Sunday, 25 August 2013

Miniature printing

Finally, I own a printer. I have asked for a printer, for my birthday and christmas for the past few years, and had yet to receive one, so I forked out for one myself.  I bought the HP deskjet 3520 from Currys. It was £50 and includes a scanner and inks. I was a bit worried that being so cheap, the printing wouldn't be that great, but I was desperate, and as it turns out, for the price, it really has surpassed my expectations. I had a look at a few miniature printing techniques, and the advice I followed was as follows.

  • Never print from any image, with a DPI (dots per inch) less than 300. The image will be fuzzy otherwise.
  • Set the printer on highest quality when printing.
  • Use microsoft word to scale your images to the correct size.
  • I used hairspray to seal the ink. When you spray it onto the paper, it looks disastrous but eventually dries, though it does warp the paper, very slightly. It was the cheap way of sealing charcoal drawings when I was in Art college. Best to do a test first though. You can read about the pros and cons of this method online. I didn't have art fixative lying around, or I would have used it instead.

I don't have microsoft word, but I do have the trial version, which is so good and easy to use for miniaturising, I may have to buy it once the trial is up, as I plan on doing a lot of printing in future. 

Finally, I have some things to fill up my little brass box (from A Miniature Marvel). Seed packets!  And for a brief moment the sun came out and created a shadow!

The images of these seed packets are from the website The website owner regularly posts scans of her own vintage stock, she even included the reverse of these seed packets. The Sweet pea packet is from sweetmagnoliasfarm.blogspot.

The reverse of the seed packets, although not very readable, I am very happy with the effect.  I made these up like real sachets, and put some tiny glass beads in, then sealed the packet, so when you lift them up, you can hear "seeds" rolling about inside. 

Little idea I had for the conservatory, originally I was going to use newspaper to block the light out, but decided to make it into a garden inspired feature instead, using public domain illustrated botanical plates. These ones are mostly french, I think. They are from the website After building the conservatory I had an afterthought, that I should have made that end a solid wall, as the only thing you would see beyond it was, well, a wall, a big black wall, to be precise. So this creates a nice backdrop to that end of the conservatory. The other 3 "glass" panels will be filled eventually. Work in progress.

And a giant black cat appeared, out of nowhere, and had to be shooed away. Yes, those windows are dirty, that is why we are covering them up, so we don't have to clean them!  P.s. The cat is from Cats Protection League, not available online, but instore. 

So far my favourite print job. These are miniature versions of my mums drawings. We only have three in our ownership, these ones. There was a lovely donkey one which is now living in Hungary, given to a Hungarian guest that stayed with us years ago. Made quite a few of these prints, to test the quality, and these ones came out best. They were printed from 600 DPI scans and the printer was set with the highest print quality with Greyscale on.  One of the main reasons I wanted a printer, was for food packaging and personal touches like this. At some point I will frame these, but I think they look great as they are too. The photograph isn't showing how lovely these are in real life, I think it might be slightly blurry actually :D

NEARLY FINISHED!! When I say nearly............I mean, nearly in needlepoint time. There are a good few hours to go yet.  But I am getting there :D

Saturday, 24 August 2013

Bloomers and Camisole FREE GIVEAWAY PRIZE COMPETITION!!!!!!!!

Camisole and Bloomers will include everything in photograph (except the rose). Robinson & Cleaver Ltd. was a real department store in Belfast, that was around in the Victorian era. The clothes label thread is tucked behind the button and can be easily lifted off. 

Exterior of the box. Slightly on the large side, but I didn't want to compromise the safety of the camisole and bloomers. This would look nice tucked under a bed :)

 So, now that I have the 1:12 scale Camisole and Bloomers tutorial out of the way, I have been left with two almost identical sets, and I would like to give away the new set, shown below, to one of my current followers on blogspot. The last one in was Diane, at 106. (Hi diane :D)

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is leave a comment below. The giveaway is open to all of the current followers of my blog, anywhere in the world. I hope the non english speakers, recognize the words "free ", "giveaway", "prize", "competition", I put a few exclamation marks in the title, to grab attention too.

I am not sure how giveaways normally work, but as I have only 106 followers at present, the chances of winning are a lot higher. So I would highly recommend not spreading the word :D Sly, eh? 

The giveaway will be open for the next two weeks, closing on Saturday 7th September at Midnight (GMT). On the Sunday after, I will write the names on paper, and do the draw, and announce the winner that same day. They will be posted as soon as possible, within the week of receiving the winners address.

The only terms and conditions of entering the draw, are that you must post a picture on your blog, showing the bloomers and camisole in their new home, if you can, as they are my babies and I am sad to see them go :D

Good luck!

P.s. In the rush to get the giveaway online, I put the expiry date down as 7th July, it is actually the 7th of September, thanks for pointing that out Carmen! :D

1:12 scale Camisole tutorial

I said I would have this tutorial and the giveaway ready by the middle of this month, and now it is near the end, sorry for the delay, I was on holiday and then it took me a week to get back into the swing of things.  I also bought a printer, which I was playing with for a few days. I will be doing a post about that soon.

Anyway, the camisole tutorial. A read of the bloomer tutorial will cover anything not covered here.

 The same simple stitch is used throughout. Remember to always keep the knot on the wrong side of the fabric, and the wrong side is the side with the pencil marks. 
I used lace from Little Trimmings. The lace for the bottom and top of the camisole is CL319W/Iv/E and the jagged lace on the front of the camisole is CL2/7601Cr.

You could also use this pattern to make a plain camisole by omitting the lace, and using fine ribbon to create straps.

You will need:-

  • Lightweight fabric
  • Selvedge (on fabric)
  • Fine needle (and a few more for pinning)
  • Fine thread
  • Scissors 
  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Ruler
  • Iron
  • Clear nail polish/hardener (used like fray check)
  • Lace (optional)
  • 1:12 scale buttons (optional)

1:12 scale camisole template

overcast stitch diagram

You will need to make two pieces, front and back, both from the same template.

Take one piece, fold the hem and cut the surplus, (refer to bloomer tutorial for technique).

This piece will be the front. Here I have cut the trim off the lace and then used clear nail hardener/polish along the cut edge, which is then sewn onto the hem. If you can cut the lace off neatly, save the top piece for later.

Sew the lace onto the hem, between the red dots. The red dots indicate the width of the camisole template on the other side. To find the width, you can use a needle to punch through, which will leave a small hole in the weave.

Fold over another hem at the top, and cut surplus.

I have positioned the lace with pins, to make sure either end is aligned nicely with the pattern template on the other side. 

The pins as they should be on the other side.

Sew a continuous line, from A to B, as shown. 

The sewn line on the right side.

This next bit is the placket, the piece with the buttons on it.  Use a piece of selvedge to sew the buttons onto. Knot a length of thread and using a beading needle, sew all buttons on, keeping the knot on the side without the buttons. Alternatively, you could cut a small piece of selvedge and sew onto the fabric of the front piece of the camisole and then add the buttons, but remember to fray check the edges of the cut selvedge.

The top and bottom of the selvedge have to be cut, and then use clear nail hardener/polish to fray check.

Then use tweezers, or your thumbnail and forefinger nail to hold the selvedge, then cut into a strip and apply nail polish/hardener to the cut edge.

Position the "placket", in the centre and sew an "L" to hold the placket in place.  I ran some thread through on the opposite side of the placket "L", hiding the stitches under the buttons, but it isn't absolutely necessary to do that, but it explains why you can see extra thread behind the placket in the following pictures.

Fold over the edge of either side, along the lines of the pattern as shown. (Ignore the peach coloured thread at the bottom for the moment, it is for the ruching)

After folding the edges over, cut off the surplus leaving a seam allowance of a 3-5 mm. Apply the fray check.

With the edges folded over, sew as the red dashed line indicates. 

The following photographs are for the back of the camisole.

With the second pattern piece, do as before, with the bottom of the piece. For the top of the piece, fold over the hem and sew a neat line of small stitches.

For the ruching thread, sew a line of stitches from one side of the pattern to the other side, keeping a long thread free at the end and on the wrong side (pencil marks). Do this on the front piece of the camisole also. To make sure the line will run continuously around the camisole once constructed, hold both pieces together and align the pattern using pins. Then use a needle (large enough to leave a hole mark in the fabric) to mark identical start and end points for sewing to. 

Still working on the back piece of the camisole, cut a piece of lace to sew at the top. I have removed the part below the red line, and have chosen to use the circle pattern for the centre.

Remember to apply fray check to the cut edge of the lace. 

Sew the lace from the dots A to B, onto the hem on the wrong side, using overcast stitch. 

On the right side, the neat row of stitches made earlier, hide the fact that the lace was sewn on with overcast stitch. 

Fold over either side in alignment with the pencil marks and cut off the surplus. 

Apply the fray check to the cut edge 

These are the pieces of waste lace that were left over from earlier, when cutting lace for the bottom of both sides of the camisole. Apply fray check along the cut edge.

Fold over the hem, and insert a needle near the neat edge, in alignment with the pencil marks of the pattern. 

Position one piece of the waste lace as shown, sew along as the red dash line indicates. Below the solid red line, is surplus to be cut off. Apply fray check. When sewing this piece on, make sure the horizontal lace is not sewn over, you can just bend it out of the way for the time being. 

The horizontal piece of lace can now be placed over the vertical lace. Sew as the red dash line indicates. The sew line does not need to be particularly neat, as the stitches are not that visible in the lace. You will need to manipulate the vertical lace into a vertical position as you sew the horizontal piece on, as it will naturally veer diagonally, as this was the position it was sewn in. I used the edge of the "X" in the pattern of the lace, as a guide.

This is how it should be from the front (right side, no pencil marks), the vertical piece, should be on top of the horizontal piece.

Now you can cut the horizontal surplus off on the wrong side, cut as close as possible, then apply fray check. Be careful not to cut too close, leave at least 1mm.

Once you have the first piece of waste lace sewn on, repeat for the other side, so you have a piece that looks like this. I have mine aligned so the pattern of the lace is the same on both sides. 

Sew the front and back piece, right sides together. Sew from dot to dot as shown, and repeat for the other side. Before you do this, make sure both pieces have their ruching thread sewn. And hold the loose thread out of the way as you sew.

Once both sides are sewn together, flatten the seams, with your thumb and forefinger.

Once the seams have been flattened, cut the surplus off as shown and fray check, be careful not to cut the ruching threads. Make sure the lace at the seam is also well fray checked.

Ready to turn inside out.

When turning inside out, its best to push the bottom of the piece out through the top, to avoid pulling the lace about too much.

Once turned inside out, fold over the lace as shown, and cut off the surplus below the red line.

Using your thumb and forefinger to hold the lace in place, sew from A to B. Repeat for the other side.

Once both sides have been sewn into place, thread the ruching threads, and bring them to the outside of the piece through the seam. Carefully pull the thread, holding the sewn part between your thumb and forefinger as you do this, until you get the desired ruching effect, bring the thread back inside and knot onto the seam allowance inside.

Once the ruching is done, soak the camisole in water, and use a hot iron (best to use the temperature setting recommended for the fabric) to press (quite hard) for a second or two, and repeat until bone dry. Use white kitchen paper between the iron and camisole at all times. Be careful not to burn it. 

Pressed and finished.
I hope this tutorial makes sense, I managed to get it done in one day this time, though the actual making of the camisole, doesn't take quite as long as that. If you make one, let me know :)