15th August 2014
I’ve been wanting to make a round hanging shelf for the last few months, I love the way they’re almost like art when you fill it with pretty possessions. However, I’ve struggled to find a way to create a perfect circular frame for it. Walking down the street in Hong Kong recently I stumbled upon the answer, a large dim sum steamer. Who would have thought that they could produce something more than a delicious lunch? Read on to see how. Spoiler: it’s shockingly easy.
- A dim sum steamer basket (mine was 38 cm / 15 inches across)
- A piece of plywood a fraction longer than the widest part of the inside of the steamer, with a depth that matches.
- Scissors/stanley knife
1. Start by removing the base of the basket by cutting away all the woven parts connecting to the frame.
2. Once you remove the weaving it should be a simple task of pulling out the bamboo base. If yours is glued in You may have to pry it out.
3. Your frame should look like this.
4. Wedge your plywood into the steamer. Mine had some wrapped bamboo which provided a natural ledge for the shelf, but if your doesn’t I would also add some glue to keep the shelf in place.
5. Cut the rope to the size you want in terms of how much you want the basket to hang down.
6. The steamer basked will have holes in the side through which the weaving you cut out went, so I simply wrapped the wire through that to secure the rope.
Voila. This has taken pride of place above my desk!
12th August 2014
As you can probably imagine, when I’m travelling I can’t help but buy fabrics wherever I go. Usually it’s a case of having to put a limit on myself lest I end up in one of those awkward, and costly, excess baggage situations. Sadly often the small scraps of fabric I buy are too small for a skirt or a pair of shorts, but too dear to my heart to throw away so end up sitting in a box. While in the process of finishing off my favourite nook in the studio I got a craving for throw cushions, and rather than buying them myself I realised it would be a great opportunity to use some of those colourful fabric scraps. My one main issue with sewing cushions though was that putting a zip in can take aggges (I wanted to make seven cushions), but the last thing you want is a cover you can’t wash. After a bit of pondering I worked out a way to create a cushion with a folding flap so you don’t need a zip. What’s even better is that if you have time you can totally make these by hand! Read on the see how.
- A piece of colourful fabric for the front
- Some canvas or linen for the back
- A sewing machine or needle and thread.
- Cushion stuffing or inner.
1. First cut your fabric pieces. I used the shape of my fabric scraps to determine the size of my cushions, this colourful piece is roughly 45cm x 30cm (17 in x 12 in). Cut a piece of cotton or linen 1.5 to 2 times the length (longways) of your statement piece of fabric. If your fabric is square just pick a side to use as the longways. The longer you cut the backing piece the bigger the overlap of the flap at the be will be so I made mine closer to 2 x because I was using cushion stuffing and I didn’t want it to come out.
2. Cut the piece of backing fabric in half width ways.
3. Lay the fabric together, first one side of the backing fabric, then the other and then the statement fabric right side down. Note that the backing piece that is second from the bottom will be the outer flap, which is why I oriented the clean selvedged edge here. In the event you don’t have a clear selvedged edge on this piece, the best thing to do is to hem this along the short edge so when you turn it inside out it has a nice finished edge.
4. Pin together.
5. Sew all the way around the cushion about 2.5 cm (1 in) from the edge.
6. After sewing the fabric should look like this.
7. Turn the fabric inside out by pulling it through the flaps in the backing and then iron down well, making sure to turn the points of the cushion out, you can use a pencil or chop stick to do this.
8. The back of your cushion should look like this – you can see that my back piece overlaps a lot to keep the stuffing inside but yours may be more centred.
9. Stuff your cushion or if you’re using an insert put that in.
Voila! I can’t wait to show you all the different ones I made with fabrics from all over the world. Nothing better than hanging in the studio sitting on cushions that remind me of places I’ve been!
21st July 2014
I’m such a huge fan of having inspiration boards around the office, usually in a constant state of flux dependent on what I’m thinking or planning at the time. One of the things I love about these is that in some ways they can act as artwork as well as reminders around the office, something more than just a to do list. Not content to have a normal pin board, I recently set about creating this net inspiration board – was surprisingly simple to create and definitely ticks the box of functional art!
- A decorative fishing net
- two dowels (or broom handles)
- some extra string
- a coil of coloured rope
1. Start by unravelling your net and threading the top through one of the dowels.
2. Thread it all the way on making sure not to miss any loops.
3. Do that for the other end so you have the top and bottom attached to the dowel.
4. Now, because naturally the net will slide inwards due to the slack within it, you want to use some string to make it taught between the dowels. To do this you want to cut two pieces of string that are roughly 1.5 x the length of the net. Start by tying the string to the top of the dowel.
5. Thread it all the way through down the side of the net.
6. And then tie it off tight at the bottom, pulling the knot away to tighten the net. When you’ve done this on both side the net should sit taught between the dowels. String it up to the wall by adding some bright coloured cord.