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  • What do you do when a Young Elf looses her Jingle?  Well! here at Direct Sewing Machines we make her a pair of Stripey Ankle Bells,

    Here is how we did it.

    1. Fold an A4 Sheet of paper in half to get A5

    2.Take the top layer and fold the bottom edge to meet the fold , crease in the diagonal line

    3. Take the top layer and fold it back to the lefthand fold and crease

    4. open out this last fold on the creaseline measure and mark 5cm up from the point and draw a horizontal line

    5. Mark another line 3cm after that and Draw a horizontal line

    6. Measure up 10cm and mark with a dot,

    7. Draw a line from the dot to the edge of the last line, this will give you a diamond shape, (although not even both ends)

    8, Cut out this diamond shape 

    9. fold the lower point under on the 5cm line, use the shape that is left as your pattern

    10 Cut out 16 (8 per ankle) when using stripes take care to get the stripes running central as shown


    Sewing up


    1. Devide the penants into pairs with the right sides together 


    2. Sew along one short edge of each pair

    3, open out and press seam to one side.

    4, Devide into pairs agian and sew one short edge on each pair, giving you rows of 4, 

    5. open out and Press

     6. now place the these into 2 pairs and Sew both short edges to create 2 rings,

    7, open out and Press seams.

    8, If this doesn't lie flat on the mat you may need to tweake some of the seams as per image on the right 


    9. Lay right sides down on the backing fabric.

    10. Rough Cut  to make pieces more managable.

    11. Stitch all around the outer edge 1/4" from top layer edge

    12. take great care to pivot at the point and at the seams

    13. Trim the backing fabric to match top and snip into V shape at seam, reduce seamallowance of the point

    14. Fold in half and snip base layer only.

    15. Open out and use this snip to allow you to cut out the inner octagon to match top layer

    16. turn rightsides out and push out points carefully with a blunt point.

    17. Sew the the layers together at the inner octagon, approx 1/4"

    18. Snip into the angles. fold under to the stitched line

    19. Take enough elastic to go around the ankle make sure it will stretch over the  Foot

    20. Sew it into a ring

    21. Using a 3 Step Zigzag and Craft Foot attach the penants to one edge of the elasic make sure the raw edges of the fabric are folded under and get trapped by the stitch and elastic.

    22.be carefull to stretch  the elastic evenly, devide into 1/4's to make this easier and more even

    23. Hand sew a bell to each point

    Hey! Jingle Bells all done.

    Here's a photo of the Elf in action Santa was very pleased with her.

    Try wearing a set it makes you smile to hear your feet jingle,


     Enjoy! Merry Christmas One and All.

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    Sew A Cosy Fire 07 December 2017 | Comments (0)

    There is nothing nicer than snuggling up next to a fire in winter, but when you don't have a fireplace why not sew a fireplace wall hanging. We wanted to have something different in the window for Christmas and hence the fire idea formed. This months blog describe how we appliqued this wall hanging together.





    1. After a quick sketch, I started rumaging around in the scrap fabric that we have in the shop. I needed a background that looked like a wallpaper and we had a piece of soft furnishing fabric from Laura Ashley that looked like a nice floral paper.

    2. Next I needed something for the fireplace and I turned to some faux suede soft furnishing fabric for the brickwork. The background fabric was a handy length of around 2m and I used the full width of 1m40.  For all the other shapes of the panel, I placed the fabric on the background and then cut to size by eye rather than tape measure.  

    Background, fireplace and brickwork placement.3. I accentuated the brickwork with a 5mm silver grey ribbon which was sewn with a decorative stitch to add texture. The machine used for this project was the Janome Atelier 5, one of thier semi long arm machines. I choose this to assist in the maneovering of th fabric whilst sewing.

    As I was sewing through several layers, of differnt fabrics and thickness, the walking foot was essential to stop everything from slipping and moving whilst sewing.


    The decorative stitch used was a brick stitch which has a straight stich on each side. (mode 2, no 18 stitch on the Atelier 5).






    4. Once the brickwork was stitched down, the fireplace was appliqued using a zig zag satin stitch with a 3mm width. I cut and added the mantle, but used the reverse of the faux suede, which was darker, so there was a slight difference between fireplace and mantle.

    5.  Now for the fire itself - first the hearth, which was a piece of crinkle red shot satin sewn right side down. This gives subtle very dark burgandy colour for the flames to stand out on.

    6. The flames were made with wool roving felted together. I did use the Janome Embellisher 725 to felt the colours together, however this could be hand felted. Again to create texture and depth, I incorporated some gold twinkle organza.



    7. Candlesticks for the mantle, drew out a rough pattern and then cut some yellow cotton and the twinkle gold organza to get a brass look colour and effect. Using the same satin stitch settings as before appliqued them down. The flames were free motion embroidered.


    8. Now for the finishing touch, the picture of the family dog Buddy.  I took a photo of Buddy and in a graphics programe removed the back ground, then printed onto plain calico fabric using an ink jet printer using the Freezer paper method. This is a technique I found on the internet and there are loads of blogs and you tube videos, all of which have different tips and techniques. Depending on type pf printer or ink used will give different result, and you may need to pretreat to make the fabric waterproof. But check out several blogs and videos. I've included a  link to one of the blogs if you want to get an idea. https://thegraphicsfairy.com/print-fabric-freezer-paper-method-2/

    Before  framing Buddy with a burgandy fabric, I free motion quilted round him to make him stand out and then picture was just topstitched onto the fabric with a straight stitch.

    10. After binding the edge, the only thing left to do is trim the fireplace with Christmas decorations which had to be gold tinsel as that has been a tradition in shop since we opened in 1963. Of course it would not be complete without a Christmas.

    If you woud like to see it person, then the fireplace in hanging in our Christmas window. I must confess I had great fun making this project.

    Wishing you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year from everyone here in the shop.



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    Inspiration - when does it strike and trigger the brain cell to sew!

    As a demonstrator and tutor in the shop, I often get aked how do I get ideas or inspirations for sewing projects.  Sometimes I use patterns and other times just go with the flow. That is the route I took when doing this project for the shop.

    These amazing horror movie poster fabric panels have been in the shop for a whie and with Halloween next month it seemed the ideal time to use.

    Taking these as my inspiration, I wanted the panels to do the talking so I would use black fabric and the Mettler shaded quilting thread for the quilting and that is as far as the planning went.

    Inititally I was going to cut strips of black fabric and piece them to the panels and put them together in a random nature, but I changed my mind.

    I have now decided to applique the panels to the black fabric. Next debate to quilt the panels individually?, quite like this idea and after a bit of a play that what I will do.

    One of the great things about sewing projects in a sewing machine shop is that I can choose which machine to use. So for this project I picked the Pfaff Ambition 1.0 which has built in walking foot which will be handy for the quliting.

    This is how I made the quilt:-

    1. Placed batting and some calico behind the individual panels and free motion quilted to highlight certain parts of the design.

    2. I used an applique stitch, (on the Pfaff Ambition, known as Pin Stitch) to sew the panels down in the same colour as the border of each panel.

    3. I wanted to leave the panels as the main focus of the quilt, so to quilt my layers together I will echo quilt around each panel. Using straight stitch and the Mettler shaded (no 9840) thread, which had all the colours featured on the panels.

    4. Although it is traditional to cut strips of fabric for binding, I haven't gone down this route. A combination of time and not the right coloured fabric made the decision to use bias binding by the metre. We had a 25mm wide bias in the bright green that complemented and framed the quilt nicely.

    5. To finish the binding I used a decorative stitch to sew the binding in place. I like to do this sometimes as it can give a great effect. 

    Voila!,  here's the final result, may need to take this home to hide under on Halloween when watching some of these old horror movies.

    Hope you have a good Halloween!


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