Sylvia and I love trying out new crafts and last summer we tried our hands at marbling on fabric. The results were very exciting and quickly became a bit addictive. The collection of pretty patterned fabrics pieces we had created started to grow so this winter we decided that we needed to find a use for them and slip covers for small notebooks seemed a perfect answer.
The size of the marbled fabric you can make depends on the size of the ‘floater bath’ of marbling solution you make, and we had a couple of plastic supermarket meat trays about 24 x 16 cm which just fitted around an A6 notebook. Marbling works best on natural fibre so we cut up old cotton sheets into 30 x 20 cm pieces (the fabric needs to be just larger than the bath) treated them with Alum so that the colour would not run and left them to dry.
A6 Softback Notebooks with Marbled Fabric Slip Covers £4.50 each
You make the floater bath by mixing Methocel with water and leaving it to become thick and viscous, about 24 hours. We found that the floater worked better if we used Ionised water (available from Car Spares suppliers as it is used in batteries) The container for the floater needs to be a couple of inches deep and you need to fill the container to the top so that it easy to lay the fabric over the sides slightly, this makes it easier to lift off the fabric without disturbing the pattern.
Once you have your floater bath ready and your fabric treated with Alum and dried overnight you can start to carefully drip small amounts of colour onto the surface of the floater. We used plastic pipettes as you can control the drips better. You can use any Acrylic based paints, fabric paints or the special marbling paints but most will need to be diluted slightly so that they float on the surface and don’t sink to the bottom. You can experiment to find out how much to dilute the paints by dropping the colour gently on the surface of the floater and seeing if it sinks. If it does, add a little more water. Once you have a few colours floating and the surface is mostly covered you can either use an old comb to make regular swirls or pattern or just one cocktail stick to swirl the colour around.
A6 Hardback Notebooks with Marbled Fabric Slip Covers £5.50 each plus post and packing
The exciting patterns and colour combinations are fascinating and as I said completely addictive. We still have some marbled pieces of fabric left and I plan to use them to make Ipad covers when I have time. You can buy marbling kits from Marbling for Fun
Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you wish to purchase any of the notebooks above.
Growing up in the 1940’s/50’s, patchwork quilts and rag rugs were essential household items in our home. Every scrap of fabric was recycled to add warmth and comfort under our feet or on our beds.
Sylvia made this dress in the 1950’s. Can you recognise some of the fabric in the Sewing Stool below?
“I remember that dress, it was my most favourite!” “This was a scarf that Granny used to wear!” Such wonderful memories generated from scraps of fabric.
Although we no longer need these things for their original purpose, what a great way to pass on memories of childhood or loved ones! Let’s do our bit to keep alive those skills that helped to make homes brighter in days of yore.
If you know someone who would love a memory quilt or cushion, or even a collage to hang on the wall, get in touch with Jenny or me and we can help you design your very own special gift. See About page for details of how to contact us.
“This work box was upholstered in patchwork by my mother. The circular design may well have been inspired by the dress made by me in the late 1950’s. The fabric still look fresh over half a century on.”
A few weeks ago a friend of a friend, a grandmother to be, asked Sylvia and I to make a dress for a little girl age 2. The baby is yet to be born so Grandma was planning ahead.
This is the sort of project that Sylvia and I love to get stuck into. A nice easy pattern and some lovely fabric presented us with no technical difficulties apart from trying to sew buttonholes in broderie anglaise with a raised flower motif, which defied all attempts to create a neat finish on our test pieces. We overcame the problem by using pop fasteners with buttons over the top. It is always satisfying to find a way around problems like this.
If you would like a hand sewn garment made or alterations to an existing one, Sylvia and I will be happy to take commissions. Please contact Jenny or Sylvia
Back in January, I joined our local Women’s Institute and no sooner had I sat down and said hello to everyone than I found myself volunteering Sylvia and myself to create something for the Powys Radnor County Show. This was hardly fair of me, seeing as Sylvia was not even in the UK at the time, far less able to object to my presumption at putting her forward to work together on the project. However, when I told her she was delighted and very enthusiastic.
The theme of the show was ‘A Day at the Races’ and we spent the next 4 months busily creating A Picnic Rug and some Jewellery as per the list of of items to be entered. Other people had volunteered to make the food for the Picnic and the obligatory Hat to complete our entry. We were delighted to come third out of 30 Powys Radnor WI branches and for me, as my first attempt at anything like this it was a nice surprise. Of course, Sylvia is an old hand at this sort of thing and knew how to make an impression.
The rug is 110 cm square and consists of applique panels showing racing horses, and racing silks in various colours. It is padded and has a waterproof backing so is very practical. A lot of the work was done by hand sewing so it represents many hours of work. The jewellery has 3 horses together with hand made beads, all made from polymer clay and co-ordinates with the rug. We are willing to sell the rug and the buyer can have the jewellery set for free.
We can make your bunting for any theme you like, kitchen, garden shed, seaside, parties and weddings. Any theme or colour scheme you like and we can make the flags in a number of different shapes, traditional triangles, crescents or rectangles or we can applique hearts, circles, flowers etc. Just choose the shape, the colour scheme and the length you require and leave the rest to us. You can also supply your own fabric if you prefer. The flags are not just cut out pieces of single layer fabric, each one is double sided neatly seamed inside, and sewn onto strong webbing so that it will withstand wind, weather and washing. From 4.50 per metre (normally there are three flags per metre) Just contact Jennykeal@gmail.com to place your order.
I picked up this bundle of fabric sample scraps from Bon Marche Haberdashery in Llandrindod Wells for just 50p.
They inspired me to make these colourful totes. They are great for transporting books or PE kits to school or as storage receptacles in bathroom, nursery or playroom. The smaller two are patchwork and the large ones are applique. I’ve still gots lots of scraps left from the bundle and will be making more when I have time.
They retail at £5.00 each and if you live in Mid Wales we will be at The Table Top Sale in the Wesleyan Chapel, Builth Wells, tomorrow morning (2nd April 2016 – 10 a.m. to noon) where you can view all our products.
Just recently I’ve been trying to improve my crochet skills. I’ve always enjoyed crochet, although it’s long association with granny square blankets in mismatched colours during the 70’s gave it a bad reputation, more recently it has been undergoing a resurrection. Now granny square throws are enjoying a comeback due to better colour co-ordination. If you don’t want to take on a big project like a throw or a blanket there are lots of wonderful ideas out there for smaller items.
Two that I really enjoyed creating were a child’s spiral cloche hat and a Peacock handbag for a little girl. The directions are easy to follow, only took a couple of evenings each and kept my restless hands busy whilst watching The Night Manager on TV. A few of the many advantages of crochet over knitting are: no clacking needles, no dropped stitches, no swapping needles from hand to hand and you can create intricate shapes much easier. Working in the round means seamless items without the stretch and pull of circular needles. You can even join the different sections of a multi piece project with crochet instead of sewing and make it more decorative at the same time. Both the items above are for sale here: