Electric Piano Cover

A couple of weeks ago, I tried adjusting some t-shirts that were too long for Jez, but it was a bit of a disaster.  The t-shirts had been bought before we moved, and since then we have both managed to loose quite a bit of weight.  Yay!

Unfortunately, this meant that the shortened t-shirts looked ridiculous.  I threw them back in the wardrobe to use the fabric for something else.  I’m now considering deconstructing them and rebuilding them in a smaller size, retaining the neck band if I can.  But that’s for another day.

Today, I completed my first successful sewing project in a long time, and I only started it yesterday.  I had some leftover fabric that I thought would make a good cover for my electric piano.  It came from some Ikea curtains I had shortened for my office.  Up until now I’ve just been using some cheap yellow and white spotted fabric that I impulse bought years ago to keep the dust off my piano.  It often slides off, and is a bit of an eyesore in the music room.

Yesterday, I started taking measurements and working out how to construct the cover.  I wanted to create something that would:

  • be easy to put on and take off,
  • fit around the attached music stand, and
  • not slide off.

Here are my doodlings:

I cut out the pattern pieces last night, although I wasn’t entirely sure how I was going to fasten the cover at the back.  I thought probably with Velcro, which I would have to order, but I thought I’d wait until I got to that bit to work it out.

This morning I started piecing it all together, and didn’t have any problems.  It all went together nicely and fit as I intended.

In the end, after chatting with Jez about it, I decided I would go for a Velcro fastening.  I’ve ordered some which should arrive on Monday.  In the meantime, the cover still does it’s job and I’ve just pinned it together with some fabric clips for now.

I particularly enjoy constructing covers from object measurements.  I’ve had two other examples of this with the Guitar and Bass Amp Covers and the Chair Cover for Cape Beauty, and they came together better than I had expected on both occasions.

It looks like I have the sewing and blogging bug back.  Hooray!

Pink Gingham Cushions

DSC_0036.JPGDue to being busy at work and too tired to do much once I got home, I’ve had a dry spell of sewing.  I’ve had some homemade patchwork cushions hanging around in my sewing cave that I made years ago, and the cats had been using to sleep on when they  watch me working from home.  They were made from all kinds of fabric reclaimed from old clothes, including jersey fabric that I hadn’t stabilised.  I loved them, but they were misshapen and covered in cat hair, so one day I just decided to get rid of the covers and keep the cushions to reuse them.

The cushions hung around nude for a while, before I decided to deal with them and do some stash busting at the same time.  I had some pink gingham fabric that had been around almost as long as the cushions and I thought it would make a good inner cover to refresh the now floppy, sad-looking, naked cushions.  I had every intention of making newer, more interesting cushion covers that could be removed and washed, but I liked the look of these cushions so much when they were finished that I decided to call them finished.  It made a nice quick make and I hoped it would be the beginning of more sewing.
It felt good to start and finish a project in one day.



Stretch Corduroy for the Home (and Van)

Bac2016-07-22 (1)k in June, I got a really good deal on some stretch corduroy fabric at Minerva Fabrics.  I bought 7 metres, without giving any thought to what I might use it for.  It arrived and I immediately regretted it as I stashed it away – it took up loads of space and I had no idea what I’d do with it.  Well, I needn’t have worried…

The first project was a van curtain, using the brown fabric.  In the summer, we bought a new (to us) van, with the main purpose of transporting our band equipment to gigs.  This second-hand van had been kept very clean in the back, and so we have also been using it for autumn picnics (cheese and pickle sandwiches and a flask of tea, snuggled under a blanket in the back, gazing out over the Yorkshire countryside, after a brisk walk through the fallen leaves).  We also have plans to use it for camping when the weather gets better next summer, so I took one the pieces of fabric I bought to make a hefty, light obscuring curtain to go behind the seats.  It worked perfectly, blocking out the van contents from the outside and creating a homely feel inside.

The second project was a set of three duvet bags using the cream with brown squiggles fabric – not to be confused with duvet covers.  We don’t have a spare room with a bed in, as we use our two spare bedrooms for our hobbies.  We have futons we can use in the music room and sewing room, and a sofa bed in our living room, but the spare bedding is stored in heavy duty garden waste bags on top of the wardrobes in our bedroom.  These bags tend to tear when the bedding is removed and when it’s squeezed back in, and also adds an unpleasant plastic smell.  After our last visitors, Jez was squeezing the freshly washed bedding back into one of the bags and it sDSC_0012.JPGplit completely down one side.  He mused that it would be much easier if we had fabric bags that wouldn’t split – could I make some?  Well, the stretch corduroy was just the fabric for the job.  I made up three circular based bags with draw strings to hold covered duvets, pillows and bottom sheets for each of the beds.  They look much more attractive on top of our wardrobes too.

The third project for this versatile fabric is yet to be made up.  I’ll be using it to create a (debatably) wearable toile for the Ginger Jeans pattern – cream cord with olive green
flowers / leaves and bright yellow squiggles, for those crazy days.

(This is another of my back dated posts – I’m hoping to post in a more timely way in future.)

Do you ever buy fabric because it’s a bargain, when you have no idea what you’ll use it for?


Pirate Tote Bag

Bag1Before I started making clothes, I used to make tote bags.  They were a simple design that was easy to repeat and to customise with all kinds of applique, some simpler than others – like my current music book bag, which is a design cut from a favorite worn out t-shirt.  I use this bag to carry around all my ukulele music books, many of them created by my boyfriend (such as ‘Ukulele! – The Strummers Guide‘ available on Lulu and Amazon.  All profits go to Save the Children).  My boyfriend asked if I could make him a manly version of this bag, so he can carry around his books too.

I started with the red twill that was left over from his Monkee’s shirt and added a black and white musical note lining.  I hadn’t mad one of these bags for a while so it took a little longer than it used to, but it was soon complete …then I noticed that the straps were sewn in the wrong way round!   I really do need to take a little more care.

Bag 2Quite understandably, my boyfriend asked if I could turn them around, and while I had the lining detached I was able to add an applique design.  Jez drew a skull and cross bones pattern, which I cut it out of the red twill and sewed onto a square of the musical fabric ready to attach to the bag.

It worked out really well in the end and I have plans to make another bag with a ukulele design on, to hold the books we have for sale.


Red Knit T-Shirt

Red T-ShirtDo you remember the Purple and Green Scribble T-Shirt that I made back in September 2014?  I have finally returned to this pattern and attempted to adjust it to create a more flattering t-shirt.  It might even be something that I’d dare to wear out of the house.

I had some red knit fabric in my stash that I thought I could use for this.  It was a little thinner than I’d have liked, but it was ok for another wearable toile.

I tried on the Purple and Green Scribble T-Shirt and pinned away the gaping at the arm holes and the neck line.  Then I adjusted the pattern pieces to be closer to these shapes and added some extra length.

I quickly whizzed it together with my overlocker and did some double needled hemming on my sewing machine.  Ta da!  I have another t-shirt that will never venture out of the house.  It is better than the previous one, but still not good enough for public display.  The fabric was slippery to sew and the neck line has ended up a bit skewed.

I think I’ve learned my lesson for now.  I should stick with patterns drafted by people who know what they are doing …for now anyway!


Chair Cover for Cape Beauty

One of my very good friends decided to become self-employed earlier this year.  She is an incredibly good beauty therapist and masseuse, and I would recommend Astrid of Cape Beauty to anyone who can get to Selby in North Yorkshire for an appointment.  She has recently moved to new premises and has been busily preparing her treatment room.  One of the items that she has in her room is a comfy chair, but the covering didn’t match the new colour scheme, so I offered to make her a cover.  I took away the old cover and some fabric she had chosen, and got started on the project.

Astrid's ChairI’m not sure why I took the cover without even looking at the chair, but I had to do the best I could just measuring parts of the cover.   It had been made by her grandmother and so I wasn’t going to unpick it.  When it was complete, I dropped it off with Astrid at her home, and promised to make any alterations that might be required – I was very concerned that it would be too small, as she’d told me that the old cover was a very tight fit.  I’d resisted adding in any extra ease to my measurements, just in case, as I didn’t want it to be too loose, but I was beginning to wonder it this was a good move. I was relying on the accuracy of my measurements and precise sewing, and I was incredibly relieved when arrive at work the next morning and sent me this photo…

Phew! Next time I will definitely take measurements from the item of furniture to avoid unnecessary panic, but this time I got away with it.  I was pleased with the end result and, more importantly, so was Astrid.


Patchwork Cushion Covers

Cushion Covers (front)We recently bought a new sofa to replace the one that my mum gave me when I moved into the house nearly four years ago.  It had lasted well considering it was second-hand, but it was beginning to sag.  The new sofa came without cushions, and being purple (the old sofa was red), the cushions we had wouldn’t match.  More practical uses for my sewing hobby – fantastic!

I had previously made some patch work cushions out of old clothes and fabric remnants, which turned out okay, but looked very home-made.  There was some knit fabric among the pattern and I hadn’t used anything to stabilise it.  This meant there were parts of the cushions that had bagged out in strange ways. The cats didn’t seem to mind and found them comfy enough cushions for the office window sill.

Cushion Covers (back)With these latest cushions I decided to use new fabrics and triangular patterns.  I drafted and measured the pieces out, then laid out all of the pieces to figure out the best placement, with some help from my boyfriend.  I had five different patterns.  I decided that I would make the back of the cushions from a single piece of four of the fabrics, and then the fronts would be a patchwork using the four other fabrics not on the back.  That way the four cushions would definitely be a set.

The whole thing went very well, except that they were a bit baggy on the cushions when completed, so I ordered some more cushions and sewed two together for each of the covers.  I decided for simplicity, and to avoid any zips or buttons that might stick out uncomfortably when hugging the cushions, that I would just hand sew to close them up.  It would be easy enough to unpick and re-sew when the covers needed washing.


Purple and Green Scribble T-Shirt

Purple Scribble T-ShirtWhile I was in the mood for night wear, I decided to try copying a pyjama top that I find very comfy and flattering which was starting to wear out.  I had a lovely t-shirt fabric from Abakhan’s in Manchester sitting in my stash, which would be perfect for this pattern.  I was hoping to end up with a t-shirt, that I could throw on with my jeans for a casual look.

I drew around the t-shirt/pyjama top onto some large sheets of tissue paper to create my pattern and then used this to cut out my fabric.  This is where my big mistake happened – no seam allowances!    The main issues were that it was much shorter than I would usually wear a t-shirt, the neck line either gaped at the front or pulled tight as it sat off one shoulder, and there was gaping at the arm holes.  The resulting t-shirt was tighter than intended, which actually improved it, as the original top was just a little too roomy for outside wear.  This is not an item of clothing I would wear out of the house, but it was an interesting experiment in copying clothing and an experience that will hopefully prevent me forgetting seam allowances next time.

I may come back to this pattern in the future and see if I can adjust it to make it more wearable.


Red and White Spotty Kindle Cover

Kindle CoverSince December I’ve been working in Manchester and catching the train from my local station just outside Leeds four days a week.  It’s been a great way to get some more reading into my day and I’ve been making very good use of my kindle.  I do find that my kindle cover (which includes a pull-out light) is a bit bulky and its sturdiness is not really necessary in my work bag.  I thought I’d have a go at making a lighter drawstring cover to simply protect the screen when it’s in my handbag.

Using some of the fabric left over from my red and white spot blouse, and some interfacing to make it a little thicker, I created a flat, lined pouch.  I’d made some draw string bags in the past but never quite figured out how to make a tidy opening for the draw-string.  I’d recently been reading ‘Love at First Stitch’ by Tilly Walnes of Tilly and the Buttons and one of the patterns I was planning on working with next was the Pyjama bottoms.  This had a great method for creating a draw-string channel with a very neat opening, so I used this and I was really pleased with the result.  It has definitely lightened my daily load.


Bathroom Book Tidy

Bathroom TidyFollowing the success of my amp covers, I decided to make a bathroom book tidy using the same fabric re-claimed from the old canvas wardrobe. I wanted to have a space in my bathroom for loo books and puzzle magazines, but there isn’t enough space for a book shelf or small table to put them on. I’d wondered for a while whether I might be able to make something using the over the door towel holder as a frame. So, I took a few measurements, made a couple of sketches and, after some more straight lines of sewing, I’m very happy with the result.

There is only one tweak I’d like to make, and that’s to have attached the tape which holds the top two corners up on a diagonal. It’s only a minor problem and just me being over-critical, as usual, so I’m going to leave it as it is and progress onto some more interesting (and difficult) projects.

Do you ever find you are completely happy with your projects, or is there always something you’d like to change?