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DIY dressmaking + crafts with Emily

7 crafts to try in 2021

A new year always seems to be a great time to pick up a new hobby. I know I’m always on the lookout for the next thing to try! I’ve compiled a list of 7 crafts that I’m excited about trying out and exploring further this year.

Why not check out this list and see if anything peaks your interest too?

1. Bargello (pronounced bar-jell-lo)

Bargello is a tapestry embroidery technique that had a revival in the 60s and 70s (and now the 2020s!). It uses woolly yarn in flat vertical stitches on a canvas or plastic backing in multiple colours which are offset to create intricate patterns. Modern kits come in dreamy colours and patterns. It’s meant to produce quite a hardy textile and you can use this technique to create planters, cushion covers, wall hangings and more!

Check out The Bargello Edit for supplies, kits and workshops.

2. Jesmonite and epoxy resin casting

I’ve already tried my hand at making terrazzo patterns in jesmonite but there are of course lots of other ways to make patterns with the stuff! I really want to experiment more with this amazing substance. I think it’s really quite versatile!

To get started, I’d recommend getting a kit as it’ll include everything you need and instructions without needing to buy in bulk. Previously I’d recommended kits from terrazzo artists KT Gillies and Salt Studios however it seems they’re not available right now. I’ve found these alternatives on Etsy though! Alternatively, if you’re feeling brave, you can buy the materials and pigments and ready made molds from eBay and just experiment yourself!

The other kind of casting that’s having its heyday thanks to TikTok is epoxy resin casting. By adding dried flowers, stones and pigments, there’s a vast array of designs and patterns you can make! I found this beginners kit which includes a mould and decorative petals.

I’ve a feeling once you get the hang of either craft, the sky’s the limit in what you can create with it!

3. Modern embroidery

After the year we had, I think some cathartic embroidery is just what we need. This ancient craft has taken on new life recently and I’m loving how inventive people are with it. Gone are traditional overly floral patterns and in its place are feminist designs and snarky slogans. I’ve experimented with a bit of embroidery on garments in the past (here and here) but never just for the sake of the art itself. I’d love to try making something to hang as artwork.

Grab a kit (which will normally include a hoop, design, fabric and thread) or go full on creative and get the basic supplies (I like to stock up on eBay) and make your own design! There’s so much inspiration on Pinterest to keep you going!

4. Pottery

I did an adult pottery class at a local adult education centre a few years ago now. I loved it (I wasn’t very good at it but just still loved it!) but sadly wasn’t able to commit to further classes at the time. I hadn’t imagined being able to do pottery at home – I assumed you’d need all the specialist kit in order to do it but it seems lockdown crafting desires have brought it to life! By using air drying clay to avoid the need for a kiln, you can make pinch pots, plates and bowls with coiling and slab techniques. The finished products can be painted for decoration and whilst you’ll be missing out on the glazing part of pottery, you can still create some beautiful things!

Kits from Sculpd and Clay Club include instructions, clay, tools, paint and sealant. Alternatively head to an art shop online/ in person for all the basic tools!

5. Punch needling

Punch needling has been something I’ve been wanting to have a go at fir ages! It involves using a special needle which pushes yarn through fabric to create a loop on one side. This simple technique is repeated in order to fill in the shape/ space/ colour and leaves you with a really textured surface. I’ve seen samples of really intricate detailed work and also of blockier abstract styles and it seems to work really well. I plan to use it to make some textured cushion covers.

Check out punch needling kits on Etsy for tools, and design ideas.

6. Marbling

If you follow craft and style genius Zeena Shah on Instagram (@heartzeena), you’d have seen her marbling! She uses marbling inks (and sometimes old nail polish) to jazz up paper, bottles, jars and even Christmas baubles! It looks like a really fun way to add colour and abstract design to something. I think it would be a lovely way to make cards to send to all those people we can’t meet up with at the moment!

This kit from Hobbycraft includes everything you need to try paper marbling at home.

7. Candle making

I always used to think candles were really naff when I was younger but once I hit my thirties I was all for them – I don’t know what that says about me! I used a beginners kit during the first lockdown to try out this craft and was gifted another for Christmas. It’s definitely incentive to try it again! (Plus I’ve recently discovered the world of candle moulds on eBay and now I just want all of them!). The tricky thing for me will be getting the right scents – I don’t think I have a particularly good nose! – but it will be fun to experiment.

Check out some beginner candle making kits here and here.

Hopefully there’s something in there that you find interesting! I know I’m looking forward to exploring each of them over the year. Now to decide on where to start!

Happy crafting everyone!

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  1. Really enjoyable read Emily, I could happily ( if I had enough money) try EVERY single one of these. Gosh I dare not click any of the links for fear I might not be able to resist any of them!! K x

    1. Lol. Thanks Kathy! I’m gonna try to spread them out over the year so I’m not spending all my money at once! 🤣🤣🤣

      1. Hi Emily. I bought a beginner’s candle making kit at the beginning of the 1st lockdown, I’ve still not done it and have been looking at resin stuff! So many new crafts to try. Have to settle on one though. Good luck with finding yours. X

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