What can Molly and Mama teach you on the blog?

What would you like to know about sewing and craft?

I’ve been sewing and crafting ever since I was a little girl. I think it was inevitable. I used to watch my mum stitching and creating and I wanted to do the same. So I picked up a lot of techniques along the way, but I taught myself a lot too.

This blog is all about sharing my love of sewing and crafting. I want to give practical tips and ideas to help the beginning sewer so that they can create beautiful things for their family, friends and perhaps their own small ‘cottage industry’ business.

But it occurred to me that in order to be of most benefit, I need to know what my readers really want to learn. So….

WHAT ARE YOU INTERESTED IN?

WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE ON THE MOLLY AND MAMA BLOG?

HOW CAN I HELP YOU? 

As a mum sewing for my kids, I’ve been interested in relearning a lot of those simple techniques and tricks that help make everyday sewing easier.

I’ve also been learning some great methods for really improving the look of my finished pieces, whether that be sewing finishes or little tips that help out the new sewer. As well as online courses, I’ve been exploring some great blogs for advice and ideas.

I’d love to share more of my learning with you, my lovely readers! So please don’t be shy. Get involved. Have your say and tell me about the things you’ve always wanted to try or learn. And I’ll see what I can do!

This post was written by Lauren Wright for Molly and Mama and appeared first on http://www.MollyandMama.wordpress.com

Spring is Almost Here!

Can it really be almost a month since my last post? Oh, that’s shameful! There have been lots of changes and happenings around here and the time has just flown by. But my brain has been dreaming of Spring and hatching up new ideas!

It’s slowly getting warmer here. There are buds on the trees and the flowers are starting to bloom. I have little bunches of sweet peas and jasmine all over the house. And I can finally see a tinge of green in our frost-bitten lawn. It won’t be long before Winter is a distant memory! To help bring on the inspiration of Spring, I’ve been working on some lovely felt projects.

Spring Posy Pin Cushion by Molly and Mama

This adorable ‘Spring Posy’ pin cushion features in Issue 14 of Bespoke Magazine. I’ve included step-by-step instructions (with lots of photos) in the tutorial. If you’d like to create one, you can pick up a print or digital copy HERE. And then download the free template HERE. The Spring edition of this magazine is all about embellishment and adornment. And all the pages are filled with florals and blooms. So pretty! This project really got me inspired for my next tutorial!

I have been working on a sweet felt floral wreath or crown. I can’t wait to show you photos of it on a model!  And I’m really looking forward to sharing some tips with you so that you can create your very own!

Spring Felt Flower Crown by Molly and Mama

If you’d like to read more about using felt, I have a great little post about my love of wool felt and why it’s such a great medium. It’s so easy to work with! You can find more felt inspiration on my pinterest board here too!

Don’t forget to pop by the Molly and Mama facebook page, so that you don’t miss out on all the daily happenings. Come on Spring!

Thanks for being here, Lauren x

I’ve started crochet and I’m not perfect

Would you love to learn to crochet? It has been on my list this year and I’ve finally taken the plunge!

I love anything crafty! This year I planned to really expand my crafty skills and try new projects and techniques. So I enrolled in a few classes, both online and with groups. I’ve been reading, researching and learning. And pinning too!

And recently I tried my hand at CROCHET. My mum started me off with a few tips and pointers one evening. But I think we had a few too many wines and I ended up getting a bit confused. Please tell me I’m not the only person who does that?

So I joined a class at my local quilting store – The Quilter’s Angel. I have had only one lesson, but I was surprised that I was able to pick up the idea of it pretty quickly. Having said that, it will take me a lot of practise and determination to create the beautiful projects that I keep pinning on my Crochet Board on Pinterest! It’s only early days, but I’m looking forward to learning more techniques.

Here’s my very first attempt at crochet. I’m calling it a dishcloth!

the beginnings of crochet

It’s a little scary, hey? Far from perfect. And not something I’d usually photograph. But I thought it was an important image to share. Why? Because we’re saturated with images of perfect sewing, perfect crochet, clever ideas, and pretty styling.

Everything that we pin, or share, looks perfectly appealing. But sometimes it also looks like it’s a little out of our reach. Just a little too perfect! And it kind of adds a bit of pressure. It makes you feel like what you create isn’t good enough. Is this making any sense?

It took me the better part of an hour just to work out how to manoeuvre my crochet hook and create tension with my yarn. In my first class, I didn’t achieve much. But I just kept practising the technique. My hands were hurting and I kept laughing at how silly I looked. I’m sure I was holding my tongue in a funny way, and holding my breath. Some people in my class picked up the concept very quickly. Others (like me) needed a little more time.

And then when I went home, I kept crocheting while the lesson was fresh in my mind.

So why am I sharing this with you? Well, I guess I just wanted you to know that despite there being a lot of amazingly talented and clever crafters and sewers out there, they all started at the same place – the beginning. And a lot of what I’m learning this year has also brought me back to the basics.

It’s ok to be a beginner and make mistakes. It’s ok if your projects aren’t as polished as you would like. So long as you are giving it a go and having fun, right? If you really want to master something, it takes time. To quote my mother, it also takes ‘consistence and persistence’ (this is also her go-to piece of advice for new mums). But she’s right.

So don’t be discouraged if on your first attempt, you don’t get the result you are after. I’ve been stitching applique now for years. I love it and I feel like I have a really good set of skills that help me produce beautiful applique. But it took time, patience, persistence and just a hint of perfectionism (please don’t judge, I was born that way).

So I’m being realistic about crochet. Maybe in a few years, I’ll have some really lovely pieces to be especially proud of. But in the mean time, I am happy to keep trying, and sharing, and working on it. After all, that’s the only way I’ll get better!

So I’ll keep crocheting! And I’ll share some lovely tutorials and ideas I find along the way. If you want to give it a try, it’s relatively cheap. Materials are readily available. And there are lots of tutorials online and on YouTube. You can learn so much from the comfort of your own lounge room!

And if you have any beautiful tutorials, links, patterns or pieces to share with our readers, I’d love for you to get in touch. Feel free to pop by the Molly and Mama facebook page and share there too!

Happy crocheting, Lauren.

This post was written by Lauren Wright and appeared first on http://www.MollyandMama.wordpress.com

Top tips for working with Wool Felt

Tips for working with Wool Felt

Well Winter has finally arrived here. And whilst it’s not quite as cold as many other parts of the world, it’s pretty chilly for us! So I’ve been spending a bit more time indoors, stitching and hand sewing. And whenever I’m hand sewing, I always turn to felt.

Put your hand up if you’re a felt lover! I have to say that I’m addicted to FELT! It’s the most versatile medium and so easy to work with. Especially since I discovered wool felt.

Gorgeous shades of 100% wool felt

I love using 100% wool felt and it really makes a difference to the look and feel of each piece I create. It’s less likely to pill or bobble, so it’s great for hand-making toys or pin cushions. It cuts well, doesn’t fray like fabric and can be easily shaped and moulded.

Here’s my TOP TIPS for hand stitching with felt;

  • Use 100% wool felt or the best quality felt you can afford for your project. It will last longer, and keep its shape better.
  • Be precise with your cutting. Use small sharp scissors with a short blade and pointed tip to get a neat finish and crisp edges when cutting small felt shapes.
  • Use freezer paper or flexible paper templates for shapes. Don’t cut the template out on the line before you start, but leave a small border around the template. Pin the template to your felt and cut out your shape on the line.
  • Make sure you store your felt flat. You can iron 100% wool felt if you need to. Just use a wool heat setting and cover the felt with a press cloth so you don’t damage it.
  • Don’t use wool felt on a project you wish to machine wash. Wool felt and washing machines don’t mix!
  • Learn to master ‘whip stitch’ and ‘blanket stitch’. They are terrific stitches for felt. Whip stitch joins two felt pieces together. I have used it to create this lovely little felt bunny (made from a Gingermelon pattern). Blanket stitch gives a decorative finish and was used to stitch the little blue bunny dress.

beautiful felt bunny by Molly and Mama.jpg

Even though wool felt is a lot more expensive, I don’t think I could go back to using acrylic felt now. Even the range of colours that are available are amazing!

I’ve been stitching up some really sweet felt projects lately. The tutorial for this pretty pin cushion will appear in the Spring issue of Bespoke Magazine.

Spring Posy Pin Cushion by Molly and Mama

I enjoyed making it so much, that I’ve planned a tutorial for a matching scissor keep and pin cushion ring to share with you soon.

I’ve also been working on some new patterns, including this adorable Sleepy Cloud Pin Cushion. I even stitched a tiny pin topper to go with it.

Sleepy Cloud Pin Cushion from Molly and Mama

And of course, you’ve probably seen my tutorial for the easy Pear Pin Cushion. I love the partridge pin topper.

IMG_5848.jpg

For an easy project to start on, try the Felt Bunnies tutorial.

Easy Felt Bunny Tutorial by Molly and Mama 7

And once you’ve mastered blanket stitch, Miss Molly is a lovely pin cushion to create for your sewing room, or for a friend!

Miss Molly pin cushion PDF pattern by Molly and Mama

Looking for more felt inspiration? I have founds lots of lovely ideas on Pinterest (but of course). So feel free to have a browse through my FELT FUN album, and be sure to follow Molly and Mama on Pinterest if you don’t want to miss future pins!

I hope you’ve found these tips helpful. If you’ve got more tips to share, please leave me a comment. Happy stitching, Lauren.

This post was written by Lauren Wright and appeared first on http://www.MollyandMama.wordpress.com

Make a Simple Yo Yo Hair Clip - a beginner's tutorial from Molly and Mama

Make a Yo Yo Hair Clip

These pretty yo yo hair clips have been some of my most popular sellers. They are very easy to put together, but can really make a statement! You can create a matching hair piece for a special outfit by using just a small scrap of left over fabric. And you can dress these up however you’d like! I love rummaging through my scrap stash and button box to find the perfect combinations for a clip!

I’m going to show you the basics here and then you can go crazy! We’ll work on this design below. So lets get started.

Create this pretty Yo Yo Clip using the free tutorial

GATHER YOUR MATERIALS

  • 48mm double-pronged alligator clip
  • 12cm of 10mm wide grosgrain ribbon (with heat sealed ends)
  • a hot glue gun
  • a pressed fabric circle with a 16.5cm (6.5″) diameter
  • a needle and thread
  • scissors
  • embellishments (I used a crocheted flower and resin rose, but you can add whatever you like)

Yo Yo Hair Clip Materials

LETS MAKE A YO YO

There are two stages to making these gorgeous clips. First you need to stitch a pretty yo yo (you may also know it as a suffolk puff). If you haven’t made these before, they are super simple. And I have very conveniently included a link HERE to a previous tutorial that explains exactly how to make them!

Here’s a whole bunch of them. Aren’t they so pretty en masse?

Gorgeous yo yos by Molly and Mama - a simple tutorial

To make the yo yo used for this project, I used a 16.5cm fabric circle. This created a yo yo with an 8cm diameter. But you can play around and choose a yo yo size that works best for your project.

LINE AN ALLIGATOR CLIP

You’ll need to have a lined alligator clip ready to attach to the back of your yo yo. And guess what? I’ve got a tutorial for that too! You can head over HERE to find out how to make a simple bow and cover an alligator clip at the same time.

But here’s the short version; Take your 12cm length of heat sealed ribbon and attach it to the 48mm double-pronged alligator clip using a hot glue gun. The numbered pictures below really demonstrate how I do this stage. Just remember to work quickly but carefully with hot glue!

Line an alligator clip - a tutorial by Molly and Mama

PUT IT ALL TOGETHER

Once you’ve stitched your yo yo and covered your clip, it’s time to put it all together. The steps match the numbers in the image below.

  1. Take your completed yo yo.
  2. Attach any soft or fabric embellishments, or buttons, with hand stitching. I added a pretty cream hand-crocheted flower.
  3. Use hot glue to secure any resin shapes, cabochons, rhinestones, or other pretty pieces. This pale peach resin rose complemented my fabric yo yo perfectly.
  4. Attach your clip to the back of the yo yo. Press a line of hot glue onto the top of the clip. Turn it over and gently press it into place on the yo yo back. At this stage it’s important to consider which direction you’re placing the clip on the back. Does the design on your yo yo have to face a certain way? I wanted my resin rose to be upright. So I carefully positioned the clip so that the rose faced the correct way when worn.

Wasn’t that simple?

Create a Yo Yo Hair Clip - an easy tutorial by Molly and Mama

Once you’ve mastered the basics, you can start to play around with your designs. You can add bows, fabric covered buttons, crochet embellishments and lots of sparkle. It’s up to you!

These designs also have a lace rosette attached to the back. Simply gather a length of lace with a straight stitch to make a rosette. Hand stitch a seam to join the two ends. Stitch your rosette and yo yo together before adding more embellishments.

Make gorgeous Yo Yo Hair Clips with this easy Molly and Mama tutorial

I’m so in love with making these pretties. I even had my lovely friend Mel from MiaMia Photography take some gorgeous photos for me. Here’s one of Monty and Pipsqueek (the guinea pigs). Aren’t they wonderful models?

Gorgeous Yo Yo Clips by Molly and Mama

And once you’ve made a whole collection of clips and bows, you’re going to need somewhere to store them. Luckily I have just the thing. You can use a simple artist’s canvas to make a beautiful and practical hair clip holder. And I have written a tutorial over on the SewMcCool blog showing you how!

A Hair Clip Holder tutorial by Molly and Mama

Have you made similar hair accessories? Do you have a hair clip project you’d love to share? I’d love to hear from you!

Check out more inspiration on my Pinterest board for Hair Accessories. Thanks for stopping by for another Molly and Mama tutorial!

Happy stitching, Lauren x

This post was written by Lauren Wright and appeared first on http://www.MollyandMama.wordpress.com

Make a Simple Hair Bow on an Alligator Clip - a beginner's tutorial by Molly and Mama

Line an Alligator Clip and Make a Simple Hair Bow

When I had my daughter, I wanted her to wear all the adorable hair accessories I kept finding everywhere. But I didn’t realise how long I’d have to wait until she had hair long enough to hold a clip. One of the first things I made her, was a simple hair bow on an alligator clip. And it wasn’t long before she had a huge collection of pretties.

In this tutorial, I’ll be teaching you how I cover an alligator clip and add a bow with a rhinestone slider. This project is really easy and you don’t need any fancy supplies!

Keep in mind that this is the method I now use after a lot of trial and error. But I’ve seen lots of different ways to make bows. You may have other suggestions and tips, so be sure to leave me a comment and let me know.

TO MAKE ONE CLIP YOU WILL NEED

  • 25cm of 10mm wide grosgrain ribbon
  • one 48mm double pronged alligator clip
  • one round rhinestone slider made to fit 10mm ribbon
  • hot glue gun and glue sticks
  • ruler
  • scissors
  • heat sealer or cigarette lighter

Materials to make a simple hair bow - a Molly and Mama tutorial

LETS BEGIN

From your piece of ribbon, cut three lengths – 12cm, 9cm and 3cm.

Use your heat sealer to seal the ends of each piece. Alternatively, run the flame from a cigarette lighter across the end of the ribbon to melt the fibres and seal the ends.

Set up your glue gun and allow it time to heat up. Don’t forget to lay down a work mat. Glue guns can get messy! If you haven’t used one before, spend a bit of time practising. And watch your fingers! Each step in this tutorial is straightforward, but will need to be completed swiftly as the glue tends to dry very quickly.

LINE THE ALLIGATOR CLIP

1. Have your 12cm length of ribbon handy. We’ll use this to line the alligator clip. Open the clip and run some glue along the underside of the top ‘jaw’ of the clip. Slide your ribbon into the open space between the jaws and attach it to the glue. If your ribbon is patterned, ensure that the back side is the side being glued. You can see my clip in image 1 below. It’s turned upside down here though so you can see how I’ve positioned the ribbon.

2. With your clip facing up, run a length of glue across the top of the clip right to the end of the jaw. Fold your ribbon back over the top and gently smooth it across the top jaw using your thumb. Your clip should now resemble image 2 below.

3. Place a small dab of glue on both ends of the inside of the jaws at the back. Be careful not to get any glue near the spring though, or you’ll have a clip that won’t close properly. Gently push the ribbon into the space at the back. You can see my clip upside down here in image 3.

4. Lastly put a small dollop of glue on the underside of the clip, just over the space where the circular hole is shown in image 3. Fold the remaining length of ribbon over and press down to secure. Your lined clip should look like image 4. That wasn’t too difficult, was it?

Line an Alligator Clip - a beginner's tutorial by Molly and Mama

MAKE THE BOW

1. Now it’s time to create a pretty bow to pop on top of the clip. Take your 9cm length of heat sealed ribbon and place a small amount of glue at one end. Bring the other end around and join them to make a loop with a small overlap (as shown in image 1 below).

2. Place another small spot of glue on the inside of the overlap and press the loop down so that your bow now has two loops and looks like image 2 below.

3. Thread your 3cm length of heat sealed ribbon through the slider of your rhinestone accessory. You can see this in image 3 below. A small dab of glue on the back will help the stop the slider from ‘sliding’ off. If you choose, you can also leave the slider off and just create a pretty bow without the bling!

4. Place the slider and ribbon over the centre of your bow loops as shown in image 4 below.

5. Hold the pieces together, turn them over and place a dollop of glue on the back of the bow loops. Fold each end of the 3cm ribbon over the glue to secure it to the bow loops. Image 5 shows how your bow should now look.

6. Now all you need to do is attach the pretty bow to your clip. Run a short length of glue along the centre of the top jaw of the alligator clip. (Don’t run the glue along the whole length of the clip top as the bow won’t cover that far). Gently press your bow in place and your pretty clip is all complete!

Make a Pretty Bow for an Alligator Clip - a Molly and Mama tutorial

When making hair accessories, I also like to add a non-slip grip to the underside of the top jaw. It’s a small self adhesive strip of thin pre cut foam that helps the clip to stay put in fine hair. It’s a useful addition but not a necessary one though.

So there you have it – a very simple bow on a ribbon lined alligator clip! Now that you’ve made one, you can create a whole collection! Here’s a few that I put together for a very special photo shoot! A big thanks to MiaMia Photography for the beautiful image.

Heart Alligator Clips by Molly and Mama

You can see more bow inspiration on my Pinterest board for Hair Accessories.

And then you can create a Hair Clip holder to store them on! I’ve created a tutorial for this pretty project on the Sew McCool blog, so make sure you head over and have a look. You’ll be surprised at how easy this is too!

A Hair Clip Holder tutorial by Molly and Mama

Thanks for stopping by once again. I hope you’ve picked up some ideas and inspiration today!

Happy creating, Lauren x

This post was written by Lauren Wright and appeared first on http://www.MollyandMama.wordpress.com

 

Embroider a Pillowcase - a tutorial by Molly and Mama

Embroider a Pillowcase with an Iron-On Transfer

Hand embroidery is a gorgeous way to brighten up a store-bought pillowcase. I’ll show you how easy it is to use an iron-on transfer pen to transfer your design to fabric. Then it’s just a matter of embroidering your design. So simple and so pretty!

YOU WILL NEED

  • a plain pillowcase
  • a SULKY iron-on transfer pen (or similar product)
  • a computer, printer and paper
  • iron and ironing board
  • embroidery floss or thread (I used DMC 335 for this project)
  • needle and scissors

LETS GET STARTED

TRANSFERRING YOUR DESIGN

Choose your design to transfer to the pillowcase. You could use an image or picture but I wanted to write some text. So I popped onto the computer and created a Word document. I typed the words ‘Sweet Dreams’ and played around with the font style and size until I found something I liked, that I could also easily embroider. I choose ‘Rhumba Script’ in size 110. It’s a free font you can pick up at DaFont.com.

When you’re happy with your font and its size (or your image or design), print it out. Remember that whatever design you choose, it will be reversed during the transfer process. So if you’re working with text, it must be printed backwards. Your printer will have a setting for this. My Canon printer says ‘flip horizontally’.

Grab your print out, a piece of plain printer paper and your Sulky iron-on transfer pen. Set yourself up on a flat surface. Follow the instructions that come with the pen to get the ink following. Then trace your text onto the plain paper by using the print out as a template below. If you’re having trouble seeing the text through your paper, hold it up against a well lit door or window. (This is a great tip for those of us who are yet to own a light box!).

Embroider a Pillowcase with Molly and Mama01

Iron your pillowcase so it’s ready for transfer, and place it with the cuff across the ironing board. Ensure the iron is on a warm, no-steam setting.

Embroider a Pillowcase with Molly and Mama02

Place your traced design face down onto the cuff of your pillowcase. I’m super fussy, so I spent a bit of time measuring to make sure it was centred and straight.

Embroider a Pillowcase with Molly and Mama03

Follow the transfer instructions that come with your pen to iron your text to the pillowcase. You can see on my transfer that the heat wasn’t even during the ironing process as the ends are lighter. But it does the job.

Embroider a Pillowcase with Molly and Mama05

So now you’re all ready to get stitching!

EMBROIDER YOUR DESIGN

I love the look of simple back stitch. And it’s so easy to do! As I stitched this text, I kept my sewing hidden (between the two layers of cuff fabric), so that you can’t see the knots and stitching on the back of the pillowcase cuff. It’s not necessary to do this, but I love the clean finish it gives.

Split the six stranded embroidery floss in half (I used DMC 335), and thread the three strands onto your embroidery needle. Be sure to create a simple knot at the end and trim the excess thread. Bring the needle and thread up through the back of the pillow case cuff so that the needle pops up at the beginning of the first letter. As you pull the thread, separate the front and the back cuff fabric pieces. Give your thread a gentle tug so that the knot ‘pops’ through the back of the cuff and lodges itself behind the front piece of the cuff. That way your knot isn’t visible from the back.

You’re ready to start backstitching.

Embroider a Pillowcase with Molly and Mama07

When backstitching, start by making a normal straight stitch. You’ve already brought your needle up to the start of your first letter. Make your stitch a few millimetres long. Press your needle down into the first piece of fabric, being careful not to catch the back piece of fabric. Then bring your needle and thread up a ‘stitch space’ ahead of your last stitch. Lastly, bring the needle down through the same hole as the end of the last stitch you made. As you do this, use your hands to help guide your needle between the two layers of fabric that make up the pillowcase cuff. 

Embroider a Pillowcase with Molly and Mama12

Continue backstitching your lettering, being careful to cover your transfer as you go. Try and keep your stitches the same length. However, make adjustments as you stitch so that you don’t end up with one unusually short or long stitch at the beginning or end of a letter.

Guide the needle to the start of each new letter as necessary. Consider the direction of stitching before you begin each letter, so you know exactly where you need to begin and end.

As you finish your thread, feed the needle down into the cuff and be careful to catch a number of your hidden stitches to help secure the thread. Bring the needle out through the back of the cuff and trim the excess thread away. Give the layers of the cuff a bit of a rub so that the cut thread disappears inside the fabric layers.

Embroider a Pillowcase with Molly and Mama09

To start a new thread, follow the previous instructions to hide your knot and continue stitching.

When complete, your stitching will look something like this from the back;

Embroider a Pillowcase with Molly and Mama21

And like this at the front;

Embroider a Pillowcase with Molly and Mama13

You could almost get away with telling someone you made the pillowcase yourself!

Give the finished pillowcase a quick press and you’re all ready for use!

Embroider a Pillowcase with Molly and Mama16

TIPS AND TRICKS

- Use light embroidery floss colours if you’re using a white or light coloured pillowcase. Darker thread colours will be more likely to show through from the back.

- For an everyday pillowcase that will be regularly laundered, be sure to really securely fasten your stitching. You’d hate to see your hard work come undone in the wash!

You can use the transfer technique and the backstitch instructions on any suitable project. If you’d like to have a go at making your own pillowcase, you can embroider your text or image before you start sewing. I put together a very simple ‘beginners’ pillowcase tutorial for SewMccool.com if you’re looking for instructions.

Sew a Pretty Pillowcase || a tutorial by Molly and Mama for www.SewMccool.com

If you’d like to see more inspiration, you can take a peek at my Girls Bedroom Ideas board on Pinterest.

Happy stitching, Lauren x

This post was written by Lauren Wright and appeared first on http://www.MollyandMama.wordpress.com