Thursday, 21 May 2015

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Speechless Exhibition

Just a tiny snippet of one of the comics I'll be exhibiting next week as part of the Speechless group show at Erdmann Contemporary.

Head over here to see more of the works on show. I'll post a few more snips later this week.

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Basics: Making Purses/Bags/Bins

These are all made pretty much the same way; once you've made one, you'll be able to adapt the template to suit whatever you need.

The basic shape is this:

Lengths a and b can be whatever you want, but it's important that the x lengths are the same.  a is the length of the bag, b is the height, and x is half the width.  Include seam allowances in all these measurements (yellow lines on the drawing). You'll need to cut 2 pieces of outer fabric, and 2 pieces of lining fabric.

To speed things up (minimally) you can eliminate the bottom seam on the outer fabric, and cut the outer piece like this:

If you do this, it's important to note that you won't need to include the seam allowance at the bottom of the purse - no seam, no seam allowance! So n is the finished width of the bag, without seams (for eg 5cm) and m is half of that, plus seam allowance (for eg 2,5cm + 1cm seam allowance). If you're not sure, cut the pattern out in paper first and fold the edges to make sure they line up properly.

Sew the zip to one side of the outer fabric, right sides together.

Sew the zip to the other side of the outer fabric, right sides together.

Now sew the lining pieces to the zip, sandwiching the edges of the zip between the 2 layers of fabric.

Open the zip halfway, fold the purse flat with the right sides of the fabric on the inside, and sew along the red lines. Leave a gap at the bottom of the lining section. Go very very slowly over the zip section; make sure both ends of the zip are folded the same way.

(If you've cut the outer fabric in 2 pieces, not 1, sew the bottom seam as well.)

There's some debate over which way the teeth of the zip should be facing - into the lining or not. I've tried both, and honestly found no difference.

Now fold the corners flat, and sew across.

Turn the purse right side out through the gap in the lining, and sew the gap shut, either by hand, or by folding the seam allowance inward and sewing a seam very close to the edge.

This pattern will give you a purse with slanted sides. For a straight-sided purse, you'll need to adjust the sides of the pattern:

To make a simple tote bag, without a lining, simply cut 2 outer pieces, finish all edges with a zigzag stitch, then sew up sides and bottom, box corners as above, hem the top by folding over twice and stitching. Cut webbing for straps and stitch to bag (66cm seems a good length to me, but pin the straps to the bag before cutting, to test).

A storage bin is even simpler. It's a purse without a zip: sew the lining pieces to the outer pieces along the top edge, and then proceed as for the purse above.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Basics: How to Make Pointy Corners

I know of two ways to make pointy corners on cushion covers.

For the first one (on the left), cut away the excess fabric between the seam stitches, being careful not to cut through the seams themselves. While this works 90% of the time, there is an element of lucky folding involved when the corner is turned right side out, and the cutting needs to be done carefully.

For the second one (on the right), sew one seam, in this case the vertical one. Then fold the fabric along that seam, and sew the horizontal seam. When the corner is turned right side out, the excess fabric lies flat. No cutting needed.

For cushion covers, I usually sew the two side seams first, then the top and bottom.

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Basics: Sewing Easy Cushion Covers

At my printing workshop I gave everyone templates for some basic items to print and sew up at home. The sketchy instructions I gave along with the templates need some fleshing out, so here goes:

To make a simple zippered cushion cover, you'll need a front piece and 2 back pieces; the back pieces are half the size of the front piece, plus a little bit extra to accommodate the zip seam. About 1cm should be sufficient. 

Zigzag stitch around all the pieces, then attach the zip. Right side of zip to right side of one back piece, stitch along the red dotted line.... then flip it over and attach the other edge of the zip to the other back piece (right sides together). 
 Important note: these drawings do not show the work exactly as it will look when you're making it; rather I'm trying to show the process. So in the step above, match up the side edges of the back pieces with each other.

Lay the front piece down right side up, open the complete back piece out flat, wrong side up, and lay it on top of the front piece. Open the zipper a few centimetres, and pin the whole lot together.
Stitch along the dotted red lines. Slow down as you get to the zip, and stitch really really slowly right over it. Trim the ends of the zip, and turn right side out. 

An envelope cushion cover is even simpler. 

Again, you'll need a front piece and 2 back pieces. This time, add a bit more length to the back pieces before cutting out: half the length of the front piece, plus 2cm for hem allowance, plus 5 to 10cm for the envelope overlap. 

Zigzag around all the pieces. Then hem the back pieces: fold down 1cm of fabric to the wrong side, fold it down again, and stitch along the red dotted line. (Ironing the creases before sewing makes things a bit easier.)
Lay the front piece down right side up, lay the back pieces down right sides down and overlapping, matching the edges carefully, and pin the whole lot together. Stitch along the dotted red lines, then turn right side out. 

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Such a good day of printing!

Some of the lovely things printed at my printing class last weekend:

It was an amazing experience. Everyone was so enthusiastic, and worked so hard. (I had to chase the last few out at the end, I think they would have stayed there printing till dark if I hadn't!) It was great to see how different all the prints were, too.

I'll definitely be running more of these workshops later in the year, possibly as shorter courses over a few weeks.

Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Very Pink

A new cardigan, knit in very vintage, very pink Bluebell Crepe. The pattern is Judy Brien's X Cardigan, and confirms my suspicion that this is the perfect sleeve length. I don't even have to take it off when I wash the dishes, which is more important than you'd think.

So far two people have stopped me in the street to ask whether I'd knit one for them!