Posted in Roman blinds

Cascade Roman Blind 

I am still working, although it really is a pain in the neck! Literally, I mean, I am really suffering for my sewing :-(. My JHS is worse in my upper body although a good night’s sleep with a nest of pillows and a neck support cushion helps. I have made four blinds this week, but this one is unusual so I decided to share it.

Most roman blinds are made with equal sized folds, taking up the minimum space they can when up, and maximising the light they let in, but sometimes you want to make more of a feature of them. This one has a contrasting border and a flat piping, and is for a display. The difference between the pleat sizes is 3 cms. I can calculate this myself, but helpfully, someone else has created an online calculator, which takes so much less time! Thanks, My Decozo!

Posted in Sewing, Things I have learned, Uncategorized

Things I have learned about…Purse Frames

2016-07-31 15.30.51 (2)

Yay, I succesfully made a sunglasses case! Along with my BFF and longterm crafting buddy, Vicky (Indigograce Designs), I manged to work out how to use a glue-in purse frame. The above item is the finished piece, which looks exactly as it should, and I have used it too. But this was not the seamless process I was dreaming of, and I am going to write about it just in case anyone else has the same beginner’s problems that Vicky and I had.

As our starting point, we decided to use an excellent free tutorial by Lisa Lam, who I consider to be Queen of bags and purses. I have her first book, which has really good instructions, and I have looked at this particular tutorial a few times before. However, I am so not good at leap-of-faith projects, and could not figure out why the top of the pattern was a different shape to the purse frame! So on went the TV, and we started to watch tutorials on Youtube, one after the other, until we finally watched one from The Makery, and the penny dropped! The shape is not important, only the length of the seam is important! If you want to actually put things in the finished purse you need to add fullness throughout the length of the item, so the curve at the top needs to be shallower to push the centre of the purse up to add the puff.

Please note, I am not ashamed of the mess on my workroom table, creativity is often messy! (Please also note my fabulous new sewing machine, the Toyota Oekaki. This was its first project.)

Pattern drafted, we moved onto the decorating part. Vicky is really good at raw-edge applique, and I am naturally scared of trying anything where I am not confident of perfection, so she agreed to mentor me through my first attempt. I chose hearts, as I wasn’t feeling very inspired, and used Bondaweb to adhere the shapes. My new machine has 10 speeds, so I turned it right down so that I could really control my stitching. I was fine! What I learned here was that the linen that I chose for the base fabric is actually pretty stretchy when you pull it around, so next time I will take the extra time to add a stabiliser before I start to stitch. You can see a tiny amount of puckering around the hearts, but luckily adding a fusible fleece got rid of it.2016-07-30 14.22.30 (2)

The next stage was adding the lining. This is a simple lesson learned. I always cut linings about 2mm smaller all round, to allow it to sit smoothly inside an item. This time I used a wadding which was about 5mm thick, so I should have taken off 7mm all around (not from the top though) to allow for that thickness.

Finally it was time to add the frame! Vicky and I chose to add a line of topstitching close to the top edge to make it easier to push the gluey fabric into the gluey frame. This part was much easier than I expected, although here I learned the lesson of putting on the glue with the right side facing me, so that any runs go onto the lining! Yes, I got some glue on the front, but just added some extra hearts and a little hand sewing, and I got away with it.


So, the things that I have learned about purse frames were these:

  1. When drafting the pattern you need to add fullness to the whole purse, not just the sides. This will change the shape at the top, but it doesn’t matter. As long as the length is the same, it will fit.
  2. Check the stretchiness of your base fabric before decorating it. If it is stretchy, stabilise it.
  3. When working out the size for your lining, remember to allow for any wadding you are using, and make it smaller by that thickness.
  4. When adding glue to anything, make sure you do it from the front so that you can see and prevent drips!

If anyone has any other helpful lessons, please add them in the comments.

Posted in Jewellery

Labradorite love

I wrote at the top of my blog that jewellery craft is one of my creative loves, and so is labradorite. It is a grey stone that doesn’t look like it is anything special, but it has a secret. When you move it around, it suddenly looks like a butterfly wing, shimmery and iridescent, with flashes of green and blue. Even the tiny beads have a dot of light, although you have to know to look for it.

The motley collection in the photograph above is my everyday collection of jewellery, made to complement my favourite clothes. I had so much fun trying different techniques, with the main feature being that the finished items would withstand family life. And they have! One of the necklaces is recent, as I wanted a longer, more dramatic piece, but the others are from three years ago.

The techniques involved are:

Wirework- heart shape, clasps

Herringbone wire wrapped pendant

Byzantine chain maille

Double ended wire wrapped loops

Wrapped leather Chan Luu inspired bracelet

All of the wire was once silver plated, but I have worn these pieces so much that my acidic skin has taken the plating off. Luckily I like the antiqued look!


Posted in Sewing

Looking forward to Playtime 

My friend Vicky, from IndigoGrace Designs, and I have wanted to have a play with purse frames for ages. All of the tutorials we have found say that you need to draw your own pattern to fit the frame that you have. Vicky is going to teach me how to do machine appliqué, and then we are going to make sunglasses cases. It won’t be for a couple of weeks, as she is working, as am I (three more roman blinds), but it is nice to know we have some playtime coming up.

Posted in Roman blinds, Sewing

The biggest roman blind I have ever made

I currently make roman blinds from home for a local company. Unfortunately, I am having to scale right back on work as my chronic joint condition is taking too great a toll. As you can see, I am not scaling back on the size of the blinds! The big one there is not the widest I have made, but at 232cms wide x 172cms long, it has the biggest area. I love the striped fabric, and hope it looks amazing in the customer’s home.