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.

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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!)

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Cute and something a little different.

Little Lavender Bags

Lavender bags are quite simple little gifts to make, but everyone seams to love them!

I made a few before Christmas to give as gifts, but instead of just two pieces of fabric sewed together and stuffed with some dried lavender, I decided to jazz them up a bit with some decoration.

My 90 year old nan is so hard to buy a present for as she just tells us she doesn’t want anything…not even chocolates (because she is ‘trying to be good’! If you can’t be naughty at 90, when can you be?). Really, I know she appreciates anything we give her, and I like to try to make as many things as possible so knew she would appreciate a these little hand-made gifts…

I got this cute cross stitch pattern (plus threads) free in one of my issues of Mollie Makes magazine. It took me about three hours to do (in a one’er) whilst I was watching Children in Need back in November, which I then trimmed with cream crochet trim, and stitched onto some lovely pale pink and white spot cotton linen fabric (Seasonal Supplies shop via Etsy). I edged the design with a hand-sewn running stitch and embroidery thread. After sewing the little bag together as normal, filling with dried lavender, I finished it off with a ribbon loop and cute button.

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I also made a matching bookmark with my nan’s (Mary) initial.

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As this was such a hit with my mum, I thought I would make her (and my Aunty) some lavender bags as little additions to their presents. Only I couldn’t decide on a design so I made many and thought the extras would make handy little gifts ready for friends and family birthdays throughout the year…

The entire collection (times four of each)…errr yeah I got a bit carried away with my free-hand machine appliqué!

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Aunty Shirley got the little pink houses (far right), whilst Aunty Elaine got the cherries…

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My mum got the brollies (only she saw a ‘J’ for Joyce…err yeah mum, that’s what it’s supposed to be!)

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The blue flowers are my favourite (may keep these for myself to hang in my wardrobe)…

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These make great little inexpensive gifts as you can make them as big or small as your fabric allows; you can even use up fabric left-overs for both the bags and decoration.

New year, new beginnings.

Happy new year crafty followers! Any creative New Year resolutions?

2014 is going to be a less crafty (more crazy) year for me as Mr C and I are expecting our first baby in a few weeks time. You may think I have been working away over the past nine months in my attic/sewing room creating bunting, bibs and other baby-related crafts for our bundle of joy…hmmm that was the intention!

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The bump at 36 weeks.

Four weeks to go and I have made nothing for us…nada! Partly due to finding the time (there is very little me time between two works and constantly having sewing on the go for other people…creating things for other people’s babies mainly!), but probably in most part because, in a way, there seems more pressure to make the perfect things for my own baby; not helped by the fact that I am very indecisive and like lots of different styles!

What I have done is browse Pinterest and become overwhelmed by all the gorgeous baby styles, nurseries, and clothes, frantically pinning everything I loved but showing no correlation in terms of similarity! I think the problem is that I like too many things!

However, lucky for me, the majority of these above mentioned limitations have been removed; I am now on maternity leave (hurrah!) = more time (for now)! And by being donated various baby furniture from our family, some style decisions have been taken out of my hands.

Baby C’s nursery is only a very small room which also helps as it can only fit so much in it. Here is a glimpse into it how it’s kind of looking so far…

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Top row: Trogen Blue chest of drawers (Ikea), basket storage solutions (via Pinterest), Cinnamon sting lights (Cable and Cotton), Green Baby Lapin lamp (Lapin and Me).

Middle row: Scrapbook Soft rattle toy (Mammas and Papas), Blue Cloud Paper Ceiling light shade (This Modern Life), Black and White Puppy Dog soft toy (Jelly Cat via Amazon), On the Farm knitted stripe baby blanket (Joules via Amazon), Handmade Felt Badger Rug (Sew Heart Felt), ABC Animal Print (Holli Shop, Etsy)

Bottom row: Animal World Map Canvas (Not on the High Street), Faux Fur Throws (image via Pinterest), Byholma Basket chair (Ikea), Grey Star Pram Suit (Marks and Spencer)

Whist most of these items are blue-ish in colour and perhaps more on the boyish side of things, we do not know our baby’s flavour but I’m not a pink person anyway, didn’t want to go with neutral which I, personally, find a bit boring and just for going with the things we like, this is how it’s turned out – I’m sure baby won’t mind!

The felt badger rug (which is totally ace) was one of Pete’s random (but good!) purchases, as was the animal world map canvas…we never intended on having an animal theme but I think it’s definitely leaning this way. But my most favourite thing is the Lapin and Me Green Baby Lapin Lamp – I’ve lusted over this a while, not being able to justify the cost (especially when there are more essential baby items to be bought first like, say, nappies!) but then to my pleasant surprise, my parents bought it me for Christmas…I think it’s safe to say it’s not everyones’ taste but I love its quirky retro-ness and how a lamp can have such personality.

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So this is where we are at for now. But I have plans – oh yes! Plan for the coming weeks to make a few bits and bobs (let’s see how that pans out!)…

I’ve just received some gorjusss bamboo fleece from Plush Addict which I intend to make some dribble bibs and, if there is enough left, to use as a backing for a pram blanket. You can’t tell from the picture how soft it is (I may have snuggled my face in it on removal from the packaging!) and it is a natural fabric so will be kind to baby’s skin. Plus, Plush Addict pop a little Maoam sweet into the order – if this is not some kind of bribery for repeat custom I don’t know what is (works for me!).

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Through my obsession with Pinterest, I’ve also come across a few DIY tutorials or nursery decor inspiration which I’m planning on giving ago, including…

Mobile via Craftiness is not optional. I love anything that hangs; lights, bunting, garlands etc and one thing we haven’t got for the nursery yet is a mobile. I love this cute mobile tutorial from Craftiness in not Optional.

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Or this super cute simple cloud mobile tutorial I found on We G Three

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Felt Pom Pom Garland. Talking of garlands, I love these as an alternative to bunting. And so simple, check out the tutorial on Oh Happy Day.

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Cushions. Following on the cloud theme, I’ve been drawn to these cute cushions which can’t be too difficult to recreate myself and I think will look fab on my Ikea basket chair…(Or, if all else fails I can just buy these from Petit Home.)

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I’m also planning a patchwork quilt (fabric currently en route!) – this is going to be slightly different to those personalised ones I made in the past for friend’s babies but I will post about that once the fabric has arrived and I’m a bit more decided on how it’s going to look.

Anything else and I don’t thing there will be room for baby!

Annabelle’s Book

You may have seen the post I published a few weeks back featuring Toby’s picture book – well this is similar; another picture book only this time for a little girl.

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Annabelle, my friend Jane’s little baby, was 1 year old at the beginning of December (how time flies…it only seems like five minutes ago since I made her quilt for when she was born!). I actually started this picture book at the same time as Toby’s (back in September) but it got put on hold for a few weeks due to my Christmas stocking demand!

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I used a combination of pink and yellow fabrics for the pages and, again, like Toby’s I wanted to include a mixture of pictures and quotes, made up of different textures: hand-sewn embroidery, free-hand machine appliqué, regular appliqué, and with both fabric, felt and buttons.

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I decorated the front with Annabelle’s name and a little appliqué pic of a girl in a strawberry outfit (as Annabelle had one of these a few months back!).

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One to come out on her 18th birthday…

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More Christmassy makes

So I’ve mostly been busy with personalised Christmas stockings over the past couple of weeks since posting my first lot and then the patchwork ones.

However, these next few have been a bit more bespoke…

After seeing the first few with the reindeer, angel and gingerbread man design, I was asked if I could make a similar one but swap the fabrics so the main stocking was red and spotty. I was asked to make this for a little 8 month old girl: Mared (which means ‘Pearl’ in Welsh I’ve now learnt!) by her mum, Jessica.

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I was also asked if I could use a ‘M’ as well as her full name for the personalisation and a simple picture such as a snowflake.

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‘I’ve just opened your gorgeous parcel to find the most beautiful stocking inside. It is just perfect and something that both Mared and I shall treasure for a very long time to come … Thank you so much.’  Jessica, Mared’s mum.

Unlike my own designs, another stocking I have recently made was not from my own creation – I was sent a picture and asked to make a similar design. I did make a few small changes, however, and still thought the finished item was pretty cute!

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Again, this stocking was for a little lady: Ada. I emailed Ada’s mum, Natalie, a pic once I had posted the stocking and she loved it but was waiting to collect the parcel from the post office. I received a lovely email once Natalie had collected the stocking…

‘It was the stocking and of course I love it even more in the flesh, I actually felt quite emotional when I saw it. My daughter is only 1 but this will be her forever stocking (my mum still does mine at 33!!!) so it will be treasured for a long time to come.
Thank you so much for fitting our brief perfectly and with such beautiful craftsmanship.’ Natalie, Ada’s mum.
I’ve also made a Santa Sack for my nephew, Jacob. It’s nice a big for all his pressies!
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I decorated the bag with a felt Santa, fabric applique presents which have hand-embroidered ribbons and the words: ‘Ho ho ho’. Plus his name which again is appliqued fabric and i’ve hand-sewn a running stitch around the letters for a bit of extra detail.
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The main sack is made from a medium weight red checked linen, and lined for extra strength.
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The bag has a drawstring ribbon tie which I added small felt Christmas trees to the ends.

And finally (apart from a few Christmas presents) I’ve done some free-hand machine embroidered Christmas cards.

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Sarah’s Houses

Every year I like to make birthday pressies for my good friends and as the years pass by it’s getting harder and harder to come up with new (and good friend-worthy) gift ideas.

My friend Sarah lives in the most lovely house…it’s one of those quirky old buildings that’s been around for years and years with loads of character. She is currently in the middle of some decorating so I thought I would make her something housey…in more than one sense of the word!

The first is a draught excluder…well, we are getting old and the nights are drawing in! Plus Sarah’s house, whilst it may have been standing hundreds of years but with it’s higgledy piggledy walls is sure to let some cold winter air through somewhere.

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I used a medium weight fabric to ensure it’s hard-wearing qualities and decorated it with mini houses, trees and bunting using free-hand machine embroidery.

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The second little gift is an actual house, or a door stop to be more exact. I did it in the same fabrics and colours as to match the draught excluder, and again used free-hand machine embroidery to decorate the front (including the name of Sarah’s house over the door).

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