Make a simple shade sail for your garden

 

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If you enjoyed the recent post on my allotment shed makeover, you might remember I promised more details on how to make the shade sail, or awning, for the shed. So, I have put together a quick step by step tutorial for you! The shade sail is perfect for creating some shade in your outdoors space, and is incredibly easy to put together, so why not have a go! It’s definitely achievable in a few hours, so the perfect kind of weekend DIY project. Here is what you will need to gather together to make the shade sail:

Materials

Fabric – canvas, hessian or other heavy fabric – measured to the size of your shed

Eyelets and washers – I used 4 x 11mm washers (you can find them in Hobbycraft, Amazon, eBay)

Cotton in a similar shade to your fabric

Pins – plenty of them!

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Before shopping for fabric, measure up the space where your shade sail will be – if it’s going to be attached to a shed, just measure the width of the shed and then add a few centimetres for seam allowances (I added 5cm on each side).

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Once you have measured and cut the fabric, fold the edges over, one side at a time, to make seams. I folded mine over twice to make them stronger. Then pin the fabric in place to hold it. My fabric was quite thick, especially once folder, so I pinned every few centimetres.

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Set your iron on the hottest setting, and add steam if you can, to press the seams. This straightens up the edges and make the whole project look lot neater, as well as holding the seams in place.

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Next, sew along the seams, around 1cm from the inside edge, using a medium style stitch on the sewing machine. At the start and end of the fabric I sewed backwards and forwards a few times, just to strenghten the join.

I hemmed and sewed the sides of the fabric in opposite pairs, so the two length sides and then the two width sides – if that makes sense!

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Once all of the edges are folded, ironed and hemmed with the machine, it’s time to add the eyelets and washers to all four corners.

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This part is great fun, and involves hitting the eyelet making tool with a hammer to make a circular hole in the fabric, and then adding the eyelet and washer pair into the fabric. There are lots of great tutorials on Youtube for this process – it’s definitely easier to watch how it’s done!

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Once the eyelets and washers are in place for each corner, the shade sail is ready for fixing to the shed. I used natural jute rope, as it coordinated well with the fabric, and was strong enough to hold the shade sail to the fixings. I hammered two tacks into the roof of the shed, one in each front corner of roof trim, and then looped the rope  from the top two eyelets over these. The bottom two eyelets and rope were supported by garden canes, and another length of rope stretched as a guy rope to a tent peg in each corner.

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The shade sail is going to perfect at the allotment over the summer, and I am looking forward to enjoying many cups of tea relaxing underneath it!

I would love to see your shade sail, or summer DIY projects, if you fancy sharing! And of course, let me know if you have any questions about the tutorial.

 

 

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Siblings Project (June)

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In between rain storms we escaped outdoors for some fresh air and strawberry picking at the nearby pyo farm this weekend. The constant wet weather has been driving Mia and Joe a little crazy recently, as they have had to stay indoors so much more than usual. Unfortunately this has lead to lots of arguments between them, broken toys, lost jigsaw pieces…you get the picture! Strawberry picking was a very welcome excuse for some fresh air and berry eating.

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Rectory Farm, just outside Oxford is great for fruit picking, and also has a lovely playground and cafe. They had even set up a hay bale climb, and as soon as Mia and Joe saw it they both had to climb right to the top. It was actually quite high, but they are both pretty fearless about heights. Mia was tall enough to climb up by herself, but Joe’s little legs just couldn’t quite stretch far enough! As it was too far to lift him, I had to climb up as well, and all three of us ended up on top of the hay bales. I was the only parent up there, and did feel a little bit silly, but the fun soon outweighed that. I have been finding straw in my shoes since though!

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Mia, in her typically confident style, was busy bossing other children on the hay bales around, telling them where to climb and how to get down, and even encouraging Joe to jump off!

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And Joe was happier to sit and watch everything going on for a while. It is interesting to watch this subtle change between them; he still wants to do exactly what Mia is doing, but it has become more on his own terms. He joins in with her but doesn’t follow her. I have noticed this in their games recently as well; they are together, but much more indpendent from each other. Mia used to come up with all of their game rules and instructions, but Joe now provides his own ideas and challenges hers.

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More hay bale climbing after a short break for juice and chocolate cake. The salted caramel brownies from the Barefoot cafe there really are the best, and have taken on a now legendary status amongst locals.

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I joined them in this photo, or at least my toes did, for my favourite kind of family portrait. I love capturing these little moments of our everyday life, completely natural and just as it is. Of course, Mia and Joe ate hundreds of strawberries, and we picked lots to take home too. I have been making them strawberry and elderflower yoghurt ice lollies this morning…waiting for another sunny day!

I have also been joining in with the Siblings Project on Instagram at @siblings_project . Come and take a look if you’ve not joined in already!

The Me and Mine Project

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