Country Craft is a blogger challenge to make something crafty with a 100cm x 100cm square of fabric from the new collection available from Hilary’s Blinds. The fabric choice was from Bird Parade, Calluna, Wild Poppies and Patina. I chose Calluna as I had already had an idea of what I wanted to make. When the piece of fabric arrived I was surprised how big the 100cm square was, ok I knew the size but it still looked huge! I realised there was much more than I needed for the first craft idea I had, had. I set about thinking of something different to make, the Calluna fabric pattern was inspired by the textures of moorland heather and with this in mind I decided I would make something useful for the garden.
Here is my step by step guide to making a gardening apron, and kneeler.
For the apron you will need the following:
5 pieces of fabric cut to the following sizes, Body 55cm x 22cm, Pocket 60cm x 18cm, waist band 56cm x 10cm, 2 x ties 10cm by the length needed to tie between 65cm – 75cm each.
Bias Binding, I made mine by following this you tube video, it was easy to follow and I had some scrap fabric, you will also need a bias binding tool which folds the material while you iron it flat. Alternatively you can purchase bias binding from most needlework stores.
Sewing machine, cotton, needle, pins, scissors, sewing machine, ruler, fabric chalk or pencil, chop stick or knitting needle.
After cutting the material you start by sewing bias binding across the top of the pocket, simply pin and stitch the bias binding straight across the top. The next step is to pin the pocket to the front of the body piece of fabric. The pocket is slightly longer, allowing you to make small pleats in 2 of the pockets. I wanted 6 pockets and marked the fabric with chalk at the following intervals from left to right. 10cm, 12cm, 10cm, 12cm, 6cm, 6cm with two small pleats in the two larger pockets. You can mark the pockets out at whatever sizes you like and this apron could also be useful around the house so design to suit your tools.
Once you have pinned the pocket stitch along the marked lines making sure you double stitch the top of each pocket well as this will get the most wear. Next I rounded the two bottom corners by using a glass as a template. Trim and then edge the whole outside of the fabric with your bias binding excluding the top edge where we will be fitting the waistband.
Once stitched you will need to make the two ties, take the two pieces of fabric. Fold each in half with the pattern inside and stitch 5mm from the edge down one short and the long side making a tube. Once stitched each of the ties will need to be turned in the right way and using a chop stick or knitting needle poke out the corners and iron flat. I stitched my ends at a slight angle as this looks nice but is not essential.
Once you have both ties, pin and stitch them to the top either side of the body fabric. I again made a small pleat to each, and double stitched with a cross pattern as this will take the weight of any tools you use the apron for.
Next to add the waistband, you will need to iron a 5mm hem around the edge of fabric, then fold and iron. This will neaten up all the edges as you attach this over the top of the body fabric and over to the back. Double check that all the edges meet as at this point you can shorten the fabric. I found that I did needed to re iron a couple of times to make sure that the waistband covered all my edges and fitted neatly.
Once stitched in place, simply finish off any loose cotton and you will have this great and versatile apron. I am forever having to wander back to the shed for things I have forgotten so I know this will prove a very useful addition to my gardening basket. I still had plenty of fabric left so decided to make a kneeler to match.
For the Kneeler you will need
Foam, I bought mine from Dunelm Mill, for £3.80 and this dictated the size of my kneeler. Mine was 56cm x 50cm and I cut it in half to make it double height.
Piece of fabric a little bigger than your foam size.
Piece of oil cloth or PVC fabric big enough to cover the bottom and sides of your foam. I bought some PVC fabric usually used for a table-cloth. It cost £5 for 1/2 metre.
pins, cotton, sewing machine, scissors, ruler and a marker pen.
This project proved a little more difficult than the apron and if I did it again I would have made it a little differently. I cut the PVC big enough to cover the bottom and sides of my foam. Then pin each of the four corners in place to fit. Stitch each of these, and I double stitched as they will get some wear. Then turn the PVC inside out, pin and stitch the fabric again inside out to the top of the PVC on three sides, leaving a gap big enough to turn out and fit your foam through.
I made a handle for my kneeler and this was made by cutting a rectangle of left over PVC fabric and stitching the same way you made the ties for the apron. Simply twist and stitch into place on one of the sides. Once you have wrestled the foam back into the kneeler. (This was tricky as I hate the feel of foam, its like nails down a chalk board. not something I plan on doing again in a hurry!) Then you will need to hand sew up the remaining seam, I found this tricky as the PVC is quite tough to sew so you may need a very sharp needle.
Once complete I am very happy with the kneeler as it is much thicker than my shop bought one. Backing the kneeler with PVC means it is wipe able and will not soak up any moisture from the ground.
I still had a few scraps of fabric left from my project and I decided I didn’t want these to go to waste. So with a little bit of chopping I had just enough material to make a string of bunting for my summer-house! This is the most simple way to brighten up a dull corner.
For the Bunting
You will need fabric scraps, bias binding, pins cotton, knitting needle or chop stick, and scissors.
Simply cut triangles using a template to make them all the same. I like an odd number so for a 7 string of bunting you will need 14 triangles. The Calluna material has a lovely gradient pattern so with some careful cutting I was able to get lighter and darker pieces and use these alternatively along the row. You could use old scraps of fabric or even cut up some old clothes.
Stitch the v shape and trim, turn in the right way, then iron and pin inside your bias binding. Check you have both the front and back tucked in the bias binding then stitch.
I was amazed how far I managed to make the fabric stretch and If I had purchased the fabric as well as the few extra bits needed for this project the cost would still have been less than £15 for all 3 items. I don’t have a fancy sewing machine either so anyone should be able to make these items on any machine.
So here are my finished crafts, and I am very pleased with the results as I will be able to use these in the garden this summer. The bunting is a little bit of fun and matches my summer-house beautifully making it a place I will enjoy sitting in for my well deserved cuppa!
This is my entry into the Hillary’s Blinds Country Crafts competition.