Sunday, October 27, 2013

Appliqué tutorial


Let me first introduce myself; I'm Stephanie Deaves, sewing and quilting teacher at Craftland. I moved to Dubai, with my husband, 2 years ago after completing my degree in Textile Design at the University of the Arts, London. My degree was about taking an experimental and creative approach to textile design, bringing together ideas and conceptual development, whilst exploring the application of textiles within fashion and interior design. I now design and make my own range of accessories which I sell in and around Dubai. If you would like to know a bit more about me and my work you can visit my blog here.

I have been teaching at Craftland for a year and a half now and I love it! To be surrounded by creative minds, fabric and threads all day is a real treat ...the only downside being that I can't seem to leave without buying something (my husband doesn't share my love of rulers and scissors)!

For this blog post, I thought I'd share a couple of quilts I've made recently; my 'Monsieur Saucisson' quilt and 'Movember' quilt. They are both made using appliqué, and I have included a simple, easy to follow tutorial about appliqué in this post. Appliqué is a fantastic technique for personalising any project.

'Monsieur Saucisson'

So, anyone that knows me will know how much I love sausage dogs! The super cute sausage in this photo is called 'Dash', and sadly, no, he does not belong to me. He was the perfect model!


The idea behind this quilt was 'If you can't grow one, sew one!'

November is just around the corner, so get started on your 'Movember' quilt now!

Appliqué tutorial:

1. What you'll need:

  • Background fabric (something quite plain so your appliqué will be clear)
  • Fabric for appliqué (this can be patterned)
  • Fusible web (paper backed)
  • Co-ordinating thread (I usually go slightly darker than my appliqué fabric)
  • Template (you can draw your own or print a picture from the internet. Remember you will have to stitch around this, so make sure it does not have too many small details! Also, keep the image simple and quite stylised as it must be an easily recognisable outline)
  • Sewing supplies (sewing machine, scissors, pins, iron)

Template tips

2. Fusing your shape to a backing fabric:

Once you have picked your template, trace the outline onto the paper side of your fusible web (remember your image will be reversed). Then trim roughly around the outline. 

Iron the fusible web onto the wrong side of your appliqué fabric (the rough side of the fusible web is the adhesive side). Cut your shape out, peel the paper off the back, place it on your background fabric and iron it in place.

3. Stitching around your shape:

You have a few choices when it comes to selecting a stitch. You can use straight stitch for a 'messier' look as the raw edge will be visible, zig zag or blanket stitch, which gives a neater finish as the raw edges are sealed in the stitch.

I have chosen to use blanket stitch. I have chosen a slightly darker thread than the colour of my fabric so it gives the shape a bolder outline. 

When using blanket stitch, try to keep the straight line part of the stitch perfectly in line with the raw edge of your shape. When sewing curves, remember, needle down, presser foot up and slightly pivot the fabric. Only change direction when your needle is on the edge of the fabric. You can adjust the size of the stitch according to the size of your shape by changing the stitch length and width. 

Try a practice piece first! 

Secure your thread ends with either a couple of back stitches or thread your top threads into a needle, take them to the back of the fabric, tie them in a knot and trim the excess.

5. It's as easy as that! A few more and you have a quilt...

If you need any help, come along to a clinic at Craftland (you can check the schedule here). We are happy to help with any problems or questions ...or just come and show us what you're working on!

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Craft Land TRADE FOR AID gives a RAEY of hope in Ethiopia

This post has been written by Kay Bruce, Marketing Manager and former Sewing Tutor for Craft Land. Kay describes her childhood as "growing up under a sewing machine"... with a mother who made soft toys and puppets as a business - a real 1980s mumpreneur!

Juggling a creative passion with a head for marketing and PR has not always been easy - for Kay, working for Craft Land is the best of both worlds!

Kay has also trained as a fashion designer and pattern cutter and designs unique, limited edition, printed silk scarves - see


Hello Lovely Reader!

Welcome to Craft Land's fab blog. Here's where we share the inner world of Craft Land with you - and show you how to make some cool stuff too!

For this post, I'd like to share with you something that touches my heart - Craft Land's support of the RAEY project in Ethiopia.

RAEY is a community school for children whose families are in extreme poverty and/or suffering due to illness.

Children at the RAEY School

Each year during Ramadan, Craft Land runs a "Trade for Aid" promotion; encouraging people to bring in their unwanted crafting tools, materials, books and machines - to donate to a charitable cause (in the spirit of Ramadan). Each year we work with a different charity.

In 2011 we worked with the Manzil School for Special Needs in Sharjah. A wonderful establishment that gives it's students confidence and experience - helping them to play a role in society and feel good about themselves. Our donations in 2011 enabled Manzil to teach machine sewing and yarn crafts to the students.

Manzil Students with the donated Sewing Machines in 2011

In 2012, Craft Land's Trade for Aid supported RAEY:

The RAEY community is still in it's infancy, with it's founder, Dr Carolyn Roesler, and her many geneous volunteers, gradually putting into place more and more elements to help those who are part of the community. One such element is a Sewing Room for the HIV Women's Centre. A place where ladies affected by the illness can learn a valuable skill and eventually produce products that can be sold to sustain the community and help them to be self-sufficient.

During Ramadan 2012 we received extremely generous donations - including two industrial sewing machines. It took some time to get the donations through Ethiopian customs (well done to the RAEY team for their dedication and persistence here!) and it might take a little time to get a venue with electricity for the machines, but once a venue has been found, the donated machines, tools and materials will be used by the teacher at the HIV Women's Centre to teach the ladies how to sew.

The ladies learn to sew by hand and on beautiful old pedal Singer machines (they don't make them like that anymore!)

Learning to Sew with Volunteer Janine de Klerk
We are looking forward to watching this element of the RAEY community grow and wish everyone involved all the best. For more information see

And watch this space.... for Trade for Aid 2013 Craft Land took donations for Dubai-based charity Mawaheb - we will be delivering the donations shortly - I'll be posting pictures and words to share with you all in a few weeks.

Until then - May the CRAFT be with You!!! (perhaps more funny for the German-speaking readers... "Kraft" in german means "strength" or "force") :-)

K xx