Review of 2016 highlights and lessons

It’s nice to pause and reflect back over the year before looking forward to the new year, so here are my highlights and lessons from 2016:

Highlights

  1. Ceramic buttons!
    I don’t have any plans to continue ceramics at the moment, but a highlight for me has been making ceramic buttons!  So far, I have only used one (which may be part of the reason I have decided to leave ceramics for the moment from my stream of hobbies) but I have plans in the new year to use more of them.
    g62a8534
  2. Free machine embroidery
    Free machine embroidery has increased the use of my sewing machine greatly.  Since taking a 10 week workshop at the beginning of the year, I’ve struggled to stop!  I find it very fun and an easy way to personalise makes without the use of an expensive embroidery machine!
    IMG_20160305_085122
  3. Man Engine Stitch
    Following on from my discovery of free machine embroidery comes my most focused project using the method – The Man Engine stitched.  It took a day – from editing a photo on the computer which I took in St Austell – to stitching the design onto calico.
    IMG_20160811_095417
  4. Instagram
    I hadn’t really used instagram until this year and I have found it a great way to connect with other crafters and keep up to date with designers and artists.
  5. Poppy Playsuit (by Sew Over it)
    The Poppy Playsuit is my favourite make of the year garment wise (just a shame that the UK isn’t ideal weather-wise for it!)
    final playsuit
  6. Upcycled pouffee
    The new cover for the inherited pouffee makes me smile!
    IMG_20160304_081353
  7. Baby showers mobile (from Chloe Owens All Sewn Up)
    Probably the longest and probably the most complicated make of the year!  However, it does look nice now it’s finished (and I should have started it much earlier than I did)
    showers-mobile.jpg
  8. Upcycled t shirt cushions
    Another Christmas gift make to be shortlisted are the t shirt cushions.  They came out much better than expected and it has been great to get them out of my stash!
    cushions_tshirts.jpg

Lessons

  1. Sewing with knit fabrics
    The main points I learnt were to use stay tape to stop seams stretching too much and to use a walking foot.
    dress
  2. Starting presents much earlier!
    I did learn this lesson a long time ago, but I still struggle to adjust my working pattern accordingly!  A couple of years ago, I made everyone’s gifts well in time for Christmas.  It hasn’t happened again, but it will be something I strive towards in 2017.  While I always argue that I need the deadline looming to be motivated, I am going to try new methods to get that motivation working much earlier to make it less stressful!
  3. Don’t always follow patterns blindly
    I had trouble making the baby showers mobile by Chloe Owens as the fabric glue made it too hard to attach the flowers at the end.  In the end, I had to adapt the pattern anyway.
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Christmas makes 2016

Just a quick post to reflect on some of the makes I have made this year for Christmas!  There are a few which have been good or challenging which I wanted to share.

The upcycled t shirt cushions

My dad suggested that his old Hard Rock cafe tshirts should be transformed into cushions about two years ago but I wasn’t convinced and didn’t do it until this month.  They have come out much better than I expected!  I was worried that they were too faded, but I simply cut out the designs and appliqued them onto calico and created envelope cushions!

 

The 1940s tapestry bag and purse

This is another gift which had been on my mind for years but I had never got round to creating.  However, I finally created it this year, even having time to create the matching purse (from Making Vintage Bags).

bag_purse

Hare bag

I wasn’t intending on making a hare bag this year, but when I clapped eyes on the fabric, I had to make something with it for one of Phill’s relatives who loves hares.  I followed a free pattern online but I was a bit disappointed with the depth of the bag, which I would have preferred to have been a bit deeper, but I added a magnetic clasp to it to make it more like a shoulder bag.  I did find a preferred tote bag pattern but I don’t have a photo of it yet so will write about it another time.

hare_bag

Oscar glasses case

This personalised glasses case was fun to make as well to add to my grandad’s collection of Schnauzer based gifts over the years.

oscar_mobile

Baby Showers Mobile

My biggest challenge was making this mobile for my niece!  I gave my sister the choice of patterns for a baby mobile, and halfway through making this mobile I felt a bit of regret at doing that!  However, it was a great challenge and pushed me much further than the other choices (and it looks much more impressive too)!  I adapted the pattern from Chloe Owens (All Sewn Up) to what I had available, using Christmas tree decorations for the raindrops instead of jewellery chain.  Glittery sequins were attached to the butterflies, which make light bounce off it.

I could not follow the pattern precisely as I could not get a needle through the fabric flowers when assembling as the fabric glue made it too hard.  Instead, the embroidery floss was attached securely either side of the flowers.

I greatly underestimated the many stages to this mobile!  I would recommend starting far in advance to ensure you make this in time to avoid the last minute stresses of making gifts!  Fortunately, my mum helped ensure the clouds were sewn securely and to help with the final construction stage.