Work in Progress: Tweed Bunny Purses…

After a brief rest whilst my poor old Bernina had a service, I’ve been frantically sewing every moment I can, partly to try and catch up on Christmas products (they should have all been listed early October) and also because the half term holidays are nearly here and I want to make sure I’m free to make the most of having the boys home and not trying to ‘keep them quiet’ whilst I sew.

And so, I’ve been working on tweed bunny purses in the hope that finally, over half-term, I can update my shop with new Winter products.  At least that’s the plan.

I had a nice twitter debate about which trim to use on the purses using the original tweed.  In the end I went with my favourite, the dark, almost chocolate red.  It’s quite grown up and my lovely tweet friends had differing opinions (thanks everyone who tweeted back, I do value your opinions) but I had similar thoughts about the purple version of the Foxes, that it might be too dark a colour for my usual customers and yet the Mr Fox in dandy purple flew so quickly they were gone in a week (thanks ladies who bought Foxes, so pleased to see them go off to their new homes).

I’ve also tweaked the pattern slightly to make sure the purse (or should it be bag?) can hold an iPhone, it’s only fractionally bigger but I think makes more sense.

I have many pending blog posts, including a couple of giveaway wins (lucky me :)) and some new buys, but for now I need to get back to the sewing, photographing, listing and cleaning, school runs, gardening and………… 🙂

 

Something for me…

I have lots of good intentions about things to make for the house and for myself, but realistically very little time to actually make them; I did however sit down last week and sew something just for me.

I’ve had this project in my head since our Yorkshire holiday, when I picked up quite a few pheasant feathers with the boys, I wanted to use them along with some tweed to make my own Bunny Purse.

Sadly, we didn’t collect enough and they have ended up with our other ‘found’ objects, sitting on the window sill.  Instead I raided my Millinery trimmings stash (you have NO idea how much this feather fringe costs, I used to buy it by the cm it’s that expensive) and came up with

I’d planned to use a brown tweed, one with quite a lot of texture but I fell so in love with the green bought recently from Fents that I changed my mind.

Oddly, as I took the tweed out to work with, the weight and texture felt very familiar, turns out it is the same one used as the recent Fox bodies, only in a green colour way (I mentioned in a recent post that the eBay supplier I buy from must source his fabrics from the same Mills as Fents as quite a few were familiar).

I didn’t want to crush the feathers, so my new purse travelled on the outside of my weekend bag to Yorkshire, where I was going to a surprise party for my sister’s 40th.  The party has been six months in the planning (by her boyfriend) and was a huge event, with a marquee at the Family farm, a number of bands (including a Take That tribute band), great food and of course great company.  I danced and danced, and quite frankly my legs still ache from a night in these heels strutting my stuff on the dance floor.  Incidentally, along with two of my cousins we were the last people standing and only retired at 3am, needless to say we all have young children and were a little over excited to be child free for the evening.

The purse was quite popular and it raised a few questions.  I made the lined cavity most of the body and head (in my first batch, only the body part is an actual purse) so I could fit my iPhone in; but along with an eye liner, some money and a lip balm, it was full.  Is this big enough?  I kind of feel if it gets any larger it might lose something.  Secondly, there was quite a lot of discussion about price so I was wondering how much you would feel comfortable paying for one?  Please don’t be shy to say, any thoughts are most welcome.

Right, back to the grind, I am getting all the Winter duvets onto the beds today and allowing my poor legs to recover by generally taking it easy 🙂

In the Pink…

Well, without wishing to jinx the whole thing we seem to have fallen into quite a nice routine over here.  I do house ‘stuff’ in the mornings (we have a skip at the moment and I am thoroughly enjoying throwing half the house into it!) we (me and the boys) then go for a walk, which I would like to smugly point out is F’s idea and doesn’t involve any bribes at the end like popping into the garage to buy sweets/magazines; he really is growing up fast.  Then I get a bit of time in the afternoon to sew and potter in the garden.  Perfect.  It wont last, I’m sure, but whilst it does I intend to make the most and so I’ve been cracking on with some odds and ends for my sister

she requested pink tweed bunny purses a while back and these are definitely pink

as per last time, they have invisible zips in the back and the tweed patterns are lined up

they have matching linings from my Kaffe Fassett spots stash

and matching bows, with the usual removable wrist strap.  They are intended for two little girls so it really was an excuse to go overboard and makes a nice contrast to the boyish life all around me.  They really have been a treat to make 🙂

Bunny Love…

It’s been one of those days today, I woke, did the school runs, did my run (I’m getting a lot better and have dropped most of the intervals but would love to see a bit of weight loss, hey-ho) bathed then arrived downstairs knowing I only had 1 hour before picking Mr C up.  As always, I had soooo many jobs I wanted to do and struggled to decide which ones to attack first, I feel like I’m treading water at the moment but my pyjamas are running out of air quicker than I can blow them back up! (do they still do that in swimming exams?)

I am so far behind in my blog reading I have stopped commenting, the garden is taking up a lot of my time and I haven’t even had a chance to re-read through the comments from the Giveaway.  I realised I never thanked everyone for taking the time to drop by and say ‘hello’, it really is a pleasure to read what has been written, so…huge thank you!

Back to the subject at hand, I have been lapse in many areas and am trying to catch-up, I always feel a lot better as I tick of the mental list in my head so I have pushed myself to complete some open projects and hurrah! I have finished the latest batch of Bunny Lavender Bags.  I think they will be the last as I’m out of wool serge and much as I love them they are quite time consuming.

They are available online at The Shop and also on Folksy.

I am not only having bunny love at the moment but the Ellie fabric from Michael Miller is my new favourite so I finished the first batch of Lavender Birds in new colours starting with this

I have changed the ‘tweed’ wings to linen but otherwise they are to the old design, it’s one I really like and I have a number of these hanging around the house.

Right, I had better get back to the list and to reduce it before M’s next US trip, which is imminent ash cloud and strike permitting, or I really will need more than a pair of PJ’s to keep me afloat!

Easter Bunnies…

I mentioned a while ago about buying some tweed that arrived smelling rather musty, it was no use for the intended project  but I knew straight away I would like to use it for making tweed bunny purses

All the tweed has been washed, which has slightly thickened it (a bonus in this case) and I’ve made up a batch of four to see how they go in the shop (not yet listed but due on Folksy soon) and maybe I’ll tweak the design a little.  I haven’t made a purse before but I have made bags so have a pretty good idea of interlinings etc and it was great fun trying out the different processes.

I made a little extra work for myself by using concealed zips but I think they look really nice and tidy

and I lined up the fabric on either side which looks pretty neat

the insides are lined in ‘Snow Flower’ fabric by Westminster which I was saving for next Christmas but it was so perfect for the job.  What do you mean, they look a lot like a certain golden wrapped confectionary available in every store at this time of year?  I have no idea what you’re talking about.  Oh, OK, it’s not mere chance, I was eating a mini one when the tweed arrived and I thought, “now there’s an idea for Easter”, which no doubt you will have noticed I am too late for, serves me right for taking so long to put a thought into action.  Still, next year I can pretty much guarantee a golden linen or tweed version complete with bell.

I wasn’t sure about the face and how much to do so opted for some understated whiskers and bead eyes, I always notice that the glass bead eyes make the Bright Birds come ‘alive’ so I figured it might work here.  I also added a detachable wrist strap, this was in the plan from the beginning, either in case bought for children (less lightly to lose) or if used by a grown up for, say, a Wedding as I hate trying to hold a purse and glass of champagne at the same time 😉  I write this because I am desperately waiting for someone to have an Autumn or Winter Wedding so I can wear either of these,

both of which I made on Millinery courses at the London College of Fashion, many years ago when I wanted to brush up and improve on skills learnt on my Degree, I rather liked the idea of setting myself up as a Milliner, something I might still do down the line.

Right, enough, time to go and look after the boys and think about their tea.  Was that Spring by the way?  has it been and gone and we are now in Autumn?  Oh, so British, always moaning about the weather!

Bunny Egg Cosy…

Last night I finished the first batch of Bunny Egg Cosies so I’ve just taken a quick photo for the blog.  A real photo session will be needed but I’ll wait until I’ve made up some other new designs and the light is better.

It is pretty much as doodled last year in my sketch book (optimistically entitled ‘Easter’ I noted…I only made a fraction of the designs up as I ran out of time).

They have cute red herringbone brushed cotton linings to keep the eggs cosy and I even used my new scary maroon labels.

The labels have been inserted into the lining side seam, on the original Egg Cosies I stitched them flat into the back but it’s quite time consuming to do it neatly and get them straight.

They are a bit ‘Winter’ looking and not very ‘Spring’ like if you know what I mean.  I am torn between a kind of  fairytale-woodland-creature-deep-red and a more modern pale-linen-against-bright-cotton design style at the moment.  It could be the snow that’s throwing me back into Winter colours (or the fact that it is, after all, Winter!) but I like to try and keep a ‘collection’ feel about my designs so need to get into a colour palette and stick to it.  I am also running out of the beloved Lecien ‘My Folklore’ fabric used above for the ears, which I also use on the Cashmere Bears so need to go easy on that.

In the meantime I am waiting for M to return from the US (Hurrah!  Thai take away, wine and a huge backlog of TV to watch tonight, Lost, House, Heros, Wallander…have I ever mentioned my addiction to US TV shows?  Don’t think less of me ;)), he is also bringing back some fabric I ordered on Etsy which I am most excited about.

I am in the process of dying linen for the new mice in the machine.  I used to love dying fabric when I was designing and making costumes, I could spend many a happy hour mixing colours but it’s not the same doing it in your own washing machine.  The last lot I did was a dark navy and I swear, no matter how many cleaning washes I did the dye was there for weeks, seeping into my whites.  I said then I wouldn’t do it again but I made a mistake buy a while ago of a large amount of natural Linen, I then made it  worse by over washing it causing pilling.  I’m hoping a dye session followed by some good ironing will make is useable, we’ll see I guess.

Right, best get the house into order before M gets home.

Projects in process…

It’s warmed up today and after a few more inches of snow yesterday, we now have a snowy drippy mess.  I am quite looking forward to seeing what’s left of my garden once the final bit has gone and I’m happy, for now, to say goodbye even though I’ve loved every minute of the Winter Wonderland we have been experiencing.

One thing I will be grateful for is the delivery services getting back to normal, UPS were happily holding onto a number of parcels and the post is a rather slow, as a result I have to keep stopping mid project.

I was waiting quite a while for the new labels, as above, which I’d hoped to use in the spring birds.  They are a slightly scary maroon colour with gold lettering but I needed a colour that would ‘mingle’ with the ribbon tails of the birds and allow me to add a tag without it being too intrusive.  In the end I decided not to use them, I will on next winters birds but they didn’t look right here.

(The labels come from Woven Labels, I normally use orange or green lettering on a white background, also I had just been kneading bread on the below photo so please excuse my grubby nails)

So, having waited a few weeks for the labels I am no longer using (duh!) I got to work on putting the first batch of birds together, only to run out of stuffing.

Yellow are done and the rest are waiting half finished for their stuffing and marathon bead eye stitching session, then I will need to wait for a sunny day to photograph them.

I wanted to mention the amazingly cheap plastic ‘boxes’ I’m using from Ikea.  They are part of my new organised self,  I’m very lucky to have a studio space even if it also serves as our spare room but I do frequently move between the kitchen table and the studio, due to being a full-time Mum and having to go where they boys need to be.  The stacking boxes make life a lot easier, I can keep projects separate and empty the kitchen table quickly for eating.

The lack of stuffing means I’ve also had to halt the Linen Mouse project, even though the fabric and dye have arrived.  Thanks for all your advice, I am sticking with the mouse design with stitched ears (which I was supposed to do before fully stuffing the original) and a bit of pattern tweaking.  I love being able to ask advice via blog, sometimes I feel a little isolated in my own small creative world and the whole blog thing helps me feel connected.  I love this online community.

After a bit of thumb twiddling boredom mingled with the guilt of knowing I should be tackling the mountain of housework I started on new egg cosies, rabbits to go with the existing mice.

Right, best get on, they wont stitch themselves up!