15 Aug

Dip-dyed tote bag

dip-dye tote bag 2 jemima schlee dip-dye tote bag 3 jemima schlee

photographs Emma Sekhon

. . . transform a vintage food sack into a unique tote bag – perfect for market shopping or a visit to the beach . . .

You will need:

Vintage food sack

7cm x 84cm medium weight heavy cotton or linen fabric for the bag outer (this includes 16cm which folds in at the top of the bag to meet the lining)

Contrasting hand dye
37cm x 84cm linen or cotton for lining

Making notes

44cm x 84cm firm fabric stiffener

Thread to match your outer fabric colour

Scissors
Sewing machine
Key ring 35mm diameter 71cm brown leather handles Linen sewing thread
Large sewing needle

1

Make a basic ‘sack’ with your cotton outer fabric. Fold your material in half along its longest length. Sew a 1cm hem by machine along one long edge and one shorter edge. There is
no need to finish off the raw edges in any way as the bag is lined. Wash your basic sack without using fabric softener.

Attach the top edge of your sack to the central section of a
broom handle or wooden pole with masking tape or thumb
tacks. Roll it up around the pole smoothly so that if you
balance the pole across a plastic or metal bucket (I used my kitchen sink) the sack hangs down, it’s just above the bottom of the bucket or sink. Prepare your dye following
the manufacturer’s instructions.Lower the sack into the dye
and gently stir it, avoiding splashes onto the main body of
the fabric. Then leave for an hour and finish following the instructions on the packet. You can raise or lower your fabric
by turning the pole, thus affecting the depth of your dyed section  (Teo bags shown in photograph).

dip-dye tote bag 4 jemima schlee

2

Using an iron, flatten the base of your sack and stitch across the two bottom corners at right angles to the body and 7cm measuring along the bottom seam from the point, creating a
flat base and box corners for your bag.

dip-dye tote bag 5 jemima schlee

3

Prepare the lining by folding the lining fabric in half and stitching a 1cm hem along two long edges and one short edge. Repeat step 2 to replicate the box corners of the outer sack. Make
a key ring tab with a scrap of the lining fabric, 8cm x 11cm. Fold it in half along its length and press with an iron. Open
up the fold and fold the two long edges in to meet the centre crease, then fold in half again to encase the raw edges. Tack and machine a few millimetres from the edges along all sides.

Slot the lining (right side out) into the sack (wrong side out) aligning the top edges (the lining is shorter than the sack because the top fold will be along the edge of the stiffener, the outer fabric lining the top 15cm of the bag). Tack 1cm from the top edge. At the same time, take the key ring tab, fold it in half, and position it at the mid-point along one side between the outer and the lining

dip-dye tote bag 7 jemima schlee

4

Machine along the tack line. Leave a 12cm gap on the top edge opposite the key ring tab for turning out.

Turn the bag out and close the gap using slip stitch. Fold the lining and 15cm of the outer to the inside of the bag: this should be along the top edge of the stiffener. Tack along this fold over stitch through all layers 1cm from the top edge. Put the key ring onto its tab.

TIP

I used vintage French pasta sacks found in a car boot sale. If you are fortunate enough to find something similar, adjust your stiffener and lining material quantities to the same dimensions, remembering to allow for 1cm seams and calculate the fold in at the top where the outer meets the lining.

Some fabrics take dye better wet, some dry – try out two small scraps of your fabric first (one wet and one dry) – if the wet fabric ‘draws’ the dye better, quickly soak your fabric and wring out to dye it whilst your dye is still warm.

Resources

Dye: www.dylon.co.uk
Leather handles: www.bags-clasps.co.uk Linen sewing thread: www.coatscrafts.co.uk

 

31 May

Box bunting favours

 

 

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photographs Emma Sekhon

…a different twist to bunting – make cardboard boxes and fill them with sweets at summer parties and celebrations …

You will need:

Assorted A4 patterned 240gsm card

(check that your printer will take this weight if you are printing the template directly onto the card)

Scalpel or scissors

Double sided tape

Bone folder (optional)

Hole-punch

Tape, string or ribbon for hanging

1

Photocopy the template onto the reverse/plain side of your patterned card.

Using a scalpel and working on a cutting mat cut along the blue lines of the template.

box bunting 5 jemima schlee

2

With a ruler and a bone folder or the handle of your scalpel, on the reverse/ plain side of the card, score along the orange lines of the template.

box bunting 6 jemima schlee

3

Apply double-sided tape to the shaded area A on the reverse/plain side of the card and trim flush to the edges. Peel off the backing tape and, using your card off-cuts, stick a contrasting patterned card on this area.

box bunting 7 jemima schlee

4

Trim flush with the edges.

Apply double-sided tape to the shaded areas B and C of the template on the patterned side of the card and trim flush to the edges.

 box bunting 8 jemima schlee

5

Punch a hole with your hole-punch in the centre of flap A.

 box bunting 9 jemima schlee

6

Peel off the two remaining strips of tape backing and assemble your box bunting (B to B, C to C).

Thread your box bunting onto tape or ribbon through the punched holes.

box bunting 10 jemima schlee

TIPS

When scoring your card, run the bone folder (or the handle of your scalpel) along the edge of a ruler several times – be careful not to cut yourself with the blade. Retaining the position of the ruler, slip the bone folder or blade handle under the card and gently push the card up against the edge of the ruler to create a sharp crease.

Resources

Card: www.craftcreations.com

Bone folder: this is a bookbinding tool used for scoring and folding, available from www.payperbox.co.uk

29 May

Lined linen purse

linbed purse jemima schlee

photograph by Emma Sekhon

… snap open a plain linen purse …

& reveal a rich patterned interior – perfect for a neat little sewing or first aid kit to take on your travels…

you will need:

14 inch x 12 inch plain linen for outer
14 inch x 12 inch heavy fabric stiffener
14 inch x 12 inch floral fabric for lining
5 inch glue-in clip purse frame
Threads to match your fabrics
Scissors
Sewing machine
Sewing needle and pins
Iron
Fabric glue

1

Use the template to cut two pattern pieces from your outer fabric, your lining fabric and your fabric stiffener.

Take your two pieces of lining fabric and place them right sides together. Pin or tack to align the raw edges. Stitch a 3/8in seam by machine along the sides and bottom edges between the two marked dots. Leave a turning gap of 2 1/2in along the bottom seam as indicated. Reverse stitch at the start and finish of all stitching for strength.

Press the seams open with a hot iron – this is a bit fiddly, so take care not to scorch your fingertips with steam. With your work still wrong side out, and starting with one of the bottom corners, create the flat base by putting your hand inside the lining and pushing the corners out and away from the seam. Align the side seam exactly with the bottom seam and press flat so that the corner forms a triangle. Press with a hot iron. Mark a stitch line across the corner by measuring 1in from the tip along the pressed seam. Stitch along this line. Trim this seam to 1/8in.

clip purse photo 2

2

Place your two pieces of outer fabric together, sandwich them between the two pieces of fabric stiffener, pin and tack. Stitch all four of these layers together between the two marked dots with a 3/8in seam as before. Reverse stitch at the start and finish to strengthen.

clip purse photo 3

3

Repeat step 2 to create box corners for the flat base.

clip purse photo 4

4

Cut notches in both the outer and the lining pieces just where the stitching starts and ends. Turn the lining piece right side out and place it inside the outer, stiffened shell (which is still inside out). Align all the raw edges and the side seams, and pin.

Starting at the top center of one side, stitch a 3/8in seam 
all the way around – stop at
the side seams with the needle down, raise the foot and manipulate your work under it so that you can continue without breaking the stitching.

clip purse photo 5

5

Clip notches out of your selvedge, near to but not through the stitch line, along the top curves.

clip purse photo 7

6

Carefully ease the purse right side out through the turning gap. Slipstitch the turning gap closed by hand.

clip purse photo 8

7

Now tease and manipulate the layers along these seams so that you have a good crisp edge all around the top opening. Pin or tack before topstitching 1/16in from the edge.

clip purse photo 9

8

Open your frame out wide. Run a line of fabric glue along the inside of one half
of the frame, starting and stopping 1/16in from the hinge at either side. Do the same along one side
of the purse opening, starting and stopping 3/8in from each side seam. Insert the fabric into the frame, taking care that the sides are at similar levels first and then feeding the center in. Use your fingers or a knitting needle to push the fabric is pushed snuggly in, and make sure that the line of topstitching is hidden. Leave to dry fully before gluing the other side.

clip purse photo 10 clip purse photo 11

Resources

Patterned fabrics (V&A Teal Fat Quarter Bundle): www.vandashop.com

Silver purse frame and fabric glue: www.bag-clasps.co.uk

 

 

03 Jan

Ice tumbler votive

ice votive jemima schlee

photograph by Emma Sekhon 

…ice tumbler votives make a magical welcome on your front steps, flickering  with tea lights and a little ground frost…

1

Pour 1cm of water into a glass tumbler and freeze.

2

Place a smaller tumbler inside, hold in place with two elastic bands, fill the gap between them with water and freeze.

3

To release, fill the smaller tumbler with warm water and slip it out. Run warm water over the inverted larger tumbler until the ice slips out.

4

Place a tea light inside – this will float as any melted ice collects in the bottom of your ice tumbler.

25 May

Appliqué footstool

 

photographs by Emma Sekhon 

…a project to transform an old footstool and add a striking shot of colour & pattern…

 

You will need:

Footstool

(Roughly) 25cm of felt in turquoise, pink, red and orange (nb: felt can run, so either dry clean or use linen or coloured drill in its place)

White cotton drill measuring the upholstered top (including sides) of your footstool plus 5cm all round

Threads to match all your fabrics

1m iron-on BondaWeb

Sewing machine

Iron

Fabric scissors

Paper scissors

Pen or pencil

Pins

Herringbone tape (5cm wide x the circumference of your stool plus 10cm)

Jumbo rikrak the circumference of your footstool plus 5cm

 

1

Cut your base fabric to size: the length and width of the sides and top of your footstool plus 10cm.

 

2

At this point you need to make a decision about the size you will want your pieces and whether you will need more or fewer pieces than I have used here…. Photocopy the templates and cut out. Play around with them on your footstool and work out how many you will need.

 

3

Photocopy the templates re-sized if necessary and cut out.

 

4

Prepare your coloured felt pieces: spread out your strip of BondaWeb paper size up. With a pen or pencil draw around the orange swirl templates (template a), placing the shapes close together to avoid wasting the BondaWeb. Cut the drawn shapes off in one piece and iron onto the orange felt following the manufacturer’s instructions – generally this will mean a medium hot iron without steam. When the bond is securely fixed, cut the pieces out using paper scissors. Do the same with the ‘star’ pieces (template b) in turquoise and pink.

 

5

Finally, draw as many circles as you need (2cm wider in diameter than you have printed template b) on the BondaWeb, iron them on the red felt and cut out.

Lay out your base piece of fabric right side up on your footstool and arrange the pieces as you planned them in step 2. When you are happy with the positioning of the pieces, remove the protective paper backing and use an iron to adhere them to the base fabric, starting with the large circles.

 

6

Assemble and iron on all the pieces working methodically and ensuring you don’t iron on the glue side of the felt by mistake.

 

7

Thread the sewing machine with threads to match the felt pieces and zigzag around each piece slowly, raising and lowering the foot at sharp turns, and keeping accurately to the edge of the pieces. You can keep white thread in the bobbin throughout this process as long as your machine’s tension is good and you don’t get specks of the bobbin thread pulled through to the front of your work.

 

8

Once all the felt pieces are stitched on, turn the base fabric wrong side up and lay it over your footstool. Use pins to shape the corners so that the fabric fits snugly and remove it carefully from the stool ensuring the pins don’t fall out (appliqué.

 

9

Stitch along the corners by machine twice for strength, then trim the excess fabric 1cm from the stitch line.

 

10

Place the cover over the stool again, right side down and trim all around to the depth your require. Remove from the stool. Fold your herringbone tape in half and tack all the way round your cover encasing the raw edge. As the two ends meet, overlap and trim them to cover the raw ends. Machine close to the edge of the tape on the right side sewing all three layers together.

 

11

Tack or pin the jumbo rikrak around the inside of the hem so that half of it protrudes beyond the hem on the right side, overlapping the folding the ends in to avoid fraying. Stitch by machine along the centre of the rikrak using white thread.

 

Making notes

Reduce or enlarge the templates to suit the size of your stool. The motif is stronger if it is slightly larger than the top surface of your footstool and drapes over the edges.

Tips

Add extra interest to your cover by stitching your appliqué onto a striped base fabric, such as ticking.