Tansy beetle bag competition and top design


Tansy beetle print on black

Tansy beetle

Tiny Tansy beetle

Openwork top

I’m pleased to announce that the winner of Tansy beetle bag giveaway is Julie b. Congratulations, the tansy beetle bag will be winging it’s way to you.  Thanks to everyone who entered it was great to see so much interest.  I also have good news about the Tansy beetle I saw another one very near my house on a green, which is an area of special scientific interest. I haven’t seen them there before so I think it’s a good sign.

I’ve been working on a new design for a woman’s top using fabric with a woven pattern.  It’s organic cotton woven on a hand loom in India and has stripes of openwork, little holes like lace, it’s very pretty and quite fine.  I’m trying a different shape for the top that flows out at the bottom but sewn so it still hangs flat.  If it works I’m hoping it will show the shape when you move in it.  I also had a couple of ideas for decoration around the neckline and bottom but the design on the fabric may be enough as I don’t want to make it look too fussy.  I’ve also got some plans to make the arms longer so that the fabric covers the cuffs, I’m hoping this will make it look really special.

Open work fabric

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Earth Day giveaway


Tansy beetle bag for giveaway

Tansy beetle bag for giveaway

I’ve taken the beetle fabric I printed yesterday and created an envelope bag which I’m giving away to celebrate Earth Day on the 22nd April. I’ll put the details about how to enter at the end of this post.

Yesterday I wrote about creating the fabric print that’s featured on the bag and I’d like to tell you a bit more about the beetle that inspired the design. I first saw the iridescent green beetle by the River Ouse a few years ago. I took a couple of photos but didn’t think much of the bug until some time later when I decided to find out what it was. That’s when I found out about the Tansy beetle. The beetle is endangered and extremely rare in the United Kingdom, and it’s shell is so shiny that people say the Victorians used it as sequins.

Tansy beetle

Tansy beetle

It is an endangered species and in decline due to environment changes that effect it’s ecosystem. It is so scarce that the only place in the UK it is known to survive is along some of the River Ouse centered on the stretch that runs by my home in York.

So, this weekend when I was walking by the river and saw a Tansy beetle shining green and gold I was very glad that these beetles were still hanging on. This tenacious Tansy inspired me to create the design as a celebration of its survival. I thought using some of my organic fair trade cotton to create a giveaway for Earth day would be cool and a reminder to everyone about the reaches of the environment just outside our doors as well as across the whole planet.

The bag that I’m giving away is made from organic fair trade cotton and is printed with water based ink. 27 cm by 20 cm. The material is called santeen unbleached and was undyed until I added the pattern. It’s fastened with velcro at the top and although the fabric is sturdy it is probably best not to put anything too heavy in it. The beetles are each individual arranged in a unique pattern and printed in green with a touch of gold. I like to use these sort of bags when I’m shopping to separate smaller items, such as cotton reels, within my bigger bag. It could also be used to store a notebooks, as a kindle sleeve, a clutch bag or to keep an ipad in (although I haven’t check the size as I don’t own one). It’s unique and individually hand made and printed by myself.

To enter comment on this post and include the words “Tansy beetle”. The giveaway ends at midnight (00:00 GMT) on the 26th of April 2011 so only posts before then will be entered. I’ll contact the winner by email so make sure the email address you fill in when you comment is accurate. Only one entry per person and the winner will be chosen randomly from everyone who enters.

Creating Beetles


Green Beatles print

Beetles print

Yesterday I read some sites about earth day and about doing something to celebrate the day.  I decided to use some of the organic fair trade cotton I have to make something and give it away on my blog.  As it’s for earth day I took inspiration from my walks by the river this weekend and decided to feature the Tansy beetle which lives along the river.

I always find drawing from life interesting, observing how creatures move and their foibles leads me to a more creative picture then if I just drew a standard image.  After doing some pencil sketches and looking at the photographs I drew the image I used for the prints.  I chose that picture because I thought it looked more dynamic then the others.  It takes some consideration to make a sketch suitable for printing as it’s the places where the ink doesn’t appear as much as where  does.  Once I’d sorted this out I printing the beetles in green with gold highlights.   Hopefully I’ll have finished sewing by tomorrow and then I can start my first giveaway.

Stripes, dragons and judo art


Multicoloured draw string bag and judo painting

Multicoloured draw string bag and painting of judo for a bag

Yesterday afternoon I moved onto some different projects as there isn’t much I can do on my main project, a dress shirt, until next week after I’ve had another fitting.  I’ve been asked to make a set of drawstring bags to keep toys in and some of the fabric that arrived this week was for these.  The first bag is being made from an organic fair trade cotton and bamboo fabric which is woven in multi-coloured stripes.  The suppliers warn that this is liable to shrinkage so I spent some pleasant time in front of the television watching Cake Boss while sewing a hem on the fabric’s edge to prevent fraying in the washing machine.  I lost around 2cm on the piece I cut and washed, which is around the 2% shrinkage that the suppliers said it would be.  While I was ironing the stripy fabric I washed the piece of fabric for the second bag which is dark green organic cotton with red Welsh dragons printing across it.  I sewed the main parts of the stripy bag, created the draw string from the same fabric and attached it.  There are some finishing touches to add but this is very nearly finished.

As today is Saturday I don’t normally do any sewing but I said I’d make a small bag for my hubby to take to judo with him so he can keep his glass and small things safe while he’s training.  So to get started this morning I drew out an image of two judo people (apparently the term for them is judoka) doing a move called tomoe nage on some fabric.  I’d been sketching some pictures of judoka for another project so I based the picture on one of those.  I then painted the image in fabric paint using simple lines.  I’m trying to simplify the image as much as I can with a limited number of flowing lines to reflect the dynamic movement in the sport.  On the face of it it would seem easier to do a simple drawing rather then one that is detailed and photorealistic but knowing what can be left out and how to work with white space to still show the image you want is difficult.  The result I got this time isn’t quite there but I’m confident I now know how to improve it for my bigger project.  Once the image is dry I can make the pouch bag.

It’s a really nice day here so I’ll be outside enjoying the sunshine by the river for the rest of the day.  I might go to the cinema this evening and watch a film about prehistoric cave art.  It might give me more inspiration for creating art with simple lines.