Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Fabric Storage Make-Over

After the fabric make-over

Before the fabric Make-over
Like most avid sewers I have a problem - the control of my fabric stash.  It creeps and grows and expands like a tin of space filler.  This week I had enough of not being able to find anything in the overcrowded and underlit space.  As you can see from my before photo the fabric was wedged in bedroom built-ins with no space and no way to see what is at the back.  Apart from the cupboard I also had 2 laundry baskets and 3 of those wheel-y boxes that could not fit in.

My clever hubby came up with a solution.  We bought nine cheap bright mini shelf units with an A4 footprint and combined them in a wooden frame secured to the wall to create a storage built-in with bright shelv es of just the right size to hold my fabrics.  I have been able to organise the fabrics by colour, type and useage and now have a dream wall you can sit in front of and find fabrics in minutes.  Plus we created some extra alcoves just right for rolls of fabric and interacing, and its right next to both my desk light and the window to get easy viewing day or night.

A bonus was I actually cleaned out the fabrics I no longer wanted and found many fat quarters I did not know I had.

It was an easy, inexpensive and quick fix to this fabric challenge.  I am in fabric heaven.

Monday, June 9, 2014

Free Embroidery Pattern - KEWPIE-STYLE FACES STITCHERY




 

I love Kewpie dolls.  They remind me of childhood and fairs and fun.  Stitch these Kewpie style faces to take a trip down memory lane with me.

Stitchery completed size: 8cm high by 8cm wide each
 
Materials:

40cm *20cm lemon homespun
40cm *20cm pink print backing fabric. I like to use 100% cotton fabric and I also like to back this with iron on interfacing.
2 panels 39cm * 19cm light weight iron on interfacing
1 skein DMC 3821 (bright yellow), 938 (chocolate brown), and Black
1 skein Anchor No 42 (deep pink)
Embroidery hoop
Embroidery needle
Chopstick
Sharp 2B pencil
Sewing machine thread in off white
40cm narrow ribbon for loops

Instructions:

Iron lightweight iron on interfacing to back of the lemon Homespun.

Using a well lit window and sharp 2B pencil, transfer the stitchery designs to the front of the homespun as spaced out on the pattern sheet.  This will leave enough room to sew the design.

Place the prepared fabric in an embroidery hoop and complete the patterns in backstitch using one thread, using pictures as colour guide.  Complete the eyes in satin stitch.

 

After completion of stitchery designs, press the work.

Return the completed work to the well lit window wrong side of work facing up, and mark in pencil on the back of the fabric the stitchery line for the banner edge from the pattern sheet, noting the opening for turning.

Iron lightweight iron on interfacing to back of the pink backing print.

With right sides together, pin a panel of your chosen banner backing fabric to your stitchery panel.

Using a small machine stitch and matching thread, stitch on the pencil line (as below on the left side image).

Once sewn, trim back edges to turn (I use pinking shears to give clean finish).  Be sure to leave a 1cm seam allowance on the unsewn turning edge for later.

Turn through banner using a chopstick and iron flat to neaten.

To complete a flag, turn in a 1 cm seam on the top turning edge and pin to secure. 
Cut two small 10cm pieces of ribbon for each flag, fold in half, and insert into the unsewn seam using marks on the pattern sheet as a guide.  Stitch top seam closed.

 
 
To complete a banner, insert into the centre of a length of bias tape in complementary colour and stitch.  Add additional banner panels as wanted to make a banner of the required length.

 


 

STITCHERY HINTS AND TIPS:

  • My stitchery is worked in 1 thread of embroidery floss.  This means if you have a skein of embroidery floss and you cut a workable length (around 40cm), you need to separate out one thread from the six in the length to work with.

  • I have worked these stitcheries using DMC Thread no. 3821 (bright yellow), 938 (chocolate brown), Black, and Anchor No 42 (deep pink). You could try this or any of your own colour combinations.  You may also like to colour portions of the completed stitchery using artist colouring pencils.  I have used Faber Castel artist pencils to embellish two faces.

  • I like to work on homespun (100% cotton fabric) in a light colour that has first been washed and ironed well.

  • I transfer the stitchery pattern using a well lit window and sharp 2B pencil. I transfer the design in line with the fabrics grain. The pencil marks are hidden by the completed stitches.

  • I like to back my work with iron on interfacing to hide knots behind the stitchery.

  • I wax my thread as I work to improve the threads performance.

  • I use an embroidery hoop to improve the embroidery outcome.

  • After completing the stitchery, I iron the work well.  If there are any stray pencil marks, I like to use a fabric eraser to remove them rather than wash the work (which can sometimes make colours move slightly).

Monday, May 19, 2014

Free Embroidery Pattern - COLONIAL LADY WITH HAT AND FLAPPER LADY WITH HAT STITCHERY




I created these two elegant little faces to capture an age gone by. They would lend themselves to Christmas Ornaments, greetings card fronts, gift tags or book marks.



Stitchery completed size: 8cm high by 8cm wide each


STICHERY HINTS AND TIPS:

  • My stitchery is worked in 1 thread of embroidery floss.  This means if you have a skein of embroidery floss and you cut a workable length (around 40cm), you need to separate out one thread from the six in the length to work with.

  • I have worked these stitcheries using DMC Thread no.815 (Red) and Black. You could try this or any of your own colour combinations.  You may also like to colour portions of the completed stitchery using artist colouring pencils. 

  • I like to work on homespun (100% cotton fabric) in a light colour that has first been washed and ironed well.

  • I transfer the stitchery pattern using a well lit window and sharp 2B pencil. I transfer the design in line with the fabrics grain. The pencil marks are hidden by the completed stitches

  • I like to back my work with iron on interfacing to hide knots behind the stitchery.

  • I wax my thread as I work to improve the threads performance.

  • I use an embroidery hoop to improve the embroidery outcome.

  • After completing the stitchery, I iron the work well.  If there are any stray pencil marks, I like to use a fabric eraser to remove them rather than wash the work (which can sometimes make colours move slightly).
 

HANGING DECORATION:

Materials:

30cm *20cm lemon homespun
30cm *20cm black print backing fabric. I like to use 100% cotton fabric and I also like to back this with iron on interfacing.
2 panels 29cm * 19cm light weight iron on interfacing
1 skein DMC 815 and Black
Embroidery hoop
Embroidery needle
Chopstick
Sharp 2B pencil
Sewing machine thread in white
20cm narrow ribbon for loops
Small amount of fill

Instructions:


Iron lightweight iron on interfacing to back of the lemon Homespun.

Using a well lit window and sharp 2B pencil, transfer the stitchery designs to the front of the homespun as spaced out on the pattern sheet.  This will leave enough room to sew the design.

Place the prepared fabric in an embroidery hoop and complete the patterns in backstitch using one thread, using pictures as colour guide.

After completion of stitchery designs, press the work.

Return the completed work to the well lit window wrong side of work facing up, and mark in pencil on the back of the fabric the stitchery line for the banner edge from the pattern sheet, noting the opening for turning.

Iron lightweight iron on interfacing to back of the black backing print.

With right sides together, pin a panel of your chosen backing fabric to your stitchery panel.

Using a small machine stitch and matching thread, stitch on the pencil line (as below on the left side image).

Once sewn, trim back edges to turn (I use pinking shears to give clean finish).  Be sure to leave a 1cm seam allowance on the unsewn turning edge for later.

Turn through decoration using a chopstick and iron flat to neaten.

 
To complete a hanging decoration, turn in a 1cm seam on the top turning edge and press.
Put a small amount of fill in the decoration.
Pin top to secure. 
Cut two small 10cm pieces of ribbon for each decoration, fold in half, and insert into the unsewn seam at the top.  Stitch top seam closed using invisible ladder stitch by hand.

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Quick Make Envelopes from wrapping paper - Dress up Gift Giving and Stationery

 
 

I struggle with attractive gift presentation ideas.  I wanted a nice and inexpensive way to present a gift card.  I have some Spoonflower printed wrapping paper of some of my Dr Who inspired sketches and the weight of the paper is lovely. I thought about whipping up a quick envelope from the gift wrap with matching mini-card.

To make the envelope, I measured the size of the main motif on the wrapping paper (11.5cm square).  This size will be the front of the gift envelope and I made the card around this size. I just added 2cm to each side and used the 1/3rd - 2/3rds rule for the top and bottom flaps.  I have attached the template but feel free to adjust to the paper being used. I rounded the edges of the envelope corners.
 


 


I scored and folded the envelope along the side flaps and top and bottom and secured the side flaps to the bottom using a couple of lengths of double sided tape.  A glue stick would also work.

I made a matching mini card by cutting a couple of the motifs from the wrapping paper and folding in half.  A mini hole punch in the corner and a length of ribbon finished the card.

The total use of wrapping paper was only around an A4 size and the envelope was perfect for the gift.


Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Doll Makeovers -Transforming Op-Shop Castoff Dolls to be as Good as New


Before doll restoration

After restoration

As part of the team at a child care centre,  I need economical ways to entertain the kids. New toys are wonderful but expensive in the quantities required. 

I have discovered a low-cost way to restore worn out dolls sourced from op-shops to be as good as new. The dolls I have used here are Barbie dolls but the techniques work equally well for other plastic dolls with hair.

Materials: 

  • Barbie type dolls - my eight dolls pictured cost $22 from local op-shops clothed
  • Glycerine
  • Pantene Intense Smoothening leave in Conditioner
  • Baby Shampoo
  • Soap and water, sponge
  • Doll brush and fine tooth comb
  • Sharp scissors

Method:

Undress the dolls and hand wash all clothing separately. Remove any hair bands from the dolls hair.  They made need to be cut loose carefully from the hair.

Wash the dolls in warm water using soap and a sponge.  Do not submerge the doll as this will fill the doll with water and make the drying process very long.

Wash the dolls hair using baby shampoo in cool running water until clean. Don't use hot water on the doll as this can damage the plastic.

Dry dolls on a towel and pat dry hair.  leave the dolls to dry for a couple of hours.

Clean dolls ready for hair restoration
 After drying, wipe the dolls over with a little glycerine on their plastic surfaces.  This will restore the shine and the suppleness to the plastic and make them last longer.

To restore the hair, apply a small but generous amount of Pantene Intense Smoothening Conditioner to the dolls hair.  Work the conditioner into the hair using your fingers.

Using a small doll brush start brushing the hair. Work from the tips of the hair up about 5 cm to start and as this frees from knots work further up the hair strands.  Don't panic too much about some hair being caught in the brush, as dolls are normally very generously supplied with hair. Don't pull too hard as this can stretch the hair.  Many short strokes are better.  After brushing the top of the hair, turn the doll and brush fully the underside of the hair.

Before brushing
After brushing
After Brushing
Before brushing


After brushing
Before brushing
After brushing

After completely brushing the hair, repeat using a fine tooth comb.  If there are any stray lengths, carefully trim the ends of the doll hair.  Use scissors sparingly as dolls hair won't regrow :).

The combination of both brush then comb will restore the dolls hair.  It should now be shiny and clean.  Style as needed using small bands (I used tiny cheap clear ones from a bargain shop).

After the clothes are fully dry, return to the dolls and let the kids enjoy low cost fun.

From this...


...to this

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Whotastic Craft Tutorial - The 10th Doctor Egg Cozy Cup Cover Egg Garment

This is my next entry into the creation of the ultimate Dr Who egg cozy collection.  The 10th Doctor was a little tricky to think of what to highlight in the design.  I had to go back to Army of Ghosts to find something to make him stand out - the 3D glasses.


 

Materials:


  • 1 sheet of felt in each of the the following colours: flesh, red, reddy brown, coffee, orange and royal blue.
  • Embroidery thread: DMC chocolate brown 838, DMC royal blue 517, DMC Blanc, DMC 4130 Variegated orange, and DMC coffee 3863
  • Small scrap fusible webbing
  • HB pencil
  • matching sewing thread
  • embroidery needle
Instructions:




Follow the same method to make as described by my previous post: http://sharlzndollz.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/free-craft-project-whotastic-egg.html

 Stitchery is worked in two strands of embroidery thread in the following colours:

  • DMC 838 -"Allons-y" lettering and jacket lapels in backstitch
  • DMC 517 - glasses in blanket stitch.
  • DMC 3863 - jacket edge in blanket stitch
  • DMC 4130 - hair edge in blanket stitch
  • DMC 517 - Tie in blanket stitch

 

 
Stay tuned for more eggy adventures in time and space.

 

Sunday, February 23, 2014

Whotastic Craft Tutorial - The War Doctor Egg Cozy Cup Cover Egg Garment



 

This is the second in my series of egg cozies designed to celebrate both Easter and Doctor Who.
 I am creating the egg cozies in a random order as inspiration hits me and this time its the War Doctor from "Day of the Doctor" as portrayed by John Hurt.  He has a wonderful beard and that was my focus with this cozy.  The back is decorated with the words "No More" (of course).


Materials:

  • 1 sheet of felt in each of the the following colours: flesh, silver grey, black and tan.
  • Embroidery thread: DMC Black, DMC Grey 414, and DMC 3863 Tan
  • Small scrap fusible webbing
  • HB pencil
  • matching sewing thread
  • embroidery needle
Instructions: 

Follow the same method to make as described by my previous post: http://sharlzndollz.blogspot.com.au/2014/02/free-craft-project-whotastic-egg.html




Stitchery is worked in two strands of embroidery thread in the following colours:
  • DMC Black -"No More" lettering in backstitch and jacket in blanket stitch
  • DMC 414 Grey - Hair in blanket stitch, moustache and half beard in blanket stitch, edge of beard bottom in backstitch.
  • DMC 3863 tan - scarf/jacket edge
Stay tuned for more egg-celent who-y makes....

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Free craft project: Whotastic Egg Garments 1 - 11th Doctor Egg Cozy

Leading up to the chocolate munching holiday season, I want to create a series of Dr Who themed egg cozies.  I thought I would start with No 11 since he was so much fun. The design features a fez, the wonderful wave of fringe, and of course a bow tie on the front and his favourite saying "Geronimo!" on the reverse.  Here is my instructions for the Matt Smith's Dr Who Egg Cozy.

Materials:

  • 1 sheet of felt in each of the te following colours: flesh, red, chocolate brown, coffee, and pale blue.
  • Embroidery thread: DMC dark blue 823, DMC red 817, DMC Blanc, DMC chocolate brown 838, and DMC coffee 3863
  • Small scrap fusible webbing
  • HB pencil
  • matching sewing thread
  • embroidery needle
Instructions:


  • Print out the template sheet (A4 size) and cut out each of the shapes from the paper to use as templates.
  • Use the egg cup outline template to trace onto the flesh coloured felt once and onto the pale blue felt once.
  • Use the fez template to trace twice onto the red felt (tip I have backed these shapes with a small scrap of iron on interfacing to make it more sturdy).
 
  • Using the fusible webbing, trace the shapes of the hair (in reverse), the bowtie, and the jacket onto the paper side of the webbing.  Roughly cut out each shape from the webbing (ie NOT on the pencil line). 
  • Iron the bowtie webbing shape onto the red felt.  Iron the hair webbing shape onto the chocolate felt and iron the jacket webbing shape onto the coffee coloured felt.
  • Neatly cut out each of these shapes on the pencil line. Sharp scissors are helpful.
  • Using the pattern sheet as a guide, position and then line into place first the jacket and then the hair and bowtie to the egg cozy front. Mark the centre lines onto the bowtie.
 
  •  Blanket stitch around the shapes in two strand of embroidery thread as follows: DMC 817 around the bowtie, DMC 3863 on the top edge of the jacket, DMC 838 on the bottom edge of the hair. Set the cozy front aside.
  • Using the wording from the pattern sheet, hold the pale blue cozy piece to a bright window or lightbox and transfer the writing using a sharp HB pencil.
  • Complete the stitchery of the wording using 2 strands of DMC 823 in backstitch.  Complete the small star using DMC Blanc in backstitch.  Set the back aside.
 
  • Using the pattern sheet as a guide, position and pin the felt fez to the front of the egg cozy. Use matching red machine thread and a small stitch length to attach the bottom edge of the fez in position. Using the completed egg cozy front as a guide, line up the egg cozy back and fez back.  
  • Position and pin the fez back.  Use matching red machine thread and a small stitch length to attach the bottom edge of the fez in position.
  • Line up the egg cozy front and back wrong sides together. Match the seams.  Stitch around the sides and top of the fez using matching red thread.
 
  • Using matching cream thread and brown thread on the front and blue thread in the bobbin, stitch around the remaining sides of the egg cozy.