Tuesday, 30 June 2009

My 21st!

An oldie, but a goodie! Just lovin' the ra-ra skirt!!! Sign of the 80's!! The only photo I have of my 21st birthday, whilst at college. Mum had made me a cake and we were headed out for the nightclubs to celebrate! I even spot a "Paul Masson Califonia carafe" in the foreground! All the rage then and so sophisticated, or so we thought!! "They're really, jolly good!" Do they still make them I wonder???? Scrapped using items from my Jack & Jill kit from Studio Calico, including the flowers from Sassafrass. TFL x

Monday, 29 June 2009

Nappy cake

Here is a nappy cake I have just completed. I made it from a twin pack of Huggies nappies in a 18lb + size so that the cake can remain a decoration for a short while! This time when I made it I included mostly clothes. The lower tier has a pram blanket around the outside, secured with a nappy pin. The middle layer has two babygro's secured with ribbon around the outside and the upper tier has two body suit/vests around the outside. The top layer is covered with a bib and has the tiny teddy sticking out of the top. All the 'rosebuds' on each layer are made from socks, hats, soft 'padder' shoes and scratch mitts. A lovely gift for a newborn and I love this theme of cream and coffee!
To see how to make one yourself go to this post here. Here is one I made last year. Here is how I made it in pictures! TFlx

Sunday, 28 June 2009


Whenever we visit my SIL in Germany we have to some Quarkini's with our coffee!! I'm not sure how it started, but now it is a ritual!! Super little deep fried treats made with quark, a bit like our dough nuts I suppose, but definitely yummy!
This layout shows our usual "bakerei" and the yummy little morsels with our coffee.
Made using Sassafrass Anthem "Classic" and "ticket to freedom" papers and a Pink Paislee "Bewitching" die cut. The title is made from fabric thickers. Heart is a Chipboard Shape - Invisible by (Heidi Swapp), inked using Tim Holtz distress ink. Also used distress ink and applicator to distress the side edges. TFlx

Friday, 26 June 2009

Scrap in blue and green...

and yellow in my case!!! Lol!
This page was based on Scrap Like you mean it challenge over on UKs. I used blue and green and then felt it was all too dark, so I decided to add some of the Pink Paislee die cut to lighten the whole thing up!

These were a series of pictures I took on holiday in Germany, when DS2 was doing sterling work amusing his two cousins whilst we sat outside at the pub overlooking the river and enjoyed the lovely weather!! We were just having an aperitif before eating our evening meal you understand!!

I decided to use the Apron lace punch from Fiskars again to scallop the outer edge of the card stock to mimic the die cut. The mesh is part of some Hambly rub-ons that look great with the gingham background. The stars are Heidi Swapp invisible chipboard shapes that you add colour to with ink or paint and a pattern is revealed that resists the colour! I love them! Some knotted thread and a couple of buttons are all the other embellishments that are needed. The journaling tag is cut from a Cosmo Cricket paper that is actually wedding themed, but has been useful as they are double sided so I have found something that works for me. Rounding the corners of the background cardstock, just keeps the curved theme going. TFLx

Thursday, 25 June 2009

Sorrento mini album!

Just before we go to Italy this year, I have finally made the mini book about our holiday in Italy last year! It contains just a few of the many photographs I took last year that reflect the time we spent there, coupled with some unusual slim postcards that act as dividers and some "posh" postcards too! I also like to add a copy of a map in case we forget names and places, or if we take a trip there again, plus a few momentos. This one has the tickets from our trip to the Isle of Capri and the walk to the top of Vesuvius! I even punched holes in the circular postcard I bought on the top of mount Vesuvius, which the lady punched with a stamp to say I had reached the top!!!! What a climb! I remember it well!
I used some vivid "Lotus Teabox" papers from K&Co that I like. I would not have necessarily used these on a layout, but for me they are great for mini's! They are speciality papers so some are flocked and glittered and some are foiled!Hubby was impressed that I trimmed the BIA wire with Green white and red ribbon to reflect the Italian flag! Didn't like to tell him it was pure fluke!!! LOL!Just need to go back now and add some journaling here and there. Not too much, then it will be complete.
I am thinking of making a little travel journal to take with me this year, to add some writing as the holiday progresses. Maybe a small paper bag book, so I can add my memorabilia into the pockets. Looking forward to it already! TFlx
Covers are BIA card covers. Rub ons are 7 Gypsies travel rub ons, ribbons are American Crafts tea party ribbons.

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Passing The Sewing Machine Driving Test! Lesson 3

Open the bonnet!
The lower thread on the sewing machine comes from a metal spool or bobbin. This is housed inside a bobbin case which can be removed from the machine in some models or it drops into a fixed bobbin case in older model machines.

You need to check your own machine handbook for the exact threading up, but my machine has to have the thread coming off the spool clockwise before you drop it into the spool case. Pull the thread through the slit in the side of the spool case until it clicks under the very small spring. This gives the thread it's tension. There is a metal flap that lifts up on the spool case to act as a handle. This enables you to place the spool and spool case together into the machine when you open the door for the lower thread. Make sure you press it in until it makes a 'click' to be sure that it is secured in place.
(My 'Bernina' machine spool case has an arm that sticks out of the top with a small hole in it. This is often mistakenly threaded, but actually need only be used if you are stitching a button hole.)
You now have your lower thread in place, but it needs to come out of the machine exactly under the needle through a small hole in the 'throat plate' under neath the presser foot. Don't panic! You don't have to thread it through here!!! There is a method of "catching" the lower thread.
Take hold of your upper thread, where it comes out the back of the machine, (through the eye of the needle, and under the presser foot,) using your left hand. With your right hand, turn the balance wheel on the side of your machine until the "take up lever" does one whole cycle, down to the bottom and back up to the top, just keep turning the balance wheel towards you slowly until it completes the whole cycle. (Turning it away from you will not catch the lower thread!)
When you look closely at the thread you are holding in your left hand, it should now have a loop over it. Careful get hold of that loop and pull it until the bottom thread is coming out of the hole below the needle. You should now have to long threads that you can put out towards the back of the machine, out of the way to begin sewing. Close the lower thread door and you are ready to sew!!!!!!!!
Next lesson is on checking tension - the most common problem with sewing on fabric or card!!TFLx

Tuesday, 23 June 2009

Passing The Sewing Machine Driving Test! Lesson 2

The dashboard!
It is very important having learnt the names of the parts of the sewing machine, that you thread them up in the correct order. Your machine stitching will never be right if you do not get the threading sequence correct.

A machine needs two threads, one at the top and one underneath below the fabric. The top thread is a reel of cotton, the lower thread is a metal spool/bobbin supplied with your machine that needs some of the matching thread putting on it. I will come back to this thread in the next lesson. Let's concentrate on the top thread for now.

If you can, go back to the first "driving lesson" and remind yourself about the parts we named, so that you will understand these instructions easier.

1. Place the reel/spool of cotton on the reel holder at the back of the machine, as you pull the thread off it should allow the reel to turn in an anti-clockwise direction. Pull it along the back of the machine until you locate a back hook to hook it under.

2. Now move towards the front of the machine over the top, towards your eye line. At this point there is usually some "tension discs" that the thread has to be placed between. On my machine they are located in the slot the thread passes through across the top of the machine, but on some they are at the from of the machine as a dial with numbers on. (I will tell you about the numbers this needs to be adjusted to in a later lesson)
3. Having passed around or through the tension discs, or an equivalent thread guide at the lower front you need to head back up to the "take up lever" or "thread take up" this is the thing that moves up and down when you sew, taking the thread up to the top of its cycle and it should be at the top when threading up. We are aiming for a "capital N" shape with the thread.

4. Bring the thread down to the left hand side of the needle where you will find another thread guide close by. Hook the thread behind it and then thread the needle - some machine thread front to back and some thread side to side. It is important you know which way your machine threads so check the handbook as often when a needle is changed after breaking it gets put in the wrong way around and this can lead to missed stitches.

Check you have a 'capital N' shape with the path of your thread - some machine it may be a mirror image 'capital N', but either way the thread will come down and then back up to the take up lever before heading for the needle! Your machine will never sew if you miss the take up lever out altogether!!
Once you have threaded the needle (Fortunately, my machine has a handy needle threader attached to it!!) then place the thread under the metal presser foot and out of the way to the back of the machine.
Next lesson - "Open the bonnet," threading up the spool/bobbin or lower thread! TFLx

Monday, 22 June 2009

Bremen holiday mini album

I have decided that mini albums are the way to go to record family trips! Judging by the family's response they are a good idea too! Here is one I completed about our recent trip to Bremen in Germany last Easter, when we visited my SIL and family. I have just selected about 20 photo's to record the trip. I used my Studio Calico "Playground" kit, as I was not sure if I would use the bright coloured papers on layouts as they are not my favourite. They go with these photographs perfectly. I grouped the pages so that there were journaling type papers next to patterned papers. I have yet to complete the journaling, but I'm sure there will be lots to write! I found my postcards and memorabilia today too that need adding! I like to combine these to create a record of the visit. I never can resist buying 'special' postcards that are a bit unusual and I like to keep tickets and receipts of favourite places.
Photo's of the family are included too so we can see how much they have grown and what they looked like at this stage.
Just needs finishing off now!! Have trimmed the BIA wires with ribbon and added the title using Jenni Bowlin cardstock stickers. A few Sassafrass button flower embellishments and some edges trimmed from the Sassafrass papers. The journaling tags are also from Sassafrass. Cosmo Cricket chipboard has been used to trim the boy pages. TFLx

Friday, 19 June 2009

Newcastle: Mini book heaven!

Yesterday I managed to make two mini albums!! What a treat! I will share one today and one another day.
This album style came about thank to Gina over on the do-crafts forum sharing her idea for buying children's board books from charity shops and mixing the pages up!
Back in March, when I went to the charity shop to buy some, I bought three that were exactly the same size! That's all they had!! Here is the before picture;
Here they are after I ripped off all the coloured pages and separated them out. All beautifully uniform!!
I wanted pages that were different sizes, so I trimmed a piece of the edge of some of them and a bit more off others until I had a set I was happy with. This actually came about by accident on the first page as I punched my BIA holes in slightly the wrong place, so I cut it off!!
It is important to mention at this point that these pages were thick chipboard so I punched holes before I covered them and at each stage of covering, to make sure I did not overload the BIA.
Thanks to my Studio Calico April kit and add on, I was able to create this lovely blend of pale blues and tan - not a combination that I would have put together myself necessarily, but I love it! Lots of Pink Paislee papers and trimmings together with that fabulous Prima flower and some Tim Holtz stuff thrown in for good measure!
The cover was made using Tim Holtz alphabet mask and a foam applicator tool with the walnut stain distress ink. These letters stick beautifully and I was able to apply the distress ink in a circular motion on the craft sheet and working onto the paper. After removing the letters I think it looks great! I recommend this technique, I am using it a lot at the moment!

I covered each side of the chipboard with papers, joining papers on some pages and adding a ribbon or border to cover the join. I added some tabs to the edge of pages too.
Journaling was done on some tags that were included in the kit and I also used the Prima flower packaging card as it was so beautiful! It was even a bit pearlised!

I had another play with the Tim Holtz masks on this page but used my Maya Mist to spray on the paint this time. I switched letters to make it different to the front and did this on Kraft cardstock to help absorb the paint.
All the background papers were glued on using double sided tape around the edge and gluestick in the centre and around the BIA holes. As you cover each page with the background paper, re-punch it in the BIA as you go along. It's easy if you use the distance guide at the end and slide each page in up to the end stop.
Before attaching any photo's or embellishments, I bound the mini album using the largest BIA wire. I then started to add the photos and plan the journaling and embellishments. Finally I added some Pink Paislee rub ons and some ribbon to the wire.
Anyone spot the deliberate mistake that turned into my fave design feature????
I started to punch hole in the wrong edge of one page. I left it and used it as the front adding ribbons for extra trimming, which gave me a space to hang my Tim Holtz disc that says cherish!! I love it! I shall definitely do that again!! LOL!!
There are lots of other pages, I wont bore you with them all but it records our anniversary trip down memory lane, that we took back in April to revisit Newcastle Upon Tyne where we were both at the 'Polytechnic' doing our degrees. TFLx

A huge day!!!

Following on from yesterday's post, today is a huge day in our house! DS1 has his final A-level exam and that is it, school is officially over for him and though he is delighted, I can't help thinking it's the end of an era for me!! I laid in the bath last night and began to think about when he goes away in September to Uni (providing he gets the grades he needs of course!) How quiet it will be around here, he is my noisy one!!! he is the one who talks endless sport with hubby too! Surely I will not have to take over that role!!! For those of you who know from reading this blog, DS1 is the son who has Dyspraxia, the son who I was told at the age of 5 would probably never write, would only manage to sign his name on a cheque and nothing else!! I think that is why I am doubly emotional today, here he is taking A-levels! And possibly getting as good grades as hubby and I did if not better!!!! If I have learnt one thing, it is don't always accept what you are told!!! I was guilty of trying to get him sorted with an apprenticeship after he got his 11 GCSE's. I was the one who cried when the plumber went bust during the summer holiday job he had with him!!! I was the one who was tormented when he had to sign up for sixth form to do AS levels as we had no other option. Mum was the one who said "What is to be will be!" and she has been proven right! Had that plumber not gone bust, he would not have 4 AS levels and be taking 3 A-levels!!! He would not have offers for two places at Uni and most of all he would not have the self esteem he has gained from achieving those things.

So, good luck in that final exam CJ and enjoy the release from the stress of exam pressure!!!


Thursday, 18 June 2009


I don't think I shared this layout with you, or maybe I did and I have forgotten, well that's age for you!!! I recently took this picture of myself to see if my old camera was focusing properly, before I went to my nieces 21st and then when I had to scrap a self portrait recently for the Scrap Like You Mean It challenge over on UKs, I thought it was just the thing! I have very few pictures of myself!!!
I remember a friend turning forty and she was completely traumatised by it! It was the end of the world for her. When I reached forty I liked it because I did not think I looked forty and treated that as a bonus that no-one could believe I was!!!! Now I am nearly 50 and my recent layout called 'being 48' made me realise I was feeling just as my friend had done at forty just ten years later!!!! between 40 and 50 lots of family stuff has happened for me. I am dealing with aged parents and my eldest son is about to leave home for university. I think it is more about what is happening around you than what number you are. Because I am coping with 87 and 85 year old parents I find myself worrying about my old age when I should be thinking about travel!!! Hospital appointments that they can no longer get to alone and constant checking on them makes my outlook on life different. Being forty was great as I had no worries at the time! I loved it! Being fifty is a whole new ball game ! :(
As far as techniques are concerned I love the little flower on here! I cut a large scallop using my Super Duper Woodware 3" punch and inked the edges (as is my wont!) with charcoal chalk eye ink pad. I then cut the scallop in a spiral from the outside to the centre, like we used to do to make a colourful snake mobile!!! I then coiled it back up tightly staring from the centre and working outwards. The last piece was anchored with DST and then I secure the whole thing with silicone from the back. Whilst the silicone was still wet I place a brad through the centre to secure it to my layout. This one is a Sassafrass fabric brad.
I wanted to use my new Fiskars "apron lace" punch, so I decided to try and punch the edge of my craft card stock below the patterned paper line. This was risky as the layout was complete by now! As usual I do thing the wrong way around!!! Anyway, it worked! Just make sure you line up the corners by working with the punch upside down so you can see exactly what you are doing!
Studio Calico fortune cookie paper was great as I cut out strips that I felt reflected me at this moment. I hid some other journaling in a library pocket. I even pleated the reverse of the naming strip from the SC paper and used it as a pseudo ribbon and stitched it in place! I love that every piece of these papers is usable!!!
I decided to try cutting out the photograph a la "Claudine Hellmuth" I think it makes a change! TFlx

Wednesday, 17 June 2009

Wedding Dress

Phew! Another weeks work over! I don't know how I managed this week to get everything done as there seems to be so much happening around here! Exam pressure for DS1 and 2 parents with hospital appointments various, observation at work, I wish I could get in that craft room to chill out! It would be so much nicer if I could!!!

Here is a layout I made last week using copy of an old tinted photograph of my husbands parents on their wedding day. Again these sewing background papers from Studio Calico were fab for this topic! I cut out a model from the background paper as an embellishment and added a ring from the Cosmo Cricket papers and some forties style shoes. A couple of love birds stamped using an SC stamp complete the theme.
I stamped blue on blue using a button stamp to make a subtle background, this technique is useful if you are scared of too much "white space" on your layout. Stamping on and off the paper adds interest too. A 7gypsies tag for journaling was used for an old fashioned feel.
This era saw fabric rationing still in place after the war and both my parents and my in laws got married in a suit of purple. Looking back on it future generations may not recognise it as their wedding dress, so I thought it was a good photo to scrap for future generations.
My latest Studio Calico kit arrived yesterday and if you recall I treated my self to two add ons this month as it was my birthday!! I cant wait to get cracking with it, but I still have last months to start!! At least I am only one months kit behind now!! (I think!) I like to make myself use them up in order, as I worry I will not want to go back to one, but I am sure I can find photo's that suit them all. TFLx

Tuesday, 16 June 2009

Playground pals

Still using these retro feel papers, I have scrapped this photo from the children's primary school playground. It was taken the day we left to move away in June 1998 and I was very sad to leave all these girls whom I had met when taking my eldest to playgroup!! here we are 16years later and we are still friends and I have moved back to the area and we meet for a meal occasionally to catch up.

More Studio Calico here with some of their great retro stamps too One of the pleated "fabrip" strips and some hidden journaling. I liked the retro Cosmo Alphabet paper and the girl on the trike on the Sassafrass paper for this layout to continue the child theme and a painted edge to the layout also reminds me of a school feel. The background cardstock it Bazzill bling. I made a mock binder edge to the lined Cosmo paper by punching with the BIA and ripping each hole out using my "pokey" tool. It makes a real torn effect!

Looking at the photo, we all look a lot older and wiser or should that be "wider," my friends agree!! Tfl x

Sunday, 14 June 2009

Passing The Sewing Machine Driving Test! Lesson 1

Parts of the "car!"
If you are going to be a successful sewing macchine driver you need to know the names of the parts of the machine that I will be referring to. The essentials are;

1. Foot pedal (on the floor) this is what controls the speed of sewing, that means your foot! Sometimes there is a max or min speed setting on it or on the machine itself, but really it's down to you and your control. I can't tell you the number of times children used to shout "stop, stop" when the machine was going fast at school and I used to say "take your foot off!!!!!" Seems obvious, but then again............
2. Presser foot This is what you raise and lower with the presser foot lever at the back of the machine. It holds your fabric in place whilst you stitch, it traps the material against the feed dogs that mopve the fabric through the machine slowly.
3. Feed dogs Not sure exactly why "dogs" I suppose because they have sharp teeth, but they certainly "feed" the material through the machine at a controlled speed. One of the most common errors with sewing is pushing the fabric through too quickly, or pulling it through too quickly which creates uneven stitches. Just let the dogs feed it through at their own pace!
4. Tension This is a dial on the front of the machine somewhere with numbers that regulate how evenly the thread is allowed through the machine. Your machine has two threads, a top thread on a reel of cotton and a bottom thread on a small "spool" or "bobbin" in a "spoolcase" or "bobbincase." (From now on it will be known as the spool and spoolcase.) The tension on each thread must be perfect for an even stitch. i will explain this later.
5. Take Up Lever This is the lever on the front of the sewing machine that goes up and down, taking the thread up and down to loop around the lower thread. If you have problems stitching, it is often because this has been missed out or has become unthreaded. When starting to stitch, this "tyake up lever" must be at the top of its cycle, at it's highest point. The quicker you learn this, the less likely you are to have to keep re-threading the needle!
6. Balance Wheel This is the large wheel on the side of the machine that turns when you sew. You may need to turn it to move the "take up lever" to its top most position if you have an older machine. You must always turn it towards you. Some older machine also have a a system of disengaging the gear using this wheel, so you can wind a spool full of thread without the needle racing up and down!
7. Reverse lever or button Somewhere on your machine will be a revers button or lever so that you can stitch forwards and then backwards a few stitches to make a secure start and finish to your line of stitching. It acts a s a "casting on" stitch would in hand sewing.
8. Thread guides These are little hooks that the thread must be guided around to follow the correct path to the needle. It varies from machine to machine, how many there are and how you thread the cotton around them. There is usually one at the rear of the machine along the top and also one at the top of the machine needle. Some machine have another extra one too.
9. Needle Unlike hand sewing needles, the "eye" is in the point! The top of the needle, or the "shank" has a flat section to it and depending on your make of machine the flat part of the shank either faces the back or to the side. It is important to get this right when changing the needle as it can make the machine sew unevenly and even miss stitches. Most sewing machine needles thread from front to back, but some do thread from side to side, so check yours out!! This is vital!!
10. Spool case or bobbin case This metal case houses the spool or bobbin which contains the lower thread. Sometimes it is all part of the machine itself, permanently attached and sometimes the spool case can be one that is removed to load the spool inside. You need to check what yours is!! The one above remains in the machine. My Bernina machine has a removable spool case.
11. Stitch Selector button, dial or lever If you have a 'posh' machine it will do some stitches including embroidery and blind hemming stitch. The more expensive the machine, the more stitches you have to choose from!!! Sometimes this can be confusing!! Half a dozen stitch choices is enough for a beginner!
12. Stitch length button This does "what it says on the tin" It alters how long your straight stitching is!!! An average stitch length is 2.5. This is enough to be strong for seams but also big enough to unpick if you make any mistakes!!! Very long straight stitches are used for gathering fabric up easily.
13. Stitch width button This alters how wide your zig zag stitch will be. Usually you have a choice of 0 width up to 4 or 5 mm wide. Average is about 2.5. again. If you want to stitch straight, this must be set to 0 for obvious reasons!!
14. Sewing table (No I don't mean the table where you sit and sew!!!!) Your machine may have a flat bed that you can place your fabric on to sew or it may have a removable sewing table. Flat bed machines are great for large pieces of flat sewing or quilting. A removable sewing table is better if you are making clothes, so you can get sleeves and cuffs on to the machine easily.
15. Reel holder This is the long pin where you place your reel of cotton for sewing. There are often two of these on a machine in case you want to sew with two colours in a twin needle. Always use the reel holder on the left and the cotton should come off so the reel turns in an anti clockwise direction.
Ok those are the most important ones! Read digest and then destroy this top secret information. I will be back to test you, so lets hope you were paying attention!!! Lol!!!
Driving lesson one is over!!

Saturday, 13 June 2009

Happy Birthday!

DS2 is 15 today! How time flies!!!

Have a great day!! xx
P.S. If you want to know why the big copyright sign read this!!!! Just a reminder!!
Update!!! I am not sure how you "watermark" photo's as I don't have complicated photo editing software. I just have a programme where you can add text to an image and save it HTH!

Friday, 12 June 2009

Stylish office!

Here are a set of altered, cardboard, A5 folders I have just completed for an order, using Blonde Moments papers. I had an order requesting pink and white colour scheme and I hope they fit the bill!

The blank cardboard folders were from Papermill and the papers are attached using double sided tape and gluestick. I then trimmed around the edge with a craft knife and inked all the edges with a chalk eye ink pad. I have left the spines blank so whoever buys them can label them up themselves. I added lace, buttons and stamped images to embellish one side of each one, but kept it all flat so they would not get torn off. TFL x

Thursday, 11 June 2009

I love stash parcels!!!

Apart from the massive typo in the title of previous post! (Whoops, sorry!) It suddenly struck me that my general blogging has gone out of the window of late!! It's all "here is a page" etc, etc. Considering some people who read this do not craft at all (I know! You just have to feel sorry for them don't you!!!) I decided it was time we had a real "life" post about where things are at the mo!

My never ending birthday money has stretched to a new book today, called "Page Maps" from trusty Amazon! I have heard a few people raving about this as it comes with a set of sketch cards, handy when you have lost your Mojo! And seeing as I have been moved to scrap recently using sketches, I decided to invest! It arrived on my doorstep this morning and when I have a quiet five mins tonight I am going to peruse it!! I also ordered some October Afternoon papers "Cherry Hill" to supplement my Studio Calico kit which is winging its way to me as we speak - I slipped in a few extras too from Papermaze, including some Cosmo Cricket Early bird papers and some stick pins!! Some cute little cards from October Afternoon and a couple of Prima fabric labels completed that order!!!
This Maya Road post has given me some fab ideas to make some recipe cards with these!!

Another recent delivery was some K&Co Madeline papers and chipboard butterflies to make this sweet little album from You-tube. Gina over on do-crafts forum, brought this to my attention and it is fab! It is on my to do list!! I loved the foiled papers too, so that was a done deal.

More parcels in the form of a rotary cutter and 24" ruler for quilting have also recently arrived, so I will be in Sue Bubbles good books for sure when she makes it home from hospital!! She's the one who makes us spend you know!!! Over on the do-crafts forum!!! Lol!

I have other things on my to-do list, including this fab layout idea! This lady does some awesome work!! She shares her instructions here over at the Pink Paislee blog. When you see all the great stuff going on out there you just want to have a go and get crafting! TFLx

Learning to sew 4 - Joining the pieces together

Understanding textile work means, learning to choose the most efficient method of joining fabrics together, that is, the one that gives the best result, in the shortest possible time.

A seam is a join between two pieces of fabric. There are various things to consider:
Finish - usually we want a flat invisible finish, but that is not all.
Treatment of turnings - A seam should be done 1.5cm from the edge of the fabric for strength. The "raw" unfinished edges ,ust not show, must not be bulky and must not "fray" during wear. (Fray means the edges come unravelled.)
Fabric - What is it like? Does it stretch? Does it fray badly? Is it very thick and bulky? Is it very fine?
Fullness - Are the two pieces pf fabric to be joined the same size? If not how can the extra fabric be treated and worked into the seam and then neatened?
Pull - Will the seam have a lot of strain on it? Will one row of stitching be enough?
Wear - Is the seam subject to a lot of wear and tear?
Speed - Sometimes a machine can join a seam and neaten in one process, speeding up the construction process.
In most cases only the first two in this list apply, but the other points all call for different methods. The most common seam is an open seam where the seam allowances are pressed open after sewing and then neatened with a zig zag finish separately.
Here is a very old flow chart I drew up to help you choose what kind of seam to use. TFLx

Wednesday, 10 June 2009

Baby sister

No, don't panic, I am not expecting!!! LOL! (Phew, I just went all faint when I typed that!! It does not sound funny even as a joke at my age!!!) I just completed a layout of myself as a baby with my big sister holding on to me!!

I took inspiration from a pencil lines sketch, but as usual ended up doing my own thing!! Down to every last one of those little buttons being carefully sewn on by hand!!

Yes, it took ages!! But more effective that silicone glue!! I need to get my Foof-a-la buttons restocked soon at the rate I am using them!! That Sassafrass paper was perfect for this too with those "vintage yummy" images on there too! Still have not mastered how to avoid flash glare in my glossy photo's with my new camera! trouble is I am always photographing in poor light!! Need to work out this 'Iso' thing or save my picture taking until the mornings! I'm always last minute wanting to post on here though!! Don't you just love the retro telly in the background of this pic??? I was going to trim the picture, but decided against it as we had that old black and white telly for years! At least until I was about ten or eleven!! I remember it well!
I used the threading water punch down the right hand edge of this Bazzill Bling card. I had a very slight unevenness with the punching, so I decided to thread some holes with Organza ribbon to hid the floor! Happy accident!! See I admitted it!! TFLx

Tuesday, 9 June 2009

Learn to sew 3- Laying the pattern on fabric.

Once you have chosen your fabric, the pattern envelope tells you how much fabric to buy. There are usually several choices of fabric width and you need to check in the shop which width the fabric is before choosing how much to buy. usually the shop assistants are helpful with checking you are ordering the right amount.
Fabric comes in several widths, usually the most popular fabric widths are 45" which is 115cm wide or 60" which is 150cm wide.
The other thing you must know is if the fabric has "nap." Nap means that the fabric has a one way design i.e. flowers that only grow upwards or it is a "pile " fabric like velvet that stokes only one way. Avoid both of these types if you are a novice as they require skill in handling that is best left until you have more confidence.As we have prepared all the pattern pieces, we just need to know how to fit them on the fabric. Your instruction sheet has diagrams of "layouts" for either fabric width that you may have chosen. My fabric was 45" wide, so it showed me to fold mine in half with the selvedges together, so I had a fold along one edge.

Take time with the folding and smoothing and make sure the selvedges meet exactly. Accuracy at this time saves problems later. I lay it out on the lounge carpet and I usually fold it with the right sides together (hidden inside) so that they don't get any marks on. It's at this point that Barney usually decides to walk over the whole thing and lie on it!! What a dog!!

Follow the picture on the instruction sheet, laying each piece where they suggest and making sure any that should be on the folded edge are on the folded edge!!! That seems obvious, but accidents happen!!! Hold the pattern pieces in place as described before, using a pin cushion or heavy weight, whilst you measure the grainline to the selvedge as described in the last tutorial.

Once the grainline is accurate pin it at either end to hold it still. Then pin around the edge of each pattern piece, between the thick black cutting line and the dotted sewing line.

Keep going until all the pattern pieces are anchored in this way. I put one pin about every 3 inches around the edge. Not too many!!

At this point it is a good idea to check the layout picture once again and check you have done it exactly. Occasionally pieces have to be placed face down and they will be shown as a shaded piece. Just make sure you cut enough of each piece. If you cut out a collar, you do need two to make the shirt up!!
The next lesson is cutting out!!! TFLx

Sunday, 7 June 2009

Tie & dye

I am contuinuing to scrap old photo's from college and as the photo's are not brill, I decided to make a fuss of the layouts to pretty them up! I love them as a record of what I did and they are an important part of my book of me. For this one, I grabbed my Fiskars apron lace punch and added some detail to both edges of the patterned paper stip. I did some stitching of the ribbon loops at the top and doodled some fake stitching around the left edges. Threading ribbon through the apron lace punch effect helped me disguise a slightly uneven gap in my punching! The tear to the lower edge, reveals anothe pattern paper beneath. I used my edge distresser on the edges.Here is another one that shows photo's of the whole display when I had finished it. This one started with a pencil lines skecth that I liked. I have not completed my journaling yet, I like the title following the line of the pleated "fabrip" strip. The fabric thickers were perfect for this layout.
This final layout used a sketch and combined it with the weekly challenge over on UKs. Some stitching and the fab rip strip keeps the sewing theme. I had to make a handmade embellishment, so I gathered some ribbon using small running stitches and secured it. I decorated the centre with two buttons. I wont bore you with anymore photo's of this, but I wanted to show that with the right papers for the topic and with lots of details even the most boring photo's can be scrapped to look pretty and they are very significant to me as they form part of an important step in my life. Realising a goal! Straight into my 'Book Of Me!' TFLx
P.S. More sewing to come tomorrow. Just giving those not following that a break!!

Saturday, 6 June 2009

Learn to sew 2 - Pattern Markings

Making up a paper pattern is a bit like making flat pack furniture! If you get the right piece joined to the right piece you are away!! The main pattern symbols you need to know are here;Some of the above are obvious like the line to cut on has scissors and the line to sew on has a sewing machine presser foot on it, but some are not easy!

To make sure you join the right piece to the right piece you need a clue as to which pieces go together. You may also need to know which is the front of a garment and which is the back -this may seem obvious, but when they are all flat it isn't!!

N.B. With some fabrics it is also helpful to mark which is the right side (from now on known as RS) and which is the wrong side (from now on known as WS), but we'll talk about that later!

NotchesThese are the diamonds on the cutting line and they are either single or double. When cutting out, you are supposed to cut out and around them. It seems like a real faff, but it is well worth it later and can make sure you don't make a mistake when you are making up. One notch means the front and two notches together means the back. Occasionally you have three notches together too!

Tailor tack dotsThese are little filled in dots or open dots. They may seem pointless but again they show important marks for you to sew up to so you must transfer them on to your fabric, I'll show you how at a later date.

Grain line arrowsThese are the thick black lines with arrow heads on each end, sometimes curved ends. All fabric is made on a machine and has a 'grain.' If the grain is straight the fabric hangs straight, across the grain gives a stretch that can be useful at times but also can ruin the way a garment hangs, so it's important to understand about grain before you cut out.

Grain Woven fabrics are made on a loom. The threads running down the loom are called "Warp" threads and the threads woven in and out going across the loom on a shuttle, are called "Weft." Warp threads are stronger, so we always line our pattern pieces up with the warp threads. How?? Well it's easy, when you buy fabric on the roll the two side edges are neat and they do not 'fray', that means threads do not come off them. These two side edges are called "selvedges." All threads parallel to these selvedges are the warp threads. If your grain arrows are parallel to the selvedges then you are fine! Here's how to do it!

Place your pattern piece on the fabric, weight it down with something like your pin cushion or your scissors. (More about folding and pinning on fabric tomorrow)

Grab a tape measure or a ruler and measure from the grainline to the selvedge at each end of the line near the arrow heads and make sure the measurements are identical before you place a pin in each end of the grainline. Simple! Sometimes needs some jiggling to get the piece straight, but it is important and near enough is not good enough!! It needs to be exactly the same measurement at each end! As you can see I still work in inches but you use metric if you are happy with it!!!

If the grain line has curved arrows at each end, this is easier as it just means put that edge on a fold of fabric. More about that tomorrow.
Seam allowance
The only other pattern marking above that I have not mentioned is the gap between the cutting line (the thick black line with scissors on) and the stitching line (the dotted line with the machine presser foot symbol on!) All patterns (Unless you buy the German make BURDA) come with an added allowance to make your seams. All you need to do is make sure you stitch 1.5cm from your cut edge and the garment will make up to the correct size. I'll show you how to do this easily when we take the sewing machine driving test later!! It is important to sew not too near the edge otherwise the seam may rip open when you wear the clothes!!
Ok, this has been a very wordy post, but all these symbols are explain on your pattern instruction sheet!! Any questions, leave a comment below and I will try to answer in a comment below! TFLx