Showing posts with label Sewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Sewing. Show all posts

Tuesday, 4 August 2015

Little Betty

I have been meaning to post a photo for a while of this little beauty that I received as a gift from my parents for graduating. It is a miniature sewing machine (which actually works by turning the handle!) with a tiny needle felted wren perching on top. I am especially fond of its name 'Little Betty' since Betty is also the name of my cat!

My house is full of trinkets and treasures which I have collected over the past few years - If I see something interesting or unusual at flea markets, vintage fairs or charity shops I can't resist buying them! Each piece has its own history and story and I like to imagine who they belonged to before me or who created them. To me these are the things that make my house a home, so I will go on collecting until I eventually run out of room!

Sunday, 28 June 2015

Using natural dyes

Whilst creating work for my degree piece I began experimenting dying fabrics using natural pigments and products. Years ago I attended a textile workshop where we used rusty objects to dye and stain fabrics which I was surprised to discover produced some beautiful results. Since my latest project focused on the life and work of honeybees, I was keen to use natural dyes to create the fabric used in my textile work since I felt this would work well with the context of my piece. A quick internet search led me to a whole abundance of blogs and tutorials about using natural dyes. From spices such as turmeric to dandelion roots or red cabbage you would be surprised by how many things that you probably already have at home or in your garden that you can use to produce some really effective dyes.

For my honeybee work I was focusing on the symbolism of the colour yellow, so I stuck to using turmeric, onion skins and dried plant extracts from yellow flowers such as weld and madder. If you want to grow plants specifically to use as dyes there is a great website  was able to find a great UK website which sells many different flowers seeds. If you are impatient to get dyeing and see some results, they also sell dyes, flower/plant extracts and mordants. That particular website was a great resource of information for me when it came to getting started with dyeing - they provide some really useful tips and information on which are the best fabrics to use and how to prepare your fabric so that the colours will last. 

Weld - a great flower to use either dried or fresh to create a yellow dye

For a recent commission I was asked to create an embroidery of a sweet pea so decided to use this as an opportunity to experiment with some purple dyes. A quick trip to the supermarket provided me with some red onion skins, beetroot, red cabbage and black beans and after soaking my fabric in vinegar to mordant it, I soon began to get to work with the dyeing! Each dye produced a different colour - all of which were lovely but it was the red cabbage which created the nicest shade of purple. I also used a couple of different fabrics - thin muslin cotton, silk and a thicker cotton/calico which also led to a lot of variation in the tones and shades of each dye. Bear in mind that it is always best to use natural fibres when dyeing to produce good results. Below is a picture of my finished piece. All the fabric used was dyed using red beetroot then layered up an embroidered onto.

I really loved the process of natural dyeing - it may sound silly but it is so satisfying to see such great results so quickly just by using products that are so simple to attain! It is definitely a process I am keen to learn more about and continue to experiment with. The possibilities If what you can do are endless... 
Below I have left some links to some of the blogs and tutorials that helped me get going, as I said there are so many out there each of which describe different techniques and methods. I have also included the website of artist India Flint. A innovative  textile artist who has really taken things to the next level with her methods and use of natural dyes.

Enjoy exploring and experimenting!

Folk Fibers blog -  yellow and red onion skin tutorial


Wednesday, 18 June 2014

DIY Festival bum bag

It's an exciting thought that this time next week I will be with all my friends at Glastonbury Festival! Hopefully I will be sat on a stone of the Stone Circle - watching the sunset and enjoying the buzz of the crowd. Last year was my first time at Glastonbury and I was so apprehensive before I went, however like most people do I fell in love with it and could happily spend every summer going!

I thought I'd share with you a DIY I made last week in preparation for the festival - an essential accessory for carrying any valuables or vitals that you need close to hand. Bum bag/fanny pack -whatever you want to call them, they are definitely a must have for any festival.

Mine was made using completely recycled materials - the embroidered fabric was from an old dress that I used to love but had a stain on it; the lilac fabric was from a throw that used to cover my sofa!

Ralph my Cat helping me make the bum bag!

You will need:

Pretty fabric or material  (at least 25cm x 10cm)
A zip that measures the same length as your chosen fabric
A belt (this can be a belt you already own or a new one. You could also use some brightly coloured bias binding or some pom pom trim would look great too!)
Extra fabric for belt loops (7cm x 2cm)

Step 1 
Cut two pieces of fabric so that they are the same size and shape. You can make the bum bag as big as you need - the one here measures 15cm x 30cm which is quite a nice size as I can fit my purse, ID, phone and anti bacterial hand gel in it!

Step 2
Pin your zip in between the two lengths of fabric making sure that the front of the zip is on the same side as the front of your fabric

Step 3
Sew on your zip. I used a sewing machine but you could hand sew ; just make sure you use strong thread and perhaps do more than one line of stitching to make sure it is secure.

Step 4
In order to create belt loops, take two strips of fabric and cut them into equal lengths measuring roughly 7cm x 2cm. The length of these can vary depending on how thick your belt is but don't make them too thin as they need to be strong.

Step 5
Pin the belt loops onto each end of one of the rectangles of fabric. Make sure they are at least 1.5cm away from the edge to allow for seam allowance. Once you are happy with the position, stitch across the end of each loop several times so they are firmly attached. It is important that the belt loops are strong enough so if your fabric is quite thin it may be worth doubling it up to create the loops which is what I had to do with mine.

Step 6
Pin together your bum bag around each edge so the front side of each rectangles are facing each other and on the inside. At this point make sure you open the zip so you will be able to turn your bum bag the right way once you have finished!

Step 7
Sew neatly around edges making sure the seams are even. Turn the bag inside out through the open zip. It should now just resemble a finished purse!

Step 8
Thread your belt through the loops and ta da! One complete festival bum bag! The good thing about this design is that you can either change the belt or make more than one bum bag for the same belt so that you can have one to match every pre planned festival outfit!

I did have a photo of me modelling the bum bag but I looked a bit weird so I'll upload a better one of me using it soon!

I hope you enjoyed the DIY - make sure you also check out my DIY festival water bottle holder here

Tuesday, 12 February 2013

A Package Of Love.... DIY

Many people seem to hate Valentines Day and find it depressing - but I reckon it's a good excuse to show all those you care about that you love them instead of just your partner. I put together a little package of love for my Grandparents to give them something to smile about on Thursday. 

The package included a card, lots of patterned paper hearts, some hand made heart hand warmers and instructions of how to use them.

Making the hand warmers is really easy:

1. Pick pretty fabric and cut out two heart shapes, pin right sides together and sew (leaving a small gap)

2. Turn inside out and fill the heart with rice. I also put some dried lavender in mine so they smelt nice too!

3. Sew up the small gap and voilĂ ! All you need to do is pop them in the microwave for 20 seconds or so and then put them inside your gloves to warm up cold hands! 

Tuesday, 15 January 2013

Winter Mittens

For Christmas and Birthdays, I like to try and hand make the presents I give whenever possible as to me it feels so much more personal and a good way to show the people I care about how much they mean to me. This Christmas was no exception and any spare time I had from work I spent creating and crafting! Below are some photos of the mittens that I hand made and embroidered for my Mom. 

I used a wool blend for the outside of the mittens and lined it with pink fleecing so they were extra warm and snuggly! The lace was cut from an old vintage scarf.

Maybe next year I shall make a scarf to match!