Monday, 8 June 2015

A new stitchy challenge

Hello there!
Today I have a few stitchy projects to share with you. I haven't been getting as much cross stitching done as I would like but I am still stitching a few squares on the advent calendar for Little H as I am able. This is where I am up to now...

Over half way (14 out of 24 done) but somewhat behind where I had hoped to be by now. Oh well, I am still pretty positive it will be finished in time for this Christmas & I guess that is all that really matters!
I have been doing more hand sewing & the other weekend I finished off the summer wallhanging I was making for the kitchen. Once all the applique was done I embroidered antennae for the butterflies, hand quilted round the shapes with a turquoisey blue thread & added some buttons from my stash...


Here it is hanging on the kitchen wall...
I really enjoyed the slow & steady pace of this project, my eventual goal is to have a different wallhanging for this space for each month of the year. I have four done now & have lots of ideas for the remaining months but just need to find more sewing time!
Instead of starting another hand sewing project right away I tackled a job with my sewing machine that has been waiting for years. I was spurred on by finding the perfect fabric just when I wasn't really looking for it (you know how that one goes?)! I promptly bought a metre & here it is spread out on the sewing room floor...
How cute are they??!!! This is a vinyl coated cotton (commonly called oilcloth) fabric & I wanted it to make some outdoor cushions. For quite a few years now we have had a swing seat down at the bottom of the garden & when the weather is warm & sunny I love sitting down there with a book or a crafty project. It's much comfier with a couple of cushions but that generally involves making two trips, one with whatever I want to do down there in one hand & a cuppa in the other, & one with the cushions. For years I have been talking about making some waterproof covers for the cushions so that they could live down there for the warmer months, but it has never gotten any further than talk. (We have rain too frequently to leave them out otherwise.) Well once I brought this fabric home it was time to get busy.
As I haven't sewn oilcloth before I decided to check online for some tips & hints on handling this fabric. Here's what I found:
You want to set your sewing machine to a longer stitch length than for regular sewing & change out your needle to a jeans/denim needle. The vinyl coating makes the right side of this fabric cling to your ruler (handy to keep it from slipping when you're cutting) & the bottom of your sewing machine foot (not so handy) so if you're going to sew on the right side of it (and don't have a teflon foot handy) you can make life easier by covering the bottom of your existing foot with masking tape. Oh and these little guys are going to be your new best friends...
Yup, bulldog clips! All holes you make in this fabric are permanent so you can either pin in the seam allowance or use bulldog clips to hold things in position. Also you want to make sure you only sew things once, unpicking will leave little holes in the fabric. With this in mind I wanted to keep things as simple as possible.
I decided I needed to put in a zip (in my mind an envelope back would just let wee beasties crawl inside!) so I unpicked the zips from the old tatty cushions I have been using for outside. Luckily they were a nice maroon color that went quite well with the new fabric :-) I cut two squares of fabric the same length as my zipper & laid the zipper face down along one edge of one square laid right side up...
I sewed this in place, laid the other square face down & clipped the other edge of the zip to the edge of it like this...
Now I read differing opinions online on whether you can iron oilcloth or not but I decided to play it safe & avoid the iron. Instead I used the bone folder from my card making tools to flatten the seams either side of the zipper & I found it worked really well!
So once the zip was in I opened it up, laid the squares right sides together & clipped the remaining three sides...
I sewed round all three sides, trimmed the corners, & turned the cushion right sides out through the zipper (this is why you have to open it before you clip the sides together!). I recycled my old cushion innards in the new covers, zipped them up, & took them down to their new home...
Now all I need is some warm sunny weather!
I had no problems working with the oilcloth (or owlcloth as I was calling it ;-)) so if you have a project using it that you have been putting off I would say go for it!!! It's not as scary as you think!! 
Thank you for visiting me here today, I hope you have a lovely creative week ahead!

11 comments:

  1. Wow beautiful cushions, well done on taking the leap and thanks for all the great tips. Your cross stitching progress and wall hanging are both amazing.

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    1. Thank you for your lovely comments! I had great fun with the wall hanging, I'm rarely happier than with a needle in my hand ;-) Now I'm just waiting for some summer weather to go sit in the garden & enjoy using the cushions! Have a lovely week, Helen

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  2. Fantastic!!! Love you little outdoor owl cushions!!!
    Cute stitching too, I'm sure you'll finish this in no time :)

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    1. Thank you Mii! Now all I need is some summer weather to go sit out there & use them ;-) I'm getting closer to a finish on the cross stitching too, I forsee Christmas in July here! Have a lovely week, Helen x

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  3. Brilliant tips and fab stitching!

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    1. Thank you so much Fiona! I must hop over & see what you have been up to recently... Have a lovely week,
      Helen

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  5. Love your wall hanging in the kitchen, so bright and summery! beautiful cushions, you have been busy! the cross stitch looks great, there's months till christmas :)

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    1. Thank you so much Summer! Yes, at least I have blue skies in the kitchen even if they have stayed grey outside! I think I can confidently say this is one Christmas project that will be finished for this year ;-) Must pop over to see what you have been busy with, have a lovely week,
      Helen

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  6. Your wall hanging is beautiful. Oh wow! Those cushions are so clever. Perfect fabric for you. Fab progress on the Christmas stitch. xox

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    1. Thank you Steph! I had great fun with the wall hanging & yes, I think those owls were waiting in the shop for me ^_^ Have a lovely week sweetie XOX

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