Monday, 29 March 2010

Christmas Presents

My sewing machine came out of retirement in September '09 and was put through its paces in style!  I concentrated on the girls in the family and made each of them a different bag using patterns from Nicole Mallalieu Design and learning all the time. The great thing about Nicole's patterns is that they walk you through every single step with detailed explanations and diagrams - it was really so easy to understand.  The patterns are printed on paper that is far more durable than most, so they can be used over and over. ... and I did just that.

So, what did my folks get for Christmas?  Take a peek:

These three identical bags went to two nieces and a goddaughter.  They were made from the Evening Bag pattern.

This City Bag was a present for one of my sisters-in-law.

I made several Clutch Bags in different fabrics for different people:

And this Sling Bag in a lovely fabric called Mojo was for my other sister-in-law:

Not wishing to leave him out I made my brother-in-law a tie using a Burda pattern and some wonderful Japanese fabric: 

Last but not least, this Origami Bag (my name for it because I couldn't read the Chinese name!) was made as a nightdress case for my niece in Australia using instructions found online:

Very girly!

Having not sewn anything in years, I more than made up for it in the space of just a couple of months.  After a short break for the holidays, I started trying out a few more patterns and thinking about different things to make.

But that's for another post.

The Christmas presents seemed to go down well which was a huge relief on the day!

Sunday, 28 March 2010

In the beginning...

Thirty something years ago growing up in the UK, I had a mother who made most of her own and our clothes, did embroidery (albeit very slowly!) and tatting; a sister who was an aspiring fashion designer (now a printer / artist) and a father who carved beautiful birds out of wood.  There was no excuse for me - I should have been a creative type, but I swear I just didn't have it in me.

Whilst I could sew, it never really interested me; knitting was more my thing and I ran up a few wacky jumpers.  But that was it.  My most ambitious project was my May Ball dress in 1987 ... where I got the wild idea to make a ball dress with a boned corset is beyond me now; but I did and it didn't look half bad.

May Ball, 1987, Aston Uni

After that though my sewing machine gathered dust for about 20 years, moving with us from house to house (or more accurately basement to basement) and only making brief appearances to run up the odd pair of curtains or to mend some jeans.  Probably not what my Mum had in mind when she bought it for me as an 18th birthday present.

That was the status quo until last year when, bored with my life here in Canada, I decided I had more than enough time to try my hand at making some presents for Christmas.  Credit for the initial inspiration goes to someone I knew at Aston and with whom I got back into touch last year via Facebook.  Ady makes handbags for friends on commission and showcases her work in her Facebook photo album ... from there the idea grew and I started collecting bag patterns!  It stayed a big secret until last Christmas when family members and friends alike received their handmade gifts.

I was just a bit nervous ... no-one really knew that I could sew.

Would they like their presents?