Thursday, 18 December 2014

Christmas Stocking for your favourite dog

Picturing the fire place with the hanging personalized stockings over always gives me a warm Christmas feeling. We do not have a fire place, nor a dog, but what better way to say thank you to a someone special, but to make a small stocking for his pet. Everyone with a pet adores his friend. To make present for the pet is a wonderful way to touch someone's heart. 

This stocking was my little daughter's idea. She is in love with dogs and desperately begs me to have a puppy. She decided to sew a small stoking for her teacher's dog. So this is her project and most of the work was done by her. 

you will need:

paper template for the stocking
paper template for the paw
a sheet of red felt fabric for the stocking
a piece of black felt fabric for the paw
cotton fabric for the lining
personalized label
decorative ribbon for the bow

1. Draw the stocking on a sheet of paper - the size you would prefer. Cut it out.
2. Draw a paw on a sheet of paper. Cut all the elements - toes are tricky small but for the small children's fingers are perfect :)
3. Stitch the name of the dog on a small piece of Aida fabric (14 ct).
4. Tie the ribbon, forming the front bow. 
5. Fold the red felt sheet in two. With a washable pencil, trace the stocking template onto the felt. Trace the paw template on the black felt. Cut out the elements of the paw.
6. With a washable pencil, trace the stocking template onto the wrong side of a cotton fabric. Do not cut the stockings.
7. Sew the paw onto the drawn stocking, using backstitch (again, the toes, especially for this size stocking, are tricky, but... it is worth every effort, when the kid's eyes sparkle in happiness...)

8. Attach the name.
9. Fold the red felt, right side down.
10. Fold the cotton lining right side down. 
11. Position the two parts opposite to each other, following the picture's diagram.

12. Optional: You could use a different decorative fabric for the top of the stocking. If that is the case, draw the stocking on the lining few centimetres longer (as much as you want it to be visible on the finished product). 
13. Sew all three fabrics together on the wrong side. Starting from the felt, sew around the drawn line all along, finishing at the end of the cotton lining drawn stocking. Make sure you leave about 6-8 cm unsewn space at the lining.
14. Turn the stocking right side up through the unsewn seam. Press with an iron to straighten the edges. 
15. Attach the bow.

Wednesday, 17 December 2014

Cross-stitched Tag for Christmas

Making a tag for a Christmas present is very exciting and sometimes even more appreciated, than the present itself. This season, the things we make with our hands are precious. While making presents, we put our heart into it, and that is what Christmas is about.

Make a tag for a nice biscuit box, or a bar of chocolate (who does not love chocolate ?! ... ). The tag will be an emblem, representing love, friendship and respect. 

you will need:

tag template
Christmas pattern for cross stitching
28 ct linen fabric
embroidery floss
fabric of choice for the back of the tag

I used a pattern from the loved by me French magazine "Création Point de Croix:

1. Draw your template on a sheet of paper.
2. Cut a piece of fabric as big as the stitched pattern.
3. Cut the batting with the size of the tag template.
4. Secure the batting to the fabric with pins and stitch with a contrasting thread, so you will be able to quilt stitch easily.

5. My back fabric choice is with patterns and it is easy to make uniformed quilt stitches. If you chose plain fabric, you would need to draw some lines diagonally and follow them while stitching.

Make small stitches - it looks neat and gentle and the stitches do not scream for attention:

The black thread, used for securing the batting to the fabric is visible here. Now it would be the time to remove it.

6. Pin both pieces together, facing each other. 
7. Sew along the edges of the batting, leaving a unsewn part of one of the side seams for turning the tag inside out. 
8. Cut along the seam, leaving 5 mm seam allowance. Clip the two down corners at 45°.
9. Turn the tag inside out, pressing the seams with an iron.

10. Make the eyelet. I used a tool for cutting the fabric, but instead of putting the metal ring for the eyelet, I decided to sew it:

This is how my sewn eyelet looks like - I like it better than the metal one, because it is more naturally looking and matches nicely the cross stitching. 

Monday, 3 November 2014

Ironing Board

I am not a big fan of ironing. It is a full time job for a day or two, when you are family of four.  But the thing I do not like more, is going out wearing a cloth that was never touched by an iron. So I iron everything but the socks - the linen, pyjamas, towels, tablecloths, handkerchieves, and of course all the clothing my family wears daily. Yes, there are some moments, when I think that I could skip this and that, but ... I do not do that, not yet...

I like my laundry being air-dryed. But either way - air-dried or in the drier, I always iron. So my ironing board is a good friend. Using it a lot, I am in a need from time to time to change the cover.

Running to the store and buying the first seen and the cheapest one on the shelf is the easiest way to change the ironing board sleeve. Personalizing the board is a good idea - not only that to have the fancy cover, but to get inspired every time opening it.

I love the ancient mosaics. People from our past were really much more artistic than us. I guess, this comes with the evolution, which is sad, in my opinion. Now everything is about plastic, artificial decoration that must look like a real one, it is all pretending that we have the values our ancestors had. I find this to be so unfortunate - trying to copy the beauty of the life in the past, but never making it real. 

Yes, I look back a lot and trying not to pretend to have artificial beautiful things, but to make some real ones. Lets decorate my new ironing board cover. I chose the ancient motifs from DFEA Carnet de broderie No.1. Here you could find a lot of beautiful things.

What to do?

First of all choose the cross stitch pattern that is going to be used for the ironing board cover. Following the instructions, stitch the pattern. Here is the design I chose: 

I designed the shape of the finished stitched detail in a way of matching the ancient style. You could do whatever shape works for the chosen style. 

I used 14 count Aida for cross stitching and DMC floss. I chose embroidery floss colours that match the fabric for the cover, cut the right shape, secured the edges of the canvas and stitched the design. 

How to sew the cover?

Remove the old cover from the ironing board. Use it as a pattern and place over the fabric. Draw around the pattern and cut the new piece. You could use the old lining or buy and cut the new one. Then, just sew the cover the way the old one was done. Attach the cross stitched detail to the sewed board cover, matching the floss colours used in the ancient detail.

That is it. You have a new and beautiful ironing board cover. 

The inspiration is everywhere. Just keep your eyes open. 

Thursday, 24 April 2014

The Green Dress

"Green" has been considered a "bad" colour. I could think of two green emotions and they both are not my favourite - actually, they are both no one's favourite. This green combination caught my interest in the fabric store: the glossy, smooth satin and the crisp organza match perfectly for the dress. What girl on earth would want to wear a green dress?

I had a mission - to make the dress loveable. My "customer" is a young lady with a very precise taste. She also knows what she wants. If she does not like the colour, at the end of the day, I should probably wear it, or start looking for a Hulk's young daughter (assuming he has one). 

I was thinking of a big, pink, satin belt tying on a bow on the back of the dress. Probably, when she sees the wide pink belt, she won't notice the green on the dress. But... oh, seriously?! Pink? On this green? 
Uh, may be no...Small, but crying out-loud elements will do the trick. 

I tried to work out every detail: cross stitched the "bolero", constructed the rose, saw the tiny closer on the back, over the zipper, and passionately attached the small bow on the puff, short sleeves (instead of using an elastic). 

The result was unexpected - the dress changed couple of times in my mind and I, honestly did not know what it will turn out to be at the end. My hope was for a decent clothing for the upcoming violin performance. 

She loved it. Ana loved the dress. I still have my suspicion that the rose played a certain role in it, but Ana played with the dress soon after. Actually, she gained a lot of applause, awards and medals with this dress last season. 

What it takes to win is not only the dress, but a lot of work. She certainly did it well.

The "green", that did not bring out the envious weakness, nor angriness in the heart, but made the soul free and unexplored, as a spring planted seed, that just starts to grow.