Author Archives: admin

Lottie Blouse Simple Sewing

In the Pink

I have been getting fine and fancy, well at least in my sewing room, making this Lottie Blouse.

Simple Sew have a great duo pattern pack of pencil skirt and blouse and I chose to get ready for Spring in pink.

Helen Moyes Designs Lottie Blouse & Skirt

Pink has been all over on the catwalks for SS17 which was great for me, as I had got some pink fabrics from my textile art group.

Simple Sew Lottie Blouse

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like to have this on trend Simple Sew pattern please get in touch

You can see my post on the Lottie skirt here

Silky Slippery Fabric

The fabric I used for this Lottie blouse is a lovely comfy, slightly stretchy silk blend. The downside from a sewing point of view is its a very slippery fabric! I won’t repeat my mutterings as I sewed, but will share how I dealt with this issue.

Helen Moyes Designs Lottie Blouse

For cutting out I avoided the use of pins, which can stretch fabric and leave holes in fine fabric, by using my pattern weights. I run workshops on making these or they can be found in my Etsy shop.

I also used a French rule and a rotary wheel cutter (along with a self healing cutting mat) for cutting out as This was much easier than scissors for this fine, slippy fabric.

Avoiding pins – using pattern weights

I did find the fabric layouts a little confusing, and there is only a 60″ wide fabric blouse layplan provided. My fabric was not this wide, so I used 1.9m of 45″ wide fabric, which worked out fine.

I also used a rule, along with carbon paper and a carbon tracing wheel for marking the dart position.

using a carbon tracing wheel for marking the dart position

The darts are the first thing to be sewn. With fine fabric, it is even more important to start the stitching at the narrowest part and not back stitch, but rather to hand tie a knot. This avoids bulky stitching showing on the right side of the blouse.

I also used my new fine Tulip pins. These are extra fine and short – ideal for fine fabrics and applique. I got these from another Yorkshire seamstress, Grace at Beyond Measure

 

 

 

 

 

For fine fabrics, use a finer, new needle. I used a 70 universal needle.

French Seams

Since the fabric frayed a lot and is slightly see through, I chose to use French seams, as all the raw edges of the fabric are enclosed and hidden.

Because this blouse pattern seam allowance is only 1cm, I made sure I cut the blouse on the generous side to allow for the French seams.

I do find it interesting that the French refer to this seam construction as “Coutures anglaises” – English seams!

A French seam is actually two seams, first starting with a 1cm seam allowance wrong fabric sides together, which is then trimmed and enclosed in a second seam right fabric sides together. Here is how you create this seam:

  • Place the wrong fabric sides together, and sew a 1cm seam. Then trim the seam allowance down to 4mm
  • Press this seam allowance to one side
  • Place the right sides of the fabric together and press
  • Now sew along the seamline with a 6mm seam allowance
  • Press this enclosed seam towards the back.

 

Bias Bound Neckline

Once the shoulders are joined with a French seam, the next stage is to bind around the bottom of the neckline on the front piece. This uses a strip of bias binding, cut on the diagonal – to the selvedge of the  fabric. This means the strip is stretchy to work on the curved neckline. I pinned  this on the right side of the neck , sewed, trimmed and then clipped to the stitching line on the curve.

 

Clipping seems scary but the worst thing that can happen is you cut through the stitching and need to re do some stitches!

I then turned the bias strip over to the wrong side and slip stiched  the free, folded edge to the stitch line.

 

The next step I did was to insert the sleeves.

By a row of running stitches between the notches I achieved a slightly gathered sleeve head is. As I wanted a French seam here as well, I did wrong sides together and then created the second seam as above.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Rolled Hem

 

 

 

 

 

 

I used the rolled hemmer foot on my machine to sew the Lottie blouse hem. This is tricky on slippery fabric. A spray starch can help. There is a helpful video tutorial on using this foot

I ended up with some missed sections despite unpicking and repeating. So I decided to finish with a hand stitched roled hem instead.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I did catch down the neck tie by hand as well, to hold it folded in place.

Although the Lottie blouse was tricky with the fine slippery fabric, I am really enjoying wearing it as It feels lovely next to my skin.

I have also used some spare to make a top to go under my lacy costume for my dance show

 

 

 

 

 

 

I would love to hear from you. Please comment, or contact me

 

Celebrating National Garlic Day

It’s national garlic day in the US, but I think it’s worth all of us celebrating the culinary, nutritional and medicinal uses of this pungent bulb!

Adding flavour to so many recipes, many of which I think would just not be the same without a little garlic. My hot broccoli dip recipe,  lemon & garlic chicken, hummus, and curries are a good examples.

If you want a vegetarian recipe, you can watch a film of me preparing one, and download my sweet potato curry recipe

When folk I am coaching say they don’t like the taste of garlic, I often suggest they try cooking with just one clove, and see what they think. Often it is the very strong garlic taste they find offensive and they will often like foods I demonstrate.
Sometimes folk report misinterpreting a recipe and using the whole bulb, or head of garlic rather than just one clove, or segment, taken from the split bulb!

The good: nutritional benefits of garlic

Garlic is low in calories and very rich in Vitamin C, Selinium, Vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, niacin, pantothenic acid and vitamin E. It also contains trace amounts of other nutrients.

It has also been reported to reduce fat stores. Garlic stimulates the satiety hormone which reduces binge eating and sugar cravings and it releases the norepinephrine, a neurotransmitter which boosts metabolism.

 

The good: health benefits of garlic

Garlic contains antioxidants, notably allicin, helps to prevent and reduce the severity of common illnesses like the flu and common cold. An ingredient in Dale Pinnock’s flu fighter soup, which also containts lot of other health giving ingredients and is also a great base for curries.

Garlic is claimed to help prevent heart disease. High doses of garlic appear to improve blood pressure of those with known high blood pressure (hypertension). Garlic supplementation also seems to reduce total and LDL cholesterol, particularly in those who have high cholesterol.

Antioxidants  protect against cell damage and ageing. It may reduce the risk of cancer and dementia.

It is most therapeutic when crushed and then diced. You should not heat it for too long or important nutrients are damaged. Consider how you can addapt your cooking, adding garlic towards the end . It’s most potent when eaten raw, such as in guacamole, hummus or salad dressings. Some recommend chewing garlic raw!

If you don’t like the taste or the after whif, then it is worth taking odorless garlic supplements. However, do not take garlic supplements if you take blood-thinning medication,  have stomach ulcers or a thyroid condition. It may interact with some prescription medicines, including insulin, anti-viral drugs, anti-inflammatory medicines and certain contraceptives so discuss garlic supplementations with your doctor.

The good: beauty benefits of garlic

Rub a sliced clove of garlic on acne and cold sores for an effective topical treatment.

Infuse oil with garlic and massage it into your scalp to help combat hair loss, or onto skin to help with psoriasis.

Soak feet in a bowl of warm water and crushed garlic to relieve athlete’s foot.

Place a slice of garlic over a splinter of wood in your skin and covering it with a dressing.

Mosquitoes can be kept at bay by garlic

I have found garlic to be an easy garden crop. Several of the photos are from a visit to the garlic farm who supply smoked, black and even Elephant garlic for cooking as well as garlic to sow.

The bad: garlicky smell

Garlic is known for causing bad breath (halitosis), and causing sweat to have a pungent “garlicky” smell. The sulfurous compounds are absorbed into the bloodstream, and exit the body through the lungs and skin.

So, if like me you like what garlic brings to food as well as the likely health benefits, what can we do to cut down on the garlic breath phenomena?

If you want to be intimate with someone, then make sure they consume garlic too. The only time garlic breath bothers my husband or I is if one of us has consumed garlic and the other one hasn’t!

There is the mechanical removal of the garlic particles from our mouth by brushing and flossing teeth, as well as tongue scraping. Here are numerous suggestions to cover up or neutralize the garlic compounds.

  • My favourite is Parsley – using recipes that also use parsley and chew on parsley after eating garlic, if I am concerned about my breath.
  • Cardamom, mint, fennel, cloves, anise seeds
  • Studies conducted at Ohio State University have shown that drinking milk, especially higher fat milk can reduce garlic breath.
  • Lemon – Lemon is very effective in neutralizing the garlic odor. Some suggest sucking on a lemon wedge after eating garlic, but I prefer a slice of lemon in hot water to drink! Also washing your hands with lemon juice helps to remove the odor from your hands.
  •  Tea, especially green and peppermint, contain polyphenols that reduce the volatile sulfur compounds that the garlic produces.

 

The bad: possible bloating

Garlic contains fructo-oligosaccharides, short chain carbohydrates, commonly referred to as fructans. Humans do not have enzymes to break down oligosaccharides which mean gut bacteria ferment them, possibly leading to irritable bowel syndrome symptoms.

Are you on a FODMAP diet and avoid garlic? Since fructans are not oil soluble,  you can buy garlic infused oil, or make your own at the start of cooking. Using whole garlic cloves, sautee the garlic with coconut oil in a pan for 20 minutes at medium  temperature. Remove the garlic and then cook the rest of your meal with the infused oil. The oil  infused with garlic should be use immediately. Throw away any leftovers – something you rarely hear me say – to avoid the slight risk of a bacterium called Clostridium Botulinum.

Not all IBS sufferers, or indeed fructan sensitive people, are sensitive to garlic, so test  in the  reintroduction phase of the FODMAP diet to see if you can add small amounts back in.

 

I would love to hear about how you celebrate national garlic day – please leave a comment below

 

Replacement Cover – Ironing Board Hack

I show you that creating a replacement cover for an ironing board is quick, easy and inexpensive.

I love the convenience of my Ikea JALL table ironingboards which I use in the guest room and in my textile workshops. It was the Simple Sew Sheffield launch which made me stocktake and realise that one ironingboard was really not fit to be seen in public. I’m not sure I really want to “bare all” and show you how tatty it had got here, but in true before and after style, I have decided I will.

ironing board hack BEFORE

Not a pretty sight heh?

Replacement Cover

Ikea sell replacement covers for their larger ironing boards but not for the table ironingboard.  I am really into up-cycling rather than replacing so I set about investigating how to make a replacement cover.

Going to my fabric stash I found a piece of cotton just the right size. It was a remmenant I was offered very cheaply at Economy Fabrics. This project needs 90 x 40 cm of fabric.

Wadding

Taking the existing cover off, I found the wadding still usable and used it as a pattern, adding 5cm all around

Using the wadding as a pattern

I decided to improve on the single wadding and added some Insul Bright heat resistant wadding. This wadding feels more like felt and contains heat-resistant properties, often Mylar fibre which is used in the space programme.  It is ideal for such projects as place mats, cool bags, tea cosies etc. where it is important to keep things hot, keep them cold or protect surfaces from extreme temperatures.

I was glad I did add this extra wadding as the board is not only more padded and so nicer to use, pressing seems quicker too. In order to prevent the two layers of wadding sliding around I sewed them together using a large zig zag stitch.

sewing wadding layers together

Binding the Cover

I used pink bias binding, to edge and create a casing to thread some cord through.

I often make my own binding but for speed I used some matching bought binding I had in my stash. This project used 1.8m of binding and 2 m of cord.

adding bias binding

Open out the binding and place right side to the wrong side of the fabric, on the edge of the cut out cover fabric. Sew along the fold line. This makes it easy to then turn over to the right side  and sew along the egde to secure and form the casing. before turning over the binding and sewing the second line of stitching, clip the seam around the curved parts so that the cover will lie flat.

clipping the curves

Finishing the replacement cover

I used a safety pin attached to one end of the new cord to thread it through the pink casing I had made.

threading new cord through the casing

Make sure you secure the other end though! You may be able to reuse the existing cord, but mine had weakened too much.

To complete this hack, just lay the cover face down, place the wadding on top (of the wrong side) and then lay the iron board on top. Pull up the cord so the cover gathers up to fit the ironing board. Tie the ends of the cord together.

And voilla, you have made a replacement cover and a good as new, or even better, ironing board.

ironing board hack after – back

ironing board hack after – front

If this blog post inspires you to investigate updating worn out items, I would love to hear about your projects.

UpCycled Denim Annika Tunic Dress

Dressmaking Pattern

The Anneka Tunic Simple Sew pattern is very versatile, and can be made up in a variety of fabrics, but this time I chose to make it from upcycled denim with shirts for the optional lining.

Shirt detail and orange satin stitching (to match the jeans seams) add styling. Three jeans pockets made the new outfit even more practical for me.

I am teaching courses in Dressmaking with this being one of the possible pattern choices, and as a Simple Sew Stockest, can also supply the pattern for you to use at home, so please get in touch for more details.

anneka-patternUpcycle Denim

Much hard wearing denim remains when jeans are discarded. My family provides heaps of fabric and charity shops are also good sources. Often it is worth asking if they have any that has not been put out, which may be even cheaper. If jeans are not of a fashionable style or if shirts have some wear or staining (which we can cut out) they may not have been but out on display.

helen-moyes-up-cycle-Annika Tunic-before-medium

 

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI used a buttoned back pocket from one pair of jeans as a breast pocket, and a loop I liked from the back of a shirt added some extra detailing to the upcycled denim.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

This dress can be worn over leggings and a top in winter and the front and back pleats give lots of movement for a busy lifestyle. I did extend the stitching on both pleats down further than marked on the pattern. This was more flatterning but still gives me plenty of movement.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bias Binding

I used a comfortable soft brushed cotton pyjama top to make bias binding for the neck and arm edges. Then there is no discomfort from upcycled denim rubbing at your neck or underarms! This also conveniently binds the outer and lining layers together.

Joining Lining Using Bias Binding

Joining Lining Using Bias Binding

 

Hand Finishing Binding

Hand Finishing Binding

When I tried on the lining for size before joining the layers, I liked it so much I think I will make a shirting dress for summer. What do you think?

Helen Moyes Designs Simple Sew Annika Tunik in Upcycled Shirts

If you haven’t tried upcycling clothes in this way, it involves choosing parts of garments you want to use. You sew these together to form a patchwork large enough to lay on your pattern pieces.

Join pieces right sides together with a 1.5 cm seam allowance.

 

Patchwork with Shirts for Annika Tunic

Patchwork with Shirts for Annika Tunic

 

I then like using pinking scissors on cotton fabric seams to stop fraying. But you can use a zig zag stitch instead. Press seams open, and cut each piece straight before adding the next piece.

helen-moyes-designs-denim-patchwork-for-annika-tunic

It is worth thinking about where you want certain pieces to be as you work, and the mix of pattern and colour. Upcycled denim has so much variety.

Helen Moyes Designs upcycled Annika Tunic back detail

Helen Moyes Designs upcycled Annika Tunic.

You can see here, I also added a small dart (on outer and lining) as I found the armhole gaped a little. It is worth regularly trying pieces against you, and trying the garment on, as you make them up to check for fit. I was able to make this adjustment before adding the binding. So I now know I need to do this for this pattern to fit me well.

Helen Moyes Designs – A custom made, re-purposed  designer dress for the cost of some thread!

You  might be interested in reading more about upcycling in my previous blog/happy-upcycling-day.

The Annika Tunic is also great in wool and can look very 60’s, similar to a Mary Quant dress.

anneka-pattern-back

anneka-tunic-check anneka-tunic-tweed-jpg

If you would like the Annika Tunic pattern, it comes printed on quality paper with clear A4 instructions.  Please get in touch

 

 

Sew Sheffield – My Sheffield Quilt

My Sew Sheffield Quilt is finished! And it’s ready to cosy up or hygge with, and grace our guest room. Here I share the inspiration and process of making it, with a machine quilt binding tutorial.

A Sheffield Quilt

The Sheffield Quilt was made during a “sew a row round robin quilt challenge” in 2016. Nine others from my quilting group joined the round robin, so we divided into two teams.

In July we each chose our own theme and made our own first row.

What Sheffield means to Us – in Stitch

I decided my theme would be “what Sheffield means to me”.

Sheffield, in South Yorkshire, England, is

  • a major industrial city, historically renouned for it’s steel and cutlery
  • one of the greenest cities in the UK. 61% of Sheffield’s entire area is green space
  • built on seven hills  – or is it eight, there seems to be local controversy!
  • in the valleys of the River Don and its four tributaries, Loxley, Porter Brook, Rivelin and Sheaf.

The parks, gardens and woodlands made it a wonderful place to grow up. And the rivers were house names at my Junior School.

During the five months of the round robin, I looked forward to seeing how others interpreted the theme. The challenge included piecing, but not quilting, the rows, which were to be between 5 and 9 inches deep.

My Row Design

My Sheffield Quilt row was inspired by growing up and living in Nether Edge and Ecclesall. These leafy suburbs in South Sheffield are on the edge of the beautiful Peak District. So I wanted to include both the city and peaks I love. This combination of a green, culture rich city with easy access to the Derbyshire Peak District makes me love living here. In fact, a third of the city lies within the Peak District national park.

I upcycled some existing patchwork from a worn out skirt, signifying my love of creating with the discarded.

Marvelous out of the discarded

The greens spoke of a lush landscape with varying foliage, and I created a background of hills.

I added a sky-scape for the city of Sheffield, in dark, small floral print fabric. And I used the council logo as a basis for the  design, enlarging it and cutting out the dark fabric (with bondaweb on the reverse) with embroidery scissors. Running stitches in black thread attached this to the patchwork background.

sheffield-logo

City of Sheffield Applique

I added millstones in a textural fabric and the Peak District arched logo in green satin to blend the City with the Peak District.

inspired-by-peak-districtpeak-district-sheffield

Derbyshire Peak District National Park Applique on Quilt

As instructed, in August we each took our first row in a plain cream fabric bag. We were also told to include any fabric we wanted in future rows and a notebook with colour or style preferences, theme etc.

I noted the inspiration for my row in my quilt notebook and added that I was happy if the theme was interpreted in any way, with any technique. Furthermore I wrote: ” a traditional patchwork block may come to mind, or it may be an experience of Sheffield you have which inspires your row design”

The group bag monitor then redistributed the bags so each month we each received a different bag. So during August, September, October and November I received a bag containing an ever increasing number of rows and I made a further row. This year I plan to blog about the other sewing, as each completed quilt is revealed. However, here I will share about my Sheffield quilt.

Second Row

This was the deepest row and ended up at the bottom of the Sheffield Quilt. The team member wrote in the notebook they hoped they weren’t being greedy as they chose five aspects of Sheffield to create:

Henderson’s Relish, because they were born in the previous maternity hospital opposite the factory that made this iconic sauce brand. Made in Sheffield for over 100 years, it’s spicy and fruity and known locally as “Enderson’s”, or simply “Relish”. The comedian Tom Wrigglesworth said that while ‘outsiders’ think Henderson’s Relish is Sheffield’s answer to Worcestershire sauce, Sheffielders think it’s the answer to everything. If you haven’t tried it and you live outside South Yorkshire, you can purchase online.

hendersons_relish

Stanedge Pole, where the quilter used to walk and learned to drive on the road leading to it. Stanedge Pole, also known as Stanage Pole, is a landmark on Hallam Moors close to Stanage Edge in Sheffield 10 (grid reference SK2468784429). On the crest of the moor the carved wooden pole (and it’s replacements) have helped the weary and confused navigate in driving rain or blowing snow from the 1550s.

staedge-pole

Forge Dam Slide, near the cafe and by Ivy Cottage Lane, Sheffield S10, is a long metal slide. As the quilter said in the notebook, “the joys of living somewhere hilly is that you can get long slides”. You can see an image on Trip Advisor.

Cutlery, is what Sheffield used to be well known for, with the first reference to cutlery made in Sheffield in 1297. Now there are only a few small producers, including Ernest Wright & Son (whose stork embroidery scissors I used for the city-scape in row one). You can see sheffield cutlery at the Sheffield cutlery shop.

c045st1-140x180

Wind, which the quilter remembers blowing the cherry blossom in her parent’s garden. The blossom blowing from the tree reminds me of frequent visits to Sheffield Botanical Gardens, from toddlerhood to the present day.

blossomHelen Moyes Designs Studio

Third Row

Sheffield’s Industry

This row, which is in the middle of my Sheffield Quilt , concentrates on Sheffield’s industry. The quilter shared in the notebook how, like me, when she thinks of Sheffield her first thought is of the hills, and her second is of the rivers which led to industry. The quilter used a background fabric suggesting the contours of the earth and appliqued the Bessemer Convertor, strip mills, steelworks and cooling towers. I hand quilted along the rivers in the top three rows.

img_8756

img_8755

Bessemer Converter Applique

Fourth Row

Five Weirs Walk
Sheffield’s industrial landscape has been changing along the river Don with it’s five weirs since the 1980s. Now it’s a green ribbon of trees known as the Five Weirs Walk. This 8km takes you through the East End of Sheffield, past scenes of Sheffield’s history. There are Victorian buildings and scenes of the city’s industrial heyday: old schools, mills, factories and some contemporary sculptures.

five-weirs-walk

The quilter shares “the leaves represent the regeneration of the industrial sites”.

Sheffield Tinsley Canal
In 1819 the 4 mile Sheffield Tinsley canal was completed between the River Don and a new basin in the centre of Sheffield.

sheffield-tinsley-canalSome trade continued up to the 1970s but then it was neglected. Now the towpath is a walk out of Sheffield for all weathers and seasons, and I have enjoyed a cruise along the canal.

Tinsley Canal Applique

Fifth Row

Millhouses Park
As shared by a reviewer on the park’s facebook page, I’ve been going to this park since the 70s as a child.  A shame the lido went, but the cafe and all the facilities brought about by the friends of Millhouses Park have kept this beautiful space totally user friendly and alive.

millhouses-parkThe park was near Abbeydale Grange, the comprehensive school I atended, and is quite near where I live now. My children were taught to ride a bike without stabilisers on its gentle slopes and I enjoy the cakes at the cafe by the miniature boating lake depicted on the quilt row. I have walked dogs, played tennis and mini golf, and watched my sons play basketball and rugby at this park.

The blocks of the quilt row represent the sports pitches, paths and flower beds.

Millhouses Park Quilt Blocks

I added a “love blooms here” print to widen the row to fit the others and represent family times at Millhouses Park.

img_8750

Sashing

The common colours in the five rows for my Sheffield Quilt were grey and green. I chose a fairly dark grey textured “linen print” to divide the rows, highlight them and represent the “steel city”.

Borders

I chose a light grey with cream spots to represent living above “the snow line” in Banner Cross in Ecclesall.

img_8745

Batting & Backing

My choice was a bamboo cotton 50/50 blend batting as this is eco friendly and anti bacterial. The makers recommend you hand wash it, so I did this in the bath with soap flakes. I then squeezed and rolled it in a towel to remove some moisture, before drying it flat.

The sashing, border fabrics, and batting for my Sheffield Quilt, were a gift from my son Matthew – from Billow Fabrics. I used a plain grey, soft fabric for the back.

Each month I am inspired by the stitchers at my quilters group. The Totley Brook Quilters are keen sewers and quilters who meet each month to chat and sew. Each session includes “show and tell” and it is amazing to see what has been produced. So this month I was able to show the top of my Sheffield Quilt – pinned and basted, ready to quilt.

helen-moyes-designs-sew-a-row-sheffield-quilt

Quilting

I used a walking foot to do straight quilting rows on my Sheffield Quilt, rolling the quilt to work through the machine.img_8742img_8744

Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

This binding gives a piped look you can completely sew to your quilt with the sewing machine. Use either invisible thread or thread to match the piping in the top of your machine and a thread matching the quilt backing in the bobbin.

Make the Binding

You will need: 1½” strips of your main binding fabric and  1¾” strips of a contrast fabric.

Cut sufficient strips of each of these to go around your quilt plus extra for corners and joining. Prepare the binding by Joining the strips of fabric with a diagonal seam:

  • Place fabric right sides together at right angles
  • Stitch diagonally
  • Trim seam allowance to ¼” and press seam open

Next sew the two colours together along their length using a ¼” seam.

Piecing Mock piping quilt binding

sewing mock piped quilt binding

Press the seam towards the main binding fabric.

Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Fold the binding in half lengthwise, so the raw edges are flush. Then press so a strip of the contrast fabric is visible on the right side of the binding.

Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Now prepare the beginning of the binding strip:

  • Unfold the left edge of the binding, fold the corner in and press.Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange
  • Trim the triangle leaving a ¼” seam allowance
  • Refold the strip
    Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Attach the binding to the quilt

You will first sew the binding to the back of the quilt. Then fold to the front before stitching again. Place the right side of the binding to the wrong side of the quilt, with raw edges along the edge of the quilt. Using a walking foot stitch ¼” from the edge of the quilt.

Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange
To turn the corners, stop stitching ¼” before the corner of the quilt. Then remove the quilt from the sewing machine to fold the corner. Fold the binding up so that the diagonal fold points directly into the corner.

Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Next, fold the binding down again, aligning it with the edge of the quilt.

Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Continue sewing ¼” from the edge, all round the quilt, folding each corner.
When you reach the start, trim the binding. Then Insert it into the pocket created at the beginning. Pin and stitch in place.

Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

Complete the Binding

  • Fold the binding onto the right side of the quilt so you can now see the narrow piping strip.
  • Pin carefully, being careful the match the corners.
  • Stitch in the ditch on the piping using a thread matching the piping, or invisible thread in the top of your machine and a thread matching the quilt backing in the bobbin.Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange
    Helen Moyes Designs Making Machine Finished Binding with Mock Piping/Flange

    http://www.homecoaching.co.uk/contact.html

You can find a youtube film of this method – Susie’s Magic Binding tutorial

Helen Moyes Designs Machine Sewn Quilt Binding

Sewing my Sheffield Quilt during the Christmas holidays was also a time to catch up with family. So I thought how patchwork and family life are similar and I also about this quote from, The Christmas Quilt (Elm Creek Quilts novel).

the-christmas-quilt

“A family is an act of creation, the piecing together of disparate fragments into one cloth – often harmonious, occasionally clashing and discordant, but sometimes unexpectantly beautiful and strong. Without contrast there is no pattern, and each piece, whether finest silk or faded cotton, will endure if sewn fast to the others with strong seams – bonds of love and loyalty, tradition and faith.”   Jennifer Chiaverini

I would love to hear about your experiences of quilting and/or Sheffield. Please leave a comment below, or contact me

If you would like to know about any future blog posts please click here

 

It’s Cold Outside – Cosy Up or Hygge

As it’s getting colder I would encourage us to cosy up and hygge!

All my household are rather “under the weather” and we have been doing a lot of coughing and sneezing. I bet you’re so glad that germs can’t be transfered through blogs! I have frequently  heard the phrase “it’s the time of the year for colds” and I have needed to remind myself that coughs and colds do seem to be a fact of life and getting frustrated won’t help.

Hygge

It would seem that in clearing our throats we have been making sounds like the the Danish word hygge. Hard to explain and even harder to pronounce, the Danish word ‘hygge‘ (pronounced “hooga” or “heurgha” ) translates roughly to ‘cosiness’.

 

hygge3

In essence, hygge means creating a warm atmosphere and enjoying the good things in life with good people. It’s all about creating feelings of happiness, friendliness and wellbeing within everyday life.

hygge4

It’s being hailed as the route to health and happiness. The latest OECD World Happiness Report put Denmark at No 1, Iceland in third, followed by Norway and Finland, way ahead of the UK at 23.

hygge8

The phrase “go easy on yourself” springs to mind and I often encorage both myself and others to celebrate what you can do rather than worrying about what you can’t do.

Hygge and Nature

Signe Johansen’s new book How To Hygge hails the Nordic people’s love of being in nature as the key to hygge and encourages us to exercise outside. Walking outdoors compared to on a treadmill automatically increases the calorie burn by ten per cent, due to factors such as wind resistance.

Research has found that being in a park or forest environment lowers stress levels, increases energy, boosts self-esteem and makes you less angry.

I have been wrapping up and getting outside as much as possible and have enjoyed some short walking breaks, enjoying the Winter light and then reflecting these in creating with wool.

One of the things I love about living in Sheffield, one of the greenest cities in terms of parks and woodland, is easy access to the Peak District National Park.

hygge9

Take a Break

The Danish tradition of daily ‘fika’: a break to sit down, enjoy a hot drink and often a sweet pastry or a cinnamon bun. Taking breaks and having a good work life balance aids prodoctivity as well as . What are your favourite breaks?

hygge7

Hygge Food

A ‘Nordic style diet’ of whole-grain products such as Ryvita-style ‘knackebrod’, fish three times a week, root veg, berries, locally sourced fruits such as apples and plums and avoiding sugar-sweetened foods, lowers cholesterol.

I think my Apple fool recipe  and Scalded Flour Pudding recipe are both very hyggelig and  wonderful comfort foods!

Home Coaching Scalded Flour Pudding

The mentality of ‘hygge’ means enjoying the good things in life without feeling guilty, including indulging in the food that makes you happy. Despite this, the proportion of adults in Sweden who are obese is 14 per cent, compared to the UK’s 27 per cent. perhaps it is the ideal of moderation. The Scandinavians firmly believe in ‘lordagsgodis’ – Saturday Sweets.  It’s ingrained in Scandinavians from childhood that you treat yourself on Saturdays. Studies show a treat every now and then can make a person more likely to stick to a diet.

Hygge Together

‘Hyggeligt’ means “pleased to meet you”, and is also used to describe a chance meeting that felt warm and convivial. Spending time with those near to us is also key to our wellbeing. Forget perfectionism and remember the main thing is sharing food, conversation and your lives with people. Don’t just invite over your friends and let them sit there while you slave in the kitchen. A true Hygge host says” YES” when guests offer to help.

home-coaching-christmas

Flames

Candles and natural fires are a key part of this, and are a quick way to feelings of cosiness, and in my experience their gentle light are a great way to disguise dust! Combine with natural scent, such as using coffee beans,  for an even greater cosiness.
You can find some of the scented eco soya wax candles I make using vintage cups in my Etsy shop

candle-with-coffeehelenmoyesdesigns-pouring-wax

Get Crafty

Crafty hobbies such as knitting or sewing are perfect to  help to relax and calm your being, or curl up and read a good book for hygge refreshment.

How about one of my landscape art card making kits, which combines crafting with nature.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Hyggelit

Good housekeeping give us 11 ideas for a hygge home.

The Little Book of Hygge: The Danish Way to Live Well by Meik Wiking who is CEO of The Happiness Research Institute in Copenhagen. Meik says in Denmark  “You hear hygge being talked about all the time – by everyone, no matter who they are. We talk about hygge things coming up that we’re looking forward to; we point out when something hygge is happening right now; then we like to talk about what a great ‘hyggelit’ (hygge-like) time we’ve had afterwards.”

Then the word can be used in many practical but different sentences describing Danish life – as a noun (hygge), an adjective (hyggelig) and a verb (at hygge sig). As in “hygge is important”, “I’m going to make sure my house is hyggely”, and “I’m hyggeling this corner of my house.”

MEIK WIKING jacket.jpg

I’ve mentioned 2 of the 9 books around now with Hygge in the title, but there is one, The Almost Nearly Perfect People: Behind the Myth of the Scandinavian Utopia by Michael Booth,  that feels hygge lightness is too superficial.

However, although maybe hygge is not everything needed for wellbeing, I for one am looking forward to cosy moments. As Kurt Vonnegut once said, “Enjoy the little things in life because one day you’ll look back and realize they were the big things”.

hygge5

How do you cope with the cold or darker days blues? I’d love to know your thoughts on the concept of ‘Hygge’
If you were to create a hygee box, what would you put in to it?x

Festive Food for you to enjoy

Some tasty, and pretty healthy festive food ideas …

Whether I want a tasty supper, or a festive party dish that won’t be a repeat of what others take (or bring) to share, then this hot broccoli dip recipe is a favourite.

home-coaching-helen-moyes-hot-broccoli-dip-serve

I have even found someone who liked it but declared they didn’t like broccoli! For lunch today we are having this with jacket potatoes.

home-coaching-helen-moyes-hot-broccoli-dip-served

Hot Broccoli Dip

350g/12oz broccoli, chopped – I use the stalk finely chopped too

home-coaching-helen-moyes-broccolihome-coaching-helen-moyes-broccoli1

1  onion, finely chopped

home-coaching-helen-moyes-onion

1 red pepper, deseeded and finely chopped

home-coaching-helen-moyes-red-pepper

2 cloves garlic, pressed, or finely chopped. You can add more if you are into garlic like me!

home-coaching-helen-moyes-garlic

55g/2oz Parmesan cheese, grated

225g/8oz cheddar cheese, grated

home-coaching-helen-moyes-cheese

8 tbsp. crème fraiche

8 tbsp. mayonnaise

home-coaching-helen-moyes-hot-broccoli-dip-mix

ground black pepper

home-coaching-helen-moyes-hot-broccoli-dip-pepper

  • Preheat oven to 200 C/gas 7

  • Add half the Parmesan cheese to the other ingredients and mix well.

  • Spoon into an ovenproof dish, sprinkle over the remaining cheese and bake for approx. 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.

For a festive buffet, or with drinks, serve with:

Baked Pitta Crisps:

Wholemeal pitta breads

  • split each pitta bread into half horizontally

  • cut into triangles using a pizza cutter or sharp knife

  • arrange in a single layer on a baking tray

  • bake 8-10 minutes until lightly browned

 A festive platter arrangement is also easy to do:

home-coaching-festive-cheese-platter

For pudding today, we are having apple crumble – I still have lots of apples from our garden harvest to use, but a more seasonal one is this oaty pud. You can do this in any dessert or even drinking glasses (even plastic party wine glasses, so it doesn’t matter if you get all your glasses back or are worried about broken glass!)

You can also add some whisky to make it even more festive.

Helen’s Quick Healthy Festive Desert

100g/4oz medium oatmeal

500g live, Greek-style yoghurt

3 tbsp. clear honey

150g/5oz blueberries

150g/5oz raspberries

  • Spread oatmeal in an even layer on a baking tray and toast in oven or under the grill until browned. Be watchful as it can easily burn! Leave to cool completely.

  • Mix yoghurt with honey and toasted oatmeal, until completely combined

  • Layer berries with yoghurt mixture in glasses, finishing with a few berries.

    I shared my Parsnip and fruit loaf with lemon drizzle recipe in this months’s e-newsletter. If you would like to subscribe to this then either email me, or complete the contact us form

    These recipes contain antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, fibre, and healthy bacteria, to make our bodies happy.

    Adding as much fruit, vegetables, and whole grains to puddings can really help keep us healthy, as well as enjoying festive food. Cheers!

    Bake, Eat and Be Merry

Christmas Crafting – free tutorial for eco craft

It’s been too long, and Advent is almost here, so here’s a free tutorial for easy eco Christmas crafting !

I have had to spent so much time in the dentist’s chair, lost too much sleep and not been up to doing much. But I was recommended a brilliant endodontist (no I hadn’t heard of them before) and am now pain free and smiling again (except when I look at my credit card bill!)

 

helen-moyes-designs-textile-bottle-top-christmas-7

Two things together that make me really happy are sewing and re-purposing. I have a collection of plastic bottle tops in a dish on my kitchen windowsill, so after giving them a wash (net bag in with dishwasher cycle works well) I set about geting both creative and festive with 15 of them.

Here is my  free tutorial for eco Christmas Crafting:

helen-moyes-designs-textile-bottle-top-christmas-1This easy Christmas crafting idea makes either a trivet or a hanging decoration. If you are going to make  a trivet, you need to make sure the 15 bottle tops are the same depth, but for the hanging, it doesn’t matter.

Draw around the top of the bottle tops onto wadding (batting) and cut out these circles. it is not essential, but easier, to glue these wadding discs onto the top of the tops.

helen-moyes-designs-textile-bottle-top-christmas-2 If you are making a trivet, you may want to use metalised heat resistant wadding.

helen-moyes-designs-textile-bottle-top-christmas-2-1

I had been given some Christmas fabric, but this crafting also works well with lots of different fabric scraps. Make some circles by drawing around a circular object.

Sew running stitches around each fabric circle with strong thread. Place the wadding downwards on the wrong side of the fabric circle and draw up the running stitch. Keep the bottle top centred, and pull the stitches up tight.

Depending on the size of your bottle tops and the object you draw round, you will get a completely gathered up back, or one you take the thread across.

helen-moyes-designs-textile-bottle-top-christmas-2-6

Place the fabric covered tops top down and Sew them together where they meet. as shown.

helen-moyes-designs-textile-bottle-top-christmas-4

helen-moyes-designs-textile-bottle-top-christmas-5Consider your layout of the different fabrics, there is no right or wrong arrangement, just one pleasing to you!

Check how stable the arrangement is. Some tops will need some extra stitches on their sides to create a design that holds together really well.

helen-moyes-designs-bottle-top-textile-crafting

Once you have all 15 tops sewn together in a triangle, use as a trivet …

helen-moyes-designs-textile-bottle-top-christmasor sew a ribbon to a corner to make a festive decoration.

helen-moyes-designs-textile-bottle-top-christmas-7

I would really love to see your festive creations. you can contact me through email,
in the comments below, or here

For another Christmas crafting idea, I have produced some really easy Christmas Gift Decoration Kits which are available from my Etsy shop 

helen-moyes-designs-christmas-parcel-decoration

I have also got a Sunday afternoon Christmas Sewing workshop
this coming weekend.

Happy festive fun! x

Apple Recipe for Autumn

What a large apple crop this year! But what to do with them – here is a wonderful apple recipe.

home-coaching-apple-harvest1

I have made some crumbles, but this weekend I was invited to a pudding and wine evening with some women from church. I love puddings, wine and these church events, but remain largely unconvinced about combining  sweet pudding with non desert wine!

So I wanted to make a light-on-sugar but luxury feeling desert, and considered what ingredients I had. Although gooseberry fool is more usual, I made an apple version.

Light, fluffy apple stirred through  sweet vanilla flavoured custard and whipped cream – a deliciously comforting autumnal pudding recipe, which proved popular.

This so fits with the cosy concept of hygge, simple food using garden ingredients to share with friends.

home-coaching-apple-fool

You only need one or two egg yolks for this recipe. Store the egg white in the fridge for up to two weeks for making meringues.

If you have a glut of apples, you can cook up more and freeze the puree for another time.

home-coaching-apple-fool-apple-puree

 Recipe:

Serves approx. 10

INGREDIENTS

  • 800g apples, peeled, cored and quartered
  • 450ml milk
  • 3 large egg yolks
  • 150g caster sugar
  • 45g plain flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • the rind and juice of a lemon
  • 250ml double or whipping cream, lightly whipped

METHOD

Chop the apples into 2-3cm chunks and place in a small saucepan with 150ml tablespoons of water or apple juice.

home-coaching-apple-harvest-2l

Put the saucepan on a medium heat and bring to the boil. Then cover with a lid, turn the heat down to low and cook the apples for about 15 minutes until completely softened. Set aside to cool.

home-coaching-apple-fool-1

While the apples are cooling, set up a double saucepan (If you don’t have a double pan, use a heatproof bowl placed over a pan of boiling water). Pour the milk into a saucepan and bring to the boil, then take off the heat. Place the egg yolk(s) in a heatproof bowl with the sugar, flour and vanilla extract, and whisk together. Pour the warm milk into the bowl while whisking, then pour this mixture back into the top of the double saucepan on a medium heat and whisk the mixture as it comes to the boil. Watch out –as soon as it boils it will go lumpy, so keep whisking.

home-coaching-apple-fool-vanilla-custardOnce it is thick, take it off the heat, strain into a bowl and allow to cool.

Mash or process the cooked apple, add the lemon juice and fold together with the cooled custard and softly whipped cream.

home-coaching-apple-fool-cream

home-coaching-apple-fool-fusion

Pour into one large, or individual dishes. Chill for a couple of hours (or overnight if you want to prepare ahead).

Garnish with the lemon rind.

home-coaching-apple-fool-individual

Enjoying My Textile Art Landscapes

Helen Moyes Designs Landscape cards 20162

This Summer my Landscape Textile Art cards have been popular, especially on the cream card. These are available at my Etsy Shop Helen Moyes Designs

I have started to produce Card Kits so that others can get creative with (most) of the necessary materials to hand. These will be available in October.

I thought I would share with you here the process of making up the cards so that if, like me, you have lots of fabric scraps you could have a go yourself.

I love to produce sky effects with two of my favourite materials: tyvek and brusho paints.

Made from 100% polyethylene, Tyvek® can be used to create many unique surface effects. It shrinks and bubbles when heat is applied – which is another story I will save for another time. Tyvek produces interesting distressed/3D effects when used with a heat gun, can be moulded, overprinted and layered. I use different weights of Tyvek for different textile art. I cover  the different uses in my popular Paint and Stitch workshop. Future workshops can be seen on my facebook page.

Tyvek Paper

For the landscape sky,  I like the stability of Tyvek Heavy Weight Paper

You may have a tyvek envelope that has been sent to you that you can open up and upcycle!

BrushoImage

Brusho® is a non toxic,  water-based paint medium. It’s super-highly-pigmented, unpredictable and it’s bags of fun to paint with and you only need a small amount as it goes a long way. I use it on paper, fabric as well as on tyvek. It works really well on watercolour paper. It is made in Sheffield by Colourcraft.

I wet the tyvek paper and then sparingly sprinkle on some brusho powders. You can use a brush to alter the spontaneous design.

When dry, cut the painted tyvek the right size for a third of the card design. The size will depend on the size card you use and how much of the card front you want to have as textile. The card border really adds to the finished design so don’t make your textile too big!
I use a piece of calico as the base for the land and attach this to the tyvek sky with a row of stitch.

Another textile art material I love to use are silk carrier rods. Again I buy local

silk carrier rod

Silk carrier rods are a by-product produced during the silk reeling proces, They come in lots of different colours, including varigated, which I also use in my art and workshops. They contain the natural gum which makes them quite rigid, but they can be split down into thinner layers which are more pliable. Put the piece of natural silk carrier rod into water to soak.

Helen Moyes Designs Textile Art Landscapes 2
This will be used for clouds later.

Layer different textile pieces to create a landscape.

Helen Moyes Designs Textile Art Landscapes 3

Audition pieces until you are happy with the effect.
Choose appropriate threads. As a minimum use a green for the land and a whitish one for the sky. I love to use embroidery threads, especially varigated ones.

Sew along one of the layered fabric pieces, to join it to the calico base. I usually start at the horizon.
When you reach the side, turn around and come back, incorporating more pieces as you move down the picture.
You can stitch by hand or by machine.

 

Helen Moyes Designs Textile Art Landscapes 4

Trim the sides You can use the off cut to add depth in the foreground as shown

Helen Moyes Designs Textile Art Landscapes 6

Helen Moyes Designs Textile Art Landscapes 5

Take the silk carrier rod from the water and gently tease it out to create wispy pieces that can be used for clouds.

Helen Moyes Designs Textile Art Landscapes 8

I also use some sheep wool that I collect from barbed wire when out on walks. Arrange these and stitch down.

Helen Moyes Designs Textile Art Landscapes 9

Add some details, such as trees, using small scraps of fabric and stitching. Variegated thread and different kinds of stitch can produce good details.

Helen Moyes Designs Textile Art Landscapes 10

Helen Moyes Designs Landscape cards 2016 detail

When your design is finished, apply double sided tape or glue to the back and attach to the front of the card. Don’t forget to initial your design!

Helen Moyes Designs Landscape cards 20164

I would really like to see your textile landscapes and to hear how you get on. Please comment below or email me.