A few weeks ago I was asked by the lovely team at White Stuff if I’d like to take part in their Crafternoons and, being an absolute sewing junkie, I couldn’t wait to share my obsession with the great British public! I learnt to sew as a child and now teach sewing classes, so jumped at the chance to travel to five White Stuff shops across the South East to teach ‘Crafternoon’ workshops and help spread the 'Love of Lo-Fi'.
Over the course of a week, I travelled to Brighton, Islington, Marlow, Beaconsfield and Newbury to teach a sewing class making a pair of hanging heart-shaped lavender bags, decorated with tiny pearl beads. If you missed out on the crafting fun, fear not. Simply follow the instructions below to make your own scented heart to hang in your wardrobe…
You will need:
Scraps of fabric – I used linen but any woven fabric would work
20cm of ribbon
Needle and thread
Pearl seed beads
1. Draw a heart shape on paper to your desired size and cut out – mine was around 13cm x 9cm. Pin the pattern to your fabric and cut out a pair of hearts. The fabric I used was linen, but as long as it doesn’t stretch you could use anything you like.
2. Thread up your needle with a single thread. Placing your two hearts wrong sides together, start your stitching at the bottom point of the heart. Rather than tying a knot in the thread which can easily slip through the fabric, if you stitch three tiny stitches on top of each other, all in the same place, quite tightly, this will start you off more effectively than a knot.
3. Using a backstitch, sew around the edge of the heart with about 1cm of seam allowance, keeping the stitches nice and small. When you reach the top curve of your heart, fold your length of ribbon in half and slip it in between the two pieces of fabric. Carry on stitching until there is a gap of 5cm left.
4. Using a teaspoon, fill the heart with the dried lavender until it is well filled but not too round. Then continue stitching up the hole, again using a backstitch. Finish off by sewing three tiny stitches on top of each other in the same place, as when you started, and cut off any loose threads.
5. Once the whole heart has been stitched up, thread up your needle again with a single thread. Using a single running stitch rather than a backstitch, go around the whole line of stitching again, this time sewing a bead on with every other stitch until you have a line of beads framing your heart. Finish your stitching in the same way as in step 4 and voila! Your lavender bag is complete.
The great thing about making lavender bags is that they are ideal for using up remnants of fabric leftover from other projects and make great presents. How lovely would they look in a bright floral Liberty print and stripy ribbon, or a gingham with multicoloured button decoration? The possibilities are endless! Why not try it yourself?
Laurel’s Sewing Tips:
- If you’re new to sewing, build yourself a basic sewing kit that contains needles, threads in black, white, cream, grey and navy, pins, a tape measure, some good little embroidery scissors and an unpicker – a necessary tool!
- Visit your local market or haberdashery and stock up on cheap fabric remnants, a few zips, some ribbons, trims and buttons before buying the good stuff. That way if you make mistakes on your first few projects you haven’t wasted expensive materials.
- Practice makes perfect! If at first you don’t succeed, persevere. I always tell my students you wouldn’t sit down at a piano and expect to play Mozart after a few lessons (not that sewing is as hard as Mozart…) so don’t be put off if you make mistakes. Learn from them!
Little Black Book:
- John Lewis: An invaluable resource for haberdashery, it’s ideal for last minute bits and pieces. Branches nationwide. www.johnlewis.com
- Daisy Shop: Supplier of dried flowers for crafting, it’s where I buy my lavender – great value for money! www.daisyshop.co.uk
- VV Rouleaux: Slightly pricey, but an absolute ribbon wonderland. Silk, velvet, wired; you name it, they have it. You’ve been warned… 102 Marylebone Lane, London W1U 2QD www.vvrouleaux.com
- Shaukat: A brilliant hidden gem for Liberty fabrics in every print imaginable, much cheaper than the store itself. Don’t tell them I told you though… 170-172 Old Brompton Road, London SW5 0BA
- Cotton Patch: My favourite online store for patchwork fabric, they stock cottons from well-known fabric brands like Moda and Rowan, as well as pre-cut packs, accessories and tools. www.cottonpatch.co.uk
- Donna Flower: If vintage is your thing, Donna’s fabrics are to die for – she stocks fabrics dating back to the 19th century! www.donnaflower.com
Laurel Waldron is a sewing teacher, writer and blogger available for private tuition and commissions. Learn more about her crafty endeavours at www.lovelaurelx.blogspot.co.uk or on Twitter @LoveLaurelx