Now that my Secret Valentine has received the gift I made for her I can tell you something about how I made it.
What to make?
I wrote before how exciting it is to participate in the Secret Valentine Exchange. The first thing you do after you receive your valentine is a search of what to make.
I have a board of suitable handmade gifts on Pinterest and there I found a pin of a tote bag and one of a coin purse. My mind was immediately made up as my valentine likes useful things. Also, because I really wanted to make both things for a long time. Win-win!
In my stash, I found some leftovers of upholstery fabric reflecting the favourite colours of my valentine: raspberry and rose gold. So I was all set!
How to make the tote bag?
Drawing the pattern
First, I copied the measurements of the design to tracing paper and as I was staying at our holiday home at that time—where I don’t have garment rulers— I used a plate to form the circle line.
The dimensions of the bag are good so I didn’t make any alterations.
Cutting the pattern pieces
I have cut four pieces—two out of both fabrics. Unfortunately, the board on the board fabric did not have the same position on both sides so that is why it is rather low. 1 cm of seam allowance is included.
Stitching the bag
The bag comes easily together. To do so I followed the directions of the scheme I found on Pinterest.
1) stitch all the side seams
2) stitch the bottom seam minus one opening for turning the bag to the right side
3) stitch the curves of the handles minus 5 cm on each side
4) measure 8 cm for the boxed corners, stitch and trim
5) turn the bag inside out through the opening on the bottom
6) stitch the inside bottom seam
7) pin and stitch the handles in both layers—work very strict here
8) Voilà, tote bag is finished
9) Take pictures
I also made a matching coin purse but here I had some difficulties with gluing the frame to the fabric. So there are some imperfections but isn’t that the charm of hand made gifts?
The sewing community provides you with a lot of sew-alongs, sewing challenges, giveaways and even a sewing party! I give you 9 online sewing festivities that maybe could give you some needed inspiration.
Project Sew My Style
Alex from Bluebird Fabrics launched this year-long project last December 2016 and it is such a challenging project that I immediately signed up.SewMyStyle is all about raising awareness about the slow fashion movement and about encouraging young women to take up sewing. I’m not young but I felt spoken to. They want to show you that sewing your own wardrobe isn’t an unachievable dream.
The goal is to create a wardrobe by sewing 12 garments in 12 months, with the entire community. We’ll post photos of our makes on Instagram on the last Sunday of every month. In the end, we’ll all have a nice little capsule wardrobe of handmade clothes. To make the project achievable, the patterns that are chosen are relaxed in fit and most are accompanied by instructions.
The first pattern on the list is The Toaster Sweater #2 from Sew House Seven. Currently, I am in the phase of choosing my fabric.
2017 Secret Valentine Exchange
The 2017 Secret Valentine Exchange is a non-conventional handmade gift swap that occurs worldwide, hosted by Ute and Shanae. I already gave you 4 reasons why you should participate.
Sign-ups are closed now but you can follow all the makes on Instagram with the #2017SVE hashtag. At this moment I’m racking my brains to find something to sew for my Secret Valentine.
After a very successful MakeItYourself March 16, co-hosted with Wendy from WendyWard, Emma from Dressmakers Social started a year-long project: #Dressmakers52.
Every Sunday, she picks a new theme from her deck of cards with prompts, to use as inspiration for posting a picture on Instagram. It started the first week of April 2016 and we are now in week 43 with the theme: dresses. I really love this challenge, it gave me a lot of sewing inspiration so far.
A real sewing party hosted by The Triple Stitchers: Abigail, Elle and Rachel.
This is fun! It’s a party held on Instagram! Everybody can participate, no matter where you live—simply post a picture of your handmade ‘Colette Moneta dress’ on your Instagram feed between Friday, February 24th 18.00 GMT and Sunday, February 26th 18.00 GMT 2017 using the hashtag #Monetaparty. And there are prizes to win!
I am really looking forward to this party because I am planning to sew a Moneta for my daughter for more than a year already.
Le défi dentelle
Do you fancy sewing your own lingerie? When you do, post a picture of it on Instagram and you receive a lingerie pattern from Barbara—Je fais mes dessous. You can post until Valentine (of course!). Wow! Don’t these beautiful pictures give you inspiration?
Anne from Pretty Grievances started it 5 years ago: sew anything you want using an animal print fabric. Check it out on Instagram and Twitter with the #junglejanuary hashtag.
I never used an animal print before and at this moment I don’t have an animal print in my stash but I do love all the Jungle January sewing! And you still have 10 days to sew something with an animal print! If you have an animal print in your stash—sew it!
Sew Japanese (patterns) in January
Launched by Blogless Anna on Instagram. So far I didn’t sew any Japanese patterns, although I like a lot of them, especially the coats. Unfortunately, I will not have some spare time to sew Japanese this January (due to 2017SVE, SewMyStyle and the upcoming MonetaParty). But you can!
No, it is not impossible to sew your own shirt! You just have to start. That’s why Elke —a German sewist is organising a Blusen Sew-along.
This is the schedule of the sew-along:
* January 22: Choosing of the pattern and fabric, what inspires you?
* January 29: Do you have to make changes? Are there hurdles?
* February 5: Work in progress. Did you learn tips and tricks or do you need help with your project?
* February 9 (Thursday): Presentation of the finished blouse. FINALE!
You can follow all the makes on Instagram and social media with the #blusenSA2017
2017 sewing book challenge
Do have a lot of sewing books with patterns in it and you never sewed one these patterns? With the 2017sewingbookchallenge you can solve this.
Carla Peicheff looked at her sewing book library and realised she nearly didn’t use one of the patterns in it. That’s why she launched the 2017sewingbookchallenge: make at least one project a month from your stash of sewing books.
I only have one sewing book and sewing something from it is already on my #2017MakeNine list.
The 2017 Secret Valentine Exchange is a non-conventional handmade gift swap that occurs worldwide. It’s the fourth time it takes place and it is organised by two very creative and inspirational women: Sanae from Seattle (US) and Ute from Berlin (Germany). You can read more about the exchange on Sanae’s blog.
Last year I participated for the first time and it really was a heart-warming experience.
Here are my 4 reasons why you should participate as well!
1 You get to know new people
Like I said before, the hosts, Sanae and Ute, are amazing people to meet.
Then you meet your assignment: the person you have to make a gift for, in my case that was Elle from the UK. I received an email from the organisers with some information and her IG-account for inspiration.
And of course, at the end, you get to meet the person who made something for you. Last year Angela from Oakland was my Secret Valentine.
2 You get challenged
The purpose of the SVE is to make something yourself with barely any costs, to use materials from your stash. I learned that Elle’s favourite colours were: grey, navy, gold and mustard. Luckily I had some scraps in my stash with these colours.
Then you have to let your creativity work. Elle is a great sewist, so I decided to make some pattern weights and a bag for putting them in. I used the open wide zippered pouch pattern from noodlehead for it.
I pimped it with some cuberdons, a famous sweet from Ghent, my hometown.
3 You get thrilled twice
It is very exciting to send a gift to someone and have to wait to receive their response, whether they liked it or not. Elle expressed her thanks extensively and still does, and every time I get warm and fuzzy all over again.
It is also very exciting to receive your gift, especially when it comes from overseas and when it is beautifully wrapped gift containing a block print of David Bowie on a white canvas bag. I use it all the time, because I love it so much.
4 It is very easy to sign up
Just fill in the google form. The deadline is Friday, January 6th, so you have to hurry a little bit. You don’t need to have an online presence to participate. You just have to let your creativity work!
Are you participating?
2017-01-05 1:11 GMT+01:00 Wis Geysen <email@example.com>: