Friday, 28 February 2014

Free Fabric From Hillary's (It's arrived!)

I recently spotted that 'Hillary's' are running a competition for bloggers to launch a new selection of fabrics. I was sold at the mention of a completely free 39"x 39" sample of said fabric, but whomever's original creation is deemed the best by a panel of crafty judges wins a whopping £1,000.

(All pictures above via

I was very excited when this arrived in the post this morning! (So excited infact, that I didn't iron it before taking the picture...) I can't wait to get stuck in.

The print is somewhat larger than I anticipated but it's just as lovely as I'd imagined. The fabric has a lightweight canvas feel and the brushstroke effect almost looks hand painted. I love that the density of the print varies which could look really effective if used along an edge / hem.

The only problem now is making a decision as to exactly what I'll use it for... any suggestions? The weight would lend itself very nicely to a bag, but I'm leaning towards some statement print shorts to wear in Italy (as it will most likely be quite hot and I'm somewhat too 'indelicate' for short skirts). Maybe I'll be really greedy and go for both!

Bag wise, I'm thinking something small, along the lines of this little beauty by Jessica at 'How About Orange' (via Pinterest) just big enough for camera, purse, keys and phone. If the stories are true then it would have to be pickpocket-proof for the Rome tube!

As for the shorts, it may sound utterly mad but I think the fabric would look great as a pair similar to the ones below(via Pinterest). I'm thinking slightly tailored looking, clean lines, concealed side zip and perhaps just a welt pocket or two on the back?

Or maybe I'm just crazy?

Sunday, 23 February 2014

Wiggly Bags

Yesterday was the first 'Stitch and Sip' at 'Make & Do'. We had coffees and cookies and a good natter! The next is set to be Saturday the 29th March so if you are local then feel free to come along and join the fun from 2pm.

Whilst I was there I managed to whip up a fourth 'Wiggly Bag' for the children's hospital. A wiggly bag is a little pouch worn across the body by pediatric cancer patients to house the lines used for chemotherapy treatments. The customers and staff at 'Make & Do' have been making them from bright, fun remnants in the hope that they might make the process a little less frightening for the children.

There is a tutorial on the 'Make & Do' blog if you wish to put some fabric scraps to good use! It simply requires a strip measuring approximately 12cm x 30cm and 150cm tape or ribbon.

Pop finished bags into the shop or find address details on the website. I hope everyone's enjoying their Sunday!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Impromptu Reversible Bookmark

I had a little time yesterday so finished off a notebook cover for my big sister. It's very similar to the cover I made for my sketchbook but I'll admit that the finish isn't quite so neat (partly due to me rushing and partly due to the fact that mine has a hard cover which this one doesn't).

I also started reading my book for 'Book Club', and suddenly realised I don't actually own a bookmark (or at least if I do it's lurking in some drawer completely forgotten about) so I thought I'd quickly whip one up using some fabric I've had hanging around for ages.

I feel I should add a little disclaimer -this is in no way precision sewing, just a fun little ten minute project I figured I would share in case anyone fancies making one too.

That said, as opposed to a proper tutorial I thought I'd just whizz through the steps I took to make it -so I firstly cut two rectangles (but whatever shape you fancy will be fine -hearts, triangles...).

I cut a rectangle from a scrap of curtain interlining as that's what I had to hand (felt would be fine) smaller by about 1cm on all sides then sandwiched this between my two pieces with the right sides facing outwards, no fiddly turning or topstitching here!

I then stitched around the edges approximately 1cm in, and added a few extra diagonal lines to create a quilted effect (stitch however you like -vertical, horizontal or a bit of 'free motion'?). You can omit the wadding and quilting completely and simply sandwich them together but I think that for minimal extra effort the quilting gives a much nicer result.

 To finish the edges I simply trimmed them with pinking shears and then got back to reading.

A quick tip for anyone new to sewing who may not have considered this -you can match your thread to both the back and front by using a different colour bobbin thread. Have a play around on a scrap piece first just to be sure your contrasting thread doesn't show through. If it does simply adjust the tension dial up or down till it's just right on both sides.

Happy sewing / reading!

Tuesday, 18 February 2014

Book Club & Other Goings On

My very first 'Book Club' book arrived in the post this morning which is pretty exciting! We've gone for 'Damned' by Chuck Palahniuk.

As I was ordering it online I could A) pay for postage, or B) add another book to my order which seemed the better of the two options so I treated myself to 'Sepulchre' by Kate Mosse. I read her previous novel 'Labyrinth' which I enjoyed -It made me really want to visit Carcassone at some point (on the travel list).

I figure if I don't get around to reading it beforehand I'll pop it in my luggage and read it during our June trip to Italy.

In other news I have finally got around to printing out my 'Cooper' by Colette Paterns and purchasing the waxed cotton and cotton drill for the outer (no lining choice yet -baby steps!). I still need to source hardware as well which is tricky in terms of colour matching when distance buying. Anyone have any stockist suggestions?

Unfortunately as you may be able to see in the picture above, the waxed cotton is already a little 'distressed'. I'm not sure whether to cut around it or assuming that the bag will end up looking significantly worn with use, try to make a feature of it...

Anyway, I must dash as I have a project which needs finishing for tomorrow and a friend visiting for tea! Busy, busy!

Thursday, 13 February 2014

Covered Sketchbook - All Finished!

In my last post I shared a few pictures of my latest project, a fabric covered sketchbook to house all of my project ideas swimming about in my head.

I'm happy to report that it's now finished and ready for filling! I originally planned to stitch the pieces together with the right sides facing and then clip and turn them out -only this didn't really give a very neat finish so I decided to bind the edges with bias strip instead.

I'm pretty happy with the result but gosh folding and hand stitching it took me a while so I sat and picked away at it with chocolate cake and old episodes of 'Game Of Thrones' (thought we'd have a bit of a catch up ahead of the new season).

I'll be gathering some swatches later for a few things I have lined up (like the very belated 'Cooper' Christmas pressie) before heading off to the 'Cushion in an hour' workshop which I've been looking forward to immensely!

Sunday, 9 February 2014

Covered Sketchbook -Beginnings

I've recently found myself in the habit of pondering craft projects A) just before bed thus stopping me from getting to sleep for hours on end, or B) throughout the day whilst working on other things leaving me unable to remember any of the plans / details at a point when they may actually be useful.

So, whilst covering at the store yesterday, I decided to buy myself a little A6 sketchbook to house all of my ideas. It's small enough to be handbag sized and the little pages seem just right for scribbling out ideas and technical drawings for projects in the pipeline. I though I'd even take it along when shopping for fabric and perhaps add some swatches.

Anyway, I also purchased some fabric which I've had my eye on for some time. It's from the 'Petite Street' collection by Wendy Kendall for Dashwood Studio. Naturally I figured the first thing I should do is cover my notebook so I set about it this afternoon.

I used some curtain interlining as a really low loft wadding and to give the cover a bit of structure. Luckily I had the taupe and mustard cotton in my stash so used those as contrast solids.

I machine quilted the front and back panels, stripes on the back and picking out one or two of the clouds on the front. I also used bondaweb to machine appliqué my initial 'M' on the front bottom corner as a little added detail.

There is a little pocket on the inside front panel, and a pen holder and elastic closure attached to the back. I covered the elastic by making a tube of the contrast mustard (which I also used on the front).

Unfortunately I'm completely out of time today as I'm heading out for dinner this evening, so I'll be finishing this in the week. I'll post a few pictures of the finished item then. Hope everyone's enjoying their weekend!

Sunday, 2 February 2014

A Year To The Day

Hello again! Today marks a year since my very first post.

As my sewing in the last couple of weeks has been strictly functional (replacing broken zips and making replacement sofa arm covers) I thought I'd take a picture of something a little more share worthy.

Isn't she a beaut! ...Yes I'm aware that getting excited over such things is a little odd but having previously kept my bobbins in a big tangled mess in a little reused piece of plastic packaging, the prospect of them being kept neat and tangle free in a proper little bobbin case is pretty great.

This one is by 'Hemline'. It holds 25 and was around £2 from a local craft shop. If like me you're sick of having to untangle a big mess every time you need to switch your bobbin over this is for you (available online HERE).

In other news I'm very excited to announce that I'm joining the 'Make & Do' team and will be hosting a Saturday afternoon 'Stitch & Sip' (more info to follow) as well as leading various workshops over the coming months.

The first of which will be at 7pm on Thursday 13th February, during which we'll make a simple envelope cushion cover using the in-store machines. It involves very basic sewing techniques so is the perfect starting point for beginners.

See my previous post for further 'Make & Do' info (and a few snaps of their gorgeous fabric collections) and head to the website to see what other workshops are coming up.