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: email@example.com
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!
Happy November to you all! Aren’t the weeks just flying in!
There have been a few exciting developments in the Hollies Household, which I will be able to tell you all about in 2 weeks time (can’t wait!!).
In the meantime, I can tell you about a quilt I made earlier in the year, which was featured in the September issue of Quilt Now (apologies for the late posting).
This is another scrap-busting project, using medium to low volume prints which have a ‘vintagey’ vibe (‘volume’ refers to the ‘loudness’ or brightness of the fabric).
I had a ball dipping in and out of my scraps drawers, using wee pieces, leftover jelly roll strips and scraps of vintage sheets.
And if you look closely, you’ll discover little snippets of vintage embroidery, lace and trim!
This improvisational style of piecing is quite addictive! You just start with a few small pieces, keep adding and trimming as you go, and before you know it, your scraps have grown into a sizeable panel.
I got so carried away that I made too many sections! Not wanting to waste them, I sewed them altogether and used them as a central panel in the back, pieced between 2 vintage sheets!
Even the binding is another vintage sheet!
I appreciate that maintaining a healthy ‘scrap stash’ takes organisation and space, but here are a few advantages you get from it:
You can make an entire quilt using just scraps!
Make your scraps go further using yardage for the background.
Enjoy the satisfaction & frugality of turning leftovers into many wonderful and new projects.
Put them to good use in charity bee blocks, like Bee Blessed.
Use scraps to ‘test’ blocks or measurements when resizing a block
I’m sure you can think of lots more advantages to keeping your fabric leftovers. And you can be even more creative thinking up genius ways to store them!
Despite this being a sizeable quilt (72″ x 82.5″) I wish I could tell you I made a significant dent in my scraps stash making it!!
But that just means I have lots of lovely gems waiting for another chance to be transformed!
As I enjoy the wide open windows and the washing on the line, I’m also progressing well with packing up ready for moving house at the end of this month. A small challenge when there’s 15 years worth of ‘stuff’ to thin out ready for our down-size!
I have also packed up my sewing room, but not before I got a class sample finished for classes in the new term.
I’m a great admirer of Anna’s fabulous bag designs and patterns, and her Maker’s Tote is a particular favourite of mine. I’ve had it bookmarked for a while, but am only now getting around to making it!
I thought this would be a good bag pattern to teach in class because of the variety of bag construction elements and skills involved.
But of course I couldn’t just stick to the pattern, could I!
I love using denim for bags, it makes them more durable and useable in my view. And besides, I already had 2 ‘uneven brick’ panels sewn together for another project long forgotten! They were the perfect size, so I got to *quilting them, first in the ditches, and then some feature quilting using Aurifil 12wt wool thread.
*the original pattern uses a foam interfacing like Bosal to give structure and reinforcement to the bag. I wasn’t able to get any in time, so substituted with a layer of wadding and heavy weight sew-in vilene spray basted together.
The front and back of my bag are slightly different. I didn’t think the prescribed front pocket would work on my version of this bag, but I did include the zippered back pocket.
One of the joys of working with recycled denim is thinking of ways to use the loops, tabs and unusual features attached to a pair of jeans.
I decided my Maker’s Tote could be used as my everyday bag, not just a class sample, so I incorporated another one of my favourite textiles, vintage chintz linen.
A few vintage style Lecien prints coordinated beautifully for the internal pockets and facings.
The handles are made from a re-purposed denim belt, reinforced with webbing and lined with more of the chintz linen.
The belt was a little on the wide side, so by cinching in the edges along the top section, they are now the perfect fit for my hands and have lovely structure too!
The bag is finished off with self-made bias binding, another great skill to have under your belt. If you follow me on Instagram, you will know that the first lot of bias binding I made is different to the one on the finished bag!
I decided I didn’t like choice no.1 (after I had attached it!). In my opinion the chintz linen binding works much better, even though it was a little trickier to attach.
So there we have my version of Noodlehead’s Maker’s Tote! A fabulously roomy bag, gorgeous shape, and versatile elements.
And I’ll leave you with an ‘out take’ of the ‘helper’ on my photo-shoot!
It’s almost the end of my teaching term here in Belfast. There has been a hive of activity across my 4 classes and it’s always a joy seeing completed quilts, bags, wallhangings and more.
This term, a number of my ladies have been making the Sew Together Bag, by Sew Demented.
The first Sew Together Bag I made at Brit Bee Retreat. While there were a few sections of the pattern which could have been better illustrated, I was able to independently complete the bag (with only a couple of peeks at my friend’s pouch!).
I’ve designed and made many pouches and bags, but my classes are mixed abilities. So by way of preparation for teaching this pattern, I knew I needed to make another bag, taking additional notes, tips and improvements for my ladies.
I try to do my bit for the environment, but one thing I love to recycle most are textiles.
I’ve had to curtail my fabric hoarding over the years (!!) but tactile textiles like tweed, wool, linen and corduroy I’ll never be without! A donated coat here, outgrown trousers there, and before you know it, I’ve accumulated a healthy stash with more ideas than time!
It’s always a joy working with these materials, but especially when making a gift for a fellow ‘tweed’ loving friend.
I enlarged the template for Vi Vixen and bondawebbed the pieces onto a background of patchwork tweed. Then I free motion sketched all the shapes in place. I think the rustic and naive effect of raw edge applique suits this version of Vi perfectly!
In this cushion are offcuts from a pair of my daughter’s trousers (don’t worry, she outgrew them a long time ago!), pieces of Irish linen, a tweed coat, and many other off-cuts I’ve been donated or gathered up. Even the button is from an old duffle coat!
So my Tweed Fox cushion has been gifted and extremely well received. There is so much joy in the making and giving of something already loved. And I know this particular fox will continue to be greatly loved.
In the December issue of Pretty Patches magazine, you might find this cheeky chappie making a song and dance of things!
Many of you will know that my first love in ‘all things fabric’ are recycled textiles. I have a particular obsession fondess for tweed, linen, wool and corduroy.
The only items officially ‘purchased’ in this cushion are the background (Tilda) and the berries!
I love mixing textures and textiles! Here we have sumptuous tweed, soft red wool, tactile cord, a vintage curtain remnant and a few scraps of good old fashioned quilting cotton. Oh what fun I had playing putting these together.
I also love satin stitch applique, but I knew with these thicker fabrics standard thread would disappear into the nap.
So out come the 12wt Aurifil wool threads! These are thick enough to use for hand embroidery, but not too thick to put through the eye of a size 90 machine needle. Win, win! (You can find a great selection here.)
As the design came together, I knew I wanted ‘berries’ in the corners. I scratched my head for a few minutes, and then came up with a plan!
I un-threaded some jumbo pompom trim I had leftover from another project. Then I ‘couched’ or satin stitched 3 thread stems together to create a little cluster of berries. This made it super easy to sew them into the corners of the cushion.
A simple envelope backing and you have the perfect gift for all bird and nature lovers everywhere (not forgetting all the tweed & corduroy lovers too!).
My recycled, chirping Robin may be in the Christmas issue, but like the loyal and territorial real birds, I think he’ll stick around all year long!
So what type of fabrics make your heart skip a beat?
Now that I am embracing Autumn, I can show you one of my favourite makes of this year!
This is ‘Autumn Tree’, an applique wallhanging measuring 27″ x 30″, which I will definitely be displaying in my home.
I adore the warm autumnal purples and pinks in Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee range, especially on a Kona Bone background. In fact, the leaf shapes are the by-product of the Sizzix Drunkard’s Path Fan die!! I always keep these shapely leftovers, and was so pleased to be able to turn some of them into a seasonal project.
Useful tip: Quilt your background first before appliquing on the shapes. This means you don’t have those head-scratching moments when trying to decide how to quilt around the shapes.
Satin stitch is my favourite applique technique, and I think it suits the clean lines of the leaves and trunk.
The pattern for this wallhanging is in the October issue of Pretty Patches Magazine.
And maybe one day I will make Spring, Summer & Winter/Christmas versions to hang up with each changing season!!
My June is always a little crazy, but exams are over, Uni daughter comes home for a visit on Thursday, so all is right with the world!
Did I ever tell you that I love recycling denim (only once or twice right! Wink! Wink!).
Sometimes an idea just comes on me and I have to run with it.
This started out as a little denim ‘play therapy’! I had a clutch of Aurifil 12wt wool threads which I knew would marry the denim perfectly!
And so a little fun applique project turned into a cushion commission for Pretty Patches Magazine.
This was my first time using Aurifil 12wt threads in my machine. I used them for some of the details, but not the main satin stitch applique.
I had used Coats Creative thread before in this way, and really liked the effect. But it’s difficult getting a wide range of shades in Coats Creative thread. Aurifil however have a lovely range of 12wt colours, and with a size 100 needle, it ran through my machine like a dream (I used normal cotton thread in the bobbin).
My favourite bit is the uniquely worn part of the ‘sea’ – can you guess which part of the jeans this came from!!
You could easily substitute the denim for quilting cotton if you don’t have spare jeans lying around!!
So if you fancy dreaming of sailing away on the summer seas, then pick up a copy of Pretty Patches (July) today!