Having only just returned from a trip to Bali last week, I am still in awe of the fantastic level of craftmenship which I saw from this small island in Indonesia. The Balinese people truly are a skilled race with a strong tradition in stone carving, wood carving, weaving and – what I wanted to write about today – batik processing.
I was lucky enough to witness how the Indonesians use Batik printing techniques to colourfully decorate their sarongs which are worn for religious ceremonies. It’s a time consuming process, yes, but I wanted to share with you a piece of their tradition and eye for quality… and maybe one day you might want to try out this method on your own work.
1. Choose the cloth you wish to use. Try silk, muslin or cotton for the best results and ensure it is clean.
2. Trace your design onto the fabric with a pencil. For traditional Batik design inspiration visit www.batikdesigns.org
3. Decide on what colour dye you wish to use for the first colour and then trace wax over all the parts that you do not want to be that colour. Repeat on the other side of the material for the best results and then leave the wax to dry completely.
4. Mix up your dye by following the instructions on the pot and place the fabric in the dye bath for approximately 30 minutes or however much is recommended by the dye manufacturers. Remove from the bath and leave to dry.
5. Next we need to remove all of the wax by placing the fabric into some boiling water. This will allow you to start a new colour.
6. Make sure the material is dry and then trace wax over the parts of the fabric where you don’t want the second colour to take hold. This will likely include the area that you have already dyed unless you wanted two colours on the same spot!
7. Mix up and dye with the second colour, leave to dry, remove the wax again and repeat the colouring process as needed to finish off your design.
Note: The Balinese use the traditional colours of blue, brown, and light yellow.
If you’re like me and your iPhone is just one of those things you could never live without, then you’re not alone. I use my iPhone for just about everything and this doesn’t stop when it comes to crafting. Today I’d like to share with you my top 5 iPhone Apps for crafting – be it knitting, felting, crocheting, or sewing. Theres an App for just about anything right?
We all have to start somewhere when it comes to our crating skills. This particular app is great for crafting beginners in knitting, crocheting and embroidery. Step by step instructions are provided for all the main stitches and abbreviations you’ll come across in any pattern book, and there are even a few free patterns to get you started.
Price – $3.99 AUD
Website – www.technicalmadeeasy.com/
Lion Brand Yarn
I was really surprised by this app because it’s just such great value. If you’re into knitting, crocheting, or sewing, this app is a must. There are thousands of patterns you can search, download, favourite and keep notes about. You can even search the pattern by level of difficulty.
Price – Free!
Website – www.lionbrand.com/
This is just a nifty little app, useful for when you find yourself stuck without a real ruler. Great for knitting, sewing, pattern making and especially useful when having to run out and buy supplies for your latest project. Measurements are in cm and inches.
Price – Free!
Website – bananasdesign.com/rulerplus/
We all love the crafty online store Etsy, so why not take it everywhere with you and view all the new fabulous creations crafters from around the world are producing. This app allows you to search the store easily, without having to deal with any annoying mobile web browsers.
Price – $1.19 AUD
Website – etsyaddict.com/
If your creating your own patterns and unique creations then you’ll need a sketching app to jot down all these ideas. There are a number of free sketching tools out there but what makes this app stand out above the rest, in my books is the ability to create your own colour schemes for your sketches.
Price – Free!
What are your favourite iPhone Apps for crafting?
There were many great things at the Finders Keepers Markets last week, and perhaps eventually I might blog about the ones that stood out to me. But one things that slightly disappointed me were how similar most of the creations were to eachother.
One area where imaginations can and should run riot is with the creation of softies which is why I love this tutorial from Handmade Romance, based in Melbourne. Her blog documents the process of creating softies from original hand sketches, including creating the patterns, embroidering the features and sewing it all together. I also saw this tutorial on Craftershock for the first time, and glad I did. I hope it inspires you to create something unique! The full documented process is available here.
PART 1: Sketch out characters – the more unique the better! Pick the best and draw these characters to finished size. Trace over each pattern piece using tracing paper.
PART 2: Choose fabric for each pattern piece. Pin tracing paper pattern on to the material chosen. If you have not allowed extra room for seams at the pattern drawing stage, then remember to do so here where necessary! Then snip snip snip!
PART 3: If your softie needs any hand embroidery, then do it now. Place tracing paper of the features on top of the fabric and embroider through both. Tear away the tracing paper. Stitch on other extra details such as patches, mustache, hair, etc.
PART 4: All piece should now be ready for the sewing machine. Lay out all the pieces and figure out the best sequence to stitch everything together, depending on your design. Generally try to start with the smaller pieces or limbs (remember to sew pieces together inside-out!), sew these into the body piece inside-out, stuffing as you go as necessary. Leave a hole in the main body area, stuff and then hand-sew the hole. Hey presto!
So the first inspiration that I’d like to share on my first post here at The Craft Army is what you can do with… felt.
KupKup Land is where the magical world of felt comes to life and all this was born from the creative mind of this crafty lady named Kima from Barcelona.
Combining felts with different kinds of fabrics and paper, Kima has also created a bunch of other adorable stuff like these petit pâtisserie…
…or these buttons…
The Japanese make such kookie and interesting characters – and this ofcourse applies to their crafting. Moonstitches found a pattern for these ‘Kawaii’ owls from a Japanese Craft book. I’d buy it too if I could read it!
At any rate, Moonstitches has lovingly taken the pattern and re-created these charming owl softies with their own linen and felt twist. This is how you make them…
STEP 1: Cut out Fabric
Cut pattern pieces (as per the image) including cardboard for the base of the owl, add seam allowances when cutting the fabric. Height of pattern pieces for this tutorial: 7cm and 10 cm
STEP 2: Sew the Belly to Back
Place belly piece on the body piece (side “a” of belly on edge “a” of body). Start at bottom and sew together, stopping before the tip of the belly part, leaving 0.5cm seam allowance for side “b”. Repeat with seam “b”.
STEP 3: Close Middle Seam
Sew middle seam, starting where seam “a” and “b” meet.
STEP 4: Trimming
Trim the seams where curved. Clip tip close to stitching. Turn inside out.
STEP 5: Prep for Sewing Up
Hand stitch along the bottom edge of the owl’s body in order to prepare for sewing it up later.
If you’re combining a rather thick fabric like wool with a thinner one like cotton or linen make sure to turn the seam allowances in direction of the thinner fabric.
STEP 6: The Beak
Begin sewing the beak from inside the owl’s body, secure the thread with a knot. Fold the tip down a bit, insert the needle and stitch what will become the owl’s face into place. Secure thread inside of the body.
STEP 7: Stuffing
Fill your owl to desired firmness, use small amounts of filling at a time. Sew up the body.
STEP 8: The Bases
Place the round cardboard base on top of the round fabric from step 1. Press fabric seam allowance around the edges of the cardboard to the center of the circle. Attach the base to body and secure the end of the thread under the bottom.
STEP 9: The Eyes
Sewing on a pair of buttons will make your owl see.
STEP 10: Finished!
You’re all done! Now all you need to do is make your new Kawaii Owl some friends.
Thanks to Moonstitches for the tutorial!