Archive for May, 2009

Lovely linen part 2

You may have noticed that I’ve been rather quiet as of late. It’s that time of year when I design the fifty odd page brochure for my daughter’s school’s Summer Fayre. Plus I’ve been taking on other design work on top so have been surviving on four hours sleep on too many nights. One thing I promised myself though when it was all done was that I’d make myself this bag that I’ve been itching to do for a while now…

After my falling back in love with linen doing my book cover, I thought I’d use it on a bag and thought that this bird fabric I found on e-bay would look rather gorgeous with the linen. I so wished I had a nice bright orange bit of cotton or embroidery thread to add some accents elsewhere on the bag but settled with green as that is what I had in my threads and I used a green print for the lining.

Lovely linen and bird bag

I saw a basic pattern in Sew Hip Magazine which I adapted to suit me. I used a sheet of A3 paper as a start and measured out a square using the short edge as one side so 297mm x 297mm and cut out two pieces of linen and two pieces of lining at this size.

Then I cut out two half panels of the bird fabric – I just did this by eye and what suited the fabric. These were then sewn onto the two linen panels. I did a row of cross stitch on one side and then ran out of brown thread. Why is it that when looking at reels of thread, it looks like there is like maasses of thread still on it and then before you know it nasty beige plastic is showing through? Would have dearly liked some orange for this too. But it was Sunday and I wanted my bag now and didn’t want to wait till I could get some more thread.

I thought I’d put a nice little pocket on the inside of the bag for my phone and keys so sewed on onto one of the lining panels. Here’s a piccie of it inside the finished bag. I sewed a bit of ribbon along the top of the pocket for prettyness and also to make it a bit stronger to withstand my keys bashing against it.

Inside bag showing pocket and lovely lining.

Then it was a case of sewing both linen panels around three sides and the two lining panels around the three sides. Did a quick bit of gusset sewing into the bottom of both and sewed the two gussets together and at this stage decided a pocket might look a bit lovely on the outside. I sewed another bit of ribbon along the top of it and a few buttons on – was fancying using some of my self covered ones but the colours were all wrong and I liked these and the wooden/shiny contrasts against the linen and cotton. Then I had the job of sewing the pocket on having already sewn up half the bag. Lol. Should really decide these things earlier on in the design process.

Then it was the joy of the handle sewing and turning inside out and sewing again. Again I would have loved a bit of orange on these handles but green is lovely too. Then I turned a hem down on the linen and a hem down on the lining and sewed both – then slotted in the handles and sewed it altogether.

Ta Da! Another lovely linen item.

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May 21, 2009 at 12:51 pm 1 comment

Lovely linen part 1

Before going to meet Dorling Kindersly book people, I noticed that the spine of my portfolio/book had a small tear in it. I didn’t have time to go get a new portfolio and thought it could be rather tasty to make my own cover. My only worry was that it would need to be beautifully finished, tasteful, simple and look professional or I’d be better off with my torn spine.

I decided on linen as being simple, beautiful and utilitarian and the method I decided to use would work on any size of book. I often cover books with fabric or paper for friends and decorate the covers for each individual suited to their personal taste.

Linen covered book

1. I first opened out my portfolio and measured roughly around it and cut out a big chunk of linen making sure to leave a large margin all around the edge with extra long bits on the left and right – a bit like covering text books at school.

2. Then I ironed on some iron-on interfacing which you can get from any haberdashery department. You don’t have to do this stage but it stabilizes the linen and makes it much easier to work with to get a neat finished look and makes it a bit more robust as a cover.

3. Next I got a ruler and drew nice straight lines and made sure I had nice right angles using my book still laid out on top (I could have measured my book and added on equal amounts to top and bottom and equal bigger amounts to left and right but where would the fun be in that? I just did it by eye with the book on top but I did make sure the front and back flap would be the same size.

4. I did a zig zag stitch all around the edge even though the linen isn’t likely to fray with the interfacing on, I just thought that as this hem would be visible on the inside of the top and the bottom of the book it would look neater.

5. I did think it looked a little plain all bare and brown so I found a piece of very simple cotton ribbon which I machine sewed onto the front cover. I then played with typing my name onto some ribbon and wondered about various ways of putting my name on the front cover but none of them looked quite right and I did feel this shouldn’t look too ‘hand made’ or ‘cutesy’. If this is for a personal project this is the bit where you can go bonkers with your covers decorating them, embroidering, sewing, sticking things on, typing onto, drawing or printing on or whatever takes your fancy.

Here you can see the back page and how the back flap folds over.

Here you can see the back page and how the back flap folds over.

6. Next I folded over the top edge and the bottom and pressed flat with lots of steam making sure that the finished height it is just slightly longer than the height of my book.

7. Then I turned in both ends about a centimetre, pressed them down with an iron for a nice crisp finish and machine sewed them down

8. I then folded in the front and back flaps making sure the book was shut when I measured for this bit as the fabric has to reach around a bit further with the book shut. And again pressed flat and then hand sewed them. This means this cover is not removable as it’s on a rigid cover book. On a soft cover, you’d be able to slot your book in and out.

9. Ta da! All finished.

Ends were hand sewn closed.

Ends of book close up. Look at all those tiny stitches

May 21, 2009 at 12:25 pm 1 comment

Cute alert!

Am dreading when my girls get to the day where they reject all things cute. What will I do? I’ll have no way of disguising that it is actually me who has the Hello Kitty fetish.

I’m fully appreciating their love of all things cute though while it lasts so when I found this book by Aranzi Aronzo, I was a bit excited. They’ve done a few books and all full of more cuteness than you can throw a pussy cat at. The one I have is called simply Cute Stuff. I rarely actually buy craft books because I prefer to just make stuff up as I go along but the layout of this book is very inspiring in design terms so that was what got me parting with my dosh.

I really should be doing other things but justified this project as it’s so quick. I shall be making more such as squirrels, sprites and other assorted creatures to be friends with the bunny. The book suggests these are hair bands but I sewed this one onto a safety pin so it can be attached to clothing or bags or whatever else may need a little bunny to keep it company…

rabbit brooch

May 3, 2009 at 2:04 pm Leave a comment

Buttons, buttons everywhere

What else to do whilst watching Kirstie Allsopp’s Homemade Home but to make stuff. So I settled myself down with some buttons to cover in various sizes and here they are…

lots of lovely buttons

Now of course I need to make lots of stuff to put them on. Have put some on hair grips already for when a girl needs her hair accessories. Going to sew a few onto some hair bands for the girls to wear. Need to find some cute material now to match their school uniforms so they can do cute and be all matchy matchy at the same time. A lot of the fabric scraps used here are japanese imports from places like Fabric Rehab.

May 1, 2009 at 11:12 am Leave a comment


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