Britannic Bunting!

To celebrate VE Day earlier this month, I wanted to put up some bunting even though we were not doing any actual celebrations.  I went to get the bunting from storage and realised that my Mum-in-law still has it – she has it on permanent loan for WI purposes!  Since I didn’t view bunting collection as being a critical journey during lockdown, I set about making some more.  As I wanted a patriotic look, I rifled through my fabric collection and pulled out all fabrics that had red, white or blue in them – most were offcuts from clothing or other sewing projects – and set to work. 

First job is to make a cardboard template for the flag size.  You can make the flags whatever size you like – mine were 6” x 7½”.  I also cut out a 2” cardboard spacer although you can put the flags next to each other if you prefer.  After drawing around the flags, I cut them out using pinking shears, which have a zig-zag edge so prevent the fabric from fraying.  I cut the top edge with regular scissors as a reminder as to which edge I needed to sew.  It’s easy to get confused when you’re head down in the sewing machine!

I used double fold bias binding to attach my flags.  Once the binding was opened up, the flag was laid inside with the top edge against the centre fold, the binding folded over and then stitched along the edge of the binding.  After laying the spacer alongside, I then positioned the next flag and stitched that in place. Repeat for as long as you want your bunting to be.

I made two lengths; one each for upstairs and downstairs.

This is a great project to repurpose old clothing or bedding.  It’s also very straightforward and quite quick to do making it ideal for beginners or children.   So, jazz up your lockdown celebration with some unique bunting!

 

 

 

Funky Face Masks

In last week’s briefing regarding the new rules that may apply coming out of lockdown in the UK, Boris hinted that face coverings will be the way to go.  There are a few mask designs online and I tried out a few.  The Olsen mask is a widely available free download and there’s another variation at www.craftpassion.com. After making up one of each, I combined the two to get my preferred fit and function.  The masks have a filter pocket where an additional layer of protection can be inserted.  I’m using Henry Hoover vacuum bags which are made from 3 layers of spun polypropylene.  I’m showing two masks as I’m generally making these in pairs: one to wash and one to wear.  Hygiene is still key to preventing the spread of this virus, as is social distancing when possible.

Important note: it is vital to remove the nose wire and filter before washing – those bits of wire won’t do your washing machine any good at all!

Disclaimer.  These masks are not medically recognised or tested.  Use at your own discretion.

The most suitable fabric for the mask is 100% closely woven cotton, like quilting fabric.  It needs to be pre-washed at the temperature you intend laundering the mask at, otherwise the mask may shrink when you wash it.

The templates are here:  Face Mask Template….

and a downloadable tutorial is here:  Face Mask Tutorial pdf.

Cut out mask pieces on folded fabric (either right side to right side or wrong side to wrong side) to cut mirrored pieces of each template.  Cut 2 each for the mask outer, lining and filter pocket.

Turn ¼” of the straight edges of the filter pocket over twice, press in place and then sew to secure.  Turn the edge of the corresponding mask outer and lining pieces over by ¼”.  Sew the outer, lining and pocket pieces together along the curved front edge using a ¼” seam. Press seam allowance open or over to one side.

Lining up the seams, baste pocket along top and bottom edges onto the right side of lining within the seam allowance (approx. ⅛” from the edge).

With right side together, stitch mask front to lining, leaving one edge (the one pressed under in stage 2) open for turning.

Turn right side out through the side opening and press.  Fold in approx. 1” on each side, press and then stitch in place.

Feed a 10” piece of elastic into the channel created on each side of the mask and tie in a knot (in a position which gives you the best fit).  Feed the knot into the channel.

Optional nose wire to provide a better fit closer to the face.

Sew a L-shaped channel ¼” from the top edge of the mask – ensure it is only closed at one end!  Take a length of wire about 3½” (I used a paperclip opened out) and turn the ends over using pliers.  This will prevent the wire poking through the fabric.  Insert the wire into the channel inside the filter pocket.

Cut 2 pieces of your filter material and sew along the curved edge.  Open out and insert into the pocket.

Step out in style!

Stay safe.

 

 

Stay Safe

It is strange times indeed in which we are living.  My work is very weird as there’s around an 80% reduction in air traffic but we still need to keep the skies safe for the aircraft that are flying.  It is impossible to use radar to control aircraft from home so we are classed as ‘key workers’ and have to go out to go to work.  However, I feel that what we are doing is nothing compared to the key workers that are keeping our country functioning in these uncertain times, including (but not limited to) the NHS staff (including my sister), farmers, delivery drivers, the emergency services, the supermarket staff and the bin men.  Thank you all!

I haven’t been crafting this week but have been taking advantage of this gorgeous weather we’ve been enjoying and catching up on gardening.  The veg patch has been the focus of our endeavours and is ready for action unusually early!  Mr. L spent his time doing a long overdue cut on the leylandii hedge at the bottom of our garden.  About 6-8ft was lopped off the top so there’s a lot more light getting into the veg patch now.

Whilst Mr. L was doing battle with the hedge, I focused on weeding the beds and sowing some early seeds.  We’ve already got garlic growing, planted in January, and I sowed radish, various types of lettuce, carrots, red onion, spring onion, beetroot, broad beans, mange tout and sweet pea seeds.  Fingers crossed for a bumper harvest in a few months!  Whether it’s the weather or the enforced ‘at home’ time, the nation seems to be getting growing as my favourite independent seed websites have had to close for a few days in order to process the mass of orders they’ve received.  People getting out growing their own is great in my book, whatever the reason.  

I like to recycle when possible and I repurpose stuff to use in the garden.  I use plastic bottles with the bottoms chopped off to direct water to the base of plants such as courgettes and pumpkins, lengths of water pipe and scaffold netting to keep pests (and pets!) off the raised beds and I drill holes in the bottom of prosecco corks and use them as cane toppers.

I also sowed some tomato seeds indoors in the propagator and potted on my chilli plants which were sown back in February.  I’m also having a go at growing turmeric as the roots that I’d bought to eat had sprouted so I’ve potted them up.

In the evening, I’ve been crocheting.  I’m doing Helen Shrimpton’s My Nameless……. pattern which I bought ages ago but never got around to doing.  I always use a wool winder to transform my yarn balls into yarn cakes as the yarn flows more freely.  I also love the way they look!

I’m just under half way through the pattern, which will be about 5ft square when finished and will contain about 19 balls of yarn!  Here’s my creation so far…..

That’s all for this week.  Stay well.  Stay safe.  Stay home.

 

Word Art

Pictures made up of words are all the rage now and I’m a huge fan.  I hope one day to be able to produce such things with my own calligraphy but for now, I’m happy to use my Cricut to create these works (or words!) of art.  I posted my latest project in the Cricut Facebook group and had a lot of comments asking how I did it, which prompted this blog post.  Apparently, there is a website or app you can use to arrange your words but personally, I think that takes all the fun and creativity out of the project.

First, I drew in a heart the size of my intended project in Cricut Design Space.  I then listed words that I wanted to include in the piece.  Then it was simply a job of changing the fonts, sizes and alignments and fitting the words into the heart shape.  Where there were gaps too big to leave blank but too small for words, I added little images like hearts, stars, paw prints, cats and aeroplanes.  Once I was happy with the layout, I then changed the words and images into 4 colours as I was using black, gold, silver and brushed metallic pink vinyl.

The key at this stage was to “Attach” the images by colours as this allows the Cricut to cut out that colour with the words in the correct position so you don’t have to be bothered trying to line them up on the canvas.  As is usual for me, I made my life more difficult by making my project lots bigger than my cutting mat so I had to divide my words into two mats for each colour.  After ‘hiding’ or deleting the heart shape (this needs doing to prevent the machine cutting out a vinyl heart too), the next task was to cut out each colour.  I cut out the sections of vinyl without any words to save for small projects.

The next job was to ‘weed’ the project.  I begin by removing the centres of the O, R, Ps etc.

And then removed the rest of the surrounding vinyl.

The vinyl needs mounting on transfer paper in order to remove the backing prior to sticking to the project.  I had some difficulty in doing this from above by placing the transfer paper onto the vinyl, so I placed transfer paper face down on my light pad and then positioned the vinyl into the correct spaces, using the Design Space for reference.

Once all the pieces were in place, I roughly cut the transfer paper into a heart shape to help with centralising on the canvas.

The transfer backing paper was in two halves which helped a lot for the final sticking into position.  I lined up the image, then held the top section onto the canvas whilst I peeled off the backing paper of the bottom section, sticking the bottom onto the canvas.  With the bottom secured, I then removed the top section of backing paper.

Despite burnishing the images really well, the vinyl preferred to stick to the transfer sheet rather than the canvas so a bit of work was required to encourage the letters off the transfer sheet.  Once they were all on the canvas, I burnished them well again to ensure they were properly adhered.  The only job left was to hang it on the wall.

I then made a similar canvas for my friend’s big birthday.  He is retired now but worked in the aviation industry so I used an aircraft silhouette as my shape to fill.  This was trickier as the font was smaller but each colour did fit on a single cutting mat so lining up was easier.

Things I learnt from these projects:

  • Don’t use fonts with really long, skinny parts to the letters.
  • Do a test cut of a small shape if using new vinyl; they don’t all cut the same.
  • Try out the transfer sheet on the project first. Mine was a bit too sticky and the vinyl stuck better to that than to the canvas.
  • The smaller the font, the trickier it is to weed and transfer.
  • Use “Unlock” to allow words to fill the spaces better otherwise they scale proportionally.

Finally, for a bit of fun, I pimped up our new robovac.  In honour of the Robocop being Jean-Claude Van Damme, we’ve named our robovac Jean.  I designed a logo for her and added a little slogan! Aside from the fun decals, the little vac is brilliant – in fact, Jean’s busy doing the vacuuming whilst I’m writing this post. Now that’s my idea of housework! 😊

 

 

Fabric Corner Bookmark

This was a little project I happened across last month which I decided to make for my Mum to go with the books I’d got her for Christmas.  It’s a really straightforward make; if you can sew a straight line, this will be no problem.

Start with three 4” squares of fabric, two for the square and one for the corner, together with one square and a half square of interfacing.

I used iron-on interfacing which I applied to the back of one of the pair of squares and the triangle of interfacing to the front corner square.  The front piece was folded in half and pressed. 

The pieces were layered, square – triangle – square, pinned and sewn around with a ¼” seam allowance, leaving a gap for turning.  I clipped the corners to give a neater finish once turned.

Once turned the right way out, the bookmark was pressed, turning in the seam allowance of the turning gap, and top stitched all the way around.

The finished bookmark sits neatly on the corner of the book – no more folded page corners!