dog treat

Ode to a Sewing Machine



Oh sewing machine.
I love you. You were given to me in 2006, from a very kind lady who answered my Freecycle plea. The wife and I drove 30 miles to collect you from a tiny little beach village called Llangrannog one March afternoon. I used you quite a bit in those days, then I moved back to Chester and you were put away in a cupboard and forgotten about mostly.
I came to Bristol and after getting a little workbench set up, I used you quite a bit.
But I have been rubbish towards you lately. I’ve barely switched you on over the past few months. I’ve not been going to Stitch and Bitch (mostly because I’m afraid of the neighbourhood I walk through to get there, and I don’t drive)
But then I remembered that I like making things. And that I could do with a new skirt for work. Also that I’ve been getting annoyed with all my crap rolling around loosely in my bag (I’m a fussy neat freak in certain aspects of my life, and my handbag is one of them!) and have been meaning to make some pouches to pop things in.
Sewing machine, I promise I will use you some more. But I have no idea what to make!


As previously mentioned, my friends Louise and Nathan are getting married soon on the SS Great Britain, and their wedding has a slight theme of a coronation party. The only problem was that they weren’t sure what could be hung around the room where the band will play, and it was going to look a bit bare.

Flags, originally uploaded by Dr. Keats.

Somehow I got persuaded into making some bunting for the room, which seemed like it would be a massive task, but once I actually got down to it (after cutting the flags out!), it was pretty simple really!

I pretty much made it up as I went along, after looking at some pictures of bunting to get an idea of what the hell I was going to do!

My pattern for bunting was basically take an A4 sheet of paper, fold it lengthways, then cut a diagonal line, leaving me with a isosceles triangle shaped template. I traced around this onto my fabric (quite thick cotton fabric from Fabricland [don’t visit that site if you value your eyes] which was £4/m) and cut out 64 triangles. I sewed two triangles of the same colour together on the longest sides, turned it inside out and ironed it flat. Repeat for all of the triangles. Sigh.

I just have one final part left to do – sew all of the triangles onto a ribbon, or some bias tape. It depends what I can get next weekend.

Here’s some pictures of the making of a crapload of bunting:

Settling down for a night of cutting fabric, eating ice cream and perving watching Jason Dohring in Moonlight

Stacks of flags all cut out.

Setting up my awesome work area and get on with the sewing!

Started with the blue flags, then red, then white.

Unironed red and white flags

Badly ironed blue flags

All of the flags, finished and ironed flat.

After this, I pinned the flags along some bias tape (which is basically like a ribbon thats folded in on itself) I put the flags between the folds, pinned it then sewed it up. Its not the most perfect thing, but it did the trick, and got a lot of complements!

Muff Muff Muff

Ooh, I do love that word. It’s just so much fun to say! Say it out loud three times, go on. Muff muff muff.

Anyway, the real reason for this post is to show off my muff. (don’t worry, it’s not rude!)

My friends Louise and Nathan are getting married in three weeks, and I decided I was going to wear this red PPQ dress (I was so happy when I managed to get it on sale from Oli, after lusting after it for about a year!) with black accessories, such as my faux fur capelet, which I don’t have enough opportunities to wear. (Honestly, if I could get away with wearing it with jeans and a t-shirt, I would. Actually, I might do that at the weekend.)
The only thing that would have completed the look was a hand warmer. Or, indeed, a “muff”

I found this tutorial via the Craftster forums, and bought some excellent faux fur from John Lewis. (When the little old lady at the till asked what I was planning to make, I couldn’t bear to say muff to her!) A metre of faux fur cost £4.85, and was enough fabric to make two muffs. Or actually, one muff, and one mistake (I thought it looked wrong and an odd shape once I had stitched the smaller sides together, so ended up using the other bit of material, which also looked wrong.)

I made a slight modification to the pattern, sewing in a felt pocket into the seam so I will be able to stash my hip flask and iPhone inside it.

Here’s some pictures of the making of the muff…

Measuring out the fur. Cutting the fur was so much fun, really. Who doesn’t want to be covered in black fluff? I am very glad I was wearing old clothes!


This is the pocket that went inside the muff. In the tutorial linked above, it says about leaving a gap so you can turn the muff right side out. This is where I sewed the pocket into. To the top of the picture you can see my iPhone with my hipflask underneath. The curve in the hipflask is quite neatly the same size as the curve of the back of the iPhone. Hoorah.


Sewing the sides together. The arrows show which way the fur went. Also, look at my lovely old school sewing machine! Its ancient, and was given to me through Freecycle 3 years ago but it still works, and I love it so much more.


The finished item. Its a pretty difficult thing to photograph, especially one handed! Oh, and theres the hip flask making a special appearence again. Sneaky little git.

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