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Beginners Guide to Ready Made Curtains

A handy guide for buying ready made curtains. How to choose the correct size, heading and the right type for your window.

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  • We are delighted to offer a range of FREE In-store Events & Craft Demonstrations in a selection of Hickeys Fabrics and Home Focus at Hickeys stores for Autumn/Winter 2018. (Please note, you do not need to register, and all are welcome!) If you have any questions or require further information, please contact us at hf-sales@homefocus.ie

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    Autumn / Winter Events

    Henry St

    Hickeys Fabrics, 5 Henry St, Dublin 1

    • Saturday 8th September - 10:30 - 12:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 29th September - 10:30 - 12:00 - Easy Sew 'Coat'
    • Saturday 6th October - 10:30 - 12:00 - Curtain & Roman Blind Making
    • Saturday 13th October - 10:30 - 12:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 20th October - 10:30 - 12:00 - Easy Sew 'Jersey Separates'
    • Saturday 27th October - 10:30 - 12:00 - Christmas Table Settings
    • Saturday 3rd November - 10:30 - 12:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 10th November - 10:30 - 12:00 - Festive Fat Quarter Makes
    • Saturday 17th November - 10:30 - 12:00 - Xmas Mini Makes
    • Saturday 24th November - 10:30 - 12:00 - Easy Sew 'Wrap Dress'
    • Saturday 1st December - 10:30 - 12:00 - Xmas Mini Makes

    Carrickmines

    Home Focus, Unit 4, The Park, Carrickmines, Dublin 18

    • Saturday 29th September - 14:30 - 16:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 6th October - 14:30 - 16:00 - Curtain & Roman Blind Making
    • Saturday 27th October - 14:30 - 16:00 - Curtain & Roman Blind Making
    • Saturday 3rd November - 14:30 - 16:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 17th November - 14:30 - 16:00 - Xmas Mini Makes
    • Saturday 1st December - 14:30 - 16:00 - Xmas Mini Makes

    Tallaght

    Home Focus, Level 2, The Square, Tallaght, Dublin 24

    • Saturday 6th October - 10:30 - 12:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 13th October - 14:30 - 16:00 - Curtain & Roman Blind Making
    • Saturday 10th November - 10:30 - 12:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 24th November - 14:30 - 16:00 - Xmas Mini Makes

    Blanchardstown

    Home Focus, Unit 406, Blanchardstown Retail Park, Blanchardstown, Dublin 15

    • Saturday 8th September - 14:30 - 16:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 13th October - 10:30 - 12:00 - Curtain & Roman Blind Making
    • Saturday 10th November - 14:30 - 16:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 24th November - 10:30 - 12:00 - Xmas Mini Makes

    Northside

    Home Focus, No. 2 Northside Retail Park, Coolock Drive, Coolock, Dublin 5

    • Saturday 6th October - 14:30 - 16:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns

    Corbett Court

    Hickeys Fabrics, Corbett Court, Williamsgate Street, Galway

    • Saturday 8th September - 10:30 - 12:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 6th October - 10:30 - 12:00 - Curtain & Roman Blind Making
    • Saturday 27th October - 10:30 - 12:00 - Christmas Table Settings
    • Saturday 3rd November - 10:30 - 12:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 10th November - 10:30 - 12:00 - Xmas Mini Makes
    • Saturday 17th November - 10:30 - 12:00 - Festive Fat Quarter Makes
    • Saturday 24th November - 10:30 - 12:00 - Easy Sew 'Wrap Dress'

    Cruises Street

    Hickeys Fabrics, 33 Cruises Street, Limerick

    • Saturday 8th September - 10:30 - 12:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 6th October - 10:30 - 12:00 - Curtain & Roman Blind Making
    • Saturday 27th October - 10:30 - 12:00 - Christmas Table Settings
    • Saturday 3rd November - 10:30 - 12:00 - How To Use A Sewing Machine & Read Patterns
    • Saturday 10th November - 10:30 - 12:00 - Xmas Mini Makes
    • Saturday 17th November - 10:30 - 12:00 - Festive Fat Quarter Makes
    • Saturday 24th November - 10:30 - 12:00 - Easy Sew 'Wrap Dress'

  • Turn your little hero into a Superhero with these quick and simple no sew capes and masks. Batman, Ninja Turtles, Minions & Little Princess...the possibilities are endless with this quick and simple tutorial.

    For the Superhero Cape:

    Download Your Templates Here:

    Instructions:

    1. Fold the fabric in half length ways. Pin the template in place, with the neck opening along the folded edge.
    2. Cut out the neck opening and the curved line of the template finishing in a straight line to the bottom of the fabric.
    3. Cut out shapes from contrasting felt to represent the superhero of your choice and attach to the back of the cape using felt glue.
    4. Attach the Stick & Stick Velcro to the neck opening for easy dressing

     

    For the Superhero Masks

    Download Your Templates Here:

    masks-500

    Instructions:

     

    1. Cut mask template from one felt square.
    2. Iron on the Vilene to the back of the mask to add stability.
    3. Iron Bondaweb to the back of the other felt square, then cut out the super superhero shapes of your choice.
    4. Place the shape over one eye of the mask and cut out the eye socket. Peel back the Bondaweb backing and place back over the mask. Iron the shape in place on the mask.
    5. Attach an eyelet to either side of the mask.
    6. Measure elastic to fit around the head and thread each end through the eyelet. Secure with a stitch.

     

     

     

     

     

  • Step By Step DIY Earrings 1

    Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock the past year, you’ll know that ‘statement earrings’ are a big trend. Every retail fashion store has rows upon rows of the most colourful and eccentric styles you can imagine. I for one, am living for it. I think nothing jazzes up an outfit more than the colourful pop of an earring. So I have put together a fun step by step of some statement earrings that you can be proud of because you literally made them yourself!

    DIY Tassel Earring using Embroidery Thread

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 2

    What you will need:

    Embroidery Thread

    Cardboard cut into the length you want your tassels to be.

    Scissors

    Earring Pieces (You can buy them in store!)

    Start by wrapping your embroidery thread repeatedly around the piece of cardboard. Be careful to keep count whilst you wrap, so that your earrings aren’t completely different in thickness.

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 3

    Once happy with the thickness, thread through a piece of embroidery thread and pull it up to the top. Tie it tightly in a knot and slide your tassel from the cardboard. Cut the tassel and then even it out.

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 4

    Thread your earring piece through the thread and tie a knot again to secure it. Now, protect your table! Lay down a piece of paper. We are using a glue gun and you do not want to get that on your surfaces.

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 5

    Now, here’s the part that seems tricky but it really isn’t. Start wrapping the embroidery thread you used to tie the tassel to the earring, wrap and add a little glue to secure and then keep wrapping. Do the same with the other piece of thread. And there you have it!

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 6

    DIY Pom Pom Stud

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 7

    What you will need:

    A Pom Pom Maker (the one I am using is available in store)

    Wool

    Scissors

    Glue Gun

    Stud Earring Pieces (available to buy in store!)

    Check out my Pom Pom Twinkle Lights post to learn how to use a Pom Pom maker. Or check out Pinterest to see lots of ways to create the perfect Pom Poms!

    Once you have created your Pom Pom, get a piece of felt. Cut the felt to about 1cm width by 2cm length. Cut it directly in half.

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 8

    Cut one of the little felt squares half way down the middle.

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 9

    Separate a parting in your Pom Pom and add a blob of glue. Place a square piece of felt on top and press down.

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 10

    Add a blob of glue to your felt secured to your Pom Pom and add your earring stud. While the glue is still wet, add your second felt pieces. The little slice in the felt will allow the stud to come through.

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 11

    There you have it! A Pom Pom stud.

    Try it another way! Thread your Pom Pom through a hoop. SO EASY.

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 12

     

    DIY Felt Flower Rose

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 13

    What you will need:

    Felt Squares

    A circular shape, like a €2 coin to use as a stencil

    Embroidery Thread

    Needle

    Glue Gun

    Scissors

    Stud Earring Pieces (available to buy in store!)

    You can learn how to make a felt flower rose over on my Felt Flower Wreath step by step. Once you have made your rose, you pretty much follow the same step by step as the pom pom stud above! Easy peezy, right?! You could even switch it up and make a few different colour petals to add a little something something!

    Step By Step DIY Earrings 14

     

  • Oilcloth has come a long way from when your granny had the terracotta teapots on her kitchen table. I dare to say it is downright cool with some fresh and funky designs available along with the more classic styles.

     

    So here’s my top 5 tips if you’re considering oilcloth:

    1: Know your oilcloth - there are 2 types:

    • the less expensive P.V.C. usually retailing between €4.95 - €8.95, this is made as a plastic, it won’t wear as well as the more expensive oilcloth but is cheap and cheerful. This Is a good choice when you have toddlers etc as the chances are it will be full of bolognese and crayons and you’ll need to change it before it starts tearing anyway!

    • The more expensive Oilcloth usually retailing between €16.95 - €19.95 is actually a cotton that is then laminated so will last much longer than the less expensive ones and will look more like a fabric cloth.

    2: Invest in some table protector:

    • You don’t always need this but if you’re putting down hot plates/ dishes this will protect your table from heat where your oilcloth won’t.
    • It also helps to stop oilcloth slipping.

    3: Use clips - especially if you have children around:

    • These are simple little plastic clips with a bit of stretch that go over the edge of your table to hold your oilcloth in place, available in store.

    4: Remember that the oilcloth is protecting your table:

    • Wipe your oilcloth with some kitchen spray and a cloth
    • It will stain - if you spill curry or bolognese or the likes wipe it immediately but it may still leave a stain.
    • Remember every time you see a stain on your oilcloth - this is one less time you have ruined your table

    5: Get the size right - probably the most important on the list:

    • Measure the table! As with all things in life there is no such thing as an average table.
    • Generally you want your oilcloth to be 30cm (12”)  longer than the overall length and width of your table, this gives 15cm (6”) every side which looks decent and will hold the oilcloth down without it sitting on your lap when you’re eating your dinner
    • The P.V.C. / Oilcloth is usually 135 - 140cm (53  - 55”) wide so work with what’s available; if you have 20cm (8”) either side make it the same at the ends so it looks even all around.; If you have less in the width then still add the 15cm each end as you will need this to allow the oilcloth to drape.

    For example:

    Your table measures 105cm (41 ½”)  wide x 150 cm (60”) length and the oilcloth we’re buying is 140cm (55”)  wide - we will have an overhang of 35cm (14”) let’s go ahead and add the same to the length and buy 1.85m fabric.

    Now you’re educated about all things oilcloth (who would have thought there would be so much to know!) Shop our trendy range of Oilcloths now.

  • Choosing the right furnishing fabric for your project may seem a bit daunting but if you know a few things before you get started you can choose with confidence.

    Upholstery vs Curtain weight:

    Our furnishing fabrics will be marked with either UPH (upholstery weight) or CTN (curtain weight) - these are divided into 2 separate categories online. What do they mean?

    • UPH basically means that they have passed a test to qualify them for upholstery use, generally this is 20,000 rubs - meaning a machine literally rubs the fabric 20,000 times before wear occurs.
    • CTN means that these fabrics have never been through a rub test but are suitable for curtains.

    You can generally use upholstery fabrics for curtains also, the only time this would not be the case would be when the fabric is too heavy to fall/pleat correctly, in our current range all upholstery fabrics can be used for curtains.

    You can generally use curtain fabrics for cushions also, some heavier cottons I would even say you could use for kitchen chairs etc as they can be spot cleaned but they will not last as long as a fabric that is designated upholstery.

    Fabric Composition:

    Cotton/ Linen:

    • Cotton is a natural fibre, quite matt in appearance and will hang very well as curtains and lend itself very well to cushions and the likes as it can usually be washed. Of course I would never recommend washing curtains but a cotton can be spot cleaned.
    • Cotton is very easy to work with and is a good choice for beginners projects.
    • Beware the shrinkage! Allow yourself 5% shrinkage and always pre-wash your fabric if you’re planning to wash it in future.

    Silk:

    • Silk is a natural fibre and is a beautifully luxurious fabric with a dull sheen but requires some care.
    • When using silk for curtains use a good lining to protect against sun damage as it will fade easier than other fabrics, generally they will be interlined with an extra thick lining for body.
    • Probably not the best choice for cushions due to its delicate nature but I have been unable to resist in the past and with careful cool hand washing they have lasted me quite well.
    • Silk generally won’t shrink.

    Viscose:

    • Viscose is derived from plant sources like wood pulp and then transformed to fibres - it has a beautiful drape and silk like lustre but is much cheaper.
    • It’s generally a good all rounder as it’s breathable like cotton so nice for cushions etc and as long as it is graded UPH will do a fine job for upholstery.
    • Viscose can shrink slightly and sometimes can be a bit “bouncy” to work with but if made up correctly it is a beautiful fabric.

    Polyester:

    • Is a synthetic fabric, essentially a plastic making it extremely versatile and it generally has a sheen to it.
    • It is frequently washable and doesn’t shrink - making it a good choice for either cushions, curtains or upholstery.
    • It is less breathable than most of the other fabrics so you may find you get a little warmer on a polyester upholstered couch or with polyester cushions.
    • If made into curtains you can nearly guarantee it will last for years as it won’t shrink or fade like some of the natural fibres.

    Most fabrics you see will be some sort of mix of the above fabrics giving them slightly different attributes. For example: Polyester is frequently mixed with cotton to give it the firmer handle of a cotton and dull the polyester sheen with the longer life span/ lack of shrinkage of a polyester; Viscose is frequently mixed in with other fibres to add lustre and drape.

    Generally if you see a mix, you will be getting the best attributes of the fabrics listed rolled into one.

    I hope you can shop more confidently knowing more about these fabrics, trust your eye, choose what you love first and then have a good look at the composition and care to see if it is suitable for your project. If you want further help you can ask out experts in store who will be happy to advise you.

  • festival-survival-tips Image sourced from Pinterest

    The sun is shining, the weather is sweet and it makes me want to move my dancing feet! Yes people festival season is upon us, the weather is good (for the moment) and I am not getting any younger.

    In the last few years doing the festivals has become less rough and ready for me - I am not a young wan anymore and I like some comforts at a festival. I don’t mean giving the festival organisers €1000 for the glamping experience - I’d rather go on holidays to spain for that thank you very much, but making your own little slice of home in your campsite.

    So as a somewhat seasoned festival goer here are my top tips and tricks on not only making your festival experience just a bit more pleasant but slightly more glamorous also!

    1: Invest in the basics

    • Get a good tent, with a porch in case it gets muddy that way you can leave your boots and clothes in the porch and your sleeping area will stay reasonably clean.
    • Treat yo self to an inflatable mattress - I am 33, with a dodgy back, I do not need to be sleeping on the ground  - this was the best investment in festival going I have ever made!

    2: Pack a picnic

    • You probably won’t care by day 2 - 3 but on day 1 it might be nice not to start eating the chips right away. I usually bring a cooler bag like the one pictured, pack it with some of those ice packs you can get. Frittata is a good option - either day 1 lunch/dinner or day 2 breakfast if you keep it cold enough and I always pack some fruit- apples and clementines nothing that’s going to go mushy. That being said I’ll never turn down a peanut butter and jam sambo! You could invest in a fancy ice cooler but I usually find a few large cooler bags packed with those ice packs does the job very well for the weekend and I find them easier to haul around.

    3: Pack utensils and glassware

    •  Let’s face it there will be prinks (pre drinks - gettit?) in the campsite but gone are my Dutch Gold days, there may be a fancy I.P.A but that’s about the only can you will find me drinking out of. There will be fizz and there will definitely be a gin and tonic and even if it’s plastic I’ll feel a little classier drinking out of these glasses.

    4: Pimp your tent!

    You have the basics but let’s get fancier on it - not only will this make you feel like a sophisticated member of society but this is also a big help when finding your tent at 3 or 4 am.

    • A few years ago I stitched some bunting and added them to some solar lights and strung them around my tent - just tie them to the poles and guide ropes. While they have survived several festivals they are now on their last legs - this year somebody has done the work for me and I will be buying this solar bunting.
    • Add fairy lights indoors - these bulb ones actually give off loads of light - I usually bring 2 sets, one set of festive fairy lights for the porch part and the likes of the bulb lights for the bedroom of the tent. There’s generally a guide pole that you can catch them onto - bring some ribbon/tape to help.
    • Stick some reflective tape or tie brightly coloured ribbon (both around your guide ropes) - we’ve all been there, some eijit trips over your guide ropes and brings half of your tent on top of you! I’m not saying there won’t still be some eijit but this will certainly minimise all chance of tripping - for yourself included.

    5: Don’t forget your wellies!

    I am never going to wear wellies in the real world but you may need them at the festival. I usually pick up a cheapo pair and stick in my orthotic insoles (told you I was old) but I will Customise. I have done all of these in the past and spent many a festival with that smug “Oh I just made them” glow when people asked me where I got my cool wellies. The glitter ones were my favourite as I had a matching gold bomber jacket and glittery cat mask - oh no there’s no pictures I swear!

    • You could cover the whole wellies in mod podge glue and coat them in glitter/ rhinestones, let them dry and coat in a couple more layers of mod podge
    • Break out the glue gun and add some rhinestones a la Shirley Bassey, who should be everyone's festival idol I feel!
    • Again break out the glue gun and add some cool trim or fringe to match your festival ensemble!

    Images Sourced from Pinterest

    So there you have it - life lessons from a seasoned pro. I know you might be reading this thinking that seems like a lot to haul around but I always fit it all onto one of those little trollies that they sell in those German supermarkets this time of the year. Take a little time setting yourself up and you will thank yourself all weekend! The items pictured above are available in most of our stores - find your nearest one here. Oh and don’t forget your sunscreen!

  • If like me, you’re so excited for PRIDE this weekend in Dublin but haven’t a clue what to wear, here are a few last-minute ideas to help you celebrate this amazing event! These projects are pretty low cost, colourful and easy to bring together.

    Pom Pom Headband:

    All you need is balls of wool in assorted colours, a pom pom maker (or cardboard), sharp scissors, a headband and a glue gun. Pom poms are so easy to make, you’ll find loads of tutorials on the best way of making a pom pom all over Pinterest. Or you can even have a look at my Pom Pom Twinkle Lights article which shows you how to use a pom pom maker.

    When you have made your pom poms, you pretty much just play around with them, see where you think they look good on the headband. You could make fun little pom pom ears, just wrap loads of colours together and you have a rainbow! Tie the pom poms down to the band to make sure you are happy with the placement and simply add a little hot glue to stop them from slipping and sliding. You could make lots of little pom poms and just have a colourful array all over the headband. Make pom poms of different sizes and try and layer them all over each other! Have fun with it, you could even add some glitter glue to the tips. The world is your oyster with a pom pom craft.

    3-last-minute-pride-diys-1

    Other Ideas!

    Ribbon Cape:

    A colourful cascade of ribbon- what could be better?! Get yourself some elastic, a metre is plenty. You want to cut a piece to tie around 4 separate sections of your arm. Your wrist, forearm, mid upper arm and up around your armpit. Repeat for the other side. Don’t worry about it looking a little scruffy when you tie them, once it’s all finished you will look fab! Pop all your arm bands on for a minuet and thread through a long piece of ribbon so that it goes through one arm, across your shoulders and down the other arm. Tie or loop the ribbon around the bands as you go, to secure its location. Remove the bands and lay it out flat. Start knotting your various shades of ribbon strands to the long piece of ribbon attached to your bands. Keep going until it is full and gorgeous! This will likely take you an evening but my goodness will you look amazing at Pride Festival.

    3-last-minute-pride-diys-2

    Image: Sourced From Pinterest

    Rainbow TuTu:

    A strong elastic or ribbon and lots of nylon net is all you will need for this. Wrap the elastic around your waist to get the size right. Cut your net into 3 inch strips and start knotting them onto your elastic. The best way to keep it easy is to fold your net in half lengthways making a loop, lay your elastic on top and then thread your net through the loop to create a knot around the elastic. Keep doing this with your colours and create a nice full skirt. Trim the uneven bits (unless you’ve gone for the fun layered look), tie the elastic at the waist and voila! A colourful addition to your Pride outfit, all the colours of the rainbow.

    3-last-minute-pride-diys-3

    Image: Sourced From Etsy (Linked in Image)

  • So you get home with your shiny new curtain pole and are faced with hanging it. It might seem like a straightforward proposition but I have spent years working with curtains and have seen some shockers in people’s homes. Hung barely above the window, squashed either side of the window, brackets right at the end. On a side note -don’t invite me into your home people – I may not notice the pile of newspapers a la Horders: Buried Alive but I will notice if your curtains/pole are hung incorrectly.

    I have already covered How to Hang your Curtains but I suppose that’s a bit like putting the horse before the cart as you have to have something to hang them on. That thing you hang them on must be hung correctly otherwise you’re just starting on a bad foot. So here’s our expert tips on how to hang your curtain pole.

    I suppose there’s a few general rules:

    • Your pole should be at least 6” (15cm) wider than your window to allow the curtains to stack back
    • Your pole should be at least 6” (15cm) higher than your window

    And a few things you will need:

    • Your pole and Screws
    • Hacksaw – if you need to cut down your pole
    • The correct rawl plugs for your wall type – speak to your local DIY store here if you’re unsure
    • Measuring Tape
    • Pencil
    • Drill
    • Screwdriver
    • Spirit level (if you have one)

    Start by measuring your window and add 12” (30cm) to figure out what size your pole should be:

    If you need to cut the pole it can be done easily

    If it’s a 1 piece pole:

    Just remove one of the finials and cut the excess off with the hacksaw and replace the end, the end will cover up any unevenness in your work so don’t be too precious

    If it’s a 2 piece pole:

    Remember to cut an even amount of both sides so the pole meets in the middle of your window. Remove both ends – cut to size and replace the ends

    Next figure out what height to hang the pole at:

    Ideally this will be a minimum of 6” (15cm) above the window but what I would say to you here is that hopefully you won’t hang your pole until you have your curtains so that you can use the curtains as a guide.

    Hold your curtains up against your wall – leaving them approx. ½” (1.25cm) off the floor to mark the height the pole will hang.

    Make all of your marks 1.5” (3.5cm) from the end of your pole as this is where your bracket will sit – for example if your pole is 6” (15cm) wider than your window make the marks for your bracket 4.5” (11.5cm) from the edge of your window.

    Mark where the top of the curtains hits the wall and use this mark to mark the screw holes in your bracket.

    A good rule of thumb is

    • For pencil pleat: The top of the curtain is at the bottom of the bracket

    • For eyelet: The top of the curtain is at the top of the bracket

    Hold your bracket up to the line and mark the screw holes with a pencil.

    Measure the distance from the floor to these marks and make a note of it.

    Next go an equal distance from the other side of the window and make the same marks using the measurements from the other side. If your pole comes with 3 brackets do this in the dead centre of your window as well.

    This might seem an inaccurate way of doing it but your ceiling and floors may be uneven so in my experience the best way is to have your curtains hanging evenly on the bottom – your eye won’t notice a slightly uneven pole but you will certainly notice if the curtains are in wavy lines at the bottom

    Now it's time to Break out the heavy machinery:

    • Drill and place in appropriate rawl plugs where the screw marks are – you’ll notice we used 2 different types here – the standard ones on bottom and an expanding plasterboard one on top because our surface was uneven. Speak to your local DIY store about this as they are the experts!

    • Next screw in your brackets into the plugs.

    • Place your pole on top of the brackets and tighten using the screws on the bracket.

    If you’re hanging pencil pleat curtains keep one 1 ring between the bracket and finial (pole end)

    If you’re hanging eyelet curtains keep one of the eyelet rings between the bracket and the finial (pole end)

    So there you have it – one perfectly hung curtain pole. If all of this sounds like an ordeal or is likely to cause a divorce, visit your local store for information on our expert fitting service.

    Ready to get started? Shop our range of curtain poles and find something that suits you!

  • How To Make A Bridal Headpiece 1
    Tools Needed

    • Headband
    • Bridal Trim
    • Diamante Appliqué
    • Flower Sprigs
    • Glue Gun / Glue Sticks
    • Scissors

    So, lets kick things off with our first look- a timeless classic!

    1920's Bride

    A classic era that never seems to go out of fashion. Inspired by the Great Gatsby, this piece is made up of a Marcasite style bridal trim and a diamond appliqué placed characteristically, just off centre.

    How To Make A Bridal Headpiece 2

     

    How To Make A Bridal Headpiece 3

    Starting at the top of the headband, place a layer of hot glue 1/3 of the way around the headband. Use the glue in stages as the it dries quickly.

    How To Make A Bridal Headpiece 4

    Place the trim directly on top of the glue and press down to spread the glue.
    For this look the trim should cover the whole of the headband from tip to tip.
    Position the appliqué to the side and glue directly on top of the trim, securing the ends, you don’t want the ends sticking out.

    How To Make A Bridal Headpiece 5

    CLASSIC BRIDE

    A simple one piece appliqué decoration is a wonderful alternative to a veil, that may seem a step too far for the pared-back bride. I’ve opted for a larger appliqué with no trim on an invisible headband.

    How To Make A Bridal Headpiece 6

    First, you need to prevent the appliqué from flopping around and catching on your new hairdo!
    To strengthen the piece, turn it over and cover the back in glue. Place a piece of white felt over the appliqué and press down firmly. White felt is the best colour to use, as it emphasizes the sparkle of the stones.

    How To Make A Bridal Headpiece 7

    This will stabilise the appliqué and eliminate the ‘floppy frill’ effect.
    Cut (carefully!) around the excess felt to reveal the shape of the appliqué.
    Glue the felted appliqué onto the headband just off centre, this is always a more flattering position as it nestles into the hair.

    BOHO BRIDE

    Getting married at sunset on the beach? Or, in a tent at the burning man festival? No! Well, this versatile headpiece will look equally as fabulous in a city centre hipster hotel or a sprawling country castle. Delicate flowers framed by an understated beaded trim help create this unique boho vibe.

    How To Make A Bridal Headpiece 8

    Start by separating the flower sprigs. I’ve used cream and green for this look.
    Leave approx 3 inches flower free at either end of the headband, the flowers should start and finish just above the ears.

    How To Make A Bridal Headpiece 9

    Glue each sprig separately onto the headband, alternating the colours.

    How To Make A Bridal Headpiece 10

    Trim the sprig ends off with a sharp scissors.

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    Glue the trim directly over the flower stems to hide them, reaching from tip to tip of the headband.
    If the trim is wider than the headband as it tapers to the end, just fold the ends over each other and glue to the inside of the headband.

    I’ve used two different colours of classic cream and white for this bride look. You could make a matching version for your bridesmaids or flower girls by switching up the flower colours to match their dresses.

    So, get crafting and make that bespoke headpiece, a future heirloom that your daughters will be swooning over in 2045!

     

  • How To: Dainty Dress Diaries Step By Step Easy Sew Wrap Skirt 1

    We have teamed up again with the fantastic Dainty Dress Diaries to bring you this "Step By Step: Sew A Wrap Skirt" tutorial! Catherine has shown great talent creating two versions of the Simplicity 8606 pattern, and has even created a YouTube video to help guide anyone who would like to do the same!

    How To: Dainty Dress Diaries Step By Step Easy Sew Wrap Skirt 2

    I am buzzing as I type this blog post as I have made my very first wrap skirt. I have teamed up with the guys at Hickeys Fabrics to share how I made my skirts in today’s post. I am not a pro at sewing and I don’t have much experience with dress making but I was thrilled when I was able to put together a skirt by myself. Last year you might remember I made a dress with Angeline Murphy. I remembered some of the tips she had taught me and I used them when making my skirt. Dress making and reading patterns can be scary but honestly when you break them down they are not. If I can make a skirt then you can too! All of the items I used in today’s post are from Hickeys Fabrics I got my Simplicity pattern from their store in Henry St Dublin. This project is perfect for beginners too but I would recommend you have basic sewing machine skills. If you are a complete beginner then why not check out my previous post with Hickeys on how to make an envelope cushion, you can find that here.

    Picking a pattern

    As I have yet to overcome my fear of zips I picked an easy wrap skirt pattern. I got the Simplicity pattern number 8606. This pattern has four skirt options inside. In this post I am making options A and C. The other two options have a flounce but I wasn’t brave enough yet to try the flounce.

    Your pattern can look scary when you first look at it. On the back of your pattern you will see lots of numbers and jargon but don’t get scared. On the back of the pattern it will tell you what items you need to make your skirt and how much fabric to buy.

    How To: Dainty Dress Diaries Step By Step Easy Sew Wrap Skirt 3

    What you will need

    Fabric, for my size I got 1.5 metres of fabric (The Nancy Print Crepe Rose and Mini Floral Crepe Print Silver).

    Interfacing, this was just for the waistband.

    Thread, I always recommend the Gutterman threads and get one in the nearest shade to your fabric.

    Measuring tape, fabric scissors, fabric marker, sewing pins and your machine.

    How To: Dainty Dress Diaries Step By Step Easy Sew Wrap Skirt 4

    Measuring

    Pattern sizes are different to retail sizes. So, the size you are in a store will be different to the size you will be in your sewing pattern. In stores I am on average a uk size 10 however I am a pattern size 14. Accurately measuring your bust, waist and hip will give you the correct size to use for your skirt.

    How To: Dainty Dress Diaries Step By Step Easy Sew Wrap Skirt 5

    Read through your pattern instructions

    Inside your pattern pack you will find an instruction sheet and your pattern pieces. Take a few minutes to sit and read through your general direction sheet. This has all the info you need to sew your skirt and you will follow this each step of the way. It even gives you a cutting layout and tells you how to place your pattern onto the fabric to get the most out of your fabric. Don’t get scared when you first look at your instruction sheet, I know it can look overwhelming but when you break it down it isn’t as scary.

    As I was making the option A skirt I cut out all of the pattern pieces for option A. I cut out the pieces for a size 14 as that was my pattern size. If you are a smaller or larger size then you will cut out your size on the pattern pieces. I had two front pieces, two back pieces, a waistband piece, a right tie and a left tie end. Each pattern piece has a letter and a number on it telling you which piece to cut out. Take care when cutting the pattern pieces and cut neatly. make sure to use a normal scissors and not your good fabric scissors when cutting the paper. I gave my pattern pieces a quick iron after I cut them out so they weren’t wrinkled.

    Iron your fabric before cutting and then lay your fabric out as per the cutting layout in your instructions. Pin your pattern pieces to your fabric. As my fabric has a bit of stretch to it I used more pins than normal. Take your time when cutting, I find cutting is as important as the actual machine sewing. If you cut your fabric wonky then your seams will be wonky. When it comes to sewing don’t cut corners, take your time as each step. On your pattern piece it will tell you how many you need to cut. It will say cut 1 or cut 2 etc, follow the instructions. Don’t forget to cut out your piece of interfacing for the waistband.

    How To: Dainty Dress Diaries Step By Step Easy Sew Wrap Skirt 6

    Notches and dots

    You will notice on your pattern that you will have some little triangles, these are notches and are really important. They act like little puzzle pieces and mark up to each other when you are pinning your pieces together. I used a fabric marker to draw the dots too. Don’t forget to cut out the notches when cutting your fabric.

    Sewing instructions

    Once you have your pieces cut you can then go to the sewing directions section of your instructions and go to step one. I found the sewing instructions really easy to follow. The pattern is also marked to show which side of the fabric is facing in each step. In step one it asks you to put a line of stay stitching on the upper edge of pieces 1 and 2. Stay stitching helps prevent stretching on the curved edges and you won’t see this stitch when the garment is complete.

    In step two you will stitch your two back panels together and stitch your centre back seam. Once you stitch your seam make sure to iron your seams out. It is really important to iron out your seams. If you look at your clothes you are wearing now you will see the seams neatly ironed out or over locked. You are then going to add your front panels to your back by following the illustration in your instructions. You can find your seam allowance in your instructions.

    In step three you will add your hem. This was the longest part of making my skirt. Take your time making your hem as you will see this at the front of the skirt. The instructions say to machine-baste the edges 5/8” from the raw edge. I won't lie! I had to google what machine basting was. Basically, it is a temporary stitch and it made it really easy for me to form the hem. I set the stitch length on my machine to the longest and made my lasting stitch. I then ironed my raw edge and rolled it under to give it a small hem. I used lots of pins to keep it in place before taking it to the machine to sew. Take your time sewing your hem. Once it is sewn you can then remove your basting stitch and give it an iron. The basing stitch really helped when forming a neat hem, don’t skip this step.

    For step four and five, you are going to be working on your waistband. You will iron on your fusible interfacing to the wrong side of your waistband. Then fold the unnotched side over by 1/2” and press. You are then going to work on adding your waistband to your skirt. This is where your notches come in handy as they act as a guide when pinning the fabric together. With the right sides together pin the skirt to the waistband. Place the sides seams at the inner small dots, matching the centre notches and remaining dots. Pin all the way around and sew.

    For steps six and seven you are going to work on your ties. You have a right and left tie. Fold the pieces in half lengthwise and sew a 3/8” seam, leave the short end with the dots open. Once sewn you will pull these right side out and give them a good press. Then follow the instructions in your pattern for steps seven, eight and nine as these will show you how to add your ties to your waistband. I also have a YouTube video showing you how I made my skirt and you can reference this as well.

    For step ten you are going to finish off your waist band and “stitch in the ditch”, take your time when pinning your waistband over and make sure to leave enough fabric on the inside so that you catch this in when sewing on the outside. On the outside of the skirt is where you will sew. If you don’t have enough fabric on the inside it won't catch and your waistband won't be correctly sewn.

    Just like sewing the hem, I found this to be a tricky step. Take your time when “stitching in the ditch” as you will see the waistband when it is on you and you don’t want to see your stitches.

    For step eleven you are going to make a buttonhole. I had never made a button hole before. At the marking on the waistband, I cut a slit. I then used the zig-zag setting on my machine and shortened the stitch length and I applied a zig-zag stitch to the hole and I created a button hole. this did the job for me but do have a search on YouTube for other ways to sew a button hole. Your machine might even have a button hole setting.

    You can now try on your skirt and admire your hard work. I made two skirts and I actually can’t pick a favorite. I love the longer midi style as it is really popular right now. The shorter length is fun and perfect for a summers day, you could even style it up with a silky cami and heels for the evening. The great thing about sewing from a pattern is that you can re-use it. I keep my patterns in a folder in my craft room. This makes it easier to organise and find my patterns.

    If you are inspired and want to check out some dress fabrics then click here to head over to the Hickeys Fabrics website. You can also pick up the other items I used in today’s post. Also, a huge thank you to Hickeys for teaming up with me and collaborating on this post.

    Thanks for reading, do check out my YouTube video which I will leave below and tag me in your makes over on Instagram.

    Chat soon,

    Catherine.

    How To: Dainty Dress Diaries Step By Step Easy Sew Wrap Skirt 7

  • If there’s one thing I heard more often than anything else when I worked in our stores it was “mine don’t look like that” - no sniggering please I’m obviously talking about ready made curtains. You see when you see ready made curtains on display in our stores they have been hung by our amazing display team who know all of the tricks of the trade to make them look fantastic. If you read on I can fill you in on the steps to take to make your ready made curtains look amazing.

    1. Pick the right size - this is an entire blog in itself which you can read here but basically if your curtains are too small they will never look right. You can pick the most beautiful curtains but they will hang like a sheet if there’s not enough fabric to gather nicely.
    2. Iron your curtains!!!! I cannot stress this enough -  if you wouldn’t put on a shirt without ironing it then why would you hang your curtains without ironing them? Your curtains have been folded and packed for some time before you receive them so they need to be unpacked and shaken out and pressed. Consult the label as to what temperature to iron them at and iron them on the lining side. If you’re not happy ironing them yourself or if they’re un-manageably large then ask your local dry cleaner - most will offer a pressing service for around €15.
    3. If you’re hanging pencil pleat curtains gather and hook them before you get up the ladder to start hanging, you don’t want to start messing about with tapes and the likes when you’re 6ft off the ground. If they’re eyelet curtains then have them folded in their pleats ready to go.
    4. Get some help - hanging the curtains is much easier if you get somebody to take the weight of the curtain while you do the fiddly bits at the top.
    5. Stand back and have a look and keep fixing and froofing (that’s the technical term) them until you’re happy with how they’re hanging. Always remember that the curtains are a ready made product and may need a bit of fixing to get them just right.

    See below for a step by step with pictures on how to get your curtains looking their best:

    • Get the iron and ironing board out - press the curtains on the reverse first, at the temperature it says is suitable on the label, I usually find it easiest to fold the curtains in half lengthwise and iron both sides then fold them out and iron over the centre crease.
    • Go to either edge and press the outside in to meet the lining, the fabric usually folds over by an inch (2.5cm)  this will have been done in the factory when they were stitched so you’re generally just going over and making sure the edges are sitting nice and flat.

    how-to-hang-ready-made-curtains

     

    If you’re hanging pencil pleat curtains this next bit is for you:

    I know this might seem like a lot of steps but none of them are complicated and you’ll thank yourself later when you’re admiring your perfectly hung curtains.

    • Pull the cords out of the tape a little at each end and tie a knot in both. This is probably the most important step as if you don’t, then you will pull the cords out and either have to darn them all back in yourself or hope a nice sales assistant in Home Focus takes pity on you and does it for you.

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    • Next pull the one end of cord (usually the end that will be on the outside edge when hung) on the tape to pull the curtains to half the size of your rail/pole plus an inch (2.5cm), in this case the pole was 46" (116cm) so I pulled each curtain into 24" (60cm)

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    • Tie a knot that you can later undo to secure the tape and repeat this for the other curtain.

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    • Turn the curtain over to the front and space the pleats out evenly, take a bit of time to get this looking right at this stage.

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    • Turn your curtain back around and divide your hooks out evenly across the tape, use as many hooks as you have rings/gliders on your pole/rail. If you’re hanging the curtains on a pole - put the hooks in the second pocket down and if you’re hanging on a rail put the hooks in the bottom pocket. The general rule is to have 3 hooks per foot (30cm) but a few extra is fine.

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    • Now get hanging - as I said it’s helpful to have somebody take the weight of the curtains so you can hook them on top without the hooks popping out as you travel along. Start from the centre out as these rings/gliders all move and then when you get to either end you can pop the last glider in easily, either into the ring you have between the finial (end) and bracket on your pole or the last stationary glider on your rail.

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    • Next close your curtains fully and have a look at how the pleats are looking - you can have a last little straighten out now that they’re hanging.

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    If you’re hanging eyelet curtains:

    • Simply thread the rings onto the pole, making sure that the fabric is facing out on both ends. 

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    • Ensure that one ring is between the finial and the bracket on your pole.

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    • If you're using tie backs now is the time to hang them.

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    These pencil pleat curtains sat beautifully first time round but on the rare occasion your curtain still isn’t just right (sometimes some fabrics just want to bounce/kick a little) here’s a couple of more insider tips for you:

    • Tie your curtains into their pleats - basically gather them open into nice folds and use a few bits of fabric (even old tights will do) and tie them, leave them hanging like that for a couple of days and when you release the ties they will fall into their pleats beautifully.

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    • Open the seam at the end a little - sometimes they are stitched to the lining a little tight in the factory, a good tip is to rip the last few stitches out and press the seam flat again.

    If unlike me you're not naturally a person who loves a good preen or have too much other stuff to do to be ironing curtains then inquire in store about our expert fitting service

  • If any of you were up late enough and not out dancing on Saturday night you may have been sitting happily at home watching the Ray D'arcy Show with a cuppa (or glass of wine). If you were one of those people you no doubt saw Sonia Lennon, Brendan Courtney and Hickeys' very own head of display Cathy Doran (we're not related) discussing the topic on everyone's lips "Meghan Markle's guna". I had the pleasure of being involved in the recreation of that dress on Saturday and assisting Cathy as she worked her magic, recreating the wedding dress in a mere 6 hours.

    The finished product onstage

    I sat at home that morning thinking to myself "oh I hope it's going to be a lacey number so we can show off our beautiful laces" -  you can imagine my disappointment when I saw how simple the dress was. There's no doubt that she looked gorgeous, though I'm fairly certain that she could wear a bin liner and that would still be the case - but as a fabric woman it was all just a bit.... well.....plain. Elegant; yes, beautiful; most definitely but this was not the princess moment I was expecting.

    The Real Deal - pic courtesy of townandcountrymag.com

    As I cycled into our Henry st store to meet Cathy and Joanna (the dreamteam) to prepare for our 5 mins of fame I had plenty of time to think about the dress. Did I love it? No. The veil was really the star but the more I thought about it the more I loved it - those who know me know I'm not really one for the understated but what I loved was that this is the dress of a woman who knows who she is. I think as we all get a bit older, creeping into that mid thirties bracket we get a bit more assured of who we are and what clothes we like. I know my style has developed over the years (I was once a full on goth) and while the eyeliner remains as black as ever, I have got to a place in my style where I know what I like and what suits me. I recognised this in Meghan's wedding dress - here was a woman who was confident in who she is and knows what she likes to wear. Meghan eschewed the traditional in favour of an understated number that would let her beauty shine through.

    So what about the dress itself? There was rumours abound about the designer Meghan would go for, everyone assuming it would be a British fashion house in honour of her new country. What did she do? She picked a french fashion house in Givenchy but helmed by a British native, their first female designer, the uber talented, Claire Waight Keller. The dress was made from a "double bonded silk cady", well what is that you might wonder? It's basically 2 layers of fabric bonded together to make a heavy, fabric with beautiful drape and minimal shine, it was lined with several layers of silk organza to make it stand out. This meant that the dress would have been heavy - while the weather was great for everyone else I'm sure Meghan was cooking slightly inside her dress! We used a very heavy matt duchess satin with layers of soft tulle underneath to mimic the look on the day.

    The real stand out for me - and the thing that I think Meghan Markle has single handedly started a trend with - was the cathedral length veil. The veil was about 16 1/2ft (3.5m) and was made from silk tulle hand embroidered with 53 flowers representing each of the countries of the Commonwealth. This was a truly unique detail which really told a story. I'm sure the seamstresses who lovingly stitched those flowers on nearly died when they saw that fella ball it up and ram it into the carriage when they were leaving the church! For our penance on the day, we cut and hand stitched 17m of lace trim onto tulle to recreate the look.

    Joanna and me working on the veil

    It was a day of strong and independent women at the royal wedding, which we can take lots of inspiration from - there was Oprah, Victoria Beckham, Serena Williams, women who run empires and look good in heels while doing it! There were a couple of standout looks in the sea of pretty and blush ensembles and you can see our takes on these looks in our Henry st store.

    Firstly, and let's get her out of the way because we all know what I'm going to say - Amal Clooney, she looked ridiculously good and again was true to her intelligent, elegant self! The ochre hue was out of the ordinary and the shape was perfect on her, accessorizing with a matching hat and a handsome man didn't hurt either!

    Secondly there was the lesser known Janina Gavankar, which you may not recognise from such TV shows as True Blood and The Vampire Diaries. Why did she stand out so much? Again the gorgeous colour was a factor but I also loved the story of the outfit - It was a 1930s dress from The Western Costume Company's private archive which she and her stylist landed on after being passed over by designers they reached out to to dress her for the wedding.

    Details of our replicas

    You might wonder where I'm going with all this rambling and what the royal wedding has to do with Hickeys anyway? I'm not a super girly girl and certainly not one of those girls who dreams about her wedding and the big white dress, so why was I so interested? Other than being involved in recreating the look for the Ray D'arcy show the thing that made me smile most about the day was all of these Independent Beauties being true to themselves. Meghan herself looked exquisite but nobody would have predicted that dress. There was countless intelligent, gorgeous women who attended that wedding and they all looked unique.

    Which brings me neatly to my Hickeys related point. Why go cookie cutter with a dress that anyone can buy in any store? If you're getting married or attending a big event why not be your unique self and go custom? It will generally cost the same or less and if you work with a dressmaker you will have an exquisitely tailored piece made only for you. I know it may seem daunting but you can call into your local Hickeys store and they can give you some dressmakers details. By finding the right dressmaker and the right fabrics, you could change your outlook on occasion dressing forever!

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