Tag Archives: fabric

How to make your own wonderful bunting!

18 Apr

To celebrate the royal wedding I know that a handful of you lovely people out there care enough to have a street celebration. I am sad because I know no one who is bothered about the royals enough to have a party that does not involve drinking loads of beer at the pub. So I plan to have my own small celebration at my mothers house and hope for good weather so that we can sit outside eat cake. Lovely lovely cake.

If you are lovely and having any type of party, bunting is a must. Bunting also makes a great hand made gift to share with your loved ones for birthdays, Easter, Christmas, valentines day and even Halloween. All you have to do is theme the fabric appropriately! Also a fab way to get your youngsters involved in sewing as it gives them time to experience sewing in straight lines, how to use a sewing machine and inspires them with a wonderful finished product. Its a lovely vintage item that can be used all over the house and garden to make an instant impact, and by the sea! That is were bunting looks best. Both me and my mother dream of living by the sea so I decided for Easter to make her some bunting to inspire her to move.

I thought I would add a tutorial as I have had many people visit my site after searching the word ‘Bunting’. There are many ways of making bunting. Using paper for quick and cheap option, one piece fabric cut with pinking shears for a more weekend friendly option but my favorite uses a sewing machine and double sided fabric. Here we go:

You will need.

1) A sewing machine with thread or needle and thread

2) A template triangle shaped made from card- mine is about 16cms across and 20cms long. Start thinking early about size as this has a huge impact on the finish projects look and cost. I chose a size that meant I could top and tail the template on my fabric to get the most bunts possible. Be economical!

3) Bias binding, ribbon or string (Skip to FIG 6 to figure out how much binding you will need)

4) A good pair of scissors to cut fabric (i recommend these from merchant and mills to see you trough your whole life)

5) A theme and fabric coloured appropriately (all mine for this make are remnants from previous makes)

6) An afternoon, make a pot of tea and keep some nibbled at hand. Today I am eating garden picked strawberry’s and drinking earl gray.

Bunting template

Here is my template. I used the free paper bunting from a Bodens cataolgue adding extra size   because I plan to make double sided bunting. Double sided uses a seam like when you make clothes. This means you need to leave ‘ease’ as your triangle bunt will end up smaller than your template as shown in the picture below.

A sewn bunt and a ready to sew bunt showing the ease amount

So with this in mind, always cut your template bigger than you intend the finished bunt to be. Next you need to consider your theme. This is the fun bit! Ask yourself what are these bunts going to be used for. Is this a birthday? Maybe you would use that persons favorite colours, or colours relevant to the season like red and green for Christmas. There are a wealth of insperation out there on the net like The bunting Queen, so get goggling and creative. As I am making these for the royal wedding so I am using union Jack inspired colours but without actually being union jacks. I want my mum to be able to use the bunting for any event and her garden/house is very country themed.

Blues, reds, creams and flowers!

Here is are the fabrics remnants I am using. A mix of union jack colours and vintage patterns. Yum Yum. So using your lovely sharp scissors cut your fabric the most economic way, which could be top and tailing or if your using recycled remnants where ever there is enough material! So you have your bits for each bunt. Now you need to place two bits of fabric together to prepare to sew each bunt. You will be sewing each bunt right sides of the fabric together as you turn the bunt inside out before sewing to the tape or bias binding.

right sides together for that perfect bunt

You can get creative at this point and if you have only a little bit of your favorite fabric why not use a plain fabric to ‘back’ the bunt. For instance I have only enough for 6 double sided bunts in the above fabric so I could use the pale blue plain fabric on the back to make more red heart bunts. It looks individual and interesting. So get some coordinating thread ready. I am using white to sew up all the bunts as you will not see it when you iron the bunts out flat. To sew a bunt by machine set your machine to a straight stitch, at a medium stitch length and a medium tension. We do not want to do any gathering so make sure that tension is right.

FIG A: The bits on your sewing machine

Using your machines guide plate (the bit of metal with lines on it underneath the pressure foot in FIG A) place bunt so you leave about 5mm of fabric to create that seam on the edge of the fabric and lower the pressure foot.

FIG 2: Sew down from A to B

Sew down towards point B stopping about 5mm before the point of the triangle as indicated by the blue dashed lines in FIG 2  making sure your needle remains in the fabric as indicated in FIG 3.

FIG 3. Pivot the fabric 45 dregrees

Lift pressure foot and turn the bunt about 45 degrees placing the fabric with the same 5mm on the edge of the bunt and drop the pressure foot again. When you start to sew it should look like FIG 4.

FIG 4: Your bunt should be looking like this as you sew.

Now stitch along the bunt from B to C leaving C to A un-sewn as pictured in FIG 5. This will mean your bunt is now sewn! Simple. Now repeat these steps as many times as you want to get all your bunts ready to make your bunting! Get your iron all hot and steamy and turn each bunt right way out and press along seam. You may have to carefully trim around the sewn edges to get the point to that point nice and pointy. I suggest using pinking shears as this will give your seams more wear and tear.

FIG 5. After turning the fabric sew from B to C

After you have made as many bunts as you want its time to think about what you want to use to string them all together. You have quite a few options it seems. There is Bias binding, which is made from bias cut fabric. You can make your own bias binding, here is a great site to inspire you. You can also use bias binding to cover the edges of if you do not want to turn them inside out. Remember if you do this sew bunts fabric wrong sides together. You can also use ribbon by ironing the ribbon in half, but make sure the ribbon is wide enough and in proportion with your finished bunt triangle. You could also use string if your going for a rural look, use brown waxed string if they are going to be used outside.

Bias binding and ribbon

I am using pale blue bias binding in keeping with my theme and will be using red thread to give it some details as I sew along the binding as shown in FIG 6.

FIG 6: How to work out length of your Bias Binding

Lets figure out (in FIG 6) how much Binding you will need. A represents how long each bunt is (15cm) B indicates how much room you intend to leave between each bunt (5cms) and C shows how much extra binding you will leave in order to tie/pin it up (25cms). Using A, B and C we can find D. Wow, my maths teacher would be proud of me. If only he had used bunting as an equation! I want at least 3m of bunting so A + B = 20. 300/20 = 15 bunts. So I will use 3.5 of binding for my bunting! Yay.

Its a good idea to mark out all your required measurements using tailors chalk before you start sewing your bunts to the binding and what coloured bunts are going where. How do I attach my bunt to the binding? Here is how! Remember that bit on the bunt we left open (C to A)? We will use that end to attach it to the biding thus closing the bunt and finishing off! Place your ironed bunt about half way under then Binding as shown in figure 7.

FIG 7: How a bunt attaches to the binding

Then turn the binding in half, which covers the other side of the bunt hiding all the raw edges As shown in FIG 8.

FIG 8: Sew the binding to the bunt

Once you have repeated this across your binding with all your bunts you are done! You should now have some wonderful professional looking bunting that your family and friends will keep asking you to make them more. If you enjoyed making this Bunting then why not invest in a few gismos that will help you create even better bunting? Simplicity sells a bias binding making machine so you can co-ordinate your bunts perfectly. Also using the big shot pro die cutter means you can cut shaped into or out of fabric, making lettering bunting easy! Have fun and show me those buntings!

New fabric purchase, the death of a friends pet- and a vintage fox collar.

17 Apr

First of all the fox fur collar has nothing to do with my friends recently deceased pet. Becky did not own a fox. She owned a Russian hamster creatively named Hammy. I have only just started spending non work related time with Becky, and after a very very unlady like night out where I may have fallen over and seem to have forgotten doing it….(this was not during work time) she introduced me to her friend called Becky and we went lady shopping. So anyone who is actually following this blog (and i feel this is no one) may recall me not shopping during lent. FAIL. Enough said.

After ‘said lent ruining activity’ she drove me back to her house (my car is still out of action) to pick up a few items so she could go babysitting. Whilst there she did the necessary introductions to family, pets and tour of her house. It was all going very well, her mum and sister were lovely, and I managed not to fall over or swear without meaning to. Then we moved on to her pets. She has a very lovely dog who let me have a good rough and tumble with her, two Guinea pigs called Harry Potter and Ronald Weasley who were really friendly and then started to move the bedding of her Hamster to show me Hammy. Hammy was unfortunately already rolled out of his bed, on his back, arms crossed, legs in the air very much deceased. This the moment that me and Becky were thrown into that unknown area of new friendship were you could really upset someone. Luckily it seems she has a very good dark sense of humor and recognized the hilarity of the situation. Poor Hammy, may his little body be laid to rest and soul depart to a bigger wheel in the sky.

On the shopping front I decided today was the day to invest in a new wrap dress in navy blue that can be worn with pretty much anything and gives the impression I COULD be Kate Middleton. With excess weight and less royal connections. Dam.

Basic navy wrap around dress £30 warehouse

Yes technically I could have sewed this one up myself, and the new sew magazines pattern is almost identical (simplicity 2369) but I hate working with jersey and sourcing it is also troublesome. So instead I did the naughty and bought me my Easter dress. Opps. So the next thing on my blogging agenda would be the introduction of Mr Bramble the first of Kimble Bandington.  Mr Bramble used to have a predecessor whom my late Granny owned and cared for. I believe this was Mrs Dimpleton of Knowle but I could not be sure. It was a long time ago. Sadly at some point over the years Mrs Dimpleton made friends with some seemingly nice natured moths, who turned out to be from Central Birmingham. They robbed her of her grandeur and estate leaving only dust behind. In other words the fox stole I was patiently waiting to inherit got eaten by moths. I was sad. I would never purchase modern furs of any animal unless i moved permanently to a freezing climate as killing animals for fashion really is unnecessary. But vintage furs, that’s another matter. I have been on the look out for a common fur stole for a while that could be worn with vintage dresses and coats. Here is Mr Bramble the first.

Vintage furs

vintage fur

Yep, he is disgusting in so many was but in others he is so cute and appealing. Look at his face. So dead and stuffed. I imagine he has been kept hidden somewhere away from society’s challenging eyes dreaming of the day he would be set free. That day has arrived. At a tiny £15 this little fella will be professionally cleaned, kept in cold storage to prevent any Birmingham moths taking advantage and worn to the most prestigious events. I will model him when he arrives. Fingers crossed he has a safe journey and all is well in his health, also that no Post Offices employee takes offense or liking to him.

I will now share with you the new fabric I bought from Ditto Fabrics from Brighton. I love Brighton and plan to move there when I get rich. Till that day I thought a ‘Brighton dress’ would be in order so what better to make a dress out of Brighton fabric from Brighton!!

Ditto Brighton Fabric is Lime 3m and in blue 1m £32 including p&p

Its a 100% cotton and although not expensive at £6.99 a meter the extra postage bumped the overall price up. I wish i has the money and time to visit Brighton on my sewcation which starts tomorrow (for a week holiday from work) but sadly not as my car is still in disrepair.  I have not decided want to I make with this lovely fabric. I was thinking one of my new collette patterns but we shall see next week.

So today the last thing to finish up is my union jack inspired Bunting. Using all the remnants from my years makes I have begun sewing up the bunting squares to make my mums Easter present just in time for the royal wedding. I had not realised but many of you visiting my sewing blog have done so by googling the word bunting so I will be making a tutorial for all you new bunting makers. Keep an eye out as it will be here really soon and have a great weekend to all.

simplicity 3559, simplicity 3673 and Butterick 6582. The good, the bad and work in progress. PART TWO- the bad.

13 Apr

After praising Simplicity 3559 like it was my adopted daughter its time for part two of the installment, where I will be condemning simplicity 3673 like a bad step child. Yes me and simplicity 3673 did not get on. For a mixture of reasons….mostly to do with me I think, but there had to be something to do with the pattern as well. This is part two of a three part blog. You can find the first here.

This is described as a misses retro jumper dress or dress and is a 1950s reprint of an simplicity original. It has skirt and belt variations and I bought this pattern for £3.95 at John lewis whilst they were selling off all their sewing patterns. I was not aware of this at the time and if I had been I would have bought loads of patterns. Darn.

The dress has 2 skirt variations, a length variation and a belt variation. The waist is high and fitted with the choice of a wiggle or flared skirt. I decided to try the straight version without the belt because at a size 14-16 fitted clothes tend to flatter one more. Most of the time.

I measured myself up and with the measurements 38-30-36 indicating a clear size 16. I laid out the pattern paper and measured the actual print to confirm before I cut. MEASURE TWICE CUT ONCE. The pattern came up big by about 2 inch of ease. I debated what to do, read loads of blogs, called my mum, eat a bacon sandwich and then cut the size 14, and added 2 inches to the bodice top to help fit my 34G chest. I did this by tracing the bodice and simply grading the bottom of the bodice to a size 16….more about how wrong this was later.

What fabric did I use? Well lets have a look. I had gone on a Ikea fabric rampaged before buying this pattern and as this was only my second attempt I did not want to hack into some of my expensive irreplaceable lovelyies. I had already used Ikea fabrics for my last project (blogged here) and used heavy weight material which suited the project, but this dress needed to be a little lighter and cooler. I wondered if anybody else has ever used ikea fabrics for clothes and stumbled upon this Interesting article and also this blog. Just love that shower curtain dress…..I’ll store that idea for another make. Maybe that waterproof weekend bag I have been dreaming about.

It was good to know I was not alone and decided on using 2 meters of this Cecilia light weight 100% cotton at a cheerful £2 a meter and a polyester lining I got from Barry fabrics for cheap.

How did I find the instructions? They were a little confusing to start with. i could not get my head around how to finish the edges when the bodice bottom would not be hidden by a seam inside the dress….not explaining that very well I know but that was the issue. The instructions did not make it clear you had to serge as you went. I was new to sewing, now I know better. Here is a visual of what a mess the inside of the dress looks like.

simplicity-3673 inside the mess

Not the tidiest job hay? well it did teach me to serge as I work and you do not see the inside when you wear an item. This was not the only issue with the dress. That extra ease I added for my bust….yeah that did not work. Even though I measured the actual paper pattern twice the pattern gave quite a lot of ease making the dress baggy all over and the extra 16 grading on my chest very unflattering. Here is the dress on my sewing dummy. This dummy is the larger size model and now is bigger than my frame all over by at least 2 inches and at the most 4.

simplicity 3673 front

simplicity 3673 back

And here is the dress on me.

size 14 simplicity 3673 side view

As you can see, very unflattering. It makes me look like like i’m 13 stone again!

size 14 simplicity 3673 front view

From the front angle is is not so bad and I wear a waist belt with it to maximize my definition without showing off to much of my flesh. I also wear it with a long sleeved top underneath to keep ‘modest’.

Without pulling the fabric of the dress, but trying to stop waldo from eating my feet

This picture is not exactly true to the way it should have fitted. Since making this item I have lost about 2 stone. I was a few months into my weight loss journey and I think this added to why the dress was too big when it was finished. Not all the reason though. I have still worn this dress to school and because its so big it is quite useful when you are leaning over to pick up fallen over children and the school I visit is predominantly Muslim so covering up is expected. I would have re-ordered this dress in the smaller sizes but have decided to try all the other 1000 patterns I have. I now also own some good books that explain how to change commercial patterns to make them fit. Sadly this project was bad. You can not win them all.

The last installment of this review will follow shortly- my original WIP has had to be scrapped due to the fabric being inappropriate and for want of a better word- annoying. Any ideas how to work with stretch satin would be greatly accepted….the replacement fabric is thicker, heavier and less stretchy than the last but still has some wiggle give!

WIP butterick 6582

simplicity 3559, simplicity 3673 and Butterick 6582. The good, the bad and work in progress.

18 Mar

As the names suggests this is a triple wammy review by me, lady Elation. All these items were made a while back (accept the WIP) with Simplicity 3559 being the first item I ever made using a pattern without Granny Kelly’s help. Granny Kelly use to do all the boring prep work when we sewed together. This included the laundering, measuring, cutting of the fabric and reading of the pattern. She let me do all the exciting things like choosing the pattern, picking out the fabric and sewing the cut fabric together. Of course she kept a close eye on what I was doing, and usually took over when It came to a skill I could not accomplish.

Lets start with the good. Simplicity 3559 is a reprint of an original 60’s dress pattern. Here is how it is meant to look:

simplicity 3559

Check the detailing on the envelope of the original 60’s pattern drawing. Love it. Do not love the third models skinny stick legs in the photo representation. Once i noticed this it got me really worked up and I kept looking at them wondering if it was a photoshop disaster. Anyway, moving on here is the line drawings on the pack of the envelope just to give you a clearer idea of the dress design.

simplicity 3559 line

As usual I did not follow convention and wanted to make the short sleeve and length style B dress with the neck line of A without the bow. I get told off alot for always adding bows and using cherry fabric so I steered very clear of both and went for a very bright unusual fabric.

gunilla fabric ikea

A 100% cotton £5.10/m fabric available at ikea, gunilla weighs in at about 400grms a meter making it heavy weight more suited to interior and upholstery usage than dress making, but I quite like a heavier fabric in the Autumn and it suits the dress style so I used it anyway. Stubborn women that I am.

Now although it has been about a year since I completed this dress I remember the instructions being very easy to understand and had next to no issue completing it. I did not make a muslin version before cutting into the fabric which could have been a big mistake but as I was making a size 16 I decided there would be plenty of room. I used to weigh in at about 13 stone before I decided enough was enough, and this dress was made before I embarked on my weight loss journey. As it is an a-line semi fitted style so I could afford to be a little bit lazy :) Fitting wise once made I would say it was true to size. This ofter can change the smaller you make it so I would suggest to use caution. I have recently purchased the smaller sizing in this pattern (6-14) and plan to make a size 10 in a light weight summer fabric. I will make a muslin version this time as being slimmer I actually feel confident to let my curves show. Watch this space.

Of course the whole experience of making this dress was new to me. I had never serged seams before, added a zip….in fact apart from simply sewing straight stitch it was a totally new adventure. The pattern calls for bust and shoulder darts. I still believe the darts I did on this dress were and are the best I have ever performed, as the pattern explained itself in detail. Not one ‘bubble’ in sight. I also took sewing for dummies advice and used the suggested iron in interfacing which I would have left out being a newbie. It really did make a different to the neck line. I finished the edges as I went (another helpful tip from sewing for dummies) using a zigzag stitch as I did not have an overlocker at this point. To complete the dress I used a invisible zipper and blind hemmed the bottom. Here is the finished dress on Mistress Elation.

Simplicity 3559 size 16

I worked really hard on creating a professional finish to this dress, and was rewarded by having may complements when worn to my cousins Shower and the 5 year annual friends meet up. I bought a branded zip, spent ages learning how to blind hem and invested in a special foot to aid the process. So you can imagine my upset when after only two wears and one delicate wash the zipper’s metal pully snapped clean off! I was not amused.

Broken pully

The idea of undoing all my finishings so a new zipper could be fitted annoyed me no end!!! The actual zip was perfectly fine. GRRRRRrrrr. After long debate I put the dress to the side of my wardrobe and forgot about it. How very sad. A handmade dress not getting worn. It was only when I took a trip to the Bead shop that I noticed they sold trinkets to go on vintage style pins. I make these broach pins for friends as favors and thank yous, and realized that the trinkets make excellent novelty zip pullies!

I chose a bird related theme to go with the Bird related fabric!

Trinket bird cage £0.40 from The Bead shop

Quite lovely don’t you think? I used pliers (under adult supervision) to add an extra little metal circle because it helped the cage lie flat. I think it looks really cute, a bit like wearing a necklace on your nape! I will now use these trinkets on all my zippers……see what you think.

Finished dress....again!

New Fabric shopping. Amy butler and Simplicity 2591

16 Mar

Just a little post to log a few Fabric buys, again so I do not keep duping myself. Always duping! I did not buy any fabric from ikea seeming as all the light weight dress making type were pretty boring or the wrong colour for my pale pale skin tone. These on the other hand are bright and interesting.

Amy Butler Lotus Pond Tangerine 2 meters £14.00


Amy Butler Nouveau Trees Green 0.5 meters £3.50

Both these fabrics where purchased on sale from ebay user Miloabcrabbit who also have a store nerybethcrafts which is packed full of fabrics I am itching to buy.  I plan to use both fabrics in the same project. The green for pockets, lining and bia bindings. Never made binding so that should be fun…..

I would really REALLY REALLY like to make simplicity pattern 2591 in the small sizes, but this pattern does not sell in the UK and no one has it for sale on ebay or etsy. This makes me very sad. If you are an American and have a good soul  and understand my sewing needs I would love to purchase this item. Lets sort it outs.


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