Monday, June 30, 2014

Free flower applique templates


After I had written the "Hand applique using blanket stitch" tutorial, I thought you might like a flower applique to practise the stitches on. The simple 5 and 6 petals flower applique templates are one of my favourites and I used a software to draw up the shapes. I have uploaded them to my google drive and you may save the templates to your computer. To save paper, just print the pages with templates. The template comes in only one size. This size I'm giving you is just perfect for applique - roughly 4" across. If you wish to print the template in a different size, remember to open it via Adobe Reader which allows you to print at a custom % size. This tute shows you how to resize the templates using Adobe Reader version XI.

To retrieve the templates click below:
Five petals flower applique template
Six petals flower applique template

I went through my archives and dug up a few zip pouches I had made using blanket stitches on the flower applique. These were made years ago!

I left the center empty.

These two are similar - the center motifs are fused to the background fabric. Then the flower applique with a hole in the center is placed above it and fused to the background fabric.

I used seed stitches to fill in the center. If you're wondering what are seed stitches, they are really straight stitches which are randomly placed to fill up a space. The main thing to remember for seed stitches is to use varying sizes of stitch length sewn in different directions.

I sewed a circle on top of the center of the flower. Yes, of course I happened to have a circle with a small flower on it.

My flower applique templates can also be used as a pattern for brooches. If you print the templates at 70%, it should give you a good size for a brooch. (just slightly larger than 2.5" across) Below are some felt brooches I had made in the past. When I made these brooches, I rough cut the shape by folding the felt into half and used a pen to draw out the shape on the felt. They turned out a little uneven. Well, you don't need to rough cut anything since you have the templates. I hope these brooches give you some inspiration.

Bag patterns at my Etsy shop

Applique patterns at my Etsy shop

For more Applique Resources
For more Tutorials

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A word from Bear


In case you haven't already entered Jane's June Fabric+pattern Giveaway, you still have time. It ends 30th June 2014 Singapore time. Go here to enter.

Meanwhile I'm keeping the fabric nice and warm for the two winners.



Monday, June 23, 2014

Hand applique using blanket stitch

Some of you probably know this already. The very first hand stitch I learned when I was seven years old was the blanket stitch. I wasn't a quick learner back then but somehow I managed to sew blanket stitches on a dog applique. It's no surprise that this is one of my favourite hand stitch.

Some people call the blanket stitch by another name. I think that's confusing so for simplicity, this stitch is always blanket stitch to me.

You can use the hand blanket stitch on turned applique as well as raw edge applique. It works really well on felt, fleece and fused fabric.

The hand blanket stitch is very easy to make.
 Notice that the "bite" taken by the needle goes outwards from the applique to the raw edge. The working thread should be behind the needle.

To get the stitch to look right, just tug the working thread upwards and the stitch will form nicely.

You repeat the "bite" over and over again.

How long your stitches are (the bite) and how wide the spacing between the "bites" is a matter of preference. I like them big-assed large. You might like them dainty. What kind of thread can you use? Embroidery floss or perle cotton are the common choices. I use sashiko thread. They aren't easily available though. Plus it's really thick and tangles easily. You need to use the appropriate needles as well. Embroidery needles are the best choices for embroidery floss and perle cotton. I use sashiko needle for sashiko thread.

If you're familiar with blanket stitch, you're probably familiar with stitches coming loose like below.
You didn't do anything wrong. It's the nature of the stitch. The blanket stitch was created to reinforce the edging of a piece of material or sew two pieces of materials together. When we use the stitch on applique, there isn't enough thickness (from the applique) for the stitch to grip onto. That's why the stitches slip off. This usually happens around tight corners, outside corners and points. On straight lines and gentle curves, there's usually no problem.

The solution to keeping your stitches from slipping off? Use a locking stitch.

Outside corners & locking stitch
 To handle outside corners, just ensure your needle exits exactly at the corner point.

To do a locking stitch, enter the needle close to where the working thread came from. This stitch locks the stitch and you'll never have to worry about slipping stitches.

p.s. please ignore my yellow looking fingernails. in case you're concerned, my nails look an unhealthy pale but they aren't yellow at all. it's probably the lighting. (swear)

 To continue, sneak the needle back inside the blanket stitch. (like pretend there's no locking stitch)

Now you can carry on like normal.
Inside point
 For the inside point of the heart, you want to do 3 stitches all originating from the same point.

For sharp points like a leaf or pointy part of a heart
 Exit the needle exactly on the sharpest part of the point. Use a locking stitch for security.

 Carry on.

To get a seamless look when you end...
 Enter needle under first stitch made without needle piecing anything.

Enter needle through applique. Knot off below.

Now you can't see where you started/ended.

To avoid stitches slipping off here are the things you can do:
- keep stitches closer together around tight corners
- use a locking stitch esp for outside corners

Sometimes I don't want to do a locking stitch especially when I have many tight corners. For outside corners, I only need to do one locking stitch so that's okay but imagine if I have many small circles or little tight curves. Here's what I do sometimes...

I use another stitch called the Tailor's buttonhole stitch. If you google you'll probably find different ways of doing a buttonhole stitch and different names as well and maybe some debate about it. I don't care about all that. For simplicity, I'm going to refer to this stitch as the Tailor's buttonhole stitch.

Here's how you make a Tailor's buttonhole stitch.
 You insert the needle from the edge of the applique inwards.

 Pull the needle and thread through until you get a small loop. Insert needle through loop from BEHIND.

 This part is a little tricky. You need to pull the thread upwards and not to the side.

 Carry on.

p.s. I used a timer to take this shot and I really wanted to show my finger tugging the thread upwards and not to the side.

The Tailor's buttonhole stitch is slightly more secure than a blanket stitch. Just slightly. I find that for tight corners, switching to this stitch allows me to skip a locking stitch. However, for outside corners, I still need a locking stitch unless you make the stitches very, very close together in which case no locking stitches are needed.

Btw, the Tailor's buttonhole stitch was designed to reinforce the raw edges of a button hole and the stitches are sewn very close together.

If you're wondering why don't I use the Tailor's buttonhole stitch in place of the blanket stitch, it's because the blanket stitch looks better!

I hope this post is useful to those of you who have never tried blanket stitch by hand.

Bag patterns at my Etsy shop

Applique patterns at my Etsy shop

For more Applique Resources
For more Tutorials

Friday, June 20, 2014

The fault

I asked my girl if I could call her a BIG FAN of John Green and she said no. She says she's at best, a fan. My girl is quite specific that about such things. Like she is a BIG FAN of Sherlock but she's just a fan of Benedict Cumberbatch (who plays Sherlock).

But honestly I couldn't really tell. Because sometimes she can go on and on. Which was the case with the movie, "The fault in our stars". She soooooo badly wanted to see the movie. She had read the book "The fault in our stars" is based on and had cried her eyes out. That was two years ago. So when the movie came out recently, she haaaad to go see it.

I promised her I would take her. She warned me though that I would cry. Like bawl my eyes out kind of cry. She said watching the trailer alone already reduced her to a weeping mess. I think this has to be the first time I am told I would cry at a movie.

Last night we finally went to see the movie. I brought THREE hankies. One for each of us. My girl said it wasn't enough. So we telephoned son who was coming later to bring 5 more - all for her.

First of all, I want to say I've never read any of John Green's books. I have only heard of him through my daughter. So I am untainted by his awesomeness. I know his books sell very well. I have no idea how much of his materials went into the movie. But with all the hype, I went to the movie expecting to be swept away.

It didn't happen. But did I cry? Hell, yes. I almost felt like I went prepped to cry. I mean, we brought EIGHT hankies for heaven's sake. On reflection, the director manipulated me into crying. I didn't bawl my head off. Just a few tears here and there, especially at the end. Geez, I mean, the sad music plus the dialogue... you have to be made of stone not to tear up.

My girl totally controlled herself and only soaked up THREE hankies. She left the cinema with swollen eyes. My son had a few tears as well. He didn't need any hankie. So good to know he's not made of stone either.

Other than the tear inducing parts, the movie was quite draggy. I am definitely not the target audience. It's a sweet, simple story. Maybe the book is better. I don't know. I didn't plan to read the book. But perhaps I will. Just to compare. It's a girl (Hazel) meets boy (Augustus), boy makes girl fall in love, someone dies kind of thing. I feel there's something missing from the movie that will wrench my heart out and make me think of my own life, my own troubles, my own mortality, my kids' mortality. The fact that none of that happened makes me wonder if perhaps I am made of stone after all. And I really didn't understand why the tourists at Anne Frank's bedroom clapped when the main characters kissed. That was soooo confusing. Yes, I understand that was the moment when the girl umm.. gave in to her feelings for the boy. But the applause? Really? In Anne Frank's bedroom?

Strangely, I thought Augustus' blind friend was a more interesting character... Wouldn't it be interesting if he had told the story instead of Hazel seeing how he lost his sight 1/3 in the movie. I actually think a sequel to this movie would be great. Like how the ones who live cope with the death of their loved ones. How you go about your day to day. How you make sense of the death and be okay.

As a parent of two teens in the cinema, I was frankly quite disturbed by the sex scene. I never knew PG13 allowed that much nudity and well, the sex scene.

Do I recommend this movie? Sure, if you're going with your teens, but really, one hankie is more than enough.

Friday, June 13, 2014

June 2014 Giveaway - it's fabric this time!

Giveaway closed. Winners announced here.

A few days ago, an Etsy customer sent me a very sweet message. She wanted me to know I had done a good job on the sexy zippy wristlet pattern which she had bought and had made a ton of wristlets for her friends. Homesteadcat from Hawaii kindly sent me pics of a few wristlets. Check them out below. She has a shop on Etsy here.

Homesteadcat also hoped I sell millions of my sexy zippy wristlet pattern. Well, that's never going to happen. Realistically, in this competitive bag pattern market, if I could sell 100 copies, I would consider myself very lucky.

Anyway, I got thinking and that brings us to my June Giveaway... The past few giveaways - I have been the one making the pouches. This time I decided I will give you guys the fabric and pattern to make your own wristlet.

So here's the deal: The winner of my giveaway gets my sexy zippy wristlet pdf pattern plus fabric.

Here's the fabric:

Notice I'm giving you guys the exact same Kokka fabric I used in the pattern? Unfortunately I only have 1 meter's worth of the Kokka print. So I'm cutting it into half.  Don't worry. Half a meter is more than enough to make one sexy zippy wristlet.  Oh, you're probably wondering why I'm cutting it into half...

Guitars + Kokka

Bicycles + Kokka

That's right. I'm picking TWO WINNERS. (to atone for skipping May's giveaway) The other print I'm giving away is 1 meter's worth of the guitar print OR 1 meter's worth of the bicycles print.

So you clear what the prize is?
Guitars print (1m) + Kokka print (0.5m) + sexy zippy wristlet pdf pattern
Bicycles print (1m) + Kokka print (0.5m) + sexy zippy wristlet pdf pattern

Btw, you get the white lace too!

How to enter?

♥ Leave a comment on this blog post. Tell me which print you prefer. Guitars or Bicycles. It's that simple. The first winner picked will get her choice and the second winner picked gets the other print. And don't worry if you already own my sexy zippy wristlet. I can easily give you another of my bag pattern. No worries.

♥ One entry per person, duplicates will be deleted.

♥ Please leave your email address if your profile is not tied to your contact info. If you use Anonymous to leave a comment, you must include your email address.

♥ Open to anyone, anywhere who loves fabric. And yes, even if you've won before, you are welcome to enter.

♥ Ends 30th June 2014, Singapore time.

Two winners will be picked by and the winners must respond to my email notification of the win within 48hours or I will pick another winner.

In case you don't know, I'm also at

Here are all my bag patterns. Click on pic to check them out.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

The good buys and the regrets


Notice anything different? Yes, I have a new chair.

It's no ordinary chair. It's made of rattan. We had to go all the way to Kallang Bahru which is in the eastern part of Singapore to get it. I live in the North western part of Singapore.
Kallang Bahru is an older estate in Singapore. I can't remember the last time I was there.

This is the shop we went to. It's called Hak Sheng. The shop was jam packed with items made from bamboo and rattan.

Check out the huge sausage shape thingy near the ceiling. It looks like something used to transport pigs.

Despite the Great Singapore Sale (30 May to 27 July), Hak Sheng did not believe in giving discounts. I know it's quite crazy to buy a chair for your toys. But my toys are so lovely. They don't talk back. They don't need to be fed. They sit quietly and pose very willingly for photos.

 Yes, I did buy something for myself. This stool.

 Just look at that cute little face. Bear knows he's my favourite.

I am very picky when it comes to footwear which explains why I'm always wearing my Ipanema sandals. Unfortunately I noticed Ipanema sandals are priced higher and higher the past year (without any change in footwear engineering) and I am waiting like forever for a good discount. Anyhoos, it being the Great Singapore Sale, I thought it was a good time to stock up on sandals.

Now for as long as I can remember, I've been brainwashed into thinking Scholl sandals are comfortable. They are also pretty pricey. Which is why I've never bought any. Recently there was a sale and indeed there was a grandmotherly pair of Scholl which I found rather comfortable. The final price was about the price of a Ipanema anyway so I decided to buy my first pair of Scholl. As I age, I find that I do need comfortable sandals.

Well, I wore them out one day and horrors. They squeak. Not once or twice. ALL THE TIME. It goes like this - uh un uh un uh uh uh eek ik un ik eeeek. I'm so pissed. How do I get rid of the squeaks? If the squeaks never go away, it means I can never wear this pair of Scholl to the library, a museum, a cinema, a school, a church, a cemetery, a courthouse, Parliament house, a bookshop or go out at night.

Still stinging from the regretful sandal, on Tuesday after swimming, we saw a sports shop had a 50% sale. I spotted this pink Teva sandals and almost fainted at the price. I asked if there was a 50% discount and yes there was. Still it was still expensive after the discount. Why are Teva sandals so ridiculously overpriced? But hubs said go ahead and buy. So I did. I've won the sandals out twice already for hours and they are soooo awesome. I love them so much. And they do not squeak. I hope to wear this pair of sandals for at least one decade.

Moving on to happenings in Singapore. Since May, Singapore has been invaded by tropical swallowtail moths. They are quite large. Like the size of your hand. This is the first time I've seen these moths. They are all over the country - in lifts, sometimes in our home, outside our homes, in other people's homes and offices - everywhere!

The moths went looking for Taylor Swift as well during her stay in Singapore.

It's been a while since I updated you guys on crimes in Singapore. Not that we have a shortage of crime... Anyway, last night, a legless body was found in a bloody suitcase. You can read here for more details. Police are now looking for the legs.
Exciting update: Two men connected to legless body case arrested. Read here.
More exciting update: The police found the legs! Read here.

I will do my June giveaway once I receive something in the mail. See ya.
Related Posts with Thumbnails

My Bag Pattern Shop

My Applique Patterns

My Embroidery Patterns