Ginger Jeans

wp-1490528477313.jpgWay back in 2014 when the internet first went crazy for Ginger jeans I had not even begun to sew! Once I started making my own clothes, however, it quickly became apparent that these were definitely a benchmark project. It almost felt like there was some sort of secret guild of dressmakers that you would be allowed into once you had constructed your first pair.

So here we are two years into my dressmaking journey and I have made my first pair of jeans! They may not be perfect, but I love them! I love that they more or less fit, I love that they have wobbly top stitching and I love that they have secret sunshine in the pockets!

Never in my life have I owned a pair of jeans that fit. Generally, in order to squeeze my bum into them, they have to gape massively at the waist, so when I took my measurements and compared them to the packet I was completely baffled that I came out as a straight size ten on all measurements! So I went ahead and cut it out that way. However, when I had basted them together and had my first try, sure enough, there was gaping at the waist. This was when I went to the amazing Closet Case Files Sewalong for much-needed advice!

wp-1490528462707.jpgI took a wedge out of each yoke – around 3cm at the waist tapering to nothing at the bottom edge. I tried on again and the fit was so much better I decided to stop there, despite plenty room for improvement. On my next pair, I think I will attempt to make the crotch seam a little longer and possibly take some width out of the thighs but compared to anything I have worn before these are so much better! I did alter the length (by 3.5 inches!!!) but for me, that goes without saying.

I really enjoyed the construction of these jeans – it felt much more like construction than any other project I have completed) I think that comes from the rigidity of the denim and the many smaller fabric pieces than you get for dresses or skirts. I also really enjoyed that I had to take it slow – especially to keep swapping from my blue normal thread to the thicker yellow topstitching.

The details:

Pattern: High waisted view of Ginger Jeans from Closet Case Files

Fabric: Stretch Denim from somewhere on ebay

Notions: 8 inch denim zip, Guterman jeans cotton thread and topstitching thread, rivets and jeans button from ebay

Alterations: Dart out of yoke and shortened leg

So now I have made jeans I feel like I can graduate from my personal dressmaking school and am ready to take on anything in my new jeans!

If you liked this overview of my project why not keep up to date with my current makes (hint, there’s another Moneta on the go at the moment!!) over on instagram

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A Stripy (and spotty) Pencil Skirt

Pencil SkirtRecently I have seen a lot of really great pencil skirts popping up on sewing blogs, in magazines and in real life. I decided it was time to make one for myself. Pencil skirts are often tricky to find one that fits well and as fit really is key I decided to draft my own with my Freehand Fashion book as a guide.

I am really pleased with how it turned out. The fit is not 100% perfect but I think it is much better than I would have got from any shop, or even sewing pattern.

Getting the fit just right

Although this is just a pencil skirt there are still quite a lot of measurements that go in to creating it. I dutifully took them all and drew out the pieces on a plain white poly-cotton which was to become my lining fabric. I fitted this and sewed it up to check it was right before cutting into my fashion fabric.

pencil skirt casual side

Well I say fashion fabric…it is actually upholstery fabric from Ikea! Can you believe it my dream to become Maria from the Sound of Music is turning into a reality! So, it’s not quite dressing an entire family from one set of curtains but it is a skirt from curtain material so I’m counting that as a win!

pencil skirt casual front

The fabric did confuse me for quite a while. I kept trying to match the stripes at the seams. I could get the side seams right but couldn’t figure out why they were misaligned at the back. After quite a lot of head scratching I eventually figured out that the stripes are not all straight! I am sure this gives a great effect on a pair of curtains but perhaps not on a skirt! Oh well, I am happy to live with it as is.

pencil skirt dressy back

The pattern suggests an invisible zip but given the weight of this fabric and the fact I didn’t have one to hand I decided to go with a centred zip and I am glad I did. I think it fits in well with the style of the skirt.

pencil skirt dressy front

The fit is not quite perfect across my stomach but I can live with it and I think it looks much better in the pictures where I am wearing heals so perhaps I will keep this skirt for those occasions when I want to wear heels.
pencil skirt dressy side

The details:

Pattern: Self drafted following guide in Fashion with fabric

Fabric: curtain material from Ikea

Notions: 10in white zip, gutermann thread

I love the fact that this is a really fun fabric paired with the smartness of a pencil skirt making for an unexpected combo but I really think it works!

You can also read about this make over on the monthly stitch. This is an awesome collective of sewers posting on a monthly theme. This month the theme was spots and stripes!

How To: Make a new ironing board cover

ironing board cover

Today I have a really quick post for a really quick make. In fact I did everything from cutting the fabric to the photo shoot all within 2 hours!

I decided it was time my ironing board got a makeover. Whilst visiting Ikea last week I discovered their great fabric range and just had to get some. This was the perfect choice for my ironing board. Look at that print!

 

Do It Yourself

What you will need:
  • Fikea fabricabric (Length needs to be the length of your ironing board + 30 cm, width needs to be the width of your ironing board +30 cm)
  • Elastic (length needs to be long enough to fit around your ironing board
  • Safety pin
  • Matching thread
To make this yourself follow these simple instructions:
  1. Trace around the top of your ironing board directly onto the back of the fabric.
  2.  Add 15 cm extra all the way around your ironing board and cut out the fabric
  3. ironingboard2Turn over 1.5 cm or 5/8 in all the way around the edge making small folds in the curved parts so as they lie flat.
  4. Turn the same amount under again, press and pin.
  5. Stitch as close as you can to the first fold to create a channel all the way around the edge. Be sure to leave a small gap of about 3 cm along the long edge.
  6. Attach a safety pin to the end of a long piece of elastic.
  7. Thread the saftey pin through the channel you have created.
  8. Place the cover over your ironing board and smooth out the top
  9. Pull the elastic tight until the cover wont move on your board.
  10. Tie the elastic tight and cut off any excess.

 

It’s such a quick make but can really spruce up your sewing space!

If you enjoyed this make why not try some of my other patterns!

textured phone cosy

Phone Cosy (aka Secret WIP reveal #1)

So, you might remember last week I mentioned I couldn’t really reveal too much of what I am working on at the moment as it is all for presents. Well, the first gift has been received (Happy Birthday for last week Mum) and so now I can reveal what it was.

crochet Phone Cosy

My mum wanted a new phone cover as hers had got stained a yellowish colour from the material inside her handbag. So I decided to make one from this yellow yarn I had in my stash so that if the same were to happen again it would not be too noticeable.

I decided to follow this pattern over on Ravelry to make a lovely texture using a mixture of single and double crochet stitches.

textured phone cosy I really like the stitch patterns it makes as it looks really intricate but at the same time was quite simple to make.

phone cosy

Hopefully it fits my mum’s phone nicely and if I get a move on with making more presents I will have some more things to show you very soon!

H.

jewellery pot painted by HsHandcrafts

Pottery Painting

My fellow PhD students and I often go to a place nearby where you can paint pottery. It is great fun and you get some great unique items at the end. We usually go just before Christmas so we can all paint gifts for our friends and families.

We went again recently as we had a lot of new students arrive for the summer and wanted to take them somewhere fun to welcome them all.

Previously I have painted a pot to hold my jewellery, a set of coasters which I gave to my granny as a Christmas gift last year and a mug.

jewellery pot

jewellery pot

Set of coaster painted with floral designs

Set of coaster painted with floral designs

Mug painted with botanical drawing of a tea plant

Mug painted with botanical drawing of a tea plant

 

This year I decided to make a pen pot as I always struggle to find my pens as they are strewn all over the place.

I really love the look of traditional blue and white pottery so wanted to recreate this but with a twist. Instead of blue and white I chose a bright blue for the pattern but opted for a pale bluish grey for the background. I mixed together a pale blue with lots of white and a touch of grey and covered the pot using a sponge to give a really light coverage. I then painted a design on using a really bright blue. I went for a kind of leaves design but its pretty abstract really.

Its quite difficult to envisage how the pot will turn out because all the paints appear as pastel shades when you paint them on and then you leave them at the shop to glaze the pot and fire it in a kiln. It is this process of firing the paints that brings out the colours.

blurry picture of pen pot pre kiln

blurry picture of pen pot pre kiln

I cant wait to see how it turns out!

H.

Making Mr Dinosaur

Meet Mr. Dinosaur

I’m always being so serious. Mostly at work, but also with my crafting. Pretty much everything I make has to have a purpose or add to my wardrobe or be the perfect gift. I cant remeber the last time I made something just because. Well, until now!

Meet Mr. Dinosaur

I was browsing through simply sewing magazine because I have already received issue three and other than my embroidery I have not yet managed to make anything from any of the issues. I saw this pattern for making a toy dinosaur from felt and thought I would give it ago. I didnt have any felt in but something jumped into my mind. I had a couple of jumpers that had gone all out of shape that I never wear any more and they were the perfect colours for a really fun dinosaur! So I thought I would go for it!

Making Mr Dinosaur

The magazine came with patterns for both a large and small dinosaur. I opted for the small one and got cutting. As this was a “just-for-fun” project I didnt even bother tracing the pattern. Throwing caution to the wind I just drew the approximate shape onto the jumper using chalk and went for it. This was a huge step out of my comfort zone which involves meticulous tracing, lining up of fabric pieces, pinning and cutting cardfully with a rotary cutter. But it worked (and I’ll share a little secret with you it was kind of fun!)

Anyway, I havent really sewn much with knits before so I didnt really know how to properly set up my machine but I just went for it. at first the fabric was getting a bit chewed up but I adjusted the tension and then there didnt seem to be much problem. It was just a simple case of sewing the spots on and then sewing the 2 main body pieces together with the spikes inbetween.

He’s a bit scruffy round the edges, especially his feet but I think he turned out quite well for a quick project just for fun! and he can now stand guard over my sewing machine when I leave it out on the dining table when I’m not supposed too!

Mr. Dinosaur on guard at my sewing machine

Mr. Dinosaur on guard at my sewing machine

H.

KCBW6 Day 2: It’s All About You

Its Day 2 of knitting and crochet blog week! How did everyone find day one? I personally enjoyed reflecting on the different types of yarn and thinking about how each yarn has its own personality and can bring something new to a project.

For day 2 its all about me! We are tasked today to:

shift the focus and turn the attention from the things we make to the things that make us. The important thing here is to remember that you don’t have to go into great personal detail and certainly do not have to reveal anything too personal. You can be as candid or as private as you like, but you can also give your readers a feel for those things that you like to do outside of your crafting.

So for this task I thought rather than ranting on about my life story I would give you a nice list of my favourite things!

First here are some of the things you might have guessed already: –

  • bright colours – particularly blue and yellow
  • geometric patterns – these really appeal to me (maybe because I secretly really love maths!)
  • clothes – since I started sewing I have managed to curb my shopping habit a little but I always love new clothes whether handmade or shop bought!
  • colourful things – especially pens and stationery

and here are some things you might not know: –

  • science and nature – I am a scientist by day and a crafter by night!
  • pyjama days – why shouold you have to get dressed if you’re not going to leave the house?!
  • tea – I have an entire drawer at work filled with different kinds!
  • music – I play piano, saxophone and clarinet and love playing jazz. I alos love listening to all sorts of music, particularly folk and chilled out indie.

Colour Combinations

I am sure everyone knows the feeling when you are inspired by a new pattern that you just have to try straight away but cant decide how to make it just right for you. Well sometimes its down to the texture of the fabric or yarn but more often than not I find myself pondering over the colour for so long! There are certain colours I return to time and time again but often I want to try something new but am unsure of how it will fit in with the colours already in my wardrobe.

I decided to create a new pinterest board to keep track of some of my favourite colour combinations so that when I cant decide what colour to do my next project I can just open it up and see what has inspired me before. Also, if I know what I want it to match I can look for colour inspiration with those combinations in!

Do you have a method of choosing what colours to create your next project in or do you always go for the same combinations? I would love to hear any tips!

Just for fun, here are some of my favourites! What are yours?

H.

embroidery floss necklace

embroidery floss necklace

It definitely feels like spring is here and all the flowers that are popping up everywhere make me want to brighten up my wardrobe. My winter wardrobe is often quite dark incorporating jewel tones such as the blue of my geometric cowl or the red of my delphine skirt, but spring calls for bright blues and pale yellows!

After taking the time to think about some of the great ideas I found when searching through my favourite pins I decided to have a go at making the embroidery floss necklace that I had pinned onto my craft board

Embroidery floss necklace

Embroidery floss necklace found on pinterest

I took the time to click through and find the original post which was actually on Mollie Makes and had some nice simple instructions.

I decided I wanted to make my necklace a little more discrete and so opted for only 24 threads instead of the suggested 137! I thought such a big change might really alter the style of the necklace but I ‘m really happy with how it turned out and I think if I had made it much bigger it would have looked a bit ridiculous on me.

Check out how it turned out and let me know what you think:

The final stage of making the necklace is to cut off the end. This gave me about a 20 cm length of all the embroidery threads. Of course I wasn’t going to through these away so I folded them into quarters to give me a 96 thread bunch and tied it up to make a tassle. I strung this onto a much longer piece of thread to make another necklace so nothing went to waste! You could also make it into a keyring if one brightly coloured embroidery floss necklace is enough for you!

tassle necklace made using the leftovers from my embroidery necklace

tassle necklace

To make your own:

You need

  • 6-10 skeins of embroidery floss
  • scissors

Find the instructions on Mollie Makes but if like me you want to change the thickness don’t be afraid as it seems to be quite easy to make this necklace your own!

H.

 

Mothers Day African Flower Keyring on hshandcrafts

African Flower Keyring

Happy Mothers Day!

I hope everyone has had a great day treating their mums (or being treated to lovely things). Unfortunately I live a long way away from my mum and so have been unable to do so but will get to see her in a couple of weeks so I am very excited for that.

As I didn’t get to see her today I sent her a little treat in the post which is why I have held back this post until today rather than publish it as soon as I had finished making it last week! I made an African flower keyring

I really like the African flower crochet motif but have not really been sure what to use it for. I often see them made up with double knitting, which despite looking lovely always seems to be too big a design for anything I would like to make.

So I decided instead to try making one out of embroidery floss and it worked a treat! African Flower Keyring

The finished hex is about 2inches across

African flower keyring

To make your own…

you will need:

  • embroidery floss in 5 colours
  • a keyring
  • 2 beads in colours of your choice
  • some wadding (1.5inches square)
  • a 2mm crochet hook
  • scissors

1. Crochet your African flowers

To start off you need to make 2xAfrican flower hexes or any other crochet hex would be great. I followed this picture tutorial

http://heidibearscreative.blogspot.co.uk/2010/05/african-flower-hexagon-crochet-tutorial.html

but…most importantly you need to use embroidery floss and a 2mm crochet hook to end up with your hex small enough to use as a key ring.

2. Begin to join the African flowers together

Place your two African flowers together with all the loose ends pointing inwards

Join your embroidery floss in a colour of your choosing (I used dark blue here) to one of the corners making sure to join the 2 African flowers together

Chain 1 and then single crochet in each gap between the double crochets from the previous round around three edges of your hex. At each corner put 3 single crochet into the chain space from the previous round.

3. Stuff the keyring

To make sure the key ring holds its shape you need to stuff it with some wadding or any kind of stiff fabric.

Cut this to a hexagon that will easily fit inside your crocheted hexes. (Mine was approximately 1 inch across)

Place your cut out shape in the gap between your 2 African flowers.

4. Continue joining the African flowers

Continue to single crochet all the way around the hexes with three single crochet in the chain space at each corner.

5. Join the round

Once you have crocheted all the way around and your 2 hexes are joined together complete the round with a slip stitch into the first single crochet.

6. Cut the embroidery floss

Be sure to leave a long tail to attach to your key ring

7. Add beads

Thread your beads onto the embroidery floss tail

8. Attach keyring

Thread the end of the embroidery floss through the loop on the keyring and tie it as close as possible to the beads.

9. Cut the embroidery floss

Leave enough of a tail so that the knot wont come untied but so that it still looks tidy.

Voila…your very own African flower keyring!

Have you made anything with the African flower motif recently? i would love to see your designs

H.