Tuesday, 22 November 2011

Making Christmas Decorations

I've decided to have a go at following the McCall's craft pattern M5778. I really like the little Christmas Tree decoration and making one myself means I can co-ordinate the colours however I choose. To help me get in the festive mood whilst sewing I decided to watch "Santa Clause the Movie" which  will also help me time  how long it will take to make the decoration.

Step 1- Cutting out. Santa's just met the elves and I've hit a snag. I hopped I could use 2 fat quarters instead of a half meter. HOWEVER this means on of the tree shaped panels will have to be two half panels sewn together. Need to make sure to include a seam allowance when I cut the two half sections. Using an uncut half meter would have avoided this.

BTW the toy making scene is MUCH more fun when making Christmas stuff yourself at the same time.

35 Minutes in and the peices are cut out and pinned together

50 minutes in and the pices are sewn together, turned right side out and pined on top of each other before being sewn down the middle

Just over an hour and it's fully stuffed and just needs the ends slip stitched. I'm surprised how well it stands up.  I'm also surprised at how easy the final construction was. The shape is very 3 dimensional and I was concerned about how the pieces would be sewn together, I anticipated  much messing about with sewing each piece individually by hand. however it's simply a case of 3 made up cross sections of the tree shape placed on top of each other and top stitched. Don't worry about the colour of the thread used for top stitching as this will not be visible once the  tree is stuffed.
 And there you have it. I think I could have made it a lot quicker if I hadn't not messed around using Fat Quarters and just used half a meter for each colour as the paten said.  And one thing is certain, making this, although early, has gotten me into the Christmas Spirit.

Monday, 7 November 2011

Having fun can be Murder

As we often point out the best thing about working at a great Fabric shop like Fabric8 is the customers. By the very nature of our work the customers we see tend to be very creative and always have fantastic ideas. I met one such customer last week. She was buying a feather boa and some Fun Fake Fur whilst looking at some rather nice fashion fabric. The lady explained that she used to find New Year Eve very stress full as she always wanted to host the perfect party. She found that no mater how well planned the food and drinks were when it came to the entertainment things sometimes fell flat.  That was when she decided to host a Murder Mystery party. This gave people a great reason to dress up, but more importantly it gave those who were a little shy the chance to interact with people without having to 'Break the ice'. I LOVE this idea. I've had a new years eve party which almost went quiet until we found some interactive games like Pictionary to get things going, but an evening dedicated to a bit of fun whilst encouraging  people to talk together sounds much better. Using a mystery that requires dressing up can also add a fun dimension to the evening and it gives people a project to work on in the quiet spell between Christmas and New Years Eve. You can do as little or as much work as you like when it comes to costuming, and as we pointed out in our wedding blog, costumes can again act as an ice breaker.  A Mystery party pack costs around £25 and there are many themes to choose from. There are also 2 free tester kits here http://red-herring-games.co.uk/catalog/-c-36.html .

 If a mystery party does not sound like your idea of fun then there is always the good old fashioned Fancy Dress party. Again people can put in as much or as little work as they like. Costumes will always add an element of fun to the evening especially if there is a a story behind why a certain costume was picked.  Most of the major pattern companies do a Fancy Dress range or people could always use our Free Patterns  for inspiration.
Sequins and Shiney Fabrics

Admittedly early November may seem a little early to prepare for New Years Eve, however we just thought it may be worth mentioning now before life gets really crazy with Christmas

Tuesday, 1 November 2011

Christmas in a Snip

As I mentioned in the last blog those of us in the textile world always have to be thinking of being a season ahead. Christmas is 8 weeks away and yet in the shop we still have our eyes  on spring. The shop though is still gearing up for Christmas. Whilst those planning to make Christmas presents for friends and family have already begun to stream in we are now catering for those wishing to buy gifts too. We've managed to get hold of some amazing sewing boxes as well as new scissors and snips. It's a funny thing about scissors, we all know you need razor sharp high quality scissors and when you look at the price over their life time a good pair pays for themselves many times over. They really do last for years but when we see the price tag of £20 and up we sometimes baulk and carry one using any old pair of snips we can find. This of course leads to damage to the fabric, tiring of arms as we struggle to cut and  a  loss of patience. I still get a smile on my face when I cut through some cotton or wool with ease when I use my professional shears, but it took me many years of sewing and struggling before I actually upgraded. So if you are struggling to think of a gift for a sewing friend think about the practical things they well need -like scissors- but have not managed to get themselves.
Soft on the hands

One more thing, when you buy some scissors buy some thread snips as well. When you cut threads with scissors you only open and shut the blades a little. This will wear a 'blank spot' into the blades making the scissors stick or jar. Snips start from £2.50 and can more than double the life time of your scissors. A sound investment I think.