Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Handmade button tutorial

Well I had every intention of doing this tutorial last week but last week flew by so here it is today just a wee bit later than planned :-) These buttons are super easy to make but because I'm a visual person I have included lots of photos to make each step clear and easy to follow.

  To make the circles I use my Fiskars circle template that I use for scrapbooking. Love it when my craft supplies have many uses :-)!

On a double layer of your chosen fabric and using a fabric marking pen, draw a circle 1/2 inch bigger than your desired finished button size.You can of course make any size you want which is the beauty of making your own buttons. For this tutorial I have drawn a 1 1/2 inch circle which will produce 1 inch sized finished buttons. I do suggest for your first buttons to make slightly bigger ones as the little ones are just a bit fiddly and tricky when turning and stuffing. 

 Cut out the circle through both layers and with right sides together sew around the perimeter using a very scant 1/4 inch seam leaving a finger width size gap for turning and stuffing, reversing at each end to reinforce the seam ends. Snipping into the seam allowance every 1/4 - 1/2 inch will produce a smoother circle once turned right sides out.

 Finger press the opened seam edges inwards to make it easier to hand sew the opening closed once stuffed.

 Using some polyester stuffing and a stuffing/turning tool fill your turned circles as firmly as you can as this will push out the seam ending up with a more even and smoother circle shape.
 Now I've just included this photo to show you what I use for turning and stuffing. It is simply a thin metal rod on a wooden handle with a slot at the end for turning tubes of fabric for handles etc... It was made by a quilting friends husband and I have had it for over 15 years. It is one of my most used tools so I can thoroughly recommend looking out for one if you don't have a tool similar to this. I'm sure you can buy something similar in a quilting shop.
 Once stuffed, carefully sew up the opening endeavouring to keep the curve of the circle as smooth as possible. I use a ladder stitch for sewing up seams like these as it is almost invisible but also strong. A ladder stitch is made by slipping the needle along and inside the folded edge of the seam then crossing directly over to the opposite side and slipping the needle along and inside of the fold. . I also use a double length of thread and poke or pop the knots through the fabric so they are buried inside the button/stuffed circle.
 Here is my tiny little sewn up button which doesn't look perfectly round does it but not to worry because the next step of adding the perle thread will cover up any imperfections ;-) The smaller the button the harder it is to get it looking perfectly round ...
 Using a 10 to 12 inch length of  perle cotton tie a single knot in one end and poke your needle through the middle of the button as shown in the above photo. Pull all the way through carefully pulling the knot through the first layer of fabric so it is buried in the middle. It should 'pop' through the fabric, just be careful you don't pull too hard and it comes all the way through the other side. This method of burying the knot in the layers is what I use when I'm hand-quilting.
 Wrapping the cotton around half the button bring your needle back up through the middle again.

Keep wrapping the cotton around the button and bringing the needle up through that same middle hole, dividing the circle into 6 even segments.

When I've finished wrapping the perle cotton around I leave the remaining length of cotton attached as I like to use it to attach it to a finished project like a pillow closure here or my Boho bags here.
Hope you have found this tutorial easy to follow and are inspired to make you own buttons for your next project.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Vintage floral boho bags

I've been meaning to do a post about 2 boho bags that I made back in January but kept forgetting to which may have been due to the nice weather we have been having which makes me just want to be outside. For the first time in 2 months it rained here for over 3 hours. It's been so long since we had rain that it seemed quite strange but I'm sure the farmers are pleased with any rain they get and for me it means not having to remember to water the veggie garden. Anyway back to the boho bags! The above one is all for me, that is just me and not for my daughter to "borrow" and not relinquish back :-)

One of my favourite colours is green so this bag goes with a lot of clothes. The main fabric is an old curtain remnant that my seamstress neighbour gave to me so it's the perfect weight for a bag but not too stiff for this type of bag. I used a print by Sandy Henderson for the button and pockets. 
Then for the inside I used a vintage print that I've had for ages (years!) that was passed onto me by an Auntie (another clever seamstress). This print is lovely and soft so perfect for a lining plus I love the contrast between the brown print and green prints. Yep this bag is being well used :-) 
This second bag was made for a friends sister as her birthday present. Once again I used an old curtain remnant from my neighbours stash and contrasted it with 2 different red and white polka dot prints from my stash.
I really like the slightly botanical look to the main fabric on this bag and I think the polka dot prints add a bit of a retro look to it.
The print inside has a slightly raised effect to the simple pattern on it and then the print in the pocket has a slightly botanical look too. Love how prints come together so nicely in a project like this cause sometimes it takes me ages to choose the 'right' combination of fabrics. Sometimes I just wish I was a little more decisive in making my fabric choices :-)

Friday, March 1, 2013

Little birdie cushion....

So here is what I've been working on this week which I actually started 2 weeks ago. Yes it's just a cushion cover not a quilt but that would be because the bird fabric that the circles have been cut from was just a very small piece. I would have loved to have had more of that fabric to make a quilt because it's so cute isn't it. Anyway I've had it for a very long time, you know waiting for that perfect project as you do :-)

I really wanted to make the most of the small amount of the bird fabric and cutting out circles seemed like the best idea although before I quilted it I wasn't quite sure whether I liked it but that pebble quilting has to be one of my favourite ways to free-motion quilt. It really makes those birds stand out don't you think...

For the quilting I used a machine embroidery thread which has a nice sheen to it which I think helps make the design stand out more.

To keep with the circle theme I chose some spotty and dotty fabrics to frame it using a traditional log cabin.

The back is my usual off centre button enclosure but this time I used the handmade buttons and loops that I've been using on these bags and these compendiums. Oh and a little bit of ric-rac too :-)

I kinda like these buttons which I think add a bit of  interest to the back. If you're interested in learning how to make them let me know and I'll do a wee tutorial. I learnt them from a blogger who no longer keeps a blog so I can't give her any credit.
My little birdie cushion cover can be found here for purchase :-)
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