Wednesday, 31 December 2014

Last post of the Year!

Hello hello, is there anyone still there?!

I hope everyone had a good Christmas? 

It's been a month since I last posted!

I never intended to be away from blogging this long, but as my regular readers will know (as I bored them silly with photos of my makes for months!) I had been busy preparing for a Fair, then once that was over it was full on with the Christmas preparations, and now suddenly here we are out the other side and just about finished for this year!

The Fair went brilliantly, and was well worth all the hard work, and Christmas was good too with family here both Christmas Day and Boxing Day, so the time in between was busy with shopping, cooking, cleaning and decorating.

Now we're nearly at the end of the year, time has slowed down and we're enjoying long daily walks and leisurely pottering around the house, eating too many chocolates and watching too many films, but its the only time of year when we get to do this so I'm giving in to it!

Next week all should return to normal for us, and I will then get back on with some sewing. But in the meantime I'm having a complete break from it, mainly due to the fact I can hardly get in my sewing room for the mess!

I'm looking forward to the New Year, to the days getting longer, to watching for signs of life in the garden, and to the occasional warm and springlike days that we sometimes get in January and February.

I'm one of those people who likes to take stock at the end of each year, to look back on what I did, what I achieved and what I didn't, and to make plans and set goals for the coming year. 

Do you do that too?

And of course there's the usual resolutions about eating better, exercising more, planning menus properly etc etc.......and this year, to blog more regularly!

I'm hoping to catch up with you all very soon, but in the meantime...............

.................. here's wishing you all a happy, healthy and creative New Year!

Friday, 28 November 2014

Quick Post!

Hi everyone, I've been pretty remiss at blogging and blog visiting recently I'm afraid, mainly because I'm working flat out to get enough extra stock for an upcoming Xmas Fair, and partly because I'm finding at the moment Instagram is such a quick way of keeping in touch and sharing.

All will be back to normal post Fair though, so I hope to resume "proper" blogging and catch up with you all then.

In the meantime I only have a few photos to share (hooray you say!) of a few of the things I've been making since I last posted. There is probable more stuff posted on IG though, so please come and find me there - I'm Pinkgillyflower on IG!

I made two cushions from a gorgeous 1950s barkcloth type fabric, which features ornate flower pots and stands - the yellows and reds are really vibrant and the photos don't do the fabric justice.

It was a fabric of my Mums, and she gave it to me a few years ago when I was after some 50's fabric. She bought it for kitchen curtains which she never then got round to making. I shall make her some pot holders or oven gloves for the kitchen from it I think.

The last of the Christmas decorations are finished, and I have put a few for sale in my Etsy shop here.

This last week or so I've been trying to focus on gifts for the stall. I have plenty of cushions naturally, but usually like to take smaller gifts along.

I have made a number of vintage floral fabric lavender hanging sachets as decorative items for hanging around the house from door or cupboard knobs. They are backed in either vintage linen or vintage French ticking - again there are more photos on my IG under Pinkgillyflower.

I've also been making glazed cotton chintz drawstring bags - I find the good old drawstring bag invaluable for keeping bits and bobs in, and essential when going away. I am making various sizes and mostly from lovely chintzes from the 80s and 90s - Warner, Laura Ashley, and a French design by Marignan (the green and white).

But the pretty yellow floral is a modern cotton, although in keeping with my ethos it is second hand!  Back in May at the Decorative Living Fair at Eridge Park, in Kent, I bought a load of this gorgeous Tanya Whelan fabric, yellow cotton with white polka dots and pink rose clusters, from Selina Lake, author and stylist. Selina was there promoting her latest book "Outdoor Living" and was also selling props from photo shoots.

Below is the original vintage pink roses on yellow chintz which inspired me to make these bags. I found it last year and love it, it hangs in my bathroom, and I've had it in mind for a while to make some for my shop from the pretty floral chintzes in my stash. So out they've come and I'm on a roll with them!

Below also is a Laura Ashley chintz bought back in the early 90's to make curtains, and a pretty small scale Warner chintz - these are partly made bags which I must finish off.

Anyway, I'd better get back on and finish off those bags plus make a few more!

If anyone lives in the area, the Christmas Fair I'm going to be at is at Brenchley Memorial Hall, Brenchley, near Tunbridge Wells in Kent, just 5 minutes off the A21.

It is on Sunday 7th December and should be full of lovely vintage and handmade goodies! I haven't done this Fair before but I think it will be worth a visit. It would be lovely to see you!

Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Tutorial on How to make alternative buttonholes - In-Seam Buttonholes

Hello everyone, hope you're all having a good week so far.

Thankyou for your visits and comments on my last post. Nothing much has happened here since my last post, just life puttering along all too quickly as we race from one weekend to the next, with each day full and busy of I know not what, with hopefully a few hours of finishing something off or making something new. I hate a day when I have nothing to show for it creative wise.

Since last here I finished the first of the stag cushions including sewing on the buttons. I hate doing buttonholes so when I do want to have buttons on a cushion, I have my own way of doing them which I find much neater than using my button hole attachment and the 3 stage sewing process.

I do "in-seam" buttonholes, where I add a strip of fabric to the back, either a contrasting band of fabric or it can just be the same as the rest of the back, and then its just about the measuring and neatening of seams. This way I can also make a feature of the cushion back.

Below is a tutorial if you have never tried this method and hate fiddling around with machine made buttonholes like I do, or are never quite satisfied with them.

I use this method when doing a simple envelope closure for a cushion back.

You will need to have cut out your cushion front and two back pieces that overlap, including allowances for seams. You will then be adding a buttonhole strip as per the tutorial. Most of the photos that follow show the bottom piece of the cushion back too even though the tutorial does not deal with the final cushion assembly.

Tutorial - How to make In-seam Buttonholes

Step 1 - Cut Buttonhole Band 
Cut an extra strip of fabric (the buttonhole band) to the required size. 

This will be the same width as your unfinished cushion cover and as deep as you want it be. You need to allow for the joining seam and for folding it back on itself and tucking under to neaten the raw edges. 

For example I cut my buttonhole strip about 18" long by 4" deep, which gave me a finished band width of  1 1/2" wide.  This worked out at 3" for the band (it will be folded lengthwise later) plus two x 1/2" seam allowances. (1/2 " allowance to join to main cushion back and turn back on itself, and 1/2" to neaten seam when folding band in half and finishing off by the buttonholes).

All will soon become clear!

Step 2 - Mark buttonhole placements 
Pin your buttonhole strip to the bottom of the back top half, right sides together (see photo below).

Taking a tape measure and pins, find the centre point of the seam and mark it. 

For three buttonholes, the centre point will also be the centre of the middle buttonhole. 

(NB If you are using 2 or 4 buttons then you will not need to find the centre point but can just measure between the two seam allowances and divide it by 3 or 5 respectively to find the points to make buttonholes).

Measure and mark out where you want the buttonholes to be and how wide they need to be (measure button and add a bit extra) to allow your chosen buttons to fit.

For three buttonholes, simply measure the half way point between the centre point and the side edge on each side, excluding the side seam allowances. (ie. measure from centre point to a point 1" or 1/2" (depending on your seam allowance) in from each raw edge, and find the halfway point between them). 

The half way points will be the centre of each buttonhole. Place a button there and mark the buttonhole width with a pen or pins either side (see below).

Close up below - you will be stitching along the bits between the buttons and vertical pins in the next step!

NB: Make sure you allow for a good half inch seam where you join the buttonhole strip to the top back as you will be folding the allowance back to neaten it later.

Step 3 - Stitch Seam in between buttonholes

Sew along seam and when you get to the start of each buttonhole, reverse and then go forward and backwards several times to strengthen the seam either side of the hole. Repeat the other side when you carry on sewing the seam and repeat at every buttonhole.

When finished stitching seam do NOT trim back seam allowance! You will be neatening these in the next step.

Step 4 - Neatening seam edges

Next step is to neaten the seam edges. First do the one on the top back.

Press open the finished seam. Turn under the top back edge (the cream one in the picture), pin and stitch along the length of the turned under edge (see photo below).

Next neaten the buttonhole band side (the darker one in the photo). Turn up the buttonhole band lengthwise on the wrong side until it meets the buttonhole seam then turn under approx. 1/2". Pin down just below the buttonholes so that you are not covering them up. 

Stitch along turned under edge as in photo below.

Nearly done now!

Step 5 - Strengthening the Buttonholes

Next turn the cushion cover back (now with adjoining buttonhole band) to the right side.

For each buttonhole, stitch either side of the buttonhole vertically backwards and forwards a few times close to each end of the buttonhole, across both turned under seams. This will further strengthen the seam by the buttonholes. 

Before you stitch it is a good idea at this stage to try each button through each hole. If the buttonhole is a bit large you can stitch closer to the hole to tighten it a little, or if its a bit tight then push the button through a few times then reinforce each end with stitching a little further away from the buttonhole.

Press the whole back carefully along the buttonhole strip and seam seam and you're done.

And thats it!

You can now finish making up your cushion cover as usual, making sure that the buttonhole band piece is the outside top flap for your back envelope closure. 

When the cushion cover is made up you can then lay it flat, line up the buttons under the buttonholes and sew them in place on the lower back piece.

* * * * *

On the xmas sewing front, I've made some  tree hangers.........

...some from vintage French ticking....

......some from vintage English floral linen......

and some from a lovely slubby natural Irish linen.

I will sell them as trios, one of each design.

I also finished off these cross stitched hearts, with snowflakes or trees, and which are now available in my Etsy shop here

There are three different designs, one of which was taken from a little vintage pincushion I have (see three photos up), the other two designs are ones I made up after sketching out roughly what I wanted.

The backs are single cross stitches which remind me of falling snowflakes.

We've had a few autumnal walks, and I took my new "grown-up" smartphone with me, hence the different shaped photos below!

Sunlight glinting on millions of  cobwebs strung across the field - this is only a small part of the field but it was all over - and there were loose bits just drifting around - most strange! We found a couple of little money spiders on us so maybe they are what has made them?

Edited Thursday 20th November - Cobweb Update!

Just found this whilst googling about the cobwebs  - this is not far from us, an hours drive in the next county. Yes, it is money spiders and the article and photos are worth a look.

Although the sky looks blueish here, within a very short time grey storm clouds built up and we got rained upon and drenched!

By the way, I am now on Instagram (pinkgillyflower) if anyone would like to come and say hi - I've found a few of you on there but I'm sure more of you are there somewhere!

Hope those of you interested find the tutorial helpful, have a good week!