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.

 

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.

 

 

Festival Fashion · Hand Sewing · Upcycling

Thrifty Festival Accessories

For several years now festivals have become quite a big pull for people all over the world.  We probably have one of the most famous ones here in England, the Glastonbury Festival.

I went to Phototastic-24_06_2016_7ff305bb-792d-47cf-bcd4-0331b37769daHow The Light Gets In Festival in May, it was rain free! I went to Glastonbury last year for 5 days and got away with one heavy shower of rain! Pretty Lucky huh?

The popularity of festivals has kept an indie bohemian style to the forefront of summer fashion.

As I seem to have a box full of earthy colour scraps and beads, I thought I would put together a few funky tassels and accessories that are festival inspired.

There are loads of tutorials on Pinterest, so instead of putting together a tutorial I have put together a short list of the ones that inspired me.

http://missrenaissance.com/2013/04/01/6697/  – Tassel Inspiration

http://rachaelgreenland.co.uk/felt-balls-tutorial-update/ – A Felt Ball tutorial, its a great tutorial with really loud garden birds in the background!

http://howtodosomething.blogspot.co.uk/2010/01/how-to-make-feather-earrings.html – These earrings inspired the feather necklace pendants.

I like picking up seashells that have become worn and almost skeletal, the shells have natural holes that make threading easy, like the one on the orange thread tassel.

Apart from the roving I bought to try out the felt balls, I didn’t particulary use any specialist tools. The keyring parts are from broken old ones, the beads from old necklaces, I used an awl to make the holes in the leather but they are easily available from DIY stores.

Have a go, if you haven’t got any leather you can get some great effects in other fabrics.

Hand Sewing · Upcycling

Pins and Needles – The Appliqued Needlecase.

Well, its been two months since I last wrote anything on my blog.  I have had a bit of blog apathy as sometimes I feel writing/uploading to a blog can be time consuming and I wanted to try out lots of  different ideas.

Recently, I decided that I needed to make myself a new needlecase. After I uploaded the picture to insta I thought that it might make a good tutorial – so here are the instructions. If you make one let me know and post a picture!

WP_20160615_12_50_53_ProThis is the look that we are going for, a denim cover with a blanket stitched edge and a layered applique front.

I use two different fabrics one Indian style and one is more country style, you will see that I wanted the front to reflect the inside.

Materials Required

Fabric scraps – largest size 14cm x 9cm

Iron on Interfacing

Strong Thread – such as top stitching thread/ Decorative threads.

A size 10 Crewel embroidery needle

Scissors/ Rotary Cutter/Awl/Cutting Mat

Ruler and Vanishing Pen

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Decide what you are going to use, I like to experiment with my husbands old denim jeans as I love the texture and fade of denim. I used leather on the inside as it doesn’t fray, my local scrapstore has a box full of leather in loads of colours. If you are going to use other fabrics for your inserts then the edges will need to be cut with Pinking Shears so they don’t fray. Any stitches that you don’t know how to do can easily be found by searching the net – I teach myself loads of new things this way!

First measure out your pieces for the cover and lining, I did mine at 14cm x 9cm. If you have a large print on your fabric then see if you can capture a good section before you cut, so you don’t have a lining with a random half flower on the inside!

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Cut out your interfacing so that it is the same size as the cover pieces. I have put the interfacing on both pieces of fabric as they are prone to fraying. Remember to iron them on the wrong side of the fabric!

Next, cut out the shapes you want to use on the front of your cover, you can stitch them on now and then cover the stitches with the lining. I did mine later on as I just caught the stitches through the denim. After that, pin the lining to the cover, wrong sides together and Blanket Stitch all the way round the edge.

Try and get your inserts to have a nice colour blend with your lining, or if you have bright colours go for a clash! Cut the inserts 2cm smaller all the way round. So, the largest one is 12cm x 7cm and the smallest one is 10cm x 5cm.

I punched the holes 0.5cm apart with the Awl on a cutting mat (mine is really old, you can use soft wood such as cork for a surface). Make sure the holes line up on both pieces of leather. Use your vanishing pen to make a mark on the fabric where the centre of the case is, make an anchoring stitch that will be hidden under the edge of the large piece of leather and start sewing the leather pieces to the outer case. Use Double running stitch and the Crewel Needle.

As you can see, I layered on my applique pieces after I blanket stitched the edge. This is so I knew it would fit into the space.  I attached the applique with a hand sewn Zig -Zag style stitch as the edge is quite fragile. In the photo on the right you can see the double running stitch down the spine of the needlecase.

I decided to attach a tail to the needlecase, I used a bit of retro crochet yarn I bought in a charity shop. I wove the yarn through the straight stitch down both sides, leaving a long end which I twisted up and anchored so the twist won’t undo itself. You can see in the photo below I used a single piece of yarn and finished it with a  bead at the bottom.

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That’s it!

 

 

 

 

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