Halloween Fabric Candy Bowl

Create a spooktacular impression with these…

What you need:

Fabric of your choosing, thick woven. I chose a thick woven cotton that has been sitting in my fabric stash for quite some time now.

Fabric Stabilizer – I highly recommend Terial Magic for projects like this. This fabric stabilizer makes fabrics “paper like” and so much easier to work with.

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Fabric Paint, or even these fun iron on transfer pens, to transfer your designs to your fabrics.

Watch the video at the end at this post to see how these work, then click on the image to get your pens!

Download this pdf of the sewing pattern:

Start by pressing your fabric and treating it with your fabric stabilizer. This will make it more sturdy and easier to work with. Once your fabric is ready, cut out your fabric and lining sections.

On the outer fabric sections, paint your Halloween inspired faces – you can create your own or download the below stencils that we have created for you. Leave to dry.

While your faces dry, you can start sewing together your lining sections.

Step 1:

Start by folding the fabric inwards along the top fold line and pressing flat. You can baste the seam flat to keep it in place, (this will be along the top 3 sides of the octagon shape).

Step 2:

Sew together the two side sections of the octagon, to the panel next to it. Once you have sewn the four panels together, you will start to see that it is starting to take a bowl shape, but with a small hole in its bottom.

Step 3:

Press all sides inwards on your square pattern piece. Press them inwards by 1.5cm (5/8in). Baste into place.

Step 4:

Place the fabric square with it’s wrong side on the right side of the fabric for the lining, over the hole in your bowls bottom. Pin into place to secure it and make sure that you are happy with its positioning. Then stitch into place, you can use a zigzag or a decorative stitch to finish it of.

Once the fabric paint has dried on your main fabric sections, sew them together in the same way they you have sewn the lining sections together in steps 1 to 4.

Step 5:

With wrong sides of fabric facing, insert the sewn lining into the main fabric section. Line up along the top ends and pin securely together. Then as close as possible (at least 5mm or 1/8in) from the edge, stitch the lining and main fabric sections together… your bowl is now ready to use.

Your Fabric Candy bowl is now ready too use!

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Burn tests

Why would you set fire to your fabric?

You may have heard mention that a burn test will help to determine your fabric composition, but you’re not sure what you’re looking for when you burn your swatches.

Believe it or not, the flame, smoke and ash from burning a piece of fabric can tell you a lot about what it’s made of.

You’ll need to use your judgment and go by a few other cues as well, such as creasing, drape and handle of the fabric, but doing a little burn test can help you to determine what your fabric is made of if you still aren’t sure.

Burn tests are never going to be 100% accurate; so many fabrics are a blend of 2, 3 or more fibers. But it is going to give you an idea, and you can easily tell from a burn test if your fabric is a pure natural fiber or a synthetic.

Items you’ll need.

  • A small piece cut off of your fabric approximately 1”x 1”, do not try to burn the edge of a large piece of cloth.
  •   A pair of tweezers to hold the fabric
  •   A fire resistant container- such as a foil pie dish or a ceramic/glass plate
  •   A candle and matches or a lighter
  •   Water, in case you need to extinguish the fire.

What to do.

  • Set up everything in a well-ventilated area outside. Some fabric can produce hazardous smoke. You also don’t want to do this near a smoke alarm.
  •   Light your candle and set fire to the piece of fabric, holding it with tweezers so you don’t burn yourself.
  •   Drop it into your container and observe how it burns, take notice of how it smells.
  •   Allow the piece to extinguish itself, let it cool down and then examine the ash
  •   Crumble the ash with your fingers and observe how it crumbles and how it disintegrates.

Here’s a short video of us having fun, setting fire to some fabrics:

Here’s a brief breakdown of the most common fabrics, and how they will respond when burned:

Cotton           

  • Natural cellulose fiber
  • Burns readily, with a glowing edge, then chars
  • Smells like burning paper
  • Soft, powdery grey ash

Hemp, Linen

  • Natural cellulose fiber
  • Burns readily, then chars
  • Smells like burning grass
  • Soft, powdery grey ash

Silk

  • Natural protein fiber
  • Self extinguishing
  • Odour of burning hair or feathers
  • Forms a soft black bead that is easy to crush, it crumbles

Wool, mohair, cashmere.

  • Natural protein fiber
  • Self extinguishing
  • Smells like burning hair or feathers
  • Dark irregular ash

Viscose

  • Man-made cellulose fiber
  • Burns readily, then chars
  • Smells like burning paper
  • Soft, powdery grey ash

Acetate or triacetate

  • Man-made protein fiber
  • Burns and melts
  • Odour of vinegar
  • Hard black ash

Acrylic

  • Synthetic
  • Burns readily and melts
  • Odour of burning meat or turmeric
  • Black, irregular ash

Nylon

  • Synthetic
  • Burns briefly and melts
  • Self extinguishing
  • Smells like celery
  • Hard grey bead that doesn’t crumble

Polyester, Modacrylic and other synthetics

  • Acrid, sharp odours or smell of sweet chemicals
  • Self extinguishing  
  • Melt to a hard black bead

Polycotton

  • Feels like cotton and have a similar creasing but melts rather than burns.
  • Ash forms a hard bead that doesn’t crumble

Eco-Bricks

What are they, and why should you care…

We strive our best to be a low impact, zero waste brand. We are also very aware of the harmful impact the textile industry has on the environment. Every year tonnes (literally, tonnes) of fabric and textile scraps find their way into our landfills and oceans.

tonnes of textile waste finds its way into our landfills every year

Every sewist that joins our team is given bottles to place synthetic fabric and thread scraps into.

They are also encouraged to add other non-recyclable plastics and disposable gloves and masks that would otherwise end up hurting mother earth.

These ecobricks are then donated to our selected animal charities, where they are used to build habitats for injured, neglected and homeless animals.

WHAT IS AN ECOBRICK?

An ecobrick is a plastic bottle packed with used plastics and non-recyclables. They serve as reusable building blocks. Ecobricks can be used to produce various items, including furniture, garden walls and other structures.

HOW DO YOU MAKE AN ECOBRICK?

  1. Collect your clean and dry household waste. We recommend only waste that you cannot recycle (like dog food bags), but you can EcoBrick anything non-biodegradable and dry.
  2. Twist your waste and insert it into a plastic bottle. Compress it as tightly as you can with a stick.
  3. Keep doing this until your bottle is as full as possible – make sure your bottle is unsquishable (hard).
  4. Think your EcoBrick is done? If you can squeeze it by more than 10% with one hand you should add more waste.
  5. No longer squishable? It’s done!

We are based in South Africa, and donate to a number of charities who collect these ecobricks, there are also ecobrick drop off bins at all major Pick ‘n Pay Hyper stores. If you are from another region of the world, and now of a group or charity who collects these, please leave their details in the comments below.

Here are some videos to help you to discover more about ecobricks and building with them

Against the grain

A practical guide to cutting on the bias

When Madeleine Vionnet first cut garments on the bias, nobody had ever before seen garments that draped with such elegant fluidity.

The sleek silhouette defined the evening wear of the 1930s, and was revived in John Gallianos’ slinky slip of the 1990s.

It’s a sort of sorcery, garments with minimal darts and panels that slip over the form of the body and mould to its shape. Beautiful cowls and drapes become possible.

With Bias cutting you can achieve really high end results, and make some garments you can be proud of.

What is the bias anyway?

Simply stated, the true bias grain of a woven textile is a 45 degree angle from the selvedge (straight grain), the key word here being woven.

Many fabrics used in fashion are not woven textiles, with a warp and a weft grain, and therefore don’t actually have a true bias, and are not suited for garments cut on the bias.

These fabrics are:

  • Stretch fabrics are usually knitted
  • Lace and mesh have a net construction.
  • Felt is constructed by matting the fibres of wool
  • Coated cloth is often stiffened to the point where the cloth no longer behaves like a woven.

Bias Cutting.

Many fashion students and even professional dressmakers make the mistake of trying to cut an inappropriate piece of cloth on the bias, which is unnecessary and can be really wasteful.

It can also drape unevenly or bubble if there is more stretch in one direction of the cloth than the other, or if certain elements of a textile are more dense.

Not all fabrics necessary require being cut on the bias for a better drape, for example, cutting fine Chantilly at a 45 degree angle is not necessarily going to create more drape in the garment.

That is not to say that there is no reason ever to do it, you may want to experiment with the directions of a striped, printed or ribbed design, or accommodate a motif, but generally, a woven cloth is the way to go when cutting on the cross. When in doubt, drape the fabric in front of a mirror or on a mannequin and look at the way it falls when draped on the cross, you may find that that your cloth is actually better cut straight.

If you understand how cutting on bias creates the characteristic soft stretch and drape of a bias cut garment, it helps you decide which fabrics are suitable.

A close up view of a woven fabric reveals tiny squares created by the fibers of the weft and the warp, a fairly stable structure when hung along the straight grain. But turn that same cloth by 45% and you have tiny diamonds, and they can collapse, creating a cloth that stretches and clings.

The downsides to cutting on the bias:

  • Cutting on the bias uses more fabric and creates more waste, the seams are more difficult to stitch, they have a tendency to wobble. But once you get the hang of it the results can be really beautiful.
  • Bias cut garments do tend to be somewhat unforgiving and show every lump and bump as they sit more softly against the body, That’s one reason my bias cut garments are always lined, and why I often recommend a high quality foundation garment like spanx for bridal or occasion wear.

Tips and tricks

Make sure you follow these tips for the best bias cut garments:

  • It really is necessary to cut at a precise 45 degree angle, otherwise you will get an uneven drape, roping and bubbling, those bias cut straps just wont fold smoothly and your seams wont lie flat. Trust me, guessing the 45 degree angle is almost impossible. Get your measuring tape out and make absolutely sure.
  • You need to cut your cloth open, not on the fold, and preferably copy any pattern pieces that require a left and a right side so that you can lay the whole garment out on your fabric.
  • That big piece of fabric is tricky to cut on a small table, but don’t let any of the cloth hang off the edges, it’s going to pull everything while you’re cutting, rather fold the excess cloth up carefully.
  • Use a pattern that has been specifically designed to be cut on the bias. It will probably be a little bigger than a regular pattern to allow for the cling of the cut.
  • Bias cut patterns may also include a larger seam allowance. A bigger seam allowance helps the way a bias cut seam lies, as well as giving you a little more to work with, when stitching or altering.
  • When stitching on the bias, don’t get too hung up on matching your seams together exactly, yes, match your seams, but not if it makes the fabric pull to do so.
  • I will often hang up bias cut pieces to “drop out” for a few days before I actually stitch them together, especially for silks and satin which tend to drop a lot. I also hang the garment for a few days to allow the hem to drop before cutting it straight and then stitching it. You will get a feel for it.

This is a process that really requires special attention detail, but if you can master it, you can truly create the most beautiful garments that will leave you standing out from the rest of the crowd

The Quilting Cowboy

Quilting just got better looking! When Dale Allen-Rowse made his first quilt, for his niece, in 1999, I’m sure he never imagined that he would become the good looking cowboy of quilting!

Making quilts is an expression of love.It’s how I bring a little more comfort into the world.– Dale Allen-Rowse

But that’s exactly what has happened, and his fresh and fun approach to the craft is creating excitement and drawing in new quilters too.

His quilting designs are fun and colorful, and we absolutely adore his videos on YouTube as he makes quilting accessible, and very easy to understand. To make things even better, his quilting kits are now available through quiltybox.com

These kits help you to re-create his beautiful designs with ease. (CLICK HERE TO VIEW THEM NOW)

A little more about the Quilting Cowboy: Dale Allen-Rowse has been quilting since the birth of his niece in 1999, when he first taught himself how to make baby quilts on a tour bus for a ballet company.

Ever since then, Dale has been sewing up a storm. Taking classes where available, learning on his own, and finally launching the Quilting Cowboy online in 2005, to share his insights with a larger audience.

In 2009, Dale enrolled in college for Graphic Design to better his color theory, graphic design and computer skills.

What he learned really help to launch his creativity and enabled him to put new skills to use in his work.

Dale’s quilts have appeared in the Ontario Museum of History and Art, the current issue of Las Vegas Night beat – where he is the featured cover story – several quilt shows around Southern California and most recently, he was asked to submit his work to be considered as set design for the NBC TV Show “Making It” starring Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman.

Visit quiltybox.com now to get started with his quilt designs and add some color and fun to your home.

What is Quilty Box about? It is a really easy way to get great quilting supplies delivered to your front door every month, check it out and sign up today!

What the Quilt…

Every now and then something new comes along that really ignites my excitement for sewing… this is one of those things. Life just got easier… and quilting has become more exciting!

I haven’t made many quilts, but the few that I have made, well… the most dreary and worst part of it all is having to cut out hundreds and hundreds of little shapes. Eventually my fingers are raw from cutting continuously with scissors, and I feel like I JUST CAN’T anymore… then these nifty new fabric cutters came along.

I will be very honest with you… I got really excited, like “high school girl” excited… and now I am planning a whole pile of new quilting projects. I absolutely LOVE these machines, and accuquilt has a whole array of different machines to help you, according to your size of projects, and how often you will be using the machines. CLICK HERE to view the full range now.

I HIGHLY HIGHLY HIGHLY recommend these for every quilting fan – or even if you are just looking for a great excuse to use up all your fabric scraps. Save time, and have some fun with a brand new fabric cutting machine.

Oh and yes… remember to follow us on Instagram, where we will definitely be sharing our upcoming quilting projects with you… we will also be including a few free tutorials too as we have fun with our new sewing room addition.

Fabric Clearance Sale

Pineapple Fabrics is having a HUGE clearance sale (CLICK HERE to see it now)… we want to share our top 5 favorite fabrics ON SALE NOW!

The unique fabrics sold by unique artists on this site is why we just love shopping here, and here are a few of our favorites…

Tainted Love, metallic gold skull fabric by Andover. Yes! We can be rebels in style, what more can you ask for.

We’re all secretly nerds here… which is why we LOVE the Star Wars inspired fabric panels by Camelot Fabrics, and this one of Han Solo is our absolute favorite… I can just imagine the quilting possibilities with this… perhaps a Han Solo lap blanket?!

Still The Night by Hoffman Fabrics – this magical design has us completely memorized. It’s magical appearance has us dreaming of the all the possibilities of things to create… don’t you agree? This is possibly one of those beautifully dangerous designs where you buy it to add to your already existing stash, just because it’s so pretty… after all isn’t buying fabric a completely different hobby to actually sewing with it?

The Harvest Panel by Timeless Treasure – just what you need for Thanksgiving and Fall crafts. It will make a very effective statement piece – I can just imagine it being used for runners, table settings and throw pillows.

The delicate detail in this water color painted Elf Toss design by Springs Creative, will really bring magic to your Festive season creations.

We Hope you enjoyed these fabrics we shared with you today, remember they are on clearance sale, so stock is limited. This is just a small handful available CLICK HERE to view the full clearance range available today.

Holiday Themed Drawstring Bags

This is a quick guide on how to print your own iron on stickers at home to apply to themed bags. This idea is really great for Christmas themed gift bags or Halloween themed Trick or Treat bags.


You will need:

Step 1:

First I cut out a really thick iron-on interfacing to the size of A4 / letter sized sheets (use a standard sheet of paper for your printer as a pattern piece to trace them from), and placed them in the feeder tray of my ink jet printer, making sure the glue was on the opposite side to be printed.

Step 2:
I got some awesome pictures off the internet and printed them (as I would paper), though you can print any image you like, even photographs of friends and family – or your favourite cat.

View some really great graphics and clipart available from MarranArt by CLICKING HERE – her fun graphic art is perfect for prints and this type of crafting

Step 3:
I cut out the images and ironed them onto the main fabric of the bags. The best time to do this is after cutting out the pattern pieces, but before sewing it all together.

Step 4:
Finish putting your drawstring bags together, according to the pattern and instructions for the Drawstring Bag

Step 5:

Share your awesomeness and your new bags with friends and family.

HAPPY SEWING!

Create your own powder puff

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Since the little sponges that come with face powders tend to disintegrate before your powder, this makes an exceptionally good idea. A gently, soft powder puff.


It also makes a great stocking filler (the festive season is just around the corner), match it up with a cute, really easy drawstring bag sewing pattern, to make a really functional gift for the women, and little princesses in your life. Or just as a general pamper gift for someone in your life.

Click Here for the blog post that shows you how to make cute little iron on prints that will allow you to customize your gift bags.


What you will need
10cm / 4” square of fabric 10cm / 4” square of faux / teddy bear fur 10cm / 4” square of hard iron on interfacing 10cm / 4” length of ribbon for the back


Steps

  1. On the non-glue side of your interfacing, mark out a circle of 10cm / 4” length across and cut out. Mark an inner circle of 1cm / 3/8”, this will be your seam line
  1. With the glue side of your interfacing against the wrong side of your fabric, use your interfacing to cut out your fabric, attach together by using a hot iron, or basting along the edges.
  1. Across the middle of the back of your fabric circle, place your length of ribbon. Baste the edges into place and trim away excess ribbon
  1. Use your fabric circle, to measure out and cut your faux fur. Wrong sides facing, joining the sections together sewing along your marked seam allowance. Leave a gap of around 2.5cm / 1” to allow you to be able to turn your powder puff right way out.
  1. Turn your powder puff right way out, and use an invisible hand stitch to sew the opening closed. Press for neatness.

Your new powder puff is ready to use

Happy Sewing!

Super Easy Oven Mitts

The festive season is just around the corner, and it also means that we will probably find ourselves in the kitchen, cooking up a storm, a lot more often… here’s a great stash busting sewing tutorial for oven mitts to help to get you ready.

These also make really great gifts, so why not work your way through your stash and make pairs for friends and family too.


What you will need

  • A5 sheet of paper, a ruler and a pencil for creating your pattern
  • +-30” / 75cm of woven, cotton ribbon or bias binding (for the edging)
  • 10” / 25cm width of fabric at least 30” / 75cm long
  • Quilting / padding / thick fleece / insulated batting (for the inner heatproof padding) 10” / 25cm width by 6” / 15cm length

Steps

  1. Pattern:
    1. On your piece of paper, trace out a rectangle that is 20cm x 12cm / 8” x 5”. Draw a line down the center of your pattern.
  1. In one corner, draw a curved edge.
  1. Cut out your pattern. Fold it in half, and then in half again (so that it’s a quarter) and cut all 4 corners along the curved corner you had previously made
  1. Cut out your fabric. Cut four sections of fabric using the full pattern. Cut out 4 sections of fabric using half the pattern.
  1. Use two sections of the fabric to cut out your padding. (creating the inner side of your mitts)
  1. On your four half sections, along the edge without curved corners, sew a hem by folding your fabric to the wrong side by 1cm / 3/8”. Fold over a second time and stitch flat.
  1. Take the half sections and place them on top of a full section (wrong side of half section against right side of full sections. (creating the outer side of your mitts) 
  2. Pin these to the fabric sections you had used to cut out your padding (wrong side against padding)      so that you are sandwiching all the layers together. Stitch all the sections together, joining all of your fabric and padding sections together.
  1. Measure out two sections of ribbon / bias binding, 10cm / 4” long. With it folded in half, stitch it closed.
  1. Fold this ribbon section in half and baste it to one of the corners of your oven mitts, on the outer side.
  1. Sew your ribbon / bias binding, right side against outer section of mitt, as close to the edge as possible.
  1. Fold over the raw edges and using a small zigzag stitch, sew your binding edges flat.

Your brand new oven mitts are now ready to use!

Happy Sewing!