Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Free pattern - Sew a Girl's Bag

Sew up a little shoulder bag in an afternoon from scraps of cotton fabric from your stash. Its simple to make and just right for holding a little Easter surprise. The finished bag is approximately 14cm x 16cm.

20 cm bag fabric (115cm wide)
20 cm lining fabric
Batting or interlining 16cm x 36 cm
15cm Flower trim or lace.

1.Bag fabric:
Outer bag 16cm x 36cm
2 straps 5cm x 50cm
Pocket 10cm x 18cm

2. Lining:
Bag lining 16cm x 36cm
2 Straps 5cm x 50cm

3. Batting: 16cm x 36cm

To make up:
Seam allowances are 1cm.

1. Fold pocket piece in half and sew along two opposite sides. (Open side is on the left here.)

2. Turn through to the right side and press. Pin pocket to lining with the raw edge about 12cm from top of end of lining (shown on the left below). Stitch as pinned.

3. Flip the pocket over towards top of lining (left). Top of pocket is about 6cm from edge. Stitch 3 sides of pocket, keeping the top open.
4. Pin flower trim 6cm from top of bag fabric and stitch in place.
 Optional: To highlight the trim, lay the batting under the bag fabric and pin. Sew one line of stitching above the flower trim, and one line of stitching below, through the two layers.
5. Place the lining down with pocket underneath. Lay the batting on top. Finally lay the bag fabric on top with flower trim facing upwards. Pin the 3 layers carefully together.
6. Fold the bag in half with right sides facing. Pin. Stitch along the two sides. Neaten the edges.
7. Turn the bag to the right side. Neaten around the top open edge of the bag. Fold down 2cm and stitch in place.
8. Make the straps: (If you prefer narrower straps, trim 1cm off one long side of each strap and lining piece.) Place the lining on top of a bag strap. Sew down the long side, across the short side and up the other long side. Leave one short end open for turning. Turn through using a large blunt knitting needle (or dowel stick). Gently feed the closed end onto the needle first, turning the fabric in as you go.

Pull the fabric through to the right side. Press. Neaten off the open end of the straps.

9. Pin the straps to the bags, tucking in about 2cm. Adjust the strap length if necessary. Stitch in place.

Enjoy sewing up the bag from this free tutorial and have a Happy Easter!

Friday, March 22, 2013

Olive thrush nest

I have been rather distracted from my embroidery in the last few days. Out in the garden near my little compost heap, I turned around and there in the tree behind me I looked straight at an olive thrush sitting like a statue on her nest.

This thrush is a forest bird but it has adapted to living in leafy suburban gardens here in Cape Town. I'm thrilled to have the nest here with the chicks. Also thrushes eat worms, snails and spiders, all of which I have plenty in my slightly overgrown garden where I try not to spray or put down poison for the creatures that chew up my plants.

Waiting till the thrush had flown off I managed to stand up on a stool and get a quick photo.

As I clicked the camera I heard a soft cluck clucking behind me and there was the thrush, on the fence with a big fat worm in her beak. The little chicks were so fluffed up that all I got was a picture of feathers and fluff in the nest with no idea of what I was seeing or how many there were. Later I could make out two little beaks pointing skywards on the far side of the nest. Can you see them?

This morning I was a little luckier.

I wonder why that little beak on the right is aimed at the sky?

From inside our house, now that we know where to look, every now and then we can just see the little heads bobbing up above the side of the nest. I wonder if we will see them when they venture out of their nest and start to fly?

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Embroidered lettering & teddy bear remnants

Two pieces of teddy bear print fabric, but neither quite enough for a whole cushion cover and each too beautiful to cut up. What to do?

I chose two toning fabrics, but they looked rather plain and needed something more. Perhaps the name of each grandson on a cushion? But, what lettering to use? This is where computers are magic and I had several fonts to choose from. Something unexpected and a little fun? Yes!

 Transferring with a light box and a dressmaker's white pencil proved the best for the dark fabric.

 Then stem stitch for outlining the letters. But, they looked a little empty and plain.

Seeding, or little random straight stitches, gave the letters more substance and a spider web wheel to dot the 'i'.


 And another spider web wheel on the 'J' just for fun and because it looks like a happy little sun.

Then I turned the embroidered names into pockets which filled up the gap where the teddy bear fabric didn't quite cover the whole cushion.

By Christmas morning each little boy had two different coloured teddies in the pocket of his teddy bear cushion (Sorry I didn't get photos of that). How the two little two year olds enjoyed taking the teddies out and putting them back into their pockets! And they knew exactly which cushion was theirs.

Saturday, March 9, 2013

Leafy green canvas work pincushion

My friend Beryl has been busy designing some new canvas work pincushion patterns. The Leafy Green Pincushion pattern is already in my Etsy shop Lynlubell, so do take a look over there.

The pattern comes with detailed stitch diagrams and instructions for embroidering and finishing the pincushion. It has over 7 different canvas work stitches or stitch variations and this variety makes it interesting to embroider and also to look at.

Now I am putting together the pattern for another of Beryl's pincushion designs.  It is in muted pinks and green with a pretty eyelet stitch design. If you haven't tried eyelet stitch before, the stitch instructions come with a clear diagram that makes it easy to learn. The Pink Eyelet pincushion should be available in the shop in a couple of days, so for me its back to work...