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.
Guest blogger Kim Niedzwiecki returns again, this time to show us how to a make a cathedral window planner cover. Plan all future sewing projects with this journal and never miss an opportunity to jot down an idea again. You can use all your scraps with this project or treat yourself to some new season’s fabric.
Kim tells us why she chose this project,
‘I wanted to make something that would be a great scrap buster, something beautiful, and something useful. The printed fabrics were the four inch squares (approximate measurements) treasures that were not used in the Lovetag quilt that I made last year. This planner cover has a secure closure and a zippered pocket to make sure that you have everything you need and that it will all stay put while you are on the go!’
An inexpensive planner measuring 8 ½ inches x 5 ½ inches
Two 6 1/2 inch x 2 inch strips
Two 3 inch x 2 inch strips
Three 4 1/2 inch squares
One 11 inch x 5 1/2 inch (for zipper pocket)
One 13 inch x 3/4 inch x 10 inch (for the liner) or you can use muslin
Fabric scraps for the scrappy cover I used 50 4 in squares
Three 2 inch square print fabric
Two 1 1/4 inch square print fabric
One 4 inch x 3 1/2 inch
Two 3 inch x 4 inch (for zipper tabs)
Lightweight fusible interfacing (I used all Pellon interfacing)
Two 10 inch x 5 1/2 inch pieces
Paper backed fusible web
Three 2 inch squares
Two 1 1/4 inch squares
Medium weight fusible interfacing
One 4 inch x 3 1/2 inch piece
Other bits and bobs
Thread ( for this project I used Aurifil 40wt)
Buttons of your choice
9 inch zipper
Snap or Velcro for your closure
Cathedral Windows Block
Firstly measure your cathedral window base fabric you will need 3 x 4.5″ squares.
Fold each in half and sew the short ends closed.
Match up the center seams.
Then sew the top, leaving a space in the middle to turn.
Next trim the corners, then using a turner or the back of a small paintbrush (that is what I used) try to get the points as nice a possible. Then give your square a good press!
Press edges in to give you a guide for your center fabric.
To connect the windows, take two blocks and line the corners up.
Pin the tip and sew along the pressed line and repeat the process on the opposite side.
Sashing of the cathedral windows
Press the 2″ fabric strips under 1/4″.
Pin to the back of the windows with the press mark lined up with the press mark of the window. Stitch into place and stop 1/4″ from the edge.
Take the other strip, again pressing under 1/4″ and pin it.
Open the cathedral window and sew along the seam making sure to stop at the edges of the window.
Flip the window edge over and sew the strips together making sure not to sew the window edge.
Attach paper backed fusible interfacing to the printed fabrics. The large background prints are 2″ and the smaller ones are approx 1 1/4″.
The edges for the larger blocks will be exposed and the interfacing will help to keep them looking tidy and in place.
The window curves fall naturally into place when folded over. You can pin or glue baste them into place prior or just go pin free!
You can see that the centers are not perfect and that is perfectly okay!
These are going to be covered by buttons so no worries about a little wonky. If you wish to not have buttons, you can hand stitch the centers of the windows together before you add the sashing.
Trim the block to 7″ x 2 1/2″.
To finish the outer cover, dig into your Liberty print scrap bin and start piecing scraps together.
Make enough of the patchwork squares to create a center action that measures 14 1/2″ x 12″. Two side flap sections that will measure 11″ x 4″ and 11″ x 3″ for the zippered flap. The back flap will measure 11″ x 5 1/2″.
Sew them all up until you have enough to measure 14 1/2″ x 12″.
Find you favorite buttons and hand stitch them on!
For the quilting, I chose straight lines with 40wt Aurifil. The 40wt gives quilting with a little more “show” and the straight lines do on compete with the beautiful flow of the cathedral windows. I used my presser foot as my guide that made for quick, easy and somewhat precise quilting lines.
After the quilting trim this section to 13 3/4″ x10″.
The tabs are two 3″ x 4″ pieces of fabric. Press ends under 1/4″ and then fold in half.
Fold over the end of the zipper and using a 1/4″ seam sew into place.
Repeat this process with other end.
Piece together two sections, one 11″ x 4″ and one 11″ x 3″ cut matching pieces of lightweight interfacing ( I used Pellon SF-101) and attach interfacing using the manufactures recommendations.
Sew each section to a solid piece of fabric using a 1/4″ seam.
Time to put on your zipper foot.
Turn the fabric over and press giving a nice finished edge. Place the section on one side of the zipper. You can either pin or glue baste in place if you desire. Sew each side down along side the zipper using a stitch length of 3.3 or your preferred length.
Your zipper pocket flap is finished!
Trim the zippered pouch to 10″ x 5″ and lay the zipper front on the 10″ x 5″ piece of solid fabric.
Return your stitch length to about 2.5 and using a 1/4″ seam to sew around the entire rectangle, this creates your pocket.
For the second inner flap, take the other 11″ x 5 1/2″ pieced rectangle, attach your interfacing and trim to 10″ x 5″ then put these two flaps aside.
Cut a 4″ x 3″ piece of fabric and a 4″ x 3″ piece of heavyweight fusible interfacing ( I used Pellon Craft Fuse). Attach interfacing using the manufacturer’s instructions.
Right side facing sew around two sides of the fabric to create a tube and trim the edges.
Turn the tube right side out and topstitch around three edges.
At this point you have a choice between fasteners. You can use snaps ( that was my choice) or you can use velcro. For my snap closure, I hid the male snap piece between the fabrics by using the opening at the bottom to wiggle it to the top. If you will be using velcro you can add this now and maybe try a decretive stitch to make it more fun!
Construction of the Planner
Lay the flap pieces right sides facing to the front and the back of the main panel and sew using a 1/4″ seam.
Leave a 2″ opening in the middle of the back flap to create a space for your tab to be inserted.
Insert the snap on the right side checking to make sure of the correct placement and mark the spot for the placement of the female side of the snap or the Velcro.
Sew in place and trim the excess, next add the other side of the snap or the velcro to your planner cover.
Press seams toward the center panel and the lay the muslin or 13″ x 3/4″ x 10″ fabric on top solid fabric.
Sew entirely around the panel starting on the back flap leaving a 4″ opening at the bottom so you will be able to turn the cover right side out.
After you have finished sewing, trim all the corners. Turn the sewing journal right side out and press.
Pin the flaps in toward the center, pin and then sew using a 1/4″ seam around the entire cover.
Make sure to trim or bury your threads.
Follow Kim on Twitter @gogokim
You can share your Liberty print projects with us on Instagram, Twitter and Pinterest by using #SewLiberty.
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Handmade by Alissa is the blog of modern and minimalist Alissa Haight Carlton a quilter, author and mother. Alissa’s distinct contemporary style of blocks of colour was one of the reasons she started the Modern Quilt Guild which she co-founded in 2009. Creating a community to share projects online and in person. Along with her day job of casting stars for television shows she has a passion for sewing and making quilts. There is never a wasted minute and luckily Alissa had some spare time to answer a few interview questions for us.
Tell us about yourself?
I live in Los Angeles with my husband and two year old son. I am a modern quilter and designer, author and blogger. I’m also the Executive Director of the Modern Quilt Guild. I have written two modern quilting books, Block Party and Modern Minimal. I work part of the year at the career I’ve had since pre-quilting, casting Project Runway. I blog very sporadically and I enjoy posting on Instagram as so much is said with an image.
Have you always been a quilter and who or what inspired you to make your first quilt?
I have not always been a quilter at all – I have been quilting for six years now. But it’s been a very intense six years! When I starting quilting, I took to it like a fish to water and have made a lot of quilts since. I was first inspired to make a quilt in early 2008 when I came across the flickr group “Fresh Modern Quilts”. For the first time I saw quilts that would fit into the design and taste of my home. The craft of sewing quilts appealed to me enormously and so seeing modern quilts made me want to dive in and try it myself. I bought Denyse Schmidt’s first book and from there I am self taught. I cringe when I look at that first quilt, but I have learned by doing!
You often work with blocks of colour and have a contemporary style, where do you get your ideas to make your quilts from?
Well, unlike a lot of quilt designers, I’m not someone who says “I have a million ideas in my head all the time!” I have to work to come up with my ideas and designs, they don’t just show up all the time… My tried and true policy is to always just “make the next quilt.” I don’t worry about it being hugely different from the quilt before it. I never make the same quilt twice, and I always design my own quilts, but I wallow in a colour story and design ideas for a long time. I find that I end up making a series of quilts and while they are all very different from each other, I don’t stress about reinventing my entire design wheel with every single quilt. I allow myself to explore the same ideas over and over and this helps me a lot.
In terms of the nuts and bolts of coming up with designs, I use Illustrator and find that just sitting in front of my computer and dragging around this rectangle or that and mixing and matching colours… just playing around… leads me to new and interesting ideas.
Your quilts are always finished with diverse quilting techniques, what sewing machine do you use? Are you lucky enough to own a long arm quilting machine?
These days, I tend to only straight-line quilt my quilts. It’s a texture and look that I’ve fallen in love with and I don’t think that I’ll be back to the free motion for a time to come. We’ll see… I am very lucky to be a part of Janome’s on-loan program and I sew with their Horizon 8900. I love it. It’s very big and it’s fantastic for all of the (admittedly very time consuming) straight line quilting that I do. I don’t have a long arm (we have a tiny house in LA, so it’s not realistic any time soon) but I don’t mind so much as straight lines are possible on my home machine.
How do you think your work has developed over the years?
My work has change enormously over the years. If you look at my first quilts and my most recent quilts it’s a bit hard to see a through line. But if you look at the work along the way, it’s there! I have always worked with lots of solids and bold colours, but as my work has grown I’ve developed a more minimalist graphic aesthetic.
What do you do with all your finish projects?
I have recently slowed down a lot with the projects that I get completed (I’m so busy with so many other things in life right now that the time to sew has dried up a lot!) but when I do sew I tend to always be sewing a project with it’s purpose in mind. It’s either for a baby shower I’m headed to the next day, or I might be on a deadline for a project for a publication. It varies!
Can you tell us if you have some exciting projects coming up?
Well the Modern Quilt Guild has QuiltCon coming up in February in Austin, Texas and that has me very busy these days. I also have a quilt in the recently released book, Lucky Spool’s Essential Guide to Modern Quiltmaking. From there, I’m just working at keeping up with the things I have going on right now!
Follow Alissa on Instagram @alissahaightcarlton
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