Monday, 25 November 2013

Patch Fabrics Blogger Project - Christmas Mats & Stocking

Helloooo everyone! I'm not sure if I ever told you, but a little while ago Claire from the lovely Patch Fabrics put out a call for bloggers and I was one of the ones lucky enough to be chosen!

A couple of weeks ago, I received a lovely bundle of fabric from Claire: a panel, a charm pack and a fat quarter all from the Winters Lane range, which I happen to love. For me it's the perfect balance of being seasonal but not overly so, if you know what I mean?!

The panel is printed with eight bunting flags, a cushion and some gift tags. I spent a while deliberating what to do......the easiest thing would have been to make it up as so, but I always like a bit of a challenge! Instead I made table place mats, a mug rug for Santa's mince pie and tipple and a stocking
Christmas projects by fabricandflowersuk
If you would like to make any of these, here's how;

Please note: all seam allowances are 1/4" unless otherwise stated

❄ Table Place Mats  (finished size 9.5" x 13.5") ❄

5 x 5" charm squares (or 6 if not using a panel picture)
Panel picture
10" x 14" backing fabric
Fabric for binding (I used 2" x width of fabric Klona Cardinal

1. Cut around each of the panel pictures leaving a 1/8" seam all the way around level with the frame rather than square to your cutting mat as sometimes the printing is a little skewy on the panel (a technical term!) but it will all get straightened up when we sew it together!

2. Take five charm squares: cut one in half and sew to the top and bottom of the panel picture

3. Sew the remaining charm squares into pairs. Iron the seams open. Join your three strips together - to ensure it was central, I finger pressed the centre line on the middle panel and matched this to the seams on the outer strips

4. Trim so that all sides are even

5. Layer your place mat top, wadding and backing and quilt as desired - I lightly echo quilted around each square

6. Bind 

7. Set your table and admire your handiwork!

Winters Lane place mat by fabric&flowersuk

Santa Mug Rug (finished size 9.5" x 9.5") 

4 x 5" charm squares
Additional fabric for applique (I used two charm squares)
Gift tag from panel
Embroidery thread
10" x 10" backing fabric
Fabric for binding  (I used 2" x width of fabric Klona Cardinal

1. Sew squares together in pairs and then sew pairs together to make your mug rug

2. Write a message on the gift tag (I used a Frixion pen) and embroider over it. Alternatively, you could use permanent pen

3. Cut Bondaweb to the size of your gift tag and iron on to the wrong side of your gift tag. Peel off the backing paper, place into position on your mug rug and then iron to fix

4. To make the snowflakes cut two squares from bondaweb (1 x 5" and 1 x 3") and iron onto the fabric. Peel the backing paper away, and then cut into a snowflake - I used the instructions from here as a guide. I found that using a Clover clip to keep all the layers in place did help.
Making the gift tag and snowflake

Now I won't fib to you - trying to cut through the multiple layers of fabric is quite tricky (there might even have been a little bit of muttering going on) so it is handy to have little scissors to hand too. If you've got a Sizziz Big Shot I would definitely use that instead! Or you could go for a different applique shape - a reindeer, holly leaves, gingerbread man - whatever you fancy! 

5. Once you're happy with your snowflake, place in position on your mug rug and iron in place. I cut my smaller snowflake in two and positioned on the sides

6. Layer your mug rug top, wadding and backing fabric. Applique/free motion your gift-tag and snowflake in place: for the gift tag I started on the shortest edge, using a narrow zig-zag and went carefully around the entire shape before then going out to the edge of the mug rug in a wavy line

7. Add  binding 

8. Load up with goodies for Santa! (he normally has a tipple of Whisky but as it was midday when we took the photo we went for milk instead!)
Santa Mug Rug by fabricandflowersuk

Christmas Stocking  (finished size 9.5" x 13.5") ❄

Cushion Panel
Lining fabric
4 x 5" charm squares
2" x 6" for the hanging loop
1 x gift tag
Embroidery Thread

1. Make a template for your stocking and cut out two from your panel and lining fabric: to make the biggest stocking possible (!) I used the measurements below and curved my edges using a roll of sellotape because that's what I had close to hand!

2. To make the stocking cuff cut the charm squares in half. Sew all the pieces together using a 3/8" seam allowance. Iron the seams open. Sew together the last seam to join into a circle and fold it in half 

3. If you're adding a gift tag, follow steps 2-3 for the Santa Mug Rug, making sure that you leave enough string on your gift tag so that it won't be covered by the cuff

4. To make the hanging loop, fold the fabric in half and then fold the edges in to the middle (as if making bias binding). Iron and sew the open long edge

5. Place the outside fabrics right side together, place wadding on either side and sew around the edges leaving the top edge clear. Repeat for the lining fabric (excluding the wadding!) leaving a 3" gap in the longest seam for turning out. Clip into the curved edges

6. Turn the outside fabric the right way round. Place cuff around the top edge and pin the hanging loop in place on the back seam. Place inside the lining and stitch all around the top edge of the stocking

7. Pull the stocking out through the turning hole, iron and slip stitch the seam.

8. Hang and wait eagerly for Santa to stop by!
Christmas stocking by fabricandflowersuk
Phew! That was one pretty long post! I hope that it all makes sense and if anything isn't clear or you have any questions then please do just drop me a line. I'd love to know if any of you make anything from here!

See you soon, 

S x

DISCLAIMER: Patch Fabrics sent me all these lovely fabrics to play with as part of the Patch Fabrics Blogger Team, and sent me additional fabrics as a thankyou☺

Todays sky ● grey and dreary. Meh!

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Purse

Whilst I was going through my craft stuff the other week, I came across a sew in purse frame that had been free with a magazine. I knew that I had some Oakshott lying around and thought it would make a lovely little purse to use with my dress. 

I looked around for some ideas and happened across this which had the kind of shape I was looking for, without having to create my own template. Score!!! As my purse frame was smaller at about 4" I printed it out to 55% scale. 

I've always loved how Oakshott looks different depending on how the light hits it and thought I would add pleats for a bit of detail and interest to the purse. So I added 1.5" to each half (on the centre fold) so that I could add three pleats to each half of the purse. I ironed the pleats into place and then sewed each exterior piece to sew in interfacing before making the purse up as per the instructions in the tutorial.
Small pleated purse by fabricandflowersuk
It only took a couple of hours to pull together (the pleats were a bit of a pita!), although I did cheat slightly by gluing it into the frame, rather than sewing (ever the rebel!). I'm really chuffed with how it came out and I think the pleats add an art-deco look to it. It's not the biggest of purses but enough for the essentials!
And the inside...just big enough for essentials by fabricandflowersuk
Back soon with the knitted shawl!


Todays sky ● a real mix today, but lots of blue skies in the afternoon

Wednesday, 20 November 2013

The dress: Vogue V8358

Well, I finally managed to finish my dress and wore it at the weekend! Here's a snapped shot of me in my finery (ha!) before we went down for dinner......and I must say that Mr f&f also looked very smart and dashing in his black-tie. It's not often that we get to dress up!
Vogue V8358 by fabricandflowersuk

So. where do I start with this dress?! I loved Vogue V8358 the moment I saw it - to me it seemed elegant and it was rated as very easy. Always a bonus! I spent quite a while looking for the right jersey fabric as I wanted something a bit slinky and with good weight so that it would hang well. I eventually happened across a shiny stretch jersey from a seller on eBay that cost a bargainous £14 for three metres of fabric!!!!

When it arrived I went into a bit of a panic mode about how to sew it: I've always sewn with quite 'stable' knits whereas this one made me think it would be like sewing with butter! I did lots of googling and came across lots of tips. If it's of interest to you, I thought I could talk about my tips for sewing a slinky jersey in another post?
Pinning the jersey to carpet!
Because of the cut of the dress, I spent a while debating which size would ensure a good fit and making sure that the V wasn't too deep at the front! I checked the pattern against an existing dress I have and like the fit of and chose a size smaller than I would have done based on measurements alone.

For the facing, I used a black knit interfacing from here: I did adjust the facing slightly as I was worried that the fabric was a little thin and that one flash photograph might reveal a bit more than I wanted! So I traced the front and back pieces so that the length was mid thigh, and cut and applied the interfacing to the top sections as per the pattern. 

So would you like to see it again?!
Vogue V8358 by fabricandflowersuk
So tricky to photograph a black dress! The pattern itself was lovely to sew up and definitely deserves it's rating of 'easy' - I would say that if I combined all my sewing time, it probably took around 8hrs to make. Although I made a muslin of the bodice, the weight of the full dress meant that I did need to make some adjustments to the side as it wasn't very close fitting and there was a bit of side boob showing (which although I understand is fashionable in celebrity circles is not a look I really wanted to go for!!!)

And here's the back...
Vogue V8358 by fabricandflowersuk

I need to thank Mr f&f for helping me with the fixing of the straps, it's definitely a two person job to make sure they get pinned in at the right length - I shortened them by 3" but in truth could probably have taken off a 1/2" more.

So, details;
Pattern::: Vogue V8358
Fabric::: 3m of black jersey
Size::: 8
Modifications::: lengthened facing; used a 3/8" seam allowance around the top of the dress to reduce the depth of the 'v'; increased the width of the dart by 1/2"; tapered the side seam by a further 1/4" where the back joined the front; took about 3" off the straps

Overall, I'm really pleased with how the dress came out and felt amazing in it! You do need to think about underwear with it, especially if you would like some support! The dress doesn't go that far around the side so it was quite tricky to find a backless/strapless bra that I felt would support me, not show and wouldn't fall out during the middle of dinner (and thankfully that didn't happen!). I did get a solution in the end but could only get a nude colour and did feel a little self conscious that it was quite visible.  If I ever need to wear this dress again, I'll be on the lookout for something black!!!

Tomorrow I'll be back to tell you about the purse!


Today's sky ● a bit overcast but glorious sunshine this afternoon

Monday, 11 November 2013

Making progress

Hey there! Its not long now until our weekend away and I've been working away on my personal challenge of making my dress, shawl and maybe a purse if I get the time!

My dress fabric arrived a week or so ago, was washed immediately and then put away whilst I contemplated it: silky, slippy jersey that I could only imagine the horrors of cutting and sewing. Eek! I did quite a googling for tips and last week I pulled on my big girl pants, took a deep breath and Did It!

I pinned the jersey to carpet (it helps to grip it and keep it in place), spent an age trying to line up the grain (not easy with black jersey, I can tell you) and then cut it all out. And then needed a breather before sewing it up. Still nervous I tooled up my machine with a twin needle and a walking foot, and you know what? It worked like a charm. Like an absolute charm I tell you! I couldn't believe how easy it was (compared to the nightmares I'd been having!) and last night I actually finished my dress! It needs a press and then I'll get some pics for you. 

Today I was toying with some Oakshott fabric and make a start on a little clutch purse: it's not going to hold much - the frame is only 5" wide - but it should be big enough for a phone and some change.

The shawl is taking a bit longer - it's around 230sts per row and as I've mentioned before I'm really not the quickest knitter in the world. Still, there's about 40rows left to go so hopefully I'll be able to get it finished by Thursday as it's going to need a good block!

I've also started plotting and planning what to do with these lovely goodies from Patch Fabrics....

Hope you've all had lovely days,

S x

Todays sky ● grey, wet and miserable. Yuck!

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