Saturday, 29 September 2012

Halloween crafting 101: a dragon’s tail.

We can’t offer you tips on how to train your dragon, but we can show you how to make one. Scare up a treat this Halloween with this dragon’s tail tutorial from Running with Scissors.

You’ll need:
50 to 70 cm of main fabric – you can use pretty much any fabric that's not stretchy
25 cm fabric for spikes
15 cm velcro
Polyfil batting (small bag)

Fabric cuts:
tail: (cut 2): 5cm x 28cm 
waist straps: (cut 4): 31cm x 8cm
circle: 18cm in diameter *Try cutting an 18cm square, fold it in fourths, then cut the curve from fold to fold

spikes (cut 2): 56cm x 9cm

Trim the tail strips. Lay your two tail strips face down.  On one end you'll measure 4.5" (11.5 cm) from each side. The 2" (5 cm) left in the middle will be the tip of the tail. On the other end, you'll measure 4" (10.2 cm) along the sides as a marker. Connect these two markings to create a diagonal for the cone shape of the tail.  Cut off the triangular sides and throw them away.
Make the spike strip. NOTE: To make the spikes easier, you could cut 1 strip out of felt or fleece and just cut out a spike strip leaving the raw edges that won't fray, rather than sewing your spikes with 2 strips of fabric. Take your two spike strips and lay them right sides together. Draw a row of triangles along the strip for the tail spikes. Begin at one end and work your way to the other, making the spikes shorter and narrower. I left about 1/2" (1.3 cm) between each spike. Sew along your spike line. When you get to the corners it helps to pivot by dropping your needle down into the fabric, lift your presser foot, move the fabric, then start sewing again.  
Once your spikes are sewn, trim along your sewn line with a 1/4" (0.65 cm) seam allowance along the whole strip.
Next, you'll need to trim the seam allowances to make it easier to turn the spikes right side out. On the top of the spikes, you'll trim off the point, being careful not to snip through your seam. In between each spike, you'll snip diagonally into each corner, once again don't snip through your sewing. 
Then you can turn the whole strip of spikes right side out, using a pen lid, knitting needle, etc. to push the tips of the points out.  Iron your spike strip nice and flat.
Sew tail body. First we'll sew the spikes to one piece of the tail.  Pin the largest spike to the tall side of your tail piece, lining up the raw edges. Sew the spike strip to the tail piece with 1/4" (0.65 cm) seam allowance.  This is just basting, or tacking the pieces together.
Next, put your second tail piece so right sides are together, with the spike strip in the middle of the sandwich. You'll sew down the spike strip again, this time with 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance, making sure you sew past the troughs so there is a space between each spike when you turn it right side out. Also, sew a slight curve as you go around the tip of the tail. When you sew around to the other side, you'll need to stop your seam to leave a hole for turning the tail right side out later.  I leave about 4 to 5" (10 to 12.8 cm) unsewn underneath the spikes. This way, it's on the bottom of the tail.
Sew waist straps. Take your 4 strips for the waist straps and put 2 right sides together.  This will give you two sets. You'll sew down a long side, across the short, and up the other long side on each set.  Use 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance. Then you'll need to snip off the corners, being careful not to cut through your seam.
Next you'll turn each strap right side out, pushing out the corners with a pen lid or knitting needle. I like to top-stitch the edges to make the straps lay nice and flat. For this tail I used a zig-zag stitch with contrasting thread, but you could always just sew a straight stitch.
The last step to make your waist strap is to sew your velcro pieces to each end. Center the velcro in the center of your strap and 1/2" (1.3cm) from the very end.
Complete Tail Construction. To close the large end of the tail, first mark the quarters by lining up the top (spike) seam with the bottom seam and pinning the folds on the sides.
Next you'll pin your waist straps inside the tail. Pin the straps to the quarter side marks. The important thing to remember is the velcro has to be pinned opposite so the straps will match up around the waist.  So put one waist strap with velcro down on the right side of the tail, then pin the other waist strap with the velcro facing up into the cavity of the tail.
Sew the straps to the sides of the tail 1/4" (0.65cm) from edge. 
To finish off the tail, you'll pin your circle fabric (with the right side facing into the tail) around the large tail opening. I folded my circle in quarters so that I have a crease vertically and across to use as a guide to pin to the two seams (top and bottom) then line up with the waist straps on the sides. Next you sew around your circle with 1/2" (1.3 cm) seam allowance.
Stuff and Finish. At this point your dino tail is sewn and you can turn it right side out through the hole you left on the bottom seam.  Your velcro waist straps should be oriented to match and stick together, and your spikes should stand up out of the top seam. Next you'll stuff your tail with Poly-fil batting. The density of your stuffing does determine how the tail will look. I stuffed this yellow tail tighter than the blue or green tails, and I noticed it stood almost straight out from the boy's back, where leaving the stuffing a little looser makes a more droopy tail.  Whichever you prefer. Once your tail is stuffed to your liking, pin the hole closed underneath. I chose to just machine sew the seam shut, but it would probably look best to hand-sew the seam closed to allow it to lay flat. You're finished!

Looking for fabric for this project or the next? Give us a call on our Golden Number 0861 322 839 | 0861 FAB TEX and we’ll help you find what you need. 

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Thursday, 27 September 2012

Keep calm and sew on as Hertex adds to their Couture Collection

Hertex Fabrics’ Couture collection offers the latest décor trends hot off the press. New to the range are a number of fabrics paying homage to the Brits.

The highly exclusive Couture is to be sampled exclusively at Hertex showrooms. A section dedicated will appear on their website (click here to access). The only difference between this and other ranges is that Hertex does not feel obliged to keep stock running for an overextended time, i.e. designs are available for limited times only - customers thus have the benefit of always finding something new on offer.

Love the design, but not the price? Then, why pay showroom prices? Take a trip to the designer’s showroom, and make your selection. Give us a call and we’ll get you a price – a great one, guaranteed! We sell designer fabrics at wholesale prices after all. Our Golden Number is 0861 322 839 | 0861 FAB TEX. We look forward to hearing from you.

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Wednesday, 26 September 2012

Birds at play in this pillow cover tutorial

Keep reading for another great tutorial from Jessica of Running with Scissors that combines a number of great techniques to create an inspirational décor piece.

You’ll need:
Pillow to be covered
Main fabric (46 cm)
Scraps for applique leaves
Freezer paper
Fabric paint
Decorative trim - about 46 cm


Cut fabric. You’ll need to cut: one 17 x 17" (43 x 43cm) square and two 17 x 13" (43 x 33cm) rectangles. Note: these dimensions were created to cover a 16 x 16" cushion which is approx. 40 x 40 in centimetres. As you can see Jessica simply added an inch or 2.54 cm to all sides for her measurements.
Apply Freezer Paint Bird. Cut your freezer paper down to 8 1/2" x 11" so it can go through your printer. Load the freezer paper so it will print on the paper side, not the plastic side and click here to print Jessica’s bird template.

    Cut out the image to make a stencil. Centre the freezer paper on the right side of your 43 x 43cm square and iron in place. 
     Paint the stencil using fabric paint and leave to dry. You may choose to do an additional coat or be required to iron to seal the paint once it’s dry, but you’ll have to check you paint bottle for that.
 Peel off the stencil once dry.
    Add trim. Pin and top-stich along each side of your trim along the full length of your pillow.
     Applique leaves. Cut out leaf shapes from your scraps. Pin on the leaves in an arrangement that suits you. Note: Usually with applique, you reinforce the fabric with fusible interfacing, lots of starch, or even used a coffee filter in a pinch.  Because these fabrics were thick and quite stiff, Jessica didn't reinforce them, but just sewed them straight on the pillow.  If your leaves are quilting cotton using one of the above reinforcing methods on the back.
    You can just sew a straight stitch around, blanket stitch, zig-zag, etc. Jessica chose to use a zig-zag with a width of 2.5 and a length of almost zero, creating a thick, solid looking edge. Because the blue fabric of the pillow was just thin cotton broadcloth, Jessica added scraps as she sewed each leaf on to reinforce the blue pillow.  Once the leaves were sewn, excess scraps were trimmed off. If you're using medium to heavy weight upholstery fabric, you probably don't need to back your leaves like this.
      Construct the pillow back. Fold and press a long edge of your rectangles 2" (5cm), folding the right side onto the wrong side. 

      Fold the raw edge under, to tuck it right into the fold you just ironed. So now you have a hem that is 1" (2.5cm) folded twice.  Sew down the hem.  
       Once both back rectangles are hemmed, place them together, both right side down, and overlap one over the other, to make a 17 x 17 (43 x 43cm) square.  This has the hemmed edges overlap in the centre by 4" (10.2cm). 
Sew the 4" (10.2cm) of overlap on each side to secure them, with a 1/4" (0.6cm) seam allowance. Now you've made the back of the pillow cover, and the overlap creates a kind of pocket to get the pillow form in and out.
Sew the pillow cover together. Take the front and back, and place them right sides together.  Remember to put the opening of the back perpendicular to the trim, so the pocket opening is horizontal on the pillow. 
 Sew around the entire square with a 3/8" (1cm) seam allowance. Trim off the corners. Press or starch if you need to, jam in the pillow and plop it on your couch because you’re finished!

Hunting for scraps? We offer great deals on off cuts sold by weight. Give us a call on our Golden Number 0861 322 839 | 0861 FAB TEX and we’ll help you find what you need. 

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Tuesday, 25 September 2012

Have a hoot this Halloween with this DIY owl costume

With Halloween just around the corner we’d thought we’d help out all the mums with a few fun and oh so cute costume tutorials. This first one comes to you from Christine at Pure Joy Events.

You’ll need:
A hoodie
Fleece or Felt – two colours, one of which should be the same colour as the hoodie
Orange & black foam face masks – you should be able to get these at your local party shop
Paper and white cardstock

  • Start by printing out the Owl Template 1 (click here for template). Cut a set of wings, approximately sixty individual feathers, and the mask out of the pink fleece. Then cut about twenty individual feathers out of the cream fleece.
  • Starting at the bottom of the hoodie, sew a row of pink feathers. Create overlapping layers of feathers as you work your way up the hoodie. 

  • Flip the hoodie to the back and sew the wings along the seam of the arms.

  • Print Owl Template 2 on white cardstock and cut out the pieces. Cut the beak out of the orange foam mask. (If you couldn’t find the masks at the party shop we recommend either making your own or attacking your kids foam bath toys collection – just try to be sneaky about it)
  • Line the black foam mask along the bottom of the white mask and cut out the eye holes.

  • Glue the pink mask on top of white mask, the black circles over the eye cut outs, and then the lashes.

  • Turn over the mask and cut out the eye holes. Then glue on the black foam mask and orange beak. And you’re done!

Click here and be transported to Pure Joy Events blog where you’ll find a treat bag that is the perfect Halloween accessory. 

Looking for specific fabric for this spooktacular project or the next? Give us a call on our Golden Number 0861 322 839 | 0861 FAB TEX and we’ll help you find what you need. 

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We are pleased to announce the launch of our new website. You can find it at It’s packed with the latest news and gossip from the fabric world, as well as nifty info on who we are, where to find us and how to get a hold of us. And this is just the beginning… keep an eye on those billboards folks because our ONLINE CATALOGUE is COMING SOON!

For more info for this and other great happenings at Fabric and Textile Warehouse give us a call on our Golden Number: 0861 322 839 | 0861 FAB TEX

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Sunday, 23 September 2012

Ruffling up the cuff of your pants

This nifty little tutorial from The Mother Huddle shows just how easy it is to add some flare to a plain old pair of jeans.

You’ll need:
§  Your jeans
§  Fabric
§  Thread to match the  jeans
§  All your sewing stuff

Fabric Cuts:
Firstly, it would be easier to have four strips the same length, with the two bottom layers being about 50 mm wider.  You would be able to skip a few steps of the tutorial. But tutorial creator Destri liked the fuller look you get when sewing two independent ruffles.  If you decide to take the easy route pay attention to those steps in bold – they’ll tell you what you need to do.

For the easier method you’ll need two strips 101 x 1118mm long OR four strips 101 x 559mm.

If you’ve decided to tough it out you’ll want each strip long enough to give plenty of gather. You’ll need two strips measuring 64 x 1118mm, cut in half, to give four 559mm strips. 

To prevent the ruffles from dragging the ground when finished, decide how long you’d like them to be at the start. Mark the start of the ruffles on the jeans with a pen, then fold in half with the fronts together and find your mark and cut 20cm below that to allow for the hem. Now when you open them, they will have the nice angle the legs need.
Make a cut at the outside seam, about 20cm in and up about 64cm up. Adjust if you are making longer ruffles.
Now iron over the edges like shown.
Sew along the edge and add some reinforcing stitches right along the top.
Hem them up - turn them wrong side out and fold the bottom over a 6.5mm and press. Then fold over 13cm and press. Repeat on second pant leg.
Turn right side out and sew with a 16mm seam allowance. Tip: Using a slightly longer stitch length looks nice with denim.
Now we’ll move onto the ruffles. I had pinked edges so I just folded over a smidgen and pressed, like shown.  You could do a double fold if you need to. Repeat on all four strips.
Using the same contrasting thread, sew up the bottom of the ruffle on all four strips.  
Next we’ll gather. You can do this the traditional method, sew with a basting stitch and then hand gather or like turn your tension up (the higher you go, the more the gather), and lengthen your stitch length to the basting stitch. Then just sew and it will gather for you! Some machines are finicky with tension, so stick with the traditional method if you are unsure.

 If you are using the easier method, adjust the gathers to match pant leg, sew them together at the top, then finish the seam with your sewing machine, or a serger.  Then sew up the sides, giving you two cuffs.  Skip the next couple few steps and go straight to sewing them to the inside of the pant leg.

Now cut a piece of fabric 64mm wide x and then the width of the pant leg where the ruffles will be sewn, plus 25mm.  Just make sure you have wiggle room, so you don’t end up with a too small ruffle cuff than pant leg.  If it’s a little bigger, that’s okay!  I used the selvedge to make up one side, so I didn’t have to worry about fray on that edge. If you don’t have that option, just make sure to finish one long side of each strip with a serger or zigzag stitch. If you are making longer ruffles, make the strip wider to compensate.
Adjust the gathers on your ruffles to match the length of the strip.
Sew the bottom ruffle on first, to the bottom of the strip that has the selvedge or finished edge.
Then sew on the second ruffle so that it overlaps the bottom ruffle bout a half inch like shown.  
Then finish the seam with a zigzag stitch or your serger.
 With the right sides together, sew up the sides with a 6.5mm allowance. Make sure to line the ends of the ruffles up! Now you have a ruffle cuff… go ahead and make the other one.
 At this point wind your bobbin with thread that matches the jeans and use the same thread on top.
Almost finished! Turn the pants wrong side out as well as the ruffle cuff. Slip the ruffle cuff over the pant leg and line the top edge of the ruffle with the top of the cut opening. Then make sure it is the same all around the leg. Take the sleeve off your machine and slide the leg over. Start sewing at the outside seam, that way if your ruffle cuff is a little bigger than the pant leg, it will gather there in the end. You’re finished!

Looking for a specific fabric for this project or the next? Give us a call on our Golden Number 0861 322 839 | 0861 FAB TEX and we’ll help you find what you need.

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