Clare Willcocks

Clare Willcocks: January 2014

Sunday, 26 January 2014

Miniature embroidered portrait workshop

I've got something completely different to share with you this week! I went with my Mum and Auntie to an Embroiderer's Guild Workshop by Mary Anderson on how to sew miniature embroidered portraits.

The ones we were shown as examples look rather like the little portraits you would expect to find in a Victorian house, people dressed up to the nines wearing hats with feathers and hair in ringlets. They incorporated little scraps of fabric, beads, sequins and feathers to build up a lovely textured piece, which looked really effective.

The Embroiderer's Guild blog which Mum updates should hopefully have a few photos of the examples and everybody else's work. It's amazing how we all had the same brief, but we were well on the way to creating some very different portraits.

Mary suggested that if we didn't want to use our imaginations, we could base our portrait on someone in particular. Mum and I decided to embroider each other!

As Mum was sat at an angle to me, mine is in profile. As you can see, I have a little way to go before I'm finished.

I'm hoping that when I add the hair she will look a little more feminine!

I'm looking forward to getting it finished! I think I'll use some scraps of material for Mum's top, and more stitching for her hair. I might add a few other embellishments too.

Speaking of scraps of material, I came away from my Auntie's house with a whole bag of offcuts of all different shapes and colours. She stitches beautiful quilts, incorporating a lot of texture and different techniques. You can see examples of her amazing work on her website - Lime Green Lizzie.

Look at all these lovely colours, just waiting to be stitched up into something fabulous!

Again, speaking of left over scraps, I have a chicken boiling down ready to be made into soup which I must attend to! Have a lovely week everybody, hope to see you back here next Sunday!

I've linked up to this post on the following blogs: Craft-O-Maniac, Lamb Around and Handmade Harbour.

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Sunday, 19 January 2014

Heart shaped papercut and a 1918 Singer sewing machine...

Last year I bought my Dad a book of awesome intricate papercut examples, compiled by Laura Heyenga. A couple of weeks ago was my first chance to have a really good look through it myself (backhanded present alert!) and it inspired me to give it a go.

Our walls are looking very cream and boring at the moment, so I decided to do a papercut to brighten the place up a bit. I chose a heart shaped design and drew out a curly pattern, filling in the gaps with little leaf motifs and flowers. It took absolutely ages to cut, but turned out really well!

heart shaped papercut

It was extremely fiddly, I was worried that I'd cut a section right off!

heart shaped papercut

Can you spot the not-so-deliberate mistake?

heart shaped papercut

Now we just need to find a frame! I think a square frame with a broad mount would suit it, what do you think?

A surprise find at the recycling centre

Yesterday we paid a visit to the recycling centre at the tip in search of a couple of little tables that we could spruce up a bit for the lounge.

Of course, as always happens, we didn't come away with what we'd intented to buy, but instead brought home a photo frame, fishing chair and.........this!

1918 Singer sewing maching

A 1918 Singer sewing machine! As soon as I saw it sitting there, looking so chic and vintage on a chair, I knew I had to have it. I love the design, it's heaviness and the fact it still works! I've yet to try it with fabric, but the mechanism seems to run really smoothly and it still has the original instruction book and selection of feet.

Sam's reaction was "where on Earth area we going to put that?", which is why it's currently sitting on the windowsill. I quite like it as a quirky ornament though!

1918 Singer sewing machine

It has beautiful decorative metal panels on the end and back, more inspiration for papercuts perhaps! The wood is a little damaged, but I think that just adds to its charm :)

A lovely walk on the beach

Our friends came to stay last night and we went for a walk this morning to make the most of the rare sunshine! The beach at Westward Ho was looking as lovely as ever.

westward ho

The recent storms had washed away the sand revealing the clay bed underneath which had been moulded into interesting formations by the water. There's something really satisfying about squishing a firm rounded clay mound under a welly booted foot!

All the stone-like ridges in the photo below are the clay poking through the sand. 

westward ho clay

That's all for today, after a yummy lunch at the Village Inn in Westward Ho, I'm now ready to snuggle up for the evening in front of the fire!

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs: Handmade Harbour, Manon Popje's Illustrations, I Gotta CreateLamb Around and Tatertots and Jello.

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Sunday, 12 January 2014

Fantastic free purse sewing tutorial

Well, it's the end of another lovely weekend! We had some friends to stay on Friday night and for once the weather cooperated on Saturday so we went for a beautiful walk at Westward Ho! Sam and I then spent the afternoon on Saunton beach - it was surprisingly warm!

I came back with some seaside bits and bobs to make a beach bag for later on in the year. If I add it to my 'things to sew' list now I might get it done before summer!

Today I was browsing Pinterest as usual when I came across a great free purse sewing tutorial. I decided to make it in the same fabric as my tissue pouch from my last post.

I adapted it slightly as the purse in the tutorial didn't have a coin section.

free purse sewing tutorial

free purse sewing tutorial

The tutorial is excellent, so clear and easy to read. First I cut out all of the pieces, with the addition of a coin pocket.

free purse sewing tutorial

Folding and ironing the piece for the card slots was very satisfying! Here the pieces are all prepared and ready to be sewn together. I made my popper tab rounded instead of square.

free purse sewing tutorial

Some more views of the finished article. Although it's not quite finished, I still need to add poppers on the tab and coin pocket.

free purse sewing tutorial

It's got a big pocket for notes too!

free purse sewing tutorial

It was a little thick to sew and the inside pocket could have fitted a little better, but all in all, I'm quite pleased with it :)

I'll leave you with some photos of our lovely walks at Westward Ho and Saunton...

South West Coast Path
View along the South West Coast Path from Westward Ho towards Clovelly

Saunton Beach
Saunton Beach with the tide out

Saunton sand dunes
Strange to see the moon on such a sunny day!

sunset at Saunton, Devon
A great day topped off by a stunning sunset!

I'm sharing this post on the following blogs: Handmade Harbour, Lamb Around and Tatertots and Jello.

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Sunday, 5 January 2014

Tissue pouch step by step sewing tutorial

First of all I will start by wishing you all a very happy New Year 2014! Hope you've enjoyed the festivities and had a wonderful time with your loved ones, I know I did!

I've taken a week off blogging as all the excitement has got in the way, but I'm back now with a step by step sewing tutorial for a handy pouch for tissues so that they don't end up floating all round your bag like they do in mine.

sewing tutorial

One of the reasons behind this tutorial is that I was given a sewing machine by my Mum and Dad for Christmas (thank you guys!) and I can't stop using it! I've already made a mobile phone case, adjusted a pair of jeans which I've not worn for years because of the fit, and begun a handbag (watch this space!).

This is just a quick little filler while I think about bigger projects :)

So, here goes, grab a cup of tea and have your materials at the ready! I'm using turquoise corduroy left over from a coat I had made in Vietnam and some fabric from an old pair of brown trousers. The brown corduroy I bought in Malaysia.

sewing tutorial

Give them a quick iron so they're nice and flat.

sewing tutorials

Next, measure and cut a piece of newspaper 5" by 8" as a template.

sewing tutorials

Lay both pieces of fabric with their right sides together. Pin the template to them and cut them out. I forgot to line my template up with the lines on the corduroy so they're on a slight slant! I'll learn from that mistake next time.

sewing tutorials

If you'd like strips down your pouch like the ones on mine, cut out two panels 8" long and slightly wider than your ruler. With an iron, fold and press the edges of the panels so that it's easier to sew them to the main fabric.

sewing tutorials

Pin them parallel to each other, closer to the edges than they are to the middle. Careful not to put them too close though as you'll need room for seams.

Sew down the strips about a millimetre from the edge.

sewing tutorials
I added two rows of stitching because I think it looks nice!

sewing tutorials

Time for another cup of tea!

sewing tutorials

After your cuppa, place the main colour piece complete with strips right-side together with the lining colour, in my case, brown. Pin it and sew the two long sides and one short side, rounding the corners. The seam should be a little over 0.25".

sewing tutorials

Turn the right way out and iron the seams so they're nice and sharp. At the same time, turn in the rough edge and crease.

sewing tutorials

Interfacing is optional, but I wanted mine to feel quite substantial, so I cut out a piece the right size and fitted it in. Pin the remaining raw seam and sew.

sewing tutorials

The pouch is now starting to take shape! Measure it into thirds and sew two lines of stitches along each to make it easier to bend.

Sew all the way round the edge of the pouch, about a millimetre in.

sewing tutorials

Now the fun bit! It's the first time I've used the buttonhole setting on my sewing machine! It's a little wonky (gives it character) but not bad for a first attempt!

sewing tutorials

Fold up the pouch and put a pencil mark through the buttonhole, then sew the button in place.

sewing tutorials

The pouch is ready to use. Fold up some tissues and pop them in!

sewing tutorials

Hope you've been able to follow this tutorial, if you have any questions just drop me a line in a comment.

If you've enjoyed this post, maybe you'd like to share it and follow my blog! Thank you :)

I'm sharing this post at link parties on the following blogs: Handmade Harbour, Be Different Act Normal, Tatertots and Jello, Lamb Around and Thirty Handmade Days.

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