Friday, 27 January 2012

Smaller Bags

These were really popular before Christmas - in fact I sold out of them so I have been busy replenishing my stock. They are all small oilcloth bags, just the right size to put your packed lunch in or keys and purse etc for the school run, they sell for £15 each (+ postage) - let me know if you are interested in any of them and I can do pictures of the lining etc. I will try and get these listed on Folksy soon.

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Sewing oilcloth

When I first started sewing with oilcloth, I was really wary - I read loads about ways to make it easy so assumed it was really hard, but in fact I've been really pleased with how easy it is to do. I thought I would share my tips of what works for me.

This is my machine - it is a Janome DXL603.
I've never tried oilcloth on anything else so obviously everything relates to this machine. Despite hints and tips I have read, I've found I don't need to adjust tension or any other adjustment. When making bags the vast majority of the time I am sewing on the reverse of the fabric (the only time I sew on the shiny side is the handles or for topstitching) so it sews no problem. The only time it gets harder is if you are sewing on the 'shiny' side of the fabric - in this case you need to use a Teflon foot, otherwise the foot will stick to the fabric as you go along - I got quite a cheap foot from Ebay but you can get them most places, when sewing on the reverse then a normal foot works ok. If the shiny side of the fabric is running over the base of the machine,then it can stick there too. When I am top-stitching on oilcloth, I find that it looks better and sews well if I make the stitches a little longer - I have them at 3.5 on my machine.

I have seen a suggestion of using masking tape to fasten a piece of oilcloth shiny side down to the base so the fabric will just roll over the machine

However on my machine I can remove the front piece so I just take that off when sewing oilcloth to prevent sticking.

I always use a denim or Leather needle when sewing oilcloth, if you have to take any stitching out of oilcloth, it will leave a 'scar' on the fabric so I try to avoid it as much as possible. For this reason you shouldn't use pins - when cutting out the fabric I use Pattern weights

When I First started sewing oilcloth I used these binder clips to hold the fabric as I sewed, they work great and if that is what you have around will do the job, however I did find them quite bulky so I wanted to try something else.

I now use these Clover Wonder Clips and they are much better, there only seems to be a couple of places in the UK which sell them (I had them posted from the States) but they were well worth it. 
I have also heard of people using paper clips which I have never tried.

Thursday, 19 January 2012

Resolved to sew 2012

Very Berry handmade are having an amazing fabric giveaway on the Blog - I ahve already done my sewing resolutions here - I've already failed on the first - found Cath Kidston fabric in the sale and it was a shame not to buy it !

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Another bag and Kindle cases

 I've had the sewing machine going again - I have slightly adapted the design of this bag slightly and instead of putting the magnetic snap inside, I have put it on a tab, decorated with a button which is covered with the same fabric as the bag lining, I have also added a little 'hand made' charm

I have also made some oilcloth Kindle covers - the plain one is just lined with cotton fabric, the floral one is also lined with cotton fabric an has been padded with wadding to give some more protection. I am also going to try lining them with wool felt to give padding and protection, once I decide which one seems best and can make a few more and list them on Folksy

Saturday, 14 January 2012

Oilcloth fabrics and how to recognise them

As you can see from all my bags, I love sewing with oilcloth - when I first started I really struggled to find the differance between all the types of fabric - lots of descriptions but no pictures so I thought I would do my own pictures - I get most of my oilcloth from Norfolk textiles, they have a great selection.

The pink spotty fabric is a PVC/Vinyl fabric, the Blue spot is oilcloth and the one with the leaves is a matt oilcloth - this looks the same on the back as the usual oilcloth but just has a matt sheen instead of the usual shiny finish

This is a normal oilcloth - as you can see the back has quite a course finish but has a definate fabric weave effect

I think (feel free to correct me !) this is a laminated cotton - I bought it from Laura Ashley, it is sold as PVC Cotton fabric, it still has the plastic feel but is a little softer and drapes a little more. The reverse of the fabric still has a definate weave but it is much finer - not quite as fine as a quilting cotton but softer than the usual oilcloth.

This is a much cheaper fabric - it is more of a Vinyl/PVC it is a softer fabric and the rear doesn't have a weave, it is more of a synthetic back. This fabric is great for tablecloths as it drapes well but it isn't as strong as oilcloth. I have used it to make a bag but found that the handles quickly started to come off - sewing the seam basically perforated the fabric so it started to tear across the seam. I think it would still make little cases but its not so good for bag handles !

Hope this all helps and please feel free to let me know any mistakes - I've just figured this all out myself, although I have seen this Fabric Selector book on Amazon which is now on my Wish List !

Wednesday, 11 January 2012


I've been busy checking sites for craft items - there is loads of different ones around and it is really hard to decide which one is best, so I have decided to try a few and see how it goes. I have listed on ETSYFOLKSY and MISI. Go and have a look around, they are all great websites with some amazing products on them.

Would love to hear any feedback on the sites

Tuesday, 10 January 2012


I was reading this article today why-so-expensive, which although it relates to cake making I think is relevant to all sectors of the craft market.
Although I try to get the best value fabric I can, to get good quality fabric you need to pay for it. I also find it really hard to determine how much time I spend making a bag - with some designs I can make a few in an evening (I have a day job too, so tend to measure sewing time in evenings!) BUT that doesn't take into account the many evenings I have spent playing with the pattern and making rough versions to get the shape and size right.
I never know how much to account for my time in pricing - most of the time it is probably below minimum wage.

So how do you work out how much to charge for items ?

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Fabric and phone cases

I've been playing with designs - I made and sold quite a few of these iphone cases before Christmas. I have always just made them with oilcloth, lined with cotton, as I felt the oilcloth was tough enough to withstand lots of knocks. However today I have tried to make them with some padding - I just used quilting wadding, but I feel they may be a bit too bulky - what do you think, would you prefer padded or not ?

The postman came yesterday with a lovely bundle of fabric - have lots of plans for it but just enjoying looking at it for now - always takes a little while to cut into new fabric particularly ones I really love.

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Wednesday, 4 January 2012

The postman has been !

Looks like everything getting back to nomal today, the postman has been with goodies !

New feet for my sewing machine, I have a Teflon foot for sewing oilcloth but its looking a bit battered so I wanted to try a roller foot and see if it is any better, will let you know how I get on.

I also got some lovely princess ribbon from a seller on facebook - Really Cute Ribbon, she has a really good selection, I plan to turn these beauty's into hairclip tidies - watch this space !

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Monday, 2 January 2012

Pattern weights and headphone case

I found a lovely tutorial on Five Green Acres Blog, for pattern weights which I have been meaning to make for a while - I was getting fed up of balancing pin boxes and assorted random objects on the pattern when I'm cutting out  - so I finally got the machine out and made this little collection. I filled them with some (unused !) fish tank gravel - I've used this in doorstops before and found it worked really well, as it is coated so there is no dust from. Looking forward to using these, but have ordered a new presser foot to sew oilcloth on the machine, so once that arrives I'll be away.

I loved the shape of these so much, I decided to make a another version, this time I made it in oilcloth and put a zip at the bottom.

Just the right size for a pair of earbud headphones, the zip isn't perfect but I'm sure I'll make another one to improve on it.
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Sunday, 1 January 2012

Happy new year

Hope everyone had a lovely New year. I have spent today taking down most of the Christmas decorations down - the tree is still up as it still looks quite pretty but it's days are numbered !

Am now going to tackle my sewing rom - everything got tidied away just before Christmas due to visitors etc.

I have a few crafty new year resolutions.
Need to have a sort out of my fabric, I am determined to use some of my fabric stash before going to buy any more - don't know how long this one will last though !
Am also hoping to teach myself crochet, I have my grandmothers crochet hooks and have always wanted to learn, maybe this is the year.
Finally I'm going to try and do some more craft fairs and general bag selling, maybe even trying to find a shop which will sell my bags - will keep you updated as I go along with this one.

Anyway off to get the machine out - have a few plans for this afternoon, want to try and make some pattern weights.