Friday Flash Back – Christmas in July – All That Glitters Christmas

One of the things that I love about the concept of Christmas in July – as well as being able to celebrate with the weather the opposite part of the hemisphere enjoys – is that it starts me thinking about what I am going to be creating this Christmas.

Thank you for joining me today for our Christmas in July Friday Flashback. This week we are looking at a wonderful collection – All That Glitters Christmas.

All that Glitters – Christmas was the first Christmas collection that I created using Iridescent Embroidery Film (Mylar).

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Back when I created these designs in 2011, Iridescent Film was still fairly new in Australia (I had first brought this back from a buying trip in late 2009). Whilst I had created many other collections using this film, it was the first time I had tackled a christmas collection.

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I fell in love with these designs because of their simplicity. I am a less is more kind of Christmas person, and I really love the elegant look these designs have.

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Whilst the designs give the appearance of being a single colour, there is a layer of colour matching thread under the detail stitching, which holds down the Iridescent Film.

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This collection is a massive collection, including a total of 20 different designs. There are 10 designs that are individual elements, and 10 designs that are Christmas baubles, with swirly detail.

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I have had a wonderful time with these designs over the years. The first Christmas I used these designs, I created serviettes, with the design right in the middle of the serviette, and then rolled the serviette so that it resembled a Christmas cracker, with the ends tied with ribbon.  I keep on hinting that this would be a wonderful way for my darling husband to gift me a beautiful piece of jewellery at Christmas, but at the time of writing, he still hasn’t taken the hint.

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I have also completed a larger project, using the Christmas baubles with the swirly details to create a tablecloth. When you are creating a tablecloth, the important things are to measure everything from the centre of the tablecloth, and always use templates.

Other ways that I could really see these designs going well would be on a mantle cloth above a fireplace (I can just imagine firelight glinting off the Iridescent Film), or on a table runner.

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For some reason, I have only ever stitched these designs using a gold tone thread. Not metallic – but I have a wonderful thread that is gold in tone, almost to the point of having a little green in it.  For some reason, this thread really works well for these designs, and I have always used this colour.  Having said that, I could also see the designs working well with a forest green, or burgundy thread for a more traditional Christmas look.

When we first released the All that Glitters Christmas designs, we gave away the beautiful small Christmas bauble design as a freebie (you can find it HERE). For the next week, as a thank you to all of our loyal readers, we are also offering another design from this collection. Click HERE to download yours today.

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I hope you have enjoyed this flashback, and I would love to see pictures of your own Christmas stitching. Until next time, as always, have a Stitchin’ Day.  Julie.

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Friday Flashback – Christmas in July – Christmas Trapunto

One of the things that I love about the concept of Christmas in July – as well as being able to celebrate with the weather the opposite part of the hemisphere enjoys – is that it starts me thinking about what I am going to be creating this Christmas.

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Thank you for joining me today for our Christmas in July Friday Flashback. This week we are looking at a wonderful collection – Christmas Trapunto.

Christmas Trapunto was actually the 3rd Christmas collection that I ever created, and I really wanted to work with a 3d style formula.  I had fallen in love with the designs, and wanted to continue the “stuffed” look and features of the designs in thread.

Traditional trapunto is created by first completing the stitching, and then “stuffing” it with wool. The word trapunto – from the Italian for “to quilt,” is a method of quilting that is also called “stuffed technique.” A puffy, decorative feature, trapunto utilizes at least two layers, the underside of which is slit and padded, producing a raised surface on the quilt.

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This method was not going to work as well for machine embroidery, so we had to re-think the process.

The idea that I came up with was to use a technique where you could stitch down a high loft wadding onto a cutaway stabiliser, trim away the excess, then add the cotton top fabric and stitch all of the details.  Using this method, you get the dimension, and yet everything is done in the hoop.

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One of the things that I really love about these designs is that you don’t HAVE to do them in trapunto. Each of the designs come in both redwork and trapunto style, so if you want to create simple stitching, you can.

There are 12 different designs in the Trapunto Christmas collection, and they all have that same chunky look. Trapunto is a great technique for beginners as well, as it is so easy to create, and yet really looks like an advanced technique.

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I have used these designs in a couple of different ways, firstly I created a magnificent Christmas Tree Skirt. The tree skirt featured all 12 of the designs that are a part of the collection, and after I completed the skirt, a wonderful friend of mine (Anne Conway – designer/artist) painted my skirt to add extra detail.  You could use a similar technique to what Anne used by using JoSonja paints, and textile medium, or nowadays, there are the Derwent Inktense pencils that will help you to easily add artistic elements to your embroidery.

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I have also used the red work version of these designs for a Christmas stocking. You can simply make the stocking – or santa sack, using these designs, and the wording of the intended childs name.

When we first released the Christmas Trapunto designs, we gave away the fun candy cane as the freebie design. For the next week, as a thank you to all of our loyal readers, we are also offering another design from this collection. Click HERE to download yours today.

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I hope you have enjoyed this flashback, and I would love to see pictures of your own Christmas stitching. Until next time, as always, have a Stitchin’ Day.  Julie.

New Product – Laser Guided Scissors

Can you cut a straight line with a pair of scissors?

It is a question that I ask myself all the time, when I am cutting across a piece of batting, or right along a piece of fabric.

Most of us can get fairly close when we are cutting a short line, however when we get to cutting something a little longer, it gets more difficult. And that is where these amazing scissors come in.

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Now I am the first to say that I love a good laser product. Our fabric laser guide is one of our best sellers, and I currently have my darling hubby working on a laser to attach to the machine for precise stitching and quilting, and another for assisting in hooping.  This pair of scissors fits in perfectly with the rest of my marvellous laser products.

The Laser Guided scissors give you a straight line coming out from the tip of the scissor, and allow you to use that laser guide to match up with a point at the end of your fabric/paper, and if you keep the laser firmly on the end point, you will get a lovely straight line.

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I am using these scissors on fabric (and I don’t mix my fabric and paper scissors), and it is so handy for cutting along the width of fabric or batting. I like to use embroiders felt (a really soft and low loft batting) underneath many of my embroidery designs, and I find that attempting to cut a straight line along the width of this is difficult.  Using the laser scissors, with a marking point at the end, means that I create a straighter line, with much less wastage.

These scissors are created with an ergonomic design, and you can adjust the laser for absolute precision work.

When looking into this product, I have found that there is a massive difference in the quality of different products available. I have gone to a lot of trouble to ensure that I am stocking a product that is totally fit for purpose, and works brilliantly on fabric and wadding.  I have also ensured that the batteries included with these scissors are protected before use, so there is no issue with corroded batteries or batteries already run out.

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I love these scissors, and they make a wonderful addition to my tool box. I hope you will enjoy the scissors just as much.

You can purchase your own pair of Laser Guided Scissors from Julie Hall Designs, click HERE to go straight to the correct page.

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day. Julie.

Come and see us in Wagga – Book online and save MONEY!!!

If you are in the Wagga region this coming weekend, come and see us at the Wagga Showgrounds for the Craft Alive Wagga Show!

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I will have my darling son Cameron with me as my assistant, and we will have lots and lots of new tools and designs to show and share with you.

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We will be hosting a Craft Chat at 10am each day of the show, highlighting some of our new and amazing tools.

For more information, or to purchase your tickets online, Click HERE

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Friday Flashback – Christmas in July – Conway Christmas Bears

Thank you for joining me today, and I apologise for the lateness of the Friday Flashback post (it is the last week of school holidays, and as well as working on my own business, I have been helping out doing some corporate training, and taking care of the kids as well). Today I would like to re-introduce you to an fantastic set of Christmas Designs – Conway Christmas Bears, as part of our Christmas in July Celebrations.

The Conway Christmas Bears were created back in 2006/2007, and were the second set of Conway bears that I had created. Once again, the designs came from my friend, and amazing artist – Anne Conway.  Anne had come to one of my embroidery classes, and brought along a beautiful Christmas tree design, featuring bears stacked up like the tree.

I immediately fell in love, and begged for Anne to let me re-create these amazing designs for Machine Embroidery.

Each Bear (and there are 10 in the set), are created in complete fill stitch. The fill that I use is created to give a texture to emulate fur, whilst the edging is in a jagged style adding extra dimension.   Additionally, each bear has individual added detailing, such as their Santa hats, or their vests, some are holding presents, some antlers etc.  They really do all have their own personalities.

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Probably one of the favourite things that I have created with these designs, was replicating Anne’s own Christmas Tree Bear Design concept. I lay out the bears using my layout software, and one by one embroidered them all onto a single piece of fabric.  I can still remember working on this project, I had just purchased a new machine, and after laying out the designs so that I could fit it into two large hoopings, I began stitching.  Everything was fine, and I was up to the second day of stitching, until right at the end, when the last bear (or the machine) ran out of oomph, and pulled the fabric out of the hoop, and inside the machine.  After taking a few hours away from the designs, and a lot of swearing, I decided that I was not going to waste the design that I had created, and stitched the last bear onto a separate piece of fabric, and then appliqued him on before I quilted the wall hanging.  I still have the wallhanging, and bring it out each Christmas to hang in the entry way of our home.

Another project that I created with these great bears was a couple of t-shirts for the girls. The girls would have been two the Christmas after these guys came out, and it would have been their first Christmas walking (being twins, they were not the fastest walkers).   I made them the t-shirts, and stitched a bell onto the hat of the bears.  For a month, this shirt was the girls favourite, and had them jumping up and down so that they could make their shirts jingle.

When we first brought out this collection, I gave out the bears hat as a freebie design. As a special offer to our loyal readers, for the next two weeks we are also offering the gorgeous teddy bear with the scarf design as a free give away.  Simply click HERE to download your copy.

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I hope you have enjoyed this flashback, and as always, have a Stitchin’ Day. Julie.

Free Project Instructions – Gingerbread House

Looking for a gift that is just that little bit different. I am making this gorgeous gingerbread house gift box for many of my family and friends this year, and to make it extra special, filling it with homemade treats. The house is a gorgeous addition to anyone’s Christmas decorating, and can be used for many years to come.

Requirements List

  • ½m Ginger coloured Felt
  • 80x40cm lining fabric (I have used a Christmas print)
  • 1 piece of thick cardboard (I used a 2mm thick boxboard – available from art
  • supply stores)
  • PVA glue
  • Hot glue gun
  • Embroidery threads
  • Stabiliser
  • Stanley Knife or Rotary cutter (for cardboard)
  • 4 clothes pegs
  • Embroidery Machine
  • Sewing Machine with a three step zigzag
  • Gingerbread House Design collection by Julie Hall Designs

Instructions

  1. Take the felt and cut into 2 strips, wide enough to fit your embroidery hoop
  2. Layer stabiliser and felt and hoop up, and embroider all 7 designs to form the house.
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  3. Using a pair of sharp dressmakers scissors, cut around each of the designs as close as possible without trimming the outline threads (Hint: I don’t suggest using rotary cutter for this step, as I constantly trimmed the threads trying to get close enough).
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  4. Take the base and 4 sides, and join together with a three step zig zag (I used a width setting of 6 and a length of .3)
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  5. Take the two roof sections, and join together in the same manner.
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  6. Using the same 3 step zig zag stitch, join up the side panels to create the box. (Hint: One of the fabulous things about felt is the way it recovers itself after being distorted. Don’t worry too much about manipulating the fabric to join together, it will return to it’s former shape once steamed with an iron.)
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  7. Using the templates provided, trace the outlines onto the cardboard, 3 base and square sides, 2 gabled sides, and two roof sections.
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  8. Using a rotary cutter or Stanley knife, carefully cut out the cardboard. Take the PVA Glue, and place a fine film over each of the cardboard pieces, set aside until tacky.
  9. Take your lining fabric, and press with an iron.
  10. Lay the lining fabric out, and arrange the cardboard on (as per the picture), leaving a 2mm gap between each piece. Leave to dry.
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  11. Trim around the cardboard layout leaving approximately 1 – 1.5cm around each edge.
  12. Take the PVA and run a bead around each of the top edges of the cardboard. Pull the fabric around to be adhered by the glue. Leave to dry.
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  13. Take the roof section, run a bead of PVA around all edges, and pull fabric around to adhere. Leave to dry.
  14. Turn the cardboard and fabric over so that the fabric side is up., and there the two pieces of fabric will join to form the sides, run a bead of PVA glue. Pull all sides up to form the box, and secure to dry with the 4 pegs.
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  15. Remove the pegs from the cardboard, and place the fabric covered box into the embroidered box.
  16. Take the roof section lining and embroidered roof, run a bead of glue around the lining, and join both sections together. Leave to dry.
  17. Take your PVA glue and run a bead of glue between the fabric box and the embroidered box. I take the iron out here and press all sides which assists in the glue drying, and gives a pressed, square look to the box.
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  18. Take out the hot glue gun, and (working quickly), run a bead of hot glue around one side of the house (from roof top to roof top).
  19. Quickly place the roof onto the house, and hold down for 20 seconds to secure.
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  20. You will now have one side of the house open to put your “gift” in, whilst the other side is secure and will not be lost.

I hope you enjoy this tutorial, and remember, for the next week, you can get this fantastic design for 50% off, using the code INJULY at checkout.  Click HERE to find the design on our website.

Until next time, have a Stitchin’ Day.  Julie.

Friday Flashback – Christmas in July – Gingerbread House Designs

 

Hello, and thank you so much for taking the time to read this blog post. All this month, we are celebrating Christmas in July, by taking a look at a few of my favourite Christmas Designs.  This week I am going to focus on the first ever Christmas design that I created.  The Gingerbread House

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This gingerbread house is soooo cute. Made entirely out of felt, and lined with cardboard and fabric, the gingerbread house is the perfect accompaniment for any Christmas table.

I made this house in 2006, the same year that I began Julie Hall designs. At that time, there was no product available in Australia called stitch and shape (although if I had waited an extra year…..) so I had to find a way to support the box by myself.

My plan with the gingerbread house was to create a design that really did look like you have decorated a piece of gingerbread with lollies and sweets. There is a lot of stitching involved in this design, and each piece, whilst created in the hoop, is then pieced together with a sewing machine.  I actually re-stitched this house 2 years ago as a gift for someone, and I was so happy with the changes in technology since I developed this design, simply the thread trimming will save you a lot of time with this design.  I really love the way the edges of the gingerbread house have a brick like texture to look like real brick work.

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The gingerbread house was created to fit perfectly into a 5×7 hoop, making the overall size of the house approximately 18x12x25cm. I love that I can load up the box with wrapped lollies, and have quite a treat all laid out.

Some of the tricks that I learnt whilst I was creating this design was in the art of joining pieces together.

  • Instead of using a basic zig-zag stitch, try going for a three part zig-zag, which will give you a much more secure join.
  • Use the spray glue sparingly, in a well ventilated area, I can still remember coughing all around the kitchen for a few hours after putting together a few of these without the door open and the air vent on.
  • Don’t attempt to place multiple pieces into the hoop (even though the hoop these days are larger). You will end up distorting (pulling) the felt, and will more than likely be dissatisfied with the result.

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Unfortunately, due to the nature of this design, I am unable to give away half of the house as a free design.  Instead, what I am offering all of my loyal readers is the opportunity to purchase these designs for half price.  For the next week, we are offering this gorgeous Christmas Design for half price.  Simply use the discount code INJULY at checkout.

Over the next few days, I will also be sharing with you the tutorial for this great house.  Keep your eye out for this great tutorial. Enjoy.

Once again, thank you for taking the time to read this post, and as always, have a Stitchin’ Day. Julie.