Sunday, January 31, 2010

Kanzashi Fabric Flower Necklace

While I was in the middle of making my flower corsage necklace the copy of Kanzashi in Bloom that I had ordered arrived. I love the way these Kanzashi flowers are made up from individual petals, a bit like the Betz White felt poinsettias I made before Christmas. The book is really easy to follow and shows how to make three different petal styles from folded fabric squares, and combine them into all kinds of beautiful flowers.

After trying out all the petal styles I was itching to make something proper so decided to have a go at a necklace using Kanzashi flowers and the same fabric beads I made before. The fabric is plain old dotty quilting cotton from Jo-Ann's and the buttons are some gorgeous old mother of pearl ones from Mum's button box.

The fabric beads were made from a 2.5" strips, folded to 1" wide and cut into 2.5" pieces. It's not easy to tell from this photo but the flower on the left is bigger than the other two. The large Kanzashi is made from 3" squares and the two small ones from 2.5". I added small round pearly beads (left over from our wedding favours) between the fabric beads. This allows the necklace to curve better so I could have it shorter and fastened with a clasp.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Frayed Fabric Corsage Necklace Tutorial

Usually when the new Boden catalogue finds its way into our mailbox I flick through it, think I love that, I could make that, and then I forget all about it. This time I actually decided to do something about it. I love this Corsage Flower Necklace and thought it would be a great way to liven up a boring jeans and t-shirt outfit once the weather warms up a bit.

So, here is the necklace that I made, inspired by Mr Boden's creation:

And here is a tutorial if you would like to make one for yourself. It is all done by hand, no sewing machine required!

Although it pains me slightly, I'm going to do this in inches, seeing as I live in the US now, and that's how things come, and that's how my ruler is marked.

The necklace is made up of a mix of fabric beads and fabric flowers threaded on a strong thread attached to two rings. It has two ribbons which are attached to the rings and tied in a bow behind the neck.

You will need:

. Mine is some lightweight linen from Jo-Ann's, but quilting weight cotton should work about the same. I doesn't matter if it has a wrong side but the edges are left unfinished so don't use something that will fray really badly. I used plain and striped and bought 12" of each. It was 54" wide and I could probably have made two necklaces with that quantity.
2 rings approx 3/4" diameter. Mine are actually beads.
Grosgrain ribbon. Mine is 5/8".
Buttons/beads for decorating the flowers. I have a mix of beads and fabric-covered buttons.
Strong thread and big needle for threading the necklace together.
Fabric glue like Aleenes Tacky (PVA in the UK I think?).
Fusible webbing (not pictured).
Needle and thread for hand-sewing.
A thimble comes in handy for threading the necklace.
A cork board is useful for pinning the beads while they dry.
An iron.

To make the beads:

Cut a 3" wide strip of fabric. With the right side down, fold each long side in towards the middle of the strip so that they overlap evenly and you end up with strip about 1 1/4" wide. Press with the iron. Cut this strip into pieces 2 1/2 inches long. I used two strips of 54" fabric.

Take one of your folded pieces and fold it in half with the overlapped edges inside and so that the two raw edges are together. Roll the strip up tightly from the raw edges and apply a thin line of glue about 1/4" from the end. Roll up completely, and pin in place until the glue dries (on a cork board if you have one). I made 38 beads in a mix of the plain and striped.

To make the flowers:

Cut strips of fabric to the measurements for the size of flower you are making:
Large flower 1 1/4" x 54" (or the width of your fabric). I made 1 plain.
Medium flowers 1" x 54" (or the width of your fabric). I made 2 striped.
Small flowers 3/4" x 27" (I made 2 plain and used half the fabric width for each, but should have made the strips a bit longer because the flowers turned out a bit flatter than I would have liked).

Take a needle and thread and make a few stitches so that your thread is securely attached to the end of the strip. Make a long running stitch (about 1/4" stitches) about 1/8" from the edge along the whole length. When you get to the end gently pull the thread so that the fabric ruffles up to about 9" long (for all sizes of flower), and fasten off the thread securely.

You could leave the fabric like this if you want a more frilly look, but for a more pleated look pinch the gathers up into pleats with your fingers and press them with an iron. Don't worry too much about getting them perfectly even, but try and vary the direction of the pleats and make sure they are approximately evenly spaced.

To form the flower shape lay the ruffle on a flat surface and spiral it around to form a flower shape with about 3 layers, each layer slightly larger than the one above. Keep the centre of the top layer nice and tight and try and have an even gap between the edges of the different layers. You could stitch this together but I chose to use glue because it gave a bit more control over the shape. To do this gently lift up the layers and glue the back of one layer to the top of the layer below, make sure nothing has moved out of place and then leave on a flat surface to dry.

The ruffle half way through ironing in pleats:
The rolled-up (but not glued) flower from above and below, note the larger hole in the base from the spiraling.

I did try making the ruffles using a long straight stitch on my sewing machine but it was much harder to pull the gathers up, and my fabric frayed too much, so I went back to doing it by hand.

Once the glue is dry, decorate with your choice of buttons and/or beads. I stitched mine on but you could use glue if you prefer.

To assemble the necklace:

Iron the fusible webbing to the wrong side of some of the fabric and cut out a circle, approximately 1/2" smaller than the diameter, for each of the flowers. Lay out your fabric beads and flowers and decide on your arrangement. Remove the flowers and put the fabric circles in their place with the fusible webbing side up. Thread your big needle with strong thread and start threading the beads and fabric circles onto the thread. Try to get all of the beads aligned in the same direction, you could change direction at the half way point, but I didn't think of that until too late for mine! When you get to the circles make several large stitches across the diameter, curving slightly to try and follow the shape you want the necklace to hang. Glue the flowers to the fusible webbing side of circles with fabric glue, and allow to dry. Trim away any long frayed threads from the fabric.

Attach the ends of your thread securely to the rings. Cut two pieces of ribbon approximately 25" long, tapering the ends to prevent fraying. Knot one end of each piece of ribbon to one ring. Tie the other ends in a bow behind your neck, and admire!

The final dimensions of my necklace are:

Large flowers 3.5" diameter.
Medium Flowers 3" diameter.
Small Flowers 2.5" diameter.
Length from ring to ring 24".

I have since made another necklace using these beads and Kanzashi flowers which gives a completely different look - here it is.

This is my first tutorial so please let me know what you think, if any of it needs clarifying, and if I've made any mistakes. If you do use it to make something I'd love to see pictures, thanks.

Monday, January 18, 2010

A wooly One Yard Wonders Folklore bag

Ever since I started amassing a mountain of felted sweaters in my craft room I've been thinking of making a bag from them, but I hadn't quite got round to it. I got the book One Yard Wonders just before Christmas and I've been watching all the beautiful projects people have been posting from it in the Flickr Group . I really liked all the versions of the Folklore Bag that were popping up so I decided to cut out the pattern for that one and give it a go with one of the sweaters I had.

The beauty of the One Yard Wonders book is that each pattern uses one yard or less, so with making the lining in a different fabric, I was able to fit all of the outer pattern pieces for the bag on one rather large felted dark grey cable-knit sweater. I cut the front and back and top band from the front of the sweater, the straps from the back, and the side piece was cut from the two arms sewn together to make one long piece. It was lucky that the sweater I had was very large so that I could try and match the cable patterns on the front and back of the bag. In retrospect it probably wasn't the best sweater to use for my first bag because it was so chunky, but I learnt a lot from it.

The pattern has pleats under the top band but I decided that this would not work too well with my chunky sweater so I used the lining pattern piece for the outside. Sewing the pieces together was a bit of a challenge for me, and my machine, but we managed it by taking it very slowly over the really thick bits, and I definitely had to baste it all together by hand first. I didn't overstitch the seams as the pattern suggests for cotton, that would have killed my machine I'm sure.

I decided the bag needed a home dec weight fabric for the lining to match the chunkiness of the knit so I opted for some plain green Ikea fabric I already had, but I did sneak a little bit of print onto the inside pocket, a green Dala horse. I chose to overstitch around the top of the bag by hand with a simple running stitch. This gave it some stability and I quite like the effect of the hand stitching. The bag is supposed to have a magnetic clasp but I didn't have one so decided to go without, at least for now.

Overall I'm pretty happy with this bag and I learnt a lot making it. It definitely won't be the last wool bag I make, or my last project from One Yard Wonders.

Friday, January 8, 2010

A button bracelet

My lovely Secret Santa sent me these gorgeous buttons as part of my pressie and as they are so pretty I wanted to try and make them into some kind of jewellery. I used some wire (gold because that's all I had, left over from our wedding favours) to weave through the holes and link them all together. This gives it a nice amount of stiffness and helps stop the buttons twisting. To cover up the wire I threaded some very fine ribbon over the top. Initially I was thinking it would be a necklace with the buttons just in front, but then I decided it works better as a bracelet. I don't have any clasps at the moment so for now I'll just have to get someone to help me tie it on with a bow. Thank you Lucy! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Russian dolls and a seal

These are what Freja selected for me to make first from the Japanese felting book I got for Christmas. Considering I don't read Japanese so just had to go by the pictures, I think they turned out okay. I made the seal first, he's about 6cm long, and then the doll with the purple scarf. She's about 4 cm tall and my Mum claimed her so I had to make another one for Freja.