Showing posts with label stitch. Show all posts
Showing posts with label stitch. Show all posts

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Patchwork love :)

At Christmas my lovely friend Ellie gifted me a beautiful collection of liberty fabric patches.  I had a great time adoring the lovely prints and colours and put them to one side awaiting some inspiration about what to do with them.  Last week I saw a gorgeous patchwork bag that had been shared on my wall and decided to fashion something similar to this.  I was supposed to be sitting down and sewing for my shop however felt totally like sewing for me so off I went!

Here are my lovely patches all laid out in their sizes ready to be stitched together.

The patchwork itself went really well - it's pretty simple to do especially if you aren't worrying about a pattern.  I went for bright is beautiful and random totally works!
 Once I got to the quilting of the patchwork it got a little bit more tricky.  After a few goes of stitching and unpicking I finally managed to match the stretch of the wadding with the patchwork - loads of pins later and I set off sewing.  

 And then continued to make it into this bag which is totally my new bag of choice for the summer!  I had a little facebook discussion about the best handles to use and finally settled on this bright blue which I'm really happy with! What do you think?

After a quick chat with a lovely lady who runs a stitch and chat session at a local church she has agreed to help me quilt my patchwork blanket. I figure for such a large blanket two hands and one expert is better than me on my own so watch this space I might finally finish my patchwork quilt!

Hope you're all well and as always thanks for stopping by!

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Putting yourself out there

So this week I have taken the opportunity to finish some patchwork products that I have been working on.  I love the finished effect of patchwork but it is time consuming and my machine has fought against the quilting it at every turn.  But I have battled on and here are some of the pieces I have made.

The stocking is fully lined so it can be used for filling with fabulous surprises for someone this Christmas and the other two pieces are purely decorations.  
  It has been fun to try something different and continue with new techniques and approaches to try to create things that are always changing and evolving -reflecting mood, seasons, weather or a theme.  For this week that technique was patchwork.  
 I have seen many inspirational patchwork pieces by people who have clearly spent hours and hours perfecting this skill.  They use a perfect maze of fabrics and shapes and bring them together to create something that is just mind-boggling.  I know a few people who are experimenting successfully with making hexagon quilts and it looks fabulous.  But for me - for now - I stuck with squares - also very effective - but not quite a tricky as some of the other shapes that people opt for.  Overall I'm really happy with how they have all turned out and particularly love the stocking!
  These three pieces will be the first that I have put out there for public scrutiny.  I've signed up for a facebook showcase called A winter Wonderland where crafters show 3 products that they are selling. 
 I didn't really start sewing to sell things and I didn't start blogging to get loads of followers.  I love sewing and I love writing - the two seem to have fitted together nicely to be honest and I really enjoy sharing the things that I have made.  I've signed up to a charity craft fair and this showcase because it seemed the natural next step to continue sharing my love of creating (and talking ).  But putting yourself out there is scary - it's inviting criticism and judgement.  Inviting people to choose not to like the things that you have spent time creating.  Of course it also invites recognition and praise and all the things that make putting yourself out there worth it.  So I have shared my pictures on the showcase with a mixture of excitement and nervousness - not really sure if this is the right step but at the same time not having lost anything by trying.  I'll continue crafting and blogging whatever happens because I love it and that is what I have to remember!
 I'll keep you posted on how it goes and please do leave me your feedback!

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Searching for inspiration

I have been quiet on the stitching front this week - somehow lacking inspiration and the ability to get going with new projects.  I don't know about the rest of you crafters out there but every now and again I feel that I just have no idea what to do next - or if I do I lack the motivation somehow.  Usually this is fixed by being around other creative people and spotting some fabulous fabric.  So today - before I disengage with society for another round of night shifts - I headed out to Southsea to wander with a friend.
 Vintage dress on and I was ready to go.  This dress is always a particular favorite of mine as it started off as a size 20 and a bit of snipping later - teamed with my chunky belt - and there you have it a light and easy to wear vintage style dress.
 The Love Southsea market was on in Palmerston Road and as always it was filled with wonderful people making wonderful things.
  One stall in particular stood out and it was run by Busy Bees who work at The Beneficial Foundation.  They are creating fantastically professional and creative products and working really hard to create jobs through social enterprise.  The stall was friendly and bright and I honestly could have bought a whole load of things but haven't really organised myself to think of Christmas presents just yet.  So I bought a hand printed card that will be a thank you to someone.  A bargain of a price and I love it.

So if you see the Busy Bees anywhere else do make the time to check out their stall as it was definitely the one that stood out for me today.

On from the market and we did the wander of the charity shops where I picked up some gorgeous floral fabric.  Hopefully soon to be made into something gorgeous.

All that wandering has truly worn me out today but what a lovely wander it was.  Hopefully I will get my stitch on in the week and have plenty of little projects to share with you all.  Enjoy your weekends everyone!
x x x

Sunday, 22 September 2013

oven mitt tutorial

This week I have been trying out a new pattern for me and making some oven mitts/pot holders.  It was all a bit of an experiment to be honest but I did a very wonky test run - got positive feedback so thought I would run a few up to sit on the table at an upcoming craft fair.

I got myself completely organised and set up a little production line so that I would - in theory - be super duper time efficient.  Unfortunately I wasn't as organised as I had thought and only had enough wadding for my test run and 2 more mitts.  So I did that many and will have to return to make the others later.  I'm proud of my good intentions but may have to work a bit harder on the pre-planning bit :)

If your going to do this project you will need

thread, patterned fabric, plain backing fabric, wadding, shape templates (can be printed out from internet), scissors, bias binding that compliments your patterned fabric and some pins.  I think this one is easier if you have a sewing machine but certainly doable without!

So this is how I did it:

I printed out templates of the shapes I had chosen - heart, star and flower onto plain paper.  I only have an A4 printer so made the shapes into halves and printed it this way.  I laid the straight edge onto the fold in the fabric, pinned and cut out.

I then repeated this step for backing fabric and wadding.  I then cut the backing fabric out a second time but this time cut the shapes in half along the fold line.

I laid the fabric in the order I wanted baking fabric then wadding and then pattered fabric and ironed. This is an important step as it causes the wadding to compress which makes it much easier to manage when sewing and cutting a fiddly shape.

Then take the two halves of the backing fabric and edge the straight seam.  I did this by over locking it and then folding over and running a straight line stitch along it.  When you do this ensure that you fold over on both halves the same side.  When you lay the two halves onto the back of your shape you should see no raw edges on either side.

Now pin together and run a straight line stitch all the way around the edge of your shape trying to ensure you catch all the layers into your stitch.

Once you have done this trim with scissors as close as you can to your line of stitching.  Remove any excess threads or pieces of wadding that are sticking out around the edges.

Now take your bias binding and fold around your shape.  This is the trickiest bit and requires you to take it slowly and ensure the binding is tucked tightly around the shape.

It should look something like this now.

As you can see I added a loop of fabric to the corner of each so that the mit could be hung up in the kitchen.  The idea of these is that they fold in half and your hand slips into the pockets.
 Trim all your edges and check carefully for if there are any sections of bias binding that you have missed with your line of stitching.  If there are you need to neaten that section up otherwise the mit will begin to look untidy very quickly when used.

So there you have it - a cute mit for handling those hot pots and pans.  I think it would brighten up a kitchen but is also a cute idea for a gift.

I found that the flower became very tricky because of the tight curves so I kept sewing the bias binding without all of the layers in it when I hit the corners.  I'll keep trying but didn't end up with a neat enough product to photograph this time.  Maybe next week!

As always I have made these out of reclaimed fabrics so they are ethical and environmentally friendly.

Happy stitching :) 

ps. it was lovely to climb up into my organized craft room this weekend so I have many good intentions to become an organised crafter - watch this space :) 

Sunday, 25 August 2013

Pillow Case to Tote Bag

I’ve been trying to use up the fabric that I have had in my boxes for a long time and came across a gorgeous pillow case that I discovered months ago hidden deep in mounds of bedding in a charity shop.  I loved the colours and the flowers but wasn’t really sure what I was going to make out of it.

This week I decided to make it into a tote bag – some stitching and lining later and I ended up with a finished product that was so much better than the pillow case I’d started out with.

Tote bags are great for days out in the sun, trips with the family and carrying as a shopping bag.  If you make them out of recycled fabric then not only are they preventing the use of plastic bags but ethically and sustainable produced too.  Combine that with a relaxing afternoon spent sewing and you have a sustainable, ethical and fun filled bag!

Get those machines out and get sewing!

1.        Decide how big you want your bag to be and cut two rectangles 1.5cm bigger than that all around.  Cut out two rectangles of the same size from a plain lining fabric.   Then cut two long strips that will make up the handles.  I did mine either side of the pillow case and to a 6cm width


2.       Now place the large rectangles right sides together for both the patterned and the lining fabric.  Sew both sides and the bottom of the fabric.  Now turn these out so that you can see the pouch that will make up your bag.

3.       Take the thin strips and fold them in half lengthways.  Sew a line from top to bottom about 1cm away from the raw edges.  Take a safety pin and pin it to one side of the fabric.  Point the pin into the tube of fabric and begin to ease it through pulling the fabric gently as you go.  This should thread through leaving you a tube of fabric with the right side facing you.


4.       Press your handles, bag and lining to leave neat, crisp lines.

5.       Place the lining so the raw edges are facing you and put it inside of the patterned fabric.  All your raw edges should now be hidden.  Fold the tops over to create a neat seam between the patterned and the lining fabric.  Pace the handles flat about 4cm away from each edge and tuck them in between the lining and patterned fabric.


6.       Pin and ensure everything matches up and sits as you want it to.  Make any adjustments and  then stitch a line around the top of the bag ensuring you stay the same distance from the top as this is a visible stitch.

IMG_20130822_091714.jpg And there you  have it - just trim your loose threads - your finished product!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

The therapy of sewing

This week I have been using up my odds and ends of fabric to make little bits and pieces - cushion hearts and coin purses mainly.

Because of the size and light nature of the fabric I've been hand sewing as a pose to sitting at the machine.  Now don't get me wrong I love my machine - I love the speed, the straight lines, all the different stitches and generally how simple it makes bigger projects. But sitting down on the sofa with a needle and thread has a very different charm.

I've been enjoying watching each single stitch develop and the repetitive motion of weaving in and out of the fabric.  I've enjoyed the extra time it takes and the close attention that can be paid to the development of each project.  Sitting quietly isn't something that happens a whole lot in my life and patience certainly isn't my natural gift.  Between a job that involves constant interaction with people to generally being an individual who loves to talk endlessly I sometimes could go days without being quiet and taking time to sit and think.  When I'm sitting at the machine it's wizzing away and I think just about what's in front of me.

  So this week to suddenly stop for periods of time to sew by hand and just be has been quite different.  Yet I loved it - my conclusion is that sewing is my kind of therapy. 

I can talk constantly but actually say very little. This is something I've been told a number of times in my life.  But stopping talking and just being with my thoughts is a quite different feeling.

Watching a project steadily develop, feeling productive and yet embracing the peaceful quiet around me and enjoying my time to process my thoughts has been amazing.  Everyone needs their bit of 'me time' and for everyone it looks a little different.
For me as I focus on crafting more regularly I'm going to try to make sure that a part of that each week will be without the machine - sewing by hand or maybe doing some knitting - something where I can sit and enjoy my own thoughts.  Honestly I'd recommend it!  I might even keep my eye out for a comfy chair as an addition to my attic craft space - somewhere I can curl up, sew and enjoy the sky above me.  Sounds like a freecycle check is in order :-)

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Stuffed bunnies

This week I have been working in the afternoons so have spent happy mornings in my attic stitching away.  It has turned into a productive week with a maxi dress finished (photos will come shortly), a few tote bags made, some coin purses stitched and I've also been making these adorable stuffed bunnies.

This blog post just proves that these days you can find anything you want on the internet.  I had been wanting to make some cute stuffed animals but due to my terrible drawing skills I needed a template.  A quick flick through Google images and I found one!

This wonderful blogger has also shared a ready written how to guide so I'm not going to repeat her good work but just share it for you all to follow.  So please check it out!

I plan to add some little eyes to the bunny with some buttons on some and on others a little cross made out of embroidery thread.

As always I have made these bunnies from fabric that has been sourced from charity shops, ebay and other up-cycling projects.  I've been amazed at the luck I have had recently in finding beautiful fabrics that are in amazing condition being sold off for pennies.

Here is a selection of my recent finds - any suggestions of what you think I should do with them???

Hope your all enjoying your week - will post again soon :)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Back to the blog - how to make EYE MASKS

After a few weeks away with sickness and all sorts going on I thought on this gorgeously sunny morning I would complete a project and do some blogging.
 I recently signed up to do a craft fair for the first time.  It's all a bit of an experiment to be honest but it has got me thinking of new things that I can make that people would enjoy owning or giving as gifts.  This morning I made an eye mask which was surprisingly simple, reasonably quick and gives a good professional finish which is always very satisfying.

To do this project you will need:

  • Fabric in the pattern of your choice
  • A sheet of thin foam ( I used craft foam for kids)
  • A backing fabric
  • Paper for the stencil, pencil and scissors
  • Pins
  • Elastic
  • Bias binding
  • The usual needle and thread :)
You need to cut out your template - I traced an eye mask I already had but a quick look in google images will give you a selection to print and trace if you aren't confident with your free hand. 
Now pin the template onto the fabric and cut around as you would with any pattern.  Repeat this on your foam and your backing fabric.
Place all three together - backing fabric then foam then your patterned fabric on top facing right side upwards.  Now pin together to avoid movement and sew around the edge.  It helps to stay close to the edge so you aren't going to have a hard time hiding the stitching later.
You should be left with something like this.

Now take your bias binding and elastic.  You need to mark with a pin where you want your elastic to sit on either side of the mask.  It needs to be placed at an equal distance on both sides from the top and the bottom to ensure you don't end up with a wonky mask.
 Begin to fold the bias binding round the edge of the mask and pin in place.  As you reach the points for your elastic insert the elastic into the fold at the back of the mask.  The elastic should just lie flat against the mask.

 Now you need to choose a thread that matches the bias binding or choose an appropriate contrast.  You now need to sew round the edge of the bias binding adjusting as you go to avoid any creases.  At this point it is worth going slow and steady and staying close to the edge of the binding.  This line of stitching will show and makes part of the finished product so it is important the stitching is neat and steady.

Now trim any loose threads and there you have it - a perfect gift for yourself or someone else!  Enjoy and don't forget to send me pics of your progress - you can tweet me @jenniwessels

Till next time :) 

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Charity shop delve

I love a good charity shop delve and headed out today for a gorgeous day out for much nibbling, chatting and charity shop shopping with a great friend.
I found some fab fabric and bits and pieces but started off the day at home unearthing a treasure I'd bought months ago.
A trip out wandering through fratton dipping in and out of shops I stumbled upon a gorgeous dress.  How much - £1 - bargain!
I took it home tried it - loved it - and burried it.  Something wasn't quite right.
This morning I pulled it out my wardrobe and set to work.  I pulled out some old boning that was bent to such a strange angle it definately did nothing for me.  A simple unpick and re-stitch did the trick.
  Then I took the pointy top and folded them over to create a shape I like better over the bust.  A quick stitch and I was away.
  I didn't have the good sense to take a before photo but thought I'd share with you the after photo.
  It just shows if your willing and able to put in a tiny bit of time and effort those bargains are still out there to be found!

Post your charity shop treasures too! :-)