Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Cactus applique

When I received my Mollie Makes magazine back in February I was inspired by their paper cutting booklet for a sewing project.

Inside was a page with three cactus pictures

Cactus are such fun to play around with as they have so many different shapes, colours and textures to bring in to a project.

First I picked out some green fabric to use - my stash basket is somewhat overflowing at the moment so it is always good to try and use up some pieces. I love pink and green together so I used pinks and purples for the pots and flowers. I made some with felt to add a different texture.

I used bondaweb to attach all the pieces and then tried a bit of freehand machine embroidery to add detail to the plants and the pots.

I still have a bit more to do to complete the embroidery and I think I will use some hand embroidery too to give extra texture - perhaps some french knots?

At this point a great friend Ashley (aka Lazy Daisy Jones) popped in for a cuppa and had a play around at putting together a flat lay to show off my work on Instagram.

Didn't she make an awesome picture?!

I will add another picture when I finally finish this piece but I must get back to work now!



Friday, 25 March 2016

Crochet Mandalas

I love colour, and I love crochet, so when I see the two together I get a little bit excited!

Browsing through the Mollie Makes website I spotted these pretty mandalas, there is a free pattern available if you want to try your own:

Then the new "Crochet Now" Magazine facebook page tempted me with these designs by Crochet Millan.

I had just taken delivery of some fabulous new crochet cottons from RICO in some beautiful new spring shades

the colours looked so lovely together I didn't need to think long about using all of them in a mandala

I made quick progress in just one evening

just running out of time to do the last round...

Once complete I pinned it out on my ironing board to block the points

and here is the finished article!

I used one of the free patterns from Crochet Millan's website which was easy to follow if you but do remember that the pattern is written in American terms so you will need to adjust for British terms if you prefer those.

Which one would you try?




Wednesday, 23 March 2016

A simple zipper pouch in pretty butterfly fabric

Sometimes a collection of fabric arrives and I just have to make something! I didn't have much spare time yesterday between workshops but I was determined to sew this purse which only took about half an hour in total to make.

First I cut the fabric pieces
there are two butterfly fabric pieces  11" by 6.5" 
and two pink fabric pieces 11"by 3.5"

later you will need two pieces of fabric for the lining which are 11" by 9.5"
and of course a zip

I stitched the butterfly fabric to the pink fabric using my new quarter inch foot (a great new gadget - I have no idea why I didn't get one before now!) Then I anchored the fabric panel to a piece of wadding with a line of stitching just below the join to add detail. Repeat for the other side.

I trimmed the pieces down so that the wadding was the same size as the fabric (there are two identical pieces at this point)

I referred to a great tutorial by Melly Sews on how to sew in a zip (there is a link to this tutorial later in this post)

attaching both outer pieces and the lining pieces

Finally there is a line of stitching around the outer and lining pieces (with that all important gap to pull it all through) to sew the whole purse together and you are done!

You can find the tutorial by Melly Sews here my purse dimensions are different and of course I used wadding to pad it out but it is useful to show you how to sew in the zip

I used a fabrics from the Whisper collection by Windham Fabrics which you can buy in my online shop.



Monday, 21 March 2016

Spring has sprung!

Whether the British weather likes it or not - Spring is finally here!

It feels like it has been a long time coming but at the weekend we cut the grass and started to venture out into the garden for the first time in ages

There is nothing nicer than delivery of fresh new stock on a Monday morning and I was particularly pleased to open this parcel of RICO crochet cottons in a variety of spring colours..

They look so inviting all lined up ready to be used!

I love to play around with new stock getting a few pictures on my phone to put onto Instagram and Facebook over the coming week and with the sun shining it is the perfect time to stock up my photo album.

The greens looks pretty with this Dashwood Studio Fabric from the Streetlife Collection

I have a wide variety of buttons and accessories to team up with any range of colours

The cool blues might be more appealing when we are finding the summer days too hot - but for now we will bask in the spring sunshine and enjoy the warmth finally breaking through

Remember to bring some of those pretty spring blooms indoors to enjoy 

For now I will head over to my Crochet Pinterest Board for some inspiration on what to make with the new cottons!

I'd like to try a few of these crochet mandala's spotted on Crochet Now Magazines' Facebook page - they are designed by Crochet Millan and the free pattern is available here


Ali x


Friday, 18 March 2016

Let's run away and join the Circus!

A circus theme keeps cropping up lately

first we had a circus module in our Jennie Maizels' Sketchbook Club

and then this week some amazing fabric arrived from Lewis and Irene

It is freakishly similar and we love it!

There is also a wonderful acrobat fabric 

and some cute little stars to use as a co-ordinate.

You can shop the Vintage Circus fabrics on our website

What would you make?


Saturday, 12 March 2016

The All New Butterfly Bright Workshop!

I think with all the fuss of moving and settling in I completely forgot to blog about the new shop.

So as you know I made the decision to downsize at the end of last year due to increasing family pressure to have some actual time off occasionally.

So when an amazing space became available just up the road in Sherborne I knew it was perfect for me.

As an empty shell it was crying out for colour

the fitted shelving was surely just meant to be for wool...

and this empty space was perfect for my wall of fabric!

A few brave friends gave up their time, energy, blood, sweat and (mostly my) tears and we moved over 400 bolts of fabric, 1000's of balls of yarn, one ginormous table and a whole lot of other bits and pieces the mere 500 metres from one shop to the other.

A very clever carpenter moved and changed my fixtures to create even better space for the fabric

 Slowly the magic started to happen and rainbows started to appear

 although our arms were aching by this point!

I am lucky to have an OCD friend who was more than happy to help work her magic with the wool display...

It looked so perfect I didn't want anyone to buy any wool!

The mantle piece is a real show stopper and it seemed the perfect place for my button jars, you can't beat a string of fairy lights for an extra special touch.

So now I am in and it is starting to feel like home

the big table is the focal point for workshops and weekly clubs and gatherings

and the chandelier is the most asked about feature in the room - and no it is not mine!

I found the perfect canvas in B&Q of all places and I've decided this is my new motto:

I bought myself a new trolley so I can find all my sewing gadgets exactly when I need them for workshops - I think we all know where this is from! #loveikea

My favourite quote since being in the new space is
"there are shops, and there are shops, and this is the latter!"

I hope you will join me soon for a workshop or a gathering - or just pop up and see the new space, I think you will agree it is pretty amazing!

See you soon,


Friday, 11 March 2016

Dashwood Studio - Streetlife Bag

I am a huge fan of Dashwood Studio fabric and the new "Streetlife" Collection really inspired me to get the sewing machine out.

I had to pick two fabrics to go together so I went with the phonebox fabric and the red trees to match

I always use an iron-on interfacing for bags to make the fabric a bit tougher and more durable and this bag has a drawstring top inside the bag so I know that I won't lose anything carting it around from home to the shop each day which is great.

I wanted to make an oversized bag to keep my various knitting and crochet projects in,

and as you can see this is a super size project bag!

I hang it up as soon as I get to work and it matches my sewing trolley perfectly!

You can shop this collection of Dashwood Studio Streetlife fabrics in the Butterfly Bright webshop

and you can learn to make a bag similar to this in our workshop on  14th April 2016.

See you soon

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