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 ;) 


7 March 2015

Leather and Lace!

So, we are nearly at the final of the 3rd season of the great British sewing bee. I have loved this season so far and I can't wait to see what they need to make in the final episode. I was a bit sad though to see Deborah leave, she made some great fabric choices in her makes. I am going to have to make sure I keep an eye on what she gets up too after the bee (you can find her blog here: http://dfabricate.blogspot.co.uk/)
I loved the theme of this week! Leather and lace have to be my favourite of all wardrobe fabrics ;) it's just a shame they aren't easier to sew with. I have done a couple of small leather accessories but never a whole outfit (can you imagine the cost!!). It did however make me have a little look back at some of the lace projects I have made which I am still super proud of, especially the zinnia skirt, I can't wait to fit into this again! 

Take a look at a couple of the other leather and lace projects I've managed over the last year: 

The good news is I have actually nearly finished my dress, so hopefully I can take advantage of this weeks lovely weather and get the pictures taken ready to show off for you next week. 

I'm also hoping to make a couple of book purchases, and hopefully issue 2 of the new simply sewing mag will land on my doorstep next week so there will be plenty to keep me inspired and entertained. 

Whatever you are up to this week I hope you enjoy it. 
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