November 29, 2013 in homemade, interior styling
A few weeks ago I was asked by Liberty to make a Liberty Christmas stocking for Sew Liberty and their blog. I came up with and made a few different designs and worked with interiors and still life photographer Joanna Henderson on the photos. We had a fun few hours shooting them up in my loft studio.
These festive stockings are easy to make and add a little Liberty style to Christmas. Mix and match different patterns, buttons, trims and motifs to add visual interest. The memories associated with these hand-made pieces, will be treasured for years to come, they could easily become family heirlooms passed down to future generations of children to hang on Christmas Eve.
Materials and equipment:
Fabric that won’t fray when cut – such as suiting wool, felt, finely woven linen.
A mix of Liberty print fabric in different scales and patterns
Pencil and paper to draw a larger template
Ribbons and trimmings
Needle and thread
Buttons for covering, lace flowers and beads (optional)
Wool and cardboard to make pompoms
To make a stocking:
Step 1: Measure your base fabric to make your stocking, either with one piece folded in half or two pieces pinned together. The stockings are 60cm long by 25cm wide from heel to toe with a top opening of 17cm diameter. You can adjust the sizing to suit the size of your fabric or make the stocking wider to accommodate larger gifts.
Step 2: Print out my template for reference and draw out a template on paper to the appropriate size. If you do not feel confident drawing then a photocopy shop can scale it up for you. Then pin the paper shape to your base fabric and cut out, so when you cut you end up with two pieces of stocking shaped fabric.
Step 3: Iron bondaweb onto the reverse of your chosen Liberty print fabrics.
Step 4: Cut out a toe, heal, top band and stars or flower shapes to the appropriate sizes and pin them in place, bondaweb side down.
Step 5: Iron them in place on a medium heat. You only need to do one side of the stocking if being hung, but you could do both sides of the stocking if you prefer.
Step 6: Add Liberty print covered buttons, vintage lace flowers, beading and vintage buttons to add interest.
Step 7: Pin the two sides together and stitch with a small border of 0.5cm using the sewing machine.
Step 8: Stitch a 15-20cm length of ribbon in a loop on to the top band to hang the stocking and embellish with extra trims.
Step 9: Sew on optional pompoms and tags to make the stockings more personal.
To make the pompoms:
Cut out two circles of card 8cm in diameter with a 3cm hole in the middle. Wind the wool round and round until the hole in the middle becomes small. Cut through the center of the two pieces of card and tie a piece of wool securely around the two and pull. Trim the length of the wool down until a thick pompom is achieved, stitch onto the stocking.
To make the tags:
Cut out a rectangle of fabric, snip off the corners and make a hole for the ribbon. Cut out letters or shapes such as birds from the fabric and iron into place with bondaweb.
As the fabric I was using had a little bird motif within its design, I cut out the bird shape and used it as a decoration amongst some rosehips.
I first met photographer Jo Henderson on a shoot a long time ago when we were still both assisting and we worked on some test shoots together to start our portfolios. We recently worked together styling and photographing a book for my publisher Cico Books. It was lovely to see Jo again and we have continued to work together on some other projects.
See Jo’s work on her website here.
It makes things a little more interesting if all the designs are slightly varied. I made fabric covered buttons for the pink stocking above creating little spots of pattern dotted down its length. You can see the original post over on the Liberty blog.
Liberty print fabrics used:
Joyce A Tana Lawn, Capel F Tana Lawn, Wiltshire S Tana Lawn, Mitsi Valeria C Tana Lawn, Mitsi D Tana Lawn, Marco A Tana Lawn, Glenjade in red Tana Lawn.
Left over strips of fabric can also be used as ribbon to wrap around gifts and make them look extra special like in the image below.
I made stockings for my own children when they were babies and they still get so excited as they hang them up, imagining what Santa will fill them with while they sleep. I hope they’ll keep the stockings and use them for their own children one day.
Happy making x
Comments: 21 Leave a comment
August 1, 2013 in homemade
A few weeks ago, with a spare sunny weekend at home, I had fun dip-dying fabric to create an ombré throw. It had been on my to-do list for a while and I had some plain white linen ready, a sachet of hand wash Dylon dye and a packet of salt to fix it. I used Black to give a deeper intensity of colour and in the fade has a blueish tint to it. To begin I hand washed the fabric. Then I mixed the dye as per the instructions on the packet and dipped about half the fabric into the bucket of diluted dye, swishing it around carefully, so it did not splash the white linen above.
After about half an hour I rinsed the dyed section. There were a few splatters on the white section of the fabric, so straight after hanging the fabric onto the washing line outside, I used a wide paint brush to paint more dye on gradually and this gave the gradient, ombré effect I wanted. After a while I rinsed the fabric again and left it to dry naturally. The shadows from the foliage in the garden added a fleeting pattern whilst the fabric was drying.
I also painted stripes directly onto other pieces of fabric for an alternative look. Wet the fabric first and the dye spreads when you paint it on and repeat several times to get a more intense colour.
To make the most of the mixed dye, afterwards I dyed a pair of my favourite black jeans that had faded over time from washing and are now refreshed! You can see the colours available on the Dylon website.
My finished length of ombré fabric is now folded over an arm of the sofa, giving the corner of the living room another visual layer and a reminder of an afternoon creating in the sun.
Comments: 3 Leave a comment
July 29, 2013 in food styling, homemade
The photos of vegetables in Singapore in my last post reminded me of these photos that I took last year and have been meaning to post. It must be my printed textile background coming back to me, because one day I had the urge to experiment with natural colour and play with food and fabric. I popped to the supermarket and worked on the theory that if it stains clothes (mine occasionally but mainly my children’s!) then it may have a longer-lasting dye quality. So I bought beetroot, red onions, blackberries, red cabbage and pomegranate and I had lots of other possibilities in the cupboards at home to test out too.
I did some research and found it wasn’t really as simple or as easy as I had hoped to fix the natural colours permanently, chemical dyes are much easier for this, but I continued anyway. My method was to boil water, add the foodstuff, mix it around to colour the water in a concentrated enough way, sieve it and then add swatches of plain white linen to my homemade ‘dye’. I wet the fabric in clean water before adding the swatch to the dye and left them in soak for varying lengths of time until I liked the colour or it seemed to no longer be darkening. To fix them I added a mixture, in an experimental sense, of vinegar for vegetables and/or salt for berries. I then washed them in cold water first and then hot. The results are below:
1- Blackberry, 2- Blackberry and red onion peel, 3- Blackberry and red cabbage, 4- Blackberry and red cabbage, 5- Beetroot (pickled), 6- Beetroot and tea, 7- Spinach, 8- Red onion peel, 9- Pomegranate, 10- Red cabbage, 11- Red cabbage and a pinch of turmeric, 12- Red cabbage and turmeric, 13- Red cabbage, turmeric and vinegar, 14- Red cabbage, tiny amount of turmeric and vinegar, 15- Red cabbage with vinegar, 16- Tea, 17- Coffee, 18- Paprika, 19- Red wine, 20- Red wine and tea, 21- Turmeric, 22- Turmeric with wine, 23- Turmeric with wine and tea, 24- Turmeric small amount
I don’t think there would be much possibility in colouring large enough quantities of fabric in a colourfast way to make cushions or throws, but I love the colours I made with this experiment and mixed a few together to give new combinations.
It was fun experimenting with food and fabric, especially knowing that it was all completely natural, and I was pleased with the gentle colour results I achieved.
And luckily I didn’t get any on my clothes! 🙂
Comments: 26 Leave a comment
March 6, 2013 in diy craft projects, homemade
A few weeks ago I was asked by the lovely team at Liberty to come up with an easy-to-make Mother’s day gift for the Liberty blog, so I adapted a project and wrapped glass candles with a selection of Liberty print fabrics. Although Mother’s Day in the UK is only a few days away, you still have time to make this as it is quick to do.
This is a really simple idea to turn a plain candle into something unique and special. One of these patterned treats, wrapped in tissue in a beautifully decorated box, makes the perfect mother’s day gift. Choose your mother’s favourite colours and a beautiful Liberty print to make a gift she will love and display with pride.
You will need:
Glass candle, Liberty Print fabric and ribbon
Double-sided tape, fabric scissors, a pencil and ruler
For the gift box:
Plain cardboard box with lid, swing tag, Liberty print fabric and ribbon
Emulsion paint and small flat brush about 3cms wide
Scissors, needle and thread, bondaweb and an iron
To make the candle
Measure the height of the candle and cut your fabric at least 3cm shorter than this height to give at least a 1.5cm gap at the top of the glass and the bottom. To measure the circumference, wind some thread around the candle adding a 1cm overlap for the cross-over at the back, then stretch it out and use it as your guide for your length. Draw this long rectangle lightly, but visible in pencil onto the reverse of the fabric and cut out carefully.
Stick double-sided tape along both short edges on the wrong fabric side. Stick the first side straight to the glass, then wrap the fabric around the glass and stick the other side down with an overlap of fabric, ensuring your fabric is straight and taut and that there is at least a 1.5 cms gap at the top. Snip any stray threads off.
Cut a ribbon to the correct length and wrap it around the middle, tying with a bow, or wrap a strip around the bottom of the candle using double-sided tape at both ends of the ribbon to fix.
To make the packaging:
Paint the box with emulsion paint in one of your mother’s favourite colours, outside and inside until covered. This could take two coats.
Add some detail to a tag using a piece of Liberty wrapping paper fixed to the bottom with double-sided tape and write or stamp on your mother’s name or initials.
To make the fabric leaves, iron bondaweb onto the reverse of some Liberty fabric then iron a plain fabric to the other side. Cut out a leaf shape either by hand or by pinning a real leaf onto the fabric and cutting around it using it as a template. Stitch these fabric leaves to either end of the ribbon you will tie around the box.
Wrap your candle in complementary coloured tissue paper and place inside the box. Tie with ribbon and add your swing tag.
You can read my post on the fab Liberty blog here and peruse the range of Liberty print fabrics.
Have a wonderful Mother’s Day and I hope your mums like their gifts.
Comments: 5 Leave a comment
December 14, 2012 in diy craft projects, homemade, news
I had the pleasure of being asked by Grazia magazine’s Rachel Loos to be part of their Christmas special, in a feature on their favourite bloggers’ crafty Christmas ideas. I was asked if I could come up with and create a bauble idea and, as is my way, I created lots of variations of the same idea for the photo shoot and thought I would share them with you. I worked with photographer Chris Tubbs on the shoot for the magazine but I also I took a few snaps at home that you can see below, they are so easy to make why not give them a go yourself?
As it was Grazia, I wanted to break away from the traditional Christmas colours and give my baubles a fashion edge as well as a seasonal feel. Using basic plain glass baubles as my starting point I combined disco sparkle in the form of glitter and sequins in silvers and greys, with Pop-inspired fluorescent neon paint and ribbon made from strips of some of my favourite fashion fabrics by Liberty. In others I tipped tiny beads topped by ribbon from VV Rouleaux and applied embossed black and white messages giving them a kind of disco/80s/punky feel.
The Dymo message tape and labelmakers can be bought from places like WH Smiths and is a fun way of encorporating messages on all sorts of things like labels for jam jars of collected treasures or name tags on gifts.
I was quoted in Grazia saying “I like taking something plain and giving it a twist” and that is really my approach to making and creating as well as for interiors and styling.
The great thing about making your own decorations is you can choose colour combinations that work with your Christmas theme and interior style, and change things around each year if you wish. With plain glass baubles you can use whatever beads, sequins and ribbons you have to create unique and personal decorations that will catch your guests’ eyes when they visit over the festive holidays.
Have a lovely Christmas everyone.
Comments: 9 Leave a comment
December 5, 2012 in diy craft projects, homemade
If you’ve followed my blog since the early days you may know I help each year with my children’s school Christmas fair since my son first started nursery, and this year was no exception. Being part of the school community is a wonderful thing. When the children were little and I stayed at home and looked after my baby daughter, helping at the school gave me a creative outlet and contributed to a community that helped all the school children. Now my children are both at school and I am working much more I have less time to help, but this year I still managed to make a few items for the fair in evenings and spare moments which we sold on the gifts stall at the fair last Saturday. I snapped a few photos in my kitchen of some of the things I had made and thought I would share them.
Lavender bags are always popular, you can’t help but smell them when you pick them up, and however many we make (and between us we made almost 100 this year), we sell every single one. We sold them as singles or double packs in linen and Liberty print fabric, with a ribbon tied around them. They’re simple to make even if you have basic sewing skills and there are how-to instructions in my first book if it feels daunting. I posted about lavender bags as a great mother’s day gift back in March (see post) but they are perfect Christmas gifts too.
These little black notebooks were bought from my local Tiger store and I just added some vintage playing cards, bought from a car boot sale, to the front covers with double-sided tape. These are a simpler adaptation of the notebook project in my latest book (see my previous post). Great as a stocking filler with a little pack of coloured pencils.
The festive wreaths below are another popular item and look fab hanging from your front door or inside your home. This year I bought heart-shaped basic woven wreaths and decorated them with felt leaves that were cut out and stuck on. To do this pin a real leaf from a tree to your felt and cut around it as accurately as possible. I embellished with ribbons and covered buttons at the top of the wreath and added little birds from DZD. To see another variation of this project see my post with instructions from last year here.
Lots of parents helped and we also made lots of other items like hair clips and bands, embellished cushions, decorations, jars of sweets and lots of gifts donated by local companies and parents. It was a successful day, we raised money for the school but most importantly it was a lot of fun for children, parents and teachers to all get together on the same day.
Now it’s time to get back to planning our own family Christmas!
Comments: 8 Leave a comment
Sania Pell is a freelance interior stylist, creative director and consultant based in London. She is a Contributing Stylist at Elle Decoration magazine, with whom she has worked for over 18 years, and is known for bringing a unique aspect to photographic shoots for national publications, leading international brands and retailers as well as style consultancy for top architecture practices and property development companies. She is the author of best-selling book The Homemade Home and The Homemade Home for Children. A trained, former textile designer, Sania is also involved in many multi-disciplinary creative projects.
To enquire about commissioning Sania for commercial or editorial projects, please use the contact form.