Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Operation Pancake - How To Make A Flat Card

When the Royal Mail decided to make it somewhat pricey to send a card over A5 in size and over 5mm think it rather put the kibosh on making your own cards if you have to mail them.  I used to do a lot of paper tole but now have to find other, flatter ways of making a card look interesting.  This time last year 2nd class mail was 36p; now it is 50p and I am sure more people than me are slimming down their card lists, especially if, like me, they have to mail out all their cards.

Hence Operation Pancake - let's find as many ways as possible to make interesting and attractive flat cards!

A rummage in my closet looking for something else yielded up a large bag of aida fabric - how about a spot of cross stitch?  Those who have read my profile will know that I design card making kits for printing out up on Craftsuprint and some of these are cross stitch.  To whet your appetite here is one I have designed for this blog:
Here is the key and list of flosses you need:
For more in this vein, and more yet to come watch this space.  Or you could go over to the Craftsuprint site for some more...

Either way, a flat card or at least one that is going to be less than 5mm thick.

Sunday, 19 August 2012

The Heligan Bag - Adventures in Hand Sewing
Hello everybody - I had intended to update this blog more often but when deadlines loom it is all hands to the wheel and everything else gets pushed aside.  Autumn seems to come earlier every year so maybe that white and gold bag won't get any further for a while as I don't see myself getting any use out of it until next summer now.  No matter, here is another smaller but more seasonally versatile bag I made a while back.  Up there you see the front, down here you see the reverse:
Now you see the inspiration with the bag in situ:
This photograph was taken at The Lost Gardens of Heligan which is not far from St Austell in Cornwall and close to the Eden Project which has rather eclipsed it.  They are nothing alike however and a wander through the wonderfully wild woods is a treat as there are trees like this and they can inspire bags!  Here is the picture that inspired the bag on an earlier trip:
This inspired me to make this textured bag.  First I got some bits of leftover unbleached calico from making toiles for garments and I painted a background with fabric paints:
Then I got out my mixed box of yarns.  I mostly use embroidery floss when doing freestyle or cross stitch and it is all too easy to get into a rut; there is life beyond six-strand mercerised cotton.  Most of these were ends of balls of yarn or from the wonderful mixed packs of yarns sold by Texere Yarns.  You can buy their textured yarn packs as I have used right here  http://www.texere-yarns.co.uk/texereshop/Textured_Yarn_Packs.html 

There is some floss there too and those ivy leaves are cut from some soft dark green gloving leather which I was given.  Sorry, I have no source for this and wish I had as leather is difficult to get hold of.  The handle remains painted and is shoulder bag length.  To make your own with your own photos (or use mine, why not) here is the pattern for the front:

And here for the back:
These include seam allowances and are full sized but of course you can make them any size you want.  Lining them is a good idea and I used the same fabric to make a good tough bag.  The strap is as long as you want it (depends on personal taste and your height) and should be about 2 1/2" wide.  This gets painted, folded in half and the sides turned in along one long edge, then this is stitched close to the edge and then the other side too.

Ivy leaf pattern for the large leaf:
And for the small one:
And lastly the stitches I used:
Plus a close up of a leaf being attached and the work itself:

To make just do the following: 

Cut out two backs and two fronts plus a strap (try measuring your favorite bag strap for length)

Paint the background with fabric paints on one back, one front and the strap.  Leave to dry and heat fix with an iron.

Decorate with stitches, leather leaves and anything else that comes to hand.  Hey, its your bag after all!

Follow above instructions for the strap.

Right sides together, stitch front to front lining and back to back lining leaving a space at the bottom of about 2".  Turn to right side and stitch up the space with neat oversewing.  Press well.

Place front on top of back and stitch all around the front, leaving the top open of course. 

Attach straps by turning in a bit at each end and stitching under the part where the back flops over.

You now need a fastening of some kind and I used a largish press stud sewn under the flap with one part on the front and the other just on the lining of the back and thus invisible.  Nobody really wants to see a press stud after all.

Your bag is ready to roll.

Sewing World - September 2012
Have you got yours yet?  Time to visit Smith's or even better, take out a subscription so you don't miss anything.  If you have it turn to page 47 and you can see my Pretty Pintuck Shirt, all ready to team with your favorite trousers when it gets too cold to wear that sundress.  I did not take a photo of it, such was my haste to make that deadline.  Visit the site right here for some free projects and more. 

Actually, the magazine might not even be out quite yet at the time of me typing this but by the time you read this I am sure it will be.

Monday, 6 August 2012

Golden Sunbird Applique Bag Project

Here it is at last - the template pieces plus a photograph of what it looks like ironed on.  The pieces are the exact size I used, and here it how I combined them to make a pleasing image.  To get this far you need to do the following:

I)  Copy and print out the template shapes, and then cut them out.  As this is green crafting I often use any old sheet of A4 paper with one blank side as hey, they are only templates.  If you plan on using them for something else using a sheet of thin card might be a better option however.

II)  Buy some Bondaweb.  They do this in two weights and I try to get the heavier of the two for any projects that are going to see plenty of wear and washing.  On the tracing paper draw around the templates the correct number of times and roughly cut around them.  Note that they are the wrong way round when comparing them to the picture.  This is the way they have to be to look this way.

III)  The first fun part - choosing your fabric.  My color scheme is white and gold and I have chosen one plain white ( the same fabric as the bag which is white linen), one plain gold (lame) and one patterned gold and white brocade.  All these are leftovers from other projects which is much more fun than tossing them into the recycling box.  Place the cutouts rough side down onto the wrong side of the fabric, lay on a cotton pressing cloth and turn your iron up to cotton setting - don't put any water in or select steam.  Iron on.

IV)  Cut them out along the pencil lines - the sort of task I do while watching TV unless it is something really riveting.

V)  You now need a bag front to put them on.  Maybe you already have a pattern or maybe you are going to wait until my own pattern has been bench tested this end and put up.  You don't even need to make a bag of course.  Why not a cushion cover or bustier?  Whatever you have lay the pieces in a pleasing arrangement and lay on that cotton pressing cloth once more and heat set with your dry iron still on cotton setting.  The picture below is a half scale of a possible arrangement (ie the one I have used).

That is it for now - back soon with the next installment.  Coming soon to this blog too is POND DIARY which perhaps speaks for itself, a account of how to put a wildlife pond in your garden.  And of course some more projects that show the greener side of crafting.