Craft, stitchin' and sustainable living

Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Christmas wrap-up

Happy Boxing Day all! I hope that you have sufficiently recovered from your Christmastime overindulgence, and are finding some time to take it easy.

I can now share with you some of the gifts I made for people this year. Firstly, above are the mini bloomers that I made for some close friends of mine. They are really, really cute (and comfy!). There is a free pattern here, if you would like to make some.

I also sewed and screenprinted some small bags for a few family members, and put packets of seeds in them.

Boyfriend had (jokingly) complained that I (being a tea lover) had a teacup ornament for the tree, but he (being a beer lover) didn't have a beer ornament. So I crocheted him one. Turns out pretty cute! If anyone would like me to write up the pattern for a little amigurumi beer, just let me know.

And yes - the dress! I did get it finished in time to wear on Christmas day. What do you think? I'm pretty darn happy with it!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The zip

It came the time in the making of my Christmas dress to put in the zip. I have put zips in garments before, but had always sort of winged it. This time I decided that I was going to put the zip in properly, which of course meant learning how to do so first. The pattern instructions offered absolutely no help (I'm sorry Burdastyle, but what on earth does "Place sewing foot onto the zip so that the spiral in the notch lies to the right of the needle" actually mean?). So I consulted my Step-by-step Guide to Sewing Techniques book and even my sewing machine instruction manual. It was at this stage that I realised how much information there is in the manual, and how many times I could have referred to it rather than fudging my way through a button hole, slippery fabric or other sewing challenge.

With my new zipper know-how, I got out my zipper foot and, while doing so, realised that I actually have a bunch of other sewing machine feet which I have no idea what they're for (pictured above). Any ideas, stitchy peeps? It was then that I decided that my sewing goal for 2011 would be to actually take time to learn how to use my sewing machine properly. After all, I've only owned it... 9 years! I want to know what all those feet do. I want to read the instruction manual from cover to cover. And I want to use the techniques to make better sewn items.

In the end, I put my zipper in successfully. Ok, so it was probably 80% by the book and 20% fudged, but it looks very neat and proper. More photos to come soon.

BTW, I have continued to post my Christmasy crafts over at the Crafty Christmas Club, but I will do a wrap up here late next week when it's safe to do so (i.e. when it's too late for people to "accidentally" discover their presents).

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Christmas dress

Well peeps, only 2 weeks and 2 days until Christmas day! And while I have been busy buying and making gifts for my friends and family, I've also been doing a bit of stitchin' just for me. Everyone needs a nice Christmas outfit, right? And considering it will likely be hot here in Sydney-town, I've started on a lightweight dress for the occasion.

The dress is based off Burdastyle's Danielle dress, and the fabric I picked up in Copenhagen earlier this year (the print is particularly Scandi, don't you think?)

Work is finally starting to wind down for the year so I should get enough sewing time in before the day to finish the dress. I'll let you know how it goes.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Stitchybritt's thoughts for a more sustainable Christmas

It’s no secret, everyone knows: I LOVE CHRISTMAS. I love cooking, baking, eating, drinking, sewing, gluing, wrapping, decorating, writing, sending, giving and all the fun stuff in between. But I’m also very aware of the crazy amount of unconsidered consumerism that happens at Christmas time, the amount of waste this creates, and the impact this has on our planet. So, I thought I would put together this little list of ideas for a more sustainable Christmas.

Before I get into the stuff you need to buy, what about the stuff you need to get rid of? Earlier this year, I pledged that for every thing I acquired, I would get rid of something else. So, knowing that I’ve probably got a couple of gifts on the way, I’ve been giving away loads of old stuff on Freecycle. Freecycle is an online community, with groups in thousands of cities and towns, specifically set up to give and receive stuff for free. You just list your item on the site and people will email you to come and collect it. Easy! This week I got rid of a VHS Video Player, a pasta roller, a towel rack and a bunch of other stuff that was just collecting dust. Consider using Freecycle AFTER Christmas as well, maybe there’s someone out who would really appreciate the bright pink towels your great aunt bought you : P

Christmas stockings I made last year from eco-friendly fabric

Ok, so most of you are probably rushing around like crazy at the moment trying to think which gift to buy what person. It’s not fun, is it? And the other downside is that most of the things you’re going to buy in your average shopping centre are mass-manufactured in another country, in factories that create massive amounts of pollution, out of unsustainable materials, and the items had to be shipped here, creating even more transport pollution. Yicky. The solution? You can make gifts (yes, you can!) or you can buy gifts handmade by other people – in your town! If you’re unsure about your making ability, or you’re not sure what to make, visit the Crafty Christmas Club for stacks of great ideas, many that don’t require much skill. If you want to peruse lovely handmade gifts online, of course Etsy is your first point of call (and you can shop by your location too). If you’re in Australia or New Zealand also check out MadeIt, Blue Caravan, Georgie Love, LeeLoo and Felt. Christmas shopping solved! And you didn’t even have to find a car park.

Next: how are you going to wrap those gifts? Not in that awful santa print cheap wrap from the supermarket! No! You can do it cheaper and prettier. Here are some top gift wrapping ideas:
This blog shows you how to make gift bows out of magazine pages
• Wrapping in fabric, especially for people who like to sew, is a neat idea. You could also wrap in a tea towel, scarf or even a face washer and tie it up with some ribbon.
• If you think wrapping gifts in old newspapers in going to look naff, think again. Look here, here and here.

Finally, what are you eating and drinking this Christmas? If you’re eating meat, is it free range? Look up free range butchers in your area and pre-order your ham. What about the chocolate, is it fair trade? And the wine, organic? Making some smart food-and-drink decisions earlier on will make your Christmas day a lot more ethical.

Christmas decorations (this angel and the snowflake, above) I made from felt a few years ago

There are actually loads of other things you can do to have a more sustainable Christmas, - just think before you buy, cook or throw things out and you will find plenty of opportunities.