Nothing better than ‘making your own’…right?

You may or may not know that I run another crafty business which, instead of making things for people, I like to think I’m helping people to get into the fab world of sewing and making things for themselves!

Well, a pretty new and exciting part of my business, Love Me Sew, is the launch of ‘Make Your Own’ craft packs…lovely boxes which contain everything you need to make up a complete item; including fabric, thread and other relevant haberdashery items, and a template and instructions designed and written (as well as packaged up!) by yours truly (with the help of my glamorous assistant’s Mr C and Winnie dog).

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photo (58)The packs were officially launched in October 2012 with Love Me Sew being invited to pitch the packs to a panel of John Lewis buyers as part of a Start Up business scheme, where we were selected to be one of 11 finalists from over 400 applicants! (Woweee I did say!)

SONY DSCCurrently, Love Me Sew ‘Make your own’ bunting and ‘Make your own’ phone case are stocked in six lovely retail outlets in Yorkshire and the North East, and are hoping to increase this number over the coming months.

IMG_0672I’ve just finished writing the patterns and instructions for another three packs – two general, one special edition – to be launched in time for Easter, which will also be available to buy from the Love Me Sew online shop (which currently sells lovely fabric if you fancy having a browse!). Here is a sneak preview (even the Love Me Sew blog and Facebook followers have not seen this!).

SONY DSCIf you like sewing and crafts yourself, and fancy keeping up with everything Love Me Sew, please follow the blog (I often post tutorials on here too!) and Facebook as I’ll be posting updates on how the packs are doing, and maybe encourage you to try one too…
(P.S If you do, I’d love to hear some feedback to make sure I’m getting them right for fellow crafters, and suggestions on future packs is always welcome!)

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New year, new skills.

Instead of getting bogged down with the ‘churning out’ way of working I seemed to have been doing the past year and half, in order to just cross things off the ‘to do’ list and make sure they are done in time, I have decided this year to take on board the wise words of Mr C who keeps telling me…’more haste, less speed‘.

This comment is usually in response to me having a mini melt-down over some finished personalised item that I was proud of until the heart dropping realisation I’ve spelled said person’s name incorrectly! (Seriously, you’d think I’d learn from just doing this the once…not me, think I’m on melt down number five or six at least!)

I’ve realised if I take more time to think about what I am making and to learn new techniques, my items may be more interesting to make as well as how they look, and could also save me time in the long run. Plus, I may finally try a few things I have wanted to try for ages!

Free Hand Machine Embroidery. The first of these new techniques is free hand embroidery. I love the way free hand embroidery looks. I’m always doodling and l love the rough look style of sketches so, combining this and a sewing machine…what could be better? Last year I took a workshop in free hand machine embroidery and found it was surprisingly easier than I thought it was going to be. However, I never actually got around to trying it on my own projects until a few weeks before Christmas. I entered a competition advertised on The Sewing Directory and won a Free Hand Machine Embroidery book, hoop and threads which kick started me on my way…

I’ve started small, making cards for friends… New Home, Anniversary, New baby and birthday…

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I’m currently working on a baby patchwork quilt for a friend on which I’ve taken the risk and used free hand embroidery to personalise and decorate it…I like how it’s coming along but that’s for the next post!

I still have more things I want to have a go of so (depending on how they turn out!!) I’m sure to be featuring them in future posts.

I’ve launched another crafty business…hoorahh!

As if all my crafting is not keeping me busy enough, I’ve only gone and started another craft business…

Myself, and friend (and now business partner) Sam have been in the planning stages for what feels like ages in order to start our business Love Me Sew – which has now officially begun!

Love Me Sew is an online fabric shop selling lots of lovely fabrics chosen by us (they are pretty cute…and it’s taking all my efforts not to create them into something for myself since they are all stored in my sewing room at home!)…please visit our website and have a browse (or, even better, buy!).

It’s been a long time in the making, but we are pretty chuffed with the website. As regular fabric buyers, we know how difficult it is to get that perfect fabric online when you can only see in on-screen instead for real and not having the ability to see the exact colour or feel the quality.


To help make the online shopping experience better for other fellow crafters, like ourselves, we though about what things we could provide to improve this – we came up with the ability to create mood boards – to see what different fabrics would look like together, with the additional advantage of seeing what they make look like as bunting or as a patchwork quilt…

To help people see the exact size of the print and also give others ideas of what to make, we included a ‘Your Creations‘ section – where we are asking people to send us a picture of things they make using our fabric and we will add it to the website, giving a free bundle to the ones we think deserve a ‘star creation’.

 

As well as the fabric, we are also running workshops, or Crafternoons as we like to call them, for hen dos (one for all you lovely brides who like to look at my blog for wedding inspiration!), baby showers, workplace events, or any other social activity for people who like to craft.

Check out the baby showers…these are our favourites!

So this is just the beginning! We have loads of other things we are working on to develop our business (as well as getting lots more lovely fabric for the website) so I guess it’s just a case of please take a look at the website and follow our blog to keep up with all the bits and bobs we’re doing…exciting times!

 

Cowboy treat for my Texas Pete.

It’s been a little while since I posted anything on my own blog due to the fact that it is coming into wedding season and I am full to bursting with making hessian runners, men’s wedding ties, bunting, bridesmaid bags, banners, cutlery pouches, and cake bunting!

That, and the fact that I am working on getting my partnership business, Love Me Sew, up and running – which I might post about soon when (fingers crossed) our website will be live! Yeahy.

Amongst all the wedding craft craziness, I’ve managed to squeeze in a few extra bits and bobs; two of which have been pressys for my family. Granted, not the most exciting of presents but I enjoyed making them (as they were nice, easy and stress-free!) and, most importantly, they were liked…

The first was a cushion for my mum for Mother’s Day. Not only was it patchwork (which I love of any kind due to its crazy random-ness) but it was a little bit more special as I made the patchwork pieces out of the fabric left over from my wedding bunting.

The second was also a cushion but this time for the hubby. I know it’s a bit of a rubbish present for a man but it’s so difficult to think of a suitable, manly gift that is sewn or hand-crafted (and I made a not-very-strict-resolution to give a hand-made gift at every possible birthday opportunity!). While I also got him some other more interesting gifts, I knew he would like this as it’s made with cowboy print fabric (of the Cath Kidston variety) and anyone who knows Pete knows he has the biggest back catalogue of country music and loves to styles himself on a bit of the American Old West!

Pete, second from right with the appropriately named Hank Williams-style band 'The Lovesick Cowboys'.

Reporting on my first wedding fair.

Before I collapse into bed I wanted to pop up a little post about today – after weeks of worry I have made it through my first wedding fair, the first of any type of fair in fact…yeahy!

Way back in what seems like week’s ago now, I was asked by the ladies at Save the Date Magazine if I wanted to exhibit my wedding related fabric crafts at the Wedding Event with a Difference in Derby…..errr, yes!

I got cracking with lots of lovely fabric buying (again!) and spent many more late nights (kind of becoming the norm these days) at the sewing machine crafting up some bits and bobs for my display, thinking up items people like to decorate their weddings. This included: bunting (obv.), placemats, napkins, napkin rings, various garlands, gift bags, little lavender bags, fabric hearts and birds, and even a few extras such as the little purses, i’ve previously posted about, and garters.

A dark 5am start this morning, saw us (yes I dragged Pete along for moral and physical support) arrive in our packed up car at the beautiful Roundhouse venue in Derby. We were placed in the Creative Corner of the fair which housed lots of other crafty exhibitors and, on setting up, started to get pretty stressed at the sheer gorgeousness of their items, some stationery, some wearable accessorise and more; all very different, but each amazing. Needless to say I felt out my depth!

Anywho, once we got set up and I started chatting to the other exhibitors, I soon felt more relaxed as everyone was so lovely, and visitors to the fair came by, some who I had nice chats with about weddings and took away my little promo cards (which also got lovely comments regarding the design – thank you Rose Mountague). My lovely friends also came along all the way from Leeds to show their support!

So, all in all, it was a very nice day and I don’t think I did too bad for a first attempt. I felt very privileged to be at a great event amongst such amazing talent. I especially want to direct others to have a look at the works of: Chloe of Adore by Chloe, a wedding blogger and sponsor of the Creative Corner, Sheena Holland who makes the most gorgeous headpieces; Jenna of Wren’s Tea Party – a super lovely lady, with support from her hubby also, who got married around the same time as we did and decided to set up her own little business hiring vintage accessories, and finally Gemma Nemer of The Button Tin, who frankly I’m just plain jealous of – what a talent; one I can only aspire too!

Me and my stand...hello!

 

My attempt at screen printing.

So i’ve just returned home from my second screen printing lesson. Last week we learn’t the basics of the screen printing process but this week we got print our own art work.

Well when I say ‘own’ art work, by that I mean our own images – for me I still have to attempt my actual own designs! I decided to have a go at printing a photo (from our pre-wedding photos from Dominique Bader), a nice wedding card given to us from my sister (one of those nice Rob Ryan cards), and some of my branding designed by the lovely Rose.

I thought I would share my first go (apologies for the poor quality of photos – a result of the combo of rubbish phone plus the fact that my screen printing is pretty poor also)…

My aim (or hope is probably more accurate) of learning screen printing is to eventually have a go at designing and printing my own fabric…i’ll keep you posted!

 

The must have accessory.

Inspired by a Dolly Parton song called ‘Coat of Many Colours’ which, just the other day, we were lucky enough to see performed live by the great lady herself, which is about a coat of rags that Dolly’s mum made for her when she was a little girl and became her most precious possession, I decided to make some little precious things out of rags myself.

Well not exactly rags, just scraps of fabric left over from making bunting and a couple of banners.

My latest projects have been making bunting for Kennedy’s Food Store, a deli and cafe bistro in Dublin, and two birthday banners: one with Happy Birthday and the second spelling ‘Annabel’, the little birthday lady herself.

After finishing these, with a comb of Dolly songs in my head, wanting to give my customers a little bit extra as a thank you for ordering from me, and the fact that I hate to waste anything…especially beautiful fabric, I decided to make little bunting bags to tuck my bunting away safely when not in use…it is this season’s must have accessory!

 

 

 

Elephants and Lace.

Whilst I try (but fail) to not worry about the elephant in the room that is the looming wedding fairs, this past week I have been procrastinating with various small projects including lining the inside of a wooly hat for a friend at work to stop it itching her forehead!

 

 

 

 

 

I also made a little lace garter for my friend Jane who got married at the weekend in a lovely pink and lemon styled barn wedding.

The latter I think I will make a variety of these to add to the wedding fair items. Since it’s been mentioned, here are a few other wedding-fair related items/issues that I have floating around…

Items to make. What, how, best work this out soon!

Display Props. To be decided and completed; what will look good, not be too expensive, and fit in my too-small-for-this-kind-of-affair car. So far we have an old vintage suitcase, recently purpose-purchased in Manchester, that is determined to retain that vintage shop smell! I have my mum’s old-school very lovely looking Singer machine still to collect, and lots of cheap wooden frames that I have painted white.

Display Set Up. How to display aforementioned unmade items. I have a 6ft space to play with and so far we have bought 3 x 2ft folding tables (these needed to be small car suitable), and some bits of chopped up wood that Pete has yet to make my display board. But it’s a start!

Display Styling. Will my style and things I like be accessible to the wider audience? Pete reckons I need to tone it down as people tend to like more ‘normal’ stuff! I’m not so sure.

Boring stuff still to do. Public liability insurance, PAT testing…enough said about that.

Marketing & Sales. Marketing I can probably just cope with, sales may prove more of a problem being possibly the least pushiest person ever! However, not too worried about this as: a) I like weddings, b) like talking about weddings, c) like to hear about other brides talk about their weddings, and d) am pretty enthusiastic about making anything people would like for their wedding…so I reckon this gives me just about enough experience in this area!

Now to pull them all together and get sorted!

Hot dogs.

Today one of my first official customers received their order…and loved it!

After seeing my doggy oven gloves, that I had made for my aunty a couple of weeks ago on my blog, I was asked if I would make some, as well as an apron and eight napkins to give as a gift to a family member.

The brief was that they really liked Golden Retrievers (which, FYI, would probably be my dog of choice if a) had a big enough house and b) was allowed a puppy! Either that or a Sausage Dog…just because they are so funny!). So I did a bit of digging around on my favourite online fabric shops and whilst I didn’t find any with just retrievers, I did find a nice range to choose from non-the-less.

The winning fabric was the Prestigious ‘Man’s Best Friend’ in Cinnamon… the best choice I reckon as it is not only pretty cute but a perfect weight for the likes of oven gloves and aprons which need to be a bit more hard wearing for all that hot pie making…yum!

I used some nice red and cream ric rac for the trimmings [obv!] and a contrasting red spotty fabric for the lining of the apron and napkin backing. The finishing touches included little labels, of which I made using my logo ink stamp, sewn into the items, which were all wrapped up with matching stickers ready for posting.

The Golden Retriever was given priority above all the other dogs!

Really need to find a better model for these...

Got the Sausage Dog in! Hee hee

Recognise these…

Remember this sofa, and the cushions I was asked to cover, that I mentioned in my ‘Project Scabby Sofa‘ post a little while back…

Well, I unpicked the (very dusty!) old cushion covers and removed the zips and tags that attached the cushions to the sofa, using the old covers as a template to cut new fabric.

Stinky old sofa cushions.

The fabric I use was Globaltex Tilly Fabric in Powder Blue, which is suitable for curtains, blinds and more hard-wearing items, so perfect for these cushions – plus the vintage style and colours matched the new refurbished shop.

I re-used the zips and made sure to put the tags back in the correct place so the cushions would attach to the sofa properly.

However, not content with just the pretty fabric, I decided to attach some jumbo ric rac (my favourite trimming of the moment!) around the edge to jazz us the cushions too, and here is the end result…