Who’s already missing the Sewing Bee? Who’s missing clever clever Chinelo and lovely Sheila? Oh and Claudia, I can never get enough Claudia. Fret not as there are two lovely Sewing Bee related books out this Spring to help fill the Patrcik shaped hole. Already on bookshelves is The Great British Sewing Bee Sew Your Own Wardrobe (surely a contender for the longest book title of the year award, lets call it GBSBSYOW from now on) and out next week is Season 1 contender Tilly Walnes’ Love at First Stitch.
When I first saw the GBSBSYOW book I was excited that you got a free pack of patterns but slightly confused as I thought it meant that you got only patterns for 5 of the garments in the book; What if I didn’t want to make any of the 5 garments chosen? I don’t necessarily need a teddy bear onsie or a prom dress but I would like to imagine one day I will make the beautiful 1950’s coat. Fortunately it doesn’t mean this at all (which you lot probably gathered), fortunately you get all the pattern pieces for all the garments. Granted on first look they do seem a touch confusing but once you zone in on what you’re making then all is cool.
As I only had a couple of hours spare I chose one of the easier projects, the Simple T, literally a front and a back and some bias binding. The book suggests using a polyester crepe but I thought this a good opportunity to use one of my many many hoarded offcuts of fabric. I used a beautiful bird print silky chiffony thing (which was a bit of a pig to cut but falls well AND folds up to nothing so perfect for summer holiday packing!).
I traced the relevent pattern pieces onto some newsprint and set to work. The instructions were clear and the book is full of helpful tips and tricks. I’ve never finished a top using bias binding for every raw edge and I love it, it’s such an easy way to make a neat edge, I will definitely use this method again. The blue of the binding was so pretty that I wanted to leave it on show (the book gives instructions for doing it like this and hiding it completely).
I think this will now be my new summer top shape of choice and I am planning on making many more. I reckon that by just extending the length of the top and making a belt I can create a cute summer dress … I’ll let you know how I get on.
The Great British Sewing Bee Sew Your Own Wardrobe (£25) is published by Quadrille Craft. For more information click here
Tilly Walnes Love at First Stich (£20) is also published by Quadrille and is out on the 8th of May. For more information click here
I have a friend. Elias is his name and socialnesting.com is his
game blog. Whenever we get together a mutual love/craft in happens and we coo over each others latest projects and ideas. He popped over at the weekend for lunch and a gossip (bringing a delicious plum and almond pudding – ignore his opinion of it on his blog post here as it was truely yummy).
Here is an excerpt from our chat …
With her fourth solo book (seventh when you add three collabs), a busy career as fashion-bible designer and a house in transition towards craft wonderland, Christine Leech takes time to talk to Social Nesting about getting fresh, her favourite kit and channeling Snow White, South-London style…
Hi Christine. How are you?
I’m well, thank you. I’m trying to impress you with the one and only posh salad I can make but failing miserably as I don’t know how to make this salad dressing.
Forget dressing. You are not allowed to be good at everything.
Now, did you ever dream that you would be the reason that people are getting busy with their hands? Not in a rude way, of course, but with glue and scissors and ink…
Not at all! It’s so lovely that I have been able to share my ideas with people. If I wasn’t writing my books I would be making all these things anyway. It just so nice that they are getting a wider audience and I have a greater reason for doing them.
Your latest book, Fresh Prints, is deceptively not about how Will Smith’s life got flipped (turned upside-down), but about tackling printing at home. Did you purposely set out to fool the public? (I am kidding, of course)
I think that is my most favourite title for a book yet. It makes me smile (and sing the Fresh Prince theme tune) everytime I see the cover.
You have done a great job of making contemporary crafting approachable. Who did that for you?
My original inspiration for the Simple Makes books were Japanese craft books and catalogues, especially by homeware/clothing/crafty brand Felissimo. I love their clean and crisp Scandi-Japanese aesthetic. I wanted to make home made things that didn’t look home made, just simple and stylish.
If you were stuck in a deserted car park in Norwich with only five things from your kit bag, what would they be?
– Bondaweb, for joining two pieces of fabric together;
– Scallop-edged scissors;
– Scapel/10a blades and metal ruler for no-nonsense cutting;
– Glue dots and sheets for no-mess gluing;
– My jar of bits and bobs – a collection from my mum and my nan’s button boxes, plus sequins, beads, tiny bits of things that-will-come-in-useful-one-day-I’m-sure. (Keep telling yourself that.)(Christine has printed hares on her stairs – just imagine what she would do to a car park.)
What hasn’t been designed yet that would make your life easier?
Self-sweeping floors… There are always loose threads, fabric fluff and scattered sequins all over my floor. Maybe I could try and befriend the animals as Snow White does to help me clear up after projects, though living in South London, the wildlife would be a bit more like the ones in Enchanted.
We chatted about many more things, Icecream, Target superstores and my future plans. To read the full interview click here
To be in with a chance of WINNING A SIGNED COPY OF THE BOOK either visit and ‘like’ my facebook page here or if the facebook is not your thing simply answer this question in the comments below …“When crafting what’s your favourite snack?” (Mine’s a big jar of nuts and seeds, rainsing and chocolate covered cranberries… though I pick out all the cranberries first)
Three of my favourite Elias projects
(click on images for instructions)
To celebrate the release of my new book Fresh Prints I am giving away a signed copy to one lucky recipient. To be in with a chance of winning simply visit my new facebook page by clicking here and clicking on ‘like’ within the page. (if you really do like please also share the page with your friends). I’ll be picking a winner next Thursday.
For more information on the book click here.
This little nest was actually a happy accident I made when tidying up the mess created from a very satisfying job of fraying the edge of a hessian table runner. You could also use wool, string or twine. A rough string or twine such as garden string works best as it holds together better.
Happy Happy Easter, have a lovely long weekend, I’m reupholstering a sofa … but first I have to go to Ikea to get the fabric … can I face it?
Today I got an exciting delivery in the post … A lovely box of hot off the press copies of my new book Fresh Prints. This is my fourth book for Quadrilles Simple Makes series (and maybe my fave, but then I say that about each one I do! Definitely my fave title. Thanks for the inspiration Will.)
Print was my favourite medium to work with when I was at college and the print room was my favourite place to be so I loved getting my hands dirty and smelling of printers ink once again to make the 20 + projects for the book.
I had lovely photographer Keiko Oikawa shooting the pictures and yet again she made all my projects look lovely, clean and fresh.
I think my favourite project was this one …
or this one?
or maybe this one ….
but then this one is really nice.
Here’s a little more information about the book and to ‘look inside’ visit amazon.co.uk (maybe you’d like to buy a copy too?)
Easter is really soon although I feel like it’s been and gone as I had my Easter weekend in February. Back then I spent four days working on a big home entertaining and craft shoot for Homes and Gardens magazine for Easter 2015 – Yup that’s how organized they are. Unfortunately it means that not only do I have 14 lovely craft projects that I can’t show you till next year but I also have had my fill of mini eggs, chocolate Shredded Wheat nests and Hot Cross Buns. (Actually I can never have my fill of H.C.B’s.)
Even though I feel Easter is So Over I did dream up this little chappy the other day. He’s a cute way to store your precious mini eggs and other findings from an Easter Egg Hunt and simple to make using a little felt, fabric glue and embroidery thread.
I was too tired to put the computer on last night (and too engrossed in Masterchef) to write up the instructions in the usual fashion so I’ve done a cartoon style step by step instead.
Download the template here
If you (or your little egg hunters) need to keep the bunny close at hand sew a long ribbon to the back of the head in a loop and wear round the neck or over the shoulder
For more Easter projects visit these other blog posts. (Click on image to see post)
These pretty little paper flowers are a quick and simple idea for Mothering Sunday. Once you learn how to make them there are hundreds (well maybe 10) of ways to use them. From the garland shown here for jazzing up gift wrap, to sticking on a plain greetings card or scattering over a dining table or breakfast in bed tray. I’m sure any mother will appreciate a little handmade something on Mothers Day.
PAPER FLORAL GARLAND
You will need
Two 8cm squares of coloured paper, for large flowers
Two 5cm squares of coloured paper, for small flowers
4cm squares of coloured paper, for leaves
Craft knife and cutting mat
Small metal split pins
Length of thin ribbon or gold cord (if making a garland)
Glue stick or glue dots
TO MAKE THE FLOWERS
Using the templates below, cut the petal shapes from coloured paper. You need two petal shapes in different colours for each finished flower.
1. Take one of the petal shapes and, using the blunt back edge of the craft knife, score two straight lines as marked on the template (A and B). Turn the shape over and score the two diagonal lines marked in blue (C and D).
2. Fold the petal shape along the line marked A. Open it out and fold again along the line marked B, then turn it over and fold along the lines marked C and D.
3&4. Working around the shape, pinch each quarter together to give a slightly three-dimensional effect. Repeat steps 1–4 with another piece of paper in a different colour.
5. Using a bradawl and resting on a piece of wood, make a hole in the centre of each petal shape.
6. Place one petal shape on top of another and push a split pin through the two holes. Arrange the petals so both sets are visible. Repeat steps 1–6 until you have made as many flowers as you like.
7. To make the leaves. Using the template, trace and cut out the leaf shapes from coloured paper. Score a line three-quarters of the way down the centre of the leaf and crease.
8. To use the flowers and leaves to decorate a gift box, make holes in the leaves and thread them onto some thin ribbon or gold cord and wrap around the box. Use a small amount of glue or a glue dot to fix the flowers in place on the top of the box.
This project was taken from my book Scissors, Paper, Craft. Click here to see more of the book or use the blog search facility on the right for more Mothers Day inspiration.
This is a sponsored post
March is a very special month for my mum. In it she has two days of celebration. 1. Her birthday 2. Mothering Sunday. Some years these two occasions land on the same day so sometimes a bit like those poor people whose birthdays fall on December 25 she misses out on the full quota of gifts and treats.
This year the two events are separated by a couple of weeks but as I wasn’t able to see mum on her birthday (she was on holiday) and I’ll be away for Mother’s Day I hosted a special breakfast in bed extravaganza last weekend.
Having said that I didn’t really have much time (in between packing, tidying the house and work) to organise it all but I found wonderful wonderful Marks and Spencer was the perfect one stop shop for everything I needed …
Flowers delivered on the day.Tick
M&S do a great variety of cut flower bouquets and actual planted plants (always better value if you ask me as you get a plant that will last and often a useful receptacle for doing useful things with). Prices start at £20 and delivery is free. Click here for more info.
Special china. Tick
If you’re looking for something slightly more refined for your mothers Earl Grey Kirstie Allsopp has done a range of bits and bobs including a bone china teacup set and an all-in-one-teapot and cup combo. (A very clever idea and apparently something my mum has wanted for ages). Click here to see what else she’s been up to.
Yummy breakfast goodies. Tick
I couldn’t resist these Lemon Shortbread biscuits as they come in such a pretty tin that would be Really Useful For Keeping Things In when all the biscuits are gone (about 20 minutes in our house) and they’re a bargain at only £3. I also served Welsh Cakes, fresh fruit, yoghurt and honey and a delicious apple and cinnamon granola musli thingy which is so much more than a breakfast cereal (I reckon it won’t be long before mum is mixing it into her crumble toppings and flapjack recipes). Click here if you’re feeling peckish.
And finally if you can’t decide what to buy or need to send something small in the post then this pretty gift card is just the thing. Tick and tick. Click here for more info
For more Mothers Day ideas visit the M&S website where they’ve put together lots of handy Mothering Sunday gift ideas.
*Ideally for me!
A couple of weeks ago I showed you the fabric design I did for the Print Me Pretty competition. It was this cute repeat pattern of some snow and snow drops, it was my first attempt at designing fabric and I’m really excited at the thought of seeing my own illustrations printed on fabric. There’s been six other entries in the comp and it’d be lovely if you guys cold pop over to their facebook page and ‘like’ my design …. it’s the pattern with the most votes wins!
To vote click on the image below which will take you to their Facebook page. There you can see all the designs by clicking on ‘see all’ in the ‘Recent posts by others’ box. (on the right hand side in the stupid new Facebook layout) Then ‘like’ the design(s) you like. Voting closes at midnight GMT on March 19th.
Thank you ever so much.