Thursday, 4 August 2016

Frankie's Lilou Dress With Hawaiian Floral
By Frankie Carson at KnitWits-Owls

This dress! I mean THIS DRESS! Sometimes you can have an awesome pattern and awesome fabrics and it's still a bit lacking, but not this time! I love this dress, Rikki likes this one too.

I don't normally do colour, but as soon as I saw this fabric on The Craft Cotton Company website, I fell in love! I had visions of myself strutting down a sunny street with beach boys playing in the background. It's like someone took the whole of summer (outside of England) and wove it into a print! It's 100% cotton, didn't shrink in the wash, ironed beautifully and no colours ran at all! It was a dream to sew with and to cut out; it doesn't shift and you can finger press a lot of your seams.

I didn't bother pattern matching, but I did cut all of my pieces the same way up. The only problem that I have with this dress is that the zip is out by 0.5cm, but I've added a big button and I think it looks quite good to be honest (especially since I didn't have to unpick everything!).

So let's get to the nitty gritty! The top of the dress is the Lilou bodice from love at First Stitch by Tilly and the Buttons. However, I hacked the bodice so I could keep with the 60's beach boys theme and have tie shoulders! It was a really simple hack and I think it looks awesome!

TO see how I made this amazing dress, just visit my blog:

Also, you can watch the video I made for this dress:

 This has to be my favourite Lilou dress so far, and I absolutely love the fabric that I picked- bright, colourful and perfect for Summer!

Friday, 17 June 2016

Inspiration and Ideas Using Pinterest!

There are lots of places where you can find inspiration but Pinterest is one of our favourites!

Pinterest is a great way to find and share inspiration for all of your creative projects. With people all over the world contributing their unique ideas, there will never be a shortage of fresh concepts, projects and designs.

You can follow hundreds of boards, trends and other people to see what inspires them and  to see what ideas they have. Our favourites are; Design Seeds, Hobbycraft and It's Always Autumn, they provide plenty of projects, colour palettes, pictures and tutorials that we love  to share with our followers!

We are proud to have 47 Pinterest boards packed with over 3.8k ideas. We have several boards full of sewing projects, patterns and tutorials for every occasion and boards showing colour palettes, nature pictures and top trend's for the season, so there really is something for everyone!

Our most popular boards include Interior Design, Sewing Patterns and Sewing Projects. You can also find all of our original and free tutorials on our Pinterest and share them with your followers too!

Wednesday, 8 June 2016

Name: Anna Clark


Where did your love for crafting start? Where did you learn your skills?

I was off work and came across Create and Craft TV and started from there. I started like most people; making cards and then moved on to jewellery-making and then started evening classes for sewing and haven’t stopped since. 
I started sewing classes at my local college and loved it! Unfortunately there are not so many classes now, but I go to my local sewing shops which are good! 

What is your favourite craft activity and why?

Sewing is my favourite as I can see things coming together. I love to attend classes and catch inspiration on TV and in magazines. 

What is your favourite craft item to make?

I love to make bags, cushion covers, quilts and basically anything else sewing related. 

Describe your crafting space.

Work space…messy table in the living room! I would love a space in the back garden, but it’s not got a big enough at the moment.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

Inspiration from TV shows and classes, magazines and shows that I love to attend, normally on a monthly basis.

Which items can you not live without when crafting?

I could not live without my sewing machine or electricity! I had a day off from work and was going to make a quilt for my nephew, unfortunately couldn’t due to no electricity, although thinking about it now, I have a very heavy old Singer Machine I could have used.

Out of all of your projects you have made which one are you most proud of and why?

I made a minion bag for a work colleague and she uses it every day which is great to see. I sent a bag to a friend, apparently her mum loved it so much that she now has it! I am making her another.

Do you have any favourite designers or brands that inspire you?

I like Sarah Payne, her demo's and classes are great. I go to her classes when I can. I am going to a weekend group with Wendy Gardiner which I am really looking forward to. 

What are your crafty plans for the future?

Plans for the future, more craft, less work. I would love to have my own little business, but I need a bit of confidence!

Tuesday, 7 June 2016

Name: Beth

Where did your love for crafting start? Where did you learn your skills?

I have crafted from a very early age, embroidering my first tray cloth at the age of 5.  My mum was a dressmaker, tailor and an embroiderer amongst many other things, so I initially got my skills from her and my Grandmother. I went to night classes at the age of 16 to do City and Guilds Dressmaking and Tailoring as my mum always insisted us kids were multi-skilled.  I also knit, hand embroider and I love doing cross-stitch.

What is your favourite craft activity and why?

I have always been passionate about sewing and embroidery and around 20 years ago I got involved in paper crafts and card making which means I now have thousands of die cutters and a number of various cutting machines. I always went back to my roots of sewing and around 7 years ago, I got into machine embroidery, which I love. I don’t seem to get much time these days for card making due to the constant sewing and embroidering I do for other people, but I am in the process of setting up a new sewing business, and hopefully this will take off!  I am currently beginning to make stock for the sale on the new website when it is sorted.

What is your favourite craft item to make?

My favourite craft items to make are all bespoke embroidered cushion covers, vintage style aprons, tote bags and quilts.

How do you choose the materials that you work with?

The materials I choose have to be of good quality or they don’t last, and they must also be the correct type of materials for the project at that time. Finding the correct interfacings has been an arduous task over the years as quality differs so much. Everything I make has to be machine washable especially for the aprons, cushion covers and tote bags due to the constant wear.  This means they have to be easy to look after as well as being hard wearing.  I love colour and often put unusual colours together. Often people will say “oh no, not those together’’, but when they see the finished item they will usually say “oh yes I like that combination made up’’.  Don’t get me wrong, I have some disasters, but not to worry, it is all a learning curve so just move on!  I also look for value for money in my materials.  Very expensive isn’t always the best I have found.

Describe your crafting space.

My craft room…..oh dear.   Cluttered.  Sometimes very messy.  NEVER big enough…   Light and airy on the front of my house watching the birds and my dogs playing all day.

Where do you get your inspiration from?

I get my inspiration from the seasons due to the colours and textures.  Whether the bright and bold of summer, or the deep golds and coppers of autumn. I don’t get involved in trends because they change so fast and so often. I love vintage and shabby chic, which also comes out in my fabric choices and embroidery patterns. I make what I like but since I also make to order, I sometimes don’t have a choice in what I make.

Which items can you not live without when crafting?
My sewing and embroidery machines, rotary cutters and cutting mats I just cannot live without! I have also a couple of Accuquilt machines for fabric die cutting and they are a godsend for high volume shape cutting. I also LOVE my Accuquilt Go die pick.  Bit like a torture instrument but fabulous for sewing and unpicking!

Out of all of your projects you have made which one are you most proud of and why?
Out of all my projects I have made, I have to say that I am proud of each one.  One in particular was a private commission I had a number of years ago for a large hanging quilt to be made out of 2 little boys’ clothes. This I believe still hangs in the nursery at the house after all these years in a very large house in the centre of London. It was a challenge and took a while, but I am very proud of the end result. The quilt was a very personal project for the family and it always will be, hopefully, for generations to come.

Do you have any top tips that you would like to share?

Top Tips…….Get the best quality equipment that you can afford and always look to what you want it for in the future and not just at the present time of buying. I would rather save the money up for what I want and need, rather than buy something because it is on offer and “will do’’ for a couple of years. 
Another tip is to always measure 3 times before you cut or you can end up with very expensive mistakes. If I am making something for the first time that I have designed I make up numerous samples first. I then get friends and their families to put them to the test, especially where children’s aprons and clothes are concerned, because they need to be practical and safe. I also tend to do mood boards for larger projects to get colours right.

Do you have any favourite designers or brands that inspire you?

I don’t really have favourite designers or brands because there are so many good things I like about so many companies. I have to say though since using Craft Cotton Co. fabrics, I am in love with them.  I do love to watch Jennie Rayment and Sarah Payne I must say, as they are both so inspiring in very different ways.  Sarah calm and great at what she does, and Jennie is entirely the opposite and so funny yet so very clever.  I am also very proud to be involved with a huge quilting project with Jennie, Craft Cotton Co. and Create and Craft TV that I am embroidering all the back panels with over 250 names of people who contributed quilt blocks for the Dear Jane and Dear Jennie quilts.  Another favourite brand of mine are Madeira threads.  I only use Madeira threads for all my machine as well as my hand embroidery.  I find them such top quality and their customer service also is second to none.

What are your crafty plans for the future?

My plans for the future.  Well I want to get my new website up and running and filled with items to sell.  I took early retirement from work almost 2 years ago, and bought a farm in the Loire Valley around 8 months ago for me and my dogs to enjoy some peace and tranquillity and of course some lovely sunshine.  This will give me lots of time to craft as well as do up the farmhouse and this is my idea of heaven.

Tuesday, 31 May 2016

New Fabrics!

The Craft Cotton Company is making sure that your fabric collection will be kept up to date with our fresh new fabrics and designs. We now have a large range of brand new printed cottons, linens and fat quarters to make sure that you have a piece of fabric for every project that you do.

The Craft Cotton Company's Retro Scooter Cotton Print

We have cute and fun themed fabrics for every occasion. Our beautiful Tea party cotton fabric, now available in selected Boyes Stores, is perfect for your summer picnics and our stiches and bobbins fabric can be used to make a range of sewing accessories.

The Craft Cotton Company's Tea Party Cotton Print Fabric

The Craft Cotton Company's new cotton prints

We have a brand new product launching this Summer: iron-on fabric sheets. These fusible sheets are fantastic to use if you want to personalise any of your projects. All you have to do is cut the letters and shapes out of the fabric sheets and iron it onto your material. The iron-on sheets, by Fabric Editions, are a simple and easy way to add a unique touch.
The Craft Cotton Company's Iron-On Fabric Sheets

If you would like to find out more information on where you can buy our fabrics from please contact us for more information on how you can get your hands on some of these lovely designs before they are all gone!

The Craft Cotton Company's Blue Whale Cotton Print

If you want some ideas and inspiration on how to use, or what to make with our fabrics, keep your eye on our Free Tutorials Page!

The Craft Cotton Company's Hawaii Floral Cotton Print
The Craft Cotton Company's Mr Fox Cotton Print

The Craft Cotton Company's Stitches Cotton Print

The Craft Cotton Company's Bobbins Cotton Print

The Craft Cotton Company's Manic Monsters Cotton Print

Tuesday, 24 May 2016

Name: Nicky

Where did your love of crafting start? Where did you learn your skills?
I have always been creative, enjoying painting & making things as a child. I then started sewing as a teenager. Firstly with school sewing lessons, learning the basics of dressmaking and patchwork and then sewing at home to make things for myself. When I started a family of my own, my hobby grew as I made dresses for my daughters, things for my home and the occasional makes for friends.
I am mainly self-taught, through a lot of trial and error, and was luckily enough to have a friend close by who sewed so I could swap notes with her! I do love to learn, so if there is any opportunity to listen or watch someone crafting or attend a workshop I’ll be there!

What is your favourite craft activity and why?
Sewing is my favourite pastime, but I also knit and crochet. I enjoy the challenge of making something unique. I don’t really have a favourite item to make but I do like waistcoats and corsets.

How do you choose the materials that you work with?
The fabric I choose depends on the project doing but I often find the fabric comes first, I can’t resist all the fabulous selection out there.

Where do you get your inspiration from?
My inspiration comes from everywhere. I carry a notepad with me to jot down little sketches and notes. It could be something I’ve heard, read or seen (fashion, architecture, nature, etc.).

Which items can you not live without when crafting?
I have found over the years that having the correct tools helps considerably. Sharp scissors and pins are of course a must, but also:
·         A loop turner to make your dainty button loops
·         Hem gauge to ensure evenness
·         Eyelet pliers. These make the job of adding eyelets to a finished article a lot less scary!

Out of all of your projects you have made, which one are you most proud of and why?
I am proud of a number of my projects such as the cot quilts I made for my grandchildren and my boned Victorian Corset, but to date, I’m most proud of the top I made for the Simplicity Bloggers Challenge as it won the Vintage Make Category. This may get knocked from the top of the list later in the year though when I see my daughter wearing the wedding dress I'm planning to make for her!

Do you have any top tips that you would like to share?
Apart from having the correct equipment, my tip would be to take your time. Read through the instructions of what you are going to attempt before you actually start. I find sometimes I'm so enthusiastic to start skipping this, but only end up having to unpick something and take longer in the end.

Do you have any favourite designers or brands that inspire you?
I am particularly inspired and I love the work of Alexander McQueen and Vivian Westward.

Monday, 16 May 2016

Name: Rachel

Where did your love of crafting start? Where did you learn your skills?
I started sewing in 2012 when I started at university and couldn't find a bag I liked for all my folders, so I decided to make my own. I called up my lovely dad and asked him if he would show me how to use the sewing machine if I bought some fabric.
He was rather surprised when I turned up with a metre of oilcloth and announced I had chosen probably the most difficult fabric for my first project! Nevertheless he showed me how to use the sewing machine and we pieced together a bag which was the perfect size for all my folders and books and looked pretty.
In making that very first bag (which I still have) I found my love for sewing and a creative side which I didn't know I had. I have since designed many more items for myself and as gifts.
Since then, I have created many items, some following online tutorials, others using my mathematical skills to create a pattern. Browsing Pinterest for ideas became my favourite past-time and I eventually bought my own sewing machine and stopped stealing my dad's (fancy computerised) machine.
In 2016, I decided to share my creations with a wider audience. When I set up a space in half of the study for my sewing and started to call it 'The Craft Room' my partner turned to me and said "It's not a craft room - it's a craft half" from there my business name was born!

What is your favourite craft activity and why?
The majority of my crafting is machine sewing, with hand sewing to finish items. I love it because of all the beautiful fabrics that I can use to create something unique. I do occasionally dabble in other crafty activities but usually these are just to decorate my craft space – I upcycled an old kitchen chair so I had a pretty chair to sit on to sew.

What is your favourite craft item to make?
I think my favourite item would have to be my cosmetics bags, I took a long time creating the pattern and dimensions for them and am pleased with how they have turned out. They are also such a useful item.

How do you choose the materials that you work with?
Usually I just look for what I personally like that is within my price range. I try to buy things that will compliment other fabrics in my stash so that I can create various combinations.

Describe your crafting space/room in 5 words. (Attach a photo if you like)
Pretty, functional, quirky, small, girly

Where do you get your inspiration from?
I choose a lot of the items I make based on practicality – what will people actually use? I then try to make them look beautiful and unique. Pinterest is great for getting inspiration and picking up new tips and tricks but I am careful not to directly copy anyone’s ideas. I will usually tweak tutorials to suit my requirements (e.g. different sizes or trims etc). When shopping in mainstream shops I will take note of any particular trends (e.g. stags have been rather big lately) and try to incorporate these into my creations.

Which items can you not live without when crafting?
I think my absolute favourite item in my craft space is my homemade pressing board. It lives beside my sewing machine and is perfect for pressing small projects and means I do not have to get the ironing board out just to press a seam! I also recently bought a large quilter’s ruler which has been really useful in reducing the time I spend cutting.

Out of all of your projects you have made which one are you most proud of and why?
I recently made a custom crochet hook roll for a customer, designed completely to her specification down to the size, number of pockets and type of pockets. I felt really proud to take something from an idea in her head, sketch it out and create it and she loved it!

Do you have any top tips that you would like to share?
Take the time to finish your seams when you get the chance! When I began sewing I was so impatient to finish a project I wouldn’t bother finishing my seams properly - it makes your items last longer and feel more professional. I also use interfacing a lot to make my fabric sturdier which also helps items feel more professional and long lasting.

Do you have any favourite designers or brands that inspire you?
I can’t say I’m really one for following designers or brands, I tend to go for individual items that I like. I love the grey trend at the moment and often choose fabrics with a grey undertone to them. The woodland creatures also feature in my fabric choices – stags, owls etc.

What are your crafty plans for the future?
I would love for my business to take off; it is very new having only been set up in April 2016. Further down the line I would like to see my products being sold in local establishments.