Friday, 15 February 2013

No-Sew fleece tutorial for Abakhan

One of the few times my son loves to help with my fabric obsession is if I'm making a novelty quilt or blanket, and so making a no-sew fleece blanket was right up his street. I did this as part of the Abakhan blog challenge, to choose and make items from their store of goodies for under £15. This one was great fun.
We chose a little over a metre of two fleeces - Abakhan have a huge selection here, and we took some time, but fell for the moss sheep and the bright striped fleece. So my fleece choice was kindly supplied by Abakhan.
Fleece comes in wide measures, and the size was perfect for what I needed - a small oblong blanket/wrap but obviously you might want a bigger piece. The beauty of this blanket, is it's easily flexible in terms of making it to your own requirements.
First of all, we laid the two fleeces right sides together:

and I then did some trimming to straighten up the edges and remove the selvedge:
After that, you need to cut a square from each corner. I did this more or less by eye, using my quilting rule, and took a 4 1/2 inch square out. You could alternatively make a template out of card or paper to do this. Again, there's no set rule here - if you want a longer fringe, make the square 5 or 6 inches. It's not set in stone!
So we were left with the corner cut out
And we did this to each of the four corners:
Then we begun cutting the fringe around the edge, cutting in the same amount as the square and making the cuts roughly 1 inch wide.
I used my cutting mat as a rough guide, but didn't worry too much about this, as small variations really won't show on the finished blanket.
Then we knotted. We tried two methods. We double knotted each strand on the long side - so knotting the two ends, one from the sheep and one from the stripe fleece together. Pull the first knot gently to the cut, then tighten with a second knot. We did these knots on the longer side. We tried a looping the double strand over its neighbour and pulling through the resulting gap for the short side. Both methods work, so again, no set rule here. Just a case of the look you prefer.
And we ended up with a lovely warm blanket. All my children love this one. You can see the effect of the different type of knotting we did on the long and short edges. I quite like having the edges defined differently in this way.
This was good fun, and definitely a good activity for boys as well as girls! I hope this has helped if you want to try it out.

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Recovering a mannequin - Part 1

So, it's time for another mannequin makeover. This is one I've had for sometime. I love the shape and the stand - it's a metal stand, though you can't really see it here, but it's had a horrible stretch silver fabric.

I had to take off lots of tacks, which were holding the fabric cover in place:

Then it was easy to remove the cover, which I reversed and used as a pattern...
I'd chosen a stretch jersey, with a pretty red flower on cream design. I folded it, smoothed it out and pinned in place
and cut, then sewed around it.
I'll be back with more pictures as the light is pretty awful at the moment, but I'm so pleased with the way it's working out.

Friday, 1 February 2013

The Great British Sewing Bee - should be fun!

I'm sure lots of you have heard about this, especially those interested in sewing, but just in case anybody's not heard about it... there's an interesting looking programme coming up... The Great British Sewing Bee is meant to be on BBC in March or April. This apparently follows the formula of the Great British Bake Off. It should be fun.
I found details of the book on Amazon already... here