Friday, 8 November 2013

Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love

I am super excited to be part of Kerry's blog hop for her fantastic new book Sewing Tales to Stitch and Love

I knew as soon as Kerry asked me if I wanted to be part of the blog hop I was in! I just love a little fairy tale and have two girls who feel exactly the same!

Kerry is sweet and she rounded up the most amazing box of goodies from fantastic sponsers, they were so generous and they gave us some wonderful tools and notions to be able to make whatever we wanted from the book to showcase to you. Being a quilter this was brilliant for me as I didn't own any of these tools. But they are so cheap and simple and make the world of difference to ease of construction and your finished look.

Photo Courtesy of Kerry Goulder

So a huge thanks to the really generous sponsors!

What with the book being packed choc full of amazing projects and having all the tools I needed to make them, narrowing it down to one to show you was looking like a pretty hard task!





But after looking though the book I just knew it had to be Drifter the Orca. Both my girls adore sealife, we are regular visitors to our local aquarium and one of their favorite bedtime stories is The Snail and The Whale by Julia Donaldson. And my eldest daughter decided she wanted to help make him.

Despite the shaping on the whale he was incredibly easy to construct, Kerrys instructions are so clear and concise that my daughter was able to follow them herself, needing only a little help from me on the sewing machine. Aside from the hand stitching and a bit of help guiding it around the curves through the machine she made it all herself. She had a whale of a time (harharhahr!!)

293 294 297 298

So here is Eloise's Orca, named Dipper. We can't wait to take him with us on our next trip to the aquarium and of course he will be a happy prop during bedtime stories!


I on the other hand am scheming when I can set aside some free time to make up more projects from the book, they are too cute to resit!

Today is the last day of the blog hop, but head on over to Kerrys blog where she is giving away a copy of the book and one of the amazing goodie boxes from the sponsors! She also has some really cute extra projects not featured in the book for each day of the blog hop. I know I am most definitely going to be sewing up a little fur cape!

: : : : A huge thank you to Kerry and the Sponsors for giving me the chance to take part and for the             wonderful goodies, Elosie and I have had a magical time stitching up our own little sewing tale : : : :

Tuesday, 5 November 2013

A Birthday Pony for My Little Girl

My children can often be heard chanting the sterotypical 'Daddy, can I have a pony?'

They adore them, when we visited London earlier this year we treated the girls to a trip to Covent Garden Build a Bear store where my youngest chose a My Little Pony. That poor pony has been dragged hither and thither and is looking a little worse for wear! So I decided it was time to give her a break and make something new for my daughter to obsess over.

A couple of weeks ago I made a last minute birthday gift for a good friends lovely little boy

mater birthday bag present

Probably the most challenging paper pieced project I've done to date, actually if it hadn't of been a last minute rush I would have probably thought more about it and not even attempted it!

But I am glad I did because its really helped my confidence and I knew I wanted to do something similar for Juliettes birthday. You may remember I shared this little fabric pull with you a while ago

I have until Thursday to turn this into my daughters birthday present. Better get cracking!

Almost every pink solid from my stash and a little Tilda for the background, thank goodness for my Simply Solids So Solids Crew subscription!


And I turned them into this, using this fab free pattern from Liljabs. Originally sewn up on Liljabs as Rainbow Dash I decided to change mine to Pinkie Pie to tie in with my daughters Little Pony toy.

All that was left was to turn it into a cushion cover, cue sweet little pink scrappy patchwork with her favorite things, mermaids, owls, strawberries, and many more.

A Pony Cushion

Then add an invisible zip, new new favorite closure for cushions, and the perfect vintage sheet fq from my stash (originally from Mary, check out her shop for more amazing vintage fabrics!)

Vintage sheet backing

Pony Cushion and her muse ;-)

I think Balloon the Pony approves don't you? My daughter did too, the cushion has not left her side since her birthday, she even wanted to take it in the bath!

(note: Mater pattern is also available on the same Liljabs page as the My Little Pony)

Saturday, 2 November 2013

Playing around

Whilst I'm in the midst of the youngest's multiple birthday celebrations this weekend (seriously I'd love to be 4 again and get to celebrate over several days!) why not go and check out my latest tutroial on The Daily Stitch over at The Village Haberdashery. I've made a sweet hexagon playmat that doubles as a bag to clear away those toys in a jiffy! It is also very friendly to the frugal quilter, using just 6 fat quarters (with practically no waste!) and a little yardage for the backing but still gives you a generously sized playmat.


Go and check it out! I'm off to blow up balloons and make a pass the parcel!

Monday, 28 October 2013

Super Tote for a Super Me!

I'm directing this post at all you mums out there.

I know that's marginalizing the rest of you but someone needs to say this.

We are SUPER.

All of you who stay up in the night to watch over a poorly child, then end up sharing your bed with another. Then spend the next day fueled by caffeine and the knowledge it is your sole responsibility to get food into the house and onto the plate of said offspring, whilst also holding down a job, maybe even two and at the end of it trying to find a little time for something that makes you happy and feel like a person. You are the super mums, all of you. It may seem a little big headed to say this but its the truth and we are all to often too hard on ourselves, so here's a little reminder.

I'm reminding myself in a very literal way, see I may have booked a little treat for myself as a reward for all the hard work i've been doing of late. And this treat means travelling and a couple of nights away, which we all know means I need a new bag! Enter the Noodlehead Super Tote. I just love Anna's patterns, they are simultaneously simple and stylish and so well written. They come together really well and are a delight to sew rather than a chore. I had planned on making a weekender for this trip but actually I wanted a fun sew and the weekender was irritating me before I'd even cut the fabric so I cast it aside! I am so glad I did.

Front outside of #supertote sewn. Slow sewing today!

I used very special fabric for this one, a vintage wool skirt id been saving forever for the right project (50 pence in a charity shop years ago) a FQ of Hello Pilgrim for the outside pocket and also for the inner pockets, my only ones but actually as painful as it is to use such precious fabric its so nice to see it every day on your bag (quilt, pouch etc) than occasionally in your stash.

Happiness is making things as nice in the inside as the outside. This won't be my only @noodlehead531 #supertote I know it!

I used an Orla Kiely dust bag for lining the inside and the inside pocket, another 50 pence bargain at a garage sale.

Outside done #supertote. All the pretties = vintage tweed @orlakiely, @lizzyhouse, mirror ball dots and metallic gold make me so happy!

You might also notice a bit of a gold thing going on here, I'm getting a little obsessed by metallic at the moment. I can't tell you which was more of a bugger to sew, the slippery yet somehow sticky gold piping or the tangley and awkward gold stitching on the handles (which I opted to sew after id put the bag together with my hand up through the turning hole in the lining because I didn't want my stitches showing on the inside of the bag) But I can tell you it was worth it.

Too much metallic? Should I have made the stitching on the handle brown rather than gold? #supertote

So there you have it, a Super Tote to remind me that I am (even if only occasionally) super too!

@noodlehead531 #supertote and hitchhiker shawl finished. Happy accident that they coordinate!

Oh and yay me, here is my latest knitting finish, a Hitchhiker shawl. I think my best achievement this year is learning to knit, finally. I am so pleased I got it after many attempts at learning, at last!

I am off to referee the half term shenanigans with the children and somehow find time to turn this into a birthday present for the youngest by Thursday, whilst she is not looking of course!

I have until Thursday to turn this into my daughters birthday present. Better get cracking!

Sunday, 20 October 2013

a tale of two dresses

OK, so one is technically a tunic top but I'm not lying when I say that sometimes I am pretty jealous of my 3 year old daughter. This week she got 2 new dresses, I love them both and wish they were in my size. Of course I could sew clothes up for myself, but when they are little and cute like this they take practically no time and are a joy to sew!

Geranium Top

Actually that's a lie, they take no time and are a joy to sew until you decide that you NEED to modify the pattern and make a long sleeve, which of course you need to draft yourself, which you have never done before. But you wouldn't let that stop you, after all this is how you have envisioned it and you cannot defer from the top you dreamt about. So I did draft a sleeve, from scratch using her measurements, and it didn't fit, so I cut another sleeve. Thank goodness this one was OK or I would have been out of fabric!

Geranium top

Speaking of fabric, the wonderfully sweet Trudi sent me this for Juliette, it couldn't be more perfect for her. I have never met  a  girl who is so mad on moving vehicles, in particular heavy plant and construction vehicles and trains!

Geranium Top

The intended recipient was so pleased with her new top that she put it on and promptly went straight out to a party to show it off (again, this is why I am jealous of her, oh to have such a social life!)

Geranium Top
Pattern, Geranium Dress from Made By Rae
Size 4T
Modifications, drafted peter pan collar & long sleeves
gifted fabric from Trudi, children at play by Sarah Jane Studios polka dot collar and vintage red buttons from stash

Earlier this week I refashioned an old skirt of mine into another dress for Juliette. Same pattern this time with no modifications. I just loved the colours in my skirt but it was a really bad style for me and I never wore it.

Geranium in Purple

Button Detail on Purple Geranium
Pattern, Geranium dress from Made by Rae
size 4T
no modifications
Repurposed fabric from my old skirt and new glitter buttons chosen by Juliette

She choose the glitter buttons herself, it took a while! So happy to see the fabric on my daughter, if only I could stop her growing........

Sunday, 13 October 2013


Possessed, that's what happened to me the moment I saw the amazing new quilt pattern from Maureen Cracknell. Her skull quilt got under my skin and I liked it!

See, I've not had a lot of time to myself recently, I mustn't complain but I'm really rather a victim of my own success these days. So much teaching to do and many commissions to sew, I am loving it but fear I might be on the brink of a burn out!

So when I spotted Maureens quilt on Instagram I worked like a fiend to clear my to-do list so I could get down to it. Which is precisely what I did yesterday, spent the day in my sewing room, being fed and watered by my amazing husband and whipped up a quilt top! It felt so good to selfishly sew something that didn't need to be made but wanted (begged) to be made. And then today the cherry on top was when he took me to our local ruin (literally 5 minutes from our house) to take some spooky photos!


It was a quilt top to run up, with the pattern giving very clear and detailed cutting and layout instructions. Of course, it wouldn't be me if I didn't deviate from the pattern slightly. I cut the background squares as large pieces where I could, rather than the many 6" squares called for. This not only saved me time in piecing but also precious fabric, I brought only 1.5m of background fabric and with clever cutting I still had almost a FQ left over.

I changed the layout of the teeth, being anal person, I wanted them symmetrical! And finally I changed up the layout of the eyes a little to make them clearer (in my opinion) and also because I had no more of the fabric left! I wish now I'd used darker fabrics directly around the eyes to help them stand out even more but I was desperate to include a little of my new Ghastlies fabric!


I cant wait to quilt this and get snuggling under it, my youngest was born on Halloween and will be 4 on the 31st, she really is a cheeky little witch and I am sure her birth date has a hand in her wicked humor!

In fact I think you can tell how excited I am by this quilt because its made me break my blogging hiatus!


I'm feeling like I have come over all American when it comes to Halloween in wanting to decorate the house up, we have such awful tacky decorations available in the UK so it is nice to put together something handmade. I also have a rather large itch to make a modern maples quilt in fall colours (see I told you I was becoming all unnecessarily American, I really should say autumnal colours) so watch this space.....

Monday, 9 September 2013

Lone Starring

I may not have been around these parts very much recently but now the summer is over (boo) it's time to get back to business, the girls are back in school, I have a heap of ideas to sew up and I have lots of classes lined up for the Autumn term so be sure to check out my tutoring page for details.

And today you can find me over at Lilys Quilts with a tutorial for a rather stunning Lone Star Quilt (I loves mine muchly and I am very grateful to Micheal at Oakshott and Lynne)

Oakshott Lone Star Finished

oakshott lone star quilt

Monday, 15 July 2013

A Season By Hand - Handwork Frame Purse

Today I am over at Clover and Violet to take part in the wonderful Season By Hand series. There have already been lots of wonderful posts covering lots of different handwork topics. Find the full schedule here. You can also find details of the wonderful sponsors and prizes here.

Today I am going to show you how to make your very own frame purse. I use my purse for my English Paper Piecing, it is really cute to throw in my handbag and I always have a little project in there ready to go. You never know when you are going to have an emergency that might require and little sewing first aid!

Follow me over here where I will take you step by step through how to draft a pattern for your purse and make up the fabric pouch and glue it into your purse. I recommend Gutermann Textile Glue HT 2. Any extra strong clear adhesive will work but Gutermann have a wonderfully fine point on the nozzle which helps to get the glue right up into the frame.

If you are wondering about those tiny pieced feathers, they are paper pieced using the Feather Templates from Anna Maria Horners quilt, printed out at around 25% of the original size. They are not as time consuming as you might think and are great for using up precious scraps too small for other projects.

I hope you have a go at making a purse, they are really quite easy once you get the knack of gluing it in without grafting on a third hand ;-) !! And they also make wonderful gifts too. Take your hand sewing out there into the summer in style in a pretty purse!

Thursday, 11 July 2013

The Date Night Dress Debut

I was over.the.moon when the gorgeous April Rhodes asked me to test her latest pattern, The Date Night Dress.

I had really enjoyed the hype around the Staple Dress and I knew this too would be a wonderful pattern. I was not wrong.

In the purposes of being through, I have made two versions of the dress, with a third ready to be cut! And only because I am through you understand-not because I am addicted to this dress ;-)

thedatenightdress take 1

Firstly I made a *very* sheer chiffon dress, which would have made for a rather revealing date night dress ;-)

Thankfully the clever April included a Simple Slip with the pattern (two dresses for the price of one!) So i whizzed up a little black slip in a slinky viscose to layer with my dress. And I mean literally, it was a very quick make.

The dress itself is a dream to sew. With clear and well written directions, easy pattern pieces and simple techniques that combine to make the most beautifully shaped dress.

the date night dress detail

I really, REALLY love the shirt tail hem, it makes me feel so swishy (is that even a word?!) I choose to shirr this dress to pull it in and give it some shape, infact after the photos I added a couple more rows which I think made it look more balanced.

I think this dress will also be a great beach cover-up!

the date night dress take 2

My second version was made up from the same soft light viscose as my slip. It was a delight to wear today during the untypical British heat! I exaggerated the dipped hem on this one and brought the front up slightly too, rather hard to see in this photo whilst I am being cat attacked!

This one I left un-shirred, so I could belt it. I LOVE it! The dress is so quick to make up, the beauty is that it has french seams throughout so it is unbelievably comfortable to wear, whilst still looking glamorous - the dress, not me that is ;-)

For my third I am going to shorten it into a top, I cant wait to sew it up! If you need a new dress in your life, or if like me you really don't because you have about 30 already but can't resist a new addition, I wholly recommend you try The Date Night Dress, I believe it is set to release this week coming, yeay!!!!

Now all I need is my lovely husband to take me on some dates to wear my new dresses!

Sunday, 7 July 2013

Who Am I?

I am writing this post in preparation for the madness that is Fat quarterly Retreat in just under 2 weeks, if you are not going, or are going and have no interest in talking to me or finding me, feel free to skip!

I am shy, honest. I hate writing this sort of stuff about myself. I have great trouble talking to people I don't know. I find that there is a direct correlation between the amount of time I spend sewing and the decline in my social skills! Thankfully I have also discovered that many other sewists seem to be as disadvantaged as me when it comes to talking about oneself or putting themselves out there. Unfortunately I am one of those really annoying nervous people that once whilst trying to overcome the initial nerves I act nervously overexcited and talk too much, then once I am comfortable with you I am overexcited and talk too much.

Anyway, if you can see past all that and do want to come and say hi, this is what I look like (on a very very good day. Please, no  petitions of the mis-sale of goods act should I happen not to look my best in London!)


I will most likely be wearing something hand-made, perhaps my pyjamas?! Very briefly, I am married mum to 2 girls, I live in the countryside and have chickens and various other 4 legged friends. I teach sewing at local patchwork shops and LOVE my job. I live to sew, it is my tonic. FQR is going to be a blast! Cant wait to see you all there!

Friday, 5 July 2013

Almost done swooning!

Ahhh, WIP how I do not love thee!

Being a virgo and a natural neat freak I cannot stand WIP's! They simultaneously make me feel guilty for neglecting them and annoy me by cluttering up the place.

Swoon is different. I am glad Swoon stayed a wip for so long. When I first finished the top I really did not like it. I was unsure on the colours and the prints I had chosen. So she hung up on the wall in my studio waiting to be quilted. I told myself that once the frame came I would quilt her, because she was pretty big and that was probably a good idea. Once the frame arrived I told myself I needed to wait a while longer, after all I needed to practice didn't I?! I even had the backing and wadding ready, but kept making excuses.

As with most things, I suddenly took a whim one day and pulled it down from the wall and loaded it up. I find that this is by far the best way to do things, I always work better when it is spontaneous.


I quilted it in a small infinity loop with a lovely 40wt Metler cotton

swoon quilting

I am slowly learning how to work within the limits of the small throat space that I have on my machine. Whilst the frame is amazing it can be frustrating to be restricted by the space I can work in. Oh for that long arm of my dreams!

But for now I am content with what I have, especially when it helps me achieve such a wonderful quilt.

Finished quilting my #swoon quilt just in time to catch the last of the evening sun.

The binding is all sewn on, all that remains is for me to find a spare moment to hand stitch it down, something tells me Swoon wont mind, after all she has patiently waited over 6 months to get this far, she won't mind hanging on a little longer :-)

Tuesday, 2 July 2013

You say Ikea quilt backing, I say..... pyjamas!

I have had this top in my head for some time, yesterday I took the bull by the horns and got it sewn up. Trouble is the bull decided it needed matching pj trousers too!

new pyjamas!r
(Spot the photo bombing toddler!)

So now I have lovely breezy new summer pj's in text print with neon pink trim, perfect!

The top is the Tiny Pocket Tank from Grainline studio and the trousers are the free Simplicity 9871 which Kerry will be teaching at FQ Retreat next month. Both are pretty simple to sew up, great for beginners, so what are you waiting for? I want to see matching jammie buddies at FQR!

Oh and if you see me wearing the top during the day, I am TOTALLY not wearing my pj top in public, it was always intended to be a daytime wear, its just those jammie bottoms crashed the party and made it into a set!

Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Lucy made me do it!

Thank you Lucy!!!

As soon as I saw Lucy's beautiful Rose Star EPP blocks last year I just knew I had to make my own. And I have!

Rose Star Quilt Finished front

If I am honest I actually finished this months ago, the binding was sewn down whilst spending time with my husband in hospital. I just haven't had the chance to share it with you until now.

Of course for such a special quilt that I knew I would be working on for hours over months at a time I decided I had best use some precious fabric! I used my one and only fq of Snow White from Heather Ross for the center hexies and the lovely Kate at M is for Make sweetly dug out a couple of scraps for me when I realised I would be 2 short!

Rose Star Quilt Finished Detail

And there was no question that I could do anything but hand quilt it was there, despite the fact I had never hand quilted anything larger than a cushion!

I brought myself a large quilting hoop and decided very quickly that I hated the pesky rigid thing! I spent several weeks with sore holey fingers because of my stubborn dislike of thimble, spent evening after evening basting and piecing the hundreds of boring background blocks. But do you know what, it was worth it and i'd do it all again! My only regret is I lost patience and didn't make more blocks to make a bigger quilt.

Rose Star Quilt Finished Detail

Heather Ross, Denyse Schmidt, EPP and hand quilting, perfection!

Rose Star Quilt Finished

If you haven't tried EPP yet, I urge to you give it a go. It is highly addictive and very portable! There are great tips to be found here at Flossie Teacakes, great tips from Lynne too and if you like a book to read I can highly recommend Hexa Go Go by Tacha Bruecher.

Rose Star Quilt Finished

Friday, 14 June 2013

{can I} Patchwork Please

Life is in one of those 'full on' cycles at the moment, I seem to be constantly chasing my tail! Still, I am sure there will be a lull coming along soon enough, and no doubt I will get bored when it happens! I have found time to squeeze in sewing along with the wonderful new Patchwork Please book during Zakka 2.0. I really enjoyed last years sew along so I am going to try and dip into this one as and when I can. I love my new little
coaster, so cute!
  Love how quickly my cute #patchworkplease pepper sewed up! 

 I also had time this week to make up one of the B, L, D tea towels (not saying I picked the one with the least and easiest lettering or anything!)

  So much to do but i cheered myself up by making time for a #patchworkplease tea towel. 

 I have started a little preparation for next weeks tea cosy, I just need to decide whether to bother to source some insulated batting or stick with regular. One project I can't wait for is the bloom quilt, I know if I didn't have to enlarge the templates on a printed I would have made a start already!

I am very excited (if a little tardy!) to announce that I will be taking part in the wonderful Season By Hand blog hop, a great hop focused on travelling with sewing, whats not to love!

There will be some great tutorials and inspiration, along with prizes too!


June 3 - Kick-off 
June 4 - Alyce - Blossom Heart Quilts 
June 6 - Emily - Mommy's Nap Time 
June 7 - Jodi - Pleasant Home 
June 10 - Suz - PatchworknPlay 
June 11 - Beth - Plum & June 
June 13 - Jenniffier - Jenniffier's Sometimes Creative Life 
June 14 - Heidi - Fabric Mutt 
June 17 - Rachael - Imagine Gnats 
June 18 - Elaine - Dashasel Sews 
June 20 - Sandie - Crazy 'Bout Quilts 
June 21 - Amy - Lots of Pink Here 
June 24 - Danny - Mommy for Reals 
June 25 - Cindy - Tops to Treasures 
June 27 - Leanne - She Can Quilt 
June 28 - Melissa - Sew Bittersweet Designs
July 1 - Cindy - Fluffy Sheep Quilting 
July 2 - Rhonda - Quilter in the Gap 
July 3 - Trish - Notes of Sincerity 
July 5 - Erin - Why Not Sew 
July 8 - Chrissy - Sew Lux 
July 9 - Carrie - A Passion for Applique
July 11 - Katy - The Littlest Thistle 
July 12 - Kelley - Casa Crafty 
July 15 - Emily - Strawberry Patch 
July 16 - Heather and Megan - Quilt Story
July 18 - Annette - My Rose Valley 
July 19 - Katy - There & Back 
July 22 - Melissa - Lilac Lane 
July 23 - Jenelle - Echinops & Aster 
July 25 - Shanna - Fiber of All Sorts 
July 26 - Jane - Jane's Fabrics and Quilts 

Wrap up and Linky running July 26 - August 5, 2013

Share what you're making:

Flickr group Facebook group Instagram - #aseasonbyhand


These lovely shops and pattern designers are sponsoring some amazing giveaways throughout the series, so make sure you stop over and show them some support!


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