Category Archives: Sewing

Sewing Days Together

On my way home today, I thought about all the amazing things I could do with the weekend. Always a slippery slope but I indulged my overactive right-brain anyway. I got so excited that I started the very hour I came home. My sewing shelf was soon emptied onto every available surface as I chose my materials for my first project. In an attempt to curb my enthusiasm and be realistic, I decided to reinforce something I learnt at my friend’s Sewing Sunday event: how to make the ‘Buttercup Bag’.

Stephanie did such a great job hosting us novices in her home last weekend. She even made some delicious berry muffins to top it all off. We all had the pattern and instructions emailed to us in advance but somehow, we ended up needing professional supervision and patient coaching for a variety of sewing problems. Not least how to work the all-important iron. After demonstrating like Martha Stewart, unpicking our hasty stitches and several gentle prods in the right direction, she was able to show us the Magic of the Bag. Turning it right-side out is that wonderful moment, when the seamstress sees her success; “I made that and it looks like it should!” Nothing beats that feeling.

Even though we used the same pattern, our bags were so unique. We had lobsters, a cheerful floral print, cute apples and mine, the black and white creation. I took my bag home with a massive smile on my face, inspired and happy to have met more craftsy ladies.

I like my mustard with some black and white on the side.

I felt a bit more cosy comfort than chic today so I wanted to make something with woolly fabric and a bit cuter i.e. smaller. Downsizing the pattern and snipping away at some fun plaid and tweed I used for my Three Blind Mice, I had autumn in my hands before long.

It even goes with my favourite mustard yellow jacket!

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Local Hero

Shopping locally can often mean fewer pennies in your pocket in exchange for a somewhat soothed conscience and half-bruised tomatoes. Add to that the seemingly futile mantra of reduce, re-use and re-cyle and you’ve got yourself in an eco-whirl that either makes you self-righteous or tatty. I try to find some middle-ground by shopping for seasonal produce even in supermarkets, making things from scratch as much as possible instead of relying on ready-meals and upcycle things in a crafty way whenever I can.

This is the vegetable bounty I picked up for under €10 at the local market on Saturday in a bag that I made from a €3 vinyl tablecloth I got the  previous weekend, featuring some cheery cherries against a bright blue sky . I hope to use the rest to make a waterproof picnic blanket because unless you live in the Savannah, grass-stains are inevitable.

I cut two rectangles of the vinyl, two of some remnant navy canvas and two large squares of cotton lining to make the body of the bag. I changed the grey zip for a red one after I took this picture to make an inside pocket for my phone, cash and keys. To smooth the edges of the handles, I used some binding bias tape and finished everything off with a co-ordinating red thread.

I’ve found it’s perfect for schlepping giant books across town as well, keeping them safe from the rain that seems to strike without notice after a particularly hot day or from a massive flood in your apartment block if you should be so unfortunate. Last Saturday, just after our grocery shopping excursion, we found our neighbour standing in the hallway, barefoot with dripping towels in her hands, looking very worried and apologising for the lack of water in our building because she turned off the mains supply.

It turned out that she had to break into another neighbour’s flat because they were on holiday and found a lake a few inches deep full of hot water. Enter Local Hero aka my husband. Armed with a toolbox and manly know-how, he leapt into action, turning off this tap and the other and soon stopped the leak. A burst valve in summer. Who would’ve thought!

I’m tempted to waterproof everything in sight but I suspect cherry tablecloth may not be my husband’s solution of choice. Do you have any water-disasters to share? Maybe it’s time to bring in the vinyl.

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Something light, please.

I thought summer came to a shuddering halt with the impressive thunderstorm we had over the weekend but it wasn’t to be. Vienna’s darkened sky decided to migrate to England and has me all uncomfortable and fidgety again. Usually, in this sort of weather, an appetite escapes me until I’m right in the middle of something extremely boring. Something a bit mind-numbing like cutting a dress pattern with no end in sight.

It didn’t start off mind-numbing. I was genuinely excited about making this Coffee-date Dress that was featured on a sewing website but soon realised there was more than just cutting involved. Keeping track of which line corresponded to my size was harder than I realised. It turned out that I shouldn’t have taken scissors to this pattern until I had stuck all 25 sheets together as per the creator’s numbering system. Sadly, I didn’t understand this rule in time and am now surrounded by bits of paper that will never make a dress.

Enter Boredom Hunger. I salvaged ten strawberries from a box that will make any biology teacher jealous, washed and cut them, added one perfectly ripe nectarine and as a treat, sprinkled some chopped walnuts on top. It was just the right meal for my over-heating brain. I now needed some non-calorific help for my dying enthusiasm so I turned on “Coco Before Chanel” (don’t tell the boss I watched the whole thing) and by Thursday, you just might see the results.

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