Jess Christian from Craftiness is not Optional has a knack of juggling motherhood and her passion for crafting. Mother of three and a sewer of children’s clothing and accessory tutorials, she has a countless amount of projects under her belt. Jess has even sewn up felt food, but also finds time to whip up some tasty recipes on a separate blog, which she writes with a friend.
We find out more about Jess and what she does with her favourite medium, fabric and how to make a knotted necklace.
Tell us about yourself and how you got into sewing and blogging?
I got into sewing when I was expecting my first daughter, I wanted to make her a blanket and the rest is history! I got bitten by the sewing bug and never looked back. As far as blogging goes, I started out blogging for my family and friends, and when the sewing started taking over the blog, I switched over to just craftiness! I love it!
You have made a variety of tutorials for your followers, is there a project that you enjoyed making the most or one that has been a bit different to the norm?
I really loved making ribbon-wrapped fabric weights I have a whole bowl of them on my cutting table that I use constantly. They are easy to make and so colourful and useful!
Every sewer has a fabric stash for a rainy day, what do you plan to make with some of yours?
My stash could provide enough for a whole rainy month! I have plans for most fabrics when I buy them, but life gets in the way and sometimes the plans get shelved. I have lots of fabric set aside for more tops for me!
What advice would you offer someone who would like to take up sewing and is not sure where to start?
Start with sewing something simple, like a pillow or easy blanket to build up your confidence!
What plans do you have for the future? How would you like to develop your craftiness?
Someday I’d love to design fabric…I want to work on my pattern line and add some new ones soon…there’s always something to do, right?
What you will need:
1 yard 3/8″ wide piping
1/4 yard Liberty Fabric (you will have plenty leftover to make more than one!)
Jewellery end cap-3/8″ wide/18mm wide
Matching chain, jump rings, and clasp
Cut a strip of fabric 1.75″ (4.45cm) wide by the width of the fabric. Fold and press one long side of the fabric 1/4″(0.64cm), wrong sides facing.
Using the glue, and working a few inches at a time, apply a thin layer to the raw edge of the fabric strip, and attach it to the piping trim.
Wrap the fabric around the piping trim so that it overlaps the raw edge, then glue in place along the piping trim.
Knot it up! This part is up to you-I played around with knotting and twisting it till I was happy with how it looked. Cut off the extra piping trim on either end, making sure it is even and a few inches above the knot.
Dab some glue inside one of the end caps and push one end of the piping trim into it. You can use something thin to help push it evenly into the end cap. Make sure it is pushed in snugly so that the glue bonds! Let dry.
Attach jump rings to the end caps, then two pieces of chain to the jump rings. (Length is up to you!) Then to the other ends of the chains, add jump rings, then the clasp pieces. You are done!
Follow Jess on Instagram @craftinessisnotoptional
We love to see all your crafty makes, so why not share them with us on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram using #SewLiberty
Guest blogger Ali Winston has made this simple quilt mixing craft and new seasons Tana lawn fabric. Inspired by a nautical theme the front of the quilt is reminiscent of seaside linens. Ali experimented by using flannel instead of batting for the inside of the quilt, offering an amazing drape and cosy feel. It even takes up less space in the closet when tidying it away in the summer.
Ali tells us about her love for science and sewing:
‘I started sewing at a young age with my mum and grandmother. Thankfully those early projects are long gone with no proof of how bad they were! I dabbled in garments (disaster!) and duvet covers, but nothing specific held my attention. After putting sewing on hold during college, I rediscovered sewing while working in interior design. I bought the smallest, cheapest sewing machine to make pillows on. While the tiny sewing machine worked for simple pillows, Josh, my husband, could see that it needed to be upgraded. That Christmas he gave me the best present ever. The sewing hasn’t stopped since.
While quilts are my primary focus now, I enjoy all kinds of sewing challenges – from bags to garments to home decor. I’ve recently become infatuated with my over locker for finishing garments and pillows!
Sewing isn’t my full time job though. I currently work as a high school math teacher. It’s an interesting challenge and sewing is definitely a needed stress reducer at the end of the day! Even though sewing quilts heavily involves the maths side of things, I’m able to disconnect between being creative and being math oriented. I studied Architecture at an Engineering school, so my education was heavy on both art and math/science. I’m certified to teach art and math (although I think teaching art would be the death of me with all the messy projects happening at once!). I need structure, so math is more suited to that. I also tend to be very methodical with my sewing and designing too.
Still, I love blending the arts and sciences in my free time, which is how I came up with the idea for my book, Quilt Lab. Quilt Lab takes science and math ideas and turns them into graphic quilts. I also talk about my design process as something structured rather than pure inspiration. It’s been great to hear how many other people there are who are nerdy and crafty!’
3.5 yards (3.20m) Liberty Tana Lawn (backing, this fabric is 54” wide)
0.5 yards (0.46m) Liberty Tana Lawn (binding, this fabric is 54” wide)
Approx. 1 yard (0.91m) Liberty Lifestyle Scraps 1.5” – 3.5” tall (3.80cm – 8.90cm )
4 yards (3.66m) Essex Linen in Flax
5 yards (4.57m) flannel (pre-washed)
Assemble the Backing, Flannel, and Binding:
Step 1. Cut one 84” (2.13m) length from the backing fabric. Trim off the selvedges and set aside.
Step 2. From the remaining backing fabric, cut in the half to form 2 pieces 42” x 26” (1.07m x 0.66m). Trim selvedges.
Step 3. Sew the two pieces together using a 1/4” seam allowance to make one piece that is 83.5” x 26” (2.12m x 0.66m). Press seam open. *Pay close attention if you are using a directional print.
Step 4. Sew the 26” (0.66m) wide piece to the 54” (1.37m) wide piece along the 84” (2.13m) edge using a 1/4” seam allowance. Press seam open. You should now have a piece that is approx. 84” x 79”(2.13m x 2m). Set aside.
Step 5. Cut the 5 yards (4.57m) on flannel in half to create two pieces approx. 90” (2.29m) x width of fabric. Trim selvedges. Sew the two pieces together along a 90” (2.29m) length using is 1/2” seam allowance. Press open. You should now have a piece that is approx. 90” x 80” (2.29m x 2.03m).
Step 6. From the 0.5 yards (0.46m) for binding, cut 7 strips 2.5” wide. Sew pieces together to create binding.
Assemble the Patchwork Stripes:
Step 1. From your scraps, cut pieces that are varying lengths and 1.5” (3.81cm) tall, 2.5” (6.35cm) tall, and 3.5” (8.89cm) tall. You will need more 2.5” (6.35cm) and 3.5” (8.89cm) pieces than 1.5” (3.81cm) pieces.
Step 2. Sew the 1.5” (3.81cm) pieces together using a 1/4” seam allowance until you have a piece that is 70” (1.78m) wide (if longer, trim it down). Press all seams open.
Step 3. Repeat step 2 with the 2.5” (6.35cm) and 3.5” (8.89cm) pieces. You will need to create 2 70” (1.78m) rows of each of these.
Assemble the Quilt Top (using diagram as a guide):
Step 1. Cut the linen into to pieces that are 70” (1.78m) x width of fabric. Trim the selvedges off both. Set one piece aside
Step 2. From the other 70” (1.78m) width, cut:
One strip 16.5” x 70” (41.91cm x 1.78m)
Two strips 3.5” x 70” (8.89cm x 1.78m)
Two strips 2.5” x 70” (6.35cm 1.78m)
Step 3. Join the linen and patchwork together in pairs. Press seams open
Sew the 16.5” x 70” (41.91cm x 1.78m) linen to a 2.5” x 70” (6.35cm 1.78m) patchwork strip
Sew a 3.5” x 70” (8.89cm x 1.78m) linen to a 3.5” x 70” (8.89cm x 1.78m) patchwork strip
Sew a 2.5” x 70” (6.35cm 1.78m) linen to the 1.5” x 70” (3.81cm x 1.78m) patchwork strip
Sew a 2.5” x 70” (6.35cm 1.78m) linen to a 3.5” x 70” (8.89cm x 1.78m) patchwork strip
Sew a 3.5” x 70” (8.89cm x 1.78m) linen to a 2.5” x 70” (6.35cm x 1.78m) patchwork strip
Step 4. Continue joining the rows in pairs and pressing seams open until the bottom portion of the quilt is assembled.
Step 5. Sew the bottom half with stripes to the remaining 43” x 70” (1.09m x 1.78m) linen. Press seam open.
* I prefer spray basting. In this quilt I am treating the flannel as my batting. *
Step 1. Tape flannel to the floor so that the piece is taut. Smooth the quilt back onto it, right side up. Working in small strips, peel back the backing, spray the flannel, then smooth the backing back down.
Step 2.Repeat step 1 with the quilt top.
Step 3. Quilt by hand or by machine. Trim. Bind.
Guest blogger Kirsty Cleverly from Bonjour Quilts used to live in France before moving to Australia, which explains the her French hinting blog name. Kirsty began blogging as a way of documenting her travels and craft projects. If you’re looking for a small sewing project to work on and decorate your home with? Kirsty shows us how to make an appliqué embroidered wall hanging. This appliqué-and-embroidery project offers a way to showcase your favourite Liberty fabrics which you can see and enjoy every day. Kirsty tells us more about herself and how she found her love for sewing.
Tell us a little about yourself?
I’m Australian, a wife, a mum of four and quite mellow for a redhead. I’ve enjoyed crafty endeavours for as long as I can remember, starting with a Knitting Nancy (French knitting) at nine years old. These days I stick mainly to quilting and embroidery and love helping others to exercise their own crafting skills.
I enjoy all the stages of making things by hand. The design stage has me full of hope and energy (although sometimes an empty wallet). The actual sewing is calming and mindful and helps me unwind after a day of work or child wrangling. There’s nearly always a lesson in perspective, flexibility or determination when the project inevitably doesn’t turn out as I planned. And of course, there’s the joy in the final product.
How long have you be sewing and what was your first project?
My love of sewing began with cross-stitch when I was around ten or twelve I didn’t start machine sewing until I was a newly wed (aged 24) and my mum gave me her old machine. Those days I only sewed garments. When I was pregnant with my third child, for some reason the nesting urge compelled me to sew a quilt. I haven’t stopped sewing them since!
You dabble in a bit of everything from quilting to embroidery, do you have a favourite way of working?
Quilting is definitely my one great love, but we all need a little space sometimes. I enjoy hand sewing (English Paper Piecing or embroidery) for a change, and it’s also nice to have something small to work on when sitting on the couch with my husband.
How do you come up with new ideas and where to you find your inspiration from?
Pretty much everywhere. There are the obvious sources of inspiration such as home decorating magazines and Pinterest, but there’s also architecture, patterns in nature and landscapes – even advertising flyers in the mail. Sometimes just taking half an hour to play and sketch can yield some fun ideas, too.
Are you working on anything special at the moment or do you have something in the pipeline?
More quilts! I have my first pattern going on sale very soon and hope to back it up with another as soon as possible. I’m also planning more tutorials for my blog and some free block patterns that I send out in my newsletter. There’s so much I’d like to do – the problem is finding the time!
8 inch embroidery hoop
Liberty fabric scraps
Double sided fusible adhesive
Water soluble pen
Paper and pencil
Take your pencil and trace the inner circumference of your embroidery hoop onto paper. Using this template and your recurring shape of choice (in this case, one inspired by Moroccan tiles), sketch how you intend to fill your hoop space.
When you have settled on a design, use your pencil to trace the required number of shapes onto the paper backing of your fusible adhesive. Be sure to use pencil as pen will melt and run under the iron. Once complete, cut the shapes apart into rough squares and then iron them onto the reverse side of your Liberty fabric scraps, according to the adhesive’s instructions. Once cool, you can cut the shapes out as per your pencil marks.
Use the water soluble pen to trace the inner circumference of your hoop onto your ironed linen. Remove the paper from your Liberty shapes and arrange them on the linen as per your paper design.
Once you’re happy with the layout iron them in place.
Embellish your fabric shapes with the embroidery stitches of your choice – this is not only decorative but helps to further secure your shapes to the linen. In this case I sewed along several of the edges of my shapes, and for my single red tile I carried the stitches out further onto the linen.
Once your stitching is complete clean away the soluble pen circumference (I used a damp kitchen sponge) and iron face-down on top of a towel (to prevent flattening your stitches). Then simply remount your linen in your hoop.
Your piece is ready for display as is, but if you’d like to wrap your frame as I have, you can visit my blog to find more instructions on how to do this.
And there you have it – a beautiful piece of handwork to show off your favourite pieces of Liberty fabric.
We love to see all your crafty makes, so why not share them with us on Twitter, Pinterest or Instagram using #SewLiberty
Customise your feet this summer with pretty DIY Liberty print flip flops.
Make your flip flops one of a kind by revamping them with some Liberty print fabric. We have chosen a fabric from our New Season Belgravia Silk Satin range - Edna Colour way A. The possibilities are endless when you make your own flip flops and you will never see someone wearing the same pair as you.
What you will need:
Fabric of your choice
Needle and coordinating thread
Step 1: Cut 2 long strips of fabric 15cm x 133cm
Step 2: Fold in half, right sides should be facing, using a ¼ inch seam allowance, stitch along the width of the strip. This will create a tube for your laces, turn the tube the correct way round, do the same for the second strip. If you prefer you can cut and tear the strips and leave the edges raw if you like this look.
Step 3: Tie 1 strip on each side of the flip flop straps at the base, either stitch them into place or tie a knot (This will be covered up )
Step 4: Cut one long strip of fabric between 5 – 10cm x 133cm. Find the middle of the strip and wrap round the toe divide of the flip flop.
Step 5: Wrap each end round the bare straps and covering the tied straps at the end for a neat finish. Secure by stitching together.
Repeat the same step for the other flip flop
Criss cross the laces up your leg and they are ready to wear.
Optional: You can always embellish them with beads, buttons or embroider parts of the prints with stitching
Queen of sewing crafts and one of our favourite bloggers, Tilly Walnes takes you through one of her latest sewing projects.
Tilly Walnes is a DIY dressmaker and author of popular sewing blog Tilly and the Buttons. She’s been coveting florals and stripes, so has used Liberty print to add some floral flavour to one of her dresses. We caught up with her to find out what makes this blogger and businesswoman tick:
Do you have any favourite Liberty prints? If so what are they?
I absolutely fell head over heels in love with the Ornithology print. It was designed by Edwyn Collins, based on bird sketches he made daily as part of his rehabilitation following a brain haemorrhage. Not only is the story so inspiring, but the print is absolutely stunning. I’ve got some in my fabric collection but can’t quite bring myself to cut into it!
If you could cover one thing in Liberty print, what would it be?
Why, myself of course! Making dresses is my favourite thing to do in the world, plus you get to wear them out and about and show off the gorgeous fabrics.
What was the first thing you sewed?
The very first thing I sewed was a tote bag. The second was a yellow floral dress. There were a few mishaps along the way, from stabbing myself with pins to nearly sewing up the armpits, but the dress came together nicely in the end. I very proudly wore it out to a New Year’s Eve party the next day!
Who are your sewing icons?
I am addicted to reading sewing blogs, and have so much admiration for all the talented people out there showcasing what they’ve made and sharing tips to help others to do likewise. A couple of favourites include Paunnet and What Katie Sews – they both have a strong sense of their own personal style and consistently make gorgeous things.
What has been your favourite sewing project so far?
That’s like asking me to choose a favourite child! I can’t pick just one, but one of my absolute favourites is a recent project – a colour blocked Coco dress with a turquoise yoke and striped bodice. I also love my Moonrise Kingdom-inspired jacket – it has lots of lovely details such as bound buttonholes, a houndstooth lining and a mini cape, which I do believe is called a “capelet”!
Where do you get inspiration for new sewing projects?
Much of my dressmaking inspiration comes from the late 1960s, in particular from French New Wave films (I have a master’s degree in film history and lived in Paris in my early twenties). Many of the modern, young styles still look so fresh today. Oh, and a non-official strapline for my dressmaking designs is “What would Zooey Deschanel wear?!”
What inspired you in the first place to make sewing such a big part of your life?
It all started when I was working an office job and suddenly had an overwhelming urge to make something with my hands. I felt like I’d lost the creativity I’d enjoyed as a child and wanted to rekindle that feeling, so I signed up to a beginner dressmaking class. I fell head over heels in love with sewing from that point on, started my blog, and never looked back! Gradually my blog grew, and eventually I decided to take the leap from my other career so I could share my love of dressmaking full time. I wrote my book and am now focusing on building up my sewing patterns and workshops.
What do you think of the younger generation of sewing enthusiasts?
It’s absolutely wonderful that a new generation of people are discovering the joy of making your own clothes. Everything I do with Tilly and the Buttons is about encouraging more people to take up dressmaking, particularly those who have never learnt to sew. Traditional sewing resources can, unfortunately, be intimidating to the uninitiated, with their technical language and confusing diagrams, which is why my own sewing patterns translate the jargon and include colour photos of the steps. I want people to enjoy the process and feel proud of what they’ve made at the end of it.
Finally, if you were locked in the Liberty haberdashery department for a night, what would you do?
Well I wouldn’t get any sleep, that’s for sure! I’d be up all night fashioning a gorgeous dress out of the most beautiful fabric I could find. And of course I’d pay for it in the morning.
THE PROJECT: HOW TO MAKE YOUR OWN FLORAL & STRIPES PATTERN
‘Recently I’ve become a little bit obsessed with a couple of outfits I’ve seen on Pinterest which combine delicate floral prints with bold stripes to create a modern, feminine style. So I decided to recreate this look myself, by incorporating appliqué Liberty floral fabric cut-outs into a dressmaking project. I’ve used Edna B Tana Lawn Liberty print.’
If you want to make the dress shown below, you can buy Tilly’s sewing pattern. Alternatively, just grab an existing top or dress from your wardrobe to give it a whole new look.
You will need:
¼ metre Liberty print fabric (larger designs work best, and you may need less depending on your design)
Coco sewing pattern (see above) + 2m – 2.7m striped low-stretch knit fabric (or an existing striped top or dress)
Iron-on transfer paper (eg. Bondaweb)
Iron, ironing board and pressing cloth (a piece of cotton muslin or a tea towel will work)
Sewing machine OR hand sewing need
Thread (either contrast or matching)
How to make:
If you’re making your dress from scratch, cut out your garment fabric. You’ll find it easier to stitch the motifs onto the flat pieces of fabric before they have been sewn together. If you want to place the flowers draping over the shoulder as shown, attach the sleeves to the bodice first, but wait to sew up the underarm and side seam until you have added the appliqué. If you’re appliqué -ing onto an existing top or dress, just be careful not to catch the underside of your garment in the stitching.
Choose the areas of the floral design that you want to appliqué onto your top or dress, and cut a large square around them.
Place the fabric face down on an ironing board, then place a piece of iron-on transfer paper on top, with the shiny adhesive side face down. (Make sure the paper is smaller than the fabric, otherwise it’ll stick to your ironing board – doh!) Apply a hot, dry iron (no steam) on top for about 5 seconds to fuse the paper to the fabric.
Cut out the floral motifs, leaving a couple of mm stitching allowance around the sides of the flowers.
Decide where you want to put the motifs on your dress. You may want to dot them all over, just on the sleeves, or on another area of the garment. Peel off the paper backing and carefully lay the motif sticky side down onto the garment fabric.
Lay a pressing cloth over the top and use the iron to fuse the motif to the garment fabric for about 10 seconds.
Now you can stitch around the motif, a couple of mm from the edge. You can do this on your sewing machine using a long stitch (3 – 4mm), taking your time to carefully navigate the curves and corners. Alternatively you could simply hand sew it using a running stitch.
If you’re sewing your dress from scratch, you can now stitch it together following the pattern instructions.
Et voila! You have a gorgeous – and unique – new dress
We love to see all your crafty makes, so why not share them with us on Twitter or Pinterest using #SewLiberty.
Feeling inspired, why not get crafting this weekend and make your own Liberty print piece? Discover our newest arrivals in Liberty print here.