Showing posts with label craft. Show all posts
Showing posts with label craft. Show all posts

Saturday, 14 February 2015

Kimono Top

I am continuing to love the crochet but this weekend had a bit of free time and was given some patterns.  I had a good look through and saw a kimono style top.

I have always stuck to quite plain tops leaning towards brighter patterns in skirts.  Recently though I am travelling around mainly via scooter so find myself in jeans.  This has left me feeling a bit dull in the clothes that I wear.  Jeans and plain-ish tops are the style for me at the minute so a cute kimono top might just brighten things up a little bit.

I had some bright peachy-orange fabric that was the under side from a reclaimed duvet cover I was gifted.  The top side was used to make this funky dress.
Now the underside is being used to make a jacket.  It actually excites me when I find a way to use up some fabric that otherwise might have gone to waste.  Plus when I make something out of the fabric I already own without buying anything I get an extra buzz!

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Patchwork love :)

At Christmas my lovely friend Ellie gifted me a beautiful collection of liberty fabric patches.  I had a great time adoring the lovely prints and colours and put them to one side awaiting some inspiration about what to do with them.  Last week I saw a gorgeous patchwork bag that had been shared on my wall and decided to fashion something similar to this.  I was supposed to be sitting down and sewing for my shop however felt totally like sewing for me so off I went!

Here are my lovely patches all laid out in their sizes ready to be stitched together.

The patchwork itself went really well - it's pretty simple to do especially if you aren't worrying about a pattern.  I went for bright is beautiful and random totally works!
 Once I got to the quilting of the patchwork it got a little bit more tricky.  After a few goes of stitching and unpicking I finally managed to match the stretch of the wadding with the patchwork - loads of pins later and I set off sewing.  

 And then continued to make it into this bag which is totally my new bag of choice for the summer!  I had a little facebook discussion about the best handles to use and finally settled on this bright blue which I'm really happy with! What do you think?

After a quick chat with a lovely lady who runs a stitch and chat session at a local church she has agreed to help me quilt my patchwork blanket. I figure for such a large blanket two hands and one expert is better than me on my own so watch this space I might finally finish my patchwork quilt!

Hope you're all well and as always thanks for stopping by!

Thursday, 27 March 2014

Pink love!

I seem to have been super busy in the last couple of weeks - I can't exactly work out what has been keeping me busy but as you can see from the silence on my blog it certainly wasn't blogging!  My sewing machine had been sitting a little bit abandoned too so when a friend asked me to make her the clothes to wear with her saree I jumped at the chance.  The project forced me to prioritize stitching time and plus got to have a good old natter with her while I finished it off!
 I love saree fabrics - the bright and beautiful colours fresh from warmer climates fills me with hope for the summer (she says while listening to the rain pour down on the conservatory roof).  
 Chloe returned from India with the most beautiful saree that suited her so well!  It was filled with pinks and purples and some absolutely gorgeous embroidery and of course sparkle!
 I worked with a lining fabric to make a simple wrap around under skirt which is used to tuck the saree fabric into.  I had a little play around with darts and think I got them pressed out neatly and very evenly (the sewing bee judges would be proud!).
 I then started to work on the top.  I used another top that Chloe had made while she was in India as a guide.  I made this out of a thin purple and gold woven fabric.  It was pretty tricky to get used to working with - the weave meant that often the fabric would catch in the needle and the work was definitely slow and steady.  In the end I got used to how to work with this fabric and got going and it turned out pretty well!  Due to the scratchyness of the weave once we did the fitting I attached the lining fabric top into the woven top so that it was much more comfortable for wearing plus a bit warmer too!
 And here it is - didn't she look absolutely gorgeous!

 If you look closely you can see the gorgeous pendant that Chloe made - its filled with beads and carefully embroidered on!  If you love that kind of thing Chloe is busy beading and teaching workshops so pop over to see what she is up to on her website - you can always find her on facebook too!

  I loved doing something different, working with such beautiful fabric and making some clothes again - it definitely inspired me to start stitching more clothes!  I really enjoy it and the more I practice the happier I get with the outcome.  My aim is to make a pair of trousers in the next few weeks - I'm just looking for some fabric that I like!  I'll keep you posted!

Friday, 25 October 2013

Pillow case to skirt

My love of making clothes/bags/gifts or anything really out of other abandoned things came more from a love of beautiful and unusual fabric than anything else.  My passion grew into a desire to see less waste and a choice to try to dress in more ethically sourced clothes.  On a tight budget and working for a small agency having just returned to the UK from a few years away I began to find treasures tucked in charity shops.  I realized what great outfits could be conjured up from a scrap of fabric, an old bed sheet or a discarded dress being sold off extra cheap because of the gaping hole in the shoulder.  And so my love of colours, sewing, fabric and clothes grew – and I spent many a weekend  nestled away cutting, pinning, gathering and sewing to make all sorts of creations.

So today I’m setting you a challenge.  Delve into the depths of your linen cupboard, head to your nans to rummage through hers or go on a charity shop/jumble/car boot sale rummage in search of the funkiest pillow case you can find.  I usually find you can pick one up for about 50p sometimes a bit more for a pair.   Today I found a matching pair for 60p – bargain!

And out of this you’re going to make a cute, gathered skirt!

What you need . . .
  • A pillowcase (2 for sizes more than UK14) in a pattern you love
  • A plain pillowcase or piece of fabric of similar size for the waistband (because I am using a pair I used the other side of the pillowcase)
  • A ribbon or strip of fabric that is about 15cm wide and 30cm longer than your hip measurement
  • Dressmakers pins
  • A sewing machine or a needle
  • Thread
  • An un-picker (not essential but helpful in any task involving salvaging fabric)

Measure around your hips (or waist if you prefer to wear your skirts there)
Take that number and make a note of it.  We will call that number X.  Now follow the formula below.
X ÷2 = Y
Y + X = T or the total length of fabric you will need
T ÷ 2 = F or the length your two pieces from step 2 need to be.

So let's go . . .

1. U npick the stitches that are holding the pillowcase together and pull
out all loose threads. Trim the edges that are unusable from
 previous stitching but try to only cut off what you have to.

4. Now set your machine (if you’re using one) so it is set to sew the longest stitch.  Using this setting sew along the top of the fabric two parallel lines ensuring they do not touch and are around 1 cm apart.  Ensure you leave threads at the start and end of your line of stitching that you will be able to get hold of. 

6. Now you have your gathering you need to take the measurement you took earlier-figure X - and ease out the fabric to equal that measurement.  Leave 4cm extra as this is where you will sew your seam.  Use your fingers to spread the gathering out so that it is even and the correct size for you.

9.  Now choose your fastening – I have done mine with a tie at the top to finish and a zip but you can add a button, zip or hook and eye – whichever suits you.  If you choose a tie just extend the waistband to a length that means you can tie a cute bow.
Take the open seam and put right sides together – do a straight stitch right up to where your fastening is.  If you have put in a zip this is where you would add it.  I will add a tutorial on how to insert a zip next week.

So there you have it a skirt sewn from a pair of pillow cases for only 60p!  Plus a happy day spent sewing!

Next week I'll do a tutorial on how to add in a zip so that if anyone chose this to be their fastening there won't be any confusion!

Happy sewing :)

Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Putting yourself out there

So this week I have taken the opportunity to finish some patchwork products that I have been working on.  I love the finished effect of patchwork but it is time consuming and my machine has fought against the quilting it at every turn.  But I have battled on and here are some of the pieces I have made.

The stocking is fully lined so it can be used for filling with fabulous surprises for someone this Christmas and the other two pieces are purely decorations.  
  It has been fun to try something different and continue with new techniques and approaches to try to create things that are always changing and evolving -reflecting mood, seasons, weather or a theme.  For this week that technique was patchwork.  
 I have seen many inspirational patchwork pieces by people who have clearly spent hours and hours perfecting this skill.  They use a perfect maze of fabrics and shapes and bring them together to create something that is just mind-boggling.  I know a few people who are experimenting successfully with making hexagon quilts and it looks fabulous.  But for me - for now - I stuck with squares - also very effective - but not quite a tricky as some of the other shapes that people opt for.  Overall I'm really happy with how they have all turned out and particularly love the stocking!
  These three pieces will be the first that I have put out there for public scrutiny.  I've signed up for a facebook showcase called A winter Wonderland where crafters show 3 products that they are selling. 
 I didn't really start sewing to sell things and I didn't start blogging to get loads of followers.  I love sewing and I love writing - the two seem to have fitted together nicely to be honest and I really enjoy sharing the things that I have made.  I've signed up to a charity craft fair and this showcase because it seemed the natural next step to continue sharing my love of creating (and talking ).  But putting yourself out there is scary - it's inviting criticism and judgement.  Inviting people to choose not to like the things that you have spent time creating.  Of course it also invites recognition and praise and all the things that make putting yourself out there worth it.  So I have shared my pictures on the showcase with a mixture of excitement and nervousness - not really sure if this is the right step but at the same time not having lost anything by trying.  I'll continue crafting and blogging whatever happens because I love it and that is what I have to remember!
 I'll keep you posted on how it goes and please do leave me your feedback!

Sunday, 13 October 2013

Pleats tutorial

Hi all
What a rainy weekend it has turned out to be!  I have spent much of my time at work so am hoping it will rain itself out as I head towards some much needed time off!  Though I would take some time this morning to blog my tutorial on pleats.

I love pleats - they are cute and look gorgeous when done right.  I love the shape they add to clothes and as you saw in my last post I've started to use them in bags as well.  They can be adapted to any style you like and any shape or size so for me it is a must in your stash of sewing skills.

So what will you need - your fabric of choice, dress pins, a tape measure, tailors chalk, iron and a needle/sewing machine and thread.

1.  You need to measure the length of your fabric and decide how big your pleats will be.  I chose 2cm pleats to be every 4cms.  This means that in total I will need 10cm per pleat because the fold uses 3x2cm of fabric.  To work this out for your pleats take the size you chose for your pleat, times it by 3 and then add this figure to the gap you want between pleats.  I marked this out along the top of the fabric using pen so you can see it but you will want to use tailors chalk that won't mark or run ink over your fabric.
So I have marked 0cm then 4cm then 8cm then 10cm.  Then I repeat this again until I reach the end of the fabric.

2. You now want to start folding the fabric to create the pleats.  You want to take the 8cm marking and bring it over the the 4cm marking
This should mean that the 10 cm marking sits just on the fold leaving you with a neat 2cm pleat.  Pin this with the pin pointing up towards the edge of your fabric.  Then you repeat the step taking the 8cm back to the 4cm and pinning until you reach the end of your fabric. You should be left with something a little like this.
As you can see it creates a nice curve to the fabric which is why pleating is often used for skirts - it perfectly sets up the waist band.

3. Now you want to press this out.  This is a really important step if you want your pleats to sit nicely.  The fabric should naturally show you how long the pleats fall - if you want a full pleat all the way to the bottom of your fabric you need to ensure you measure the pleats all the way down otherwise they will loose some of their shape.

4. Finally you run a straight stitch along the top of the fabric and remove your pins.  While you are sewing check that the pleats aren't folding up under your machine foot (if your using a machine) and adjust as you got to ensure they are going through the machine perfectly flat.

Now you add this to your skirt or bag or whatever it is that you are using it for.  This is a skirt that I made a year of so ago out of round table cloth.  I used pleats to bring it in to fit me at the waist and it gives the skirt such  a full feel - perfect for twirling I have to say :)

If you decide you want to do box pleats you follow the same idea except you turn the folds round.  SO the first fold you would bring the 8cm to the 4cm mark.  Then you would swap and bring the 4cm to the 8cm and continue alternating to create a boxed look on your product.

Have fun experimenting and as always give me a post of anything you produce!

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

This week it's all about the bags

Well I've been back at the machine again - I think it was cross about being neglected for all those days last week as today it played up like crazy.  Broken needles, broken threads, light bulbs going but I took a break for lunch and all seemed to return to normal.  I have come to the conclusion that machinery objects to me being hungry and I must remember to squirrel snacks up into the attic with me when I start a sewing session.
 I've been making bags this week and have been experimenting with creating different shapes.  I've got a bit bored of making rectangle tote bags so thought I'd try a few new things.  Or new to me anyway.
 The first one was pretty simple but I just love the blue of the fabric and the flowers and felt it fitted a rectangular shape so I went with it.

The second one is probably my favourite - I made it from fabric that my sister found for me a few years ago.  I really love it which is probably why I haven't had the heart to cut it up till now.  I'm happy I did though - believe it or not this is from a duvet cover!  Upcycling at its best! A few pleats really made the difference with this one making it look much more complicated than it actually was to make.

The final bag so far is from a fabric that you would have seen plenty of already.  That fabulous vintage floral fabric I got from Sue Ryder a month or so ago.  I have nearly used it all up so this is likely to be the last you see of it!  I've done really well with it making mini stockings, a skirt, an apron and this bag as well as a few little purses and hanging hearts.  

I really like using pleats in bags as they add so much extra shape to it as well as the extra space.  Pleating is really simple to do you just need to be prepared to take a bit of time to measure each fold.  I will do a tutorial on how to pleat over the weekend so watch this space.

And for the last photo here is a sneak preview of a piece I'm preparing for a winter wonderland showcase that I'm involved in on Facebook in November.  I've been digging out all my blue, grey and silver fabrics for the winter theme and what better way to use all those odds and ends than a bit of patchwork!  Any ideas what it will be in the end?

I hope you are all having a fabulous week - don't forget to share your pics of the things you've been making - you never know you might get a share in the blog.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, 5 October 2013

Searching for inspiration

I have been quiet on the stitching front this week - somehow lacking inspiration and the ability to get going with new projects.  I don't know about the rest of you crafters out there but every now and again I feel that I just have no idea what to do next - or if I do I lack the motivation somehow.  Usually this is fixed by being around other creative people and spotting some fabulous fabric.  So today - before I disengage with society for another round of night shifts - I headed out to Southsea to wander with a friend.
 Vintage dress on and I was ready to go.  This dress is always a particular favorite of mine as it started off as a size 20 and a bit of snipping later - teamed with my chunky belt - and there you have it a light and easy to wear vintage style dress.
 The Love Southsea market was on in Palmerston Road and as always it was filled with wonderful people making wonderful things.
  One stall in particular stood out and it was run by Busy Bees who work at The Beneficial Foundation.  They are creating fantastically professional and creative products and working really hard to create jobs through social enterprise.  The stall was friendly and bright and I honestly could have bought a whole load of things but haven't really organised myself to think of Christmas presents just yet.  So I bought a hand printed card that will be a thank you to someone.  A bargain of a price and I love it.

So if you see the Busy Bees anywhere else do make the time to check out their stall as it was definitely the one that stood out for me today.

On from the market and we did the wander of the charity shops where I picked up some gorgeous floral fabric.  Hopefully soon to be made into something gorgeous.

All that wandering has truly worn me out today but what a lovely wander it was.  Hopefully I will get my stitch on in the week and have plenty of little projects to share with you all.  Enjoy your weekends everyone!
x x x

Saturday, 28 September 2013

Adding a little something

This week I've been busy stitching various bits and pieces for Christmas.  Some mini stockings and a few gifty pieces.  All of the thought to winter inspired me to turn my attention to my living room.
All of my furniture is second hand and starting to look somewhat tired.  I decided to attempt a bit of a dye job on the sofas to add some colour.  We live in a rental property so the walls are neutral and when we moved in the biggest and most comfortable sofa we could find was cream.  I love it - space for two to stretch out, just the right amount of squish and the right height - generally it's a great sofa.  That said there's only so much cream one person can take. 
  So I embarked on upgrading my sofa.  I bought dylons burlesque red which is a deep purple-red and looks gorgeous on the box.  Armed with a few boxes and lots of salt I stripped the fabric off the sofa.
  I have to admit it was a bit of a mission.  Dividing the covers into roughly equal loads.  Washing with dye.  Washing without dye and then drying all the covers.  I didn't dare to put them in the dryer in case they shrank so for a few days we had sofa covers draped from chairs and clothes horses all over the place.
The finished effect?  Well it certainly isn't completely progressional.  I think a larger machine would have allowed more movement in the fabric.  My tiny machine has left a bit of mottling and crease lines across the covers where it couldn't move enough.  I was concerned that I had ruined the sofa but once the covers were on I think it looks pretty funky.  It has a bit of an aged effect to it and I think the mottling blends in with the age of the sofa.  All in all I'm happy plus I've learnt some good lessons about dye and fabric.
  I feel inspired to play about more with colour and try to experiment with dye a little bit more - here's to some more experimental upcycling! :-) who knows maybe a little bit of art coming up.
Watch this space.


Tuesday, 17 September 2013

Clutter and chaos

I am a messy person - it is something I wish I wasn't but I have grown to accept that mess follows me and grows around me!  I keep on top of it nowadays unlike in my teenage years when my bedroom was a bit of an explosion but in the areas I craft in chaos is highly likely at all times.

It is one of the reasons that I love having the attic room - I can go up there, start a project, allow chaos to have its way and then when I have run out of time pop downstairs and close the hatch.  No one sees it and I can just re-start exactly where I left off.  Of course this does have its downfall when my husband pops up to the attic to find something and I jump up in horror - 'don't look up there'

But as much as chaos seems to be attracted to me while I am creating there is something truly wonderful about having a good clear out.  Tidying everything away - clearing up the scraps from the last project and packing up elastic, ribbons and threads.  There is definitely truth in the saying 'tidy house, tidy mind' or in this case 'tidy room, tidy mind'

So this morning I decided that before heading off to work I would avoid the temptation to start another new project and instead I would have a re-organize.  I headed up and started sorting.  I have to confess I really enjoyed myself - it was definitely much overdue and I can't believe that one person can drop so many pins on the floor - but all in all I loved it.

  I found some odds and ends of fabric that had been buried by new purchases - I'm now excited to try to make something with them.

I discovered a half finished skirt that I had begun to make from a pillowcase I rescued from a house clearance a year or so ago.  This is now part of my to do list for this week to complete!

Plus I am fully set up with a clean and clear attic room and hopefully next time I arrive to sit down and sew my mind will be flooded with inspiration.  
This tidy up has also made me realize I need to invest in some low shelves or crates to store my crafty books and ever growing stash of fabric as my few boxes just aren't cutting it anymore.  I shall keep my eyes peeled on free cycle and the charity shops for a bargain.

All in all a productive and happy day so far :) 

Sunday, 8 September 2013

I love a bit of upcycling

I love a challenge and I especially love an up-cycling challenge.  I went to visit a friend this week who was given a cute t-shirt with a picture of a guinea pig on it.  Given her love for her own little pigs this was a great gift but the shirt was too big for her.  So rather than let the shirt sit in the wardrobe for years or end up being used as a night shift we agreed a bit of intervention was required.

Here is what I started with

What a cute face! :)

The issue I had with this project was just how big the face actually was.  Removing any part of the face distorted the photo so I knew the bag was going to have to be pretty big.  I decided to add some t-shirt fabric in a neutral colour that I already had and curved the edges to reduce the size a little bit.
 This is the finished product

I embraced the size and went with it in the end with some chunky handles and side panels to make it have a bit of depth.  This bag will be a perfect companion on days out to the beach or heading to the shops.  As I was creating for I reckon this could be a perfect bag to carry her beads and projects around in!  Check out her site there are some wonderful pieces on it!

I'm pretty happy with it and think it totally proves you can always make something usable from the things in your wardrobe!

Thursday, 5 September 2013

I love sewing but writings pretty great too!

I love sitting down and sewing! I think anyone who knows me or read this blog once or twice would realize that pretty quickly! Fabric - colour - prints - new projects - ideas - finished projects - I love it all!  I started doing the blog because it was mentioned by a number of people and I thought it might be fun - what I didn't realize was quite how much I would enjoy it.

I try to write once or twice a week and other than a little blip seem to be having reasonable success in this area.  I actually look forward to putting everything to one side and sitting down to write.  I was concerned at first that blogging would become another thing on a never ending to-do list, just a chore to tick off but it has turned into the opposite.

How rarely do I stop and take time to reflect on what I am doing? How little time do I spend considering my next step?  I fly quickly from thing to thing and suddenly I am making time to sit and think - to write about what I'm thinking or what I've made this week.  I'm finding that time out energises me and gives me space to enjoy the things that are going on around me.

I've also been amazed at the sudden connection with other like minded people spread out over the web.  Sharing their skills, questions and advice with one another.  Celebrating the skill and talent that each one brings.  It's been brilliant!  Social networking - when used to celebrate one another - is really good fun!

So what am I saying? I guess I'm just writing today to express my realisation that I'm loving blogging.  So thank you to all of you who read, comment, like and share the things I've been putting up! It really does put a smile on my face and I love hearing from you all!

This weekend I'm planning to take some time to craft with the new fabric I got yesterday and as the weather's meant to turn I'm imagining being tucked up in my attic with the rain beating down on the windows.  Whatever I make though I'll be sure to blog about it!

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Waste not Want not!

That old saying 'waste not want not' is probably unintentionally the moto for my sewing activity.  I love crafting and creating things but there is something extremely satisfying for me about making something out of 'nothing'.  By nothing I mean - scraps or rubbish - something that someone else was about to throw away or something that seems useless.

I love someone complimenting a skirt I have made and being able to say 'this? thanks - I made it from a pillow case, duvet, shirt, scrap etc etc'
 This week I did some alterations for a friend and took up the hem of her dress.  This left me with a strip of fabric too thin for much to be honest so I decided to turn the leftovers into a hair band.  Simple but something I wear often on those days when an outfit needs that extra touch or when my hair just decides to be disastrous and covering up is the safer option!
 So how did I do it?  Simple, quick and easy as can be.

You will need;
- a long scrap of fabric - mine was about 5cm wide but you can make yours much wider to create a thicker band.
-safety pin

1.  Cut your fabric to the length and width you require.  The final band width will be half of the fabric minus about 1.5cm seam allowance on both sides of the fabric.  It is important that you try to keep this as straight as possible so if you can use a ruler or measure to get straight lines.

2. Fold your fabric half way down the length of it so that the right side of the fabric is facing inwards touching.

You can see that mine still had the hem of the dress on it which I made sure didn't show in the final product by sewing to the left of the stitching.

3. Pin together and sew a straight line from one side to the other ensuring your seam allowance remains the same from start to finish

4. Now take your safety pin and attach it to one side of the tube you have created.  Push the saftey pin into the tube and gently ease it through teasing the fabric out as you go.  Once the safety pin is through the other end of the tube the fabric should pull through easily so you can now see the right side of the fabric in a tube.

5. Fold the raw edges into the tube at each end of the hair band.  This can be done to create a straight edge or you can create a slant so that the band naturally slants towards a point at each edge.

6. Now stitch each end and trim all loose threads.  Press the band and pair it with an outfit of your choice!

And there you have it the finished product!  Nothing needs to be wasted especially not fabric!  The whole project should take no longer than half an hour if you are stitching with a machine and it creates a great accessory out of something that otherwise might have gone in the bin!  It makes a cute gift too!

Happy sewing!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Stuffed bunnies

This week I have been working in the afternoons so have spent happy mornings in my attic stitching away.  It has turned into a productive week with a maxi dress finished (photos will come shortly), a few tote bags made, some coin purses stitched and I've also been making these adorable stuffed bunnies.

This blog post just proves that these days you can find anything you want on the internet.  I had been wanting to make some cute stuffed animals but due to my terrible drawing skills I needed a template.  A quick flick through Google images and I found one!

This wonderful blogger has also shared a ready written how to guide so I'm not going to repeat her good work but just share it for you all to follow.  So please check it out!

I plan to add some little eyes to the bunny with some buttons on some and on others a little cross made out of embroidery thread.

As always I have made these bunnies from fabric that has been sourced from charity shops, ebay and other up-cycling projects.  I've been amazed at the luck I have had recently in finding beautiful fabrics that are in amazing condition being sold off for pennies.

Here is a selection of my recent finds - any suggestions of what you think I should do with them???

Hope your all enjoying your week - will post again soon :)

Thursday, 8 August 2013

Back to the blog - how to make EYE MASKS

After a few weeks away with sickness and all sorts going on I thought on this gorgeously sunny morning I would complete a project and do some blogging.
 I recently signed up to do a craft fair for the first time.  It's all a bit of an experiment to be honest but it has got me thinking of new things that I can make that people would enjoy owning or giving as gifts.  This morning I made an eye mask which was surprisingly simple, reasonably quick and gives a good professional finish which is always very satisfying.

To do this project you will need:

  • Fabric in the pattern of your choice
  • A sheet of thin foam ( I used craft foam for kids)
  • A backing fabric
  • Paper for the stencil, pencil and scissors
  • Pins
  • Elastic
  • Bias binding
  • The usual needle and thread :)
You need to cut out your template - I traced an eye mask I already had but a quick look in google images will give you a selection to print and trace if you aren't confident with your free hand. 
Now pin the template onto the fabric and cut around as you would with any pattern.  Repeat this on your foam and your backing fabric.
Place all three together - backing fabric then foam then your patterned fabric on top facing right side upwards.  Now pin together to avoid movement and sew around the edge.  It helps to stay close to the edge so you aren't going to have a hard time hiding the stitching later.
You should be left with something like this.

Now take your bias binding and elastic.  You need to mark with a pin where you want your elastic to sit on either side of the mask.  It needs to be placed at an equal distance on both sides from the top and the bottom to ensure you don't end up with a wonky mask.
 Begin to fold the bias binding round the edge of the mask and pin in place.  As you reach the points for your elastic insert the elastic into the fold at the back of the mask.  The elastic should just lie flat against the mask.

 Now you need to choose a thread that matches the bias binding or choose an appropriate contrast.  You now need to sew round the edge of the bias binding adjusting as you go to avoid any creases.  At this point it is worth going slow and steady and staying close to the edge of the binding.  This line of stitching will show and makes part of the finished product so it is important the stitching is neat and steady.

Now trim any loose threads and there you have it - a perfect gift for yourself or someone else!  Enjoy and don't forget to send me pics of your progress - you can tweet me @jenniwessels

Till next time :) 

Monday, 8 July 2013

Presents - home made? ? ?

Summer for me brings a spattering of birthdays and celebrations.  Being in the middle of this time again got me to thinking about presents.  Most people love giving and receiving a good gift - it truly warms the heart to realise someone has considered what you would love and who you are.  At the same time there is something wonderful about watching a friend or family member get that feeling after opening something you gave.

I've been thinking about what really makes a great gift - is it having something you really wanted or is it knowing that someone put in some time to make or choose that gift rather than grabbing it at the end of a weekly food shop?

One of the best gifts my parents got me was my sewing machine - 15years old I think and over a decade later it's still with me!  They knew I would love it - I think I actually asked for one - and it has truly been a useful gift :-).  At the same time other much smaller gifts have left great impressions on me - knowing that person really knows me well.

A few years ago I was flat broke and started making presents.  I wanted to still be able to give things but really couldn't afford great shop bought gifts.  I have to admit that some of my early attempts at gifts have probably been discarded at the back of a cupboard somewhere.  I like to think that my home made gifts have improved in their quality but the heart intention is still the same- to make that individual aware that I have been thinking of them and how special they are.  Home made presents do have the risk of being useless and tacky- things you would actually never pay money for.
Spending a bit more money and heading to the shops doesn't of course guarantee you won't be still giving something useless and tacky but the risk is probably reduced somewhat!

All that considered I think my moto now is if I'm inspired to make something then that's what I go with - if not I head to the shops and hope I find some inspiration there.  I am trying not to automatically make everything for the sake of it instead trying to maintain some authenticity to my crafting.

So what do you prefer to give/receive?

Is it home made or shop bought?

Let me know :-)