My Sewing Blog
Special Offers on Sewing Supplies Across the Site....
January is always a hard-up month, especially when it gets to the week before payday. We just wanted to remind you that we've got you covered with our January sale - so you can still bag a bargain and keep sewing this month!
From Makower fabrics to DMC crochet yarn, and all the habby delights in between, don't miss out on these short term offers!
We spent last week having a ball at the New Forest Show - thanks to everyone who came down to say hello and got their hands on some lovely sewing goodies! It was lovely to see so many familiar faces and meet some new ones too!
Here's a little pic of our home for the week, our carefully designed stall featuring some wonky-at-first-attempt shelves!!
Luckily a handy screwdriver helped us out with that problem and we were soon straightened out and ready to go on Tuesday!
We took down an array of our goodies and used some of our fabulous fabrics to make up into projects to really show them off - my favourites were by far the nautical lampshade and princess castle cushion.
The show saw the first outing of our complete range of DMC natura crochet yarn, which proved a big hit - we were selling it by the bag full at times! The gorgeous colours and fantastic soft feel of the yarn really won everyone over, as well as some of the cute patterns - the funky farmyard animals was a firm favourite for the week!
Now don't groan, but our other most popular product during the show was our... Christmas advent panels! Yes, Christmas starts in July in the crafting world, because life happens and it ends up taking months to actually get round to making even the simplest of christmas projects. The stocking advent panels were definitely a winner for their novelty appeal, but the new advent calendar panels were also a big hit, especially for those looking to make up items for Christmas craft fairs. We made up the Angel Advent Panel and fell in love with its gorgeous metallic touches and sweet smile!
A big thank you to everyone who came to say hello and has been in contact since - it was lovely to meet you and we hope to see you again soon! Don't forget that we're currently at the Christchurch market in Saxon Square on Mondays, weather permitting.
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:
- Lay your fabric out flat, right side down.
- Lay the backing paper from your kit onto the fabric and cut around the fabric if necessary to remove excess.
- 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.
- Trim the fabric to the size of your backing paper.
- Bend along the perforations at the top and bottom of the backing, then tear off these strips.
- 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.
- Next, use the double sided tape to cover the round edge of the lampshade drum top and bottom. Ensure that they are well covered.
- 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.
- 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.
- When you get to the other short edge, remove the tape covering on the double sided strip and stick down firmly.
- Cut notches in the top and bottom areas of fabric where the cross wires are. This will help create a professional finish.
- 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.
- Using the tool provided in the box, tuck under the remaining ends of the fabric to keep firmly in place.
- Trim any frays away, screw onto your lampshade base and voila - one lampshade!
A quick update on what's been changing on our website, to help improve your customer experience! We've been making changes to how you can order samples of our fabrics, and updated pricing changes.
Ordering Fabric Samples & New Lower Fabric Prices
New Sample Ordering System
We're happy to announce that we've made it easier than ever to order your samples from us! Previously, we required you to email us your details and a list of samples you wanted which was very long-winded. We've improved this to make it much easier, by allowing you to add samples straight to your basket. Simply select the 'FREE sample' option in the drop down box of any fabric product page, and add to cart.
This means you can easily order samples alongside other products in one order, and we'll receive your delivery details right away. Don't forget, if you decide to make an account with us, you can store your details for when you come back next time!
New lower prices
We're always looking at ways to offer the best value for our customers, and having reviewed some of our products and prices lately, we decided it was time to give you even better value! As our Makower fabrics are so popular, we have reduced the price of them to £11 per metre so that you can order more for your money and make every project special but affordable.
If you haven't noticed already, we've also recently got a new range of crochet supplies including crochet wool. We think that the DMC Natura Yarn is just so gorgeous that we want you all to be able to afford to use it, so we've reduced the price from the RRP of £3.50 a ball to £2.99 per ball, which is especially good value if you're working on a larger crochet project. Our Natura XL yarn is also now permanently reduced to £4.49.
And lastly... don't forget that all our regular cross stitch kits, including DMC cross stitch kits and the stitching shed kits, are 20% off this week!
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:
- Makower Ahoy bunting panel
- Backing fabric in your choice of colour - we used Linen Texture Cream
- Sewing machine
- White or cream thread
- 1.5m bias binding
- Point turner (optional)
How to make:
- Begin by cutting out all the flags from your bunting panel.
- 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.
- 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).
- Trim the point carefully using embroidery scissors, being careful not to cut too near your stitching.
- 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.
- 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!
- 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.
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:
A quick announcement for all our lovely customers who love to broaden their needlework skills into more than one area... we are not stocking some fabulous DMC crochet yarns!
Whether it's modern matte Natura yarn or a classic crochet look from Petra yarn that you require, there's a yarn for every project. And if you're looking for a project to get started on, we've also got some of their fantastic patterns available with matching yarns!
Keep an eye out as more products will be added to the new Crochet section of the website daily....
Mother's Day is coming up, and I've been stuck for gift ideas for a while. A bit of research, however, has uncovered some great gifts for mums who stitch, and here's the pick of our products that we reckon mum might like if she's a bit crafty too!
Mother's Day Gifts for Mums Who Make
For a mum looking to explore different sewing techniques further, why not try out Elizabeth Bett's fantastic book, The Beginners Guide to Quilting? With tons of handy tips and tricks, as well as a comprehensive introduction to the basics of quilting, she'll help mum to build on her new skills project-by-project.
If mum wants to try something new, get her one of these fab needle felting kits! Each kit comes in a beautifully packaged box and includes everything you need to learn to felt your own creature. They're perfect for beginners, and needle felting is the latest trendy craft that everyone's keen to try.
Sewing boxes are the classic gift for any stitcher, but don't just get her a boring old plain one - pick up a beautifully designed box in a range of sizes from our range. Choose from glitter finish, embroidered, extra large, small and drawer-style boxes!
For the mum that already has a million sewing gadgets and boxes, it can be hard to find something that she won't already have. But we reckon these sewing machine bags are pretty neat, and not only look lovely, but are also great at protecting her prize possession from dust, moisture and damage!
For a mum who loves a different type of needlework, our cross stitch kits are an excellent idea! This pretty one is ideal for mum to put up in the kitchen or lounge once complete, but you'll also find a ton of other designs, including ones for kids bedrooms too.
There is no more classic gift for a sewer than an expression of their passion in any and all forms. So why not dress up their gift with some Love to Sew ribbon? Whether you get a few metres to give as a gift or tie it round the gift itself, this is one piece of haberdashery that is guaranteed to be loved and re-used!
What self-respecting sewer can resist more fabric? Whether you get a couple of metres to really indulge her fabric addiction, or a fat quarter, she'll love seeing her stash increase! Our one-off fabric boxes are a great idea, including a selection of fabrics with co-ordinating habby for a beautiful gift to wow her.
If mum has only just started sewing, or wants to tackle her first project, pick up a sewing kit for beginners that she can get stuck into right away. We have a great selection of different projects that she'll love!
And if one fabric alone isn't enough, what about a fat quarter bundle? These are especially great for quilters or those who enjoy having a variety of fabrics to hand for their next project (or to stroke while they sip their cup of tea, surrounded by 10 cats...)
Want to get your hands on the hottest thing in crafting right now? Poms are all the rage at the moment, especially with easter coming up and pretty pastels and soft textures becoming a star attraction for spring! Find out more about this fantastic product...
NEW IN: The Multipom Pompom Maker
So, what's all the hype about?
What it does
The multipom is a unique tool developed to enable you to make up to 20 pom poms in one go - impressive, right! The tool is designed so that you can use any type of yarn, of any thickness, fluffiness or colour, to make your own unique pom poms in larger batches. It's a massive time saver for projects that require a lot of poms, and even better, means that each pompom you make will be the same size and thickness.
Included in the pack is your fantastic Multipom frame, a set of easy to follow step-by-step instructions on how to use the Multipom, and also a handy help sheet for tips, tricks and ideas. The help sheet shows you how to make multicoloured poms, trim them into cool shapes, and how to make them into a cord.
What to make
The possibilities are endless when it comes to using your finished product! Multipom recommends making them up into trim to use in sewing projects, sewing them onto a cushion for a fun touch to your homewares, or making them up into pretty pieces to hang about the house. How about this fun union jack flag made out of poms?
For more project ideas, check out the Multipom blog at www.multipom.com
introductory offer - only £12 (RRP £12.99)
Sew Cute To Cuddle features an array of popular and likeable characters that any child would love to see sitting on their bed every morning. It seems there are endless characters to create in the book, which features 12 patterns for "easy soft toys and stuffed animals".
Read on for our full review of what seems to be a very popular sewing book at the moment...
From the outside, the book looks quite fun and modern, like you'd be able to find something in there that you would like to make quite easily. The bright colours and glossy finish make it seem like a great present in itself for any enthusiastic sewer!
The front cover features 3 of their designs, one of which I had a go at making up. The blurb of the book succinctly tells you everything about what's between its pages, and is actually very helpful - mentioning the easy patterns at full size for instant tracing/photocopy, clear diagrams, and unique designs.
Inside, the patterns and instructions do seem very well laid out - there is a clear photograph of each toy in its finished glory, alongside diagrams for each step of the way. There are also useful tips on some pages, where some of the techniques may be hard or confusing. Helpfully, they point you to the kind of skill level you need to complete the projects, as some are a little harder than others.
The book is relatively easy to read and understand, but as some of the designs get confusing at points (for us, when attached legs and arms inside the body of Emma, the girl doll) it definitely is useful to have their diagrams for reference! Being the ambitious sewer that I am, I quite often wanted to sew things on in a different way or sequence to which they had stated, but I stuck to the instructions and it came out okay. There were times when I get a little confused but the pictures definitely helped me through!
My biggest problem was choosing which one to make first...
I think the patterns in this book are fantastic! So original and fun, and yet they tend to work around similar groups of patterning - for example, Emma and Emilio, the boy and girl, use a very similar pattern that make it easy to complete one when you've already done the other. The only pattern I struggled with was the complication of the Dragon pattern, but they do warn you that it is for more experienced toy makers. I would say the sheer number of parts is what complicates it with that pattern, over anything else!
But all in all, I know most children would love to have any one of these designs sitting on their bed every morning, and I wouldn't ever worry that I'd picked the wrong one to make because they are all so great!
Making up depends on how well you know your sewing techniques. As a bit more of a beginner, I wouldn’t say that these patterns are easy as such, as there are some challenging elements; however, the challenging elements tend to be fiddly bits, that I’m not sure get much easier with experience, but become something you learn to power through! The toys seem to come together relatively quickly though, which is very satisfying – I made the Emma doll in an afternoon.
It can take a couple of attempts to get everything perfect, but to be honest, mine looked okay having only spent one afternoon on it. Yes, it could have all been a bit neater, and next time I would try to attach the arms and legs a little closer, but overall, it’s not hard to come out with something decent. For the perfectionists out there, it may take a few tries before it all looks neat and tidy, especially if you’ve never made toys before.
The other challenge that some readers may have when making, is trying to match fabrics! Whilst some fabrics are easy to source (polka dots and plains etc), some of the fabrics they have used are ones I’ve never seen around. This means that quite often you’ll need to find your own based on the colours they have used in the book, or make up your own set of co-ordinating fabrics. I didn’t find this too hard and used their colours as a base, but for those of you who struggle with fabric matching and co-ordination, this may be more of a challenge.
Don’t be afraid to go with your gut and do a bit of clashing though! As I’ve said, if you get stuck, just follow the basic shades that they have used. For example, they used a funky orange and yellow 80’s type fabric for Emma’s hair, which I substituted for a yellow pinstripe. Dress and clothing-wise, I stuck to a staple bright pink in two different patterns, with a complimentary lime green on the legs.
Although my two pinks for the body and feet didn’t quite match, the green in between meant that you couldn’t really tell and they didn’t look out of place. The secret to using colours that are slightly off matching – place a contrasting one in between, and usually you won’t notice the difference!
Word of warning
One small thing to note is that if you’re making any of these toys to sell, they must comply with safety regulations. The book doesn't really mention this except for on the very last page, but it is important if you use this book to go on to make your own designs (or just want to make sure your makes are super safe for kids).
Overall Rating: 5 *****
Overall, this book gets a 5/5 because I think it’s a great all rounder for most people, and not a bad start for those who’ve never attempted sewing toys or stuffed animals before. The patterns and instructions are clear and concise for the most part, which really helps when making up, and some projects can be done in a day.