Thursday, 31 January 2013

My favourite ever make!

Here's another long one folks!  Time to blog about my favourite ever make!  

I blogged before about changing the children's rooms about ready to make room for the new baby (who's nearly here!).  Emily and the baby will share what was our spare room.  Now, I don't know about you, but we've never put much effort into spare rooms.  In an ideal world it would be lovely to have a beautifully organised and 'finished' space to invite relatives and friends to stay in, but in reality our spare room is always a dumping ground with a bed in it!  I did recently invest in some new duvet covers, as our others spares were generally 80s cast offs passed on from parents, but that's been about it.  Of course, a child's bedroom is another matter - we wanted that to be cosy and pretty and inviting - particularly so that Emily would not be upset about the move!  We are a clergy family as I have said before, so we live in a house owned by the church and are consequently loath to spend a lot of money on alterations when we're unlikely to be here for long.  We had to concede to buying a new carpet, as the bare floorboards were not cosy and tended to amplify the patter of tiny feet throughout the whole house, but we were not keen to repaint the walls.  Which left us a problem with this -  

- the destruction left on the wall (against which Emily's bed would be) where some shelving had previously decided to part company with the wall!  Ugh!  

I guess we could have stuck a poster over the space, but never liking to miss the opportunity of bit of crafting an idea started to form in my head.  I would make a personalised wall hanging - something beautiful that would last and that could be taken with us to the next house (and the next...).  I looked around online for tutorials and ideas, but didn't find anything quite right.  I kind of liked a couple of ideas like this one from Sania Pell's The Homemade Home for Children, which used artificial flower heads, and this one which was inspired by the same book.  However, I wanted to make all the flowers, include a border, and, most importantly, take every opportunity to use my new sewing machine, which in this case meant trying my hand at applique, something I had not done before.  So, armed with scraps, ribbons, buttons and cat templates I started my planning.

The flowers were the easiest place to start.  I perused a couple of tutorials (here and here) first, but also used my initiative.  Then I planned out my scene (cats were an essential feature!):

Next I was back to mitred corners again for the border.  I did this using the same technique that I used to make the tablecloth/picnic blanket for Emily's Tea Set.  It was a little fiddly as I wanted to double layer the polka dot and gingham fabric so that it wasn't too see through, and I only just had enough fabric left to do it.  At least this made the decision about the border size pretty straight forward!

To prepare applique pieces for both the cats and also for lettering I ironed some interface onto my fabric scraps and cut out shapes from my cardboard templates (remembering to place the letters on backwards!).  When it came to sewing them on I was a little naughty - since my interface only had adhesive on one side, and since this was to be a wall hanging  and not clothing (and therefore was unlikely to be washed) I simply glued my pieces in place with pritt stick before sewing around them with a zigzag overedge stitch.  It may have been cheating, but it worked!  It also meant I could use my zigzag foot for the stitching and not my overcasting foot, which is great but doesn't give you much visibility to see where you're stitching.  

Then it was just a case of assembling all the different components.  The flower stems are a variety of ribbon, felt and crocheted yarn, all machine stitched onto the backing.  The leaves were all cut from felt and also machine stitched on.  I attached the front piece to the backing (wrong sides together - pillowcase style!) not forgetting to insert two pieces of dowling - one held at the top with ribbons to allow for hanging, and one at the bottom to weight the piece down.  The only handstitching I did was to attach the flowerheads, buttons and a few interesting insects for extra detail, which I did right at the very end.   

And finally, after about two weeks of working on it on and off, it was done!  And I LOVE IT!

Even more importantly, Emily loves it.  It covers the wall carnage perfectly, and really finishes off her side of the room.  Now I'll just have to make another one for the baby's side!

My work here is done!

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