If you haven’t seen already we’ve just added something really exciting to our bargain basement: A whole selection of gorgeous lucky dip 400g scrap bags – screaming for creative minds to turn into something beautiful!
With my one of my last blogs, How Scrap Fabric Can Be Inspirational + A Challenge For You, I put a call out to see what you lovely makers have been making, or are going to make with these scraps!
When Mr Bob & Rocky the Robins, Missy and Titania the Badgers and Lord Hamington-Swine started appearing on our facebook page I just knew I had to share this inspiring scrap fabric project and spread the inspiration! Made by creative genius Charlotte Blakey she shares with us how her beautiful creations all come about! Enjoy…
Who are your lovely creatures & what are they made from?
I started off making a few birds using patterns out of a book I bought. I went on to design the Robins myself, the feet are made from wire and florist tape to get them to stand up.
After that I tried something bigger: the two badgers. These are made from a skirt and a pair of men’s dress trousers. I also make the mounts from old pallet wood. The badger heads are sewn together and stuffed, they took about eight hours.
The elephant was made from old curtain lining with the old jeans hand sewn on top – no idea how long it took; felt like years!
The pig was made in the same way as the elephant. The main part is old curtains and the hat and bow tie were some old joggers, he didn’t take too long (a week on and off). There is bent wire sewn into the ears to make them stand up.
So they keep their shape, there’s a disc of wood in the back that I staple the fabric to.
The Hare is the piece I’m (slowly) working on at the moment. The base shape is made with curtain lining and fabric hand sewn over the top, the flowers are from old curtains.
- Santa Robin is ‘Mr Bob Robin’
- Satchel Robin is ‘Rocky Robin’
- Flower Badger is ‘Titania’
- Scarf Badger is ‘Missy’
- Elephant never got a name cos I didn’t love him enough [☹]
- and Pig is ‘Lord Hamington-Swine’
they all have their own character and that’s why I give them names!
Why do use scraps for your creations?
I don’t like to throw away anything that has some life left in it. If it’s not good enough to donate then it gets hoarded in my craft space until I can find a use for it (I’m running out of space!) I once read that an obscene amount of textiles goes to landfill. It seemed like madness to me that we’re not as proactive about recycling fabric as we are paper!
Where do you get your inspiration from to make the characters?
My inspiration comes from the fabrics themselves. People give me old stuff to re-use and that’s usually when I have a eureka moment; as soon as I pulled some ugly pink curtains out of a bag of stuff my Mum gave me, I knew it had to be a pig!
Do you make your own patterns & follow instructions or make them up as you go along?
A bit of both really! Once I have a rough idea in my head of what I want to make I look at pictures of that animal for the shape. Sometimes it helps to look at pictures of stuffed toys to get a rough idea of where you might need to put a seam in to give it more shape. I usually sketch a rough pattern onto some lining wallpaper, stitch that up in some old fabric and stuff roughly to see if the shape is good. Once I’ve got the shape I just go with the flow!
How long have you been sewing?
I did a little bit in secondary school but really started when I bought myself a machine when I was on maternity leave six years ago. The animals I’ve only been doing about two years. I kept seeing faux taxidermy Christmassy stag heads which made me want to find out more. I started off small, found a book on fabric birds, tried a couple, made up my own pattern then thought ‘yeah, I can do this’ so jumped in and made a badger head! I don’t really put too much thought in, I just make stuff; if it doesn’t work I’ve still learnt something and makes the next time easier.
What are you going to make next?
I’ve not got anything planned. There are a couple of things I’ve yet to finish but that’s normal for me. I expect I’ll make something when someone gives me some old fabric that sparks an idea. I work pretty slowly though so it might be a while yet 🙂
Did you know that Offset Warehouse sells bags of fabric scraps? They’re so much fun because you never quite know what you’ll get—interesting weaves, soft felts, stretchy jersey, and even smooth silk replicas. I’d love to see what you can do with our bundles of scraps and offcuts!!
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