Monday, 26 November 2012

Pom Pom garland

The idea was to make a string of pom poms, or garland if you will, that could be hung in the hallway. To add some colour, without getting in the way, to our very small flat. 153 pom poms later and I was hoping it would be a little more impressive than it is but maybe i didn't do enough or maybe it should have been hung more randomly. Will be seeking the advice of my creative partner. She always has the answers!

I chose acrylic yarn over real wool as you cant really tell the difference when made into pom poms. It is a heck of a lot cheaper and no need to worry about it becoming a home for the moths!

This is what 150 pom poms looks like, three different sizes.

Keep the ends long til they are threaded up. Whenever you make a pom pom, its important to keep the tied ends long , giving you more ways to fix it. You trim them off once the pom pom is tied in place.

I sorted the pom poms, big, medium and small into a pattern of colour. That's kind of what i do. I like random arrangements as well but id say it always tends to be a slightly 'controlled' random.

Threaded them all up.

Spaced and hot glued in place. As the weight of this garland will make all the pom poms move about if they are not fixed properly.

Hung it from the ceiling in the grey hallway.

Its cheery and colourful and I'm perfectly happy with it.....but something is just not right if you know what i mean...? Any ideas?
(Excuse these night time pictures, the glow in the flat is very yellow at this time)

Thursday, 15 November 2012

Bedroom curtains

It has been over a year now that I have been repeatedly writing 'make curtains' on my To do lists. Which also means my daughter has gone without curtains, in her rather small and cold room for that long- bad mother. It wasn't a case of not being able to choose fabric but laziness and a sometimes short attention span.
I had previously bought the fabric (an Orla Kiely King size duvet cover which I got new in the sale, still cost me a fortune I thought, even at half price), just needed to get the lining. When I was staying with my Mother a couple of weeks ago she took me to get some fabric, so there really weren't any excuses left. I chose a bonded lining, for warmth and its also a little more light proof as well as having a nice weight. 

First I measured the window and worked out where I wanted the curtains to fall to, 'the drop'. The window frame is different on each side and as the curtain track I put up years ago is the same length, my curtains may look a bit wonky, though hopefully not too noticeably.

Then I tried to lay my fabrics out and pin them together. As our flat is tiny, there was not enough floor space to do this. So I tried to hang it on a line first, to measure it out and then fold and eventually pin it, on the floor. Tricky- this was why I was so hesitant to start work. I knew it would be really fiddly with such a small floor space. Gone are the days of college luxuries, most pattern cutting tables were bigger than the rooms of this flat- sigh!

After a LOT of pinning and re-pinning and a fair bit of hand sewing, I got these made up. From this point it is important to let the curtains hang for a few days before hemming them. This way they should hang much better, especially after the slip stitch hem. I think I made this mistake last time and hemmed immediately.
I've had my neighbours ladder on loan for a week now so I've got to add 'bake cake' to my current list. 

Seeing as its been all about bows recently, I thought id make some big bow tie backs. My daughter loved the idea and seeing as there was a fair bit of excess fabric from the duvet cover it seemed to make sense to complete the look whilst I had matching fabric.

This is the same process as the hair bands I did before. These have lining and an extra layer of wadding.

These are the actual tie backs, I made a tube of fabric and turned it out.

Gathering the tube and adding some decorative tails, the bow was finally put in place on the top.

I worked out the bulk of the curtains and attached press studs to the tie backs to hold them in place. There are not going to be any wall hooks, so these will be held by the bulk of the curtain and just sit in place.

The hems have been hanging for quite a few days. I pinned them about 4 times, its a process of doing one different thing each time you pin them and finally you are ready to sew using a slip stitch and only catching the lining gently and not going right through to the other side.

This is a rather bad photo, I shall try to replace it in due course. The finished look is pretty cute and the tie backs stay up well, no slipping and they are easy to use.

If I were to do these again I may leave off the bow tails as I think maybe they are a little too fussy. I have a tendency to over embellish things if I look at them for too long. But for now, I'm pretty happy with these and my daughter loves them, so I feel I've succeeded with that task. I can finally cross off 'make curtains' and get on with all the many other things that I've been writing and re-writing and constantly transferring from list to list.....or maybe I'll just make another list!

Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Big bow hair bands

Obviously I have got heaps of things on the go, half started and half finished but i needed something for a 4yr old's birthday present and made these as a quick extra. I'm not normally a 'how to' kind of blogger as this is more my own visual diary but maybe its only fair to share some ideas with instructions once in a while. These are a great thing to make for birthday presents and can be relatively cheap as well as not too time consuming. The best thing is that you can use any type of fabric scraps you may have left over from other projects or you can make one to match a dress you are already sewing e.t.c. I last made one of these for my daughters 2nd birthday party using fabric printed by illustrator Rosie MacCurrach. It was made to match her party dress in the same fabrics.

Having organised all my fabrics after last Christmas it makes finding my materials a lot less stressful than it used to be. Thank heavens for the Ladderax, (though i still have mixed up jumble of a scrap bucket too!)

I went for pink and yellow (the print here, is again by illustrator Rosie MacCurrach), and got matching hair bands, some fabric scraps and wadding. Any weight will do, it depends on how much of a statement you are going for.

Cutting rectangles, 2 in fabric and one in wadding for each bow. I did a triple bow on each hair band, one bow will suffice but i wanted something a little more fancy.

I overlock the pieces together as its easier than doing a 5mm seam in delicate fabrics and trimming back is a waste of fabric. The two fabrics go together then the wadding on the bottom, be careful not to sandwich the wadding between the fabrics as this will not work for this method.

Then carefully cut a slit down the centre, trying to only cut the top layer of fabric. Don't cut too much. 2-3cm is plenty. Next you 'bag it out' which is basically pushing all the fabric through the hole, so that the seams are turned inside. I tend to press the seams at this point with a low heat and only very lightly, just to define the edges a bit more.

Next i tend to do a zig zag stitch down the centre, mostly to keep the layers together but also to close up the little slit I made. Don't want it popping open or fraying . Here i have layered all the bows and stitched them together, making them fully secure. I then play with the folds, concertina-ing them up to make a nice bow shape.

Having gathered the bow, i stitch it securely and attach a little strip of fabric wrapped wadding to create the knot effect. Here i hot glued the bow to the hair band as i know how rough my daughter is and wanted to make sure it wouldn't fall off, but you can equally just stitch it. Then i wrapped the strip over the top of the bow and secured it underneath the hair band as neatly as i could, cutting off the excess. Sorry these last two stages are not shown fully. I'm not used to documenting 'how to's' yet.

Here are the finished bows. Make them as big or small as you like. More or less stuffed and as many or few as you like......and you've not even touched the surface head band possibilities! Have fun experimenting.....but if you're not a maker and would rather purchase something fabulous, check out this website... Le tour de force is an amazing label set up by an old college friend. She makes both adults and children's head pieces. Check out Little Fashion Gallery for her kids pieces which are stunning.
Right, back to the general home improvements, children's bedroom curtains and the hallway coat pegs which have been on the agenda for an age now. Must all be done by Christmas, no excuses.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Plastic bag dispenser

The last little bit of my Sanderson dandelion clocks print. I made a plastic bag dispenser on request of my sister, for her new flat. I decided to machine quilt it to give it a little more structure. They look rather sad when they are half full. Fine if they are kept in a cupboard but if you have it out on view, it wants to look nice all the time. Well that was an easy project, just an afternoon and it was done....unlike all the rest of the things i have been unable to complete yet. Sigh.....