patterns

I’ve just finished uploading the patterns from the August issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine to my store, including one of my favourite projects this month … a Jar for Buttons.

One of my favourite techniques that I’ve used in several designs this month, including this one, is raw edge applique.  I love it as it’s so easy to add pops of colour and pattern to mywork.  It’s also a great way to use up even the smallest fabric scraps as I hate throwing (nearly) anything away!   If you plan to make your own jar you’ll need to choose the fabrics you’re going to use.  I could tell you my exact choices, but as it’s unlikely you’ll have exactly the same fabrics in your stash, and because I use a lot of older, or even vintage fabrics that aren’t always readily available, I thought you might be interested in hearing how I select the fabrics I’m going to use for my applique projects.

Choose a medium weight non-stretchy fabric, cotton, linen or a cotton/linen blend is nicest.  I personally don’t like working with cotton-polyester mix fabric, to me it simply doesn’t feel right and I never achieve good results when trying to use it.  Natural fibres are, in my opinion, by far the nicest to work with and this shouldn’t limit your choice as there are so many lovely designs and collections around these days.   You’re going to do a lot of surface work on your fabric, so if it’s too lightweight then it will be difficult to keep it in shape, leading to possible puckering and distortion.     If you really absolutely have to use a lighter weight fabric, then consider interfacing to give it sufficient body to work with.

Your background fabric can either – obviously – be plain or patterned.  Whichever you choose remember that it is just that – a background.  It’s not the main feature, and you want it to showcase your applique work, not fight with it for attention or, perhaps even worse, blend too seamlessly with your applique fabrics so that they sink into the background and all your hard work goes unnoticed.  I find that as my applique designs are usually flowing, curved organic shapes, then geometric patterns in just a few colours often work well as the base fabric, providing a good contrast to the applique design.  The background pattern should as a general rule be on the same scale, or a little smaller as the applique – so don’t choose an enormous check pattern and position some tiny applique birds on top – it will just look silly.

You also need to take into account the colour of your background.  Look at it carefully and consider it together with the fabrics you’d like to use for your applique.  You may need to tweak your choices a little.  Consider if you’re going for a harmonious look – choosing colours and patterns of the same tonal strength as in my Jar for Buttons, or if you’d prefer more of a contrast – like Nelly the applique elephant (above) Either will work well, but each will give a totally different feeling to the finished piece of work.

I always begin with the background fabric as I find it’s more difficult to get right if I’ve decided not to use a light coloured neutral.  The fabrics for the actual applique shapes themselves are much easier as I have two large boxes of scraps in my workroom, dating back many years – and almost never throw any fabric away – even the smallest pieces can be useful, for example the baby owl’s chest is only ½” wide! Choose light or medium weight fabrics for the applique shapes for this project as you don’t want to add excess bulk or weight to the jar lid.    In general it’s best to avoid large scale bold prints, choose smaller scale prints that won’t draw the eye away from the shapes themselves.   For this project a quilting weight cotton is perfect as it is light enough to mount in the hoop without excess bulk, and is also strong enough to hold your applique work.

I like to use small stitches worked at right angles to the applique shapes to secure them to the background fabric and may choose either a contrasting or complementary colour floss.  In my True Beauty Peacock I used a complementary colour that worked well with all the different fabric scraps I used for the peacock’s feathers and kept to the same colour for the whole tail to bring the different fabrics together in a harmonious whole.  Using diferent colours would have given a “bitty” effect.  I also (unusually for me) used feather stitch to add an additional decorative element to the design.  There are a lot of vintage feedsack scraps in my peacock applique that I chose from a limited colour palette and small repetitive patterns that I feel work well together.

And finally … you don’t have to restrict raw edge applique to purely decorative items.  Most recently I’ve used the technique for my Woodland Alphabet Quilt.  A combination of securing the shapes with Bondaweb and then covering the edges with a closely-spaced zig-zag stitch worked in invisible thread means that although this quilt has already been washed several times it’s standing up well to the wear and tear imposed by an active baby boy!

 

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Bustle & Sew e-Magazine January 2014

by Helen on December 23, 2013

Bustle & Sew Magazine Issue 36

 Wow!  Amazingly we’re into 2014 already here at Bustle & Sew!!  The January issue is all finished and uploaded ready to be sent out to subscribers later this week – lots of new patterns for Christmas holiday stitching.  Just click on the image below to preview of the contents ….. 

Sadly, the price of my e-magazine must rise in the New Year.  From January the cost will be $6.50 per issue for new subscribers.  But if you subscribe before the end of the month your rate will be frozen at $5.50 per issue – for as long as your subscription continues.  So if you’re thinking about subscribing then please don’t leave it until January or you’ll miss out …  just CLICK HERE to learn more.

 

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Christmas Video and hat pulling!

by Helen on December 3, 2013

When I first began Bustle & Sew I had absolutely no idea how many different skills I would have to learn over the years.  Although I could already sew and embroider of course, my skills  have developed tremendously and I’ve learned so much from other keen stitchers who so generously share their knowledge online.  But sadly running a (very) small business isn’t just about sewing …. I’ve become reasonably proficient in photoshop, which I really enjoy and have discovered the easiest and most fun ever desktop publishing package – a vital tool as the Bustle & Sew e-Magazine has developed and hopefully improved over the last 35 issues.  I don’t think I’ll ever really get to grips with the book keeping side of things and I positively hate admin, so I’m not nearly as well organised as I should be.  Time management is another issue – with two furry friends who’d rather be on the beach than sitting watching me work!

Now the latest skill I’m trying is video production.  I’ve come a bit late to this as my erratic rural internet connection has made both uploading and viewing videos somewhat problematic.  However …. Mr Fox: Wish Upon a Star was such fun to make, I decided to persevere and am now proud to present my first-ever Christmas promotional video …. 

 Featuring lots of Bustle & Sew patterns from my Christmas store.  Now I’ve been bitten by the video bug expect more …. Daisy’s first Christmas might be a good subject, though they were both very naughty about their Christmas hats …

A rare moment of co-operation as each tried to pull the other’s hat off!  Stronger elastic for Christmas Day I think!

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The December 2013 issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine is out this week and it’s stuffed with Christmas projects!  Fun designs that give great results and don’t take forever – after all this is a very busy time of year!

Bustle & Sew Magazine Issue 35: December 2013

If you’re on Facebook and would like a chance to win the little red reindeer from this month’s issue (sooo Christmassy) just pop on over to my page to enter the giveaway.   Baby Reindeer GiveawayAnd if you’d like to make your own reindeer, you’ll find the pattern on page 30 of the December issue – still just $5.50 when you subscribe in 2013.  

(So sorry, but the price will have to rise for new subscribers in January.  Existing subscribers please don’t worry, your price will remain the same forever – no price rises ever – I promise!)

To learn more and subscribe please CLICK HERE

 

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