Tuesday, 30 October 2007

Template changes

I don't know if you have noticed but I altered my web page to a mighty 3 columns!!!! And no I am not skilled in HTML. I saw a post on How About Orange's page and thoght I'd follow Blogger's tutorial. Now I have a weeny bit more room for even more columns of info for your consumption!!!

Sunday, 28 October 2007


I now have my etsy shop up and running. I'll be loading my wares onto it over the next few days and see what happens. Maybe it'll go better than the market, over time!

Market, Smarket

Well yesterday we did the market. And it didn't go as well as any of the stall holders would have liked. We set up between 9-10am, and then the public could come in from 10am till 5pm. To say it was slow and quiet at times would be accurate, and then a wave of 10 or so people would walk through the door. But I didn't make my first sale until just past 1pm, which was a bit disappointing (it was one of my shopper bags with a tree on the front) and all in all I only sold, 1 bag, 2 silk flower brooches, 1 doorstop and 1 scented lavender heart. And not one bought my husband's photos, although he did get a lot of nice comments (we both did). I think there were a number of problems, was it the time of year, people might not begearing up for Xmas shopping quite yet (in a few weeks time, I'm sure people are more motivated to spend money, the number of people who actually came into the market hall, I thought was dismally low, compared to when I visited it 6 months ago, and lastly my products,clearly were not hitting the mark, for either people's taste or maybe they considered them too pricey?

All I can say in defence of my prices (which I din't think were crazy, was that for the time taken to make each thing, I have to pay myself a wage - which on most products was probably minimum wage or below - what a joke)

The lessons I have learned are to value homemade products accordingly, no one can compete in the UK with a sweatshop in China, Taiwan or wherever big companies get their gear made. Also be sure that the market is more established (this being a new market, that was no 3 on a quarterly basis, is not enough to establish it, although from next year it will be monthly). And I do believe the organiser has to take some heat, as my husband thought that the stalls outside, selling second hand furniture and clothing, made it look like a flea market. When all the stalls inside, were selling beautiful handmade goods (ceramincs, lampshades, cushions, leather bags etc). Plus, more advertising needs to be around for it, posters etc.

So going forward I'm not sure I'd do another market again, or I'd have to think about the time of year etc etc. I did think being quite close to Xmas, it could have been good.

However on the upside, I did meet some great people, notably Sally Elford, who did gorgeous handmade screen prints and was a lovely person to boot!

I may investigate etsy!!! As I do enjoy making things and although I can't earn a lot of money doing this, I would like to be able to carry on and do it!

Anyway, my next project, is another lovely handbag, from Bend the Rules Sewing (Although I did pack my sewng machine away last night!!) and I intend to write up a doorstop tutorial.

Wednesday, 24 October 2007


Monday, 22 October 2007


I've less than a week to the market and I'm so behind, so please don't expect much from me, blogging, this week.

See you all next week, with tales of good fortune or total disaster!!!

Thursday, 18 October 2007

Shopping Bag

I'm trying my best to be greener, although not always easy. I'm trying to eliminate plastic bags from the Supermarket shop, but would find it harder to say no to a bag if I was buying clothes.

Anyway, I've started makng shopper bags, this one will go to the market, but I'm going to be knocking up a few more. It is half from my House Proud book and half from my Bend the Rules Sewing, you could say I've blended the 2 patterns together!

Wednesday, 17 October 2007


How many bobbins does one machinist need? And do you, like me, end up with many different coloured threads on your bobbins?
Sorry about the ropey photo!

Sunday, 14 October 2007

Charming Handbag

I made this handbag from Amy Karol's "Bend the Rules Sewing" book yesterday, and I'm pleased with the result. The only thing was she did not give measurements for the straps or the casing, and the instructions could have been clearer, ie which order to place all the fabric, so it took me a while to figure it all out, but luckily it all worked out.

I have also been making scented heart shaped pouches (filled with a very pungent lavendar) for a market that I'm doing on the 27th October. I have so much still to make. This is my first time doing something like this, so I don't know how much stock I'll need. I plan on making my stall looking bright and attractive, it's certainly going to smell nice!

Wednesday, 3 October 2007

Silk Flower

I made this flower from Cynthia Treen's book, Last MInute Fabric Gifts, which is really well written and has not let me down! It can be used as a brooch or a hair clip, I just need to decide which and put the suitable backing on!

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Today I made the Child's Smock or Smocket (as it has a pocket) from The Mayfly's Pattern. I was really pleased with how it came out, I used a plain linen fabric for the front, with a pocket made out of corduroy, in a heart shape, and a pink lining fabric. It as incredibly quick to make as well. My only comment is to maybe make the ties just a few centimentres longer, but as I haven't tried it out on my niece yet, I can't be sure if that really is needed. I am pleased anyway, and I am going to do a larger one for her older sister, who is nearly 4.

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Tuesday, 2 October 2007

Doorstop Tutorial

Here is my tutorial for making a doorstop. I have come to the conclusion that a 10cm x 15 cm box shape is sufficient for a reasonably heavy door. This will hold just under 2kg of rice. I would advise you to test what weight your door needs to hold it open. I just used bags of rice - nothing fancy! Although maybe you could add in some dried Lavender for a nice smell!

Fabric measuring 45cm x 40cm

Fabric for handle (2) 5.5 cm x 15cm
2kg Rice
Medium Size Freezer Bag
1x 10cm Zip

Step 1
Draw out your template on tracing paper (it is a t/ cross shape) or direct onto the material with tailors chalk. I use a 2.5cm seam allowance. So the total width is 45cm x 40cm height. I use the offcut of fabric to make a handle. The fabric for the handle is 5.5cm x 15cm.

Step 2

Cut out the doorstop and the fabric.

I then take the time to iron/press all the seams, this makes it easier to match them up.

Step 3

Make the handle. This needs to be 3.5cm wide, once made. Sew the 2 pieces of fabric (5.5cm x 15cm) together, right sides together, with a 1 cm seam allowance. Your parallel rows of stitches will be 3.5cm apart. DO NOT SEW THE NARROW ENDS. Turn inside out, press.

Step 4

Sew the bottom of the doorstop first. With right sides together, sew in the zip (you don't actually have to have a zip, but as rice is perishable (after quite a few years) you might want the ease of being able to get it out quickly). It is tricky to line up everything correctly, so do take your time.
Only sew the zip for 10cms (the length of the bottom of the doorstop), for ease of cutting etc. Just stitch to the fabric inside the seam lines. (I hope this makes sense)
Now sew the other side
Now, match up a side at at time (working inside out, with the right sides together) to form the rectangular box shape, working from the bottom (where the zip is) upwards.

Step 5
Before you sew up the top, you'll want to insert the handle.

I attach the handle to the top of the material, it should be placed against the right side of the material. Pin in place. Do measure this, to put it in the middle. It should be 3.25cm away from each side. (Remember to ignore the seam, to get the accurate place). Do give a bit of give in the handle, just enough so you can pick it up with your hand.

Step 6
OPEN THE ZIP (so you can turn it inside out)
Sew the top sides together, I tend to sew the handle a few times, to make sure it's well in place.

Step 7
Turn inside out

Step 8
Insert a plastic "freezer/ sandwich" bag into the doorstop. Fill the plastic bag with rice/ beans. Do up zip.

Step 9
Put by your door.

This is the first time I've ever written up instructions for anything that I have designed myself. Depending on comments/ feedback/ plus my own critical feelings I will probably add to this or clarify points to make it better. Please post a comment if it's not working, so I can help you out!