Archive for August, 2010

Sharing a bit of what I have learned

Tuesday, August 31st, 2010

There are many things that I like about my job, but one of them is that I never stop learning new things.  Every day there is something for me to learn, it could be a new way to advertise the shop, or a quilting technique, or what people like or don’t like.

A few weeks ago I went to the Festivals of Quilts at the NEC with Fiona Pullen from The Sewing Directory, and I took a few fabric bundles to giveaway.  The feedback that I got from the visitors was great, but I was surprised that above all the fabrics from Heather Bailey’s Nicey Jane collection were the most popular.  Let me explain this last bit a bit better (before I get into trouble!).  I love the  Nicey Jane fabrics, green and blue are two of my favourite colours, and the design has a retro feel but they are still quite contemporary which makes it ideal for many types of project.  So why I was surprised others share the same idea than me?  Quite simply people were just not buying them, so I thought nobody liked them.

I thought I would introduce you to some creative souls that have made some really cool stuff with these fabrics (in case that you haven’t met them in blogland or Flickr yet).

Beth from Project: Project made this sweet dress with Dream Dot.  I don’t know about you, but I think using a darker colour on the top of the dress with the spotty fabric is such a clever thing but I’d have never thought about it.  It you get a chance, check Beth’s blog, you might get a feeling that she makes things faster than you can blink!

If you want to see simple designs transformed into gorgeous things then you must check Meg’s blog.  She has used Hop Dot in Sky and Lindy Leaf in Blue to make this everyday dress into something quite special.  Meg plays a lot with colours and is not afraid of using fabrics from different collections in the same project, sounds like an easy thing to do but takes a skill to master it.

Now, our next guest is Ivey and she is also VERY talented.  I can’t encourage you enough to check her Flickr account, but if you don’t have time here is just a brief peek of what she has done with Dream Dot and Slim Dandy.  Aren’t they just great?!?!  The little details in both dresses are both very clever and cute.

Let’s move on from children’s clothes to something more grown-up, Corinnea’s dress is something that I would love to make, it reminds me a bit of this dress (but we can talk about that particular one some other time).  Corinnea told me that Ms Bailey inspired her to reinvent this pattern, but I bet she is inspiring more people than she realises with such a lovely dress!  You can read a bit more about this dress, pattern and other lovely things she has made in her blog.

Check this apron, isn’t it great?  This apron would certainly brighten up washing the dishes!  This apron was made my Nicole Owens using Lindy Leaf and Pocket book in MossNicole’s blog is full of beautiful photographs and lovely creations.  In one of her latest post she has a picture of a baby blanket using Nicey Jane fabric, make sure you check it out.

And last but not least is something for the house.  I wouldn’t be surprised if you have come across Anna’s blog already; it is full of inspiration, tutorials, she has an amazing family, just like all the other ladies in this post.  Anna used Lindy Leaf to make these roman blinds; she has used also Hop Dot in Olive as part of a patchwork pillow.

The copyright of all of the photos shown above belong the the writer of each blog and I have been given permission to publish them here.  Beth, Meg, Ivey, Corinnea, Nicole and Anna have not only taught me how one design can be used in so many different projects and to fall in love with this collection all over again; but they have also taught me that the craft network is such a beautiful group regardless of where we are and what we do, we are always here to help each other, even when we are incredible busy or in the middle of our holidays.  Thank you Girls!!!

Lizzet xx

Bank Holiday Weekend Sale

Friday, August 27th, 2010

We all look forward for a bit of a break in our routines to do a bit of what we love but we never have time for it.  For me bank holidays are that, a fantastic opportunity to do a bit of sewing, a lot of shopping and, yes you have guessed it, an awful lot of eating.

I thought that you will enjoy this break even more if you could get our most popular fabric ranges at a great price during this last Bank Holiday of the year.  If you are not in the UK and this is not a long weekend for you, what a great way to freshen up a weekend that with a bit of fabric shopping!

Have a quick look at our shop and you will find all Michael Miller fabrics, Sandi Henderson‘s designs and colourful Patty Young‘s creation with wa 15% off their regular price.

This sale, like the bank holiday, will only last until midnight Monday 30th August, just before everything goes back to normal, so be quick and make sure you grab one of those fantastic designs.

Have a fantastic weekend,

Lizzet xx

P.S. This offer is not valid with other offers, discount vouchers or promotial codes, but you will still get free delivery if you spend £45 or more with us.

Dressmaking Classes in Oxford area

Monday, August 23rd, 2010

For all of you who live in the Oxford area here is some good news for you, there is going to be a new Dressmaking Course and a Saturday Sewing Course.

I met Caroline King a few months ago thanks to one of her previous students, she is not only a great and patient tutor but also a very hard working woman and passionate about what she does.

Starting next month she will be running a Dressmaking class on Saturdays and also a Sewing Club that will be held once a month where you will be able to work in a range of projects of your own and have  Caroline’s advice and guidance at hand.

If you are interested or would like more information about either the course or the club, drop Caroline an email at shelbee-sewing(at)hotmail(dot)com for more information.

Caroline has not asked me to advertise this course for her, but after I found out about them I thought that our blog might be a good way to get the message out there to people that are looking for an opportunity to learn some sewing skills or if you want to improve your skills and be more adventurous.

Your fabrics delivered for free

Friday, August 20th, 2010

You might already know but we are offering Free Delivery in all UK orders until midnight Sunday22nd August, 2010.

Why are we doing it this time?  Well, we thought that it will only be fair to offer a little something for those of you that are not going to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC this weekend, and if you are going, well, you can get the fabrics that you love but don’t have to carry them around!

Go on, have a browse, get your shopping trolley full and we will deal with the rest!

Enjoy :)

We’ve got a winner!

Friday, August 20th, 2010

As any other blogger, I love when people leave comments or when they write to me about something they have read on my blog,  and I want to say Thank You to all of you who have taken the time to do it.  You must agree with me and the comments for this last giveaway were just fantastic.  Isn’t it great that we all are loved?

But before we get too mushy, lets announce the Simple Sewn Gifts winner:

Janet Morgan who wrote

I think the best present I received, though not actually a gift was inspiration from my dad who made clothes for me. He died when I was young, but I do believe this is where my love of sewing and other crafts came from him. My daughters increased this passion especially when they were young and we crafted together. Hopefully when my grandchildren get a bit older, I can continue this love with them.

Reviewing: Little “Wrap” Skirt

Wednesday, August 18th, 2010

As you might already know I have added to our stock Patterns by Wink Designs.  They are pretty designs for girls and what’s great is, the patterns are downloadable, so you get them straight away.  As well being very pretty they are also very easy to make.  Originally, I wanted someonelse to review them and let you know that they are what the label says.  Unfortunately it was not possible and I almost gave up until my always supportive husband asked me “why don’t you make it yourself?”.  Firstly I didn’t want to do it, because I thought my review might sound a bit too much like an advert rather that that of a non-bias critic, but I guess I will leave it for you to judge.  So please have a read, even if you are not interested in children’s patterns you are welcome to join me in my sewing projects.

Wrap skirt made using Memento and Sun Spots from Amy Butler's Love Collection

Where were we? Ah yes, Wink’s patterns.  I decided to go for the Wrap Skirt for two main reasons: 1) it says it is an easy and quick project, 2) I personally love the design.

Choosing the fabrics was an easy task, not only because I have them in my own house, but because I wanted to make something with Memento in Midnight and Suns Spots in Mint they almost jumped off the shelves.   The skirt is more of a mock wrap-skirt, so even if your child is jumping up and down the skirt won’t fall down.

After printing the instructions, I put together the pattern.  There are 2 main pieces, each one of them is made up by putting together 4 A4 sheets of paper together (this would had been much easier if I had closed the windows, I hope nobody saw me chasing the pattern around the room each time a gust of wind blew through! but nothing to blame the designer for).  Cutting the fabric would had been easier had I not been on the phone with my nan, which resulted in cutting the piece of fabric that wraps the skirt the wrong way (again, no one to blame just my lack of multitasking skills).  Instead of cutting more fabric, I decided to use what I had already cut and make a few changes, so the skirt now mirrors the original design (instead of having to tie it to your left, this one ties to the right, no big deal right?).  Which I could say shows how forgiving the pattern is should a mistake be made by the not so experienced or, as in my case, distracted maker.

Before we pass on to the sewing part I want to clarify that I have not sewn any kind of garment for 3 years; ever since I have been moving my sewing machine from one part of  the house to another but not doing anything with it.  I would also say that I am a beginner with some rough sewing skills.  Having clarified that, I feel now more comfortable  saying that it was very easy to put the skirt together.

Back of the skirt but still so not less pretty than the front.

As always, it does help if you press the fabric to get a neat finish and use the right colour of thread.  I used two because I didn’t like the navy blue thread on the mint fabric.  More importantly, reading the instructions from start to end before you start it is always a must (OK I confess, I only read them after I cut everything, but didn’t go any further until I read all the remaining steps).  Reading the instructions will not only give you a better understanding of what are you going to do, but also the way Marina (the designer) has written them, it makes you feel like she is talking to you, something that you don’t often find with many commercial patterns.

Would I recommend this pattern?  Absolutely Yes!  It took me one afternoon to make it, if I hadn’t been on the phone (or chasing the pattern around the room!) I could have done it a bit quicker.  This is the first time I print and assemble a pattern, but because the skirt is made of simple lines and it is a small garment it is much easier than you think.  I didn’t put the pocket on because I love so much the Memento fabric that I didn’t want to put anything on top.  I also used the main fabric for the ties for the same reason.  The final result was a skirt that suits a little lady but the fun contrasting spotty fabric remind us that she is still a little child, don’t you think?

I must admit that making this skirt has filled me with confidence to try sewing other things, so if you don’t have a little girl to make it for, try it anyway, the satisfaction that comes from making something like this can’t be beaten!

Simple is better

Friday, August 13th, 2010

A few days ago I received one of the latest craft books published by David and Charles, Simple Sewn Gifts by needlecraft expert Helen Philips.  As I was looking at the 25 projects the only thing I could think of was of all those vintage little treasures that from time to time we come across in a bazaar or at many of the vintage shops at Etsy.

The projects in this book are, as the title suggests, simple but they are also full of charm.  It is a perfect book for a beginner, but also a more experience crafter can benefit from the lovely ideas in this book.

Vintage style pincushion, scissor fob & needlebook

The book is divided in to 3 chapters, At home, Loved Ones and Get Festive.  Basically you can make gifts for any occasion all year around.

One of my favourite projects is the Dolly’s Cosy Quilt, which reminds me of some of the quilts that were on display as part of the past Quilts exhibition at the V&A, perhaps a bit more simple but very charming indeed.  It is a lovely quilt that is embellished with buttons, yo-yos made of contrasting fabric and cross-stitched daisy flowers and elephants.

Dolly's Cosy Quilt

There is also a lovely rabbit that I am sure it could become a little someone’s best friend.  You will find great things for the house too and even a little gift for your pet.  After all they are our unconditional friends.

All of these projects, as well as the book itself, would make lovely presents that will be treasured for years to come.  If you are as nostalgic as I am, leave a comment for a chance to win a copy of this book and tell me what are of the most unforgettable presents that you have ever received.

Bunny Cuddles

The winner will be chosen at random Thursday 19th August and published on this blog on 20th August.

Simple Sewn Gifts by Helen Philipps is publish by David and Charles, click here to buy it.

New designer in the house

Wednesday, August 11th, 2010

I am so excited to announce that at The Fabric Loft we have a wonderful new designer whose patterns we now have available in stock.  Her name is Marina and she is the brains behind Wink Designs.  She lives in sunny Australia and loves making things for children, andit really shows!  Why not take a quick look at her blog to find out more about her, I am sure it will make you feel like part of the family and hopefully inspire you to create something truly wonderful.

We are stocking two of her patterns and they are fantastic!

The first pattern that I would like to talk about is the Wrap-Up skirt pattern.  This pattern ticks all the boxes, have a look:

- Easy enough for beginners: tick

- A quick project for advanced seamstresses: tick

- Need very little fabric from your stash (or maybe from our shop!): tick

- You can embellish the skirt to make it unique: tick

- Easy to follow instructions and helpful images: tick tick tick!!!

This pattern is just calling for a bold fabric design as Happy Butterfly from Sandi Henderson

The Petal Power Dress is just a classic with a little extra, it also includes a pattern for a flower brooch.  This again is just such a sweet design that I don’t know where to start.  I guess what I like is that you can use busy fabric designs, plain solids, stripes, linen, add applique on the front or around the bottom of the dress, just about anything to make it even prettier and perfect that a little special girl.  The brooch, well, that it is good enough even for Mum!

Such a classic design that would let you use any fabric that you (or your little one) want

Another great thing about Wink Designs patterns is that they are PDF and will be available in you account to download immediately upon payment.  You don’teven have to wait for Mr Postman to deliver them, you can start sewing straight away.  To view the PDF patterns you will need to have Adobe Reader installed on your computer.  If you don’t have it, Adobe Reader can be installed for free by clicking here.

Take a look at  Wink Designs patterns and let us know what you think :)

Buying “locally”

Thursday, August 5th, 2010

I am sure this is not news for you, but just in case that you have missed it, Katy Jones from I’m a Ginger Monkey is doing a tour around UK fabric shops!  Sounds fun doesn’t it?

More than just a tour, this is a fantastic crusade to bring greater awareness of some of the fabric retailers in this country.  The craft boom has certainly hit Britain and the rest of Europe and we all can all enjoy not only of great UK/European magazines, blogs, clubs, classes, but also new places to get all our materials.

Today The Fabric Shop is being featured in Katy’s blog!  I am over the moon as I am a huge fan of her blog and her work that she shares with us on her blog and at Fat Quaterly.  Have a look at her blog and travel the UK with her from shop to shop.  We are offering a little something to Katy’s readers, hope you like it.

Lizzet xx

For all of you that love fabric bundles

Monday, August 2nd, 2010

Just a quick reminder to let you know that we are offering free shipping on all fabric bundles.

Offer will last until midnight Monday 2nd August.

We have added a few new bundles to the range, but remember that you can make your own if you want to.

Happy Shopping and Thank you for all your support and great comments, you really keep us going!