Yes, Hillarys Blinds are all about fabric and usually I may not have been tempted as there are a million and one people out there all better than me at sewing! However, the small print said craft. I saw this as my calling!
I was immediately intrigued that you are only given 100 x100 cm of fabric. So the limited quantity made the challenge better in a way. I had no idea what I might do but I had to get my fabric sent . I chose from one of four designs from the Country Retreat range of fabric, eventually settling on Calluna. Calluna features abstract brushstrokes which capture the abstract texture of moorland heather.
I now had some words drifting about in my subconscious….nature, flowers, country, informal, retreat, craft, and fabric. It’s only now I come to blogging my story with Calluna that I realise all these initial words and thoughts came together in what I created….interesting!
100 x 100cm is not much fabric. Certainly not enough to transform a room with curtains or cover a chair etc. I decided to create some smaller touches which could liven up a room or give it a breath of fresh air. This is what most of us need , most of the time. I squeezed FOUR little projects from my piece of fabric and they are all in keeping with the words that came to me in the beginning.
Leaves on Twigs.
I’m lucky enough to have a big twisted hazel shrub in my garden. I decided to take a pretty big piece of it and position in my room. The next step was to use fresh leaves as templates and cut them out of my Calluna fabric. I sprayed them (in a plastic tray) with fabric stiffener. Mine was called ‘Stiffen Stuff’. Such is the quality of the fabric it took a fair bit to soak them. Make sure with thick fabric you do both sides. I then draped them over a wooden spoon handle to suggest the natural shaping of leaves. I did this in the evening, a few leaves at a time and in the morning they’d be dry.
When I’d prepared enough leaves I glue gunned a piece of wire to the back of the leaf leaving a stem. I used normal green paper covered garden wire.
The final step was to wire the Calluna leaves to the twisted hazel…
My next thought was originally a large photo frame but when I was searching in the attic I cam across this rather lovely old oval mirror. I painted it with whatever I had to hand….in this instance it was Inka Gold purple metal paint. The mirror isn’t metal but the paint still worked. I chose purple because I didn’t particularly want the frame to show, I wanted it to blend in with the fabric.
I cut four 100cm long strips of my fabric making sure they were just slightly wider than the mirror’s frame.. I sewed the fabric together so I had one very long strip and then I frayed the edges. This softens the look and keeps it natural.
I gathered the fabric by doing running stitch all down one side. I gathered it enough to fir the mirror and started glue gunning it into position. I finished off with some tiny vintage style flowers. These came on a stem and I deconstructed it (pulled it apart!!!)
My first thought was to make a cushion but I thought a three legged stool would fit in better with my relaxed country theme. There’s only one stool in the house…so I found it! Now, what ever made me think of it I’ll never know but I thought a shower cap might fit it (it did!) and therefore I could use the shower cap as a pattern. It was practically perfect but I extended the circle of fabric to allow for a deeper frill.
My sewing machine chose to jam at this point so I managed by hand. I pinned and sewed a circle of tape into which I would thread the elastic.
I left the edge of the frill raw and slightly frayed to match the mirror. I then got inspired by an unexpected surge of warmth and afternoon sunshine and took my final photograph outdoors.
Oh yes! Not one to be beaten, I had an annoyingly small and awkwardly shaped piece of fabric left. It stared at me from my kitchen table for two full days. In the end, I felt a bit sorry for it so tried a little experiment. As far as you’re concerned it’s going to be a bit like Marmite….love it or hate it!
I found three small objects, a small glass, a Chinese bowl, and a cylindrical plastic container for herbs. I used the last of my fabric stiffener to soak the fabric, secured the pleating with elastic bands and left them to dry. I put them upside down on empty wine bottles because I didn’t want the points of fabric to droop.
The following day I was able to embellish them with three different shades of vintage velvet ribbon and tiny leaves and flowers. When I see them in a little group of three I really rather love them!
So, in conclusion, did I have a plan, did I have a clue what I was doing ???? No, not really until I got going. I let the ideas evolve slowly. I’d like to think I might have inspired the true crafters among you to play with fabric more, rather than be stifled with set patterns to follow. I think the fact you’re not an expert in something can make you more creative.
Lastly, I’d like to thank everyone at Hillarys Blinds. It felt quite daring to go in for a competition and then blog about it because now you’ll all know how well I do /don’t do!!! But, I’ll tell you something, I’ve REALLY enjoyed the experience.