Sewing Studio Tour

8SO….Finally it is complete. My new sewing studio. It seems to have taken forever, though it has only really been a few weeks. What turmoil we have gone through in the house, living with dust and rubble in everything from my make up to the boy’s cornflakes – it gets everywhere. We all sound like we have a severe case of asthma, gravelly voices and non-stop wheezing, I never realised how much havoc a build can create.

 

So that will be our last home extension, ever! We did have a conservatory built on a few years ago, but there was nowhere near as much upheaval. I felt like I was living with 10 men at some points, they were there when I woke up and I was shoo-ing them out the door sometimes at 7pm so I could have a quiet glass of wine before it all started over again.

 

Although it was fraught, I have to say now it has definitely been worth it.

I now have huge runs of storage behind doors along each side of the studio – this is lucky because obviously we lost the loft for storage and we still have a lot of junk to store, including excessive Christmas trees and decorations, 200 years of family photographs, 80 paintings from previous artistic family members which I am waiting to posthumously gain in value (unlikely to happen really) and more suitcases than you can shake a stick at.

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I have moved most of my sewing paraphernalia in now, though I am still trying to get it set up properly and find everything a proper home, but I thought it was time to show you how it looks now compared to where we started 10 weeks ago.

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The windows are large and airy and can be opened up both sides so I can feel the breeze blowing straight through (or an icy gust of wind, depending on the day) I planned the position to allow in the most light into the centre of the room where I do most of my pottering around.

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I planned worktop with desk spaces along one whole side, with nothing built in on the other side to allow for my cutting table, and a bit of room to breathe.

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We used Ikea Kallax units to fit out everything with Ikea worktops. I wanted lots of open shelving so I can see all my fabrics – it gives me constant joy and inspiration (Maybe I’m a bit sad)

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We constructed a long thin cutting table to fit the space (from more Kallax units) which is narrow enough to walk all the way around without bumping your head on the sloping walls, well, it is for me anyway as I am a bit of a short-arse, I have a friend however who is 6’5” and it wasn’t quite as accommodating for him as the big bump on his head can testify.  Sometimes it’s good to be short.

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My main feature was my ‘Wonderwall’ at the back which is designed to show off glass jars with my trims and haberdashery – a bit like an old fashioned sweetie shop, with a large open shelf in the middle for photography. (I’m actually finding it very useful to prop my iPad in there and watch TV at night if the boys are all out, it’s so very cozy, especially if the fire is on.

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I purchased a lovely patchwork chair and footstool from Ebay which sits beautifully in the corner and is exceptional for watching Stranger things 2 on a dark night when the rain is battering on the Velux windows.

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The lighting in the ceiling is LED and very good, but I have bought task lighting for the desks as, I don’t know if I ever mentioned it, but I am allergic to any lights that flicker – which include LED and fluorescent – which yes, is an absolute nightmare in today’s world.  I had loads of electricity points put everywhere. I think 16 sockets in total, and I am already wishing I had more. I had accounted for machines, but not for phone/tablet chargers etc.

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Along the long shelved wall I have my sewing machine and computer. I have a separate desk for my embroidery machine by the stairs. This little spot also handily fits my ironing board as if it was made for it.

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Anyway, my Spencer Ogg decal has been applied so I am now well and truly installed and working every day from my new haven. It’s the best present I could ever have. A total joy to work in. I just have to keep it tidy – unfortunately I am a bit of a messy worker, but it’s too nice to be untidy so I will be trying really hard to keep everything in its place.

 

In the morning I don’t go off to work any longer, I go up to FIBRESPACE.

So many friends have been around to enjoy a bit of crafting and Prosecco, I now have a permanent wine cooler up there, and Mr O has put a sign on the door –

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Flexible container anyone?

A lovely round bottom

The Shapely Tote – there is nothing like a lovely round bottom.

Shapely tote bag social media
The Shapely Tote sewing pattern

So….if you are looking for a bell bottom tote bag that makes a beautiful every day handbag, (and even if you aren’t), look no further.

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The major selling feature is there is no hardware required ! Always a massive plus point for me because when I want to make something, it always seems that I don’t have exactly the right components already in my considerable stash, so I have to start shopping around stores and web sites to find the right bits of metalwork.

That of course leads to a massive shopping spree to stock up on any other bits I imagine I may be requiring over the next 6 months (which usually then sit in a drawer for eternity), and also means I cannot make it there and then – and I am a kind of immediate gratification type of girl.

So, one click of the finger, grab your sewing paraphernalia, and away you go.

It is a pretty easy and quick make too. Not many PDF pattern pieces to stick together, and once you have cut everything out it goes together really quickly.

The bag has an inside phone pocket and a large profile stitched outer pocket which has a contrast bound top edge as a style feature.

I used fusible foam inside (Bosal or Annies Soft and Stable) I find the one side fusible foam is by far the best for me; it holds the fabric shape and crispness so much better than sew-in foam and the bag will stand up on its own.  I have been waiting for this product to become commercially available for years (whilst using car headliner in the long interim period)

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The bag has a generous gusset, which is pretty easy to attach, and means that the finished tote has lots of room inside for your essentials and even your sandwiches on a day out.

I made this example up in Harris tweed, but it is suitable for most medium weight fabrics including tweeds, denim and medium weight furnishing weight cottons. Did I tell you of my deep love for Harris Tweed. Actually someone from Harris Tweed recently posted on a photo of a Harris Tweed bag on one of my Facebook posts that I had used it the wrong way round – woops, sorry HT – just shows how much I know (Just like John Snow)

Lots of colour photos and comprehensive instructions to walk you through every stage of makeup, and it’s a sew and sell pattern so you are welcome to sell your finished article in small scale.

I just checked the definition of ‘bag’ in the dictionary, and it states – a flexible container with an opening at the top, used for carrying things

Maybe I should change my shop name to FLEXIBLE CONTAINERS ?

Anyway you can get the pattern here:

Happy sewing!

NEWS FLASH !

Fame (I’m gonna live forever)

NEWS FLASH! Spencer Ogg pattern featured yesterday on the front page of Pattern Pile   (grab a wee discount code to celebrate)

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Lovely to see one of my patterns on their site. I have been selling this sewing pattern steadily for a while now, it’s a firm favourite, and it is available in various sizes to fit various tablet and iPad models-

  • iPad models 1 2 3 and 4, and any tablet up to a size of
    9.56″ x 7.47″ x 0.5″ (24.3cm x 19cm x 1.3cm) click here
  • iPad Air models, and any tablet up to a size of  9.4″ x 6.6″ x 0.3″ (24cm x 16.9cm x 0.75cm) click here
  • iPad mini and similar size tablets: (Blackberry Playbook/HTC Flyer/Lenovo IdeaPad A1/Samsung Galaxy Tab 7.7 and many more)
    7.87 in × 5.30 in × 0.28 in (20 cm × 13.5 cm × 0.7 cm) click here

I’ts a nice easy make and you can use up lots of your stash of oddments and pretty haberdashery.

Use the code OGG10 at checkout to grab a 10% discount on any patterns on my Etsy Shop PDF Patterns Plus

I think I may pop a bottle of Prosecco tonight to celebrate

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What’s at the top of my Stairway to Heaven

The excitement is mounting. I now have stairs. I am LOFTGIRL!

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I presume the man under the stairs will eventually leave and it won’t be like the 3 Billy Goats Gruff ‘Tripp-trapping’ over the Troll’s bridge forever more. Crap, now I have thought about that I may have nightmares for years worrying that he is still walled up in there!

Speaking of which, I had a spare mannequin and gave it to one of my friends last month for her dressing room. The kids have been scared witless every time they pass the room at night. I think I might be getting it back.

So here is a bit of an update on my sewing studio build.

The supporting struts have now been removed, and it makes a huge difference.

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Walls have been plaster-boarded and now plastered. The guys are telling me I can’t paint until the plaster has dried so it will be a few more days yet, and it’s seriously killing me. I am thinking of painting everything white with whitewashed board flooring to keep things as light as possible, so I can do my photography shoots in the studio too. I am assuming the vast array of clashing fabrics should add all the colour I need. What do you think?

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We are down to 4 builders this week rather than 8 so I am biting my nails hoping that the work won’t slow down as things have moved on really quickly so far.

My cupboards and shelving are being made up today.

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I’m trying to keep things as compact as possible at the sides so I can get a large cutting table with seating in the middle. I’ve ordered a huge length of worktop to go across 8 metres of shelving on the right hand side, and I will have gaps in the shelving underneath to use as desks. I am trying to plan spaces now to place each machine or computer where I want to use it (still pondering on the ugly old ironing board position, I don’t want it to spoil things, but it is an old faithful)

The builders are doing well, I may have to include biscuits in the tea run this week to keep their mojo up, we don’t want them running out of steam.

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If you didn’t see my earlier posts on the build, you can catch up on part 1 here and part 2 here

Cover your Kindle

I have just released my new sewing pattern for a Kindle cover. Its quite adaptable and comes with size options for a whole host of e-reader and mini tablet size versions.

It has an ear bud pocket and an ingenious inlet for headphone jack or charging cord at the bottom.

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It also makes a really cute bag – can you believe I have  been using it when I walk the dog (not with a cable sticking out of the bottom, but poop bags) – everyone keeps stopping me and asking where I got it from. Obviously this has given me the idea to adapt a version of this to a dog walkers bag sewing pattern later, but we digress!

Its an easy pattern so it’s great for beginners, and comes with full instructions to make either a wrist strap, cross-body or neck strap.

It is fully lined, with a little wadding to save your device from knocks

A seperate pocket at the front keeps your headphones or charging lead handy.
Your device can be charged whilst still in its case thanks to a handy cord inlet at the bottom

Great stash-buster!

You can grab the pattern here

Happy Sewing Everyone !

Stitchable Storage

So…I’m thinking about storage solutions for my new studio (currently being built – jumps up and down with excitement), I thought it would be fun to do a round-up of stitchable storage patterns. I am going to be making a few of these myself – everything matchy-matchy to start with of course.

Adobe Spark (3)

 

 Reversible sewing basket from eHow

Bubble Pods Pattern from Beth Studley

The Oslo craft bag from Sew Sweetness

The Sewing Project Bag from ricracsews

Flared Top Baskets From Around the Bobbin

Happy sewing everyone !

Convertible Mini-Messenger

I am happy to announce the launch of my PDF Sewing pattern for The convertible Mini Messenger Bag (it also converts to a wristlet).

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I designed this bag especially for my own needs, something I couldn’t find – I wanted something that wasn’t too big, but where I could easily organise and find everything on a day or night out. Tiny clutch bags and phone pouches just don’t hold all your essentials, I wanted something just that wee bit larger but without bulk. A cross body bag for the day that converts into a wristlet or clutch for the evening.

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So I present my Mini Messenger bag pattern – the perfect option. It is perfect if you want a hands free bag or wristlet to carry your wallet, phone, keys, lipstick etc, though it is surprisingly accommodating for its size.

This pouch has a back zipper pocket and a front phone pocket, inside credit card slots and a glasses/gadget pocket, along with a roomy main zippered compartment.

Make it with an adjustable cross body strap, or a wrist strap, or both!

Wear it across the body in the day and change to the wrist strap for a night out
The beautifully padded exterior with a top zip closure keeps everything safe and in its place.

You can find the pattern here

Sunday Fat Quarter Freebies

Lots of people ask me about sewing with fat quarters.

A fat quarter is one yard of fabric cut in half lengthwise, and then in half width-wise. The dimensions are approximately 18″ x 22″ (46cm x 56cm).

Fat quarters are a great way to start sewing and can often be bought in a pack with a number of coordinating designs. Here are a few free patterns to give you some inspiration. links below.

Fat Quarter Freebies

Ruffled mini-wallet from Stitchery Dickory Dock

Mini backpack coin purse from So Sew Easy

Tote bag from Sew Unbelievable

Toiletry set from Shes got the notion

The Sushi-Roll Changing Pad and Diaper & Wipes Pouch from Sew Mama Sew

Happy sewing everyone !

Let’s get Social

I am now in the midst of trying to get more patterns developed, photographed and online to pay for a full time fabric addiction, studio fit out, and the odd glass of wine.

I just launched a new sewing pattern yesterday after a month of testing, and it has already been featured on Pattern Pile, I am thrilled!

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I think to make a pattern successful it needs to have something different. With this pattern, I developed a handy outlet for you headphone or charger lead, and a pocket to store your ear buds. There is nothing worse than getting on a long haul flight satisfied with the 6 fantastic movies you have managed to download, only to find you left your headphones at home.

The pattern comes with options to create a wrist strap, or a longer strap so it can be used like a mini-bag. (Great for all those festivals I go to these days)

The ideas and pattern development come easy, it’s getting them out there and using social media as a tool that I am struggling with. I have half ignored social media for business until now, but realise I can no longer live without using Facebook/Insta/Pinterest etc  If I want to make a go of this (God help me if I ever have to go back to work – nooooo, I can’t let it happen!)

Obvs as everyone else, I have lots of candid shots on all these mediums, though nothing I would really want to publish in a professional blog, haha. So – I must get my head down and learn, I’ve already attached myself to Tailwind, which I never knew existed until last month, but what a great tool to schedule pin posting. (It’s a nightmare having to set an alarm clock for 2am so you can just run downstairs to post a pin to hit the time the Americans are shopping for new patterns – sorry, my American friends, you are still my biggest and most important market).

Fabric Addiction

August 2017

Hi, I’m Diane, and I am an addict.

I am a born sewer – not sure if I like the word sewist – perhaps sewaholic is better.

I’ll stitch anything together if you leave it around long enough.

I live in Manchester UK with my husband, teenage son and a small white dog. (the dog is the easiest one)

After working in textiles all my life I have decided to take the leap and go it alone, making bag and accessory sewing patterns full time. I’ve had a shop on Etsy for years selling finished bags and covers at

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/spencerogg

and trialled selling a few patterns, which were really well received, so well in fact, that last year, I opened a stand alone PDF sewing pattern shop –

https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/SpencerOggPatterns

where I sell my own patterns and the hardware you need to construct them.

We don’t have a huge house, and I have been spreading my sewing paraphernalia all over the bedrooms, and any nooks or crannies I can find, it’s even creeping downstairs now. I currently work from our dressing room, so you can imagine the squeeze. (Close your eyes now if you don’t want to be horrified).

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This is how bad it is..SHIZ..I know

And that isn’t all – I store the biggest stash of fabric you have ever seen in huge plastic boxes in the attic, in the garage, even at my friend’s house. It’s a nightmare when I want to find a certain print I know I bought last year for a brilliant project or other!

So finally Mr O has agreed that we can convert the attic space to a studio workspace of my own. I’m not sure whether it was to please me or just that he couldn’t stand looking at my mess any longer.

The builders start in 2 weeks time, and I am beside myself with excitement. I want a cupboard or shelf for every single little thing. Well, if they are going to build it, I might as well have everything exactly right.

I don’t think the builders quite believe me yet about quite how much fabric and trim one girl can collect over a lifetime.

My stash is enormous – and I mean absolutely freakin’ ridiculous. Mr O doesn’t even know how much I have, as I hide most of it before he sees it, (often in the kitchen cupboards as I know he won’t look in there!)

I accept that I am an addict, I cannot walk past a fabric shop or haberdashery (what an old fashioned word….we need a new one, perhaps a bibble-shop) without spending a week’s wage on glorious stuff I have yet to find a purpose for. I’ve even ordered special feet from Germany and metalwork from China without knowing quite what I am going to do with them – I just know they are gonna improve my life and I can’t live without them.

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I Mean… what the hell is that thing anyway !!

This week we are on a family holiday in Spain, and I am so consumed, I am lying on a sunbed unable to think about anything else but shelf specifications and ‘Wonder Walls’ (Have I told you about that yet. I don’t think I have, we’ll get round to it)

I have trawled the local Spanish shops and ‘feraterias’ for pretty cupboard nobs and plastic storage containers – all in white – to enhance my new playground.

I am having everything in white – walls, woodwork, tables, rails, it’s a good job the dog is white, not that he will be allowed in, but I am spending an inordinate amount of time fixating on whether I should have white storage boxes or bright orange or lime to break up the white. I’ve already purchased all sorts of options, at least half of which will go to waste (or at least a kitchen cupboard – the ones Mr O never looks in)