We have found ourselves in challenging time! Staying at home, distanced from loved ones, and waiting for a storm to pass...
There is so much positive talk about of coming back together into our communities when all this is over... of street parties and picnics and spending time together in celebration and remembrance, and what better way to focus on that happy outcome than to prepare the party decorations whilst we are all in hibernation!
After all, what is a street party without a few hundred bunting flags!
This is comprehensive tutorial for making bunting - something I run as part of my Back to Basics: beginners sewing course and its a super project for getting your hand back into sewing or for those just starting out! Plus it's brilliant scrap buster for your bits and bobs or up-cycled materials!
You can view the video tutorial below and download the equipment list and pattern shape for FREE from my shop here.
This was made at the beginning of the UK Lockdown in March 2020 and was designed to give us all a positive focus ... Don't forget to tag me in your makes #isewlationbuntingchallenge - I'd love to see what you come up with!
You will need:
Cotton fabric from the outer and lining in a high thread count, high quality cotton, with minimal shrink (less than 5%) or pre-shrunk at 60% before use. 100% cotton twill sateen is ideal for the lining, the kind you line curtains with.
5 - 6mm elastic (6 or 8 cord woven is ideal) - 2 x 20 cm for ear elastics or 1 x 60 cm for head straps
Rouleaux maker or safety pin to thread the elastic
Silcone or other type of toggle
Construction is ever so simple but to help you along I videoed this quick tutorial which talks you through how to use my pattern to make a face covering with / without a filter pocket and with either ear elastics or head straps depending on your preference and length of wearing.
Long term use with ear elastics can cause skin irritation and unless you specifically know you will be wearing for short periods or to go to the hair dresser I would strongly advice the head straps for secure fit and long term comfort!
Good luck and let me know how you get on!
Why not share your face coverings in my Facebook group Kernow Sewcial? We're a lovely supportive and buzzy bunch of sewing enthusiasts.... come and join us! Don't forget to tag me @Starttostitch if you're an insta fan like me :)
Oh and below the tutorial is the small print on face coverings and recommendations for care as well as suppliers for components.
The small print:
A cloth face covering is not PPE. They are not intended for the personal protection of the wearer – they are designed to prevent people who have COVID-19, but might not know it, from spreading it to others. In simple terms, if I wear one I protect you, if you wear one you protect me. Face coverings are not a substitute for social distancing or washing your hands regularly – and they need to complement these behaviours.
Wash your hands or use hand sanitiser before putting it on and after taking it off. Try not to touch your face, or the face covering while you are wearing it. Once removed, make sure you clean any surfaces the face covering has touched. Regular household cleaner works fine. After wearing them store your worn face covering in a plastic bag until you have an opportunity to wash it.
The elastic in this face covering design can be repositioned to make it comfortable for you. You may find that the top elastic sits best over the crown of your head (or hooked above a ponytail if you have one) with the lower elastic sitting around the back of your neck.
To help with fitting on smaller heads, I suggest the use of a toggle which on my face coverings has been attached to the top elastic so that the mask can be tightened securely. I suggest that you remove this before washing to save potential clogging of your washing machine... You can buy theme here
All you need to remove and replace the toggle is a hair pin and a more in depth demo can be found here
Detailed information on the care of cloth face coverings can be found at the American Center for Disease Control here
Ok, so I'm about 5 weeks too late to announce my big plans for 2020 but honestly this year has run away with me already! I've been setting a new group of beginners free on their sewing machines, and making some plans for future classes and courses - too many plans! And not enough time!
Earlier this month I was invited to Mylor Yacht Club to talk to the ladies there about sewing, learning to sew, and the fight against fast fashion, and it was a brilliant place to share my personal objectives for my sewing activity this year...
The slide below from my presentation gives you some stat's as to why it is so important to pay attention to our clothes and textiles buying habits...
In the past I have bought things from Primark and the supermarket chains, as a quick pick me up, or in their sales, because I've fancied a bit fo a wardrobe lift. I have never just thrown clothes away, I always send things to charity, but at least two black bags of stuff go to charity from our house every year, and that is with extremely limited buying ( we are a family of four... ) as I we have more important things to spend on most of the time!
I really got thinking about this towards the end of last year ... Where I live in Cornwall in the UK we are culturally extremely aware of environmental impact, surrounded as we are by sea on three sides, incredible natural landscapes and all living very outdoors lifestyles. We see on a daily basis the impact of plastics and other waste on our beaches. I am so proud to live in a place where every business is making sustained and concerted efforts to improve their environmental foot print, and cluster of villages where I live is home to environmental campaigners and leaders of textile sustainability Surfers Against Sewage and FinisterreUK. I can't escape it!
With a background in fashion design I have always loved clothes, and their ability to shape my mood for a day, but my budget in recent years hasn't allowed me to be much more than vaguely functional in my dress sense, and I really wanted to change that this year, now that the baby producing days are over, and I can start to remember who I was before the girls arrived in my life!
So for me 2020 will be the year of of the memade wardrobe.
I have set myself a rule:
What I have found already is having this rule is really really making me consider what I make - my time is so limited, and so if I'm going to spend time making something, I really have to either want it or NEED it, which in turn is ensuring that I am creating items which will surely have longevity in my wardrobe...
In addition I want to be more environmental in my fabric purchasing - I'm a huge van of viscose, a fabric made as a by product of the wood industry. Its production does use up a lot of water, but it is made from otherwise wasted materials as far as I know. Bamboo is the most sustainable and wonderful fabric ever, but it is expensive!
I'll do a blog post later in the year on more sustainable and environmental fabrics, but for now, I'll stick with using up my stash, buying viscose when I can - and keeping my eyes peeled for bamboo that is an affordable price point for me!
I love a free sewing pattern, and this is no exception!
It's a departure from my usual style, I love the look of swing cropped peplum tops like these but I worry that with breastfeeding boobs, and a mummy tummy it's just entirely the wrong thing for me to attempt wearing.
But, when I found this gorgeous teal double gauze from My Fabrics, I just knew it would become a top like this so I stepped outside of my comfort zone, searched for and found the perfect pattern in the form of the Peppermint Peplum Top and spent a wonderful couple of hours in my studio while Mr S2S took the girls out for a swim so I could sew in peace.
I LOVE this pattern, Its very simple, easy enough for a beginner and a satisfying and quick make. The only thing I did differently from the instructions was stay stitch the curves first as the weave of the muslin I used was so loose, and I think with hindsight I would probably add an inch or two to the length of the main bodice so it is slightly less cropped for this 'approaching 40' mumsy-mum.
The muslin is divine and the colour is gorgeous - but one word of warning, the gold spots melt off with an iron so press on the reverse or through a pressing cloth. This didn't matter for the bias facing but I did lose a fair amount along the way as it was all too much to fiddle with pressing cloths in the time I had available to get it finished before 2020...
I am thrilled with this and really glad I have a length in coral as well to be able to make one for next summers Cornish beach going and hopefully a holiday too.
Have you made this top? How was it for you?
Sewing. pattern cutting, teaching, tea and Jelly Babies!