Firstly, apologies for forgetting to announce here the winner of my last giveaway (my bad)! The lucky winner was Michelle Green @elsie_and_alice and was announced on Instagram & Facebook. Thank you to everyone here who entered. Fingers crossed you will be luckier with my next giveaway.
We will be kicking off our first week by making Svetlana’s Lola Pouch.
Lucy is a British quilter and blogger who designs & sells her own patterns and regularly teaches quilting classes. Lucy worked for two years as a designer and demonstrator on TV and often has projects featured in magazines.
Lucy describes her style as ‘miscellaneous’, enjoying mixing modern and traditional elements in her designs. She also co-hosts #saturdaynightcraftalong on Instagram, a weekly global crafting initiative.
The last of my recent run on gift making is this plush velvet tote bag for my youngest daughter.
She requested an everyday sizeable, soft tote bag, especially when she’s too-ing and fro-ing to lectures at Uni.
Now this girl of mine is super tactile! I gave her a choice between 2 different lightweight upholstery bolts I had been donated, knowing full well she would choose the sumptuously soft velvet over a paler linen look fabric.
I also gave her a choice of lining fabrics and she choose the one I had my fingers crossed on! That’s my girl!
At 5’11” I knew she would need long length handles. I made a feature of them with a few repurposed denim loops and tabs. A little scrap of leather denotes the front of the bag.
A simple phone pocket on the inside is all this bag needed to make it fully functional.
I’m happy to report the birthday girl loved her new bag and has been using it ever since!
I hope you are keeping safe and well and keeping the creativity flowing!
Yesterday I hosted my first socially distanced afternoon tea party in my garden, to celebrate my cousin’s birthday!
I’m happy to report that the sun shone all afternoon and a wonderful time was had by all! It was so lovely socialising again and catching up with sewing friends face to face!
My ‘make’ for the birthday girl was this denim planter, a multi-functional basket for her sewing or living room.
Working with denim is always ‘play time’ for me and I thought I would make a larger version of the selvedge basket I designed and taught at our quilting retreat last year.
First I sewed the denim strips onto heavy sew-in vilene using the ‘quilt as you go’ method of piecing. I quickly realised this wasn’t going to be sturdy enough to allow the basket to retain its shape.
So I quilted the panel onto flex foam using orange Aurifil 12wt wool thread. Much better! And just look at that gorgeous texture!
The lining was inserted before adding the binding and pinching in the sides to give the boxy shape to the basket.
I definitely needed my heavy jeans needle for that part!!
And last but not least, some leather handles secured with bronze rivets, to bring a little rustic colour and texture to the basket.
At this juncture I didn’t know what I was going to put in the basket, or how to ‘prop’ it for photographing. I grabbed a couple of my artificial plants and set them in and immediately fell in love with the contrasting greenery and inventive use of the basket!
And so my denim planter was born! I loved making it and will definitely be making one for my own home!
I’ve been working on a few gifts lately, and now that one has been received I can show you it here.
This bag was made as a special thank you to a lovely lady who enjoys repurposing textiles as much as I do!
I had a few relaxing evenings making up the EPP hexies, but with no other plan in my head than that!
So when I had 2 panels made to a good enough size the old design juices started flowing.
I got the panels quilted on to Flex Foam which I think really adds some lovely texture to the hexies.
I had a vision of a messenger bag with curved corners this time. Once the gusset was in, the bag really started to take shape.
Getting the depth and style of the flap was important. I didn’t want anything too fussy, so as not to take away from the hexies. So a few lines of Aurifil 12wt wool thread in contrast gold did the trick, with curved corners to mirror the bottom of the bag.
When it comes to bag linings, I love the surprise of opening up a bag and getting that ‘wow’ factor from a stunning lining!
This lining is Autumn Nectar Honey by Maureen Cracknell for Art Gallery Fabrics and is available here in my shop.
Doesn’t it just bring a blast of sunny colour to the inside of the bag! And the purple tones are the perfect match for a cheeky Liberty key fob tab!
No funtional bag is complete without a handy slip pocket.
And the adjustable cross body strap means you can get out and about hands free!!
I’m delighted to report that the new owner loves her bag and says it was a timely gift as her old bag was in need of being replaced! Yay!
I love it when my ‘play time’ repurposing textiles brings happy smiles and pleasure to faces!
Our studio in August looked a little bit like a jeans factory, as many pairs of jeans were massacred in the honourable pursuit of making my Boro Denim Bag pattern.
Repurposing projects are among my favourites, and it was exciting to see the ladies’ bags grow in a very organic, non-prescriptive way.
While some of the techniques are the same e.g. ‘quilt as you go’ and measured bag construction, each bag looks uniquely different because of the different denim placements and features used.
Like an archeological dig, there was much excavating through the pile of jeans for pockets, loops, leather labels and interesting design features which were rescued and treasured for embellishing the bags!
Doesn’t Glenda looked pleased with her finished bag!
There are a few more bags that are still in the making, but to all my ‘bag ladies’ I’d like to say a big well done on your repurposing and bag making skills! The variety and creativity you showed in the hand and machine quilting of your bags was inspiring!
If you would like to have a go at your own Denim Boro bag, you can find the pattern here.
(Newsletter subscribers will have received a 50% off coupon code for this pattern in the Autumn ’19 edition – expires 25th Sept.)
Yesterday was my Chenille Workshop, and I’ve been beavering away this past week getting samples ready.
My ladies learned how to make a fluffy, tactile texture in their fabrics, and turn it into a snuggly cushion or a soft and useful bathmat.
We learned about how cutting across the bias can create a very different effect from cutting in line with the warp and weft (straight grain).
And how some fabrics will fray better than others, and where some will reveal little surprises after washing and drying (a frayed selvage will give a clue to secondary coloured threads).
The best way to chenille fabric is to cut across the bias, but that in no way limits the different effects you can achieve.
Check out some of these examples:
Applique Bias Strips:
You don’t need any special equipment for this technique. The clever peeps at Olfa have made the Chenille cutter, but you can get the same results from sharp scissors (recommended for smaller projects).
And if you don’t have a Chenille brush to help with the fluffing-up, just use a regular hairbrush (the washing and tumble drying are usually sufficient, but brushing the chenille can help with those fabrics that are a little more fray resistant!).
So huge well done to my ladies for a great day’s work sewing and chenilling (& chatting too!).
And if you haven’t tried chenilling yet, why not give it a whirl! You’ll be pleasantly surprised!
It’s hard to believe that the summer is almost through, and attention is quickly turning to the new term of classes starting in September.
This term our (optional) class project will be Twin Needling with Fusible Bias (incorporating Stained Glass Windows).
As you can see above, there are a range of makes to choose from. Let’s look at them:
Mosaic Cushion (Beginner Friendly):
This 18″ cushion is a great starter project if you are new to fusible bias and twin needling.
Simple piecing creates the mosaic background, with the twin needled bias creating a dramatic (and quilted) finish!
I’ve made a feature of the zipper closure in the back of the cushion, but you could easily have an envelope or button closure here.
The digital pattern is available here (hard copies are available to purchase in class).
Mackintosh Flower Cushion (Intermediate):
This is another 18″ cushion, this time inspired by Charles Renee Mackintosh’s iconic design.
Shapes are bondawebbed onto background fabric, and the fusible bias then curved and twin needled down.
Again I’ve made a feature of the cushion back.
The digital Mackintosh Flower Cushion Pattern is available here (hard copies and full size templates are available to purchase in classs).
Applique Leaf Denim Bag (Advanced):
This project not only incorporates twin-needling (stems) and satin stitch applique (leaves), but also re-purposing textiles, zippered pocket and handbag construction.
The digital Applique Leaf Denim Bag Pattern is available here (hard copies and full size templates are available to purchase in class).
Mackintosh Rose Wallhanging (Advanced):
If you love wallhangings and aren’t afraid of something a little more challenging, you could try your hand at this Mackintosh inspired ‘Stained Glass Window’.
I’m in the progress of making up this wallhanging in a different colourway, and hope to show you the finished wallhanging soon! The finished size will be approx. 14″ x 21″ and full size templates will be available to purchase in class.
Each pattern lists the materials you will need.
However, I will have the following available to purchase in class:
black 6mm fusible bias
4mm twin needles
pattern transfer pens
hinged faux leather handbag handles
full size templates
So I hope you are inspired to perhaps try something different this term. You will have 7 weeks to make one of these projects, or a project of your own choosing!
And there are still a few spaces left across all the classes (more info here), so why not join us for some creative fun!
I promised to post this week about the projects on my ‘Spring into Summer’ Table.
Never one to break a promise, I’m starting with my Denim Applique Sailboat Cushion.
I originally designed this cushion for a summer edition of Pretty Patches Magazine.
I loved re-purposing some denim and scraps for this nautical cushion. My recent discovery of Aurifil 12wt wool thread also made a significant contribution! You can read more about my designing process here.
The great news is that I’ll be teaching a workshop on this cushion on Saturday 19th May at my classroom in Conway Mill.
And not only that, kits will be available with everything you need to make the cushion, including lush Essex Yarn Dyed Linen, denim pieces, stripey binding and a bright red button for the back!
How cool is that!
So if you would like to spend a fun Saturday with other like minded creatives learning new skills like appli-quilting and free motion sketching, then just drop me an email to register: firstname.lastname@example.org
For the past 6 weeks some very talented ladies in my classes have been beavering away on my Denim Hexie Bag Pattern.
This pattern combines techniques such as English Paper Piecing (EPP Hexies), eyelet holes, zippered pocket, handbag construction as well as some serious denim upcycling!
At times it looked like a missile had gone off in a jeans factory in my classroom, as scissors and blades feverishly amputated legs, pockets and loops! While denim is one of my favourite textiles to work with, it doesn’t half shed!
But oh boy, the results of this serious crafting were so worth it!
Not all the bags being made are represented here, a few are still being finished off.
But aren’t they brilliant! Sturdy, stylish practical bags that I know will get lots of use!
And I also know that the bags still being finished are equally as fabulous!
I haven’t been able to capture all the individual details in the bags here, but trust me when I tell you that each bag has it’s own unique characteristics.
Details like repurposed loops, tabs and pockets from the jeans, as well as complimentary fabrics like cotton and tweed, buttons, badges and even embroidery and printing.
A huge ‘well done’ to all my wonderful ‘Bag Ladies’!
I also have 3 part-kits available in my shop, which include the pattern, pre-cut hexie papers, various coloured denim squares (for the hexie panels) , 1 metre of heavy weight sew-in vilene and 4 eyelet rings.
So when Popular Patchwork said they were going for a colourful and cheery February issue, I had an idea!
This is Log Cabin Bouquet!
With a few adjustments, the log cabin block can be turned into a heart shape. And when you put the hearts together, you get a flower shape! Neat!
If, like me, you have a ‘Fabric Bucket List’ it’s always a joy when you finally get the opportunity to work with some long desired collection or fabric line.
When Art Gallery launched their Denim Studio, I swooned! Already a long time lover of all things denim, my heart skipped a beat when I saw how creative Art Gallery got with this unassuming textile. Oh boy! The different weights, patterns and textures – so many to choose from.
Imagine my delight when the Editor of Popular Patchwork approved my design! I stuck to denims that were 4oz or 5oz and I thought I’d go braver with the background this time.
The background is Painterly Wash and the backing Ragged Daisies. Wouldn’t these make beautiful tunic dresses (that’ll be another addition to the bucket list then!).
If you are considering Denim Studio, I recommend using the 4-5 oz ones for quilting and the 10 oz ones for bag making and soft furnishings.
So that’s another fabric itch scratched! I definitely see more Denim Studio in my future!
Well with only a few more days to go, I hope you are not too stressed!
I have only one more commission to complete (tomorrow) and then I am officially off work! Yay!
Despite the busyness this week, I did manage to get 2 presents made. One is a secret santa (which has already been gifted) and one is a thank you gift.
It’s always ‘playtime’ for me when it comes to re-purposing my denim hoard stash! But this was my first time trying denim half square triangles.
I kept the half square triangles fairly big (by patchwork standards) and they worked like a dream. The bags are approximately 11.5″ wide by 9″ tall, lots of room for all the accessories us ladies seem to accumulate!
I love the finish of Aurifil 12wt wool thread on denim.
And some tabs saved from a beloved denim shirt add the perfect finishing touches.
And remember, never throw away those broken or unwanted pendants or charms! You never know when they’ll come in handy!