Flower Meadow Embroidery

Cottage Flower Border

I'll apologise for the quality and poor colour of the following photos right here at the start.  
One of these days (when I have made my fortune) I will get a camera that is capable of decent close-ups!  

When I started doing these, I embroidered several on 100% wool felt, which is easy as you don't need an embroidery hoop.  Now I've started doing them on linen salvaged from old traycloths, guest towels and so on, which fits in with my 'Used-to-Bees' idea! So far I've still managed without a hoop, mainly because I can't be bothered to delve far enough under the sofa to find one...

Here's an old handtowel. It had a few small holes and the Chinese applique was coming off - perfect for upcycling!

I decided on the size I wanted and use a soluble or disappearing pen to mark a base line.  I then began roughly in the middle with some French Knots for the centres of the hollyhocks.

 The hollyhock petals are then worked in buttonhole or blanket stitch, round the centres. I use two or three similar shades. 

Next some bell shaped flowers.  I'm sure these must have been done before, but I didn't copy these so feel like they are my own invention!

Start off as if for blanket stitch, but make the needle come out below and slightly to the left of the thread...

...thereby creating a little 'J' shape...

Then do two or three more blanket stitches right up close to the previous stitch.  Finish off the last of these with a small diagonal stitch to mirror the other side of the bell.

 Then do some more...

Next some little piles of French Knots to create something a bit like grape hyacinths.

Then over to the other side...

Bullion knots for lavender 
(I used a strand of two different lavender-y shades for this one)...

Then a 5-petal flower which starts off with lazy daisy stitch, but then has a long stitch added on top to create the more pointy shape and to fill the centre of the petal with colour.

Then some special cross stitch.  This is formed with three stitches rather than the usual two, to make a six petalled flower.  Add a few green French Knots to look like flowers in bud.

 Next lots of green stem and straight stitch for, er, stems and grasses. I use two or three different shades of green.

Finally, for me at least, a bee!

French Knot head; bullion knots for the body (alternating black and yellow);lazy daisy wings and two tiny straight stitches for antenae.

Trim and stitch onto whatever!

Traycloth and Vintage Fabric Cable Tidy

I have a good-sized pile of old traycloths, and though I do use them round the house to prettify and protect some of the wooden surfaces, I wanted to put others to better use than lying in a drawer looking vintage.
I also seem to be plagued with an ever growing mass of chargers and connectors for all the gadgetry that fills our lives these days.  From this worm-like pile, it is a frustrating task to find the right wire, hence the birth of my Cable Tidy idea.  This make is especially useful when you are off on your jolly holidays and you need to make sure none of the essentials are left at home!

Here's what you need:

  • 1 rectangular embroidered traycloth - 30cm x 45cm is a good size, but it depends on what you have.  If it is less than 45cm you may need to reduce the number of pockets to 5, or else add strips to the traycloth to create the required length
  • 2 strips of vintage fabric 7cm wide and the same length as the traycloth  (choose one which co-ordinates with the tray cloth) 

  • 1 rectangle of strong fabric for the lining - cut this the same length as the traycloth and add 12cm to the width. 
  • 1 strip of strong fabric for the pouches 15cm x 70cm (I sometimes use large damask napkins for this)
  • 2 strips of bias binding 70cm long, plus one longer length of approximately 2m (dependent on the size of your traycloth) to co-ordinate with your chosen traycloth and fabric
  • Fusible interfacing (optional, but especially useful if your traycloth has any thin patches or loose threads, or is made of rayon which needs the additional stability the interfacing will give) 
  • Wadding (optional)
  • Embroidery threads
  • Water soluble pen 
  • 1m co-ordinating ribbon 
Here's what to do:

  • Attach the 7cm strips to either side of the traycloth by placing right sides together and stitching a 1cm seam.  Press the seam allowance towards the vintage fabric.  If you wish to use interfacing, now's the time to cut a piece to size and fuse it as per the instructions on the interfacing. This will be the outside of the tidy. 
  • Attach the middle of the ribbon halfway across the traycloth, about 10cm from the bottom edge (though you may wish to adjust this placement dependent on the embroidery on your traycloth).
  • Take the 15cm x 70cm strip which will be the pouch strip. Starting 8cm from one short edge and using the water soluble pen, draw a dotted line  across its width as per diagram.

  • Fold each of the 70cm lengths of bias binding in half and give them a quick press.  Sandwich the long edge of the pouch strip with the binding, pin, tack and then machine stitch neatly in place, close to the edge of the bias binding.
  • Now for the fun! Decide on how each pocket is to be labelled to keep your chargers and connectors organised.  Use the soluble pen to write a label on each pocket.  Use embroidery thread and your choice of stitch (running stitch, back stitch, stem stitch and chain stitch work well) to embroider the labels.  Add decorations as desired.
  • Find the horizontal middle of the pouch strip and match to the horizontal middle of the lining fabric.  
  • Pin the 1st dotted line either side of the middle.  The pouch strip will be overhanging the end of the lining.
  • You are now ready to create the first pouch by bringing the next dotted line up an imaginary line on the lining about 2cm away from the pinned dotted line. Pin in place.
  • The next 4cm section lies flat, so pin in place.
  • Repeat the pouch/gap process till all six pouches are in place. Depending on the length of your traycloth/lining, you may have a bit of left over strip hanging off the end of the lining - don't worry about this, you can cut it off later!
  •  Now stitch all the dotted lines, reversing neatly at the beginning and end of each line of stitching for a secure attachment.
  •  Once all the stitching is done, you can rinse the pouch strip to get rid of all the soluble pen markings.  Your stitchy design will be revealed in its true glory!

Actually, it will look even better when dried and given a quick press!

  • Now layer up the outside panel of the tidy and the lining/pouch panel, wrong sides together.  If you wish, you can add a layer of wadding between the two.  Take the long strip of bias binding and pin it right sides together to the edge of the outside of the tidy, mitreing or curving each corner, as preferred.  To ensure a neat finish, overlap the two ends by 2cm, then fold one end in diagonally and place under the other end.

  • Machine stitch all the way round the edge (taking care not to let the ribbon tie get caught up!), approximately 5mm from the edge, going through all layers.
  • Trim corners and neaten the edges, trimming the seam to about 3mm.  Press the binding gently outwards with the tip of the iron, without unpressing its ready-ironed long edge.

  • Now fold the binding over the raw edges to enclose them. Pin, then hand-stitch in place.

    Et voila!  You'll never be hunting for the right cable again! 

    This is my first attempt at writing instructions for a make.  I have written them really carefully but if you spot any glaring errors or want clarification on anything, do please get in touch!

    Mini Tote Bags

    Here's what you need:

    • Something pretty you want to recycle - here it is half of an old, linen, embroidered sofa back (this one (54cm x 50cm) will make three bags)

    • Fabric remnants for lining - the same size as the above. 
    • Fabric strip 60cm by 5cm for each bag, for the handles.

    Here's what to do:

    First, divide up your embroidered panel.  I do this roughly equally, rather than perfectly equally, so I don't cut through the best bits of the embroidery.
    My pieces ended up 19 x 50, 16 x 50 and 19 x50I then cut them in half vertically to create a plain back and an embroidered front.

     Next cut two lining pieces for each bag, exactly the same size as the bag pieces.

    Then cut a 60cm x 5cm strip for each bag.  These will be straps.

    Using a 1cm seam allowance, stitch the bag fronts to their corresponding backs, right sides facing. Then repeat with the lining pieces, being careful to keep the seam allowance the same.

    Then fold the strips in half lengthways (right sides facing) and stitch a seam of about half a centimetre.

    Cut diagonally across the bottom corners of the bags to reduce bulk, being careful not to cut through the stitching.

    Attach a length of strong thread to one end of each strip and use a bodkin to pull it through to the right side.

    Iron the strap strips, then cut in half to create two for each bag. Turn the bag out and press.  Pin one strap to the front of the bag as shown in the picture, then repeat on the back.

    Slide the bag and straps inside the lining (which has NOT been turned out).  This gives you right sides together.  Pin, then stitch a 1cm seam, leaving a gap  of about 8cm between the back strap (this is for turning the bag through, and it will be tricky if the gap is too small!)  Before you stitch make sure the straps are still hanging down nice and straight, and when you begin and end stitching, make sure to reverse-stitch to avoid the seam opening up as you turn the bag through.

    Now the stitching is done, reach inside through the opening and gently start to pull the bag through.

    It always looks like it's going horribly wrong at this stage...

    But persevere till you have the right side of the bag, and the right side of the lining and the straps showing...

    Then poke the lining back inside the bag...

    Slip-stitch closed the turning gap, give a good press and there you have them - three lovely bags for important bits and pieces.

    1 comment:

    1. your photo's are missing for the mini tote bags
      Josie x