It’s June, It’s June, arghhhhhh it’s June!!!!
The daffodils are gone, the bluebells have perished, and I’m pretty sure I’ve still got Christmas decorations I haven’t put away yet. Have I really been tripping over those boxes each time I get out of bed for 6 whole months?? I really need to get that loft ladder installed, think of all the extra fabric storage… Ho hum, ho hum … (plots away and decides a fabric stash is far to precious to be banished to the dark dizzy heights of the loft)
So this week, I’ve no idea how I’ve managed to be so productive as I’ve had such a jam packed busy few days. I’ve been out for two meals – one of them to the amazing family run Indian vegetarian restaurant Prashad. If you ever visit Leeds you must go, definitely order a cocktail (I had a coriander martini) and remember to invite me along! I also attended Veg Out, A vegetarian and vegan food festival held at Wharf Chambers, Leeds’ only co-operative vegetarian café and bar. I ate some amazing vegan cake and Evan danced around to the bands clutching a focaccia as big as his head. The following day my Mum came to stay for a couple of days and I took her on a sightseeing trip of my favourite places. Yes Leeds market, with a visit to B&M Fabrics, and a cool antique junk shop called Swiss Cottage where I picked up some dusty Victorian tiles. We finished with a visit to Meanwood Urban Farm to see the animals. It’s so urban the sheep walk with a swagger whilst spray painting red dots on each other’s fleeces. It must be some kind of gang marking. I don’t know but I’m not going to ask any questions…
So with all this excitement I’ve only found time to sew for an hour here and an hour there, and fit it in when I can, so today I present to you two mini projects, a cute tote bag for my Nana’s 75th birthday, and some knickers made for Measure Twice, Cut Once‘s #EveryoneDeservesPrettyKnickers week.
Everyone Deserves Pretty Knickers
It was Made By Lulabelle’s frilly knickers pattern that started me on a knickers sewing frenzy, and the delight and let me tell you ladies, sheer comfort I experienced from my own handmade knickers left my lingering for more. I came across Everyone Deserves Pretty Knickers, a campaign started by Australian independent pattern designer Susan, of Measure Twice, Cut Once. Susan wanted to encourage other home sewers to drop their dresses and pick up some pantys, (ok not literally but it sounds good) and to try making something that many sewers say they find fiddly or think is too hard. Great idea! There are 6 styles of undergarment patterns available in the Measure Twice, Cut Once store, and I picked out the Georgiana and Jane knickers to have a go at. I really loved the Lulabelle pattern and I wanted to extend my knowledge before perhaps designing my own knickers pattern, which of course would have to be called the Amy!
To make my knickers I used some leftover cotton poplin from my Flora Dress. I love this fabric and want to use every last scrap of it. It is so soft and will make for some luxury knickers.
Ok, so here is the part where I admit to being a doofus, Measure Twice, Cut Once, got it? Not measure once, realise the scaling is off but sew it up anyway like a maverick! I printed my Georgiana knickers pattern, measured the test square for accuracy and realised it was a little bit smaller than it should be. There must have been some sneaky scaling goblins getting to my printer settings. It’s was only 0.5cm out or something minimal, so I decided to wing it (rather than wait until I was next at work to use the printer, my impatience is constantly getting the better of me) and if the knickers were too small I could give them away to a friend.
For this reason I found them quite a tricky make, and I struggled to find enough fabric at the hips where the pattern is quite narrow. The method of attaching the elastic requires you to sew the elastic to the edge and then fold over twice and sew again so that the elastic is enclosed in the fabric edge, and I just didn’t have quite enough fabric to work with, and hence my sewing suffered for it. The photo above shows this quite well, and you can just about make out the elastic peeping through on the right hand side where I didn’t have enough fabric to fold over. The stitching got really messy as well, probably down to lack of space and frustration.
I preferred attaching the knicker elastic using method in Lulabelles pattern, using the picot edge and then folding over and sewing again. (See my make of those knickers here) It made for a less bulky seam and looked pretty with the decorative edge peaking out. The photo above on the inner gusset does look neat and tidy, but this area in particular was difficult to work, sewing through jersey, elastic, and 3 folds of the cotton. I broke my needle on this part and realised I needed to slow down and take my time.
Once I’ve made enough knickers I should write a post about the different ways of attaching knicker elastic, I’m sure they all have their merits and times when one method would be better than another. I think I would find this useful, especially when starting out to make knickers, what do you think?
I told myself this was my practise pair, and the next pair would be perfect. I persevered and I’m glad I did, as I still have a wearable pair of pants, in a fabric I love, with an adorable blue ribbon attached, and this means I can rid of a much grottier pair. There is something satisfying about getting rid of your old knickers and replacing them with a new pair. So all in all not a total loss, they turned out better than I thought, and I’m all geared up and ready to sew my next pair, plus I still have the Jane knickers to try out to!
What I am loving about making knickers:
- They are super comfy and you can get the elastic exactly how you like it
- You can sew them up really quickly, so they are a great project to fit in to a busy week and a satisfying make
- They make thoughtful presents, and your friend may even text you a photo of their bottom in gratitude like mine did! Thanks Alex!
- They are a great stash buster, and often you’ll have unused or leftover fabric about that you can make them with
- You can make pairs that match your homemade dresses, now how awesome is that! It’s intergalactic outta space awesome, that’s how awesome it is
A butterfly tote bag for Nana
I needed a quick make for my Nana’s birthday, who is 75 this year! Happy Birthday Nana! My Nana is so sweet and the most lovely Nana anyone could wish for. She loves her grandchildren immensely, and is now a great Nana! It’s lovely to hear her sing to Evan how she sung to me. To celebrate we are having a family gathering in a few weeks time, so I will present her with this present then and I must try and remember to get a photo of her with the bag.
The two tone fabric tote pattern is one that caught my eye on pinterest from the Make It & Love It blog. The tutorial was really clear and simple to follow, plus the bag is made up of a few rectangle pieces only, so quick to cut out the pattern pieces and get straight to the sewing fun! I chose some gorgeous butterfly canvas cotton from Leeds Market and matched it with some blue linen like fabric I had found in a charity shop a few weeks earlier. I got 3 meters or so for £3, and only used a meter of it. I also purchased some matching blue satin ribbon, and some thread, and all in the bag cost me under £6 to make.
The one part I had trouble with was attaching the ribbon to the bag. It looked fine on the butterfly canvas side, but the blue material looked a bit puckered and I struggled to get a neat flat finish. I unpicked my stitching, and moved down a needle size to a 70. A smaller needle is said to snag the fabric less, which would limit the puckering. I also adjusted then tension. It came out better the second time, bit there is still some puckering and I’m not totally happy. You can see this by looking at the top edge of the blue ribbon in the fabric below.
For an embellishment I added a flower to the ribbon (tutorial here) and sewed around one of the butterflies from the fabric using a zig-zag stitch, cut around it carefully and added it to the flower.
I’m pleased with how it turned out. It’s nice and roomy, and feels strong. I made sure there was lots of stitching around the handles so that it can cope with heavy shopping. The only thing I wanted to do but forgot to add was the addition of an inside pocket. I hope my Nana likes it, looking at it now I’m thinking it is quite bold and colourful, and something more demure may be more her style, but sometimes the best gifts are ones you wouldn’t necessarily pick for yourself, and you find something that suits you outside of your normal fashion comfort zone. It could go one of two ways I suppose, I hope she loves it! I sure do!