Sunday, 31 July 2011

Spotlight On Melissa White!

Fairlyte Butterfly Carnival Faded

I was a winner winner chicken dinner and won this fabulous fabric taking part in a VeryBerryHandmade & Fancy Moon Giveaway.  The prize was 2 meters of fabric of my choice from Fancy Moon and whilst I considered 8 Fat Quarters for my stash, I couldn't resist this beautiful fabric Fairlyte Butterfly Carnival Faded and thought how lovely it would be to have a fabulous chunk to myself!

My second win was discovering the fabulous designer/artist of this fabric, Melissa White, who has blown me away with her eye for delicate beauty, which is strangely evocative and familiar, maybe from a previous life?

Melissa White

Melissa works from her Fairlyte workshop in Hastings on the Sussex coast England.  Her passion is pattern and decorative design, which shows in her fabulous textiles.  Influenced by her extensive catalogue of original 16th & 17th century designs, reproducing rare and wonderful designs that were once abundant in our ancestors' homes.

5 designs in 4 colourways

Back in 2007 Kaffe Fassett and Brandon Mably chanced upon Melissa's studio and were inspired enough to recommend her to Westminster.  Last year Westminster Fibers invited her to design for them working as part of the Rowan Fabrics branch of the company.  She has produced two collections with a third in production.

Blossom Swirl
This collection launched in January 2011 called Fairlyte Garden after her business name Fairlyte.
The 5 designs evolved from a large fresco secco painting she did in 2009 (below) when she was playing with elements of Chinoiserie and scraps of vintage fabric.
The design process for fabric was very different to how she usually works, painting in a way that meant being able to separate the colours, put the designs into a working repeat and think on a smaller scale than she was used to. 

The biggest challenge was keeping her signature style of ageing and distressing the surface; how to incorporate cracks and worn areas. There are limitations and some of her cracking didn't translate so well into fabric, looking more like batik in print, so she had to adapt her techniques. 

Here's a shot from her workshop last year. At the bottom are her original paintings for Butterfly Carnival, Medusa Tree and Bug Hunt.
She rarely sews so if you ever use any of her fabrics you should drop her line so she can see how people use her fabrics, learn from feedback and adapt/develop her style as she works on future collections. 

2nd collection - launches August 2011

MISAKI 8 designs in 4 colourways. 

Coming soon is this larger collection of Oriental inspired designs. Here's a sneak preview:

The Misaki Collection by Melissa White 

3rd Collection - launches Jan 2012

TO BE NAMED She is currently working on her third collection, which should come out in January if all goes well. She's started painting in gouache on paper rather than with pigments on fresco as before.  Here's a sneak preview: 
New work in progress 

A favourite of Melissas', it's inspired by an exhibition in Paris which was a retrospective of one of her favourite artists Odilon Redon.

Here's a little montage of some of her overall work.

Some of Melissa's fresco secco paintings 
...and here are some Elizabethan designs hand painted on linen for cushions and curtains and as fresco secco panels.

A mosaic of Elizabethan designs.
Lastly, I had to finish with these gorgeous Dragon Cushions. Melissa was invited by exclusive department store, The General Trading Company, London, to supply a collection of hand painted velvet dragon cushions. The design is based on an Elizabethan wall painting found in a house in Surrey.

Elizabethan wall painting.

Cushions in the workshop.
Newly painted Dragon cushions piled up ready for delivery to London
Melissa also paints textiles such as curtains, cushions and wall hangings.  She says "linen is wonderful to paint on be it luxurious, dense new linens or gnarly old antique French linens prickling with flax fibres. I paint on velvet too and I am always looking out for light coloured old velvets that are faded and worn as they suit being painted in washed out, nostalgic colour."

I hope you have enjoyed looking through Melissa's inspirational work.  To see more check out her Blog and websites and Fairlyte Elizabethan

There's also a great feature on Melissa at the gorgeous Blog Lobster & Swan, which concentrates more on Melissa's overall artwork.

Where to buy:  Visit Westminster for Store Locator.  Or for in the UK you can order a selection from the Fairlyte Garden Collection at the wonderful Fancy Moon'purveyor of fine fabrics'.  

Just a last point, we're off on holiday Monday morning for the week so I'll kind of be 'incommunicado', so to speak, but looking forward to blogging again soon.  Have a fabulous week and enjoy what apparently is going to be a glorious week in the UK.  I'm so glad we decided not to go abroad!

Thank you as always for dropping by!

Thursday, 28 July 2011

And The Winner is...

I am utterly thrilled with the response to my new website, the best wishes and positive feedback have been overwhelming. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Loads of you have already signed up as Users and Sellers with the plan to load all your lovely fabric and sewing items when you've had a destash or after Summer Holidays, so thank you for taking the time to load your information already.

And now what you've all been patiently been waiting for, the Winner Winner Chicken Dinner (I love that expression) is (as chosen by the Random Number Generator)

robin said...


Thank you Robin as you very kindly did all three. Drop me a line to let me know whether you would like Happiness or Good Luck along with your address.

And THANK YOU you all again for taking part and spreading the word about my new website, I sincerely appreciate it!

Last note, I missed mentioning one of my lovely Beta Users, which is shameful as she is such a lovely Blogging friend, so thank you so much for your invaluable help:

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Happy Mochi Yum Yum Fabric Giveaway to Celebrate My New Website! CLOSED

The Giveaway Winner can choose between a Fat Quarter Bundle of Happiness (14 FQs) or Good Luck(15 FQs).  Designed by the delicious Monica at Happy Zombie.

But to begin with I have been so excited about telling you about my new and exciting website, a place to buy and sell all things fabric.

There is no listing fee so along with my previous posts about 'free' fabric stock and what makes to sell you can truly start an online fabric related business within a niche marketplace without spending a bean!

What's so great about niche?  Because it's only fabric related there is no getting lost amongst handmade items such as jewellery or hand thrown pottery or even used cars and fridge freezers on auction websites.

And it's not just for selling fabric pieces, other fabric (sewing) related categories include:
  • Sewing Patterns
  • Sewing Books/Magazines
  • Haberdashery
  • Handmade Goods
  • Vintage Clothing
  • Vintage Fabric
  • Sewing Machines
Maybe you already have a small fabric related business and sell elsewhere but looking for an alternative online marketplace with free listing and fabric specific, in which case please give a try.

On to my Giveaway, I would be really grateful if you could spread the word about my new website by doing any of the following, giving you up to 3 chances to win:

ENTRY 1:  Blog about my Giveaway and new website, leave a comment.

ENTRY 2. Tweet about my Giveaway, leave a comment.

ENTRY 3.  Add a button to your web page.  Simply copy the HTML code below and in your Blogger account choose 'layout', click 'add gadget', choose 'html' and in the blank box paste the code and save.  Leave a comment confirming you have a button on your website.

Thank you so much if you have done any of the above, I really appreciate you spreading the word.  Good Luck with the Giveaway!

The Giveaway will close 10pm BST Wednesday 27th July 2011 and a Winner will be picked at random soon after that.
I just want to give a quick mention to thank all my lovely Beta User volunteers who gave me some fantastic feedback:
Sally at Ditzy and Dotty
Linnhe Mara
Amber H.
Ali at veryberryhandmade
Jenny at Jenny Arnott textiles

And thank you to the Erin at ErinBradleyDesigns, Etsy who designed my fantastic logo/banner.

Thank you, as always, for dropping by.

GIVEAWAY NOW CLOSED.  Winner will be announced in the next day or so.  Many thanks for taking part.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

And the Winner is......

So here it is, I made a patchwork picnic blanket, as you can see I'm not the greatest patchwork seamstress in the world!

And so the Winner is Jennifer W. who said...A picnic quilt?  Although it's not quite a quilt as I didn't fill it or 'quilt' it, I just gave it a backing but 'picnic quilt' was the nearest to the correct answer.

Jennifer W please email me your address so I can send you a small bundle of tartan offcuts.

Many thanks for everyone took part in my fun giveaway, there were some great suggestions and some very funny ones, 'banana warmer' from the  The undomesticated scientist was a particular favourite.

And in case any of you are curious, I made this for my daughters's teacher using the fabulous Monaco by Monaluna (a craft crush of mine) with a little Urban Circus, Robert Kaufman for the elephant border as the teacher is from South Africa.

And I made some travel trays for Teaching Assistants.
Thank goodness all that intense sewing is over..... until next year!

Monday, 18 July 2011

Sneak Peek of Monaluna's Taali Collection

As we would expect from Jennifer Moore at Monaluna, they are utterly adorable!
The colours are fresh yet calming, thoughts of spearmint and eucalyptus.
The designs are a mix of contemporary landscapes and perfect symmetry (I love the cheeky scooter tucked in there).
There has to be something for everyone here, not least of all me!

As always, thanks for dropping by.  :)

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Fun Tartan Fabric Quiz and Giveaway!

Woohoo!  My Scottish delivery arrived from Ald Kiltmakers in Clydebank, Scotland, a lovely bundle of tartan kilt off cuts.  I'm using this to make my eldest son's male teacher a gift.  These are the pieces I have picked out, can you guess what it will be?

And so to my fun little Giveway.  To enter all you have to do is leave a comment with your guess as to what I'm going to make with this tartan wool fabric.

The winner will be the nearest to guess and I'll send them a small bundle of tartan fabric.  It won't be exactly the same colours as the ones in the picture as I've taken the bright ones out for my project.

If there is more than one entry with the correct answer they will all be put in a hat and a winner picked out.  You can leave as many guesses as you wish.

The closing date will be next Wednesday 20th July, when I hope to post the finished project.

Thanks for joining in the fun and Good Luck!

Tuesday, 12 July 2011

A Stroke of Luck Has Helped My Sewing Season...

I call it my 'sewing season' because it's coming up to the end of the Summer Term and I have to rack my brains as to what to make the children's teachers (and their teaching assistants).

Previously it has been various lap quilts, wrapped sterling silver jewellery, lavender bags and seed bead bracelets (I went through a jewellery making phase a couple of years ago).

Right back to my stroke of luck and the super lunch bag you see above.  Well, recently I was lucky enough to win the sewing pattern of a Yum Yum lunch bag designed by the very talented Sally of Ditzy&Dotty.

Check out her Blog and website as she designs and makes some really cute and cool bags and purses.

And with just a Fat Quarter (I chose Nicey Jane by Heather Bailey), a FQ of remnant curtain lining and some interfacing, all of which most of us have in our stash.  I managed to whiz the bag up in less than 2 hours, you'll probably do it in less as I had to do some unpicking and re-stitching (I'm a bit under the weather at present so errors were expected).

I haven't added the fastening button as I didn't have one in my stash that I thought would do the bag justice, I have a few days yet to find one.

I am so pleased with the result as I've always been nervous of making a bag (all that interfacing talk put me off) and for a first attempt it's not too bad.

So this will be for my eldest son's teaching assistant who's a very sweet neighbour too, which justifies the effort.

Only 3 projects left, two of which I'm waiting on fabric deliveries from Scotland and USA, fingers crossed they arrive soon!

Let me know if you sew gifts for teachers, maybe we can share ideas as I do try to make something different each year.

Thanks as always for dropping by!

Tuesday, 5 July 2011

Converting Curtains To Roman Blinds

Now I'm not professing this to be a "How To Convert Curtains to Roman Blinds" as my photos are few and diagrams ..... none.  This is just my brave attempt whilst clever web people sort out some glitches on my new website (which I hope to post about very soon).
Well, here is one of the curtains in situ, I made them about 6 years ago and with little children 'swinging' on them daily they're beginning to sag and need a new lease of life.  Luckily I made each curtain the width of the window so one curtain was all I needed to make the blind - plus I used the lining of the matching curtain to make the dowelling pockets.

Materials Needed:

  • 2.5cm square wooden batten - width of blind.
  • Self adhesive hook and sew on loop fastener - width of blind.
  • Lengths of wooden dowelling - width of finished blind less 3cm.
  • 12mm plastic rings.
  • 4 screw in eyelets.
  • wooden acorn.
  • 3x lengths of cord (each width of finished blind plus twice length.
  • Wall cleat.
  • Pair of old curtains.

First instructions are to attach your batten and press self adhesive hook fastener along batten front, we actually did that at the end as it was a 'blue job' and my husband was at work when I started.
First off the very satisfying job of using my seam ripper removing the curtain tape and to unpick the hem.
Next is to create a dowel pocket along bottom edge, stitching 6mm from raw edge.  At this point it says to insert dowel but I thought it would be really tricky trying to sew with dowel in place.
Then to create pleats.  Lay lining side up and measure 5cm from the top - mark pencil line across width of blind.  Divide remaining blind into 20-30cm pleats, finish with half a pleat at the bottom.  Pencil line across width.
Here are my 8cm strips of fabric, from the lining of the other curtain, to make the doweling pockets. You fold the strips in half, stitch along raw edge, 1cm seam at the end.  Turn through and press.
Pockets sewn and pressed ready to stitch on to the blind.
The pockets were centered on the pencil line and pinned in place.  I stitched along each edge through all thicknesses, ensuring the fabric didn't pucker.  Sewing on the pockets was a nightmare as it's black out lining and incredibly thick so my machine was not happy at all - he did well though, under the circumstances.
Dowels were slipped into pockets and ends slip stitched.
Then I marked the centre point of each pocket and stitched on the plastic rings and then repeated 5 cm each pocket end.

I didn't take a picture, but I then turned in top hem and pinned in place before sewing on the sew on loop fastener and attached to batten.

Eyelets are screwed to under side of batten, aligned with rings on the blind.  Fourth eyelet is screwed in the end where all the cords come together and the end where the blind will operate from.

Right here's the stringing bit:
  • Tie each length of cord to each of the three rings on the lowest pleat. 
  • Then thread each length of cord through each of the rings above it passing through the eyelet.
  • Pass the cord through the eyelets, finishing on the working side of the batten. 
  • Trim the cords to a suitable length and thread on a wooden acorn. 
  • Fix a cleat in place on the wall and use to secure the cords.

So here it is in place, not bad for a first attempt.  I've mounted it on the wall rather than the window recess as the gathered blind would block the top window and not allow any ventilation on hot sticky days (without opening the large window, which I'm not keen to do with small children bouncing round the house) and it's a south facing window.

I'm converting the curtains in the other bedroom next although they have black out fabric too, but I'll replace with calico as it was so hard sewing so many thick layers together. (Long story why there are hulk stickers with flower curtains!

And the great thing is I still have a length of the flower fabric left, any suggestions what to make with it - apart from a lampshade or cushions, which I made when I originally made the curtains?

If you want to see the full version of how to make Roman Blinds from scratch check out the HouseToHome website here.

I hope you enjoyed my attempt at 'blind conversion', I was surprised just how easy it actually was.

As always, thanks for dropping by.