Tuesday, 21 October 2014

Bags of fun

We spend a fair bit of time in this house assessing the credibility of adverts.  Ever since the day my son suggested I buy a particular brand of bathroom cleaner because it would make the bathroom shine and it was a available 'in all good stores' (which I think he thought was the name of the shop) I have been ultra conscious of the impact advertising has on our children.  Understanding that the point of an advert is to encourage you to buy something has been a useful lesson for them.

Like most families we have had numerous conversations about whether a toy is for a boy or a girl but as a family that grew in a boy, boy, girl, boy configuration, all toys have been for all children and it wasn't until they started preschool that any preconceived ideas about what they 'should' be playing with has come to light. 

So now when they are watching the ad breaks or indeed wondering around a toy shop, they are pretty scathing about the gender specific promotion they encounter and increasingly bemoan the fact that they are unable to get what they want in a design that appeals to them.   Enter this week's make!

An hour before we were due to go out on Saturday my seven year old son suddenly exclaims 'I'm just so sick of my purple butterfly bag - why don't they make handbags for boys?!'.  No prizes for guessing what happened next.

We rummaged through the fabric piles and found this:

An offcut of some patchwork that I made to bind a baby blanket with.  We also found this...

which will do as a lining and a strap.  If I'd had more time I'd have used an interlining as well to give the bag more structure.

I figured the patchwork was just the right size for a child size messenger bag and the robot panel would make a funky back to the bag.  I cut the two side panels from the tartan at the top, and then used the pieces as a pattern for the lining.

Lo, and behold.  45 minutes and a quick press with the iron later, we had a boys handbag, or a man bag, or possibly a boy bag.  He promptly filled it with a purse (also borrowed from his sister, and possibly inspiration for my next make), two magnets, a pen, a flannel and a packet of tissues. 

He makes an excellent point though, there are literally dozens of girls' bags available but not so much for your discerning seven year old boy who needs somewhere to keep his flannel. 

Monday, 13 October 2014

Week two: curtain's (not quite) up!

I admit it; I'm obsessed with curtains. Perhaps it is a natural extension of my fabric obsession or perhaps the conditioning of repeatedly living in draughty houses but one way or the other, curtains are high on my list of 'useful things'. If I'm honest, curtain fabric (either in curtain form or off cuts of) makes up a reasonably significant part of the fabric stash. When I've paid £25+ a metre for fabric, I'm loathe to bin it. When we moved here a year ago I brought all of the curtains from our last house with me. In fact one blind actually belonged to my neighbour, I intercepted it before it went in the bin.  The collection also includes the very first pair I made myself and had originally been floor to ceiling in my son's room. Then I cut them short at the last house. When we came here I discovered I'd left sufficient hem to be able to make them long enough for their latest incarnation. 

This house has an 'interesting' layout. Between what was the back of the house (though in fact it's the bit near the road so I suppose you'd call it the front) and the old outside loo and wash house is a passage. The previous owners had used corrugated plastic to form a roof but it was absolutely freezing in winter. We've put a proper, insulated (!) roof on but the doors at either end of the passage are still pretty rickety. Not least because they are essentially gates
You can see the centimetre gap at the bottom! The other end is similar. 

The answer - a curtain and a draught excluder!

As it goes, I actually already had the curtain fabric - originally purchased a couple of years ago because it was on sale as the end of the roll and it matched the blinds in the kitchen. So the first part of this week's make was to make the curtain. I went for tab top, partly because I couldn't be bothered with the hooks and tape and partly because I've not actually made one before. The end result is pretty pleasing and will be even more so when I've got the curtain rail up! It currently looks like this 

An action shot will follow shortly.

The draught excluder is something of a work in progress at the moment - but a necessary one. I save all my scraps to stuff things like this and the basket is currently overflowing!

Sunday, 5 October 2014

First make!

I can see the difficulties of this challenge are going to be twofold; the first will be actually making something each week, the second remembering to write a post about it. Despite looking like I've snuck in by the skin of my teeth I did manage to accomplish my first make this week - a pair of trousers for my youngest. As the youngest of four, and last of three boys his wardrobe is mostly hand me downs, from the boutique known as 'The Loft', so it was nice to have the opportunity to make him something new. 

I chose this fabric 
for the outer; there is a point where novelty of novelty clothing wears thin but thankfully my three year old is still very much of the mind that trousers with brightly coloured birds on are pretty cool. We'd been to our local craft shop on a rainy half term day earlier in the year and seen this fabric - we couldn't believe our eyes, a pukeko parade on fabric in sleepy Somerset! My eldest boys were born in New Zealand, where pukekos live and for a few years they were a common sight in our day to day lives. For the lining I used the remains of some blue stripey fabric I had leftover from a babygro I'd made seven years ago. It ended up being a bit of a patchwork inside as it was a struggle to find bits big enough for the pattern pieces but seeing as no one sees the inside I didn't think it mattered.
The end result... Ta daaa (finished late so the lighting was a bit rubbish)
I took another photo the next day, this time of them in action 
They do actually reach his ankles, but he is very attached to his wellies. There's a bit of extra length if you take the turn up down and it's got an adjustable waist so he should be able to wear them for a good while yet. They've also been through the wash twice already since I finished them five days ago so I can confirm they wash at 40 degrees!

Next week... Something to keep draughts out now the weather is getting chilly.