Tuesday, July 13, 2010

New Items Made!

New Purses and Bag:
Above left made from some charity shop material, I've added a button detail.
Above right Alexander Henry Material 'Calaveras'.
Below left 'Paris' Purse made from materials found in a remnants bin at the local market.
Below right 'Strawberries and Cream' shopper bag, to match purse made previously.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Recycling at its Best!

One of my latest creations that is 100% (well I bought the zip so 95%) recycled is this funky little make-up bag.
Made from the same material as the purse in an earlier post, this material is an old 70's bed cover. The make-up bag is lined with a waterproof material, so it can be easily wiped cleaned, this material is an old shower curtain (very well cleaned). If you haven't got an old shower curtain hanging around, just pop down to a big supermarket's home-ware section, where you'll probably find a new shower curtain for a couple of pounds.

The appliqué on the front was made out of scraps of fabric I just have in my scrap-fabric bin at home. A good source of scrap-fabric for your own collection at home is the remnants bin at fabric stores or market stalls. Usually you can pick up a decent size piece for around 50p. All scraps come in useful for things like appliqué.

I just bought a zip for 50p and whipped up this little bag, ideal for a young teen or friend who likes to be different from the crowd.


Sunday, July 4, 2010

How to Look Like a Domestic Goddess!

There are a couple of fabrics I purchased recently that I didn't quite know what to do with. The motifs on them were large and not necessarily appropriate for making into cushions or bags. They were food themed fabrics, that were quite tough wearing. So I decided to combine them with my other love, cooking. The number of times I've baked or cooked something messy and it ends up mostly on my clothes (and I always seem to be wearing white when this happens, when will I learn), inspired me to make an apron.

So I will show you how I made myself a very pretty simple apron with a handy front pocket.

1. I made up my pattern from an old apron of my mums, pinned it on my fabric and cut out.

2. Unfold the cut out piece. Now you must hem the edges. Fold the edge over 0.5cm then turn over again 1cm and pin in place. I like to make sure the edges are symmetrical, so the sides are done first. then the top and bottom of the apron. Sew.

3. When you had cut out the fabric at the beginning, there would of been two scooped out pieces where the arm holes were. Re-use these for the apron pocket by joining them together at the straight edge and then level the bottom as you don't want a pointy bottom pocket.

4. I like to use some really bright bias to edge the top of the pocket. Before that overlock or zig-zag the edge of the pocket.

5. Turn under the overlocked edge and pin the pocket to the front of the apron just below the line of where you will put the apron ties. Sew

6. Now to attach the apron ties. Take some twill tape 1" wide, measure up how much you will need to get over your head comfortably. Double turn over the ends and pin to both sides of the neckline. Sew a square with diagonals through it like we did for the bag but slightly smaller. Measure up how much twill tape you will need to tie around yourself. Double turn over the ends and sew. Cut the length in half, then double turn over the ends and pin to the waistline edge. Sew a square with diagonals again.

7. So there we have the end result. I have also used PVC to make easy clean aprons for the kids. Useful for when they are cooking or painting.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

New Purses by Spirrel Monkey

I've been a busy little monkey and produced these two purses today amongst other things. I am quite pleased with them, and it takes a lot to please me, very critical normally.

I hope you like them too!

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

How I Made a New Bag!

1. Cut out two pieces of the printed fabric 45cm x 40cm and the same measurements in the cotton lining.

2. Pin at the top, the right sides together of the printed fabric and the cotton lining and sew. Sew 1.5cm from the edge of the fabric.

3. Unfold and you will now have one whole piece, do the same for the other cut out pieces of printed and cotton fabric.

4. Pin the right sides together, with the printed fabrics together and the cotton lining together,make sure the two joins also match up as well. Sew along the sides, the top (the top is the printed fabric end) and down the other side as well.

Along the bottom edge (the cotton lining end) sew 3cm from the edge of the fabric, in from both sides. Don't sew all the way across,
you must leave a 14cm gap in the middle so you can pull the bag the right side out after sewing.

5. Pull the bag right side out through the gap you left, and then push the cotton lining down into the inside of the printed section of the bag.

6. The outer printed fabric should come over the top and into the inside by about 1cm. Press to
give a sharp edge. Then make sure the lining is pushed up against the inside and is smooth and taut.

7. Turn the whole bag inside out, so you can get to the bottom of the lining. Slip stitch the cap
with white thread. Then turn back the right way out again. Now for the handles.

8. Take 110cm of Twill Tape, cut in half. Take one half and fold over one end and pin to the inside top of the bag, a little way from the side of the bag. Do the same for the other end on the same side. Sew a rectangle and then sew diagonally through the rectangle. This will give the handle strength. Do the same to the other side with the other half of the tape.

9. The finished Bag! Hopefully that was explain well, it's difficult to actually explain step by step when you just do it automatically with out really thinking. These instructions are for a 42cm x 37cm shopper bag. Enjoy!

Monday, June 28, 2010

New Fabrics from the seaside!!

Here are a couple of fabrics I picked up whilst in sunny Brighton this weekend. Plans are for a couple of purses and a shopper bag of each fabric. Tomorrow a step by step guide on how they are made, that's if I don't melt in the heat first.

Penny placed for an idea of scale.

Much Love

Friday, June 25, 2010

Welcome to the Spirrel Monkey Blog

I have been sewing since I can remember. Some of my earliest memories are of admiring my mother's embroidery work, particularly the rich colours and complex stitch work.

At school when we had embroidery practice, I found it to be one of the most relaxing lessons I had. As I got older the more I wanted learn, I loved fabrics and had a curiosity about how clothes were constructed.

Art and Textiles became my speciality at school, college and eventually university. I've done many different jobs and career ideas in my life so far, but sewing is something that is always there in the background and I always go back to it when I have career breaks.

I have therefore decided to share my passion with others. To show how to make simple items and how to recycle fabrics and components into useful and funky accessories.

I hope give you a guide on how to make items and what new techniques I've learnt along the way. Yes, what I've found is that you are always learning new techniques and tricks to save time and make sewing easier.

The two pictures at the top are a couple of items that I've have made recently. One is a simple coin purse made out of Robert Kaufman Fabric and the second is a fabric flower brooch made from a piece of cotton fabric I found in a remnants bin at a local market and two buttons from my button collection. This is just to show you the type of thing you can expect to see on the Blog in the future.

More updates coming soon, away at the seaside this weekend but this will mean an excellent chance to find some interesting fabrics ready for future Blog commentary.

Night night.