Summer Time is almost here!! 


Here’s a quick and simple solution to making those awkward centre holes for the great outdoors patio table cloth! All the stitching is done prior to cutting out the shape. The reason why I do it this way is because the shape holds up so much better and looks a lot neater when complete! 

You will need, 

A pretty tablecloth (or fabric of your choice!) 

Approx 10″ square Contrasting fabric for the backing

10″ square medium weight fusible stabiliser 

A compass

Sewing machine, thread and scissors


Iron on the fusible interfacing to the back of the contrasting fabric. 

Fold the table cloth or hemmed fabric into quarters to find the centre and press lightly to form a cross crease.  

Do the same with the smaller contrasting fabric.


Now lay the backing fabric right sides together with the table cloth, lining up the pressed cross lines. 

Press flat again and pin backing into place. 

Grab your compass (or anything circular will do, just be sure the smaller circle will be closely sized to match the diameter of the patio umbrella post. 

Many patio umbrellas measure anything in between 28mm and 70mm. Ours is quite big, but check your sizes before drawing out your shapes. The centre circle is the one that should measure about 5-6mm larger than your umbrella post. Outer circle needs to be approximately 50mm wider all the way around.  

Now it’s time to start sewing the centre circle.  You will need a short stitch setting.  Stitch all the way around the centre circle, following the circle shape that you have drawn.  Go slow and keep stopping with needle down so that you can pivot your work without it moving. I usually make a couple stitches then pivot and so on until I reach the end. The slower you go and the more you pivot the neater the circle will be! 


Trim the backing fabric following the outer circle guide lines. Take care not to cut the main tablecloth whilst trimming. 

Cut out the centre circle leaving approximately 6mm seam allowance. 

 

Grab some sharp scissors and snip all the way around the inside curve. Snip almost up to the stitch line but be careful not to cut into the stitches. Failure to snip the seam will prevent the curve from laying nicely.  

Now, if you want to, either zig zag or overlock the backing edge. It can be left without overlocking as you’ve used fusible interfacing which will prevent it from fraying. I just prefer to do it this way. 

Now it’s time to pull the backing to the back of the tablecloth. 

Lay flat and press. 

This is what you will be left with…

You can, if you want, leave it at that but I prefer to top stitch to hold it to the back and give it a neater finish…

That’s it… You’re all done! 


Hope you found this simple tutorial helpful. If you have any questions, feel free to comment and I’ll do my best to help! 

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Baby Shorts


Be warned… this is very rough but I hope you get the idea! 

I’ve been asked by various peeps, how I attach my elastic to waistbands. So, I’m sharing a full tutorial of how I make them here

I’ve included a rough pattern for you to try. 

First of all you will need to print out the pattern here

If you want to, you can join the two printouts together at A and B (overlapping by half inch if you don’t want the added seam allowance) to eliminate side seams. I have made the pattern this way because it’s easier to scan and also, if you want, the split pattern allows to choose different fabrics for front and back. 

Once you’ve printed and cut your pattern out, it’s time to start sewing. 


Now grab a front and back piece and with right sides facing, sew both side seams. I have used my overlock but if you don’t own an overlock machine, you can use a normal straight stitch on your sewing machine and use either pinking shears to trim afterwards or a zig zag stitch along all raw edges to prevent fraying. 



Press! 


Now, grab both pieces and join, matching them both together with right sides facing stitch from waistband down to start of gussets. 


Then, keeping shorts inside out, stitch the gusset area together matching front gusset to back gusset. 



Hem shorts leg holes by pressing up half inch and stitching into place. I used my coverstitch to hem these but you could either overlock the edges first and hem or zig zag edges first then turn. If you prefer, you can use a double fold hem but remember when cutting out the pattern to allow for the extra fold length. 


Now it’s time to add the elastic. 

I used a 12 inch length here but just check before adding the elastic that it’s not going to be too tight or too loose for babba. 

Firstly, join your elastic using a zig zag stitch.  Yes, I know, mines not pretty at all but it’s Easter Sunday and I’m trying to multi task between cooking dinner for 8 of us and getting this typed up! (Any excuse!!!) 


Now pin the join just off centre to the back seam to eliminate bulk then pin the opposite side of elastic to front seam of shorts. You are going to attach the elastic to the inside waist edge of shorts. You will need to stretch and pull on the elastic in front of your needle and pull from behind to help feed both elastic and waist edge of shorts through the machine. I sometimes use my overlock machine with knife turned off but in this tutorial, I’m using the sewing machine to attach it. 



If you want, now is a good time to trim all those frayed edges. Of course, if you do use the overlock machine, it will look a lot neater than mine! Now, using either a wide zig zag or your coverstitch machine, fold down waist edge so that the elastic is facing the wrong side of fabric and stitch into place. Remember to pull front and back as you feed them through your machine. If you find that you need to stop to adjust hand placement, be sure to stop with your needles down to prevent over stretching your stitches. If using the coverstitch machine, stitch from the right side just so that the edge of the elastic and waist edge is encased in the coverstitch underneath. It may be easier to use a post it or painters tape on your machine bed to help guide your work through at the correct width. 


And that’s it, you’re done!


 Simple aren’t they? And just in time for summer!

These shorts should be suitable for 3-6 months but you can easily adjust the pattern to fit. 

Happy sewing! 

Lazy Suzanne… not so lazy! 


This is just a quick type and run post. 

I wanted to share with you a quick diy project that has helped me out with so many small makes. 

I use rotary cutters for cutting my fabric. Occasionally I use my fabric shears, but mostly, I prefer to use my rotary cutters. The problem is with some small patterns, be it a quilt block or cutting out a teeny baby shoe pattern, is that, the patterns can be so small and awkward to cut. I’ve come close to slicing through my left hand before as I try holding/rotating with my leg hand and slicing through my layers of fabric with a rather lethal looking piece of thin, sharp circular disc! 

That’s where my wonderful lazy Suzanne came to the rescue! 

I’d had it hanging around the house for a few months but, it was always too cumbersome to use at the dining table. 

So, after grabbing my tin snips, yep… tin snips work great for cutting out cutting mats, I drew around the shape of the lazy Suzanne, cut it out and grabbed some rubber cement and glued it to the lazy Suzanne top. 

It works a treat and now I don’t live in fear of slicing through my hand! 

I tweaked it a little here and there. My hubs and I are both cobblers by trade and so to get a real smooth edge I took it to work to scour the edge smooth. You can do this by hand using a fine grade sheet of sandpaper. 

Try it… you’ll love it! 

My little haven! 


After my threadtastic post, I thought I’d share with you a little glance into my ‘happy’ space!

Although often cluttered, the pics you see would have been taken at my rooms very best, please don’t be fooled that I’m as organised as these pics make me look!!

My little room (and it’s very small compared to many beautiful sewing rooms that I see on the net!) is my own little happy place and it appears that it’s also a happy place for many of my friends and family that come to visit, they always say how much they love the room which of course… makes me even happier!

As you walk into the room, the first thing  you see is my beloved workstation that my hubs built for me. It is essentially made up of three small kallax units from Ikea that are then sandwiched between two thick sheets of ply and mounted on chunky locking casters. The casters raise the workbench just so that it’s a perfect height to prevent back strain! 


It stores all of my embroidery stabilisers and ufo’s along with all my pattern making tools in the front drawers. 

It is my favourite piece of furniture in the room!

My sewing area, although compact, works great for me. My main sewing machine, a Janome MC6600 is sunken so that the bed is level with my work surface. The work surface was created using a length of kitchen worktop from Ikea. I purchased two lengths, enough to create an upright end piece and also to wedge the shelf between the end piece and the malm drawers. It was lowered just enough to allow my machine bed to be level with my work top once the machine was mounted into the aperture that my hubs cut out for my machine.

My other machines are a Brother PE 750e standalone embroidery machine, a Singer 14SH754 overlocker which I bought for an absolute steal from Lidl for just £119 and a Brother 1034d overlocker which although less features compared to the Singer, was my first domestic overlock machine and a true workhorse! I also own many other machines, some of which are now really just used for decorative purposes but are all in perfect working order.


I also made my own thread racks from scraps of wood and you can read about that here.

On the opposite side of my machines is where I keep my sons piano (he’s left home but hadn’t got round to taking it yet!) and a larger kallax unit that houses all my fabrics.

I’d love to have my fabrics on show but I just don’t like the fact that they can get dusty and too much sunlight! Besides… they’d never stay tidy!!  The magazine boxes above are where I keep all my… well, magazines! Oh and instructions to my sewing machines and receipts as well as templates and sewing patterns. Sewing books and craft books are keep at the bottom.

Next to that and continuing around the corner into the doorway is the ‘techy’ section. A place to  do all my digitizing (I use Embird for that!) and to design and print all my patterns.


I still need to get some pretty pictures up, the walls are very plain but I just haven’t got round to it. It’s been like this for almost two years… maybe this year I’ll get around to doing it, who knows!

That’s about it…

I love my oh sew modest room, it serves me well and it’s such a lovely place to lock myself away in!

Hope you like it as much as I do…

Happy sewing!!!

Threadtastic


A couple of peeps in a sewing group that I belong to have asked about my sewing thread racks. I make mostly everything myself for my sewing room. This ensures that my room fits around me and how I like to do things. 

Here’s a rough plan of how I created my thread holders, but you could adapt it to suit you whether you want it smaller or larger dependant on how many threads you have. I actually have hundreds of different spools of thread including woolly nylon cones and embroidery threads but I do prefer to keep my walls minimal and clutter free. I work better when my room is less cluttered! 

I used smooth planed timber (84mm x 18mm) for the side panels and 70mm x 15mm for the top panel and 5 x 28mm x 18mm timbers each with 9 6mm dowels sunken into each strip (dowel holes need to be drilled slightly smaller in diameter to the dowel to make them tight and don’t drill the hole all the way through as they need a stop point to keep them from falling through if the holes ever loosen) each of the spool holder bars are screwed in from the side panels and are left slightly at an angle so as to get to the spools easily. I counter sunk the screws and filled them with wood filler before painting the rack. 
Oh and the bottom pots were from Ikea (99p) each and are hung from a piece of wide dowelling. 



I made a similar one for my embroidery threads but as of yet (I made it well over a year ago!), I still have yet to paint it white! 

You can see on the embroidery thread holder that I didn’t counter sink the screws but will do before I paint it. 
I hope that helps! 

owls… fit for a princess!

May Day… As always in the UK, it’s the bank holiday sooo… One should expect rain! Except, it didn’t rain this year, it literally poured and poured and…. POURED!! 

No point making plans, besides, most of my boys were away enjoying the May Day weekend break.  Me? Best thing I could do was take a trip into town and raid the craft stores, well… Those that were open! Fenwicks came up trumps, they had a May Day special offer on, spend over £10 on fabric and get 20% off! Well… They made that easy!! 

I found this gorgeous owl fabric and contrasting delicate white petal print fabric…


Oh my gosh, the picture does not do it justice. This fabric is just beautiful to use and a steal with the discount!

I could not resist using it for my favourite teeny tiny pinny! I completed the set with s little pair of ‘toms’ inspired baby shoes!  Pattern to follow! 


Our Leicester branch Fenwicks doesn’t have the biggest selection of haberdashery supplies, but what they do have is pure quality and the prettiest of fabrics! 

teeny tiny pinny


I’ve had so many of my friends on Facebook ask about my teeny tiny pinny that I sell on etsy, so I thought it might be a nice idea to post a tutorial here for you! 
First of all, you’ll need to download the pattern from here. 

The pattern is printed on just two sheets of A4 paper. All you need to do before cutting out is to tape the two sheets together, matching the bodice and skirt at A & B.

You will also need the following: 

  • Scissors
  • Pinking shears (optional)
  • Cotton thread 
  • 4 fat quarters in two contrasting colours
  • Plastic snaps or Velcro 

Print out your pattern above and cut it out, joining the upper bodice to the skirt with points A & B matching. Cut two bodices on the fold of your main fabric and two in the fold of your lining fabric. Cut 4 of the rectangles from any contrasting fabric or from your main fabric. These rectangles are for the ties at the side of the dress. Once you have your pattern pieces cut out, you will be left with this…

So, you will have two of each fabric for the main dress (4 pieces all together) and four rectangles for the side ties. The next step is to trim four of the shoulders that will be joined (bear in mind that whichever side you trim the shoulders is going to be the opposite side to where your ties will be placed, my preference is to have the ties and shoulder opening on the right as you look at the dress). I have marked on the pattern dotted lines as to where you will need to trim them. Fold the pattern at the dotted line and trim all four pieces with right sides facing for both main and lining bodices and trim all four shoulder tops. (Yes, you’re not seeing things, I have wrong sides facing here, it doesn’t matter but just be sure that you have either right sides together or wrong sides together for each set of main and bodice fabrics)


Now it’s time to start sewing it all together! Grab your four rectangle ties first and prepare those ready to attach later. Fold each one, lengthways and right sides together and using a short stitch length (I used a setting of 2.5 throughout making this pinny) sew two sides of the folded tie. Starting at the fold, sewing across the narrow top then down the long open side. 

Do this to all four ties, trim across the four corners and then turn right sides out gently pushing out the corners to create a nice sharp clean corner. Press them and leave to one side. 

Now you’re ready to start sewing the main bodice. Grab the two main bodice pieces and stitch across the trimmed shoulders. Do this for both the main bodice and the lining bodice. 



Now grab your side ties and baste them in place using the marked guide on the pattern skirt edge. You will notice that I’ve added my logo label too here, add yours too if you have one! These are going to be placed on the opposite side to the joined shoulders since the pinny is designed to fully open down one side. Remember to place your ties with the stitched seam facing down, it doesn’t matter too much but I prefer to place mine that way as it looks more professional. If adding a logo label, be sure to place it with your name facing your main front fabric. I always have my opening on the right hand side, again, personal and preference. 



Now, add the other two ties to the joined bodice, basting them to the main fabric of the skirt edge on the open shoulder side.

With right sides facing for both main bodice and lining, it’s time to stitch all around the upper of the pinny.  Excluding the skirt sides and the skirt hem, sew all around both arms, across the open shoulders and around the neck. 

Trim all curves and corners using pinking shears. If you don’t have pinking shears, clip across the square shoulder corners and clip little ‘v’ into the curves with the point of the ‘v’ being as close as possible to the curved seam without cutting into the seam. In each curve, cut at least two or three v’s. The more you cut, the better the curve will look when you turn your dress right side out.


Now it’s time to pull the dress right sides out. Pull your work through the ‘tube’ of the joined shoulder. You may think it’s a tight squeeze but it pulls through very easily! 

Push out all shoulder corners and neaten the curves then press now before closing up the side seams. 


Lining up the underarm seam of the ‘closed’ shoulder side of the dress, stitch all the way along the skirt and lining edge.


Turn right side out and you are left with something like this…


Now, stitch together the two open edges of the skirt taking care not to kink or trap any part of the ties other than the edges that you basted earlier. (I caught a little bit if one if my ties as I stitched one edge up hence why you can see a previous stitch line here!). Do this to both open edges. 

Almost there! 

Time to close the dress up! 

With everything sandwiched inside the skirt, it’s time to start hemming the dress. You can pin the hem together if you prefer but I find it easier not to. Starting from one side of the open hem, stitch both lining and main bodice hem together keeping the two seams lined up and leaving a very small gap so as to turn work right sides out. 



Clip corners to cut down on bulk.


Now turn everything right sides out, pulling everything through the small gap that you left in the hem.


Now press the hem taking care to press the two edges at the opening in line with the rest of the hem.



Top stitch all the way around the hem of the dress back stitching at both ends.


Last lap! 

To finish off the dress, add a couple of snaps to the open shoulder. Use an awl to create holes so as to line the snaps up nicely.


And there you go! One teeny tiny pinny, handmade with love by YOU!! 


I do hope that you enjoyed my first tutorial! Email me with any questions that you have and I’ll be happy to help!! 

Happy sewing