A Project Just For Me – Bunting

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Hello! Just a quick post today to share a little project I have been working on just for me. When you make things to sell and to give as gifts all the time it is so important to find the time to do small just for fun projects for yourself every now and then.

This bunting is made from fabrics I have had in my stash for a long time, I was saving them for that perfect project that never really came along. Having recently decided I must start using my stash before buying more fabric I decided to make aprons to sell on Etsy. I couldn’t bring myself to use every last inch of these special fabrics for the aprons though, and decided to keep a small bit back to make myself some bunting. I have been making bunting for years, mostly as gifts and sometimes to sell but I had never gotten around to making myself some. It feels really great to have finally done it and the bunting definitely brightens up our spare room/craft room nicely.

As I knew I would be hanging this bunting flat against a wall I only made the flags one sided, this left more fabric spare for other projects too. I simply cut triangles of each fabric, hemmed the edges and attached them to some ribbon. A simple project but very satisfying!

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Now that I’ve used some of my fabric stash I feel it might just be ok to buy some more … I hope I’m not the only one who has to really force themselves to use their treasured fabrics rather than just squirrelling them away for that elusive perfect project?

 

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Machine Sewn Baby Blanket

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A few weeks ago I wrote a post about my plans for the two weeks off work I had over Easter, in that post I mentioned hoping to finish a baby blanket I have been working on and today I have finally finished it!

This is the first baby blanket I have ever made using my sewing machine, the previous blankets have been hand sewn. It was a much quicker process but it’s safe to say I need some more practice with cutting accurately and machine sewing neatly as my blanket has turned out pretty messy looking in places.

I started by choosing some cute fabrics and cutting them into strips, I chose strips because it would be quicker and simpler than triangles for instance but slightly more visually interesting than simple squares.

The next stage was working out order and placement for my quilt.

Once I had come up with a design I liked, I methodically piled up my strips of fabric and stored them in piles labelled by row so that I knew what order to sew them together in.

Then I got started sewing the strips together, once each strip in each row were joined I ironed the fabric and joined all the rows together.

The final stage was picking a fabric to use for the border and back of the quilt, as well as some wadding. I chose 100% cotton wadding as the blanket is for a baby, it’s so soft and easy to sew with I think I will use 100% cotton for all my quilts now. The colour I chose for the border was not what I originally wanted, I was hoping to find a green cotton that matched the green background of the fabric with a mushroom pattern. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a green that was suitable so I picked a bright teal instead that picks up on the teal in a few of the other fabrics. I usually use a patterned fabric for the back of my quilts but this time the main patchwork fabrics are so bright, loud and busy with pattern I wanted to tone down the overall feel of the quilt by using a plain cotton.

So here is my finished quilt, as I said before, I am not 100% happy with it as quite a few of the corners don’t meet properly and the whole thing has a slightly messy, rushed feel. I did learn a lot though and despite the messiness I am still looking forward to giving the quilt to my cousin for her new baby when he or she arrives in the summer. A handmade gift (especially one you have put a lot of time into) is always appreciated and loved, I’d rather give a slightly messy looking quilt to a loved one than a present bought in a shop any day!

Now that this quilt is finished I am looking forward to starting a new one and working harder on accurate cutting and neat machine sewing! If any of you make quilts or any form of patchwork I’d love to see it!

My first Etsy custom order…

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Sorry it’s been a little quiet around here for a week or so, I’ve been pretty busy with work, quality time with friends and family and lots of making things. I must work harder on making time for blog posts!

Something pretty exciting happened the other day, I received my first ever custom order on Etsy! A lovely lady called Pamela told me she loved the seascape design felt fronted cushion I had on my site, but wanted 2 larger versions. I was more than happy to have a go at making these for her and just this morning I got them finished! You can have a look at my original seascape felt cushion in this post.

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Making two matching pieces of felt was tricky, it meant carefully measuring out pieces of each colour used so as not to include too much of one and make them look too different from each other. I had also not worked on a sheet of felt this large before, Pamela wanted her finished cushions to be 45cm squares which meant starting the wet felting process with squares of over 60cm. If I am going to continue to create felt pieces of this size I will have to find myself a new work space as none of my surfaces were big enough to roll the large felt sheets comfortably. Attempting to work out how large to start the felt sheet to allow for shrinkage during the wet felting process was another challenge that thankfully turned out ok.

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Despite these challenges making this custom order was a brilliant experience for me and one I hope to have the chance to repeat regularly. Being paid to create has always been a dream of mine and this week I got to live that dream a little bit, it felt great!

I am still new to Etsy and the world of selling handmade items but I am really enjoying learning as I go along and this custom order has definitely boosted my confidence. If you have any advice/words of wisdom/amusing anecdotes about selling your handmade items I’d love to hear them!

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Handmade Felt-Fronted Cushion

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As promised here is a quick explanation of how I made this felt fronted cushion cover, with handmade felt. This cushion ended up as a gift for my Dad’s birthday, but I have since started making more to sell on my Etsy shop, I may even keep a couple for myself too!

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My first step was to make a sheet of felt by hand, using the wet felting process. You can take a look at a tutorial I wrote on wet felting if you are not familiar with the process here. Or try this method which involves adding to a material called pre-felt here.

When making this piece of felt I tried putting smaller blue and green pieces in between layers of the sky blue coloured wool roving, hoping that they would show through in a subtle but pretty way. Unfortunately, as with many crafting experiments this did not work out, my top layer of blue must have been too thick as you couldn’t see the dark blue or green at all and I was left with plain blue felt. To jazz up my blue felt a bit I added wisps of blue and green later, using a needle felting technique. As with all crafts it takes time to learn how felting works, each time I have a go I pick up new knowledge so it’s never really a failure!

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Once my sheet of felt was made, rinsed and dried I measured the cushion I wanted to cover and cut two pieces of cotton fabric to be the back of the cushion cover. I went for a envelope style cushion cover, meaning the back was made up of two pieces of fabric which overlap so that the cover can be removed and washed if needs be.

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I hemmed the edges of the two pieces of cotton that would be visible, then pinned the cotton pieces to the felt piece, front sides facing. I was careful to make sure that I was pinning in a neat square, measuring as I went along to ensure my cushion cover came out square and professional looking.

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The last step was to sew the pieces together in a square shape, following the pins carefully and then trim off the excess felt. When turned the right way round I had a cushion cover with a felted front and a plain cotton envelope style back.

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I really like the contrast in textures between the felt and the cotton, the felt gives the cushion a warm cosy feel, whilst the plain cotton backing keeps the cushion looking modern and smart. If you don’t fancy making your own felt you can of course use this method of making an envelope cushion cover with any fabrics you want.

I have just finished another felt piece inspired by ocean colours, and am hoping to turn it into a cushion tomorrow. After that I plan to try making some in subtle, earthy colours like cream, grey and brown. These are not colours I usually go for when decorating my home but using an old, traditional technique to make fabric by hand from natural sheep’s wool has me all inspired to look to nature for my colour palette too.

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Well thanks for reading about my felted cushion covers. If you make your own felt, using any technique at all, I’d love to hear what you use it for in your home!

 

 

 

Crochet Fabric Basket

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Today I finished a project I had been working on and putting off for about a year, it’s always such a good feeling to finally get something finished!

Originally this was going to be a pouffe for sitting on or resting feet on in the living room but I set the project aside when I realised I did not have enough fabric to finish it.

I was making the pouffe using the same method as these crochet rugs that I made a while back. The process involves cutting large amounts of fabric into strips and then using it instead of wool or yarn with an extra large crochet hook (I used a 12mm hook). Creating the rugs or this pouffe/basket is as simple as using a double crochet stitch (single crochet if you’re in America) in a circular shape. The only difference between them being to make a flat rug you keep adding increases to each row and with the basket you stop adding increases to create sides of the basket.

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I love this crocheting with fabric method as it makes lovely thick chunky items that are hardwearing and perfect for the home. It’s also pretty quick once you get started crocheting, although cutting the strips takes time and can feel a bit repetitive and dull.

When I realised I would have to buy more black and white fabric in order to have enough fabric strips to make a whole pouffe I set the project aside and forgot about it for a while. Sometimes when a problem presents itself with a project it’s easier just to forget about it for a bit and move onto something else, I hope it’s not just me who puts things off like this?

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A few months later I was shopping for a basket for my house when I realised I had a basket almost finished at home already if I simply added a few more rows of crochet and didn’t give my pouffe a top. I wanted to use a basket to tidy up the incredibly annoying mass of cables and games consoles underneath our TV. The pouffe/basket turned out to be just the right size!The cables and consoles look so much neater now, it’s still a pretty busy and untidy looking part of the house but is definitely vastly improved by the basket.

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So there you have it, I saved myself money by not buying a basket, finished a project that had been waiting for months and cleaned up an annoying messy area in my living room all at once.  Solving a problem, saving money and being creative all in one go is definitely my favourite kind of project, would you agree? 

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Christmas Bunting

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Hello! One of the things I have been making a lot of recently is bunting, it’s one of my favourite crafts as it’s simple, makes a great gift and really adds to a space when it is finished.

For this bunting I used the scandi style fabric I ordered from The Christmas Fabric Shop  and some red cotton tape to string the flags onto. I found the fabric really easy to use and it’s so lovely I might just have to order some more!

The first step when making bunting is to cut out your triangles of fabric, I created a cardboard template that I use over and over again. Remember to make your template slightly larger than your desired finished flag size to allow for seams. Cut out as many flags as you need for your chosen length of bunting. The number of flags needed per metre of bunting is completely up to you, I usually just make as many flags as I can out of my fabric and then space them out evenly along the length of tape. Some people prefer their flags to touch and some prefer them more spaced out.

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For this bunting I decided to hem each flag so that they look neat from the front, this method means that the bunting has a front and a back so it would be best hung flat against a wall. Another method is to sew two triangles together, pattern sides facing each other and then turn them inside out, this method would leave you with bunting that looked good from both sides and could therefore be hung in any situation. The negative with that method is that it uses twice the amount of fabric. The quickest and easiest bunting method is simply to cut out your triangles using zigzag scissors so that the fabric doesn’t fray, that way you don’t need to sew each flag at all.

If you do choose to hem each flag like I did, you will now need to fold over the two long edges of each triangle, creating a neat corner at the bottom point of the flag and then pin the folds down ready for sewing.

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When you have pinned the hems of each flag just sew down each hem as neatly as you can and then trim off any excess overlapping fabric.

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Before I get to the next stage I’d like to apologise for the terrible quality of the images taken during the making process here! I am really struggling with finding places in my new house large and light enough to photograph my process. A cosy house is lovely but it does not lead to great blog photos!

The next stage is my least favourite part, laying out your bunting on your length of tape and spacing the flags apart evenly. I usually start by cutting my cotton tape to the length I want it to be and leaving an extra amount at each end to enable the bunting to be tied or pinned to things. Next I arrange the flags evenly along the length of tape and pin them down ready to be sewn on. Some very organised people may well measure their tape and the distances between each flag, I am jealous of those very organised people! I bet their bunting looks perfect! But as a slightly impatient person I find spacing them by eye good enough for now!

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When I make bunting I like to buy extra wide cotton tape and then fold the tape over, pinning each flag in the middle of the folded tape. This gives a nice clean finish so that you cannot see the top, un-hemmed edge of the flags. Satin ribbon looks lovely used in this way but I have found it very slippery when sewing the whole thing together so cotton tape works better for me.

Once you have pinned your flags in place it’s time to sew them to your tape. My technique is to set my sewing machine to a zigzag stitch and start just before the first flag on the string, sewing all the way along until just after the final flag. I feel the zigzag stitch keeps everything firmly in place and I also really love the way that stitch looks! Once you have tied your ends you are done. Told you it was simple!
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Here’s my finished bunting! I love the scandi style Christmas patterns together, what do you think? Bunting is such a simple and effective way to add some colour and pattern to your home, especially for Christmas.

If you like the look of this bunting but don’t have time to make some for yourself it is available to buy on my Etsy shop, take a look! Christmas Bunting

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Patchwork Baby Blanket

This is a project I have been getting on with slowly over the last few months and have recently finished, it feels so good to have got it done! P1240728

One of my cousins is due to have a baby soon so I decided to make another patchwork baby blanket, this will be my third baby blanket and I’ve got to say my skills are definitely improving! At the start of this project we did not know if they were having a boy or a girl so I opted for a neutral green theme and collected fabrics with various patterns such as flowers, gingham, spots and little green frogs. We have since found out they are having a boy so the green was a pretty good choice!

P1240730I used the paper/card pieces method again – this involves temporarily attaching small pieces of fabric to paper or card shapes using tacking stitches and then hand sewing the edges of your covered shapes together until you have sewn each edge to another piece. At this point you can remove your paper or card. This is not a quick technique but I prefer it to using the sewing machine as I can do it whilst watching TV or spending time with my housemates.

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Once I was finished attaching all my small squares together I added a border, wadding and a backing fabric using the sewing machine. In the past I have not actually ‘quilted’ my blankets – meaning I sewed small pieces of fabric together but did not stitch over the top of them again which is the step that gives patchwork quilts that quilted look. This time I decided to give it a go, opting to simply sew the top patchwork layer to the wadding using straight lines following the lines of the patchwork squares. I then added the backing fabric separately and it was done. For a first attempt at properly quilting a blanket I think it went pretty well and I can’t wait to give it to the new member of the family when he arrives.   P1240731

I think a baby blanket is a perfect project for someone wanting to give patchwork a try as it doesn’t have to be too big or too intricate and whoever you give it to will always be thrilled with such a personal, meaningful gift.

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The Christmas Fabric Shop

I just wanted to tell you all about my cousins new crafty venture: The Christmas Fabric Shop

It’s an online store where you can buy all sorts of beautiful Christmas fabrics, trims and buttons. Of course with this being my cousins shop I was bound to say nice things .. but I recently placed an order and the fabric is just so lovely I had to share it!

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I plan to make lots of bunting with this fabric, I am particularly looking forward to putting those red and cream Scandi style fabrics together on some christmas bunting. Oh and isn’t the gingerbread man fabric so cute!

I think this site could be pretty dangerous for my bank balance as I want all the fabrics AND I want to help my cousins new business out!

Do have a look at http://thechristmasfabricshop.co.uk/ If you’re in the market for some festive fabrics!

Where do you get your christmas craft supplies from? I always love hearing about new suppliers and exciting materials!

Easy Fabric Wall Art Idea

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This is a quick and easy idea for making striking art for your walls. It was my mum who did this first and inspired me to try it myself. Both me and my mum love to shop for pretty or unusual fabrics, usually to use in a patchwork creation. Sometimes though, you come across a fabric which is just too special to cut up into little tiny squares. Thats where this idea comes into its own.

All you will need is:

Artists canvas’s in any size or shape you want – as you will not be painting on these the quality does not matter and they can be found very cheaply

Fabric of your choosing

Scissors and a stapler or drawing pins

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You simply need to cut your fabric to a size slightly larger than your canvas, wrap it round and secure it tightly with staples or even drawing pins. For a very simple idea this looks surprisingly good and can be made with any type of fabric you want. I chose paisley and psychedelic looking fabrics which look great grouped together, but you could go for colours that go well together or go with your home or what ever you feel like. So far I have made five of these small fabric pictures but I plan to make more, this also works well with just one larger canvas which is what my mum did. Take a look at the fabrics that I chose.

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Another great thing about this project is that if you get bored of them or think of something else to do with your fabric you can simply remove it from the canvas and you will still have a decent sized piece of material to work with. Personally I love the way these squares look together even though the colours and patterns kind of clash! In our last flat we had them displayed together on one wall, we must get round to doing that again!

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