The Cutting Room Floor

At the end of every project I am left with offcuts of fabric, threads and other assorted bits and pieces.  I have often wondered what to do with all the scraps I have been collecting.  Of course the larger pieces are perfect for patchwork and appliqué, but what about the really small pieces and thin offcuts that are too small to sew together?  And let’s not forget all the little strands of thread that are cut away during and after sewing . . .

Having no idea what I could do with them other than perhaps use them as stuffing for something, I continued to horde these tiny scraps. Then . . . I saw a group of ladies on YouTube putting all their scraps to good use.

They sandwich all their scraps between unwanted or plain fabric on the bottom (a chance to use up fabric that has been hanging about in your stash for a long time and is unlikely to be used for a project) and organza on the top.  As soon as you have the fabric set up as you want it, it is time to play around with all the lovely embroidery stitches that are on your sewing machine .. yes all those stitches that you have probably never used – well now is your chance.  Using lots of different coloured threads (again here is a chance to use up threads that are not the most popular colours) start to sew random lines of embroidery across your ‘sandwich’ until you have firmly secured all areas of the ‘sandwich’ together.

There is some very beautiful organza available and using metallic threads as well as cotton threads gives some lovely shimmery effects when creating this fabric.

This was my first attempt and as you can see I even managed to use up the wool scraps my mum has been collecting.  I am looking forward to playing around with this technique to see what results I can get.  And I will be back with more pictures and a step-by-step guide for anyone interested in trying this out.

My next step will be to feature some of these newly created fabric pieces in the things I am making – maybe as a feature pocket on a bag, as a fabric book cover or even by patching them together to make larger items like bags and cushions etc.  I think once I am better at creating fabrics in this way there will be endless ways to incorporate it into my projects.

Best of all, it means that there really is NO wastage in my sewing room and I can even use up other peoples offcuts that they may have been about to send out with the rubbish. Plus it is fun to learn new things and be creative, so its a WIN-WIN!!




‘Taking the plunge’ at the Scottish Design Exchange

7th March 2016 this date seemed so far off when we first discussed it back in November. But, time flew.   Time Flies

Suddenly, it was time for Ivy and I to set out on a great adventure to have our products for sale through the Scottish Design Exchange at Ocean Terminal in Edinburgh.

Wait,  I skipped ahead a little . . . way, way, way back in October 2015 I met Ivy at  Whale Arts in Edinburgh when we both joined the WHALE-Pod (a business incubator for new-start creative and arts enterprises). After a few initial meetings and discussions with David Henderson from WHALE-Pod, Sarah Howard from Community Enterprise and Lynzi Leroy from the Scottish Design Exchange, we were offered an opportunity (funded by WHALE-Pod) to stock our products at the Scottish Design Exchange.  We were thrilled at the prospect of joining such superb designers and artists in this amazing retail space.  The ethos behind SDE is exactly what Ivy and I were looking for, so we ‘held hands and took the plunge’.  Our first day was both exciting and nerve-racking.  Supported by David and our families we ventured forth and put together a stand displaying our collective work.

Ivy-ElDesigns is behind ‘All-Things-Bags’ which are crafted and homemade in Scotland.   Ivy uses African fabrics of the most vibrant colours, unique patterns and diverse textures.  For Ivy, making bags has proved a delight.

Ivy says “I do hope that you all will feel the same about these Scottish made Afrocentric bags, making your near and dear happy with my creations. A percentage of my profits will be going towards women who have suffered and are suffering domestic abuse and violence”. 

2016-03-10 15.59.40

Oh, and I was there too . . .

Inspired by a love of sewing and working with beautiful fabrics, Busy Bee Handicrafts is a new start-up idea to create a range of textile gifts tailored towards your hobbies or things you love to do.  Enjoy giving a gift to someone special or treat yourself.

Julia says “When people become isolated and lonely, often remembering something you love to do can be a first step to regaining contact with other people, and I certainly have found this to be true”.

 2016-03-10 15.58.22

The staff at SDE were so nice to us.  They were so enthusiastic to have us there and  we had great support and advice especially from Jodie, Sean and Judy who were there every step of the way.

Our trial period of 4 weeks has gone by so quickly. There have been a lot of things to learn and we have picked up some great tips. Next week, as the dust settles we can talk over the whole experience and work out ‘what comes next’ for this intrepid duo (watch this space).