Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Pretty Little Pincushions, by Lark Books

Have you noticed that there aren't many books published about pincushions? This one is certainly a delight. Once again a combination of patterns from different crafters and such a variety of projects.

The book starts off with lots of information about the tools needed, different fabrics that can be used, embellishment ideas, basic techniques and different stitches that can be used. Very useful and suitable for beginners.

I counted 29 different projects in the book. Great value for money. The book is divided in four chapters by type of pincushion that ranges from functional, to nostalgic to petite and lastly, plushies.

The back of the book has a short bio on each designer featured and full-size patterns. Yeah!

I am showing a few pictures from the book of my favorite pincushions although it was difficult to choose. There are many in the book I like and will be making at some stage.

This is one pattern I have already made! Worth buying if you love pincushions like I do!

A is for Apron, by Nathalie Mornu

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE this book! What a great buy it is. I have already made 8 aprons from this book, although most of them are from one pattern - The Fruit Tart on page 52.

What a fabulous Apron this is! So easy to make and it looks marvelous. I wear one of these every time I sew. The pockets are large and holds a variety of tools and other stuff I need with me, like my cellphone.

Another favorite of mine, the Lorelei on page 65. I made this one for my sister in pinks.
The book contains a lot of the history of aprons and even shows some of Nathalie's private vintage collection. Very impressive. There are 25 projects in the book and each one is fabulous! There is also a section in the back that gives you some additional embellishment ideas.

I only have one issue with this book - the patterns are not full-size. I prefer full-size patterns. I have such a problem with the cost of enlargements locally.

Each apron is made by another designer. The front of the book provides some basic sewing techniques. The patterns are easy to follow and even for beginner sewers. If you love aprons like I do, I highly recommend this book!

Amy Butler Sew-It Kit

I am a sworn Amy Butler fan, but this product was a real disappointment to me. If you own the In Stitches book, do not purchase the Sew-It Kit! Of the 15 projects in the kit only 5 were not in the In Stitches book. Urghh!
There are 15 sewing cards in the box, some contrasting fabric and thread and a full-size pattern to complete one of the projects - in my case, the tissue box. Lovely presentation and fabulous fabric, although two very small pieces.
If I remember correctly, this fabric is from a discontinued line. Could they spare a bit more fabric to make room for error? Or another small project?
My verdict: As I said, lovely presentation, gorgeous pieces of fabric, but annoying that most projects I already have in my In Stitches book. If you do not own In Stitches, this will be a good buy or a great present for a sewing friend.

Amy Butler Sophia Carry-All

We've all seen the blog posts about the frustration involved in making the Amy Butler bags. But we also see the pride and satisfaction of many a seamstress that have finally completed either the Weekender Bag or the Sophia Carry-all. Well, I am one of them. I have completed one Weekender Bag with many scars to show but also great pride and a feeling of "having arrived" as a seamstress.
So isn't it stupid to consider making the Sophia Carry-All with fresh memories of the frustrating Weekender Bag? Isn't it even more stupid to do this without a pattern? Yes, call me stupid because I am doing it!

I went to Fiona's last Saturday to buy denim fabric for a bag I am busy making. Whilst the assistant cut my fabric I saw the most gorgeous winter fabric on sale. It is sort of like a tweed fabric. It would make stunning skirts, I thought. So I bought only one metre of the brown (with a pattern as in the picture above) and a plain grey. By Saturday night the skirts were forgotten and I was busy making a Sophia bag pattern.

By Sunday night I had finished the outside, bar the bottom. This fabric is just so perfect for a travel bag. It is durable, strong and looks so classy. It could easily be a designer bag.

This is a side view of the bag. My second perfect zipper installed! I am so grateful to other bloggers who post their sewing experiences. I learn so much from them and I hope sometime someone might learn something from me. I forget the blog address, but I found such useful info on making the Sophia bag on a UK blog of someone called Jonag? I will look it up.
My thoughts so far? I based the sewing mostly on the above blogger's comments and referring to my Weekender Bag pattern. I did not expect the bag to be quite so big though. I'm not sure if I made the pattern too big or of the real bag is as big, but it is almost bigger than the Weekender Bag. Just as frustrating as the Weekender bag with all the layers although I seem to have no problem with piping. I am really pleased about the result so far and am now pondering the best way to do the lining and bottom. I still cannot believe I only used one metre of fabric!
To be continued...

New fabric

I really have a nice stash of fabric already. I do not REALLY need anymore. But then you look on the internet and you see your favorite designer has just launched a new line of fabric. And you LOVE the fabric. You must have some! Well, I am an Amy Butler fabric fan. I confess. Her fabrics continue to delight me. Inspire me to create beautiful things. So I will just have to make more space...

With the global economic downturn my husband keeps telling me the difference between WANT and NEED. But I must admit, I get confused when it comes to fabric. Everything becomes a NEED to me. What was the difference again?

My new rule for 2009 is that if I want some fabric or craft books, I make myself wait a few days. If I still NEED it a few days later, I must have it. It was really meant to be mine. So off I went to Etsy and I was delighted to find 2 shops that had my favorites on a 50% sale! Isn't that a sign?

So here is some of the new Amy Butler Daisy Chain fabric I bought. I also bought some of her new August Fields home dec fabric which I did not take pictures of. I am in fabric heaven!

Whilst on Etsy I saw some other cute fabric which of course I needed as well. This came at a really good price as part of a destash effort. I can see many possibilities with this fabric...

Lots of new handbags!

I have also been very busy making a variety of handbags. Several friends have asked for bags and when I added up again, I needed to make more than 20 bags! Oh my! Here are a few I have finished so far...
I made this little bag from a fat quarter piece of fabric - the brown fabric that is. I am still amazed at that! I love this bag. I might keep it...
I love this bright, summery fabric. It is a very thin cotton fabric and I have since found a few other patterns in the same fabric. Very roomy bag.
This bag was made with lovely, girlie fabric I received ina recent swap. Just love this fabric! I have enough left for another bigger bag. Soon!
Another bag from the pink cow fabric. I made one for my sister some time ago. Love the fabric!
One of my favorite handbag patterns - the one hour bag from Jodie at Vintagericrac. Same fabrics as above but I tried my hand at a little bow. Very cute! Twenty more bags to go!

Buzzy, buzzy bee!

I feel ashamed! It has been a MONTH since my last post! Since coming back to work and with the new school year beginning, I have been crazily busy and have not posted once. No excuse. I had time to sew and post on flickr...Anyway, I am back and will make a point of posting at least once a week now.

Lots to update! What have I been up to? Most importantly, I have been re-decorating my Sewing Room! This is always so much fun. As the room itself inspires my creative juices, it is so important to change the decor a bit every now and then.
This is a view of one area in my sewing room that I am really so pleased about. I wanted to bring in some black & white with the pink theme and when I saw these magazine box files advertized in a local magazine, I ordered several.
They are wider than the average box file and the best of all: the words "creative ideas" on the boxes fit in perfectly! And the price was great too.

This is another item that is new in my sewing room - my tailor's dummy. A very good friend of mine went to great trouble to get me one so I appreciate it even more!
Another corner of my sewing room I really love! My magnetic notice board against the wall, my new CD rack with all my tutorials and inspiration on CD and my new wooden storage ideas. I have not put anything inside yet. I am still at the admiring stage...

A close-up of the new wooden drawer cabinet which I covered with Michael Miller fabric paper from my scrapbooking stash and my bicycle CD rack. Isn't it cute?
There are several other areas of note in my room, but I have lots of posts to get through, soI will post more at a later stage.