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Get ‘autumn cosy’ with soft furnishings

As September arrives the evenings are already feeling a bit more chilly as we sadly wave goodbye to our glorious summer.  As the evenings draw in, it’s time to make your home more warm and inviting.   So after you have been out blackberry and apple picking, then baked your pies and crumbles, you might want to relax indoors with some cosy soft furnishings.

You can add a warm glow to your living room by adding cushions, throws, rugs and other accessories.   To create a cosy feel, choose colours that are warm and welcoming like deep reds, plums, dusky pinks, autumn maple and chestnut brown. Navy blue is still a popular colour this season teamed up with gold.  Navy blue can work as a neutral or accent colour.

Brodie fabric collection by Kai

Gold, copper and brass also add a warmth and richness to your interior.  A great way to introduce these metallics is on the insides of lampshades or by adding photo frames and tealights.

Layering your soft furnishings helps achieve depth and gives a sense of luxury.  Mix texture, pattern and colour.  A room can seem a bit flat if one of these elements is missing. The bigger the fabric pattern the more full your room will feel.

Adrienne fabric collection by Kai

This Autumn we will see chunky knits, luxurious velvets and tartan checks. For the ultimate in cosiness a wool blanket or a faux fur throw will add texture and warmth and is lovely to snuggle up in.

For those dark interiors and with fewer daylight hours, add candles and lamps to brighten gloomy corners.

When your home is cosy and ready for Autumn, relax and snuggle up on your sofa with a good book.  Treat yourself to a big mug of hot chocolate and look forward to winter and lots of Christmas cheer.

 

 

Roman Blind – How to dress a window in a north facing room.

North Facing Window

This north facing window used to have short blackout curtains on a Geo stainless steel pole. The window is just over a metre drop and has a small Victorian style radiator underneath.  As the bedroom is a small room, the previous curtains jutting into the bedroom seemed to close the room in and make the room look smaller.

To maximise the space and light in this bedroom I decided to have a black out roman blind fitted outside the recess.  There is not a great deal of space between the ceiling and the top of the recess so the roman blind is fitted just under the ceiling.

Fitted just under ceiling

By placing the blind under the ceiling this gives the illusion that the window has a larger drop and makes the window look bigger.


When the roman blind is open the folds does not cover the glass too much and obscure the top of the window. This helps to maximize the light.

I wanted to create a modern look and in my opinion this was the perfect choice. The good news was that I didn’t need to buy a lot of fabric. Roman blinds needs much less fabric than curtains.

I could have had this fabric made into a blackout roller blind but the folds on a roman give a softer look in this instance.

Iliv birds Scandi fabric in colour capri

The fabric chosen is Iliv Scandi Birds colour Capri. It gives a modern fresh feel to this small bedroom.  I have made a matching drum lampshade and bed cushion.

Matching Drum Lampshade

These little birds have flown home to roost and I love them, I hope you do too.

Enjoy the bank holiday,  Sarah

How to make a Lavender Bag

You will need:

Fabric length 35cm x 12.5cm

Scissors

Needle

Cotton thread (colour to match the fabric)

Ribbon (approx 40cm length)

Dried Lavender

Fold the fabric right sides together to form an oblong.  Sew up each side with a seam allowance of 1cm,  keeping the top open.  Trim the corners so there is less bulk when you turn it inside out. Be careful not to trim too close to the stitching.

Fold the edge of the fabric down about 5cm

Next, turn the oblong right side out.  Your fabric is facing the right way now.  This is your basic bag.

Dried Lavender

Fill the bag with dried lavender.

Using a double thread using a basic running stitch, sew about 4.5cm down from the top of the folded fabric.  You need to hide the top raw edge inside the bag.

Pull the thread to form the ruffle and then tie off the cotton.

Lavender Bag

Tie the top of the bag with a contrast ribbon.

You can now place your pretty little bag in a drawer or wardrobe. They are perfect for making your clothes smell fresh and keeping moths at bay, or you can put them under your pillow to help you sleep.  I hope you enjoy making these as much as I do.   Best wishes  Sarah.

Inspired by Nature

Lavender and Sunflowers in Provence?   No this is Hitchin in sunny Hertfordshire where the fields are a beautiful purple and yellow from June until September. As you get out of the car the smell of the lavender is amazing. It is also reassuring to see lots of bees. Armed with scissors and a paper carrier bag given at the entrance, I picked to my heart’s content. I walked between the lavender rows to the brow of the rolling hill, then looked back at England’s pleasant countryside.

After a bite to eat at the on-site restaurant and a visit to the gift shop where I resisted the lavender chocolate for sale, I headed home.

 

As I left this wonderful place I thought ” What a great way to spend a sunny morning.”

At the moment the house smells of lavender which I am busily drying for future projects. In the meantime I have made some lavender bags.   I will show you how to make these in my next blog , they are very easy to make.

Home-made lavender bags

Best Wishes

Sarah

This fabric is a ‘reel’ find.

Hope to create something lovely with this fabric very soon when the weather is cooler.  This fabric is Ian Mankin Skye Check in colour oatmeal.  It is a cotton linen blend and being a weave has a very good weight to it.

In the meantime I am enjoying playing with some props in my workroom. I love my old cotton reels, so couldn’t resist having some of them in the photo and adding this old tape for good measure!

As if by magic….. I am very pleased with the result, just hope my customer is.  This is an interlined roman blind for their study.

Roman Blind in Ian Mankin Skye Check Oatmeal fabric

I hope this gives you some creative inspiration.  If not, please contact me and I will be happy to help.

Best Wishes Sarah

 

 

 

Fringe Benefit

Bullion, skirt and tassel fringe has made a comeback, you can now see it on sofas, armchairs, lampshades, cushions, footstools and even earrings.  This is good news for me as I have always been a fan of trimmings or passementerie.

Passementerie is the art in making beautiful trimmings such as tassels, braids, gold or silver cord, pom-poms, gimp, rosettes, fringing or edgings for clothing, uniforms or furnishings.

Ten years ago when I was learning the soft furnishings trade I was lucky enough to be given some ex display curtains with spare fabric.  The fabric was embroidered magnolias by Zoffany.  I decided to make a matching bed runner and cushions with the spare fabric then chose bullion fringe and ruche trimmings to compliment this.  I guess it was a little 1980’s but I wanted to know how to work with these embellishments.  I still like the minimal, crisp, no frills look, but equally I like an opulent decorative style. Who can resist those pom-pom flourishes on the right fabric.

The curtains and soft furnishings are now over 10 years old and are still in good condition.  The curtains, runner and cushions still look and feel great.  Trimmings are very good for covering a raw edge on furniture.  They can transform curtains if you place them on the edge you pull (leading edge) or they can soften a stripe or plain fabric on a roman blind.

Perhaps my next customer will ask for a rope embellishment on the curtain heading.  Or even better, a round tablecloth with a deep bullion fringe at the bottom.  Such happy memories…..

If you would like any advice choosing trimmings please feel free to contact me on 01442 808 809 and I shall be happy to help.  Best wishes, Sarah

 

 

How to Dress a Bathroom Window

Bathroom windows can be hard to dress especially if you have a small bathroom with lots of moisture and humidity. Finding the right product can be overwhelming.  If your bathroom window is overlooked, even with frosted glass,  you need to think about privacy especially at night when the light is on.  Whatever you choose it will need to be moisture resistant. Here, are a few ideas to help you decide which product to choose.

Roller blinds

Laminated Roller blind

Roller blinds are a popular choice for bathrooms as they are practical and cost effective.  They come in a variety of colours, textures and patterns.   They are also available in moisture resistant and waterproof PVC fabrics .  You can control the light during the day by pulling them up or down with a sidewinder chain.  They can be fixed within the recess or outside the recess.    You can also chose your own fabric and have it laminated (fabric is stiffened)  into a roller blind. However, you will need to send the manufacturer a sample of the fabric to see if it is suitable for lamination.  Be aware that lamination of your own fabric will not necessarily make it waterproof and some fabrics can fade in the sun.

Faux wooden Venetian blinds

50mm faux wood louvres

Are made from PVC which has the appearance of wood.  In fact it is hard to tell the difference between PVC and real wood.  Faux wood Venetians are waterproof and are available in different colours, either in a smooth or grain finish.   You can choose to have ladder string or tapes in complimentary colours.   There is also a choice of louvers/slat sizes.  You can maximize your privacy, shade and light control by operating the cord or  wand to tilt or close the louvers/slats.  The bottom louvre/slat is also weighted to sit on the window sill, this stabilizes the Venetian and stops it moving about on a windy day when the window is open.  Faux wooden Venetians are a cheaper alternative to shutters particularly if you select the larger sized louvers.   Venetian blinds have a timeless elegance and are suitable in modern and period properties.

Aluminium Venetians

Aluminium Venetian blinds are a smart option for bathrooms.  They are contemporary, light weight and affordable. Available in matt, gloss, on trend metallics and a large choice of colours.  They come in 16mm, 25mm, 35mm or 50mm louvre/slat sizes. With venetian blinds you can angle the louvers /slats to control the light and privacy.  Perfect for over looked windows and rust resistant making them a great choice for your bathroom.  If the window is open on a windy day, they can rustle slightly and sound like wind chimes.

Plantation Shutters

Shutters with hidden tilt rods.

Shutters are a popular solution.  This sleek sophisticated product has been specially designed for bathrooms where condensation could be an issue.  They are made of a durable ABS plastic which looks identical to the traditional wooden shutters. Shutters are also functional as well as stylish and allow control of light, shade and privacy.  They are available in a range of louvre sizes and colours as well as having rust proof hinges.  Tilt rods operate the louvers to control the light and hidden tilt rods are also available.  Remember that shutters have to open into the room and this may not be possible if space is tight and your sink taps are in the way.  All shutters are custom made to fit your windows and come with a guarantee.   Shutters are more expensive than the other products but with a little care will last for many years.

Roman Blinds

Roman Blind

Suitable if you want a softer look to the window.  Choose lighter colours in a pattern as watermarks will show on plain fabrics.  Do not have blinds resting near the glass as they will be prone to mill dew.  Try to choose light weight fabrics as they will become heavy with moisture. Also be aware of the fabric fading in the sun.  If you choose natural fabrics, try to keep the bathroom well ventilated so that the moisture from the steam has chance to dry.

Curtains

Curtains are more traditional but can make a statement in large bathrooms.  Do not choose heavy fabrics like velvets and avoid silks. I recently found some lovely vintage fabric which is a light towelling.   There are also some PVC fabrics which are waterproof.  Some ready-made curtains are washable,  but are only available in standard sizes, so you may have to pay for alterations to make them fit your window. If you decide to have curtains, try to use a stainless steel pole, aluminium or plastic track to avoid rusting.  Also remember that curtains close the room in, so if you have a small bathroom choose blinds to create space.  Curtains are either opened or closed so you cannot filter the light during the day.

Fitting

When possible always get a professional track fitter to fit these products for you unless you know someone who is very good at DIY.  Bathrooms generally have tiles and in some cases need specialist drill bits to ensure a good job.

Decisions

The end decision is generally based on your bathroom size, budget and your personal preference.  All the window dressings I have mentioned offer advantages  and there are other products on the market.  When choosing your  product, try to select the best quality product you can afford as this will ensure a durable and cost effective result.

If you would like any further advice or information on choosing the right window dressing for your bathroom window call  01442 808809 or fill in the contact form and I shall be happy to help.  Best Wishes Sarah

 

How to Make Gift Labels using Fabric Remnants

If you love fabrics as much as I do it always feels wrong to throw away even the smallest scraps of fabric. As a soft furnisher there are only so many covered buttons you can make! Of course you could keep them for a future patchwork project or donate them to schools.
Instead I thought I would show you how you can create some eye-catching labels with tiny pieces of fabric.

This summer I wanted to make some Elderflower cordial. I recycled some used bottles which were a bit plain and because I wanted to give a couple of bottles as gifts they needed prettying up. I decided to make some gift labels and use the small pieces of fabric. As you see they can turn a drab bottle into something more personal.

 

Elderflower cordial and sparkling water, so refreshing on a hot day. Cheers!

Here’s a step by step guide on how to create some beautiful labels for bottles, jars or presents.

You will need:

thin card (any colour will do)
fabric remnants
small eyelet machine (hole punch if you do not have one)
pen (calligraphy if you have one)
ribbon
pinking shears
sellotape

The labels have three sections.

First step, cut your card to fit the bottle, jar or present. This is down to personal preference. My card label size was 5cm x 9cm.
Next step, using your pinking shears, cut some fabric slightly smaller than the card so the card creates a slight border.
Then cut the top label. My size was 1.5cm x 8cm. (This is the section you write on)
Next, stack each section on top of each other

Place all sections on top of each other

Then using an eyelet machine or hole punch, make a hole to go through all three.

I added an eyelet for extra decoration but you don’t have to.
Write on your top card section.


Thread some ribbon or raffia through the label.

You now have some lovely personalised labels.  Tie to the bottle or use sellotape to secure.

Home-made cordial

I hope you enjoy making these. Good luck. Sarah. x

Fabric

I could not resist buying these cat prints……now what can I make with these lovely fabrics I wonder? A variation today from making blinds and curtains, instead I have decided to make some handbag size tissue holders. The paws fabric was used for the lining. I think they look great in my wooden trug.