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How to Make a Simple Scandi Table Runner

How to Make a Simple Scandi Table Runner

Looking to dress up your table for Christmas? Our theme of #12WeeksofStitchmas this week is table decor, so we've put together this sweet little scandi project just for you - don't you love it when we make it easy! 

How to Make a Simple Scandi Table Runner 

Finished size approx. 1.22m x 40cm

You Will Need

How to Make

  1. Start by cutting your fabrics. For all your patterned fabric except for the trees and scandi hearts, you will need to cut two strips measuring 14cm x 32cm including a 1cm seam allowances  - these will create the strips in the middle of the table runner.
  2. For the scandi hearts fabric, cut to size of 42cm x 32cm including seam allowances of 1cm. This will form the centre of the table runner.
  3. Next you will need to cut your trees fabric to create the border. Cut two pieces measuring 40cm x 7cm including 1cm seam allowances, and four pieces measuring 58cm x 7cm including 1cm seam allowances. Make sure the trees sit straight along the long edge on all pieces. 
  4. Start by making the middle of the table runner first. Take your scandi hearts piece and pin a strip of scandi reindeer to both of the short sides, right sides together. Stitch together with the 1cm seam allowance you allocated when cutting.
  5. Next, pin the red deer scatter strips onto the ends of the scandi reindeer pieces and stitch together as before.
  6. Continue steps 4 and 5 to attach the checked heart fabric on the ends.
  7. Now you need to create the border. Start by stitching two of your 58cm x 7cm tree print pieces together, short sides next to each other, to create one long piece 116cm x 6cm. Don't forget about your seam allowance! Repeat for the other two pieces this size.
  8. Pin these long tree print pieces to either long edge of your table runner middle section, making sure the trees face outwards on each side. Sew with your seam allowance.
  9. Do the same for the short edges on either end with the remaining pieces of tree fabric, and sew with your seam allowance. You now have the front of your table runner!
  10. Time to sandwich! Lay your backing fabric out on a flat surface, and use sellotape to stick down the edges, and make the fabric as taut and flat as possible. 
  11. Next, lay your wadding out on top of the backing fabric. Then lay the top section of your table runner on top of the wadding. If your wadding is too big to see the backing fabric, trim it to the same size as your backing fabric. 
  12. Making sure the edges of the runner top are within the space of the backing fabric and wadding, use quilting pins to sandwich and secure all three layers together. Try to place your pins in the main sections of the fabric instead of the joins! 
  13. Remove the sellotape from the backing fabric, and take your sandwich to your machine. Quilt down the long edges of the middle sections and all the way around the inside edge of the border - or add your own quilted design if you prefer.
  14. Now trim your backing fabric and wadding layers down to size. You want them to be just a couple of millimetres bigger than the size of your quilt top, so they fill the binding. 
  15. Use your red bias binding to edge the table runner. Start on the long side, pinning and attaching your bias binding on the top first. Then tuck under to the back, pin in place and sew in place, but sew on the top so that it catches the binding on the back - this will give you a neater look on the front. 
  16. Bind the remaining edges of your table runner, making sure you neaten the corners, and you are done!

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PS. If you need extra guidance, I found these videos from Expert Village on key quilting techniques really useful!

 

 

October 16, 2017 by Amy Gilbert

How to Insert Zips

If you've never tried using zips in your sewing projects, don't be scared to give them a go - practice makes perfect in this case, and once you've got the knack of the zipper foot, you'll find you breeze through it in no time! Everyone has a different way of showing you how to do it, so here's our top tutorials from across the web on how to insert different types of zips in different ways.

How to Insert Zips

This comprehensive guide from Make It Love It shows you how to insert both regular and concealed zips - and uses tape to help hold everything in place with concealed zips!

 

We also love these tutorials from popular pattern designer, Sew Over It - the afficionado's at dressmaking! Lisa shows you how to insert zips on actual garments and offers loads of top tips along the way.

 

 

 

For those who want to try more advanced zip techniques, we also like this lapped zip tutorial from Coats:

 

 

Shop All Zips from £1 >>

How to Make a Nautical Lampshade

Think it's too complicated to make your own lampshade? Think again! Use this easy video and written instructions to be on your way to a beautifully handmade lampshade in merely a few hours. 

How to Make a Nautical Lampshade

 

 

For a 20cm lampshade, you will need:

  • 20cm lampshade kit
  • 0.25m Ahoy Yachts Sky fabric
  • Scissors or rotary cutter
  • Metal rule (optional)
  • Weights (optional)
  • Lampshade base

How to make:

  1. Lay your fabric out flat, right side down. 
  2. Lay the backing paper from your kit onto the fabric and cut around the fabric if necessary to remove excess.
  3. Next you need to stick the backing paper to the back of your fabric. The easiest way to do this is to weight your fabric down at the far end, and peel away the backing of the paper gradually, using a metal rule to help stick down and remove any air bubbles as you go.
  4. Trim the fabric to the size of your backing paper.
  5. Bend along the perforations at the top and bottom of the backing, then tear off these strips.
  6. Using the double sided tape in the box, cut a strip long enough for one short edge. Stick down onto the edge which you would like to be on top on the finished lampshade.
  7. Next, use the double sided tape to cover the round edge of the lampshade drum top and bottom. Ensure that they are well covered.
  8. Peel off the tape covering and align your wire top and bottom at the opposite end to your double sided tape strip, remembering to ensure the bottom one is facing the right way.
  9. Gently and evenly, roll the wire circles down the length of your fabric, keeping the edges aligned right up against the edges of the paper backing.
  10. When you get to the other short edge, remove the tape covering on the double sided strip and stick down firmly. 
  11. Cut notches in the top and bottom areas of fabric where the cross wires are. This will help create a professional finish.
  12. Using your hands, roll the fabric in and over the wire circles, trying to stick down firmly and tuck the ends underneath as much as possible.
  13. Using the tool provided in the box, tuck under the remaining ends of the fabric to keep firmly in place.
  14. Trim any frays away, screw onto your lampshade base and voila - one lampshade!

How to Make Nautical Bunting

It's spring again, which means although there's a few blustery showers about, sunshine is on its way! And when I think sunshine, I think seaside... so I'm super excited to share this lovely nautical project with you! It's so easy to make, which is great for beginners, or those more experienced who just want a quick project to complete!

How to Make Nautical Bunting

 

You will need:

How to make:

  1. Begin by cutting out all the flags from your bunting panel.
  2. Now lay out your flags onto your backing fabric, and cut out enough to back each flag, using the pre-printed flags as a size guide. 
  3. Pin your flags right sides together, and sew along the seam allowance guides on the two long sides(the white bits down the side of each printed flag).
  4. Trim the point carefully using embroidery scissors, being careful not to cut too near your stitching.
  5. Turn the right way out and use a pencil or point turner to create a sharp point at the bottom of the flag. Press flat. Repeat steps 3-5 until you have completed all your flags.
  6. Now lay out your flags in your preferred order, making sure to leave an equal amount of space between each flag. Pin your bias binding to the top, ensuring that it folds down in the middle over each side of the open end of your flags. Don't forget to leave a bit of bias binding on each end for putting up your bunting!
  7. Carefully sew along the bias binding to attach the flags, remembering to start at the very ends of the bias binding to create some ends to pin or tie it up easily.

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Video Tutorial: How to Make a Lampshade Using a Kit

Say hello to our first ever Youtube video! We know that crafting is a lot easier when you can see what you should be doing rather than just reading the words, so we decided it was time to start making some tutorials... And what better project to start on than a lovely lampshade!

How to Make a Lampshade Using a Lampshade Kit

 

You will need:

  • 20cm Lampshade Kit
  • 0.25m of your fabric - we used Ahoy Yachts Sky
  • Scissors or a craft knife
  • Tape measure
  • Two weights/ heavy objects (optional)
  • A metal rule (optional)
  • A lamp base 
June 16, 2015 by Amy Gilbert

Best Videos for Crochet Beginners

So you've seen all the new cute crochet yarns and patterns on our website right? And you've looked at them wistfully, wishing you could create something as lovely as that... well guess what, you can! Although it can seem daunting, crochet is a great needlework to have a go at, and in some ways much simpler than things like knitting - so why not have a go? 

It's always hard to learn from written instructions, so we're here to show you the top youtube videos we've found for beginners crochet, to teach you all the tricks and techniques you need to know!

And once you feel like you can give it a go, take advantage of our fab offer - grab yourself a FREE pattern of your choice when you spend £15 on crochet yarn!

Top Videos for Crochet Beginners

How to Crochet a Granny Square for Beginners

First up, here's a great little video that clearly explains how to get you going on a few basic crochet techniques. It's quite a long video (about 25 minutes), but well worth the time as it takes you through step-by-step to create a sweet little granny square. Granny squares are one of the most popular projects for crochet beginners as they are fairly easy to complete and come together reasonably quickly.

 Learn to Crochet - Chain Stitch and Single Crochet Stitch

If you've got a little less time on your hands and just want to try out some basic techniques without a specific project in mind, this little 5 minute tutorial on chain stitch and single crochet stitch is great. It's supposed to end up being a crochet dishcloth project but you don't necessarily have to continue all the way to the end. It's handy for showing you how to crochet lines of stitches across and back, and for practising these two stitches. 

How to Crochet in a Round - Magic Ring and Chain Stitch

If you're looking to have a go at crocheting things like hats and mittens later down the line, one of the best methods to learn is how to crochet in a round - and this video is great for teaching you two techniques to do so. Once again, it's really only a technique tutorial so you won't get a project out of it but it's great for practising before you start on something new.

 How to Crochet a Rose for Beginners

 

One of the most popular crochet projects out there is how to make a crochet flower, and this tutorial is a fab walk through how to do a pretty little rose. You'll need a standard needle to sew it up a little at the end, but this is a great little crochet project for beginners to get started!

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National Quilting Day: Makower Coastal Quilt Pattern

Today is not only St Patrick's day, but also National Quilting Day! And to celebrate, we've nabbed a fantastic pattern by Hilary Gooding for Makower to make up into a coastal themed quilt. Our nautical range of fabrics is our most popular range this month, so what better theme could we pick? Find free instructions below to make your wonderful seaside quilt, and feel free to swap in your favourite nautical themed fabrics for the beach huts.

How to make a Makower Nautical Quilt

Quilt Size 40" x 60" (100 x 150cm)

You will need:

Fabric

Quantity

First Cut

SecondCut

Position

Cream Dimples 1867/L2

2 metres

Cut 5 strips WOF each 21⁄4" wide

Binding

Cut a strip WOF 101⁄2" wide

Trim to 401⁄2" long

Top Border

Cut a strip WOF 121⁄2" wide

Trim to 401⁄2" long

Bottom Border

Cut 2 strips parallel to the selvage each 12" wide

Trim to 381⁄2" long

Side Borders

Cut 2 strips parallel to the selvage each 3" wide

Trim to 381⁄2" long

Vertical Sashings

From remaining fabric:

Cut nine 41⁄2" x 21⁄2" rectangles

Horizontal Sashings

Cut twenty four 21⁄2" squares

Beach Hut Roofs

Red Coastal Village 1160/R

Fat 8th
27 x 50cm

Cut two 81⁄2" x 41⁄2" rectangles

Beach Huts

Grey Coastal Village 1160/S

Fat 8th
27 x 50cm

Cut one 81⁄2" x 41⁄2" rectangle

Beach Huts

Red Seagulls 1162/R

Fat 8th
27 x 50cm

Cut two 81⁄2" x 41⁄2" rectangles

Beach Huts

Blue Seagulls 1162/B

Fat 8th
27 x 50cm

Cut two 81⁄2" x 41⁄2" rectangles

Beach Huts

Turquoise Seagulls 1162/T

Fat 8th
27 x 50cm

Cut one 81⁄2" x 41⁄2" rectangle

Beach Hut

Grey Coatsal Icons 1163/S

Fat 8th
27 x 50cm

Cut two 81⁄2" x 41⁄2" rectangles

Beach Hut

Turquoise Coastal Icons 1163/T

Fat 8th
27 x 50cm

Cut one 81⁄2" x 41⁄2" rectangle

Beach Hut

Red Stripe 745/R7

Fat 8th
27 x 50cm

Cut one 81⁄2" x 41⁄2" rectangle

Beach Hut

Blue Coastal Village 1160/B

1.70 m

Backing

WOF = width of fabric (ie from selvedge to selvedge)

How to make your nautical quilt:

All seams are 1⁄4" unless otherwise stated.

Beach Huts

  1. Draw a thin pencil line diagonally across the wrong side of all the cream 21⁄2" squares.
  2. Place a cream 21⁄2" square right sides together in the top left hand corner of one of the 81⁄2" x 41⁄2" beach hut rectangles. Line up the top and left sides. The pencil line should run from the bottom left corner to the top right corner of the square.
  3. Sew along the pencil line. Trim to a seam allowance of 1⁄4". Press seam allowance under beach hut.
  4. Take a second 21⁄2" square and place it right sides together in the top right hand corner of the beach hut rectangle. The pencil line should run from top left corner to bottom right corner of the square. Line up the top and side edges.
  5. Sew along the pencil line. Trim back to a 1⁄4" seam. Press the seam allowance under the beach hut.
  6. Prepare all the beach huts the same way.

Assembly

  1. Lay out all your beach huts in three columns and four rows in an arrangement of the colours that is balanced.

  2. First sew the columns together by sewing a cream 4 1⁄2" x 2 1⁄2" rectangle between the beach huts in each column. Press all the seams.

  3. Now sew the columns together with the two 3" x 38 1⁄2" vertical sashing strips between the columns. Press.

  4. Sew the two 12" x 38 1 ⁄2" side borders to the left and right of the centre panel. Press seams.

  5. Now sew the 10 1⁄2" x 40 1⁄2" top border to the top of the quilt top

  6. Sew the 12 1⁄2" x 40 1⁄2" bottom border to the bottom of the quilt. Press seams.

Quilting

  1. Lay the backing out on a smooth, flat surface with the wrong side facing up.
  2. Spread the batting over the backing smoothing out any wrinkles and bumps.
  3. Lay the quilt top over the batting.
  4. Baste the layers together using your favourite method - safety pins, hand tacking, spray basting or micro-tacking
  5. Quilt as you like by hand or machine.
  6. Trim back the excess backing fabric and batting to the edge of the quilt top. Square up the quilt if necessary.

Binding

  1. Sew all the binding strips together using mitred seams into one long strip. Fold the strip in half along the length with wrong sides together. Press.

  2. Sew the binding onto the quilt front. Turn to the back and hand stitch in place.

 

Don’t forget to label your quilt with your name and the date. Add any other details you might want to remember.

Want to download a PDF of the instructions? Download the free pattern here.

How to Make Valentine's Embroidery Hoop Art

Want to make something pretty to hang up and share the love on Valentine's day? Try out our embroidery hoop art project - it's a great one for beginners, using simple sewing and shapes to good effect! And once the big day is over, you could hang it up in a child's bedroom or leave it up as a reminder of the love shared in your house.

How to Make Valentine's Embroidery Hoop Art

You will need:

  • Embroidery hoop of your chosen size
  • Fat quarter of your chosen fabric - we've used Spot on Raspberry
  • White felt
  • A strip of white cotton
  • Contrasting embroidery thread
  • Stamps or fabric pen
  • Scissors
  • Pen & paper
  • Needle

How to make your Valentine's heart embroidery art:

  1. Unscrew your embroidery hoop and place your fabric over the inner ring. Push the outer ring over the top and screw the top to hold in place, making sure the fabric is taught.
  2. Using a pen and paper, draw a template for your felt heart. Cut out and pin to your felt, then cut around the template on the felt to create your heart.
  3. Thread up your needle with the embroidery thread and using a reasonably long running stitch, stitch the heart to your fabric in the centre of the hoop.
  4. Decide what you want to write in the middle of your heart and stamp or write your message onto the strip of cotton fabric, then cut to size. Make sure to leave a cm or two at either side to sew it on. 
  5. Using the thread, sew one long stitch at either end of the cotton strip to attach. 
  6. To hang - attach some ribbon or string to the top of the hoop and hang from a picture hook, or if your picture hook is small enough, hang the hoop straight on the hook using the gap under the screw.

Feel free to comment below with any questions or feedback, and share your pictures of your completed hoop arts!

January 28, 2015 by Amy Gilbert

How to Sew a Simple Cushion Cover

This envelope cushion cover is a really easy project, no putting in zips and if you don’t feel confident in sewing buttonholes, you don’t have to as the back can be left as it is. A great project for beginners to get used to their sewing machines!

How to Sew a Simple Cushion Cover

 

You Will Need

How to Sew

1. Cut a square 40cm x 40cm for the front

2. Cut 2 oblongs 40cm x 28cm.

 

3. On the inside, fold over edges for the back and sew a  1cm hem. Fold over another 3cm and hem. Finish by topstitching along the outside edge.

4. Pin right sides of front piece to right sides of back piece, overlapping the two back pieces and sew all round with 1cm seam.

5. Cut corners on all 4 sides  and press seams, then turn right side out and press before putting in cushion insert.

 

And here it is in our fantastic Makower Nautical Fish fabric, made by a fab friend who wanted to have a go!

January 23, 2015 by Amy Gilbert

Sewing Tips and Tricks: How to Sew Tricky Fabrics

Even the best of us can feel beaten when it comes to attempting to sew certain fabrics - chiffons, silks, satins and suiting can all be tricky fabrics to work with, to name but a few. If you're struggling, don't give up - have a quick read below and get back on track!

Sewing Tips and Tricks: How to Sew Tricky Fabrics

How to sew slippery fabrics - fine chiffon, charmeuse, satins etc

These can be a total nightmare to sew straight lines in, as the fabric is usually so light and/or silky that it moves with hardly any encouragement. To help eliminate movement you can try a number of different techniques.

The easiest (or rather, most convenient) method is to do a hell of a lot of pinning. If you pin every couple of centimetres, it ensures minimum slippage, although it feels like a total pain to sew. Remember, it's not as bad as attempting to sew the same hem three times and unpicking all the stitching!

Another technique is to use basting stitches to hold it in place. Whilst this can be a good way of keeping it together, I would highlight that this is not great for all fabrics - some fabrics show marks where the basting stitches were, so check on a bit of scrap before you start basting and sewing, then realise you've ruined the fabric. 

Some people also find using tissue paper or the actual pattern paper is helpful. You can sew over it, eliminating some of the slippage, and then simply tear off the paper afterwards. Don't forget, however, that this means you may not be able to use the pattern afterwards if it tears apart too much! 

If you're willing to invest some money and a bit of risk, there are also temporary adhesive sprays now available which create a slightly tacky surface on the fabric and help keep everything in place. Some people swear by these as miracle products, but be warned that you will need to patch test them as they cannot guarantee it won't mark your fabric either.

Finally - make a cuppa, take a deep breath and gather your focus! Half the battle is having the patience and mental energy to concentrate hard and take it one step at a time without getting flustered and letting it affect your sewing. Using a new, sharp needle can be helpful too!

How to sew stretch fabrics - knits like jersey, lycra etc

Stretch fabrics have to be treated with extra care when you're sewing them as they're easily prone to being warped and stretched as you sew - one key rule to remember is not to over-encourage the fabric under the machine. Let the feeder move it naturally.

Make sure you are using the right stitch for the fabric. I wouldn't recommend using straight stitch on stretch fabrics as it has a tendency to overstretch and warp the fabric as you sew, as well as risking ripping when wearing the garment. Select a zigzag stitch on your machine, and choose a width and length setting that you think is firm enough and pretty enough - practice on some folded scrap pieces before you begin to get it right. Zigzag stitch allows for more movement when wearing the garment as well as being more accommodating under the needle.

Another top tip - make sure you're using the correct needle! If your fabric has quite a bit of stretch, then I'd suggest using a stretch needle as these are specifically designed for handling your fabric. You can, of course, use a stretch needle on all types and weights of stretch fabric. A ballpoint needle is okay for lighter stretch fabrics, as its slightly curved/rounded which means it can loop in-between the knots of the knit, rather than catching on them. 

One more thing you can get to help with sewing stretchy fabric is a different presser foot - a walking foot is particularly helpful. It allows the fabric to be fed under the needle with more grip, stopping the two layers from stretching against each other. Some machines come with a walking foot, others may have a dual feed foot - you can use either, but check your manual for what is best.

How to sew bulky fabrics - suiting, coat fabric, wools and tweeds

 Sewing bulky fabric like denim or coat fabrics can get pretty tricky, usually just due to the sheer amount of layers of thick fabric you're trying to get under the presser foot. Simple tricks include pressing seams open and trimming seam allowances to help reduce bulk and create a flatter surface, but sometimes it requires a bit more help than that!

One of the best solutions to this problem could be to invest in a walking foot, which like for stretch fabrics, keeps the layers feeding through evenly without one getting stuck. 

Make sure you're using an appropriate needle too - a denim needle is ideal, and prepared for use with tougher fabric, whereas standard machine needles might break under the pressure. You might find that increasing the stitch length also helps.

If you're still having trouble getting the fabric to feed under the presser foot effectively, using the wedge method is another good solution. Often, and especially when starting to stitch your layers of fabric, the presser foot is lifted up at an angle at the front. This prevents the fabric from moving through easily as the back sort of jars the feed. In order to put pressure onto the front of the presser foot and make it lay flatter, fold a bit of fabric to a similar thickness and use this as a "wedge" at the back of the footer. This should even out the pressure and get your fabric under the presser foot fully, to continue stitching.

How to sew plush fabric

So I think you're probably starting to see a theme here... 

Plush fabric is often hailed as one of the hardest fabrics to sew with, often putting beginners off from using it. But fear not - the difficulties are easy to resolve with a bit of extra TLC to the process!

Firstly, make sure you don't overstretch the fabric when cutting. A good idea is to pin the edges together to keep everything equal and in place. If you've cut it wonky to begin with, you're already fighting a harder battle than you need to be!

Next, pin like your life depends on it! Like stretch and slippery fabrics, plush fabric is prone to being stretched out of shape easily, so the closer you pin it the less likely this is to happen - I recommend every 2cm or so. It seems excessive, but gaps that are too bag allow the fabric to slip still, and although its a pain to keep stopping to take pins out, it means you'll only have to stitch it once!

As with the other fabrics, a walking foot is a good solution to problematic stitching here. As with the other fabrics, it helps feed both layers in at the same rate, limiting the amount of warping or overstretching. 

Another great tip for sewing with plush fabric is to ensure you're stitching with the nap of the fabric, rather than against it. This doesn't affect the straightness of your stitching, but sewing with the nap rather than against it ensures that it lays flatter, giving a neater and more professional finish. 

Any other helpful tips or advice to add? Comment below and let others learn from your sewing wisdom!