Saturday, 13 August 2011

How exciting!

Just looking back on Flickr and saw some comments on some of my photos that I had missed.  The designer of the pattern for the travel tray has included a picture of my version in her blog.

Quite chuffed about that!

The cutest thing ever!!!

So I've been wanting to make one of these since I got Small Stash Sewing.  The ohoto in the book is so cute and it is obviously one of the most popular designs from the book. A friend I knwo through guiding is having a baby in September so I thought this might be an ideal present to make for her but with a guidey twist.

It needed 5 different fabrics - I used 2 from my stash and used three guiding fabrics: the first was my old leader's shirt; the second was from my Centenary neckerchief which also handily provided me with bias binding; the third was my tartan neckerchief from the recent WAGGGS World Conference.

It was a pretty easy make and very enjoyable too.  As I cut out the feather shapes I could really see it coming together.  I'm really pleased with how it has turned out.

Sunday, 31 July 2011


My niece is a big fan of Charlie the Unicorn, a bizarre series of cartoons about a grumpy unicorn and his psycho "friends".

When I got my Small Stash Sewing book for Christmas I saw a very cute, girly unicorn cushion and wondered if I could adapt it.

I got the template from the book and traced over it, using a still from one of the videos for reference.

I transferred this to my fabric then got embroidering. I'm a little concerned that I quite enjoyed the embroidery ... But have to look at a few more projects involving embroidery now!

All in all, a nice little project. Just have to wait and see what my niece thinks when I give it to her!

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Messenger bag

Another little project from Sew Hip. I quite enjoyed this one but I did cock up some of the stitching. It is my first use of a magnetic snap and I have learnt that metal bobbins and magnetic snaps don't work well together ...

As a b'day pressie for one of my best friends I did enjoy making this and am mostly happy with the result.

Another quilt

Another baby, another gift ...

Some good friends of ours have just given birth. For a few weeks now I have been working on another circle quilt. At every turn I seemed to come up against an obstacle. I decided to make it from my stash rather than purchasing even more fabric (seriously, it's getting ridiculous now!) and that was ok. I think I could have been a big more strategic in terms of colour choice. There's a bit of clashing here but, hey, it's for a baby. Multi-colour clashing should be fine, right?

I did need to buy new fabric for the backing but managed to do the binding from existing fabric. I was quite gutted that I didn't have enough wadding to fit the quilt in one piece, but as I have sooooo much wadding knocking around I did manage to do it from two panels and I think it has worked quite well.

I was using up the excess thread I'd purchased for my fantastic bag. Unfortunately, just as I started the quilting I ran out if thread ... I headed back to John Lewis where I purchased it and they were sold out. Managed to find it online and then had to wait over a week for it ...

So it's done - finally - hoorah!

Thursday, 30 June 2011


Why can I never get quite what I want?  took a trip into town yesterday to buy another spool of thread.  I'm mid-quilt and so definitely need the exact same colour.  But no, they've run out.  delivery in about 10 days.  That sucks!  I WANT TO FINISH MY QUILT!

So I try to but stuff to make a birthday present for a friend.  I can get the fabric and the thread but the hardware and the interfacing? no.

And I'm still searching for bamboo handles the size I need for a bag I wanted to make myself.

I'm off to sulk now

Sunday, 26 June 2011

T-shirt tote

I saw this link on the sewing directory's facebook feed.  It is a really simple little pattern for making a tote from a t-shirt created by a Girl Scout from the States.  This obviously appealed to me as a volunteer with Girlguiding UK and I also have a T-shirt that I can't quite bring myself to chuck and a charity shop wouldn't be able to sell it, so it's just been hanging around.

Basically, I have recently been running and to challenge myself I sugned up for a sponsored 5k run for the World Cancer Research Fund, racing against a man in a banana suit ...  I did the run - quite pleased with myself for that.  And now I have a bright yellow T-shirt that has that annoying tight neck-line so I'm not going to wear it again ...

This was a very simple design - a few snips and a little bit of sewing.   Basically, cut off the sleeves, cut out the neckline and sew closed the bottom.  I also did a couple of little extra stitches to give the base of the bag a flatter bottom.

So now I have a bag (ok, another bag!) that I can just scrunch into my handbag to give me extra storage when it's needed.  Hoorah!

Saturday, 4 June 2011

Quick gift

It's been a while - I'm in the middle of a project which will hopefully be finished soon.

We're off to a friend's BBQ for her birthday today and realising I hadn't bought a gift I thought I should knock something together quickly.

So I had a quick flick through my latest Sew Hip where I had seen a simple yo yo flower brooch, grabbed two fabrics, thread, needle, button, safety pin and scissors and off we went.

In the coffee shop on the way I did a quick effort but I think it worked out nicely. It is, after all, the thought that counts!

Sunday, 1 May 2011

Sister's gift

Hoorah! Tis my sister's birthday. And she now has her fleecy neck warmer to keep her warm on rides on the back of her fiancé's bike. It matches her Christmas slippers too ... but I don't expect her to wear the two together!

Tuesday, 19 April 2011


Got a little project finished yesterday on my day off but as it is for my sister's b'day and she's a follower I can't reveal it yet ...

Sunday, 17 April 2011


Yes, it's back to babies. A friend at work goes on mat leave at the end if this week and I wanted to make just a little something to show I care.

These little baby booties from Sew Hip issue 27 are so cute and relatively easy to make.

I went for the yellow/green colours as it is non-gender-specific/stereotypical so should work whatever pops out!

Wednesday, 13 April 2011

Sock monkey

You can't beat a good sock monkey!

It's my bro-in-law's gf's birthday this weekend and as I got such favourable comments about the husband's sock monkey I thought I'd whip one up for her.

Bought a great 3 pack of socks from M&S, one of which was animal print. I thought that would make a wicked sock monkey (whilst I get to keep the other socks!) and I was right.

Sunday, 3 April 2011

A little quickie

Having really got back into the swing of sewing after the satisfaction of my big quilt project I just couldn't help myself and had to just have a bash at a quick project.

Ok, so I look a little bit like a terrorist but that's because it's Spring and I've made a wintery item. Yes - another opportunity to use some more of that white fleece, as well as a great project to use one of the fat quarters my lovely sister bought me.

It took about an hour and a half. It was very simple - a basic rectangular construction with some decorative stitching. I went for zigzag stitch lines at varying degrees intersecting with each other. I did these in white which gives it a nice texture. I did think about doing some in black as well but decided against that as I liked the effect with just the white.

Oh, and it's another one from small stash sewing.

Sleepy time quilt

Wow! I've finally finished this project. It's a fantastic quilt from my Small Stash Sewing book with a HUGE quantity of fabric and wadding.

This was quite fun to make as whilst there was a pattern it did leave some space for creativity; firstly in the range of fabrics and secondly in the cloud arrangement.

The clouds were made separately, quilted on their own (with whatever swirls took my fancy) and then top-stitched onto the quilt.

It then had to be handquilted, using embroidery thread, so that the lines on the top stopped at the clouds but continued on the back. It was arduous, and whilst some of the lines are clearly all over the shop it does add to the "home crafted" effect!!

Probably my biggest project to date but really satisfying. I hope the recipient likes it!

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Getting there ...

Phew! Hand quilting all done. This has been a tough and looooooooong project. It needed the hand quilting and the layers, in fact I think the wadding, is really thick so I've been using pliers to pull the thread through.

But it's getting there. I've trimmed the wadding and the backing fabric and started to press the binding. I think I'll crack this one tomorrow with the top stitch finish and a final press. Woo hoo!

It keeps going ...

Wow - hand-quilting takes forever!

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Travel tray

A quick interlude from my bigger project - more on that to follow on another occasion - I've knocked together a quick pressie for my husband's birthday next week.

Before Xmas I found a fat quarter of some Batman fabric - my hubby is a comic geek - and planned to make a pressie for him then but I just didn't find the time. Then our second wedding anniversary - cotton - came and went and as we don't "do" valentine's day we're now onto the birthday.

I have been looking for something great to do with this fat quarter and was really pleased when Sew Hip had this pattern for a collapsable travel tray in issue 27. We like our holidays so I thought this was perfect.

I used some spare red cotton as a contrast - as the pattern said to use linen I was worried that my two lighter cottons might be a bit flimsy so I put a bit of sew-in interfacing in the middle to make it a bit more stable.

This was also my opportunity to play with my new toy! On my birthday I bought a kit to do poppers and eyelets. Took me a while to work out what bit was what but got there in end.

Et voila! The finished product - packs flat but pops into a tray. Wicked!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Monday, 14 March 2011

New project

Having spent a huge amount of money on fabric at a wonderful little shop it is time to cut it up and then stitch it up. Perhaps the most difficult aspect of this quilt is deciding the order of the strips ...

I think this may be the combo but I might have to reflect on it overnight ...

Mobile blogging

Since getting my iPhone I've been a bit lax in updating thus blog. But ... I've just discovered an app which works with blogger - woo hoo!

Let's see if this works!

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Sunday, 13 March 2011

one last thing ...

ok, just one more thing to get caught up.  I did a really quick little project to make a cushion cover.
My husband gave me a Barcelona hanky ages ago, after a fabulous trip to Barcelona, that I have just had knocking about the bedroom.  I was using it on my dressing table chair to make it slightly more comfortable.  So I decided to make it into a cushion cover.  My husband was throwing away an old shirt so I used the front of it with the buttons to make the back of the cushion cover, meaning that it already had a finished opening.

I simply cut round the hanky to make sure the back panel was the right size and then sewed round all four sides with rightsides together and then turned it out through the buttoned opening.

As we were also chucking away some old battered pillows that had got quite manky, I stuck them through the washing machine and then cut them up, resewing them closed to make cushion pads out of them.  So now I have some spare cusion pads - a few more cushion covers to come me thinks ...

Birthday time

I have just celebrated another birthday  I'm not one of those people who is fussed about aging (maybe that will change as I get older?) but this birthday signifies aproximately 1 year since buying my sewing machine, which is quite a landmark in itself.

So what have I achieved in the past year?
  • Bunting
  • 3 pigs (two types)
  • 8 bags (varying types)
  • 3 bears
  • 5 pairs of slippers
  • a needle case
  • a sock monkey
  • a purse
  • a dress
  • 3 pairs of curtains
  • an Iphone cover
  • a baby book
  • a hat
  • a skirt
  • a quilt
Not bad... when you put it all together like that you realise how much you have done.

Thankfully my birthday didn't pass without further sewing-related presents:

A rotary cutter, large cutting mat and quilters ruler from my lovely husband

Small Stash Sewing book, with the most amazingly titled item - Owly McPillowpants - known to mankind.  Item from this book is the next project so  more to follow ...

Also 3 fat quarters beautifully selected by my wonderful sister.

right then ... best get on with some sewing then!

More baby gifts

sorry - have got behind again. Two more baby gifts - I'm at that age when all my friends are sprogging!  The December baby needed bunting ... or maybe more that my friend really wanted bunting  for her baby's room.  I have now discovered the best way to go fabric / project shopping - get someone else to spend their money and then hand the purchases over to me!

My friend picked out a fat quarter bundle that she liked as well as some bias binding. I cut out a huge amount of little penants and then sewed them, right sides together, so that I would have a nicely finished double sided penant.  I then spaced these along the bias binding and top stitched them into place.

I was quite pleased with the result:

My friend is pleased with them two and I think they look great in place

Another friend gave birth in January so that gave me a chance to make yet another softie ... and use up some more of the excessive amount I fleece I bought to make slippers (still got more to use though ...).  I have been loving the fact that Sew Hip magazine has been featuring a fantastic softie in each issue and this one is no different.  

Isn't he gorgeous?  Still haven't met the young lad who will be receiving this one but from the pics I've seen so far I think their gorgeousness should match!

So now I think the next babies I need to make for are July & September, so I might have a break from baby stuff and get on with some other projects ...

Saturday, 8 January 2011

best bag in the world!

I have just made the best ... bag ... EVER!  I love it.  It did cause me some anguish en route but I got there and love the finishewd article.  It's an activity tote from Sew Hip issue 24.  They describe it as "perfect for on-the-go mums ... with everything you need to keep nlittle ones occupied, wherever you are!"

well, I have no little ones, but I am a volunteer trainer with Girlguiding UK and when I'm traipsing around the south of England to deliver training sessions I need all manner of pens, paper, cards, scissors, notepads, magazines, string and .... well, whatever other random items I might need, so I thought this bag looked ideal for me.

I found some beautiful half-price Liberty fabric at John Lewis and just had to have it. My poor hubby looked so bored as I wandered around the haberdashery department in awe, looking for matching threads and zips!

It was, on the whole, a relatively easy make.  My only real issue was the zips.  The instructions asked for a 40cm zip for the pocket, but the width of the panel is 30cm ... Now maybe I'm still too much of a novice to understand the complexity of how to use a zip that is longer than your fabric, but I ended up just trimming it ...  I also kept knobbing up my sewing with wonky lines and as the sewing is visible I think I had to rip that pu[ppy off about 3 times before I was vaguely happy.  It's still not entirely right but it's a wrongness I can live with.

Then the external zip, a 70 cm open-ended zip.  Again, I feel it is a little long, but didn't dare trim this one, so the bag does have a little bit of a tail ...  Anyway, I got it all pinned on, sewed round it - it was perfect!  Except it was inside out ...  I hadn't properly thought through my zip and the pull ended up on the inside of the bag and with the bottom corner there was no way it was going to close.  So out came my trusty seam ripper and I got it on there the correct way round.

I am delighted with the finished product. I'm tempted to make more ... And I wouldn't be surprised if I were to get some bag envy and requests to make some.

Right, must get my sister's curtains done next ...

Monday, 3 January 2011


second teddy bear done:
This one went a bit easier being my second time around.  Equally as cute and equally as satisfying.
So the first one (red spotty feet) went to our friends' two-year-old daughter for Xmas, and the second (yellow feet) went to my friends' new-born for xmas.

I've just got as far as I can with a new softie from Sew Hip magazine. This cute panda is looking a little soggy as I need to buy some more stuffing to finish him off, as well as a couple of buttons for his eyes.

I had a few hiccups along the way with legs and arms sewn to the wrong bits of bodies ... but I think he's turned out ok in the end ...

Happy New Year!

Christmas is over, my jeans are too tight, and I'm please to say that I did get a few sewing related presents.
My first one is from my work Secret Santa.  This year, to help each other out, we each submitted two words to indicate what we might like to receive.  I said "Fat Quarter" and was amazed to actually get 3 beautiful fat quarters, all nicely presented in a ribbon with 3 cute buttons.  Apparently they came all the way from France!

From my brother-in-law I got a free-motion foot for my sewing machine.  There's been lots of wonderful designs in Sew Hip magazine with machine embroidery and I want to give it a go ...
And then my wonderful husband.  He bought me some more bobbins in a bobbin case, which is great as I needed some more.
He also bought me a racing wheek and some dressmakers tracing paper - which is very exciting.  I have to admit that I didn't know what it did when I first got it but have had a little play and it is quite cool.

So overall I think I am a very lucky girl.  The various hand made sewing-based presents also seemed to go down generally well, so best get started on birthday gifts!