Friday, October 4, 2013

WELL PRESENTED

First impressions count! A hand-made bow is the perfect way to finish off any gift from the heart.
Today we are going to show you how quick and easy it is to make a professional looking bow from fabric scraps, a great stash-busting project and a great way to really personalise your presents. Plus it's reuseable so good for the environment too!



We have used the off-cuts from our DIY Australian Bush Xmas Koala and Kangaroo plushie project to make this bright and festive bow. Here is what you need to do the same:
  • Any scrap piece of fabric approx 10" x 6.75" (25 x 18cm).
    We used the Australian Bush Xmas Stocking panel 
  • Pinking shears
  • Ruler
  • Needle and thread for hand sewing



1. With your pinking shears, cut nine strips from your scrap fabric, each 3/4" (2cm) wide and 10" (25cm) long. Keep the first 3 strips at full length. For the next 3 strips, cut 1" (2.5cm) off each end. Cut 2" (5cm) from the next two strips. Cut the last strip down to 3.5" (9cm).


You should now have:
3x strips 10" x 3/4" (25x2cm)
3x strips 9" x 3/4" (23x2cm)
2x strips 10" x 3/4" (20x2cm)
1x strips 10" x 3/4" (9x2cm)

2. Start with one full length strip. Fold it in half and crease gently with your fingers to mark the centre of the strip. Open and lay the strip flat, right side down. Take one end and fold it around so that the end sits face-down in the centre of the strip. Do the same with the opposite end to create a 'figure 8' shape.




We found that once we folded our strip it stayed in place, but if you want to secure it just make a few small stitches through all layers in the centre.



3. Continue to fold and loop all of your strips, except for the single 3.5" strip. Fold this strip into a circle.



4. To assemble the bow, start with the three longest pieces. Layer them on top of each other in a star shape, spacing them evenly. Hold the pieces together in the centre with a few stitches through all layers.



5. Place the next three pieces on top, creating a smaller star shape, and positioning each point to sit in the gaps of the larger star. Secure with a few stitches through all layers.



6. Cross the two smaller pieces and place nestle them on top of the bow. Finish with the little circle loop sitting in the centre of the bow.



7. Carefully hold your bow together in the centre and push your needle up from the bottom to the top, through all pieces of fabric, avoiding the uppermost layer of the circle loop (you want this to stay puffed up). Make a few stitches in this way to secure everything together. Knot your thread off at the base of the bow and your'e done! Once your bow is complete, you can sew it to a piece of ribbon for gift wrapping, or simply use adhesive glue dots to attach the bow to a wrapped present.


   



Wednesday, October 2, 2013

THE BEST PRESENTS ARE HUGGABLE!

Here's another great project to make with our Australian Bush Xmas fabric! This time we are using more of the Stocking panel scraps to make a soft little Xmas 'present' block. Perfect for little ones to use as a squishy baby block toy to hug and chew on! Or simply use this present to add some bright Aussie flair to your Christmas decorations.
See here and here for other projects to make with the Stocking panel fabric.



You will need:
  • 1x Australian Bush Xmas Stocking panel
  • Green Polka Dot coordinate fabric
  • Light weight iron-on interfacing
  • Scissors or rotary cutter and ruler
  • Sewing machine
  • Poly fill
  • Needle and thread for hand-stitching

1. From your Stocking panel, cut out four squares approx 5 inch (13cm) each. We cut four squares from the left-over Stocking cuff pieces. These will form the sides of our block.
From the Green Polka Dot coordinate, cut two 5 inch squares for the top and base of the block.
If you have followed our last two DIY Xmas projects, your fabric will already be backed with interfacing. If not, we recommend you iron interfacing onto each square to add more stability to your finished block.



2. Lay out your squares into a cross shape. To begin, sew the four middle squares together at each side seam, with 0.5" (13mm) seam allowance, right sides together. Next, attach your top and base squares on either side of one middle square. Make sure that you do not sew all the way to the edges of each seam. Stop and start your seams 0.5" from each edge.





3. Once your cross is sewn together, cut a notch into each seam in a 'V' shape at all corners. This will make it easier to work the corners when sewing the top and base to the sides of the block.



4. Now it is time to attach the base and top to the sides. Start by attaching the base square, and work on one seam at a time, matching the straight edges and sewing with right sides together. Again, be sure to leave your 0.5" (13mm) gap at the start and end of each seam. Once you have completed all base seams, you will have a box with an open top flap.

5. Join the top flap to the block in the same way, working one seam at a time. Leave one side open for stuffing your block!



6. Turn your fabric right side out through the open seam. Poke out the corners of the block using a knitting needle or chopstick to achieve sharper corners.


7. Stuff your cube with filling through the open seam. Once your block is padded out to your satisfaction, slip stitch the opening closed. Your huggable present block is ready to go!


Make sure  you are following this blog for more fun and easy project ideas. Coming up next, we will show you how to make this gorgeous fabric bow - it is the perfect decorative accent to this 'present' block, or a unique way to decorate your real-life presents. It's easier than you might think!




Tuesday, October 1, 2013

DECORATE WITH AUSTRALIAN XMAS FLAIR!




We've got big plans for a total DIY Christmas this year! Last week we showed you how to use our Australian Bush Xmas stocking panel to make two cute plushie toys, now this week we are back with lots of ideas for making cute and easy decorations using the leftover panel scraps.

Today we are going to start by making some simple fabric baubles. Here's what you need:

  • 1x Australian Bush Xmas Stocking panel (the off-cuts from making Kanga and Koala plushies)
  • Green Polka Dot coordinate fabric
  • Light weight iron-on interfacing
  • Pinking shears
  • Light weight cotton or polyester wadding
  • DMC stranded cotton in E415 (Light Effects) 
  • Needle for hand sewing

1. From the Stocking panel scraps, roughly cut out all the hanging ornament shapes. Leave at least 3mm around the outside of each shape, as this will be trimmed down in the next steps.
NOTE: If you are following on from our previous DIY plushie project, your fabric scraps should be lined with the iron-on interfacing. If not, it is a good idea to apply iron-on interfacing to the back of the entire panel, and to the Polka Dot coordinate fabric, before cutting out your pieces. This will make your finished ornaments more durable and avoid fraying edges.

2. Place each ornament shape on top of the Polka Dot coordinate fabric, with wrong sides facing. Pin shapes in place and then cut around shape outlines with pinking shears.



3. Cut a small piece of wadding to fit inside each shape. The wadding should be about 3-4mm smaller than shape so that it will not get caught in the stitching.
4. Unpin your fabric pieces and sandwich the wadding in between. Pin all layers together for each shape.


5. Cut a length of DMC Light Effects thread, approx 1mt long. Separate a single strand from the group of 6.
Thread your needle with the single strand, and then double the thread on your needle so that you have a 50cm length to work with.
The light effects can we tricky to work with because it is a metallic thread. Using a single strand at a time will make it easier to thread your needle, and doubling the thread will give strength to the finished ornaments.

6. Knot the doubled thread about 8cm/3" from the end. Start at the top of each bauble shape, in between the two fabric layers. Push your needle through from the back to the front of the top fabric layer, leaving your 8cm tail at the top. Make a few stitches through both layers of fabric to secure everything together.

7. Begin making a running stitch around the shape, tracing along the printed silver line on the fabric. Continue all the way around and finish with your needle at the back.
8. Working from the back side of your shape, pass the needle through only the Polka Dot layer of fabric, to finish with your needle in between each layer.


9. To finish off your ornament, simply tie all loose thread ends together in a double knot. Leave about 5cm from the top of the bauble shape to the knot so that you have enough length for your ornament to hang. 


It's so easy, you'll have a whole bunch of little ornaments ready in no time!
Hang them from your Xmas tree, or use them as cute gift tags!



There are many more great decorative ideas coming up soon, including beautiful bows and cheerful table settings. Check out the entire Australian Bush Xmas fabric collection on our website now!  



Monday, September 23, 2013

DIY XMAS FUN!


Christmas is only 3 months away, can you believe it? Where has the year gone?!!
We've been feeling festive since the arrival of our adorable Australian Bush Xmas fabric collection, designed right here in Australia by Shauna Scicluna, part of our Leutenegger design team. The collection includes three great panel designs for you to easily make your own Advent Calendar, Xmas Stocking and decorative Bunting, plus a couple of cute coordinates to play with. 
Today we're going to mix it up a bit and show you how to make two friendly Xmas plushies using the Stocking panel.

To make your lovable Koala and Kangaroo plushies, you will need:
  • 1x Australian Bush Xmas Stocking panel
  • Green Polka Dot coordinate fabric 
  • Light weight iron-on interfacing
  • Cotton or polyester toy stuffing for filling your plushies
  • Erasable fabric pencil or chalk
  • General sewing supplies: thread, needle, pins, scissors, sewing machine 


















1. Start by ironing interfacing onto the wrong side of your Stocking panel and the Polka Dot coordinate. This will ensure your cuddly friends stand the test of time.
2. With your fabric pencil, trace an outline around the Koala and kangaroo shapes on the panel, leaving approximately 2cm seam allowance around each shape, and rounding out any corner angles.

 3. Cut roughly around each stocking shape to make your pieces easier to work with. Lay your Polka Dot coordinate face down and place the stocking shape on top, face up. Pin the two fabrics together, then cut out your animal shape around the pencil outline.



















4. Unpin your fabric pieces, and then re-pin together with right sides facing this time. Sew the pieces together with 1cm seam allowance, leaving an opening at the base, about 6-7cm.



















5. Carefully clip all curves - this will help your seams to sit smoothly when they are turned right side out!



































6. Turn your fabric right side out and begin to fill your shape with stuffing, pushing it into all bumps and corners evenly. Use a knitting needle or chopstick to get the stuffing into hard to read areas.



















7. Once your shape is stuffed nice and full, simply sew the base gap closed with a slip stitch. Now you've got two cuddly Xmas friends to get you in the festive spirit! These guys would make great gifts, or you could simply use them to add some decorative cheer to your home!

Check out the rest of the Australian Bush Xmas collection on our website now, and stay tuned for more cute Christmas project ideas, including how to make decorations using your left over Stocking panel scraps!