Friday, 24 January 2014

Pincushion and Needlebook Sets

After making the large patchwork pincushion for Mum and using it a little bit because it was there, I decided that I needed one. One that I can actually use (sorry Almost Literal Needlebook).

So I made some! And a matching needlebook to go with them.

 I made these with the very last of the red and grey arrows fabric. I sent these to my auntie! She liked them a lot; I hope she finds them useful!

 These were a kind of test run, to be honest, but they came out fully-functional (and used up the last of the red/black kind of fabric I needed for this) so I sent them along.
The pincushion is supposed to have edges that are of a uniform length; this one is a little wonky because I didn't allow for seam allowances in one of the parts. Oops.
The needlebook is too big for my liking but works just fine, simply personal preference.

 These are the ones I made for me! I do love this elephant fabric - I bought more recently.
I really like how the second needlebook came out, it's a nicer size, I think.

 I already put all my needles in it all nice! I used three pages of felt because I wanted the book to be a little more substantial. I think it was the perfect amount and gave it a really nice weight, so I'll be doing them like this from now on.

 Here's the back of the pincushion. I fussy-cut the bottom square to get a single elephant out of it and used a grey button instead of the teal-y one. I think it's really cute, and it makes me happy knowing it's there, even if I don't tend to see it.

A lovely little matching sewing set for me, yay!
I'm planning on making a sewing machine cover out of this fabric too, and perhaps another pouch with different dimensions just because.

This is what I got from Spotlight yesterday! Loving those ladybugs!

 And a teaser - what will it be??

Friday, 10 January 2014

An Almost Literal Needlebook

This is a project very near and dear to my heart. It's been a year in the making, with more than a few mistakes, unpickings, fabric-choice changes and tantrums (by the sewing machine, not me).

 It is a needlebook/pincushion combination sewn up to look like a real book, and I think it's pretty darn cute.
I used my '$100 box' fabric that I dyed with tea, and two small print tone-on-tone fabrics; a brown for the spine and a turqoisey/aqua for the title label. The needle pages are plain white cotton and the pin 'pages' are done in a grey and white pinstripe to simulate the look of an actual book.

 A view of the spine and back of the book. If I were to do this again I'd probably be fussier with my placement of the fabric and put that lovely key on the front cover.

 The front needle page - there are two, one's at the back of the book.
You can see the shoddy topstitching on the left there; my machine had a tantrum and decided not to sew stitches for no reason at all, and having already unpicked it twice, I decided to just go over the unsewn places again. And I might have gotten away with it if I had've used a white bobbin thread - why didn't I do that? Too eager to get it done, I think.

 The pin 'pages'. It's a little rectangle of foam covered in some pinstripe fabric from a shirt I picked up at the op shop. That little bit of foam was so annoying to cover, and is the reason I won't be doing a tutorial on this. Too much of this project depends on the dimensions of your foam, and I doubt you could get such a small piece accurately cut for you.

And a view of the pages as you're about to open the book.

I'm really pleased at how this came out despite its flaws. It's not even all that useful as a needlebook or pincushion, if I'm being totally honest. The needle pages aren't really flexible enough to be easily used, and the pin 'pages' with the foam in it, pins don't particularly like it.
So my judgement on this would be, "nice idea, but needs different materials to work as I'd hoped." A lower-density foam (not that this was particularly high-density) might be easier to stick pins into (it's not that it's hard, it's just... sticky? It's much easier to stick the pins in a pincushion filled with stuffing), and perhaps just using felt for the needle pages would fix their problem, although wouldn't look as crisp.
I'd also use white bobbin thread when topstitching the cover, and perhaps changing my needle would fix its skipping-stitches problem.

Final judgement: a very pretty bit of useless clutter.

Wee Little Elephants

I made a friend a purple pencilcase for Christmas, to go with the purple diary I got her, and it turned out so well that I decided I wanted to make one (or two!) for myself.
I don't have much need for a pencilcase though, so these are for sewing notions.

 I used a beautiful elephanty fat quarter that I picked up at Spotlight. I'm not usually into fabrics like this but it caught my eye so I took it home on a whim, and I'm so glad I did!

I lined them with another elephanty fat quarter from the same line, and used the lining fabric for the tabs as well.

  The big one is a reasonable size, but the small one is almost useless (but very cute). Any smaller and it would make an adorable zipper pull for a backpack. As it is, it can hold four bobbins, but not much else.

 I think they look lovely, and that I'm going to have to make a matching pincushion and needlebook for myself!
They're done without a zipper foot, too; I think they came out very well despite that. A zipper foot, walking foot and new needles are on my list!

Patchwork Sewing Set

I go through stages of obsession in my life, and for the past 6 months or so, it's been Pokemon. That appears to be calming down now though; I've been sewing up quite a few things instead!

I made this set of patchwork sewing accessories for my mum, who's getting back into her own patchwork as well as redecorating in red, black and white.

I told Mum that I'd make her some wall art for her bedroom, but she doesn't know about the sewing accessories!
I made a long strip of friendship-braid-esque patchwork for this project; it was about a metre long, and 13cm wide. I cut something like 50 half-hexagons for that length, which ended up being a little too long (which was totally okay because I ruined that extra length accidentally and then still had enough). 
I used three fabrics in the braid; a grey arrow print, a black and white semi-geometric print and a black, grey, white and red chevron print. When I put everything together I used a red version of the grey arrows as the accent fabric, and I think it worked a lot better than I thought it would. My original idea was to have the red in the braid but this turned out so nicely that I'm glad I did it this way instead.

I'm really pleased with the wall art. It looked like a quilt block all ready to become a part of a quilt! And I got the seams matched up pretty much perfectly, which I've found difficult in the past (admittedly with smaller projects).
I framed it myself, basically just lacing it directly onto the board that makes up the back. I should have used a mat in there but there ended up being no room.
I tried some freehand embroidery on one of the hexagons, just some red lines and dots to add interest.

 I decided that she needed a little pencilcase to keep her sewing notions in order, so I took two squares of the patchwork, combined them with a little red and sewed them up into a little pouch! I followed this tutorial, except I made smaller, more substantial tabs and put them on both sides. Everything else is pretty much the same. I'm really pleased with how it came out although the topstitching is a little wonky due to the interesting seams in the patchwork.

Another square became a rather large pincushion! I found a pair of red and black buttons in my stash so I used one of them here, and I'm very pleased with how it matched.

I used two more squares of the patchwork to make a nice little needlebook, and used the other red and black button here. I don't really like how the button loop looks and performs, though, so if I did this again I would probably use black hat elastic or something similar.

And the last thing I did was crochet a little ladybug! I needle-felted some red and black felt on for the wings and spots and I love how crisp it looks, much better and far less lumpy than if they were crocheted too. He's got a tiny fabric sleeve on his underside that I slipped some elastic through so that he can be tied onto a sewing machine for use as another pincushion.
I'm not sure how well he works because I haven't really tested him out fully, but I think the elastic may be too flimsy and not hold him onto the machine well enough. If I do something similar again I'll use a fabric strap with velcro or something.

I'm pretty pleased with the whole set, really! I hope my mum feels the same way when she gets the package!
I'll be sending it soon, along with this blanket I edged for my little sister's birthday:

I hope they like the parcel!