27 December 2015

Fused Glass Decorations

How beautiful are these? I have my very talented friend Stevie Davies to thank for letting me and my mum loose In her workshop and showing us how to create these. Stevie is a very talented fused glass artist in Derby and you can find out more about her work on her website here (and her work is much prettier than these samples made by myself and my mum). She also teaches workshops around the East Midlands and I would definitely recommend, she's a brilliant teacher.

My mum has always been drawn to fused glass Christmas decorations so for a long time I have been meaning to sort a time for us to go and do this as a surprise for her. I think she was pleased and I think her decorations are amazing. I'm not going to get technical and pretend I know what I'm talking about, I will leave that to the experts, but here is a brief description of what we made. The first image is a fused glass tree my mum made which is mounted onto a clear glass candle holder. The tree is made of two layers of clear glass with some thin green coloured glass in between the layers and the snow effect added To the top to give a 3D effect. Her second piece, the star, is made of 5 triangle pieces which have been overlapped when fired to create the shape. These are only one layer of glass and my mum has added tiny pieces of coloured glass to the top which has melted and fused together and created this lovely mottled star decoration. I think she has a natural flair for this don't you! 

I made three pieces, the first tree has had some small chunks of glass added in between layers to make the tree bauble effect and a small wire star on the top which has fused into the glass to make the hanging which I really like. The second tree was made using very thin rods of glass cut and layered into the tree shape on top of another piece of clear glass. I love the bumpy feeling of this one and the colours! Not very festive, but I absolutely love this colour combo. 

Finally I managed to make my own star which has small thin pieces of coloured glass on top to create the colours and graduates from purple through blue to white snowy tips. 

I really enjoyed doing this, it was really interesting to learn how the glass works with each other in order to create the different finishes and this is something completely different to what I make normally. If you have never tried doing fused glass I really recommend finding a workshop near you (or booking one with Stevie) as its loads of fun and really easy to make something truly beautiful. You don't have to just make decorations for Christmas but for all year round, they would look lovely hanging in a window where the light can really show them off. 

Do you have a favourite type of hand made decoration, or make any of your own? I'm always looking for new ideas to try and inspiration so let me know. 


13 December 2015

Handmade Halloween Baby Pumpkin King Outfit

How adorable is this little pumpkin king! Honestly I don't know what more I can say about this other than that I am so so proud of this little tiny Jack Skellington costume.

Master Fox hosted his very own Halloween party this year for all his little buddies that he met and local playgroups. Of course it was really just an excuse to get them all dressed up in daft outfits for our own amusement. A lot of costumes for baby boys though are all either Skelleton or pumpkin onesies. Cute yes, but very samey so I wanted him to have something unique which is when I came up with the idea to dress him as the pumpkin king.

I ordered some fabric from eBay which was black with a white stripe. Sadly it turned up and was a bit thin for suiting and very shiny but we worked around this with some interfacing and lining fabrics to make it more stable, comfortable and warmer. 

The jacket is taken from this free pattern which I found on the Internet. The pattern was really simple to follow and did make up a great little jacket. Master Fox is however a little on the small side and whilst I wasn't stingy on the seams it did come up a little tight in the tummy for him at 11 months so do bear that in mind. I obviously added the tails which I made freehand and I think these worked really well. 

The trousers are a pattern from my other favourite new kiddie pattern place which is Ottobre magazine, a quarterly from Finland which that you can get easily shipped to the UK. This one is from 3/2015 and has a lovely little dart in the pants seat. This pattern is also really nice and easy on the overlocker and is aimed at jersey fabrics. If you are interested in sewing clothes for children 0- teen then you really should take a look. Browsing the PDFs of all their back issues is so difficult I can never decide which one I would want to get next!

So I hope you agree that this little outfit (and of course Master Fox) is super cute! Obviously this isn't a licensed product and I will not be reproducing this item for sale but it is a great example that if you have something in mind there is a way to achieve it, you just have to put your mind to it. Making this outfit really did give me a sense of accomplishment in my sewing skills and has given me more confidence to try and make some other new things for him, and hopefully myself again in the not too distant future. 

29 November 2015

Baby Makes: The first of many (Starry Romper)

I have been doing so much baby sewing lately and am LOVING it! Honestly I'm completely obsessed by it. If any of you out there are parents yourselves you will know that once you have a little one in your life all your attentions and money go straight into them and you care so much less about your own needs and appearance. Your little ones will be dressed in the cutest little outfits whilst you are still trying to rock a pair of leggings and oversized tshirt which you have owned for 4 years!! It's therefore no surprise that my sewing has taken the same turn and I'm now happily turning out gorgeous little outfits for Master Fox. Not to mention the fact I need to make the most of the fact I'm currently allowed to choose what he wears which won't last forever.

After seeng one of my friends babies in an adorable little handmade cotton romper I did some internetting and discovered Puperita patterns on Etsy and I love them. I bought the starry romper pattern as I wanted to make a pair of jersey dungarees and this looked like the perfect fit for this type of fabric. I specifically wanted to make them from jersey as it's such a comfortable and giving fabric for a baby. These little things are still developing, and at the time of making these in particular he was just trying to find his hands and feet and start crawling and so I didn't want to make something too restrictive for him. Not to mention jersey is soft on the skin, warm and most importantly washes well, perfect for little babies. I bought this particular jersey on eBay from a seller in Germany (how come wider Europe has much better fabric than we do here in the uk!). 

The pattern was so simple to follow and really quick to sew up using both the sewing machine and overlocker and it turned out simply amazing I am really proud of it. I did try and do some pattern matching but didn't realise there were 2 monkey repeats and lined the fabric up to the wrong ones!! Oh well we need to make these mistakes to learn don't we! I should also say you don't need to use an overlocker to make these and the pattern works just as well with cottons as it does jersey but you will need some stretch fabric for the cuffs. 

I hope you love this little romper as much as I do, I think the pocket is one of my favourite bits of the pattern, I keep putting things in there for him ;). I also decided to make a matching dribble bib using one of his existing bibs as a template. I think it's an excellent use of some of the left over fabric and now he can be coordinated!!

Right well that's it for this post but don't worry I have so many more to show so watch this space for more rompers, some joggers and most importantly his amazing handmade Halloween outfit which I am particularly proud of!! X

2 October 2015

Sea Shell Decorations

Love collecting shells when you visit the beach? Me too! but what to do with them when you get home?

We recently went on a little family holiday (Master Fox's first trip to the seaside) and whilst there I obviously collected a few pretty shells, because you just cant resist it right? The problem is I never get enough to fill a bowl or vase or anything like that, I just have a cute little handful to take home and remind me of lazy sunny days on the beach (or windy overcast days if your holiday was a bit like ours).

I immediately set upon pinterest to see if I could get some inspiration on what to do with them, as its such a waste to just throw them in a bowl or drawer. I came across this delightful little post from Hoppin' Up which sets them into air dry clay. Whats great is this is a fun little project for kids (admittedly older than Master Fox, but that just means more fun for me!).

The idea is so simple, cut the air dry clay into shapes, press the shells in and let it dry out. Then you can hang them up as a lovely little reminder of your hollibobs. I hope you like mine, though my shells weren't as interesting as the ones used in the actual tutorial.

Whilst I did them I also made this adorable little plaque for one of Master Fox's friends who is turning one. A baby's first birthday is so special I think its great to have a little keepsake like this to remember it by as only happens once.

3 May 2015

Fabric Peg Noticeboard Tutorial - Upcycle and old picture frame

A couple of weeks ago me and my great friend over at Socksy Beasts went out for a little visit to a local craft shop. We were told it was a bit chaotic but crikey it was like an Aladdin's cave for craft!! The problem is I went in without a project in mind and so I was just a bit overwhelmed by the amount of stuff, my mind went completely blank so I walked away with absolutely nothing. That's a bit strange for me but I really am trying to make more room not fill it! Mrs Socksy however didn't find the whole thing as overwhelming and managed to come away with a nice little haul.

So a little dissapointed and uninspired we left and as we drove round the corner we spotted a little kitcsh cafe. As Master Fox needed a feed, and we are never a pair to pass up a cuppa we stopped in while we decided what to do next. Amongst all the second hand kitsch furniture and oddments in this little cafe was a very cute fox themed fabric peg noticeboard. It was lovely and I very nearly bought it, until my age old habit kicked in and we decided we could do it ourselves for less.

So like the looneys we are we finished up our cuppas and cake and went straight back to the craft shop for supplies.

Because it was so simple and fun I wanted to share with you how I went about making one of these up. This is a great little project for a horrible rainy bank holiday like this one! Its also a perfect project for one of your favourite fat quarters.

  • An old wooden picture frame the size you want your finished board to be. You can get these really cheap in charity shops
  • Some fabric which is just bigger then the frame, a fat quarter will usually suffice unless you have a really big frame. 
  • Wool or twine
  • Some mini wooden pegs - you can pick these up from most craft or card making suppliers
  • Wadding
  • Chalk effect furniture paint - we picked up a tester pot of Craig and Ball for a couple of pounds in the local B&Q diy store.
  • Scissors
  • Glue Gun
First of all remove all the glass and backing from your picture frame. You dont need the glass front so you can discard this or find another use for it (like a pallet for your lino printing inks). You can then paint up your frame with the chalk paint, just be warned it might need a couple of coats.

Whilst your frame is drying using the back of the picture frame cut your fabric so that it is at least 3 inches wider on all sides.

 Next cut out some wadding to the size of the back of the frame. I used a couple of layers as I had very thin wadding left over from a baby quilt. If you are using thicker wadding you will only need one layer. Use your own judgement, the more you use the more cushion like the board will be.

Now we are going to stick it all together Place the fabric right side down, then the wadding on top of that and finally the back of the picture frame so the hooks are facing outwards. Using the glue gun put a good amount of glue along one edge of the frame back and fold the fabric over sticking it down well.

Repeat with all four sides until the back of your frame looks like the above.

Next you need to fold under the corners which are sticking up and glue them down with a blob from the glue gun. It should look something like the above. I'll admit its not very neat, I am sure you can make a much better go of this but no one is going to see the back once its hung on the wall. Maybe think about the neatness if you are going to give it as a gift though ;)

Then once you flip it over you should have a lovely soft cushioned square like the picture above. See it looks lovely from the front. Do think about pattern placement etc when you are placing your fabric.

Cut a couple of lengths of wool or twine, wrap it all the way around the back of the frame and tie a good knot round the back to secure. You can then add the pegs on and pop the whole thing into your nicely dried frame.

Now you have a lovely new noticeboard to keep reminders/pictures/ keepsakes or business cards. It looks lovely on my craft room wall, it's almost too pretty to hand things one ;) If you make one of these do send me a link, I would love to see it.


25 April 2015

Felt Dinosaur

This is Mick the Felty Dinosaur! Hello Mick. 

Mick is another pattern which I got from the second issue of Simply Sewing magazine. As soon as I saw this pattern in the mag I just new it had to be done. I mean it appeals to all my sewing whims. Plushie, cute, quick, perfect for the boy. He just had to get made. 

He is made from pure wool felt. When I saw the pattern I knew I had the perfect piece of material to make him out of. The body is a hand felted piece of fabric in teal and green, I hear you, its like it was made for this project. I've had it in my craft room for years and you know when you can't bear to use something because you know the perfect project will come along... well here's proof it does in the end. Because its hand felted real wool as well it gives it a gorgeous texture, its almost scaly just like a real dino!

The pattern was really easy. Its thankfully mostly machine sewn which just a few sections of the feet being hand sewing, perfect! The instructions were really clear and easy to follow. I also love the way the feet are sewn on so that it makes the dino stand up.

The Simply Sewing magazine, whilst not always being chocca full of things I would make, has at least always had really clear instructions, and with the pattern pieces provided this makes things a lot easier. I hate it when you have to upscale pattern pieces, I mean we don't all have access to a copier do we, and the idea of doing it on graph paper is just too much of a chore. I have had issue 3 through the door now, and this one is a little lacking in projects which interest me personally, but I suppose you can't please everyone all the time. It comes with a lovely felt pack, but again i'm not inspired by the projects included so need to rack my brains for a different one.

Anyway. I think I'm rambling!! I hope you like Mick (he was named by Mr Fox, don't ask me why Mick). I would definitely suggest giving him a go if you have a copy of the mag. If not, get googling for some felt dinosaur sewing patterns of your own!


17 April 2015

Blue Baby Moss Print Hoodie

Baby knitting is so awesome! Its so much easier to finish something when its this tiny, and i'll be honest i'm not brilliant at finishing my knitting projects. Admittedly, with a little baby it still takes a while, but at least its a finishable project. I mean it seems daft to put something this small on you hibernating knitting pile when a few extra evenings will see it finished.

This little hoodie is a pattern I got from Ravelry called Manda Ruth which can also be purchased from the designers website. I really like the all over moss print which adds a lovely bit of texture, and of course the cute little hood.

This is the first time I have ever knitted anything 'in the round' (its a cardi, so esentially not round but you get the point). Knitting in the round is where you knit the whole body, front and back, as one piece so there are no seams to be sewn. You then pick up the arms and knit them in the round on dpns so again no seams. This is not a very British way of sewing, and although the technique itself wasn't difficult I think I actually prefer to knit all the pieces and sew them together at the end. I'm not brilliant at picking up and knitting, but at least this project gave me some much needed practice. 

The pattern itself was very straight forward to follow and it knitted up really quick being an aran weight hoodie. I would definitely recommend this pattern, and I might make up another one for when hes a bit older.

I did make a couple of boo boos here and there, but nothing too noticeable I hope, and certainly not something which is going to bother me (or Master Fox).

I chose this really lovely blue Debbie Bliss Cashmerino Aran which I got from Love Knitting. It was meant to be a superman blue, as Mr Fox is a huge fan of blue, but it is ever so slightly off. The colour and feel of this wool is so gorgeous though, its so fresh and bright.

The sad thing about this pattern is that it has come up really small :(. Master Fox is a little boy and is still in 0-3 month clothes despite being 4 months now (how is he already 4 months old!?!). I chose to knit this in the 6 month size and as you can see from the picture below its a little on the snug side, especially the hood. So if you do decide to knit this double check your gauge and maybe knit the next next size up to be on the safe side. Its ok when the hood is down though, and we will get a few wears out of it as its the perfect cover up for these spring days.


3 April 2015

Fabric Storage Basket

Well, its Good Friday so I hope you are all planning to cram as much chocolate into your cake holes as possible over the next few days... I know I am!

So issue 2 of the new Simply Sewing Magazine turned up last week (it was a bit over a month and I eagerly anticipated its arrival!). It has a lot of cute little patterns in it, my favourites being the stuffed felt dinosaur which I am totally going to make, this fabric basket and a cute pintucked top. The pintucked top is however very similar to the free Colette sorbetto pattern though it does make a cute little variation and has some very nice dipped hems.

What I think I like most about this magazine though it that it contains loads of simple, yet lovely small makes. Things that don't require a huge amount of fabric or time and whats so perfect about this is that its totally a way of me sewing stuff out of the massive amounts of fabric I already have lying around doing nothing.

Now don't get me wrong, I am terrible at using fabric. I buy its because its pretty and then I fear using it for making something which turns out to be a huge failure, or something which I don't actually like. Well, time to get over that fear, I need to get using some of this stuff I'm hording!.

So this months issue came with a little floral tea towel and some patterns on how to best use the tea towel to make it into something else. These included a roll bag, a lunchbox, a pinny or cutlery roll. They are all very nice ideas but do you know what, non of them are practical to my life (and the idea here is to destash, not create stuff I don't need). So instead of making one of those I used the pattern in the magazine for this fabric storage basket and turned this tea towel into storage instead. 

The pattern called for some lining fabric as well so I used this teal and black fat quarter which I bought about 2 years ago from ebay. Its a lovely colour match and makes a very nice lining in my opinion. The nice thing about this basket is its also reversible. 

The pattern was really easy to follow, just a few straight lines and folds here and there and you have a basket. I did omit the interfacing as the free tea towel was pretty sturdy, it is a little floppy though so you might want to use it anyway. It doesn't fall over though so is perfectly servicable. Its now sat in the living room keeping my current knitting project in order instead of being strewn all over the side! perfect.


Have you been reading the new sewing mag? do you have any favourite patterns, or makes from it you want to show off? Please feel free to leave a linky below.

Happy Easter :)

27 March 2015

Tulle Bow Tutorial

So I did a quick pinterest the other day to see if I could find a tutorial on making little tulle bows which could be used as hair clips/brooches/sewn onto headbands etc and to my surprise there was a distinct lack of them. I decided that the internet deserved one so here you go... your very welcome :)

You will need: 
  • Some tulle or net fabric. I used some 6inch tulle which came on a roll which was left over from our wedding decorations (like this). You will need one piece approx 55inch by 6inch (enough to wrap around a place mat about 6 times) and one piece which is just 3inch by 6inch.
  • A regular coffee mug mat
  • Scissors
  • Matching thread and needle
  • A Pin

 Using your coffee mug mat, starting at the back put the tulle about 2/3 of the way across making sure it crosses the middle of the mat. 

Wrap the tulle all the way around the mat until you have 6 layers of tulle covering the front. Making sure once again that the end of the tulle is 2/3 of the way across the back and passing over the center. 

Ensure you have a hold of all the layers and carefully slide the mat out from the middle.

 Pop a pin into the center through all layers to hold it together (the folds want to be to the side and the open edges to the top/bottom). 

Using a basic running stitch and matching thread sew through all layers from one open end to the other. 

Pull the thread to gather the bow in the center and wrap the thread around a couple of times. Secure with a little stitched knot. 

Taking your small piece of tulle, and starting at the back wrap it around the middle of the bow 2 or 3 times. Trim any excess making sure the end is at the back and hidden in the middle. 

Using your needle and tread sew a few stitches to secure the loose end down so that it doesn't unravel.

Finally using your scissors you need to carefully cut through the folded edges at the end of the bows so that they poof out nicely. Do this part carefully and trim any stray bits which might end up sticking out. 

And there you have a pretty finished tulle bow. You can pop a bobby pin through the end and wear it in your hair, a brooch for your coat or it can be sewn onto a garment for a bit of upcycling glamour.

I would love to see what you decide to use these for, so if you use this tutorial to make one for yourself leave me a comment with your picture or instagram me @thediyfox


13 March 2015

I found time to make a whole dress!

Woo Hoo! I got my sew on! So, as I wrote about in the last couple of posts, I decided to bite the bullet and instead of waiting for all the maternity weight to drop off I jumped in and made a dress which fits my current size. Why did I do it? simply put its because the weight is not shifting as fast as I would like and I'm fed up of having nothing to wear that I fit into! Too small for maternity and too big for my regular wardrobe. I wanted something a bit nicer to wear that wasn't a pair of leggings and an oversized cardi for a change.

As part of my recent fabric splurge I bought this very cheap striped cotton sateen from ebay (it was like £3.50 a meter or something stupid) so thought sod it, at that price it doesn't matter if I don't get that much wear out of it. 

The dress is a hack of the top part of Cynthia Rowley 1873 (which was free from a magazine) and the skirt from the belladone dress by Deer and Doe. I didn't like the skirt that was part of the Cynthia Rowley pattern but because of the stripes I needed something with a pleat rather than a circle skirt to keep them straight. The belladone skirt pattern worked perfectly. I had to do a bit of playing with the darts and pleats to get them to sit in line with the bodice but I'm really pleased with how they came out. It also includes a cheeky pocket which I love (even if it does accentuate the hip).

I REALLY tried with this dress to get the stripes to match across all pieces, which I wasn't far off, but I could hear May Martin in my head the whole time I was doing this telling me that it's a shame that they are slightly off. The perfectionist in me really wanted to pull the thing apart and re-sew the seam a fraction of an inch to get them perfect. Thankfully the realist in me took over and made me realise that it had already taken me three weeks to do about four hours of sewing so it just wasn't a sensible idea. I think for the meantime I just have to accept that having something wearable is the end goal, not something which is a thing of perfection. Also, sleepless nights are not very conducive to perfect sewing!  


I have learnt a bit about fitting to my new post pregnancy shape as well. Needless to say, my bust has grown, and so has my waist. So taking these measurements (and the finished bust size on the pattern) I cut out my new size, which graded from a 12 in the bust to a 14 in the waist (this scares my pre-size 6 waisted self) and stitched it up without any bust adjustment as it didn't imply I needed any with this new bigger size. Well, turns out, just because my bust and waist are bigger, it doesn't mean my back has grown, turns out my back and shoulders are pretty much the same as they were before. Next time I need to do a bust adjustment and grade from a smaller size in the back and shoulders to a bigger size at the bottom. The result of this is that the neck and shoulder lines are a bit baggy, but that's nothing a good cardigan (which I never don't wear anyway) won't hide. Thankfully the bust darts are sitting ok on this.

So despite the things that bug me about this dress, there are a few things I am really proud of. Firstly, I did my first bit of topstitching to make the facing stay to the inside. That stuff actually works! Who knew, and it was very neat. I am really pleased with the movement of the pleats and darts to get them to line up, the side seams aren't perfect, but they are pretty darn close, and finally, the pockets. I love that these babies are done with a different fabric, it just takes away from the dominant stripe a bit. You can probably guess I did this on purpose because the thought of trying to match the stripe across the pocket as well just made my brain hurt, but I do like the outcome. The fabric was some of the free polka dot cotton which came free with the first issue of the new Simply Sewing Mag. Thankfully I still have enough left to make the headband pattern from the insert.

So in the end I have made myself a cute little dress which I can wear out and about, despite a few flaws and problems along the way. I hope you like it and can forgive me my little sewing faux pahs, at the end of the day, I have decided I don't care ;) 

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