Dotty Bobbin Beach Photo Shoot

The idea of going to the beach to do a photo shoot for Dotty Bobbin was born a few months ago. I am lucky enough that my parents live just a few minutes from Frinton Beach. We came to stay for a week’s holiday whilst they lived on their boat to let us have the house.

The morning after we arrived I woke up early and took a picture of the sea from the house.  The weather looked a bit unpredictable so I quickly texted my sewing ladies, and told them the best day to do the shoot. Luckily Aileen, Sharon and her twins were able to make it. These are the results.

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I was on the beach before 9am, and the tide was out and so was the sun, gorgeous isn’t it? We had the beach to ourselves to set up, although we got a few looks from the dog walkers. We just about managed to transport all the stuff from the car, and the Gazebo went up in less than 10 minutes. The Gazebo has been a labour of love of mine, an idea I had a while back that I just had to make! I was donated some lovely blue flowery curtains, I also cut up some of my own green gingham curtains (much to my husbands dismay when he got home and the window was bare!), that with some leftover Jane Churchill fabric and a bit of IKEA and Clarke and Clarke fabric, 20 metres of fabric and a few months later the Gazebo was finished. I have lined it all as well so that it looks nice from the inside too but if you want to make one, I would suggest using a woven fabric that looks good on both sides as it is quite heavy and the frame is meant for lighter fabrics.

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Sharon, who comes to my Wednesday morning sewing classes, put up her lovely bunting that she has made. I took some pictures of my deck chairs and a little wind breaker that I made, which I lined with contrasting fabrics. Next time I might add some pockets on for stuff to stay sand free, or possibly a glass holder for the wine! Sharon is sitting in her own directors chairs that she recovered in class, using some gorgeous fabric she purchased on one of our trips to a secret fabric hoard!

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Aileen, fondly referred to as the bag lady, also from my Wednesday morning class, brought along a selection of her latest bag creations which they all modelled. This a a really successful and easy pattern that is great for swimming or sports kits. After all the setting up Sharon, Aileen and myself take a well deserved break!

Annelies, after a cold dip in the sea sports her towelling robe, which was made from a thin Primark towel and edged with some of my grandmothers cotton lace from an old tablecloth! It got a lot of use that week, and only took about one hour to make.

Next up, the twins, they made these fairy wings themselves in a class with me, from some sheer pattered fabric with simple elastic straps for their shoulders and cuffs with elastic inserted down the centre to gather the fabric. It is a very effective, quick and easy way to make fairy wings and they are washable, no wires! I think you will agree they look very fluttery!

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Now, although 11am was a little early for wine, we decided we deserved it and the girls dressed up in their aprons made from pillowcases to serve homemade cake and biscuits (and wine..). Sharon made a table from the cool box and the body boards, decorated with a tablecloth she made from some old curtains. Annelies is modelling her hoody which I embroidered with her Bambino Bobbin logo.

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We couldn’t resist this shot with the stripey beach hut! Of course Dotty Bobbin had to be etched into the sand as well before we settled down to relax whilst the kids just enjoyed the beach and our picnic.

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Once the tide was up we went back to the house and then came back down in the late afternoon, early evening for another swim in the sea!

Thank you ladies for joining me at the beach and for being a part of my sewing classes. It is lovely to make new friendships and share skills.  Hopefully this blog will show people how much fun we have at sewing, and what lovely useful things we can make, if you know how. Thank you to my parents (who entertained my son whilst we did the photo shoot), and also to my husband who secretly enjoys it all!

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Now for Christmas planning……………………………………………

Pillow Case Aprons Tutorial

Welcome to another Dotty Bobbin Tutorial. Here I would like to show you how to convert those unwanted pillow cases into gorgeous little aprons. If you are anything like me I am constantly in the charity shop picking up things such as mismatched pillow cases, in this case the fabric is a lovely brushed cotton. It came with a bed sheet that I have already made into a winter nightie for my daughter. The lace is from a vintage stained tablecloth that was no longer required so I saved the lace. The blue cotton ties are from Primark packaging! The pink cotton lace was saved by my grandmother from a tablecloth that she no longer wanted. True upcycling!

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First cut the pillow case, I took off the section with the envelope on it, otherwise you will have too much fabric bulk on your apron. Then you need to secure the open end and prevent any fraying by serging/overlocking or zig zagging the raw edge.

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Next, I have attached the cotton lace, I have firstly pinned this in place and then used a zig zag stitch to attach it. If  I used a running stitch then I would have the lace flapping around a bit, hence I chose the zig zag, however if you were using a narrow ribbon or lace a running stitch would probably be best.

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Next how to gather, if you are using a single layer of fabric then you can use a gathering foot on your machine, but they don’t work as well with multiple layers, so here is the old fashioned way. You need to set your machine to it’s longest running stitch. DO NOT go forwards and backwards at the beginning and end of your stitches as you need to pull the threads and that will stop you doing so.

Sew two parallel rows of running stitch along the top edge of your apron. If you want a ruffle at the top of the apron, then sew your rows a couple of inches further down the apron. Tie a knot in one end of the rows (make sure you tie a knot in the same end for both rows). Then from the other end very gently pull the threads, you will need to pull only the top or only the bottom threads for this to work. Using your other hand gently gather the fabric as you pull, evening out your gathers until you reach the desired look. If you snap your thread you will need to start again, so be gentle!

Now carefully stitch a normal length running stitch in the middle of the two rows you sewed before, stitching over the gathering (going forwards and backwards at the beginning and the end). This will secure the gathering in place. Now you can remove your gathering stitches if you wish with an unpicker. I didn’t bother as I was covering it with the lace afterwards anyway.

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Next pin your lace or whatever you are using as a tie onto the top and secure in place using a running stitch. I have first attached the blue ribbon then I have attached the lace. Below I have made a second one, slightly different with some pink cotton lace instead. Here my friends twins are modelling them, whilst serving us adults some wine on the beach. Could life get any better?

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