Tuesday, 31 January 2012

Why I hoard sewing supplies....

To justify my fabric hoarding: This little girl's blouse is made from fabric I cut off the bottom of our lounge curtains when I shortened them!

I absolutely adore crotched lace! My wonderful friend Jill gave me a whole load of hand crocheted doilies that she thought I may be able to use in my various projects. (I already have a bright pink velvet cushion with a doily overlaid topped off with a fabric rose in my mind).

This evening I added one to the neckline of this little girl's blouse - I think to great effect.

Wednesday, 25 January 2012

Robyn Bunny

Yesterday's wonderful parcel inspired this Tilda bunny! She is also from the Tilda Characters Collection, the bunny book, from the Lazy Days pattern. Our home may soon be called a warren!
On seeing this one completed, Eugene wanted to know if she was for sale (I have not been able to part with any of the bunnies!), earning him a horrified look. Not too sure what I will do with the - bury, colony, down, drove, husk, leash, trace, trip, circle, herd, litter, warren, nest, wrack - (pick the collective noun you prefer) of bunnies!

Showing a friend my rabbit collection the other day, we got to discussing the difference between the German words for rabbits Kaninchen and Hasen. I asked if it was the same as rabbit vs. hare, at which point she asked the difference between the two. Well, that stumped me! So today, thinking about that discussion, and thinking about rabbits in general, I found this informative site. So I now know that all the bunnies living in our home MUST be rabbits, and not hares, as hares have never been domesticated! Sadly both are killed for their fur and their meat - to me akin to eating dogs or cats...

Trivia for the day :)

Thanks again Robs & Lel for the gorgeous parcel!!

Tuesday, 24 January 2012

I got the most AMAZING surprise in my postbox today!!!

I have just been to the PostOffice to collect a parcel, and had to post this as soon as I saw what it contained!
Robs & Lel... THANK-YOU SOOOOOOOOO much!!!! They are gorgeous!!!!!!

I feel a blue bunny coming on.......

A clever way to applique

Instead of trying to turn under an exact seam - especially impossible on circular areas, try this trick:-

1. cut two pieces of the required shape on folded fabric - right sides together. Then, keeping your pieces lined up, draw your shape on the back of one piece.
2. Sew around this pencil outline.
3. Make small cut in middle of one side. Lengthen this to a cut 1/4 of the length of the piece (or there about). You may have to make a 2nd cut perpendicular to the 1st.
4. Turn the piece right side out through this slit.
Poke out the edges with a bigger crochet hook (or something similar that will not make holes)
Iron flat

5. Your applique piece is perfectly shaped & ready to be applied to article.

Would you like that in pictures?

Here goes....


I added some more detail to the last Babushka Doll...

Isn't the print ribbon amazing? You can get it here on Dawanda - the shop is lovely & delivery is quick! The photos are very accurate as to colours.

Babushka Dolls

Meaning 'old women' or 'grandmother', these dolls are a symbol of fertility and motherhood, representing the generations past and those to come. They are also known as nesting dolls, and originated around 1890 in a little village about 70kms outside of Moscow.

And while many of us have an instant picture in our minds when we read 'Babushka Doll', the correct name for these nesting dolls is actually Matryoshka dolls.

So, as mine is not actually a set of dolls in decreasing size that fit one inside the other, I will stick to calling this one a Babushka Doll...

The pattern once again comes from the Tilda range of patterns - Tone Finnanger is a marvel!

Monday, 23 January 2012

How big is that Bunny?

Back to Berlin & Bunny making (Tilda style)

After a week away in the UK, I am spending the day sewing for fun. I wanted to remake my last Tilda Bunny (On the Farm) in a larger size, and managed very successfully to enlarge the pattern myself - no copier involved. You just trace the original pattern onto graph paper & then use the dimensions to make a new one. I got out my old geometry set from school to get it 100%.

Funny how often I use maths in creative sewing stuff! I wonder if it would be more interesting for school kids to be given problems to solve that they may one day face in their careers, rather than the more theoretical stuff we got?

It once took me quite a bit of calculating to advise a decorator on how much fabric she would need (taking into account pattern match), and how to put together - a 1m high fabric ball for her client's child's bedroom! It involved π and Mrs. Williamson (my fav. high school maths teacher) would have been proud!
Funny how often logic is required in a creative field, but creative people are often not encouraged to nurture their logical side, as we are often labeled EITHER creative OR logical at school, and then guided down one of these paths, often to the exclusion of the other.

Anyway, I digress. Back to the Tilda Bunny!!

I think it is safe to assume this is a girl bunny!
She is just shy of 1/2 a meter tall, and wears trousers made from some lovely Designer's Guild fabric I bought from a decorator in Winchester who was selling of remnants - an extremely lucky find, while visiting Rachel!
And now she needs a name... any suggestions?

Thursday, 12 January 2012

Tone Finnanger's Tilda bunnies

Okay, I just love the Tilda range!
My second Tilda bunny is done... he is from the 'on the farm' pattern.

He is Farmer Bunny! (with sun hat)
or without!

His dungarees are removable, and you can make alternative clothing for him!
Eugene says he needs a name... any suggestions?

Calico loves him!

I do however realise that his eyes need to be lower if you want him to wear his hat & still 'see'!

I want to make him in giant size now!

Tuesday, 10 January 2012

Tone Finnanger's Tilda Bunny

I started on the Tilda books, and decided (just for Robs) to start with the bunnies book. The first pattern is 'summer treat', and the little bunny is just too sweet!
Here is my first Tilda bunny...

Sophia is very interested in the bunny!

I could not get her out of the shot to take photos!

This is the 1st pompom I have made in YEARS & discovered that you can make a snip in the two rings, then wind the wool around 3/4 of the rings, using the opening instead of pushing it through the centre. Then simply tape up the snip, push the wool around to fill the whole circle, and then cut and tie as normal! Time saver!!!

This little bunny will be on a shelf in my sewing room watching me work!

Monday, 9 January 2012

House shoes Tilda range Tone Finnanger

Okay, I am smitten with Tone Finnanger's Tilda patterns!
First try at her slippers/ house shoes and look here...

Excuse the Huckleberry Fin jeans, but you needed to see the slippers in full, so a fold up was required ;)

I was loath to take them off my feet to add the little cat paw prints to prevent slipping:

This is a wonderful German product for adding to the bottom of socks & slippers to prevent slipping. It puffs up as it dries and makes little non slip areas.
I suspect you could also use those fabric paints in a tube, that puff up, to the same effect.

Moving to Europe from Africa, it was quite a surprise when people expected you to remove your shoes at their front door when visiting them. But, after noticing how few people pick up after their dogs, and the prevalence of spitting in Berlin (I know - you would think you would not see this in a civilized society), I quickly saw the wisdom in this.

Visitors generally expect to be issued with house shoes on their arrival, so I am thinking of making a few pairs of these in various sizes to hang on the coat hook at the door! They can be popped in the wash to be laundered, so are perfect! They would also be great hostess gifts!

Oh dear, I see this going the way Tone Finnanger's Tilda Teddy bears did!!

Sunday, 8 January 2012

Tone Finnanger Tilda books....

Theses are the books I am dying to get into, but have some other work that needs doing 1st. When you peep inside you will see why I cannot wait!

This one is good practice for my German skills as well! Funny though, I can have complete conversations about sewing stuff in pretty decent German, as I have had to learn all the terminology to shop online & explain what I am needing in the stores. Sadly I cannot find an Amazon site where you can get a peek inside! It has hats, mitts, pigs, ducks, angel wings for little girls, angels, reindeer, bears, a hobby horse..... sooooo much! Where to start???

Have a look here for a peep inside... and then you too will want this book!

This is the box set of many of the Tilda characters. It is really worth getting!
You have to copy the patterns 400%, but as long as you have a copy shop nearby to do this... no problem! It is a nice compact set of 4 small hard cover books in a pretty box. The patterns seem easy to follow... will let you know once I have tried! The teddy bears were really simple!

And just for Robs....

Saturday, 7 January 2012

Cleaning Day!

All I really want to do is try out the patterns in my new Tilda books that arrived yesterday, BUT I have been putting off tidying up my fabric hoard for ages. It was such a mess, it was impossible to find the fabrics I needed. So I spent the day yesterday & the morning today, and at last I have a neat & tidy sewing room... well almost ;)

I had the bright idea to arrange my fabrics by colour instead of how I always have, by type of fabrics. This new way is more practical & I should have thought of it ages ago!

Isn't it pretty....

Thursday, 5 January 2012

Make your own piping TUTORIAL

To make your own piping, you start the same way - cut strips on the diagonal (about 5cm wide).

  Join them to form one strip in the same manner you used for the bias binding.
Place piping cord down the center of the joined strip, starting at one end, using your zipper foot, stitch close to the cord, keeping the two open ends lined up as you stitch.

And there you have your piping ready to use!

Making your own Bias Binding TUTORIAL

Sewing basics are really expensive in Berlin, and where you would not even think about the cost of a zip or thread in SA, here it becomes part of your costing.  The same is true of bias binding.  So when 'Sis'** - my nickname for my Sister - told me about making my own bias binding, and then followed up by sending me 2 of the tape makers... I was over the moon.

** in South African colloquialism 'sis' is an expression of distaste or a reaction to something unpleasant - a bit of a joke from our younger days when the 4 year age gap seemed like too big a gap to bridge.
It comes from the Afrikaans 'sies' which is itself not a 'proper' word, but has the same meaning.

Back to the bias binding...

It is sooooo simple, and means you never have to use plain white binding again ;)

You will need a bias tape maker (Prym and Clover make great ones.  The links are purely to show you what they look like, you can find them on EBay.de and EBay.co.uk).  These come in various sizes - the 18mm and 25mm being the most commonly used ones.
From left to right: 12mm, 18mm, 25mm, 50mm

Okay... first step - cut your strip on the bias.  This means at a 45 degree to the grainline.  This is made simple with a rotary board with the necessary markings - usually sold for patchwork.

Then place this 45 degree line along one of the ruled lines on the mat & cut each strip the correct measurement as per the guide in the packaging.

You will need to cut quite a few strips (depending on how many meters you need for your project), and then join them on the diagonal - as seen in the next few images. 

Iron open the joins

Feed the point through the bias maker as shown

Now start ironing as you hold the length still to run through the bias maker quite taut.  Hold the iron with the nose just off the ironing board, and the back pressing down - with nose of iron towards the bias maker.  This will make it easier to ensure the bias is even.
Use the steam function of your iron & ensure the iron is set to the correct temperature for the fabric you are using.

It is a good idea to pre wash the fabric to test for colour fastness - the last thing you want is the colour from your binding running onto your finished piece during its first wash!

And there you go... 5m of binding in 15minutes, at a fraction of the cost!
And isn't it pretty?!

Buy the bias maker here from the UK