Wednesday, 19 August 2015

'Snippets' Divided Basket by Noodlehead

This Saturday was the lovely Steph's birthday (my colleague at Make and Do) so the ladies and I were plotting a gift from the 3 of us.

I decided to marry two of her favourite pastimes, sewing and organising stuff, to make up this 'Divided Basket' by Anna Graham of the bloomin' brilliant blog 'Noodlehead' (Do check it out if you haven't already -great patterns and Anna has just released a GORGEOUS fabric line for Cloud9).

I picked up the PDF pattern when she was having a sale last year and it has sat printed and cut just begging to be used ever since. As ever, life gets in the way but at last I found a excuse to use it! A word of caution -HEED THE SEAM ALLOWANCE.

Yes you'd think this goes without saying but in my infinite wisdom I cut the pieces and then freestyled the construction which resulted in the lining not fitting. I had to adjust and restitch it twice. Yes.... twice (overcorrected!).

We were pondering fabric choices, Retro Orchard' by Dashwood Studios is a firm favourite but I changed my mind last minute and decided that a sewing caddy would look much better in the very appropriate 'Snippets' collection by Windham Fabrics (we have both in stock at the shop FYI).

In a most brilliant turn of events it transpired that Steph had  in the last few days, made up a pin cushion and thread catcher set in the very same collection! Happy days!

The rest of the set and filled with all of Steph's sewing goodies! Perfect size for sewing patterns.

It went down rather well, so much so that I think I may be churning them out for every birthday gift going forward ...Jemma is plotting her own for December as we speak!

Monday, 10 August 2015

Design Your Own EPP Hexie Cushion

After a few enquiries I've put together some packs of pre-cut hexie templates and fun modern fabric combos allowing people to dive straight in without the prep and give 'EPP' (English Paper Piecing) a try so I thought I'd better share a few ideas for using them.

Enter idea #1 your own hexie cushion front. I hesitate to call it a tutorial as it's laughably simple.
  1. Download and print some hexagon grid paper (doesn't need to be to scale it's just a guide). I found mine here at 'Printable Paper'.
  2. Grab some colouring pencils and get creative!
I started by measuring my templates (not the fabric as these have seam allowance!) and drawing an outline using the number needed horizontally and vertically to yield a square 1" bigger than my cushion pad. The rest is up to you! I went for a simple modern geometric style design picking out colours from our bedroom.

Once the front has been pieced (hexie piecing tutorial here) the fabric templates can be removed. I like to carefully slide the arm of my paper scissors behind the template and wiggle it free leaving the basting stitches in place to help control the many tiny seam allowances.

 I layered my cushion front with wadding and fabric backing and quilted the outline of the gold and blush shapes using a coordinating thread. It creates a great texture.

If you want to keep it simple you can make it up with an envelope back but my preference is a zip so I made it up to match my 'Bark and Branch' cushion with a clean covered zip.

I've said it before but the main draw for me with EPP is it's portability (if that's a word?). I've been stitching away in front of the TV, on the train, at 'The Duchess' and most recently in the back of Steph's car on the way home from the NEC Quilt Show.

Hand sewing on the train.
Last few stitches returning from Birmingham.
I thoroughly enjoy it and the bug seems to be catching! There are a few kits available via the facebook page, and  Make & Do for locals if you fancy giving it a try. I'm already planning my next one!

Monday, 3 August 2015

Appliqué Peg Bucket

If you follow the 'Stokes Croft Stitching' Facebook page you'll know that I've been playing around with a bit of raw edge appliqué. I was a little tight lipped about the specifics of what I was working on as it was a birthday gift but as it's now with it's recipient I can divulge the details!

I promised OH's mum a peg bag a long time ago and have never quite gotten around to actually making it so when her birthday rolled around I thought it was about time!

I'm not a big fan of hanger based peg bags as the opening is generally quite flat making access to it's innards unnecessarily awkward. Enter 'make-it-up-as-I-go' #372 ...the 'Peg Bucket'.

I was faffing with fabric options for ages when inspiration struck in the form of a gorgeous 'Dolly What Not' embroidered card (Sarah -it's all your fault!) so I delved into my scraps and, using a little bondaweb, spent the next few hours embroidering some little appliqué pegs. It looks like free motion, but not having the appropriate foot I simply straight stitched around the edge in the usual fashion.

I think this technique looks best when you don't over think it. As I mentioned, it's a great lesson in letting go of perfection (not something that comes naturally to me!) as the slightly wobbly lines give a lovely illustrative quality.

Coincidentally the 'Dolly What Not' shop has just opened in St James' Arcade in Bristol so pop in and take a look; more on that later!

It was a little last minute so construction wise it's not perfect -for one I'd rather have hand stitched the binding down but simply didn't have enough time. I'd also cut the drawstring band a little deeper for version 2 so that it meets in the middle but it's a good first effort.

I'll keep you posted with a usage report as to whether or not bucket beats bag...