Thursday, 28 February 2013

So, our exciting news is . . .

We're opening a shop!

The time has come to do what we always dreamed of and have somewhere that people can mooch around, touch and see our fabrics in the flesh (so to speak!)  We're taking space at A Little Bird Told Me Gallery in The Barn Courtyard, Wendover High Street, Buckinghamshire and we're hoping to be up and running sometime over the Easter holidays - a date which seems to be approaching at lightening speed!

Our work online will continue as usual, with Jacqui at the helm, doing a sterling job of getting all your gorgeous little parcels out to you in super quick time. But, if you, or anyone you know is near to Wendover, do pop in and say hello. It will be so wonderful to finally meet some of you in person. We'll keep you posted here and on Facebook as to when we're properly settled in to our new home and our opening times. It's all ever so exciting (and, if we're honest, a little bit scary!) turning our dream of a proper home for HQ into a reality. But the support and enthusiasm we've had from you all has made it all jolly good fun so far - and we plan on there being lots more fun to come! ; - )

But back to the reason we're all here - the fabric!

Just arrived - This wonderfully colourful vintage beauty of a collection: Sew Retro

. . . and coming soon: Need a bit of spring 'zing'?  Michael Miller's Zoology in fresh pinks and this season's must have colours, lime and orange fit the bill.

Please don't forget!

Your chance to enter our fantastic fabric giveaway worth over £100 ends at midnight tomorrow - 1st March.  Don't miss out - do it now!!!  Yes, right now ... right here!  Good luck to everyone - the winner will be announced on Monday.

Enjoy the weekend x

Monday, 25 February 2013

Taming the inner control freak

In Friday's post I showed you this scrummy stack of Art Gallery fabrics that I picked up at the Hobby Craft and Stitch show at the NEC earlier in the month and left you with the question: What could I make with these?  Well, as much as I really want to make a new quilt (I think the last one I made was about ten years ago - correct me if I'm wrong, mum!) and this stack would have made the most amazing quilt, I thought that was a bit ambitious given that I had only three days in which to complete said project.
So, seeing as we love the flexibility of Art Gallery's fabrics, I thought I'd make a patchwork scarf instead of a patchwork quilt (I love projects you can complete in an hour or two - makes me feel very smug!)  The weight of the fabric really does lend itself beautifully to making clothing and I simply adore all those rich colours.
Seeing as this really is a very easy project, I set myself a little challenge:  Could I do what I've been told is a real skill in patchworking: be completely and utterly random with what goes where?
I thought it would be easy - but it's so very very NOT easy (for me, at least) to let the fates decide. I think the logic is that Nature is random - and beautiful - so to mimic Nature = beauty.  Here goes then!
I knew I couldn't use all the fabrics in the stack, unless I wanted tiny blocks of each - the patterns are too gorgeous not to be shown off so I left out the two most geometric . . .

and then got cutting! 
Once I'd cut the strips I cut them again into smaller strips, trying to be as random as possible.
Then came the really hard bit:  I threw all the fabric strips into the air, closed my eyes and picked them up randomly and put them into a pile. I then divided the pile in two and sewed them together in the order they were in the pile I'd made.  Boy this was hard for me!  Would they look OK?  What if two of the patterns next to each other are too similar?  I really didn't know I had such a hard time accepting randomness, although this comes as no surprise to my husband who groans every time I ask him to hang a picture - out comes the tape measure to make sure it's EXACTLY in the centre of a wall - 'Does it REALLY matter if it's 5mm off?', he pleads.  'YES!' is my unfailing answer.  You are beginning, no doubt, to see why this was so hard for me. 
Anyway, two sides of the scarf sewn together and laid top sides facing - shock, horror, there are two strips of the same fabric touching!!  Let it go . . . it will be alright . . .  

. . . and it was!  I am sooo in love with this scarf!

  . . . and it goes beautifully with this t-shirt despite the hanging thread left in my haste!
. . . and now I can do random-ness?  Well I did move ONE piece of fabric - only one, I promise! Two of the cream backgrounds were together.  To be honest, I think it would have looked just a cool if I'd left alone!   Random-ness: 1 - Rae: 0.
The Art Gallery fabrics are all so absolutely gorgeous that we are having trouble deciding which ones to get first - Watch the 'Coming Soon' page of the shop for details of which collections we will have, erm - 'Coming Soon!'
Is it just me or do you find it hard to leave fabrics combinations to chance? What do you think of the scarf?  Better if I'd planned it?  Be honest now - I promise I won't be offended!  Do you have a tried and tested method you use for choosing fabric combo's?
Let us know what you think or if you have any tips and tricks on random-ness to share by using the comment box below. We always LOVE to hear from you!

Friday, 22 February 2013

Have you guessed what it is yet?

Fabric Giveaway

First of all, WOW!!! - what a response to the giveaway!  We are so excited that so many of you have found us.  Thanks to all of your who normally read our rantings here and on Facebook and welcome to all you newcomers. Remember, you've got until midnight on 1st March to enter.  No later, or you'll miss out / turn into a pumpkin or something equally as disastrous. Find out how here.

New Fabric - yum!

Last week we had an exciting day out at the NEC, where we made some brilliant contacts and discovered some really exciting new fabric ranges. Top of my list are some gorgeous Japanese imports due in the spring, and the rather superb Art Gallery fabrics. Although Art Gallery's designs are still printed onto 100% cotton, the weight is lighter than most of our other fabrics, making it a perfect choice for crafting, quilting and dressmaking (see we've been listening to what you want!)

In my usual fashion, I couldn't wait for us to actually get the fabric into the shop - so this little stack just HAD to come home with me!


What would you make with it?

I have a few ideas up my sleeve . . . check back here on Monday night to see what's become of it. 

New Fabric - Just Arrived

We've had four beautiful new ranges in this week:

Posy by Aneela Hoey . . .

Mind your P's and Q's by Keiki. . .

Ticklish by Me and My Sister Designs . . .

and Noteworthy by Sweetwater.

Also a super cute charm pack called Apple Jack.

That's it for today - enjoy your weekend.  The weather is going to be Coooold so great excuse to stay in and make!

See you Monday.

Monday, 18 February 2013

[NOW CLOSED] Fabric Giveaway . . . yay!!

We know it's a bit late but we planned to have a Fabric HQ first anniversay giveaway . . .
so, at long last - here it is. . .

This whopping prize is worth over £100 and consists of:
3 charm packs, 1 Jelly Roll, 9 fat quarters of our current favourite collection, Les Amis and 3 of our Little Stacks of Fun (your choice from our 8 colour collections) This fantastic prize equates to almost ten metres of fabric!

Want your chance to win it?

Entering the prize draw is easy - all you have to do is:

1. Visit our Facebook page
2. Share this giveaway on Facebook
3. Then return to the blog and let us know you've done it by leaving a comment.

If you have trouble leaving a comment (we have had this - grrrr!) then choose to leave your comment anonymously (using the tab in the drop down menu) but make sure you type your name in the comment so we know who you are!

The giveaway will be open until midnight on the 1st of March and we will announce the lucky winner shortly after. Don't forget to leave a comment on THIS blog post to make sure you're entered.

Good luck everybody!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Circus Inspired Corner Tent

Noah loves circuses and a little while ago he said he wanted to live in a circus tent.  Well, how could I refuse his request?  Obviously being only two I wasn't enamoured with the idea of him running away to the circus so I thought I better get a wiggle on and make him his own life-size (correction - Noah size) circus tent.
The only problem is that his room is tiny!  I did think about making a stand alone circular tent using a hula hoop and suspending it from the ceiling - which would have looked really cool - but a chance conversation at the school gate led me to this little invention.  One of Will's classmate's mums asked me if I'd seen a 'corner tent'.  I had absolutely no idea what she meant until she explained that the daughter of a friend of hers had one which I presume is similar in design to the one I eventually made for Noah except it used a net curtain wire hooked across the corner of a room where the bunting is on Noah's one.  

So, a couple of metres of fabric and a string of bunting later, Noah has his very own circus tent (he promises he will not now run away to join the clowns - phew!) and . . .

and I have somewhere to hide all of those toys still needing to be given a home after Christmas!


I used pinking shears to make the bunting flags as they are pretty small . . .

and made little ties with mini poppers on to draw back the curtains when it's show time.

I haven't written a full tutorial on this as it is really as simple as hemming two rectangles and a triangle, sewing them together and stitching the bunting strip to the joining line (the tie backs are so thin that they are a little tricky so below I show you how to make these).  I sewed a loop of string to the tip of the tent roof and at the two ends of the bunting strip and nailed three hooks at these points on the walls. I also added two hooks for the tie backs to attach to, otherwise the sides gape inwards when tied back.

I made the ties by cutting a rectangle and sewing it along three sides (leaving a small opening through which to turn it through the right way.  The ties are quite narrow so this would have been a pretty awkward thing to do if it hadn't been for this clever little trick. It's an old trick but a really useful one to know so, here's how you do it:


1. Take your rectangle of fabric


2. pull out a long length of thread from the bobbin and needle - make sure it is at least a couple of inches longer than the length of the fabric you are about to sew

3. before you begin to stitch, open the fabric and tuck the length of thread from your machine down the centre, making sure it is poking out of the end - sew the top end and long side of the fabric, finishing as above. Secure the stitching on the long length with a couple of reverse stitches . .

4. and then place it in front of you on the table.

5. take your preferred poking instrument (mine is an oh, so technical half a wooden BBQ skewer!The snapped end does the poking so as not to skewer the fabric!) and push the top end in on itself (the end where the long length of cotton is attached to the fabric)


6. begin to pull the fabric in on itself . . .

7. until it is completely  reversed. Snip the long threads from the end  - et voila!  Your thin little tie back is looking lovely and right-side-out-able!  Hand stitch the remaining gap and you're ready to sew on your poppers, buttons or velcro - whatever you decide will secure your tie backs.
OK, so the inevitable is now happening - big brother Will decides to do the 'Look, I've got no body' gag.

 Noah didn't quite get the idea - but spent the next half hour playing peek-a-boo!  Think he's pretty chuffed though and happy to have all the fun of the circus in his very own shoebox of a room!
To make this, I used:

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Hello, Les Amis!

We were literally jumping up and down with joy when we opened the box containing our newest collection - Les Amis by Patty Sloinger.
We are so excited to have this collection in at last - my head is swimming with ideas as to what to make with it: 
 Faux Bois would make an amazing tree for a height chart (using Lil' Meadow for the leaves!). . .

 bags . . .
curtains . . .
children's clothes . .
cushions . . .


I can even see that one or two would lend themselves beautifully to a Washi dress (but then again, I now see Washis in almost every fabric we get in!)
So you see that Patty Sloniger has done it again - Les Amis is yet another gorgeous collection from this very talented designer. If you fancy, drop us a line to let us know what you'd make with it.
Come back tomorrow to see more of this circus inspired fun little corner tent - great for the kids to hide in- even better for hiding all their junk, toys!

Friday, 1 February 2013

Feedback and the Fabric Giveaway

Thank you for all your fab suggestions and words of encouragement.  We were so pleased that many of the comments you made were things we were already thinking about. So hopefully you'll like what we'll be doing this year!

But to the competition!  We used a random number generator, didn't count our own comments (obviously!) . . . . . . and the winner is . . .
. . . comment number 12!
Congratulations, Aileen - if you could contact Jacqui through our facebook page, you can let us know your choice of fabrics which will be winging their way to you soon.
For everyone who didn't win, do keep an eye on the blog - it's something we plan to do regularly!
We have already listened and acted upon one popular request for more fabric stacks and scrap bags and we're pleased to announce our first offering . . .

These pocket sized stash building stacks contain 5 pieces of fabric approx. 25cm x 50cm. This first batch come in a choice of either red, green, pink or blue (randomly chosen from our collection) and will be available on our website in the next day or so!
We also took delivery of some gorgeous new fabrics this week including some Sevenberry linen blends (see, we've been listening!) and some more gorgeous Kona Cotton plains.
Hope you all have a fab weekend!