If you have taken a workshop with me then you know I am the seam allowance police. I always mark my stitch line. I think it’s essential for small sewing. I recently came across an easy way to add or mark a consistent seam allowance:
Tape pencils together.
That’s it. If you’re drafting patterns it’s a quick and easy way to make a consistent seam allowance and for marking fabric just put one pencil point on the edge of the fabric and trace around. Also, if you glue a sheet of very fine sandpaper to a piece of cardboard or foam core it makes an ideal surface to keep your fabric from slipping as you make your marks.
While we are talking about sewing tips one of the questions I’m asked most frequently is how to hide knots when adding features and details. I include this trick in almost every pattern I publish (and you can find a video of it here).
1. Make a tiny knot close to the end of your thread.
2. Insert the needle a little away from where you would like to begin and come out where you would like the first stitch.
3. Pull the thread tight to pop the knot through.
4. Insert the needle and use a sweeping motion to grab the thread from the inside and pull the tail in. I’m ready to embroider the little white ring around my bird eye ( I always add one dot to the center too, to give it life).
5. When you are almost finished stitching stop before you are ready to make the last stitch and make a knot in the thread. Before you tighten the knot insert the needle into the loop and pull it down the thread until it is just a little further away from your work than the length the last stitch will be.
6. Make your stitch, bringing your needle out about 1/2 inch away, pop the knot through, pull the thread tight and clip it close to the fabric. If there is still a little tail use your needle to pull it under again.
Finished! And no messy knots. Find another tip for making small sewing beautiful and easy right here.
The little owl pattern is available! Say hello to Mr. Littles and Mr. Biggles.
The pattern includes instructions for a little owl and 3! pattern sizes – a 4.5 inch owl, a 5.5 inch owl and a 6.5 inch owl.
The owls make perfect captains for paper mache ships, the small size works well with the small ship and the medium owl works well with the large ship. The photo below is the small owl in the small ship.
I hope you make owls! If you do I’d love to see – you can email photos to me at ann at ann wood handmade dot com. And I’m already working on the next two patterns – fabric sail boats and March lambs – you can check back here or join the mailing list if you’d like an email when new patterns are available.
I got a tree! And I made ornaments to put on it. It’s my first ever as a grown up and it’s a living potted tree- a Norfolk Pine. I hope it’s happy here for a long time. I also hope deciding to live with a tree in my tinyish Brooklyn apartment wasn’t a mistake. I like plants and they seem to tolerate me well enough – I think we’ll be all right.
Full disclosure, the holidays aren’t my favorite, I don’t exactly look forward to them but I decided to dive into the parts I can get enthusiastic about. I like making things – I like making presents for people and I do love a Christmas tree. I pulled out my box of saved Christmas treasures, some that I made as a child and I created some new things. I’m so happy with my little tree it has nearly unscrooged me. Some of the handmade ornaments are below and I included links to the patterns or tutorials where possible. The first is a little clothespin ballerina I made as a child – she magically reappeared last year.
Find the cardboard horse pattern here and the paper mache teacup here. The ballerina is part of a set I designed for Crate and Barrel – they are sold out online but still in some stores.
(click the tumbnail for a larger image)
The little soldier above is another childhood clothespin creation – his arms are coffee stirrers and his hat is a pom pom. The silk bird has a fluffy, lace wired tail that winds around the branch – she was made with this pattern. The little blue bird is a gift for my sister Catherine. It’s embroidered with her wedding date and made from a blue vevet dress that was our mother’s. It’s made from the merry wobbler pattern. The little white whale pattern is here And the pattern for the felt boat is here. Or for another boat ornament idea you could print the template for my free paper mache boat at about 50% of the original size.
This summer, at Echo Lake, a troupe of birds attempted a theatrical presentation: the cautionary tale of a little bird in a red cloak and a bad wolf. Selected scenes:
And everyone lived happily ever after.
A group of little birds attended Camp Wapameo on the shores of beautiful Echo Lake in Rhode Island (thanks bettyann) over the July 4th holiday. The weather was disappointing and I suffered unimaginable insults from insects ( and vice versa I suppose), got poison ivy, accidentally rolled in goose shit repeatedly and had a fabulous time. You can see some of the highlights below (click the pictures for a larger view) or if you prefer to view your birds at summer camp photos in slide show format you can do that here. The campers are ( from left to right): rex, finn, minter, liney, ashley, jane, betsy, flora, and georgie.
Update 2016 : Find the pattern to make your own camper bird here.