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Project of the Month: Embroider a Rainbow Hoop

You will need (For our size project – you can obviously go much bigger if you’d like!)

Materials:

5” Embroidery Hoop Piece of plain fabric 20cm x 20cm

(we’ve used white but could look great with a sky blue!)

Piece of Felt 20cm x 20cm

X6 Different colours of embroidery thread

Tools and Equipment:

Embroidery needle, sharp scissors, Tailors chalk / erasable pen,

Fabric Scissors

Let’s get Making!

Press your fabric into your hoop – make sure it’s nice and tight a bit like a drum!

Draw on your rainbow *Top Tip!* Find a rainbow shape on your laptop or computer, whack the brightness up and lay your fabric over the screen. Trace the rainbow onto your fabric!

Measure out our thread to 50cm, then split your thread in half so you’re using 3 of the inner threads at a time – makes for easier stitching into fabrics and make your thread last twice as long!

We’re using our colours in this order (from outside to inside) Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Purple but feel free to mix things up and make it even more colourful! Also using a different stitch for each line of the rainbow, however you could always use the same stitch for each or 

  1. The Red line – chain stitch.
  2. Orange – Couching
  3. Yellow – Running Stitch
  4. Green – Stem Stitch
  5. Blue – Back Stitch
  6. Purple – French Knots

Now to neaten up the edges of your fabric. Keeping your fabric in it’s hoop (You may want to pop it out and then re-stretch it so it’s nice and tight again) cut your fabric into a circle roughly 1 inch larger than your hoop. Grab a needle and thread and do a large running stitch around the edge of the circle (not too close to the edge about 5mm from the edge. When you get back round to the beginning of your running stitch pull your thread and it will gather the fabric to the back of your hoop! Knot in place.

Next grab your felt and cut it into a circle slightly smaller than your hoop – an easy way to do this is to draw around the hoop onto your felt and then cut it inside of the drawn line.

Either Glue or stitch your felt onto the back side of the hoop.

There you have it! Please let us know how you got on with this project and if you share on social media tag us in with #bunyippotm so we can see them!

If you’re unsure of any of the stitches keep an eye out for another blog post coming.

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June Challenge – Slippery Fabrics

I can’t actually believe that I’ve stuck with this challenge for a whole 6 months! I honestly thought I’d do January then get bored… but I’ve surprised myself and have managed to persevere. So last month was working with slippery fabrics and as Devon is going through an insane heatwave, I decided to work with velvet. Yes, velvet in 30 degree heat! So I won’t be wearing this dress any time soon but I couldn’t resist the beautiful fabric and it definitely fitted with the challenge as it was indeed slippery.

I found out quite quickly that velvet looks different depending on which way up you cut it. One way is light and the other creates a rich, darker colour. Of course the first piece I cut out was the light version which I didn’t like as much so there was much swearing, re-cutting and really trying to squeeze the pieces out of the fabric that I had left. Now this is fairly standard for a sewing project but cutting velvet is an actual living nightmare and I wasn’t best pleased with having to do it more than I had to. As you would expect, it slips and slides all over the place. There were lots of sharp pins and a rotary cutter involved and it was still tricky.

After a good couple of hours I had all of my pieces cut out and couldn’t resist fitting them on my mannequin to see how it draped; I just love how it looks on the skirt pieces. And this is how it stood for the majority of June… standing there, looking pretty but very much not in a ‘finished dress’ way. It’s not that I didn’t have the time; I made several other non-sewing challenge items. It’s that I thought that if cutting the fabric was as bad as it was, what on earth would the sewing be like?

In the end, I needn’t have worried as I finished it all in a couple of hours and didn’t come by very many issues at all. I think this was down to a couple of reasons: lots of pins and a walking foot. The only time I had a problem was right at the end when I was rushing the waist and didn’t bother to use as many pins as I had before so of course both sides slid away from each other.

I didn’t actually try to sew this velvet without a walking foot but I imagine the outcome would have been messy and inaccurate. The foot works by providing an extra set of feed dogs for the top of the fabric being sewn so keeps everything where it should be. It meant that my sewing was stress free and my fabric wasn’t chewed up or destroyed.

I’ve learnt that slippery fabric (or at least velvet) isn’t too horrendous if you have the correct tools to make it work. I’m pleased with the dress and, even though I can’t wear it any time soon, I will be well kitted out for any Christmas parties that might happen!

So here is my Christmas dress… in June!

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February Sewing Challenge – Ergh… Sleeves

I have learnt one thing from my February challenge… I do NOT enjoy setting in sleeves. It’s hard and time consuming and I’m pretty sure I still haven’t cracked it (Rome wasn’t built in a day and all that). Sadly this won’t be a tutorial that you can follow to get the perfect sleeve but at least you can share in the experience…

I did A LOT of research for the February challenge. In fact, most of my work for the month was just reading stuff (if you are interested take a look at Tilly’s advice for creating a gathered sleeve) and begging for advice from the Sewing Challenge Facebook group. I decided I did actually need to produce something though and that something was going to be the Sew Over It Vintage Shirt Dress.

I decided to do my first attempt on calico so it didn’t matter if it went wrong. I adjusted my stitch length to the longest it would go and did my two lines of stitches which I would technically use to create my gathers. I then pulled the threads to gather the sleeve and spread it out so that it wasn’t too bunched up. I think in the future it’d be good to use a different coloured thread for the bobbin so I can see which one needs to be pulled. To get to this stage took a long time and I used my knee to try and manipulate the shape!

After a lot of procrastinating, I moved on to my actual fabric. Just to keep me on my toes, I decided to use a nice slippery and slightly stretchy fabric… After cutting, overlocking and creating a mock turn-up cuff, I proceeded to spend a huge amount of my time trying to get the over-sized sleeve to fit into the smaller sleeve hole while using all of my pins to do so. At one point I really did question if I actually needed to have movement for my shoulders.

The first picture was my first attempt. Note those tucks at the top there… they were not part of the pattern. I huffed, puffed, swore a bit and shut the dress away for the night. With a fresh head and a more objective pair of eyes, I looked at the dress again and realised that actually, they were to wide for my shoulders. By pure chance, that meant that I needed to increase the seam allowance at the top of the sleeve, thus hiding the tucks. Hurrah for my abnormally shaped shoulders!

So despite bodging it a bit… I managed to finish the dress (while learning lots of other skills along the way). I may avoid setting in sleeves like the plague in the future but I have a dress that shows that, one time, I did it (half) successfully.

 

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New Party Project: Decorate a Tote Bag!

Hello again!

We’re on a Bunyip mission at the moment to bring you some inspiring new workshop options – we loved hosting the Paper Piecing Patchwork sessions run by Teresa, and we’re brewing some really exciting embroidery ideas up for the next season.

But for now, we’re really pleased to confirm our newest party idea – decorate a tote bag! This was our April Creative Kid’s project last weekend and it was so much fun that we couldn’t resist encouraging more sessions! All of the children who attended went away with awesome bags that they embellished using loads of fabric, felt, pom poms, buttons, ribbons and sequins.

This class would be loads of fun for adults too – we worked on mini tote bags for this session but could easily offer a more standard size tote for a hen do, birthday party or any celebration!

The price for one of these sessions is our normal £10 per person which includes the bag, all of your materials for decorating and refreshments. You can always bring along fizz too if you’re celebrating!

To book a party you can pop into the shop, give us a ring on 01392 437377 or send us an email to info@bunyipbeads.com

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The Importance of Sequins

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Ever since I’ve been old enough to dress myself I’ve been old enough to not just want, but need to wear sequins and at any and all given opportunities. So imagine my pure joy to read that not just sequins, but casual sequins were going to be a hot trend for Fall 2016….pass the glitter bucket, I need to submerge myself.

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The love of sequins is a straightforward one – they’re sparkly and bright and attention grabbing and make you look like a walking talking disco ball. Maybe you have to wear a boring uniform to work, or your life is difficult and tedious and you’ve not been having much fun lately? Put on a sequin dress and get ready to be cured of your day to day problems, mainly through the sheer mass of compliments you’ll get from drunk girls in toilets – generally known to be the best people in the world. And if the thought of turning all heads as you Beyonce stride your way into anywhere frightens you, remember that this is yet another joy of sequins: if people are blinded by how fabulous your outfit is, they’re pretty unlikely to notice your adult acne or wonky teeth or that one of your arms is longer than the other. Sequins just give, give, give and ask only that you hoover them up off your bedroom floor on a semi regular basis.

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Even better than this is that this emerging trend absolutely encourages the casual sequin, and presents itself in some awesome daytime staples: sequin jeans, sparkly bomber jackets, shiny silver sweatshirts? Yes please. Why should the sequin queens among us be restrained to nighttime activities only? Pop a sequin jacket on for your morning commute and tell me you don’t feel like a fabulous cross between Lady Gaga and and attendee of Gatsby’s mansion.

Mermaid Sequin Jeans – Topshop

And although writing about the important of sequins makes me feel a bit like Elle Woods writing about the ‘History of Polka Dots’ in Legally Blonde, I think there’s a lot to be said for finding happiness in the small things. Call me shallow or silly but wearing glitter shoes for the day would make me feel just that little bit better about life, and seeing someone on the bus with the confidence to rock a sequin bomber jacket would make me unquestionably joyous.

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Put perfectly for Vogue by Julia Hobbs: “My advice? It’s time to ditch the round-the-clock wardrobe staples. Fail-safe shopping is now a shopping fail; it now pays to look like you’ve had fun in making an effort to dress up. Particularly when your dress lights up the room. Like, actually.”

The timing of this fits in perfectly with the event of the summer: Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie. What better advocate was there ever for OTT dressing than Eddie? In her sunglasses, towering platforms and ‘Lacroix’ emblazoned tops, if we ever needed a poster girl for the fancy-dressing-at-all-times movement it has to be Jennifer Saunders in this 90’s role.

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This is the kind of trend that obviously makes us deeply happy in craft land because what it means to us is: embellishment. We sell beautiful sequins on their own and by the metre, so you can buy whichever colour you like, and spend an evening adorning all the boring old t-shirts you own. And why stop at sequins? There’s a massive selection of beads that would do just as wonderful a job – tiny glass rocailles to created intricate patterns with, to multicoloured crystal hexagons to stitch around a neckline. More is more with this trend – there’s no such thing as overdressed in this world.

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Easter Fun

Hi!

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Since the Easter holidays are almost upon us, we’ve rounded up a whole host of activities to keep you entertained over the next few weeks. Perfect for those tiring of buying endless amounts of chocolate, we have workshops, kits, treats and ideas for flexing those creative muscles (and keeping out of mischief!) Jewellery making and crafty kits suitable for little ones as young as 3 are available online and in the shop, and don’t forget you can book in for a private workshop at anytime over the holidays. Get in touch for availability and inspiration!

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Our classic colour mix boxes are the perfect way to keep little (and big!) hands busy, especially when the inevitable rain hits. Filled with enough beads, thread and findings to whip up a few different pieces, these are perfect for crafty types who want to start designing. All hand packed in the shop, every single box is unique – so you get a different selection of loveliness every time! Buy them here.

Egg Bunting

For a super fast bit of easter fun, we’re feeling inspired by lovely paper bunting, easily created by cutting out egg shapes from colourful papers and stringing on to a pretty thread or ribbon. Try adding letters to for your own Easter message and hang up for all to see – lovely!

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Over chocolate egg hunts? Go for something much more wonderful and hide a few of our ceramic bunnies around the place. Once found, they can be threaded onto something lovely (even just a pretty ribbon!) and will provide a much longer lasting treat.

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These are also available exclusively in store with extra special heart adornment – pretty irresistible!

Pom Pom Bunny

Pinterest is a never ending source of Easter fun, but this is one of our favourites – pom pom bunnies! Check out the tutorial here. Really straightforward to make out of a little wool, felt, nylon and beads, these could easily be whipped up in a whole host of colours. For even easier bunny creation, don’t forget we now stock the wonderful Multi Pom in store, for making lots of same size pom-poms at once! Can’t say better than that.

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We’ll be hosting our monthly Creative Kids sessions in the shop on Saturday 19th March, with Jewellery Making between 10.30am and 12pm, and Sewing between 2pm and 3.30pm. Each session is £5, and includes all materials so your little one will head home with their make. In the afternoon we’ll be practising our cross stitching skills with these awesome bunny cut outs, and decoupaging some eggs! Give us a call at the shop on 01392 437377 to book, or just drop in on the day.

 Have fun – and Happy Easter!

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Be Our Valentine

Valentine’s Day

It’s finally getting too near to deny it anymore. This Sunday. It’s happening. We’re not overly keen on the celebrations here at Bunyip, since we’re all working or away entertaining the extended family, so we’ve put together a collection of wonderful things you can make for yourself, or a loved one, or your cat. We’re not here to judge.

Wooden Heart Hanger

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For the minimal effort enthusiasts – we sell these awesome cut out wooden hearts in loads of beautiful bright colours. String one on a pretty piece of thread and hang in the window for instant prettiness.

Button Hearts

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One of our favourite things to make ever, button hearts are easily whipped up out of your button stash. You need some craft wire (we go for 0.6mm silver plated, grab some here) and lots of pretty buttons of a similar size. Lay them out first so you know what you’re doing, and then cut yourself a nice long piece of wire – exactly how long depends on the size of your heart. Start by threading on your button that’s right at the bottom of your heart onto the middle of the wire, and then thread your others on evenly to either side, shaping nicely at the top into an attractive heart shape. Once your buttons are meeting at the top, twist the two ends together, snip off any excess and tie on a nice piece of clear nylon or thin ribbon.

Felt Hearts

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What better way to fill those lonely hours than cutting out loads of felt hearts, popping them all through a sewing machine and making yourself some lush felty garlands? Pro tip: make these in black and grey to curb your romance induced nausea.

Heart Charms – Earrings

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For instant jewellery making gratification there’s always earring making too. We have lots love and heart based things you could pop straight on an earring hook – just use a flat nosed plier to open the loop at the bottom of the earring hook, pop your charm of choice on, and close it! Note: we also have charms with skulls on. Just saying.

Beaded Hearts

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Not enough heart shaped wire fun for you? These beaded hearts are so sweet – a bit more complicated to make, but luckily we’ve whipped them up in lots of lovely colours already so you can just grab them straight from us. You’re our valentine really, lucky thing!

Heart Charms

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Another fun and easy jewellery make is just to pop one of these amazing charms on to a matching chain or sturdy piece of cord – then keep it for yourself. You’re the best.

There you have it, a whole host of things you could do this Sunday that don’t involve going outside or even opening the curtains. Add a large glass of wine and you’re kind of having the best day ever – win!

(P.S – we do have some secret actual Valentine’s cards to buy in the shop too – just don’t tell anyone.)

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