On the second day of Christmas

Posted on November 19, 2014 by Rae | 1 comment

We gave to the kids .....


.... a pencil wrap!


This tutorial was one of our most popular from last year so we just had to show it to you here again.  This wrap goes everywhere with me - it's perfect for whipping our when we're out to dinner, waiting at the doctor's surgery or when we're stuck in traffic.  The boys love it and the linen/cotton blend fabric it's made from is super-durable and kid-proof.




This tutorial can actually be used to make all sorts of projects.  You could narrow the stitched lines to accommodate knitting needles, widen one and add a pad of paper alongside the pencils to create a whole travel artist's set, or make lots of little envelopes to safely house your jewellery when you're on the go. I'm sure there's an idea out there to personalise this tutorial to make the perfect gift for just about everyone!



You will need:


  • 1 rectangle of fabric for the outside of your wrap
  • 1 piece the same size as the above for the lining
  • 1 piece of light to mid-weight fusible interfacing the same size as your lining
  • 1 piece of fabric for the pocket
  • a piece of binding or ribbon (we're using cotton twill) as long as the width of your wrap
  • two buttons
  • matching thread
  • scissors
  • a soft pencil and or tailor's chalk if you have it
  • something curvy to draw around (we're using a shot glass ... it was the only thing I could find the right size - honest!!)


1. At all four corners of your outer fabric draw a curved edge using your curved-edged-implement (that rolls off the tongue nicely!!!)




2. Repeat on all 4 corners of the lining fabric and the pocket fabric.



3. Iron your lightweight fusible interfacing onto the back of your lining fabric.  Cut the curved corners to match the lining.




4. Lay the pocket fabric onto the lining fabric and measure the pocket to make sure that it will be the correct depth for your pens/pencils/knitting needles/etc, taking into consideration your seam allowance at the top and bottom (we used a standard 5/8 inch seam allowance).  There will be no seam allowance at the top of the pocket (just the bottom) as this is where the binding will go.




5. Iron the binding in half and insert over the top edge of your pocket piece.  Pin into place.




6.  Sew the binding onto the top edge of the pocket piece, taking care that you sew close to the edge but catch both the back and front pieces of the binding as you sew so that you have a neat edge.




7. Now you need to form the actual pockets that will house your pens/pencils/knitting needles, etc. on your pocket piece.  Measure and mark the bottom edge of your pocket piece with a pencil or tailor's chalk. We allowed 2.5cm per pencil....




8. ...and match up at the top. You could draw the whole line in to guarantee accuracy if you wish.




9. Pin your pocket piece to the lining fabric and then sew a straight line from the bottom mark to the top mark. Make sure you stitch securely at the bottom but particularly at the top.  This area needs to be strong - think of all those pencils being pushed in and out by little unco-ordinated hands! Continue until all the pocket lines are complete.




10. So, the tops of your pockets should look like this ....




11. ... and the back, like this ...




12. Place your outer fabric piece on top of your pocket/lining piece faces together...




13. ... and pin all around the edges. You now have the pocket sandwiched inside the lining and outer pieces of fabric.




14. Sew around all around the edge using a 5/8inch seam allowance.  Don't forget to make sure you leave a gap big enough to be able to turn your wrap the right way round!  Secure at each end with a few reverse stiches.




15. Trim your seam allowance down around where you've stitched but not where the opening has been left. You need this extra fabric to make sure you can hand stitch this opening neatly later.



16. Snip into the curved edges (making sure you don't snip your seam!).  This will help give a nice neat finish when you turn the wrap in the right way.




17. Turn your wrap in the right way, paying attention to the corners, then iron so it's nice and flat. Hand stitch the turning opening shut.




18. Sew two button holes close to one edge of your wrap, according to your machine's manual (or look up a handy tutorial on Youtube if you get stuck!)




19. Roll up your wrap and mark a spot through the button holes.  Sew your buttons at these points.




20. Fill with lots of lovely pens/pencils/knitting needles, etc. 






Roll and button up!



21.  All that's left to do is wrap your wrap(!), place under the Christmas tree and await all the lovely compliments you'll get come Christmas morning.







 Right, we're on a roll, now! Come back later this week for another Christmas make.

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On the first day of Christmas

Posted on November 15, 2014 by Rae | 0 comments

We made some infinity scarves!


Welcome to our 2014 series 12 Makes of Christmas.

We ran this last year and we had so many lovely comments that we just had to do it again.  This year we will be bringing you a mix of brand new projects and the best of last years' in the hope that we can help take the stress out of your Christmas prep.  Be it present making for loved ones or super lovely ideas to decorate your home, we have ideas a plenty.  So, let's cut the waffle and get down to it - our very first project, the ever-so quick to whip up infinity scarf.



First things first, you need to decide how long you want your scarf to be.  For your first one you make (and we guarantee you'll definitely not stop at one!) we suggest you go for one of two nice and simple options which depend on the width of the fabric you are using.  The scarf I made here in the tutorial uses a lovely 56"/146cm wide cotton lawn. I wanted a relatively short little scarf for this so I just used one half metre of the fabric so it measures 146cm long by 50cm wide.  You can make this scarf with whatever width and length you want and you can also make it out of more than one fabric, it's entirely up to you and what kind of look you want to achieved.  This one I made using one fabric. If you are using 1 metre of 45"/110cm wide fabric cut the fabric in half lengthways so you are left with two piece of fabric both measuring 55cm wide by 100cm long and sew them together to make a long strip measuring approximately 55cm by 200cm. 


  1. Take your piece of fabric and fold in half widthways, right sides together.  The arrow in the pic below points to the folded edge.



2. Pin the fabric along the long open edge.



3. Sew along the pinned edge.



 4. You will now have a long strip of fabric with a seam along one edge.



 5. arrange the fabric so that the seam is in the middle as opposed to on the edge and press your seam open.



6. Turn your tube of fabric so it's right side out....



7. ... and arrange so that the seam is again in the middle instead of on an edge.




8.  Gather up both ends of the tube and align the seams together. 



9. Beginning at the seam, pin the two ends of the tube together.  Before you pin you could twist your scarf once so that the seams still align but you have a twist in the tube.  If you have a short scarf that you will not be doubling around your neck then this is quite important if you have a long scarf then this isn't really necessary.  The scarf gets twisted as you double it around your neck anyway and the twist can make it a right pain to iron!




10. You will get a certain ay and then this will begin to get tricky.  At this point do the same from the other side of the seam. Again you'll get a certain distance and then this will begin to prove tricky. Once you've pinned about 3/4 of the way around take it to your machine and sew.


11. Once you've done this your tube will look a little like this.  You'll be left with a small gap that you then hand stitch to leave a neat edge and you're done!


12. And there you have it, the first of your collection of infinity scarves.  Be warned - they're addictive!


 If you do make a scarf (that's not for a present - that's kind of spoil the surprise, wouldn't it? ) please share it on our Facebook page.  We love to see what you're all making! 


Check back soon for the second of our Christmas makes!

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The Twelve Makes of Christmas - oh yes, it's that time again ....

Posted on November 11, 2014 by Rae | 0 comments

Wow, what a busy time we've been having of late here at HQ.  So much activity going on here I really genuinely need to keep looking at the date .... "It's Tuesday 11th so it must be the Sewcial", kinda thing!  Yes it is the Sewcial tonight so if you're reading this and still haven't told us you're planning to come shout soon so we can save you a bit of cake.


We also have the very first daytime Sewcial here this Friday 14th 10.30-12.30. Can't wait to see what all you lovely ladies are bringing along.


Next week we've got two fantastic workshops lined up.  On Tuesday we have the lovely Sam Molloy here showing us how to make beautiful pictures using free motion embroidery. 



The class was an instant sell-out but we have two more coming up in January and February.




This workshop would make a lovely Christmas present for someone creative!


 Then on Thursday 20th at 7.30pm Jacqui will be showing you how to add a splash of customised colour to your home with a bespoke lampshade.




We still have a couple of spaces left on this class plus our daytime class that's happening at 10.30am on Wednesday 26th November.


And finally, last year we ran a hugely popular series on our blog throughout the festive season called 'The Twelve Makes of Christmas'.  This year we will be doing exactly the same - albeit we're getting started a little later than last year! We will bring you the best of last year's makes plus some new ones.  This really is essential reading if you plan to make your own gifts or decorate your home with some good old handmade crafty loveliness.  Check back later this week for the first of our makes, the criminally quick-to-whip-up (although we won't tell anyone!) infinity scarf....

 ... there you go, all your girlfriends and female relatives taken care of.  Don't worry, one of our new makes for this year is an awesome version for the lads (bear with us, really it is cool and they'll LOVE it!)

We've also got some fantastic makes for the kids as well as beautiful ways to add some festive cheer at home.... and for those of you who are thinking it's waaaay too early to be talking Christmas, remember that fortune favours the prepared - and that the time WILL whip by like a flash - it always does, doesn't it?  Hell, we're even choosing Christmas fabric for NEXT YEAR tomorrow. Well it's better than looking at it in January!




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Halloween Crafting at Fabric HQ

Posted on October 30, 2014 by Rae | 1 comment

What do you do when it's the school holidays and you run your own business?  Bring the kids to work with you, of course.  It's pretty boring at your Mum and Nana's shop on your own so the boys asked their friends if they'd like to come and play.

As it's the Halloween and Bonfire season, we wrote a list of fun things to keep everyone busy:  Trick-or-Treat bags were a must, given that there are Halloween parties to go to....





....creepy lanterns are cool for putting in the window .....




... and for the girls (or presents for sisters, cousins, friends) firecracker hair bands!



They are so simple, just a few bits of short ribbon tied around a hairband - but they look so good! A tutorial can be found here if you get stuck (really is very simple, though) but be warned - lots of pop-ups on the page!


Well that killed a couple of hours...thanks for coming kids - and parents who helped a 'little bit'!

What Halloweenie fireworkie craftiness have you been getting up to with your kids?

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Craft a Creative Business by Fiona Pullen – A Review

Posted on October 28, 2014 by Rae | 0 comments

Last week I had a particularly good mail day. I received a copy of Craft A Creative Business by the lovely Fiona Pullen of the Sewing Directory.  If you are thinking of starting your own craft business then this book is for you.  It is packed full of not only useful but totally essential information, encompassing everything from taxes and accounts to branding and marketing.



From my own personal experience I know that when you are running your own business there are never enough hours in the day and important stuff like goal setting and creating a properly thought through marketing plan often get put off due to the day to day realities of just getting stuff done. And anyway, we’re creative people, right? Who wants to get bogged down with all the boring stuff when we want to just get on and do what we know we’re good at?  Fiona’s book not only explains to you why it is important to understand dry subjects like copyright and business law, but also presents it in such a way that it’s actually pretty straight forward to understand.

Often my brain hits the ‘la-la-la-not-listening’ button whenever I am confronted with this sort of subject matter but not with this book. The layout means it is really easy to dip in and out of with important information easily found.  I have tried to read plenty of other guides to running your own small business with limited success. But Fiona has taken her own advice in writing this book – she knows who her target market is: creative people wanting to turn their love of craft into a successful business.



The book starts with an introduction explaining why now is a fantastic time to be starting your own craft business and then is broken down into six sections: Where Do I Start?, Legal Matters, Presentation, Social Media, Selling Online and Selling Offline.


Each section contains practical activities for you to complete which help answer crucial questions such as who your ideal customer is, what’s the best way to organise your website and what to consider when creating your logo.



Not only for start-ups, it’s a mine of useful info for anyone who is already running their own crafting business. Subjects such as SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) or how to help your website rank highly on search engines are explained clearly and the book is full of useful tips and tricks from industry leaders on matters such as website design, using social media and how good photography can boost your sales.



Fiona ends the book with a glossary of useful websites and books for further reading as well as a list of indispensible free online services to help with the smooth running of your business. I’ve only had the book a few days but it is looking well and truly dog-eared already!  Grab yourself a copy here and see why it’s number 1 in Amazon’s Starting a Small Business category.

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