Category Archives: Clothes, Textiles & Crafts

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.

Read more on getting cosy

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

 

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.

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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.

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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.

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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

 

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

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.

Giveaway: What craft would you like to try?

Hello September

A quick post to offer two crafting giveaways:

  1. A free ticket for two to a crafting event next week.

EventEventCity, Manchester, 8-10 September 2016
OPENING TIMES 10AM – 4.30PM (5PM SAT)

2. A create a landscape card kit from Ecclesall Textile School, containing a card and matching envelope, a painted background and lots of textile pieces to design your own landscape (glue or stitch it’s up to you)

Ecclesall Textile Schoolthe card kit will enable you to produce a unique, original  art card similar to the ones I have in my etsy shop

Helen Moyes Designs Landscape cards 20162

So what do you have to do?

Simply post below and answer the question: What craft would you like to try?
Also say which prize you would prefer.

The winner will be selected at 21:00 on Monday 5th September 2016. So look out for a reply to your comment in your inbox on Monday evening asking for the winners address to send the ticket/kit to! The winner of the ticket can choose which day to visit the show, Thursday to Saturday, and of course who to take with them.

Happy crafting x

My Day at The Festival of Quilts

It is five years since I had the chance to visit the Festival of Quilts at the NEC and I spent a fabulous,  inspiring day amonsgst some amazing quilts. It takes a lot to get me to spend the day indoors when the sun is shining, but I was so captivated, I didn’t waste any time leaving the halls!

Viewing-quilts

New Technique

Also unusual for me is spending most of the time in silence, awed by the feast of colour, design and techniques. In fact my only real conversation was with South African textile artist Pam Stallebrass, which started when I overheard someone warning her to be careful using the poisonous Potassium Dichromate. The talk of poison was enough to bring me out of my silent trance and I was able to discuss Pam’s Playing With Light exhibition with her.

Pam Stallebrass Cynoprintl

As I already teach cyanotype printing with light onto textiles, it was lovely to see Pam’s examples and discuss suppliers for the chemicals. I also really enjoyed learning about Van Dyke printing onto fabric. Van Dyke Brown Printing is nearly identical in simplicity and low cost, but yields a rich brown color as opposed to the blue of cyanotypes. I loved the feather images Pam had achieved and will be adding Van Dyke printing techniques to my workshop programme, so watch this space! Rest assured, I’m not going to be using the poison though.

My Strategy

One day was really not enough to get the most from:

20 international textile artist showcases
the display of nearly 800 competition quilts
300+ exhibitors selling specialist quilting and textile art supplies

as well as another look at many of the the Bronte Challenge quilts and the after hours fashion show.

So my strategy was to concentrate on the quilts knowing I could contact exhibitors at another time. This also meant I didn’t make rushed, non comparative purchases. So on the train coming home I felt quite virtuous reviewing my  purchased 11 fat quarters, and a few of trims and threads.  I do have a growing wish list though!

Did I agree with the judges?

Generally no!

The Winner of Best In Show, Sandy Chandler’s quilt was all cream so although expertly quilted, it left me cold. I was more inspired by another cream quilt: Some Flowers by Elsbeth Nusser-Lampe, which had a little colour, transferred using Vliesofix. This is a technique I might explore more and add to my Botanic fabric workshops.
Some Flowers by Elsbeth Nusser-Lampe
I was often surprised by category winners as there were others I was more inspired by.
But the Winner of the Miniature Quilts category, OtherPlaces by Sandra Newton, would have been my choice too.
Minature Quilt FavouriteI feel the simplicity suits the category, and I was captivated by both the materials used and the dance poses and quote about places teaching us to dance.
Sandra Newton Other Places Detail FOQ16
In case you are wondering if I have gone off colour all together, my favourite in the Modern Quilt category was Bubbles of Joy by Anne Lilliholm Jorgensen
Bubbles of Joy by Anne Lilliholm Jorgensen
Detail Bubbles of Joy by Anne Lilliholm Jorgensen

My Favourite in the Two person Category was a Modern Sampler: Black by Helen Howes and Helen Butcher

Modern Sampler Black by Helen Howes and Helen Butcher

My Favourite in the Traditional Quilt category was Dahlia by Gillian Smyth

Dahlia by Gillian SmythI’m not really sure I would categorise this as a traditional quilt, but it certainly produced a wow from me!

A Common Theme

I was indoors but was transported to the coast by the many seaside inpired quilts. The whole of the young category was on the seaside theme and my favourite was A Relaxing Day at the Beach by Agnes Shaw, which was a small deckchair along  with a cloth book to read and won the 2nd prize in theYoung Quilter/Young Embroiderer 9-11 Category

A Relaxing Day at the Beach Agnes Shaw

A second deckchair, full size this time, was Sittin’ in the Morning Sun by Burgess Hill School for Girls, which won the Secondary School Competition

Sittin' in the Morning Sun Burgess Hill School for GirlsI loved the bunting detail here

Bunting Detail Sittin' in the Morning Sun by Burgess Hill School for Girls

Another seaside quilt that I spent some time enjoying won the Anne Tuck prize Finding Perspective by Jill Rose Brennan

Finding PerspectiveOthers were:

Elements by Hilary Beattie

Elements by Hilary Beattie

and Happy Memmories of the Seaside by Christine Ireland

Happy Memmories of the Seaside by Christine IrelandHappy Memmories of the Seaside by Christine Ireland Detail

Breaker on the Beach by Susan Vogel

Breaker on the Beach Susan Vogel

On the Beach with Maggi  by Linda Forey

On the Beach with Maggi Detail by Linda Forey

Pebbles on the Beach by Sheilagh Webb

Pebbles on the Beach by Sheilagh Webb

On the Beach – A Waste Land  by Kathy Unwin

On the Beach - A Waste Land Detail by Kathy Unwin

Memories of Times Past by Ann Beare

Memories of Times Past by Ann Beare

Gateway by Hilary Beatie

Gateway by Hilary Beatie

Keeping watch #2 by Roberta Le Poidevin

Keeping watch #2 by Roberta Le Poidevin

It was a thrill to have some of my work exhibited: My Bronte Challenge Quilt and my quilting group piece with Totley Brook Quilters

Helen Moyes Designs Bronte Challenge Quilt at FOQ16

 

Totley Brook Quilters Through The Window FOQ16

My looking into a window block is middle right

Helen Moyes Designs Looking In the Window

Group Quilts

So do I think our group quilt should have won in that category? Probably not. There were so many wonderful group quilts, I would have found it hard to pick winners!
The winners were Sussex Spectrum, with Dyeversity.

Dyeversity by Sussex Spectrum group quilt

Other  favourite group quilts of mine were:

Stansted House Hampshire by Artworks

Stansted House Hampshire by Artworks

The Ochils in Autumn by Alva Divas

The Ochils in Autumn by Alva Divas

Tranqullity by Totally patched Group

Tranqullity by Totally Patched Group

and Liberated Black Line by Meon Textile Artists which was highly commended.

Liberated Black Line by Meon Textile Artists

If you haven’t had chance to visit the show, you can still enter the festival competition until 29th August, 2016, to win one of the biggest quilting hampers of all time!

If you have managed to visit the festival I would love to hear what you thought. Please post comments below.

Happy Yorkshire Day

Why Yorkshire Day?

Yorkshire is the largest region in England, centred on the county town of York, and was originally composed of three sections called ‘Thrydings’, or Ridings -North, East and West, which includes modern day South Yorkshire where I live.

Calm Yorkshire day

Yorkshire people  are often immensely proud of their county, commonly referred to as ‘God’s Own County’. It has it’s own website  and you can also read a list of 27 reasons why this may be the case.

Gods own country

When travelling and I am asked where I come from, I proudly say “Yorkshire, England”.  Yorkshire folk  are often stereotyped as being warm and friendly but ‘bloody minded’,or stubborn and argumentative, descriptions which those who know me would use for me!

Yorkshire Lass mug

Ten other characteristics of Yorkshire folk that I identify with are:

  1. Started a conversation with ‘now then’
  2. Winced at the price of something down south (like a pint… or a house)
  3. Owned a Yorkshire terrier
  4. Drinking ale or cider from a Yorkshire brewery
  5. Said ‘aye’ instead of yes, or said ‘ay up’ instead of hello
  6. Been able to sing the first line of ‘On Ilkley Moor b’ah tat’ but that’s about it
  7. Gone on a day trip to Whitby
  8. Gone on a school trip to Eureka
  9. Tried to make Yorkshire puddings, and had at least one batch that sank pitifully before nailing the perfect recipe – I think it’s all about the eggs – contact me for more details
  10. Cellebrated Yorkshire Day

So Why the First Day of August?

August 1st was chosen as it has special significance in the County’s history. On this date in 1759, Yorkshire soldiers ensured a famous victory, displaying death defying bravery, during the battle of Minden in Germany.

The date also alludes to the anniversary of the emancipation of slaves in the British Empire in 1834, for which a Yorkshire MP, William Wilberforce, had campaigned.

So if you are from Yorkshire, and even if you’re not, how will you celebrate Yorkshire Day this year?

Yorkshire Calm

One way is to get involved with Plusnet’s Yorkshire emoji campaign. You can vote for your choice of emoji before Monday, or see the winner on Plusnet’s page

Yorkshire Pudding

Apart from the obvious of having Yorkshire puddings for my tea – with gravy, as a starter rather than with other food as my grandmother started me doing, I will be celebrating Yorkshire Day on Sheffield Moor. This is a great event with lots to enjoy. I will be offering:

Have a Go …

flower hammering to design your own botanical fabric, which you can use to make a scented hanging decoration

&

  fabric brooch making – Yorkshire Roses

Helen Moyes Designs Yourkshire Rose brooch 1Helen Moyes Designs Yorkshire Rose brooch 2

Helen Moyes Designs Flower Pounding

I hope you can come and say hello, I will try to take some pictures you will be able to see on my Facebook page.  If you would like me to send you the tutorial for either flower pounding or my Yorkshire Rose Brooch please contact me and I will email it to you.

Happy-Yorkshire-Day_zpsfc836511

The origin of the Yorkshire rose  is said to have first been adopted by Edmund of Langley, the first Duke of York, in the 14th century. It represents the Virgin Mary who was often called the ‘Mystical Rose of Heaven’. During the War of the Roses the white rose was used as a symbol by supporters of the House of York. During the Battle of Minden in 1759, it is said that Yorkshire soldiers  wore wild roses that they had plucked from the hedgerows as they advanced to engage the enemy. Other account say they wore them after the battle in honour of those in Yorkshire regiments who had fallen.

Yorkshires White Rose Flag was  officially registered with the Flag Institute in 2007and it can be flown without planning permission on any building. I came across this Yorkshire Flag Poem by Geoff Williams.

Yorkshire Flag poem by Geoff Williams

Yorkshire Flag poem by Geoff Williams

I wonder what the Yorkshire flag makes you think of?

Yorkshire Flag

All this said, because I’m from Sheffield in the extreem south of Yorkshire, I am also extreemly attached to the Peak District on my doorstep. I have been reflecting on what Sheffield means to me for a couple of textile art projects I am involved in  (more on these later in the year) and the Peak District is certainly part of my love of Sheffield, as well as many Yorkshire landscapes further up north. My wool work often upcycles wool I have collected from barbed wire and bushes, when on walks in both Yorkshire and Derbyshire!

laughing sheep

Here is a wool landscape I am working on at the moment

Helen Moyes Designs: Wool Landscape in progress

Helen Moyes Designs: Wool Landscape in progress

Some designs have sheep made from local wool in them:

Helen Moyes Designs Ecclesall Textile School Felt Picture 16

If you would like more details on either purchasing my art work, or coming on a workshop then please contact me.  Please note: non yorkshire folk are very welcome!

You can see some pictures from a recent felting workshop.

I am also proud to be a British baker, which is reflected in the Great British Baker Aprons I make and currently have in my Etsy Shop.

 

I would love to hear your thoughts on Yorkshire Day.