On the Twelfth Day of Christmas

Posted on December 18, 2015 by Rae | 0 comments

We did some Christmas Embroidery!

Christmas Embroidery at Fabric HQ

Christmas day is now only a week away so this last installment of the 12 Makes series definitely has to be a  QUICK PROJECT!!


We used Sweetwater's brilliant Multi Coloured Quilt Labels from the fantastic Holly's Tree Farm collection as the base fabric for this fast little make.  It means that you can choose a festive design and have it presented beautifully - no fuss, no stress. In fact spending a little bit of time on this project was the perfect antidote to the craziness of this time of year.  And because I didn't want to be stressing over how to get this looking perfect, I found a fantastic tutorial on how to do cute little holly leaves here at Needlenthread.com.

So here's how it works:

Sweetwater Holly's Tree Farm Embroidery

1.  Grab yourself a tiny embroidery hoop, some embroidery thread, needle and fabric.

2. Measure a circle around the embroidery hoop big enough that the edges meet in the middle on the back of the hoop.

3. Choose and embroider your design on to the fabric.


Sweetwater Holly's Tree Farm Embroidery

4. sew a running stitch near the edge of the circle of fabric and draw it in tight to gather the excess fabric on the back of the hoop.  Secure with a few stitches.


Sweetwater Christmas Fabric for Moda Hollys tree farm label fabric

5.  Find somewhere lovely to hang your gorgeously festive message!


You could use this project for all sorts of things:  Labels for Christmas presents, embroider your Christmas lunch guests' names and use them as place settings, add a festive design and create napkin rings or sew tiny designs as Christmas decorations.  Just the stress relief you get from a bit of hand embroidery is enough of an excuse in my book.


Have a stonkingly great Christmas, everyone.  Thank you so much for all the lovely comments throughout the 12 Makes 2015 blog series.  We really do appreciate it when you take the time to comment.  Here's hoping you all have an amazing creative 2016, full of lots of sewing time!


Merry Christmas everyone, from all of us at Fabric HQ!



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On the Ninth Day of Christmas

Posted on December 04, 2015 by Rae | 0 comments

Jacqui made Cloud9 Fabric's lovely little Cloud Zip Bag!

Cloud9 Cloud Purse

A simple little project this week for our ninth make of Christmas.  Who wouldn't love to see this fluffy little cloud purse in their stocking?  Jacqui found this project over on the Cloud9 blog and used Spring Woodland from First Light by Elois Renouf for Cloud9 but other fabrics we'd love to use for this project include:

Murmuration Agave from Canyon by Kate Spain for Moda Fabrics

Kate Spain's Murmuration Agave from her latest collection, Canyon


Dream A Little from Faraway Forest from Lizzie Mackay for Blend Fabrics

Faraway Forest, Dream a Little Blue by Lizzie Mackay for Blend


Arboretum Inspirit from Succulence by Bonnie Christie for Art Gallery Fabrics

Bonnie Christie's Arboretum Inspirit from her collection Succulence for Art Gallery Fabrics.


See you next week for our tenth make - can it REALLY by that close to Christmas now - crikey!!!!

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On The Eighth Day of Christmas

Posted on November 27, 2015 by Rae | 1 comment

Sam made a beautiful Mistletoe Wreath!

The simple beauty of this wreath has got me seriously changing my opinion of sewn Christmas door wreaths.  I usually make my own up from the trimmings from the Christmas tree and whatever berries and winter foliage I can scavenge from the woods near my house (that's the traditional thing, right?  Finding beauty in Nature, even on the darkest of days?)  I must admit to not being a big fan of sewn Christmas wreaths in general but this year, I've been converted!  I just can't get over how beautiful this looks. I really don't think my photos do it justice! Also I absolutely LOVE free motion embroidery - it's the most addictive thing.  Not tried it yet?  Do.  Now!


Over to Sam...


You will need:


Green cotton fabric – I used Winter Wonderland Mistletoe by Dashwood Studio


Hessian/firm linen fabric for backing

12” twig wreath – mine is from Hobbycraft

2m white bobble trim

8mm pearl beads

Fabric glue – I used Gutermann HT2


Sewing machine with darning/embroidery foot

Mistletoe template (if you google 'mistletoe' you're bound to find something you can print and use as a template)


How to make it:

1. Start by cutting out your mistletoe template and drawing round it onto the back of your green cotton fabric as many times as you want.  I used several different templates – actually all cut from the same picture; I cut the large template up into smaller ones once I’d traced it a couple of times.  Make a few more than you think you’ll need. 

2.  Cut a piece of Bondaweb large enough to cover all your mistletoe shapes and iron it on to the back of the fabric, glue side down on the fabric.  Protect your iron with a piece of greaseproof paper between the iron and the Bondaweb to ensure you don’t get any glue on the iron, or ironing board.

3.  Peel the paper backing off the Bondaweb and cut out your mistletoe shapes. 


4.  Place these onto the hessian/linen fabric, protect with some more greaseproof paper and iron in place.  Leave enough space between each shape so that you can cut them out with a little border of hessian showing.



5.  Lower the feed dogs on your sewing machine and put the darning/embroidery foot on.  Using a thread colour of your choice (I used black so it stands out, but for a subtler look you could use a thread that matches your fabric) stitch around each shape, just inside the edge.  I like to go round a couple of times to catch any bits I missed the first time and to give more definition.



 6.  Cut the mistletoe leaves out, leaving a small border of hessian around the edge of each one.


7.  Sew a few pearl beads on some of the leaves – I just put beads on the largest pieces, but you could do them all if you like – for the berries.


8.  Take your twig wreath and wrap some white bobble trim round it.  I used 2 metres, which gave me enough to tie a nice big bow at the top.



9.  Start arranging your leaves on the wreath until you get a design you are happy with.  You could put leaves the whole way round, or just part way like I’ve done.   I tucked some of them under the bobble trim for a bit of variety. 


10.  One piece at a time, glue the leaves onto the wreath.  On the larger pieces I put glue all the way down the central “branch” of the mistletoe, but on the smaller pieces I glued each one dependant on where the leaves touched the twig wreath.  Because the wreath is uneven, you will find the leaves need glue in different places.  Leave the wreath lying flat until the glue is dry.  If you wish, you can add a hanging loop to the back.


This looks soooo beautiful indoors or outdoors.  Thank you so much Sam for another amazingly clear tutorial.  Can't wait to make mine!


If you hurry, there's still 15% off this fabric and all our Christmas fabrics until midnight tonight!

Happy Stitching!








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On the Seventh Day of Christmas

Posted on November 20, 2015 by Rae | 1 comment

Karen gave us a tutorial for making this cute little owl pincushion!

This is such a gorgeous little project!  As the weather turns colder (yes, there's even a flurry of snow forecast for tonight!) we're stepping up our preparations for the big day.You can make this as a pin cushion to give to sewing friends, family or for your kids' teachers as a Christmas gift but we couldn't resist making it up into a Christmas decoration too, by adding a little hanging string.

This is such a simple make and an ideal scrap buster needing only 3 pieces of fabric measuring a teensie 6cm by 11cm each! 

Over to Karen for the tutorial:

You will need:

  • 1x piece of fabric a minimum of 6cm wide by 11cm high for the owl's front
  • 2x pieces of fabric a minimum of 6cm wide by 11cm high for the owl's back
  • wool and embroidery floss for owl's feathers and beak
  • 2x buttons or more embroidery floss for eyes
  • 1x large button for the base
  • rice/wool balls/toy stuffing
  • thread
  • needle
  • scissors

(use a ¼ “seam throughout)

1. Cut two of the template shapes above out of the fabric you have chosen for your owl's back and one from the fabric chosen for the front. To print your template, hover over the template picture above, right click your mouse and copy and paste it into a word document.  Resize the picture so that it is about 12cm high and then print, making sure your printer is set to 'actual size'.  If you have trouble with this, email us at hello@fabrichq.co.uk and we can send you a PDF of the template.


2. With right sides together, sew the two back pieces together along one long curved seam,.Open out, the place the front piece, again right sides together, against the back.

3. In one long seam, start at the bottom edge, go up to the top point and go down the other side, leaving the bottom seam open. Trim the seam at the point and turn right side out. 


4. With the front piece facing, fold you shape flat and tack a line of small stitches 1” down from the point as this area doesn’t need stuffing. Turn a small hem up around the bottom and sew with a strong thread, leaving the end free for drawing up.

5. Stuff the body using either toy filling, wool balls, rice or a combo of each. If you are using your owl as a pin cushion you may want to use a combination of wool balls or toy filling at the top and rice at the bottom to help weight your owl down and stop her falling over.

6. Then draw up the thread at the base, putting a few stitches in to keep it closed.


7. Cut the wool into 4 or 5 strands, each 2” - 3” long and lay along the line of the tacking. Keep in place with a few stitches.

8. Then fold over the point at the line of tacking, then remove your temporary stitches, this creates your owl's face.

9. Use the embroidery thread to make a few straight stitches to hold the point in place and form the beak.

10. Attach the large button to the base of the owl to cover your drawing in stitches and to form a steady base.


11. Sew on buttons for eyes or use you embroidery floss to sew some star bursts for eyes instead. Trim ends of wool if necessary.


The pattern can easily be adapted to make larger or smaller owls but please be safety conscious and remember they are not toys.

Thanks to Karen for this brilliant little tutorial. 

That's it for this week's make.  We're more than half way through now but we've got lots of exciting projects to look forward to over the next few weeks.

Happy stitching!


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On the Third Day of Christmas ...

Posted on October 21, 2015 by Rae | 2 comments

Sam made us a free motion embroidered Christmas Village!  You could put this lovely piece of art/sewing into a frame or directly onto a card for  very special Christmas greeting... use it for gift tags, napkin rings, your imagination is the limit!

We're so lucky to have Sam Molloy as one of the brilliant tutors that run classes here at Make HQ - check our Sam's blog here where she records her adventures in stitching. One of Sam's most popular classes is her Free Motion Embroidery workshop and if you fancy coming along we've just put another class on in January - time to drop some well placed hints for a Christmas present, maybe?




Now it's over to Sam for her fantastic tutorial...

You will need:

  • Base fabric – this is what your picture will be stitched onto, so you need to choose something firm and stable.
  • Christmas fabric. In this tutorial I’ve used Christmas Dreams Christmas Village by Wendy Kendall for Dashwood Studio.
  • Iron on interfacing.  
  • Bondaweb
  • Tissue paper or greaseproof paper.
  • A darning or embroidery foot for your sewing machine.

Choose a Christmas fabric with a nice simple design, you’re going to be cutting the design out and sewing around the edges of the pieces, so the more intricate the initial design, the more intricate your cutting and sewing need to be!


First prepare your backing fabric by ironing a piece of medium weight iron on interfacing to the back. It doesn’t need to cover the entire fabric, just the area you will be stitching into later. This is to stabilise your backing fabric and prevent it stretching when you sew.


Roughly cut out the elements of the design on the Christmas fabric you want to use and place them right side up on the ‘glue’ side of a piece of Bondaweb.



Place a piece of greaseproof paper over the Bondaweb and press with a hot iron to melt the glue so that it adheres to the back of the fabric. Please remember the greaseproof paper, otherwise you’ll have to spend the next hour cleaning glue off your iron!


Peel the fabric pieces from the Bondaweb backing, cut them out neatly and arrange them in your chosen design on the backing fabric.



If you’re going to layer the pieces, you will need to apply and stitch the bottom layers first, so at this point it might be helpful to take a photo of your design to help you can remember where everything went.  Iron any pieces that will be part of the ‘bottom’ layer onto the backing, using a piece of greaseproof paper between the fabric and the iron to prevent any remaining glue from catching on the iron.



Put your darning or embroidery foot on your sewing machine and lower your feed dogs. You’re now ready to start stitching your design in place. Carefully stitch round each piece of your image separately. I like to use black thread and go round twice, to form a more solid outline, but you can experiment to see what looks good to you.


You can just go around the edge, or stitch into the fabric design to pick certain elements out.



Once you’re happy with the bottom layer, you can add your other pieces, once again placing a piece of greaseproof paper between the fabric and the iron.


Stitch the second, and any subsequent, layers in the same way as the first, adding as much detail as you like. You can see I decided to change the position of one of my trees when I came to do this layer.



Mount or frame your finished free motion embroidery. A small embroidery with one or two elements would look great as a Christmas card, a much larger one could be used to make a cushion cover or you could even make a set to use as placemats for your Christmas table. The choice is yours!


We hope we've inspired you to get your darning foot out and give this a go?  Check back soon for the HQ Fourth Make of Christmas!




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