Last minute Christmas card

Here is a super-quick Christmas card idea for you. I made it for my neighbour, using my shiny new Stampin’ Up Back to Basics letter stampsChristmas cardI got the very good instructions for the folded Christmas tree from StampLadyKatie. They take about two seconds to make!

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DIY Kimono top

My friend and I timetabled in a crafting day to make Christmas presents, and I sent her a link to my Pinterest page. I had linked up some ideas based on the original conversations we’d had about what she wanted to make. In the meantime, I’d pinned a Kimono pattern, and she decided she wanted to have a go (I will point out she went on to say she had not sewn since school)!

We used this pattern from By Hand London as a guide – it is very good but we made a couple of minor alterations. We used some peacock chiffon fabric from Fabricland. This terrified me, as I have never sewn such slippy fabric. But this whole experience has weirdly made me less afraid of taking sewing risks. Normally I over-analyse myself out of doing things, as I worry they will not be perfect or too difficult, but my friend just jumped straight in, and had no worries about the potentially nightmare fabric. I really enjoyed showing her how to use the machine and learn to sew. She was also far less critical about my sewing abilities than I am about myself, which boosted my confidence!diy kimonoAnyway, these are the amends we made to the original tutorial. I apologise for the shocking photos, but it has been dark and rainy all day…

  1. We drew the pattern on pattern paper first, and cut out as suggested in the original tutorial (two sides at once). We used a combination of pins and masking tape to stop the fabric slipping. Once the T shape was cut out, we then unfolded it, and cut out the front neck v, as shown in the picture. cutting out front of kimono
  2. We used the measurements suggested, but instead of making the bottom part triangular as in the original, we just made it straight.
  3. We zig zagged all the raw edges, as the fabric was very frayable.
  4. Because the fabric was so floaty, I made the executive decision to edge the neckline and armholes with bias tape. I thought that would be more stable than normal hemming. Fortunately, I had meters of the stuff in a nice purple colour which matched the fabric really well. We hemmed the bottom normally, as my friend has got some black fringing to finish it off by hand, and I felt really vindicated by my decision as it was a bit of a wibbly hem! The bias armholes have also made everything look a bit more structured.

I have kept the pattern and want to make one of my own now. I have some nice satiny navy and white fabric I got ages ago, which I think will work really well. I would also use either satin or velvet bias tape too (MacCulloch and Wallis have some lovely bias tape to choose from).

Christmas craft link up

As you may have seen the other week, I did a Christmas-y sewing project which I linked to the Bugs and Fishes Christmas craft link up. My project was a shabby denim Christmas heart decoration, which you can find here. I took part last year, and was really pleased to take part again.

Anyway, here is the first of three links to some of the other projects. I hope you like them! I will be posting the other projects over the next few days, so keep an eye out. christmas craft link up 1Mini Teddy Bed – Grace’s Favours

Shiny Reindeer Embroidered Hoop Art – Candyfloss Ramparts

Teeny Tiny Snowman Pendant – i ManuFatti

Nativity Bunting Tutorial – Hoogally

Floating Pompom Garland – RetroDelicious

Printable Colouring-In Snowflake Labels – It’s Organised

Blackwork Pleated Heart – Carina’s Craftblog

Shabby Christmas denim heart tutorial

I’m taking part in the second Bugs and Fishes Crafty Tutorial Link-up! I took part last year, making a little embroidered felt stocking. This year, I decided on sewing again, but this time using the sewing machine. shabby denim christmas heartI chose to use some denim, as I had leftover scraps from some old jeans, and it looks nice and rustic. I was lucky enough to be sent some lovely Christmas ribbons to sample by Fantastic Ribbons, as I am one of their blogging team. The ribbons are lovely twill-style, rustic ribbons which work great with the denim. I have grand Christmas present wrapping plans for the ribbon I have left!

Ingredients

  • denim scraps
  • Twill-style Christmas ribbon (mine is from the great selection at Fantastic Ribbons)
  • stuffing
  • sewing machine

Recipe

  1. Draw or print out a heart template, and cut out two denim heart.two denim hearts
  2. Have a play with your sewing machine settings to find a couple of decorative stitches.stitch test
  3. Pin two strips of ribbon across one of your hearts. Using the decorative stitches you chose, stitch decorative rows parallel to the ribbon.
  4. heart with ribbon and stitches Fill in the gaps between the ribbon with different types of stitches.shabby stitched heart
  5. Sew along the top and bottom edge of each strip of ribbon. ribbon stitched into place
  6. Pin the two hearts wrong sides together, and sandwich in a loop of ribbon at the top. Sew around, fairly close to the edge. Leave the triangle at the bottom open.denim heart stitched with gap to stuff
  7. Stuff your stuffing into the heart, and pin closed. Sew the bottom triangle closed. Trim the edges if needed. finished denim heart

You can find all of the tutorials here at bugs and fishes. There is some lovely, inspiring stuff!

Drift wood craft

I love beachcombing (also skip diving and scanning the streets in Brighton, where people often leave stuff on the pavement to give away – anything for freebies!) Unfortunately, not much exciting gets washed up in Brighton. So every time I go home to Wales, I try and get some beachcombing in. Last time, I got some great pieces of drift wood which I have used to decorate our living room shelves, as well to build a small decorative woodpile in our (broken) fireplace.

Anyway, I thought I would share this link, as it is by far one of my most pinned pins. There are some really good ideas in there – I would love to make one of the Christmas Trees, but there is not really enough room in my house to store it!

drift wood craft

Perfect bird fabric ATC

As it has ended up being a cold and wet Bank Holiday, I have been doing some crafting. I finished my ATC for the Very Berry Handmade swap (with time to spare – it needs to be posted in early September). The theme is getting away from it all, and my partner apparently likes nature and animals.  perfect bird fabric  atcI used so many little scraps up to make it, and was aiming for a little bit rough and ready. The bird was cut out from one piece of fabric, and I sewed on a tiny bead for the eye. The background was made out of some of my favourite fabric ever, it had embroidered flowers and leaves all over it. I only had a tiny piece though. The other green and yellow fabric is what I used to make my cat from ages ago.

I ended up using a bit of the Beatrix Potter fabric I used to make bunting from as backing for the bird, and to cut out the “perfect.” I have learnt from bitter experience that my handwriting is not good enough for decorative purposes. I am toying with the idea of getting a set of letter stamps for the future to make printed fabric. The little button I found after going though my button collection to find the right one to finish it off. I then promptly dropped it and lost it under to sofa, but luckily I had a spare!

There are a couple already up on the Very Berry Handmade Flickr page, why not take a look?

Hexagonal paper flower tutorial

I was after a quick and effective idea to make a birthday card, so I did lots of hunting around for some inspiration.  I really wanted an idea for a nice flat paper flower, but this seems surprisingly hard to find.  In the end, I found this great tutorial on how to make fabric hexagonal yo yos, and decided to try it with paper.  It worked really well, although I will say a thicker, better quality paper made it so much easier and gave a nice finish.  I used two different sized hexagonal flowers to decorate my card – one on top of the other, finished off with a sequin.

card with hexagonal paper flowers

I’ve put together a little tutorial on how to make them, and combined with the fabric tutorial, hopefully it should all make sense!  As usual, if there are any problems, please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.

Ingredients

  • Patterned paper (a bit thicker is easier to work with)
  • Circle template (I used a glass)

Instructions

1. Cut out a circle from paper – any size will do but the smaller the more fiddly it gets (about 8cm across is a good size).

step 1 paper flower2. Fold in half and then into quarters. step 3 paper flower tutorial3. Unfold the circle, and mark the centre (this makes the next few folds so much easier). step 5 paper flower tutorial4. Fold one edge into the centre mark. step 6 paper flower tutorial5. Fold the left hand corner into the centre. step 7 paper flower tutorial6. Repeat stage 5 twice more, until it looks like the example below. step 9 paper flower tutorial7. Fold the left hand corner into the middle to make a point.step 10 paper flower tutorial8. Unfold the point, and put the left hand edge on top of the right hand edge, as shown below.step 11step 129. After stage 8, you will be left with a little flappy bit.step 1410. This bit is really hard to explain, but you need to flip the flap under the triangle to the left of the last triangle which you made.  I had to try this stage out a few times before I got it right, so please let me know if you get stuck.  step 1511. Tuck the flap in, and make sure all your triangle seams line up centrally. finished hexagonal paper flower