Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Extraordinarily Easy Bunting

I have fallen for bunting totally and utterly. It just has so many uses! Outdoors, indoors, celebrations, brightening a room.. We use some lovely bunting when we run our textile workshops, but I decided to do a very very easy make post for bunting for those of you who are, so far, sewing machine less. And I can use it to brighten up my lovely studio!

This is when you get to reward yourself for keeping (hoarding!) all those scraps of fabric. Using them up is so satisfying! Your fabrics don't need to match, just make sure you like how they all look together. You can use plain fabrics, printed or a mixture of both. If you are using only plain fabrics be sure to use a playful mix of colors.

Using bias binding is the first great tip. You can get it in any good haberdashery. Wonderful word 'haberdashery'. Be sure to buy a color that works with your fabrics and the right length that you want. I bought 2 and half metres for this project.Now you need to fold the width in half while ironing it, keeping all the edges on the inside. The binding I bought happened to have some linen in it so I could fold it by hand first before ironing. This isn't a must.

Make a template out of paper or card as a guide for your fabric triangles. Be sure that when you fold it in half the 2 sides are the same. Make the most of your fabric and make one tip longer, this will be the end that hangs down.

Once you have drawn around your bunting, with a light pencil or tailors chalk its time for tip number 2. Crimping scissors! They create a lovely zigzag edge that is very pretty and doesn't fray. They are more expensive than normal scissors but they are well worth it.
However cut the top of your triangles with a straight edge, as they will be inside the binding and a straight edge will be easier to catch when stitching.

At this point place your first triangle inside your folded binding to check that your triangle is a size you like, a good check before you cut out the rest of your triangles.

Remember to make the most of your fabric, place your triangles side by side and as close to each other as possible.

Very satisfying cutting with crimping scissors.

Lots of lovely triangles. I got slightly excited and cut too many, but these can be used for my next strand of bunting!

Decide on the order of your fabric triangles and how much space you would like between them. Be sure that it is the same between each one. Place each triangle right up inside the binding and pin it down with a couple of pins. It's lovely deciding on the order of your fabrics. I loved using this bicycle print of mine, next to fabric left over from Laura Ashley curtains.

Now for the hand stitching if you are sewing machineless. Choose thread that matches your binding, knot the end and insert it up into the binding so the knot is hidden.

You are now going to stitch neat diagonal tacking stitches the whole way along the binding, (it's up to whether to do the strands at the beginning and end of the binding) . This stage you need to do while chatting or watching a film so it doesn't become tedious. You can relax but still be productive. And you will have some fabulous bunting as a result! Do use it for a celebration of any kind!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Pretty Edge

It had been years since I had learned crochet and produced a rather awful scarf. Recently one of my students asked me to show her some crochet skills and once I had reminded myself of them it opened up a whole world of tasteful crochet possibilities! This is edging or border is a lovely simple project, that shows you how just a few crochet stitches can be effective, and tasteful!

This is your pattern for this edging-
Foundation chain of the required length-count your stitches, and make sure the chain is a multiple of 6 stitches +1
Row 1-1 chain,1 double double crochet in each stitch, turn
Row 2-1 chain *miss 2 stitches, 5 treble crochet in next double crochet, miss 2 stitches, 1 double crochet in next stitch, rep from * to end.
Fasten off.

I know that sounds complicated, but I promise its very simple! There's only 3 crochet stitches involved-chain, double crochet and triple crochet. Use your pattern as a reference. Before you undertake a project make a small sample piece, for practice and to make sure it looks as you expected.

These are 2 versions of how to do a slip knot- the very first stitch on your hook!

How to hold your yarn and hook! Tension is important- not to tight and not too loose. This will take practice.

To create your foundation chain you catch the yarn and bring it all the way through the loop on your hook. Pass your hook under and around the yarn to catch it. The hook comes towards you at the start of the movement.

This is your foundation chain. Don't forget to keep count! The first slip knot doesn't count as a stitch.

If you haven't done so already be sure to measure the area you want to trim. I'm going to edge the empire line of this linen dress. There are a host of possibilities- cuffs, hems even creating very impressive ribbons for wrapping gifts.

This the double crochet stitch. Once you have created a foundation chain of the required length (multiple of 6 +1). Turn at the end, add one chain stitch (your turning stitch) and go back along it working the double crochet into each stitch.

Working the double crochet along..

Finished row 1!

Now for the treble crochet! Be sure to practice this one a bit first.

Follow the pattern guide for row 2- 1 chain *miss 2 stitches, 5 treble crochet in next double crochet, miss 2 stitches, 1 double crochet in next stitch, rep from * to end.

Coming along nicely!

To finish cut your yarn and pull it through the last loop! Now it just needs to be sewn on. I attached it to the garment with small diagonal tacking stitches the same color as the yarn. All very simple and immensely satisfying! Now I just have to finish that dress..

Thursday, March 11, 2010

A rather lovely file

A lovely way of starting new work is to research online for specific images that evoke the style and mood you want to create in a design. You just have to remind yourself to stop! It's a great reference for when you are working away on your design and you begin to forget the feelings you wanted to evoke. This lovely jumble is some of my style/mood images for a print I'm working on..

All thanks to ffffound, etsy, notcot, and my very own camera.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Spring Time Embroidered Cushion Cover

This Make project is featured in the latest issue of Image Interiors, but I wanted to also share it with your lovely selves!

Changing the cushion covers in your home for spring is a lovely, simple way to rejuvenate your house. You will need: A medium sized embroidery hoop, embroidery needles, threads and yarns, tailors chalk, scissors, pencil, paper and some relaxing time for production.

The first step is to learn a few embroidery stitches. This is the only tricky part. It will be worth it I promise, as you will have these stitches under your belt for all your future projects! These are the stitches I used.

Decide on your design and draw it out. Use any patterns or shapes you like as inspiration! Do remember to keep your final design shapes simple and strong to make them effective and easy. Planning out the whole placement of the design on paper first is a good idea as it saves from making mistakes later.

Cutting up your drawings and making a stencil is a great guide to keep to your design. Draw your design with tailors chalk (or pencil) onto the fabric. Tailors chalk is very safe to start designing with as it rubs off! Break it up to get a sharp edge.

Plan what colors and threads you are going to use and have them to hand. Try using a mix of sewing threads, embroidery threads and thin to medium yarns.
Keep your fabric uppermost in your hoop. Secure and slightly taut. Sit down, relax and start stitching! (Optional glass of wine)

Remember to keep everything at the back of your fabric neat and secure. No long trailing threads. This way it will last longer with wear and tear.
By choosing colors that all work together, you can relax while your stitching and simply reach for closest yarn!

Working on outlines can be very successful if you want a quick project. And running stitch is a great effective stitch and not too simple to use for your cushion cover! Mix up your stitches and threads to keep it contemporary and try overlapping your designs.

Above all enjoy relaxing and switching off!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

St Patrick's Personal Etsy Choices

I'm a guest blogger on the Etsy Ireland Blog today for their Fabulous Friday finds, so I thought I would share it with your lovely selves!

If St. Patrick was around today what would his Fab 5 be?
Very lovely cuff links from Faerytopia, for important occasions

Surely he would love this hand printed book from BridgetFarmerBooks.

No doubt he would give a loved one some of these quirky ginger bread love hearts from GingerBreadStreet.

I think he would no choice to buy that same loved one this very fabulous head piece from By A Thread. He would have liked animals. And appreciated craftsmanship!

And I think he would just have to buy this wonderful crocheted ring from Treasure Online for someone too! He was quite keen on green.

I hope this post makes you smile and that you all have a great weekend! X