Calling all Creatives…

I need your help, creative folk of AOW and Twitter and surrounding continents…Bex, Anna, Laura – I’m looking at you, you disgustingly artistic, capable, talented and LOVELY ladies – and anyone else who can translate exactly what is it my crazy, pregnant brain is trying to say.

I’ve taken on a wee maternity leave project, you see. A very wonderful family friend (one of those people you call ‘Aunt’ or ‘Uncle’ even though you’re not related to them, they’re so close to you and yours) turns 50 at the end of January and her equally amazing husband has asked my Mum and I to help plan a ‘surprise’ party for her. Mum is in charge of All Things Logistics, including venue, food, timing, suppliers…all those things I suck at generally, never mind when I’m full of baby. I’m going to use some of my (slightly indulgent) 7 weeks of maternity leave to do the invites and prepare the decor.



The latter I’m quite happy with, it’s going to have to be pre-assembled and easy to arrange as there’s every chance I won’t even get to go to the party itself (due date – 1 week before party. Spanking timing, as ever.) I’m going with my special brand of flat-bottomed pompom, seen here at Anna’s 30th earlier this year…

I believe she's wearing this to Ascot next year.

…I’m going to make one HUGE one for the centre of each table, with a cluster of helium ballons floating up, affixed to a hidden weight in the centre of each pompom. Smaller poms will then be strewn casually around the place to be stolen at the end of the night and used as footballs on the dancefloor. At the moment I’m thinking pinks and purples, but that could just be because I have a humongous collection of girly tissue paper already amassed and awaiting pompomification for the nursery…

Pompom rambles aside, it’s the invites I need help with. The kind of help that even Pinterest couldn’t *really* give me. I knew sraight away I wanted to do fabric invites. I don’t know how or why or what kind but I know I really really really want them to be fabric. And I’m not so good at the compromising right now. So, fabric it is. I just need to figure out the other 99% of the project.


Am I using fabric pens or paint? Am I going to cross-stitch? Should it look like bunting, or be lace? DOILIES! VINTAGE HANKERCHIEFS! SECONDHAND TABLECLOTHS! OLD PANTS! I’m joking about that last one, sort of. But you should be able to gauge the pottiness of my stream of invite consciousness, from that snippet of weird right there.


Someone, please. Give me a concrete idea that is beautiful, memorable, practical and doesn’t take a day per invite. I have 40 to do and I currently think this is totally achievable so no shooting me down in a fire or realism, please. Thank you. I really do want to use fabric, money is not an issue (but fur/antique wedding dresses/alligator skin etc aren’t really the kind of things I’m looking to spend the money on) and as long as 40 invites can be handmade in 3-4 weeks, without my leaving the house more than once for supplies (heavily pregnant+Christmas shoppers=On Your Bike) I’ll be a very happy girl.


It’s worth pointing on that I actually am quite creative. Maybe even artistic, on a good day. It’s just, to be honest, right now I can’t even decide what knickers to wear without holding a conference with Phil and the cats… so Big Decisions are really not my forte. But they are yours, right?


Categories: Frippery, Wedding Pretty, Written By Aisling
41 interesting thoughts on this


  1. Vivienne
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:05 am | Permalink

    *bows out gracefully now* Considering old pants and antique wedding dresses both sound like grand old ideas to me, you may be glad of this

  2. Bella
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:26 am | Permalink

    If you use ink use stamps- far easier and more profesh looking. I love fabric invites- this wonderful lady, where is she from/what is she all about? My sister makes these awesome London skyline ones (she says not difficult) and depending on the style of this lady you could do something similar? My vote would usually be for a lace edged or plain hanky to let the detail and out, but it depends
    On whether she is, for example, a fan of gingham/Scottish/always wears pink…

    When looking at invitations I always think you should know exactly whose shindig it is – and have something beautiful you can keep for the long haul!

    Love you, so glad you’re sorting my 50th x

    • Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:40 am | Permalink

      It’s a date… In 23 years!

      Are those the stampy things you used for Belmo day? I would love to know more about those…please!


  3. Liz
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:54 am | Permalink

    Aisling – if its any help on the inspiration front, the save the dates on my invite A-Z post the other day were done in fabric. We used a plastic backing, a bit like sticky see through card, which the fabric sticks to without any wrinkles in it. You can then cut to any shape and use like card whilst still having the fabric on the front, means that they are all the same size and shape and don’t fray around the edges. Can’t remember what its called, but if you are interested I can pick mum’s brain! We actually ended up photocopying them rather than making one for everyone to save time and money but that was partly to do with my expensive taste in Liberty prints!

  4. Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:17 am | Permalink

    Love this. How about that special paper you print and then iron on? Then you could download lovely fonts for the details into the middle then decorate with ribbon/stitching.

    We did some t-shirts a while ago and that printer paper has seriously advanced since the stuff we used as kids! Hobbycraft have it.

    What does the birthday person do? Is there a particular fabric that would make it specific to them? And also I can’t help thinking if you’re doing fabric invites you should also be doing similar fabric square guest book that can then be turned into a quilt and given as a post party quilt.

    Can you freehand stitch? I’m a little bit in love with – I realise she’s a genius but something in that style would be lovely.

    I’m going to keep thinking and come back but please make a guest book quilt.

    • Lara Blue
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      This is exactly what I was going to suggest (apart from the post-party quilt obviously which I did not think of but is an AWESOME idea). My friend created a design with a blue hen on the computer for my Hen do, printed them on to the special paper and ironed them onto shirts. They look very professional this way and you can make the design as specific as you want and can even add extra embellishments if you have time. If you go to the blog “How about orange” she recently posted a cross stitch font which you could use.
      As for the fabric, this really depends on the person&their tastes but I did like the sound of laced edged hankerchiefs!
      Or you could use this method to make the tea-towel invites that Amy mentioned? I came across these during wedding planning and loved them! :) Good luck! X

      • Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:33 am | Permalink

        I am hitting up Hobbycraft on Thursday – can’t wait to see the fabric printing of this millennium! I’m also really keen to cross-stitch so will have a looky in the thread aisles…

        A pompom party, complete with Christmas songs and hot chocolate, is absolutely going in my (very empty) diary…


  5. Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:20 am | Permalink

    *post party present. I said quilt 8 million times.

    Also, if you need us we could have a Pom making day. I can whip up a damn good Pom because you’ll be at the stage where sitting still for too long is going to be seriously uncomfortable!

    • Katielase
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:02 am | Permalink

      PS: I can make pompoms if help is required! They’re about the only crafty thing I can successfully make without ending up with my elbow glued to my ear (hence why we had so many at our wedding)

      K x

  6. Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:42 am | Permalink

    Totally pinning that first picture to my wedding styling board.
    *goes back and actually reads the post instead of just looking at the pics*

  7. Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:56 am | Permalink

    I love the teatowel invites you can get – pretty and practical! If there’s a way of replicating those on the cheap I’d say it’s worth consideration.

  8. Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:27 am | Permalink

    “pompomification” needs an entry in the dictionary, like, yesterday.

    Sorry… I’m not much more help than that right now other than to say I love the idea of fabric invites. All my thoughts are taken up with halloween this weekend! x

  9. Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:31 am | Permalink

    Ok ok ok. My walk to the office has been full of my brain making lists until I could get to a PC to comment. So, be prepared for a brain dump:

    - Stamps are excellent, can be used with ink or fabric paint though can get messy/smudgy
    - Have you thought about a stencil? It might take a while to make a stencil (and make a few for when the first gives out!) but super easy to get an easy to use, repetitive design for each invite. Fabric paint would be good for this.
    - Does your sewing machine have an embroidery programme? Do you know someone that does?
    - You can get backing/stiffener really easily, another idea is to back linen and then run through your printer. I’ve done this before and looks very profesh. And then you can stamp/stencil round the edges?
    - On a different note, you could make fabric pockets/envelopes for a printed invite. I’m thinking button closure, potentially with a mini wollen pom to hint at things to come. At least then there is no mess with ink etc and you can use any old fabric you like. Blanket stitch round the outside… Swoon. Can I come if you make these?!

    Ok. That’s it…for now :P

    I shall probably be back later. xxx

    • Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:43 am | Permalink

      Ooooh – LOVE the idea of the fabric envelopes with buttons and whatnot….I like that a lot!

      Amazing ideas!


      • Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

        Laura, would it have to be a fairly new printer to ‘accept’ (I don’t think that’s the right word….) backed fabric/linen? Because ours is a couple of years old but I do really like that idea.


        • Posted October 24, 2012 at 5:47 am | Permalink

          Erm the older the better I think. Mine is super old, inkjet (top feed). I think newer, laser jet ones have bigger issues! x

  10. Zan
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:38 am | Permalink

    Ha – Bella got there first, but I was totally going to suggest ink stamps when I read this! They are much easier if you can get the kind of pattern/wording stamp you want (although these days you can have custom ones made).

    Maybe use a combination of methods? Decide on a basic design and then use (for example) use an ink stamp, some fabric pens and some basic embroidery too to brighten it up? If that doesn’t sound too ambitious.

    Or if you use some lovely colourful fabric (as in the fourth picture) then in a sense that’ll minimise the work you need to do, as you’ve got the vibrant background anyway.

    Also – LOVING Anna’s post-party quilt suggestion :)

    • Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:45 am | Permalink

      I’m loving that guestbook/quilt suggestion too! (ssh, totally going to hire Anna to help me with that – don’t tell her!)


  11. Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:42 am | Permalink
  12. Katielase
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:01 am | Permalink

    I am the most useless person to comment on this, all I have to add is that I genuinely did use material from (new) M&S pants to make the miniature bunting on my wedding invites. Nothing says classy wedding day quite like knicker bunting.

    K x

    • Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:11 am | Permalink

      Favourite comment ever.

    • Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:15 am | Permalink

      I like the idea of knicker bunting being a string of actual knickers, like a washing line.

    • Lara Blue
      Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

      Love this!

      • Posted October 23, 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

        So…Stella’s Naming Day party thingybob will be next June in our garden…is knicker hunting inappropriate decor for a 6 month old baby’s faux-Christening?

        Please say it’s ok…


        • Posted October 23, 2012 at 11:06 am | Permalink

          NAPPY BUNTING!!!

          • Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:42 pm | Permalink

            Frilly bloomer bunting!!! Eeeeek and tights every now and then to break it up. Baby tights almost kill me with their cuteness

            • Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:55 pm | Permalink

              That’s settled. You’re all invited and there will be bunting made from baby undergarments.

            • Clare
              Posted October 23, 2012 at 1:04 pm | Permalink

              Baby tights = best reason ever for having a girl. Disappointing that I live in a hot country – best reason ever to come back to the UK for a visit this winter!

              • Katielase
                Posted October 23, 2012 at 3:13 pm | Permalink

                Okay this is the cutest idea ever. Way classier and more adorable than the size 22, full brief granny panties we bought to make our invites ;-p

                K x

        • Clare
          Posted October 23, 2012 at 1:03 pm | Permalink

          It’s only ok if Emmi and I can be there.

  13. Alice
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:39 pm | Permalink

    This probably isn’t quite what you’re after as you’re sorted with decor but it’s an idea I had for our wedding that we didn’t end up doing, so since then I’ve been looking for an excuse to do it!

    I wanted to send blank bunting triangles (fabric or cut up doilies or whatever) to our guests along with the invite and ask them to decorate them (or just write a message if they weren’t into being creative) and send them back as their RSVPs, the idea being that they’d then all be strung up on the day for people to see. You’d have something there on the day from the people that couldn’t be there too and I thought it would be a lovely keepsake, a real representation of the people in your life at that particular time.

    Good luck with whatever you decide! Alice x

    • Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:43 pm | Permalink

      That is SUCH a lovely idea, Alice! It’s definitely workable too, although maybe we’d have to put in a SAE envelope (like off of Blue Peter cicra 1995) for the invitees to send them back in…just to make sure they actually did it?



      • Alice
        Posted October 23, 2012 at 12:57 pm | Permalink

        Yes, I think SAEs would be the way to go – anything that is like Blue Peter circa 1995 gets my vote! And maybe some suggestions of what they could do so as not to panic anyone – even if it was just sticking an old photo of your family friend on the triangle for those who didn’t want to get down and dirty with a glitter glue gun! x

        • Roz
          Posted October 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm | Permalink

          You have so many fabulous ideas from all these comments Aisling! But I love the idea of this one best, it’s a bit like the postcards one (where you get people to write a memory) but with a new twist. I think including some suggestions of what people could do to decorate it also fab. I hope you pick this one as I’d love to see the finished article :D x

  14. Posted October 23, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    While I hate being the bearer of bad news, you might want to rethink your centerpiece plan, specifically the balloons, as helium has been in rather short supply lately –

  15. Katie
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:11 pm | Permalink

    I have no idea on creativity, but it all sounds amazeballs. Loved reading it. I’m a minimum effort, cheap as possible kind of gal. Sorry.

    Hope there’s a follow up, of what Aisling did next.


  16. Posted October 23, 2012 at 8:50 pm | Permalink

    How about using spoonflower to print the invites onto fabric? You could draw/write/decorate a physical invite, scan it, upload the image and then get it printed x however many – you could then embroider or use a fabric pen to write who each invitation is to? Easy, quick, and involves no leaving the house!

  17. Kiara
    Posted October 23, 2012 at 9:33 pm | Permalink

    Nothing to do with fabric but I LOVE this idea for a birthday

    When it comes to fabric invites I like the idea of fabric envelopes or stitched cards – loads of ideas here

  18. Posted October 24, 2012 at 9:55 am | Permalink

    Really struggling to come up with ideas that haven’t already been suggested. You have some fab ones to think about above! I was also going to suggest stamping but I love the bunting idea! Only other thing I can think of fabric wise would be screen printing which although fun (Roz can back me up here), cannot be done at home nor with a mahoosive bump I’d imagine! I’ll keep thinking though and my eyes peeled on Pinterest!

    Oh and if you do have a pom making hot chocolate party, can I please come??

    P.S. If you make wooly poms on envelopes can you put little googley eyes on them?! Not classy but super cute! (I once put eyes on those little pussy willow things off trees and made a whole village of furry cute creatures! I’m weird!)


  19. Posted October 25, 2012 at 9:53 am | Permalink

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Hello! We're Clare, Aisling and Anna and welcome to a corner of the world where smart, flawed, real women talk about the bigger picture; about their experiences, stories and opinions on all aspects of being a woman today, from marriage to feminism to pretty, too.

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