Showing posts with label Embroidery. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Embroidery. Show all posts

Tuesday, 15 December 2015

Up-cycled Table Runner Peg Bag - Praise to Interim Solutions

This time of the year I should blog about the mobile phone cover or the pillow cases I intend to sew as Christmas presents, but as I somehow do not get to sit down to actually sew them, there is nothing to show yet. So let me share an up-cycling holiday project with you instead.


DIY, peg bag, flower applique, embroidery, up-cycling, Puppilalla

I spent a holiday visiting friends in Fleet, Hampshire in the Summer of 2014 and with time galore on my hands, took to playing around with my friend’s sewing machine. I had found an embroidered table runner, the likes my granny used to have, in a local charity shop and decided to free the bread basket of its existence as interim solution for storing clothes-pegs. When my friends moved back to the UK from Berlin said basket ended up as laundry aid in absence of a peg bag - merely as a temporary solution mind you… Well, we all know how these stories tend to go.

Therefore, I decided to convert the table runner into a peg bag. Once I had decided the final size of the bag and where I wanted the opening to be, I looked through my friend's fabric scraps for suitable pieces to do a bit of flower appliqué and ‘thread sketching’ on the fabric.

DIY, peg bag, flower applique, embroidery, up-cycling, Puppilalla, design process


As the old embroidery was in good condition I decided to preserve parts of it. For the inner lining I used some white fabric with soft pink polka dots. Then I deposited a metal coat hanger in the airing cupboard and bend it, once it was thoroughly warmed, into the shape I required for the peg bag.

DIY, peg bag, flower applique, embroidery, up-cycling, Puppilalla


These are work-in-progress pictures. I am missing one of the finished product. Unfortunately, I had to leave before I could add some binding to the opening and before giving it a final thorough press, hence the crinkly looking pictures. My friends however liked my impromptu up-cycled laundry aid, especially as this one can be hung from the laundry rack.


PS: The bread basket has been repatriated to the kitchen but I have no current information as to its subsequent fate.

=)



Sunday, 29 November 2015

My First Quilt - A Good Effort

We all started somewhere. And my first quilt came about in 2008 when my friend Tina became pregnant and asked me to be the child's godmother. Understandably, I wanted to present the baby with something extra special and personalized. Therefore, a baby blanket seemed a good idea even though I did not know the first thing about sewing, did not own a sewing machine and had no one in my immediate circle of aquaintances, family and friends who would have been able to advise me on the matter. 

simple squares, beginner friendly, quilt, baby blanket, patchwork, Puppilalla
This first quilt was entirely hand sewn, embroidered, pieced and quilted. I bought a book on quilting and muddled along without the faintest idea what I was actually doing or what techniques to employ in order to make the process as painless as possible and the resulting quilt as pretty as it could be. It took me 6 months to complete it and I would still call it a good first effort today.

Babydecke, beginner project, quilt, baby blanket, patchwork, Puppilalla

...
Unfortunately, it became one of those items that ended up enshrined rather than used. My friend loved it too much to bear using it. Bittersweet right?



Tuesday, 10 November 2015

Time-Waster! The unplanned Advent Calendar Odyssey

Oh dear! Did you ever get caught up in a project that unexpectedly turned into a complete time waster? I just inadvertently got me one of those. Christmas time coming up, I wanted to get preparations for an advent calendar for my sister and her partner underway. With everything else that is going on however, I thought to go for the time saving option this year, which was, to buy the calendar in order to merely have to fill it afterwards. So far, so good.

Thus, while running a few errands on a late afternoon last week, when it was already dark, I picked up a calendar that seemed cute judged by the picture on the packaging. When I unpacked it in daylight the next day however it turned out to be quite horrible. Yes, yes I know it is all in the eye of the beholder...  =)
To me the colours clashed garishly, especially the pink seemed awfully offending. There was no way I would want to use it as it was. And here now, when I try to prove my point by showing you 'before' and 'after' pictures, the pictures do not do the real object justice. The tiny pictures refuse to convey an authentic impression. *sigh*
DIY, Advent Calendar, Touch Up, Embroidery, Applique

Furthermore, the entire thing was flawed design wise. The little rings that were meant to hold the presents in place, were all attached at the exact middle of each numbered panel. The calendar is of course meant to be suspended. So once it hangs, the thing called gravity kicks in and the presents tend to leave the upper half of the respective panel empty, while obstructing the panels below. 

OK, so I though, let's just quickly touch the thing up a bit. Tone down the business, get rid of the pink, shift the rings and it should work.

DIY, Advent Calendar, Touch Up, Embroidery, Applique


The quick touch-up turned into an odyssey of hours of applying and embroidering on top of the original design. By the time I was finally done, I had invested so much time that I would have been better off with planning and executing the project from scratch in the first place. The resulting calendar might have been prettier too. 

I have added green panels onto which I applied ribbons or lace and white or red embroidery before sewing them on top of the panels I wished to cover. I also have added little bells because I like their jingling and I can get away with it at Christmas. And yes, I will so definitely use this advent calendar for all the pain it caused me. 

Mind you, I am not really complaining as all of this was entirely self-inflicted. But this certainly was anything but the quick and painless time saving advent calendar solution I had initially in mind.

I hope that your Christmas projects are coming along nicely, on schedule and without similar odysseys.
=)



Sunday, 13 September 2015

Faux Chenille Baby Blanket – Bring out the Elephants!


Faux Chenille Baby Blankets. When you look at the word ‘inspire’ than the first definition listed in the dictionary is to stimulate a person to some activity. And how can one not be inspired when such pretty examples of Faux Chenille Baby Quilts are around. Just have a look at Dana's blog MADE for a beautiful example or at Allie's version as seen on her blog Miss Lovie.

Anneliese from Aesthetic Nest created a very illustrative walk-through, and with her tutorial in mind I set out to make my own version for friends in Munich who had a baby boy on the way. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla

What impresses me, as much as it makes me jealous, is the sheer variety and availability of fabrics on offer in the USA and Canada. From what I have seen online, other quilters who attempted Faux Chenille blankets, have chosen mouth-wateringly pretty and matching tones of cotton flannel fabrics. 

Those are just not as available here in Berlin. For this blanket I checked out about six different fabric stores around town, that if they stock cotton flannels at all, each only had between 4 -10 different fabrics stocked. And from what was available, I saw mostly prints that did not coordinate and hardly any uni-coloured flannels. There was just simply nothing to choose from. I also checked online but the selection – at least in German online shops - is similarly uninspiring. To import from the USA however is forbiddingly expensive due to postage and import taxes. Thus, it came down to making do with what I could lay my hands on, which was a bit heartbreaking because I had a colour scheme in mind but was hampered by the lack of choice. *sigh* 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla


In the end, I chose two blue and one red chequered cotton flannel, which worked well together. Differently to the suggestion in the tutorial, I decided that I wanted the frayed chenille of the final project to be held in place by not only one layer, the printed backing fabric, but by a second layer for more stability. Therefore, one of the blue flannels was arranged in a double layer as to make up a fourth layer of flannel stacked on the cotton print fabric. When it came to cutting the quilted channels, I cut the three layers of flannel from the second layer upwards and took care not to cut into the printed fabric or the first layer of flannel that made up the foundation. 

Instead of merely using one cotton print for the backing, I decided to have some fun with this side too. I matched the 'Safari Soiree - Ele Train Teal Elephant' print by Dan Stiles for Birch Organic Fabric with the cream coloured 'Ice Cream' print by October Afternoon for Riley Blake and machine embroidered another big elephant on top to keep things interesting. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Applique Puppilalla


I had also cunningly gotten the name of the future baby boy out of the parents to be. At that stage I took a chance and applied the name in bright colours onto the backing fabric and hoped that ‘Jacob’ would not turn into ‘Frederick’ or any other name at the very last minute. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla

Thankfully, I got lucky there and the boy really was named ‘Jacob’ at birth. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla quilt lines



As you may be able to make out the quilted lines are neither strictly parallel nor always evenly spaced apart. On the chenille side this fact is hidden by the fraying and on the other side – uhm – I am banking on the brain's tendency to even out irregularities the eye perceives. (One advantage of optical illusions =) 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla

I cut the channels by hand with scissors and can confirm other quilter’s reports of hurting hands and calluses forming in the process. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla finished



Here is the finished blanket: quilted, cut and seam bound. The flannel frayed nicely after having been washed and dried. Considering the (perceived) difficulties at the beginning of the project, I am pretty happy about how my Faux Chenille Elephant Baby Blanket turned out. 

My friends in Munich were delighted to find this unexpected present in the parcel post and have been using the blanket frequently, I am happy to report. 

Faux Chenille Baby Quilt Blanket Cotton Flannel Puppilalla Finished Project

So, bring out the Elephants!

Wednesday, 9 September 2015

A Collection of Patchwork Pillowcases


modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork pillowcase cushion cover with stripes and velvet ribbons












Patchwork Pillowcases. Looking back, I have made quite a few of them by now, for they make such lovely presents. And whats more, they are quick to make and therefore fun fast projects. In the past I have hardly managed to snap a picture of the finished product, let alone the creative process, before wrapping them up and giving them away.

Flower Applique Pillowcase


A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork pillowcase with flower applique


I made this pillowcase with the flower applique for my friend Hannah as you will have already guessed. The stripes on the left hand side are actually one flowery woven  and one green velvety ribbon that I machine applied to the background fabric.


A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork pillowcase with flower applique




















I just love the green little woven ribbon to the left with its purple and blue flowers.


A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork pillowcase with flower applique























And a close-up of the machine applied flower petals. With hindsight I would say, something was definitely amiss with the thread tension.



Modern Log Cabin Pillowcase

A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork Log Cabin Pillowcase




And this beauty even made it all around the world to Sydney, Australia.

A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork Log Cabin Pillowcase


The pretty modern log cabin block was made from scraps. I just love the fussy cut flower at the centre.

A modern Puppilalla Design Patchwork Log Cabin Pillowcase


Yes, I know, the eagle eyed among you will have spied that the background fabric - 'Grunge' in Mint by Basicgrey, which I love by the way - has NOT been ironed prior to sewing. 
I am entirely self-taught and it has not occured to me until recently, when I watched some online classes on Craftsy, that it might in fact be beneficial to do so. 



Lessons to take away for the future?
1. Ought to improve on documenting the crafting process around future sewing projects.
2. Should remember to iron fabrics prior to using them.


Fair enough, I promise to try. 






Sunday, 30 August 2015

Snowball Block Quilt - Late in Summer

Hi there, I wanted to take a moment to share a completed snowball block quilt with you. It is the first quilt I made for myself rather than gifting it to friends and their kids.

Snowball block quilt Puppilalla Design green blue
























It is a very basic design of snowball blocks alternating with simple fabric squares. I had fallen in love with the Bloomsbury Gardens Quilt by Rita from Red Pepper Quilts and decided to make a bed sized version for myself.




snowball block quilt Puppilalla Design green blue


Colour wise, I wanted something reminiscent of late hot summer days near greenish dark ponds, overhung with willows and whispering reeds full of whirring dragonflies, where the willows swallow up the wind and time seems slow as molasses. Therefore, I settled for olive greens and summer sky blues with a bit grey and gold sprinkled in between. 




snowball block quilt Puppilalla Design green blue
























The decision to add some fabrics of Joel Dewberry’s 'Modern Meadow' collection came somewhat later because I felt the quilt needed some graphic elements. It felt too tone-in-tone and somehow lacking in tension. While the 'Modern Meadow' fabrics did not exactly match my colour scheme, they enhanced the quilt a lot by adding texture. I did agonize over the question whether or not to include the red bits but now I am glad I did. 




Late in Summer modern Snowball block quilt Puppilalla Design green blue
























It fascinates me to look at the back of completed quilt tops.




Late in Summer modern Snowball block quilt Puppilalla Design green blue
























I used an olive green embroidery floss to big - stich around the inner border once.




Late in Summer modern Snowball block quilt Puppilalla Design green blue























For the backing I choose a lovely soft fabric called 'Mind the Moose' by Soft Cactus.




snowball block quilt Puppilalla Design green blue


























I very much like my LATE IN SUMMER snowball block quilt and look forward to it adorning my bedroom for years to come.

=)