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Fabric flowers

Nowadays, a crafter is rarely just a sewist or a crocheter or a knitter – we may have several creative pursuits that satisfy different aspects of our personality. I love the speed and engineering element of sewing. But I also love the portability and flexibility of crochet. I’m also an enthusiastic knitter, a keen baker, a big fan of patterned paper and origami, a passionate cook, an occasional gardener, a keen puzzler, and much more.

I think it’s natural to feel yourself pulled towards a particular craft and away from others – in the past year, I’ve certainly felt pulled towards crochet and away from sewing. And I missed sewing. So I decided to take action, to give myself more sewing projects by becoming a contributor to The Sewing Directory.

I’m delighted to say that my first project is now live on the website – in fact, it’s not just one project but five! I put together a tutorial for making five different fabric flowers – you can see it here. There are so many different ways to make flowers out of fabric, it was hard to choose just five! So I took the selfish route and made the ones that I wanted.

As you might know, I’m getting married in April (this year!) so a lot of my making time is now devoted to crafting for the wedding. One of the items I’ve made is a wrap out of ivory chiffon, for me to wear on the day. I’d never sewn with chiffon before and to be honest, I totally ruined the first metre length I bought! It was only £3 per metre though so I just bought another metre. But that left me with a ruined metre, full of puckers and pulls, which I didn’t want to go to waste. So I decided to use it to make a gathered flower, which I’ll use somewhere on the day:

Chiffon flower

Chiffon flower

This became Flower 1 of 5, and I enjoyed the gathering technique so much that I made another one using a patterned green cotton fabric and attached it to a pipe cleaner stem – simple but pretty!

Flower 1 in cotton

Flower 1 in cotton

For Flower 2, I thought I’d try a simple technique that I’d seen around but never tried myself – chain piecing folded triangles of fabric. It worked really well, apart from the hole in the middle which has to be covered up – to make it a little more 3D, I stuffed the flower centre. Then I attached it to a barbecue skewer to form a stem – perfect for a little vase:

Flower 2 in pot

Flower 2 in pot

For Flower 3, I tried a technique that I’d seen during my time on Love Patchwork & Quilting magazine – it’s a clever way of joining a fabric flower shape to a piece of fusible web. The resulting appliqué flower is flat and ready to fuse onto another fabric. I decided to use it to brighten up this dress – remember it from this post?

Flower 3 on dress

Flower 3 on dress

After making this one, I felt confident enough to cut out a flower shape from another fabric and create a ready-to-fuse appliqué flower out of it. This particular flower shape is a little bit odd, but the technique is neat!

Before and after

Appliqué flower: before and after

For Flower 4, I went back to my stash and found some spare organza (also a wedding purchase) – this seemed a good choice for making flowers. This time, I cut the fabric into petals and had a little too much fun using a candle to shape them (I think maybe there’s a pyromaniac lurking in all of us):

Organza flower

Organza flower

And finally, Flower 5 is just a gathered and layered tube, which I’ve done before, but they’re so simple and satisfying to make:

Flower 5 gathered tube

Flower 5 gathered tube

I made these during the dull days of December and they really brightened up the place, without taking up much time. If you’d like to make any of these flowers, just check out my free tutorials on The Sewing Directory – and look out for some more of my free sewing projects on the website soon…

 
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Posted by on February 1, 2016 in Sewing

 

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Teddy bear

Given the royal baby news that’s been everywhere this week, I thought it was time to share some teddy bear news with you.

You might remember my previous post about Hug Me Bear, my beloved childhood teddy. Here he is:

Hug Me

Hug Me

Well, I’ve been working on sewing my own version. It’s been quite difficult, given that original Hug Me was obviously made from printed fabric, so all his features are detailed and quite life-like.

So I decided that my new teddy bear would be more of an homage to Hug Me rather than a replica – a cute bear that would be soft and hug-able for a little one. Here he is:

Teddy bear © Becky Skuse

Teddy bear © Becky Skuse

For various reasons, he’s turned out a little wonky in places! (But I’m hoping that just adds character?)

For his body, I used a lovely, soft fleecey fabric in chocolate brown (it was actually the last bits remaining after I made this pet bed for my cat).

For the appliqué patches, I used some small fabric scraps left over from cutting up an old pashmina for another project. Note to self for next time though: this fabric was gorgeously soft for small children, but totally wrong for appliqué! It started fraying away the instant I finished zig-zagging around the edges. I had to do some pretty delicate and emotional emergency surgery to rescue his eyes and mouth. (I think this is when the wonkiness occurred.)

I chose a cheerful yellow fabric for his little T-shirt, rather than trying to sew the words ‘Hug Me’ onto his chest. (The trauma of the appliqué patches had made me a nervous wreck by then!)

I backstitched his features with a chocolate brown thread to match the fleece fabric, and I really like his happy smile. His face didn’t quite feel complete at that point though, so I looked back at original Hug Me and, inspired by the heart on his chest, I decided to give my bear a heart for a nose. That’s actually become my favourite part!

Now that he’s finished, I’m in a bit of a pickle about who to give him to. My nieces are very young, at 2 and almost 4 years old, and I’m afraid they might be a bit too rough with him – his mended appliqué patches are still very delicate and might not survive much of their play. So I think he needs to go to an older child, while I make another one with some sturdier fabric!

 
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Posted by on July 24, 2013 in Sewing

 

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