Hot Textile Art

Hot textiles refers to using heat with spun textiles, creating new effects. Use them in creative stitch textile art and crafting projects.

The spun textiles do not fray or tear and come in different weights for different effects and finished  textile art creations.

Colour with paints, stamps, writing, inkjet printing …

The technique used for drying painted spun textiles will also vary the results: flat, draped, on a textured surface …

Appy heat using an iron, craft heat gun or a soldering iron.
Take care not to breath in the vapours, working in a very well ventilated area and wearing a respirator if doing more than a small piece.
At my workshops we are able to use the conservatory for the heating part, working by the open French Door.

 

Workshops at Ecclesall Textile School

Workshops start with exploring a wide range of spun textile art products, and their different weights. Then it’s time to play, experimenting with small samples and making notes so we know which treatment(s) give which effects.
Participants can then choose one or two to work with choosing from a range of projects.

Please get in touch if you are interested in finding more out about our workshops.

Just want to mention a couple of suppliers.
If you are calling in to the Sheffield shop, or placing an oder with ColourCraft, they stock these spun textiles, but don’t necessarily have all of them, or all the weights available.

For a wide range of Lutradur, as well as Evolon, then get in touch with Spunart who give knowledgeable and quick service.

I am genuinely recommending these suppliers without any benefit to myself other than the warm glow of passing on textile art tips.

Tyvek

I have used tyvek quite a lot and mentioned it in a previous blog: textile landscapes.
It makes some wonderful skies when misted and then sprinkled with a few Brusho crystals. Some skies can be stormy, some with a Northern Lights like effect.

The paint, or indeed anyhing, can’t pass through the Tyvek, so both sides can be painted/printed/stamped, differently.

It also makes a lovely “vegan leather” book cover as the tyvek takes the paints revealing  a textured effect.

Children at one of my children’s stitch workshops, enjoyed decorating tyvek and then using them to make durable luggage labels.

I have also wired leaf shapes and then distressed them with heat.

The lighter weight Tyvek, which is used in the white crime scene investigation suits, needs careful heating as it heat distresses easily, but makes some great additions to paint and stitch pieces. The unpredictability of this medium needs to be grasped and is all part of the fun.
One piece became part of a rock pool inspired piece. Another a bubbling stream, another a stone wall.

Lutradur

Lutradur comes in six different weights, which suit different uses.

Lutradur 25/30g Lightweight has transparency which can be utilised in applique, enabling the background(s) to show through. Further heat distressing will allow total reveal in places.

Lutradur 70g, Regular is lovely for brooches, having enough body but having a little drape.

Lutradur 100g, Medium weight, is probably the most versatile as it has a little transparency, and distinct shapes and distressed areas are easy to achieve.

Lutradur 230g, heavy weight, is the heaviest weight, enabling self-supporting art work, such as small screens, or lanterns.

Helen Moyes Designs Lutradur Lantern

One of my favourite Lutradur projects is making vases which can then become lanterns.
The textile is decorated, stitched and embellished before being heat distressed.
It is then formed around a glass jar which will hold either water or a tea light.

Always take care when using flames, don’t leave unattended and keep checking as further heat distressing can occur. If in doubt use the battery operated tea lights.

Just time for a quick mention of another couple of my favourites…

Evolon

Evolon is Soft, similar soft suede. It drapes wonderfully and takes paint is lovely ways.

I used Evalon for the background here:

Bondaweb

Bondaweb is a lightweight spun web which has adhesive on both sides. Beyond its many uses in applique, art quilting,you  can paint it and then adhere in segments to textile art projects.

Do take care when ironing any of these textiles to use a sandwich of baking parchment to protect both your iron and ironing surface.

I would love to talk more about textile art resources, and how to use them, but will leave some for another time.

I would love to hear about your creative journey with “hot textiles”. Please do comment.

 

 

 

Holiday Exmoor Exploits

I wanted to share a few of the places I came upon whilst exploring on holiday this month.

There is a lot to be said for carefully researching days out, but sometimes it is those places that we just come upon that take our breath away! I did seem to keep being places at just the right time.

The Moyes Clan gathering holiday was in Timberscome this year and we had enjoyed a pleasant Sunday afternoon in Dunster village, before heading to the beach.

Wooly Dunster

Dunster Yarn Market is a historic timber octagonal building at one end of the High Street and creates single file traffic. As one of my sons commented as we drove through “it’s a bit in the way!”

Dunster Yarn Market

Dunster Yarn Market

Built in 1609 to provide shelter for merchants during cloth markets, we were staying during monthly woolfest. It was great to see the wool from sheep to jumper.

We were just in time to see a young ticklish sheep being shorn for the first time.

Another day I met Annabelle, a maker with a her own flock of sheep, had a crafty chat and bought  wool and wooden buttons.

When there was a group returning to Dunster to visit the castle, I decided to have a solitary explore towards the coast. I enjoyed a drive along the Somerset lanes, not worrying about the frequent delays for the “dance of cars” negotiating passing places and none.

Selworthy on a Sunny Afternoon

I parked up by Selworthy church and my first find was a craft shop in a thatched cottage to explore local makers work. Asking around I was directed to a path that took me towards the hill were “you can get a great view of Porlock Bay.”

 Glad I had borrowed a map from my local library that helped me to work out my route, but also appreciated a lady telling me the way – heading towards the hamlet of Bossington, and then on to find Selworthy Beacon on the headland, one of the highest points on Exmoor.

Thatched Shelter - Allerford Plantation

Thatched Shelter – Allerford Plantation

There are lots of thatched dwellings around, but I was fascinated to come across several thatched shelters, for walkers in inclement weather Thankfully the weather held for my walk. The gate  presumably deters animals.

Thatched Cobbled Shelter with wooden bench

Thatched Cobbled Shelter with wooden bench

St Agnes’ Fountain is a small spring in Allerford Plantation and has the seat with the bay view I had been told about. I am not sure I would have noticed the fountain if it wasn’t for the seat, after our dry Spring & Summer! There is no structure apart from an arrangement of mossy stones. The fountain was constructed in 1820 and named after the youngest daughter of Sir Thomas Acland. (SS 9047 4736 if you ever wish to find it)

St Agnes' Fountain a small spring, Allerford Plantation

St Agnes’ Fountain a small spring, Allerford Plantation

Seat with a Wiew, Allerford Plantation

Seat with a Wiew, Allerford Plantation

From here I climbed through forest, catching tantalising glimpses of deer and ponies. It was hot and tiring and I nearly gave up finding the Selworthy Beacon and the ocean views. I was so glad to finally meet another human who encouraged me it wasn’t too far and worth continuing to “her favourite place to be”.

A heather and gorse informal patchwork greeted me and I took a path through this to reach the view I had persisted for.

Selworthy Beacon View, Exmoor

Selworthy Beacon View, Exmoor

Amazing dark and light cloud formations coming over threatened rain but I remained dry and didn’t need to use the stone “wind and rain hut” built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland in on his death in 2009. He took his children, and then grandchildren on Sunday walks on the combe training them to love nature and poetry. There are some examples of his favourite poetry calved in the sections of the shelter:

wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

poem calved in the wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

poem calved in the wind and rain hut built in remembrance of John Dyke Acland

From here I was able to work out how to get back to my car, back to our cottage to quickly wash and change to join my mother in laws birthday tea. I had been a much longer trek than anticipated but I felt uplifted by my Exmoor exploits.

The following day Nick and I set off early to take one of our sons to Exeter airport, as he had to fly to Ireland for a friends wedding. Afterwards we wend East to explore the coast there. I had noticed Otterton Mill on the map and we were driving past. Deciding to stop, we didn’t know what joys awaited us.

Milling and Fresh baked bread at Otterton Mill

Otterton Mill – on the River Otter was just preparing for one of the occasional demonstrations, allowing us to experience the ancient tradition of flour milling. The curved waterwheel paddles were turning it at a fair pace (12 revolutions per minute) producing 200kg of flour an hour.

Otterton Mill diagram

Otterton Mill diagram

This is helped by the petal shaped grooves cut into the millstones. I was impressed by the exhibit of this.

Groove patterns in millstones

Groove patterns in millstones

Milling has taken place here for over 1000 years and we watched a traditional wheat variety ‘Maris Widgeon’ being milled. This wheat is so tall its straw is used for thatching.

Otterton Mill Grinding

Otterton Mill Grinding

We browsed the local arts and crafts,  purchasing  some flour bread from the shop.

Driving to the coastal path above Sidmouth we tried the bread, before our walk down along the seafront, a paddle and a cream tea. It was at the beach I continued to stitch some seaside quilted cards.

seaside stitching

seaside stitching

seaside quilted cards

seaside quilted cards

 

 

 

 

 

 

Home Baking

After the blessing of summer sunny holiday exploits today is a cool wet day, just right for doning wool, lighting the stove and baking bread using the Otterton Mill stone ground flour.

Holiday Bread made with Otterton Mill stoneground wholemeal bread flour

Holiday Bread made with Otterton Mill stoneground wholemeal bread flour

Half the bag made two lovely loaves shown in their proving baskets:

Bread in Proving Basket

Bread in Proving Basket

I added some rosemary, olives and sun dried tomatoes to elude to happy summer holiday memories.

I would love to hear what your holiday exploits have included.

New Dress

I have finally finished making my new blue dress. I say finally as it has been a long process of alterations as I went along. Dressmaking means you can get the right FIT for YOU.

It was only that I so loved both the feel and the look of the linen and wool blend fabric that kept me going dressmaking at times. Perseverance means I now have a classic, easy to wear dress, which will take me through the changing seasons.

It will go well with the trench coat I made last year.

The Dressmaking Pattern

The pattern I used was the Simple Sew Skater Dress. Contact me if you would like this pattern for your dressmaking.

I do agree with Simple Sew pattern advice to launder fabric before you begin. If your fabric is going to shrink, you want it to do so before you make it into your new dress!

What I didn’t do though, was make a toile, which is also a good idea. What I did do was use the pattern according to my bust measurement. I am still getting used to one effect of the peri-menopause – an increase in bust size!

What needed altering? Quite a lot!

I do just need to mention that the pattern instructions do not mention:

  1. creating a hem on the sleeves
  2. sewing a sleeve or side seemThese are necessary to make a dress! otherwise the dressmaking instructions seem clear to follow.

Neck Line Alterations

The neckline gaped so I inserted darts into the neckline (and also the neck facing) to correct this. This did alter the shape of the neckline but gave a much better fit.

To get the neckline to lie flat:

  1. I clipped the curves on the neck and neck facing seam
  2. Top stitching using a twin needle
    I used this for the hems too and it gave a firm finish
    I also increased the lower front bodice darts for a better fit.

The bodice also needed some adjustments at the back as it didn’t fit too well at first.

The right back sleeve seam was baggy – maybe I am rather lopsided, but that is one of the joys of making your own clothes, you can make them fit YOU!

Here is the back bodice before alteration:

I turned the dress to the wrong side and unpicked the back of the sleeve. I then took in the excess back bodice and re sewed.

You can see that the left bodice back slopes down differently to the right side. So I unpicked the top-stitching and the facing at the left back. I then made a paper template of the right side and then used this to re cut both the back bodice and the facing.

The facing was then reattached and the top-stitching completed.

I think these pictures shows the improved fit:

They also show I need to get my hair straighteners out!

Dressmaking Finishing Extra

My final addition was straps with press studs to hold my bra straps and the fairly narrow shoulder together. This took a few minutes but will increase my comfort and confidence in wear.

There are lots of advantages of dressmaking

If you would like to increase your joy of stitching, I have a new workshop programme, including a weekend dressmaking course.
I usually put workshops on my FaceBook page events

Please contact me if you would like to join me.

I would love to hear about your dressmaking issues, please leave a comment.

Happy CupCake Day

Hope you are enjoying a cupcake on national cup cake day?

Summer picnics and afternoon teas are a great tme for a cupcake.

I have made both a savoury and sweet versions during the last week and share my recipes with you here. Both can be enjoyed knowing they are easy ways to increase your vegetable intake.

My sons are generally Ok with vegetables, but are not keen on either courgettes or beetroot, both of which are summer seasonal healthy vegetables, so these cupcake recipes are a good way to encourage vegie consumption.

First the savoury Cheesy Courgette Cupcakes.

Ingredients

  • 1 medium courgette
  • 100g  cheddar cheese, or any hard cheeses lurking in your fridge
  • 225g (8oz) self-raising flour
  • 50ml (2fl oz) olive oil
  • 175ml (6fl oz) semi-skimmed milk
  • 2 eggs
  • black pepper

Method

preheat the oven to gas 6, 200°C

Place the muffin cases in a muffin tin.

Rinse the courgette, cut the ends off,  grate it into a mixing bowl.

Grate the cheese into the mixing bowl.

Add the self-raising flour, along with the oil and milk.

Crack the eggs into a small bowl with some black pepper and add this to the other ingredients.

Stir just until all the ingredients are combined.

Divide the mixture equally between the muffin cases using two spoons.

Bake for around 20 minutes until they’re golden andspringy to touch

Cool on a cooling rack.

Now we have the Chocolate Cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 120g self-raising flour
  • 60g cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 150g golden caster sugar
  • 200g beetroot
  • 2 large-sized eggs
  • 140ml olive oil

Method

Heat the oven to 180ºC/Gas 4.

Sift the flour, cocoa powder and baking powder into a bowl. Mix in the sugar.

Peel and grate the beetroot

Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the beetroot, egg and oil and lightly mix with a wooden spoon.

Divide the mixture evenly between the cup cake tin (with cases if you prefer)

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until well risen and just firm to the touch. Cool on the cooling rack.

Lightly sieve icing sugar over the buns to serve.

National CupCake day takes place on June 14th and is held each year to raise awareness and  money to help the fight against dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. This is needed everyday so don’t worry if you have missed the date in June, to enjoy cupcakes and consider a gift to the alzheimers society.

Sew your own style

Sharing my sewing adventures to show how to add a lining. Add a lining to take your sewing from home made to haute couture. Sew your own style.

Blue Trench Coat

My Spring wardrobe would not be complete without  a coat to keep the blustery showers at bay.

Blue is a favourite of mine so I can choose to wear my blue boots or blue court shoes to complete the outfit. What colour coat would best suit you and your wardrobe? Sew your own style.

 

I used Simple Sew The Trench Coat pattern and some blue suiting from a local tailor.

Simple Sew Trench Coat pattern

This coat pattern is a flattering belted style without buttons. however it is short for a coat, and there in no guidance for adding a lining.

Haute couture

I made it more versatile to wear over a wider range of clothes, and in a range of weather by increasing the length.

Haute couture is French for “high sewing” or “high dressmaking” or “high fashion” and is the creation of exclusive custom-fitted clothing. Not as difficult as the term may suggest, and is all about getting clothes right for you and not the same as anyone else. Sew your own style

Adding a lining

Rose & Hubble fabric for the lining

I chose some lovely Rose & Hubble cotton for the lining. The lining of a coat can be extra special, almost like a secret between the wearer and the coat, which can be chosen to be shared, or not!
I’m not a fan of slippery man-made fabric linings, as they can wear out quite fast, and be sweaty (this could just be me of course?!). I prefer a natural fabric which is more breathable, and in this case I chose a hard wearing cotton. I do tend to sling my coat around, when out and about in the car, or under seats etc at venues so they do need to stand up to this treatment!

What do you need to take into account?

The great thing about adding a lining is that all your seams are covered up so although they need finishing to stop any fraying, you don’t have to feel they will be open to inspection.

First things first, I always wash fabric so if there is going to be any shrinkage, it is before making.

While the fabric drys, inspect the pattern construction and instructions and decide on any alterations you want. I  lengthened the belt as well as both the bodice and skirt length.

Cuting out in my kitchen as the worktop height is kinder on my back. I love using my fabric weights. Quicker and easier than pinning, especially with thick fabric. You can find these in my Etsy shop. I ship worldwide from Yorkshire. I’m also happy to create a custom order for you, if there is a particular colour or design you would like. Just let me know.

Using Fabric Weights

The lining pieces are the same as the main body (no need for the belt or facing though).

The sleeves and back pattern pieces are cut out the same as for the main fabric pieces.

You can see here where I use the main fabric piece to get the same length – this shows how much length I added – tall girls need more fabric!

Planning the lining

Use the pattern markings for grain and fold lines for the lining.

Cutting out the lining pieces

However, because the lining is attached to the facing, the front lining pieces don’t want to be as wide as the main fabric front pieces.

In this pattern there’s lots of fullness from pleats in the front skirt pieces, which I din’t want in the lining, as it would be far too bulky.

You can see here how I pinned the pleats on the front skirt pattern piece and folded in the facing width to create my lining pattern piece.

adjusting the pattern for the lining

Sewing  in the lining

Make up the lining as a second version of the garment. If curves need clipping do this after neatening the edges. I love using pinking scissors for finishing seams of cotton fabric.

constructing the lining

I hung my nearly finished garments up, to allow gravity to work and see how it would hang in wear.  I checked the sizing before sewing  together. The lining garment is placed wrong side to the wrong side of the main garment once the facing and lining  are sewn together right sides together.

 

hanging during construction

The lining needs to be 2 – 3 inches shorter than the outer coat and I didn’t hem them separately, but chose to sew the hems right sides together and then turn through.

At this stage there are no sleeves.

Sleeves

The sleeve is inserted into the main garment, right sides together with even gethering.

insert the sleeve

You won’t get a smooth lining finish if you don’t hand stitch the lining sleeve top, or head, in place. So, first sew the wrist part of the lining and sleeve together. Place right sides together with the lining on the outside. Machine stitch the wrist circle and then turn the sleeve lining to the inside of the sleeve. Match up the side seams and ensure it isn’t twisted.

Fold over the top edge of the sleeve lining and slip stitch it to the lining bodice, matching the undearm seams. Careful hand stitching here really does finish the garment off well.

The other thing I added to finish my coat, was silver top stitch along the front edge, all around the collar. Along with clipping the seams, and tapering the collar point, this really helps the collar to lie flat aswell as finishing the garment. Some extra attention to finishing details really helps to sew your own style. I am thinking about which sewist brooch to add.

front of finished coat

back of finished coat

I’m looking forward to the end of wintery weather here, so I can step out in my blue coat. What clothesmaking would help you to sew your own style?

Happy Pancake Day

Happy Pancake Day – whether you are celebrating the once a year Shrove Tuesday pancake day, or having a pancake day at another time of year, here is one of my favourite recipes.

Any Day Healthy Pancakes

So before you reach for the sugar, syrup or chocolate, have you tried savoury pancakes?

A complete meal, suitable for vegetarians and diabetics. If you need to be gluten free, then use gluten free flour to make your pancakes.

The only difference in the batter is a little black pepper if desired.

 

Once your pancake batter is made, let it rest while you make a savoury filling.

Pancake Filling

You can use whatever vegetables you choose, selecting different colours and textures to give a nice variety. This is also a great recipe for using up left over cookerd vegetables.

I chose to start with sliced leeks and diced carrots. I sauted these in a little olive oil.

Then I gathered a few vegetables that didn’t need any prior cooking: some leftover cooked peas, a small tin of sweetcorn, a red pepper and a few sticks of celery. I chopped the peper and celery.

Once the carrot and leek were cooked, I added the rest of the vegetables and mixed well. A tub of cream cheese and some grated cheese were added and the mixture mixed really well. Use any cheeses you have avilable in your fridge.

As you make each pancake you can fill and roll it while your next pancake is cooking, making a production line process.

Place the rolled up filled pancakes in an oven proof dish.

Sprinkle over a lottle more grated cheese and then bake for 20 minutes in a preheated – moderate oven: 180 degrees centegrade/ gas 4

I made these ahead of time and allowed them to cool to take them to a pancake party.

 

 

 

New Year – New Dress

 New Year – New Dress

In this new dress sewing post: Project organisation; Matching Checks/Plaids; Creating a Neck facing; Inserting a Zip; Inserting Sleeves; Using Tacking

My new dress has both a high waist and both bodice and skirt darts which are flattering to my curves.

Project organisation

My aim is to use up the fabrics and resources I already have, reducing my storage needs and simplify finding everything.

I had already prepped some red, brown and navy plaid fabric: washing and drying it and then pinning the selvedges together, matching the plaid pattern up. Having decided to use a high waist winter dress pattern, I had stored the fabric and pattern together in a stacking basket, complete with thread and zip notions.

This is one of the ways I organise my projects.

After hearing a podcast on fabric and pattern organisation I’m considering options for my New Year goal of simplicity.

I already use Evernote for general organisation so this may be best for specific sewing project organisation. I would then have the info on fabrics and patterns, including the fabric & notions required on my phone with me when out.

Cutting Out

When I realised I had a spare afternoon towards the end of December, when the rest of the family went off to the cinema, I washed down the Kitchen Island (which is just the right height for me to cut out fabric without back issues), and grabbed the basket for this project.

Having the plaid pattern already matched up, and using my fabric weights, which I find quicker than pins, I had my dress fabric pieces cut out in no time.

 

I made my own fabric weights, filling them with rice, and you can order some  yourself choosing your own colour fabric, from my Etsy shop.

These pattern weights are not just handy for sewists, but make great paper weights or for  juggling practice!

 

All the pieces were returned to the basket to take back to my studio and stay together during construction.

Over the following week, whenever I had a little time spare, I went to my machine, and pieced my new dress together. My aim became to have it ready to wear on News Year Day, and I did achieve this, even though I sat sewing the hem by hand at my sister in law’s New Years Eve gathering!

Matching Plaids

As I mentioned I had already pined the selvedge edges together, matching the plaid pattern up.

Fabric is not always folded up on in the bolt straight to the pattern so the first step to pattern matching is to straighten it out.

Pre washing means I know there will not be any distortion after making up.

When placing the pattern pieces on the fabric I considered what would need to match up.

My pattern needed matching horizontally and vertically, so I needed the skirt and bodice plaids to match up, as well as the front and back pattern to match horizontally.

I placed the pattern pieces to allow for this.

I also added an inch to the bodice armhole as shown, to give a little more movement.

In places, even after pinning the plaid to match on seams, there was some slippage. So the plaid did not quite match after pressing the seam. This is an instance when tacking, in this case sideways on the plaid line, as well as just inside the seam line, saved unpicking and resewing!

Creating a Neck Facing

An interlined facing creates a neat neck edge. I attached iron-on grey interlining to the fabric facing pieces. (It is not necessary to try to do any plaid matching, as the facing is turned to the wrong side and is not seen when you wear the dress).

The shoulder seams both of the bodice and the facing are sewn first

The facing is then sewn on to the bodice, right sides together. This curved seam needs clipping to ensure the facing lies flat.

I then pressed this facing seam to ensure a smooth neck edge.

Especially when pressing curves, a tailors ham makes a really good accessory, giving a firm surface to press against.

I made my own tailors ham, filling it with sawdust and you can order one yourself (choosing your own colour fabric if you choose) from my Etsy shop

I then used understitching the facing to give extra strength to the neck edge and help ensure the facing lies flat.

This involves a line of stitching on the opened out facing.

When the facing is folded under you don’t see the stitches.

An alternative would be to topstitch the folded neck edge, where you will see the stitches. This can add an extra design feature, especially if you use a contrasting thread colour. As my fabric already had plenty going on, I chose to understitch.

Inserting the Zip

I used a regular zip, rather than an invisible one, as that is what I had in.

When your fabric has several colours, it can be tricky to decide which colour zip to use. I had brown and red zips, so held both against the bodice pieces to choose which blended best. I went for the red zip and made sure the thread blended well too.

My zip method: tack the seam together, press it open and then lay the right side of the zip down centred over the seam.

Tacking again helps keep the centred and in place during stitching. Using a zipper foot helps get the stitches close to the zipper teeth.

Inserting Sleeves

Tack the sleeve heads, with the thread secured at one end. Pull up these stitches then to match the bodice armhole.

I place the pins sideways to the seam. Wind the unsecured end of the tacking round a pin in a figure of eight, after pulling the gathering to match.

The regular sewing machine foot used, glides over pins that are sideways.

My finished new dress for the New Year and Burns Night. Bring on the neeps and tatties!

I would love to hear from you. Please comment here, or using the contact form.

What is your most recent make?

How do you organise your fabric and patterns?

Make Your Own Christmas Hanging Heart Decoration

Make Your Own Christmas Hanging Heart Decoration

Avoid Christmas panic –  make your own hanging heart decoration, or use one of our kits that has everything you need ready for you. The hearts you make, or the kits, are great stocking fillers or Christmas Eve box gifts.

In this blog I list the resources to gather from your supplies, give you a heart template to download & print, show you how to make a hanging heart and give you details of another free festive decoration tutorial, as well as a blog reader discount at my Etsy shop, Helen Moyes Designs.

Hanging Hearts are so versatile, and depending on the textiles used are lovely for all seasons: Christmas, Winter Cheer, Valentines, Easter, Spring …

Hanging heart decoration can be hung on a tree at Christmas, on a twig arrangement or on doors. they make a lovely stocking filler gift

Your DIY  hanging heart decoration can be personalised in many ways … I love combining stamping with stitch, stamping a name or sentiment on some calico.

What You need:

2 pieces of felt 13 x 13 cm

piece of printed fabric 13 x 13 cm

20 cm ribbon or cord

button

plain fabric, inkpad and stamps for personalised embellishment – optional

hollowfibre filling

needle and thread

scissors

scent – optional

What you do.

Use the heart template to cut out 2 felt hearts and one cotton print heart.

You can print my template for your hanging heart decoration.

Click here to download heart template

Taking just the cotton print heart you have made, secure the thread in the centre with a couple of small stitches. Put the needle up through the small felt heart and one of the holes of the button. Take the neele and thread back down through the other hole of the button and repeat a couple of times.

Secure on the wrong side with another couple of small stitches. This is the stage it is easiest to add any personalised embellishment too.

Layer the 3 heart pieces with the print upermost.

Fold the ribbon in half and tuck the ends into the top of the heart. Secure with a couple of stitches, and test it with a little tug.

Using running stitch, sew from the top of the heart up and around the curve, down to the bottom point and then back up the other side, to 1 cm to the second curve. Secure the thread with a small stitch.

Use the hollow fibre filling poking it into the inside the heart, as evenly as possible. A pencil can help with this.

If you would like some scent, add some dried fragrant petals, such as lavender, or a couple of drops of essential oil to the hollowfibre.

Complete the running stitching back to the centre top and secure with another couple of little stitches.

Hang your completed hanging heart decoration with pride.

Hanging heart Kits

If you would like a kit to make a hanging heart decoration (available in three designs) then please go to my Etsy shop. 

I offer to save you time, stress and money:

  • gift wrapping service (small extra charge)
  • I will send your purchace to your recipient with a greeting (free service)

I also have another DIY Christmas presents hanging kit available at my Etsy shop.

Reader offer.

And as a blog reader you can use the code HCBLOG at the checkout for 20% off any orders from my Etsy shop over £10.

DIY Christmas tree decoration tutorial.

You might also be interested in another of my Christmas decoration tutorials

What are your hanging decoration makes? Please share them with us below. I love to hear about others craftyness!

Wedding Belles – we did the I dos

Wedding Belles – we did the I dos

After months of anticipation and planning our daughter, Hannah’s wedding to Craig was this weekend. The Home Coaching sewing lounge became a hair and make up studio with no boys allowed!

Flower Crafting

The crafting has been taking place throughout the year with Hannah making paper flowers for the bouquets, corsages and button holes. Lots of the Moyes clan females made flowers, when we met up in the summer, to start the flower wall.

 

The Cake

I was comissioned to make a cake with three tirers of sponge cake: red velvet, lemon and carrot cakes. The purple theme was used with pearl and gold embellishments.

I had one cake tin in each size so gradually made the cakes and stashed them in the freezer. Planning ahead meant I was not too fazed when one of the carrot cakes was an epic fail! Thankfully the next attempt worked fine.

Decorating had to be done at the last moment as fillings included cream and cream cheese. So after the rehearsal and rehearsal dinner we set to.

Wedding Dress

Hannah is woman who know what she wants and often amazes me with her quick choices when shopping. This is a skill she uses in her job as a merchandiser. This was no exception when I went down south to go wedding dress shopping. Hannah had seen an Anna Sorrano dress she liked online and tried this on first. This being the first time I had ever seen my daughter in a wedding dress, I wasn’t sure if my “wow” response was due to just that. However, after trying a few more dresses we quickly returned to the first one, a classic a-line gown with long sleeves and sequin lace .

We hadn’t been sure if we would make a dress, as I had for my wedding, but felt that for all the fabric and inner corsetry, we certainly wouldn’t save any money by making from scratch and we felt we had found the right dress. Nick was sent a text with a picture of Hannah wearing the dress but had to delete it from his phone. It was then kept secret until the big day.

There was the conundrum of the wedding dress swishing down the isle of the church, but then not getting in the way of partying. We solved this on my return South by removing lots of the underneath layers of the skirt at hip level and turning them into an under skirt. This involved trying the dress on lots of times on the hottest day of the year – the last Sunday in August! The sleeves were taken in to fit snugly and the hem length checked with Hannah wearing her purple heels.

Here is Hannah and Nick arriving at the church, with the the dress  A-shape with the underskirt layers. Dior is quoted as saying “I have designed flower women”, when referring to the A-shapes. Incidently I am rather envious of Hannah who will be visiting the Dior exhibition later this week in Paris.

And here is Hannah and Craig dancing, showing the dress without the underskirt layers, and with the train fastened up using a button and loop.

Mother of the Bride Outfit

Back in Sheffield, I chose a Vogue pattern which suited my love of putting fabrics together as well as my shape. Now my attic studio was originally Hannah’s bedroom and needed to be reinstated as such. This meant much sorting and clearing up was required. The great thing of sorting through my fabric stash under the eves, was finding I already had the fabrics for my dress!

Also found was a cotton jacket I had stashed away from a charity shop spree, which I had never worn as it was a bright yellow (cheerful but not one of my colours) and was rather dated with it’s shoulder pads and long length.

The pads, buttons and lining were removed and the jacket dyed with a dye I had also had a while, to tone down the bright yellow to a paler pink.

I had chosen some wool on a trip to Wingham Wool in Wentworth, earlier in the year and set to with the embellishing machine. I chose navy, jade, grey and purple wool, a turquise silk and a blend.Playing led to a swirling design, which turned out reminiscent of some of Van Gogh’s skys.

Unlike my sewing machine, the embellisher isn’t designed for sleeves so these needed their seams unpicking. Felting caused the sleeves not to be long or wide enough, so some calico was added and then needle felted. The loss of length on the jacket was not an issue as I wanted it shorter, and I remodelled the front facing to get the front to fit.

The upcycling continued as a silk blouse that no longer fitted me was used to line the jacket.

I used the cotton from one of my Grandpa’s old shirts I also had in my stash to make a toile of the dress bodice. I hadn’t used a Vogue pattern with different pieces for different cup sizes before so wanted to test it out. I had to adjust the fit on the shoulders, and across my upper chest and after fiddling around to get the toile to fit, decided to use it as the bodice lining.

Since I had already cut down the length and re-fitted the waist of my wedding dress netted underskirt (sadly I am not the same waist size I was at age 19!), I decided this would be right for the circle skirt of the dress.

The sleeves also needed adjusting for a better fit.

As I was using some silk for the mid setion, I found I needed to add interfacing to this for a smooth fit.

The simple dress lines are enhanced by top stitching, but I did need to unpick some of this to get one shoulder to lie flat!

Here is the non fitting shoulder

And then modified

I used an invisible zip from my stash, which worked although a little shorter than the length suggested in the pattern.

The pattern instructions were clear to follow.

The hem was finished using horsehair braid, which is great to add body to a hem. I wasn’t totally happy with the finish of the hem as it was a little ruckled. However it was good that I was staying with my mother in law when I was finishing the dress, as she was able to give me a pep talk that it is only me who would notice this!

My Hat

I chose a one colour hat which was not too high, as I am already tall. The added bonus was this was in the sale! I trimmed this up with a fabric flower from offcuts from the dress and some feathers in the jacket colours.
As it’s been rather windy lately,to keep my hat on,  I embellished a filigre hat pin, to go with a couple of vintage plain hat pins inherited from my grandmother.

With all the saving, using inherited vintage items  and up-cycling, I was able to justify a Radley handbag which was in both petrol and purple!

The Pavers court shoes I chose were navy and purple and I wore them while sewing to “wear them into my feet”.

So the anticipated wedding day came and now we have so many happy memories shared with family and friends, and also with you. I do hope you have enjoyed sharing the special day with us.

I am likely to post more pictures on Instagram and on my Facebook page as they become available.

Up-cycle for Winter

Upcycling a Classic Coat

I will show you how to up-cycle and simply sew to get a cosy classic coat, ready for the colder weather.

A coat can be an expensive garment to make, unless you up-cycle one you like the fabric of.

Here is my charity shop bargain, £3 for a wool navy coat, in very good condition.

bargain wool coat

I would love to be able to report that this “before” picture is really an “after weight loss” picture. However, my size has stayed the same but the coat was far too big, several sizes too big.

The material was good quality, a great colour for me, so worth some care and sewing. In fact, as the cost of material rises, I both buy, and advise others to buy, clothes that will provide fabric and haberdashery to use instead of buying new.

You may be interested to see how I up-cycled some denim jeans and some shirts to meke a lined tunic dress

Sometimes a £1 bargain rail charity shop, or car boot sale find will generate fabric, a zip and/or buttons. Extra—large cotton men’s shirts are a favourite up-cycle of mine for patchwork and crafting. It’s worth training your eyes to see pre-worn garments in a new light!

It’s much easier to take fabric away than to increase the size of a bargain!

This wool coat needed taking in by 12 inches, to have a fitted rather than sack like feel. After measuring, the first thing was to cut up the back of the lining to expose the coat’s construction.

Here is the maths:

The 12 inch reduction was then planned and divided:

4 inches by taking in the back seam by 2 inches

5 inches by taking in both side seams by 1.25 inches. (this was continued for the sleeve seams).

2 inches by creating 2 back darts, and 1 inch by moving the button position (the buttons were also replaced)

First some unpicking was needed:
The shoulder pads were removed
Either side of the bottom back and side seams

Either side of the top and bottom sleeve seams (armhole and cuff)

The seams were pinned and the new seam position marked with tailors chalk.

Because wool does not fray, straight stitch on my trusty Bernina
machine was used.

If the fabric had been one to fray, I would have considered using my overlocker (serger), to cut and finish the seam in one action.

After sewing the seams, they were trimmed to the original seam allowance, clipped in to the stich line and then pressed (with a steam iron on wool setting)

The lining was then taken in at the same places, except for the inside back.

The unpicked cuff, armhole and hem were then reattached to the lining, to complete the seam
alterations.

The back darts were positioned, pinned and marked with chalk as shown.

After stitching, these were pressed towards the centre back seam.

The centre back lining cut was then taken in and with right sides together stitched, leaving a portion to allow it to be turned back so the inside main and inside lining seam were together. The gap was slip stitched together to close.

The new buttons were sewn on further in and the original buttons removed. You can up-cycle something from one garment to create further designer items!

To embellish the completed coat, I made a brooch which was attached with a brooch back.

The coat was brushed to remove threads and fluff, and then steamed to remove a stain and refresh both the fabric and lining.

The completed upcycled coat. 12 inches smaller.

up-cycled coat

I would love to hear of your up-cycling, please get in touch, or comment below.

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