A Winter Tonic! It's a buzz line on my monthly 'indulgence' magazine....The Simple Things, that arrived this month...and actually is the perfect header for my post today, as you will see. But if you haven't seen this magazine yet, do take a peek - it is just lovely. It is eye candy, but not the pretentious sort. Beautiful photography, practical articles and wonderful recipes. I started subscribing to it around a year ago and I have kept every single issue, because I can't bear to part with them.... oh and the pistachio cake in last April's issue is the house favourite, as far as cakes go.....with their receipe for Hobbit Seed Cake, a close second.
Meanwhile, a couple of weeks ago, I went on a chance trip with a friend to find a fabric mill in West Yorkshire called the Fabworks mill shop. It wasn't all that easy to find, but oh boy, was it worth the effort. What a brilliant place for a fabric nut like me! Floor to ceiling bolts of every kind of fabric you could dream of...upholstery, dressmaking, wool, leather, silk and satin and even a few bolts of Liberty in there somewhere. Prices were amazing and plenty of bargains to be swept up. In the centre of one of the sections was a wire basket crammed full of off cuts of faux leather - bargain bundles for just a fiver! On closer inspection, I could see that these pieces were super strong and looked remarkably like real leather. I confess I was quite surprised. The colours were absolutely lovely and I wondered what I could use them for....I didn't wonder for very long and I gathered up an assortment of cheery colours.
I was unsure as to how working with such a material would be, so decided to start out with a small project. It was a dream and the result.....
well, what do you think? Pretty darn cute? It is surprisingly pleasing on the eye - I am not sure I would have believed it really. It's not perfect though (for a start I got the text print upside down) - I learnt a few things about working with faux leather, along the way ... as you do....
* You can't unpick it - once your sewing machine needle has gone through it, it is marked permanently, so sew carefully
* You can't iron it - it melts....I KNOW!
* You need to find a way to hold your seams open on the inside to avoid bulky seams. I searched on the internet for a solution.....glue was suggested, but I wasn't at all sure I liked this idea. I ended up, sewing the inside edge down to keep it flat and out of the way of the seam line, but having sewn it from the wrong side -it wasn't a perfect result on the right side!!!! and I should have matched the thread!
Otherwise, there is no problem at all about if feeding through the sewing machine and infact it is remarkably easy to work with.
I made a second little bag, using up some stray pinwheel blocks from a quilt project and then I decided to take it a step further and add some hand embroidery and to hand stitch the faux leather seam allowance down to give it a sort of quilted look.
The possibilities are endless. I've written a quick tutorial about making these little zippered pouches, click here to see how to make one. I think they are the perfect winter tonic to these cold and bleak days.