Sorry for the missing photos!

Really sorry that there are “Temporarily Unavailable” pictures everywhere on the blog … I forgot all my photos on here were hosted on Webshots which has just shut it’s doors … and I need to find the time to upload everything somewhere else and re-add them into the posts once again.

Unfortunately I’m also working 12-14 hour days every day at the moment, so I don’t have the energy at night to fix the pages up just yet.  I apologise for any inconvenience, but I’ll return to fix the blog as soon as I get some spare time, but that may be a couple of weeks away yet.

 

More tutorials added

More tutorial links added today:

  • Creative Poppy – lots of different tutorial links
  • The Floss Box – biscornu
  • The Floss Box – flat ornament
  • The Floss Box – pillow ornament
  • The Floss Box – bottle cap ornaments (these are seriously cute!!)
  • Simply CQ – lining a simple bag (example using a crazy quilt project but any needlework project would work as well)
  • Malinaplass (Webshots album) – Pincushion
  • Adventures in Thread (Jules) – Magnetic needle holder
  • Stitchin Fingers – Triangular boxes
  • Connie Eyberg Originals – tag
  • Creative Poppy (Barbara Ana Designs) – biscornu
  • Creative Poppy (Tam’s creations) – Fabric-backed biscornu (you need to click on the link on Creative Poppy’s main tutorial page on “How to make a biscornu – with contrasting material), as the link goes directly to a .pdf upload and I don’t want to enforce immediate uploads from the link)

New tutorials added

Sorry I’ve been “missing in action” for some considerable time.  Simply a case of some personal issues at home (and ongoing ill health), and moving to a new job that has eaten up most of my spare time.  I am hoping to rectify the situation soon and have been working on some new tutorials which I will finish soon and publish.  If you have any specific tutorials you’d like to see, don’t hesitate to leave a comment and I’ll do what I can to arrange something 🙂

Since my last post I have also become aware of some “new-to-me” tutorials, which I will be adding to the Tutorial Links page.  The new ones are as follows:

Pin Pillow Tutorial #2

Here is the 2nd pillow tutorial resulting from my finishing spree last weekend:

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You will need:

  • Stitching for the centre of the cushion
  • Coordinating fabric(s) for side strips and backing
  • Sewing machine with coordinating sewing machine thread to match your fabric(s)
  • Scissors/rotary cutter and mat
  • Pins
  • Embellishments (optional)
  • Polyfil stuffing (or something similar)
  • Sewing needle and thread to close up the seam opening

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1. First of all cut your coordinating fabric into equal width strips, and approximate width of your sewing project. In my case I have chosen to have two different fabrics on the front of my pillow, and have started with a narrow strip of bright rust fabric for the inner border.

Pin the first strip with right sides facing to your stitching (I prefer to start with the pieces attached to the left and right sides, but you may prefer to start with the top and bottom sections first), and stitch a normal seam allowance (alternatively you may prefer to just a quilters 1/4″ seam).

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Once you have stitched the first seam, attach the 2nd strip of fabric to the opposite side of your stitching and stitch another seam.

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2. At this point I cut off my excess fabrics on each side, and trim my seams to 1/4″ – I usually prefer to do this because I don’t trust myself to get things right the first time!

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3. You finish with nice tidy edges, ready to attach the last two sides of fabric.

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4. Before we do that, though, we need to open the fabric sides up and give them a quick press with the iron so that they sit nicely. If you want to you can also do a row of top-stitching to assist with holding the fabric nicely, but I don’t normally bother.

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5. Now we attach the top and bottom sides in exactly the same way as we did with the first two sides. Once all sides have finished, I normally check the side strips to ensure they’re nice and tidy and even, and if not I give them a quick trim all round with the rotary cutter.

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6. In my case I decided to just have a narrow strip of bright rust fabric as a contrasting focal point, then added some wider strips of fabric for the outside edges. These are attached in exactly the same way as the rust strips, they are just cut into wider pieces. You just need to remember to add the next lot of strips in the same order as you did previously, which was in my case left and right first, followed by top and bottom. Once I had ironed my finished strips I decided that little buttons would be nice in the corners, so I added these before adding the backing fabric.

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7. Now you need to cut your backing fabric the same size as your finished article, and pin them together with right sides facing together (the right side of the stitching will be on the inside of the sandwich).

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8. Stitch a seam allowance around the edges, but leave an opening at the bottom so that you can turn your pillow inside-out. I tend to leave about 1 1/2″ opening and that’s normally enough room to allow for turning.

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9. I use a chopstick to help push the corners into a nice shape from the outside – you just have to be careful not to force the seam stitching too much! Once you have turned your pillow inside out, it should look something like this. Now all you have to do is stuff it to your preferred thickness with your favourite stuffing.

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10. I close my pillow openings with a ladder stitch – and the following is taken from a previous Christmas ornament tutorial, but is the exact same instruction for closing the pillows.

As you can see from the photo below, I start off by slipping my needle into the seam of the backing fabric, then coming back out about 1/4″ along the seam (about 3mm) and bring my needle out.

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I then take my needle directly opposite where I just came out of the backing fabric and slip my needle into the linen and follow the seam along for about 3mm and bring the needle back out again.

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I’ve left the stitches nice and loose in the photo below to help illustrate how the stitches follow along opposite each other, like rungs of a ladder.

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When you pull the thread tighter, the stitches almost disappear into the fabric, giving a really nice clean finish – this is definitely my favourite stitch for closing up openings for that reason!

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Once you reach the end of the seam opening, you need to finish off your thread with a couple of teeny stitches – I then bury the needle into the seam and come out somewhere about an inch way and bring the needle back out again – then clip the thread close to the fabric so that my thread tail does’t appear easily.

And here’s the final seam all finished off – see now nice and tidy that ladder stitch is in the opening? :D

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11. And that is the final step in your beautiful new pin pillow coming to life. Now all you need to do is to find somewhere to display it where it can be admired by everyone 😀

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Pin Pillow Tutorial #1

Here is a pin pillow tutorial that I put together during a day of finishing last weekend – I finally managed to sit down and put the instructions together today.

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You will need:

  • Stitching for the centre of the cushion
  • Coordinating fabric(s) for side strips and backing
  • Sewing machine with coordinating sewing machine thread to match your fabric(s)
  • Scissors/rotary cutter and mat
  • Pins
  • Ribbon/lace/button embellishments (optional)
  • Polyfil stuffing (or something similar)
  • Sewing needle and thread to close up the seam opening

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1. First of all trim your stitched piece, and cut your coordinating fabric to your preferred length and the approximate width of your sewing project. In my case I have chosen to have my coordinating fabric at the bottom of my stitched piece, and I prefer to have the quilting fabric slightly smaller than my stitched piece so it doesn’t take too much attention from the stitching – I have, however, seen some stunning pillows with the stitching taking up just a small amount of room at the top of the pillow. The only difference is down to your preference, as the finishing process is exactly the same.

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2. Pin the fabrics together, with right sides facing, and stitch a normal seam allowance (alternatively you may prefer to just a quilters 1/4″ seam).

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3. At this point I cut off my excess fabrics on each side, and trim my seams to 1/4″. This is also the time when you should open up the seam(s) and give a quick pressing with the iron.

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4. If you have decided to have fabric on both sides of your stitching (either top and bottom, or left and right) this you will need to repeat the above process a second time for the additional piece of fabric. Once you’ve finished attaching the coordinating fabrics, check the edges to ensure they’re all even, and give it a quick trim with the rotary cutter if needed.

5. At this point I add any seam embellishments to the pillow front. For this particular pillow I just wanted to add one row of matching ric-a-rac. This can either be attached by the sewing machine or by hand (I ended up adding this one by hand, as I didn’t have a matching brown sewing machine thread). This is also a good time to add any buttons or other trims you want to add, prior to constructing the pillow itself. Alternatively, you can add your ribbon at the very end once the pillow is finished, but just wrapping it around the pillow and tying a bow to hold it in place 🙂

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6. Now you need to cut your backing fabric the same size as your finished article, and pin them together with right sides facing together (the right side of the stitching will be on the inside of the sandwich).

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7. Stitch a seam allowance around the edges, but leave an opening at the bottom so that you can turn your pillow inside-out. I tend to leave about 1 1/2″ opening and that’s normally enough room to allow for turning.

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8. I use a chopstick to help push the corners into a nice shape from the outside – you just have to be careful not to force the seam stitching too much! Once you have turned your pillow inside out, it should look something like this. Now all you have to do is stuff it to your preferred thickness with your favourite stuffing.

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9. I close my pillow openings with a ladder stitch – and the following is taken from a previous Christmas ornament tutorial, but is the exact same instruction for closing the pillows.

You need to thread your sewing needle with sewing thread (if you didn’t leave a long tail from the seam stitching). You should use a sharp needle here, not a tapestry needle, so that you can pierce the backing fabric easily.

As you can see from the photo below, I start off by slipping my needle into the seam of the backing fabric, then coming back out about 1/4″ along the seam (about 3mm) and bring my needle out.

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I then take my needle directly opposite where I just came out of the backing fabric and slip my needle into the linen and follow the seam along for about 3mm and bring the needle back out again.

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I’ve left the stitches nice and loose in the photo below to help illustrate how the stitches follow along opposite each other, like rungs of a ladder.

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When you pull the thread tighter, the stitches almost disappear into the fabric, giving a really nice clean finish – this is definitely my favourite stitch for closing up openings for that reason!

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Once you reach the end of the seam opening, you need to finish off your thread with a couple of teeny stitches – I then bury the needle into the seam and come out somewhere about an inch way and bring the needle back out again – then clip the thread close to the fabric so that my thread tail does’t appear easily.

And here’s the final seam all finished off – see now nice and tidy that ladder stitch is in the opening? :D

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10. And that is the final step in your beautiful new pin pillow coming to life. Now all you need to do is to find somewhere to display it where it can be admired by everyone 😀

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Following are some additional pillows I have finished in the same way – isn’t it amazing how such a simple finishing method can look so different depending on the choice of fabrics and embellishments?
Pumpkins-pillow Chatrouille-pillow Halloween-pillow P1030899 Valentine-pillow Autumn-pillow

Simple Pillow Christmas Ornament

The following is a very basic pillow Christmas Ornament tutorial designed, in particular, for beginners.

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Supplies needed:

  • Stitched project
  • Backing fabric
  • Approx 6″ (15-16cm) of ribbon to coordinate with your stitching for the hanger (I normally use 7mm double-sided satin ribbon)
  • Stuffing
  • Sewing machine with coordinating thread to match your fabrics
  • Complimentary sewing thread and needle

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1.  Start off by laying your stitching piece on top of your backing fabric, with wrong sides facing, as shown below:

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2.  Now we need to cut the fabric so that all sides are equal.  The amount of margin that you leave is up to you, here you can see that I’ve allowed 3/4″ margin on each side.  I line up my ruler along the edge of my stitching, and cut the fabric with my rotary cutter (both my stitched piece and backing fabric at the same time).

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3.  You continue this same way until all four sides are cut away.  Remember that your backing fabric is underneath, so you need to be careful when you are moving your stitching around on the cutting mat that the fabric doesn’t move out of place or your pieces won’t match at the end.  Once you have finished cutting all four sides, remove the backing fabric from your stitching fabric.

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4.  Next I attach the piece of ribbon to my stitching – the ribbon must be attached to the right side of your stitching.  Adjust the size of the loop to match your own preferences, then pin in place.  I like to have a slight angle to the top of the ribbon where it is pinned in place, so that it hangs nicer when it’s finished.

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5.  Next place your backing fabric on top of your stitching/ribbon, with right sides facing, as shown below.  Pin the pieces together around the edges.

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6.  Now we need the sewing machine – once again, it is up to you to choose how much fabric margin you’d like to leave around the stitched piece.

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It’s quite hard to see the stitching threads because they match the fabric so well, so I’ve doctored the photo and drawn a line to show you the stitching line of where I started and finished – hopefully you can see clearly now that I have left an opening of about 1 1/2″.  I like to leave a long tail of the sewing thread at one end, which I don’t trim off, so that I can use it for stitching up the final seam opening.

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7.  The next step is to trim the fabric at the seams, so they aren’t as bulky when you turn the ornament inside-out.  The photo on the below left is my bottom seam – some fabrics tend to fray a lot when you are trying to pull the fabric through the opening, so I’ve learnt to leave the bottom seam a tiny bit wider than the other three seams.  The photo on the right is the usual amount that I trim back the main seams.

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8.  Then you should trim off each of the corners – once again, this allows you to get a crisper point on the ornament corners once you’ve turned it inside-out and improves the look of the ornament.  Just be careful not to snip the stitching!

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Your ornament should now look something like this:

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9.  The next bit can be a little bit nerve-wracking if you haven’t done it before!  You need to reach in and pinch a little bit of the backing fabric between your thumb and forefinger, and then slowly and gently pull the stitching and the backing fabric through the opening so it’s facing the right-side out.  Take your time when doing this, and just pull your fabric through little by little – it seems like it will never come through, but then all of sudden a miracle seems to happen and you have it all turned inside-out.  I often enlist the aid of a chopstick to help me get the corners nice and pointy once I’ve finished turning my ornament inside out.

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Your ornament should now look a little something like this.  Of course it was at this point that I realised I’d forgotten to attach my little gold charm to this particular ornament so I had to add that quickly before finishing the next stages … doh!

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10.  The final stage is to stuff your ornament with stuffing of your choice.  I tend to just use polyester fibrefill from my local craft store.  Once you it stuffed to your satisfaction (my preference is to fill it to a medium level – if I fill it too much it doesn’t sit quite as well on my little tree), you need to thread your sewing needle with sewing thread (if you didn’t leave a long tail from the seam stitching).  You should use a sharp needle here, not a tapestry needle, so that you can pierce the backing fabric easily.

I use a ladder stitch to sew up the opening.  As you can see from the left-hand photo below, I start off by slipping my needle into the seam of the backing fabric, then coming back out about 1/4″ along the seam (about 3mm) and bring my needle out.

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I then take my needle directly opposite where I just came out of the backing fabric and slip my needle into the linen and follow the seam along for about 1/4″ (3mm) and bring the needle back out again.

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I’ve left the stitches nice and loose in the photo below to help illustrate how the stitches follow along opposite each other, like rungs of a ladder.

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When you pull the thread tighter, the stitches almost disappear into the fabric, giving a really nice clean finish – this is definitely my favourite stitch for closing up openings for that reason!

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Once you reach the end of the seam opening, you need to finish off your thread with a couple of teeny stitches – I then bury the needle into the seam and come out somewhere about an inch way and bring the needle back out again – then clip the thread close to the fabric so that my thread tail does’t appear easily.

And here’s the final seam all finished off – see now nice and tidy that ladder stitch is in the opening? 😀

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Your ornament is now finished, and ready to hang on the tree 😀

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I hope you’ve enjoyed this tutorial, and found it useful.  I would love to see any photos of ornaments you’ve completed using this tutorial so please do drop me a line or leave a comment with a link to your pictures 🙂

Christmas Ornament tutorial

I personally don’t think the Just Cross Stitch ornie magazine is very clear with their finishing instructions for ‘newbies’ so I thought I’d make one up myself to help people out that haven’t done this type of finishing before – and show just how simple it is 🙂

This will also hopefully kickstart me into preparing a few more tutorials in the upcoming months … just need to get some stitching finished so I have some smaller things to finish! LOL. Anyway, without further ado, here’s the latest tutorial – hope it will be useful to someone 🙂

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CHRISTMAS ORNAMENT TUTORIAL

(The Prairie Schooler finishing style)

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Materials needed:

  • Stitched ornie
  • Felt in coordinating colour
  • Cardboard (I use mattboard)
  • Batting
  • Ribbon for hanger
  • Glue
  • Thread for lacing (I use crochet cotton or pearl cotton)
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1. Firstly measure your stitched ornie for the size that you want the cardboard to be.

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2. Next, cut out your cardboard/mattboard to the desired size. Add glue to one side of the cardboard, and place glue-side down on your batting. Even though I don’t show it in the photos, I actually smooth down the glue with a little offcut of mattboard so that the glue covers the cardboard evenly – that way you don’t feel ugly bumps on the front when it dries (my mattboard is black on one side, it just happened to be the piece that our local framers gave me).  If you prefer to have your ornament more padded, you can add additional layers of batting in the same way, but make sure you only use glue sparingly on the additional layers of batting.

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3. Once the glue has dried, cut around the cardboard shape and cut off the excess batting.

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4. Now it’s time to attach the stitched piece to the padded mattboard.
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Turn the stitching over so the good side is facing down – place the padded mattboard padded-side down on top of the stitching.

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5. My instructions for the next part are in relation to lacing the ornie together – I’ve found that this gives a much cleaner finish on the front of the ornie, and in particular in the corners. If you don’t want to lace, you can just use glue to stick the sides down in the same way – you’ll just have to be careful that the glue doesn’t dry before you have the stitched piece nicely centred on the front.
6. First of all I start by folding over the corners, then the sides. This ornie was stitched by my Mum on Aida, which is quite stiff and stays put, which is great 🙂

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7. Next I start lacing – I usually start with a couple of little anchor stitches at the start, and use a waste knot to start with (this can be cut off later once the lacing is finished) – then you just work from one side of the ornie to the other, as you can see from the series of photos below.

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8. At this point turn the stitched piece over and check that the stitching is sitting nicely centred over the mattboard. If it’s not centred perfectly, just give it a little jiggle around until it is nicely centred.

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9. Turn the ornie back over again, and continue to lace the remaining two sides. Now I usually stitch up the mitred corners, as this really tidies p the corners and gives nice clean points.

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10. The finished version should look something like this if you’ve laced it according to my version.

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11. You now have the choice of adding your ribbon hanger now, or at the end. I always used to add my hanger at the end, but decided to try it this way for the tutorial, and have added the ribbon prior to adding the felt backing.
Cut a piece of ribbon to your preferred length – I ‘twist’ my ribbon to give it a nice loop, if you just fold it in half the ribbon doesn’t sit quite as nicely. Hopefully that makes sense, and you can see what I mean from the photos! Attach the ribbon with a couple of little stitches to attach it to the fabric – I prefer to stitch it rather than just gluing to ensure the ribbon hanger doesn’t fall off in a hurry.
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12. Next, turn your ornie over and add glue to the back – I usually use Tacky Glue and once again I use a little offcut of mattboard to spread the glue out all over the backing, but this isn’t essential. I figure this will help to keep the glue stuck down for longer than just having a little bit on the edges 🙂
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13. Now place your glued ornie down on the felt backing and ensure the felt is pressed down nice and evenly onto the glue. Then, using pinking shears, cut around the ornie shape – don’t forget to hold your ribbon hanger out of the way so it’s not accidentally lopped off!
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14. If you prefer to add your ribbon hanger at the end, this is an example of one of my older finished ornies that I completed this way 🙂
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15. And you now have a beautifully finished ornie – all you have to do is to hang it up on your (or a loved one’s) tree! 😀
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I hope that’s easy enough to follow – if you have any questions, don’t hesitate to scream out and I’ll try to answer them.

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