Saturday, 30 April 2016

Exploring Bath, England - Country Threads


On my recent trip back to England I took the train out from London to Bath to meet up with my friend Vanessa.  Bath was my old shopping ground when I lived in Marlborough, Wiltshire and one of my major interior design house projects was here too, so I know it well.  

Knowing it well I'm afraid I didn't take any touristy photos to share with you 
though I did pop into the local fabric store, Country Threads so let's take a tour together.


The outside of the store does give you a glimpse of the stunning Bath stone that all the buildings here are built from.


I love a good old cobble street and pavement it brings back memories of when I was much younger and ruined many a good stiletto heel in the cracks between the cobbles - I really am that old.

Walking into the store it's a bit of a tardis.  
The front room is very typical of an English country style and full of ribbons, trims, notions, fabrics and more.




Don't be fooled into thinking that's it - behind the counter area to the left, there's a passageway leading through to a second room full of battings, panels and fabrics.  Everything you could possibly need for your latest quilting project.





A sneaky pic of Vanessa handling the goods ;D


Vanessa is a quilter too and creates wonderful country style and applique quilts.  If you'd like to see her work she blogs about it here at Mother Hen Quilting.  We've known each other for years meeting when we both took jobs at the local high school, as you do when your kids are young and you want to get out of the house a bit but still have school holidays at home.  Those jobs are long gone but our friendship grew and grew and has survived both of us relocating to other countries though V is now back in England.

And here's a much better pic of me and Vanessa in her stunning apartment overlooking the town. 


And here's what I bought.


I'm crazy loving these John Louden collection stripes, I'd never heard of them before but they're a super soft weave, similar to Peppered Cotton and Kaffe Fassett's stripes, I couldn't leave the store without them.

Isn't it just the sweetest store?  Have you visited Country Threads?  Do you love Bath as much as I do?  
If you're heading into the city to do some sightseeing now you know just where to get your fabric fix too right in the middle of town.


2 Pierrepont Place  Bath  BA1 1JX
Tel: 01225 480056

Opening hours:
Mon-Sat 9.30 am to 5 pm
Closed Sundays

Permission granted by a staff member to take and blog all photos.


Visiting England?  Read my previous Exploring London posts by clicking the images below:



For details of other fabric, yarn, trim and notion stores I've visited around the world along with the NYC stores I love, exhibitions and events I've attended and wonderful people I've been lucky to meet click the links below or on my sidebar :D


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This post may be linked to some great Linky Parties, always a great source of inspiration too.  If you click through to my 'Fave Linky Parties'  page you can  see where I like to share my work.

Thursday, 28 April 2016

2 Sewing Tips You Need To Know


After I shared my 13 Pixie Baskets on social media quite a few people commented that when they'd made them the lining didn't fit well and they wanted to know how I'd made my linings fit so smoothly.  


It's easy peasy and I'll share how I do it with you now.

How To Make A Bag/Basket Lining That Will Fit Better

I'm currently away in Austin and didn't sneak along a sewing machine in my baggage so I can't whip up a lining and share sew along photos with you but the next best thing, and probably even easier, is the infographic I've put together and already shared with you at the top of this post.  

Pretty self-explanatory, but if your lining is still too large increase the 1/8" angling of those sides and the additional seam width in the base in small 1/8" increments until you get the fit you want, always keeping that top edge the same size as the top edge of the outer fabric.

I hope you find it useful and have linings that lie flat from now on!


My new infographic about linings mentions another infographic I've shared in several of my tutes but some of you may not have seen so I'll share it here again:

How To Make Seam Openings Turn Inwards Easily

You know how it is when you leave a gap in your sewing to turn your fabric through and then you have to try to make those seams tuck back inside so you can press them in place and sew them closed from the outside?


  We often use this type of closing in pouches, bags, coasters and any pillow turned cushion, pillow and quilt basically, anything that we sew inside out and then turn to the right side to finish.  These seams never want to turn in and there's a chance you've burnt your fingers several times trying to force them to stay in place with an iron! 


Take a look how easily these seams turn for me


and below I'll share how I do it.


I've drawn up two versions as sometimes a pattern calls for you to stitch the top seam and sometimes it doesn't.  
It's the same either way.  
Follow my method and those seams will turn themselves inwards so easily you won't believe it :D


If you're looking for ways you can put these methods to use here's some tutes I've shared before, click on an image to go through to the page.




2 Sewing Tips You Need To Know - well now you know them!!!


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Linky Parties This post may be linked to some great Linky Parties, always a great source of inspiration too.  If you click through to my 'Fave Linky Parties'  page you can see where I like to share my work.

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Coals To Newcastle? No, Pixies To England


When I go back to England it's always fun, if time allows, to take along handmade gifts for friends I'm meeting up with.  
Last year I sewed up dish towels 


and shared my tute with you here,


this year I made Pixie Baskets.  


The Pixie Basket is a free pattern by Heidi of Fabric Mutt - available here.  I adapted them slightly as I progressed so the lining fitted more snuggly and changed measurements to suit the amount of fabric I had to hand and to allow for fussy cutting.

I've had several social media requests to share my method to make the lining smoother so I've created a tute that you can follow by clicking the image below:




It was a bit of a production line and I made 13 in total


This one has stayed in America - I gifted it to a friend who loves the Wizard of Oz.


Here's some Amy Butler/Lotta Jansdotter and Cotton + Steel versions.


And a couple of more masculine ones made from Timeless Treasures fabrics.


You can see just how small these baskets are here with an Aurifil cotton reel standing in one (2" x 3" x 3-1/2") !!!


Everyone who received one loved it and they've been put to good use for emptying pockets of cards, cash and keys when they get home or to hold their watches, rings and other jewellery when they go to bed.  One pixie basket has already been on holiday with its new owner and was a safe place for their room key and other odds and ends during their hotel stay.  My own pb is storing my sunglasses and lip balm by my front door so I can't leave home without them.


Have you made a Pixie Basket yet, what are you using yours for?



Clicking on an image will take you to a new page of crafty goodness :)
 

Click to follow me on



Linky Parties This post may be linked to some great Linky Parties, always a great source of inspiration too.  If you click through to my 'Fave Linky Parties'  page you can see where I like to share my work.