Friday, 21 November 2014

Quilt As You Go Bathmat Tutorial

Do you need to inject some colour into your bathroom? Do you know a friend that needs a little pampering? Hop over to The Sewing Directory for my QAYG bathmat tutorial!

Team it with some bath salts and candles and you have the perfect gift for that hard to buy for person!

Many thanks to Coats Crafts and The Sewing Directory for supplying the materials for this project.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Fat Quarter Feature Pillowcase Tutorial

Yeahy! Finally a tutorial!

It felt so great this morning to carve out time to get this tutorial together for you. I have had the fabrics sitting waiting for what feels like a long time and with Halloween over and Christmas fast approaching I wanted these bad boys stitched up and on my bed!


This tutorial is based on the amazing cuffed pillowcase guest tutorial over on Bugs and Fishes by Susie of Flower Press - it is my go-to pillowcase tutorial, it is quick, simple and gives fantastic results and she even gives different sizes for different countries! You have to check it out.

My tutorial is an adaptation, out of necessity really, based on the fact that I really never have yardage in my stash, just fat quarters. So that meant I never had enough fabric for the dimensions of the pillowcase, yeah I have lots of sheeting perfect for the back but I want something really nice on the the front. So I altered the tutorial to make it fat quarter friendly, this way you can now show of those large print fq's you didn't want to cut up before, there is no wastage and you get a professional looking pillowcase too! I have also included so very helpful tips on what to do if you have directional fabrics and if you want to make a matching pair for a double bed so that they end up as opposites of each other which I think looks much nicer on the bed, I do love a bit of symmetry!

(I am working with a UK sized fat quarter cut of 20" x 22" aprox)

FQ Front 20" x 21"
Cuff 20" x 16"
Back 20" x 36 1/2"

Cut the three pieces, you many need to trim your fq to size and cut off the selvedges. If your fat quarter is slightly small and nearer 19" than 20" then simply adjust the measurement on the two other pieces to match, all that will happen is you will have a slightly snugger fit on your pillowcase.

Fold the cuff fabric in half along the length with the right sides facing out and press. Place the folded cuff onto the fq front piece on the right hand edge with the raw edges aligned and pin. Take care to have the fq facing the right way up if using a directional print, if making a pair for your bed then pin one cuff of the right and one on the left side.


Sew the seam using a 1/2" seam allowance and finish with a zig zag or overlocker. Press the cuff away from the front piece and topstitch 1/4" away from the seam on the cuff.


On your back piece turn one 20" edge over by 1/2" and press, then another 1/2" and press again. Top stitch to hold in place, this will be your edge on the flap. if you are using a directional print for the back you will need to turn the appropriate edge over - for the front with the cuff on the right you will need to press under and topstitch the left hand side of the backing (left hand side as you are looking at the fabric right way up) and for the front with the cuff on the left you will need to press under and topstitch the right hand side of the backing.


Lay your front down onto the backing, with the right sides facing and the cuff at the end with the flap edge you just stitched and align with the raw edges of the other unsewn end.


Now fold the excess backing over the front, you are aiming for a neat tight fold against the cuff.


Pin along the three raw edges and stitch the seam at 1/2".


Finish the seam using your preferred method.

Turn the right way out and enjoy!!



Saturday, 8 November 2014

Perfect Pattern Parcel 7 - Handbags, The Blog Tour! The Daphne Bag from Clover & Violet

Have you heard about Perfect Pattern Parcel? Its a fantastic initiative where you can purchase a wonderfully curated bundle of PDF patterns all from indie designers.

Pattern Parcel #7: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

Each parcel is only available for a limited time and runs along a theme. You can buy the parcel for the price of your choosing! ALL, yes ALL of the profits go to a charity called Donors Choose which funds and supports educational projects in the US.

Parcel 7 is currently available and is a fantastic collection of bag patterns, perfect for those Christmas gift makes and there is such a great selection, from handbags, purses to overnight bags. AND this is the last pattern parcel of the year!

I jumped in with both feet when I saw one of Clover and Violets designs, The Daphne Bag, was in the parcel, I love their bags and they really appeal to the quilter in me!

Pattern Parcel #7: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

Having made other Clover and Violets designs in the past I knew this would be a 'real' bag, not just a flimsy tote style bag. This is a proper handbag, with lots of great finishing details.


I took the chance to use the patchwork panels on the bag to show of my treasured collection of Tula Pink fabrics, this way I get to have them with me all the time rather than just in the cupboard!



I used Thermolam wadding for my bag rather than the interfacing and flannel combination suggested by the pattern. The Thermolam is great, adding a little bit of pouf and softness to the otter of the bag whilst still retaining some body and strength without being rigid. I do love Thermolam!



I sourced my bag hardware from Bag Clasps, fantastic service and a great selection of products. The zip is from a great little ebay shop, I love a quirky little zip. I would have preferred a teal or green but the red is still fun and I couldn't resist it for the zipper pull!


And the strap presented the perfect opportunity to use a precious half meter of Tula Pink ribbon I brought at FOQ in 2013.


Thank you so much to the organisers and designers in Patten Parcel 7, if you want to go and grab your own parcel, do it here, remember the parcel is only available for 2 weeks!

Pattern Parcel #7: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

Parcel #7 includes: 
Barcelona Bag and Wallet by Pat Bravo 
Butterfly Sling Purse by Emmaline Patterns 
Evelyn Hangbag by ChrisW Designs 
Midtown Messenger Bag by Betz White 
Betty Bowler by Swoon Sewing Patterns 
BONUS PATTERN: Daphne Bag by Clover & Violet 

Bonus Pattern:
Choose a price of $32 or greater for Parcel #7 and you will automatically also be sent the Bonus Pattern! That's just over $5 a pattern. The Bonus Pattern for this Parcel is the brand new Daphne Bag pattern from Clover & Violet. The Daphne is a slouchy satchel that can be worn cross body or as a shoulder bag. The zip top keeps your gear secure and the internal pockets keep your accessories where you need them. This is a brand new, never been seen before pattern and is an exclusive opportunity for Parcel #7 customers!

How Pattern Parcel Works: Here at Perfect Pattern Parcel, we believe in supporting independent pattern designers. It’s our opinion that indie patterns are just, well, better than big box patterns, and we’re pretty sure our customers think so too. So, we allow customers to show their support in naming their own price for each Parcel. We also encourage customers to allocate part of their Parcel price to the charity in order to help classrooms in need. Pattern Parcel donates all profits after expenses from Parcel sales to the charity as well. Its our goal to raise over $20,000 for Donors Choose this year.

Pattern Parcel #7: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win!

Pattern Parcel #7: Choose your own price and support DonorsChoose. Win/win

Parcel #4 Inspiration Tour Schedule:

Friday, November 7 Stitched || Sew Exhausted

Saturday, November 8 Made by Sara ||Oliver's Fancy || Strawberry Patch Ramblings

Sunday, November 9 from a box || Mia's Creations || MOMENTS

Monday, November 10 owen's olivia || While she was sleeping

Tuesday, November 11 Nutta || Radiant Home Studio || La Pantigana

Wednesday, November 12 Sew Fishsticks || Stacy Sews || Stitching Insane || GnomeAngel

Thursday, November 13 Needle and Ted || Patchouli Moon Studio || Sprouting JubeJube || The Crazy Tailor

Friday, November 14 Casa Crafty || A Jennuine Life || 'So, Zo... What do you know?'

Saturday, November 15 Stitches by Laura || Rebekah Sews || Serger Pepper

Sunday, November 16 Blogs Like A Mother || Vicky Myers creations || Blossom Heart Quilts

Monday, November 17 Shanni Loves || So Sew Easy || GYCT Designs || Tiger In A Tornado

Tuesday, November 18 The Nosy Pepper || Keep Calm and Carrion || There & Back || Sewing Sober

Wednesday, November 19 Sew Like My Mom || Knot Sew Normal || Stacy Sews || sewVery

Thursday, November 20 Mimi's Mom || Our Family Four || shades of BOLD || Modern Handcraft

Friday, November 21 Shawnta Sews || Lulu & Celeste || Amanda Rose || Robin's Fabric Nest || House of Pinheiro

Wednesday, 5 November 2014

Baggy Pouches

Baggy pouches.....saying that makes me think of that song with the line baggy trousers (I do hope someone else knows what on earth I am on about!)

Anyway, I am not here to fool around, no I haven't been quiet for so long only to come back and lark about. No, I mean business. And the order of business is to let you now about some splendiferous new patterns from the very talented Aneela Hoey.

A few weeks ago I had the immeasurable pleasure of pattern testing one of these new releases for her and I would like to share my efforts with you, because quite frankly I blimmin love them!


Its been hard keeping these beauties quiet and out of my Instagram pictures for the past few weeks, I put them into action the moment they were finished!


I love the superfly tips Annela gives on utilising those machine embroidery stitches you try to forget you have (come on admit it, you know you ignore them). It was fun trying out different combos and I am head over heels with the ones I used on the yellow Heather Ross pouch.


I used a beautiful charcoal grey 100% silk thread from Au Ver A Soie, it stitched so perfectly! Aneela has great pointers on how to line them up evenly with the curved top of the pouch and I couldn't resist adding in a little leather tab. Seriously, I seem to be putting these on everything lately!

Talking about the curved top, the shape of the pouches are perfection, I love that they are different from that standard boxed corner zippy pouch. They make you look oh so clever with their fancy shaping but really it is so straightforward and simple.


There are two sizes included in the pattern, the large is wonderfully roomy, holding two full cakes of yarn for my first foray into colour work knitting. I used Thermolam fleece for my pouches, it gives great structure and body to the pouch without adding any stiffness.


And thats not all, the clever lady also has two more patterns out too. I know they will be perfect for the organised person and the person who is not so organised who could use some help! Go and check them all out here!

Monday, 13 October 2014

As seen on TV!

I made my TV debut last week on the very first episode of Craft Daily TV!

If you caught it you would have found me instructing you on how to make a simple no-pattern gathered skirt. Part two airs today at 10:30am UK time and can be viewed on Sky channel 192 or Freesat channel 402 as well as being streamed live on the Craft Daily TV website at the same time.

There were some great beginners crochet tips last week, along with a fab introduction to english paper piecing hexagons from Elizabeth Betts. Expect more exciting craft tutorials this week too. If you miss the show it is repeated again on Thursday evenings at 7pm.

I had a great time last week at the launch party for the show, wearing my new Tula Pink Prince Charming Emery dress which I had made the weekend before during my sewing retreat at a gorgeous cottage deep in the Devonshire countryside, 3 days of eating, sewing, sleeping and a lot of laughter! Here is a classic bathroom mirror selfie, just for you my lovely readers! (you can see how I feel about the selfie from that comical look on my face, born 20 years too late to grasp the automatic reflex to pout and press a button at the same time without looking stupid!)


Some lovely people even tweeted to let me know they have seen me on the big screen at the Knitting and Stitching show at Ally Pally this weekend. Needless to say I am investigating bodyguards already for fear I will be mobbed at sewing events. Chuckle.


I am really grateful to FW Media for the opportunity to be a part of this exciting new venture, it was such a blast to work on. Teaching is something I am so passionate about, I love being able to pass on my knowledge to others and ignite that spark of excitement when they realise they can do it, and they love it! 

Speaking of teaching, I have a busy Autumn term of classes on the local quilt shop circuit underway already, it is such fun going out and seeing all the ladies! I also have a few more magazine commissions to work on, but the bulk are now done and dusted and awaiting publication. Which means soon I should have time for a new blog tutorial! I have had an idea up my sleeve for ages and I promise just as soon as I have time and a nice sunny day I will get that one on here for you all.

Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Craft Daily UK

Less than a week to go now until the launch of the UK's first instructional craft TV channel. Find it on Sky channel 192 and Freesat 402 or watch online here.

Launching on the 6th October at 10:30am.

You can find me in Episode 1!

Brought to you by the experts at F + W, the largest craft media group in the world, each craft daily episode will present an unparalleled hour of high-quailty 'How-To' craft instruction in an entertaining magazine format.

On Craft Daily, world class teachers and demonstrators will explore the nation's favourite crafts - from sewing, embroidery and quilting to knitting and crochet, paper craft and more - with techniques, tips and tutorials to help viewers gain confidence and learn new skills.

Craft TV......Craft Now.....Craft Daily!

Oh, and of course, Craft with Me!

Friday, 12 September 2014

Love Sewing Magazine Feature

In shops now, Love Sewing Magazine issue 5 - featuring my dresden footstool pattern!

As you can see, I am pretty pleased with being featured! Expect lots more of me in print, I have already been given six more article commissions to work on, yeah!

Monday, 8 September 2014

New Patchwork Class at Hulu Crafts!

I am delighted to be able to announce that from next month I will be teaching Introduction to Patchwork classes at Hulu Crafts.

Hulu Crafts have a fantastic online store, full of yummy fabric, yarns and notions. They even have their own youtube channel full of helpful how-to video guides.

I am really looking forward to joining them at their bricks and motor shop in Modbury, Devon where next month I will be teaching an Introduction to Patchwork course. This class is ideal if you have some basic sewing skills and would like to make your first patchwork quilt. I will be teaching you how to use essential tools such as a rotary cutter and patchwork ruler, how to sew an accurate 1/4" seam and from there how to make a variety of patchwork blocks to get you started on a sampler style quilt. It will be a fun, friendly class that will have you hooked on patchwork!

Monday, 25 August 2014

Squeezing fun in between the chores

I should really be working, but then I have been working all day so I thought i'd squeeze out 5 minutes of the bank holiday to share something fun I found time for last weekend.

Got off my bum and started something new (and started making a mess!)

This is as close to a mess as I get in my studio, eek! It was tidied away moments after but I just had to document the rare 'creative mess'! Tell me everyone else also uses prized quilts as design walls?!

I took a lovely vintage cloth storybook panel my youngest was gifted for her naming day and turned it into something that I hope will be much treasured.

Working on a sweet little story book quilt for my little Juliette

It was designed and laid out in such a way as to cut up and sewn into a book, very clever. But the poor panel had bee siting untouched in my cupboard for almost 4 years so I made the decision to turn it into a story quilt rather than a cloth book, as I felt she was a little too old now.

A departure from my usual palette of colours, I stuck with the pastels and vintage prints that complimented the story panels, there a pieces of their baby bedding in there along with a little of their toddler clothing, My daughter is delighted and can't wait for it to be finished - success!!

I have also resisted reading the story whilst I've been sewing, I am saving that treat for when we can both snuggle under it and read together when its finished!

Friday, 22 August 2014

Holiday Knitting - Pebble Beach Shawlette

With sewing taking an ever increasing place in my day as 'work' I have found I turn to knitting more and more as a form of relaxation. In fact I can't remember a time when I didn't have a knitting project on the needles. As soon as one is finished, I have to cast on the next, ready for those rare 5 minters every now and then that I get to indulge myself. Much like english paper piecing, knitting is a portable handy time passing activity, perfect for picking up when there is a dentist appointment, or a school club to wait for or watching the kids in the park.

My knitting has come on so much in the last year, I am really am in love with this new skill and I am excited to see what I can challenge myself to achieve next!

Recently I took part in my first knit along, much like a quilt along, and it was great fun! Everyone knit the wonderful Pebble Beach shawlette designed by Helen Stewart of Curious Handmade.

I used some lovely silk merino mix yarn from the Natural Dye Studio, aptly called Sea King. So soft and full of lovely hues of the sea, I want everything I knit to have silk in from now on!

Lovely bfl/silk yarn ready for possibilities!

I enjoyed taking the project with me everywhere, working on it a little at a time and it soon grew. I even took pebble beach to a pebble beach! I loved Helen's wonderful way of getting you to work through the pattern in percentages, very motivational to see them flying by.

Spent some time knitting my #pebblebeachkal shawl on a pebble beach today

 I added beads to my shawl, the first time I have tried this and I will be doing it again for sure. I love the very subtle sparkle they give and the weight to the shawl is a bonus, helping it stay in place when worn.

#pebblebeachkal is off the needles! That beaded picot cast off was a b**ch to knit-first time doing picot and first time adding beads. So glad I did though as it's gorgeous! Now to get it dry before going home from the inlaws in the morning  I couldn't wa

I used Soak for the first time for blocking and it was lovely, its on my birthday list now (oh I hope my husband reads this before next week!) The lace pattern came out wonderfully with the blocking and I know that I will knit another in the future, its just so pretty! Actually, I am pretty amazed that I have knit this, I feel incredibly clever and I am still a little shocked that I can create something so complex!

#pebblebeachkal shawlette is blocked, dry and ready to be packed for my holiday!

I need not fear the cool evenings that are drawing in, in fact I welcome them so I can wear my pretty shawl!

Close up detail of beading #pebblebeachkal

Of course, the next project is already on the needles! If you are interested the full details of my project can be found here on my ravelry page.

Monday, 18 August 2014

Letting a big kitty out of the bag

I have been waiting months to share this with you all and I am bursting with pride now that I finally can!!


Since early this year I have been working with publishers FW Media on a set of instructional video kits for their Stitch Craft Create website and they are now live and available to purchase!

The Kits include everything you need to make either a simple gathered skirt or a patchwork cushion, along with access to an instructional video where I take you through every single step of the constriction process.

Months of work went into this and it was torture keeping quiet about it! Filming was crazy, surreal and fun, not to mention all the gorgeous fabrics I got to play with. The girls at FW Media designed such a cool set and were a real pleasure to work with.

I am hoping they will be well received by the public, I know that I am immensely proud of what I have achieved and I am already working on my next project for them!

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Simple Makes for Grand Gestures

Both my girls are leaving their schools this week, it has been a week of tears and emotion!

It felt only right that I should make gifts for both of the girls to give. Seeing as Eloise's teacher was having her first baby and that she has ferried my daughter around to countless out of school sports events when I was busy and couldn't make it I felt a special gift was required, a quilt.

Then I got to thinking, while I was making one baby quilt surely it wouldn't take much longer to make a second. And so it was decided rather than making a whole mountain of gifts for the army of preschool helpers Juliette will be leaving, the pre-school would also get a quilt gift. One to put on the sofa in the quiet corner, for sleepy new little children in September and those not moving unto big school.

It seemed just the perfect excuse to break out my rainbow charms that I have been saving for probably a good two years now (does anyone remember those charm swaps I organised - they were all the rage in 2012 ha!) I added a few more from my stash to make up the numbers.

Going rainbow for the teacher gift....daughter is not only moving teacher but leaving the school and teacher is having first baby. Knew those rainbow charm swaps would be useful one day!

A little late night organising along with some quick chain piecing later and I was quilting before I knew it.

Quilting a rainbow this morning

Volia, two simple but lovingly made cheerful quilts, to leave behind happiness where my children once were.

Rainbow finishes drying on the line. Teacher gifts are done!

I'm off to find the tissues again, and stock up for the smallest one's last day tomorrow too!

Quilt Stats:

Small cascading rainbow quilt:

42 rainbow 5" charm squares
27"x31" aprox
Pieced wadding, but mostly 70/30 eco blend
Ikea Numbers Duvet backing
Citron sketch binding
Quilted in crosshatch through the squares, Gutermann 12wt cotton in variegated rainbow

Large cascading rainbow quilt:

56 rainbow 5" charm squares
31"x36" aprox
Pieced wadding, but mostly 70/30 eco blend
Unkown Pirate Map backing
Scrappy rainbow binding
Echo quilted 1/4" either side of charm squares with Gutermann 40wt in pale blue

Friday, 11 July 2014

Pack Patch Mini QAL with Quarter Inch Mark

Last weekend I needed a little indulgence, a bit of selfish impromptu sewing. Then the lovely Chase from Quarter Inch Mark came up in my Instagram feed with her delightful Pack Patch Mini qal.

Image from Quarter Inch Mark

It was so sweet and charming I just had to join in. Of course I didn't really qal with Chase and the other ladies because I had come in right at the end. But I did still work through the directions for each week in order, interpreting the themes that Chase had set. I must say it made for the most interesting way of selecting fabrics, with different themes like Cheddar, Country Mouse and Town mouse and many more!

So I set to work with my scrap basket, making myself limited to just using these scraps made the challenge more fun!

Started a new totally unnecessary project and it feels amazing!  @quarterinchmark qal blocks are so tiny and cute!

In an afternoon I had all my mini blocks made! Fresh on Sunday morning I set to work sashing and had a finished mini quilt top by elevenses!

My @quarterinchmark #packpatchminiqal is ready for quilting, thanks to mother inlaws donated denim shirt for sashing! #thrifty #totalscrapquilt

Sashing only needed 1/2 yard but I don't really keep any solids on hand over a fq. So I used an old cotton denim shirt, donated by my mother in law for my scrap/recycling basket. I think the soft denim colour gives it a lovely country feel. I arranged all my blocks in the order of weeks 1-10, just as chase did. I like how it looks, despite the fact that at no point did I give any thought to whether the mini would look cohesive overall, I just concentrated on each little block in isolation.

All that remains is quilting and binding. Very handily I am giving a class on machine quilting this Saturday at Social Fabric, so the Pack Patch Mini will be used for demonstrating some fmq to my class. Then it will come home to go up on my studio wall!

Indulgent sewing is certainly good for the soul! I hope you all enjoy a little selfish sewing time this weekend!