Friday, 15 December 2017

Hand-Embroidered Christmas Decoration

We are nearing peak Christmas spirits at CJ Made HQ this weekend.
I received a lovely hand-made Christmas decoration from my friend Amy in Denmark which prompted me to reciprocate with this bright and cheerful hand-embroidered felt decoration. It took me about an hour to make and you could add embroidery ranging from the most simple stitches to something extremely intricate depending on your sewing skills or time scale.

The design of the decoration was partly inspired by the glorious visual feasts from the Channel 4 show Kirstie's Home-made Christmas. You can not watch these programmes without wanting to bust out your crafting kit!

Onto the making. I cut out two heart shapes in felt and embroidered a green line of chain stitch about 2cm from the edge.

I selected a bright blue for a snowflake design in the centre using back-stitch. Wooden beads were added for extra embellishment.

Scraps of felt were used to pad out the decoration but tradition cushion filling would probably add a little more luxury feel to the decoration. The edges were finished using blanket stitch in a bright yellow all the way around.

I plaited three embroidery threads to make the hanging loop. I knotted each end of the plait and pushed the knots in between the blanket stitch. I secured the loop in place with some regular sewing thread stitching. Colourful ribbon or wire would also work well for a hanging loop.

There you have it. A cute, inexpensive and quick hand-made Christmas decoration!

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Quick DIY Christmas Jumper

Tomorrow a lot of people will be wearing a Christmas jumper to get in the festive spirit and to support the charity Children in Need.
I decided to make a quick DIY jumper with a sweatshirt, a few fabric scraps and some Bondaweb. All you need is a little bit of imagination and an iron. Here is what I managed to create in about half an hour.

Note to self - don't take photos when using the iron or you will scorch your fabric and ironing board! Whoops!

Monday, 4 December 2017

Festive Wreath

I created a festive wreath this evening in a fun 2-hour session. It was such a lovely way to start the week!

Start with a florists oasis ring that has been soaked in water for about 10 minutes prior to use. This helps the foliage stays fresh for longer.

I started with some cheap and cheerful Salal which bulks out the wreath. Working in a clockwise direction trim the stalks on an angle so it can be inserted into the oasis much easier. I also angled the stalks around the wreath.

Next was a bunch of baby blue Eucalyptus which smells amazing. Longer stems can be trimmed down by snipping just after the leaf. Again I worked my way around the wreath adding stems at regular intervals.

The wreath was starting to look quite festive already at this point but it needed another green texture in the form of Norway Spruce (the same type as the Trafalgar Square Christmas Tree). This densely packed pine also has a beautiful scent. To add sections of these into the wreath, pull away the needles at the bottom of your selected branch and trim the stalk at an angle. Insert into the wreath at regular intervals.

A lighter evergreen was introduced in the form of a bright limey-green Conifer which added a little contrast to the blue-greens of the other foliage.

The finishing touches to the wreath added a festive vibe using pine cones, cinnamon sticks, lotus heads and small Christmas baubles. These were all attached by using floristry wire. It takes a little patience to attach the wire to the decorations but once you get the knack it's really fun to play around with the placement of these accent features. There doesn't seem to be any set rules for creating this type of arrangement but it has been often said about flower arranging that using odd numbers of 3, 5 and 7 has visual balance.

Overall, I am very happy with my festive wreath and it wasn't too expensive for a fresh arrangement.
Here are some links if you want to make your own:

Total cost = (approx) £20.00

When you consider the cost of ready-made wreaths in high street shops and florists (£30 - £50) this is a fun and economical way to start the festive season.

Saturday, 2 December 2017

One Week One Pattern 2017

This week I took part in One Week One Pattern for the third time. If you are not familiar with this event it was started by Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons, who launched it in 2012, it was then run by Handmade Jane in 2014 and Hannah from Cinderellis Sews last year and this year it has been run by Sewisfaction.

As you may already know from my previous posts this week I chose to wear the By Hand London Charlotte skirt. I have made four versions of the Charlotte skirt and posted about the construction of the different variations here, here, here and here. I guess you are supposed to wear your chosen pattern for the full week but I decided to focus on Monday to Friday because of the more formal choice of pattern. This is not the type of thing I would wear on the weekend to do house chores, errands and general chilling out in.

The photos below show how I styled my skirts with several Uniqlo merino wool turtle neck jumpers, gap t-shirt, Marimekko scarf, Tatty Devine Teeth necklace and on Friday one of my favourite festive jumpers (because December!).

Tuesday, 28 November 2017

Plaid BHL Charlotte Skirt

As mentioned in yesterday's post I am taking part in One Week One Pattern or affectionately known as OWOP. My pattern of choice is the By Hand London Charlotte skirt.

I made it from some black and white plaid twill that has been in my stash for years which I made into this Simplicity 9620 Shift Dress. There is still some left to make another item of clothing too! The fabric frays a lot so I had to be super speedy with the French Seams during construction. I hand-stitched the waistband and hem which was a therapeutic hours sewing.

I added a back split taking inspiration from this Simplicity 2154 Pencil Skirt I made in 2013. The addition of the back split makes this skirt so much more comfortable and easy to walk in. You definitely have to wiggle around with a very restricted gait if you don't add a split / pleat of some description to this pattern.

Here are the internal shots for your viewing pleasure.

Almost perfect plaid matching around the zip

Perfect plaid matching on the internal waistband - where nobody can see it!

Back split and hand-stitched hem

Perfect side seam matching with a French Seam

Neat zip and back seam with Hong Kong seam using black satin bias binding

Tomorrow I'll be wearing my tropical print BHL Charlotte skirt. Hopefully it won't look too out of place on a wintery London day.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Cashmere BHL Charlotte Skirt

Another By Hand London Charlotte skirt. This time in some beautiful cashmere Price of Wales check (that I made my Sew Over It Francine jacket out of) and lined with the same emerald green as the jacket. Worn together it looks like a suit.

The other addition I made to the skirt was to create a hem band and hand stitched the lining to it. I am particularly pleased with my invisible zip and plaid matching skills. Another great bonus is these fabrics have been languishing in my stash box since 2014 after finishing the France jacket. What do you think?

I hand-stitched a black triangle to strengthen the top of the split 

Lined and hand-finished on the waistband and press studs

Added a hem band in the outer fabric 

What invisible zip?
I pledged to take part in the One Week One Pattern this week hosted by Sewisfaction so be prepared to see more By Hand London Charlotte skirts around these parts!

Have you signed up to OWOP17?
If not what would your go to pattern be?