Friday, 27 May 2016

How to Make a Cape, Just Like the Great British Sewing Bee

Are you hooked on watching The Great British Sewing Bee?  Of course you are! I loved this weeks makes and I think I could actually have done a reasonable job with the projects in the show. Given twice the time and without the nosey cameras and the lovely Patrick asking questions in the middle of a tricky stitchy moment, that is. 
Firstly, I am cape-woman.  I have made a fair few capes in my time. I wrote about my very first cape making adventure in this post featuring a Little Red Riding Hood style cape for my Curly Girl. Absolutely my favourite cape which is sadly too small for her now. It took a couple of days of solid cutting out and sewing as it was probably the first proper sewing pattern I had followed. The cape was from a lovely book, Oliver and S, Little Things to Sew

Oooh, and there was this super Easy Frozen Dress Up Anna Cape that I somehow managed to squeeze out of one metre of fabric; amazing what some furry trim and pom poms can do for an otherwise basic cape.  

The cape I have made most often is a Harry Potter style black cape.  A really easy cape that makes a great gift if you get hold of a Hogwarts house badge from t'internet and line the cape with the corresponding house colours. The pattern for both of these capes is based on a very simple pattern in the book, Growing Up Sew Liberated.

You can find the Maisie cape PDF pattern for sale on Etsy here (image from My Childhood Treasures. 

A basic cape is a really quick sew when you need a super easy fancy dress costume or something for World Book Day.  Harry Potter, Frozen, Super Hero, Fairy, Princess, Little Red etc can easily be done with a simple cape.  From sparkly shiny fabric to florals and velvet, there are options for both boys and girls. There are so many free tutorials out there; just Google 'free template cape tutorial' and you'll be inundated.  You can really bling up your cape with a contrasting lining or add some appliqué

I'm really keen to make myself a grown up wool cape with sleeves. I like the whole cape coat thing, like in this Lemon Pie Cape Coat from Waffle Patterns (image from Waffle Patterns, Etsy).  I'd like something tweedy and country looking though. That would be very Sherlock!

Great British Sewing Bee Book
I couldn't wait to get the new GBSB Book and guess what?  It has a cape pattern and tutorial in it, hurrah!  Review of the book, From Stitch to Style, to follow.

If you missed the cape-tastic blog posts featured in this post, you can find them here...

Riding Hood Cape

Frozen Anna Cape

Harry Potter Cape

TTFN. Galx

Linking up with Craft Frenzy Friday!

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Swoon! Making a Bucket Bag

My latest make is the Bonnie Bucket Bag from Swoon Patterns.  I've made quite a few bags over the last few years and mostly these have been self drafted tote bags or simple messenger type bags. This is the first time I've purchased a PDF bag pattern and on the whole it's been a great make.  I stumbled upon Swoon Patterns, as you do, whilst having a potter on Pinterest.  I love the design of pretty much all the bag patterns from Swoon and the good news is that there are also some great free bag patterns too.  

I didn't want to use use my most precious vintage barkcloth fabrics for my first go at this pattern so I picked out some simple and sturdy medium weight cottons. I used a Melody Miller favourite as my accent fabric. I just love the retro telephones. I confess that I was a bit slapdash in finishing the bag handle, as you might see from the photo, but I was desperate to use it!

There were a few firsts for me in making the Bonnie Bag; I've never made a welt pocket before and I'm pretty pleased with how this turned out, although it would have been a lot neater, if I'd been concentrating!

Bag Making Geekery
I used a couple of new-to-me bag making products for this bag. I discovered Bobbin Girl is a great place to find special bag making hardware and interfacings. The bag pattern I used requires that you use Pellon Shape Flex 101 - this is a lovely 100% woven cotton that adds strength to bags but is lovely and drapey.  You don't get that sort of crinkled crisp packet look to your bag that you get when you use normal interfacings, so it's much much better. What I like about Bobbin Girl is that they work specifically with Swoon Patterns and tell you the Vilene equivalent to the Pellon products suggested in Swoon patterns, which are not widely available in the UK. Saying that, you can get Pellon Shape Flex from Amazon; it's shipped from the US but delivery is free and you get 2 yards for a bargain-tastic price.  I received mine about 2 weeks after ordering although I really can't see much difference between the Vilene and the Pellon flexible interfacing. This heavy interfacing also gave my bag a lovely firm and shapely bottom.....ooh, err, missus! Sorry, had to be done.

I really love this version of the Bonnie Bag (image taken from Swoon website).  This shows how good the bag can look by mixing different textured fabrics and also, guess what, another favourite of mine, using Mustang fabric from Cotton and Steel.  I have the pink version of this fabric and so it would be rude not to make a Bonnie bag with some.  Now I've had my test run, I feel brave enough to cut up some of my barkcloth hoard for my second Bonnie.

Yep, no surprise that I love the Bonnie bag and I found the instructions easy to follow.  Very often bag making instructions can be confusing but I think Swoon have done a great job with their simple diagrams and there is also a tutorial for the bag in case you need some reassurance.  Any mistakes I made were due to not reading the instructions properly in the first place, doh! The only thing I would do different is to make the handle a smidge longer.  

Finally, Swoon give permission for you to sell the bags that you make from their patterns which is fab.  If you are thinking of buying a Swoon pattern, please click the affiliate link on my sidebar or here. I thank you kindly. 

TTFN. Galx 

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