Tuesday, 22 April 2014

Sharing...

I'm relishing the quiet that surrounds me right now, nothing but  birdsong...peaceful bliss!
I'm also finding it quite amusing that the first day we have had for weeks without sunshine meets the first day back to school! A gloomy day to match the kids' mood..how thoughtful of the weather :)

I thought I'd pop in and share the rest of the card designs I've created (some others can be seen here).

There have also been a couple of things that have popped into my inbox that I've thought "how great is that!"... and so wanted to share in case you may have missed them.


The first one is Andrea Schroeder's  "Lets give your dreams wings"  FREE e- course. Its a dip into the techniques and tips that she offers and is more than enough to get your dream up and on the road (and in a mere 10 minutes a day!). I've used Andrea's techniques for several years now and am a fully fledged member of her Creative Dream Circle. I love Andrea  and her work....some may find it a bit "out there", but if there is anything I have learned since starting this business journey of mine is.... growth requires doing the inner work, which for me was letting go of a crazy load of limiting beliefs and fears!


The next one on receiving, created the immediate response: "YES!.... How to write  the ultimate resume....
or ..... your "Really wild Bio"! I love the idea of a CV containing more than just the previous jobs worked/ qualifications gained... one that honours those moments and experiences in life that make you uniquely YOU, and highlight the unique and wonderful skills only YOU have! You can download a FREE copy that contains all the juicy ways to dig in and find out what your Wild Bio would contain here!
Seems so fitting at this time, when my eldest is at the stage of having to make subject choices at school , which to her feels like such a defining moment....I'm tempted to email the link to the school :)


So that's all I've got to share for now....all I have left to offer is a hug of the hairy variety...but I think that should suffice.... after all what better kind of hugs are there?! ;)x



Thursday, 17 April 2014

Kitschy Stitches!

Just coming up for air before I dive back down again...... this part always catches me out...the run up to a Trade Fair and the long list of things to do! Trade Fairs always seem to fall just after a school holiday...which I NEVER remember to factor in when it comes to getting things done.
*Sigh*
Stu has been a master child entertainer while I have been expanding my own repertoire of skills....the beginning of the week saw me as " instruction booklet maker".....yesterday I was "in-house  photographer"....today I'm "machine sewing expert" and "PR guru"!  Still got to own and wear the "Display officianado" badge.....which is the bit I've been putting off most......You see I need to come up with a design to display and showcase my items that I can carry with me on the train in a suitcase! ......
I just KNOW I am going to regret leaving this one till the end!

Anyhoos, today I wanted to share some new embroidery kits I've added to the items I'm taking down to London..and soon to offer in my shop. I'm so happy with how they have turned out.... kitschy stitchery kits! 

These couldn't suit me more! I love embroidering but am hard pressed to find designs that a) are my kind of style and b) can be used/displayed in some way that would work in my home.


These kits come with a piece of fabric with a colourful design already printed on, and parts of the design left blank to be filled in with stitches.The end result is a co-created textured piece of wall art! Yes!

I hope you love them as much as I do!




So back to the multi tasking...best go do some child entertaining for a while....the walls are being climbed!x

Friday, 11 April 2014

Spring Project Week 6 - Making bunting & Stag Design


Here we have it....the final week of the Spring Sewing Project and the best bit...where it all comes together! Yipee!
First off lets have the design.....click here for the download

And now lets talk about making some bunting.......

The Spring sewing project has involved embroidering a design each week onto a bunting flag, and because of this we need to ensure that when we sew the backing onto the flag, the design is positioned in the right place. 
All that time spent embroidering does NOT deserve to be wasted!
We do this by marking the outline of the flag using running stitch. This is quick to sew and easy to remove and will guide where to sew when attaching the backing fabric.


Next select the choice of fabric you wish for backing..I've gone for a nice bright yellow! 

Remember when cutting out the backing fabric to allow for a minimum of 1cm seam allowance also!


 Machine or hand sew along the 2 sides of the flag, using your running stitches as the guide. Leave the top edge UNSEWN!


Once the two sides have been sewn you can remove the running stitches and then turn the flag right side out.
Ironing your flag will help the flag to lie flat...you can just keep to the edges and away from the embroidery stitches.

Because I want my bunting to span over a decent sized area and I am short on time for embroidering, I'm going to add some plain flags that match the backing I have used.
No need to do running stitches this time though...just a quick draw around the flag template then pin and sew along the 2 side edges......then turn the fabric right side out.

Now that the flags have all been backed with fabric and I've got some plain ones made...I'm ready to "string" the flags together to make the bunting.
To do this I am going to use some matching yellow ribbon which is approx 1 inch thick.
 Ribbon is very handy to use as the edges will not fray and require no preparation. You can choose to use fabric strips instead, which will require hemming first. The trick with whatever you choose to use is that it is thick enough so that when folded in half it will still measure roughly 1cm.

The length of ribbon/fabric to use is determined by laying out the flags you have made,with the desired  space apart and then measure the length this covers...remember to add an extra 10cms or so for each end, which will be used to hang the bunting.

Folding and ironing the ribbon makes it easier to see where the flag should be positioned . It also ensures an even attachment of the ribbon on both front and back sides of the flag.  


Carry on and keep pinning your flags along the ribbon....

Until they are all pinned on ..... 

I've still got this weeks Stag Design to embroider and the Doe design to finish off, so I've got some spare ribbon on the end that I will attach them to (as you can see).

All that's left to do is sew along the edge of the ribbon...If you have taken the time to fold the ribbon and pin carefully in place then this bit is the easiest of all! I used zig zag stitch on the sewing machine to add a little bit of interest!
Et voila!   Woodland themed bunting! Yay! 




Wow!...what a fun (and busy!) 6 weeks its been..I'm trying to remember when I've ever been so productive! I just want to say a huge THANKYOU  so SO much to everyone who joined in along the way....I hope there will be many-a-wall adorned with this sweet and unique hand embroidered woodland bunting.

I'll be back next week with a little more run of the mill bloggy stuff! So much to show you in prep for Pulse....Its only 1 month till I go to London Baby......eek!x

Friday, 4 April 2014

Spring Project Week 5 - freehand machine sewing VIDEO! - Birdie Design

Hi there! I hope this Friday finds you all well and raring to go for the weekend.....my kids come off school today (for the Easter Hols), so there is definitely a spring in the step here!

Ok! For this week's Spring Sewing Project  I have done something completely different (and which required a serious pair of big knickers!) I have created a video......prepare yourselves ;)

I'd deliberated on how to photograph free hand machine sewing...especially when the way I do it is not actually the "conventional way" (as in using freehand machine embroidery equipment!). This is where I thought i'd go out on a limb and explain it all "face to face" so to speak.......
you can watch below to see me turn this weeks embroidery design into a machine stitched one...



And here is the design available for you to download.

Next week is the last week of the Spring Sewing Project. Wow..6 weeks go pretty fast!
I'm going to end with showing you how to sew the embroidered flags together and make the lovely woodland inspired bunting.......sweet sweet indeed!
x


Saturday, 29 March 2014

Spring Project Week 4 - Applique and Doe Design

 
Guess what I've been singing all week?.....I'll be kind and not tell you....save you from the never ending Julie Andrews reverie in your mind!
Last week we looked at various embroidery stitches that can be used to fill in areas of a pattern (here). Another technique that can be used to do this is applique.
Applique in "official" terms, is the attachment of one fabric piece to a base fabric piece, sewn by either hand or machine.
It is a great technique that quickly adds texture and contrast to an embroidery design, and is heavily used as a decorative element on clothes, bags, cushions..you name it!
There are a few ways to Applique and I'm going to show you a couple of the simplest ways to do this. I'll be using this week's Doe Design to demonstrate......
First off you have to get the fabric piece ready that you want to applique.

Technique No 1:



If you are anything like me you will have an array of fabrics in your stash, mostly cotton without a selvedge edge..or in plainer terms fabric that frays! Interfacing is the piece of wonder that swoops in to the rescue and laughs in the face of frayed fabric edges. All hail interfacing!

The important thing to remember here is that you need to copy the REVERSE image of the motif you want to applique...and this should be drawn on the NON-shiny side of the interfacing. The shiny side of the interfacing is the glue side that will be ironed onto your fabric and make it non-fray-ey (a technical term!)




Technique No: 2
Fabric like felt and fleece is a great fabric to use for applique as it does not fray and can create a lovely thick padded effect. When using this type of fabric no interfacing is required and you do not need to worry about cutting out templates in reverse.


....................................................................................

Once you have your chosen fabric piece cut out and ready to sew, you now have to decide how you want to attach this piece. There are many ways you could do this.....I'm going to illustrate 3 ways....

First off you can attach your fabric piece using Blanket stitch...
 

Another stitch (and probably the easiest) that can be used to attach your fabric piece is Straight Stitch...
..........................................................................

It is worth considering whether you actually need to sew the  piece of fabric all the way around the edge  in order to secure it in place. Some fun effects can be created by stitching a pattern or design onto the fabric piece, these stitches also anchoring the fabric pieces together. You can see an example of this below.....   

Running stitch has been used to fill in the tree bark design whilst also attaching it to the fabric background.

The piece below also provides another example where you can see that the flowers have been appliqued on using a mix of stitches to anchor the fabric circle, which add to the texture and depth of the piece.


.................................................................................

To end I'll show you a few previous pieces I have created using applique and a mix of different  stitches to attach.......

Fabric pieces attached with straight stitch and then some satin stitch sewn on top.

A mix of stitches decorate this notebook , with variations of pieces being stitched fully around the edges, and others in a more decorative way. (It also shows a very clear example of using blanket stitch as edging!)

The felt deer head  has been appliqued using stem stitch, the flowers within the head help secure the fabric piece further. The mount piece has been attached using straight stitch, and rather than using interfacing, the edges of the fabric were tucked under and stitched in place.

Blanket stitch has been used to attach the felt and sequin fabric pieces of this fish, and satin stitch and embellishments have been sewn on top. Sparkletastic!


Applique is really an artform in itself , quite separate from embroidery..and warrants a whole blog of its own, never mind a blog post.... however I hope I have given enough to start you off and get you interested in investigating it some more!

Next week I'm sharing some tips on free hand machine sewing...so do come back :)
 x

Monday, 24 March 2014

Sewing and smiles...

That's what my weekend has consisted of.. sewing and smiles....and how lovely it has been.
I had fallen behind on the sewing project which is not exactly setting the best example!..so I set to work to catch up...sharpened needles at the ready. After my youngest was tuckered out from her busy birthday party day on Saturday, I set up my laptop with 2 films at the ready and began stitching away on the blossom design. (design here)


Its funny how often things I'm  initially not keen on turn out to be my favourite...this design can join that club. I'm really pleased with how it turned out and the colours used. Pretty pretty indeed.

Sunday brought an opportunity to sew while yet another 6 year old had a birthday party, and this is where the squirrel started to take shape. (design here) He got finished off last night while watching Vikings (yes to  Ragnar Lothbrok!) If I were to do it again I'd choose a different colour for the squirrel and different fabric for the background...


However seeing all the flags I've sewn so far..I'm really liking how well they sit together.


I've been getting so many messages and such great feedback from the patterns and "stitchery lessons" I've been sharing over the last few weeks. Thankyou all so much to all those who feel inspired to take part. Jo has been sharing her take on the spring project work over on her blog and a bit of her process, which has been a joy to see. If anyone else feels like sharing their sewing I would be delighted to see and share. 
Sewn by jo at Sleeping dragons 

So I'll end with the birthday smiles....these were from the midweek "official" birthday celebrations....

Yes! despite it only being late afternoon that is Skye in her pj's..but as she told me ..it's MY birthday....
 "Fair enough "I said...."but you will need to take off your roller boots when you go to bed"....reluctantly she agreed :)

Friday, 21 March 2014

Spring Project Week 3 - Embroidery stitches for filling

I'm going all squirrelly on you for this week's design. Lots of details and bits for you to fill in...I hope you enjoy! And so on to the stitchery teachery bit....


Last week  you'll remember I shared 4 embroidery stitches that can be used for sewing lines in a design......go here if you missed it.
This week is all about filling in parts of a design and what stitches can be used. There is a long list and many variations of embroidery stitches that can be used, I am  going to share some common basic ones.....

Satin stitch has had a spell over me for many years, its the smooth silky texture the embroidery thread creates over the contrasting fabric that lures me. I have lost count of the hundreds of hours I have spent satin stitching a design to adorn a bag, trousers or skirt. It is my favourite stitch hands down.




....................................................................................................................

French knots had me baffled for years, not sure why as they really are so so simple. All you need to do is wrap the thread around the needle twice (or more if you want a chunkier knot) , tighten the thread and slide it down to the tip of the needle and then pull the needle through the fabric until tight...et voila a little french knot. Tres bien! Clump lots of french knots closely together and you get a lovely textured knobbly area. (*French knot instructions are also in the Stitch Library found in the sidebar*)

..................................................................................................................

Chain Stitch is another great filler and creates another nice textured effect. The best way to use chain stitch is to follow the contours of the space needing filled. In the example used here the stitches form a circular spiral working their way in towards the centre point as the arrows depict. Detailed instruction on how to chain stitch can be found here.

Of course an area doesn't have to always be completely filled, and sometimes leaving spaces adds to the finished embroidery design. Here are some suggestions with this in mind:

After satin stitch I reckon running stitch is my favourite.. namely because it is quick! The other reason being that I find it so therapeutic...the repetitive weave of the needle in and out , love it!

...............................................................................................................


..................................................................................................................





Come back next week to find out about applique techniques which are also used for filling areas...and another bunting design too of course.
All thats left is to wish you some happy sewing!x