Watermelon Bags


Watermelons seem to big this year I have seen them on everything. In the latest issue of One Thimble Magazine (Issue 13) there is an adorable pattern called Kawaii Felt Purses with one of the versions is a watermelon, I decided to make it but put my own twist on it. The original pattern is made from felt but I didn’t have enough wool felt to make 3 bags so I decided to use fabric. The easy way would be to use red and green fabrics from my stash. Pattern Review are having another challenge that I am interested in and it is to create your own fabrics – take plain fabric and change it using any technique you want to make your own fabric and use it in an item/s so I decided I would make watermelon bags.


I started off with about 2m or so of plain unbleached calico. Previously when I’ve painted pieces with liquid radiance I started out with a rectangle almost A4 sheet of fabric and cut out my pattern pieces once the fabric had been painted and ironed. This time I cut out all my pieces first. I did have to adjust my pattern pieces from the original pattern. I needed to added extra seam allowances, draw out an oval instead of a semi circle for the fleshy part and also make a lining for the inside of the bag.


Dried Ovals

I used liquid radiance to paint up the fabric. For the red fleshy part I used red with splashes of pink. I painted the entire circle in the colour. I decided to experiment to see how the fabric would look if it was folded when dry. The end result was the fabric that was folded underneath turned out a lighter colour. The half that was exposed to light remained the bright colour that I painted it.


I looked at the my liquid radiance colour chart and made up a green that I thought was the colour of the outside skin. I mostly used the colour I made up but I did add splashes of blue and yellow to the pieces. Where the pieces look particularly dark I used more blue in those areas.

I had to paint the green fabrics in 2 stages as I ran out of space. There are only so many boards I can fit on my ensuite floor.


When I was doing the second lot I did make the mistake of grabbing the wrong bottle of yellow. For 2 pieces I accidentally used my yellow concentrate and not my diluted colour. No harm done the fabrics are just a little bit lighter but I did waste precious drops of colour. You can use the concentrates on their own without dilution but it is more economical to use them diluted. Lesson learnt check you have the right bottles before you start.

To construct the bags I made up all the fronts. I used the finished edge applique method. In this applique method you take your fabric and sew it right sides together before clipping your seams and making a slit in the bag to turn it right sides out. I marked on my fabric which was the back side that I was cutting as I was scared I slit the wrong side. This form of applique gives you a really neat edge and almost a 3D feel as you have another of layer of fabric behind it.


To applique the semi circles on to the bag fronts I used a satin stitch. I wanted to create the white layer you see on watermelons so I used white thread. I set my zig zag stitch to the widest I could which was 7. I set the stitch length down to 0.5 My first one was perfect.


The next 2 I had trouble starting, I couldn’t get over the initial seam that was in the corner of the semi circle. I ended up having to use stabilizer underneath, start a little bit in from the edge and change my settings so my width was 6 and my length was 1.0. Once I got stared I was able to increase my width and decrease my length.


To make the pips I did French knots in a pearl thread. The pearl thread is thicker. I marked out spots with a  black frixon pen then did my stitches adding a few extra here and there.


When I painted the handle fabrics I pleated the fabric so when it was dry it formed stripes. With liquid radiance anything exposed to air when drying is brighter than areas that are not so that is how you can create stripes or on the fleshy fronts the darker and lighter shades of pink. I formed the handle straps by folding each one in half sewing right sides together before turning out and top stitching along each edge


The construction of this bag was pretty standard there was a lining, an outer bag and the handle. I did trim away some of the top of the fleshy party of the watermelon front to reduce bulk in the seam. Normally when I made tote bags in this method I leave my turning gap at the bottom but due the curve shape I had to move my turning gap space to top of the bag on the back.


As a final touch I put on a KAM snap to close the bag.

So these will be Christmas gifts for my nieces but I think I am more excited about them then they will be. These turned out cute!


It was a fun personal challenge to see if I could take pattern designed to made in felt and change it around so I could make it from a woven. Thinking about all the steps I needed to change to make it work was a good way to stop and think about the basic fundamentals of sewing. Painting the individual pattern pieces for the first time was a lot of fun as I had to really plan in it in my head of how I wanted the end items to look. The machine and hand embroidery decoration needed thought and planning, I Goggled watermelon images as research over where to place my pips. These are one of the best things I have ever made.


Make-Up Bags

I love it when an idea turns out the way you imagined it would in your head. These make-up bags are Christmas gifts this year for some special people. These bags came from me having 6 zippers in my stash that I wanted to use up.


The pattern I used is the bonus Box Corner pattern that comes in the Essential Wristlet pattern by Dog Under My Desk. I find DUMD patterns super easy to follow with clear instructions and tips throughout the pattern. In these make-up bag I was working with unfamiliar fabrics so I wanted a pattern that I could clearly follow to avoid any stress in making them and having made the regular version of the Wristlets before I knew it was the perfect pattern. As I wanted make-up bags and not purses I left off the D-ring and handle. This was actually easy to do as DUMD patterns are written in stages so I just skipped the stages where it is said to make/insert the D-ring or handle. You can do that with DUMD patterns and not get lost as to where you are up to.


So I started with 6 zippers that I got in one of the Sew Boxes from last year. I needed to make 6 gifts so it was a logic way to use them up. After I made my waterproof draft stoppers this year using the ripstop I saw at the time I could get ripstop in a colour that would match my zippers. It is perfect to line these bags with. It is waterproof, you can wipe it clean if anything spills in it. I love the colour of it, a bit of fun when you open up the inside of the make-up bag.


The first time I used ripstop I had no real issues working with it. This time I had a little bit of trouble with it but I think it was due to the more complicated pattern I was making (there are few stitching lines in a draft stopper) When I was working with the reverse side of the fabric it would stick to my machine, to get around this I used tearaway stabilizer on both sides of the piece as I fed it through the machine. I don’t have a Teflon foot and at first I did try putting tap on the bottom of the foot but it was still sticking but when I tried the stabilizer it ran smoothly. You don’t need a lot of tearaway, only enough to cover your stitching line. When I was doing top stitching and working with the right side of the fabric I didn’t have any problems it was only the white reverse side that stuck.


The exterior fabric on each one I painted myself. I did it to match the zippers. I had a lot of fun with these. Painting with liquid radiance and salting the fabrics as I have done on these it is a bit of a mystery as to how things will turn out. You have a rough idea of how they will turn out but until they are dry you don’t know for certain. I had my zippers near me when I was painting the fabric and I was adding a few drops extra colour here and there hoping to get the colours I needed. As I mentioned in my previous post one of the pinks turned a little more orange that I would’ve liked so I did use the reverse side of the fabric which was lighter. There are no rules you just go with whatever works.


These make-up bags are one off, I’m so excited with how they turned out. I loved the process of making them. I had to think all the way along the process from choosing the interior fabrics, working out the colours to paint with, problem solving the stickiness of the ripstop. To others that might seem a nightmare but to me it was thinking in a good way as it was my creative brain working. Sometimes I feel I get more out of  making a project than the recipients do. I know those you do get them are going to really like them.


Blue Painted Scarf


I had never painted on any synthetic fabric with liquid radiance but you can put liquid radiance on to any fabric so I knew that it was possible so I had a play. I cut a strip of white organza about 6″ x width of fabric. I soaked it in water a little bit longer than I did the calico to ensure it was fully soaked.


To paint it I scrunched it up on a board and put drops of blue, cyan and the odd drop of teal paint. Because the fabric is so thin I didn’t use much paint remembering the golden rule with liquid radiance “where there is moisture there is movement” I knew the paint would spread on the wet fabric. I did roll the fabric around a little to help the spreading process. After I was happy with the paint distribution I scrunched it back into a heap and sprinkled it with Epsom salts. To heat set it I ironed it between 2 pieces of calico using a hot iron. The calico protected it from melting so I didn’t have any issues there.


I love the pattern that salt crystals have formed. As always you can’t predict what patterns will occur. These have a very fluid almost like water current pattern. It looks so natural. Some areas are darker than others. This has to be my most favourite piece of salting I’ve ever done on.


On the edges I did a double roll hem using monopoly clear thread. It is a simple row of stitching down each side of the scarf. This was an experiment that worked really well. I loved the brightness of the aqua colour that it had when it was wet but I think I love the colour it has turned when it dried even more. I can wear this around my neck or my wrist with some many different outfits.


Christmas Prep – Hand Painted Fabric

For a special touch to some gifts I’m making this Christmas I thought I would use some hand painted fabric in them. One of the best things I did this year was discover Liquid Radiance so why not incorporate it into this years gifts.


Not giving too much away as to what I am making but each item will contain a zipper. I tried to paint the fabrics so that it would match back to the zipper colour I’ll be using.


The ones to match the orange zippers are a little light but they still do look orange and not yellow. The bottle of orange I have mixed up is very pale so I added extra red and yellow as I was painting the fabric then blended it in. I salted all the fabrics with episom salts. The salt markings are very obvious on these.


The purples turned out really well. From memory I think I added a bit of few drops of the pink to the fabric as I was painting it as well as some red I think. Once again the salt markings are very striking on these.


On the pinks I used mostly pinks with a touch of red and yellow. On the pinks the salt markings weren’t so obvious which just proves how random salting is. You can’t fully control how the salt will react and the patterns it will form.


On one of the pieces I’ll admit that perhaps I added too much red and yellow to the mix and it turned more orange. This isn’t too bad at least I know now to add a dash of pink to my orange mix next time to make it more deeper. The photo doesn’t really show it but there are strong patches of pink in it. Alternatively the reverse side of the fabric is a lighter shade of pink so I could use that as my right side. There are no rules so you use what ever side you want.

Because I hadn’t painted fabric in a few months I had forgotten how fun and quick it is. I only did 2 pieces at time and left them to dry overnight as I was limited to space but I could’ve easily done them all in one hit had I taken over the entire space of my spare room. Each piece started out as piece unbleached calico and is now a unique one of a kind piece of fabric. So easy.


Radiance Tea Set

I finished my tea set. I hand painted all my fabrics using Liquid Radiance. I used various techniques to create patterns and prints on the fabrics.  This has to be the most planned out tea set I’ve ever made. Once again I used the pattern I used was Ric Rac’s Tea Set. It is a great pattern.

LR Tea Set Cup Outside

On the cups for the outside fabric I used the piece of I created via heliography. The stars are randomly placed on each panel of the tea cup. I could have fussy cut the pieces if I wanted to but instead I just folded the fabric in half right sides together and pinned my pattern pieces so I was cutting 2 pieces at once. What each panel got on then became random. When piecing the cups together I tried to get a variety of star coverage so one cup didn’t end up with heaps and another with very little.

LR Tea Set Cup Inside

On the inside of each up I used the pole wrapped fabric. Each cup has one darker piece in it and the rest light fabrics which were the various layers of the fabric wrapped around the pole. For the inside bases of the cups I used the spotted fabric I created by heliography and air exclusion. I did 2 pink and 2 purple.

LR Tea Set Cup Bottoms


On the handles and the bases for all the items (plates, cups, teapot) I used the stripped fabric I created by folding the fabric. My original plan was always to use this for the handles but by chance I got all the bases done from it too which ties all the pieces together.

LR Tea Set Plates Top

I also used the spotted pieces as the centre of the plates again 2 pink 2 purple. For the top side of the plates I used some of the fabric I salted to create patterns. Again keeping with the them I did 2 pink 2 purple.

LR Tea Set Plates Bottoms
For the bottom of the plates I used the more of the salted fabric but alternated the colours so the plates would end up with both a pink side and a purple side.

LR Tea Set Teapot

The teapot lid is made from the mop up fabric piece I had. On the spout, handle and main section I used the 2 fabrics which I created using the scrunch and fold technique. Each piece of fabric had different colours and marble lines through it so I alternated the pieces on the main section. The spout and handle have one piece of each fabric on them.

Sadly I forgot to take a picture of them all together but as you can see they all match and make a lovely set. They are mostly all the same tones pink and purples but the different amount that of paint I put on each piece and the other colours which I added to it slightly changed the appearance on each piece of fabric. I loved trying out the different techniques of heliography, air exclusion, salting that created the different patterns and textures on the fabric.

LR Scraps

I have bits of fabric leftover from cutting out the various pieces. I have no idea what I will use it for yet. I’m finding it hard to let go of these scraps as I made them.


Liquid Radiance Dry Fabric

LR Sun Printing

Last weekend I played around colouring my fabrics with liquid radiance paints and leaving them to dry all week. On Friday we had a sunny day so I was able to try heliography or sun printing on some fabric. I painted up the fabric with my colours. On the small piece I used the same grid I used last weekend this time on a purple. On the larger piece I placed foil stars all over the fabric after I coloured it. I placed the board out in the sun for a couple of hours to dry.

LR Pole Fabric Dry

All week I had been watching my pieces dry. The piece I had on the pole I took out of the external pipe after a few days as I realised it just wasn’t going to dry in there. It was good that I had it in there for the first day or so as some excess colour did seep onto the plastic I had it standing on. It was the size of the larger pipe so I don’t even know how that happened. I was so happy when I unwrapped it from the pole. I love the swirl pattern that the twine made. The darker colour was the external layer that was exposed to the air. The experiment worked.

LR Scrunchies Dry 1

This is one of my scrunchies. I think it was the one that had more purple in it. The print is like shades of glass crystals. When you get up close to it you can see even more.

LR Scrunchies Dry 2

This one I added teal too when I painted it. Again you see the slivers of colour on it. You don’t get the full impact of these scrunchies until you iron them. When I first opened the pattern was there but looked messy. Once you iron it you can see all the details. Some areas are really obvious some are just subtle.

LR Pleats Dry

When this pleated piece was drying you could really see the colour change. At first it was light but as it dried the outer layer that I could see became dark. The top of this was the layer I could see. The colours are great I like how there are strips but they aren’t uniform in size or colour. Some lines are thick some lines are thin. Where the fabric is creased you can get a change in colour you didn’t know had happened. I was hoping for streaky and I got streaky.

LR Pink Epsom Salt Dry

The salted pieces I did were very dramatic to watch. At first they weren’t doing a lot but then they really started to dry and you could see the patterns develop. This is the pink piece that has some orange in it. You can’t see the orange colour at all. I wasn’t expecting it to go this dark colour but I really like it. The Epsom salts created little pattern waves on the fabric.

LR Puprle Epsom Salts Dry

The purple piece is even more dramatic in the patterns. You can see more of the orange in this one. I like the pattern that Epsom salts randomly formed. When you salt fabric you can not guarantee what it will look like. At the workshops I did I’ll admit I wasn’t a big fan of salting the fabric but I really like it. You can’t control it so its is kind of fun.

LR Mop Up Rock Salt Dry

This was the mop up piece I did with rock salt. Again it was doing nothing as it was drying then it all started happening. The patterns are more subtle with rock salt as the crystals are larger. It adds texture and pattern to the fabric. You can’t tell this was my scrap piece as it looks just as good as the other fabrics.

LR Grids Dry

The pink grid was the one I wasn’t sure if it would work however it worked fantastically. My original plan was to do the purple one inside too but I took advantage of the sunshine and did it outside. It was a good experiment to see how the same item worked with heliography and air exclusion. Both look brilliant. When you dry things in the sun they are brighter as they dry quicker so the colour is more intense however I can’t see much difference between the two.

LR Sun Printing Dry

My star piece which I dried in the sun turned out good. Not all the stars showed colour so I think next time I need to push them onto my fabric more. I left this in the sun for nearly 4 hours when really it only needed 2-3. In the end I had a bird lay down on it as wild birds are always on my table but by that stage it was dry so no harm done to the bird or my fabric 🙂 I can only image the fabric was nice and warm from the sun so he thought it was a nice resting point. The paints are non toxic so he would’ve been ok anyway I was worried he might have star stuck to his belly but he was fine.

I had fun experimenting with the different techniques. I think I haven’t watered my colours down enough so that is why I’m seeing big chunks of pinks and purples when I placed them onto the fabric. I’ll just add more water to the bottles they are in to dilute them more. It has given me some ideas on how I want to colour the pieces for the bag I wish to make. I’ll have to write all my ideas down so I can make a plan and start work on it. I have plenty of fabric now to make my tea set. I’ll have to cut out all my interfacings and see how they will fit onto the fabric I have.




Liquid Radiance Play

This morning was really the first time I’ve had a chance to play with my Liquid Radiance paints at home. I did colour a few bits of fabric very basically after the workshops but didn’t use them for the project I had in mind and I have used the Lustre paints but I haven’t really played with the different techniques.

LR Pole Fabric

My aim this morning was to paint all the fabric for the tea set I’m making. I mostly worked with pinks and purples as all little girls want everything pink and purple. The first thing I tried was painting up a long piece of fabric in basic strips.

LR Pole Tie

I then wrapped it around some narrow pvc piping and tied it with sisal twine. I’ve decided I don’t like sisal twine it sheds everywhere, never mind it seemed to do the job.

LR Pole Drying

To dry it I have placed it inside a large pvc pipe so that it can stand up right all be at an angle. I’m going to leave it for a number of days and it should dry. I’m hoping to get different patterns on the fabric from the twine but also from the different layers as it was wrapped around the pipe.

LR Scrunchies

The second thing I did was a couple of scrunchies. I painted my first one with pinks and purples and squeezed the excess out (remembering excess is the enemy when working with Liquid Radiance) I used my second scrunchie to mop up the excess and then added additional paint to colour it. Once I finished each piece I scrunched it up or “tickled it” so it was a smaller piece. I’m hoping to get a crystal type pattern on the fabric from this technique.

LR Pleats

The third thing I tried was pleating the fabric once I’d painted it. One of the scrunchies I’d added in some teal to the mix so on this piece I used teal and pink so it would tie in with the other pieces. I folded the fabric so it ended up being a narrow piece. My pleats are uneven but I don’t care I’m hoping for a streaky line finish to this fabric

LR Pink Epsom Salt

The fourth thing I tried was working with Epsom salts. I coloured a mostly pink piece of fabric with a little light orange thrown in too then added Epsom salts.

LR Puprle Epsom Salts

I did the same thing with a purple and orange piece. The salt draws the paint to it and you get random patterns from it. The larger the salt the more dramatic the pattern. I’ve never used Epsom salts before so I don’t know what the pattern will look like or even if I have used enough of the salt to create patterns.

LR Air Exclusion Test Pink Square

The firth thing I tried and I’m not entirely sure this will work but I painted a small square of fabric and placed an item with holes in it over the top. I’m hoping this will work as the air exclusion technique with the pattern forming on the fabric but I don’t know if my plastic piece is heave enough. If I did this on a sunny day I know it would work via heliography but it can’t hurt to try. I found this piece of plastic when I was cleaning out my kitchen cupboards and knew I would be able to use it somehow.

LR Mop Up Rock Salt

Throughout painting the different fabrics I was blotting out the excess with mostly one main piece of fabric. I did have a second piece which has a tiny tinge of colour to it which I’m going to use again. After I’d finished the main piece of fabric I’d used was fully of nice purplely pink colour. I’m hoping to use this mop up piece in my project as it looks like a good piece of fabric and its in the tones of all the pieces I created. I decided to rock salt it. Rock salt crystals are much larger then Epsom and I thought it would give me a chance to see the differences.

LR Drying

At the moment my spare room is my drying zone. I will let all the pieces dry in here. They shouldn’t take long to dry so maybe by tomorrow afternoon or Monday they should all be ok. The scrunchies, pleated and pole will take longer as the fabric isn’t flat. Either way they should be ready by next weekend when I want to start my project.

To be honest I had kind of being making excuses not to get in and play around with my paints as I wasn’t sure what I was going to do or how things would turn out. Once I got in and started playing it was easy. Now to wait until they all dry 🙂 Oh by the way sorry if some of the pics are a little grainy my camera sometimes doesn’t play nicely when the flash isn’t on