Hand Sewing · sewing · Upcycling

Something Borrowed….

One of my favourite things about sewing and textiles is that it is such a huge worldwide field and there are always so many new things to learn. There is such history wrapped up in cloth and sewing, it really is the tale of humans and culture with the added emotions of birth, death, migration, persecution, memories of clothing worn, comfort and so much more.

One of the skills I picked up was based on the traditional Japanese technique of Boro, this as with lots of cultural trends that come and go is steeped in history. A way of patching and repairing clothing to pass down to family members, these items of clothing or household textiles would have been repaired to last and essentially contained the story of the family through the textiles used.

Unlike now, where as a trend there is no history or emotion and items are sought after as a sign of expensive luxury. I still cannot understand the trend of buying jeans with identikit factory made rips in them already, any wear patches or mending should be a sign of how the clothing was worn.

Anyway, here are a few pics of the skills I picked up during the session, we were encouraged to be really creative and add other stitches and embroidery over the top. Since the session I have made several more of the squares and added other bits and pieces to them such as buttons and, I am really pleased to be able to say that all the fabrics are scraps I had already.

The largest photo is the stitching I did on the original session and the last one here at the bottom is the current piece I am stitching, it is based on a day trip that I took to Clevedon, near Bristol. I have decided that I would like to use the techniques to recall events and trips that I have taken, particularly in the natural landscape. It is instilling my emotions and memories into cloth and creating a visual diary for myself that is not on a hard drive.

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.

 

 

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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