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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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  • Step-By-Step-Flower-Wreath-1

    Felt Flowers are a fun and relatively easy craft to follow. Some flowers can be a little complicated, but I can assure you that the pretty roses used in this project are straightforward enough and the pay off is fantastic. Who knew felt could look so pretty? As we have been gifted with the rainy weather (April Showers, give us a break!), why not bring a little piece of Spring into your home?

    This would make a fantastic gift for a loved one, you could use their favourite colours to really make it personal. I added a few leaves to my wreath but really, they aren’t necessary. You can go all out and fill the whole hoop with flowers, using little and large roses, or you can go really minimal and rustic by not wrapping the hoop with embroidery thread. This craft will take you an afternoon, I personally opt for a mug of tea, dressing gown and a good film on in the background- the perfect rainy Saturday Craft!

    What you will need:

    Felt – 1 sheet of felt per rose, ideally. This will vary depending on if you want to vary the size of the roses.

    Glue Gun - with glue sticks because you don’t want to run out half way!

    Embroidery Hoop

    Needle

    Embroidery Thread (for wrapping the hoop) and separate thread to use for the flowers.

    Sharp Scissors

    Marker

    Circular Shape – To use as a stencil, Approx. 1.2-2” Diameter. I used a shot glass ?

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    Step One: Start by tracing around your stencil, as many circles as you can fit on the sheet.

    Step Two: Cut neatly around the circles, try to not have any marker on the felt circles, trim them a little as the pigment may ruin the finished piece.

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    Step Three: Cut each circle in half.

    Step Four: Separate your embroidery thread in half, so three threads in total. Thread your needle.

    Step Five: Take one half circle and create a stitch along the edge. Don’t worry about the stitch being perfect as we will be pulling it later.

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    Step Six: Once you get half way (about two stitches) across your half circle, take another piece of felt and lie it evenly behind the first and continue your stitching. Repeat this, so that after covering every half piece of felt, you add another half circle to create a chain of half circles.

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    Step Seven: Once you have run out of felt half circles, gently pull the thread at the edge. This will create a bunching up at the front of the chain. Move the felt along the thread to even out the bunching and keep pulling. This will create a lovely petal-like look to the felt.

    Step Eight: When you are happy with the bunching, tie a knot in the thread.

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    Step Nine: Turn on your glue gun and let it heat up. Take one side of your petal thread and in the middle of the first petal, dot a blob of glue from the gun. Gently fold the petal in on itself.

    Step Ten: Repeat this process, adding a little blob of glue and twisting the petals around each other. (As you progress to make more flowers, you will be able to vary how tight or lose you twist the petals over each other, creating different textures and looks for your flowers.)

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    Step Eleven: Once you have finished twisting your petals, you should be left with a beautiful rose flower. Add a circle of felt (I chose green because- nature) and glue it down, creating a base for your flower. Trim the edges so it doesn’t show when you are looking at the flower directly.

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    Step Twelve (Optional): Get your embroidery hoop and take some embroidery thread. Add a blob of glue to the top of your hoop and wrap tightly, covering the entire hoop. I used the equivalent of two spools of embroidery thread for this hoop size.

    Step Thirteen (Optional): Cut out felt in the shape of leaves and add them to the base of some of your flowers. This will just add a little splash of colour!

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    Step Fourteen: Lay your hoop out and take a look at where you would like to place your flowers. Add a little mark as a guide if it helps you. Add a blob of glue to the place on the hoop you would like to place a flower. Don’t add the glue to the base of the flower as it can be a bit messy and is easier to place the flower on a blob of glue, than cleaning glue off the table because you misplaced the flower.

    Leave it all to dry and voila!

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  • How-To-Measure-For-Curtains-1

     

    Measuring for curtains is a little bit chicken and the egg; should you have your pole up first? Should you measure the bare window? I’m here to tell you that either is fine as long as you understand what you’re doing.

    In an ideal world, when measuring for curtains you’ll be starting with a blank canvas; a window with no pole/rail up but sometimes it’s already there and you need to figure out what size to buy. I say in an ideal world because you can always hang a pole to suit your curtains but if the curtains only come in a 229cm drop and you have already hung your pole 235cm off the ground you’re fairly snookered. I’ll explain what to do in each case shortly but first let me give you a few tips to live by when measuring for your curtains

    My first and most important tip when measuring for curtains is to use a metal measuring tape. I’ve worked in Home Focus/ Hickeys stores for years and have seen all sorts of crazy things; pieces of string, bits of wool, plastic bags and that infamous incident when a woman told me her window was one and a half times the length of her arm!! Let me tell you people, these thing stretch or are weird and will leave you with an inaccurate measurement.

    The second suggestion I have when measuring for curtains is to use what you know; if you’re comfortable with inches, use inches. The poles and ready made curtains will all have their sizes listed in inches and centimetres and if you’re really struggling our staff will help you convert.

    Measuring with no pole/rail up:

    Measure the width of your window across, from plaster to plaster, and from top to bottom. Then add on 6” (15cm) above the window and 6 - 10” (15-25cm) either side of the window to allow for the pole/rail size. This is to allow the curtains to clear the window when open, maximising the light into your room. Usually, the bigger the window, the wider you have the pole.

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    Measuring with a pole up:

    If you have a pole up, measure the width of the pole, not including the finials (ends), measure the drop from just under the pole to where you want the curtains to fall.

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    Measuring with a rail up:

    If you have a rail up measure the width of the rail, including any overlaps or returns, measure the drop from the top of the rail to where you want the curtains to fall.

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    If you’re thinking of getting Custom Made curtains, then stop here and visit your local store armed with this information.

    If you’re going for Ready Made curtains then read on:

    So now that we’ve figured out what size our pole/rail is likely to be we need to figure out what size curtains to buy. Without going into too much detail, you want your curtains to be approximately twice the width of your pole/rail, this is basically so they will be nicely gathered and look their best.

    Use the handy little chart below to figure out what width you need:

    How-To-Measure-For-Curtains-5

    Now that you know the width, the drop is a more straightforward prospect, you’re either hanging your curtains to just below the windowsill, to the radiator or to the floor. I have listed the standard sizes on the chart below, so it’s just a matter of picking which one is closest to your desired drop.

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    Let’s do a real life example of measuring for curtains:

    Take this window in our training room here:

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    I have measured the width across = 43” (109cm)
    The drop to the bottom = 34.5” (88cm)

    So adding 6” (15cm) each side we estimate that our pole should be 55” (139cm) wide and adding 6” (15cm) above we get 40.5” (103cm).
    So going by the charts above our curtains should be 66” x 54” (167cm x 137cm) and there you have it!!

    Now you know what size you need shop our gorgeous range of Ready Made Curtains.

  •  

    I was always slightly puzzled by the groups of girls on hen parties in matching outfits I’d see roaming the streets of Temple Bar on a Saturday night. Not puzzled because there was a uniform - I realise that this is an easy way of identifying each other when three sheets to the wind. Puzzled because not only were they in the same uniform as the three other hen parties in Coppers that night but because nobody really looks like they’re wearing what they want.

    If you’re planning a hen for your bestie and don’t really want to spend €20 per person for an ill fitting T - shirt that says  “(insert name here)’s HEN” then maybe I could tempt you with an easy little craft project. Make your own individual “sequin pocket T - shirts”, these look pretty cool, you will all be coordinated without looking OTT and will be cheap as chips to make.  I’m pretty sure you could even rope your co - bridesmaids into helping with the right amount of prosecco!

    So this is the deal:

    Get yourself a load of white/black t - shirts, with a pocket, everyone knows their size in Penneys, so take a note and get shopping. That being said if one of your hens is plus size, they can supply their own top, this is why the basic t shirt is always a good option. Let’s face it everyone likes to look good on a night out and as a former size 22 I can remember the chill going down my spine when people would hand me an XL t shirt from a kiosk  for one of these things!! I really wish I had convinced someone to do this project sooner, I would have slightly less embarrassing photos in my past!

    We’re off to a good start; you have your T-shirts; now get yourself to a Home Focus or Hickeys and buy a tube of Gem Tac glue and some tubes of flat sequins in the bride's favourite colour. The glue might seem pricey at €11.95 but you’re definitely going to get all the T-shirts out of one bottle and it dries flexible and clear so you can be as messy as several glasses of prosecco gets you!

    You will need:

    • T-shirts, with a pocket*
    • 1 tube Gem Tac Glue
    • Flat sequins of your choice ( 1 tube will do approx 4 shirts)

    Now here’s where it gets really difficult:

    • Lay your T-shirt out flat

    • Use the nozzle to pipe 2-3 lines of the glue along the top of the pocket
    • Spread it down a little with the flat end of your tweezers
    • Use the tweezers to apply the sequins, laying them really close together, even overlapping them a little

    • Continue on in rows like this until the pocket is filled, it should only take 10 - 15 mins
    • When you get bored of precision application with the tweezers, use your fingers - it doesn’t matter too much if you get glue on top of the sequins as the Gem Tac is designed for this and so won’t dull the sequins or mark them

    • Let dry flat overnight
    Here's how it looks filled in and let to dry:

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

     

    *If you have a t-shirt with no pocket, get creative - either trace one on with tailors chalk or if you have an artist in the bunch get them to draw shapes, even a star or a heart on the T-shirts and then get blinging.

    So there you have it, a fairly fun, unique look for your Hen party night out, one that should keep everyone happy, and the cost down. I got this T shirt for €3 from you guessed it “Penneys hun” - in a style I like and there was about 20 other types in every style imaginable. The glue cost €11.95 and the tubes of sequins €3.95 so if I were to do 12 T-shirts they’d only work out at €5.30 each. I think for €5.30 and a couple of hours of bedazzling that’s a fairly good hen outfit. If you’re a stressed out bridesmaid who could use some craft therapy; take a visit to your nearest Hickeys or Home Focus at Hickeys store to get your blinging supplies. Then get yourself and your girls out dancing!!!

  • Pastels have made a comeback for 2018, and they are making a statement in a big way. Gone are the days of washed out shades, just because they are chalky doesn't mean they can't pack a punch in your home.

    Filled with chalky tones and textured interiors, our Pastel Dreams Collection will bring Spring into your home. The soft shades in cottons and velour materials can create a gentle and calming ambiance. The Pastel trend can be adapted to a variety of other trends and colour schemes. Achieve the Scandi look with washed out wooden textures and knitted throws. Adapt it to a warmer palette using sunny yellows and creamy neutrals, adding touches of powder blues and pinks. Embrace it in the 60's trend with beautiful plastic and marble finishes, adding twists of bright floral to add layers of texture.

    Stripped Back Luxury

    The Pastel trend is perfect if you love colour but still want to achieve a stripped back Scandi touch in your home interiors. The Nordic influence is still very present in interior trends of 2018, but we are upgrading to a bolder look. Famous for it's stripped floors, white walls and simple decor, the Scandi look has begun to incorporate subtle touches of colour. Powdery pinks, minty greens and chalky blues can be paired beautifully together, our Alora Dusk and Ivory cotton fabrics with textured throws such as the Sula Bauble Throw will help you achieve the look of stripped back luxury.

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    Pastel Prints

    Pastel shades don't just mean plain fabrics, a print will add some depth and can be as subtle or as statement as you like. A pastel printed fabric like our Walcott Pastel or Bird Song Pastel would look stunning layered with soft textures such as velour. The Lesley Green Eyelet Curtain has a delicate geometric print, the minty green shade is paired beautifully with our Alford Blush Duvet Set. Combine with creams and ivories, leafy plants and wooden materials, the combination of soft green and blush pink in varied textures creates a modern spring time look.

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    Paired With Pastel

    For a more understated take on the Pastel interior trend, layer soft shades with a bolder accent colour. Light blues and yellows complimented by a navy or wooden tone will give your decor a contemporary and modern touch. Our Lesley Yellow Eyelet Curtains feature a soft geometric pattern that will add depth and texture, when paired with Alora Delft and Marine, you can achieve a stunning seaside look. Achieve the popular Tonal trend by layering pastel shades and deeper shades of the same colour, varying the texture for a uniform and timeless look in your home.

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    Pastel shades are so adaptable to your current home furnishings, and may help to give it that little lease of Spring life. Shop our Pastel Dreams Collection, or browse our Pinterest for more Pastel inspo!

  • The-Ultimate-Beginners-Guide-to-SewingA Starter Kit…

    If you have clicked onto this post you are likely to be a novice or a beginner here in the world of sewing and dress making. If that is the case- welcome! Congratulations, you have taken the first step towards developing a skill you can use forever. Something I have learned from my mother is- as a beginner, do not dive in head first. Start small. Otherwise you will get frustrated and give up before you’ve even begun. Here is a list of things you’ll need to get started…

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    There are two pairs of scissors you will need in your kit. The first, shears or dressmaking scissors. They will make your future dress making projects a whole lot easier provided you choose the right pair. They don’t have to be an investment, but a great investment they will be! Both are designed to make the cutting of fabric a less laborious task, their handles allow for you to get a good grip and really control the cutting, and their sharp blades result in the fabric having a clean cut. You should choose them carefully, as you may find that some are very heavy whilst others too light. It’s personal preference. One thing you will hear time and time again from dress makers is do not, I repeat DO NOT use them to cut paper. Paper will blunt the blades, and therefore render them useless when it comes to the task of cutting fabric. Fabric only, people.

    A set of small embroidery scissors is the second pair you will think a handy tool to have, for the likes of cutting thread. A little less clunky and pretty reasonable value.

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    Thread can vary, and depending on the project you may need to select accordingly. A great starter addition to your kit would either be cotton or polyester (or both). Cotton is versatile and comes in different finishes, it can withstand a lot of heat from the iron and runs smoothly through fabrics, particularly natural fabrics. Polyester is great because it works well with all fabrics and has great longevity- it washes well and keeps its colour. An important thing to consider when buying thread, is to know your thread. You should test it before using it in a machine, as a dodgy thread could cause damage. Tip- when pulled tightly, thread should snap before you cut your fingers. If it doesn’t then consider your machine, if it gets caught will it snap the needle or cause even more damage?

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    Pins are a bit like hair grips, they will end up everywhere and you will always be grateful to have them at hand. Use them to hold your pattern to a fabric whilst you trace it, they are also handy when you are sewing as they can keep your fabric in place to help you sew evenly (especially as a beginner). There is a variety of pins available, and standard steel pins would be a good place to start. They may not look as decorative, but for sewing tasks they will be versatile and easy to use on most fabrics. An adorable pin cushion will brighten up your sewing area too!

    Hand sewing needles come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and they all have their uses. It can be daunting to know which one to choose, so be advised to go for a general pack. It has a few different lengths and types, so that you can find what suits you best dependent on the project at hand.

    Sharps Needle: When in doubt, choose a Sharps needle. Very sharp (as the name suggests) and used for all general sewing projects. A good one for beginners as it will be able to tackle most beginner projects such as your first attempt at free hand embroidery!

    Quilting Needle: Its has a short length which allows you to stitch faster than you may with a normal sized needle.

    Embroidery Needle: Similar to a Sharps, except with a longer eye which will make threading the thicker embroidery thread a little easier for you.

    Knitters or Ballpoint: Both are great for knit fabrics, the rounded edge goes around the yarn rather than breaking through it and potentially damaging your handiwork. Knitters are for hand sewing, closing the seams on your knitting projects, whereas Ballpoint is a machine needle, great for knit fabrics such as jersey.

    We have a great selection of pins and needles available online and in store.

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    Provided you are confident that dressmaking or sewing is something you really have an interest in, it’s time to invest in a machine. We here at Hickeys are big fans of the Brother machines. With a starter machine, the more basic the machine, the less chance you have of overcomplicating your projects. The Brother LS14S is affordable as far as machines go and it is a great starter machine. Easy to use, a nice size and it covers all the basics. It comes with a DVD to show you how to use your machine and they have a YouTube channel that will show you all of their top tips and tricks. With an LS14S, even if all you end up doing in your sewing career is turning up your trousers, it will be money well spent.

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    Now that you have committed to a machine, you are raring to go and create magic. This is great! But you need to practice first. You need to get to know your machine, which means sitting in front of it and trying out all the settings. Try every stitch, get used to working the reverse stitch button, find the speed that suits you on the pedal. You will be grateful that you took the time to practice, it will make creating your first garment a far less daunting task.

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    When cutting out a fabric, this tool could be your best friend. Trace around your pattern onto the fabric with tailor’s chalk and it will make your life a whole lot easier. You could get a little more technical by using a blunt tracing wheel and some carbon sheets but really it is not necessary when you are learning- leave it to the pro’s for now.

    Tailors chalk doesn’t have to be boring! Go for a lucky dip, you could get a red, yellow or blue Tailors Chalk – the excitement!

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    Even the best of the best dressmakers will make the occasional mistake. A stitch ripper will save you and your scissors the big task of ripping the stitches whilst also saving your fabric from damage so that you can try again!

    We have a nifty little seam ripper with a rounded edge, to save your fabric from any nicks whilst ripping your stitches.

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    It’s easy to run away with your imagination and picture yourself creating dramatic pieces or a complex outfit, and with practice you will be able to achieve that one day. However, for now start simple. Don’t go out and buy a really difficult pattern and a really stretchy material. You might struggle and find yourself frustrated and feeling less than confident about your skills. Practice, practice and then practice some more. You should spend a while getting to know your machine before you even commit to a pattern. When you feel ready, go with a Simplicity pattern. They are very easy to follow, have some great looks and hopefully you won’t feel overwhelmed with their guidance.

    If you are unsure of a pattern, pop into one of our stores! We have catalogues upon catalogues of patterns and styles to choose from. If you need help finding a fabric to suit your chosen pattern, our staff will be delighted to help you.

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    As the saying goes “Measure twice, cut once”, A measuring tape will save you on your mistakes (hopefully!). Soft and flexible, it will measure your curves accurately and easily. Most of them will come with both imperial and metric units, so that you can follow the sizes easily. A quick tip, make sure you replace your tape occasionally. This is as over the years, it can stretch a little when used often, your measurements may become inaccurate, even if you measure thrice!

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    So, you’ve collected all your bits & bobs, now you need somewhere to store it all! Sure, you could have it all stashed away in a drawer, but where’s the fun in that?! We have a great variety of little and large sewing baskets. Most sewing baskets will contain a removable compartment, acting as a little shelf for the smaller items in your kit. Sewing baskets also usually contain a small pin cushion for you to use while working away on your projects, as well as a little pocket often useful for the sharp embroidery scissors. Half the fun of a sewing basket is the choice in colours and patterns, so get choosing!

    To Conclude...

    At this point, you should be kitted out and raring to create. If so, fantastic news! Use #HickeysFabrics in your social media posts so we can check out all your creative crafty bits and bobs- we can’t wait to see them! If you need any further assistance in your crafting career, why not pop into your local Home Focus or Hickeys Fabrics store? Our lovely staff will be delighted to help you with any queries you may have. We also host a range of Free Craft Demonstrations, no sign up required, just come along and be immersed in the crafting world. Happy Crafting!

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  • Pom-pom-twinkle-lightsLittle else is more exciting to an interior design lover than adding something new to their home. Constantly on the look out for something different and exciting- changing cushions, adding throws, a new rug- you name it! Sometimes the eyes can be a little larger than the wallet, so here is a fun, easy and cost-effective way of adding a little something to your humble abode.

    Something most can agree on is that twinkle lights are amazing. They are a low cost, pretty and simple way to jazz up your home- whether you wrap them around your curtain poles or drape them over your bed board to create a cosy feel by some candlelight, they are always welcome. Pom poms are all the rage at the moment, they are fuzzy delights that add texture and a pop of colour to anything you add them to. So, as you have guessed by the title- we have combined the two greats to achieve something even greater. Pom Pom Twinkle Lights. This DIY is fun, wallet friendly and interchangeable. Are you an interior chameleon? All you need is some wool, scissors and a Pom Pom maker, you can literally chop and change the colours with your mood.pom-pom-twinkle-lights-two

    What you will need:

    Twinkle Lights: Opt for LED as they are a little safer, more energy efficient and more manoeuvrable as you’re not having to plan your display around the nearest plug socket. We have a variety available in our stores for great prices! Find your nearest store.

    Pom Pom Maker: Pom Pom makers vary, and we have a great variety available to purchase in our store! However, really you can create a Pom Pom out of things in your home. Check out our Pinterest page where we have a board dedicated to the glory of the Pom Pom, with pins on DIY hacks, inspiration and ideas.

    Sharp Scissors: There is nothing worse than a blunt scissors. If it’s sharp it will cut easily and make your task a little more enjoyable. Shop our online scissors selection

    Wool: We have chosen two colours, both very on trend shades for 2018, but you can go as simple or as wacky as you like! There are no limits (aside from the length of your twinkle lights). Check out our wool selection online and in store.

    Let’s Get Pom Pom’ing.

    Step One: Assemble your maker accordingly. This one requires the two grooves and ridges to fit together. You then thread the wool through the middle and hold the short end in your other hand, then wrap! It's best to move back and forth around the half-moon shape, distributing the wool as evenly as you can. Don’t go too thick, as you will have to close the two sides which may prove difficult if your wool is packed on too thick!pom-pom-twinkle-lights-three

    Step Two: Once you are happy with the thickness of your wrap on one side of the maker, move the thread of wool to the other side and continue to wrap. Don’t worry about the thread of wool being spread across the two sides, as you will be trimming it later on, and will have a chance to even out your Pom Poms to your liking.

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    Step Three: Close your maker and use the little white grips to clasp the two pieces together. This secures the maker so that you can concentrate on trimming the wool! Get your scissors and place it between the groove and start cutting. The groove will act as a guide so that your cut remains straight.

    Step Four: You can start to see the Pom Pom forming now- how exciting! Get a piece of wool, long enough to wrap comfortably around the width of your Pom Pom and tie a knot. When you wrap through the groove, tie single knot and pull tightly. Twist the thread again and tie a double knot to secure the Pom Pom.

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    Step Five: Remove the grips and carefully remove the maker. Trim your Pom Pom to size, evening it out as you go. Be careful not to cut the tails of the knot you used to secure the Pom Pom, as we will be needing these later!

    Step Six: You should now be left with a variety of Pom Poms, as many or as few as you like dependent on the length of your string of lights. Lay your lights out on a surface and decide where you would like to place our Pom Poms. We chose to have one every four lights.pom-pom-twinkle-lights-six

    Step Seven: Using the tails of wool from your Pom Pom, tie your Pom Pom tightly around the Twinkle Light thread. When you are happy with the placement, trim your tails to blend in with the Pom Pom itself.pom-pom-twinkle-lights-seven

     

  • Guide-Custom-Made-Curtains

    Why would anyone buy custom made curtains you might wonder? What’s even the difference between having a pair of curtains made and buying a pair off the shelf? Why are they more expensive?

    Having worked in a Hickeys shop for more years than I care to let on I am fully equipped to answer these questions! Or at least I hope I am. In my opinion there’s 3 real reasons why anyone would go to the bother of getting Custom Made Curtains:

    1: The size issue – Sometimes you might just have an odd sized window and cannot buy standard readymade curtains in your size. This is probably the reason most people buy custom made in the first place as not only can you have curtains made to the exact dimensions you need but if you’re really struggling, you can book an appointment to have a fitter do the measurements for you!

    Curtains can also be made to suit odd shaped windows not just outsized ones, making custom made the only real choice for apex, dormer or sash windows.

    2: Quality _ Although readymades have improved drastically over the years there’s still nothing like the quality of Custom Made Curtains! The fabric! The finish! Readymades are mass produced in a factory. Your custom made curtains are made for YOU with care and attention by a single maker from start to finish. Basically once you go custom you’ll never go back.

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    3: Choice – And I do mean choice, custom really means custom. This is really where custom made comes into it’s own, choosing your fabric is only the start, and that’s no easy choice when there’s so many gorgeous ones out there. You can even add some quirky cool trim like the one above, make your curtains as unique as you!

    So let’s talk about the choices you’ll be faced with when going custom

    Fabric:

    • First it’s important to consider the setting – do you want a more formal sateen type fabric for your elegant living room or a breezy, fresh printed cotton for your kitchen?
    • Next the colours - be bold with pattern and colour but always pick something that you can live with long term. Custom made curtains really last and hopefully you’ll be looking at them for a very long time. We’ve had customers come back to us after 15 years with perfect curtains, so pick something you’ll love and can work accessories around to give you a new look.
    • If they’re in a high traffic area you may want to look for washable fabrics, your custom made curtains will generally have to be dry cleaned but a washable fabric can be spot cleaned if damaged

    Staff instore will be happy to give you fabric samples so you can look at them in setting and really make sure you’re making the right decision

    Heading:

    You will get to choose what your curtains will look like at the top, the heading you pick will also depend on what type of rail/pole you have

    • Pencil pleat – the most basic type of curtain heading, good for curtains if you need them to be washable as they are made with a washable tape on top. No other custom made curtains are washable as they are made with a stiffener on top which goes limp if wet
    • Eyelets, a more modern look, using slightly less fabric so gives a cleaner aesthetic
    • French Pleat – Probably the most popular heading in custom mades as it gives a very elegant look, yet also suits a more modern aesthetic as they sit nice and crisp in pleats down the length of the curtain
    • Open goblet/Goblet – These are basically a version of the french pleat, in which the top is stuffed to make a round shape rather than a pleat. These lend themselves to a more formal/ traditional setting. Best styled with tie backs to drape the curtains off the window when not closed.
    • Tab tops – A very informal heading, suitable for light – medium weight fabrics only. These have less fabric than the other headings and look good in the likes of a children’s room or kitchen when you want a simpler look.

    Lining:

    You can choose curtain linings for any number of reasons, both practical and impractical. Curtains can be very functional for blocking light or keeping the heat in, or maybe you just want them to look really plush. Here’s the options:

    • Sateen – a good basic lining, helps protect the fabric against fading and looks good on any fabric where you don’t want a specialist finish
    • Thermal – a fairly lightweight lining with thermal properties to keep you room cosy and protects from drafts
    • Blackout – does multi tasking as it blocks the light and is great for keeping a room cosy
    • Sateen fleece – entry level interlining basically, it has a light layer of fleece added to a lining to give your curtains a plush look
    • Bonded interlining/Blackout Bonded interlining – these have a layer of wadding added to a regular lining or blackout lining as you choose. They add a plush look to your curtains, but are most suitable for fabrics that are a little stiffer due to the way they drape.
    • Interlining – The ultimate in curtain lining, your curtain is made in 3 layers; fabric, interlining and lining (usually sateen). The look is really plush and drapes really well. This adds a gorgeous finish to lighter fabrics like silks.

    Finish:

    Your curtains will be machine sewn, custom made (a mix of machine and hand sewn) or entirely hand stitched. Which one of these options you go for will usually depend on the type of fabric and lining you choose. Though hand stitched will give the neatest finish, with there being little to no visible stitching on your curtains.

    Hopefully that answers some questions you might have about going custom. I personally feel that custom is an antidote to the “fast fashion” we’re all subjected to these days. It’s about choosing something you love and will love for years to come because you know they’ll look as good in 10 years as they did the day you hung them.

    If you’re interested in going custom or want to get an idea of cost get in touch with one of our expert staff in your nearest store.

  • 2018. A New Year, with new goals, new plans and of course- new trends. Below we have our top 5 picks for Interior Design Trends of 2018, and we are so excited to talk about them! The great thing about these trends is you can really make them your own, inject your own personality and taste. 2018 sees the return of Floral, the opposite of Minimalism and a twist on 2017’s hottest trend- Hygge.

    1. Pantone Colour of the Year

    “A dramatically provocative and thoughtful purple shade, PANTONE 18-3838 Ultra Violet communicates originality, ingenuity, and visionary thinking that points us toward the future.” – Pantone

    Pantone has named “Ultra Violet” as the Pantone Colour of the Year 2018. This striking shade of purple can be beautifully incorporated into any home and countless colour schemes. Make a bold statement with a feature wall. Maybe you prefer a neutral palette? Add a little pop of vibrancy with a velour cushion.

    (image credit - www.pantone.com)

    2. Maximalism

    With Maximalism- more is more. The need for bold extravagance as opposed to the stripped back Minimalist style that has been popular in recent years. Aim for clashing prints and jewel toned textures. Think Floral, Chintz and Brocade prints layered with Velour, Metallic and Glossy textures, creating a sumptuously decadent ambience in the home. Maximalism is great for those who love to upcycle, pairing period pieces with modern materials.

    (Our Bellini Emerald Cushion, Glamour Teal Fabric or Verona Ochre Curtains would be a great start!)

    (image Credit - www.interiordesign.net - Palazzo Fendi VIP apartment in Rome by DIMORESTUDIO. Photography by Andrea Ferrari.)

    3. Tone on Tone

    Take a colour, and work it. Layering two or three shades of the same colour or palette creates a fantastic aesthetic in a home. Think Terracotta, layered with ochres and burnt sienna tones. Bottle green with teal and lime. Embrace textures- velour, knits, tile and metals. Inject patterns or prints to really add depth to your colour scheme.

    (Our Terracotta Bellini Cushion or Ochre Rib Velour Curtains would be perfect!)

    (image credit - www.thedesignchaser.com)

    4. Casual Comfort

    A development of the well loved Hygge trend, Casual Comfort incorporates scandi and industrial textures with the warm and calm. This is less about colour injection and more about using your senses to recognise a comfortable environment. Pom Poms, Tassels, Velour, Faux Fur and Wool throws are all great additions to this style. If you like a pop of colour, why not add some Millennial Pink? Another hugely popular design trend for 2018! Play it up with berry reds and deep purples, or create a calmer ambience with cool greys and sage tones.

    (image credit - www.lustliving.co.uk)

    5. Floral

    Floral is back, and it is fabulous. This style has been so beloved throughout the years and in 2018 it has a new zest for life. We are seeing it with big prints in jewel tones, and ditsy prints in pastels. Whether you go big with bloom covered bedding, or add a touch to your modern monochrome with a statement cushion (like our beautiful Layla Cushion), Floral is a trend you can embrace wholeheartedly.

    (image credit - www.sfgirlbybay.com)

  • It’s that time of year again that has us all scrambling around the shops looking for that perfect gift. Don’t be that person that hands your nearest and dearest a cosmetic set they don’t want – if you have a crafty person in your life we are here to give you the lowdown on what they might love!

    For the Knitter/Crocheter in your life:

    Thins we can never have enough of are as follows – needles/hooks and wool! However many sets of needles we have – we never have the right one/the right one is currently in use with another project. Treat your loved one to an amazing set of needles/hooks so they have what they need in a pretty case.

    We will also never buy ourselves a nice knitting bag – we will use plastic bags, food bags and shopping bags if however one was to hand us a proper knitting/craft bag we would be very happy!

    Best Gifts for Knitters

    Clockwise from Top Left:

    Wool and The Gang Crazy Sexy Wool; Chevron Knit Pin RollChevron Crochet Hook RollCactus Knitting Frame

    For the Serious Sewer in your life:

    If somebody you know is serious about their sewing and depending on how much you love them may I suggest a sewing machine – they start at €109 and for somebody getting into sewing this is enough. If that someone already has a machine they might want an upgrade to one with more bells and whistles but I would not buy that as a surprise as us sewers can get attached to our machines! If like me that sewer has a machine they love but currently has it stored in a Lidl bag in a blanket box a machine bag would be a lovely gift to get (hint hint….)

    Best Gifts For Sewers

    Brother LS14S Sewing MachineRed Polka Dot Machine BagRed Spot Sewing Box; Red Polka Dot Vinyl Craft Bag

     

    For the Seamstress/Tailor in your life:

    Those who dressmake usually have most of the good stuff already – good machine, decent scissors and all of the thread. If you really wanted to spoil this person get them an overlocking machine or a dressmakers dummy. This will make their dressmaking that much easier as they will be able to finish difficult jersey fabrics with ease or fit garments exactly as the bodyforms are fully adjustable.

    Best Gifts For Sewers 2

    Clockwise from Top Left:

    Adjustable Body Form - also available in MaleBrother M343D Overlocker

    For the Jack of All Trades in your life:

    We all know/are someone who does a little bit of everything, knits, sews, glues and generally crafts up a storm. If they don’t already have one a glue gun will literally be the best thing that ever happened to them! I will also suggest the gift of a  craft bag as with so many crafts there’s usually a lotta stuff lying around. If you are buying for someone like this I have one little hint: there is always another craft to learn! Treat them to a cool kit for a craft they probably don’t do like needle felting Or even if they do it already a beautiful embroidery kit will get them through the festive season and beyond.

    Best Gifts For Crafters

    Clockwise from Top Left:

    Glue Gun; Llama Needle Felting Kit (Available in Most Stores); Charcoal Dot Craft Bag; All in The Family Cross Stitch Kit (Available in Most Stores)

    For the Crafty Kids in your life:

    Crafting is great for children – it’s good for their coordination and concentration and they have something to be proud of and show off at the end of it. It’s also pretty good for parent too as it is usually a fairly quiet time! They’re great stocking fillers to keep the little ones occupied.Shop from our cute range of craft kits for kids to find the right ones for their age and your budget.

    Best Gifts for kids Crafts

    Clockwise from top left:

    Crafty Cases Sewing kitCharm Bracelets; Buttonbag Knitting Kit; Violent Volcano Craft Kit

    Final thoughts on your crafty loved ones:

    It's good to remember that us crafters are a practical bunch and we generally love things that we perceive as useful. So if after reading the above you're still not sure what floats your crafters boat - give the gift of a gift voucher ( available in store) so they can craft to their heart's desire!

     

  • Embroidery and statement motifs have taken the fashion world by storm, seen on the runway, celebrities and in the high street stores alike. With notable designers such as Gucci and Saint Laurent embracing the trend, it looks like it's here for the long run. Whether you want to look elegantly chic in floral, effortless trendy in grunge or to simply dress up your old denim - all you need is an iron, your favourite garment and some of our stunning motif designs. For an effortless (and affordable) up-style to your item, add a large statement motif  and surround it with smaller, dainty pieces to really pack a punch. (Image credit: Instagram)

     

     Step - By - Step Guide to GET THE LOOK

    1 - Place your motifs over your garment, with the plastic still attached and move them around until you are happy with the layout.

    2 - Once you are happy, place a dot on the area using tailors chalk-  a marker or pen will do fine, just make sure the ink doesn't seep through the garment to the other side! Placing a dot will ensure you remember where to put the motif when it comes to ironing them on.

    3 - Turn on your iron to the maximum temperature, make sure you are careful and use an ironing board.

    4 - Have a tea cloth ready and run it under water to dampen it. Wring it out- it just needs to be damp, not soaking wet.

    5 - One by one, peel off the plastic on the back of the motif to reveal the sticky layer. Place the motif over your chosen area        and push down firmly so it is in place.

    6 - Place your damp tea cloth over the garment, covering the motif.

    7 - Place the hot iron over the cloth and hold down firmly for 30 seconds. Leave to cool down.

    8 - Once cool, turn the garment to the other side (this may mean you have to turn it inside out.) Place the iron over the area       of the motif again without the damp cloth and hold down for 30 seconds.

    9 - Wait until completely cool and start the process over again with the next motif!

    VOILA! You have created your new look, now go and rock it!

     

  • How to hang custom made curtains

    Having invested time and money into having your custom curtains made, it's important to make sure that they look their absolute best in your home.

    If you're hanging your custom curtains yourself, there are a few easy steps to take which will ensure that your curtains hang beautifully and look amazing.

    Here's everything you need to know:

    How to hang your custom made curtains infographic and guide

  • Learn how to care for your fabrics with this guide

    How you care for your fabrics can be the difference between curtain and upholstery that last for years, and ones that are faded and frayed in no time at all. Understanding the washing symbols that come with a fabric is essential.

    By properly washing your curtain, upholstery, and dress fabrics, you're not only elongating their lives, but you're maintaining their texture and colour too! Many fabrics, such as silks and velvets, are dry clean only, so check carefully before beginning to clean your fabric.

    How to care for your fabric - washing instructions and symbols

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