One of the joys of being able to sew is to share the things I have made for others. Sometimes that is through gifts to friends and family, sometimes that is through selling items in my shop, and other times it is through donating handmade items to charitable organizations. I love to think of my handmade things being used by those who could use it most!
In the summer of last year I was introduced to the Craft Hope website. Every other month or so the author posts a new opportunity for crafters to get involved in, using their talents to help others.
This month, the project was capes for kids. Believing in the value of dramatic play as I do, how could I pass this one up?
Using this awesome tutorial for reversible capes, this is what I made:
The pink fabric was gifted to me by an on-line friend who was clearing up her stash (check out her amazing patterns!) and although flannel might be an odd choice for a cape, I loved the pattern too much to pass it up for this project. As a child I loved absolutely anything soft and cosy (who am I kidding? I’m still a sucker for anything soft and warm) so hopefully that will just be a bonus for some cape-wearing kiddo.
Aren’t the guitars and hearts fun? Who wouldn’t want a cape that does double duty – is she a superhero, or a rock star? :)
If you want to make some capes yourself, there is still time (the deadline isn’t until Jan. 31), and there is even a new-sew version of the cape for those who don’t sew!
With the new year, new resolutions and goals, and many out there who received new sewing machines for Christmas, I thought it might be a good time to post some tutorials for sewing basics. (And, of course, the huge pile of sewing projects sitting on my sewing table might have had something to do with the decision, too!) The list will include hemming curtains, hemming pants, and even the super-basic, sewing a button (but I’ll show you how to do it on the machine, too). These are the things I most get asked about, and are great skills for someone new to sewing to learn.
As many of you know, we recently moved into a new house. And although window coverings came with the house, none of them had been hemmed, which means that they went right down to the floor, covering the baseboard heaters. And although aesthetically I like them that way, it’s not worth the fire hazard! So, a-hemming we will go!
The first thing you need to figure out is how long your curtains should be. Using the measuring tape, measure from the top of your curtain rod to where you would like your curtains to hang. (For me, that was a couple of inches above the heater, which ended up being 75 inches.) Write that number down.
Then, add the amount you will need for seams. This is really completely up to you, but you can use the original curtain hems as a guide. The original hems on my curtain were quite narrow, so I decided to go with 1″ hems. Then, because the seam will be folded twice before being sewn, I doubled this number, giving me 2.” (If your number is different mine, just double whatever you came up with and you’re all set)
Add these two numbers together – finished length + seam allowance (75 + 2 in my case) and you will have the length you will be cutting your curtains.
Lay your first curtain panel out flat on the floor. (Or a table if you have one long enough.) To make things easier, I like to fold mine in half for this step. Just make sure that you keep the tops if the curtains lined up after folding, to avoid crooked seams later on.
Using your measuring tape, measure from the top of the curtain and make a mark at your target number. (Remember Step 1? My number was 77 inches) Use a marking pencil to mark a line on the curtains.
Do this several times across the width of the curtain until you have 4 or 5 marks.
Use a ruler to join the marks you have made into a solid line.
I don’t know what yours will be like, but my curtains did not originally have straight hems – about 1″ off in places! This is why it is important to measure from the top, and not from the bottom, of the curtain. (Sometimes when you do things yourself you end up with something better than what you started with!)
Okay, now cut across the line you just made. You now have a perfectly straight curtains ready to hem! Repeat this step with the other curtain panel(s).
If you are lucky, you will be shortening your curtains enough that you will be able to just cut off the original hem entirely. However, this is not always the case. If your cutting line runs down into the original hem, you will have to sit and unpick the original stitching. It’s a bit tedious, but I find putting on some of my favourite music or sitting down and watching a movie while I work my way through makes the time pass quickly.
We’re halfway there! Now you are going to lay your newly-cut curtain bottoms across your ironing board and press the hem. Using a ruler or sewing gauge to stay consistent, press up your hem the full amount of the seam allowance (that second number you chose in Step 1) In my case, that number was 2″.
Then unfold this newly pressed hem, and fold the fabric again, but this time only until it meets the line you just pressed. In my case, it meant folding it up 1″. Press on the fold.
Now fold the hem up on your original fold line again and pin. This tucks all the raw edges neatly away and leaves you with a nice straight edge, ready to sew!
Now the fun part! Load up your machine with matching thread, and sew a straight stitch close to the folded edge of your hem, removing the pins as you go. Be sure to backstitch when you start and when you stop to lock the stitches.
Trim your threads and admire your beautifully sewn hem! These curtains are ready to hang.
That’s all there is to it! Now you are ready to hang your curtains and enjoy your handiwork! Well done!Read More
Happy New Year!
It was a bit of a different Christmas holiday around here, with so many people out of power, but we still enjoyed many beautiful moments with family and friends.
And, of course, there was time taken to make a few handmade gifts. Although I did not take photos of everything I made, there were a few that had their moment with the paparazzi.
And how could you resist when the subject is this cute?
This is Phil. And although we are still waiting for him to put on his maid’s outfit and clean our house, it’s been fun having him around. (Although all of our bananas seem to have gone missing….) I used the fantastic free pattern and tutorial on We Lived Happily Ever After.
And because we are such big Minion fans here at the moment, I also crocheted this minion hat:
This was another free pattern and comes in all sizes from newborn to adult! (Oh how thankful I am for all of those generous crafters out there!) I also really liked this pattern I found on Pinterest, but didn’t think Hubby would like the braided tails!
Then, when our Christmas Eve plans were cancelled due to the crazy weather and power outages, I spent the day on the couch next to my beloved and whipped up one of these for my friend’s little one:
It was fun to get the crochet hooks out again and to make something so little and cute! This was another great free pattern from Repeat Crafter Me.
Last year I made the most amazing plant discovery ever. Seriously. This plant is a medicinal powerhouse. Chew it or chop it up and apply it for immediate relief from bug bites, bee stings, nettle stings, and rashes. Apply it to a deep sliver and it will actually pull it out of the skin. It cures infections, stops bleeding, and, oh yeah, you can eat it too.
As you are probably imagining, this is a rare rainforest plant only recently discovered and this is why the general public doesn’t know about it yet. It is sold at such high prices that only the elite have access to it. Um, not quite.
This plant is actually a “weed” that grows prolifically just about everywhere. Even city dwellers can probably find it sprouting between side walk stones. But somehow, in the ease of plunking down our money at the nearest drug store, it’s medicinal use has been long forgotten.
This amazing plant is the topic of my last instalment of the Forgotten Plants series over at Gnowfglins. I really couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw this garden weed in the pages of my medicinal herb book and I can’t wait to make better use of it in my garden, and medicine cabinet, in the spring.
If you know of any other “forgotten plants” I’d love to hear about them!Read More
We have had a few surprises since moving in to our new house. Some good (like the laundry shoot), and some bad (the roof started to leak the day we moved in), but none quite as interesting as the discovery we made this past week. We were having some issues with the electrical in the kitchen/dining room, and in order to fix the problem we had to remove the electric fireplace the previous owners had (mis)installed.
Once we had the fireplace out, we had an open view into the wall. And guess what we found in there?
Can’t you just imagine some small child sitting there the last time the wall was open, watching their toys fall into the abyss? I wonder if there is a parent somewhere who could never figure out what became of this lot…
As the fireplace will not be returning to this spot, Hubby and I have been throwing around a few ideas of what to use the space for. We have a few good ideas, but I’m curious, if this was your home, what would you do with this opening in the stone wall?Read More
It has been a very busy few months around here as we moved to a new town, settled into our new house, and began our new jobs. And yes, since we just can’t seem to help ourselves, we have begun renovations on our new house, too. (How many of you already knew that was going to happen?)
In the midst of all the busyness, I was also accepted as a contributing writer at GNOWFGLINS. Are you familiar with Wardeh’s bolg? It is a treasure trove of information for anyone interested in raising their own food, preserving the harvest, and preparing healthy, in-season meals for their families.
My first series is all about “Forgotten Plants: once prolific in the kitchen gardens of our ancestors, but now so rare that the average person might never have even heard of them. Many of these deserve to find space in our gardens again!”
Lovage is an easy-to-grow perennial that can be used very much like celery. I even included a recipe for Lovage Lemon Chicken.
Borage is one of my garden favourites! It’s wonderful for eating as well as a helpful companion plant! The flowers are pretty on a salad, and the leaves are perfect for a cool glass of borage lemonade.
Walking onions are one of my new favourites! Click on over to read how I discovered these at our local historical settlement!
The final instalment in the series will be posted soon and will feature an undervalued plant that just about everyone has growing in their yard or garden, any guesses?
I know things have been very quiet around this blog lately, but there has certainly been a lot going on. The biggest news is – we’re moving! And although we aren’t going too far, just up the river to another small town, it will mean a new house, a new community, and new jobs for both hubby and myself.
And since I would much rather pack up the items in my shop and send them to you, rather than store them until we move into our new home, I am celebrating our move with a moving sale! Use the coupon code “MovingSale” and receive 20% off everything in the shop! (except for custom orders, of course.)
And although Create-a-Creatures are not on sale, I will only be accepting summer orders until June 30, and will drastically be reducing the number of orders I take on in the Fall. So if you have been thinking of having a creature made, or know there is a birthday coming up, or are even thinking ahead to Christmas, now is the time to get your project on my list!
And now the packing begins! Does anyone have any great packing/moving advice?Read More