Thursday, 30 July 2015

Block of the Month July 2015 - Bear Paw Block

July already - not a great summer here in England. We had a week and I am perfectly content with that. We are having lovely vampire weather with no sun much at all and I am as happy as a clam.

My ta dah! moment of the week is one which you will very much enjoy this time I think. My lovely Pretty Patches editor has asked me to write a web tutorial series on sewing basics and quilt techniques and it is free for you to enjoy. Pretty Patches is one of my beautiful English magazines and I will have a column in there beginning soon (I will let you know when).

But at the moment, it is all about the tutes. You can find them here and I urge you to check them out if you are starting out in sewing and quilting. There will be more to follow at some point too.

I thought that we might get a little bit more involved this month and make a block with a few components, triangles and squares. But fear not! The triangles are all half square ones and they are not too difficult at all.

I am very into text prints at the moment and I have used some low volume prints and slightly upsized the block so that you can see what is going on. This makes it easier to make and looks a little more modern too. Anyway, here it is...

It was actually a lot of fun to make and the more subtle tones are a bit of a change from my usual brightness - just to prove that I am versatile!

Start with three fat eighths or similar. I love the pretty softness of these but you could equally go for brights or red and white.

My block is 26.5cm x 26.5 cm.

Begin with a 10cm square for the top right corner (fabric #1: text print). From fabric #2 (pink ditsy floral), cut an 18cm square. These two pieces do not require further cutting.

To make the 'claws' cut two more squares  10.5cm x 10.5cm each. two from fabric #1 and two from fabric #3 (blue soft floral).

Take a square...

cut it in half diagonally. Take a second square of the other colour and cut it in half diagonally too...

Now join the two pieces...

One claw made. Using the main photo as a clue for the alignment, repeat this for all of the other pieces so that you have four claw segments plus the two original squares.

By the way, pay attention to the direction of text prints and one way only designs. Make sure that they are all facing the right way. It is worth it for your finished make.

Now, working on the right hand column, join two of your claw bits one on top of the other...

Attach this to the right hand side of the large square like this...

Now make the top section which is two more claw pieces plus the corner square that you cut first...

Join them to the top of the block

And that's all there is to it! This looks pretty with a plain square every second block and it looks fabulous made into a scrappy quilt.

As I said, it is a larger version so you could size it down a little but be aware that it will become progressively fiddlier as you do this.

Enjoy and thank you so much for stopping by!

Happy sewing

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Thursday, 23 July 2015

Colourful and very practical purse

Before we get going today, I am going to ask for a short ta-dah! moment. I have recently discovered a new addiction and I am loving Anchor Creativa Fino yarn to do it with. Let me show you a few crochet things that I have been playing with....

A coin pocket to go onto a key ring so that you always have a coin ready for a supermarket trolley and don't have to resort to 'buying' one from someone with a handful of tiny coins!

A little amigurumi toadstool, perfect for putting into a pot with my favourite plant. This was my first one ever and I am very pleased with the outcome.

Pretty as pretty can be key fob. I love to combine techniques and materials. Great use for button collections and bits of ribbon and, well, just stuff.

And back to our normal programme! Thank you for your indulgence there. I am going to explore making those patterns for you in the next weeks so watch this space!

So...the other night as I got into bed, my husband said that he couldn't sleep. Two minutes later he started doing just that and quite loudly too! The dog joined in and I was just fuming. Who can't sleep now!
Well my brain does what it does and a little coin purse popped into my head (as you would expect it to) and I started to plan. Here is the result....

It is super cute and I am glad about that because it was worth the lost dream time. Okay, enough whining. How do we make this little cutie?

Gather these supplies:
-large scraps of two different bright fabrics
-fat eighth of lining fabric
-felt in co-ordinating colours
-Sizzix Big Shot die cutter
-Sizzix flower dies
-selection of felt pre cut flowers which will layer on top of each other
-white Perle 8 cotton
- 18cm zipper - a bit longer than you need but it will work out!
-small amount of thin wadding
-beads for the zipper pull charm
-pretty button
- decorative bias binding
-50mm head pin
-6mm split ring
-glue stick
-water soluble marker
-your usual beading needs
-your usual sewing needs
-label needs for the back. You can find the link to that here to save us going in to it again.

To begin with cut a couple of circles 11.5cm diameter of your outer fabric and your lining (you can use any household item to trace around and use the water soluble marker). Put the lining aside for the minute.

next cut two circles of wadding about a centimetre smaller than the outer circles and glue this wadding to the wrong sides....

You can use fusible wadding if you prefer.

Time to embellish! I have used my lovely Big Shot to cut some felt flowers using the flower layers and leaves die. I am after quite a retro effect and this is the perfect choice. My die is a little older but this one is also good and will give the same effect. I did find one like mine here so they are still around and worth the investment. I use this a lot.

Cut one large flower, one daisy and one smaller flower in felts which coordinate nicely with your fabrics. Then layer them in the middle of the the front panel. when you are happy with the placement, glue them down. Mine look like this...

Time to get busy with the Perle cotton! Stitch your flower down with long stitches, some lazy daisy stitches and some cross stitches - 'read' your flowers and decide where the stitches will look best.

Then add your button....I cannot resist polka dots!

The back has a stamped label and all you need to do is to sew it to the centre of the back section like this...

When you have the front and back panels just right, lay the lining over the outer and then baste around the edge. From now on, treat these as one piece...

Quilt around the label and the flower too. This will make the whole structure more solid.

Time for the zipper gusset.  From one of your outer fabrics cut two strips 3cm x 8cm. Fold in half and topstitch over each end of the zipper...

Cut four more strips 25cm x 3cm, two of lining and two of outer. Swap the foot on your machine for the zipper foot and then sandwich the zipper in between the layers with the lining on the bottom and the outer on the top, right sides together.

Gently pull the lining and upper into place and iron. Topstitch along the length of the zipper section.

Trim the zipper section to 23cm long. You now have something which looks like this....

Cut two more strips 15cm x 5cm. One is lining and one is outer. These strips will form the rest of the side. With the wrong sides together, sandwich the end of the zipper section between two ends of the new strips
Sew across. Do the same on the other end, with the right sides together again. open out and topstitch to keep the lining neat. 

Now. Time to add the sides to the front and back. We will bind so that there are no raw edges inside. 

Pin it within an inch of its life! It is a bit of a fiddle and you might consider basting. I did and it was certainly easier and worth the extra effort.

By the way, I have opted to have my binding visible on the outside so I am sewing my seams with the lining together. 

This means that the binding is part of the decoration. If you don't want this, sew the seams with the right sides together which will put the seam inside the purse and then you bind it there.

Anyway, sew a seam around whichever way you have decided to do it and then bind. By hand is a lot less fiddly than machine and it doesn't take long. Repeat for the other side.

Here is what I have now......

Don't forget the back...

All that there is left to do is to make the hanging charm. Take your head pin and thread the chosen beads on....

I have gone for colours which are found in my fabrics. I love the glass beads and they make the project super pretty. Make a loop on the top and then use the split ring to attach it to the zipper pull....

Et voila! Finished!

Thank you so much for sharing this time with me. These little purses make great gifts and they become easier and easier with practise. Super useful too. This jewellery when travelling or makeup. Coins are good too of course although I will admit that it is getting a bit big for that. Useful and practical and pretty - what more could we ask for!

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx

Thursday, 16 July 2015

Handy little envelope

Hey there crafting friends! I am off to Germany in the morning to visit my beautiful family and as I pack, I am realising that there are lots of little things and they need to go somewhere. A pair of earrings or some sewing bits and pieces, that sort of thing.

So, I need to make something fairly speedily that will do the job. I am really into fabric envelopes at the moment - no idea why but they are high on the appeal list so I thought that we could make one (or two or three) and see if they fit the bill.

Here is what I have in mind....

And look at the front!!!

So what do we need for this little sweetie?
- 2 fat quarters of pretty fabrics
- a fat quarter of thin wadding
- some scraps of fabrics including a plain white
- a paper crafting stamp like the one that a post office might use to cancel a stamp on a letter....

- ranger archival ink: jet black
- coloured kam snap
- dark brown embroidery thread
- water soluble marker
- pinking shears
- fabric glue stick

Your usual sewing needs

Here is your pattern...lovin' the high tech paper...

There are some lines on it, these give an indication of where to make the folds and everything includes seam allowance. I have also included some sizes but don't be too worried about these. You can make an envelope of any size at all and they will all serve you well.

Next, cut out the wadding according to the pattern and also your top fabric.

Use the water soluble marker to draw across the two lines on the pattern. This will identify the the front (we need to do the embellishment before sewing up).

See what I mean? The area within the two lines is the front. Make a stamp next from a scrap of pretty and coordinating fabric. I have an archive post on how to do this and you can find it here. Here is mine....

Position the stamp onto the front of the envelope 2cm in from the right edge and 2cm down from the line that you drew.

Time to make the address label next. Take the plain white scrap and draw a rectangle onto it 6cm x 4cm...

But don't cut it out just yet. Write something meaningful for you and then embroider your words with a back stitch using 1 strand of brown embroidery thread....

Then cut the label out and attach it to the front next to the stamp....

Sew around both on your machine to attach...

Cancel the stamp...

Time to sew up now. Take your completed top and sew along those lines that you drew on earlier. This will help to make a crisper fold.
Lay the top face down onto the lining fabric and cut the lining out so that it is a little larger all around. Fabric creeps and this method makes the sewing up easier...

Sew all around the outer edge leaving a small gap for turning out...

Trim the edges and turn out through the gap. Slip stitch the gap closed. You can sew your sides up either by hand or machine. I am using hand sewing because I like the invisible stitching. use two strands of brown embroidery thread to make a running stitch on the flap...

Attach your snap according to the manufacturer's instructions

And the open view...

And that's it! use this for all of your little treasures when travelling.

Here we are again...

Thanks you so much for stopping by - it means the world to me. See you when I get home.

Love and hugs
Debbie xxx