Thursday, August 30, 2012

Market Bag or Library Bag?

I discovered this great tutorial on making totes from tea towels on Helen Rawlinson's blog. My teatowels are really too small but I decided to try out the idea using some heavy cream cotton printed with my designs. It was a bit of mucking around especially as I do not have an overlocker so used french seams to achieve a finished off look (haven't done them since school days!). And here is the result. I didn't get the size right for the first one (too narrow) so decided that will be my library bag.

The second attempt was more successful with plenty of room for goodies from the local farmers market.

It was also a good test to see which of my designs would work as repeats (they weren't planned with that in mind but some work quite well). There is really too much work and fabric in these totes to make them a worthwhile proposition to sell - but they will make nice presents.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

And Yet More White on Grey

Before I went on my holiday I did lots of printing - the bread and butter stuff - getting ready for the Christmas rush. However I did try a new colour combination with one of my new designs - the lemon scented tea tree (Leptospermum petersonii) - white on unbleached linen. I think it looks quite stunning as a teatowel and placemats. And did you know the leaves can be added to tea to give a lemon flavour?
These are now in my MadeIt and Etsy shops.

And by the way this is what I did on my holidays - a little too close for comfort?

Friday, August 10, 2012

Trying Something New

Recently I participated in a workshop held during the Bribie Island Art Festival (From Banksias to Beach) in July. The workshop was "Twisting Silver Wire" and the teacher was Catherine Bilson of Banksia Creations. It was all about making jewellery. I thought it might give me some techniques in wire wrapping my sea glass creations a bit more professionally, but it was really all about making jewellery from polished regular gemstones. Never mind I thoroughly enjoyed it and came away with these after only one day! The earrings (the simplest to make) were subsequently gold plated (took about 2 minutes) by one of gem club members at Bribie.

Catherine did a lot of one on one help so I can't claim them to be totally my own work but hey who cares. Catherine is an excellent teacher and the workshop very well organised (well she was once an aerospace engineer). Now I know what wrapped jewellery is and how it is done. But it is very hard on your fingers so I don't think I will be pursuing it.

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Product Development - or More Messing Around

I have been wanting to try another version of a purse - this time one with a shoulder strap. I got the idea from a little one I purchased in Noumea and found very handy for carrying a few bits and pieces. So out came the drafting paper...
This time I made up the prototype in calico and other scraps just to make sure I had the dimensions right, and also how to work out how the lining was fitted.
Et voila - this is the result. Unbleached linen and denim with a navy cotton strap and navy zip. The lining is cream cotton also printed with the gumnut design.
Quite quick to construct (compared with my other little purse design) and casual but smart. This one's for me to road test.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Learning about Leather

I've had a few pieces of leather in my stash which have been sitting there forlornly for a few years now. I have always had in the back of my mind to use leather with my screen printed fabric, but until now have only tried sewing it once and then using suede. These are the only photos I have of that experiment and the purse was sold long ago, but you can just see the suede on the back of the purse.

So today was the day to do a bit more experimenting. This time with some soft black leather I bought long ago while still in Melbourne. Lots of questions - can you iron leather? How will it sew? Will it be too bulky?...
Foolishly perhaps I also wanted to try out a new design - a simple rectangular sunglasses/spectacles/pencil case. And here is the result. The case is too small lengthwise but I was happy with the way my little Elna machine handled the leather (using a leather needle). I wouldn't use a metal zip again. I think it looks a bit clunky and is also quite difficult to sew. And I am nervous of breaking the sewing needle.

The screen printed front of the case is in unbleached linen and it is lined with black cotton. I'll see how it survives some hard use next.
Now I want to try something else new!