Tag Archive | Sewing

New curtains … at last!

IMG_20160417_084349337_HDR [3418]It’s been a while since I had time to blog, but that doesn’t mean that I haven’t been busy knitting … and sewing … along in the background.  There have been quite a few changes here at handmadebysoo towers since Christmas.  Our lovely builders have helped us realise our ambition to convert the ‘other’ barn, the former engine shed, into habitable accommodation and make it part of the house.  They packed up their tools for the final time at the  end of February and since then we’ve been spending every spare moment decorating our new rooms and getting them ready for furniture.  There’s still quite  a long way to go, but finally this weekend one of those new rooms, my husband’s office, is finally being revealed to the light of day.  Whilst Mr handmadebysoo was busy with wiring and cables, I made sure the new curtains were hung.  They are sewn from a remnant of Laura Ashley Gosford in paprika which has been languishing in my stash for a while, but is Mr h’s favourite fabric.  To make the curtains long enough for the window I have extended the remnant with a length of Laura Ashley linen union in olive and a cheeky border of gingham to finish.  There was even enough fabric left over for me to make my first attempt at an applique cushion!

Sew me a skirt

I bought this remnant of printed cotton fabric years ago in a charity shop (Cats Protection League in Maidstone, since you ask!).  It’s been languishing in my stash ever since.  At the beginning of the summer I decided I would finally make myself a new summery skirt.  But then other things, like starting a new job (!) got in the way.  But now I’ve finally finished my skirt and, although it’s not quite summer any more, I wore it for the first time yesterday.  Luckily the rain stayed away and it was quite sunny.  I also got lots of very kind compliments!  The pattern?  Well, I borrowed a waistband from a vintage Simplicity pattern, also in my stash and the rest I’m afraid I just made up as I went along!

Full cotton skirt, gathered at the waist.  Side pockets.  Concealed opening at one pocket.  Button closing waistband.IMGP8633

Pegging out the washing makes my Happy Friday

You know that Spring is really here when you can peg out the washing on the line early in the morning and happily leave it to waft in the blossom-filled breeze all day.  Candle makers may seek to emulate that lovely fresh fragrance of newly-laundered linen, but nothing quite compares with the real thing.

With the warmer weather, what all winter has seemed a bit of a washday chore suddenly becomes a real pleasure.


vintage style peg bag sewn from Laura Ashley rubens fabric by handmadebysoo

Once I’ve finished hanging out the washing I’ll be popping over to http://planetpenny.co.uk/2015/04/23/happy-friday-number-16/ to see what everyone else is up to.



Rainy day sewing

Today was a day for staying indoors and bringing some sunshine into the house with some up-cycled curtains.  I originally made these curtains from Laura Ashley fabric for my daughter’s bedroom in the 1990s.  I have cut them down, re-lined them and added new rufflette tape.  Sewing them transported me back to my daughter’s lovely sunny bedroom when she was a child – the fabric is a little sun-faded in places.  Other damage the curtains had sustained is thanks to her pet rabbit at the time, who was partial to a little nibble on the edges of the fabric.  I’ve incorporated the faded bits and the bunny damage along with all our happy memories in the ‘new’ curtains.  The material is so pretty that I don’t think anyone will mind.  They certainly brighten up my laundry room on such a dreary day.

bunny-damaged curtains

bunny-damaged curtains

sewing new rufflette tape

sewing new rufflette tape

'vintage' Laura Ashley fabric

‘vintage’ Laura Ashley fabric

I couldn’t remember the name of the fabric, but Laura Ashley have very kindly reminded me via Twitter!
Soo @handmadebysoo
@LauraAshleyUK upcycling ‘vintage’ LA curtains, but can’t remember the name of the fabric. Can you remind me, please? pic.twitter.com/43KFVIuuVd – Feb 22

Laura Ashley @LauraAshleyUK

@handmadebysoo I can confirm this was our old ‘Dotty’ fabric and this colour way is named ‘Poppy’. I hope this helps, thank you.

10:06 AM – 23 Feb 15

Happy Friday, happy tacking

Heart tailor tacks

Heart tailor tacks

My happy crafty moment came this week as I was watching The Great British Sewing Bee and spotted contestant Lorna making good old-fashioned tailor tacks.  So glad I’m not the only one still using them!  Can’t wait to see what’s made everyone else smile this week over at Planet Penny.

Happy Friday Button 180px

Happy Friday, Mum

People often ask me when I first started knitting.  The answer is that I can’t really remember a time when I didn’t knit.  But I can remember learning.  It was my Mum who taught me.  Mum knitted all the family’s jumpers and cardigans and was never without her needles and wool whenever she got a moment to sit down.  I was fascinated by the colour and the patterns of her work and asked her to show me how to knit.  I was around seven years old.  So that afternoon, just as she had taught me to read, my Mum taught me another life skill that I have continued to enjoy from that moment on.  It was a revelation.  You could really achieve that much just with two basic stitches?  And when you got to the end of the row – no big mystery!  Just turn around and start knitting again.  Later, Mum taught me to sew, from replacing buttons to full blown dressmaking.  By the time I went to secondary school I was making all my own clothes, so, thanks to Mum, I could choose to study ancient Greek at school instead of taking domestic science.  The last project we worked on together was my wedding dress.  My happy Friday moment came today, unexpectedly, when I was looking through my fabric stash and found a remnant of the cream satin we used.  The dress itself is safely packed away in the loft along with my grandmother’s veil, which Mum and I also both wore on our wedding days.  The feel of the fabric transports me back to the counter of Dickins and Jones in Regent Street, where we finally tracked down the fabric we wanted.  We were both so happy and so relieved.  The dress turned out even better than either of us could have imagined.  Thanks, Mum, for all those happy memories. x

Mum 1935 - 1988 on her wedding day

Mum 1935 – 1988
on her wedding day


Happy Friday Button 180px

The Fenton Knitting Group

So far at the Fenton Knitting Group there has been some heavy-duty cable knitting, a lot of hand sewing and a bit of crochet, and a great deal of nattering!  The cakes we have enjoyed to date have included Victoria sponge, apple cake and raspberry and white chocolate brownie.  If this sounds like a great way to spend a Tuesday evening, why not join us?  Everyone welcome.  You might even get to meet the knitted imp!

The imp relaxes

My 1933 Singer sewing machine

I am indebted to the kind and thoughtful family who donated this beautiful antique, in immaculate condition and full working order, to a charity shop, so that I could come along and buy it, realising a long-held ambition to own one of these hand sewing machines, just like my grandmother used to have.  My 1933 Singer will take pride of place in my sewing room and, I hope, help me with countless sewing projects to come.

1933 Singer model

1933 Singer model