10 November 2017

A Little Happy Sew Along ~ Advent Calendar ~ Finishing Touches


Welcome back to the final instalment of the A Little Happy Sew Along to make the Advent Calendar I designed.  You can read the introduction post HERE.  Here's a recap of what we have done so far.....in week 1, we cut out all the different fabrics and trims required, we then embroidered the 'Christmas Countdown' panel and the little numbers for the pockets and prepared them for adding to the calendar.  In week 2, we added all the trims to the individual pockets and sewed them together.  In week 3 we pieced the front of the Advent Calendar.  This week we'll be adding all the finishing touches!


BEFORE STARTING Always Remember to:

1. Read all instructions before you begin.
2. RST means right sides together.
3. All seam allowances are 1/4”.
4. FWOF means width of fabric.
5. If you need any help, please do get in touch!

Lets Get Stitching

This week, you will need:

Fabric F -  Backing Fabric
Fabric A - Binding
Wadding
Ribbon Ties

First off you will need to layer up your backing fabric / wadding / Advent Calendar.  The wadding and backing fabric, should be slightly larger, about an inch all round, than the Calendar front.  For convenience, I normally use a basting spray.  For more information on making a quilt sandwich, take a peek at THIS BLOG POST.

Next you need to add some quilting to hold the layers together.  I chose to hand quilt using Aurifil 12wt in a complimentary colour.

I added a line of quilting around the edge of the Christmas Countdown panel and then added a large button to the corner, which I hand tied.....I love doing this on items that are decorative!


I then added a line of stitches below each of the rows of pockets....


Once you've finished hand quilting, trim away the excess wadding and backing fabric.

I chose to hang the calendar using ribbon ties.  For these, you need two pieces of ribbon approx 40cm (15 1/2") each.  Fold the ribbon in half, then place the folded edge against the top edge on the back of the calendar.  I lined these up with my quilting stitches around the 'Christmas Countdown' panel.  Just a little note for the observant ones...you will see that I didn't bury my finishing knot at the end of my hand quilting stitches.....I must admit that I don't tend too do so on items like this, that are going to be hung against something....obviously I would on a quilt or if the back side was going to be on display!!!  

For added strength, add a couple rows of machine stitches to hold the ribbons in place, approx 1/8" from the edge, for neatness, you want these 'holding' stitches to be concealed under the binding.

Finally all that is left to do is to add the binding.  I always machine my bindings on to the front and then hand sew the back.  For a detailed 'a little happy tutorial' for how I do this, take a peek HERE.
That's it....you should now have a very special homemade Advent Calendar ready for use this Christmas and I hope that it becomes part of your family tradition for many years to come.


Please remember, so that mum and I can follow your progress, if you're sewing along and sharing on social media please use the hashtags:

#alittlehappysewalong or/and #prettyfabricsandtrims

Thank you so much for sewing along!

Happy Stitches!

3 November 2017

A Little Happy Sew Along ~ Advent Calendar ~ Piecing the Front


Welcome back for week 3 of the A Little Happy Sew Along to make the Advent Calendar I designed.  You can read the introduction post HERE.  Here's a recap of what we have done so far.....in week 1,  we cut out all the different fabrics and trims required, we then embroidered the 'Christmas Countdown' panel and the little numbers for the pockets and prepared them for adding to the calendar.  In week 2, we added all the trims to the individual pockets and sewed them together.   This week we'll be piecing the front of the Advent Calendar together.  

BEFORE STARTING Always Remember to:

1. Read all instructions before you begin.
2. RST means right sides together.
3. All seam allowances are 1/4”.
4. FWOF means width of fabric.
5. If you need any help, please do get in touch!

Lets Get Stitching

This week, you will need:

Fabric B - Front Top
Fabric D - Linen Front
The 'Christmas Countdown' panel (from week 1)
(4) Rows of pockets (from week 2)

First off you position the pockets on to the Fabric D Linen Front, using the photo below as a guide.  (Don't worry if your gaps in between the pockets are ever so slightly different!!)  

Sew the pockets to the linen front along the bottom edge.  You want to try and get this line of stitching as close to the edge of the pockets as possible....


Now 'stitch in the ditch' in between each of the pockets.  Make sure you sew from the bottom all the way to the top of each pocket.  This will prevent any wrinkles in your pockets!

A few little happy tips for a neat finish...... 
  • When stitching in the ditch...which basically means that you are going to stitch on top of the seam line of where you joined the pocket fabrics together....I find it helpful to pull the fabrics apart slightly on both sides of the seam as I sew.  Traditionally to help hide the stitches you would use a thread that best matches your fabrics.....as my fabrics were a mix of red and off white, I stuck with Aurifil 50wt #2311 that was in my machine.
  • Make sure you do a couple of backwards and forward stitches at the beginning and end, so that the pockets are nice and secure.
  • Also allow a healthy amount of thread at either end and if like me you have an auto scissors on your machine DO NOT use it.  This is one of those cases when you need to have enough thread to be able to pull it through to the back and knot...leaving the front with no loose ends showing!




Next sew the Fabric B Front to the top of the Linen/Pocket Front, press the stitches to 'set them' then press the seam open.


Sew the lace trim across the seam and then add the ribbon on top.  I did this on my machine, but feel free to hand sew if you prefer! (Sorry I forgot to photograph this step!)  Finally, position the 'Christmas Countdown' Panel centrally 1" above the ribbon/lace.  Whip stitch in place.


That's it for this week, next time in the final week, we'll be adding all the finishing touches!

Please remember, so that mum and I can follow your progress, if you're sewing along and sharing on social media please use the hashtags:

#alittlehappysewalong or/and #prettyfabricsandtrims

Thank you for sewing along!

Happy Stitches!

27 October 2017

A Little Happy Sew Along ~ Advent Calendar ~ Pockets

Welcome back ...today is week 2 of the A Little Happy Sew Along to make the Advent Calendar I designed.  You can read the introduction post HERE and find the first weeks instalment for all the embroidery HERE.  I hope that you enjoyed all last weeks stitches!  This week we'll be adding all the trims to the pockets and sewing them together.  

BEFORE STARTING Always Remember to:

1. Read all instructions before you begin.
2. RST means right sides together.
3. All seam allowances are 1/4”.
4. FWOF means width of fabric.
5. If you need any help, please do get in touch!

Lets get stitching!

You will need the Fabric E 3 1/2" squares that you cut last week.  You should have 24 squares in total, 3 in each of 8 different fabric.  You will also need a selection of pretty ribbons, lace and buttons to trim them with, plus the numbers that you embroidered last week.

You will see from the photo below how I positioned my pockets, numbers and trims...feel free to choose your own layout.. you may for example prefer your numbers in numerical order.

I chose to had sew all my numbers and trims using Aurifil 50wt thread, but again if you prefer machine stitch them in place.

There are 6 different styles of trims, so you will make 4 pockets in each style, again used the photo below as a guide to their overall position on the advent calendar.

The following photo's give details of the number and trim placements of each style of pocket.  Remember you will make 4 pockets in each style of trim.

For the button trim pocket, I sewed the number in position and then added a small button to one of the corners.  I varied the position of the button on each of the 4 pockets (refer to the picture above).  For contrast, I  used the 12 wt that I had used previously for the embroidery for sew the button in place. 

For the two horizontal ribbon trimmed pockets and the lace trimmed pockets, you will see that I cut my ribbon a teeny smidge larger that 3 1/2" just in case any frayed slightly whilst I was sewing.  I then trimmed then to size once they were sewn in place.  (If you purchased a kit from us, we allowed aprox 10cm per pocket)


For the Heart ribbon, I simply folded the ribbon using the printed heart as a guide and positioned it so the raw edges (aprox 1/2") were hidden underneath the number..... I added a few little stitches near the raw edges to help secure the ribbon and then sewed the number on top.  I left the rest of the ribbon visible on the pocket, as a little loop.
For the 6th and final design, I simple sewed the number in place and using the contrasting Aurifil 12wt thread, I added a row of running stitch around the edge of the number square.

To complete the pockets, sew each of row of (6) pockets together.  Press the stitches to 'set' them, then press the seams open.  Each of the (4) rows should measure 3 1/2" x 18 1/2" .


You are now going add the Fabric F Pocket Linings.  You will note that the pocket linings measures 3 1/4" deep and the pockets measure 3 1/2" deep.  The reason for this is that when you turn the pocket through, with the lining being slightly narrower causes the pocket fabrics to overlap on to the back with the lining fabric.  So when they are sewn in place you will not have any lining peeking in to sight on the front of the Advent Calendar...good hey!

So.....with RST, place a Fabric F pocket lining and one of the pocket rows together.   Sew along the top edge measuring 18 1/2".  Press the stitches to 'set' them.

Next, you will need to pin the bottom edges together, because of the difference in depth.  Once pinned, sew along the 18 1/2" edge, remove the pins and then press the stitches to 'set' them.  You have now effectively made a tube with the shorter ends open.

Turn the pocket through one of the open ends and press.  Repeat for the remaining three rows.


That's it for this week, next time we'll be piecing all the front together.

Please remember, so that mum and I can follow your progress, if you're sewing along and sharing on social media please use the hashtags:

#alittlehappysewalong or/and #prettyfabricsandtrims

24 October 2017

A Little Happy Tutorial ~ WoolFelt Little House Pincushion

Many moons ago, I decided to make a pin cushion out of WoolFelt® in the shape of a little house.  The sort of house that you imagine tucked away at the end of a country lane, with creamy white walls, a faded terracotta pan tiled roof and with roses, lavender and a wisteria growing up the walls...



I made a pinky promise that I would share the pattern... it's taken a while, but today is that day!

The pin cushion in entirely hand sewn...my favourite.... and I used gorgeous WoolFelt® in pretty pastel shades, with all the hand stitches made in Aurifil Lana Wool thread...a dream combination!

The construction is very simple.... the little house has, as you would expect... 4 four walls, a base and a roof...

Each of the walls is then decorated.  I first position and sew on the windows, door and chimney breast and then free hand add the flowers.  The only thing that you need to bare in mind is to allow and aprox 1/4" seam allowance from all the edges, when adding the decoration.  Obviously you could draw on to the felt using an erasable pen, but it goes without saying do a little test to make sure you can remove any unsightly pen marks once you've finished.  Another alternative, is to trace your embellishments on to tissue paper, pin on top of your felt and embroider.  Once the embroidery is completed, you can then carefully tear away the tissue.... a pair of tweezers come in very handy!

I used a mixed of stitches, Blanket Stitch (a little happy tutorial can be found HERE), Back Stitch  (a little happy tutorial can be found HERE), Cross Stitch,  Lazy Daisy Stitch and French Knots (a little happy tutorial can be found HERE).

The eagle eyed will have spotted on the second version of the Little House...the one with the purple door, I added a little fan window on the front door and ridge tiles on the roof (well... a rectangle of felt, but to me it's ridge tiles!!)  


Whilst making Little House number two, I then got thinking about other types of houses in particular a Gingerbread House.....well of course it had to be done.....



This one is made from just two colours of  WoolFelt® I was channelling 'grown up' gingerbread house thoughts...with the decoration being white royal icing...but just think of the fun you could have adding sweeties (buttons) to the roof and candy canes around the door..... I just know I will have to make one!!!  The embroidery was very similar to the original, I just switched the flowers for a mix of nordic inspired designs.

The roof on the Gingerbread house was very easy, I simply added some scallops, sewing them in position with a row of back stitches, hidden underneath the next layer and added little cross stitches to secure the scallop......





The construction of the cottage is the same regardless of the design.  First sew the four walls to the base using Blanket Stitch.  They are effectively stitched wrong side to wrong side so that that Blanket Stitch is on display.....

Then stitch the four walls together at each corner.  For stability pop a piece of card in to the base...I use cereal box cardboard and cut it a smidge smaller that the base template.  Then start to sew on the roof.  This is a bit fiddly, particularly with the Gingerbread House, but persevere..it's worth it.  Once you have sew two of the walls to the roof, secure your thread and then add your choice of stuffing and maybe a little homemade sachet of dried lavender may be nice... or christmas spices. Then sew up the remainder of the seam.

If you would like to make a Little House Pin Cushion you can download the pattern for the original cottage HERE.

We've put together some WoolFelt® packs containing my favourite picks of colours for the original design, which can be found HERE...with careful cutting, you could make more than one cottage!  The pretty 'of white' I used is Fresh Linen if you wanted to add some extra to your basket.

An Aurifil Lana Wool thread pack of my favourite original cottage colours can be found HERE.



If you would like to make the Gingerbread House, this was made using Camel and Off White WoolFelt® available HERE and Aurifil Thread shades #8323 and #8328 available HERE.

That's it...I can not tell you how much fun they are to make.  I've had requests for a Halloween version also...sorry folks I ran out of time for this year, but who knows what seasonal variations I may come up with next year!

Don't forget if you decide to make a little house...please do remember to use the hastags

#PrettyFabricsandTrims / #ALittleHappyTutorial / #littlehousepincushion


Happy Stitches!

20 October 2017

A Little Happy Sew Along ~ Advent Calendar ~ Cutting Instructions and Embroidery


Welcome to week 1 of the Advent Calendar a little happy Sew Along!  Thank you for sewing along and big thank you to everyone that purchased a kit from us!!  This week, I'll be giving all the cutting instructions, plus we'll be getting all the embroidered elements ready.

BEFORE STARTING Always Remember to:

1. Read all instructions before you begin.
2. RST means right sides together.
3. All seam allowances are 1/4”.
4. FWOF means width of fabric.
5. If you need any help, please do get in touch!


Cutting Instructions

I've shown above the three different kits that we offered on the website...you can order one HERE, but by all means feel free to grab some fabrics from your stash!  

Here's what you will need to make your Advent Calendar:
  • A - Binding - Cut (3) 2 1/2" x FWOF strips
  • B - Front Top - Cut (1) 8 1/2" x 18 1/2" rectangle
  • C - Numbers - Cut (1) 7" x 17" rectangle 
  • D - Linen Front - Cut (1) 18 1/2" x 21 1/4" rectangle
  • D - Linen Christmas Countdown Panel - Cut (1) 5 1/2" x 10 1/2" rectangle
  • E - Pockets, from each of 8 different Fabrics - Cut (3) 3 1/2" squares
  • F - Backing Fabric - Cut (1) 20 1/2" x 31" rectangle (for those of you who purchased kits you can leave this piece of fabric as is)
  • F - Pocket Linings - Cut (4)  3 1/4" x 18 1/2" rectangles
  • H - Pocket Trims - a selection of ribbons and lace 
  • - Buttons - (4) small buttons for Pockets and (1) large button for the Countdown Panel
  • J - Ribbon for ties

You'll also need (not pictured)
  • Light Weight Sew In Interfacing I use Vilene L11 Cut - (1) 7" x 17" rectangle for the numbers and (1) 5 1/2" x 10 1/2" rectangle for the Countdown Panel 
  • Wadding - (1) 20 1/2" x  31" rectangle  (for those of you who purchased kits you can leave the wadding enclosed as is)
  • Aurifil 12 wt Thread or Embroidery Floss in a complimentary shade.

Lets get stitching!

First off you will need to print of THIS TEMPLATE, which includes both the numbers and also the Christmas Countdown text.

Rather than embroidering the numbers on to individual 2" squares, it's far easier to work with a larger piece of fabric.

So, on your Fabric C rectangle, using an erasable marker draw a rectangle measuring 6" x 16", then within this, draw a grid with 3 rows x 8 columns with the squares each measuring 2", you will have 24 squares in total.

At the centre of each square pop a little dot.....make sure that what ever you use to do this, it is erasable!!!

Transfer the numbers on to the fabric from the sheet you have printed off, using the dot (as shown by the arrow) to help you position them centrally within each of the 2" squares.  You may find THIS TUTORIAL helpful.   Using Back Stitch embroider all the numbers.  A Back Stitch tutorial can be found HERE.


Once you have embroidered all the numbers (1 - 24), cut using the drawn grid lines as a guide,  the (24) individual 2" squares.  From the piece of interfacing put aside for the numbers, cut (24) 2" squares.

Place a 2" square of interfacing on top of the right side of an embroidered 2" number square.  With a 1/4" seam allowance sew around all 4 sides.  Overlap the stitches at the start / end for a secure finish.
Snip off all four corners, taking care to ensure that you do not cut through the stitches.
Carefully cut a little cross in to the interfacing only.
Turn through.... a chop stitch is great for pushing out the corners.
Give each square a nice press and make sure that the centre dot reference point is removed.
Repeat for all 24 numbers!

The Christmas Countdown Panel is made in exactly the same way...just a little big larger.......  


You will need the piece of Fabric D Linen and the piece of Sew In Interfacing both measuring 5 1/2" x 10 1/2".

Then as before.......transfer the Christmas Countdown Text to the centre of the linen and embroider using Back Stitch.  Place the interfacing on top and sew around with a 1/4" seam.  Trim the corners, then pop a cross in to the centre of the interfacing...turn through and press.

Please remember, so that mum and I can follow your progress, if you're sewing along and sharing on social media please use the hashtags:

#alittlehappysewalong or/and #prettyfabricsandtrims

That's it's for this weeks Sew Along.  See you next Friday when we'll be working on the pockets and adding all the pretty trims..... my favourite bit!!