Saturday, 28 February 2009

back soon ...

The laptop finally died. I was hoping we could revive it, but the computer repair people have told me point blank that it's not worth it. That means saving up for a new laptop, so in the meantime, I'm having to take a break from blogging etc. I'm hoping to be back soon, if by some miracle I manage to scrape together some cash. By then I will have developed an impressive list of unread posts in my google reader - it already stands at 327!

See you all soon!

Friday, 13 February 2009

Jewellery roll tutorial

I've finally got around to making up another jewellery roll to write that tutorial. It's a nice easy project and doesn't require too much fabric - just 3 contrasting fat quarters. I'd love to know if you make one, so please do share any links to photographs. And just drop me a line if anything seems unclear or if you spot a mistake! Click on any of the photos to enlarge.

3 fat quarters of co-ordinating cotton prints for the exterior, lining and pocket linings of your jewellery roll
2 7 inch zips
Grosgrain ribbon for the ties
1/2 yard of fusible fleece
1/2 yard medium weight fusible interfacing
1/2 yard heavy sew-in interfacing (a soft variety like Vilene's heavy sew-in rather than a stiff interfacing)
1 snap fastener
A small amount of stuffing for the ring holder
1 spool of co-ordinating thread

1 Cut out the following pieces

Cut 1 rectangle 12.5 inches by 9.5 inches from the heavy sew-in interfacing.

Cut 2 lengths of grosgrain ribbon approx 16 inches long each.

For the exterior of the jewellery roll cut 1 rectangle 12.5 inches tall by 9.5 inches wide from the cotton print and 1 from fusible fleece.

For the lining cut 1 rectangle 12.5 inches tall by 9.5 inches wide and 1 from medium weight fusible interfacing.

For the zipped pocket linings cut 4 rectangles 6 inches tall by 8.5 inches wide from the fabric and the medium weight fusible interfacing.

Cut 1 rectangle of the same fabric as the pocket linings 8.5 inches by 2.5 inches.

Fuse the interfacing to the fabrics following the manufacturer's directions.

2 Make the opening for the zipped pockets

Take the lining fabric piece and position two of the rectangles of pocket lining fabric centrally on top, right sides facing. Mark out a central rectangle 7 inches wide by 1/2 inch tall on each of the pocket linings approximately 1/2 inch from the top of each, as shown. Stitch around the rectangles you have marked.

Next, you will need to cut an opening for the zipper teeth. Mark the line as shown and then cut the opening, taking care not to cut through the stitching.

Turn the pocket linings through to the back of the lining through the opening you have just cut. Press the pocket linings so that you end up with a neat rectangular opening in the fabrics - you will need a bit of steam and plenty of patience, but should end up with something looking like this:

3 Insert the zip and finish the pockets

With the lining (grey fabric) facing up, place the zips in position behind the openings you have made and pin at each end to hold in place so that the zipper teeth are positioned centrally within the opening. With your zipper foot attached, sew around each of the rectangular openings in turn, as close to the edge as possible. Remove the pins as you sew.

Having inserted both the zips, flip the lining piece over so that you have the two pocket linings facing up, then place the additional 2 pocket lining pieces on top of each, right sides facing, and pin in place. Stitch all the way around the edge of each of the pocket linings in turn with a seam allowance of approximately 3/8 inch. Be careful to fold the lining fabric out of the way as you stitch so that you are sewing the pocket linings together only, and not sewing through the lining fabric. (the image shows the first pocket stitched, and the second pinned in place prior to stitching).

4 Make the ring holder

Fold the 8.5 x 2.5 inch rectangle of fabric in half widthways with right sides together. Stitch a 1/4 inch seam around the top and long side edge as shown. Clip the corner. Turn the fabric using a turning tool so that right sides face out.

Stitch a rectangle of stitching at the closed end of the ring holder piece (the snap fastener will be positioned here) then stuff the ring holder right up to the line of stitching leaving around an inch of fabric free at the other end.

Turn the unfinished ends of the ring holder to the inside then attach the ring holder piece to the lining fabric around an inch in from the edge and halfway between the two zipped pockets making a rectangle of stitches for strength. Be careful to flip the pocket linings out of the way at the back of the piece so that you don't catch them in the stitching.

Attach the two sides of the snap to the lining fabric and the ring holder piece so that the ring holder will lie straight across the width of the lining piece when attached (I find a good clout with a rolling pin works well in the absence of a hammer).

Press the lining piece again at this point as it will have been manhandled quite a lot with the making of the pockets and fixing the snaps. Then position the two lengths of ribbon, right sides facing centrally at the bottom of the lining piece (I've looped the ribbon behind the ring holder to keep it out of the way of the stitching). You should end up with something like this:

5 Assemble the jewellery roll exterior and lining

Layer up the following pieces: heavy sew-in interfacing, lining fabric right side facing up (so that the pocket lining pieces are directly on top of the heavy sew-in interfacing), exterior fabric with the wrong side up, The ribbon will be trapped between the right sides of the lining and exterior fabrics. Pin in place so that nothing shifts then sew a 1/4 inch seam all the way around the rectangle, rounding the corners if desired, leaving a turning gap of 5 inches or so on one side. Reinforce the spot where the ribbon is attached by sewing backwards and forwards over it. I used a walking foot, which eliminates any puckering when sewing through so many layers.

Trim any excess fabric from the seam allowance then turn right side out.

Press the jewellery roll again, then make a line of topstitching all the way around using a walking foot if you have one (this will close the turning gap you left) as close to the edge of the jewellery roll as possible.

Ta-da - you're finished and should have something that looks like this:

I hope all this makes sense - just let me know if not.
Happy sewing!

Thursday, 12 February 2009


Mary of Knit and Sew City Girl kindly tagged me with this blogging award - thank you, Mary! The rules are as follows:

1) put the award on your blog
2) put a link on your blog to the blogger who gave you the award
3) nominate 5 other bloggers
4) leave a comment on their blog notifying them
5) list 5 things you are addicted to

Okey dokey, I tag Julia of Primrose Corner, AnnieB of Overmilkwood, Tess of Driftwood, JuliaB of Marmaladekiss and Joanna of Things Hand Made.

So all that remains is for me to list 5 addictions (please don't judge me :D)

1) Potatoes
I seriously love potatoes. Always have. I remember everyone laughing at me in French lessons aged 12 when we had to go around the class naming our favourite food and I said 'j'aime les pommes de terre'. Favourite ways with potatoes: dauphinoise, tartiflette, roast, mashed, chipped, sauteed. Definitely no Atkins diet for me!

2) Music
I tend to get a bit obsessed with listening to the same tracks over and over. Currently in my top 5 playlist are:
Joy Division - Love will tear us apart, Hard-Fi - Going out tonight, Kaiser Chiefs - Never miss a beat, The Smiths - This charming man, Steve Harley and Cockney Rebel - Come up and see me,

3) Books
I built up a serious book buying habit over the couple of years when I worked at Waterstone's book store - that was a great staff discount. I have a wishlist as long as my arm which features a lot of sewing/knitting books!

4) Double deckers
Not the vehicular variety, but the chocolate bars. My favourite. Can't get enough of them. Chocolate bar genius.

5) Tea
I drink a lot of tea. The more builderish the better - really strong and just a splash of milk. I do like herbal teas and speciality teas too, but it's builders' tea that I really crave.

Back tomorrow with that jewellery roll tutorial - almost done!

Sunday, 8 February 2009

snowy interlude

early morning view of the snow

We had a funny old week last week with about 6 inches of snow which lasted for much of the week. The transport system has been thrown into chaos, and as a result we had a whole 3 days off school. The children have been beside themselves with excitement making snowmen, throwing snowballs and tromping about in their wellies.

Some members of the household are thinking ahead to Spring though.

This is Tulip, my daughter's doll, modelling her new frock (pattern from the latest issue of Marie Claire Idées). Tulip has been such a big hit with my little girl since she unwrapped her on her 5th birthday. She's the perfect size for her to be able to dress and undress easily, and undoubtedly a more attainable role model than the traditional Barbie (no pneumatic blonde genes in our family!). The added bonus is that the Marie Claire Idées magazines have patterns for dolls' clothes to fit these Corolle Les Chéries dolls, so Tulip will be able to expand her wardrobe each season. My girl has requested shoes to match the dress next, so I'm going to have to tackle sewing on a very tiny scale!

I've a day of sewing planned tomorrow, assuming the children are back to school and playgroup, so I should hopefully have that jewellery roll tutorial I promised ready to post this week. That means a stack of ironing for me this evening - what fun!
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