Tuesday, 17 August 2010

Halloween Pumpkin Carving Tips


Halloween Pumpkin Carving TipsHalloween will soon be upon us and here are some handy Halloween Pumpkin Carving Tips...

Pick a fresh pumpkin. Often, you can go to a field nearby and actually pick this, or you can get one at a local store. Pick one that you like. Short and fat, tall and skinny, it’s totally up to you. Depending on the variety, pumpkins can range in size anywhere from very small to gigantic. Inspect the pumpkin carefully for bruises, soft spots or any indications of mould or mildew.

Carved pumpkins can go bad after two weeks. Carve your pumpkin only a few days before Halloween or it may start to shrivel up and cave in.

Carving pumpkins don't necessarily make great eating pumpkins. So although it is suggested that you could make pumpkin pie, it probably wouldn’t be as tasty as you would like it to be. However, you can save the seeds to roast and eat later or give to the birds. You can also save them to maybe plant next year and grow your own pumpkin.

Carve your pumpkin where you will be comfortable - sitting at table, standing over it, or holding it in your lap.

Cut the lid first, a hexagonal cut rather than circular cut helps keep the lid from falling into the pumpkin as the pumpkin lid begins to dry out and shrink. Always draw the shape of your lid very lightly with a water based marker, so that you can wash it off later.

Remember to cut the lid hole large enough so that you will be able to reach into it with your hand and the long-handled spoon, and so that you will have enough room to place a lighting device inside it too.

Cut a small chimney hole in the lid to let the heat and smoke from the candle escape.

Remove the pulp and seeds from the inside of the pumpkin and wipe down the outside to remove all debris.

Halloween pumpkin carving is no longer just cutting some eyes and a mouth. Now you can carve sophisticated designs with the use of pumpkin kits developed by some very creative people. You can also find free printable Pumpkin patterns online, so have a look around.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving TipsPin or tape your chosen pattern onto your pumpkin and cut out the black areas of the pumpkin pattern, and then tape the pattern to the pumpkin. Using a sharp tool press rows of ‘dots’ along the features of the pattern. On large designs you can use the larger poker and place the dots farther apart, but for detailed designs, use the small poker and place the dots close together. Remove the pattern when you have done this stage but do not discard it, but use if as reference as to how the design should look.

To carve your pumpkin simply cut along the dots like a ‘dot to dot’ puzzle. Cut out the traced areas starting with the smallest areas first. For small round holes it is easier if you use a borer.

Remember to cut away from yourself and into the pumpkin. After each feature has been cut out slowly push out the cut pieces from inside the pumpkin.

Finally, coat the inside and exposed edges with petroleum jelly or a spray-on preserver like PumpkinFresh.com to help your Jack O' Lantern last as long as possible.

Decorate you pumpkin with fake spiders or draw a spider on the pumpkin with a black marker pen.

Saturday, 7 August 2010

How to Make a Medieval Bag for a Medieval Princess

How to Make a Medieval Bag for a Medieval PrincessDressing up as a medieval princess is all well and good, but unlike medieval ladies of the time whose bags would have only contains a few coins, a the pious would also carry their paternoster (prayer beads that later became known as a rosary), nether of which would take up as much room as modern day essentials, items such as your mobile phone, lipstick, car keys, purse and digital camera for those Kodak moments.

It’s not easy to find a medieval style handbag on the high street that would accompany a medieval princess style dress, but you can make a little decorative medieval looking pouch quite easily.

This little medieval bag pattern makes up a small drawstring shoulder bag which is fully lined. If you have made the medieval dress yourself, the bag can be made in left over fabric to match the dress.

To Make a Medieval Bag or Pouch you will need...
A sheet of A4 paper to make a pattern,
2 pieces of contrasting fabric,
Some lining material,
Some lace or ribbon for embellishment,
A length of cord and a tassel of the same colour,
A chunky bead and a smaller bead,
A length of wide elastic in a similar colour to the lining material if possible,
And some strong glue.

To make the Pattern
Fold the A4 paper in half long ways to make a long thin piece. Then fold the paper in half the other way to reduce the length of the tall strip, and then unfold this second fold. This crease is a marker.

From one end at the fold, begin to cut a triangle from the point going out to the where the crease and the side edge of the paper meet. You are aiming to cut out a shield type shape.

This is your medieval bag pattern.

Cutting the Fabric
You will need to cut 2 bag shapes from the lining material and the main colour material.

If you are using a fabric with a nap, make sure that the nap strokes down the bag to the tip.

Once you have cut out the full pieces, cut along the marker crease on the pattern and discard the square shape. Cut our two pieces of the triangle shape, from the contrasting fabric. Turn the straight raw edge of the fabric over and press.

Sewing the Bag
Sew the two lining pieces around the long edges and the point.

Set out the two main bag parts and lay on top the contrasting fabric. Where the two fabrics join, lay on a length of ribbon or lace. Pin everything into place before sewing.

With the two embellished bag parts, right sides together – sew together as you did for the lining. Turn right sides out.

Carefully turn down a small hem (1 cm) around the opening of the bag and pin in place.

Push the lining into the bag, and again fold down a small hem and pin it to the main bag hem just below the top edge. Sew the lining to the main bag.

Gathering the Top
The neck of the bag is gathered with wide elastic about 2 inches from the top edge. Firmly attach the end of the elastic to the inside of the bag on a seam. Then set the sewing machine to large zigzag stitch to sew along the elastic. Pull the elastic tightly as you sew, this gathers up the fabric of the bag. Sew all around and then finish off neatly.

This opening can be left as it is or you can add some Velcro if you want to seal the bag more securely.

Cord Embellishment and Tassel
Starting on the lowest most point of the bag, pin the cord that is to be used for the handle along the side seam of the bag. Follow the seam all the way up to the gathered top, and then leave a length of cord for the handle (enough to allow the bag to sit on the hip when worn over the shoulder is ideal) Then follow the seam down from the gathered part back down to the point on the bottom of the bag. Use some tape to seal the ends of the cord to prevent it from unravelling. Sew the cord into place.

How to Make a Medieval Bag for a Medieval Princess
To Attach the Tassel
Cover your taped cord ends in glue and push on a chunky bead that secures the cord ends inside it. Then slip a bead onto the tassel, and poke the tassels loop up into the glued part of the first bead. A cocktail stick is a handy tool for this task. Leave the bag to one side for the glue to dry.

A Notice for Medieval Men
It was considered a token of affection to present one's lady love with a bag, so you had better print off this pattern and make that special medieval lady in your life a medieval drawstring bag.

Thursday, 5 August 2010

Free Dress Making Sewing Patterns


Here you'll find a selection of free patterns for you to try at home. Most of the patterns you'll find here are very simple patterns, so if you're looking for something a little more challenging why not have a look at some of the other patterns avaliable on the site!


Product ImageItem Name-Price
Free Draw String Trouser Pattern PLUS SIZES 22-36

Free Draw String Trouser Pattern PLUS SIZES 22-36

  These trousers are very simple and make up very quickly.   The pattern has had 6cm added around the waist and hips as well as 3cm...

... more info
Free Draw String Trouser Sewing Pattern 8-22

Free Draw String Trouser Sewing Pattern 8-22

  These trousers are very simple and make up very quickly.   The pattern has had 6cm added around the waist and hips as well as 3cm...

... more info
Free Long A-Line Skirt Pattern PLUS SIZES 22-36

Free Long A-Line Skirt Pattern PLUS SIZES 22-36

This skirt is very easy to make and would be an ideal beginners project.   The skirt is simply made from two pieces of fabric, a front and a...

... more info
Free Long A-Line Skirt Sewing Pattern Sizes 8-22

Free Long A-Line Skirt Sewing Pattern Sizes 8-22

This skirt is very easy to make and would be an ideal beginners project.   The skirt is simply made from two pieces of fabric, a front and a...

... more info