Category Archives: sewing

all puffed up

No, sorry, this post is not about puff adders – although we did go for a long walk last week in Pringle Bay and, halfway along, very far from the road, Andrew casually remarked that I should keep my eyes on the ground in case of puff adders.

I immediately froze. No, keep walking, he said, they can feel you coming and will simply move away. But what if it’s asleep? I screamed, and I’m the one to wake it up??? Just back away veeeeeery slowly, he said. I reminded him that my mother had recently woken up to find a cobra in a corner of her kitchen and I was still getting over the trauma, but he just laughed. I’m not sure it’s kind to laugh at another person’s fears so I yelled SPIDER SPIDER SPIDER and did my impression of a black widow to get back at him before continuing through the fynbos, stamping as hard as I could to scare off serpents as far afield as Mpumalanga.*

But I’ve digressed. The reference to puff is my lovely new Paddington top, designed by clever Sarah-May of French Navy Designs in Cape Town. She sells her patterns on etsy but this top was a free pattern from Peppermint Magazine and, for some unknown reason – because I’ve gone off machine-sewing lately – I had the urge to make it. The big puffy sleeves were the main attraction.

I used a piece of cotton from West Africa that someone gave me years ago, and which may have previously been used as a tablecloth. I have horrible arms – bingo wings, I believe they are known as in the north of England – so am always happy to cover them up as much as possible. The design was great and I’m so pleased with the result that I’m considering making a dress from the first pattern I ever bought when I was 22 and had just got my first sewing machine. It was navy cotton with tiny white dots and I wore it until it fell apart.

* Happy to report that no snakes or spiders or even baboons were seen, just a very fat mongoose and a tortoise later that day while sitting on a bench looking out at the sea.

ScrapHappy September 2020

I’ve been making soft pots. I have too many indoor and patio plants to be able to afford to buy a new ceramic potholder for each one, so this is my solution. I’ve fiddled with the design, and find that using stiff denim for the inside lining gives the pot perfect stability. Also, it looks great folded over. The denim was the only piece of fabric that wasn’t technically a scrap, although it was once someone else’s cushion leftovers.

Just for comparison, here are a couple of non-scrappy soft pots that will form part of my Christmas range:

I’ve been inspired to think in a ScrapHappy way by Kate, Tall Tales from Chiconia. On the fifteenth of every month lots of folk often publish a ScrapHappy post, do check them out:

KateGun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda,
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Jill, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera, Del and Nanette

scraphappy June 2020

I’ve been making lots of plant hangers lately, mostly from shweshwe cotton but also using some other lovely fabrics. Buuuuuuuut….there hasn’t yet been a patchwork one. I thought Kate’s scraphappy project was the perfect opportunity to give it a go.

scrap 3

scrap 2

And this is the view of it from the chair at my desk:

scrap 4

I overlocked the edges instead of double hemming like I do on the cotton ones, because I used scraps of upholstery weight fabric and thought it would look too bulky if I did it that way. The finishing isn’t perfect but it’s living with me in my house so I don’t mind :) I also didn’t bother too much about matching colours or textures – that, I figure, is half the point of using up my scraps!

overlocked

Here are the links for everyone who joins ScrapHappy from time to time (they may not post every time, but their blogs are still worth looking at). I love looking at what everyone’s come up with!

Gun, TittiHeléneEvaSue, Lynn, Lynda, 
Birthe, Turid, Susan, Cathy,  Tracy, Claire, Jan,
Moira, SandraLindaChrisNancyAlysKerryClaireJean,
Joanne, Jon, HayleyDawnGwen, Connie, Bekki, Pauline,
Sue L, Sunny, Kjerstin, Vera  and of course Kate herself.

ScrapHappy July

I picked up this little chap (I think it’s a kalanchoe) at a Christmas market in December, and he’s sat outside all these months without doing a thing. Two weeks ago I moved him to a shadier spot about three metres away, and he suddenly blossomed!

plant3

Fancy me leaving him in that grotty little plastic pot all this time. He deserved a bit of encouragement, so I made him a patchwork sleeve. I stitched a few scraps (leftovers from making yoga mat bags) into a piece the circumference of the pot (35cm), sewed the sides together, and hemmed the top and bottom. I had thought there might need to be elastic at the top, but it fits just fine.

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Perhaps, like me, he was just going through a dormant period. Patience may teach me a few things yet…

a bum bag and other wips

When it comes to getting rid of old clothes, jeans have always been a stumbling block for me. I think, I might still lose enough weight to fit into these, or I might get fat again and then I’ll be sorry I chucked them out, or Now these would make a really great bag, I must never ever throw them away! With the help of this tutorial from Knotty Threadz, it finally happened.

denim bag 1

I decided not to make the straps out of denim but “cannibalised” an old bag (a great idea from The Snail of Happiness) so mine has nice leather straps.

denim bag 3  denim bag 2

denim bag 4

The front and back pockets are still in place for cell phone and keys, and it’s got a cotton animal-print lining. I left the labels in place as well, I don’t know why, I just like them. Without the scarf threaded through the belt-holders, and from the back, it looks like a bum, doesn’t it? The original bum that wore these jeans wasn’t a big one at all, by the way, but it was a man bum so maybe that’s why the bag looks so wide.

I found a little needlepoint cat that got stitched many years ago, it’s now part of a cushion that will be on sale at the Made in the Cape market from Thursday this week.

cat cushion And lastly, progress on the cross-stitch Guatemalan dogs is good. I’ve really enjoyed stitching these but I’m onto a new design already so they’ll have to get finished soon.

cross stitch 6

What is everybody else working on?