Saturday, 21 January 2012

Easy Design Card Tutorial

In a recent issue of Making Magazine I saw these cute little cards which were promoted as a 15 minute project (as I have explained I am not the most patient of people so this was perfect for me :0). I had a spare hour yesterday before picking up the kids so thought i'd have a go.

To make punched Card you need the following:

Paper & Pencil
Blank Greeting Card (or feel free to customise your own from card)
Piece of foam or polystyrene
Thick sewing needle
Soft Rubber
Glue (suitable for fabric etc)
Bits & bobs for decorating (eg buttons, fabric, ribbons)

1. Mock a design on a spare piece of paper and when you are happy transfer this to your card.

2. Place the card on top of the foam (make sure you open out the card) Then you can use the needle to punch holes through the card along your lines at regular spaces (approx 2mm)

3. Gently use the rubber to remove all pencil lines and then use your buttons etc to decorate as desired.

I was banding around the idea of maybe removing areas with a craft knife, (similar to a doily) then maybe back them with contrasting coloured paper.This might lend itself to a more intricate design so I think i'll give this a go, i'll keep you posted!!

Another thing I thought would be nice is to utilise some lovely gift paper, wallpaper etc to make a lovely envelope as this great Mondocherry Tutorial.  
Or try some fabric ones like these beautiful ones I found on this Papernstitch Blog

Well, let me know how you go, I would love to know how you get on!! :0)

Tuesday, 17 January 2012

Nanny Miller's Vintage Inspiration - Tote Bag Tutorial

I really love my tote bags!!!! so useful to keep in your handbag for those unexpected purchases; but this one has special sentimental reasons for being my favourite. Firstly it was my first real finished piece (ok it is a little rough around the edges but hey that's part of it's charm) but secondly was that it always reminds me of my Nan. 
At the end of last year my Mum had been visiting an old childhood friend, while she was there she was given two big black sacks of sewing goodies that her friend had collected over the years. As some of you can understand this filled me with great excitement, what fantastic old fabrics and gadgets would I find?

As I sifted through the old fabrics, wools, knitting needles & half finished embroidery I came across an envelope which, I was surprised to find had a very old address of my Nan's, when I opened it there was an amazing stash of old iron on Anchor embroidery patterns. It turned out that like me, my mum's friend had also spent a lot of her childhood at my nan's house and often sat with my Nan learning the art of embroidery.

I would often visit my wonderful Nan and find her up to her arm pits in flour, but if she wasn't in the kitchen she would always have some half finished table cloth or jumper in her sewing bag next to the sofa to do. I loved to sit with her, or my granddad  for that matter, learning an array of their many skills. On seeing these patterns it immediately took me back and I decided I would like to find something to use them on.

Unfortunately I do not have the patience of my nan so knew that a table cloth was definitely not the way to go :0).........but I had recently read an article about Scandinavian designs which mentioned Scandinavian Needlecraft by Clare Youngs. I loved this bag on the front cover but had not actually got round to starting it. On seeing some of the patterns I thought it was worth a shot bringing those beautiful designs up to date.
I presumed that this bag was made using some type of felt but was unsure if that would have the strength I would need for often misused tote bag............luckily, also in this treasure trove of goodies, was a fabric which I can only describe as an very thick flannelette sheet, It was a bit bobbly but actually that was part of it's appeal. I decided (with fingers crossed)  this would work perfectly.

After ironing on the design I set to work trying to recreate the feel of Clare's bag. I used a mixture of what I think is backstitch, satin stitch and french knots (thanks to a quick tutorial with my very own needle guru, aka Aunty Pam, according to her there is a knack with french knots which I am sure I have already forgotten)

I did try to avoid too many of the heavier appearing stitches like the satin stitch so I kept that lighter feel, but felt I need a little to create some element of depth and variety. When I had finished the stitching I then marked and cut out around the design to a size of 285mm x 330mm plus a seam allowance (with a little extra at the top to enable you to create a nice tidy hem)  I always allow that little bit extra for errors. Then use this piece as a pattern to cut out another piece the exact same size for the back of your tote. With hindsight it may have been easier to cut out fabric to correct size before ironing on the pattern but as my Mum used to say 'I do tend to tackle things like bull in a china shop' :0)....Then I folded a 25mm hem which I pinned and machined. I then placed the two fabric pieces wrong side together and the hem at the top, pin or run a basting stitch along my final size bag ensuring the embroidery is squared then machine round. I then use pinking shears to tidy round the seams to prevent fraying to a certain extent.

Oooh nearly forgot......... to add that little extra something I also chose to add a small square of folded  felt, but it isn't imperitive. I did try to embroider a design but didn't seem to look right to me so kept with the button. (But don't get preoccupied with getting the bag straight and forget to add it before finishing the seam....not that I did of course :0)

As for the handles I wasn't sure of the correct way but they seem to do the job: I decided how long and wide I wanted them then cut two pieces slightly longer & 3 times wider. I then folded and ironed both pieces in half, tucked in the raw edges to give a clean secure finish and machined length wise along both edges. The handles are then pinned around 55mm from the edges (before stitching I just tried the bag for size to ensure the handles were correctly placed and sufficient length) When satisfied I have then sewn the handles inside the bag with a crossed box stitch as the picture. You could always finish off inside by placing a lining or iron over/stitch in some sort of interlining to protect your stitched design but it's something I haven't quite got round to yet.

Ta-da you have your very own handmade tote bag for those unexpected moments. I would love to know what you think and how you get on if this gives you some inspiration. Or even if you have some helpful advice on how to improve it for next time. Let me know!!!



PS if anybody knows what this material actually is please let me know as I have never been able to source it since, I would love to reproduce similar designs but at the moment I have hit a slight hurdle.

Sunday, 15 January 2012

What have I started......Oh well what next?

Well it has been an eventful but frustrating day. I've taken most of it to try and fathom it out and i'm starting to wonder what I have started........Anyway hoping it will become clearer with time and then I can get on with the matter in hand......crafting.

Well tomorrow is a new day, I really must jump in with both feet and get on with it :0'......but i'm wondering what to start with. There is the option to talk about a few previous projects that I have thoroughly enjoyed working on, or I could show my new discovery, Needle Felting (Oh my god what fun, and the easiest thing ever).................... Or what the hell!!!  Both?

Help me out here and let me know what you think. 

PS. Leave me a message to let me know who has read this. Not sure that my blog has extended past my Facebook friends yet...........Or if you are feeling really charitable you could always become a member to help me on my way, at least I won't feel such a Billy No Mates then :0D


Saturday, 14 January 2012

Well here's my first post on my all new blog!! :0)......Thought it might be a good medium to reach all those interested, instead of boring my husband and friends with my ventures whilst rediscovering my old (but not too old) creative side.

I am a wife and mother to Cameron age 10 and Amelia age 8. Other than a GCSE in textiles and a long line of of sewers & knitters in my family I have no training. .............My way may not always be the right way but fingers crossed it usually (ok.....occasionally :0)  gets me there.

A few months ago my wonderful thoughtful husband unexpectedly arrived home with a sewing machine to tempt me from my sick bed. Since then my hoarding has reached astronomic proportions, much to his dismay. I have now managed to fill the space under one of my kitchen benches and have discreetly moved on to filling the space under the remaining one.

I have always loved baking and cooking but since the sewing machine turned up things have thankfully returned to all things crafty (at least it's better for my waistline)

I hope you enjoy