The Christmas Elf

I decided to be an Elf maker for a day, or two....It's Christmas after all, and this year since I have a thing for Elves I'm not making a Gingerbread house, or Pinata. Instead there is going to be an Elf who doesn't give out sweets and isn't made of sugar.

So I thought I would just make up my own sewing pattern, and this did sort of work out. Except the finished Elf didn't look exactly like the pattern I tried to draft. My Elf took on a life of his own...His face is made from the fabric left over from Humpty Dumpty, and the rest of him is made out of Christmas scraps of fabric.

This little Elf was supposed to have a bigger head. and this was cut out with more of a roundish shape to it. Except all this changed when I appliqued the hearts and mouth upside down on the face and the head was already sewn onto the body. I had no patience to start all over again so instead I re cut the head shape out again  on the body which made it much smaller.

Also my other problem was the Elf eyes, I forgot to sew them on in a contrasting thread which I really wanted to do. But before you knew it this 'Imp of an Elf' was all sewn up and glued together. Too late to change anything now. So I glued the eyes onto the felt circles and let him loose in the garden...and what a naughty little Elf he was!

Bells, glue, clips for the Ric-Rac...Buttons for the eyes and
silver fringing around the neck

Golden thread laces for the Elf shoes...
Garden antics of the impish Elf!
'Sorry no room for Elves, twos company threes a crowd...
Is that really me? Who else has sewn Elves this Christmas?
Have a Merry Christmas everyone....

Humpty Dumpty Sat on a Wall...

Who would have thought I would get this costume finished...I started at 6pm last night, it had to be worn by 8.30am the next day, and I have had weeks to do this but didn't know what to do. I looked at all the Humpty Dumpty costumes  online to sew. Their are not a lot out there so I just made it up my style.

The problem I had was that I was given this green looking round stuffed pumpkin thing full of Dacron (which I didn't make myself). No matter what I thought to do...that pumpkin thing was my nemesis. It really needed to be re-stuffed.

My Humpty Dumpty under padding looks similar to
the orange pumpkin pattern here.

To make the Humpty Dumpty costume I simply traced around the stuffed padded green pumpkin I was given to make the white egg cover. Then I kept fitting the egg shell cover over the child wearing the pumpkin shape. The fabric I used was a fairly stiff shiny white fabric, a bit like taffeta in texture.

The red bow tie was taken from my own clown costume. The tights are from the clown costume also. The collar I drafted myself, I wanted to use a coloured fabric, but white was all I had. Shoes I did not need as the children have bare feet in the play.

Really I should have made a new padding for underneath, but I kept putting off. I just didn't want to do it...A new stuffed shape would have made Humpty Dumpty more solid looking, more like a big egg.When finally my creative kicked in I had only 24 hours to put this outfit together. So the green pumpkin padding thing had to do. I didn't even mend it...So here is the end result for my Humpty Dumpty costume.

Humpty is looking a bit flat here....His tummy
needed to be a bit firmer.

He looks like a sinister 'Humpty Dumpty'. The face paint was painted in
a hurry as we ran out of time, but it looks okay he's an egg after all...
The hat dictated the whole outfit...he wouldn't give it up.
He was wearing that hat and that was that.

Easy Christmas Bunting

Spotlight is the place where I found these Christmas bunting flags, all printed on one sheet of fabric. Just waiting for me to buy, cut out, and sew...The best part was that it was half price, a real bargain I thought. But I must say what I saved in dollars here I overspent on bias binding. So actually their was no savings to be had at all...

I decided to buy red FOE (fold over elastic) and then I didn't like elastic it made the job too hard. Next I bought five metres of red bias binding straight off the roll. Only problem was when I got it home it was was a crimson red colour. Who chooses bias binding with sunglasses on? Me, lesson learnt.

After all the extra spending I found the exact red bias binding in my own stash. Who would have thought and I started pinning the flags onto it to realize it was way too short. In the end I used a red 'Hello Kitty' bias binding I  had made a while back because I  just couldn't be bothered going out again..

If you want to make 'Christmas Bunting' with your own fabric from start to finish. This blog, will show you how to make Christmas Bunting.

Sewn on my faithful Bernina 801 I've been using it
a lot lately.
For now it's on the wall...

When Life Gives You a Bowl Full of Lemons...Make Lemon Juice

I have a bulk lot of lemons, so before they go mouldy I am freezing the juice. This is the first time I have done this...The plan is to take the lemon ice blocks, and have them free-flow in a plastic bag for later use. The problem is how do you keep them from sticking together, any ideas?

Just have to tip the lemon ice-blocks out into plastic bags for the freezer.
Or perhaps not tip them out at all and put the container with the lemon
ice-blocks into a self sealing plastic bag.....Big decisions!

Christmas Elf Stockings

The Elves are visiting us this year (only because I gave away the Christmas stockings I sewed last year). I had fun making these curly toed stockings, but soon realized my days of making little stockings are just about over. You have to have good eyes for a project like this. Mine are fading slowly for doing the intricate stuff, like applique.

It might have helped if my old Bernina 801 had a light bulb that actually went, and I cleaned my glasses properly so I could see. The pattern I chose to use for the Christmas stockings this year is from Sew-4-Home. You can find the tutorial and  pattern here.

I chose to use the Bernina 801 for this project. It looks rather jaded with
it's paint starting to peel at the bottom.
I stuffed the end of the stocking with a bit of fluff (Dacron). The bells
are off the 'Lindt Easter Bunny'. Just the perfect size... I saved
them from last Easter for the cat's collar. But the cat wears a
bigger bell now.
I didn't use the letter template that the pattern linked you too. I found another
because I couldn't re-size it on my printer...

King Protea

 King Protea.... is in bloom at the moment. Here are some pics it's surviving quite happily under the eaves of the house and seems to cope with all the horrible cold Christchurch weather.

Long Yoga Style Skirt

This skirt is made out of a fine stretch crinkly knit fabric which actually needed lining. I chose not to line it because I had nothing to line the skirt with...So I have settled for an under-skirt to stop it being so see through. The pattern I used was the Ladies Yoga A-Line-Skirt and I made a shorter version earlier and it can be found here.

This skirts mine looks rather shapeless on the dummy....but easy to
wash just twist it and it stays all nice and crinkly.
Putting my smells on everything...
He has a big bell so he can't catch rather big birds...
Off to explore the neighbourhood.

Out for a Swim

I went for a swim this morning and I found a giraffe standing tall outside the pool....The giraffe is part of the 'Wild n Art  Project'. The fibreglass giraffe stands 2.5 metres high, and is part of a sculpture trail here in Christchurch. You can find this giraffe outside the main door at the Jellie Park Aquatic Centre.

Trail-map here.
Jellie Park Giraffe

Simple Yoga Skirt

Put your sunglasses on this is so bright....eek! The pattern I used for this  yoga skirt is from Jocole....I didn't have much fabric (it's a 4 way stretch) and it was a bit of a squeeze to cut out and keep the pattern matching. I finished off the hemming with a cover stitch.

Front of skirt
 The fabric clings a bit it almost needs an underskirt...
I opted for the smaller band...

Reversible Slippers Ready For Winter

I'm using up scraps of Polar Fleece. I had a computer crash awhile back and lost all my sock patterns except for this one which I printed out. You can buy the Reversible Slipper Pattern on Craftsy.

Fleece Pants

Children's pants pattern from Fleece Fun it's free...I used the Child's Basic Fleece Pants and the Children's Boutique Style Fleece pattern.

A little don't do the fabric justice. It was very
hard to catch these two for the photo...

Kimono Jacket

This fabric used to be a sarong/wrap many years ago...As no one wears the wrap anymore I just kept it. I never had the heart to throw it out.

Today it has been cut up and now been totally refashioned into a Kimono Jacket. The pattern I used can be found over at  Sew Caroline. You just need to download the PDF and instructions. It's a very easy pattern to follow with good instructions. It's so easy to make, you should try it too...Caroline has other interesting patterns to buy too check them out here.

My Kimono Jacket is longer than the pattern
slightly...The patten allows for trim for the
sleeves and hem...
I cut the Kimono Jacket out to include the
tassels already on the wrap...
Also I didn't put trim on the arms I left
them  just hemmed.
I didn't make the top. It's just on to make
dummy look descent for the pic.

Little Legs

There are a couple of free patterns online for leggings that I have been using. One is the Flounced Ruffle Capri Leggings and the other the Girl's Capri Length Leggings Pattern No.8.

Both patterns were very easy to use, and the instructions are clear. So a big thank you to those clever ladies for developing these two patterns. They are perfect...

The size I decided to use was Size 4 and Size 5. It was a bit of guess work for sizing as I had no idea if they would fit the girls or not. They keep growing and I haven't seen them for awhile.

The fabric I chose was a green spotty, winter weight, stretch cotton from my stash. The other striped fabric I bought was a stretch polyester fabric. It hooks up really easily, plus it is not very serviceable. This fabric is going to run, it reminds me of thick nylon stockings, it really is a bad choice. Also it was such a pain to sew, where as the green fabric was bliss...
Here are the first two pairs I made. I sent them over to the girls for a
fitting. According to their mother they are okay. I hope so because
I have sewn the rest all the same...
Here are the rest of the tights, the girls each got 3 pairs.
While taking the photo's I annoyed a Bumble Bee. Funny how they seem 
to buzz louder when you're nearby. The Leggings are ready to go plus
I'm giving the girls eggs to eat as well.
I used a narrow cover-stitch to hem up the straight leg tights. This worked out very well.

Janome Cover-Pro narrow hem stitch.
I haven't used the Janome Cover-Pro for awhile....So here is an update on
finishing the seam and removing the fabric away from the needles.
So pleased they fitted, thank you girls for the perfect pose....


You won't believe this, I wrote all my blog post and lost it, even Apple Z didn't work...Wahhhhhhhhhh!

What was I saying...who knows I have a memory like a sieve. What have I been doing lately? I have actually been sewing for myself, and it has been rather a 'hit and miss' affair'. Some garments were a success and some were not.

The worst one was the 'Peppa Pig' jacket (I've named it that). I sewed it out of thick polar fleece from my stash. The fabric was so pink it really looks ghastly on me. I must say I actually hate polar fleece and avoid wearing it....I just bought this fabric on a whim. I was warned by my daughter, why are you buying that colour? Well I am just like a moth to a flame, I'm drawn to bright colours...Though I was never sure what I was gong to use it for. Really it would have made a better blanket that a jacket

Anyway getting back to my sewing, I have not recorded that much of it because it has taken me nearly over a month to charge my camera. But I did manage take a picture, well half a picture of myself wearing a top.

The pattern:
Is the Cool, Calm and Cowl Necked Top by Hot Patterns. It is a free download over at

Was it Easy to sew?
Yes it would have been if it actually fitted me. It did not, and I didn't bother to check to see before I cut the fabric.

What went wrong? 
The armholes were rather tight on me, and perhaps it was designed for a much stretcher knit fabric than I had. On finishing it I looked at other reviews of the pattern and other sewers have said the armholes were tight.

What went right?
I can wear it...I had to re-make the armholes as big as I could, though they are still a bit tight which also brought the shoulder seam forward a bit.

What I changed:
I didn't use rib for the band, just the same fabric as the body.

Would I sew it again?
Yes I would and make the armhole larger before I cut the fabric. Overall I can wear it so that has got to be good...

A Story 

Wearing knit fabric, well anything that stretches has definitely been my down fall over the years, once you wear it you never get out of it. The older you get you don't really notice the widening waist band, you just grow with it. Too late when you get to old age you have to work harder to get the chubbiness off.

Was it the 70's that everything became stretch, body suits, men's shirts? Oh those were the days my husband used to pinch my black shirt style stretch body suit (he was a drummer in a band so I guess it looked pretty cool). Except it belonged to me and I never did get it back. It fitted him so well because it stretched to his size, but it never stretched back to fit me.

The moral of the story is don't wear stretch clothes for most of your life. It's so much easier to tweak your weight when you wear woven clothes that get get tighter. Yes I've put myself on a diet of sorts. Well not a diet really, a good habit lifestyle change....Maybe with some luck the tight sleeves will get looser.

I'm putting it out there Stretch Fabric is to blame for the sudden weight gain in the western world? I might be on to something there...

Yes I know...sadly I can't blame a stretch fabric for a weight gain. It is really is, energy in energy out. But stretch clothing it is a variable that needs to be taken into account, well I think so anyway...On that note I am off to have lunch!

I've been tidying up my download patterns...I've given up
on plastic bags too bulky, now I'm using paper.

How to do a Rolled Hem: Merrylock 740DSA

Parts of my Merrylock 740DSA manual is missing, the pages for doing a 3 thread rolled hem are not there. Now I can say with confidence that using the Merrylock 2020 manual I downloaded (address in post below) has been a great help and very useful. Because now I can do the 3-thread rolled hem and I'm so pleased with myself. Although I  will need to fine tune it, perhaps by using different thread, the one I'm using is weird...funny stuff! Or maybe I need to change my needle!

Instructions for rolled hem on the Merrylock 740DSA

The pages that you need to know about for making a 3-thread rolled hem stitch in the Merrylock 2020 manual are page 30, 37 and 38. Page 30 gives you a handy reference chart and if you look at number 7, it shows you the needle position and tensions, then refers you onto page 38.

On page 37 titled 'How To Sew A Rolled Hem' it gives you ideas as to what fabrics work best. Then further down the page you have 'Machine Set-up' and it tells you to remove the left needle and so forth.

When looking at page 38 you will see the tables for needle position, stitch length and tension dial numbers. The instructions are very clear and they have worked for me. I can do the 3-thread rolled hem. Except I probably need to play around with the thread plus tension (I saw some odd loops), but the stitch is definitely passable.

I didn't take the needle out I just unthreaded it...I knew
 I had to put it back in so I couldn't be bothered.
Very simple to switch over...
Page 38 in the Merrylock 2020 Manual
I liked this one it's the one below in my sample..on page 38 also
Not a bad effort for first try...

Looking for a Merrylock Overlocker Manual?

I cannot believe it has taken me all this time to realize that half my Merrylock overlocker manual is missing...My booklet just goes to page 21 this is so bad! If it wasn't for someone querying the 3 thread rolled hem which is on page 29 I would have been oblivious forever...I have never done the rolled hem on this machine...Has anyone out there got any tips on how to do this?

I have found another Merrylock manual on line for the 2020 and it's in a pdf which is handy for printing. I thought it might help for learning the 3 thread rolled hem....Not sure though as I haven't had a chance to read it yet.

Here is the address for the Merrylock 2020 4 thread overlocker manual (it takes a while to load ). Save the pdf to the desktop for future reference. It may be of some use.

Additional Information on the Merrylock 2020 can be found here Also other Merrylock machines are to be found at too. At present they don't have anything on the Merrylock 740DSA on there. Actually if you are in the market to purchase any new sewing machine or overlocker/serger this is a great site to check out the brands and models, reviews etc.

Merrylock 740DSA manual can be bought here. It's in Euro's and I haven't tried to buy it because I am not sure if  it is any different to the one I own that has no rolled hem instructions. If anyone has bought one and it actually has page 29 in it let me know...

Playing Outside in my Parka

A bit big...but so warm. I did think about unpicking the front so the elastic was tighter but in the end I left it. The next one I make will make tighter....

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