Saturday, 22 March 2014

My Peacock Creations for Hillary's Blinds Competition

My peacock creations
A few weeks ago, Hillary's Blinds launched a Country Crafts creative competition (I saw it on Craft Blog UK...to find out more, click here.) The contest page opens with a challenge: "Are you a superstar craft blogger capable of transforming a humble piece of fabric into an eye-catching wonder?"

Well, that's a lot to aspire to! I know I'm not the most technically gifted crafter, but what I lack in that department I make up for with enthusiasm. I do love a craft challenge, and the choice of fabrics on offer were too beautiful to turn down. I absolutely adore peacocks- the colours, their majestic symbolism and their natural beauty, so I chose Bird Parade Teal. 
Fabricswatches -hub -FINAL
Entrants were sent 1m x 1m of their choice of fabric
My inspiration at the moment largely comes from my daughter- I love nothing more than making things for her, and for my home. With her dark curls and complexion, I think she really suits rich, jewel colours like teal and purple. I decided that instead of making one single item from my metre squared fabric, I would make a miniature peacock-themed outfit for Heather. 
Heather working her peacock ensemble!
Giving us a better view
Skirt
I followed my own tutorial on making a baby skirt from a fat quarter of fabric. (Find the full instructions here if you fancy making your own!) The most difficult part about making this skirt perfect was aligning the fabric so the prettiest parts of the fabric were visable. I love how it looks as though the peacock and blossoms have been painted on to the fabric in watercolour.
Made from a fat quarter (18" x 22")
 Beaded and appliquéd peacock vest 
I wanted to showcase the peacock's beauty, and make it the star of the show, using appliqué. Appliqué is not a craft which comes naturally to me... it is one I have tried and failed before! Due to the nature of the upholstery fabric, this tended to fray round the edges, making the job more difficult. However, after lots of research online, I tried a new technique.
My peacock, ready for appliqué!
I took a piece of thin card and cut it to the same size as my peacock. I then cut around 5mm off the whole way round, so the fabric was a little bigger. Next, I laid the card on the back of the fabric. Using an iron, I folded and pressed the edges of the fabric round the card. You can see how this leaves you with crisper, neater folds- making it much easier when it comes to sew the appliqué on. 
View from the back during ironing
Cut the card slightly smaller than the fabric
I pinned the peacock in place on a plain vest, then stitched it down. If you're trying this, make sure you tuck all the rough edges well underneath before you stitch it down, otherwise it will fray. I also ironed the peacock appliqué flat against the vest at this point.

The peacock was in two parts, due to the way I cut the fabric to make the skirt. To disguise the join, I gave its tail some extra glamour and sparkle by adding beads. I personalised the vest further by creating a flower to sew to the shoulder. I did this in the same way as my "scrap-busting flower brooch"- you can find the tutorial for this here
Extra tail bling!
Flower detail on the shoulder
Side view
The finished vest
Headband 
A beautiful vest and skirt deserve to be paired with an equally beautiful hair accessory! I created this headband in a similar way to the flower decoration on the shoulder of the vest, finishing it with a broken vintage bird brooch. I measured Heather's head, and cut a piece of elastic 1" smaller, to make the headband. 
Headband
Close-up of the vintage brooch detail
Owl Cushion
After having created Heather's peacock ensemble, I had a little fabric left over. I had thoroughly enjoyed working with the beautiful fabric, so decided to complete my series of bird-themed creations with an owl cushion. As you can see, Heather is enjoying sharing a book and a game with him. 
Sharing a book in the study
Snuggling up on the sofa
Taking part in this competition was so much fun, and the fabric was gorgeous! I already can't wait until next year, to participate again. 

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26 comments:

  1. Very cute outfit! Thanks for stopping by Our Secondhand House and leaving a lovely comment.
    ~Bonnie

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    1. Thank you Bonnie! Glad you like it! I certainly had fun making it.

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  2. Wow! Absolutely love that outfit. I love the shoulder flower and matching headband. I'm definitely pinning this outfit. My nieces would love this. (Or at least their Moms' would!) Thanks for sharing at Shindig Saturday!

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    1. Many thanks for the lovely comments, Kimberley, and for pinning my post. Make sure to let me know if you decide to make anything like it for your nieces! x

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  3. This is gorgeous!! I love anything with peacocks on it!!

    Shelly
    minettesmaze.blogspot.com

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    1. Thank you Shelly, me too! I would fill my home with peacock-themed items if I could. Hopping over to your blog too. X

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  4. Oh my gosh, this is super adorable! I love that you cut out the peacock for an applique. Your daughter is beautiful!

    Thanks for sharing how you made it, pinning now! :-)

    Ashley @ PioneerMomma.com

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    1. Aw, that's a lovely comment Ashley. Much appreciated, and thank you for pinning. X

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  5. Arrrr your little girl looks so cute and I love her outfit! x #ThriftyThursday

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    1. Thanks- I think so obviously, but it's nicer when others say it. xx

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  6. I love her dress. It is so pretty and a very clever use of the fabric #ThriftyThursday

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    1. The great thing is, it doesn't cost a lot to make once you have the fabric- and you get to use up bits and bobs like beads and the broken vintage brooch. Thanks for your comment. x

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  7. Wow that dress is beautiful! I'd love to be able to make outfits like that. Thank you for linking up to #ThriftyThursday

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    1. Aww, thanks Gina- and glad I could show it off through #thriftythursday! x

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  8. It's adorable!! Love the matching flower:)

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    1. Thanks Amy, you should give it a go- I used this technique to make it: http://makethriftlovelife.blogspot.co.uk/2014/03/scrap-buster-quick-diy-fabric-brooch.html

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  9. I think you are underestimating yourself. There is more than just enthusiasm! Love the skirt and vest. Clever use of applique. Have you discovered freezer paper? I use it all the time for this kind of sewing.
    Oh and your little one looks gorgeous! #ThriftyThursday

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    1. Oh, thank you, that's a lovely comment. I have never tried freezer paper, but I shall definitely look into that now- anything to make it a bit simpler! x

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  10. I love the outfit, so pretty! The beading is my favorite! Definitely eye-catching!!

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    1. Thanks Annie, glad you like the beading... it actually ended up being one of the stand-out features despite it being a sort of accident. Love it when that happens! x

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  11. Wow - love this so much!!!! Thanks for linking up at Take it on Tuesday!
    ~ Betsy @ Romance on a dime

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  12. Hello! Thanks for popping over to say hi - I've visited you before too :) The creations you've made from the one piece of fabric are amazing! Love the pattern you chose and detailing! x

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  13. Great ideas:) I am so enjoying the entries I have seen for this competition - I am hoping they publish a list of all the entries:)

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  14. Sooo adorable!! Very creative too!! I would love to have you join me for my Centerpiece
    Wednesday linky party and share this post with us. Come on over http://thestylesisters.blogspot.com/2014/04/centerpiece-wednesday-cool-blues-with.html

    Karin

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  15. Oh this outfit is just awesome! What pretty fabric too!!

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