Utensilios

On Monday I was fortunate enough to take a little trip to Berlin for work. While I was there, I decided to see if I could take advantage of the Berlin Hipster Scene and find a fabric store. Boy, did I find one! I stumbled across Frau Tulpe’s – the most wonderful store full of trinkets, goodies and fabrics. There will certainly be more on my adventure and purchases in the coming days, but in the meantime I wanted to show you something that my trip inspired me to whip up pretty much as soon as I stepped off the plane!

I bought this gorgeous fat quarter bundle of geometric prints. I’m really in to geometric stuff at the moment, and in addition to this we’ve just about settled on mustard and grey as the colour scheme for our lounge in our new apartment, so it was a bit like serendipity. The bundle was really reasonably priced and the fabric is fantastic quality. A pleasure to look at and to use – what more could you want?!

Not only does Frau Tulpe’s supply beautiful and unusual fabrics, they also have lots of handmade things on display. They seemed to be particular fans of little fabric baskets (also known as Utensilios). I decided that they could come in pretty handy for storage of all sorts, either in my craft room, or potentially in the living room. I decided that they really couldn’t be too complicated, and as luck would have it I found this YouTube tutorial, which will tell you how to make one in a matter of minutes. The tutorial is a bit twee, but it is incredibly beginner friendly and the steps are clear and concise. I wish I’d thought to make one of these as one of my first projects, I would have been delighted.

You only require two rectangles of fabric (20cm x 40cm) and one rectangle of interfacing (20cm x 40cm) and away you go. I chose to use the contrasting black and white geometric prints, as I think utensilios look coolest with a contrast flap! I am SO delighted with how it turned out – honestly probably a bit too delighted considering it’s just a little basket after all. However it did really work out just how I had imagined it in my head, which doesn’t always happen that way with crafting. It was just such a speedy and satisfying make! My only regret is not thinking to whip a label in to the side seam as I think that would have looked cool, but now I will know for next time!


I am now plotting utensilios in all manner of sizes and designs. I was sat at work today wondering if it would be weird to put one on my desk and put my stationery bits and bobs in it – or could weird become cool?! I am certainly going to make a much larger one to keep fabric scraps in. I think a few people may be receiving these as gifts too!

How about you – have you ever made a utensilio? Am I behind the times in discovering these little gems?!

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Half Yard Heaven Notice Board

Even I am the first to admit that my love of fat quarters may have gotten a little out of control. I’ve become somewhat of a fat quarter tourist, and if I happen to find a nice bundle on my travels, it must come home with me as a souvenir! I’ve been filling up a little suitcase with them, and have decided that I may as well use them for decorative purposes on display on my craft table!

A trunk of fabric joy … 

I did, however, receive a fabulous Christmas Gift which should help me enjoy my expansive collection to the maximum! My brother and sister-in-law got me this great book, Half Yard Heaven, by Debbie Shore, for Christmas, and it’s got lots of great projects in it! They are accompanied by lovely pictures and step by step instructions. It’s one of those lovely books to have a flick through when you have the itch to make something from your stash. Nothing needs more than half a yard of fabric, so it’s great for scraps too!

The first project I set my sights on was a fabric covered noticeboard. We’ve had a rather sad looking Ikea cork noticeboard in our hallway ever since we moved in. Prompted by the lovely pictures in Half Yard Heaven I decided it was a prime target for a makeover!

I chose to use my fat quarter bundle from Rowan, which contained a lovely selection of coral and black florals. One coral fat quarter was the perfect size for covering the cork board. I then made three small pockets using a couple of strips from two other fat quarters in the bundle. Despite following the book’s instructions, my pockets turned out quite small, so if I were making one again I would definitely make slightly larger pockets.

This was my first time wielding a staple gun, which was a little bit scary. PB ran for cover as I waved it about ominously in our lounge! Stapling in to wood was pretty hard work – but was worth it for the results!

I struggled a bit to get the pocket placement straight though. You end up in a vicious circle, as you can only place the pockets straight once the fabric is taught and stapled down, but if you do that, you can’t sew them on! As a result it took a bit of guess work, but for me they are functional enough! I finished the board with some thin elastic which minimises the need for extra pins. Overall I’m pleased with my finished make! It was pretty speedy too. I’m already plotting my next one for my craft room in the new apartment!

Make Your Own Scissor Pouch

   
This week I started my first sewing class and the lady sat opposite me had a rather attractive scissor pouch. On deciding that I too need an attractive scissor pouch (like having a cool pencil case on your first day at school!), I set about making one! 

Seeing as I feel all autumnal at the moment, I decided this would be a great time to use my owl fabric and this lovely tree print … I was tempted to use some lovely catch kidston style florals, but I’d sort of promised those to my mum so I showed some restraint! 

  
This is a great project for using up any cute prints that you have and suitable for quilting cotton or even an old pillow case. 

If you would like to make your own tie scissor pouch (owls optional), you will need: 

  • Two fat quarters in complimentary prints or colours or two pieces of fabric 18″ x 22″
  • Matching or contrast thread (let your creative juices run wild)
  • A hot iron
  • A chopstick (or similar long instrument for poking and turning) 

  

  1. Give your two fat quarters a good press to remove any creases
  2. Lay your two fat quarters right sides together 
  3. Place your scissors on the bottom right hand corner of your fat quarter one and half inches from the selvedge. Measure one and a half inches to the other side of your scissors (got to make sure they will fit in your finished pouch!) and draw a straight line along this measurement
  4. Cut straight up through your two fat quarters – you should now have two matching rectangles! 
  5. Pin your two rectangles together and then sew carefully all the way around the edges with a 3/8 seam allowance in straight stitch. Don’t forget to leave a gap for turning in the top of the pouch and to back stitch whenever you start and stop sewing! 
  6. Turn your square of fabric inside out through the opening and with a chop stick poke out the corners and seams so they are nice and square. 
  7. Give your new double sided fabric rectangle a good press with a hot iron.
  8. As if you were folding an A4 sheet of paper in to thirds for posting in a letter envelope, fold up the bottom third of your fabric. Press along the fold.
  9. After pinning this third in place, stitch a row of straight stitching down each side, one inch from the edge of the fabric. Don’t forget to backstitch at both ends! 
  10. You now have a cute fold over pouch! Next step – making the ties! From your remaining fat quarter fabric, lay right sides together and cut two long strips by cutting from the bottom of your fat quarter to the top. They should each be about 18inches long and about 4 inches wide.
  11. Pin each set of strips right sides together and sew all around the edges as you did with your main pouch, using 1/2″ seam allowance. Leave one end open for turning.
  12. With the aid of your chopstick, turn your ties right sides out and give them a good press. 
  13. Fold the open end in on itself (as if you were sewing a hem) to hide the open seams and press to secure in place. 
  14. Attach your ties to the pouch. Open your pouch and place your ties on the inside of the flap in the middle. Make sure to use the tie ends which you have just pressed (where the opening for turning was). Pin in place. From the outside of the pouch, stitch in place. Back stitch and forward stitch on this line of stitching to secure tightly.
  15. You’re done!! Put your scissors and any other bits and bobs in your new pouch and tie in a bundle like so ….

  
 
16. Feel smug about your pouch making prowess! Feel free to share your pouch and tag @amyjune2015 #makeamymake #scissorpouchbonanza

I hope you enjoy making this one as much as I did guys! Let me know how it goes if you do decide to make one and any improvements to the instructions that may be required. Next time there will definitely be step by step pictures for starters! 

 

Sewing Space Organisation

As some of you may know, I don’t really have a proper sewing space yet, and am already developing master plans of amazing sewing spaces for when we move in to our new flat! In the meantime I have to satisfy myself with making little tweaks to the little table that sits in our lounge where my sewing machine lives. Tweak of the week was my discovery of these super cute Mason Jars.

I normally use Mason Jars to put salads in for my lunch at work, but when I discovered these with ceramic geometric design lids, I thought they would be great for holding sewing notions. I like the way that they almost make a feature of all the bits and bobs that come with sewing!

The jars of bits and bobbins currently sit on top of a slightly boring looking little Ikea organiser. It’s actually really helpful though for holding all sorts of sewing related little things.

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Boring but useful …

I’m planning on jazzing up this little box with Washi tape, as per this tutorial I found online. Any tutorial called “how to unboring-ize a desk organiser” has to be a winner! I might see if I can find some Washi tape today in some cool colours, so check back later to see if I have any success!

The last thing I wanted to share with you is my absolute favourite part of my mini sewing corner – my Ikea Raskog trolley. These trolleys are well blogged about by sewers across the internet, and they really aren’t wrong. What is particularly helpful for me is that I can wheel it out to my dining table, so it’s like having a portable sewing room! It can get a little messy sometimes (this is the tidy version!), but it usually only takes 5 minutes to get it back in order. Dave the Dachshund now proudly rides around in the trolley and keeps my sewing cheery!

Dave’s Chariot

How do you organise your sewing space? Do you have any inspiration for me for when I move to my new home?