Tag Archives: sewing

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!

 

 

 

 


Lola loves… Fabric bird decorations

This is just a quick post to show you a couple of decorations I made a while back. I originally made these as Christmas decorations (I went for a country cottage look which to be honest, was a bit weird in my London flat). Anyway,  I loved these little birdies so much that I couldn’t bare to pack them away.

They’ve now moved to the kitchen and go much better with the décor. I have a thing for birds and love a lot of the bird decorations I see in shops but these sweet things are so much cheaper.

I found a simple bird shape from the Internet and used it as a template. I marked up two pieces of scrap fabric, laid them with the faces together and machine-sewed the edges leaving a small hole for the filling.

I then turned it the right-side out (if you’re going to try this, make sure the shape of the template is simple and the tail and beak aren’t too small or you’ll have trouble turning it right-side out), filled it with stuffing and hand-sewed the hole adding a loop of ribbon or garden sting to hang it with.


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… Cross stitch cards

Hello peeps, I’m ba-ack! Well, what a break it’s been – I’ve felt pretty bad not being able to keep up with the crafty blog but I’ve still kept busy. During my writing lull I’ve turned 30; been spoilt rotten with spa treats, cakey eats and posh champagne; had a holiday and been to a festival in Barcelona; FINALLY resolved my lifetime ambition to see Gaudi’s La Sagrada Familia; found new band crushes, made new friends and still managed to fit in a few craft projects.

So now I’m slowly resurfacing from all that hedonism, it’s about time I got back to posting on my makes.

Today I’d like to tell you about the father’s day card I’ve made my dear old Pops. It’s my first try at cross-stitch since my early teens. While it’s far from impressive it has rekindled my fondness for the little x’s and I’ve piled up a ton of cross stitch projects to work on in the future. I’m loving Wee Little Stitches, which is where I got the pattern for this make, and I’ve also bought their cross stitch pattern for Star Wars characters (both on Etsy). If you haven’t seen them, check them out – they do the greatest patterns!

This one was stitched on 16 count aida (as I bought the wrong kind) and it’s ended up pretty massive. Next up, I’ll try stitching a wedding card on 14 count.

After stitching, I fixed the aida to piece of card folded in half. I stuck it on using spray-on glue, folding and gluing the edges on the reverse side. As this was inside the card, I then neatened it up by cutting a piece of matching wrapping paper of the same size and stuck it over to cover it.

My dad’s a huge Bob Dylan fan and collector, which is why I went for this. Though it is slightly strange for a Father’s day card, hopefully he’ll still appreciate the effort.

Just to share, here’s a few pics from my time off. The street art was down an alley in Barcelona and the yummy cakes by Fiendish & Goode were a birthday gift from a friend (okay, one is missing but you can see why I couldn’t wait!)


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… 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!


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