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    Blog — sewing machines

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    Just Horsin' Around!

    We love our tea towel designs - you seem to love our tea towel designs as well! Poppy has been a very busy (sewing) bee these last few months.  She's designed lots of new gorgeous tea towels including the new 'Pony Club' especially for Anthropology UK. Pony Club tea towel by Poppy Treffry   Ponies and horses aren't the easiest subject to sketch, and this design took Poppy a little while to perfect but we all think she did a pretty good job! [gallery ids="|"] A tea towel design starts with a sketch in one of Poppy's many sketch books, then Poppy will cut the individual pieces from fabric (usually fine, vintage or found pieces she has hidden away in the studio) and then she'll sit at her trusty old Singer sewing machine and freehand machine embroider the pieces to a tea towel-sized piece of cotton.  This will then get sent away to the local screen printing company for them to print.  We think you'll agree this is another pretty, individual design from the brain of Poppy Treffry. To see all of our tea towels, pop along to our website and for our exclusive Anthropologie UK designs check out their website. TTFN, Team Treffry. x

    Choosing a sewing machine - good luck!

    One of the questions we get asked the most is 'how do I choose a sewing machine?' We don't profess to be experts on this - we use very old, very nice 1930s Singer sewing machines which do just what we want (most of the time!), but they're not high tech and weren't the result of a lot of research. There's a quote from Poppy in our little film for the Eden project where she says 'you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find a good one' and that is certainly true of the way we work.  Our machines have come from car boots, the dump, charity shops and the odd sewing machine shop (oh yes and ebay).  Quite often chosen because they’re pretty! We have about 13 of them in our studio at the last count!One of our beauties in the studio we use on a daily basis - and nothing else! Deciding on what machine to go for largely depends on what you want to do with your machine.....Do you want to just do a bit of dressmaking with an array of fancy stitches?  Some serious upholstery projects?  Or just have a play with freehand machine embroidery?

    • If you're after something to see you through some really tough fabric, then a 'flatbed' machine is probably best - these are bigger, more industrial-type machines that take up more room but will serve you well when it comes to making curtains and other bigger projects.
     
    • Most modern machines will have a selection of decorative and functional stitches, some digital sewing machines will even do the sewing for you - you don't even need to put your foot on the pedal!  Modern machines are great but we have found that a few people who own a new machine have said they are very light weight, even 'throw away' quality.  We think it depends how much you will be using your machine.  If it's just for the occasional small sewing job, these would be fine.
     
    • If it's the freehand machine embroidery you want to have a go at, then most machines old and new will have the ability to do this - it just takes a little practice to get used to the technique.
    [gallery type="circle" size="medium" ids="|"] Your best bet to start with is your local sewing shop as they will have a wealth of experience on the subject, although be clear on your budget before you go in and don’t let yourself be seduced by the array of possibilities! It’s a good idea to write a list of what you want the machine to do first and then you’’ll know whether those extra features are of value to you or not. Experience says you should look for a machine that is metal rather than plastic and quite heavy and sturdy. Our machines have a little screw on the undercarriage which allows you to drop the feed dogs and then we hold our fabric stretched tight in an embroidery hoop but if you can’t find one which does this then you can purchase a metal plate that covers the feed dogs whilst you're sewing. We don’t use an embroidery foot when we’re stitching but again this is something you may have to experiment with for yourself, kissing frogs again!Our Freya who makes all our lovely badges.  Once you have your sewing machine you’ll find most bunching-up and bobbin-snarling issues are down to tension of the cloth, the machine and you! So you just need to play with it, and relax, till you get it right. We hope you don't have to kiss too many frogs!

    Tutorial: Crafty tea towel projects – Coasters

    image (5) Because we know sometimes our tea towels are just too darn pretty to use we wanted to give you a couple of other options for things you could do with them! Here's our first project, lovely little coasters. Liz from our team made these for her gran recently and very well received they were to! image (1)   You will need... A tea towel (We used the teacups design, somewhat fitting we thought!) Some fabric pieces for backing each coaster wadding pins scissors a sewing machine, although you can hand sew if you're patient and have some evenings that need filling! Some cardboard to cut a template from. So, to begin - make sure you're well hydrated, we suggest a nice cup of earl grey (but this shouldn't affect your final result!) 1. Cut yourself a cardboard template approximately 4.5" x 4.5" 2. Using your template as a guide cut 4 pieces from your fabric, 4 from your wadding fabric and 4 cups from the tea towel. image (2)   3. Lay your teacup front face up on a flat surface, lay backing fabric face down on top of coaster front and lay a wadding piece on top of the backing. image (3)   4. Leaving a small gap (for turning the coaster through the right way) sew all around the edges.Once sewn, trim the corners but not too much! image (4)   5. Now turn the coaster right sides out. Stitch all the way around the edge, making sure you catch the small space where you'd left it open so that it is sewn closed. 6. Now you can quilt the coaster as shown in the picture of the finished product, or you could freehand stitch around the tea cups for an extra effect. Tah Dah! So there's some inspiration for something else to do with your tea towels, gets you out of the drying up for a bit longer! Now make some more for your friends! **If you can't wait to get going on this project we're got a lovely little special offer for you. Enter code 'making' at checkout for free delivery on our teacups tea towel until the end of November 14**

    Meet the team - Liz!

    So we thought you’d like to meet another member of our team, this time we want to introduce you to the lovely Liz! Liz is fairly new to team Treffry, she started in June to help us out in our shop in St.Ives over the busy summer. In her interview Liz said she could sew, so Poppy gave her a trial and she wasn’t wrong! Liz has been sewing since she was a child and was taught everything she knows from her creative & crafty mother! Now that the summer has passed Poppy has utilised Liz’s skills and you will find her in the studio sewing away under a fabric mountain. She mostly sews up our super useful purses and tote bags. In fact sometimes its hard for her to keep up, as you lot seem to love them and they don’t stay on our shelves for very long.

    liz 1

    This is Liz happily sewing away in the studio, she is very good at multi tasking as she can sew whilst nattering away to the team AND drink her tea! Can you spot Freya in the background making the tea for everyone. Liz has black earl grey and her favourite biscuit for dunking is a custard cream. Liz said the best thing about working at the studio is the eclectic mix of music you get to sew to. You never know what will come on next-anything from Stones Roses to Gotan Project which is Argentinean samba and rather up beat and jolly. According to Poppy it helps you to sew faster! cds On Liz’s last day off she attended Trevaskis Farm's annual apple day. Trevaskis farm is a wonderful place where they grow lots of produce that you can go and pick yourself. There are also lots of resident animals to see, an amazing farm shop and a restaurant famous with the locals for its impressive desserts! On apple day there were crates of apples lined up that you could taste and buy. As well as tasting of different ciders, cheeses and chef specials including pork & apple scotch eggs, pork & Rattler pasties, apple doughnuts, turnovers & meringues….mmm now I’m hungry! Liz’s dogs Bella & Scrappy had more than their 5 a day and enjoyed all of the leftover apple cores. Next time you’re around you should definitely make a trip to Trevaskis Farm for the day. Highly recommended! apple day Liz likes to cook, when she can get in the kitchen that is… she is very lucky as her husband is a chef! Her signature dish is similar to a Spanish paella with rice scattered with chicken, chorizo, orange slices, red peppers, onions and olives. Sounds tasty hey!

    liz 2

    Liz’s favourite Poppy Treffry product is the bicycle tote bag, she carries it everywhere as it is really well made and strong. She says ‘its bottomless, it just fits everything in’ The one that she has, is even one that she made herself-how good is that! Liz also loves the little robin badges that Freya so patiently creates; they’re just so cute and amazing. We currently have some with spotty backgrounds that look like snow-perfect for that big ‘C’ season ahead! badge