Hand Sewing · Refashion · sewing · Upcycling · Workshops

Sharing timeless skills

This blog post is a really exciting post for me, I have spent the past several months running workshops sharing my skills with both adults and children.

I have been highly motivated to share my knowledge with other people for two reasons, the first is that I was passed a lot of skills down from my mum and her relatives and I want to share them, the second is that I really enjoy how satisfied both adults and children are when they feel they have achieved something in a fun and relaxed way.

Here are some pics of what I have recently been teaching people.

My local scrapstore has a huge box of scrap leather so I have delved into it for some great colours to teach people how to make keyrings, we also used fake leather and other fabrics, seen here on the top left. This lovely pic was taken by Meg from the Create cafe mentioned below.

On the right I spent an afternoon with some ladies at a great community cafe called Create on the Square, where we made denim bags from upcycled jeans, everyone’s zip sewing skills were great as a few of them had not done zip inserting before.

Lastly, on the left is a pic of a workshop at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival, we were in the family tent teaching kids how to make musical instruments from scrap materials such as paper cups and plates, plastic lids and other bits, this one was great fun and we had over 100 people in two hours! Play is so important for children, they were all really happy, relaxed and could make a mess with no one worrying about the carpet.

Coming up I am going to be doing another key ring tassel workshop, alongside friendship bracelets, fabric brooches, a fun pom pom session and felt pencil cases towards the end of summer with a back to school theme.

 

Chillies · Hand Sewing · sewing

Sewing in Scovilles – aka Chilli Bunting for our summer adventures.

fb_20160902_13_18_34_saved_pictureLast year we had our first ever market stand at our local farmers market.

My husband and I love eating and growing Chillies so, we decided to diversify his garden business and grow to sell. We grew all our Chillies from seed, it all started in January with a heated propagator and crossed fingers as we hadn’t grown on a large-scale before!

Anyway this year we are back for more, we will be planting again in a couple of weeks and I decided this year I wanted some bunting for our stand.

I went on the hunt for some fabric and bias binding and made my own Chilli template, I cut it out in two parts one piece for the body and stem and another piece for just the stem to be stitched on top of the main piece.

I machine stitched the bunting down to attach and after I folded the binding over, I slip stitched it down by hand to get a nice finish.

I found this fab yellow fabric in Hobbycraft and bought the rest in our local wp_20170108_13_34_43_prohaberdashery, it was great to get such a good match on the binding as the red felt on the Chillies is a very deep shade of red.

Due to the weather being incredibly dull again I have really enjoyed sewing with these bright colours, though as usual the light makes a decent photograph difficult to take.

 

This photo is my favourite, I have a peel off New York decal on my kitchen wall – I love the decal/bunting combo so much – I think I am going to make some smaller flag bunting and keep up it there! Most of my friends expect a good chilli/curry from us when they come round for dinner (apart from my best friend who has an undying hatred of spicy food) so they would love it.

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New York in my Kitchen!

Refashion · sewing

A Stitch in Time

I had all but given up blogging for a while as the dull short days and artificial light make awful conditions for photographing projects. So here is a little round up of what I have been making recently;

This was my favourite make, I saw the fabric in  Hobbycraft and decided straight away I would turn it into a shirt. Buying new fabric unless it is to improve a refashion,  is not something I do often but it is a special print and I already have ideas for the left over scraps!

I had drafted the pattern previously and used it to make a printed corduroy shirt. I am in love with the cowboy style yoke on shirts and I have a few with this design feature.

image The Infinity Scarf

I love a good scarf and wear ones of varying weights all year round.

This one was made from remnants I had left over after making a lining for a sleeveless wrap jacket, featured in this post

I really enjoyed the simplicity of the make and it’s pretty cosy as well!

 

I have had a great year, tutoring workshops with a local social enterprise company that run projects to encourage more arts and crafts for children and adults using materials from our local scrap store.

This year I plan to expand my involvement in helping people to learn new craft skills and realise how fulfilling creating something yourself is.

Hand Sewing · Upcycling

Stick or Twist – Laptop Cover Adaption

I have been eyeing up this little project in Do Crafts magazine for a few months ( its issue number 70 if you’re interested) and this week I made one for myself.

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I have a few pieces of grey felt from a visit to my local scrapstore in my fabric hoard, so I decided not to stick to the original design and twist it by going for a school satchel look.

The laptop cover in the magazine is machine-made but as I have a penchant for hand sewing mine is all hand stitched.

I wanted to give the dark grey a bit of a lift and I decided to go for my current favourite symbol, the stag silhouette.

I stitched the whole thing together using extra strong thread in bright yellow, using double running stitch ( it looks the same both sides like a machine sewn line of straight stitching), then I used the same thread in a bright red to weave in and out of the yellow for added texture.

The fabric used for the stag silhouette is a scrap of upholstery material, as the fabric frays a bit I used some iron on interfacing to stabilise it. I appliqued the stag onto the cover with blanket stitch and then wove some grey and white twisted wool through the stitches.

The attachment I used to keep the cover closed is usually applied in leather work, it is a called a screwback stud.

 

 

Hand Sewing · Upcycling

Circular Motions – Wreath Making

wp_20161014_16_02_24_proAs the seasons turn, I have to admit that my favourite seasons are Autumn and Winter. The colours, the scents, the change in food and I am a big fan of keeping alive family traditions.

I brought this little Angel quite a while ago and she stays up all year round, in December she is a Christmas decoration and the rest of the time she is a folk decoration!

Last year  I put up a wreath made of dried fruit slices, once the slices had gone past their best I decided to keep the wreath frame to see if I could put it to good use and this is what I came up with……

Materials Required

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2 Sheets of felt in your main colour

1 Sheet of felt in a contrasting colour

Wreath Frame and hanging loop.

Cardboard Leaf Template in 3 sizes/styles

Fabric Pen/Tailors chalk

Scissors and Pva/Fabric Glue

Needle and Contrasting Thread/Decorative button

I am not too specific with the fabrics and what colours you should use, because I think that hand made items should be unique and this wreath could be Autumnal, Spring like or just matching the decor of your room.

First thing, draw your leaf templates (I used the back of an old cereal packet to make mine) and cut them out.  The largest size leaf to cover the wreath frame measured 6.5cm in length and 3.5cm at the widest part of the curve, the smaller one is 4.5cm by 2.3cm and the long thin ones measured 6cm by 2cm.

Draw round your largest leaf template first, I cut out and used 25 large leaves. Next I cut out the tabs that will hold the leaves onto the wreath, the tabs measure approx 2.5cm in length by 1cm in width. As I used some left over bits of fabric between the leaf cut outs the tabs are not all exactly the same so don’t worry about making sure that they are ruler perfect.

After you have cut all of the large leaves, place the leaves under the wreath frame a few at a time. Place them with a slight overlap and lie them in slightly different ways. Get your glue and put a bit over the middle of the leaf, the same length and width as the tab. As I was using PVA I put some glue on both pieces and waited for it to go slightly tacky before gluing the pieces together. I also put a small dab of glue in between the overlap of the leaves to hold them in place.

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After you have finished gluing all the tabs on the leaves and everything is dry, this is what you will end up with. All the leaves need to overlap and no wire should be seen.

I let this layer of leaves dry overnight with a book on top as I was using PVA glue but it might not be necessary with fabric glue or a tackier glue.

 

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Next cut out your slightly smaller leaves, I used 11 of the small grey leaves. To give the leaves a bit of texture and contrast to the background, I embroidered them with Fern stitch.

The red thread that I used is Guttermans extra strong thread and I started sewing at the tip of the leaf and worked my way towards the base.

 

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Once the small leaves have been glued on, cut out and layer on your contrasting leaves. I decided at this point that I wanted a flower at the top.

I cut out two six petal flowers and layered them for a Poinsettia effect then stitched the button in the middle. You could use anything to decorate for a bit of sparkle or a different look.

Glue your last pieces on including the decoration and leave to dry before hanging.  Find a place for your wreath and enjoy!

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