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A Lined Faux Roman Blind Tutorial

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It’s been a couple of years since we moved to our house, and bit by bit we are working our way through all the usual home improvements that will finally make it the home we are after. Painting has been our main focus lately, and we have just finished painting the dreaded hall, stairs and landing followed by the kitchen and utility room. Of course when I say ‘we’ I mostly mean my husband! Haha!

Our utility room had a nasty old (dust gathering) venetian blind, and when this was removed during painting, I decided to crack on with replacing it with something much more lovely to look at.

It’s only a small window, and not one which needs a functioning blind – it is at the back of our house and is not overlooked at all. I had my heart set on a false Roman Blind made from a piece of special Orla Kiely upholstery fabric from Dunelm. It’s a little pricey at £18 per metre, but decided that I might be able to get away with just a half metre as the fabric was plenty wide enough to cover the width of the window and as it wasn’t necessary to be a working blind, I could simply fold it where I liked to make the drop work. So a half metre of this fabric cost me just £9, which I didn’t think was too bad.

The most important thing with this project is to be very precise with your measurements. I wanted this blind to sit just above the window recess, with a few cm ‘overhang’ either side. The window recess measurements are 58cm width and 112cm drop.

I decided that I wanted the finished flat blind measurement to be 66cm in width ( that is the 58cm width of the window plus a 4cm ‘overhang’ each side of the recess). The drop length of the blind is 50cm ( i.e the half metre length that I purchased).

To measure how wide to cut the Orla fabric, I knew I needed the width to be 66cm (width of the finished blind), plus a 1cm seam allowance each side = 68cm. I then wanted there to be a narrow vertical ‘border’ of the Orla fabric on each side of the reverse of the blind where it attaches to the lining fabric. This ‘border’ measures 2cm each side, so the total width that I needed to cut of the Orla fabric was 72cm.

The lining fabric then needed to be cut. I just used some cream curtain lining that I had in my stash, but I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t be too expensive if you had to buy a small amount.

The lining needs to be measured to be slightly narrower than the Orla fabric, as this will allow the Orla fabric to create that lovely ‘border’ on the reverse of the blind that I mentioned previously. So, the lining is calculated as the finished width of the blind (66cm) minus the 2 lots of 2cm borders =62cm, plus 2 lots of 1cm seam allowances = 64cm.

So, to clarify, I cut the Orla fabric at 72cm width, and the lining at 64cm width. This way ensures that when they are sewn together that a nice grey border will run down each side of the wrong side of the blind.

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This shows the cut lining and how it is a little narrower than the grey Orla fabric beneath it.

With such precise measurements, it is essential to press your fabric before cutting. I trimmed off the smallest amount of fraying fabric at the top and bottom of my blind (where the fabric had been cut), and I also positioned the design so that the centre line of one of the stem rows would be running down the exact centre of the blind.

Now to get sewing! Firstly, with the right sides together, I pinned and sewed both side seams.

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Because the Orla fabric is wider than the lining,  you will have a little extra ‘lump’ of fabric when you pin the sides.

When you have sewn down either side of the blind, smooth that ‘lump’ of Orla fabric so that the vertical seams on the back of the blind are evenly 2cm from the edge of the blind. Don’t iron it yet. Before you turn it right side out, pin along the bottom edge and sew this up. Again I used a 1cm seam allowance to preserve what little length I had.

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Apologies for the lighting. It was a sunny day when I took these pictures, but I hope that you can still see what I am trying to show you!

You can then trim this seam allowance, clip the corners and turn the blind right side out again. Use a point turner or something similar to ensure the corners are nice and sharp and give it a good press.

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More sun and shadows – whoops!

You can see from the image above that I then pinned the open top edge together. I neated these edges together with the overlocker.

Next it’s time to attach the velcro strip to the top of the blind. The velcro strip that I used is 2cm wide, so I turned over the top edge by 3cm, pressed it, and pinned and sewed the fluffy side of the velcro along the middle of this turn-over.

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Next, it is time to pleat your blind. This is done purely on your personal preference. I wanted 2 or 3 folds, and I also wanted to pattern match the stem design too. Take into consideration the height that you will attach the wooden batten to the top of the window too.

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When you are happy with the finished folded blind, give it a good press. In addition to pinning it in place, it is a good idea to run some temporary lines of tacking along the folds so that it doesn’t droop whilst you are finishing it off. I also permanently hand stitched the folds at each side of the blind, and also at various intervals along the folds at the back of the blind. Remove your tacking stitches.

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The wooden batten that we used to attach the blind to the wall was just a leftover that we had in the garage. Again, when I say we, I mean my husband! He cut it to just short of the 66cm blind width – probably approx 64cm – so that it wouldn’t show at all when the blind was in position. He then stapled the prickly part of the velcro to it, and screwed it to the wall a few centimetres above the top of the window recess.

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The blind simply sticks to the batten now, with the velcro, and there you have it! Easy!

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I do hope that this might help you if a false Roman Blind is something that you are planning.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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The Stella Hoodie from Tilly and the Buttons.

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O.K, Summer might be over now,  but here’s a way to eek out those tropical vibes for the cooler months courtesy of the Tilly and the Buttons Stella Hoodie and this super cosy Jungle Flowers sweatshirt fabric which was very kindly sent to me to review from the online knit fabrics boutique Pin and Sew.

This is the third project that I have made from Tilly’s book Stretch! and after seeing so many other fantastic versions online, the Stella was always going to be high up on my list of sewing projects when the weather got cooler. It’s an easy-fitting sweatshirt with a 3 piece lined hood with drawstring.

To add a pop of colour to the sweatshirt, I decided to use this pretty pink viscose jersey which picks up some of the pink colours in the tropical flowers perfectly. I also continued that theme with the drawstring cord too.

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The hoodie is really easy to sew, and I made it up in a day. As always with Tilly and the Button patterns, clear written instructions and helpful tips are accompanied by great step by step photographs. You really can’t go wrong.

Instead of using buttonholes for the drawstring cord, I decided to pop in some eyelets from my stash. They are quick and easy to apply and I love how they look. I positioned them right in the centre of the buttonhole marking (shown below), and I hope you can also see the soft fleece on the reverse side of the fabric too.

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I swapped between pink and black thread throughout this make, and when I was stitching the hood lining to the hood to create the channel for the drawstring to run through, I used pink thread in my top spool, and black in the bobbin so that the stitching on both sides would match.

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Another addition that I made was to use some toggles from my stash to finish the ends of my drawstring tape. I ordered this tape online, and whilst the colour is a perfect match for the pink hood lining, the weight of the tape was much lighter than I was expecting. These cord ends therefore, give the tape some weight and they look pretty great too!

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The only alteration that I would make another time would be to shorten the sleeve length. I can’t believe that I just went right ahead and kept these the same as the pattern, as sleeves are always too long for me. Not to worry, I plan to wear this as a layering piece so I might be glad of the extra length after all …

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Finally I added a kangaroo pocket. Because this is an addition to the pattern, it is discussed in a separate section of the book, and I forgot to add it at the correct stage of construction – which is before the side seams have been sewn. Adding it at the end like I did is a little awkward, but not impossible, and next time I make a Stella I will definitely make life easier for myself and sew it in at the correct time!

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Thank you again to Aga for this great sweatshirting fabric. I am sure to be nice and cosy this Autumn/Winter with this in my wardrobe. Have you made a Stella yet? I plan to make the Stella joggers soon too for head-to-toe Tilly comfort!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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My Tilly and the Buttons Freya Dress

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Oh my goodness me, you know when you make something and are instantly planning your next. This is it. Although the warmer weather may have thrown a big spanner in the works now and delay me from making more until it turns cooler again as this is certainly a dress for when the temperatures aren’t so great in my opinion – especially made in scuba!

So this is The Freya and it’s my second make from Tilly’s amazing Stretch! book. If you want to check out The Frankie Baseball T-Shirt that I made last month you can do so here. The Freya is a close fitting A-line dress (I feel we all know that Tilly is the Queen of all things A-line), and can be made up as a sweater or a dress. There are a ton of variations that you can make using the book including sleeves, necklines and ruffles but I kept things simple and made the classic dress with 3/4 sleeves.

You might have noticed, especially if you follow me on Instagram, that I am loving scuba fabric just lately. This absolute beauty is the Chaffinch Bough Old Gold luxury scuba which I purchased on a recent visit to Sewisfaction.  I think it is stunning and as you can see has a rich gold background covered in brighly coloured florals with pretty Chaffinch birds set amongst them.

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I had not seen any versions of the Freya in scuba, so was concerned that the pattern might not suit this fabric choice, but after referring to the fabric suggestions for this pattern (which calls for knits with at least 25% crosswise stretch) I felt I should go for it.

It’s so quick to cut out, my version requires only 4 pattern pieces – less time cutting/tracing and more time sewing! Happy days!

The mock neckband fitted like a dream. Tilly had mentioned in her instructions that it needs to stretch quite a bit in order to get it over your head and this is true! I was careful not to use too short a stitch when attaching and finishing the neckband for this reason. Does anybody else love a bit of twin needle sewing? The neckband is of course finished with the twin needle, as are the cuffs and hem.

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I really wanted to make the version with the ruffle, but felt that this might be too much with such a busy fabric choice. I am determined to make a ruffle dress later on in the year though and may choose a solid colour for that version. Shocking I know, as I have discovered whilst taking part in #mmmay18 that virtually none of my handmade wardrobe is made from a plain solid fabric! Have you checked out the hashtag #sewingfreya yet? It’s a great source of Freya inspiration.

I am happy with the length but does come up fairly short-ish.  I am 5’2″ and as you can see it sits just above my (knobbly) knees.

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There is very little that hasn’t already been said on this dress, it’s wonderful in every way. Quick, easy and very wearable, I’m a fan.  Mic drop.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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The Sunny Knit Top by Style Arc pattern review.

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I’m trying to add a few cosy jumpers to my handmade wardrobe this Winter. Whilst I love wearing dresses, when the weather is really cold I love my jeans and jumper combo and had noticed that I definitely needed more ‘me made’ items in this area.

This is the first time I have used a Style Arc pattern. They have a HUGE range of great sewing pattern designs and I particularly liked the look of this cocoon style top.

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I downloaded the PDF pattern direct from the Style Arc website a while ago. I don’t remember how much I paid, but I generally only buy sewing patterns when they are on sale so it may have been a Black Friday purchase or something similar. I usually opt for paper patterns over PDF’s, but didn’t fancy the postage costs from Australia for this. However I noticed a couple of days ago that Minerva Crafts are now stocking Style Arc paper patterns – yippee! Definitely worth remembering for future Style Arc purchases. A real drawback of the PDF downloads from Style Arc is that you are only sent the size that you ordered plus the size above and below that size (3 sizes only), so if you were thinking that this might be a great all rounder to make for yourself and friends and family – then this will only be possible (on the PDF download) if they are the same size or very similar to you.

That being said, this loose fitting cocoon sweater is a great design. From the line drawing above you can see the seam lines show the dropped shoulders which take you down to skinny sleeves which I absolutely LOVE. There is a horizontal seam front and back around waist height and a vertical centre back seam too. A lovely little neck band completes a very simple but neat looking top.

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My fabric choice is a stunning knit from Barry’s Fabrics in Birmingham. It has a black background and abstract blue, green and wine coloured flowers. It is also soft and warm, which I am very grateful for these past few cold days.

The Style Arc measurements were spot on for me. I made up the size recommended for my measurements and it was perfect. No adjustments at all, it fits me just right. Only 5 pattern pieces are needed for this top and I made it entirely using the overlocker, apart from the twin needling finishes on the hem, sleeves and around the neck band. It’s a good quick make on a rainy afternoon!

The instructions are very basic, and very brief. This was absolutely fine for me, but this may be tricky for a complete beginner as there are no pictures or illustrations to back up the written instructions, and when I say written instructions I mean 9 short sentences! All good though, the finished result is super, a great wardrobe essential and easy to throw on and layer up if necessary.

My favourite part of this sweater is the skinny sleeves. I feel they balance out the cocoon shape perfectly. Love them.

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So all in all, I am very happy with the finished top. It has turned out exactly how I was expecting and I would totally make it up again – I can see several versions of this in my future Winter wardrobe. I have lots of other Style Arc patterns on my ‘wish list’ of future sewing makes so no doubt it won’t be long before I give them another go.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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A Spotty Tilly and the Buttons Cleo Dress

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It is very much ‘that’ time of the year now in England when there is no denying that Autumn is well and truly here. It’s cold, I want the heating on and most of my fabric shopping now is now cosy corduroys, soft jerseys and snuggly sweatshirting.

My Tilly and the Buttons Cleo pattern is also something that I reach for in the Autumn/Winter. Whilst I have seen many Summer appropriate versions of this – for me it is all about snuggly thicker fabrics teamed with long sleeved jersey tops.

My fabric choice for this Cleo is this stunning navy spotty corduroy.  It was very kindly sent to me by My Fabrics, and I couldn’t be more pleased with it. There are so many colour choices with this spotty corduroy, but as I kind of knew that I probably wanted to pair it with my red striped Tilly and the Buttons Agnes Top, I went ahead and opted for the navy blue. Along with the huge choice of spotty cords, there are several other patterned designs and a wide range of the thickness of cord – from jumbo down to baby cord.

I would describe it as a light weight corduroy, beautifully soft, but certainly with enough structure to make the perfect Cleo.

As with all my Tilly patterns I cut a size 4, and I made no alterations other than shortening the length of the straps by 2″

I added a pocket on the bib front, but chose not to place the optional pockets on the back of the dress as I didn’t want any attention drawn to that area!!

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This is the first time that I have used dungaree clips as a fastening for a Cleo. I always  opt for a button option, but I have had these clips in my sewing basket for a while now and thought that I would give them a go this time.

They are really easy and straightforward to use, really nothing to them at all – you will need a hammer however. Fortunately my husband was able to provide me with that!

To attach the clips, carefully mark out exactly where you want to place them.

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Pierce a small hole using an awl or other sharp point.

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Place the pointed part of the rivet through the hole from the back, and line up the button over the top. Make sure if your button has a design on it, that it is the right way up, as it is impossible  to twist it once in place.

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Gently hammer into place!

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Ta Da! That’s all there is to it, such fun and the good news is that you get to do it all over again on the other side!

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I hope you like the outcome as much as I do. I really like the pairing of spots and stripes together, also love the red and blue combo too!

Thank you very much to My Fabrics for providing the fabric for this post. This is something I am going to love wearing this season. I certainly have my eye on some of the other patterned cords at My Fabrics and you may well be seeing more of this again soon!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Oven Glove and Pot Holder Tutorial

 

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At the end of last year I noticed that @ute_ig and @sanaeishida on Instagram were hosting their 4th #2017sve – a wonderful secret Valentine exchange opportunity where you submit your details over to them and they secretly let you have the details of someone to make a handmade item for. I have never taken part in this before but as soon as I saw it I was all over it!

When you receive details of your Valentine swap, it is up to you to try to do a bit of detective work to tailor your gift to their taste. I noticed that my partner enjoyed recipe writing, so decided to make her something that she could use in the kitchen.

The oven glove and pot holders were fairly simple to make, and I was pleased with the outcome. My partner had divulged that she liked blues and grey and simple geometric shapes so although the idea of this swap is that you use fabric and items that you already own, I popped to the local fabric shop as I didn’t really have any fabric at home which met her criteria. I chose 3 coordinating pieces of Gutermann fabric from their ‘ring a roses’ range. I pre-washed these fabrics before sewing as I didn’t want any shrinkage after they were made. You will also need some heat resistant wadding for this project rather than regular wadding.

Before I started, I used one of the fabrics to make my own hand made bias binding. I have written a tutorial on how I did this here

The measurements for this project came from me simply measuring my existing oven glove and pot holders. You can of course adjust the sizes as you wish, but I was happy with the size that I was already using.

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To make the Oven Gloves you will need:

 

  • 2 rectangles of pretty fabric measuring 75cm x 20cm
  • 1 rectangle of heat resistant wadding measuring 75cm x 20cm. I used a brand called Insul-bright
  • 4 squares of contrasting pretty fabric each measuring 20cm x 20cm
  • 2 squares of heat resistant wadding measuring 20cm x 20cm.
  • bias binding – approx 3 metres
  • rotary cutter and mat or fabric scissors
  • small plate or something similar
  • Clover Wonder Clips or pins
  • sewing machine and matching thread
  • a walking foot for your machine is useful due to the thickness of this project

I started with the rectangles first. You will need to ’round off’ the corner points of each of your rectangular fabric pieces and your rectangular wadding piece. To do this simply place a small plate or saucer on each corner and mark the curve and cut to shape! Place one of the rectangular fabric pieces right side down on the table, then place the rectangular wadding on top of that. Finally place the other rectangular fabric piece of the top, right side up. Clip in place using your Clover clips or regular pins.

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You will need to machine quilt these layers together. I wanted to keep this simple and just wanted a nice grid of criss cross diamond shapes (there is probably a word for this design in the quilting world that I don’t know about)! So I marked one 45 degree line in the centre of the rectangle in one direction and one 45 degree line in the centre of the rectangle in the other direction. I simply sewed these lines in place on my sewing machine using my walking foot. I then used the L shaped bar attachment that comes with the walking foot as a guide to make sure all my other lines of stitching were equally spaced and parallel. I also think it is a good idea to start in the centre of your project and work outwards.

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This was probably the most time consuming part of the whole project, but very rewarding when you are finished and left with beautiful neat rows of stitching.

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Next we need to repeat what we have just done with our square pieces of fabric. These will ultimately be the ‘gloves’ of the oven glove. Layer up the squares in the same  way as you did for the rectangles. You will have 2 separate squares to quilt this time. Clip or pin them together and use the same plate or saucer to trim 2 of the corners from each square this time – do not round off all 4 corners on these pieces! – just 2 on each square.

Take your square pieces and take them to the sewing machine. Machine quilt in the same way as you did for your rectangular piece.

Next we want to add bias binding to your square pieces along each of the straight edges – i.e the edge between the corner points that you didn’t round off. See pic below for reference. This will be the opening edge of the ‘glove’ of the oven glove that your hand slips through each time you put on your glove.

Open out your bias binding and place the edge of the bias against the edge of the glove piece, right sides together. Pin or clip in place and sew along the crease of the binding.

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Fold the bias binding right over to the other side – you may need to trim your seam allowance a little, and clip/pin in place making sure that the edge of the bias binding covers the line of stitching that you have just sewn.

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Take them back to the machine and ‘stitch in the ditch’ along the seam you have just sewn. You will be left with a neat line of stitches on the back of the binding. Pictured below you can see the front and back of the bias after stitching. Trim the ends of the bias binding neatly in line with the edge of the glove.

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Nearly done now! Place one ‘glove’ piece at each end of the long rectangular piece and pin/clip in place. To make extra sure these stay in place and do not slip it is a good idea to stitch them in place around the edge using a teeny tiny seam allowance.

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Finally we need to run the bias binding all around the long edge to ‘seal in’ the remaining raw edges and give it a really lovely professional finish. Attach the bias binding to the edge in exactly the same way as you did before and sew in the crease of the binding all the way around the long edge. Start/finish your stitching on a straight edge rather than at a corner. Don’t worry about the corners, the binding will easily stretch around these curves. Fold it over as you did before and ‘stitch in the ditch’ to secure and you are done! Easy!

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To make 2 pot holders you will need:

  • 4 squares of pretty fabric each measuring 20cm x 20cm
  • 2 squares of heat-resistant wadding  each measuring 20cm x 20cm. I used a brand called Insul-bright
  • Bias binding – approx 2.5 metres
  • Rotary cutter and mat or fabric scissors
  • Small plate, saucer or something similar
  • Clover Wonder Clips or pins
  • Sewing machine and matching thread
  • A walking foot is useful for your machine due to the thickness of the layers of this project

As mentioned in the oven glove tutorial it is important to pre-wash your fabrics. Also if you are making your own bias binding you may like to do this first. I have a tutorial showing how to make your own continuous bias binding here

Firstly you will need to layer up your 2 pot holders. Each piece should have 1 square of pretty fabric at the bottom with the right side facing down, then on top of that goes the heat resistant wadding, finally on the top the other piece of pretty fabric with the right side facing upwards.

Again just as for the main piece of the oven glove you will need to clip or pin these and round off all four corners using your saucer/plate as a guide. Do this with both pot holders.

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Again we will machine quilt this by marking one 45 degree angle in one direction and another 45 degree angle in the opposite direction. Sew along these lines using the walking foot on your machine if you have one and use the L shaped bar attachment that comes with the foot to make sure all further rows are perfectly parallel. It is easier to start in the middle of the squares and work outwards.

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After this you are nearly there! If you want to you can stitch around the entire edge of the squares to keep your edges stable. If you choose to do this use the smallest teeny tiny seam allowance as you don’t want your stitches to show after you have edged with the bias tape.

To edge your pot holders with bias binding tape, simply open up the bias tape and place the edge of the tape against the edge of the pot holder with the right sides facing. Pin or clip in place, and simply stitch all the way around keeping in the crease of the bias tape. It is easy to start/finish along a straight edge. Don’t worry about the curved edges, the bias stretch of the tape will easily accommodate these curves.

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When you are done, simply fold the bias tape all the way over to the other side – you may want to trim your seam allowances to enable it to lay flat, and pin/clip the bias tape on the other side making sure it covers the row of stitching that you have just sewn.

‘Stitch in the ditch’ all the way around, and there you have it! Couldn’t be easier!

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It’s fun to  use different fabrics for each side!
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Ta Dah! 

I thoroughly enjoyed making these items for my #2017sve recipient. I do hope that this may have inspired you to have a go too. They are a fairly simple rewarding make and a great gift idea for all sorts of occasions as well as a treat to yourself.

I think you may like to see the beautiful gift that I received as part of this exchange. This pretty bag which has a super practical waterproof lining was made for me by Ann at www.sewwatts.wordpress.com and I love it! Isn’t the floral fabric the cutest? Thank you Ann, you have me down to a tee!

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Let me know how you get on, and if you are going to make these!

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Quilted Fabric Thread Catcher Tutorial

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I’m so pleased to share this make with you all. Such a pretty little fabric basket that could be used for a number of other uses, and as usual with me – fairly quick to make using small pieces of fabric.

You will need:

  • 2  coordinating pieces of  fabric. Out of each piece of fabric you will cut 2 rectangles measuring 8″ x 10″
  • Quilting wadding (batting), or medium to heavy weight interfacing. From this you will cut 2 rectangles measuring 8″ x 10″
  • Pins
  • Fabric scissors or a rotary cutter and mat
  • Fabric pen (not essential you could use an ordinary pen or pencil if you are careful).
  • Ruler
  • Needle and thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Iron and ironing board

Before you start it is always a good idea to iron your fabric. This ensures that your fabric pieces are going to be nice and neat and a perfect size.

Cut out the 2 pieces of fabric which you have chosen to be your outer bag, the 2 pieces of fabric which you have chosen for your lining fabric and the 2 pieces of wadding or interfacing.

To make your quilting stitches neat, you will need to take your 2 pieces of wadding and mark out a diagonal grid pattern. I started by marking this out using a vanishing fabric marker pen, however my lines disappeared more quickly than I wanted so I decided to use a regular pen for this. Take care if you choose this method that your pen lines will not visible through the fabric.

You will also notice that I marked out these lines using an 45 degree angle. Do not just draw them corner to corner as this will result in uneven and wonky diamond shapes when you stitch it. I marked one line first and then used the width of my ruler to make even parallel rows of lines thereafter.

If you are using iron on interfacing, you will not need to do this. Simply iron your interfacing to the wrong side of the fabric pieces which are going to be the outer bag pieces.

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Take one of the wadding pieces and place it on top of the wrong side of one of the fabric pieces which will be the outside bag. Pin in place. Repeat for the other wadding piece and outside bag piece.

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Take these pieces to your machine and stitch along all of these lines. Take care not to miss any out!

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Continuing with these pieces, place them right sides together and stitch around both sides and along the bottom edge (leaving the top edge open). I used a 3/8″ seam allowance. Take care if you are using a directional fabric that you are sewing it the right way up!

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Press the seams open as well as you can. This is a bit awkward and I used my tailors ham/sleeve pressing roll for this. Next you need to pinch the bottom corners in order to make your bag stand up nicely. Pinch each bottom corner to make a triangular shape and pin. Measure 1.5″ from the point and draw a line across at this point. Repeat this for the other corner. This is hard to explain, I hope the photographs help you to understand this.

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Take to the sewing machine and sew along the lines you have marked. Cut away the excess, leaving a small seam allowance.

 

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Great! Then you can turn the bag right sides out.

To make the lining bag, place the two lining pieces right sides together and sew along both sides and along the bottom edge – but this time leave a gap of approximately 3″ along the bottom edge. This gap should be large enough for you to pull your bag through at the end. Again be careful if your fabric is directional – think about how it will lay when it is made up and which way up it will sit when the lining is rolled over to the outside, and choose what will be your top edge and bottom edge accordingly. If your fabric has no directional print you don’t need to worry about this.

When you have done this you need to pinch both bottom corners just like you did with the outer bag, pin, stitch and trim excess. Again if you can press the seams open at this stage it will look neater when it is finished.

Place the outer bag inside the lining bag. The right sides of each bag should be facing each other. Pin all the way around the top edge and take it to the machine and stitch all the way around this edge.

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Turn the bag over and you will see the 3″ gap that you left open when you made the lining bag. Gently turn the bag ‘right side out’ by pulling the outer bag through this hole.

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Now it’s time to close the opening in the lining bag. Pin the opening closed and either machine stitch the opening as close to the edge as you can, or hand sew it closed. I chose to machine sew it because I was feeling lazy however this will create a little ‘ridge’ along where you have sewn. It is not particularly noticeable but if you want a neater finish I would suggest you hand sew it using a ladder/slip stitch.

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Push the lining bag inside the outer bag now and you’re almost there. Pin all the way around the top edge and machine stitch all around this edge. This will stop your outer or inner bag slipping and looking messy. This is the finishing touch and as well as serving a purpose it really gives the bag a professional finish.

There you go, you’re all done! You can leave it as it is or roll the top over to expose the pretty lining fabric which is what I will do with mine.

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I made this basket from 2 fat quarters. There is enough left to make another basket, so if you were using 2 fat quarters maybe you could make one for yourself and one for a friend – after all it doesn’t have to be used for threads only!

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Thanks for reading! I would love to know if you are going to have a go at making one of these, and what you are going to use it for.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Fabric Coffee Cup Cozy Sleeve Tutorial

Happy New Year!

I ate too much chocolate this Christmas. It’s a fact. This January, therefore, I shall be walking lots and lots. There is nothing better when you come in from the cold outside than a great big cup of steaming hot coffee.

Now that many coffee shops will charge you less for your coffee if you provide your own reusable cup, I reckon we can cut down on paper waste even more by making our own fabric sleeves too! So much prettier than the cardboard version and environmentally friendly too. You will need a sewing machine to make this but it is super simple so is a rewarding project for an experienced sewist, but at the same time very satisfying for a beginner sewist too.

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You will need:

  • Some pretty fabric for the outside and inside of the sleeve
  • Wadding, fleece, batting or fusing to give the sleeve some padding
  • Cardboard coffee sleeve to use as a template
  • Pen, paper and paper scissors
  • Fabric scissors
  • Pins
  • Button
  • Elastic hair tie
  • Needle and thread
  • Point turner or something similar like a knitting needle or chopstick

Before you start you need to make sure that the cardboard coffee sleeve that you have picked up to use as a template fits the cup that you are making it for.coffee2

This is a perfect fit. You will then need to peel open the cardboard sleeve and lay it on some paper and draw around it to make a template. I drew around mine and also added a 1/4″ seam allowance all the way around. Just to mention that this sleeve had no overlap so I knew that my finished fabric sleeve would meet edge to edge. I prefer this as there is no bulky lump of fabric where it overlaps a little, but if you prefer an overlap go ahead and simply add a little more length when you are cutting out. You can now cut around the line you have drawn using paper scissors.coffee-4

Now that we have a template we can cut out our fabrics and wadding. Make sure your fabrics are pressed and free from any creases.  I pinned and cut out two matching pieces of pretty cotton fabric for the outside and inside of the sleeve. If you prefer you could use a different fabric for the inside piece, making it reversible. As I was using a directional print I was careful to place the template so that it was not upside down!  It is also important to flip over the template when you are cutting your second piece so that it is exactly opposite to the first one. I also pinned and cut one piece of wadding from this template.

Time to make a fabric sandwich! Place the wadding on the bottom, then place both pieces of pretty fabric on top of that – the pretty fabrics need to be placed right sides together. Pin this in place. coffee6

Before we sew this together we need to insert the button loop (hair tie). Measure how large the loop needs to be by slipping it around the button and either sew a few stitches in it to keep it in place or wrap a thread around it a few times and tie it off. You need to do this or the hair tie won’t stay closed when you are sewing it together and it will look untidy. coffee5

In my case, the smaller loop will be the loop which goes around the button. Remove a pin or two from one end of the fabrics which you just pinned together and insert the hair tie with the loop that is needed to go around the button inside the two layers of pretty fabrics. In my case the larger loop that is not needed will be sticking out. Also remember that the stitches where you have kept the hair tie closed together need to lie along the line of your seam allowance. As I am using a 1/4″ seam allowance I was careful to place the threads of my hand stitching on the hair tie 1/4″ in from the edge of the fabric.coffee8

Re-pin this edge closed again and we are ready to take it to the machine. In order that we can turn it right side out again when we have finished sewing around the edges I will leave  a gap of approx 2″ along the bottom edge of the sleeve. coffee7

Simply sew around the edges (leaving a 2″ gap along the bottom edge) using your chosen seam allowance (in my case 1/4″). Back stitch a few stitches at the start and finish so that your seam doesn’t pull open when you are turning it right side out. Stitch slowly when going over the hair tie. You may also like to backstitch over this area for extra strength. Snip all 4 corner points to make it less bulky – don’t clip too close to your stitches though! You can also trim back the hair elastic (not shown on this picture) so that you aren’t left with this bulk inside your sleeve.coffee9

Turn the sleeve right side out now. Use your point turner, knitting needle,chopstick or similar to push into the corners to make the points sharp. Take to the ironing board and give it a good press ensuring the raw edges of the opening are turned neatly inside.

Again take to the sewing machine and neatly sew a line of stitching 1/4″ all the way around all four edges. This should catch in the opening that you had at the bottom so that the sleeve is totally enclosed now. If you have quilting skills now is the time to show them and go ahead and make those fancy free motion patterns that I so admire. I, however, do not possess such skills and therefore chose to sew a couple of neat horizontal lines following the curves of the long edges. At this point you will want to give your sleeve another good press.

Place the sleeve around the cup and work out where you need your button placement to be. Hand stitch this in place. That’s it, you’re done! So easy and so so quick.

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Do you have a ‘coffeeholic’ in your life that you could make this for? Or would you treat yourself to this? It is a great unisex gift idea – you could really personalise your gift with fabric relevant to the recipient, maybe it could be a little extra present to give along with a coffee gift card?

If you were wondering, the coffee cup here is from www.lauraashley.com  (a couple of years back), and the pretty fabric used was from a fat quarter bundle purchased from www.hobbycraft.co.uk a couple of months ago.

I do hope you have enjoyed this quick tutorial. As always I would love to hear if you have made one of these.

Wishing you all a very happy new year, stay warm and enjoy your coffee!

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Simplicity New Look 6262 Pattern Review – My Christmas Dress.

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Forget Christmas jumpers, I’m a dress girl through and through.

I have had this Simplicity New Look pattern since July, and just haven’t got around to using it. It came free with the July issue of Sew Style and Home and the style is right up my street. As usual there are a few variations that you can mix up to make your ideal dress. I chose to make the boat neck version as opposed to the v-neck style. I also wanted short sleeves rather than sleeveless or cap sleeves.

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The construction is pretty straightforward, suitable for an advanced beginner I would say. Anyone who is confident with zip insertion, gathers and darts will be fine with this pattern, although these steps are all explained very well on the instruction sheet, as always from Simplicity New Look patterns.

The fabric was an eBay purchase, and once again slightly disappointing. When will I learn to resist a cheap fabric on the internet! It is a poly cotton and was a bit of a bargain, however the quality is not the best, but Hey Ho! you get what you pay for and I reckon I will only wear this dress a couple of times a year given it’s Christmas feel so it doesn’t really matter that much. It  has the cutest reindeer and snowflake design and the green background colour is just that of a perfect Christmas tree. So festive! I wanted to break up the colour a little though so decided to insert some berry red piping at the waistline and sleeves and I absolutely adore how it turned out. I will definitely be popping in some piping on more dresses in the future – a great little detail!

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Take your time with piping, your patience will pay off!

Overall I am very pleased with how the dress came out, it’s very comfortable and I will certainly make it again. I would love to make it up it a pretty ditsy floral fabric (Liberty style). Next time I would probably shorten the bodice as the waist is a little low for my body length, easy enough to shorten using the shorten/lengthen markings on the bodice pattern. Also the skirt was slightly too ‘poofy’ for my liking so I slimmed it down a little along the side seams. Oh and as I’m only 5’2″ I shortened the length about 3″. All these things are just my personal preference, I love this pattern and look forward to making up many more versions next Summer.

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I would love to hear your opinions especially if you have also made this dress pattern.

I can’t wait to wear it on Christmas day. Sending you all best wishes for a peaceful and happy Christmas, and I look forward to a busy 2017 with lots more pattern reviews and tutorials.

Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x