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Embroidery // Canvas Tote Bags

Hello there –

this week I just wanted to let you know that this whole embroidery adventure has taken me to individually embroider canvas tote bags for friends.

The first one I embroidered by hand was a geometric fox design with a triangle bordure detail on a mint green background. I also lined the bag with black cotton to bring out the colour a bit more and so that keys or else don’t get caught on the inside of the embroidery as it’s much more fragile than the wrong side of machine embroidery. I also added a little inner pocket. I really just wanted to keep it for myself but as I’d promised it to my friend…. 🙂

FullSizeRender  IMG_0022

I am now working on a night sky themed bag which will be in my shop soon. I’ve really always loved nights, everything sort of calms down and ragged edges are smoothed over. I love the starry sky and the endless possibilities it brings with it. I love feeling like the universe is too big for us to be alone, like I heard in a movie once. AND I’ve always loved Orion, the cat, from Men in Black and his mysterious necklace. So this bag is inspired by that 🙂 (I’ve gotta watch that movie again <3)

IMG_0114

I also have a commission from a friend in Berlin (yay) who I will embroider a geometric bird onto a natural canvas bag for. I’m really excited about this one because I feel like I might go a bit artistic on this one. Let’s see what it turns out like and whether I have to do another one because she might not like it 😀 Anyway, I’m loving this new obsession of mine. It’s (again) so versatile – and the possibilities are endless…. Sigh.

 bird

Cu next Friday xoxo

Going Part-time

Hello (again),

Remember when I said I’d look into more days off for crafters? I went to my manager and asked for exactly that. In essence I’m hopefully going to go part-time from November. Argh, so exhilarating and daunting at the same time!

I’m only going to do 3 days less a month and take a little pay cut but oh my gosh am I excited about this! 40 whole days off a year to craft! That will give me time and energy to take my little shop on Etsy a bit further. Uuuhh, stay tuned…

And here is some beautiful pictures of the things (I imagine) I’m gonna do with my free time:

20121216-161501

(found here…somewhere)

wanderlust-travel-picture-quotes

(38 pictures that will make you want to travel the world found here)

4335b7c68602dbcb09bedaffb4e8e5ed

(found here but also go here to read a lovely article about reading, ha, the irony)

Cocktail-Idea-Grammys

(found here)

As always – the possibilities are endless 😉

Have a lovely week xx

Crafting is teaching me 

  • Patience

I am NOT a patient person. Anyone who knows me will tell you once I have an idea I need to realise it, like 10 minutes ago. But sewing requires detailed planning and thinking through. Although I hardly make notes my brain starts whizzing as soon as a conscious idea forms and I realise it can be done. I’m very grateful for being able to visualise an idea quite well before I’m doing it. However that also means that my brain is always 1 or 2 steps ahead. That gets exhausting, especially if you’re also trying to deal with the present simultaneously. So this is where sewing teaches me patience. It teaches my brain to calm the f down until I get to that step. I already know what I’m gonna be doing next so stop obsessing over it!

I reckon it also teaches my boyfriend patience. He’s learning to wait for me to be done with my madness… I feel a bit bad but it’s not really anything I can control atm. That’s something I’m still trying to learn. One step at a time, ey …?!

  • Less is more

I’m always one for embellishing, improving, just-one-more-thing-ing and crafting teaches me that less is more sometimes. Does that bias binding really have to be pink? Or lacey? Or do you really need a trim on that? That frill is kinda weird on that bag, nah? 

Crafting is a time to experiment and yes, some frill here and there never hurt anyone, but if you spent too much time a day on one particular thing – it might drive you a bit mad, and yes, that frill looks weird on that bag. Take it off, right now. Back to basics.

  • Appreciation of social interaction 

This might seem like a weird one but hear me out. Crafting can be lonesome and I don’t mean it badly. I love it to sink my teeth into an idea, get my head down and not reappear until the vision is realised. I forget to drink, eat and sometimes sleep when this happens (thanks for that btw, I miss my bed). Luckily I work in an office where I have to see people 5 days a week. And I really cherish that time now, more than before. I’m still a pretty grumpy b* sometimes, pardon my French, but I don’t really mean it. I probably think about my next project while trying to be ‘present’ (#pretencious) with the folk at work. This is quite a challenge. And I’m working on it. 

(I’m kind of a ‘good things come in threes’ kinda girl so I’ll think of another three things that crafting teaches me another time.)

#4 Reversible Wrap Top with Lace Edging and Reversible Bow

Hello (again),

This week I’ve got another variation of the infamous wrap top for you. This time I added lace edging along the bias binding because of the fairly plain (yet vibrant) lining/reverse fabric used.

For anyone who’s already seen the 3 previous posts – for ease of… everything really, I copied the instructions then amended, so a few bits will look the same to you (sorry!).

You’re going to need:

  • 4-5 hours of leisure time
  • 2 times 1-2m (ca. 40-80in) of fabric of your choice (2 sides, see it’s reversible)
    • depends on how long you want the top, for a crop top you’ll only need 1m (ca. 40in)
  • ca. 3m (ca. 118in) of bias binding (colour of choice that matches/contrasts both fabrics)
  • ca. 3m of lace edging (colour of choice that matches/contrasts both fabrics)
  • a bit of ribbon (colour of choice)
  • measurement for the width
  • measurement for the length
  • measurement for length between the bottom hem and neckline at the front (x)
    • for a crop top like mine measure when sitting down from the belly button up to where you want your neckline to start
  • an iron (I can hear your sigh, I know pressing isn’t the most fun but it won’t look as good if you don’t)

Here is the basic pattern for it again:

wrap top pattern 2

There are a couple of basic things that are good to know before starting to sew this top:

  • It’s really easy, I mean it. The instructions might look long but that’s just because I’m trying to really tell you everything you need to know.
  • The measurements you take are pretty much the measurements it’s going to have. Sounds weird but there is hardly any seam allowance to consider because of the bias binding. And whatever seam allowance is needed is offset with the bow (it’ll all make sense later).
  • If you choose fabric with a pattern that goes in a certain direction you will have to cut 2 pieces (one for the front, one for the back) and sew them together at the shoulder seams so that the back piece isn’t upside down.

And here is HOW YOU * Craft It Yourself *

  1. Measure the width – this will be the width of the top across the shoulders from one end to the other. You can make it however wide you want but longer sleeves make it less flexible around the arms. The width I chose for mine was 74 cm (ca. 29in), this gave me a medium-length sleeve as in the picture. Everyone has different width shoulders so just sort of go for a measurement that will work for you.
  2. Measure the length – measure from the top of your shoulder to whichever length you want your top to be. For my crop top I measured until my belly button (belly button!). Mine was 45cm (ca. 18in).
    1. If you’re using plain fabric or some with a geometric print just double that and you have the length you need to cut the fabric at. Cut both fabric pieces the same size.
    2. If you’re using a fabric that needs splitting into front and back pieces, just cut 2 pieces at [width] by [length], then join them at the shoulder seam right side facing, press the seam towards the back with the iron and turn over. Do this for both fabrics.
  3. Pin both fabrics together right sides facing so they match. Try to pin along the middle folds so nothing budges in the next step.
  4. Cut out the neck – fold the fabric into quarters so that you find the middle point. Draw a quarter circle from the middle point at your desired radius and cut along the line. It helps if you put a couple of pins along the line. When you unfold the fabric you should have a circle (it’s magic!). The neck in my final garment is 22cm (ca. 8.5in) in diameter but it really depends how wide you want your neck. I reckon if you want any wider than 26cm (ca. 10in) you might want to cut more of an oval shape than a circle, otherwise you’ll end up exposing yourself a little bit (but you know, you might want to do that in which case, go for it!).
  5. Cut the neckline detail – if you’d like to add the neckline detail then mark the last measurement (x) on your fabric and cut a straight line along the fold down the front pieces of the fabric. It doesn’t matter if you mark this on the right or wrong side, it’s going to be hidden later on. Make sure you don’t cut on the back too though (I nearly did that with my first one because I had the fabric folded in half). This neckline detail can be pressed down later on (as in this version), or kept up (as in the original photo from Life Magazine). If you keep it up you can also add all manners of little brooches, buttons, pins… the possibilities are endless!
  6. In this wrap top I added the lace though so keeping the neck up would be a shame. To add the lace place it inbetween the two layers of fabric, the edge along where you’re going to press it down later. Trim the lace slightly so that you can make out an elongated triangle shape. Pin this and the circle of the neckline together.
  7. Start sewing – this is the fun bit! Sew the two pieces together with a 3-5mm (ca. 0.1-0.2in) seam allowance. Basically as close as you feel comfortable. I started at the back just in case I screwed something up at the beginning. Sew all the way around making sure that at the bottom point of the O> shape you get as close as you can to the seam. This will make it easier when you turn the fabric.
  8. neck 2
  9. Turn the fabric so that the wrong sides are facing making sure that the points of the neckline detail are nice and crisp and the lace is on whichever side you want it on. If you want lace on both sides just place 2 layers of lace in the previous step 6.) and turn appropriately. Now press the neckline with the iron. I know it’s annoying because you just want to get on with it but this will make it look like something more than a fancy tea towel, yay!
  10. Topstitch along the neckline again as close as you dare. When you get to the bottom of the neckline detail try and sew a V shape with the same seam allowance to secure it well.
  11. Bias binding and lace adging – pin your bias binding snuggly along the long sides of the rectangle trapping both layers of fabric so that it goes just a tad over the edges at either end. That’s just so you can hide the ends more easily later. When starting to sew your bias binding just lay the lace edging on top and make sure you catch it all the way along. The colour of the top thread should match the colour of the lace edging so that it hides away.
  12. Attach the ribbon – sew a piece of ribbon to the bottom of the front of the rectangle on either side. This just needs to be long enough to reach around you and be tied at the back. Make a seam by turning the fabric over twice, as if you’d make your own bias binding. This adds a little extra detail on the front bottom hem of one fabric, so choose which side carefully. This will turn the ribbon so if you want the shiny side at the front make sure you lay the shiny side face down before turning. You can’t really see the ribbon when you wear it but I’m a perfectionist to. Pin and sew along the seam in the middle.
  13. Attach the bow – this is the last bit – we’re nearly there! You have two options here as described in the first post, but I recommend using the 2nd option from that post. (I’m just deleting Option 1 and adding another for a reversible bow.)

Option 1 (requires pressing): This is reversible!

  1. Create a big version of bias binding – cut a piece of fabric each of at least 1.6m (ca. 63in) by [1.5 times as wide as you want your bow to be].
  2. Sew the strips together length-wise with the right sides facing. Press the fabric with the wrong sides facing. This helps with keeping the shape.
  3. Fold either side in length-wise (to about the halfway point of width – does that make sense??), creating what looks like massive bias binding. Press and pin as you go along.
  4. With this option you sew the ‘bias binding bow’ straight onto the back in one step. Line up the middle points of both pieces and take out the pins that match the bottom hem of the back piece. The ‘bias binding’ should stay nice and flat if you really pressed it 😉
  5. Feed the bottom hem of the back into the ‘bias binding’ making sure that the middle points stay matching. It doesn’t matter how far you insert it but if you want to be 100% sure that it’s level insert the hem all the way. I personally do it about half way because I feel like I’m covering so much pretty fabric otherwise… Pin the pieces together.
  6. Sew from one end of the ‘bias binding’ to the other with a seam allowance you’re comfortable with making sure that you trap the bottom hem along the way. (This is where you can make up for lost seam allowance if you had to join a front and back piece.)
  7. Fold over both ends and sew together. And:
  8.  \\ YOU’RE DONE, CONGRATS! // (*fireworks and trumpets going off* – at least in your head…)

Option 2 if you don’t want your bow to be reversible (still requires pressing): This is not reversible so choose your fabric wisely 😉

  1. Create a big version of bias binding – cut a piece of fabric of at least 1.6m (ca. 63in) by [3 times as wide as you want your bow to be].
  2. Fold the fabric length-wise so that it’s wrong side facing and press it. This helps with keeping the shape.
  3. Fold either side in length-wise (to about the halfway point of width – does that make sense??), creating what looks like massive bias binding. Press and pin as you go along.
  4. With this option you sew the ‘bias binding’ straight onto the back in one step. Line up the middle points of both pieces and take out the pins that match the bottom hem of the back piece. The ‘bias binding’ should stay nice and flat if you really pressed it 😉
  5. Feed the bottom hem of the back into the ‘bias binding’ making sure that the middle points stay matching. It doesn’t matter how far you insert it but if you want to be 100% sure that it’s level insert the hem all the way. I personally do it about half way because I feel like I’m covering so much pretty fabric otherwise… Pin the pieces together.
  6. Sew from one end of the ‘bias binding’ to the other with a seam allowance you’re comfortable with making sure that you trap the bottom hem along the way. (This is where you can make up for lost seam allowance if you had to join a front and back piece.)
  7. Fold over both ends of the bow and sew together. And:
  8.  \\ YOU’RE DONE, CONGRATS! // (*fireworks and trumpets going off* – at least in your head…)

Here’s the options you get with the neckline (press down whichever you choose for better stability):

  

And this is what it looks like from the back:

 

I’d love to see some of your creations if you get around to making one of your own. Please feel free to alter the pattern and be creative with it. I’ll keep posting my own alternatives on here.

Let me know how you’re getting on!

If it’s all a bit tricky after all (despite me telling you it’s easy – I’m sorry I don’t want to make you feel bad!) you can have a look at this lovely website by my friend Janice who offers a Wrap Top workshop once in a while. Just go to her classes and see if one is coming up.

Cu next Friday xx

Simple Summer Bow Top

Hello there (again),

This top was born out of the need to want to make a really quick airy summer top with some beautiful fabric that a friend of mine chose for me to make her a wrap top from. I just thought the tulip design was so wonderful that I had to be cheeky and use the leftovers for something for myself. (I went back to the shop the next day to grab myself more of it for the Walkaway Dress workshop that I went to earlier this month. I will write a short bonus post soon.) Throughout the process I made an error again, but again it meant I had to be creative to rescue (and overall improve) the design.

This is the result:

IMG_9550  IMG_9552
  
 You will need:

  • 0.5m of patterned fabric
  • 0.5m of plain fabric
  • elastic band, 2cm wide (or any will do but please adapt the steps below)
  • your chest measurement
  • to know how long you’d like the top (measure from your armpit to your desired length)

And this is HOW YOU * Craft It Yourself *

  • Draw a rectangle on a piece of paper. Assign your chest measurement to the longer side and the length you want to the shorter side. Add [width of elastic band + 1cm] x 2 + [1/2 (width of elastic band + 1cm)] to the top of the long sides – this will be where you insert the elastic band aka the top. Add 3cm to the bottom as seam allowance. Add 3cm either side as seam allowance.
  • SO if your measurements were 90 x 37 cm and you have a 2cm elastic band – you need to end up with a rectangle of 96 x 47.5cm as fabric.

FullSizeRender

  • At this point I was still thinking that the top seam would overlap or at least sit flush at the back. I also thought I had enough of the tulip fabric to make the whole top.
  • Then the latter went out the window. The fabric wasn’t long enough. But no problemo – I also had left over of the lining in a complementary colour. I cut 96 x 32 cm out of the tulip fabric. And 96 x 17.5cm from the plain green fabric (this includes 2 x 1cm seam allowance to join the 2 fabrics horizontally).
  • Sew together the bottom of the patterned fabric and the top of the plain fabric together right sides facing with a 1cm seam allowance. Press
  • Turn the side seams and the bottom over twice at 1.5cm and sew to hem the edges.
  • Now for the top – cut your elastic at the length of your chest measurement for now (you will shorten it later) and lay it on the wrong side of the fabric.
  • Now it will get a bit fiddly. Turn over the fabric twice to encompass the elastic band and leave about 1cm at the bottom to sew along later. You want a 3cm tunnel for the 2cm elastic, leave 1cm to sew along the bottom. Try to match this on both sides and along the whole seam. (I never said it was going to be easy. Or did I? Shoot.) Sew along the seam below the elastic trying not to catch it.

FullSizeRender

FullSizeRender

  • In order to get the elastic at the right length to not be too loose but not be too tight either, I had to experiment a bit. Just overlap the ends and sew a rectangle to join. ** If it turns out too loose just cut the bit off and do it again. If it’s too tight I’m sure it will loosen over time. However, if you want to do it again, cut it, take it out the seam, measure where you joined the pieces, cut a new piece at a shorter length, insert into seam, join, try on – right size? Repeat from ** 😉

FullSizeRender

  • Once the right size is found, try on your top and see how much of a gap you have between the sides of the fabric at the back. Cut a piece of fabric that turned over will cover this gap and fit into the seam for the elastic. Mine was about 7 x 5cm. Fold twice along the short side to make a strip of 2.5 x 5cm. Sew down the middle to secure. Set to the side for now.
  • We shall make the bow next. Watch this tutorial until 2:03 to make the main bit of the bow (you won’t need a glue gun for this top, don’t worry.)
  • Then cut a bit of bias binding long enough to wrap around the centre of the bow tightly, fold it over and sew along it. Wrap it around the middle of the bow and secure it without sewing into the bow itself. Take it off the bow and attach it to the small strip of fabric you made two steps ago. (I attached it the wrong way at first so make sure you attach it so that the bow will be horizontal in the end, not vertical :)).
  • Now wiggle the strip (with the loop) into the space for the elastic on both sides and sew together without catching the elastic.
  • Then feed the bow back through the loop and secure with a few stitches to the loop.
  • Then secure the sides of the bow with a tiny stitch to the top seam so that it doesn’t droop at the back.

IMG_9178

  • (This bit is optional: fix one or two hook and eyes where your 2 fabrics meet on the back to achieve a bit more structure and security.)
  • And then: \\ YOU’RE FINISHED, WELL DONE! // Put it on and enjoy how light and airy it is! Now we just need the heat wave to stay a little longer…

Here are a couple more pictures of the top:

IMG_9554  IMG_9555 (cheeky!)
Cu next Friday xx

Why do people find the term ‘crafternoon’ so funny?

It’s the perfect combination of craft and afternoon (movie reference intended). And the perfect definition of crafting in an afternoon. Which is anything a full-time employed crafter can hope for. 

Enjoy yours today if you had the genius idea to take Monday off… I reckon registered crafters should get extra days off work. I’m going to look into this. 

Who of you would sign the petition for me?

In the meantime – enjoy these crafty cats.

il_340x270.494012761_drz3(found here.)

crafty_cat

(found here.)

Sample-pages-1-The-Crafty-Cat-Knits

(many others can be found here.)

original_tattoo-crafty-cat-card

(you can buy this here.)

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