Home sewing


Toddler t-shirts four ways

I’ve mentioned this before, but I really object to some of the crazy prices shops charge for kids clothing and as much as I love to splash out on the odd bit of handmade loveliness, I try and avoid lining big coporations pockets by paying £20 for a toddler t-shirt that cost about £2 to manufacture, especially when I can pick up a multi-pack of four for £10.50 and then spend a couple of weeks happily experimenting with ways to customise them.

Pinterest is full of tutorials that show you how to use simple stuff that you may already have at home to turn plain tees into something special, but do the methods actually work? I decided to use my last multi-pack to try some of the ideas and to try some simple ones of my own and report back on the success or failures of the ideas…

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How to make applique birthday t-shirts

I first came across the idea of applique birthday t-shirts about 8 years ago. Since then I’ve made a few for friends and family in different designs and then when Theo started primary school I decided they would be a really easy gift for every kids birthday party he was invited to (and minimal thinking for me!)

I’m always slightly nervous about giving handmade gifts, but the feedback so far has been really good. Theo gets involved by picking the fabrics and I do the sewing and then attach a small tag which explains we’ve customised the t-shirt together.

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Customising and sewing for a four month-old

Last weekend I had a rare chance to walk round Chichester without children. It was also the first time I’ve tried looking for baby clothes for Alice in actual shops rather than online and I was slightly taken aback by the prices of some of the things I found. I’m convinced this is at least in part because she’s a girl and girl’s clothing is often more appealing and therefore easier to price up.

In the end I came home almost empty handed except for a multi-pack of M&S t-shirts and I got the sewing machine out. It’s not just the cost, I didn’t want to be sucked into fast fashion of dubious quality and provenance. I have a pretty good fabric stash already and most of the stuff she needs is pretty simple to make and customise. Baby clothing only requires a small amount of fabric and a little knowledge and you can knock up a couple of things in an evening.

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A healing quilt

Last month a week before the school holidays started, we received some devastating news. One of my son’s reception classmates had been involved in a freak accident which had left him badly burned and facing a lengthy hospital stay. His father who stepped in to help him was also badly injured.

As soon as news spread in the local community people wanted to help. Fundraising begun immediately to try and help the family in a practical way with the costs of travelling to and from the hospital, but the parents of reception class also felt they wanted to do something to show our support.

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sawtooth star quilt

Today I’m sharing a quilt I completed just before Alice was born, but have only just got round to photographing. November is not the best time of year to photograph anything, least of all quilts, so it’s probably not shown in (literally) the best light, but it’s a long time till spring…

I’ve wanted to make a star quilt almost as long as I have been making quilts, but there is one big problem with star quilts which is that there are SO many ways of doing them. I spent hours browsing Flickr and Pinterest seeing patterns and I’d like them for a bit, then I’d see another and like it more. In the end I settled on the Sawtooth Star block and used the tutorial on Sew Mama Sew.

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