Monday, 10 March 2014

Getting crafty for Spring...

I am a fabric hoarder (the secret was aired in our blog a little while back), and I can't resist pretty fabrics. So when I saw a blog post on the excellent Craft Blog UK for the chance to win 1m of gorgeous Hillarys Blinds fabric as part of their Hillarys Blinds Country Craft competition, I clicked through to the competition entry form straight away.

I choose the beautiful peacock blue fabric (bird parade teal), and hoped I'd be selected to receive 1m of this lovely fabric. I was so pleased when it arrived in the post, I could hardly wait to put it to good use.

Beautiful can be practical with Hillarys Blinds

Problem: Like any little girl my Daughter has lots of little things for her dolls house that don't really live anywhere but in the dolls house. So in 'tidy up time' she just stuffs all her dolls toys & other random small things in the dolls house. Which looks kind of ugly, so I wanted to make something to help her keep her room looking tidy & look beautiful.

Solution: A stylish fabric basket for her room and as a treat to yourself, a lovely beach bag from the scraps!


Skills needed: None bar being able to cut, iron, and sew in a straight line!

Materials needed: 1m of Hillary's teal bird parade fabric, 1m of corresponding upholstery fabric (raid your stash like I did), 1m interface, thread.

You'll also need: 1 sewing machine, pinking shears, a measuring tape, iron & ironing board

My two contrasting fabrics - plain blue & Hillarys Bird Parade (teal)

STEP 1. Gather all your materials & props together. Make sure the iron & sewing machine are all working and that the materials have been washed (this helps with shrinkage should you choose to wash them later on).

STEP 2. Iron your fabrics & cut (use pinking shears to cut down the chance of fraying) both your fabrics into 4 identically sized pieces. You will have 8 rectangles all together.  (We do this is so we can sew two pieces of your outside fabric together to keep the pattern the right way up all around... otherwise one side of your basket will be upside down).

STEP 3. Put the 'right sides' (the sides you want facing OUT to the world) together and pin three sides of your squares. Make sure your pattern is the right way up both sides of the pocket. You should have 4 'pockets'.

STEP 4. Sew the three sides of your material together with matching thread. I used white thread for outside & dark blue for inside.  Sew a straight line down one side and as you near the end of the fabric stop sewing, make sure the needle is still deep in the fabric, lift your sewing machine foot up turn your fabric 90 degrees and lower your foot again. This means you can 'turn' the corners instead of sewing all the way to the end! ONLY SEW THREE SIDES. You need an open side!

STEP 5. Cut your interface to the same size as one fabric pocket side. You can cut interface with normal scissors - it shouldn't fray! Iron your fabric pockets and then while the iron is HOT, iron** on the interface to your outside fabric. This gives the basket / bag some strength.

**Ironing on interface tip: Don't move the iron around the interface. Pick it up and place it on to the interface otherwise the interface or fabric could move causing wrinkles.

STEP 6. Giving the pocket depth. (This is the part where the basket & bag differ a little). For the fabric basket I wanted a square / rectangular bottom. So I made DEEP (6 inches) box corners, for the beach bag I made SHALLOW (3 inches) box corners. **Box corners
(**Box corners - Take your flat pocket and fold it so that the two seams meet together in the middle. This will give you an upside down house shape with two triangular points at the bottom. If you fold these triangular pieces up towards each other these will give you 'box corners'. For decent box corners you need to take 3 measurements. Line A gives you the depth (so for my bag Line A = 3inches). Line B should always equal Line C. So A depth, B=C.)

STEP 7. Sew along the longest edge (B and C). To keep my bottom's sturdy I left these interfaced  & sewn triangles in place. They've added weight and strength to my box / bag. Do this to all four pockets. Make sure your inside pocket are sewn with their darker thread!

STEP 8. Nearly there! Turn your outside basket/bag the right way out (image facing outwards) and out it INSIDE the inner pocket that hasn't been turned out the right way. This puts the two 'right side' facing materials together. Pin the two bags/baskets together and sew, leaving a 4 inch (or so) gap.

STEP 9. Turn the bag / basket right way out using the 4 inch gap to pull the fabric through from the inside. Iron & pin the 4 inch gap and either hand sew or carefully machine sew together. Fold down the top of your basket (my fold is about 1 1/2 inches) to provide greater stability when standing.

TRA DAAAA! The finished product.

STEP 10. For the bag I sewed two 50cm pieces of cross grain ribbon to make handles & to secure the top fold. I sewed the handles 6inches from each edge and just secured using a stitched square. Here's the bag already for a trip to the beach:

The bag above has a BIG beach towel, a hardback book, children's suncream, factor 30 suncream & aftersun in it and there's still space for a 2ltr bottle of pop (or champagne if you're celebrating at the beach).

So with my 1m of fabric I've created 2 beautiful yet practical objects. I'm now inspired, and would like to create some more storage solutions perhaps for a guest bedroom... I've seen this pattern for a fabric oragami basket (on Pinterest) that would be perfect for the Hillary's Calluna Amethyst. 

Thank you to Hillary P of the brilliant Craft Blog UK and Hillarys for making both of these projects possible with their Country Craft competition.

Happy creating...

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