Monday, April 19, 2010

A Small Finish and How I Fussy Cut

I thought it was high time I reported a finish. I think you all know I am a huge fan of Blackbird Designs. I cross stitched this back in 2009. It is no trouble to whip these cross stitches up, finishing them is another story. The instructions given are really easy to follow , I have no idea why I stall when it comes to this process. I have filled this Strawberry with Silica sand as per the recommendation however it was suggested that the wire sandwiched between the leaves should be glued. I am not and never have been a fan of glue so I sewed around half of the leaf and then slotted the wire shape inside and continued on sewing. After a couple of goes this way I finally managed to get them to resemble something that looked like leaves. I must admit I did think alot about Janet(Read Janet's posts about the frustrations of constructing some of her soft toys and bags) The thought did rush through my mind, should I just throw this in the bin, however I persevered. I am not altogether thrilled with the outcome but I will be able to stick my pins in the strawberry part.
I have had many requests for my method of fussy cutting so here goes.
Along with the tools shown below you also need a sheet of Templastic, which believe it or not is also in the picture but sitting on a white bench it is a little hard to see.

I draw around my template , on the outside and the inside. My templates have a 1/4 inch seam allowance.

I then colour in my seam allowance. I do not cut out the centre, it can still be used as a window but I use this to draw location markers from the fabric underneath.

You can see what I mean with these examples from a couple of my previous templates. They are reuseable, just rub out the lines when you have finished.
This template included the seam allowance , I drew around it and ruled 1/4 inch inwards. Once again colour in the seam allowance as per previous instructions.

Once I have made a decision on the shape that I wish to repeat I place the template over the area and draw some marker lines so that I will be able to line these marks up exactly
as I repeat this process for the next 5 hexagons.

You can draw as much detail as you feel necessary

Before you lift the template off the fabric , ensure that you draw around the outside of the template on the right side of the fabric. This will be taken to the back of the cardboard shape so you won't see the marks.

Cut shape out on the line.

I always make a small dot on the right side of the fabric (using a water soluble pen).
I can then line up the paper piece with a 1/4 SA.( SA= Seam Allowance)

This is a closeup of the dot.

you can see in the photo below the paper piece with the 1/4 inch seam allowance. It is important to get this accurate so that your shapes line up exactly.

when you feel that you have your 1/4 inch seam allowance aligned exactly, I use a spring clip to hold the first turn over of the seam allowance in place. ( I find that sometimes when using a pin the fabric moves and knocks the 1/4 sa out of alignment)

This somehow acts as a third hand and holds the fabric piece steady to get your first couple of stitches in place.
I find this method works for me and allows an accurate 1/4 sa all around.

The more of these you make the more dexterous you become.

I always sew my centre in last

I like to audition different fabrics to decide what I think suits the centre.
Generally it is a flower centre, sometimes though it can be just a spot or something quite geometric.

I hope this may give you a few tips to help you with your fussy cutting. If you would like any further explanations please leave a comment and I will endeavour to answer your queries.

I wish you all happy fussy cutting, but can I say it is addictive and it changes the way you look at fabric from here on in.
Happy sewing

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Fiddling and Fadling with little Progress

More than a month has passed since my last post and as the title suggests there has been little progress to report.

I am still working on my clamshell quilt, if you remember back to a previous post when I referred to myself as the queen of starts, it really made me think just how many projects I have on the go. That thought just depressed me. I needed to take stock and stay focussed on the tasks at hand.

This project is not happening as quickly as I would like, although I have to say I am really loving it as I get to play with lots of pieces of my favourite fabrics.

it is growing all be it slowly.

Of course there is also some cross stitching on the go, I need this for the traffic lights. I can't bear to be sitting in traffic or at traffic lights without some stitching, that is just an utter waste of time.

Blackbird Designs is one of my most favourite designers atm, their projects are lovely to stitch, they have loads of lovely pinkeeps and samplers and pincushions (a girl can never have enough pincushions, needlebooks and scissor fobs).

This project is the 'Peacock Pinkeep' you get to sew on lovely linen using luscious silk threads in such wonderful colours. They really take no time to stitch , one just needs to set aside some time to make them up.

Hopefully I will have some finished items to show you soon.

I have also mentioned in previous posts the wonderful fabric club from Patchwork on Stonleigh.

This year Susan and Christime have decided instead of a pattern each mailout to have a type of 'Block of the Mailout'. It is based on an old cross stitched sampler. I think the centre is going to be pieced in some way but the outside borders are based on old basket motifs. I am going to have my backgrounds on different sized black spots on an off white .

These baskets are in my favourite shade, Raspberry.

Once again we are in the Port Stephens area for the Easter break, fortunately the weather is behaving.

On my walk this morning it was wonderful to see families out enjoying the lovely weather, catching the end of season swims and hoping to catch something to cook on the barbie.

It was just so peaceful , wonderful for recharging my very depleted batteries.

The local council have done a lot of work on the Bridle Path , there are some magnificent native trees

this being a favourite, isn't the bark amazing, the tree almost looks barkless.Iykwim

I hope it won't be too long before posts but I must confess I have a huge project on at work. We are in the process of migrating our computer system to our parent company's system. This involves loads of testing, loads of communication with my German colleagues (language barriers). This is really zapping me of all my mental strength, please bear with me , this should be over at the beginning of June.
Wishing you all much happiness this Easter.