Sunday, May 20, 2018

Etsy update

Lots of new loveliness is available in my shop! I've been making Kantha drawstring bags and duffle bags. The first lot went like hot cakes but never fear there's a new batch in my store!

These duffle bags are great to use for a short trip away, or as a sports bag especially yoga!

I have a short video on You tube that show these bags to give you a better idea.

 I hope this post finds everyone well! Thanks for reading! Rachel

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Sunday, April 15, 2018

Yikes I'm on You Tube

Hi everyone I'm back after a long absence! I've taken the plunge and started my You Tube channel! It's been a huge thing for me being a shy person but I've done it and am quite enjoying it.

It's a great way to share new products and journals but also a great way to help with some of my patterns. In fact I'm going to use the channel to show how I do certain things to support my patterns.

So far there are 14 short videos showing journals, shopping hauls and already a little applique video.

In this video I show how I approach the applique in our Homespun Block of the month, 'My Butterfly Patch'. Next week I'll be finishing off the butterfly and moving onto Month 2. Yes I am behind! Where I can I will also post videos in Italian (even though I'm totally embarassed!)

Lately I've been journal making and shared these gorgeous journals on You Tube in 2 parts.

A couple are still left in my shop here

Part 1:

More is on the way so stay tuned! I'm working on a couple of new patterns. 

I hope this post finds everyone well! Thanks for reading! Rachel

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Saturday, March 03, 2018

Easy rope basket tutorial

Here's a great basket making tutorial! You can make them in an array of colours and sizes, just experiment a little and see how they turn out.

You can also make placemats and pot mats as well. They make for fabulous original gifts!

So gather up those scraps and let's get started!

You will need:

Fabric scrap strips - approximately 1-1.5cm wide (1/4''-3/4'') in a variety of colours
Rope - no wider than 6mm (1/8'')  as it needs to fit under your sewing machine foot

Step 1:Prepare your strips of fabrics. I divide mine into colours and keep them in zip lock bags. I like to have more linen and hemp strips as I use these the most. This way whenever you are sewing something and have some scraps you can just put them directly in a bag.

Step 2: Decide whether you are going to do a mixed colour baskets or just blue etc.

Step 3: Put your machine on the zig zag stitch. I have mine set on a 2.5 stitch size. You don't want the stitches to be too small as they need hold the basket together.

Step 4: Take the end of the rope and your first strip, wrap it twice around the end, pin. Please note I do not cut my rope at this point I cut it at the end when I feel what I'm making is large enough.

Proceed to wrap slightly diagonally along the rope until the length of the strip is finished.

When you arrive to the end take your next strip and start wrapping where the last one ended. Make sure you overlap them and place a pin where they join.

Proceed in this manner until you have covered a large amount of rope. I normally sit and wrap the rope for 30-60 minutes and then start sewing. This way I don't have to start and stop sewing all the time. It's quite a long, boring job so I put on my favourite TV program (My Kitchen Rules Aust) and watch that. It makes it a little less painful!!! I ended up wrapping nearly 7 meters for this basket.

If I find I need to wrap more I will do so whilst my project is still in the sewing machine.

Step 5: Take the end and start to wrap into a coil as shown in the photo. Place a pin through it to hold.

Place it under the sewing machine foot, remove the pin and zig zag back and forth to hold.

Start to sew around catching both pieces of rope with the zig zag stitch. As you can see in the photo the center of the foot travels in the center between the rope so the stitches catch both sides.

Continue going around until the base is the size you would like. Please note with my left hand I guide the piece in a circle and with my right hand I hold the loose rope close so the machine catches it.

My base was approximately 14.5cm (6'').

Step 6: Building up the sides. Now hold the base up at a 90° angle and continue sewing around as before. 

Your left hand will hold the base up and the righthand will continue holding the loose rope close so the machine catches it.

 As you continue around you'll see the sides slowly build up. It's pretty cool and fun!

When you decide your sides are high enough cut off the rope, make sure the end is wrapped and covered with fabric, hold it as close to the basket as possible and stitch backwards and forwards to secure it.
My 6.8m of wrapped rope made a basket with a base 14.5cm (6'') diameter and sides 6cm (2.25'') high.

Please note: if you run out of wrapped rope in the middle of stitching. Just stop and wrap some more the same way you did in the beginning. I don't even remove my project from the machine. I just stop sewing and start wrapping.

To make placemats or pot mats you start as before following steps 1 to 5. I used about 4m of wrapped rope to create a decent sized pot mat.

Towards the end cut the rope.

If you want to create a loop, tuck the end in between your 2 layers and hold firmly.

First I stitch back and forth towards the loop. Just a little way to make it strong.

Then I stitch a little way to attach is to the rest of the mat.

To make a place mat you will probaby need 8-10m of wrapped rope depending on how large you want it.

When you come to the end just end it off the same way you did the basket. To finish mine off I just randomly stitched some fabrics around the edges.
As you can see even though the rope wrapping part is a little boring I love making them and now have quite a collection!!!!

I would love to hear your thoughts about this and how you go should you decide to make some sweet baskets!

Lastly, I am not an expert basket maker but I thought I'd share how I make mine!

Thanks for reading! Best wishes Rachel

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Saturday, February 24, 2018

Shop update and new patterns

Today it's cold and wet! The perfect day to stay indoors and catch up on incomplete projects! I certainly have a lot of those lying around!!!

This week I finished up several journals, most of which have already sold! 

This one is still available in my shop here, and is super pretty!

In the works have been some Easter totes as well. Those are never missing in action! I also have a pattern for them (here) if you prefer to make them yourself!

Most exciting is I've finished two new patterns. I've been planning on making these for some time now and have finally sat down to write them! These new patterns are very detailed and I've used a lot of photos to help with explanations which makes life so much easier than trying to visualise just words!

The first is my 'Lulu Bear' pattern (here), named after my daughter as she helped me design it when she was 7 years old! This is especially sweet as it was developed through a child's eyes!

The second pattern I've completed, I was asked to do about 7 months ago! Didn't that take me a long time to tackle!!! It's for a lovely pouch I've been making for a number of years now. It's very sweet and definitely a crowd pleaser! I've named it the 'Sydney Pouch' don't ask me why, just because! It's available here.

I have some new patterns in the works, let's hope they don't take another 7 months to complete!

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Thanks so much! Hope you're having a lovely day!!!

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Have you ever heard of Marna Lunt? She's a wonderful sewer and embroiderer from Northern England, she makes the most incredible lampshades and lanterns. I took a few of her online courses which I just loved. You can see them here .

I follow her on Instagram where she announced her new embroidery project Threaduary would start in February. Of course I had to pop over to her blog (being a huge fan) and see what it was about!

Basically it's a project anyone can participate in where you do some stitching (embroidery) everyday and post it on Instagram, being sure to #threaduary . 

Marna is amazing and has been embroidering the most amazing flowers EVERYDAY! My goodness I really don't know how she does it! Seriously hop on over to her instagram to have a little look!

Anyway I thought I'd share the various stages of what I'm working on in my efforts to participate! To be honest I have not been able to stitch everyday like Marna. Where does she find the time and energy?????

My beginnings - layering antique hemp and linen scraps on a scrap piece of batting!

I think I stared at it for a few days (already putting me behind schedule) thinking what I should do! Then I thought I'd better start putting some stitches on it and started rows and rows of slow stitching!

Then a light bulb lit up and I decided to do something floral. Please note I always start with incredibly vague ideas! No planning happens over here! 

First I thought I'd embroider some flowers and then stitch them on, but then changed my mind, of course! I cut them out and pinned them on my background along with flowers and leaves cut from an old French fabric I have.

I started to embroider the flowers, I want my stitches to be fairly random and not too regular. This is quite a challenge as it comes naturally to place each stitch next to the other in an orderly fashion!

I'm using mixed threads - Dmc, antique perle, DMC Alsace threads, Appleton wools and so on. Just whatever takes my fancy at the time! 

This is where I'm at right now. Who knows how long it will take? Especially considering I have no clear direction! 

Mum asked 'what are you going to make it into?' Goodness, who knows??? I'll have to see when it's finished! Any suggestions???? 

Don't forget to read more on Marna's blog and let me know if you decide to do some 'thread therapy' each day like Marna! 

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Saturday, February 10, 2018

Simple zipper pouch tutorial

Does anyone struggle to put in a zipper? I did!!!

It took me years to find a method that I liked, there are so many different ways to sew a zipper in a bag or pouch. What's your favourite method?

I'm going to share mine, I can't remember where I saw it but it changed my bag making forever!!

I had a piece of slow stitching my mum gave me, she didn't know what she wanted to do with it! Of course I was happy to take it!! I thought why not use it for this tutorial and make a sweet little pouch.

It turned out really well I'm thrilled with the result and hope this little tutorial helps you too!

So here goes my Zipper pouch tutorial. I hope you like it and find it useful!

Step 1: Prepare your zip. Sew two pieces of fabric at each end. This is optional but always helps obtain a nice clean result.

Place fabric right side down, 1/4'' in from the metal at the end. Sew in place. 

Top stitch: 

The zipper will look something like this:

Step 2: Place the zipper right side down on the front piece:

Lay one of the lining pieces, right sides down, on top and pin in place. Sew using the zipper foot.

Open out, moving the lining to one side, pin:

Top stitch along the top of the exterior fabric:

Your piece will look like this, note the lining is tucked back under the front piece:

Step 3: You need to attach the back exterior piece and lining to the other side of the zipper. Place the backing, right side down, on top. Flip over place the lining as you did previously and pin.

 If you lift the lining and zipper it will look like this:

Stitch across the top as before. Move lining and front to the side. 

Top stitch the back piece as you did previously with the front.

Step 4: open out the front and back and open the zipper. Do not skip this or you won't be able to turn the pouch once it's sewn.

Step 5: Sewing up the pouch

Place the exterior pieces right sides together and the lining pieces right sides together.

Line up the edges and pin all the way around. Make sure when you line up your edges you start from the center where the zipper is. Note: At the bottom of the lining I turn one pin in a different direction to remind mysef to leave an opening there for turning later.

Sew around remembering to leave the opening in the lining.

Note: where the zipper is I cut a little 'V' to remove excess fabric, being careful not to cut too close to my sewing line.

If you would like a pouch with squared off corners - at each corner draw a square (mine for this pouch was 3cm), flip it over and repeat on the other side.

Open out the corners, pin and sew going back and forth a few times to strengthen.

Trim the excess
Turn the pouch, machine or hand stitch the opening and the pouch is complete!

I hope this was helpful! Thank you for reading.

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