No Pins were used in the Making of these Curtains

That is not entirely true. However, it is true to say that I was quite lazy in the construction of these curtains and a curtain purist would not be all that impressed. Having said that, I am very happy with all the pattern matching (the two curtains look almost identical) and I love the finished look in our bedroom. So, overall a success.

This fabric was bought from Empress Mills. It’s from the New Forest collection from Lewis and Irene. I saw the collection before we moved into our new house and knew I wanted to use it in the master bedroom. The problem was having bought a while ago and not making the curtains until very recently, I didn’t realise that I didn’t have enough fabric. Well, if I wanted to make each curtain at least one and a half times the window, I didn’t have enough fabric and it was now out of stock at Empress Mills. And I was far too impatient to try and source it from anywhere else! So…I decided just to make curtains with the width of fabric I had and use very small seam allowances and make the lining only very slightly smaller than the main fabric. As it turns out, I think this is ok because our bedroom isn’t huge and the less bulk the better.

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I used black out lining. I’ve never sewn with this before – I don’t know what it is made of exactly (I got 4 metres ridiculously cheap on ebay because it was marked) but it has a plastic back, which makes pinning tricky. Pins seem to permanently mark it, if they go through at all. However, once folds were pressed in this fabric they stayed in place and so this wasn’t too much of a problem. Where I needed to attach the main fabric to the lining, I used my fabric clips that I usually reserve for bag making.

My other shortcut was to hem both lining and main fabric using the sewing machine. I know that strictly I should hem the main fabric by hand but I just didn’t have the patience and personally I don’t mind the visible line of stitching. I’m sure it’d annoy other people but I’m ok with it and Mr Stepherella barely noticed!

I made these in a day while Mr Stepherella was painting the bedroom, which I thought was pretty quick (probably because I cut so many corners!). And I’m really pleased with how they look in the bedroom – the pictures are taken in the newly decorated bedroom. I’m not sure how easy it is to see that the paint has been chosen to complement one of the colours in the fabric.

In other news, I should have blogged ages ago according to my new “schedule” but it just hasn’t happened. I promised to report back on how the 15 min of crafting a day has gone. Well, not that well actually. It’s been interesting to look at which days I prioritise crafting and the days when it goes by the wayside. It’s also interesting to note that 15 minutes is not a lot of time. It’s been quite useful for short bursts of papercrafting but not much use for sewing anything complicated. I might reassess this at the end of the month and aim to do settle in the craft room less times a week but for a greater duration.

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Getting my Ducks in a Row

I’ve nothing new to show. That’s not because I’ve not been doing anything but because I’m trying to do too much. It is one of my shortcomings that I have a tendency to start too many projects at one time and then never know where to get started! I thought I’d share a few things in the hope that publicly declaring my intentions to complete them all will actually motivate me to actually do so!

The first thing on my list is my Sewaholic Granville shirt. I started this at a class with Janet of Kitchen Table Sewing. I didn’t complete it during the class and then we moved house and I’ve been a little distracted by other projects. Add to that, I stopped between making the two sleeve plackets and I’ve struggled to remember what I did the first time round in order to do the second. I think I’ve remembered now so no excuses!! Janet…I will finish this, honest!! Here it is in its current state…I’m pretty proud of the finish on this project so far so I really want to be able to wear it. I should probably say thank you to all the ladies of The Monthly Stitch Facebook page, who gave me great advice on fit. So far, so good on this front.

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I’m also in the process of completing some scrapbooks as presents. Because they are presents, I won’t share any pictures of the actual things here in case they see it -but currently they’re stored in a box and look like this! These are overdue (as always as my family will tell you) and I really MUST get them done. I did run out of the right glue, which halted progress for a while but a trip to Hobycraft last weekend has rectified this and so no more excuses.

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The other major projects relate to our new house. I’m planning to make curtains and a coordinating quilt for the master bedroom. The first photo below is the curtain fabric and the other photos are sneak peaks of the quilt. The fabrics are Lewis and Irene, purchased from Empress Mills, of the New Forest range. I bought a Jelly roll for the quilt pieces. I love them but hope that it won’t be a too overwhelming when all put together.

Finally, I got a lampshade kit from The Makery for my birthday and I intend to make a lampshade for our hallway. I haven’t yet decided on the colour but I have some ideas.

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I say finally because I also have fabric for a top and a dress – who knows when I’ll get around to these. I wish I had more time in the day and more days in the week…what with a small child, a new job and working part time I feel like I never quite have enough time. But I am getting better at fitting in the odd half an hour here and there. Maybe other working mums have some tips for fitting in craft time! And maybe I should stop blogging and get on with creating!!

A Pop Over Purse for a Birthday Girl

Followers on Instagram will have seen a sneak peek of this little project a little while back. I made it for a friend for her birthday…although I was a bit late in getting it to her. I saw the pattern on u-handbag when it was first released and thought it looked interesting but when I saw the kit with these colour combinations I had to buy it!

The kit was really easy to use with only 2 or 3 issues. Firstly, after cutting out the pattern pieces I didn’t have enough of the yellow fabric to make the strap. I don’t know if there was not enough provided or whether I cut it out inefficiently but either way I had to come up with a plan. The staff at u-handbag very kindly agreed to send me some more of the yellow fabric but I wanted to get the bag made and I couldn’t do that if I wanted to use the yellow fabric to make the side tabs as well as the strap. So…I went with blue in the end and managed to source some more of the fabric (Stellar in blue from the Moda Nocturne range) from The Quilt Room, which meant I could get started on the bag and make the strap when the new batch of fabric arrived.

My second issue came when constructing the tabs and straps. The instructions provided didn’t make any sense to me at all so I did it my own way….which may of course be the right way but since I didn’t understand the instructions I don’t know!First I folded in the short edges by 1 cm and pressed. I then folded the strap pieces in half, length-ways with wrong sides together. I went on to unfold it and press each of the raw edges in to the centre line. Finally, I re-pressed the centre line and top stitched all the way round the strap. I used a grey thread for the top stitching, which I think looks quite nice against the blue.

The bag came together easily although I struggle to get the top edge look neat and found this bit quite tricky. I’d never used a sew-in purse frame before so this was new for me. As I think I mentioned in a previous post, I discovered (again) that I’m not very fond of hand sewing because I find it so difficult to make it neat. The picture below shows how uneven my stitching was – it was the only slight disappointment on the finish of this bag. I couldn’t get a full skein of embroidery thread through the eye of any needle sharp enough to get through all the fabric and opted instead to use three individual threads (I have since bought a needle thread to assist with such situations!).

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The only other thing to share about this make is the label…I’d been thinking for a while that it would be nice to label my makes as mine. I read Fiona’s review (Diary of a Chain Stitcher) of Nominette labels and decided to order some for myself – and I’m really pleased with them. This was the first make I used one on!!

All in all I’m pretty happy with how this bag turned out. I’d like to have a go at using more sew-in purse frames – maybe my hand stitching would get neater with practice! I absolutely love the colours though I can’t claim any credit for these as they came as a kit! I quite like how the top part can fold over and make a small clutch or stand upright to make a bigger bag – it makes it versatile. If I had more occasions to use a clutch bag, I might make one for myself!

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Sew Photo Hop (August)

I’ve been following the Sew Photo Hop on Instagram (organised by Rachel at House of Pinheiro). I’ve loved the little glimpses into other people’s sewing lives and getting to know them a little bit better. Sew Photo Hop is a daily photo challenge throughout the month of August. The aim is to post a daily photo on Instagram from a set sewing theme list. Anyway, I got to wondering why I wasn’t also taking part. So on day 13, I finally joined the #sewphotohop party! Having been a bit late in joining up, I thought I’d write a quick blog post as my way of catching up especially since I seem to have acquired a few new followers of late (despite my apparent inactivity on the blog!).

Day 1: Hello

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My name is Steph and I blog (or try to) about my crafting here at http://www.stepherella.co.uk. The name Stepherella was given to me by a good friend that I did my PhD with and it kind of stuck! Yep, I’m a former microbiologist though recently turned nurse. I’m currently on maternity leave. I’m married to Toby and our little boy ET was born in May. We currently live in London , but soon we hope to be moving to Bedford and up-size to a house and garden!

Day 2: Can’t (Won’t) Live Without

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I’m not one for sharing my emotions online but the answer to this one is very definitely my boys. ‘Nough said.

 

 

 

Day 3: Colourful

2014-05-24 10.58.21Yellow, yellow and more yellow. Everyone needs more yellow in their lives. Like this clutch bag I made and use for my makeup!

 

 

Day 4: Work/Play

IMG_20150813_124056Work and play are intermingled at the moment as I am home on maternity leave. I try to sew in between changing nappies, feeding, making formula and sterilising bottles.

 

Day 5/6: Silhouette/Pattern that Changed my Life

This would probably have to be Sew Over It’s Betty dress. I love how this dress looks and the silhouette it gives me. It’s also the dress that has helped to get me back on the dressmaking wagon, so whilst it hasn’t changed my life as such it has influenced my sewing life!

 

 

 Day 7: Sew Up Close

I wasn’t entirely sure what too say about this one – but in the end I thought I’d show off my first ever attempt at overlocking again because I’m pretty proud of it! It has to be said, however, that I’ve had less success since. Thinking of trying to get a lesson – maybe someone has some recommendations in London or Bedfordshire.

Day 8: Sewing Playlist

My sewing may be accompanied by a variety of music including Paul Simon, Madeleine Peyroux and Charlie Winston. Jazz and Folk music feature highly in the music collection, including The Old Dance School. ET’s first gig when just a few weeks old was to see these guys in Shepherd’s Bush and we are looking forward to the new album in this household!

Day 9: Stash

My fabric stash is all hidden away in these boxes under a stable in our living room. It isn’t all that huge but there is no scope for it to get any bigger – so I need to make more before I buy more!

 

Day 10: Would Exchange Closet With

I have no picture for this one. I tend to see items in other people’s wardrobes that I want for myself but rarely the whole wardrobe. I do envy anyone who has had the time to construct an entire handmade wardrobe though!

Day 11: Bucket List

Again…no picture. On my sewing bucket list is to have an entirely handmade wardrobe- but that isn’t going to happen any time soon! I suppose at least I’m realistic.

Day 12: Motivation

My motivation to sew is that of all my crafting. I love beautiful things and I love seeing an idea come to life. And I enjoy the process. I wouldn’t do it if I didn’t!!

 

And that is that – the remainder of my photos will be on instagram (@steph_er_ella) staring today with my sewing space – find me here.