Knickers, model’s own

I recently read this article about a woman called Caroline who has set herself the challenge of wearing charity shop clothes for a whole year. Her project is called Knickers, Model’s Own (in reference to those captions in magazines where they say things like “necklace, model’s own). Over the next year, she is only wearing charity shop clothes from Cancer Research UK, alongside her existing charity shop wardrobe – she’s not buying anything new. This is in homage to her mum who sadly died from cancer last year and used to volunteer in the local CRUK shop. Check out her facebook page here – she posts pictures every day of her outfits, and she has a justgiving fundraising page too.knickers models own CRUK railI think this is such a sweet idea, and she seems to have been drumming up some extra business for her local CRUK store with her own rail of specially selected items (shown above). I love charity shops and always have a nose around to find a bargain. I finally know what shape of clothes suits me, and therefore what to look for, and will always check out the dresses, tops and jeans first. I’ll then move onto skirts and other trousers. A lot of my books and craft stash comes from charity shops too. Here are some of my favourite charity shop purchases!

My mustard yellow jumpers and blazer – I LOVE mustard yellow clothes. They’re so bright and sunny to wear.
mustard yellow jumpersMy stripy dress – pretty much every time I wear this dress, which cost me about £3, I get complemented how polished and put together I look.striped dressBird print dress and jumper – anything with a pattern is good, especially if it is birds! The dress has a kind of robin print to it and the vintage jumper has a sequinned flying bird appliqué.bird print dress and jumperMy elephant print dress – I really love this vintage elephant print dress. The elastic waist has gone though, so I need to do some work on it to make it more wearable again. In the meantime, I have to rely on a belt to take it in a bit.elephant print dressand I’ve also has some great practical items, including a brand new running body warmer and my warm and waterproof Superdry ski coat.

What do you look out for in charity shops?

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Beautiful vintage sewing goodies

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and wishing you a Happy New Year. I just wanted to share with you my Christmas present from my in-laws – a biscuit tin of sewing goodies. Random possibly to the uninitiated, but to me it is absolutely brilliant!
vintage sewing itemsMy favourite bits are the wonderful clock buttons – how cute are they? And it is a full set, so I’m thinking what outfit I can add them to. I also love lovely colours and names of the Sylko threads. The colours are so vibrant, I’m sure modern threads are not so exciting.

I didn’t get chance to make many presents this year, but I did make some calendars for my grandparents, using these blank calendars. I printed off copies of my family and the pets, and used some craft paper, punches and my letter stamps to decorate them. It took ages, as I had to wait for each page to dry, but both sets of grandparents were thrilled, which is all that matters.

How to make a pack a bag

Earlier this year, I was asked if I would like to do a blog post for a new website, Seams and Scissors.  I came up with this packable bag idea, and it was featured in early September.  I thought it was high time it also made an appearance on my own blog.

The idea for my pack away bag came from a really useful bag I was given as a present a few years ago, and I finally got around to trying to replicate it.  It is surprisingly easy, and and doesn’t require masses of equipment. These fold away bags are small enough to bung in your handbag, and very useful when I go to visit my family in Wales (where you have to pay for plastic bags). cocojude pack a bag tutorialIngredients

  • Cotton fabric (a nice, thick good quality one is recommended. I did try version one with thin cotton, and it was a bit of a nightmare. My bag is made from some very retro curtain fabric)
  • Cotton thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Sharp scissors for cutting fabric

Recipe

To make the main body of the bag

  1. Measure and cut a piece of fabric to 44cm by 70cm.
  2. Hem the top edge, fold in half width ways and sew around the bottom and open side. Zig zag the edges for a tidy finish. bag finished edge
  3. To make the straps, cut out two strips of fabric, each measuring 60cm by 9cm.
  4. Fold in half length ways, right sides together, and sew down the length. Turn the right way out and iron flat.
  5. Turn the bag inside out, and sew the straps securely into place, by sewing backwards and forwards a few times.  Make sure they are evenly spaced! sew strap into place

To make the mini pack bag

  1. Cut out two rectangles of fabric – one measuring 13cm by 16cm, and the other one 13cm by 22cm. Hem the top edge of both rectangles. pinned mini bag
  2. Lay the bigger rectangle right side up on your workspace. Fold the hemmed edge to make a 5cm flap.  mini bag ready to sew
  3. Right sides together, lay the smaller rectangle on top. 
  4. Pin everything into place and then sew around both edges and the bottom. Zig zag the edges for neatness. finished mini bag

Assembling the pack a bag

  1. Turn both the big bag and the mini bag inside out. Stitch the bottom of mini bag to the bottom of the big bag. sew mini bag into place
  2. Ta da! Your bag is now finished! To pack it away, all you need to do is stuff the big bag into the mini pack bag. completed bag

Messy scrap patchwork

I don’t think this is what this method is called, but that’s my name for it! I got given a big bag of fabric from a friend of a friend, and it included some pre-cut squares and other little bits of quilting fabric. There is also some other lovely dress fabric which will be the subject of another post… Anyway, I’ve been using the pre-cut pieces and bits from my special tiny scrap draw (I literally don”t throw anything out) to make these patches. They are surprisingly therapeutic and look quite nice all lined up.nessy scrap patchesI suppose my patches are a variation of log cabin quilts, but not as tidy! With most of the patches I’ve done so far, I started with two triangles, and then worked around the square using rectangles to bring the patch to the right size. Being quite untidy and lazy, I trimmed off any excess where the patches were not quite the right size.

messy square patches laid outMy plan is to use them to make a cushion cover for a friend – I’m going to use either some plain linen or pale pink tweed I have in my stash to break up the pattern and to make the backing.

I also want to show you these super-cute fabric buttons my friend gave me for my birthday. Obviously, my button addiction is becoming (in)famous!
fabric covered buttons

Tshirt yarn bag

Ta da!  My tshirt yarn bag has been finished, what do you think? tshirt yarn bagAs you can see, I ended up using ALOT of tshirts, I got about 3 UK treble rows out of each tshirt.  The bag is quite roomy though – the perfect size for a beach bag.  To finish it off, I added one of my last ceramic buttons, this one has a screw pattern on it.  The handle was made from the hemmed edges of the tshirts, which I plaited together, and knotted into place at on the sides of the bag. button fastener on tshirt yarn bagI have a plan to make a smaller purse, and I will be posting a tutorial.  However, I have just had my nails shellac-ed and I don’t want to damage them, and tshirt yarn crochet is very rough on your nails!