Rest – all is well Vintage linen Mini Quilt

Mini quilt - from Vintage Linens Relax all is well

I don’t know about you, but I simply adore vintage linens. I have a piles of white doilies and placemats as well as pretty tea trays and tablecloths.  I love the romantic notion of eating meals on white crisp linen, and have even used pretty napkins – until I saw someone spread the delicate white with tomato sauce!

Inspirational embroidery of gentlework

I came across the delightful embroidery of gentlework on Pinterest and followed the link to her inspirational blog. What bliss! The soulful embroidery made me feel inspired to make a little message of my own. I had felt rather poorly in the last few weeks, and a little burnt out so I decided to make a little wall hanging.

Vintage Linen mini quilt embroidery

I discovered a pack of lace pieces in a bag in a charity shop a few years ago – I snapped them up. Despite having piles of linen I simply cannot bring myself to cut them up but this time someone had already done this for me. The linen was white and fresh, it felt like sacrilege to age it so I left it white. I wrote the words using a blue wash away pen.

Vintage linen mini embroidered quilt

I added a few more embroidered flowers – daisy stitches and button hole rounds. The whole thing was approximately 6 inches wide by 10 inches long.

Hand Embroidery on Vintage linen

I used variegated thread for the word rest, but I could not decide how to do the all is well. I had to re-write it as the writing was too small to embroider effectively.

Mini Vintage linen Quilt Embroidery

The word ‘is’ ended up lost, so I whipped stitched it. I kept on unpicking and re doing – in the end I decided the pink was too pale.

Mini embroided quilt

I had a lovely piece of scalloped edging which I used to connect the top piece – it was a little different in colour, but I liked the effect. I then quilted it with various stitches using white Perle – I loved the way they created texture without detracting from the coloured embroidery.

Making tassels for edging - mini quilt

I crocheted an edge and decided to add tassels – it gave the quilt a little weight to change better.

Vintage Linen quilt

It is rare that I allow myself to simply play around – but it was enjoyable letting the little quilt evolve. I didn’t like the ‘All is Well’ part. I think next time I will use cotton Perle quite thick rather than embroidery floss.

It has been a soothing exercise, and quite addictive!

 

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Bees wax wraps – perfect to use up fabric scraps as well as reduce plastic wrap!

Bees wax food wrap

This project has been the most fun and it can be a little addictive! We are all seeking alternatives to plastic, not just to reduce the mountains of plastic waste – as well as making something more sustainable and cost effective. These wraps can be made from scraps of fabric left over from projects or you can purchase some plain cotton cloth. It works best on thin cotton, used for patchwork.

To make a cloth you will need,

wax stips ingredients

You lay the baking parchment on your tray (believe me you need a tray! I did it the first time and ended up with beeswax running all over my ironing board!)

Lay your fabric wrong side facing and sprinkle the beeswax over the fabric, lightly.

Lay the parchment over the top and using a medium to hot iron begin to slowly work from the centre outwards.

plastic free food wrap lesson

iron from the middle outwards you will see the fabric colour change and the wax oozes away

You will see the wax change to a runny consistency and you can see the fabric slowly change colour as it soaks up the wax.

Keep working until all the fabric is covered.

 

food wrap - sprinkle beeswax onto fabric

sprinkle beeswax on fabric

This is far too much beeswax, when you iron on it it will leak everywhere! Not only that the wax is quite difficult to press under the iron.

Bees wax food wrap

Too much wax on fabric

You end up with too much wax and the fabric looks messy. The great thing about this project is that there is no waste!

Simply place this fabric between the baking parchment and let your iron slowly work the wax into liquid form. Move the wax away from the fabric and keep going until the fabric looks soaked and there is no excess of wax around it.

bees wax food wrap

melting the wax with an iron

 

You can do longer pieces in sections, moving across the fabric slowly. As long as you keep your baking parchment between the iron and the wax it will be fine.

Bees wax wrap

Bees wax cloth will cool quickly

The wax cools very quickly, when you peel the fabric off the baking parchment it will feel like oil cloth – it is quite stiff.

This is why it is best to use lightweight fabrics, heavier cottons such as furnishing fabric – takes more wax and makes the fabric stiffer.

Trim edges after waxing to keep from fraying

Trim edges after melting wax to prevent fraying

I use some pinking shears to finish off the edges after the waxing, it makes a nice neat finish. You can see the texture of the fabric in this close up shot.

 

The advantage these beeswax cloths have over clingfilm is that there is no transference of chemicals. Cheese is particularly vulnerable to picking up the chemicals in plastic.

The beeswax wraps are also washable, just use warm soapy water, (not hot) and use again.

The wax cloths are also very mouldable – use the warmth of your hands to smooth the wax around the object. I found this large wrap kept bread fresh.

eco friendly frugal gift wrap

These wraps also make a wonderful wrapping for some trickier gifts, without the need for sellotape. Not only do you cut down on wasted paper but the recipient has a useful object to keep food well.

bees wax yellow on baking parchment

yellow beeswax on baking parchment

This is a very cost effective project, using scraps of fabric and off cuts and the beeswax goes a long way.

You can get soy candle wax if you prefer – this wax came yellow and it has given the fabric a creamy colour – maybe there are uncoloured wax suppliers out there.

Do try and make your own – how often do you get to have fun and save the planet all at once?

ttfn x

 

 

 

Mindful stitchery – hand embroidery

 

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Turn of the sewing machine and settle down to a more sedate pace, the gentle art of hand embroidery is creative mindful meditation. Far more transportable than machine sewing, hand embroidery can be enjoyed while watching a good film, sitting in a waiting room or travelling by train. You only need a few skeins of thread, small embroidery hoop and a good long needle.

While embroidery techniques might seem outdated they are essential to the dressmaker, couture sewing is always hand stitched – these techniques can give your garment a high end finish!

There are two forms of embroidery that delight me, the vintage style spring pastels on cotton and the glorious vibrancy of folk art on wool.

I am planning a hand embroidery afternoon – with tea cake and stitchery, so I thought I would create a few samplers.

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One of the most challenging aspect is to create evenly spaced stitches especially on cotton this sample is only 6inches wide by 8inches long on a 100% cotton.

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This close up shows the weave of this cotton – getting the spacing right is essential especially for stitches that are woven.

As you can see the couching, weaving and cross-stitches need to look uniform so there is a great little trick I can offer you.

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Create a grid using washable marker pen, the guidelines will help you to create even stitches but they can be washed away after the project is done! (You did not see them in the earlier example!) once you have completed a few stitches with the grid, you will get a feel for the distance needed and will be able to stitch evenly without.

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Using wool felt creates a whole different effect, like folk art, this piece was created some time ago by eye!

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And it is easy to use ribbon weaving to create a nice frame for stitches, this time using tapestry wool.

If you fancy an afternoon of Tea, Cake and embroidery I am running a class on Friday 11 March 2016 – details here.

ttfn x

A vested interest -grey to glorious cosy underwear

It is cold, blustery and wintery, being a chilly morsel I am reluctant to turn the heating up too much out of respect not just to my purse but the planet. I am not a fan of jumpers – they seem to make me into a blob with mono boob!

I wear dresses mostly, some of them are cotton so I need a little extra warmth. These little vests might be a little old fashioned, but they are so delightfully warm without bulk and slip easily under a dress. Pretty they aren’t!

Grey lace top

Revamp, top, sewing, lace, insert

I like to wear pretty things especially underwear but these scream out old lady! bear with me, this can be beautiful with a few little tweaks.

Remove old elastic

recycle, upcycle, revamp

Cut off the knicker elastic edging – it is a good time to consider lowering your neckline if you don’t want the vest to be seen. If you aren’t sure try it on under one of your dresses and mark where you want the finished edge to be.

Adding lace panel

adding lace, replacement, upcycling.

There are so many beautiful little lace panels available – this pretty little design was relatively inexpensive – and it is beautiful!

Marking lace edging

use a marker pen to indicate where the lace panel will be.

Mark your positioning with an erasable pen, or tailors chalk. Check to see the lace is balanced and central.

stretch needles

Always use stretch needles when working with knits.

You can get lovely stretch lace from eBay or your local fabric store, I bought this on eBay for about £2.99 per metre, the rickrack  looks like little hearts to me. You will also need stretch needles, these are rounded so that they push between the threads rather than breaking them. Ordinary cotton thread is perfect.

The stretch zigzag allows the item some movement when sewn.

The stretch zigzag allows the item some movement when sewn.

Set your sewing machine stitch to a stretch zig zag  – it looks like a broken zigzag, this allows the stitches to stretch with the elastic. You can see what the stitch looks like on my machine.

Attach the elastic edging around the neckline right side of the vest to the wrong side of the elastic. The decorative edge should be on the outer edge and the flat edge of the elastic should be lined up with the neckline.

with the decorative edge pointing away from the neckline.

with the decorative edge pointing away from the neckline.

Set the zigzag stitch width to cover  the elastic, but leave the ricrac edge free. Stitch between the two marked points, while slightly stretching the elastic lace.

Turn the elasticated edge under and top sttich.

Turn the elasticated edge under and top sttich.

Turn the elastic under and top stitch around the neckline using a 3.5 stitch length once again stopping at the marked points.

cut to the zigzag edge of the lace.

cut to the zigzag edge of the lace.

Lay the decorative lace in place and using a narrow stretch zigzag follow the lower edge of the lace attaching it to the vest.

Trim away the vest to the zigzag edging and then you are done!

with new lace edging

with new lace edging

Your pretty lace detail can peek from your neckline, no-one would guess you are wearing a vest!

Up-cycled Jumper to cardigan


jumper upcyle before

This lovely Angora Jumper was needing a little brightening up.

cutting the front

To make this into a cardigan I cut along the midpoint between the rows of stitching.

crocheting the edges

It is important to finish the edges before it began to fray.

A double crochet edge gives a stronger border for

covered buttons on cardigan

Its very easy to cover buttons, just make a circle of fabric bigger than the button

Use running stitch around the edge and then pull together so that the fabric gathers around the back.

Stitch in place.

faux button and popper closures

I use snap fasteners, to close the cardigan it makes it easy to fasten.

Upcycled jumper flowers 3

The stitched corsage is made from more covered buttons

I covered a button using crochet and placed in the middle of a suffolk puff

Upcycled jumper flower buttons

I crocheted a pretty frilled edge round one of the buttons

The rose was a felted button and the leaves were from a wool blanket I felted and dyed.

flower details 6

I hope my daughter enjoys her new vintage style cardigan.

Summer dress – Up-cycling project – Adding Sleeves and Modesty Panel

01-Summer Dress Upcyle - sleeves and modesty panel

This is a very flattering dress: it accentuates a small waist and hides wide hips nicely beyond the lightly gathered skirt. Most pear shapes or hourglass figures will suit styles like this.

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There are a couple of elements that I am not entirely happy with

The neckline is rather plunging – especially as I am quite busty.

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I am also not a great fan of sleeveless dresses, I prefer to keep my underarms under cover!

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Luckily this dress comes with a long generous wrap, which is enough fabric to make sleeves.

If the dress you want to revamp doesn’t come with a wrap, you can always take fabric from the bottom.

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I created a bit of a cap sleeve pattern – using a sleeve from another pattern as a guide.

As the fabric is chiffon, I traced the outline of the sleeve using a dissolvable marker cutting the fabric in a strip.

Using a pretty narrow zig zag stitch and matching thread, follow round the sleeve following the outline

then trim close to the finished edge.


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Stitch the sleeve seam and then add a gathered edge using narrow elastic

You can just see the elasticated edge here, I use a large zig zag stitch to create a gathered edge.

Pin and stitch the sleeve into the armholes. 

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The modesty template is triangular, I doubled over the fabric,

making the top edge along the fold because of the transparent nature of the chiffon.

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Once again zig zag the side edges, so that the panel is in one piece.

Stitch in place between the cross over bodice.

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All done! Now I can wear it without the need for a teeshirt underneath.

I have enough fabric left to make a matching hair accessory and a rose.

Upcycling Jumper Project – Cosy Cashmere Cushion

Upcycled-jumper-project

There is nothing more satisfying than creating something new from an old jumper discovered in a charity shop. I was initially attracted to the pretty shade of pink, but it was far too big for me. It was back in the Autumn when the nights were drawing in – when my thoughts turn to cosiness, wooden blankets and log fires that I decided to upcycle this unloved jumper into a cushion to feather my winter nest.

I have not seen smocking for a long time, but the idea for this front panel came when I was flipping through some old sewing books – the smocking method was lengthy and (to my mind) laborious. I thought it would be fun to play around with the technique to make it a little simpler as well as make the most of the texture of the jumper.

up-cycled-jumper-smocking

I started by using the front piece of the jumper for the smocking panel. I wanted to create a deep raised pattern so I made 1cm pleats across the panel. Then I marked across at 2cm intervals along the folds using a washable pen.

upcycled-jumper-smocking-cushion

The pleating and marks made it very simple to create a honeycomb pattern across the jumper panel. I would alternate the pleat joins so that it ended up with regular diamonds. I liked the pale green Perle cotton – the shade was in harmony with the pink.

up-cycled-jumper-smocking-cushion-panel

As with all things hand sewn, it was such a relaxing panel to do that I often wonder why I don’t do more embroidery. Watching TV with my fabric on my lap, tea within reach the panel was done in no time at all. Despite the sewing book instructions making it seem laborious, it was quickly and easily achieved and I loved the texture.

Up-cycled-jumper-cushion-front-panel

The smocking does reduce the width of the front section of the jumper by around a third so I used the sleeve sections either side to create a square panel. The ribbing at the bottom of the jumper created a nice frame bottom and top, so the front section was completed.

Up-cycled-jumper-cushion

I used the back of the jumper to make the back and stitched it loosely closed. If the cushion needed to be washed it would only take minutes to unpick. I also did not want zips or buttons to interfere with the softness of the cushion.

upcycled-jumper-flowers

I felt the cushion needed a little more decoration so I made a few suffolk puffs (or yo yo’s as our American Cousins Call them) and utilised the ribbing off one of the sleeves. I also embroidered leaves and stems with wool. (Also pre-loved).

Up-cycled-jumper-cushion

I am rather thrilled with the finished cushion, its so lovely to sit against (or lie next to as my dog prefers). It is quite easy to work with knits, just a case of selecting a straight stitch with a little zig zag in it and a ball point needle.