Yes, sunshine makes a difference in so many ways, but in particular I am thinking about product photos. I have quite a few pieces to add to my Etsy shop and have been waiting for enough light to make the photos pop. Finally, the sun has shone! (these will be going in my shop very soon)
The cats have been enjoying the sunshine too…
…and so have Mark and I, with a visit to Lacock Abbey!
I feel I have not achieved much this week. I just got to the point I needed to do some sorting out in order to work more efficiently and to remind myself of the materials I have to hand. My workroom is also our dining room so I have to be able to operate a clear desk policy when dinner is ready. As I look at my orderly shelves and drawers, I know it has been a good deal of work and it is worthwhile, but it is not…yet…something I can put in my Etsy shop (and tomorrow I am spending the day with mentor Karen and little James, so no sewing tomorrow). I guess I will just have to do some work at the weekend to make up for it – I haven’t seen Karen in ages and refuse to feel guilty about it (at least not tomorrow anyway).
So would you like to see my workroom? I can’t hear you? I am going to assume that people around the world are jumping up and down with anticipation, and show you anyway…like it or not. It will remind me to keep it orderly and tidy.
I started with my sewing box – it is actually an antique Indian writing box from Artique, our favourite Tetbury shop. It is far larger than most sewing boxes, but is still far too small for the reels of cotton I have (kindly augmented with a donation by our next door neighbour…gorgeous wooden spools rather than the modern plastic ones, but mainly for hand sewing). I am still a newby yarnstress, so my yarn collection fits nicely in the ‘basement’ of my sewing box.
I bought a wooden cotton reel rack last year, only to find it was the type you fix to the wall so, always fond of a fudge, I leaned it against the mirror over the large chest of drawers for many months. It was still not large enough for my thread collection, so this week I did actually fix it to the wall and treated myself to an additional free-standing thread rack, that can stand by my sewing machine but can also be moved to sit on my sewing box when the table needs to be laid for dinner. (Note also my thread cone stand as the glow in the dark thread was not small enough to use directly on my sewing machine – and the cute little box of bobbins).
…and there is still not space for my box of rainbow threads that have to live in their box.
Am I the only one who loves pencils? Seeing them in this Baker and Maker mug makes me want to just sit and sharpen them…!
I keep most of my buttons in an old carousel herb rack, sorted by colour of course. Needless to say I have more than will fit in one spice rack, and next week will get a wee Ikea filing drawer thing on casters…in red…too, for easy access to beads, button overflow and trim. I also have a weakness for teapots (one day I will show you the shelves of them in the living room…something to look forward to, eh?) and this one came from Scrapiana, sewing and mending guru and vintage teapot temptress,
Every sewing room needs an ironing board – sometimes Max likes to sleep on it too.
Whenever Mark and I go to Dorset, we have to ‘do’ the antique shops in Bridport…this 1907ish sewing machine is the result of one such mooch around.
I have sorted my fabric by both use and size. Contrary to popular belief, size does matter!
I know it’s rather sad and possibly not common in creative types, but I find calm and contentment in order. I do enjoy a bit of a Spring clean.
Let me end with a photo of a gift that keeps on giving – the box my Valentine’s roses came in is much appreciated by Rio the cat (and has lasted far longer than the roses…my beloved will not be buying from Moonpig again!…although the chocolate heart and champagne were lovely).
After what feels like months of grey, rain and gale force winds, we have had spells of sunshine today and I am choosing to focus on colour.
In the January sales I treated myself to a set of colourful ribbons (Cox and Cox) and a set of threads (Amazon) and some bright pins (eBay). On grey days, they hint of Spring.
The cats have been spending the long rainy days keeping me company – Max asleep on the ironing board (why must he do that? I always have to go over it with sellotape before I use it!) and Rio on the chair next to me.
I think the cats have become so used to constant rain they had not noticed today’s sunshine, so I ushered them outside.
I went out with the cats and found the crocus and snowdrops are coming out!
The pots of young raspberry plants where the raised beds will be in due course, and the wind chimes in the Bramley tree add further pops of colour.
In the kitchen, I have been making seville orange marmalade, stacking them on the windowsill to catch the light.
All these thoughts of Spring make me want to dig out the bright Easter fabric I bought a few weeks back. Now, what to sew….!
When I went to visit some textile students I promised a tutorial on a couple of ways of making ribbon flowers and thought I should share it here in case anyone else might find it useful.
This uses either a 10cm wide 1m long strip of fabric with the long sides folded in so they meet in the middle (with the right side facing out), ironed but not sewn, or 1m of ribbon at least 5cm wide. Here I have used a satin ribbon.
This method uses a strip of fabric folded and ironed as for method 1 or a piece of ribbon, but is less fiddly and can be made with any width of fabric or ribbon. If you use a strip of fabric, ensure the raw edges face in to the centre of the flower as you make it.
You can see the difference in the results of the two methods most clearly when they are side by side.
Bear with me here; I am not used to teaching. I am assuming little knowledge, but if I am teaching my grandmother to suck eggs, as they say, let me know and I will step it up a notch.
I do not believe in rules. I am not one for doing what I am told. If a recipe calls for lemons, I am likely to use limes or oranges…because what do they know? I think the great thing about sewing is that you can read books and blogs and go on courses and then ignore a chunk of it (or all of it) and just do what you want to do. So just consider this an idea to play with as you will.
You can use this approach with whatever fabric you have to hand and you don’t have to use any patchwork, just skip the first few steps and use one oblong of fabric for the outside and another for the inside. For mine I have used quilting fabric – a pack of pre-cut 15cm squares (which some may call cheating, but as I said, I don’t believe in rules, so how can it be cheating?) – which is a light weight cotton. This means the bag is very light and easy to fold up and pop in your handbag. However, it works well with heavier fabric too (old curtains are my favourite), which makes it stronger; you may need to experiment with sewing machine tension and stitch length. I am not going to try to cover using a sewing machine – just look at the handbook, google any problems and perhaps find a blog written by someone with more technical know how than me.
IngredientsMaterials: 8 x 15cm (6inch) squares of cotton fabric (wash it first in case it shrinks), matching thread (or contrasting for the top stitching, if you prefer), 3 x 15cm (6inch) square border fabric and cut each border fabric square in half, two strips of border fabric each 3cm x 72cm (1.25inch x 28.5inch), lining fabric approx 30cm x 72cm (12inch x 28.5inch)*, 2 strips border fabric and 2 strips lining fabric each 5cm x 71cm (2inch x 28inch)
* wait until you have completed the outside layer of the bag as you can use it as a template to make sure the lining is the right size.
Unless otherwise stated, I use approximately 0.7cm seam allowance. This is the equivalent of 0.25inch and on my sewing machine (and I think most machines) is what you get when the edge of the fabric runs along the edge of the standard sewing foot, so is just a convenient allowance.
I like to finish the bag with a ribbon rose brooch, but that is for another day….
I have carried on experimenting with patchwork bags. I really like this rich purple fabric and the way it makes the bright patchwork squares pop. I made it bigger and think it’s like the three bears’ chairs…baby bear’s was too small and now daddy bear’s is a bit too big, will see if mummy bear’s is just right.
I used a contrasting turquoise thread, as I love the colour against the purple.
The rose is made from wide ribbon and is attached to a brooch clasp, so it can be detached from the bag and worn on a jacket.
I will photograph the steps next time I make a patchwork bag like this and share it here as a tutorial.