Thursday, 23 October 2014

A few busy days....

Hello! It has been busy here since I last wrote. 

The time just seems to disappear.... I don't know where it goes but, I have managed to finish off a few little projects to show you.

In between all the usual household 'stuff' that there is to do, I have managed to get some time in my sewing room and I have made a few fabric covered notebooks. 

I am really pleased with them. They all have a little bit of embellishment.... some ribbon or lace and a button or a little applique.

I also made another fabric basket.  This one I made using a different technique to the last time. I am very pleased with it as, it stands up well. 

I started with a piece of batting and I fused some bondaweb to it.  I then peeled the backing paper off and covered the whole piece with scraps of fabric which I then fused into place.  I overlapped the pieces each time I added them. I finished all the raw edges using a machine zig-zag stitch.  I then used the finished piece of patchwork to make the basket.  The bondaweb gave it extra support which is useful in a basket. I finished it off by adding a little butterfly button. Hope you like it!

I'm eagerly awaiting a couple of new books which should be arriving this week.  I'll show you them next time if I have them.

I also have to start making some progress on my next sew-a-long project.  I have only got as far as tracing the embroidery design and hooping it ready to be stitched so far!! Hopefully, I will get some more done over the next few days.... until the next time xx

Monday, 20 October 2014

Weekend sewing.....

How was your weekend?  Mine was really nice.  On Saturday we met up with family and friends for a lunch out at the St Moritz Swiss restaurant in Wardour Street in central London. It was a real taste of Switzerland and brought back fond memories of the mountains.

On Sunday, I also had some sewing time and, managed to get some cute little projects finished.  I made some little egg cosies to match the tea cosy I made recently.

I appliqued a flower/heart to the piece of fabric for the front of the egg cosy, finishing it with a small machine zig-zag stitch.  The fabrics I used were Tilda.  I think they look really cute sitting on their egg cups!!

I also stitched up a small fabric basket.  For this I basically machine stitched fabric (Tilda) scraps to a piece of background batting.  I then made it into a basket by sewing the two shorter sides together to form a tube.  Moved the seam to the back and stitched across the bottom and then squared off the two bottom corners.  The same was done to a piece of lining fabric and the two then joined together by sitting the outside inside the lining (right sides together) and stitching round the top edge.  It was then turned the right way out and the lining pushed down into the basket.  The top edge was then turned back down over the top edge to form a rim.  

I decided it might look nice to add a piece of ribbon to the rim, so I cut a small piece of ribbon and appliqued it in place.  I am pleased with how it has turned out.

Hope you all had a nice weekend and, have a lovely week!! x

Friday, 17 October 2014

Finished Mug Rugs!!

As I have mentioned in a previous post, I have been participating in a Mug Rug Swap which was organised by the Quilting Gallery.  I signed up for the swap in September and, received my links to the patterns soon after. From time to time I had a look at the pattern instructions and got some fabrics sorted out ready but, I didn't really start work on them properly until a couple of weeks ago.

I started by cutting out the background fabric and tracing the embroidery and applique shapes as directed by the pattern.  However, what I didn't realise was that my printer settings were 'fit to page' settings rather than at 'actual size' settings when I printed the pattern meaning that they were considerably smaller than they should have been.

I spent a very trying evening peeling the tiniest pieces of fusible web paper off the applique shapes and fusing them to the background fabric only to read the next part of the pattern and discover that the patchwork pieces were not going to fit with the applique design. There are a couple of lessons to be learned here.... to read through all the instructions before you start and.... to make sure when you print patterns from the internet that they are at the correct size!!

It wasn't difficult to correct the sizing problem by enlarging the patterns using the photocopier function on the printer but, it did mean that I had to start again from scratch. They have been a lot of fun to work on.  I loved hand finishing the applique shapes and stitching the embroidery.  I also enjoyed doing a little simple machine quilting on them.  

I have finished these two cute little mug rugs now and, although I had thought that I would let them be a surprise for my swap partner, a lovely lady from Oklahoma called Denise, I just can't resist showing them to you.  

You can see from the photographs below the difference in scale between the finished mug rugs and those I had originally started.

The finished mug rugs are going in the post first thing on Monday morning along with a few other little gifts for Denise which will be a surprise for her!! I hope she likes them all!!

If I have the patience, I may still finish off the two tiny versions.... I think they will be really dinky!!

Enjoy a wonderful weekend! xx

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

What's new?

What is new in my sewing room today?  Well, I am afraid I don't have anything finished to show you today but, that doesn't mean that I am not working on a few different projects (goes without saying!!)

I have been working on a new crochet cushion.....

I wasn't sure about the colour combination to start with but, it is growing on me and I have come to really quite like it!!

I have been working on the mug rugs for the swap I am participating in.  I have been cutting and appliqueing and embroidering.  I can't show you a full picture of the front because I don't want to spoil the surprise for my lovely partner when she receives them! What I can show you is that I have used a few scraps of these fabrics.....

and some of these lovely embroidery threads.....

I hope my swap partner will like them when they are finished!

Of course, I can't have a 'What's new?' post without showing you the new fabric I ordered from Pretty Fabrics and Trims and which, I have just received. Some Tilda bundles.....

and some beautiful fabrics designed by Allison Harris of Cluck, Cluck Sew called 'Oh Clementine'.  I have a very special project in mind for them which I will share with you another day!  

Have fun where you are, even if it is raining..... like it is here!!  Now to finish those mug rugs!!

Monday, 13 October 2014

Sew-a-long: Project Four

It is time to show you my next project in the 'Patchwork Loves Embroidery' Sew-a-long hosted by Martina at Sunshine Quilting.  It was a bit of a race against time to get this project finished as I have been busy working on all sorts of other projects at the same time.

However, with a little bit of determination I have managed to get my 'Redwork Tote' finished. I did cheat a little though as, I didn't hand quilt it, I machine quilted it but, I think it looks just as nice with the machine stitching.

It was a fun embroidery to stitch and I loved using my Stef Francis silk thread in shades of red.  The fabrics I used were all designed by Nancy Halvorsen and I am really pleased with how they all coordinate together.

My next project which, will be the last of the sew-a-long, is going to be the 'Cinnamon Delights' drawstring bag.  I love drawstring bags, so I saved this for my last project.

I have found some delightful Anni Downs fabric that I think will be perfect for it!!

Do go across and have a look at the other finished sew-a-long projects at Martina's blog, there are some other fabulous projects to see!!

Friday, 10 October 2014

Time for tea!

A few weeks ago when I was shopping with my youngest daughter for items that she needed to take to university with her, I found a very cute sugar bowl and cream jug set on sale.  It was remarkably good value for money so, although I can't say that I was in desperate need of a new sugar bowl and cream jug, I felt it would be silly of me not to snap it up at its bargain price.

It is from a 'Katie Alice' collection  called 'Cupcake Couture' and, I do already have a lovely cake stand from another Katie Alice collection called 'Cottage Flower' which, my children gave me as a gift so, I really didn't need any more persuading to buy this cute little set!!

Please note that visiting any of the above links I have given may result in an irresistible urge to order very pretty china!!

You may wonder why I am telling you all this and, there is a very good reason! I didn't feel that I could use my new sugar bowl and cream jug as I didn't have a teapot which coordinated with them (being a perfectionist about these things prevents me from using clashing china!!)  However, I have found the solution to this problem.

I have made a lovely new tea cosy using spotty (Tilda) fabric which looks right at home with the china.  Now, I can use any teapot under the cosy and no-one (except you!) will know that it doesn't match!!

I used some ric rac to make the flower stems and then cut out and appliqued the flower shapes and leaves to the background fabric using a small machine zig zag stitch. As a final touch I hand embroidered some french knots on the flower centres.

So now it is time for tea!!  Anyone for cake?

Have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

An Envelope-Style Cushion Back: A Tutorial

Following on from all the cushions I have made recently which, I finished using an envelope-style backing and, a question I was asked by a blogging friend of mine about how I made this type of backing, I though it might be nice to share with you how I make them.  So here is my method.....

After I have finished quilting the front of my cushion, I usually finish off by stitching around the entire outside edge of the cushion front.  I use a long running stitch and, I find that this holds the fabric nicely in place for trimming.

Next, I trim off all the excess batting and any threads to give me nice clean edges to work with.  I find using a square ruler (mine is 9.5 inches square) an advantage so that you can make sure both edges are straight and at right angles to each other.

Once the front is completely trimmed and ready, I put it right side up and measure it across the centre in both directions (top to bottom and side to side). These measurements are then used to determine the size of the pieces of backing fabric.

To work out the size of the fabric pieces needed for the back, you take your cushion front measurement from top to bottom, halve it and add 3.5 inches. You then use the resulting figure as the measurement for the height of fabric to cut x the width of your cushion.

For example: My cushion was 15 inches square. So, the top to bottom measurement was 15 inches. I halved this number giving me 7.5 inches and then added 3.5 inches, giving me a total of 11 inches.  I then cut two cushion back pieces each measuring 11 inches (height) x 15 inches (width).

Once cut, you need to hem one of the long edges on each piece of cushion back fabric. However, it is important to make sure that you hem the correct edge so that any pattern on the cushion back fabric is facing in the same direction on both top and bottom pieces of the back.

To determine this, I match one of the pieces of backing fabric to the top raw edge of the cushion front (right sides together) and then lay the other piece of backing fabric on top, this time matching the bottom raw edge with the cushion front.  In the middle, where they overlap, I fold back the fabric to check that the pattern is facing in the right direction on both pieces.

Pick up the backing fabric which is covering the bottom half of the cushion front and turn and press a quarter inch hem to the wrong side of the fabric along the edge which was positioned across the centre of the cushion front. Turn and press another quarter inch, so that the raw edge is hidden and then stitch in place along the edge of the hem.

Repeat this for the top half of the back fabric. Note that the bottom piece of backing fabric should be hemmed along its top edge and the top piece of backing fabric should be hemmed along its bottom edge. Remember to overstitch at each end of the hem.  Trim off the thread ends.

Now match the top backing piece right sides together with the top of the cushion front, making sure that the raw edges at the top and sides match. This will mean that the hemmed edge lies across the centre of the cushion.  Pin in place.  Stitch the top half of the back in place. Overstitching at both ends and trimming off thread ends.

Repeat matching the bottom backing piece with the bottom of the cushion front.  The hemmed edges of the backing fabrics should overlap in the middle by about three inches. 

When stitching the backing pieces in place, I usually finish each corner by ending and overstitching one edge and starting and overstitching the next edge rather than putting my needle down and turning as, I find this gives a neater finish on the right side of the cushion.

To finish off the inside of the cushion  before turning it to the right side, I neaten the edges with a zig-zag stitch all the way round the outside edge.

Once this is done all that is left to do is to turn the cover the right way out, paying attention to make sure the corners have been pushed out (I use a crochet hook to help). Gently give the seams a press from the right side and pop your cushion filler inside.