Fanciful Frocks and French Fountains

Hi guys! So a good few weeks ago I posted that I purchased a dress pattern and some wonderfully fanciful butterfly fabric from work (check out that post here!). I’d purchased the dress pattern (Newlook 6508) with the intention of getting it sewn in time for my trip to Carcassonne with Jason; after a bit of a last minute sewing frenzy the few days before our flight, I can proudly say that I did indeed achieve my goal!

P1230610.jpg

Here I am trying to look like I am not the most awkward poser ever in front of the fountain in Carcassonne town square. I love the fabric that I made this dress from. It’s a beautiful heavy cotton that sewed like a dream. I had no trouble with it stretching or pulling while I sewed it, and although it was a bit more expensive than I would usually buy, at around £12 per metre, I do feel it was worth it for the overall finish of the dress. I think the skirt falls beautifully. And besides, I only needed two metres.

The bodice is completely lined in a navy polycotton that I purchased for £3.75 per metre. This was great as it meant the dress was thick enough for me to go braless without feeling self-conscious.

P1230618.jpg

The pattern is actually a two piece, where the bodice and skirt are two separate garments that you attach to each other using the six buttons on the waistband. There are also four buttons that go down the back of the bodice. I adore the back detail on this dress, it’s one of the reasons I decided to purchase the pattern. I’m also a sucker for wooden buttons, so I just had to use these little 1/2″ beauties!

P1230615.jpg

In short, I’m really rather pleased with how this dress turned out. It was my first time inserting an invisible zip- which was a nightmare without an actual invisible zipper foot!– but I actually don’t think the finished garment looked too messy!

I will definitely be using this patten again to make a few more dresses in different fabrics, and I’m especially excited now that I know the skirt isn’t attached to the top! I look forward to making some more skirts too as I adore the pleats.

Have you sewn anything recently? Have you had a go at sewing your own clothes? Let me know how it went!

Best wishes,

Maddie x

 

Homemade Bunting DIY- renter friendly decor!

Handmade bunting makes a really unique and beautiful addition to any home. Great for renters, this bunting can be stuck up with blu tac!

Hi guys! Today’s post is my DIY bunting. I LOVE bunting. Seriously, love the stuff. I’ve got it in my bedroom, the kitchen, the garden, on the wall, in the window… you get the idea.

I think bunting is a great, cheap way of adding character to any space. I love the vintage look and feel of bunting, and it’s ability to transform a room. For me, it creates a festive and homely atmosphere- plus its renter friendly! I use blu tac when I’m at uni to stick bunting up on my walls to help make my room feel like home.

P1230260

Working in a fabric shop, I often get asked for suggestions on easy sewing projects for beginners, and I always respond with bunting. It’s a really simple but rewarding DIY, perfect for people who are just getting to grips with a sewing machine.

If you fancy giving it a go yourself, find my step by step instructions below!

You will need (for a 2m length of bunting) : 

  • Assorted fabric. The bunting featured in this post was made using five different fabrics; use what you have in or purchase quarter of a metre lengths of each. This will give you more than enough fabric to produce two metres of bunting. 
  • 2.5m of Bias Binding or ribbon.
  • A sewing machine.
  • Matching thread.
  • Fabric Scissors.
  • Greaseproof paper, card or similar to cut a template out of.P1230233

I purchase all of my fabric from The Buttonhole, my place of work. They offer a great selection and also international delivery on all of their fabrics. All fabric featured in this post and my other DIYs is sourced from The Buttonhole.

P1230303

What to do:

  1. Cut out a template for your bunting. An equilateral triangle of approximately 6″ by 10″ will do the job, or scale to your own requirements depending on what you want your final bunting to look like. P1230286.jpg
  2. Pin your template to each of your fabrics in turn and cut around. To make a 2m stretch of bunting you will require around ten flags, this means you will need to cut twenty triangles. Note: Two triangles makes ONE bunting flag. You will see why in the next step.
  3. Place two matching triangles right sides together, that is, with the correct sides of the fabric facing each other. Pin down the two long edges of the triangle before machine stitching down these edges, leaving the top open. Tip: By pinning perpendicular to the edge of the fabric as shown below, you can sew over you pins with your machine without breaking the needle.P1230297.jpg
  4. Turn your flag the correct way around and press with an iron. Repeat this method until you have created all your flags.
  5. Fold the two raw edges at the top of you flag inside the flag to create a neat edge, press and machine stitch into place.
  6. You are now ready to attach your ribbon or bias binding. If you wish to use bias binding and would like to know how to do this, please refer to this blog post where I explain in detail how to attach bias binding to your projects. If using ribbon, place the top of your flag just behind the ribbon and machine stitch into place.
  7. Repeat this, spacing out your flags evenly along the length of your bunting until all have been sewed on!P1230300

That’s it! Congratulations on your new bunting! I hope you guys enjoyed this post and maybe it inspired you to get crafty! Have you got any renter friendly DIY decor ideas? Let me know! It’s always great to discover new ways of decorating my student halls.

Best wishes to you all!

Maddie x

One month of blogging!

happybirthday-2.png

Wow, that went fast! A Little Mad Smith is one month old today (can we get a hip hip hooray?) and I just wanted to share a little post to say thank you so much to all my lovely followers and readers of this blog. Your support over this past month has meant the world to me- I am over the moon to see that my blog has been received with so much love all over the world! I never would’ve thought that people in hometown would have been at all interested in my craft projects and recipes, let alone people on the other side of the globe! So thank you to all who have shared, liked and commented on my posts, and thank you, yes you, for taking the time to read this.

I hope I can continue to produce content that you find interesting, entertaining and inspiring. I already have a thousand crafty ideas and tasty recipes that I am dying to get stuck into and share with you all in the near future, so I do hope you stick around!

As a little celebration of our one month birthday, I’ve put together some of my favourite posts from over the past four weeks. I hope you can find something that inspires you to get crafty and try something new!

Fabric Flowers DIY– This is one of my favourite mini sewing projects of all time. I love the vintage look of these and they’re a great method of using up excess fabric. I also think that they make a beautiful addition to any handbag.

P1220865

DIY Photo Holders- This DIY was a super simple project that produced great results! And all you need is a pebble, some paint and a bit of wire. What could be better?

P1220876

Peanut butter and Chocolate Cupcakes- I cannot describe to you how good these tasted, but believe me when I say, they were goooood. Like, seriously, you need to try these.

P1220689

DIY Patchwork cushion cover– This beautiful DIY is a great project for those wanting to try out patch working, and its a great way of using up scraps of fabric. I love how this turned out.

P1220746

Domino’s style cookiesThe inspiration behind this bake was my favourite fast food cookies. Served warm, these soft squishy cookies are truly divine. Why not give them a try?

P1220794

DIY painted glass lanterns– This DIY is a great project for the kids to get involved with. A great way of using up excess jars, my DIY glass lanterns are the perfect addition to any evening garden party.

P1220772

Drawstring bag DIY– Drawstring bags are so useful and so versatile! My drawstring bag DIY gives a simples method for making your own drawstring bag that can easily be adapted into a child’s PE kit bag ready for back to school.

P1230006

Well there you have it guys, just a selection of some of my favourite blog posts from over this past month. I hope you enjoy them if you didn’t see them first time round, and please let me know if there’s anything else you’d like to see up on the blog over this next month! In the meantime, remember that there’s plenty of other projects to keep you busy in the craft and food sections of my blog- why not have a look?

I’m always looking for new ideas and crafty inspiration.

Hugs and best wishes to you all,

Maddie x

 

DIY Hair Bow Tutorial

DIYHairbowTutorial

Hey guys! I hope you’ve all enjoyed your Sunday and this post finds you well rested and ready for the working week ahead. I’m so tired today! I haven’t really done much at all, but sometimes I think that makes me even more tired- am I just weird or are you guys like that too? I’m much more of an active person, I love to be doing something all of the time- hence today’s blog post!

These are my DIY hair bows; a really quick and easy project for those of you who, like me, just have to be kept busy. Those who went to high school with me will probably remember a stage where I never would be seen without one of these perched on top of my head. I love this DIY, it requires no sewing machine and minimal sewing skills, uses up excess fabric and has a really cute, vintage vibe to it- don’t you think?

If you’re interested in making your own, find my step by step instructions below!

You will need:

  • Two rectangles of fabric, I used a 9″x4″ and a 4″x1.5″ piece
  • Fabric Scissors
  • Hand sewing needle
  • Thread
  • A bobby pin

So what do you do?

  1. Fold over the two longer sides of your larger rectangle by half an inch and press into place with an iron as show. Do the same with your smaller rectangle. 1..png
  2. Do a loose hand stitch along the two shorter edges of your large rectangle and down the centre. This should be like a tacking stitch (basting to my American readers), so that when you pull the loose end of your thread the fabric gathers, as shown. Gather all three of these rows of stitches. Tip: if you are completely new to sewing, a good way of tying a knot in the end of your thread before stitching is wrapping the end of the thread around your thumb three times, then passing your threaded needle through the loop of thread on your thumb. Slide the thread off your thumb and pull tightly to create a knot.
  3. Fold one side of your large rectangle over into the centre and secure this down with a few hand stitches. When you are happy that this is secure enough, tie a knot by sewing through your last stitch. Snip the thread and then do the same to the other side of the rectangle. You can see the bow shape taking form now. 3.
  4. Wrap your smaller rectangle around the centre of your bow to cover up all the messy stitching in the centre. Do a few stitches in the back to secure this rectangle, before snipping the ends of the fabric off.
  5. Pass a bobby pin through the loop created by the small rectangle at the back of your bow. It can now be worn as a hair accessory! P1230141.jpg

I hope you all enjoyed this quick and easy tutorial! if you have a go at making your own hair bow, please be sure to show me! I’d love to see.

Also, don’t hesitate to ask if you’ve got any questions about this tutorial or any of my other DIYs, I’m happy to help 🙂

Best wishes,

Maddie x

 

How I attach Bias Binding

resolutions

Hey guys! It’s finally Friday! I’m afraid that due to a very hectic working day today I haven’t had chance to put together my usual projects for the weekend post, I have however got a small post for all you sewing enthusiasts out there! If sewing’s not really your thing, why not check out some of my previous posts for some weekend inspiration?

So you may have seen my recent post about my battle with my gran’s blanket. If you didn’t, why haven’t you been keeping up to date with my blog?! Jokes, thanks for being here now! But if you did you will know all about my struggle of bias binding the edges of said blanket.

After publishing that post it occurred to me that some of my readers wouldn’t know what bias binding was, and also some of you would probably like to know how to use it! Hence today’s post: How I attach bias binding. I called this post ‘How I attach bias binding’ rather than ‘How to attach bias binding’ as I’ve never actually been shown how other people do this. I’ve just sort of tried a few different techniques over the years and eventually found one that works for me, which is what I’ll be sharing with you today.

So what is bias binding? 

Bias binding is something used for covering up raw edges when sewing garments or things like quilts. Its basically a strip of fabric with the two edges folded in and is bought on a roll, kind of like a cotton ribbon with the two edges folded over.

How do you attach it?

Well I can’t speak for everyone else, but this is how I attach bias binding to my projects.

  1. Fold the bias in half lengthways and press it with an iron. When you have done this you will have three folds in your binding, the two it is purchased with and then the one you have just added.
  2. Pin your bias along one of the outer folds to the raw edge of your fabric as shown below. I was adding the bias binding to a blanket that had started to fray at the edges, hence the mess poking out from behind my bias! Not to worry, all this will be encompassed by the bias binding once we have attached it 🙂P1220938
  3. Machine stitch along the fold where you have pinned.P1220941
  4. Fold the bias over the raw edge of your fabric, encompassing the edge. You want the centre fold that you have pressed into the bias to be on the edge of the fabric. Pin this into place as shown.P1220940
  5. You can see now that you have two neat edges on either side of your bias binding, exactly what we wanted! Machine stitch close to the edge.P1220942

There you have it! My way of applying bias binding. I’ve used this technique to edge a quilt and also to make bunting; two projects that I will be sharing with you in future blog posts!

I hope this may have been of some help for those of you wanting to try out something new with your sewing! Leave any questions or comments below!

Best wishes to you all,

Maddie.

Drawstring bag DIY

Draw string bag DIY.png

Hi guys! Today’s blog post is a simple and super cute craft project for all you sewers out there. Draw string bags are a great way to give presents, carry PE kits and store your odd bits and bobs. For me, I like to keep my makeup brushes in one, especially when I’m travelling. It keeps everything clean and prevents things from getting lost (which, if you’re anything like me, you NEED in your life).

I came up with this idea when I was thinking of things to do for this month’s blog posts. My mind went immediately back to my first textiles lesson at high school, where our first project was a simple draw string bag to use as a PE kit bag. I’ve jazzed it up a bit by choosing to line the bag with a contrasting fabric and using ribbon instead of cord, and I loved the result! If you fancy making your own, find my step by step instructions below! 🙂

You will need:

  • Two fabrics
  • Ribbon/ Cord
  • Fabric scissors
  • Sewing machine
  • Safety pin

So what do you do?

  1. First things first, you want to cut out your fabric. You can change the size of your bag depending on what you want it to be used for. For my bag I cut two rectangles measuring 26cmx40cm, one from my lining fabric and the other from my outer fabric. You then also want to cut a strip of fabric measuring 5cmx40cm, this will be used as the casing for your ribbon or cord.
  2. On the strip of fabric that will make your casing, with the right side facing you, fold  the ends over by 1cm and neatly stitch these down to create a hem on either side. Then, fold the strip in half lengthways, right sides together, and machine stitch along the long edge, leaving the two shorter ends open. This will create a sort of tube. Turn this tube the right way out and voila, you have your casing.
  3. Now, fold your fabric for the outer bag in half and machine stitch down the side and along the bottom, leaving a few inches in the side open. You will use this hole to turn your bag the correct way around later. Fold your lining fabric in half the same way and stitch down the side and along the bottom.P1220977
  4. Place your lining fabric inside your outer fabric, right sides together. P1220979Stitch the lining to the outer fabric around the top. This will be the opening for the bag. Turn your bag the right way around through the hole you left before in the side seam! This will hide all those unsightly edges 🙂
  5. Poke the corners of your bag out using a pencil or knitting needle, then press it using an iron. Pin your casing on the outside of your bag, about 3/4″ from the top. Stitch this along the top and bottom, as close to the edge of the casing as you can. P1220985
  6. To help pull your ribbon or cord through the casing, attach a safety pin to the end and feed it through; this will make the process much easier for you- trust me!
  7. Congratulations! You are now the proud owner of your very own drawstring bag!P1230006.jpg

 

 

 

 

Sleepy Sunday and bias binding

August 20, 2018 • 8_00 PM till sunriseThe Rooftop on 5thbring your dancing shoes.png

So a few weeks back my grandma told me that she had a blanket that was fraying around the edges and asked if I could do anything to help it. Sounded easy enough, I’d thought at the time. I told her I’d give it a go, thinking I’d edge it with bias binding.

Today was the day I chose to tackle the job. After spending the morning lounging around at Jason’s house, I thought it’d be nice to sit down with my sewing machine for a couple of hours and have some me time.

Now incase you haven’t already guessed, edging this blanket was not as plain sailing as I’d first thought. In fact, it was pretty darn stressful. I hadn’t seen the blanket when my gran first asked if I could do it, but looking at it today I saw it wasn’t going to be the easy job I’d been expecting. The weave had quite a lot of stretch to it and I had a hard job to edge it with the cotton bias binding my gran had purchased for the task. It had also frayed by different amounts in different places, and the edges were no longer straight.

It’s not my sewing style to put a load of pins in my work before machine stitching and I never tack, looking back this might have been a good idea. I did manage to attach the binding in the end without stretching the blanket too much out of shape, but I’m not completely happy with the finish. (My gran, however, will still be over the moon. You know what grans are like, I could present her with a blanket edged with Duct tape and she’d still think I was the cleverest granddaughter in the world).

As well as the stretch, this blanket had a good few holes along the edges, meaning I had to patch parts of it before binding it. In short, it was all a bit of a nightmare.

I’m also not keen on the colour of bias binding my gran bought, but hey, that’s personal taste. I think a navy bias binding would have looked pretty awesome with it!

But anyways, this was a sewing project that didn’t completely go to plan, but it’s been a good learning curve (always look at the item before agreeing to fix it! being one of the main things to bear in mind for the future).

Have you guys had any projects that didn’t quite go to plan? What’ve you leant from it? Let me know in the comments!

Maddie.