Sunday, 24 June 2012

BLOG 104

Back from a mainly wet and midge-infested Loch Lomond. It was a good 6-hour journey trailing a boat and, when you think about it rationally, it seems a long way to go for 4 nights. But we spent lots of quality time with our daughter and son-in-law, walking their dogs, sailing and sharing meals and so that more than made up for the journey and conditions. And if you adopt the mind-set ‘there is no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing’ and you dress accordingly, you can’t go wrong. It was a good mini-break and I feel really relaxed after it.


1 Position the lid lining onto the top of the box so that the padded side is on the inside. It should lie snugly on the top of the box. Glue the remaining part of the hinge firmly over the top and leave it to dry.


                          Lid lining and hinge

2 Once the lid lining has stuck firmly, stick the middle lid centrally on top, with the fabric side uppermost. Check that the mitre is in line with the corner of the lid lining.


                           Corner and mitre

Use pegs and a heavy book to hold the layers together until they are dry.


                           Pegs and weights

 3 Prepare a 4” tassel and stick it centrally onto the lid lining, on the side opposite the hinge.


Use 4 threads (any type or texture) that reflect the colours in the fabric. Fold an 8” strip of card in half.




 Cut 12” lengths from the 4 threads. Put one to one side and use masking tape to stick the other 3 along the folded edge of the card. Wrap the rest of the threads around the card.


                             Threads on card

 Release the threads from the top edge and tie them together tightly, to draw all the threads together. Slide the scissors between the two layers of card at the other end and cut the threads.


                                    Tie and cut

Use the remaining length of thread to make the head of the tassel by wrapping it around all the threads, about ¾” from the top, and tying it tightly. Plait the threads at the top of the tassel and knot the ends so that they don’t unwind.


4 Put a pin at the centre point of the middle lid, on the side opposite the hinge. Stick the plaited threads of the tassel, to leave the tassel hanging over the edge.


                               Stick the tassel

 5 Prepare the lid top (see below) and stick it in place centrally over the middle lid. Hold it down with pegs initially, then place the box under heavy books and leave it overnight to dry completely. Use a few stitches to secure the plaited threads of the tassel right onto the edge of the lid to complete.


 You could adapt a piece of embroidery or prepare something special in applique or patchwork to decorate the top, whatever you fancy really. Here’s an quick but effective idea for a decorative top.


                       Lining, borders and batting

Cut lining fabric and cotton batting pieces at 9” x 7”. Place the batting behind the fabric and sew on the borders, using outer fabric strips of 2 ½”. The batting must be behind the lining fabric only so as not to add bulk to the borders. Prepare a fabric initial with fusible and stick this in place. Decorate with fused motifs from the outer fabric. Secure them with stitches through the batting and add a date and decorative stitching to your liking. Stick the decorative top centrally onto the final piece of card and stick it onto the box top (see 5 above).  


                      Initial and fused motifs




                               Completed box

Copyright Reminder: I hope some of you have enjoyed this project and may be tempted to have a go. Remember that these instructions are for your pleasure only. I don’t want anyone using them to write articles, run workshops or prepare box packs etc. It is amazing what gets back to me!

Monday, 18 June 2012

BLOG 103

The Jacobean panels are bound and ready to hang. You perhaps view them as decorative pieces of work; I see them as years of aspiration, months upon months of slog and a sense of relief that I have got them out of my system! That said, I am very proud at what I have achieved.

                    Dual Image Jacobean

And don’t you just love this picture. That’s where you like to have your man, at the working end of a vacuum cleaner!!


                                                             Blot on the landscape!

MEMORABILIA BOX Part 4 Constructing the box

1 Find the outer base and the outer sides. Check to see if there is a directional print on your fabric and position them accordingly.

                              Outer base and sides

And here’s yet more proof that batting is magnetic to cats!

                                          Wussy Pillow

2 Place one side WS down onto the WS of the base, making sure that the corners are matching. Hold them together with a couple of pegs.

                                  Side onto base

 3 Using a matching thread and concealed stitches, sew the outer sides to the outer base. I hold it firmly in my left hand as seen below and use a ladder stitch to pull the side together.

                                     Sewing position

The card is quite thick so aim to get the stitches into the inside edges (the edges of the card that are touching) of the card to conceal them;

                                   Inside edge

The ladder stitch crosses horizontally to pull the sides together and then travels underneath the fold of the fabric for about ¼” (even smaller if you can manage it!), ready to cross over again. Pull it firmly without distorting the fabric and add extra stitches at the corner to secure them.

                       Ladder stitch

4 Sew the sides in sequence around the base and then sew up the vertical sides to form the structure of the box.


5 Take the fabric for the hinge (20” x 4”). Join the short sides, iron the seams open and turn it so the RS it on the outside. Add small dots of glue onto the WS to hold the layers together.

                                            Hinge fabric

6 Add stronger glue to one of the longer sides of the box, to a depth of 2” and the width of the hinge. Stick the hinge so 2” extends over the top edge of the side.

                                       Hinge and base

Use strong glue to stick the base lining into the bottom of the box.
Add strong glue to the side linings and stick then in place. Wipe away any glue that is visible along the top edges and hold them in place with pegs until they are firmly stuck.

                                      Add the lining

We’ll finish this off in the next blog. I hope some of you are having a go.
After putting up the Gresford Exhibition, I’m off to Loch Lomond until Saturday, so fingers crossed for good weather, monster sightings and no midges!

Sunday, 10 June 2012

BLOG 102

Again, most of my sewing time this week has been concentrated on the positive and negative Jacobean panels. Because each panel has been sewn and worked individually, I have had great problems putting them together; they have been apart, together and apart again. Very frustrating! The panels have distorted somewhat, because of all the decorative work done on them and the extensive quilting. So I made the decision to dismantle them finally and put them together with a less obvious joining strip. I can do no more now except bind them and add a hanging sleeve ready for the Gresford show (June 19th – 22nd).

                                      Jacobean panels

MEMORABILIA BOX Part 3 Sticking the fabric onto the card

Iron the fabric shapes if necessary.

Put the lid top to one side; this will be done when the box is constructed.


NB This is the only piece of card without batting on and it is the only one where mitred corners are appropriate.

1 Add small amounts of glue to the unlabelled side of the card and stick it onto the WS of the fabric.


                                Middle lid

2 Add glue to the corner of the card (as a square), and to where the crosses are marked on the fabric, as seen below.




                           Fold in the corners.



4 Glue all around the sides of the cardboard to match the width of the seam allowance, and across the corner square of fabric. Fold in one side, making sure you get the fold on the corner at 45 degrees.

                           First side

5 Fold in the second side and work the corner whilst the glue is damp to get a perfect mitre.

                            Sharp mitre

6 Prepare the remainder of the card as follows: Apply glue to the short sides of the card and on the fabric where it is shown below.


7 Stick down the short sides first, pulling the top and bottom edges in slightly.

                            Short sides first

8 Add more glue all along the long sides and stick the fabric so that the corners don’t extend beyond the card.

                             Glue and stick

Do the remaining sides, bases and lid lining in this way.


                        Completed sides

Next week, we will start to construct the box.

Sunday, 3 June 2012

BLOG 101

This is what I have been concentrating on this week, slumped for hours over my sewing machine, in what turned out to be a feat of endurance! I wanted to finish my quilting by the end of May and to do that I had to put in the hours. I have yet to construct the Negative version but I am p[leased so far with the results. It is on schedule to be shown in the Gresford show in a couple of weeks’ time.


Jacobean Positive             

 Jacobean Negative

And now for the next part of the Memorabilia box.



SEWING THREAD: to closely match the outer fabric

EMBROIDERY THREAD: 3 or 4 skeins to pick out the colours of the outer fabric

NEEDLES: sturdy, I don't use a curved needle but you may like to try one

THIMBLE: to protect the finger (I use a leather one)

SCISSORS: large, for cutting batting, fabric and thread

GLUE: fabric to card: a large glue stick (eg Pritt); card to card: PVA fabric glue

CLOTH: in a plastic container to wipe hands

OLD MAGAZINE: to make a gluing surface


CLOTHS PEGS: about 12


1 Iron the fabric well to make sure there are no creases, use steam if necessary. Remove the selvages.

Fabric and batting

2 Put the ‘middle lid’ (the largest piece of card) to one side, there is no batting on this piece.

3 Stick batting onto all the pieces of card, making sure you don’t cover the labels. Apply a line of glue around the edges of the card, about ½” in width. Put a few dab in the middle of the card and smooth the batting onto it. Trim right up to the edge of the card.  

TIP: If you are a messy gluer, do your sticking on an old magazine. You can turn over each page as you go so that no glue gets on your fabric to stain it.

Trim right to the edge

Visible label

4 Cut a piece of lining fabric at 4” x 20” for the hinge and put this to one side.

5 Separate the side linings (4), base lining and lid lining from the other pieces. Cut out a piece of lining fabric for each of these pieces. Make sure there is 1” of spare fabric around the outside edge.

Prepare the fabric

6 Put the lid top to one side; this will be decorated once the box has been constructed.

7 Cut out a piece of outer fabric for each of the outer sides (4), the outer base and the middle lid, making sure there is 1” of extra fabric round the outside edge.

8 Keep all the pieces of fabric with the appropriate card, ready for the next stage.

Fabric with card