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Hanna-Mae Illustration

Illustrator & eco clothing designer

Month

October 2016

Monthly review – handstitching guide books

I spent months reading reviews and borrowing from libraries in the search for the ultimate hand-stitching guide! I wanted something that I could use as a reference that covered all the essentials, but without bogging you down with dense descriptions. Finally my search was over when I discovered Margaret Rowan’s ‘The Complete Guide to Handstitching & Embellishing Techniques’. If you too are looking for a sewing guide to last you a lifetime, your search may be over…

 

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Details

Full title: Stitch! The Complete Guide to Handstitching & Embellishing Technique –  The creative guide for dressmakers and needlecrafters that takes your work to a new level

Author: MargaretRowan

ISBN978-1-86351-453-8

PublisherSally Milner Publishing Pty Ltd (2013)

So, what sets this book apart from the thousands of other sewing books? Plenty! Unlike the majority of modern publications, Rowan’s book is dedicated solely to hand-stitching, with not a sewing machine in sight! and what’s more is that the author somehow manages to make the book suitable for all abilities. Many of the books I read used terms that would only be familiar to experienced sewers, whilst Rowan maintains an un-daunting, reader-friendly stance throughout. That’s not to say this book is geared solely towards beginners; whilst it’s an excellent place to start (covering all of what I deem ‘essentials’ from which needles to select, to how to prepare fabric – details often left out in books of the same genre) the book is clearly divided into logical, clear stages, from ‘tools and equipment’ in Chapter 1 ‘stitching essentials’ , progressing to ‘functional stitches’ in chapter 2, and advancing to ‘decorative stitches’ in chapter 3. What I particularly like is the ‘stitch selector’ at the beginning of the book, which visual examples of each stitch covered in the book, along with a ‘skill level’. Depending on where you feel you are in ability, you can skip to where you feel you are, or if you’re a seasoned pro just double-checking which technique is best to use for your current project, you can dip in and out and use the book as a reference.

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The layout of the book is one of the best I’ve come across, with no ‘information overload’ that you sometimes come across. There are several clear, colour images to demonstrate the technique/stitch, with clearly numbered steps, and a side-bar style panel which reminds you of the skill level, tools and materials you’ll need, and usefully some extra notes.

The books aesthetic is on a par with its functionality, with close-ups of the stitch/technique in the corner being decorative and also useful.

Another thing I found impressive about the book is that there are lots of useful extras in the ‘Resources’ section near the back. Again, Rowan pays attention to the ‘nitty gritty’ without bogging the reader down. This book itself is a manual on how to complete an entire sewing project, whereas usually you would have to consult various sources. From a ‘pressing guide’ to an ‘estimating fabric requirements’ chart,  this book covers it all, somehow squeezing it all into 256 pages (including contents, index etc). You will even find a ‘Directory of Motifs’ (designed by Kelly Fletcher) in chapter 4, covering everything from nature to celebrations and lettering.

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However, whilst I highly recommend adding this book to your collection (it’ll be the only one you need!) availability in the UK is sorely limited, and very difficult to track down at a reasonable price. But I can honestly say that the search will be worth it!

 

You can read more about this book by visiting the publishers page here: Sally Milner Publishing

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Sew colourful – upcycled clothing collection update

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Introducing the latest addition to my 2017 eco clothing collection. Made using upcycled material, and sewn entirely by hand! The breathable, light-weight cotton and vibrant colours make it perfect for summer. The bottom is decorated with delicate and wooden beads, and the waist is elasticated. I’ll be using this pattern again with all kinds of interesting and unique materials, so keep an eye out for photos on my twitter and facebook!

 

In celebration of all things upcycled and eco-friendly, I’ve done some digging to unearth some of Folksy’s best upcycled and eco makes. Support small businesses whilst also supporting our Earth by checking out these talented makers:

Andiecrafts – Who would want to use plastic shopping bags when you could show off this colourful creation?

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QuiltingDemon I love all of shop owner Lesley Bywater’s colourful, unique creations, and the majority are made using upcycled materials! I adore her crazy patchwork slippers and coats.

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JD Crafts – Talented crafter Jan’s shop has a wonderful collection of makeup bags and tote bags made using recycled fabric. 

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Monthly Tutorial: Neatening a seam by hand

As well as being an illustrator I’m also an eco clothing designer and sew all my clothing entirely by hand. Over the years I’ve learnt some basics that have roved invaluable and that I use time and again. Today I’ll be guiding you through how to beat unsightly, fraying seams, using my latest project (a skirt).

step1

So you have your sides sewn neatly together and are left with a raw edge. Turn your work inside out. Trim the edge using pinking shears if you didn’t do this when cutting your initial pieces of material. The zig-zag will prevent further fraying. You’ll need to make sure you have at least 1.5cm excess.

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step2

Fold one edge over on itself until the tips of the zig-zags slightly overlap the sewn edge, and pin into place. Do this all the way along, taking care not to accidentally pin to the excess material on the other side.

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step3

Do a simple running stitch all the way along to hold the fold, like below. Keep the stitches quite small and close together so it will look neat on both sides.

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Back
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Front

step4

Finish off in your usual way (I use a double knot)

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step5

You now need to do the same with the other bit of excess material. Repeat steps 1-5 on this bit.

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step6

Once you’ve done steps 1-5 on both edges, use a hot iron to press your hem open.

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step7

Turn your garment the right way, and you’ll be left with a neat, subtle line like the one below.

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tip

Art with heart

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T-shirt design. Hanna-Mae Williams.

Last month I attended the Welsh Vegan Festival in Cardiff and was blown away by the enthusiasm and creativity displayed by contributors. From hand-carved wooden key rings, to beautiful ceramics; there were makers, illustrators, bakers, ceramicists…a complete hive of talent and creativity. But what all of these individuals had in common was the fact that they were using this creativity as a tool to convey a message – extending its use to bring further benefit. Below you’ll find my top 5 picks of ‘Art With Heart’…

 

1

‘Wear Your Voice’ – Nominated for the VegfestUKAwards 2016, these t-shirts and hoodies are more than just clothing, they’re an example of beautiful illustration work. Wonderful for art lovers and animal lovers alike!

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‘Matt Sewell for the RSPB’ – Bright, unique, and quirky! The well-known illustrator puts his artistic talent to use by supporting the RSPB (and brightening our wall) by allowing his art work to be enjoyed in a calendar. (It’s well worth checking out the RSPB online shop, which includes a growing number of work from artists – I love their lino print cards!)

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‘A.Ison Art’ – Artist Ann-Marie Ison has created a limited edition of 20 gorgeous wildlife lino prints, with 50% of all sales going towards ‘The People’s Trust for Endangered Species‘. 

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‘Sarah Barnard Art’ – Sarah’s marine paintings are so atmospheric, her dolphin paintings (which you’ll find on her facebook page) took my breath away. Her work is available online in aid of the Shark Trust.

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‘NicolaJaneArt’ – A talented wildlife artist who uses pastels to create impressive work. Her greeting cards are sure to bring a smile to any wildlife or art enthusiast. 20% of sales will go to a charity she is passionate about – Animals Asia.

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