Tag Archives: embroidery

Lola’s finding… Vintage storage solutions for embroidery threads

This isn’t a ‘make’ exactly, but I thought I’d share this idea with you because I’ve found it so useful. Lo and behold – vintage tins make great storage solutions for your sewing bits! I regularly sew during my long commute and as I’ve been too busy to make any kind of storage or sewing roll, I’ve just been throwing all of my craft ingredients into a plastic bag. Not good.

My solution? Vintage tobacco tins! I found these two in a local charity shop (admittedly it was on the first day of my pledge to stay away from said charity shops for a whole month. Naughty, eh?) These tins were very common in their heyday, so they pop up all over the place and I recommend keeping an eye out for them.

Vintage tobacco tins - great storage for your embroidery bits

Vintage tobacco tins – a travel kit for your embroidery bits!

Vintage tins - A perfect fit for your skeins

 A perfect fit for your skeins

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Not only are they very pretty but the larger is the perfect length for embroidery skeins. I have a few, some for tobacco, some for sweets, but the large ones are all the same length and width. There is also enough room for your essential scissors and needles.

They took a bit of cleaning and I lined them with tissue paper as the insides had become a little rusty, but at just £1 for the small and £3 for the large one, I think I’ll be heading to the charity shops more often!

 

 

 

 

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Lola Loves… Rosie Music’s Shy Boy embroidery pattern

Yay! I love completing a project and am really happy that I’ve finished this Shy Boy embroidery pattern, which was designed by Rosie Music and is available at Sublime Stitching. The best bit is that I still have the matching ‘Shy Girl’ to complete (the ‘doing’ is just as fun as the ‘having done’).

I love this design – there’s something very quirky, modern and intriguing about it.

I tend to sew on my commute (though I do get a few stares) and this was a great commute project, which I completed in no time at all. All I used was simple back stitch, stem stitch and a few french knots.

 

 

In my haste to get it up on the wall, I decided not to iron it and convinced myself that the few wrinkles would drop out — so apologies for the slightly shabby state.

Next up I’ll try these Ryan Berkley designs (above) – I’m going for a ‘gallery’ wall of embroidered portraits. After that I’ll start on some ‘family portraits’ of the fella, myself and our cat.

I’ll also frame printed fabric in embroidery hoops and will start with this beauty by Melody Miller (Ruby Star Rising). Her fabric is gorgeous and I can’t wait to make a phone case and travel card wallet with the left overs!

 

 

 


Lola loves… Making a DIY tattoo swallow necklace

I love a bit of jewelry and if you’ve read my other blog posts you may have worked out that I also love tattoo designs. Add a bit of craft into the mix and I’ve got a recipe for happiness.

Yup, this necklace includes many things I love and (being a bit lazy) it’s also great that it’s quick and easy to do!

What you will need:
Embroidered fabric with your choice of design
Black felt
Multi-purpose glue
Chain
4x Jump rings (1x large, 3x small)
1x Lobster clasp
2x Pairs of pliers
Metal cutters

I made this simple necklace using an iron-on embroidered bird, which I’d bought previously.  You can buy these on-line or in craft shops in a huge variety of designs; flowers, dice, animals, letters. Using the iron-on bird meant making the necklace was super quick, which was what I needed, but next time I will embroider the design myself – I’m toying with the ideas of cross-stitched pendants. I’m also considering selling a few on Etsy – what do you think bloggers, would it go down well?

I backed the bird to make it sturdier by gluing black felt to the back. I then trimmed all the edges with embroidery scissors. (If you do this, be careful that you don’t cut into the embroidered design while you’re at it.)

Next, measure and cut your chain; you will need two pieces of equal length. Drape the chain around your own neck to find the right length but remember to accommodate the width of your pendant, otherwise your necklace will end up longer!

Once your embroidered pendant is dry, pierce the bird with a thick needle in the place you want the chain to hang. (It is good to experiment with where you want the holes as this will effect the way it hangs). Next, hold a small jump ring with one set of pliers. Take the other half of the ring with the other set of pliers and twist to open the ring.  Using just one set of pliers now, ease the opened ring through the hole you just made with the needle.  Also thread one length of chain onto the ring before closing it using both pairs of piers and the same method as before.

Using the same method with your pliers, fix a lobster clasp to the other end of the chain using a small jump ring to attach it.

Now repeat this process for the other side but add a large jump ring the end of the other piece of chain instead of a clasp – this is what your clasp will latch on to.

Then, enjoy your lovely new necklace!

 


Lola loves… A quick embroidered cardigan

Is there nothing craft can’t fix? Exhibit ‘A’ is this dull grey cardy with not much going for it. Mix a bit of craft magic and you’ve got a one off piece that’s suddenly got some balls.

This is another example of the Sublime Stitching patterns (which I reviewed here) put to good use. A great bonus is that it can be done in just one evening.

I gave the stretchy fabric extra strength by ironing Wonderweb onto the back of the area I wanted to stitch, this made sewing neat stitches much easier.

Once you’re done sewing you can also iron another layer over the first patch to seal any loose ends (Just make sure the patch of wonder web is larger than the first so that your iron doesn’t melt the glue as this can leave sticky, dirty marks on both the iron and the fabric.)

I think this looks great with colour-pop accessories that pick out the colours of the embroidery. My favourite way to wear it is with a yellow belt, yellow heels, a red ring, navy pencil skirt and a stripy top.


Lola loves… Sublime Stitching

Sublime Stitching: Cover

Sublime Stitching: Cover

Sublime Stitching:
Hundreds of Hip Embroideries and How-to
By jenny Hart (Chronicle Books)

Seeing as I heart Sublime Stitching so much and embroider quite a lot of their patterns, I thought it was about time I reviewed one of their books.

If you’re not familiar with Sublime Stitching, get Googling quick! The head honcho, Jenny Hart is an inspirational crafter and luckily for fans she produces a large range of iron-on embroidery designs so everyone can have a go.

When I  embroidering as a kid I was disappointed by the choice available. It was all fruit bowls and stuffy still lifes of flowers. Bore. Jenny’s motto is; ‘this ain’t your grandma’s embroidery’ and the phrase pretty much nails it. Jenny is one of the people who has modernised craft – embroidery in particular – and made it fun, accessible and meaningful to a new generation. (If that isn’t worth a Google search, what is?)

The Book:
Each sheet in this book has a number of designs (often larger or smaller versions of the same image so you can choose your size). Each sheet of images is protected by another page so the designs don’t transfer onto each other.

You simply cut out the image and iron on — but don’t take my word for it, the book has full instructions including lessons on a range of stitches such as feather, chain and satin. For the beginner, these instructions are great — they’re clear but not patronising and Jenny’s style of writing is always fun and welcoming.

The spiral binding makes it easy to use and there are useful pockets at the front and back to store the designs once you’ve cut them out  to use them. (The only annoyance is there are so many they won’t all fit).

Reading other reviews, some people were disappointed by what they thought was a lack of new designs. It’s true that Jenny has produced many similar books and if you already have one or two you’re likely to see familiar images, but in my view there is enough to keep me busy and happy for a long time.

If you do want something a bit different, try the individual kits sold on the Sublime Stitching webiste. I bought the wedding kit to embroider this ‘love blanket’ and they also do great designs by Ryan Berkley, The Black Apple and artist and skater, Michael Sieben. You can also chose from tattoo designs, robots, 50’s pin-up sirens, zombies or sugar skulls. (Argh, craft project overload!)

The designs in the book are varied but many fit into a theme: animals; flowers; children and babies; food; tea parties. My favourites however, are the tattoo style birds (which you will see a lot of on my blog) and the cocktails (how couldn’t they be!)

Here’s an example of the bird and a rose, which I sewed onto a babygrow. I’ve also sewn Jenny’s cat designs on other babygrows; the bird onto a fabric envelope and lots more designs onto an embroidered patchwork baby blanket, which I will post on soon!


Lola loves… the Love Blanket

I was a bit sad to hand over the love blanket (yes, I named it. Yes, we bonded) but I hope that’s the sign of it being a good present.

I gave this to some lovely friends of mine on their wedding day, they had asked for a donation to their honeymoon fund (Thailand. Three weeks. Lucky buggers), which I happily obliged with but wanted to do something extra that was heartfelt but not budget-busting.

I bought two fleece blankets, a white one  that I embroidered, and a red one that I sewed to the back of the white one to hide the reverse side (which to be honest was a bit messy!)

All of the embroidery designs were from an iron-on kit by Sublime Stitching, which costs $5  and has full instructions.

I also bought some felt for the appliqué heart and used embroidery threads that I already had, so in total it was a pretty inexpensive gift.

They seemed to like it and have decided to hang it on their wall. I was thinking it would only be used on the occasional winter night or for movie watching so I’m happy, though I did have a romantic notion of their not-yet-conceived kids snuggling underneath it, so I hope it makes it down eventually. I have a crochet blanket made by my great-grandmother, which I snuggled under for comfort when I was ill – it is called the sick blanket (don’t worry, it was never covered in sick). It was, and still is, a very special blanket and I had that in mind when I made this.

I chose an appliqué heart and ribbon and embroidered swallows to ‘hold’ them, partly because I’m  into tattoo designs and because they’re a young and trendy couple, so I thought they’d enjoy it.

I machine-sewed the heart and ribbon with a secure zig-zag stitch  and then trimmed any edges.

It took a fair while to embroider this but it was a lovely project to work on. I even took it in the bus to sew on the way to work (I live in London so it’s always a long and public commute). As it was winter it kept me nice and snug as I sewed!

Here’s the couple on their beautiful day – they make quite a dapper pair, don’t they? You’ll see that the wedding dress is different to what I embroidered as, quite rightly, that was all kept secret until the day, but I was lucky enough to catch a look at the groom’s outfit before as he needed me to take up the trouser hem.

The heart matched the homemade fascinator  I wore on the day too!

It was an incredibly beautiful day and I’m really pleased to have made a special keepsake for them.


Lola loves… A cameo brooch (and my cat)

It may seem a little strange to make a cameo of a cat but it’s in honour of my real-life cat, Dee (named after Dee Dee Ramone), who I miss  a lot when I’m away. Now I’ve made my cat cameo though, I’ve already started a few others as you’ll see later.

Here’s a picture of my cute kit and another of the brooch. I haven’t quite captured him (he’s far pouffier with all his long fluff) but it’s enough to serve as a reminder.


What you will need:
A brooch back with front plate (see picture below)
An image you want to sew
Embroidery thread
Needle
Fabric
Embroidery hoop
Scissors
Fine pencil

I printed a basic cat image from the Internet making sure it was small enough for the brooch. I then cut round it and used it as a template to mark my fabric. I used a retractable pencil with a fine point to mark the fabric as the detail was too intricate to use chalk.

I then placed the fabric in the embroidery hoop, sewed round the pencil markings with a simple back stitch and secured the ends.

I cut the fabric, wrapped it round the front plate of the brooch fitting and sewed it in place with a few stitches at the back making sure there were no folds at the corners. You can pick brooch settings like this up easily on the Internet, I got five for about £3 from eBay.

I then popped the front plate in place over the back setting and pushed down the teeth using closed scissors. Easy peasy.

I’ve already sewn a traditional cameo lady and a few other ideas in case I fancy doing more. I think it would be a nice thing to pop in homemade crackers at Christmas time or in with a letter to a friend – it’s always a treat to get snail mail that isn’t a bill nowadays!


Lola loves… Embroidered baby grows

There are so many cute presents you can buy for a baby or expectant parent, but they will never mean as much as something handmade and personal.

As you’ll see from my other posts, making baby items is so rewarding it becomes a little addictive; not only does it give you pleasure producing and giving something so cute, but it’s great to know they will be used and appreciated.

Embroidering is a cheap and relatively quick way to personalise anything from a towel to a jumper, or a bag to brooch. Here I have used Sublime Stitching’s embroidery patterns, which made the process even easier. I will talk more about Sublime Stitching in other posts as it’s a company I thoroughly recommend. The founder, Jenny Hart, creates extremely cute, modern designs that you iron on to fabric and embroider over. Great for those who are creative but a bit artistically challenged.

The kit you buy from Sublime Stitching will give you full instructions but it’s like any other iron on — simply prep your fabric by ironing it (the heat makes the ink take better). Then pop on your design face down and press the hot iron over making sure your design doesn’t slip.

Because the fabric of the baby grow is stretchy I first ironed some Wonderweb onto the back of the fabric to give it some support. I used a 6 inch diameter embroidery hoop and the usual embroidery threads in a range of colours and stitches.

Once I was done, I ironed on another layer of Wonderweb over the old patch. This secured all the threads and gave a neat, professional finish and meant baba’s tiny fingers would not get caught up in any loose threads.

  • A warning here! When ironing the second piece of Wonderweb make sure it is bigger and completely covers the first patch or the iron will melt the webbing that’s already there making dirty marks on your fabric and your iron.

The designs I’ve here are re-useable. I used them on a patchwork baby blanket and a blanket I embroidered as a wedding gift, so you will see them pop up a lot on this blog!

Freebie alert! You can get a free download of Sublime Stitching’s totes amaze retro tattoo patterns here from Mollie Makes craft magazine. Enjoy!


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