swing! Right now the majority of the country has fairy lights twinkling and bauble adorned trees. Its all so beautiful. One thing that always gets forgotten about is the stocking, I’ve been using the same cheap ones I picked up from a mall in Cyprus (over six years ago!) This year, I thought it was about time they got an upgrade. And knowing i’m not alone in the abandonment of stockings I’ve made up a really quick tutorial to show you just how easy it is to make one.

So here’s what you’ll need.

  • Fabric, two lots, i’ve gone with a traditional navy/green tartan for the main stocking with some left over fur from my fur collar tutorial for the trim.
  • Fabric scissors
  • Dressmakers pins
  • small piece of ribbon, lace, anything you want to use as a loop to hang your stocking.
  • An old stocking to trace round * Optional*

2

And here’s what you’ll need to do.

So first up, you’ll need a template. To make this I literally just drew around an old stocking I had in. if you don’t have an old stocking, you can just wing it, its basically a massive sock, not really an awkward shape to draw. You’ll need to leave about 1/2 inch around your stocking, this is your seam allowance, if you don’t your stocking will be much smaller than you wanted it.

3

 

So now, you have your pattern, you want to cut it out and pin it to your fabric, you’ll ned two pieces, REMEMBER you want fabric on the front sides of both, i’m okay because my fabric has a double sided pattern. If yours is only one sided, fold your fabric in half pattern side on the inside and cut away.

4

5

 

Now simply place your fabrics, pattern sides together and pin.

6

 

Sew all the way around leaving the top open.

7

 

And turn your stocking the right way out. You’ll notice it isn’t looking that crisp, this is easily rectified by running the iron over it, use a pencil or a trustily chopstick to turn all the curved corners out and give a quick once over. It’ll look miles better.

8

 

Now place your (trim) fabrics together (pattern side down again.) and sew down either side. My trim is 17″ wide and 8 1/2″ high. I wanted a really chunky fur trim though, so feel free to adjust to your tastes.

9

10

 

Keeping your trim inside out, pop your stocking inside. Its vital at this point that they are exactly the same size. Once snug, pin the top of your trim to your stocking fabric.

11

Sew the two together and  turn your trim over.

12

13

 

Next its time to attach whatever you’re using as a loop, you can’t hang your stocking without it. I’ve gone for a grey polka ribbon. Simply fold over your looped ribbon.

14

 

You’ll need to pin it on the seam of the trim, before sewing securely. Do your backstitch, sew across, then backstitch again going back to where you first started. Repeat that step a few times. This will make it extra strong.

15

Thats it!  Your handmade stocking is ready to hang and fill with goodies.

1

 

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

Faux fur collar.

1

 

It feels like months have passed since i’ve been on my sewing machine. I’ve done a few alterations, but other than that it actually has been months since i’ve sat down and made up something pretty. So I thought i’d jump back into it with this beautiful (and really simple) faux fur collar. Any clothing shop you go into right now will have jackets adorned with these, this is a quick  up-date on your current jacket. It can also be worn as a scarf over a chunky knit jumper.

Here’s what you’ll need.

  • Faux fur, about a mitre in length, width depends solely on how thick you want your collar.
  • Lining fabric. this can be something cheap and cheerful, i’ve gone for a white satin. you can use anything. A colour to match or contrast.
  • Fabric shears.
  • Dressmakers pins.
  • My FREE pattern, you can find that a bit further down.

2

 

Here’s what you need to do.

So first up, we need a pattern. There are two ways to do this, you can either print of the pattern I have made (I am 4 foot 11″ and a size 8. This goes down to my waist) print it off, cut it out and tape it together, have a see if you like the width and length. Its so easy to add (or take away) a couple of inches if you want to adjust. The pattern is in three parts, you can find them Here, here & here.

pattern

If you don’t have a printer, its not a problem. grab some cheap fabric, something you’re really not going to use, an old sheet is perfect for this. Cut off a big strip, longer and wider than you want (You can always trim, you can’t add the fabric back on, so always cut more tha you’ll need unless using a pattern) Now simply grab your dressmakers pins and have a play around with sizes, in no time you’ll have something that fits perfectly to you.

So now we’ve got our pattern, fold your lining fabric in half colour side down. I’ve gone for this white satin, its a slippery fabric to work with, so if you’re not that confident stick to a cotton. Now Pin your pattern to your fabric, you want the top edge of the pattern pinned directly on the fold, so when you open it out it will be one long piece.

14

3

 

Next, grab your Fur. Although the fold in half method is quicker, with fabric this thick it isn’t exactly easier, and you’re more prone to mistakes. So open it out fully, pin the coloured (or in my case shiny) side face down to the fur.

4

Now cut around your pattern.

5

6

Next, we need to sew. So starting from the inner neck area, sew around, leaving your 1/2″ seam allowance. DONT sew all the way around, you need to leave a gap of around 3 inches at the end, making the hole you’ll need to use to turn it all out. Back stitch to secure your stitch at the end and take out of your machine. *There is an alternative method that will need to change this section slightly, i’ll get to that at the end.*

7

8

 

So now, the majority of your two fabrics are sewn together. Using a combination of gentle tugs and a chopstick (My go to tool for turning out fabrics) you want to turn the fabric the right way round, it might take a little effort, but be careful, any ragging and you risk ripping it.

9

Now, grabbing your needle and thread, you want to pinch the raw edge of your lining under, so its on the inside and  sew the folded edge of the lining to the fur tightly. if pulled tight enough and if sewn neatly you won’t see this at all. I’ve used a simple running stitch. Be sure to knot your thread at the end as well, or it will just pull out.

11

 

And thats it, your faux fur collar is ready to wear over your coat. A quick and simple update bringing an old coat into the current season!

* I mentioned an alternative method a few steps ago, this is incase you want to actually attach your fur to your coat, I didnt need to do this, you’ll find most good quality faux furs are quite heavy and the coat I’ll be wearing this with, I never fasten anyway, so I didnt feel the need. If however you want your fur collar to stay in one place, you can attach a small piece of looped elastic between the seams at the bottom (both ends) of your fur collar on the step with the *. You then attach a button on the inside of your jacket at the same level on one side, and hoop the elastic over existing coat button and the button you’ve just added on the other side. -I hope all of this makes sense?!-

12

Slap on some red lipstick, throw on your faux fur, you’re glam and ready to brave the cold.

end

 

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

 

 

No sew tutu.

 

1

Mischa has been excited for halloween since… well since last halloween. My girl loves to dress up & this year, same as last year she’s requested to be a witch. Not only that, but she wants me to make her a big fluffy skirt. Well Mischa, i’m going to do just that.

I first tried this method back in march, again Mischa had asked if I could make her a my little pony outfit for her birthday party, – I am just her personal costume maker!- so I started with a lovely bright tutu.

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It really is such an easy method and with Halloween just around the corner, I thought what better time to show you all. Made with a black tulle, you can pair it with anything to make a spooky, yet completely adorable costume – This method will also work for an adult costume too!

So lets get started.

First up, heres what you’ll need:

  • Black tulle. Either the stiff or soft netting will work, I’ve gone for stiff, I just find it gives a stiffer skirt, a mix & match of both will work great too. You’ll need at least four metres for a child. The fuller & longer  you want it, the more netting will be needed. You can also mix & match colours, use any colour you want.
  • Elastic. at least 1 inch wide. (colour doesn’t matter at all)
  • Sewing machine, needle & thread, or if you really don’t want to sew anything, a simple safety pin will work.
  • Tape measure.

1

 

Now lets get started.

First you’ll need measurements. With it having an elastic waistband, it doesn’t need to be exact, simple wrap the elastic round the waist of the person your making it for. You want a good grip, some stretch, not too much so the person can’t breath. Alternatively, take 3-4″ off the waist measurement. It sounds like a lot, but adding the Tulle stretches it out a bit.

Give the elastic a snip and put it aside.  The length you want the skirt is completely optional. I’ve gone for 17″ (Age 5-6 years) because she does want it quite long. Once you know your measurement,  write it down, just incase you forget when it comes to cutting your fabric.

Next, using either your machine, needle and thread if your hand sewing or safety pin if you aren’t doing either and secure the edges of your elastic together.

1

Now, grab your tulle. I’m making two of these tutu’s one for Mischa & one for Izzy. So i’ve bought 8 metres (four & a bit for Mischa’s, just under 3 for Izzys – Age 2-3 years). You now need to make strips of tulle, lots of strips. I wanted a 17″ length skirt, so I need pieces that are 34″ in total length. Rather than cutting strips of 34″ I find it much easier to just fold my fabric in half & cut to 17″. Once unfolded I have the length I need.

* If you’re using soft tulle, you can skip this whole section by buying 6″ rolls of it, instead of flat metres. You then need to just cut your required length, they’re already in strips for you.*

2

So now we’ve got our tulle strips, we can start adding it to your elastic.

Firstly, fold your netting strip in half, place your fingers through the fold to open the loop and place on the inside of  your elastic.

2

 

Now, pull the bottom two strands of your netting up, thread through the loop and pull tight. Thats it done, easy as that.

3

Now comes the *difficult* part, repeating this process over again. Make sure with each new knot, you slide your knotted fabric snugly against each other. Keep on going until you’ve filled your elastic all the way round. It shouldn’t take you any longer than two hours to make one of these, but its such a simple process you can just thread, knot & pull absent mindeldly whilst watching TV or something, it requires that little concentration.

 

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And thats it, easy. Your No sew tutu is done!

 

 

Happy Halloween!

2

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.

 

Bake off ready. DIY: Apron.

brighter

 

The great british bake off  kicks off its new season tomorrow, so with that in mind I switched around a couple of tutorials to bring you this snazzy little number in time for all the baking shenanigans that the programme will no doubt inspire. It’s really simple and the perfect cover up to protect your clothes from all those icing sugar explosions.

So first up, heres what you’ll need:

2apron

 

– Fabric.. Having three different fabrics is completely optional, but I thought I’d go all out with the brights. The Geometric triangles is for the main apron, the teal blue is for bias binding (if you don’t know how to do this, just buy it, its cheap, I just forgot to pick it up & had to improvise) and the coloured cross fabric is for the pocket.

– Tape measure.

– Dressmakers pins.

– Fabric shears.

 

And here’s what we’ll do:

First cut your fabric. I’m 4 foot eleven & a size 8, this is a comfortable fit on me, I’d advise adding an inch  in width per dress size up you go. This is a folded fabric, so the 18″ is actually  9″ folded to make cutting easier.

3apron

 

 

Next there are a couple of measurements you’ll need to take – the good thing about an apron is it’s not fitted, you can go a little over and it will still be perfectly sized.. with this is mind you can either use my measurements below or measure your own.

5″ is for the chest panel width (Once unfolded will be 10″)

8″ is for the chest panel length.

9″ is for the waist width. (Once unfolded will be 18″)

17″ is from the waist down to how long I want the apron to go.

4apron

 

 

Once you’ve pinned or marked off your measurements from above, you can cut a nice gradual slope down and around.

5apron

 

So when you open it out, you’ll end up with this.

6apron

 

Now, overlock & hem the top, sides and the bottom – NOT the sloped arm area- You can find out how to do that using just your sewing machine here. Or just use an overlocker & top stitch like I have.

7apron

 

Now, I had to make my own biased Binding today, I’m full of a cold and not super focused so it’s a little tatty, not that it matters, you won’t see the insides anyway. but unless you want a very specific fabric bias binding, I’d always recommend just buying it. It’s so ridiculously cheap and such a quick and easy way to finish an item of. For those that would like to know how to make there own you can either Google it, or wait a few weeks & ill have a quick how to put up.

8apron

 

 

I ended up with two 45″ length pieces of biase binding, this fits me perfectly with some left over, so anywhere round this will be the perfect amount for most of you. When attaching the binding to your apron, remember to leave your required amount to tie behind your neck before attaching it to the apron. (Mine was 14″) – So I measure 14″ and then started attaching the apron & binding.

9apron

 

 

Once pinned, sew along the inner edge of the binding (open side) securing it to the edge of your apron.

10apron

 

And then do the same to the other side.

11apron

 

 

Your Apron is now ready, you can either leave it be or add any trims, frills or pockets. I’m adding a pocket. Here’s how I do that.

First cut your desired pocket  size, for some crazy cold in ducked reason I went for a curved bottom pocket, this isn’t the easiest way, but it isn’t that hard either. cut your curve round the bottom.

pockets

 

 

If you want to attach any trims or folds. you can do that now, heres how I added my contrasted teal fabric.

pocket2

 

18apron

 

 

Once you’ve attached that, you can overlock, zig zag stitch or use pinking shears to prevent fraying around the inside of your pocket.  Turn it pattern down, and pinch a little of the fabric over, ironing to press into place.

19apron

 

 

Now pin your pocket to your apron, and sew to secure.

pocketfinished

 

Done!

last

 

 

Easy as that. Now I need to go and make Mischa one, she made me promise to  make her a matching one for when we bake. Cutie pie that she is. I’m really excited to settle down and watch the new series of GBBO, that combined with having my new KitchenAid makes me think i’m gunna’ be putting on quite a few pounds over these next few months… Ahh lets call it insulation for the winter.

Robyn,

The little woman pretends.