Friday, 30 August 2013

Man Bag - A Present For My Dad

For my Dad's birthday, I had bought him a book which he had wanted for ages. However, it was the day before his birthday and it still hadn't arrived (despite ordering it almost two weeks in advance). I was quite upset at the prospect of turning up empty handed so I decided at 8pm that night (as all sane people do) I would make a quilted cartridge bag. I sewed my butt off into the early hours of the morning (as all sane people with work at 7am the next morning do) and by 3am it was almost complete. It turned out a bit larger than I had anticipated and it looked a bit too much like a handbag.

Despite my concerns my Dad loved it, and even took it on holiday with him the following week with some kind of fishing apparatus in! I was so pleased that he liked it so much, it isn't perfect but the construction contained many firsts for me.

As you can see from the outside, there is brown piping round the edges. I had never used piping before and I am now a big fan. It was simpler than I thought and gives structure and a nice looking finish. The green fabric is some sort of canvas type stuff, I didn't buy it so I couldn't say what it is exactly.
On the inside the bag is lined in a heavy brown cotton twill type fabric. Again, I didn't buy it so I don't know what the retail name for it is. As the bag was full of fishing paraphernalia when I took the photos I don't have a picture of the quilted inside. This was another first. Not a difficult thing to do, but I wasn't the neatest and my diamond shapes are uneven. The wadding I used was a bit too thick for the job as well. I ran out of bias tape to trim the edges of the bag opening so when I put the quilted inner piece inside the green outer piece, I just folded the green edge over, and over again to hide the raw edges and top stitched it together.

You can see a peek of the strap, I just stitched a length of the bias tape onto some of the green fabric, this was done before I thought about wanting to trim the edge of the bag opening - silly me! Although in my defence it was into the am hours at this point!

I have now been requested to make another one in black and pink for Gemma (my step mum) so I will get some better photos and take some of the inside of the bag. This will be getting on for Xmas time though so keep an eye out in December.

Have you ever made a man bag? I'd love to hear about other adventures into masculine bag sewing!

Wednesday, 28 August 2013

The Dreaded UFO Confessional...

Eek! So I rounded up a few of those things I have tried to forget about!

Exhibit A - U.F.O
. - Finger knitting to create bulky yarn to make an ombre blanket from. This has been about a year, it is just particularly boring and therefore neglected! I did one whole ball of yarn and started on a second, however, to make a blanket of reasonable size I need 4 balls at least!

Exhibit B - U.F.O
- This is the bottom part of a thrifted nightie, intended to make a slip. All I have to do is elasticate it. That is it. And it has been lying about for over a year!

Exhibit C - Repair - This top has an inch long split in a seam near to one of the armpits. Will take seconds, yep mere SECONDS(!!!) to run a few stitches over it. Been in the pile for 8 months. I am ridiculous!

Exhibit D - UFO - This is the back of a piece of bunting made to join in the Lincoln WI group bunting. All I need to do is cut those blue lines to remove some sequins, steam/ gently press the triangle, then reattach the sequins individually. I also need to embroider my name onto a second triangle to be the backing. Granted this is more than a few minutes worth of work, however, I did the embroidery on fathers day weekend back in June and really should have got my butt in gear!

Exhibit E - UFO - I have blogged about this before, it has barely progressed from there! What can I say, it takes ages and involves large swathes of the same colour in the same stitch. Yawn.

Exhibit F - U.F.O This is a kimono sleeve shrug. Or at least it would be if I finished it! It is very wide and the bobble stitch takes ages to knit. So it will take many hours to finish it, and doing a metre(ish) of stocking stitch before going back to painfully awkward bobbles is not making it very endearing!

Exhibit G - U.F.O.
- This is a crochet shrug I made the pattern for, all it needs is two crocheted strips to attach for ties. It will take all of 10 minutes, then I can wear it! It is made from gorgeous (but sadly discontinued) yarn that I was so excited over, then I just never finished it. Once it is done I can photograph it and put the pattern up.

Exhibit H - U.F.O. This is another neglected piece, I mentioned in my last post about it that I didn't know what to do with it, I still don't!

Not Pictured- A pocket repair on one of the other half's shirts, a seam repair on another one.
A tea cosy for a competition that I can't post up until the competition has started.
A recently started knitting project that I will be blogging about later.

I would lie and say it isn't too bad.... Namely because I'm sure there are more lurking hidden away in corners!

How many U.F.O.s do you have?
Don't forget to grab yourself a button if you would like to join in!

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Thursday, 22 August 2013

Patchwork Pot Holder

The Lincoln WI has its own offshoot craft group one Saturday a month at a local community cafe called Revival. Sometimes we bring our own projects in to work on, other times we have guests who teach us something cool. One Saturday it was a patchwork workshop, which I was very much looking forwards to as patchwork is something I haven't delved much into due to its fiddly and time consuming nature (or what I perceive to be time consuming and fiddly!).
We learnt a cool technique that can be done by hand (which we were) or machine. You basically sew two squares right sides together round the edges, snip a cross through the back, press, repeat with a larger square - et voila! You will have a fancy looking patchwork square!
You then pin a patchwork - wadding - backing sandwich together and stitch through all the layers in a manner pleasing to you.

I chose to add bias binding to mine and stupidly did not round the corners to make it look neater. It has dodgy top stitching but I will lie and say it adds homemade charm ;)
It has a little hanging loop on one corner as a pointless accessory due to its home in a drawer. I could tell additional lies that it enhances the aesthetics of the piece and makes chucking it in with the tea towels so much easier... but my nose doesn't need to get any bigger ha ha!

I will do a photo step by step tutorial thing on this method as it will be easier to follow than my mumbo jumbo description above.

If you haven't done patchwork before I highly recommend having a go this way, the speed of the results will be encouraging, and uber high precision is not as important as hexies or such like.

Adios! xxx

Tuesday, 20 August 2013

Cute Pencil Case

Hello everyone!
I'm sure you have seen those picture tutorials on Pinterest where there is no instructions just a series of self explanatory photos? Well here is my attempt at one!

It is a bit wonky (as comes as standard with my sewing) but considering I just winged it and drew an estimated shape on some a4 paper, it isn't too bad!

I made the bias binding myself from some scrap red linen.

The inside shows my wonky quilted effect lines, I didn't think to use a red bobbin, clearly I was having a moment...

The bottom is a bit misshapen as well.

Overall I am pleased with the result, not bad for a 100% winging it project! I also just really needed a pencil case for going to OU tutorials, having loose pens rolling round in my bag didn't seem like a good idea.

I would like to make another one at some point, perhaps a bit bigger though. They could be turned into make up bags, glasses cases, even a clutch bag. If you would like to see the original pin, it is on my projects board HERE.

Saturday, 17 August 2013

W.I.P. / U.F.O. Hall Of Shame!

This will be a new feature here at Pin Up Crafts, first and foremost it is to try and force myself to get these projects finished with some good old social pressure!

We all have them, we all pretend they don't exist, but I *will* tackle them! So how will it work? I think it would be best to document every last one lurking in the corners and hiding in boxes, then do a monthly report on progress made.

If any one would like to join in then let me know in the comments below, and I will add you to the Hall of Shame page you can see linked at the top of my blog beside the Special Links tab. Together we can do it!

So watch this space for my U.F.O. confessional post, I'm not looking forwards to discovering the true extent of my lazy/ distracted ways though!

Feel free to grab a button if you are wanting to be in the Hall of Shame!

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Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Extra Slouchy Beanie Hat Crochet Pattern

When I was making the hats and scarves for the homeless I ended up making not one, but two beanie hat patterns. This was the first, a VERY slouchy beanie! I have got all my hair tucked up in the bottom of the hat and anyone who knows me will tell you I have a LOT of hair!

You can get a better idea about the size of this hat by the silly pic I took when I was messing about!

Anyway, enough tomfoolery, here is the pattern! I used regular DK wool, it takes around 50g of wool and I used a 4mm hook.
The pattern is written using UK terms and hopefully the way I like to set out my patterns will be easy for everyone to follow. Any problems then just leave me a comment and I will get back to you as soon as possible.
DC = Double Crochet, INC = Increase, rnd = round, TR = Treble crochet, DEC = Decrease, numbers in brackets are the total number of stitches.

1) DC 5 in magic ring                                        (5)
2) INC rnd                                                         (10)
3) INC rnd                                                         (20)
4) (TR, INC) rnd                                               (30)
5) (TR 2, INC) rnd                                            (40)
6) (TR 3, INC) rnd                                            (50)
7) (TR 4, INC) rnd                                            (60)
8) (TR 5, INC) rnd                                            (70)
9) (TR 6, INC) rnd                                            (80)
10) (TR 7, INC) rnd                                          (90)
11 - 16) TR rnd                                                 (90)
17) (TR 7, DEC) rnd                                         (80)
18) (TR 6, DEC) rnd,                                        (70)
Slip stitch x 2 then finish off, weave in the loose end.

Enjoy! Again, if there are any problems let me know! I am also interested in how other people find reading patterns the way I set them out so give me some feedback please folks!

P.S. I am a big fat liar, I actually made three beanie patterns, one was just for me though!

Linked up to - Wicked Awesome Wednesday @ Handy Man, Crafty Woman, Think Pink Sunday @ Flamingo Toes

Monday, 12 August 2013

Sewing And Body Image - My Two Pence

Sewing blogs periodically come around to this issue, and I guess I am jumping on the proverbial bandwagon now as my own body is something I am particularly struggling to deal with at the moment.
Last week I read THIS article on the Guardian website, written by a lovely blogger I follow, Karen at Did You Make That? where she talks about how making clothes from scratch freed her from the tyranny of ready to wear sizing numbers (12, 14, 16 etc) and let her appreciate the uniqueness of her body, perfect looking to others or not.
I have to confess my own thoughts couldn't be more different. Those tape measure numbers were/are
horrible. The first time I sized myself up for a pattern (free from Prima magazine, a much appreciated gift from my mother) I cried. At that time I was fitting into a size 14/16 bottom half and my top half varied with fabric due to my overly large bra size. The bloody tape measure told me to cut out the pattern larger than they had graded for. And the patterns go up to size 20. So I cut out the 20 figuring I would just use a smaller seam allowance and basted the bodice together, then basted on the skirt. I tried it on and it turned out to be huge. Really huge! I was relived by this but also confused at the relationship between the tape measure and the non stretch polycotton sack in front of me.

In time I came to understand about ease, big four patterns being very generous with the ease and how a perfect fit involves tweaking everything in relationship to my own shape and proportions. I also realised just how much the high street likes to massage the fragile egos of their clientele. I mean everyone knows a M&S 12 is much larger than a Topshop 12, but most people don't realise how much these sizes differ from pattern sizes.

Even now though, despite improved knowledge, I still get a sense of deep dread when I read those numbers off. It makes everything so much more real. My work trousers are sized in cm, this is just as depressing, it is a big number. I know that I am overweight, and until some personal circumstances interfered, I was slowly losing the weight to feel better about myself. but those numbers still haunted me. I had a hard time shifting the weight despite a 1 hour, 5 times a week gym habit (and no, I wasn't pigging out) and it took a long time to notice anything. I did track my actual weight loss, but I was primarily concerned with those darn numbers.

I guess what my point is really, is that personally, hiding behind that M&S 14 label (despite knowing its lying ways) makes me feel better that those raw, real, numbers. Even if no label = no evidence of size, I know, and my own opinion on my body is the only one that is truly important.

Thankfully cats do not have these worries!
(This is just an unfortunate angle, my cat is a chunky monkey but not that bad!)

Saturday, 10 August 2013

Did You Ever See A Llama....

....Kiss a llama, on the llama, llama's llama, taste of llama, llama llama duck.......

When I was in my teens (which feel like a rather long time ago!) I was a little obsessed with that wonderful gem about llamas, and with llamas in general. Now I have aged, the song is quite clearly annoying but my love for llamas is still there. Although I prefer alpacas and wish to smush my face into their soft fuzzy bodies!

But I digress, I took an exam back in June (Which I passed thank frick!) and as a celebration I decided to make a crochet llama as I saw a pattern on Pinterest. As you do. However I had also just brought a 9mm crochet hook which I was itching to use. The logical result of this was to make a GIANT LLAMA! I didn't have any super bulky wool so I just used 2 balls of cream DK and a ball of cream aran all at the same time, and with the brown yarn I just cut three lengths off to use simultaneously. So after a little bit of hooking I ended up with this beautiful bad boy!

He stands around 19" tall! How awesome is that?! I sewed his legs on a bit dodgily, but he still stands up so I haven't bothered to change them, if I make another one I will just be more mindful of the placement.
If you would like to make your own regular or giant llama toy, the pattern can be found HERE at crochet_goods.
If you do make one then I would love to see it, link me up in the comments!

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

That Mod Podge Shoe Thing

I jumped on the bandwagon and tried that mod-podge shoe nerdifying thing. I did this quite a while ago and never got around to blogging about it. It came about in the usual way of it being really late at night and me being on my own and deciding it would be the perfect time to try out that time consuming craft project I pinned months beforehand.

So I got out a stash of Neo magazines and set about snipping a pile of cute pics small enough to fit on the shoes, as well as a pile of multi coloured bits to be fillers.
As you can see they turned out all bright and funky, and despite them not being the kind of thing I would normally go for, I thought they looked pretty awesome and were definitely going to be worn.

Front view - I love the Junko Mizuno mermaid picture <3 br="">
Side view one
Back view
 Side view two - showing some less than perfect sizing on the back shoe.
If you know me, you will know that sometimes when I get the urge (you know that urge) to make something, I often don't think about it practically and end up with some pretty silly things happening. The biggest mistake was using magazine pictures instead of comic book pages. The magazine pictures are thicker and do not "become one" with the shoe fabric. This was not helped by a big shoe issue - these were shiny shoes and the pvc cheap nasty surface was not the best for gluing things onto, even mod podge is weak against them. So when I finished applying the pictures (some which were just unsuitable which I should have replaced, as in the above picture) and slapped on a couple of coats of mod podge (gloss) and let them dry, I was about to encounter my next set of problems.

First there was an incident where the shoes were placed too close together (they were dry, it was about a week after) and they fused together, this resulted in some of the mod podge coming away when I pulled them apart. Then when I started walking about in them to wear them in a bit (I had only worn the shoes a couple of times before so they were still a bit tight and ouchy) the subsequent creasing made one of the pictures come away. This showed me that I could effectively just peel the whole lot off as they weren't really bonded to the shoe as I explained before.

Now I just have the shoes sat in my craft room being a decorative feature that nobody except myself ever sees. And I am torn as to what to do with them. Do I rip it all off and try again with comic book paper? Or keep them as an odd ornament?

Suggestions welcome!

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Is that a tumbelweed I see....?

Yes, as per usual the blogging has been neglected, but I will make yet another attempt to be a good blogger!
I have been going about my crafty business so I have things to share with every one.
Posts will be coming soon!