The Eternal Maker Crafts

Thursday, 11 October 2012

Two-Way Tote Tutorial

When this echino decoro Zebra print came into store the other day, although I loved it, there wasn't much that immediately came to mind when thinking about how to use it.  These directional panel prints can be tricky.  It was only when I was bagging up some of our dungaree clips to take to the Alexandra Palace knit and stitch show and idly thought to myself that they would make good bag handle fixings, that the two slotted into place together and formed a workable plan in my head.  It's just a reversible bag, really, but personally I think the straps work pretty well, for something just a little different.

You will need:
80cm zebra print.
80cm fusible fleece
1.5m x 1" thin webbing (apron tape would be a good option)
4 dungaree clips
4 stud fasteners

I'm going to give you the instructions for the zebra print, but it works well with any other print, just ignore it when I tell you to cut along specific zebra lines!
Cut your 80cm fabric along the bolt fold, and then on the more patterned side, cut the stripy strip off at the top of the fabric.  Cut this same amount off the top of the zebras too.

Making your handles:
Cut your stripy piece in half, so you have 2 long strips that measure approximately 80cm x 5cm. Iron a little fold on either side.
Place your webbing tape between these folds, about 2.5cm from the ends, fold in the ends for a neat edge, and then fold in half lengthways.  I used a really strong webbing tape and really wished I had used something a little thinner - I had forgotten my plan to fold it in half and it made the final stitching pretty tough.  A nice finished product but I am pretty sure that apron tape would work just as well but be easier to stitch. Stitch along each open side.  Repeat for both strips.
Here's the fun bit: punch holes centrally 1cm and 5cm from each end of each handle, and thread on your dungaree clip, fold over your end, and fix your dungaree clips in with the stud fasteners.  Make sure to get your dungaree clips the same way around each time!  I think you could achieve this just by stitching these down, but personally, and without trying to sound slightly insane, I quite like an excuse to get the hammer out.  Do this for each end of each strap.
Making your bag:
Iron your fabric pieces to your fusible fleece, and trim to size.  Fold each piece in half lengthways (right sides facing) and sew down the side and the bottom.
Make your gussets by flattening out your corners, and sewing a line 6cm from the corner on each side.  Trim. 
(when turned out the right way it should look something like this)
Turn your lining bag right sides out, and place it inside your main bag (still wrong way out) and line up all corners and seams.  Sew all around the top, leaving a gap around 4" somewhere for turning.

Pull your bag the right way out through the turning gap, and push the lining bag inside the main bag.  Top stitch around the top, sealing the turning gap as you do so.

Fix your straps to your bag and you're done.  The bag can be turned whichever way you want to use it, and the straps can be attached to any bag you want to use.  So in actual fact, it's more than two-way, it's multiple way.  It's a blimmin' bargain.

 Anna x

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Super easy Christmas Stocking

To me, the Christmas season always comes upon us far too early.  I do love Christmas, honestly, but when it seems to take over a full quarter of the year - well, for me it's a little much.  So what am I doing posting a Christmas tutorial in early October?  I guess it's mainly for all my customers who've been asking me for Christmas fabrics and projects since April (you know who you are) but it's also for the beginner sewers who want a little more time to get their heads around these things - even if it is (as I've titled it) super easy!

What you need:
Template downloadable here
Main fabric (Alexander Henry's 2D Yuletide)
Lining fabric (Robert Kaufman Ivory Solid)
Pom Pom trim (Apple)
20cm hanging ribbon
Co-ordinating colour thread

1.  Download your template.  Join it together, and cut it out.  Then take your fat quarters, fold them in half, and cut two templates out of each fabric.
2.  Lay your two main fabric pieces right sides facing, and pin.  Stitch around the edge with a half inch seam allowance, leaving the top open.  Repeat for your lining fabric.

3. Cut notches in all your curves.  This will reduce the bulk in your seams and make for smoother curves once it's the right way out.
4.  Turn your main stocking piece the right way out, and slip it inside the lining stocking piece (still the wrong way out).  Get your hands right in and have a good poke around so you line up all the seams and everything fits nicely.

5.  Along the top edge, slip the pom poms inside, bobbles down, lining up the woven edge with the top of the fabrics.  Pin into place.  Don't worry if you find this a little fiddly - it's not just you!  Carefully sew around the edge, keeping as close to the pompoms as possible.  What you want is to sew over the strings, and have the entire woven ribbon in the seam allowance.  If once you've done you can't see all the ribbon, over-sew it a little lower.  Leave a 3" gap for turning.
6.  Turn the right way out, pushing the lining fabric inside the main fabric, and getting what looks like an almost finished stocking.  Ladder stitch the turning gap closed.
7.  Turn down the top a couple of inches to make a nice soft trim on your stocking.  The last step is to stitch a ribbon hanging tab to the inside back edge of the stocking.  And then you're done.

Making this stocking makes me think of the stockings I used to get when I was younger.  I loved the fact that I always got the same things in my stocking every year.  A few surprises, maybe, but I could guarantee that every year I would get a mini can of coke, a small orange, moisturiser, and a multipack of blank cassette tapes.  There was something comforting in always getting these.  In fact, I'm pretty sure I still got the tapes long after tapes had been superseded by CD's - but I loved it.  It meant I could record my CDs and play them in my car, which was years off having a CD player.  Record/Play.  What did you get in your stockings?  Was it different every year?  The same?  Do you remember a really good stocking present?

I also have another random stocking tradition.  I probably shouldn't share this one, but in the spirit of giving, and all that.  I don't get a stocking unless I shout out the window "I believe in Father Christmas!" at the top of my voice.  After all, if I don't believe in him, he can't give me a stocking, right?  I still do it now, only I make mum do it with me.

My brother told me he remembers one year a drunk man walking past and shouting back "Me too!"

Anna x

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Saturday, 6 October 2012

Felt Day and Futte Futtes

A big thank you goes out to all of those who came along to Felt Day. There was a buzz of creativity and we had a fantastically fun day, with lots of you taking part in classes and drop in "make and take" sessions.

We welcomed Paul back with a bang - he took the extremely popular "giant felt flower" class, and with a little bit of cutting and stitching, these amazing flowers literally grew before our eyes - showstoppers each and every one.

Sue of SewSister guided us through the joys (and perils) of needle- felting (yes there were a few pricked fingers) but the results were definately worth it!
And she brought her menagerie of hand made creatures along with her too - wherever Sue goes she seems to have a troop of creatures following  - last time we saw her she had a life size (baby) giraffe poking out the top of her car!

All things considered the star of the show had to be the "Futte Futte". Yes you heard correctly the "Futte Futte". Our lovely Corinne was on hand to demonstrate this ingenous little tool. Just pop in some wool roving - shake it about in some warm soapy water for a bit and then out pops a fully-formed perfect felt ball - amazing! If you are of an organised mind you can weigh the roving before it goes in. Use the same weight pieces to create felt balls of regular size (we found this was great for making multiple robins, and peas in pods) or use different weight pieces to make felt balls of graduating size (perfect for snowmen and caterpillars). It really was a revelation.

On display we also had the results of our staff felt roll challenge, so head over to our sister company's blog   for the results and for the first in the series of our felt roll based tutorials.......