Sunday 28 July 2013

Beautiful Mess

Let me show you something. Do you know what it is? Well, this is the unexpected gifts that caused some pleasant distractions that I mentioned some time ago.

I was very lucky to get a gift from a Friend of mine, who works in a bridal boutique. She gave me a huge bag full of fabric scraps. Not just any fabric, but beautiful delicate fabrics that wedding dresses are made of - satin, silk georgette, tulle and lace. They throw them away! Our living room turned into a beautiful mess once I emptied the content of the bag on the floor. My mind went spinning... roses, purses, bags, more roses... Beautiful mess that inspires me, fills my head with ideas. Now you can see why I got distracted for almost three days in a row, I just kept folding and rearranging these bits and pieces of fabrics and lace, dreaming away and sketching what I could do.

These are just a few beautiful roses that I made in a matter of a few minutes (after I spent almost three days just rearranging the scraps and looking at them). The roses can be used as a decoration for a purse or a bag. They can be turned into brooches, hair clips, hair band decorations or can even be made into a necklace. For now I will just keep making them and storing them in a vase. My Boys thought they were meringues when they saw them on the dining table in the vase. How funny!

Monday 22 July 2013

Fabric Folder. Sailing Away

I am sailing away with a bunch of Little Pirates. They are so handsome and full of fun. The Little Pirates come from Belle & Boo fabric called Pirate Games. Have you seen it? It is absolutely and totally cute.

Here is a fabric folder for Boys. The pattern I used is the same as the one I made for the folder for girls. It features four pockets for books, notepads or some papers and a pocket for a pen.

As you can see, I really got carried away with my favourite running stitch and got lost in a myriad of tiny stitches. It was so much fun just drawing on fabric and then filling it all in with red and brown threads. When I finished the folder for Girls, I felt a bit sad because the folder did not have any elements done by hand stitching, neither it had applique elements. So I made sure that this one had it all.

I love the tiny boat with the anchor, and the seagulls flying away. I even made a small tag with scraps of fabric, just for fun. It can be used as a bookmark I think.

How cute it the wind spinner made with the same fabric as the insides of the pockets. I still have two more fabrics (Woodland Walk and Ava and Friends) by Belle & Boo that I already started working with. I am very curious to see how the new projects are going to turn out. Happy creating!

Saturday 20 July 2013

A Little Bit of Prettiness For Girls

May I show you a fabric folder. A folder for Little Girls.

It's blue and pink, it's cute, it's pretty (thanks to Belle & Boo's fabric) and it's 100% handmade. Instead of cardboard, bamboo batting/wadding was used to give some shape and body to the folder and to give some protection to the items inside. It's soft and also very light.

The flap lock with a magnetic snap allows some room for expansion, so you can fill the pockets with small books, notepads, cards, papers, pencils - anything that your Little Girl might need on a walk to a park or on a trip or just to play at home. There are two small extra pockets for little treasures that I am sure every girl has aplenty.

A little bit of lace, a tiny cupcake tag, some flowers and of course a pink elephant. This folder was made for our very special Little Friend and it's being packed and sent away right now. It's a surprise, I hope she likes it.

Come back soon and see the one I made for Boys. But I have to tell you now that I got lost in a myriad of tiny stitches but it was FUN.

Thursday 18 July 2013

Just a Sneak Peek

I am so excited! To be honest with you, I cannot believe that I made this. For the last two days I have been playing around with these folders while finishing the final details and dreaming away of what I would put in all those pockets if I was a little girl or boy. As I said earlier, I was going to work on something exciting so here it is - my very own fabric folders for Girls and Boys.

It's hard to believe that I, who did not really sew before, made this. I know, it's quite simple for many of you but for me it was a challenge. A challenge that I conquered. I am proud of myself for not running away from my own idea in fear but making sure that I complete the project from the very beginning to the very end. I am really happy with the result. Would you like to get a sneak peek inside?

Fabric Stash Belle & Boo

I wish I could start this post with "today in my studio..." but at the moment I do not have a studio or a dedicated space for my stitching. My sewing machine is sitting on the dining table in our living room. The growing fabric stash is neatly stacked on one of the shelves of the book case and slowly crawling on the floor near by, and for small bits and pieces like snaps, buttons, threads, bobbins I have a large box that I keep in our sun room. A sewing and drawing studio is my DREAM that I am sure is going to COME TRUE one day. One day, but that day is not here just yet.

So for now I am going to keep creating in the warmth and coziness of our home, mostly in the living room or not far from the kitchen. :-) The lack of dedicated working space does not stop me from making things and building up my fabric stash. I know I already have more fabric than I need for my planned projects, but nothing can stop me, especially when one of the shops is conveniently located and the choice is quite good.

So good that I was lucky enough to find this fabrics by Belle & Boo in Spotlight the other day. The prints above are: Woodland Walk, Pirate Games, Tea Party and Ava and Friends. The drawings are amazingly sweet. I thought it would be hard to think of something to make using this materials because the prints are quite large and I do not really make things for little kids, but to my surprise the hardest part was cutting this fabric. I felt so sorry. I am going to buy some more, if I am lucky, and just keep it, because I like it so much. Do you have your absolute favourite fabric that you can't part with? Come back soon to see what I am making using these pretties.

Wednesday 17 July 2013

A Little Bit of Warmth and Lavender

I can't believe how long it took me to finish this small project. Not the actual time of working on it but the time to get started. I was distracted with too many things lately - ideas, plans, projects and even unexpected gifts that caused even more pleasant distractions. But right now I am glad that finally I managed to find a couple of hours to complete these cute heat packs while watching an old movie.

The heat packs will make a lovely gift. They are filled with beautifully scented lavender flowers, buckwheat and barley. I love the scent of lavender. It's refreshing and soothing at the same time, it's sweet and slightly spicy, fruity and floral. Have you ever received a heat pack as a gift? I have and I really enjoyed it on cold winter nights and as a relieve for my sore back.

These bags are small, about 19cm by 11cm. I used free motion machine stitching for the plants and added just a few hand stitches to give a bit of colour to the flowers. I could not stay away from my favourite running stitch that goes around all edges in a lovely deep green shade.

It all started with a drawing of Plantago and Clover. Beautiful plants that you can find almost anywhere in the world. They always fill me with sweet childhood memories. I did not know where these sketches would end up, I just took one step at a time while enjoying the process of sketching, stitching and sewing. But I am happy with where Plantago and Clover are now. Have a wonderful creative day!

Saturday 13 July 2013

Funky, Wonky, Crazy Cat

... with a red tummy.

Here is a different style of a Funky, Wonky, Crazy Cat Lunch/Snack Bag. An applique for the tummy has been added for a splash of colour as requested by my son. To give this bag a more structured shape, a topstitch has been added to all side and bottom edges.

The flap is stitched on on the front of the bag and closes on the back with a prong snap. Note to Self: I might use a magnetic fastener next time, it would be much easier to close and open the bag. I really like them more than any other type of snaps and on top of that I have a whole bag full of them. I am off to work on something exciting. Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday 11 July 2013

Fabric Stash New Additions

It's been a while since I shared any new additions to my fabric stash with you. I am afraid that fabric shopping is becoming a serious problem; I simply cannot help myself when I see a pattern or colour I like. This is someone who does not really like shopping. Sometimes I buy material that I need for a planned project, sometimes I buy it only because I like it.

The stripy red and green fabrics were bought for two projects that I am working on at the moment. The beautiful bright flowery fabric, on the other hand, was bought only because I loved the colour combination of pink, green and pale yellow and the flower pattern too. I just had to have it.

The second fabric from the top was bought for a specific little project, a traditional Russian doll that I would like to make one day. I came across a picture and instructions on the net and thought it was rather cute. The material is meant for a head scarf. The bright orange and blue with flowers and orange specks might end up as a make-up bag. Maybe. The top and the bottom fabrics I bought only because I liked the look and feel of it. Do you have more fabric than you need? Happy stashing everyone!

Tuesday 9 July 2013

Adorable, Funky, Wonky, Crazy Cat

A long time ago, when my Not So Little Boy was really Little, he made a drawing of a cat that he called simply "My Cat". No, we didn't have a cat and he never wanted to have one but in his imaginary world it was his cat. Absolutely adorable, funky, wonky, crazy cat that I simply fell in love with from the first sight.

We always talked about making t-shirts for all of us with a print of this cat but we never managed to do that. But yesterday morning I had an idea - why not stitch a smaller version of this cat on something? Not thinking for too long, I scanned the drawing, made it smaller, transferred on calico and got lost for a while in a soothing noise of my sewing machine. A few minutes later the cat was ready. According to my Not So Little Boy, it looked messy but cute. Phew!

While admiring my creation, another idea entered my already excited mind - I was going to turn it into a lunch bag but not any bag. A bag inspired by a brown paper bag. That sounds a bit strange, I know. A few sketches, some calculations, cutting, pinning, sewing, a bit of giggling, more sewing, hammering, finger whacking and this is what I ended up with.  A cute small bag with two snaps at the top.

Now, looking at this bag, I already have a few more ideas; different styles that might work quite well.

Sunday 7 July 2013

Sing a Rainbow

Red and yellow and pink and green, purple and orange and blue... Which one is your favourite? Out of all the colours here, green, purple and orange really stand out for me. This is a tiny quilted wall hanging that can be used as a placemat as well - perfect for an afternoon cup of tea with a friend.

I like the happy colour combination and how the running writing around the flower turned out, and the way the binding accentuates the colours of petals. For this quilt I used a straight edge binding.

It still surprises me that while I am working on a project, everything seems fine but once it's finished, I see quite a few things that I wish I had done differently. I suppose it's an avoidable part of a hands-on learning experience. You can't perfect your technique if you don't experiment, if you don't try various ways of creating things. I believe there's always room for improvement and that's what makes it so enjoyable. 

Tuesday 2 July 2013

Some spots and dots, and houses with pots

Remember the houses? And the thinking they caused? They even inspired a short poem.

Well, no more thinking... it's a fabric envelope at last. I have made quite a few of them since the beginning of this year. I like the fact that with just a few adjustments you can create anything from a simple pocket for papers to a padded iPad cover. You can add any type of a fastener and you can decorate the envelopes any way you like - there are no boundaries for your imagination here.

I really like the colours of this cotton, they make me think of Autumn. Warm, sunny days with carpets of red, yellow, orange leaves spread around and a particular cool autumn air filled with mushroomy smell. It's something I would call an Autumn Palette with deep cadmium, crimson lake, rose pink and flesh pink shades. I love Autumn! Do you?

If you are interested in making your own fabric envelopes, you can find a tutorial here. Have a great day everybody!

Monday 1 July 2013

Tutorial: Fabric Envelope

Today I am going to share with you a way I make my envelopes. With this quick and simple tutorial you can create your own personalised Fabric Envelopes of various sizes. I am using linen with hand embroidery for the shell and cotton for the lining. If you would like to use the same embroidery pattern Houses, you can find it here. The measurements bellow are for the envelope 18cm x 27cm in size. Generally I use Magnetic Snap Fasteners for my envelopes but in this tutorial I am going to skip the step of attaching the fastener. You can use any type of fastener for your envelope or leave it without it.

Important Note: Fabric with one way design won't work for this pattern because it will appear upside down on the back of the envelope. A better choice is a solid colour fabric or fabric with no direction pattern.

  • Piece of fabric for outer shell measuring 29cm x 44cm
  • Piece of fabric for lining  measuring 29cm x 44cm
  • Fusible light weight interfacing measuring 29cm x 44cm
  • Embroidery floss
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins, scissors, sewing needle
  • Optional Fasteners of your choice: magnetic snap, sew on snap, prong snap, Velcro cercles, Button

Note: For a more structured envelope, use fusible batting instead of interfacing or even fusible foam.

Step 1: Fuse the interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric you are going to use for outer shell. I am fusing the interfacing to linen with embroidery. Make sure to set your iron to the right temperature and gently press and glide the iron from the centre to the edges.

Step 2: Place the outer shell and the lining right sides together. Pin in place.

Step 3: Mark about 1cm allowance around all edges leaving a 3-5cm gap on one of the long sides for turning the envelope right side out.

Step 4: Stitch around leaving the gap open. Back stitch at the beging and at the end to secure the seam.

Step 5: Cut off the threads. Trim all four corners.

Step 6: Turn the envelope right side out carefully pushing the corners out with a chopstick. Iron well with a lot of steam.

Step 7: Lay the envelope with the lining facing up.  Measure and mark about 7.5cm from the top for the flap. Measure and mark about 17.5cm from the marked point for the bottom fold of the envelope.

Step 8: Fold up the bottom part on the 17.5cm mark and iron well. Pin in place. Make sure that back and front parts of the envelope are well aligned on top of each other.

Fastener: If you are using one of the fasteners,  make marks and fix it in place now. I am working on a separate tutorial for a few different types of fasteners.

Step 9: You can hand stitch the gap close or leave it as it is and try sewing the sides very close to the edge as I do. Stitch the sides with 0.4cm allowance. Start about 1cm above the body of the envelope. Back stitch to secure the seam at the beginning and the end. Cut off the threads.

Step 10: Remove pins. Close the flap. Iron well.

Step 11: Now is the fun part. Using the embroidery floss of your choice, hand stitch around the right, bottom and left edges of the flap of the envelope using a running stitch. You can mark each stitch to make them even. Make sure that you take the floss of the right length.

Step 12: Depending on the type of a fastener you are using, you can add an extra decoration to your envelope. I like using yo-yo or fabric covered buttons on top of the magnetic snap fasteners. You are done!

I hope you enjoyed this project. Have any questions? Please feel free to leave a comment or email me.

Happy stitching!