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Sewing Bee, Series 5, Episode 2……

The BBC’s Sewing Bee was back last night with the popular ‘children’s week.

The first challenge of the evening wasn’t easy, Making a hoodie. The project entailed lots of tricky features, needing good attention to detail, in particular getting the the hood attached and shaped to sit correctly.

Three different fabrics were required, stretch jersey for the outer material,  a lighter stretch for lining and ribbing for cuffs & waistline.

The jersey material is easily stretched whilst being sewn and care must be taken not to lose the shape. The overlocker is essential to prevent the fabric fraying and providing a tidy finish. An overlock is a stitch that sews over the edge of one or two pieces of fabric, ideal for edging, hemming and seaming. Care must also be taken with the ribbing to prevent it gathering.

Janet stormed ahead bringing her experience to the machine, a choice of cute bunny rabbits looked great, with the judges exclaiming ” a cracking little hoodie, 1st place….. perfection”

The transformation challenge had a fun theme, and the potential for some enchanted creativity. A fancy dress outfit for a child, themed on an animal was to be made from a fake fur coat. With 90 minutes to complete the project…no pressure!

I love the idea of up cycling material and have been motivated to get around charity shops, to find some garments & material for some innovative sewing makes.

I had high hopes for Alexei, who had previous experience making a Gruffalo outfit for his nephew. He had a cute photo in the studio which looked fantastic, and I thought it put him in pole position.  Alexei’s debut in sewing was interesting, in secret he made a dress for his girlfriend, which she was presented with, totally out of the blue…..boyfriends & husbands take note……on second thoughts…the garden needs weeding!

Ricardo got to work on a dragon, Mercedes didn’t  listen to the requested task and made a great outfit, but not what was requested, a good learning experience. Jen came second with my favourite, an exotic bird, I couldn’t help but see the connection with a childhood memory of a fearful bird that many a celebrity came a cropper with…… Rod Hull & Emu !

First place was taken by Ben with his ant outfit, great design, attention to detail and top sewing. A clear winner in the opinion of the judges.

The ‘made to measure’ challenge this week was to produce a dance outfit.

Janet opted for a sailors outfit, which included a gorgeous swish skirt with ric-rac finishing. Alexei produced a fairy outfit, in a great choice of colours and Jen went for a Highland dance outfit with a Scottish theme which looked great with some beautiful piping done to perfection….I thought she had it in the bag…

Leah, who had previously disclosed her lack of experience with children’s themed sewing makes stole the show with a beautiful swan outfit……a worthy winner for the ‘Garment of The Week.

Unfortunately whenever there is a winner, there is usually a loser, and this week we said good bye to Sheila. Shame to see her go…….but that’s The Sewing Bee…….another great show, leaving us looking forward to more next week.

 

 

The Great British Sewing Bee 2019 – Has it still got the X Factor ?

Its been a long, long wait……..but its now back on, our favourite t.v show, The Great British Sewing Bee !

The usual excitement surrounded the first episode, New Host Joe Lycette, New Contestants and the anticipation of what was to be made together with the emotions of success & ‘that’s not what I intended to happen’.

The first challenge was to make a ‘wiggle dress’ using cotton material……sounds ok ?  but with such a hugging fitting dress the attention to detail must be spot on to avoid a poor fit, getting the darts right is essential.  Janet the retired shopkeeper from Yorkshire was disappointed having not managed to hide the zip on the back, I’m sure she usually can do that in her sleep, and it was just a nervous start with the cameras.

My attention was grabbed by Juliet, the primary school teacher from London.  She has only been sewing for 5 years and…….taught herself from the internet. I have to say I’m not a massive jump suit fan but Juliet’s yellow and black jump suit was fantastic, brave choice of fabrics, contrast of colours and the over all fit and look were very impressive from the sewing newcomer.

At the other end of the scale poor Mercedes will be looking for improvement next week, after her denim skirt didn’t quite happen for her. 

A great first episode, recommended viewing…. can’t help but suspect some of these experienced sewers are just warming up ! Bring on the sewers !

The Pink Flamingo …. A Fabric Icon ?

Our range of fabrics featuring the majestic and exotic Pink Flamingo are a popular choice for customers right now.

Is it because of the easy on the eye artistic design and unusual pink colour of the plumage ? or is there more of an affinity with this beautiful long legged bird ?

The name Flamingo comes from the word ‘flamengo’ which means flame coloured, in Spanish. There are six species which can be found in Africa, Central Asia, South America, North West India and Southern Europe.

Closer to home we are lucky to have a colony at Martin Mere Wetland Centre near Ormskirk.  Where there is a breeding and protection programme.  In the wild, flocks can consist of thousands of birds.

The pink colours of the feathers result from eating beta carotene, a chemical found in their diet of algae, insects and small fish.

The birds have a very social nature and are thought to to mate with a partner for life. They can often be seen standing on one leg, although the reason for this is not known, it is suspected that it may be to conserve body heat, whilst wading in the cold water.

Well there ends a quick flight tour into the world of the flamingo, a beautiful theme for some exotic sewing makes……and pink too, which is always a bonus!

Best Wishes

Andrea

 

 

 

How To Make Christmas Bunting

Bunting is one of the most popular sewing makes amongst our customers.  It is a great traditional decoration for many events and designs, and looks really effective.  Whether as a children’s themed design for a nursery or Halloween & Christmas Celebrations.
In this blog Lucy takes you through the process of making Christmas bunting, step by step.
You will need:
Main Fabric.
Backing Fabric.
Scissors / Rotary Cutter.
Bias Binding / Ribbon.
Triangle Template.
Sewing Machine.
Using your Main Fabric (in this case our Santa Fabric) and the Triangle Template (based on the required size of flags), cut around the template with your scissors or rotary cutter, this will give you your Bunting Flags.
Do the same for the Backing Fabric – I have used plain red fabric for this.
Now all of your flags are cut, you are ready to sew.
Once at your sewing machine, place the cut triangles back to back (right side to right side). Sew along each edge leaving the top flat section un-sewn.
Once all of the flags have been sewn together on the two sides, you can then trim the outside areas of each flag. This is an optional step, however it just makes the bunting a little neater.
You will then need to turn the flags inside out, so the correct design side of each fabric is on the outside.
You can poke the corners of each flag out with scissors or a knitting needle, then iron the flags so they are easier to sew on the Bias Binding / Ribbon.
Head over to your sewing machine and sew all of the flags onto the Bias Binding / Ribbon along the top flat section of the flags using contrasting thread (in this case red thread to match the red bias binding) – I have used a 25mm Polycotton Bias Binding.
Once all of the flags have been sewn onto the Bias Binding, you can then give the bunting a quick press with the iron and then it is ready to be put up.
Here is the finished Bunting!
Good luck making your bunting !
Best wishes
Lucy
Lulu’s Bunting Shop
Instagram: lulusbuntingshopx
Image

 

 

Always Knitting & Sewing Christmas Open Day

On Saturday 8th December we held our festive Christmas Open Day at the Shop. We all had an enjoyable day, it was lovely catching up with our regular customers and meeting lots of new customers who visited the shop for the first time.

It was a great time to showcase our gorgeous range of Christmas themed fabrics, ribbon and buttons & chat about the sewing projects ongoing on the run up to Christmas.

As you know browsing and choosing fabrics can be hard work so we all enjoyed mince pies, cakes, chocolate & coffee to keep up the energy levels !

Thank you to everyone who attended the Open Day, hope you enjoyed yourselves & took some inspiration for a festive sewing or knitting make !

Best Wishes

Andrea

 

 

 

New Range of Popular Knitting Yarn Now in Stock

Following consultation with our customers we are now pleased to showcase our new range of knitting yarns available at the shop or online. The new stock features an extensive selection of gorgeous yarns for a multitude of knitting projects.

Here are just a few yarns from our new collection, well received by our customers, hope you like them.

See all the colours of the dappled Northern Lights dance across your garments, subtly blending from shade to shade with this beautifully soft yarn. The simplest of garment shapes and stitch patterns can be transformed with Aurora, just knit away and see how the story unfolds.

A vibrant chunky yarn to brighten up the colder months, lusciously soft and light with tone on tone colour changes which drift gently from solid to blended and back to solid. A palette of ten bold colours ensure there is something to suit every one.

Wendy, Traditional Aran, 100% Pure British Wool.  As the name suggests this is a very traditional yarn!!  Made using 100% British wool, it is hardy, robust and great for outerwear.   It has the sort of handle which takes you back to childhood, when your mum used to wrap you up in thick jumpers for winter!!

Harris DK, like it’s big brother ( harris super chunky) is a wool blend yarn offered in a tight palette of 6 easy to wear natural stone shades.

That’s four yarns from our new collection, ideal for some winter woolies projects ! We like to hear from you, if there are yarns you think we should add to the collection, and love it when photographs of your makes are shared with us on facebook, showcasing some talented work.

To view our knitting supplies selection, click here.

Happy Knitting & Best Wishes

Andrea

Standish Quilters Event – Standish Community Centre

What a great day to be indoors ! Today we have been sheltered from the wind and rain at Standish Community Centre, showcasing a selection of our gorgeous fabrics at the Standish Quilters Event.

It’s a great time of year to be meeting talented sewers and chatting about planned makes and ideas. Halloween is just around the corner, and for the longer term, the Christmas Fabrics have arrived for those who like to be organised nice and early.

This gorgeous quilt below was donated for the charity raffle prize with proceeds generously given to the North West Blood Bikes Charity

 

The NWBB Charity are volunteers who ride motorcycles to collect and deliver urgently needed blood between NHS hospitals at no cost to the hospitals. A commendable service to those in need, by a great group of volunteers.

We have a vast collection of cotton fabric fat quarter bundles to cover all themes of quilting, and love it when we get to see the finished quilts produced by talented quilters.  Click here to view our Collection.

Our Moda Fabrics are very popular with quilters, we have a gorgeous selection of fabric by the half metre, Jelly Rolls, Layer Cake & Charm Packs, below is Gradients by Moda, a contemporary design in a range of beautiful colours, Click here to view the Moda Fabrics Collection. 

 

Here are some of the gorgeous quilts being showcased by the Standish Quilters Group today, we cant help but be inspired! What a multi talented group, we were spoiled with a selection of tasty cakes too during the day! Thank you ladies.

Standish Quilters have a Facebook page which can be accessed by clicking here.

Best Wishes

Andrea

 

Is it too early to be buying Christmas Fabrics ?

 

I know the gorgeous Mediterranean weather has only been gone for a week or so…..and hopefully there is an encore of sunshine to come but….. our Christmas Fabrics have started arriving at Always Knitting & Sewing from our suppliers.

This is the trigger when someone asks ” Is it too early to be buying Christmas Fabric?” We have all seen the Christmas Trees and decorations going up earlier and earlier at shopping centres each year, before we’ve had chance to finish off the treacle toffee, toffee apples and parkin ……but this is different…………or is it ?

 

Well I suppose its down to how organised we are with our festive sewing creations, buy early…more choice, more decisions, more ideas. Buy later Less choice, Less decisions, just get on with it !

We can’t decide either, so we don’t showcase our Christmas selection until nearer the time, but it always available to view online or at the shop, if you feel the urge for a Festive sneaky peak, click here to enjoy a bit of Christmas to come …….don’t let Santa catch you !

 

Whatever you decide, hope you love browsing through our Christmas selection at some stage !

Best Wishes

Andrea

New Option to Choose Fabrics by Colour at Always Knitting & Sewing

We have a new option, for helping you to view and select your fabrics. Hopefully this may be useful and easier when you have a colour in mind for your sewing and craft makes.

A new category ‘ Choose Fabrics by Colour ‘ has been added to the Category column on the left side of the Homepage. This then opens into a list of colours for you to select your preference.

 

 

We still have our other favourite fabric categories for you to choose from, if colour is not your primary requirement :

Cotton Fabric by the metre

Polycotton Fabric by the metre

Cotton Fabric Bundles

Polycotton Fabric Bundles 

Moda Cotton Fabric

More Premium Cotton Fabrics

Other Fabrics and Material

 

Twitter Birds Cotton Fabric at Always Knitting and Sewing Online Shop

At Always Knitting and Sewing we love our flowers and nature to make a happy envoironment in our lovely little oasis of all things Knitting and Sewing.

We always have our bird feeders replenished to help our feathered friends through the winter months, this year we have entered the RSPB ‘Big Garden Birdwatch’ in January !

This got us looking at the Birds related haberdashery in our shop, and was a great reminder of how great the birds designs are, and that lovely touch they add to sewing makes, so we selected our favourites to share with you on this blog.

Our ‘ Paradise’ 4 piece, fat quarter bundle of cotton fabrics, is definitely in the top three, beautiful designs with vibrant colours.

paraClose in contention for the tweeters at Always Knitting & Sewing is our ‘Tweet Bird’ design cotton fabric these fabrics are available in five colours and are ideal for nursery & children’s themed sewing makes. The stiching effect design around the birds is a lovely finishing touch.

tweetFor a more abstract designed fabric our ‘Swallows’ design cotton fabric scored highly, In Ivory and grey, with complimenting fabrics; dots & plains, this is a gorgeous cotton fabric bundle.

swallows

Our Indie inspired cotton fabric by Poppy, has artistic representation of the birds which contrasts perfectly with the chevrons & Circle designs in a similar colourway…..for me, these are top of the pile of our bird fabrics !

aquabirdsWe had some great fun and discussions around the bird cotton fabric’s, hope this blog can be of use to you in stimulating some creative sewing ideas and maybe even have a peak at the RSPB website for the Big Garden Birdwatch it’s not too late to grab a pack and see which visitors are tweeting in your garden !

We have many more bird designs fabrics available online at Always Knitting & Sewing Online Shop and an extensive range of many more Fabrics, Fat Quarter Bundles, Buttons, Ribbon & much more.

Best Wishes

Lucy