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).

Embroidered Wedding Gifts

I attended a friend’s wedding back in June – it was a lovely informal party for both the bride and groom, and their daughter’s first birthday (you may have seen Seren’s doll).

While I was in the making zone, I thought it would be nice to give a unique hand-made gift. A while ago I stumbled across a cute free pattern via Pinterest and, until now, have never had an excuse to try it out.

It’s a simple embroidery pattern with the bride and groom’s initials carved into a tree trunk. However, I decided to add to this a little and sew full names and add the wedding date.

SONY DSCI reckon my hand sewing could do with a bit of neatening up but I still think it’s cute. If you fancy trying the pattern, the site it comes from is: The Modern Lady blog.

This second gift, although wedding-related was actually a wedding anniversary gift…for my other half. Two years in June (wow how that has flown!) and, even though we don’t really give gifts, I thought it would be nice to make something and, appropriately cotton is what you are supposed to give for your second anniversary.

During our ceremony we had a reading from The Velveteen Rabbit, so I decided to remember this in the form of a embroidered picture with the verse that was read.

(Note to self: more work needed on hand-sewn letters!)

SONY DSC SONY DSCI guess this was more of a pressy for us both as now it will be framed (still yet to do!) and displayed on the walls of our house, amongst other random pictures and artwork meaningful to us.

Annabelle’s Quilt.

Remember my post in January about learning new skills? Well, here is the first skill (i.e. free hand machine embroidery) in action for real (as opposed to the cute, but quite simple, little cards!)

This is a quilt I made for my friend Jane who had her baby Annabelle in December.

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I wanted to incorporate something that was personal to Jane and her husband Marcus which is where the birds come in. Jane and Marcus were married in September 2011 and they had a bird and heart theme to their wedding day (complete with heart and bird shaped cookies as favours that Jane – also a crafty one – made herself!). It’s the birds I am most pleased with on this quilt…

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I think it’s pretty safe to say that there is not an ounce on masculinity in this quilt! Jane is a  pretty girly person so I used subtle pastel pink and green floral and spotty fabrics for the colours, and edged the whole thing in super pretty lace binding (which is a very exciting new discovery for me!).

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However, knowing he is an enthusiast, just for Marcus I added the little scooter (sorry it wasn’t bright red Marcus like your actual scooter, but that wouldn’t have matched my colour scheme!)

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The layout of the patchwork is very similar to Ava’s quilt that I made around the same time as this, but with more subtle and fewer colours, and the centre panel is different, being personalised to the new mum and dad and their baby.

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I also, as I mentioned, wanted to try out my skills in free hand machine embroidery! It was a bit risky and, at first, I thought it was looking a bit messy but now I’m so pleased I did, as I think (if I say so myself!) it looks fab! I’m sure I will be featuring free hand a lot more in my work (hopefully seeing some improvements)…it is, after all, the ‘crack cocaine of the sewing world‘ according to Kirstie Allsopp!

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Bridesmaid Bags.

One of my oldest and closest friends, Laura, got married just over a week ago and I was one of eight bridesmaids.

The beautiful bride and her hubby Al.

Being a lovely, out-going, very bubbly and caring person, Laura and her now hubby got married on the banks of the beautiful Loch Lomond in Scotland in front of a massive 170 guests. The colour scheme for the wedding was along the Easter theme of pastel pink, blue, green and blue, complete with personalised egg cups and chocolate eggs.

The bridal party attire was (of course!) kilts for the men, cream lace dresses for the bridesmaids, and Laura’s beautiful Stephanie Allin wedding dress. Topped off with pink, blue and white hydrangers for the flowers.

A little while back, amongst the wedding-organising craziness, Laura asked me to make purses for the bridesmaids as a little surprise gift. We initially were going to go with a pink fabric, but after my other good friend and co-bridemaid Sarah told us she was pregnant and her baby started to grow, we ended up a with a spare bridesmaid dress which I cut up to make the bags.

I got some gorgeous antique-style purse frames which had a decorative flower (that I thought looked appropriately like a thistle!) from Etsy.

From bridesmaid dress...

...to bag!

With one test bag complete and approved by the bride, I got started on the other seven.

With enough fabric left to make another, I decided Laura couldn’t go without, so I made her a surprise bag also with the addition of a little hand-stitched label spelling out the bride and groom’s names and their wedding date – as a little keep sake.

On the morning of the wedding, Laura gave all the bags to her bridesmaids, which she had filled with a whole range of girly goodies including a little mirror, nail file, hand cream, bracellet, flower hair clips and more.

The girls loved their bags which also recevied plenty of nice comments from wedding guests throughout the day.

As well as the bags, I made a few little extra bits and bobs including a ‘Mr and Mrs’ banner and mini cake bunting with ‘hitched’ embroidered on the little flags.

As a thank you for making the bags, Laura gave me a lovely little silver star charm, with my initial. This charm was not only gorgeous, it was super special as it was also hand-made by my equally crafty friend Jane, who has recently starter her own jewellery business: Love Bird Love – please check out her website, it’s worth it!