Showing posts with label sewing don't love me. Show all posts
Showing posts with label sewing don't love me. Show all posts

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Hey There, Shirley Bird! Crochet Purse Tutorial

Cross stitch crochet

The 1st day of Spring is my one of my favourite days.

I feel like I can shake off the drudgery of winter.

There are wafts of floral perfumes in the air and a warmth.

It's also my Nanas birthday!

She has one of those lilting voices you hear out of the old movies from the 40s and 50s and is always ready to smile, laugh and hug.

My lovely Nana. Isn't she beautiful? I pinched this photo of my Auntie Horse Whisperers Facie page. Hope she doesn't mind!

We share a love of birds. So for her birthday I gave a bit of cross stitch crochet another go and made this little purse I have called 'Shirley Bird'!

My first effort was this little swatch which I completed a couple of months ago.

I then made a little jar holder with a simple love heart.

It isn't extremely professional I assure you!

Me and sewing don't love each other.  If you've read some of my other posts, you would have heard all about how we only do it maybe once or twice and year. Like an unhappy 40 year marriage, we tolerate each other for the sake of the kids.  Generally Sewing and I avoid each other but there are rare circumstances where we have no choice but to get on and do the business because our options are limited and necessity prevails.

I did have to do the Sewing a little bit in this. I'll try to avoid showing you too much of my manky thready close ups because it's a bit of a dogs breakfast. 

The crochet bit was the fun part!

I'm calling this a tutorial instead of a pattern, as it's more of a description of how I did something, rather than a precise set of instructions about how to do something.  

Shirley Bird Tutorial

3mm Crochet Hook
Darning needle

Some DK acrylic for the main body of the purse (soft salmon)
An assortment of cotton blend 8 ply for the cross stitch:
Dark Blue
Mid Green
Light Green

A swatch of fabric to fit inside your purse
A 5 inch zipper

*American crochet terms are used*

The body of the purse is super easy.

With the 3mm crochet hook and the DK acrylic chain 30.

Now in terms of gauge, this needs to be wide enough to accommodate a 5 inch zipper.

Row 1: Single crochet into the 2nd chain on the hook and into every ch across. Ch 1, turn.

Row 2: SC into the first stitch, then in every sc across. Ch 1, turn.

Repeat Row 2 until you have a total of 52 rows or until you achieve the size you require. Then finish off.

This rectangle will be folded in half widthways to make the purse body.
You will cross stitch on the top half of your rectangle as the bottom half will become the back of your purse.

Now it's time to cross stitch!

If you've never cross stitched before, it's quite easy but make sure all the little criss cross lines are all pointing the same ways for all your stitches.  
There is a great tutorial for cross stitching on crochet by Purlbee .  I encourage you to pop over and have a look at her adorable cross stitched cushion (where I Iearnt and drew inspiration!)

Follow the graph below to create your cross stitch pattern.  Or jump on Pinterest and find a cross stitch pattern that you love!

Cross Stitch bird graph

Trying to make sure all my little criss crosses go the same way...

Shirley Bird Purse
Now I just have the light green part of the leaves left to go!
Once your cross stitching is finished, it's time to move on to the fabric insert.

I cut out a pocket from a scrap of spare fabric that was just a few millimetres narrower than the crocheted rectangle.

Then I used yarn to sew a chain stitch onto each side of the zipper, so it would be easy to stitch to the crochet rectangle later. It might not be strictly necessary but if you'd like to try it out there's a tutorial on the Frog Knitting website.

I then did some extremely dodgy zipper sewing....
Zipper crochet
First it looks all nice and professional....
how not to sew on a zipper
Then things start getting a little freaky....
 Now the pouch is complete.

The zipper is sewn so it is the 'right way' up, and sewn with each side on the 'wrong side' of the fabric.

I then sewed up each side of the pouch making it 'pouchy'.

Handmade purse

And here are the two separate pieces before assembly.

embroidered crochet

Then I hand sewed the crochet rectangle to the zipper.

And once that was complete, I was able to hand stitch up both sides of the purse, tucking in all yucky sewing threads AND ensuring the zipper ends were firmly tucked and sewn in.

cross stitch bird

To finish, I grabbed that 3mm crochet hook and did one row of single crochet around the entire top edge.

crochet purse

 Then for Row 2:
From starting at first stitch, *skip 2 SCs, 5DCs in 3rd SC, sk 2 scs, slip stitch in 3rd sc.

Repeat from * all the way around to join with a slip stitch at beginning sc.

Finish off and Tah-dah!

Embroidered crochet

The Shirley Bird Purse!

I sent it in the Post to Nana and she received it the day before her birthday, but waited to open it on the big day and told me she loved it!

Embroidered crochet

Before I posted it I took a few photos and tried to get Axel the Gender Confused Budgie to pose for a photo. I even tried giving him some grass seed, but sadly (and unsurprisingly) he was non-compliant.

He just chomped his way through the seed, mashed and chucked it all over them place, then flew off. Little bugger.

If you've got any questions please email me at, or pop over to my Facebook page and say hello!

If you did enjoy my tutorial or any others you've found on my little blog.  Many of my tutorials are free for everyone, however if you'd like to make a little donation, it would be gratefully received and contribute towards future free tutorials!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

Middle Aged Merida

It's been an exciting and busy week or two around here.

Firstly I've been getting reacquainted with sewing.

Sewing and I don't really get along too well.  Like an unhappy 40 year marriage, we tolerate each other for the sake of the kids.  Generally Sewing and I avoid each other but there are rare circumstances where we have no choice but to get on and do the business because our options are limited and necessity prevails.

The necessity this time arose because of BFF The Blonde Bombshells 30th Birthday extravaganza.
Or as we like to call it, the 1st anniversary of her 29th birthday.

It was a Disney costume party.

Somehow I decided to go as Merida from Brave.  I figured at least I'd save money on a wig.

Ebay had normal Merida costumes (as opposed to the vast array of 'slutty' Merida costumes) for over $140!

Whenever you search for grown up lady Disney costumes on Ebay, there are loads available. But about 60-70% of them call themselves 'Slutty Cinderella' or 'Slutty Snow White' etc.

Not quite the look I was going for?

So after researching on the Google, I decided to MAKE IT MYSELF.

I found a green velvet dress on the Ebay for on $26 (including postage) from a seller in Singapore which arrived super fast.  Then a cape from a local ebay seller here in Melbourne.  This was probably the most expensive purchase at $30 hastily made 3 days before, but I needed one pronto and didn't have time to make it.

I then picked up some cheesecloth, thread and lace from Spotlight, and a bow & arrow set from a cheap costume shop (which didn't have any Merida dresses).  I found some shoes and a belt from the local Op Shop for $9 and a gorgeous metal Celtic Buckle for $4 (ebay again).

Then got down to business.

This is not a professional looking job by any means! But it came out looking alright for the night!

I machine stitched the lace on, but had to hand stitch all the cheesecloth inserts.

Would you like to see my handiwork?

But despite the Frankenstein sewing, the end result kind of worked!

Call me Middle Aged Merida
Disney Merida

 The Blonde Bombshell spared no expense with the dress of her choice. I'm sure she won't mind if I share this photo with you.

Pretty as a picture!

I accidentally shot Cinderella a split second after this photo was taken.

We kept the restaurant patrons amused as Malificent, Buzz Lightyear, Jessie the Cowgirl, foxy Jessica Rabbit, Scar from the Lion King, Boo from Monsters Inc, a Dalmation, Princessed- up Cinderella, poor Cinderella, sonofagun No. 1 as a Toy Story soldier, Petes Dragon, Mary Poppins and Cruella Deville, Boo-boo and some uncostumed, but no less merry guests drank cocktails and drooled over the crumbed oysters and wagyu beef balls.

Buzz and Jessie were even asked by some of the other restaurant patrons to pose for a photo to show their kids!

So now back to crochet.  My craft of choice and comfort!

I do have an impending project that has been requested by the Bear which is his very own Man type blanket. It will be a Zigzag bold coloured thing. I'm still going through an internal creation process on that one.

In the meantime I am continuing to experiment with wrist cuffs.

Here is my first pair made with 2 ply cotton thread which I have been wearing...

And then I tried making one with  8ply cotton yarn.

And now I've made another pair so I can experiment with adding two layers of lacy edging!

I should be finished with this one in a day or two as the edging works up really quickly.  I'm loving the creative side of it. I've been looking up old doily patterns for ideas and inspiration!  I also want to write up the patterns and post a couple of different styles, but am testing them out with different yarns first. 
The body of the cuff in a cotton thread take AGES so I'm looking into quicker alternatives for that too.

How's your week been?

The Red Haired Amazona

Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Into the WIPs...

This morning I was in the supermarket and found this special edition of Better Homes and Gardens magazine.  Look at all the woolly goodness!  And THEY know I like freebies. Even cheap plastic freebies.  They included them with the magazine just to make me buy it. So I did. There's lots of lovely knit and crochet patterns inside. And some that are a little bit ugly.  But we won't dwell on the ugliness of life.  They had me at Pompoms.

As soon as I got home, I made a cuppa, had some lunch, made another cuppa, chatted with the budgie, picked up some Playstation controllers from off the floor, stacked the dishwasher, fed the cat and patted a guinea pig, and made another cuppa after my 2nd one went cold, I hurriedly ripped open the pompom maker packaging and started playing with it.

Look at these beautiful fat, juicy pompoms!  We all want to wrap ourselves up in whatever they're attached to because THEY'RE FLUFFFFFYYYYY!!!!!!!!!

So I followed the instructions. This method was awesome because you can wrap the yarn around so blimmin fast!

I produced weird almost pompom things.

And got these pathetic creatures.

This is a fairly accurate depiction of what my hair looked like in the 1980s...

So I went back to my pompom construction with my normal little plastic circles I bought in Lincraft a while back.


The need for pompoms arose so I can finish one of my WIPs, a knitted Intarsia scarf I started last winter. I'm crazily trying to finish any WIPs before I embark on any more new projects.

This is another WIP. Not a fun WIP of choice because me and sewing don't love each other.

This weekend is the Blonde Bombshells 1st anniversary of her 29th Birthday. And she's having a Disney themed costume party. 

So the Red Haired Amazona is going as .....
Merida from Brave!

So I purchased a dark green velvet dress off eBay for $13. Super cheap.
I've found some lace and cheesecloth in Spotlight. I have also bought some soft gold string stuff and eyelets for the bodice.
As you can see I've cut out the bits in the arms to sew fabric inserts into. And I have tatted the lace to the cuffs.  I've only got a few more days so I better get cracking.

I'm not quite sure how it will work because sewing don't love me, and I don't love him. And that's ok. We try and generally keep our distant from each other, but can put in a half-assed effort if we have to. 

Bugger. Just remembered I haven't bought the bow & arrows yet! 
The Red Haired Amazona