Tuesday, 18 February 2014

DIY Fantastic: Houndstooth Bean Bag Cover

Today I am sharing a project that has been in the works for, ahem...years!!! In all honesty once I knuckled down to the sewing last weekend, it was done in a day. There is nothing super complicated about it, lots of long straight lines of sewing, so quite straightforwards. But it just took me time to drag the pieces out from behind the sofa and just sew them together, you know! But am I glad I did, this is the perfect addition to the living room and is such a cosy spot to sit and read or get the prime spot in front of the tv for the winter olympics!

Now we were lucky to inherit a huge bean bag from a friend years ago, thanks Saff! It's super comfortable for lounging around on or as an extra flexible seating when we have friends over. But, it is made of black pvc, so a little bit bachelor-esque! I found some really fun upholstery fabric with a bit of stretch back at a Design Guild warehouse sale some time ago which I though would be perfect to cover it. It's quite a busy pattern and not to pale - important given it's going to be on the floor!! :s

What you'll need is...

1. Fabric - chose anything you fancy - the brighter and bolder the better! I used a thick upholstery material from the Design Guild. I'd recommend something durable, with a little bit of stretch and enough pattern to make it less delicate!
2. Needle and thread and a sewing machine
3. Fabric scissors
4. Newspaper or other paper for creating the pattern
5. ....

Oh and of course - a bean bag! Although while I say that, it's actually not necessarily true. In fact you can get the polystyrene balls that the are made of and fill your own bag up with them. Just have to make sure there are no holes for the polystyrene balls to get out of!

First off we had to make a pattern. The original bag was made up of 5 long panels running all around with a large hexagon for the bottom and small one at the top! We used newspaper to trace the panels of the beanbag and cut them out in the paper. A bit of experimentation to ensure we could get all the sections to fit from the material we had and off we went with the cutting. Here's the dream-cutting-team in action, thanks Mum and Izzy!

Next we actually overlocked all the way round each panel. The fabric was quite prone to fraying so we overlocked it to keep it all together. But this isn't essential, it totally depends on the material you squirrel out! We then pinned together each panel and sewed them together, adding one panel at a time around the small hexagon and finally sewing together to create the final shape. At the end I added the two panels that made up the bottom hexagon, overlapping slightly in the middle to create a flap and an opening.

 Then all it remains for you to do is turn the whole thing inside out and stuff the bean bag inside. Now I don't have any pictures of this stage as to be completely honest I needed four arms to get the bean bag stuffed in. It's not coming out in a hurry! I used some velcro patches on the base of the bag to close the gap and plopped myself down to enjoy the view!

It also turns out that bean bags are ridiculously hard to photograph, it's almost impossible to stop it from looking like a large pile of fabric dumped down in the corner. You'll have to use your imagination for the rest!

But ah, doesn't that look like an appealing spot for a rest, a cuppa and a little read? You'll know where to find me when I've gone missing! :)


Sunday, 2 February 2014

DIY Memory Quilt

This was a lovely project my cousin's friend co-ordinated for her 30th birthday - a memory quilt that brought together the memories of all her family and friends and creating a single homemade quilt with the results. The final piece was an absolute gem and went down a storm at the birthday party!

To contribute to the quilt Izzy and I created a series of three squares. We set on three of our favourite memories of times with Rhian and then raided my fabric box for three key colours that each concept could work with. We found a series of materials, a cream wild silk, a pink jersey cotton and the green upholstery fabric. We used the combination of the three to create three separate but co-ordianted patches.

First off - a family holiday in Corfu where Rhian and I were instructed with the task of purchasing a watermelon. With eyes bigger than our stomachs we naturally chose the biggest watermelon on the stall, it was a beast! Great value for money, right?! We were totally stoked with our choice, until the walk home...up a steep hill...in the midday sun....at 40 degrees! Even taking it in turns to carry the beast we were exhausted and dripping by the time we got it back to the flat. In fact, I distinctly remember putting our faces in the fridge to try and cool off! Needless to say, the watermelon was faaar too big for our tummies and by the time we left we still hadn't quite managed to finish off the whole lot. Gutted!!

We used the cream silk as the base and appliquéd the watermelon using the pink and green. We did all the stitching by hand as I couldn't work out how to get the zig-zag stitch going on my machine!!! :s Hence the rustic vibe! And finished it with sequins for the pips. 

Next up was our more recent Huw's Hike up Mount Snowdon in Wales. We did this with all the family and friends in aid of the St David's Hospice in South Wales which looked after my uncle and the family in very difficult times. It was a magnificent event and a tough climb for many of us, but the support we had was phenomenal and we made some lovely new memories with the family. 

For this one we used the pink background as the base and then the green and cream silks appliqued on top! See what we did there?! The jersey cotton wasn't exactly the ideal base for the patch in all honesty, it kept rolling up and was blinkin' tough to work with!! :) But we created a mini Mount Snowdon with a white cap.

And last but not least the fantastic monkey puzzle tree. Rhian's family had a fabulous monkey puzzle tree in their garden growing up. It was the first part of their house that you'd see as you drove up the road toward the house and we always got super excited when we finally saw it after the long drive from West Wales! It's one of those strange trees, they look majestic and beautiful, but at the same time they look very spikey and terrifying. To be honest I am ever so slightly in awe of them! And whenever I see one I am immediately transported back to the Joneses and family new year's eve parties!

For this one we also used the cream silk patch, you can see from this picture how much it was fraying as we worked on them! I was worried it'd end up smaller than the required 5 inches for the quilt!! :s We used a cross stitch in a green embroidery thread to create the monkey puzzle branches and appliquéd on  trunk.

Dear Jayne then received the individual patches from everyone and managed to pull them all together into this fabulous memory quilt. No mean feat!! It included squares made from old clothes, flags of many of the countries they had visited together, squares crocheted by Mrs Jones, squares decorated with messages from the kids.

What a wonderful idea by Jayne and a lovely keepsake that I'm sure Rhian will treasure for the next thirty years!! :)