Posts Tagged ‘sewing’

So! Are you ready for some more sewing adventures? Yes? Good – It’s great to have you on board!

If you followed my last post carefully you should have ended up with something that looks a little bit like this:

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Today we’re going to add the finishing touches and incorporate it into a really simple cushion design.

Ready to start? OK, grab yourself a half metre of a plain, hardwearing fabric and cut a square measuring 35 x 35 cms and two rectangular pieces measuring 35 x 25 cms.

Take your square and fold in half then half again and give it a little press with an iron – This shows you where the centre is.

X marks the spot!

X marks the spot!

Now you’ll need to position your beautifully crafted patchwork using the crease lines to help you. Once you’re happy with it’s position pin everything securely in place.

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Now for a bit of sewing – Either using a zig-zag or standard straight stitch, carefully sew along the edges of your work, removing the pins as you go.

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This part takes a bit of time and requires a lot of lifting of the sewing foot and re-positioning – Just stick with it; You’re nearly there ๐Ÿ™‚

Now you need to find a piece of scrap cardstock which we’ll use to make the central piece of our patchwork. You’ll need to cut a circle of card that’s slightly bigger than that unsightly hole in the middle of your work, then cut an even larger circle of fabric – It doesn’t matter if it’s a bit rough; No-one’s going to see your wonky scissorwork.

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Now take a needle and thread and place a line of running stitches around the edge of your fabric circle, put you card circle in the middle and pull the threads tight so that they gather neatly round it.

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Press with an iron and take care NOT to burn your fingers. Remove the card and Hey Presto! – A perfect fabric circle to add to the centre of your work.

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Now you’ll need to pin it into position…

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And sew it into place.

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This is the stage when it’s probably a good time to do another little happy dance and marvel at your completed patchwork. Do the Instagram, Facebook, Twitter thing too if you have to – It’s good to share your triumphs with others.

Yay! The front of your cushion cover is complete - Gone forever are those unsightly threads and frayed edges of fabric.

Yay! The front of your cushion cover is complete – Gone forever are those unsightly threads and frayed edges of fabric.

So we’re on the home run – Not much more to do until we’ve made our marvellous cushion cover.

First we need to turn our attentions to the two rectangular pieces of fabric that are going to make up the rear of our cushion. We’re not going to fuss with zips or get into a muddle with buttonholes, we’re just going to make a simple envelope fastening so start by hemming each piece.

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Once your hems are sorted you’ll need to piece all the elements together – Remember! You’re creating an envelope fastening at the back so you need to overlap your two rectangular pieces. Pin everything into place. take a deep breath and get ready to do your last bit of stitching ๐Ÿ™‚

Yeah I know! Get me with the snazzy label :)

Yeah I know! Get me with the snazzy label ๐Ÿ™‚

Now it’s a simple matter of sewing around all four edges of your cushion cover. I usually make a second pass with a zig-zag stitch as this helps to prevent fraying and also ensures nice strong seams that won’t burst open any time soon. It’s also a good idea to snip the corners off to reduce fabric bulk and make it easier to turn your work.

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And, speaking of turning your work, that’s the next thing you’ll need to do. It’s time for the big reveal! Are you as excited as I am?

Well? How does it look?

Time for a final press with the iron and then we’ll pop a cushion inner into our marvellous make. If you’ve followed this tutorial closely you’ll have made a cushion cover that’s just the right size to take a ‘Krakris’ cushion which you can buy at Ikea for the princely sum of ยฃ1 – Total Bargain!

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Ultimately though, you’ve made something that looks like a million dollars; You should be dead proud of yourself ๐Ÿ™‚

And now you know how to do it, what’s stopping you? Go on! Make a few more and give your home a little makeover – You’ve got no excuse not to ๐Ÿ™‚

Happy Stitching Folks!

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Phew! It’s been a scorcher of a week – cloudless blue skies and a blazing sun from first thing in the morning until last thing at night. Lovely!

In truth, it’s been way too hot to stay inside for the last few days so my crafting adventures have been a bit thin on the ground this week; Insteadย I’ve ditched assorted projects in favour of the odd spot of sunbathing and lots of gardening…. Quite a welcome change really.

Here’s the only bit of sewing I’ve done this week – I think it may possibly fall more within the realms of embroidery though…..

A pair of cross stitched VW splitties – not quite finished yet but both destined to embellish different sewing projects.

Both these pieces of cross stitch are destined for separate projects I’m working on. The smallest one is going to be used to embellish a scented heart shaped sachet that I’m going to hang in the wardrobe of my camper van and the larger piece is going to be incorporated into a much needed needle case for any sewing on the go that I may need to work on.

They’re both my own designs…… and without wanting to sound like a right royal misery guts, I don’t really want to share them with anyone. They’re also ACID protected; For more info click here.

If you are interested in a bit of VW themed stitching there’s a couple of free VW themed charts that you could use here.

And I’ll share one of my designs with you too….. Suitably patriotic to help you celebrate forthcoming events in the UK throughout the Summer.

I wonder how many people actually do make a point of acknowledging the original designer when they make use of their free ideas?

Maybe it’s a bit late in the day to be setting to work to make a cross stitched Union Jack heart – what with the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations set to take place in only a few days time. However, it’s an easy chart to follow as it only uses whole cross stitches and a simple backstitch to outline the shape – easy enough for even a complete beginner to have a go at!

Please feel free to use this motif in your own work but remember to acknowledge the original designer when displaying or selling your finished work ๐Ÿ™‚

Here’s the chart to make the job a bit easier…..

This motif can be produced quickly and easily; It is suitable for complete beginners as it uses only whole cross stitches and simple backstitching to add definition to the outline.

The sun’s STILL shining; Time for me to back out into the garden and water the plants. But before I sign off please note that next week see’s the crossover into another month and the new theme of ‘Dyeing’. I’ve got my rubber gloves at the ready and can hardly wait! Until then, Happy Crafting ๐Ÿ˜‰

A very quick post this week again I’m afraid……….

This month’s theme is sewing; my machine has gone into overdrive recently with assorted strings of bunting, cushions, bags, patchwork etc flying out at a rate of knots. It’s been manic!

Here’s a few of my favourite makes of the moment…….

Felt Union Jack Cushion

Floral Micro Bunting – Perfect for decorating your favourite ride….

Patchwork Bags – Tanglewood Style

I love this! It’s called the ‘Tanglewood’ bag and the pattern and full making up instructions are available to purchase from here –ย http://rosylittlethings.com/tanglewoodpattern.html

‘It’s a little bit hippie, a little bit preppy. It’s a little bit country and a little bit Liberty. It’s embroidered yokes and dangly earrings. It’s blackberry crumble, balmy nights, and piccolo solos. It’s picnic quilts spread out, corner-to-corner on the concert lawn. Bring on starlight: You’ve got the perfect bag for it now, honeygirl.’ย  Alicia Paulson – Posie, Rosy Little Things Blog.

Machine patchwork – Cool!

Tanglewood Bag Detail

Phew! I said it’d be a quick post didn’t I? It’s back to the sewing machine for me I’m afraid – no rest for the wicked! I’m destined to end up like this young man if I’m not careful….. I certainly know the feeling!

Banksy’s ‘comment’ on the use of child sweatshop labour currently being exploited in the name of the Golden Jubilee and Olympic celebrations – something a lot of us handmade in the UK crowd have been pointing out for the last few months……

My first appearance in ‘Craftseller’ magazine ๐Ÿ™‚

I’ve been celebrating having a few more moments of fame over the last few weeks…….. as I’ve had a quick mention in ‘Craftseller’ magazine; Blink and you’ll miss it though!

Anywhoo, back to Earth and another quick make for this week’s post – Fabric Flower Hair Barrettes.

Felt clad flower barrettes by Wulli Bulli (aka The Big Blue Bully Bus).

This is another one of those projects that doesn’t take too long to complete and is great for using up any scraps of fabric and felt that you may have lying around. You will need: a needle and thread, scraps of wool felt, a vintage button, a blank snap fastening hair barrette, 6 small circles of lightweight fabric, sharp scissors and a marker pen.

It’s time to use the Sizzix machine again and blow the dust off that ‘Circles’ die ๐Ÿ˜‰

Start by making your flower; Fold a fabric circle in half and place a running stitch close to the outside edge.

When you pull the thread the fabric will gather in gentle folds to form a petal shape.

Repeat this step another five times in total before gently pulling the thread tight to form each of the flower petals. Secure in a ring with a few stitches.

A few stitches at the end will form the ring centre of your fabric flower.

Now we’re going to make the felt cladding……. start by tracing an outline around the blank barrette – make this larger so that you have space to stitch around the outer edge.

Don’t worry about the pen marks – they’ll be hidden on the inside of your work.

Cut out two identical pieces of wool felt; make a little slit in one piece to feed the snap mechanism through.

Mark where to make the hole for the snap mechanism with two little dots – use sharp scissors to make a little slit and then feed the snap through.

Attach your fabric flower to the other piece of felt using a few concealed stitches. Sew a button in the centre to hide away any raw edges.

Nearly there!

Now all that needs to be done is to sew the two halves together; I use a blanket stitch but, like last week, it’s up to you as to which stitch you ultimately decide to use. Just remember to work all the way around so that the barrette is safely clad in its little felt overcoat. Finish off with a knot hidden under one of the petals.

In just a few hours you can make a garden full of these!

These barrettes are great to use on even the finest hair as the felt cladding offers extra protection from the hard metal edges; And they’re brilliant for babies too!

Happy Crafting Folks! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Continuing with my retro crafts theme, this week I thought I’d introduce you to a few more cool crafting gizmos and show you how to make quick and easy Suffolk puffs.

Classic Puff Patchwork Cushion

Sometimes referred to as ‘yo-yos’, a Suffolk puff is a little gathered circle made from a scrap of fabric and as such can be a brilliant stash buster when you need to use up excess resources. Traditionally, they were used in patchwork and quilting where they were joined together, edge to edge, and were incredibly popular in the thirties, forties and fifties, when out of thrift and the necessity brought about by hard times, people would use up every last scrap of fabric and recycle all their clothing in the ‘make do and mend’ culture.

Patchwork and puff perfection.

These days, with a resurgence in the popularity of all things patchwork, Suffolk puffs are once again in vogue and are often used ย as embellishments, but also feature strongly as decorative elements in homewares, soft furnishings and even clothing.

Bjork sporting a coat made entirely of Suffolk Puffs.

They’re incredibly easy to make – particularly with a yo-yo maker or two to hand, and are also fairly portable which is why I often end up taking a stash of fabric circles, needle and thread on the road with me during the summer.

This week’s collection of gizmos and gadgets.

So let’s get down to the knitty gritty of how to make some…

We’ll start by using a couple of yo-yo makers which are basically circular discs with sewing guidelines. I’m using two different sizes with diameters of 45 and 60 millimetres and my fabric of choice is a selection of lightweight cottons.

7. Repeat the whole process again, using contrasting fabric and a smaller yo-yo maker.

Now it’s time to make a covered button before finally assembling each element.

9. Stack the two puffs and use a few stitches to join them together; add the fabric covered button as a finishing touch before stitching on a brooch back and Voila! A lovely brooch that would make a pretty gift for Mother’s Day ๐Ÿ™‚

A really pretty, hand crafted gift for Mum!

Suffolk Puffs are great to use as embellishments. Why not invest in a couple of yo-yo makers and have a go at making some yourself? You’ll soon become hooked!

Puffs a’plenty on bags and purses – great little gifts to give to family and friends ๐Ÿ˜‰

If you want to join in with my crafting adventures next week it might be wise to start sorting through your wool stash now. Until then, Happy Crafting!

Wow! It’s already February and this week see’s the move into the second month’s theme of ย ‘Jewellery’. And a very busy start to the month at Bully Bus HQ it has been what with early Spring cleaning and all; I was fearful that at one point I might not be able to squeeze this week’s offering in at all, but here it is – my adventures in beaded felt jewellery….

I love playing with embroidery silks and beads!

First of all, I have to say that I LOVE making little felt beads! The resulting treasures look great when incorporated into jewellery designs and are always a really big talking point when people spot me wearing them. They’re incredibly easy to make and there’s also a brilliant little book bursting with all the inspiration and instructions you’ll need to get producing them for yourself.

Beaded Felt Jewellery – Helen Birmingham

If ย you haven’t got a copy of this inexpensive little book, and you feel after reading this blog that you’d like to include beaded felt jewellery in your own crafting repetoire, I would highly recommend popping along to your local bookshop, craft store or online at Amazon and make sure that you pick one up –ย ISBN-13: 978-1844483150.

Make sure you gather everything you need!

So…….. How to make some felt beads of your own. Hopefully you’ve gathered together some scraps of felt (the thin crafting type is easier to work with), some embroidery silks (although normal sewing thread is fine), a selection of seed and bugle beads, a sewing needle, some scissors and a bamboo skewer – make sure that you either cut the sharp end off, or cover it with a blob of ย Blutack or piece of cork though; From painful experience I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve impaled myself with the air turning blue as a result ๐Ÿ˜‰

Step 1: Cut yourself some strips of felt roughly 2.5 cms wide by about 8 cms long. Select some thread to match the colour of your felt – it doesn’t matter too much if it’s not exact.

Step 2: Take the bamboo skewer and wrap the felt strip tightly around it. Use a few stitches to secure the edges in place. I’ve used a contrasting colour to demonstrate – And don’t worry about being too precious at this stage as you won’t actually see this join when you’ve finished.

Wrap tightly then stitch to secure.

Step 3: This is where the fun begins! Choose some contrasting thread and using your needle, sew into the felt tube at one end to secure in place. Carefully wrap around the tube with the thread, making sure that both ends are tightly bound – otherwise the ends will flare out over time and the beads may look mis-shapen. Finish off with a little knot and bury this, along with the tail of you thread, inside the bead.

Bind well at each end to stop ‘flaring’.

Step 4: Securing fresh thread in your felt tube bead (back to the same colour you used in Step 1) you can now add your embellishments. I tend to start at one end and work randomly, stitching through from one side to the other each time to secure your seed or bugle beads in place. This will add strength to the structure of your bead and ensures maximum life expectancy when incorporated into jewellery pieces that are sure to be worn again, and again, and again….

To make life easy I’ve used size 8/0 beads; Size 11/0 will require more patience as not all will slip over the eye of the needle!

I like to add the beads in a random pattern – but neat freaks may differ in approach ๐Ÿ˜‰

Step 5: Believe it or not that’s pretty much it! Repeat each step until you’ve got yourself a nice little selection of beads which you can then use in your own jewellery making projects. I tend to keep the beads on the skewer until I’m ready to use them and you’ll find that you can easily fit about six or seven beads to a skewer – just the right number to use for a bracelet!

So easy! And gorgeous when incorporated into your own designs ๐Ÿ™‚

Yay! The finished product; Very nice – even if I do say so myself ๐Ÿ˜‰

Next week I’m going to be having a go at more bead making – but this time with Polymer Clay. Wish me luck!