Archive for the 'embroidery' Category

Courses for sewing and crafting pleasure

June 10th, 2009


Long time no see as my Dad would have said…. Reasons for absence range from being locked out of my email address and therefore all other sites that use the same login and password to changing computers, work and general “meh” feeling that I think I moaned about earlier.

Anyhoo, I thought I would pass on details of the courses I am teaching over the summer. The courses are all based at the Textile Workshop in Sherwood (a couple of miles out of Nottingham City Centre with tons of parking, and surrounded by charity shops….) and are organised by South Nottingham College. The 2 day courses all cost £32 for the two days, with most materials already provided for you, although some of them may ask you to contribute a couple of pounds if you need extra. All courses run from 10 til 4, with a lunch break.

11th and 12th July – Transferring Images

Day 1 we will be having a play with various techniques for transferring designs to fabric, including crayons, transfer dyes, pens, photocopies, as well as shoving random bits and bobs through an ink jet printer like printable cotton, Aida and Vilene. A fun day that is a bit like playing, and getting messy!
Day 2 we will spend making an item or items out of your creations from the day before, whether an embellished picture, bag, purse…. the limit is your imagination! If this course fills up I will be offering more dates as it’s a popular course and we can’t have more than 6 or 7 in a group.

If you want to take part and have pictures/ photos you want to print, please bring these along with you on CD or USB stick.

25th and 26th July – Recycling clothes

A chance to refashion some of your/ your childrens’/ your partners’ clothes into something new – we all have plain tops, skirts, cardi’s etc that are perfectly fine, but maybe you are a tad bored with. Learn techniques such as applique, embroidery (hand and machine) as well as basic alterations to help fit. If you are a bit scissor happy then this is a constructive way of having some credit- crunch fashion help!

1st and 2nd August Bag and purse making

2 days of making yourself a handbag (or handbags if you are a super fast sewer!) and co-ordinating zip purse from a variety of patterns. Patterns will be copied at full size a available for you to take away. Materials such as interfacing, lining, zips and fasteners will be available for use, as well as some fabric, although we would strongly suggest you bring along your own fabric for the outer (some of the donated fabric we have is a bit dated rather than vintage…) – 1 metre would be sufficient. The Textile Workshop also stocks Moda and Amy Butler fabrics so you could treat yourself to some yummy fabric whilst you are there!

8th and 9th August Beginners sewing machine skills

A 2 day course to help familiarise yourself with the basic functions of your sewing machine, including setting your machine up, selecting threads, feet and needles as appropriate, different stitches for different uses, putting in a zip (they really aren’t scary!), making a button hole as well as having a play with free machine embroidery. At the end of the 2 days you will have made either a cushion or a purse as well as an embroidered corsage. If you have your own machine and would like to bring it with you so you can learn on it, please feel free.

29th and 30th August Hand and Machine embroidery

Day 1 we will be covering a variety of hand embroidery stitches, as well as covering all you need to know to get started – if you have ever tried a stitch and not “got” it, then this course is ideal for you, as well as being an ideal start to those considering my 20 week course in and embroidery starting in September! All materials will be provided for you including threads, hoops, and a variety f materials to embroider onto.
Day 2 we will be covering the basics of free machine embroidery, including using different threads for different effects, and how to combine both hand and machine embroidery. If you have your own machine and would like to learn on this feel free to bring it along with you.

In september I will be teaching more courses, either 15 or 20 week accredited courses – more details about these in the summer!

If you like the sound of the courses and want to book on to any of them, please contact Karen Taylor (course co-ordinator) at the Textile workshop on 07809 158606, or at the shop on 0115 9603337 and she will be happy to help. If any of you do book on, please let me know so I can put a face to the name! x

A dress, some food, a film and lots of laughs

June 9th, 2008

That pretty much sums up yesterday for me – my bridesmaids and I met to choose their dresses (finally scraped the money together! – doesn’t help when work haven’t paid £140 in expenses either….), have some food and watch a film.
I’m starting to get excited about the wedding now – it’s starting to seem a bit more real now (Duh – Claire finally gets with the programme!) and in between my mates trying on dresses, I tried on a load of tiaras and random hats (love trying hats on – when I was younger I used to wear a lot of hats, although not all at the same time…) and believe me, some of them were random. We managed to find dresses for them both with ease but are waiting for one to come in stock for the size we need so that’s good. They have both got black prom dresses, one in duchesse satin, and one in tafetta I am happy, they are happy – we’re all happy. I know a lot of people have looked at me oddly when I told them that the bridesmaids are in black, but I think it will look chic and elegant, and on a more practical note, at least they could possibly get some more wear out of them rather than being stuck in their wardrobes forevermore.
Watching Sex and the City was a wierd one – I love the programme and missed it when it finished, but still pick holes in it. I figured before we went in that it would be a “marmite” film – I would either love it or I would hate it. If you haven’t seen it (and do, it is worth seeing just don’t expect it to be just like the series – it isn’t) I won’t spoil the plot for you, but it left me thinking about weddings and why people get married, and especially the bit leading up to a wedding. When I get stressed (which is becoming increasingly more often) I sometimes suggest to David that we just skip it all, go to a registry office and have done with it. I won’t, but I have to admit it is tempting. I suppose the wedding has to reflect why you are getting married as much as the people who are being married. I don’t know what ours will say about us, but I am still determined to not get caught up in the “you must…” mentality. The only people who can insist on what we must do, is ourselves…. Cos that is the point to it all. ‘Nuff said I suppose… The film did make me giggle quite a lot, which was just what I needed after what was a very long week at work.
On a lighter note, I have borrowed a sewing machine from the ladies of the Textile Workshop, where we have our little craft group each week, and on their advice I will be taking me sewing machine back to where it came from – apparantly loads of people have had to and there were even rumours of the distibutors in trouble… Watch this space to see if I get a refund! I think I will be buying the one I have borrowed as it’s lovely and sews without complaint (which really is the point of having a sewing machine….) So many people have said to use my mam’s old machine for embroidery, which is what I think I will do, as I have spare bobbin cases I can loosen the tension on and have a play….
Thanks for the transfer love – it’s been good to spread the wealth, so to speak. There are loads more I haven’t scanned in, and I am waiting for another bundle I won to be delivered, so watch this space! If any of you are interested, I am going to be having a go at the designing a new banner for the Feeling Stitchy blog – I’ll post on my progress when I have some! It looks like fun and it will be great to see other people’s work.

Hope that you are enjoying the sunshine whatever you are up to xoxo

Starter for 10

February 7th, 2008

Eleven, actually. I have started making the roses for my wedding dress. I also bought the pattern for my wedding dress – after lots of thinking, and long chats with my friend Rach, who knows be better than I know myself I sometimes think, I am making my entire wedding dress. I had originally wanted a corset, and my friend Lisa was going to do that for me, then I would make a skirt to go with it, but I couldn’t afford it, buying the fabric and all the other bits and bobs like netting etc, and paying her a decent wage for the corset – it would have cost almost £500. So, back to the drawing board.
Rach took me to try some dresses last week just for ideas of styles and colours – apparantly I suit ivory not cream – I would never have even thought about that. I knew there were different colours but assumed that I suited most of them. I look jaundiced in a cream – not a good look! We then had a look at patterns in John Lewis and I chose a reissued vintage Vogue pattern from 1957 – very New Look Dior, ballerina length skirt with a huge amount of fabric, and I am adapting it for it to be sleeveless. I really wanted to post a picture of it, but David sometimes reads my blog, and I don’t want him seeing it (sorry dear!) so you will have to wait to see it too. I am though, going to make a toile, so I will pick a similar weight cotton to the duschesse satin I have my eye on and make it up as a summer dress – trial run to see where it’s likely to go wrong!

I also managed to find some of the embroidered tulle I fell in love with for half the price on eBay that will go over the satin. Then it will be covered in these crochet roses. I have done some cream, some white and some a colour in between, and all of them are vintage threads. I have toyed with the idea of making vintage lace leaves too, but I don’t know – I do know that I am useless when it comes to making the crochet leaves. So 11 down, only another 150 or so to go…

Whilst I am here (2 posts in 2 days – what the heck is going on?) I thought I would show you some of the embroideries I have been doing to applique onto face cloths for the craft fairs I am booked onto. I may list some on Etsy too. These are all from Jenny Hart’s patterns and were so easy to do - I am also doing some that would appeal more to boys, or tomboys for that matter – rockets, aliens and racing cars. I’ll post some more pics when I am done and they are in situ. I just didn’t want all my posts to be moans, promises to tidy myself up (it is better, but since things got moved into my sewing room over the weekend whilst trying to sort the rest of the house out, it looks worse, although nowhere near as bad as it was – at least things now stack up…) or being smug about what I managed to find in a charity shop.
Who knows, I may be back again tomorrow x

Pinky and Boo loveliness

September 7th, 2007

It seems ages since I have had the time to write here, and even longer since I actually finished something I am making. I have tons of stuff that is half made, part completed, “work in progress” – whatever you want to call it, it’s simply not finished!

I made a concerted effort this week to do the stuff I find the most boring – cutting things out and checking what I have planned for Pinky and Boo when I get round to launching it. As well as the pin cushions I have shown you previously, I have a few bags that are made of vintage doilies and tray cloths that have been applique’d and embellished,

a couple of things made from vintage fabrics that have been hand beaded, and a range of household bits and bobs like aprons, peg bags etc that all have kitsch embroidery patches on them.
I adore the creative bit – embroidering the patches, crocheting the flowers etc, and find this the most rewarding. The bit I don’t like, for some strange reason is the making up of everything. Probably because I have to follow rules to make them look OK – find it a bit boring and something of a no-brainer when all I really want to do is play around with patterns and stitches and make things look pretty.
I have always made my own clothes – started when I was about 13, and I used to love it, and spend all my time cutting, pinning and sewing new things for me and my friends. Now, I simply can’t be bothered – it’s a means to an end.
Probably what hasn’t helped is the fact I no longer have “my” space for sewing. I used to have a reasonably large room to store junk/ stick glue and stitch in, and now I have a glorified cupboard that is full of junk and you have to haul everything out before you can get to anything else. It’s been ages since I saw more than a foot’s width of space, and even then I had to kick my shoes off to wedge myself in. David and I are going to be looking for houses soon for when we live together and one of my stipluations is having a room for us to do our hobbies in – I admittedly have far more stuff than he does, but he plays with tiny fighting men, which naturally take up less space than yards of fabric…. heaven only knows what will happen when we start planning children. I will probably camp out in a shed somewhere to have my creative space then. Either that or it’s where the kids will sleep… So in the meantime I am a bit cramped, which is probably why I am working on small detailed things.

I have also finished a couple of the project bags (something, at last, that’s completed!) and I am happy with them. I have something similar planned for Pinky and Boo shop but not using handerchiefs, but all will be revealed in time.

One of the reasons I started blogging was to get used to t’Internet and to become less afraid of computers. I would not say by any means I am a technophobe, I know what I need to use a computer for, and am pretty proficient at it, if I do say so myself. Apart from t’internet. That’s scary and I don’t want to mess things up. Which is why I have been a bit of an ostrich for so long.

Now I am enjoying blogging, I have now added a Flickr album, and feel OK with that, apart from it taking so, so long to load the images that I don’t have the time to add descriptions or captions to most of them. David is making sure I don’t back out of the website stuff and is showing me bits and bobs that admittedly aren’t rocket science to most people, but please me when I can do them. He realises I am not that confident in myself, so show me something to whet my appetite, that I can do over and over and feel comfortable with, and I want more. Like trying to coax a cat that doesn’t want to come in for the night with a tasty nibble. Thinking about it that’s quite a good analogy as I am quite food orientated….

Anyway, I have been taking more pictures of my stuff, so feel free to have a browse at them, and pass comments if you feel like it. All the time I took pictures I was being watched by a very grumpy Stella, who wasn’t fooled into coming in by the tasty nibble and spent the night on the tiles, and just wanted her bed. She’s like a stroppy teenager sometimes!
I plan on adding some free patterns soon – embroidery patterns and some instructions from some vintage 50′s sewing magazines I have to make model villages etc. I now know how to do them, only to find my scanner isn’t wanting to play with me and has decided to go on strike. So I will use the work one, when I have finished the mountain of paperwork I have at the minute.

I will also be planning a give away of buttons and zips, so watch out for that. Coming soon at a blog near you, and all that jazz..

Thanks for stopping by

Claire xoxo

Karma, and a corner of my nest

August 15th, 2007

Do any of you out there watch “My name is Earl”? I do – love the programme – Randy is my favourite – would like to go out drinking with him, but that is by the by. Reading everyone’s lovely comments, and thinking about how lucky I have been got me thinking about Karma. I try to do good things for people, and live my life by reasonable standards, and I really think it has been paying off with the kindness and opportunities I have been given. It must be the weather or my hormones at the minute but I am feeling very loved -up, and reading your comments has been a lovely boost to my days – thank you x

As I was ranting in an earlier post about living in rented accomodation, I thought I would share the one corner of my home I don’t mind people seeing. It’s one of the only areas myself and my housemate can control what it looks like, and we are very different. My old room in the other house was the attic, and was huge and kinda odd shaped, which I liked. This room is about half the size of my other one, in fact is the same size as the one I used to have as a sewing room. I decided to cover up the grey walls (why – WHY would anyone paint a bedroom mid grey?) with a lovely turquoise colour, and teamed it with a curtain panel made from an old cutwork tablecloth, and some 50′s curtains I adapted. With all my furniture either being vintage dark wood or painted Lloyd Loom stuff, it looks lovely. Apart from the mess. The photo’s are carefully taken to not show the mess, but we won’t go into that …

If you don’t like clutter, look away now. You can still see some!

Here’s my dressing table – with all my pictures, trinkets and bits that I have built up over the years.I have hooks at the side raided from an old wardrobe to hand my necklaces on. The picture in the middle in the wooden frame is one my dad took at a day out at Swanland, a village outside Hull, where I grew up. It was a favourite day out for us for years, and was one of my dad’s favourite pictures. I will take post the picture itself at another time, when I get my head around using the scanner.
This is a picture I took when I was 13 at Brimham Rocks in North Yorkshire – gorgeous place. After my dad died I put the photo in this frame for my mam, and it used to sit on her bedside cabinet. I love it as it has such happy memories for me. The doily it is sat on is one from a set that my housemate’s mum, Madelaine bought me – so pretty with Irish crochet roses on it. Next to it is my Wishing Troll, waiting to be picked up and wished on.

This mirror sits above the fireplace – it was my parents, and my dad got it from a mate of his in the 60′s. We had it painted gold, and it weighs a ton as it’s plaster. Managed to get the same one slightly smaller for £3 once in a charity shop, and I painted them both silver and highlighted with silver leaf. Much better.The fireplace in mine and Rach’s rooms were boarded up, and hadn’t been cleaned in about 50 years. The carpet was also covering up the lovely green tiles that form the hearth, which we cut away – such a shame to cover them up when they are so pretty. The fans are ones I collected years ago – have some really lovely and very old ones. They are sitting in some cups that were given to me by a family friend when I was little, to use with my dolls – they have cherry blossom stems painted on them.

This tapestry hangs above my bed – my mam did it years ago, and my dad made the frame for it. I have another much larger tapestry that my mam made and dad framed but as yet I have nowhere to put it. I will find a place for it soon though.

Anyway, I realised just how long my posts have been and so I will keep this for me, a relatively short one, and leave you with a picture of the riple baby blanket I finished the other day, on my bargain wicker chair (£5 including home delivery! I have seen these for £40, so I was very lucky, and glad I snapped it up when I did). This picture was taken just before it started raining, so it was a quick dash inside with chair, blanket and cats!


August 13th, 2007

Thank you all for the really positive coments you have given me – don’t know why the heck I was as worried as I was about starting blogging, but then I worry about most things. Then worry that I am worrying too much….

I really don’t know why I get anxious – I have been so lucky over the last few months that it’s only when you sit back and take stock (writing a blog entry really helps you do that) that I realise how lucky I have been. This year has overall been good so far.
Last year was terrible – moved house because my landlord, lovely guy bless his heart died, so we ended up moving into a mate’s house. If Rach and I had been given the opportunity to have cleaned and decorated the house before we moved in it would have been OK. Instead we are still living with a lot of our landlord’s stuff, old and very tired decorations etc. Don’t get me wrong, it was a great chance when we needed it, and our landlord is a mate, and he’s lovely and puts up with no end of nagging from us to get things done. But because he’s a mate of ours, to a certain extent we put up with more than we would have done if it was someone we simply had a tenant/ landlord relationship with. Then there was my job…. Not even going into THAT one – suffice to say I was bullied and undermined every day by my egotistical manager. David found out he was being made redundant, and on New Years Day was told by his mate that he shared a house with that he needed to move out, as his room would become his girlfriends’ extended wardrobe…

Then 2008 seems be panning out a bit better – I started my new job, which I love, and I work with a great team – all slightly crazy, but I can handle that better than if they were “normal”. David proposed to me the night before he moved to London to extend his contract, which was hard for us, but we are through it now and he is now back in Nottingham , which is great. Now trying to plan a wedding and lose weight for it too – aargh!
I think that changing jobs has been a turning point for me. I learned quite a few lessons from my former employers, and learned a lot about myself, and it’s only now with disance that I can see that. I also, as daft as it sounds became so much more creative, and with more vision of what I want Pinky and Boo to be like etc.
I am a member of the local Realcycle network, and through this have met some wonderful people, and have been given some beautiful things, both for myself, and to pass on to others. If you are reading this, Susan and Pamela, then a huge thank you for all you have given me and the support you have shown. Realcycle, and freecycle aim to keep things that still have uses out of landfill, and is a great way of meeting like minded people, getting rid of things and getting new things. (Bit of shameless promotion there, sorry!)

Take this for example – some beautiful vintage suitcases I will use to store my treasured tablecloths and doilies in before the cats have chance to shed fur all over them, from Armorel on Realcycle.

I aired them outside as they smelled a tad of moth balls. Now they have been cleaned and Febreezed, and smell of lavender. One of them still has an old label attached to it. I must be odd as I get really excited by this – probably moreso than about the thing itself….
From meeting Vicky in my new job, and people on Freecycle/Realcycle we have started up a weekly craft group, which has been a lot of fun (only been going 3 weeks, and I look forward to Wednesday evenings so much).
And then there has been one of my elderly neighbours, Edie, who has given me SO, SO much stuff over the last few months, for myself and to pass on to others that may find it useful. Edie used to own a nightwear and children’s clothing factory in Nottingham, and when she closed the factory, she kept a lot of bits. Trouble is, all the years spent doing and making, meant that she is crippled in pain with arthiritis and cannot do very much now. Edie is moving, and wanted a big clear out and I think she liked being able to offload some of her stuff onto someone who would make use of things and appreciate them. Here’s some of the things she gave me this weekend:

Vintage boxes of buttons
Is it me, or do you also find things like this appealing? As soon as I saw them I had a mental list of projects that I would use them on, although I think there’s something really exciting about seeing them all together like this – kind of the waking up on Christmas morning feeling, when you saw your presents sat there, ready to be opened.

Or do I simply need to get out more?

Edie also gave me a ton of patterns, including all the ones she had for her own designs of nightwear, and some industrial threads etc, which I am going to pass on to the local University Fashion school – I feel they deserve to be recognised as part of Nottingham’s heritage, rather than me enjoying them, but not really gaining anything from keeping. She also gave me wool, and an old and rather battered sewing box, that I will do up – she told me to throw it. That’s like asking me to chop a limb off. We don’t throw away! If I can’t use it, I am certain that I know someone who can!

However, the piece de resistance has to be the dolls house she gave me.

The story behind it is her daughter, Christine, loved all things minature. Her son in law decided to make her this dolls house for her birthday, but sadly died 2 weeks before her birthday, which is why it isn’t complete. Edie got it when shortly after her daughter died from MS. Now this has been sat for years, being a very painful reminder of her loss, and she wanted to give it to someone who would finish it.

I forever regret giving away my dolls house to a cousin when I was little – my dad had spent hours wiring it up with lights, my mother making things for the house, and a family friend giving me a porcelain bathroom suite and handmade wooden bedroom furniture (I still have those, I am glad to say) and even though I don’t have children yet, I would love this for myself and any future children I have. It will be a real labour of love and will probably take a goo while to finish it, but I will keep you updated with the progress. David, my other half is fantastic at modelling things, and painting things, as his hobby is Warhammer stuff (leaves me cold, but whatever floats your boat and all that..) so I will rope in him with his skills to make sure I don’t wreck it.

And as it was so sunny, I spent some time outside trying to work on a patchwork quilt I am making
- I am making 4 actually. There is one already pinned together that will be a present from all of us at work to one of our collegues who has just had a baby – Chloe Hope, and 3 others to sell in my shop. The patches are either vintage fabric, including old sheets and some dresses of mine from the late 50′s (cut up years ago – WHY? I ask myself) and some modern fabric, but vintage style. The quilts will be backed in vintage candy striped cotton and machine quilted and hand embroidered.
The panels are of sleeping girls and boys, and are embroidered onto vintage cotton/linen mix sheeting. This will be personalised with the child’s name and applique’d onto the front of the quilt. Will post more with progress.

I had better go, otherwise I will end up gibbering for ages and you will be bored. Will save it for next time! xoxo