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?

 

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!

Easter holidays are finally here!

As I am lucky enough to work in education today is the start of two weeks off for me, to say I’m excited is an understatement! I have so many ideas of projects I’d like to do, places I’d like to go and people I’d like to see during these two weeks but the main way I want to use my time is to finish some work in progress projects that have been building up. I thought it might be nice to share some of the projects I’d like to get on with during my two weeks. I’m sure I will be more motivated to get them finished if I’ve told you all about them.

These little needle felted animal portraits are actually finished, but my aim for the Easter holidays is to find cute little vintage picture frames for them. I’m very excited to see them all framed up, I think they will look great! I made these little guys much in the same way as my needle felted animal ornaments, except these were needle felted onto small pieces of pre-felt and made flat rather than 3D. The fox is wearing a needle felted suit jacket but the badger’s shirt and tie are made from shop bought craft felt, it was loads of fun experimenting with making these animal portraits and I’m definitely going to make more!

In comparison to the needle felted animal portraits, this is a project which I have literally only just started. These fabric strips will be made into a patchwork baby blanket for my cousin’s baby, due in July. I have made a few baby blankets before but in the past have kept each blanket to just one colour scheme with different patterns, this time I wanted to try a more multi-colored theme with coordinating patterned fabric. This fabric was purchased at the Craft 4 Crafters fair we went to last month in Exeter, I really love the cute woodland theme, the mushroom print is my favourite! Unlike my other baby blankets which have been hand sewn, I will be machine sewing this quilt. I’m looking forward to getting to know my new sewing machine better and increasing my quilting skills. I adore making things for babies and can’t wait to make things for my own little ones sometime in the future.

This patchwork quilt is a project I have been working on for years, that’s not even an exaggeration .. it really has been years. I am using the english paper pieces method and hand sewing the whole thing which is part of the reason it has taken me so long, the other part is that I keep running out of money to buy more fabric. However I can finally say I am nearly finished with this quilt! I am sewing a border at the moment, using a pretty floral fabric in shades of ivory, pink and blue.

I hope to have finished the border in the next week or so and can then move onto picking backing fabric and wadding, exciting! I have learnt a lot whilst making this quilt so I will definitely write a big post about it when it is finally finished. That will be a good day.

The final project I’d like to share with you today is this apron that I finished sewing this week. A couple of years ago I made aprons as Christmas gifts for lots of people and it was so successful I have decided to make a few for my Etsy shop too. This is the first one I’ve made, I love the combination of subtle heather grey fabric with the bold psychedelic paisley deer print. Although this apron is finished I need to iron and photograph it properly and then list it on Etsy. Hopefully I can get that done during my time off and maybe even make some more aprons. My mind is full of fun fabric and print combinations I’m dying to try!

I’d love to know what you all have planned for Easter? As well as these crafty goals I am hoping to spend lots of time with friends and family and of course, eat my weight in chocolate eggs!

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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Christmas Present Idea: Easy Fox Toys

P1240422So heres a quick and easy present idea for any kids in your life. If you’ve been reading this blog over the past few weeks then you’ll know that I recently made some crochet gingerbread men, they turned out so cute but unfortunately they are not a suitable present for two of my cousins children due to a wool allergy. I was stumped on what to make them with not much time and limited funds and then I remembered these lovely fox teddies/cushions from A Beautiful Mess. I have made a few of these before but had completely forgotten how easy and effective they are.

As I simply followed the instructions written by A Beautiful Mess I won’t go into loads of detail, instead heres some pictures of what I did and the link to how they did it, their instructions are clear and simple and the whole project is super quick. http://www.abeautifulmess.com/2012/03/plush-fox-doll-diy-.html

All you need is a few scraps of fabric, some safety eyes and some toy filling. I chose to use some tartan and christmas coloured striped fabric to add a festive touch to my foxes, any excuse to make things a little more christmassy!

P1240414 Simply cut out the basic shape twice, add the triangle for the face and a circle for the foxes belly. P1240415P1240416 P1240417Next add safety eyes and a nose, I made my nose out of a small piece of black felt as I did not have a nose shaped safety button. P1240418 Pin your two pieces together, front side facing in and sew all the way around, leaving a gap for filling.P1240419P1240420 Fill your fox with toy filling, hand stitch the opening and you’re done! Simple, quick, cheap and really cute! I think this is the perfect last minute present idea for kids or even adults as they could be used as a cushion or a toy. P1240421