Pocketful of Petals

Having a baby boy means that I get massive clothes envy. I love buying clothes my son, but whenever I’m shopping I like to have a wander around the whole of the baby clothes section, not just the boy’s! Girls’ clothes are just so gorgeous…and you get so many more varieties of styles, fabric and colours.

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When my nephew, Jacob, was born I had the intention of making baby clothes. Jacob is now three years old and has yet to receive an item to wear! I struggle to think of many items to make for boys that I would actually dress them in, other than perhaps a funky printed shirt (and I’ve been a bit scared of attempting these).

Girls, on the other hand are much easier…dresses, skirts, pantaloons, tops…pretty much anything looks good in florals, spots, stripes, animals or other children’s printed fabric. (And simpler to make than a shirt!).

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So I was pleased to be asked to make a skirt for a two year old little girl, Eva, with matching bag…well, every lady needs matching accessories!
A girl’s skirt with elasticated waist band is quite straight forward to make, however; I wanted my skirt to have a flat waistband at the front, to give it a neater look than those that are elastic all the way around the waistband.

SONY DSCThree practice skirts later, and I had measurements and the ‘know how’ in order to make the skirt I wanted; including a neat flat front waistband, elasticated in the back to allow to pull on and off and fit with ease, and ties to fasten into a pretty bow at the back.

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The fabrics I used were light-weight cotton with a small bright pink and orange floral print for the main body of the skirt, and contrasting pink and white spotty for the waistband and skirt edge; both from The Eternal Maker.

I also added a cute gathered pocket with embroidered flowers to the front of the skirt.

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I loved this skirt. The only problem is that, to date, I can only make it in size age 2…and unless I figure out other sizes, my new born niece is going to have to wait a couple more years until I can make one for her! As for Jacob and Jesse, they are just going to have to wait until I get around to attempting shirts!

Mamma’s got a brand new bag

When I first started sewing, hmmmm maybe about 5 years ago now, one of the first things I made was a tote bag for my mum…it was very basic! She did, however, use it all the time so now the colour is less navy and white more navy and brown, and the appliqué apple (bit random…who knows why I decided on this for a decoration!) is now just an outline of stitches, the inner fabric as worn off.

So for mum’s birthday this year I made a new bag to replace this well loved but pretty disgusting old one. The pattern for the bag was from U Handbag which has a great easy-to-follow tutorial that you can print.
The fabric I used, bought from Favourite Fabrics on Ebay, was a cotton/linen blend, strong and hard-wearing for every day use, in a pretty vintage-style blue and pink floral print for the outer and pink and white polka dots for the lining. The tan leather sew-on bag handles were also from Ebay.

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Slightly better than the old one I think and mum was pretty pleased with it too…here’s to another five years.

Due to the popularity of this bag amongst my other family members, my sister also got one for her birthday a month later, with just a couple of changes: the same fabric but different colour; and the handles, again leather, but brown, slightly longer, and different in style (I think slightly more modern looking than mum’s) – I bought these from www.bag-clasps.co.uk. I also added a pocket inside the bag to keep her phone or keys, knowing how they always seem to get lost amongst the Mary Poppins range of items in a girl’s bag!

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I just need to make one for myself now and we’ll have a matching set.

Jesse’s handmade gifts

Those who know me know I am partial to a hand made item. Being a crafter myself I know how much work, time and effort, is put into creating something unique for someone – and this makes it more special to receive.

When Jesse was born, and even now, a few months on, we have receive so many gorgeous hand made gifts, it would be rude of me not to share …(and give a shout out to those so generous).

Appliqué vests and softie from Laura F (who is currently due her baby – I’ll have to come up with something good in return!)

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Audrey (mum and ‘commissionee‘ of my friend Laura D) – who is probably one of the world’s greatest and fastest knitter, who can turn her needles to anything including this cosy teal sleeping bag with wooden buttons.

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Gorgeous patchwork blanket from Linda, whose quilting talent I can only aspire to.

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Oh so beautiful and intricate knitted shawl from my Aunty Shirley – can you believe this was made by hand…just wow!

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Mini knitted baseball boots…cuuuuttttee! (again thank you Aunty S).

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Appliqué elephant card from new mum and fellow crafter Lou. This is getting framed and mounted on Jesse’s bedroom wall.

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Winnie the Pooh quote print personalised with Jesse’s name and date of birth, created by Jane, another piece of wall candy.

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More gorgeous knitted goodies – a mountain of cardies and jumpers (and hats and booties) from my Aunty Maureen. So beautiful and with a quality no shop could match. And, a range of sizes to last him many months…yeay – he’s certainly going to be the smartest boy in town!

SONY DSCBall taggie from Katie (yet another new mum – they are certainly setting the standard for mum/crafters!). This is made with a range of fabrics with different colours and textures and includes little sticky out ribbons, great for his learning and development (and entertainment).
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Colourful taggie from Helen – LOVE this fabric and super colourful which Jesse finds extremely attractive. This has some many different and interesting tags – satin ribbons, canvas tags, buttons and jumbo ric rac – for Jesse to feel (and chew on!).

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A big thank you from myself and Jesse for these gorgeous gifts; they’ve also given me inspiration for gifts I’m sure to be making in the future!

 

Pretty Pastels

Well it’s been a while since I’ve made anything, other than the odd bit of bunting here and there, so it was lovely to get back into things with these pretty bags…

SONY DSCI made this first bag for my friend Rose who was 30 a few weeks ago, but it was a kind of joint birthday/wedding pressy (she is honeymooning it up as I type!)
SONY DSCI used a mint green duchess satin under the ivory lace to coordinate with the colour of her bridesmaid dresses.
The ribbon, sewed to the lining which reads: ‘to have and to hold, from this day forward, is available from the lovely Wedding in a Teacup, who I also make lavender bags for. I thought this added a nice little wedding related touch.
SONY DSCAs an extra, I also added a bronze chain that matched the purse frame, which I think gives it a more vintage look, and allows Rose to use it either as a little bag or clutch.
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The next set of bags I made for Susie, a bride getting wed in Ireland at the end of June, as gifts for her bridesmaids.
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She sent me a photo of her beautiful bridesmaid dresses (and a sneak peek at her wedding dress…eeek!) which were all a different pastel shade: one lilac, one mint green and one nude.
Susie asked if I’d make all the bags the same colour, similar to that of the nude coloured dress, again with the ivory lace.
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I found a gorgeous shade of nude/beige duchess satin to use for the main bag, and lined them all with a super pretty pale pink floral fabric.

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I was so pleases that the bride I made these for like them so much she requested another two; one for herself and one for her mum. I hope her maids like their gifts.

A special patchwork

I wanted to post up some pics of one of my most treasured baby gifts.

A few weeks before my baby boy was born, my friends arranged a surprise baby shower for me.

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Having run craft workshops for hen dos and baby showers for the past couple of years with my friend and business partner Sam with our business Love Me Sew, it is only right that I should have one myself right? So I don’t know why it took me so by surprise…so much so I thought it was going to induce labour!

Sam sneakily fooled me into thinking I was helping her set up for a workshop only to arrive (wearing very unflattering maternity leggings and my dog walking boots!) a room full of my lovely friends and family, some who had travelled from far and wide just for the day: London, Newcastle, Coventry! I was overwhelmed, I had not a clue that this little celebration for me and baby had been planned.

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After a few tears, lots of hellos and hugs, the crafting commenced! Sam had designed a patch for each letter of the alphabet that the girls, most of whom had never sewn before, then spent the afternoon sewing – either by hand or machine and using a range of fabrics, felts and buttons, with the help of Sam and Lauren, her assistant for the day, or myself (even though I was technically off duty I just can’t help myself!).

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After a few hours of sewing, eating cake and, mostly, chatting, the patches were well on their way to being finished and looking fab! Sam took them all away, finished off the extra letters, and put them all together.

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Jesse was born just a couple of weeks later so Sam also stitched on his name and date of birth.

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I had an amazing day, it was such a special surprise and I was truly humbled that so many people came for us, and now we have this gorgeous blanket that was created with so much effort, it will be loved forever. Thank you girls (Jesse’s pretty excited about it too…).

Since having my baby I have decided not to continue with Love Me Sew so I can spend all my spare time, once I’ve return to work in January, with Jesse. I’m sad to say goodbye but it’s the right decision for me. Sam is continuing to run the workshops, including baby showers and, of course, I would thoroughly recommend; they are a day to remember, well planned and organised, and of course you get an amazing gift at the end! For more information, pop on over to the Love Me Sew website and get in touch with Sam, who will go to any lengths to ensure you get the best experience.

 

Make lovely Lavender Bags…my DIY Tutorial.

I’ve written many a DIY blog posts over the past couple of year but for other blogs, so I thought it’s time to add something of value for my own blog readers by posting some on here. Some will be repeats of those I’ve posted elsewhere but I will also add new ones when time allow.

I’ve started here with a nice simple tutorial for lavender bags; these are easy to make, can be made with any pretty fabric and size, decorated, and make lovely little gifts (perfect for Mother’s Day).

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You will need:
● Pretty Fabric
● Pretty Ribbon*
● Paper template (I’ve made mine 3” square but it’s up to you on the shape and size of
your bags)
● Dried lavender
● Coordinating thread
● Tailors chalk or pencil
● Pins
● Scissors

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I’ve written this tutorial based on the use of a sewing machine. However, these lavender bags
can also be made by hand sewing, just allow for more time.
*The ribbon I have used in this tutorial is available to buy from Wedding in a Teacup.

1. Cut your fabric
● Fold over your fabric, right (patterned) sides together and pin your template to the fabric.
● Using tailors chalk or a pencil, draw around the template.

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● Remove the template, but place a pin in the fabric to hold the two pieces together while
you cut.

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● Cut our your lavender bag shape from your fabric. You should now have two pieces (one
for the either side of the bag).

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2. Sew your lavender bag together.
● Pin right (patterned) sides of your lavender bag together.
● Using approximately ¼ “ seam allowance, sew around three sides of your fabric.
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Tip: When you get to the end of one side, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and
spin the fabric to continue along the next side.

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Tip: Most sewing machines have a reverse function, at the places you start and end your
stitches, sew a few stitches forward and back – this will help to keep the stitches in place when
you come to turn the bag the right way out.
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● Turn your bag the right way out and press. It may help to poke the corners out with a
pencil.

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3. Fold the top seam.
● On the open side of your bag, fold the fabric approximately ¼” inwards and press.

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● Half fill your lavender bag with dried lavender.

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4. Making your bag loop.
● Using some pretty ribbon*, cut approximately 12cm (or longer if you prefer your loop to
be larger), fold the ribbon in half and place the ends in the open edge of the bag.
● Pin this open edge of the bag together making sure to catch the ends of the loop.
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5. Finishing your lavender bag.
● Topstitch a few millimeters across open edge of the bag closed making sure to sew over
the loop ends. Add a few reverse stitches at the start and end of your run of stitches to
ensure these are secure and don’t come unravelled.

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As I mentioned above these make great gifts, for any occasion (although probably mainly for the ladies in your life), are perfect as little wedding favours or just to keep your undies drawer smelling delicious!
I often make a few in one go as they come in very hand as little additional extras to accompany birthday or Christmas pressies, and you can decorate them to match decor or personal likes. (Take a look at the little selection I made just before Christmas…which I’m still giving out now!)

Mollie Makes Wedding…Crafty Give-Away!

I’ve been a big fan of Mollie Makes, having a subscription to the monthly magazine since it was first published. From crafty projects (all kinds not just sewing!), interviews with creative people, book and product reviews, to info on events, shops and workshops, this magazine is full of inspirational content, all packaged up on beautifully designed and textured pages full of colour and gorgeous imagery.

So you can only imagine how excited (and honoured!) I was when about a year ago an email arrived in my inbox inviting me to submit a DIY project for the Mollie Makes new book ‘Wedding’, due to be published in February 2014.

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After seeing my post featuring Annabelle’s quilt, I was asked to submit ideas based on this design, with my suggestions of colours and fabric choices, to the team to review and decide if they wanted my project to be part of the book.

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Long story short…they liked my ideas (yeahy!) and after sending over copy and images for the tutorial, a year later – taaa daaa, the book is now available to buy in shops and online, and my Machine Appliqué Photo Album Cover tutorial, complete with mug shot and biog, is in actual print!

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And, even better…I have been given an additional copy to give away! If you are a crafty bride-to-be, know someone is, or are helping someone else create their wedding, this book is a must!

If you’d like this copy, please email me at hello@emilycarlill.com by Monday 31st March with a brief explanation of why you need this book in your life.

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A randomly selected lucky person will then receive the book and one of my ‘Mr and Mrs’ bunting banner which I’m throwing in for good measure! Good luck x

The Ultimate Make!

For the past nine months I’ve been working on making what is my best project yet…in fact ever!

I have been making a person.

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Photo thanks to Silvery Moon Photography.

Baby Jesse was born three weeks ago on Friday 24th January. Arriving a week earlier than expected, he sent all my ‘to-make-before-baby-arrives’ plans right out the window! (See earlier post as to a few things that were on this ‘to do’ list).

However sewing machine…don’t think you are getting off that lightly! Whilst I may have given you a few weeks maternity leave, the many hours nursing time have allowed for plenty of thinking (between episodes of The Good Wife) and browsing Pinterest for more DIY inspiration (as well as cute baby boy outfits!)

I still plan on making him a blanket.  I actually bought the fabric before he was born, made up of colours that were suitable for both boys or girls (depending on what flavour he was going to turn out to be)…a range of teal, navy, coral and grey cottons from The Village Haberdashery.

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Fabric pic via my Instagram.

Using just block colours, the plan is to make a triangle patchwork (not sure if this is the ‘official’ term for this kind of design but, with the pics below, is pretty self-explanatory). Quite a simple design but if I’ve chosen a good enough colour scheme I think will look really cool, and gives quite a modern look to the good ‘ol patchwork blanket. I’ve even treated myself to a fancy triangle cutting ruler from Ebay which I’m not entirely sure how to use but I’m exited to try out.

A few images I’ve pinned (from Pinterest) of the ‘triangle’ style I’m going for…

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Image and tutorial from See Kate Sew.

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Image from Quilts by Emily

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Image from Blue is Bleu.

What I did get started on before baby Jesse arrived was a pile of dribble bibs. Using up small pieces of left over fabric and super soft organic fleece for the bib backing, I whipped up this super simple (but oh-so-useful) baby make in no time.  I just have the snap fasteners to finish attaching and they’re ready to be given as gifts to my many currently pregnant friends in a ‘here’s some I made earlier’ Blue Peter style (apart from the Elvis one…that’s for my little Rock star). I’ll post up another pic once I get around to finishing them.

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I plan to continue adding posts and share with you some more crafts, as and when I can fit them in, but for now it’s back to my little cutie for more cuddles. Bye for now from me and Jesse bear.

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Photo thanks to Silvery Moon Photography.

 

Baby Bunting

So my stats show that the most searched for word on my blog is ‘bunting’. While it seams bunting has been top of the popularity scale for a few years now, there is no sign of it dropping.

And rightly so! It’s cute; adds instant glam and colour to any room or party; it can be decorated or personalised in so many ways; makes a great personal (and affordable!) gift; can be customised for the season, holiday, event or person, can be reused (and so has the ‘green’ factor)…in fact, there are not many reasons to dislike the good ‘ol bunting banners.

My wedding bunting has certainly been well used by friends, family, and friends of friends for various occasions!

Personalised baby bunting is what I make most of; I make it bespoke to colour or theme of baby’s nursery and often get asked to add special details such as weight and date of birth.

Here are just a couple I’ve made recently…

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This bunting was to match with some jungle stickers from JoJo Maman Bebe that had been used to decorate baby Stanley’s nursery. So the fabrics are relatively simple (spots, stripes etc) but all tie in with the colour theme, plus with the addition of a couple of felt appliqué monkeys…

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Jungle themes seem to be pretty popular; Mahli’s bunting was also to be jungle themed and fitting with a pink, green, yellow colour theme, and include some polka dots; I found this Urban Zoologie range of Robert Kaufman from Plush Addict that fitted the brief perfectly.

SONY DSC SONY DSCThe next couple of sets are simple girly florals…

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Thalia’s bunting was to be similar (but not the same) to Lucia’s bunting; Thalia’s older sister who was born in 2012.

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I think I can say with confidence that my baby will get some bunting!

Felt Finger Puppets

Whilst I have been getting a subscription to three magazines for the past couple of years now (two of these being craft magazines), I very rarely come across any of the projects inside that I really want to make…and then two come along at once (the first from Mollie Makes as shown in my previous ‘Little Lavender Bag’ post)!

I saw these little cuties in the additional magazine supplement that came with Making Magazine, which happened to be all about children’s toys; perfect timing as I was racking my brains for Christmas pressy ideas for my friend Sarah’s little lady, Isla.

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I made a couple of changes such as making a blue squirrel as opposed to a grey squirrel (why go with the norm eh when you can have a very rare blue squirrel!)

SONY DSC SONY DSCI also made a little personalised bag for Isla to keep them in.

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Cute and something a little different.