Wednesday, 19 November 2014

Tutorial on How to make alternative buttonholes - In-Seam Buttonholes

Hello everyone, hope you're all having a good week so far.

Thankyou for your visits and comments on my last post. Nothing much has happened here since my last post, just life puttering along all too quickly as we race from one weekend to the next, with each day full and busy of I know not what, with hopefully a few hours of finishing something off or making something new. I hate a day when I have nothing to show for it creative wise.

Since last here I finished the first of the stag cushions including sewing on the buttons. I hate doing buttonholes so when I do want to have buttons on a cushion, I have my own way of doing them which I find much neater than using my button hole attachment and the 3 stage sewing process.

I do "in-seam" buttonholes, where I add a strip of fabric to the back, either a contrasting band of fabric or it can just be the same as the rest of the back, and then its just about the measuring and neatening of seams. This way I can also make a feature of the cushion back.

Below is a tutorial if you have never tried this method and hate fiddling around with machine made buttonholes like I do, or are never quite satisfied with them.

I use this method when doing a simple envelope closure for a cushion back.

You will need to have cut out your cushion front and two back pieces that overlap, including allowances for seams. You will then be adding a buttonhole strip as per the tutorial. Most of the photos that follow show the bottom piece of the cushion back too even though the tutorial does not deal with the final cushion assembly.

Tutorial - How to make In-seam Buttonholes

Step 1 - Cut Buttonhole Band 
Cut an extra strip of fabric (the buttonhole band) to the required size. 

This will be the same width as your unfinished cushion cover and as deep as you want it be. You need to allow for the joining seam and for folding it back on itself and tucking under to neaten the raw edges. 

For example I cut my buttonhole strip about 18" long by 4" deep, which gave me a finished band width of  1 1/2" wide.  This worked out at 3" for the band (it will be folded lengthwise later) plus two x 1/2" seam allowances. (1/2 " allowance to join to main cushion back and turn back on itself, and 1/2" to neaten seam when folding band in half and finishing off by the buttonholes).

All will soon become clear!

Step 2 - Mark buttonhole placements 
Pin your buttonhole strip to the bottom of the back top half, right sides together (see photo below).

Taking a tape measure and pins, find the centre point of the seam and mark it. 

For three buttonholes, the centre point will also be the centre of the middle buttonhole. 

(NB If you are using 2 or 4 buttons then you will not need to find the centre point but can just measure between the two seam allowances and divide it by 3 or 5 respectively to find the points to make buttonholes).

Measure and mark out where you want the buttonholes to be and how wide they need to be (measure button and add a bit extra) to allow your chosen buttons to fit.

For three buttonholes, simply measure the half way point between the centre point and the side edge on each side, excluding the side seam allowances. (ie. measure from centre point to a point 1" or 1/2" (depending on your seam allowance) in from each raw edge, and find the halfway point between them). 

The half way points will be the centre of each buttonhole. Place a button there and mark the buttonhole width with a pen or pins either side (see below).

Close up below - you will be stitching along the bits between the buttons and vertical pins in the next step!

NB: Make sure you allow for a good half inch seam where you join the buttonhole strip to the top back as you will be folding the allowance back to neaten it later.

Step 3 - Stitch Seam in between buttonholes

Sew along seam and when you get to the start of each buttonhole, reverse and then go forward and backwards several times to strengthen the seam either side of the hole. Repeat the other side when you carry on sewing the seam and repeat at every buttonhole.

When finished stitching seam do NOT trim back seam allowance! You will be neatening these in the next step.

Step 4 - Neatening seam edges

Next step is to neaten the seam edges. First do the one on the top back.

Press open the finished seam. Turn under the top back edge (the cream one in the picture), pin and stitch along the length of the turned under edge (see photo below).

Next neaten the buttonhole band side (the darker one in the photo). Turn up the buttonhole band lengthwise on the wrong side until it meets the buttonhole seam then turn under approx. 1/2". Pin down just below the buttonholes so that you are not covering them up. 

Stitch along turned under edge as in photo below.

Nearly done now!

Step 5 - Strengthening the Buttonholes

Next turn the cushion cover back (now with adjoining buttonhole band) to the right side.

For each buttonhole, stitch either side of the buttonhole vertically backwards and forwards a few times close to each end of the buttonhole, across both turned under seams. This will further strengthen the seam by the buttonholes. 

Before you stitch it is a good idea at this stage to try each button through each hole. If the buttonhole is a bit large you can stitch closer to the hole to tighten it a little, or if its a bit tight then push the button through a few times then reinforce each end with stitching a little further away from the buttonhole.

Press the whole back carefully along the buttonhole strip and seam seam and you're done.

And thats it!

You can now finish making up your cushion cover as usual, making sure that the buttonhole band piece is the outside top flap for your back envelope closure. 

When the cushion cover is made up you can then lay it flat, line up the buttons under the buttonholes and sew them in place on the lower back piece.

* * * * *

On the xmas sewing front, I've made some  tree hangers.........

...some from vintage French ticking....

......some from vintage English floral linen......

and some from a lovely slubby natural Irish linen.

I will sell them as trios, one of each design.

I also finished off these cross stitched hearts, with snowflakes or trees, and which are now available in my Etsy shop here

There are three different designs, one of which was taken from a little vintage pincushion I have (see three photos up), the other two designs are ones I made up after sketching out roughly what I wanted.

The backs are single cross stitches which remind me of falling snowflakes.

We've had a few autumnal walks, and I took my new "grown-up" smartphone with me, hence the different shaped photos below!

Sunlight glinting on millions of  cobwebs strung across the field - this is only a small part of the field but it was all over - and there were loose bits just drifting around - most strange! We found a couple of little money spiders on us so maybe they are what has made them?

Edited Thursday 20th November - Cobweb Update!

Just found this whilst googling about the cobwebs  - this is not far from us, an hours drive in the next county. Yes, it is money spiders and the article and photos are worth a look.

Although the sky looks blueish here, within a very short time grey storm clouds built up and we got rained upon and drenched!

By the way, I am now on Instagram (pinkgillyflower) if anyone would like to come and say hi - I've found a few of you on there but I'm sure more of you are there somewhere!

Hope those of you interested find the tutorial helpful, have a good week!

Thursday, 13 November 2014

Nordic style hearts and stag cushions

Thank you for all your lovely comments on my last post. No apologies then this week for sharing what I've made!

The pink and white linen floral applique hearts are now finished and stuffed full of lovely lavender - I do so love lavender!

Printed and stitched stag cushions - printed on vintage French metis using a method that I will share with you soon, and then outline stitched in grey thread. Backed in the same metis with a band of vintage French natural and cream striped ticking and some large wooden floral buttons (yet to sew on in photos!)

2nd cushion awaiting making up below - different buttons for this one

Nordic style heart hangers - made from a vintage cream wool blanket, stitched with a simple red cross stitch design, and hung with red and white butchers twine with a vintage red and white button.

Well the photos speak for themselves really. Yes, I've been sewing (and printing!) again.

My week so far shown above in between the chores. 

And we have some sparkly new double glazed window units in some of our timber windows, replacing those that had "blown" and were either cloudy, streaked or had condensation trapped between the two panes of glass, so it looks like there's no glass at all in some windows as it's so clear and clean!

Oh, it's all so exciting here. Not.

Wishing you all a Happy Friday tomorrow and a great weekend, wherever you are and whatever the weather throws at us!

Friday, 7 November 2014

Autumn Makes

As we head properly into Autumn weather after a very mild Hallowe'en (when I walked the dog across the fields and orchards in t-shirt and sunglasses - see photos below) it is now time for lighting the woodburner each afternoon before the light starts to fade. 

This is one of the things I love about the change of seasons, and about living here in the countryside....the lighting of the fire. 

The little ritual of laying the fire - emptying the ash pan, screwing up the newspaper and setting it in the grate, laying the kindling on top, selecting the right small logs, striking the match and lighting the paper, then watching it take. Adjusting the air intake, getting it going good, then sitting back to watch the golden orange flames flickering and hearing the crackling of the logs. It is a very simple pleasure and primeval act, one which has been taking place for centuries, the lighting of a fire for warmth.

Sitting here watching the fire and drinking camomile and spiced apple tea, warm and comfortable, I'm feeling grateful. 

 daisies in November!

mistletoe and unpicked red apples in the orchard 

(I had planned on writing more about apple orchards and mistletoe but I just don't have the time at present.)

cute Shetland pony saying hello on our walk last week

In the coffee shop this morning where I met a friend for our weekly catch up, they were a season ahead and playing a Bing Crosby song normally associated with Christmas. It was kind of comforting to hear as we sat with our mochas and lattes whilst the wind and rain lashed outside, and it gave us a sense of well-being as we hashed over the news in the warmth of the cafe.

For me it's been the usual week of indoor chores, the washing, cooking, cleaning, vacuuming, and the trips out for shopping, post office, numerous station runs, dog to groomers, meeting friends, making tea for the builder doing our external rendering to make us watertight for the winter, dog walks, dog bathing after muddy walks, doing paperwork for husbands business, etc etc, and I have been squeezing in a few hours here and there where I can to build up a bit more stock for the Xmas Fair (decided just to do one this year) and for my Etsy shop.

So I now have a flock of ticking birds finished........

some mini stockings made from vintage white damask, with a vintage lace rose, lined in a vintage floral, and perfect for hanging from the tree full of those little chocolate coins........

make-up bags from vintage fabric - this one from a sweet 1960's fabric, lined with a recycled striped blouse.......

embroidered lavender hearts.......this one from a lilac felted cardi that I ruined in the wash

 and today, these lavender filled hearts made from linen with a rose applique. 

I've also spent an hour or two playing around with transferring images to fabric.

I am planning on doing more transfer printing next week, and at the moment just wish there were more hours in the day as there are so many things I would like to do but there's just not enough time!

Thankyou for your comments on my last post. I'm sorry that I have little to share but my makes, but that is how I'm spending my days at the moment!

Have a great weekend wherever you are!