Wednesday, 23 January 2013

The garland of Doom

This post could have had many titles -  the conundrum of the invisible thread, the garland of curses, ooh isn’t it pretty and GAH I broke the SOFA!!

It should have been a quick project especially after having a look at the tutorials around the web. A popular heart garland is lots of heart shapes simply machine sewn down the middle one after the other. I wanted my hearts to be horizontal…I also decided invisible thread was the way to go. I imagined a nice clean suspended look so I got cutting…over 100 hearts in this little beast.



They look quite pretty sat in pretty stacks. I loaded up the machine with invisible thread and set to work…one colour sequence down and I looked up and found my lovely invisible thread was very noticeably (although invisibly) stretching and bunching up so my poor hearts wern’t hanging nicely but were gwtting quite bunched up. I’m sure that nmore research and tension fiddling would have solved this but I decided that nop maybe invisible thread sewing wasn’t for me…not this week anyhow!. I used what I had sewn as a tester and hung it up…happy with the coulours, happy with the invisibleness, not happy with the bunchiness,


The last photo is how they looked before the problems occurred. so there is hope forr this methos. I unpicked them , restacked them and thought….then pondered….then I ahd a little go with some varigated thread….whilst they looked ok…I really didn’t like the line of cotton across the hearts. It might look ok on the vertical as the hearts fold around it but on the horizontal….not so lovely….what do you think?


So i unpicked and pondered….then I packed up the sewing machine and decided that I would just hand thread the hearts….that way no unsightly threads and also an added benefit of being able to add in the odd bead and button. this time I was determined that it was going to be right… I painstakingly laid out all my hearts in sequence…added in the buttons and beads I thought would work then measured out the thread.

This is where the rest of my problems started…..invisible thread TANGLES really easily….I measured out  the length…added a bit then doubled over the thread to add a bit of extra strength (probably not actually needed and definitely added to the difficulty as there were extra ends to get strangled and tangled!). Eventually I wrestled it into submission. I thread all the hearts….I added in the odd bead and button (warning here…the beads are a lot heavier so just crash on down the thread…i double looped them so they were still moveable but couldn’t stampede away unchecked). Finally I finished and then I looked at the conservatory where they were destined to be hung and my goodness! those windows were filthy and definitely not worthy of all the blood, sweat, tea, biscuits and cursing that went into my lovely garland. So i did something most unlike me…..I washed down all the walls and windows!!! Here is the conservatory before the prettifying


The doom fairy was still lurking though and whilst I was stood on the sofa washing the windows I fell through one of the slats on the sofa base (GAH!). Not something that could be explained away easily….thankfully some screws and wood glue and my husband mean that it is now fixed…although I was asked “what is this for exactly?”….PRETTINESS! was my only reply.

Anyhow it is finally strung and arranged and I do like it. It certainly adds a little bit of cheer.



If you wonder why everything we own is set up behind the sofa its so my bundle of mischief doesn't get his mitts on them.

Things I have learnt and/or would recommend

  1. This requires a lot of patience but I really like the way you can’t see sewing lines across the hearts.
  2. Line up everything before you sew otherwise you have some hearts in front of the thread and some behind it (yes i did this too and had to unthread them). the needle has to go in and out the same direction on all the hearts!)
  3. If you go with the single thread option (probably easiest) don't measure out a length just keep it on the spool that way you have a lot more room for adjustments when spacing out your hearts….mine could look more spacious but the carefully measured thread was a good foot too short in the end and I had to graft in a bit extra!
  4. Buttons and beads look nice but whatever you do don't secure them too much as however carefully you measure you might just want to move them down the line a bit when spreading out the hearts.
  5. It is definitely worth persevering to get the look you want!!!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

A time for finishing

January for me is always a month where I try to finish up outstanding projects. If the run up to Christmas is a bit frantic I always end up with a few outstanding presents that are half finished…January feels like the right month for finishing…preparing for the new year…so I have not been idle. Want to see what I have been up too whilst huddling up in the warm and watching the weather fall?

A finished present for my cousins boy of crocheted veg and fruit…there are a lot more patterns out there but time and stamina have made me call it a day here – we have a strawberry and a banana, then a selection of whole and chopped carrots, peas and some cabbage/lettuce leaves. Hopefully they will cook up ok in his kitchen

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My cousin also requested a last minute scarf so I raided my stash and picked out some green variegated wool with some sparkles in. My scarfs are notorious in that I can never gauge them right…I always start them too wide or too long and then spend forever trying to even out the proportions. this one was no different and I swear the length looked right when I chained it!!!. I decided to crochet in lengthways up to combat my normal tendency to make them too wide and guess what….yes…that's right Way too long!! and I was in danger of running out of wool so it would have made a very long yet very skinny scarf!. I couldn't face the though of frogging so I worked a row of chain stitches and then folded the scarf on half looping chains through each other to give a lattice work centre, a deep fringed end and the other end hopefully looks like a designed loop….ah well so long as it keeps her warm!!!


Next up a pair of love birds destined to top a wedding cake. I am waiting on the colour and detailing requests but the bodies are made. hopefully the finished pair will be flying through to show off their feathers in April


I have started as quilt for my son in preparation for his birthday. Here’s a peak at the current progress.


To help combat this wintery weather I have been buying some flowers with the weekly shop. I have a splash of yellow in the living room as a vase of daffodils are breaking out and on the dining room table a nice bright spot of cheer with these tulips. I do like having flower and I must confess that I get really excited when the daffs start appearing.


Something else that adds a bit of cheer to this long month is watching my little monster investigate his chair.


Friday, 11 January 2013

Gwdihw…..Twit Twooooooo

Good morning, Last night I managed to finish a cushion cover. It started out quite simple then gradually grew more elaborate. Its intended to replace the V-Cushion from this post here. The v-cushion has a hot chocolate stain on it and I’m hankering after a better cover for it. The checked gingham is ok but it was done using what I could find and it is now destined for the sofa having outgrown its use so it will have a funkier cover. This cushion is for when my little monster wants to lounge on the floor with his bottle.

I wanted to use what was left from the fabric used to cover his little chair and the rest had to slot in around that. As usual I never seem to have enough of the chosen fabric to do what I want so I generally focus on the front and then piece the back from remnants (yes am too impatient to order more in and the aim of the game is to bust stash!).

My sister over at mylittlemancreations suggested personalising it and I chose the owl to resemble one of those featured in the fabric. Hence the title as Gwdihw is one of the welsh words for owl…say it after me GOODY-HOO!One of my favourite welsh words – I love the sound it makes!


The branch that the owl is sat on is made up of the words Cariad (Love) and Cwtch (hug). I’m really pleased with how that turned out. I used the remaining blue polka dot binding to add the ties.

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Wednesday, 9 January 2013

The Little Chair

It started with a chair,….a very small chair. This was gifted to my little monster for Christmas and is a really adorable size. It definitely needed some  pretty-fying…some comfy-fying….something squishy for my son to sit upon. Yes my friends….It needed a seat pad!

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Have you ever made a seat pad before?? me neither. So I thought I’d write down the steps as a tutorial of sorts. It is a bit wordy though so if you don’t want to go through the chaos of a Deryn Du make then here is a sneak peak!

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Here’s the story of the little chair cushion

I found some fabric that suited just right – not too childish, not too bright and not too twee. I tend to go for bright rainbow colours but I thought this chair needed something a bit funkier and unique. What do you think of the choices? Cushion Cover Tutorial (3)

My foam seat pad is way to big for the chair so I take a sheet of the free newspaper and fold it to size then simply pin it onto the foam block. No rulers needed. Just fold the paper and pin down.

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Then cut the foam to match your template. A word to the wise here make sure you consider how large you want the pad to be. I made mine to cover the entire seat but the section just under the back of the chair doesn't need to be covered. So once you have your template to fit your chair then chop up the foam. I tried scissors, rotary cutter and in the end found a razor blade actually worked the best but the edges weren't always the neatest! Go for as neat as you can get it and remember that you are going to cover it so a super smooth finish is  not necessary! Trim

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Trim down any large bits that got missed on the edges and then try in on the chair for size.

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Now you can reuse your paper template to cut two squares of fabric which will be the front and back of your fabric (if you’re doing a circle cushion then go for circles!!). I left a 1/2 inch seam allowance and actually went against my ‘wing it’ instincts and marked it out in biro before I cut them out.

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Next up you need to measure the depth of the foam pad. An envelope cushion just isn’t going to cut the mustard here. My foam  pad was 1 1/2 inches deep so I went for 2 1/2 inch strips. If you have enough fabric to make it all the way round the cushion in one go then go for it! I had to piece mine as the colour I had chosen just didn’t have the width. Check it goes round. If you don’t want a zip fastening then it should go all the way round and then you can skip down to the sewing up. I've e opted for a zip as I am sure small fingers are sticky fingers and SPILLAGE is my boys middle name these days making washing a must! If you are going to add a zip then you need your strip to cover three sides and have a bit of seam allowance

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The next stage is to make the zip fastening. The trick here i found is to have two strips for the length to that you don’t have to worry about seam allowances. Zips can be fiddlesome things! I must confess that before I throw any clothing that isn't good enough for charity I snip out the zips so for this project I dragged out an old cushion cover zip and removed the old material. Make sure your zip will be big enough to fit the cushion through.

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Look closely at the photo above and you’ll see I marked out the beginning and end of the zip closure for my cushion. I don’t have a snazzy fabric pen yet so I just used biro. Now to sew the Zip there are some great tutorials on the net. I just ironed the seam allowance of my two fabric strips then sewed each one onto a side of the zip. You open the seam out to sew it so that when you fold it back it looks mice and neat and covers the stitching.

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I am no genius when it comes to zips and I forgot all about having a zipper foot but do you know what? everything is salvageable and doesn’t have to be great first time…The first sewing of the zipper was too far from the teeth so when I turned it over the zip was still visible. So I went back to the sewing machine and stitched it closer. It was easier as the zip was already in place and no one is any the wiser (so long as they don’t read this!). Sew in two horizontal lines where you want the zipper to start and stop.



Turn the zipper over and it magically looks like this!

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Now is the time to trim down the depth of your zipper section to match the other strips (I didn’t do this and it leads to a lot more confusion! Sew together all the side pieces to make a tube and check the fit on your foam pad. If it needs tweaking just sew the seams closer.I forgot all about needing ties at this point and sewed the whole lot together. So if you are suing ties don’t forget to sew them in  as you go. If you are a numpty like me and forget then don’t worry There is hope!

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I was so proud of my zip and the fit that it took a while before I realised the mistake of no ties. I got some binding tape and folded it right sides together  and sewed down to create a tube. I then cut it into four equal lengths and sewed one end of each to create a nice finish. To turn them out I actually found using a pliers the easiest way! but however you do it turn all four pieces right side out and iron.


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If you have forgotten to add them like me then just get your seam ripper and make a small hole in the seam. Just big enough for the ties. Poke them through and then just re-sew over your seam. Good dodge!

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Admire the fact that you have gotten away with it and check the fit!

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Now to add the front and back panels. Put the side panel on the foam wrong side out then lay the front fabric on the pad. I pinned it to the side panel but I think a better and easier finish could have be done by actually hand basting the fabric.

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Sew all the way around. The corners are fiddly and I’m sure there is a way of improving them. I just sewed up to the seam allowance left my needle down and rotated the fabric creating a little pleat. This worked well for the top panel but not as well for the underside.

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Check the fit and give yourself a clap.

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Repeat the process but only pin THREE sides (you have to get the pad out somehow and pins aren't sturdy enough to take the battering of squeezing the cushion in and out. Also remember to UNZIP the zipper!!

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Sew around the edges, turn right side out and then check the fit…..this isn’t quite the Ta Daaah! I was happy with the front fit

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The other side however needed some work. Can you see how it gets baggy towards the right? The bottoms corned also looked a but too puckered to live with…The side panel on that side was also noticeably narrower. I think as you only pin three sides its easy to go astray with the final fit.

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So i turned the cover inside out again and rectified a bit of sewing. The corner was down to a wonky seam and some fudged folding so a bit of un-picking and a small re-sew and it was acceptable

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I ripped the side seam where it had gone wonky and sewed closer to the edge. While this released the green fabric and made my side wider the back panel was still baggy so I folded it over on itself and sewed it along the new seam seam so the panel was adjusted without messing with the depth of the green side panel

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Once you are completely happy with the fit and all the tweaks have been made then trim up the cotton ends (especially those near the zip) and Ta Daaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaah!

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I am super pleased with the results and earned myself a cookie by tidying away so that after all this sewing my workspace looked like this!

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