The Handmade Fair First Timer

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As I see myself as a relative newbie to this whole “handmade scene” and I now write for a business snuggled in the thick of it, I thought it only right that I should fully immerse myself and go to my very first craft fair! The Handmade Fair seemed like the perfect excuse! Not knowing what to expect at the beginning, it turned out to be one of the best days ever!

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As part of my ticket I signed myself up to doing a couple of the workshops. After a quick mooch around one of the sellers’ tents it was time for the first class – Make your own necklace and bracelet with I MAKE KNOTS! It was clearly super popular because even though we arrived 10 mins early the tent was nearly full. Riannon was super sweet and had time for everyone as we all had a go creating fun jewellery from thick jersey “wool.” Definitely something I’m going to try again at home. “Keep knotting!!” was Riannon’s sign off, and I shall!

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Shopping and mooching around the stalls was just wonderful… but slightly dangerous. I wanted everything! Luckily I had saved a bit of spending money specifically for the show, and I’m glad I did! Though I could have spent a lot more… Here are some of my favourite stalls:

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Acorn &  Will

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Death by Tea

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iBeads

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The Alice Boutique

The next workshop I’d signed up for was for Jane Means Ric Rac Rose. Honestly, I didn’t know what Ric Rac was before this class, but I love roses and soon learnt as they handed us all a piece of Ric Rac whilst waiting in the queue. After a very quick intro we got to making the roses. Very simply roll up the Ric Rac and sew one end together to make the bottom of the rose! Done! She next talked us through how to make a paper envelope. Would have been nice if we could have done it along with her, but hopefully I’ll remember how it went.

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Then it was snack time! We had to get the churros and a Pims. Yum! We had another mooch around the stalls where I met the gorgeous Tilly of Tilly and the Buttons. Then we headed for main tent to get ready to watch the lady herself Kirsty Allsop and her friend Joe Canta chat about cocktails. I got chatting to the girl next to me in the auditorium about her beautiful dress. Her mother had made it the week before for her, and she spoke about upsizing the pattern as she was so tall. Of course I told her about Sammy’s sizing up blog post a few weeks ago and she was very grateful. 🙂

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The cocktail show was fab, I was gagging to try all the delicious drinks they made though! Then with that it was time for home and to go through all my fabulous treasures from the day. I’m so sad the Christmas version is so far away from me(in Birmingham) but I can’t wait to get to another craft fair very soon. I’ve heard Renegade is a great one!

DSC_2117DSC_2126DSC_2128DSC_2131DSC_2121Did any of you get over to the Handmade Fair? Did you find an awesome designer/maker I missed? Let me know!

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LBD Halloween Costumes

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We’ve all got one, that Little Black Dress, that “go to” safety net when we need something chic but simple to wear, it may even be in the “well loved” stage by now, but we’ve all got one. We thought it might be fun, considering the season, to see what we can do with this old favourite, adding a couple of low cost touches, and maybe help with some costume inspiration!

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– The Witch – maybe an obvious choice considering the colour, but it’s incredibly simple to create. A simple felt hat (cone and circle), sewn or glued together, bright coloured tights, some black boots, and a comedy broom! You could even carry around a cuddly black cat toy for extra comedic value. Or leave it out for a classier look 😉 Don’t forget the dark make up, purples and greys, and a nice dark lippy. Check out this awesome spiderweb cape tutorial for that final touch >>> http://www.deliacreates.com/no-sew-halloween-spiderweb-cape-tutorial/ 

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– The Cat – How about becoming the witch’s companion itself. Grab an alice band, bend couple of pieces of wire into ear shapes, or some stiff black felt, stuff a leg of some black tights for a tail, bit of kitty make up and you’re done.

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– Flapper – This is a cool one. Just add a super long necklace, beaded if you’ve got it; wrap a bit of black ribbon with a feather sewn on, round your head; get a black straw as a cigarette holder, and a shawl or a feather boa to wrap around you! Easy!

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– Flamenco Dancer – something a bit different! Sew a layer of bright red fabric under the hem, tie a bit around your waist, make a fan from some card, slick your hair back into a tight bun and add a bright red rose, maybe made out of the same material to tie it all together.

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– Audrey Hepburn – here’s a classy one, and it’s all about the hair. Once you’ve got that down grab those false eye lashes, all your sparkly jewellery, those over sized sunglasses, a black straw for a cigarette holder, and if you’ve got them, some black silk gloves. Unmistakably Audrey.

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AUTUMN IDEAS

It’s my favourite time of year! Not only does Autumn mean jumpers, crunchy leaves, hot drinks and blankets, but it’s also a lot of family birthdays around now (inc mine) and my favourite holiday – Hallowe’en! I’ve been glancing over at the cupboard where my decoration boxes hide for a few days now… When is it TOO early to decorate do you think? I’m too excited!

To quench my pumpkin addiction for a few more days I thought I’d hunt around for some fun Hallowe’en and Autumnal crafts we could get stuck into!

Here’s my top ten – including something for everyone hopefully!

Crochet Skulls I’m a crochet NUT it could be safe to say. So I just had to find some spooky skulls to get my teeth into. I tried one pattern but it didn’t quite work, this one worked better and I haven’t been able to stop creating the little guys! I think it will become some bunting to add to my decoration box! – https://kristinskrazyknits.wordpress.com/2013/01/10/day-of-the-dead-skull-motif/

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Crochet Cardigan My old crochet cardi has just just bitten the dust after I wore it to death, so I think its time for a new one, and this time I’ll make it myself! This one looks nice and relatively simple to follow. Could even incorporate the skulls! – http://web.archive.org/web/20110813020219/http://www.naturallycaron.com/projects/montreal/montreal.pdf

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Pom Pom Critters This is a cute and simple one to do with the kids or in front of the telly! This batties and spiders are ADORABLE! – http://www.liveitloveitmakeit.com/2014/10/make-it-spooky-spiders-and-vampire-bats.html

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Pumpkin Pincushion Eee! This is so cute! I’m going to use this ALL YEAR ROUND!  – http://www.liveitloveitmakeit.com/2013/10/make-it-pumpkin-pincushion.html

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Floating Ghosty I’ve wanted to make these for years! I think this year might be the time to actually do it! They seem so simple but really effective! Love them – http://www.onegoodthingbyjillee.com/2012/10/spooky-floating-cheesecloth-ghost.html

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Autumn Leaf Bunting This is such a sweet and simple project. We could make an afternoon of it. Going hunting for leaves in the park then coming home, stick the fire on, and make the bunting together! <3 Even the idea of this makes me so happy! – http://www.writelikenooneswatching.com/2014/10/autumn-leaf-bunting.html

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Batty Wall Art I did these last year. I think they are self explanatory enough with just the photo, they don’t need a link. Love them so much, so effective!

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Sock Kitty Another simple craft that is good enough with just the image. I can see our kitty going crazy over this thing. Might have to make a couple!

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Spooky Spider Frames How gorgeous are these? Something else I’d probably keep up all year, if I got the colours right.

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Perfect Pumpkins Lets not forget that all important pumpkin carving! But who does the traditional faces anymore?? I love trying to be creative every year. The last few years I’ve done a cat, a face being sick (using the stuff we took out from inside the pumpkin) and a “geek”. Where can I go to get some more creative ideas I wonder? Oh yeah, Pinterest 😀 Link – Pinterest Pumpkins

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Let me know if you try any of these! You can share them with us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram using the hashtag #SHOWCRAFTY – Can’t wait to see them all! xx

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Fire Safety Around Fabrics and Children’s Product Testing Information.

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There has been a lot of buzz in the press over the past year or so around the subject of fire retardant fabrics when it comes to children’s clothing and naked flames. Especially centred around the horrific accident that happened to The Great British Sewing Bee presenter Claudia Winkleman’s Daughter Halloween 2014.  You can watch her interview and read more about what happened on The Guardian’s Website. The story is a stark warning to us all, but I feel the message is being lost, the message is one, yes, of taking care with cheap synthetic Halloween costumes, but also and more importantly of fire safety.

The fact is that virtually no fabric is immune to a naked flame. In some cases fire retardant treatments have been know to actually cause more problems than they solve, making fabrics burn faster and hotter than without those chemicals. What needs to be focused on here is the matter of fire safety for all, which includes the care and attention when purchasing ready-made clothing or costumes or fabric for adults and children. Most ready-made garments have to undergo testing before they can be sold in shops, by law, however few of us these days take the time to read the small print on the labels that warn against flammability. I am obviously an advocate of making your own costumes, but even then I wouldn’t advise that someone wearing  a handmade costume would be any safer than a shop bought costume next to a naked flame.

There are some other situations I have been asked about lately that I would like to mention here too. Some of the cotton fabrics we stock now require advice against the use of them for Children’s sleepwear. This is due to the testing that Children’s sleepwear has to undergo in order to be deemed safe for use in that manner. It is only related to sleepwear, garments that are surrounding the entire body, interestingly the legislation does not require the same level of testing for bedding, quilts or day time clothing.  Read the regulation document for more detailed information. The potential for these fabrics to catch fire over ones that have been tested are no more or less likely, often the only difference is the fabrics that you would buy from a fabric shop may not have undergone the testing that ready-made garments require in order to be put on sale as a products intended for children. This is the reason these fabrics and we who sell them are required to share the advice that they are not suitable or intended for Children’s sleepwear. If you choose to go against the advice and make some kids PJ’s out of that fabric, you do so at your own risk. It is no more or less safe than the fabric that has been used in ready-made garments for any other reason than that it has not been tested for that purpose.

If you are making things for babies and children the rules are very clear. If you are making things for your own children you do so, again at your own risk, there are steps you should be taking, but at the end of the day you are responsible for taking those steps. If however you decide to make something for another child that is not your own, even if it is a friend or relative you NEED to be very, very careful. If you make something for a child and that child is hurt in some way by that product, or as a result of that product, in the eyes of the law you are responsible. If you choose to make and sell products for babies or children (classified as under the age of 13) even if it is only a from home set up, or at school fairs etc. (you are classed as a manufacturer) if you don’t have these items tested it is illegal and again if your product causes harm to a child, you by law will be held responsible. There is a reason that children’s toys and clothing can be expensive and some of it can be put down to the cost involved in the testing of these products.

As with any legislations like these they are put in place for one reason, to protect our selves and our loved ones from harm. Our advice is in line with the Fire Department and Government guidelines to always be vigilant around fire, naked flame, fireworks, heaters or anything that could potentially cause your child to be burned. All fabric has the potential to burn and cause damage to the child or adult wearing it.

I am by no means an expert in any of these fields, these are just the things I have picked up over the years that I have been working with fabrics. If you are in any doubts about how to protect yourself and your family from the risks of fire check out this Government released Fire Safety leaflet. Or Fireservice.co.uk where you can find advice for fire prevention for many different situations.  If you are interested in finding out more about Children’s product testing visit The British Toy and Hobby association,  or this guidance page on the Government website or if you want to know about sleep-wear legislation in particular check the UKFT.org.

I hope that this post has been helpful in some way to anyone who has been worried about any of the issues covered here. If you have any questions, or if you have more information that might be helpful to anyone reading this please leave a comment below. If there is anything you believe to be false or misleading then also please feel free to comment and I will take them in to account.

Sammy xxx

QUICK CUTE COASTERS – DIY

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This DIY was originally created for a quick and easy idea for a Father’s Day gift, but I don’t know anyone that wouldn’t love a set of coaster created just for them. We have hundreds of fabrics that would be perfect for this project.

Why not try this one for your Mum’s birthday – http://www.sewcraftyonline.co.uk/product/dashwood-suffolk-garden-dandelion-carpet-fat-quarter/

Or maybe theme it to fit in with someone’s kitchen colour theme? This fits mine perfectly – http://www.sewcraftyonline.co.uk/product/dashwood-flurry-spice-fat-quarter/

You can literally do anything you like! I love these!

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You will need:

  • A pack of cork coasters (Amazon have these exact ones for super cheap)
  • Mod Podge
  • A paint brush
  • Any fabric scrap
  • Lamifix (We sell it in the shop or Amazon again have a wide range)
  • Scissors
  • An iron

How to:

  1. Start by placing your Lamifix matt side down onto your fabric and as per the instructions on the pack, iron it in place. Now you have wipe proof fabric!
  2. Paste your cork coaster with Mod Podge, make it a nice even layer.
  3. Wait for around 30 seconds until the glue is tacky rather than wet and place it face down onto the back of the fabric. Press down on the coaster and leave it to dry for about 20 mins. You can pop a book on top to keep it pressed down firmly.
  4. Once the glue has dried take a super sharp pair of scissors and cut around the cork. Repeat these steps until you have a full set of awesome coasters!

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Let us know if you make these! Email me on carly@sewcraftyonline.co.uk – I’d love to see what fabric you’ve chosen!

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PINTEREST: PERFECT PINS

So unless you’ve been hiding under a social media blackout blanket for the last few years, you won’t have failed to notice, but probably become utterly addicted, to the wonderful world of Pinterest. I have to admit, pretty much pinteresteverything I have wanted to do, create, plan, find inspiration for, you name it, in the last couple of years, I have gone straight to Pinterest, created a board and resurfaced at least 12 hours later with exactly what I want, and had a blast in the process.

I have planned parties on there, baked amazing cakes, helped my friend plan her wedding, designed beautiful birthday cards, created fun costumes, decorated at least 3 rooms in my house, planned my creative space, decided what hair do I might like next, learned how to crochet, found great content for social media and painted myself a great Sugar Skull face. To name but a few!

As a shop that is all about creativity and inspiration, of COURSE Sew Crafty has a few Pinterest boards. In fact we have a whole shop account with hundreds of inspiring images, some from the shop itself, some just because we love them and have made us want to create amazing things from the bits and bobs around the shop. Come and have a mooch! Repin to your hearts content, we encourage it! – www.pinterest.com/sewcraftyshop

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By the way, did you know, to aide in your blossoming Pinterest addiction, you can add what they call an “add on” to your browser (thats the window you are looking at this website on). This add on means that if you hover your mouse over any image, a little “Pin it” button pops up. If you click that it automatically lets you add that image to one of your Pinterest boards!

This is what this looks like on our blog and site:

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Install this add on to Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer or Safari now using this link: https://help.pinterest.com/en/articles/add-pin-it-button-your-browser

On our website actually, once you click inside a product page, you may have noticed we have added our own little “Pin it” button under the description! This does the same job without adding the add on. We love it!

What’s the best thing you’ve planned on Pinterest? What board do you think we should add to ours? Lets get the conversation started! 🙂

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QUIRKY QUIPPERS REVIEW FESTIVAL OF QUALITY QUILTS

Festival of Quilts – Special Report

In the last newsletter we asked you guys to send us in your thoughts on this years Festival of Quilts. Guest writer Alexandra Brancato-Merritt of AllyBrancatoDesigns wrote us this fantastic report of her day. Thanks Ally!

I’ve only been sewing about 15 months so it was my first time at Festival of Quilts & I went on the Saturday. I got there on an organised coach, but it did take the coach driver about 40 minutes of driving around & around the NEC complex before he finally found how to get into the drop off zone at the entrance as there were quite a few of us with mobility issues so we couldn’t walk from the far away car parks. None of the NEC staff seemed to know where we should go & there was a complete lack of signs & organisation. 

Anyway we got in a bit later than expected so I immediately went to Hall 9 to see if there were any places left on any Quick & Easy Workshops. Unfortunately all but 3 courses were sold out when I got there at 10.15am, but I was lucky to get a place on “Landscapes: Two For The Price Of One” course with Mick Stead at 1pm. After I booked that I wondered around Hall 9 & then came across the Rowandean Embroidery stand & they had a little class running on their stand which I signed up for & started, even though I’ve never done any embroidery before, so I was a bit scared of it. But I soon realised it wasn’t as daunting as I’d always thought. I was there over a hour & surprisingly really enjoyed it & found it really relaxing, but I didn’t fully finish my project as I had to go to the other class I had signed up for.

The short 2 in 1 Landscape pictures course was only for an hour so not much time to do much, but the idea was to learn the technique by cutting out the fabric for the main parts for 2 separate patchwork landscape pictures & Bondaweb some parts & for the most pin them in place so you could take them home to finish off & sew them at home at your leisure. It was also a technique to teach you to think how to carefully cut things out to make the most of your fabrics so you can use 1 small piece of fabric for 2 different projects, especially if you had hand dyed them yourself & to limit any scrap wastage.  It was such a fast paced course I did have some trouble keeping up as I’m not the fastest, but I did really enjoy it & I’m really pleased I had something to show for it at the end & when I get the chance I will finish them by sewing them both, embellishing & then quilting.

The picture below shows the unfinished embroidery I did at the show.

The picture below shows the unfinished 2 in 1 Landscape pictures I did on the course at the show.

After that I spent the rest of the afternoon looking at various quilt exhibitions and exhibitors & supplier stalls & I spent lots of money of course. I did see everything in Hall 9 but I didn’t manage to see everything in Halls 8 & 7 as there just wasn’t enough time before our coach was due to pick us up at 5pm. I can now see why people told me it really takes about 2 days to see everything at the show & to take a shopping trolley to put everything in that you inevitably purchase, which I’ll bear in mind for next year’s show.

It really was an amazing day, it’s given me some great ideas for future projects, I learnt a variety of new techniques, I have 3 projects started from the days 2 classes I took & even more enthusiasm for patchwork, quilting & sewing than I had before. I will definitely be going again next year & I would love to do another Quick & Easy course at the show next year but I will definitely pre-book it in advance next time. I was also quite surprised the show wasn’t as busy as I had expected it to be on the Saturday & that the show was so well spaced out so that those with mobility problems can easily get around, so next year I will hire a mobility scooter there for just £15, which you can either pre-book or hire on the day subject to availability.

My favourite quilt displayed was a really effective & bold tree wall-hanging below, which I can imagine myself doing elements of;

I also loved these 2 bold quilts below;

Helen Martin got in touch to let us know about the amazing artist she discovered at the festival:

Had a fabulous time at my first Festival of quilts, top of the pile for me was the work by American Artist Luke Haynes who creates digital pictures of himself and then uses appliqué to create the photograph, plus traditional log cabin, or half square triangles for the background. He must have used hundreds of different pieces of different fabric, the effect was stunning.

It was a hugely inspiring day, completed by plenty of shopping! Thankfully a bunch of masseurs were on site to give aching muscles a rub!

Thanks for getting in touch ladies! Looks like you both made the most of a great event.

Did you pop down to the festival this year? How do you think it’s changed over the years? What caught your eye this year? Please do comment below and get the conversation rolling, its what its there for! 🙂

 

CREATE A SIMPLE POUCH FOR YOUR BLOGS BEST FRIEND – AND MAKE IT SNAPPY – DIY

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All good bloggers/business owners know that the key to a beautiful looking online presence are some beautiful photographs. Our cameras are always with us, whether on our phone, or the more professional DSLRs, we like to make sure they’re safe and covered from the elements, right?

The product of this project is a perfect gift for a photo taking loved one, or keep it for yourself and make it totally personalised. We have a TON of perfect fabric in the shop for this make.

Like this gorgeous monochrome heart cotton – http://www.sewcraftyonline.co.uk/product/heart-cotton-mp1510/

Which would go beautifully with this mini spotted cotton – http://www.sewcraftyonline.co.uk/product/mini-spot-cotton-mp1520/

Or how about this funky Star Wars print – http://www.sewcraftyonline.co.uk/product/star-wars-comic/

With this white and gold cotton print – http://www.sewcraftyonline.co.uk/product/mini-gold-stars-cotton/

Do let us know if you make the pouch and what fabrics you decided to use! Use #showcrafty on any social media and we’ll see it.

 

 

You will need:

  • 2 Fat Quarters
  • Scissors
  • Measuring Tape
  • Wadding
  • Tailors Chalk
  • Sewing Machine
  • Pattern – download pdf here

How to:

  1. Cut out both pieces of fabric using the pattern. I scaled to the size of A2 paper to fit my camera. Might need some adjusting to yours.
  2. Sew arrow shapes to central section on each piece of fabric to close gaps.
  3. Sew both pieces of fabric to each other, right sides together. Do not sew over bottom diagonals.
  4. Cut out wadding so slightly smaller than sewn edge & pull wadding through as you turn fabric right side out. Use gaps to arrange wadding into correct place.
  5. Place both openings right side together and sew to create the pouch. Turn right side out and sew up opening!

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Ta da! Its that simple! Why not make one for a friend too!

I didn’t use a sewing machine for this, yes… I know. I cheated. I will start using it soon, promise! But this is what Sew Crafty is famous for. Easy sewing crafts you can do with or without a sewing machine, just using some gorgeous fat quarters! Stay tuned for lots of DIYs like this! I can’t wait to get my teeth, and pins, into some more!