Stanley’s Quilt

My friends and I are all at that age now where there is a lot of new little people appearing in our lives.

I like to give a personal pressy when a friend or family member has a baby and this is my latest. My friend Rachel who I went to Uni with, and her partner Sam had their first baby in August. Whilst we, and the other Uni crew were sunning ourselves in Italy celebrating yet another Uni friend’s wedding, Stanley was born.

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I’ve made a few patchwork quilts, the most recent being Annabelle’s quilt, which was actually back in January (who is now coming up to her first birthday…seriously – where has that year gone!).

I started Stanley’s quilt in September when I came back from Italy but I really struggled deciding what colours and fabrics to use.

I bought a lot of cotton/linen blends from Etsy (my fav type of fabric) but it’s so hard to tell if they were going to match until they arrive – which, of course, a lot of them didn’t so unfortunately (obviously I was very upset about this!) I had to buy more.

I started by making the outer pinwheel-style patchwork (not sure if this is the offical technical term!) using a range of cute nautical fabric, robots and guitars, matching them with spots and stripes. When these were put together, I didn’t like it – the colours looked too dull which is kind of what the natural linen looks like so I don’t know why I was surprised.

So, back on the internet I went to buy more fabric for the centre square patches that would add a bit more colour and brighten it up whilst still co-ordinating. Finally I found some that worked – and I’m pleased that I didn’t just go with the typical blue-is-for-boys type colours.

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I threw the nautical theme in there as Rach and Sam met in their University rowing club and the rest – robots and cars were just cute!

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As with most of my crafts, I like to add a bit of decoration and personalisation. Unlike Annabelle’s quilt where I mainly used free-hand machine embroidery, I decided for Stanley’s to use regular applique but use felt as well as fabric to add a couple of different textures.

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For the personalisation, of course there was his name in the centre…

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His date of birth in a balloon held by a robot (to tie in with the fabric prints, plus robots make a brill applique shape).

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His birth weight on the side of a truck – again tying in with the other fabric print used in the centre panel.

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As well as machine quilting the pinwheel patches, I hand-stitched a running stitch around the centre panel giving it a bit of a boarder.

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I backed the whole quilt in cute red dots and binded it with a red linen bias binding.

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And here’s the little man Stanley himself looking pretty chuffed with his new blanket (or at least I think so!).

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Christmas is coming…now taking orders.

I’ve just finished my first order of Christmas stockings of the year, and about to start on another…you people are getting organised early!

This recent order, I have to admit, are my favourite stockings to date.

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I made these for the lovely Sarah of Leafy Couture who did the most amazing flowers for our wedding a couple of years ago. She asked me to make these for her two little ones: Lily and Elliot, and nephew Finn.

The main stocking is made from a cream cotton linen fabric, with the toe, heel and cuff in a red spotty linen blend – whilst these fabrics are not on the cheap side, using quality fabrics really makes such a difference in the overall finish, and are sure to be much more longer-lasting.

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They are fully lined and include a wadding inner to make them nice and padded. These stockings measure 51cm in length and 28cm in width (around the top of the stocking) – nice and big for Santa to fill with treats!

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Whilst keeping all the stockings matching in size, basic colours and style, I’ve personalised each with their names (also in cream cotton linen), edged in a hand-sewn running stitch, on the cuff. On the fronts of each, I appliquéd a cute Christmas design in felt and fabric on the front, with additional hand-embroidered elements such as the Gingerbread Man’s bow and icing, and the Angel’s halo, hair ribbons and dress decoration.

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Each have a vintage cream and red gingham loop to hang over the fireplace on Christmas eve.

Word in from Sarah on receipt of the stockings...’Emily you are ridiculously talented, they are beyond perfect, thank you so so so much!’…I think she liked them!

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So, if anyone else is getting organised early, and would like a personalised Christmas stocking like these for your loved one, please do not hesitate to contact me (hello@emilycarlill.com).

Twin Cushions

I was recently asked to make two matching cushions for newborn baby twin girls as their Christening presents. The brief was something quite girly and colourful, decorated with their names.

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The two floral fabrics I used were from Dunelm Mill and, as a medium weight cotton, it was perfect for cushions. The two florals were from the same range so, although different patterns, complimented each other – I used one for the front (called ‘Rosetta’) and the other, the striped floral (called ‘Chloe’) for the back.

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The other request for the cushions were for them to be decorated with something like little baby booties. I thought my attempts at baby booties might end up just looking like wellies so I decided to do little girl-style shoes instead – a much clearer and more obvious (and cute) shape me thinks!

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I used regular machine appliqué for the shoes in a zig zag stitch and straight stitch for the names, hand-sewing a running stitch using embroidery thread around each letter to make them stand out.

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Finishing, I added a little pink button to each shoe for the ‘fastening’ and used coconut shell buttons for the back closing of the cushion.

I really enjoyed making these cushions as, while cushions themselves are pretty easy to make it’s the decorating that’s fun!

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I’ve got another cushion on my ‘to do’ list and this time it’s for a baby boy so I’m looking forward to thinking of ways to decorate this next one.

Rose’s Hand-printed Cushion

I hear what you say…‘cushion! Booorrrinng!’ 

Ok so I’ve made many a cushion, most I haven’t bothered posting about as, nice as they may be, there is just nothing that special about them, a cushions a cushion right?

Right! But this, my most recent one is special – to me anyway as it’s my first ever attempt at block printing where I designed the print, cut the block (and my hands!), and printed the fabric…all that before cutting and sewing it into a cushion cover.

I decided to make this for my friend Rose, who is a fan of cool stuff and likes and appreciates how things look (being a graphic designed and all!). I made it for her birthday/house-warming pressy. I went with a palm tree design to match her very funky wallpaper in her new living room.

First off I drew the design onto a piece of parchment paper, then magically transferred it by rubbing the back of the paper onto the lino block (I was pretty impressed with how well this technique worked!).

The next step was to work out how the blade worked and start to chip away around the design…this was quite fiddly and cost me quite a bit of skin off my fingers! (hence the glove…note to self: invest in a hand guard!). Once this hard work was done, many an hour late, the fun messy bit began.

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Before I jumped in a printed onto my lovely linen, I practiced on some scraps of fabric to test amount of paint and to see if I’d cut away well enough. After a bit of practice and a few amends to the block, away I went…

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Once all the fabric was printed, I left it to dry for a day before the easy part – sewing it together to make the cushion cover.

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I even added coconut buttons (appropriate!)

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I may have used a easy shape and soft cut lino but I was super pleased with my first attempt, and whilst it may not be the most complicated thing I’ve ever made it certainly is the most ‘hand-made’.