Sock Monkeys! At last!

Sock monkeys. Don’t thank me, thank Wikihow!

Pinky and Wonky

I made Wonky first, overstuffed him and made his head all, well, wonky. Then I made Pinky, understuffed and also slightly wonky. Then I made two much nicer ones for my nephew. They’re called Spinky and Sponky. Shut up, Sophia, they are!

Sophie took the picture, I think, or possibly I did. Anyway, you can tell it’s Sophie’s camera because there’s actual image quality.


Straw hat to bonnet

A fairly simple one this…  I once went on holiday and bought a straw hat…

Helen in a summer hat

It was ok, but it kept flying off into the wind.  And after that holiday, to be honest, I never wore it again.  Such is the fate of £3 impulse buys from market stalls on sunny days.

But as it happens, I’m now (co-)directing Pirates of Penzance.  And from having been a chorus member in Pirates before, I can testify as to how a simple bonnet can make you feel all Victorian. And a friend (thanks Lauren) suggested adapting straw hats.

So I bent the brim at the back of the hat and sewed it in place, cutting off the excess straw to give room for my head. At the advice of Sophie (thanks Sophs) I sewed ribbon around the brim and left two ends at the bottom to tie it with. And I ended up with this:

Bonnet with green ribbon

And as you can see, it makes one look, er, quite adorable 🙂 Now, does anyone know where I can get at least six more for cheap?

How beautiful!

Helen wearing home-adapted bonnet.

Too, too much fun.

Helen in purple skirt.

It’s Helen again, with another skirt!  So I made some little tutu skirts for work (no pictures, sorry!) and decided they were awesome, and surprisingly quick to make.  You just need netting (one rectangular piece about twice your waist measurement wide, and as long as you like, or two rectangular pieces about your waist measurement wide and as long as you like) and elastic about 5-10mm thick (about your waist measurement).  Sew the short sides of the rectangle(s) together and then fold over the top about 20mm (2cm) and sew about 15mm in so that you make a tube all around the top.  Then cut a small hole where the back will be, and thread the elastic all the way round, gathering as you go, until both ends are sticking out the hole.  You can then tie these so they are nice and snug (you can sew the ends of the elastic too, but make sure you try it on first, because you don’t want it to be too loose).

Netting doesn’t need hemming as it doesn’t fray, but I’d recommend using zig-zag stitch while sewing it as I found my thread kept breaking when I sewed straight!

If you want a skirt that is a bit less revealing (I’d obviouslyrecommend wearing a netting skirt over trousers, leggings or very opaque tights), you can use opaque material underneath.

I decided that I wanted a tutu-style skirt, and because I wanted to just wear it over tights, I made it about 50cm long, and used purple satin-like material to line it. I sewed zigzag stitch on the edges of the satiny material to stop it fraying but I didn’t bother hemming it, I thought it looked all right without! Now I want to make some fairy wings, and go about either granting wishes or causing mischief. Preferably the latter.

Single Irish Chain

Sophia and sister with quilt

There are a limited number of quilts than one can really use. No really, there is a limit! In the interests of not overloading myself with soft furnishings I decided I should probably start making quilts for other people sooner rather than later. I asked around to see who amongst my family might be interested in receiving a quilt. My mother is definitely out, she has a very minimalist style and will almost certainly never want anything patchwork. My sister luckily was keen.

I didn’t plan quite far enough ahead for Christmas. I would have had loads of time to make a complicated quilt if it wasn’t for the fact that I was leaving for the Copenhagen protests two weeks before Christmas. Nine patch time!

Her bedroom at uni is all in black and white so I thought I should make something that fitted into the monochrome theme. Two packs of charm patches and one white sheet later, we have a quilt.

My family were impressed and she seems to like it which is the important thing.

Sister with the quilt

Please note the newspaper chains at the top of the image, made at the request of my mother.

Pointless tutorial. Hooded sock gloves.

Guten Tag! Es ist Helen!

Did you know that the German for glove is Handschuh, literally Hand-shoe?

Did you care?

So I couldn’t find my gloves and decided that I wanted to make a funky new pair from stripy socks.

A pair of socks

Aren’t they lovely? And only 99p. Thank goodness for that.

Sock on hand

Put the sock onto your hand, so the elasticated bit is around your wrist. Use the stripes to measure where the fingers will start. In this case, after the second black stripe up.

Ends of sock

So this is the bottom bit of your glove. You can put it on your hand…

End of sock on hand

…But it won’t do you much good as yet. Or later, either, but you might as well continue…

Sew the cut edges of the sock with zigzag stitch on the sewing machine…

Sock-ends on sewing machine.

Except really don’t. It’ll stretch the fabric and won’t be at all attractive, see?

Sock with bad hemming, and hole for thumb.

And of course, cut the hole for the thumb. You can finish this on a sewing machine too, it doesn’t matter ’cause you’ve already ruined it.

Then cut the toe off to serve as a hood, hem it (don’t use the machine, or like me, you’ll end up having to sew a dart in it) and sew it to the back of the glove, like so…

Sock glove with hood.

This means you can have your fingers free, but put it up when cold, like this:

Hood up on the sock glove!

It’s a bit like a convertible, but without the sex appeal. Make sure you have the seam on the toe near your fingernails, not your fingertips, as it’s quite annoying if you get it the wrong way round, especially if you only do this on one glove. Trust me, I should know.

Now finally sew up the finger holes, so that the top open bit of the glove sits snugly (“like a glove”) on your fingers rather than flapping around unattractively. Don’t do this while wearing the glove. I did, but I don’t want to be sued because you unintentionally stabbed yourself. Or intentionally.

Now they may be called "gloves"

Finally, put the hood up.

I sense an obvious flaw here...

And you know, so long as you don’t mind cold thumbs, there you have an attractive pair of hooded sock gloves.

I, luckily, found my old pair of gloves and have been wearing them instead.

Button skirt!

Skirt with Buttons

Home-made skirt, with buttons.

Hiya folks, it’s Helen. It was Christmas recently (you know, in case you didn’t notice). I took my sewing machine down south with me and decided to sew a skirt there, however I didn’t quite measure it right. Sigh. Luckily thanks to Bombay Stores practically giving the stuff away, I had loads more material, so I made another one. I didn’t buy more buttons though. Those were expensive!

My Grandma got me a cunning little gadget for making bias binding, I used it instead of hemming on the top and the bottom. On reflection, I probably should have used some thinner fabric for this as it would’ve creased better and probably would have been neater, but I was caught up in the moment and decided to use what I had instead. Things happen that way when I’m sewing 🙂

Here it is on me, Sophia took the picture and I wanted to show off all the buttons so I tucked my top in, which I don’t usually as, as you can see, it makes my boobs look enormous!

Helen wearing skirt with buttons

Me, in the skirt with buttons on it.

Projects Round Up

So, I’m just back from my holiday (I took part in this year’s Camp for Climate Action in London) and am in that end-of-the-holidays-back-to-school-new-start kinda mood. I spent yesterday cleaning and tidying and baking but I’m still in a really domestic mood so it looks like today’s activities will include sewing. There are quite a few projects that I’m working on at the moment and I think it would be helpful for me to list them in an effort to force myself to complete some old projects before starting new ones.


Black and White Mod Sampler

Both Sophs and I are making a version of Oh Fransson’s Mod Sampler. Sophs is pastel colours with white sashing whereas mine is black and white with grey sashing. My first attempt at machine quilting was a bit of a distaster (luckily the recipient really likes things to look ‘handmade’, aka a bit shonky) so I’m a bit worried about ruining this quilt. The flimsies look great but I’ve been putting off sandwiching and quilting. Stippling is off the cards so I’m currently choosing between a grid pattern and ‘random’ all-over curved lines. I really need to buy some batting and just get on with it.

Metallic String Quilt

Ashley over at Film in the Fridge has been making a lot of versions of her Kaleidoscope string quilt and I can really understand why. I’m a fair way through my take on it using a jelly roll with gold metallics on various colours and patterns, with a dark beigey, creamy colour as the constant thread running through. In all of hers the pattern runs right to the edge but I think I’m going to have to give mine a border in order to get it to thr right size for my bed. I have 2 blocks left to do, then sewing the clocks together, adding the border and piecing the back before I even think about quilting it.

Christmas Block Swap

Yay, our first ever block swap. Sophs and I are really excited about it (Hellie didn’t have a chance to get her blocks done before she left on holiday. I can’t wait to see what we get sent. I’m planning on making some more blocks myself as we only signed up for a six block swap. Here’s what some people’s blocks are looking like. I’m trying to decide what to make with our bloacks when we get them.

Other craft projects

Rag rug place mats

I’ve posted about these before. They’re intended as a Christmas present so I’ve got a while yet to finish them. So far I’ve done two blue and one black, or maybe the other way around. Either way I need to make one more.

Handquilted trivets

These just need binding so it’s a little ridiculous that I haven’t finished them yet.

Beach Houses patchwork picture

I took these to Belgium and to London but I’m still only halfway through. The project was created for the express purpose of entertaining myself on long journeys but I think I’m gonna have to start sewing in front of the tv to get this one done before Christmas.