3 Jul 2015

Make it: Bias Bracelets 3 Ways

I have a cute summery DIY for you today using one my favourite trimmings right now, Bias Binding. If you read my post in May about how to use it you will have seen how to apply it to sewing projects to get a professional finish, but some of the bias we have at Sew Crafty is pretty enough to use on its own. I thought I would show you three ways to use it to make some cute, summer holiday friendly accessories.

To estimate the length of bias you need to make each bracelet measure around your hand at it's widest point and add 2cm. For version 3 you will want to add an additional 8cm to allow for tying.

For Version 1 - Stuffed Bangles you will need:
Bias binding, thread, needle, bodkin, glue, stuffing, large jump rings and charms of your choice (optional).  Sewing machine (optional)


Step 1: take your bias and fold it in half along the length, right sides together.
Step 2: sew along the length of the tape, I like to do it twice to give it more strength.
Step 3: use the bodkin to turn the bias tube right side out.
Step 4: sew up one end of the tube.
Step 5: stuff the tube with the stuffing, make it a little easier by rolling it into a tube before you stuff.
Step 7: when the tube is full, fold the raw edge in and pop some glue in the end.
Step 8: push the sewn up end into the glued end and let it dry.
Step 9: take a spare strip of matching bias and glue it around the join to make it more secure.

Make a stack in different colours and add charms using large jump rings, to add a little personality.

For Version 2 - plaited bangle you will need:
bias binding, needle and thread, bulldog clip, and masking tape.  Sewing machine (optional)


Step 1: fold your bias in half with all the raw edges inside and sew along the length.
Step 2: once you have three lengths put them one on top of another and put them in the clip.
Step 3: tape the clip to a sturdy surface and start plaiting.
Step 4: plait side to middle until you reach the end.
Step 5: wrap a spare piece of bias around one end and glue it in place before removing the clip and cutting away the excess.
Step 6: pop some glue on the other end and overlap it with the wrapped end, then continue wrapping until both ends are joined and neatly under the bias wrap.

You can see if you use three different colours or patterns they look really cute. You could add charms to these too if you just use on colour or add a little bow to one side with some ribbon.

For Version 3 you will need:
Bias binding, needle and thread, jump rings and charms of your choice.


Step 1: fold your bias in half with all the raw edges inside and sew along the length. 
Step 2: thread a charm onto a jump ring, then thread the ring onto the bias and tie a knot over the ring to hold it in place.
Step 3: tie it around your wrist and wear it with pride. 






Seriously these have to be the cutest bracelets ever and so easy to make!  You can make bias out of pretty much any fabric so you could make them to match any outfit!  I made some out of lame to add a hint of metallic to my stack.



I would love to see if you make yourself a set of these lovelies, don't forget to take a photo and tag us on instagram @liveit.loveit.makeit and use the #livelovemake

Have a lovely weekend
Sammy xxx


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1 Jul 2015

Review: Makery Sewing


It has been a little while since we have talked about our friends at The Makery, but our love for Kate Smith's company is still going strong #WorkGoals. We are heading up to John Lewis in London soon to attend a Makery Espadrille workshop and it reminded me that I had yet to tell you how much we have been enjoying Kate's newest book Makery: Sewing

This book features over 30 sewing projects, in three sections. One on homewares, one on fashion and another on gifts. It includes projects that are suitable for complete beginners right up to more advanced sewers which means you can work your way through the book, improving your skills as you go.

As with the first book from Kate, the photography is gorgeous and so inspiring. I always love the way The Makery get a lovely mix of on-trend styling using beautiful vintage elements.


My favourite project has to be the flying ducks. I am on the hunt for the perfect fabric now to make these cute critters for my kitchen! It is such a fun twist on the faux taxidermy trend that is so big at the moment. They remind me of my Nana, who used to have a ceramic set on her living room wall when I used to visit as a kid.


In the clothing section I adore this simple but oh so effective t-shirt patch pocket project. It just proves that simple ideas produced to a high standard can be so inspiring. I will definitely be rummaging through my fabric scraps this weekend to update some of my jersey basics.


The tips and 'glossary' section at the back is really useful in its own right and the little sketches are cute and informative.


I love that there are full size patterns in the back which means no annoying visits to the printers to get them enlarged before you can get stuck into your project of choice. 

At first I was surprised at the lack of step-by-step photographs in the projects, but as I settled into reading through the way that the instructions are written, I found that I really didn't miss those photos. It feels like a friend is talking you through the how to and there are little illustrations for the more unsure. Being an accomplished sewer I didn't feel that the book spoke down to me, like some project books that cater to beginners sometimes do. I feel confident though that beginners would also find Kate's easy way with words engaging and easy to follow. The best thing about not having lengthy tutorials is that there is more room for great, useful projects. This book will have me turning it's pages again and again for inspiration for gifts and projects for myself. 

We love this book so much we bought an extra copy which we are giving away as part of our Blog's 4th Birthday celebration. Follow > this link< to tell us your favourite craft book for a chance to win a copy of this book and the rest of our top ten craft books. The giveaway closes on Friday 3rd of July so get over there before it's too late.

If you miss out on the win, Kate's book is available through The Makery shop as well as Amazon and other great book retailers.

Sammy xxx


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29 Jun 2015

June's Instagram round-up


The end of the month is nearly here and so I thought it was about time for a little Instagram round-up.  If you have been watching our Instagram recently you will know that we took a little break to Barcelona and so that features quite a bit, but who doesn't love holiday pictures!  Also as usual food is a big feature, its a big feature in my life and so it would only be right to show it off.

First up is a new obsession in my life of Chocolate Oatly, I am not usually a big fan of chocolate milk, but it does help keep my chocolate cravings at bay.

In my work life this month, we went to a schools networking event at Brooklands Museum, it was a great excuse for me to take a look at all the cars, which is another passion of mine.

The next four pictures just about sum up Barcelona, Nightlife, food, sightseeing and sweet treats!  What more could you ask from for a holiday.  Oh yes and hanging out with the bestie, take a look at the Instagram feed for more #barcelonaspam.

Back to reality was a wedding for me, of course.  There were fireworks and bollywood movies and music and dancing!  

We also had another feature in Mollie Makes this month, it was a subscriber special feature, so if you don't subscribe, sorry but you won't be able to see this one.  Sammy made some fabric polaroid pictures, perfect for all that memory making.

Last, but by no means least was a little visit to The Hoxton, for a talk by the lovely Zoe (owner of Craft Candy and UK Pinterest Ambassador) on how to nail Pinterest hosted by Indytute.  We were happy to know we already knew quite a bit, phew (our Pinterest is here), but its always good to get updates and was great to catch up with Zoe and we saw Jane from Tea and Crafting too, which is always lovely.

I think that just about sums up our June, full of stuff to keep us busy and fun to be had.  What did you get up to?  Let us know in the comments.

H, xxx

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26 Jun 2015

June Favourites


Now I know I say this every month but seriously, time flying when your having fun doesn't even cover it! So here are the things that have been floating my boat this month.



This bunch of pretties are all the pieces I picked up when we hit up the Bust Craftacular last month and I have basically been wearing them on rotation since then.  From left to right we have a gem slice necklace from Miri Shalom, wooden scissors from Filly Industries (Check out this months Let's Meet interview with the coolest girls eva!),  peeping cat pendant from Lucy Alice (spoiler alert she is next months Let's Meet!) and this awesome resin 'gem' chip necklace from Katzeshop.


I don't know how I have lived so long without these in my life, I am completely obsessed with 'frixon' erasable pens.  I picked up this set from Amazon recently and now just want to write everything in pretty coloured felt tip. I use them alot in my planner, for the simple joy that if plans change I can just rub it out without messing up my planner pages. it's the simple things.  



Some of you may have seen on my Instagram that my copy of The Happiness Planner arrived. I am absolutely loving it. If you read my Top 10 ways to find your Happy post back in April you will know that I am all about proactive happiness planning, So when I saw a newsletter about this pop-up in my inbox, I was all over it. Our lovely friend Claire has written a review on her blog so if you want to know more head over and check it out. 


On the way home from the Bust Craftacular we stumbled apon a fabric shop, and of course I had to go in because it would be just wrong not to. It was the London Fabric Shop just off the end of Brick Lane. I fell in love instantly as it was full of amazing, unusual fabrics. This is not a cheap place to go but O.M.G. if you want something super special it is a must visit. I made a cheeky purchase, obviously! And they have an online shop too...dangerous!


I promised myself that I would be good and not binge watch all of the new season of 'Orange is the New Black' all in one go, well I lasted three days. If you don't have Netflix, get it, it is awesome #notsponsored 

That's it, another month done and dusted. July here we come. Let me know your faves in the comments below, and don't forget to enter our amazeballs (do we still say that?) birthday book giveaway

Sammy xxx



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24 Jun 2015

Sewing Tips: Zips

Right it is that time that I am sure some of you have been waiting for, today we are going to be revealing our top tips about those pesky fasteners that lots of people are a little scared of... Zips. Warning its going to be a long post so go and get a cuppa and we will get stuck in.


What kinds of zips are there?
Nylon Dress/Skirt are the most commonly used. Don't be put off using these in soft furnishings (cushion covers) and craft projects though, it simply refers to the weight of the teeth. They are light weight and durable with metal runners and usually come in a wide selection of colours. They have a metal or nylon stopper at the bottom.

Concealed or Invisible zips are used predominantly in clothing for their hidden appearance, or rather lack there of, Light weight and inserted (usually with a specialist foot) so that the opening simply appears to be another seam. With a narrow light weight coil to the inside of the garment, a dainty metal runner and droplet tag they are perfect for evening wear. If used on very light weight fabrics like chiffon they do have a tendency to get fabric caught in the runners and given their delicate nature, can split if put under too much strain.

Open Ended zips are a section all to them selves as there are a few different types, You can have them in different weights (light weight to chunky to metal) and teeth in different materials, but the one thing they all do is split completely in half. Imagine the front of your hoodie or rain jacket, the zip has a metal or plastic slot on one side where you place the end of the other side before pulling the runner up. This slot enables the teeth to level up before joining together and for the zip to come apart.

Metal zips are the most hard-wearing of zips and come in short lengths for jeans and work-wear and longer open ended versions for waxed jackets and heavier garments.

Decorative or exposed zips are a relatively new idea, usually the tape that hold the runners is printed or edged in some way and designed to be shown on the outside of the project or garment, rather than being hidden n the inside.

There are of course lots more variations, but these are the main ones that you will come across.

How do you choose the right zip for your project?

It can be confusing when you are faced with a wall of zips at your local haberdashery, or pages of choice online but most of the time you can find the information you need in your pattern. If not there are some simple ways to decide which type of zip would be best for your project.

  • Measure your project before you go to buy your zip. They can be cut down to size, but you don't want to buy on that is too short. 
  • Think about the weight of fabric you are using and choose the weight of zip accordingly.
  • Do you want the zip to be hidden or on show as a feature? if you are nervous about making a neat job, pick a decorative zip to take attention away from wobbly seams. 

Do you need a special foot on your sewing machine?
You don't NEED a special foot, but it does help when sewing in zips using your sewing machine to have a zip foot or a concealed zip foot. The zip foot shifts from side to side to enable you to get as close to the zip teeth as possible. Whilst the invisible zip foot helps to ease open the gap under the teeth where the stitching will go and be hidden from view.


Do you have to sew them in with your sewing machine?
Not at all, if you are nervous or unsure of sewing something tricky with your machine, you can stitch in your zip by hand. Some times it is easier, when replacing broken zips, to sew it in by hand.

My pattern said to put it in this way, but I would rather do it differently, is that Okay?
Sometimes the person who has designed the pattern has given the style of zip for a aesthetic reason, for instance a side zip on a pair of trousers without a waist band will most likely ask for a concealed zip, in order to keep the look of the hip and waist area as smooth as possible. In this case it is up to you, have the choice to change it to a regular one if you feel the look is not so important to you i.e. if you will always wear them with a top that covers the zip. However occasionally the zip is chosen for a practical reason, for instance strapless bodices will often call for an open ended zip in order to be able to get in and out of the garment whilst getting a super fitted finish. In this case it would not be a good idea to alter what the designer has requested.

My Top Tips:
  • Take your time. Don't rush putting in a zip, and don't do it when you are tired, it' never going to end well.
  • Tack it first. If you can tack it in by hand first, it will give you a guide and help to stop it from moving round as you stitch.
  • Use quality product. As we always say with haberdashery, you get what you pay for, use the best supplies you can afford. 
  • Use existing garments as a guide. If you are unsure of how it is meant t look, or if it is the right place, check on a piece you already own to give you a clue. 
  • Practice makes perfect. If you see some cheap zips at a car boot or charity shop, pick them up and use them to practice, particularly using your zipper foot, or invisible zipper foot on your machine, with out the pressure of completing a project.
I hope that has cleared up some of your questions and maybe given you a little more confidence when thinking about tackling zips in the future. If you have any questions that I haven't answered in this ask me in the comments and I will do my best to answer them. 

Sammy xxx


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22 Jun 2015

Make it: Wedding mini bunting


I thought it about time I did something a little Wedding related for those Summer brides out there.  I only have one wedding to go to this year, which is a bit of a departure for me and so why not share a little DIY for those brides trying to keep it simple with this mini bunting for a cake or just a little decoration.


You will need: Scissors, paper, bakers twine, paper straws, glue stick, craft knife, pencil, sharpie or other pen in whatever colour of your choice.
Step 1:  Make a template of your bunting if you prefer, or just draw on the back of your paper, two triangles connected to each other by the top/bottom.  You will need as many as you have letters and for the & symbol.

Step 2:  Cut out all of your bunting and start to write your letters on the bottom triangle, I am trying to get better at nice handwriting and so this was a nice practice for me.  There were many test pages before I decided on the final font style!  I used a sharpie as the paper had a slight sheen to it, so I wanted it to stay in place.

Step 3:  Layout the name and see what kind of spacing you will want on the twine to make it nice and even.

Step 4:  Then glue each bunting piece over the twine in place.

Step 5:  Then when each line of your bunting is done, layout the name and so you can see where you will want it to attach to your straws.

Step 6:  Make knots in each end of the twine as then this will help them stay in place for the next step.

Step 7:  Using the craft knife, cut into the straws where you would like your bunting to sit, you could mark with a pencil.

Step 8:  Push the end of the bunting line into the straw using the craft knife, the knot will help ensure it stays inside the straw without popping back out.

Your done, this is such a simple little DIY and one you could do for parties, weddings or just for fun.  It's so cute and you can change the colours and font style to suit the type of event it is for.


Are you going to any weddings this year?  See if you can spot any crafty makes?  I always love seeing what people come up with and whether they have been glued to Pinterest since they got engaged!

Now, those sweets are making me peckish!

H

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