Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Blackboard fabric mini Tutorial

I think it must go back to my childhood, but I just love Blackboards! I always have I don't know why, so when I discovered blackboard fabric some time back, let me tell you I was a happy girl :)

I've had a little bit for some time and I've been wanting to do a canvas blackboard for ages so when some of the new Riley blake fabrics came in to work last week I just couldn't help myself!

I used a 45cm square canvas that i got at the cheap shop and a Metric fat quarter of the tree fabric for the background. I also used some leftover batting which was about a FQ size, a second co-ordinating novelty fabric, some brown fabric for the trunk and about a 6" strip of blackboard fabric. If you can buy a fat Quarter, that would be plenty! I also used a small amount of fusible webbing (Vliesofix)
 I first just drew a really simple tree trunk shape on the paper side of the fusible webbing. I used the pattern on my fabric as inspiration, don't get stressed about it, just a big simple shape is fine! Iron the webbing onto the brown fabric and cut the shape out on the drawn line.

I layed the background FQ on top of the canvas and centred it (I just eyeballed it) I put the tree stump a bit up from the bottom of the canvas frame. I carefully lifted the FQ and took it to my iron, trying not to move it and ironed it in place. I'm not overly fussed about it being perfect, but you could take more care if you like.

I then took it to my machine and machine blanket stitched it in place. If you don't have a blanket stitch on your machine a satin stitch or even just a zig zag is fine. You could also just hand stitch it if you want.
 Now onto the precious blackboard fabric! Yeah!! I got a marker, I actually used a purple gel pen because it showed up easily on the back of the fabric and it was already on my sewing table ;) I traced around 3 circle shaped objects that were in the room. They were a small plate, a DVD Disk holder and a cup. You could do any shape you like.I cut the circles out and took them to my project.

Tips on Blackboard fabric: I really don't know what its made of to be honest, but it looks like a vinyl and  it really does not like the iron or pins!! So if your fabric is a bit curly try not to worry, you are stitching it down and it won't matter. If its really wrinkly, turn your iron down low and just swipe over it really quickly. If you iron it for too long it will go shiny and won't behave properly later. Let it cool and if you really need to, do it again. You must let it cool between each swipe or it will melt and be a big mess on your ironing board.

If you use pins on it, you will have a permanent hole in the fabric,  and ironing is out so using any fusible fabric is pretty much out, so I just used a liquid glue. I tried a glue stick, but mine was a bit dried out and didn't work well. I had the runny glue, so I used it instead. I just put a dab around the circles and stuck them into place. You really don't need much, its just to hold it in place while you stitch it.
 I took this to the machine and did a blanket stitch all around. Remember to take it really slow because you only get one chance at this! Each stitch puts a whole in the fabric, this is why I like to use a really simple shape like a circle, I have also done stars and squares would work too. I haven't tried stitching through it by hand, basically because I think it would be a challenge to get the needle through. If you want to though, go for it :)

I also ironed some fusible webbing onto the back of some cute little novelty fabrics and fussy cut them out. I ironed them onto my background and pinned my top to the batting and just raw edge appliqued them in place. I think next time I would use a fabric that is more contrasting, because they got lost a bit on my background.

Priming the blackboard fabric: I have read that you need to 'prime' the fabric before you use it or the first thing you write on it will be there forever. Basically you need to turn your chalk sideways and rub the chalk all over the blackboard fabric so its totally covered in chalk. You then rub it out and your ready to go. I generally use a damp cloth to remove all the chalk and it works for me, but you can test this on your scraps if you like.

You can do a bit of free motion quilting if you like then just staple the finished project onto your canvas and your done.
If you are interested in a kit for this project, email me and I will let you know how much it would be for the fabrics. The canvas would be a bit hard to post :)

Have fun and remember to email any pics if you give this a try.

Hugs Paula

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Stitching Therapy!

I really have been trying to get back here and update my blog, but life just seems to be so busy all the time.
My patterns have just gone crazy (thank you so much to everyone who has bought a pattern) and my work at the shop My Patch is so much fun, but even though I only work 2 days a week, I am finding it so hard to stop and take a breather. I'm sure you know what I mean :)

So it was a bit of a forced break for me this past week when I was back in hospital yet again for some more surgery on my knee (this was surgery number 4). Anyway, things went well and hopefully it looks like this is that last one! YEAH!! I'm a bit slowed down being on crutches so I've found some time to do a bit of stitching for therapy :)

When I was at the Sydney Trade Show a month or so back, I spotted this beautiful Block of the Month project, designed by my awesome publisher Helen Stubbings of Hugs and Kisses and Colourque fame. So when I knew I was going to be in hospital for a few days I prepared a heap of blocks to take with me and I actually got a lot of it done!
The project is a Wallhanging designed to be like the samplers of old that our Mums and Mums Mums used to make when they were kids. I thought It would make a really nice heirloom project to leave for my children, to commemorate my love of fabric/stitching/Quilting. :)
 It includes all the important dates in my life, like my birthday and marriage date.
 Some Needleturn which I'm soooo happy with!
And some lovely poetry. There's also lots of 1/2" hexagons which I'm really enjoying doing!

So there we go, I have finally shown you what I've been up to.

Oh I nearly forgot, in my spare time ;) I've started selling some Plus Size Bras on ebay :) I got a bit tired of frumpy and plain and boring bras, so I went searching and found some really gorgeous bras and started importing them.
I think I'm on a winner because they are selling like hotcakes and I just put in another order, so there will be more to list in about a week. So if your interested head over to my ebay shop, Beautiful Big Bras theres nothing under a 16C.

Hugs Paula xxx