Tuesday, 7 July 2015

Aneela Hoey's Project Caddy Pattern

Some time ago I pattern tested the fabulous Hold It All Pouch for Aneela. I love her patterns, they are so well laid out and easy to follow and always SO useful.....not one for wanting an endless procession of bog standard zipped pouches me. So I love how each of her pouches is carefully designed and shaped to lend itself to different uses.

Hold it All Pouches made by Aneela Hoey

The Hold It All Pouch was fab, which I told Aneela, but for me it could be better, which I also told her. Surely a good pattern tester is like a good friend, they tell you the truth!

Luckily for me she listened and I was super excited when she asked me to pattern test her latest pouch, the Project Caddy! Its a super sized version of the Hold It All Pouch but with bells on (well not literally, of course, all though you could, if you wanted to!)

Project Caddy pouches made by Aneela Hoey

The spools of Auriful in the foreground of the picture really help you get a sense of the size of this baby, its huge, and perfect!! I always knew I wanted mine to be a vanity case....you know the kind you had as a kid and took to your Nans house for your summer holiday, filled with scrunchies and bubble bath and all that jazz.


I used some precious Melody Miller Ruby Star Sparkle linen blend I have been hiding in my stash for ages, a mustard zip....Aneela is to blame for my mustard zip obsession and a little gold metallic leather to finish off the zip pulls.


The construction of the Project Caddy is genius, it uses two zips to finish the top opening, giving you a really great finish and lid that opens, just like my old vanity case!


I decided that as mine was going to be a vanity case for wash items and such rather than a project caddy that it it need a waterproof lining. I used some blue Freespririt Designer Solids and some spotty plc table protector. I have used this table protector (from Dunelm Mill) in many sewing projects now and find it a great vinyl to sew with as it is just the right weight and firmness and a really affordable option. It also comes in clear.


The zip pocket in the lid is great for me, putting away little items like cotton buds, pressed powder puffs and anything that I don't want to get wet in the main compartment from my wash cloth or shower puff. There really is room in the main section for all my toiletries - shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, hairbrush. I love it!

The use of the vinyl lining meant that rather than hand finish the lining in the lid I opted to glue finish the opening on mine, I used the Gutermann textile glue I usually use in frame purses and some clover wonder clips to hold it all in place until it was dry. It worked perfectly.


Aneela has knocked it out of the park with this one, of course I probably say that about every pattern she releases!

You can see more versions if you look at the hashtag #projectcaddypouch on Instagram and the pattern is available to purchase here in Aneelas Payhip Store, Comfort Stitching.

Monday, 29 June 2015

Keepsake Quilting comes to the UK!

Keepsake Quilting, the largest quilting catalogue in the USA, has been running since 1987 and today offers an unparalleled range of quilting fabrics, kits, books, patterns and haberdashery items. To meet the demands of customers in the UK, they are bringing Keepsake Quilting to the UK!

I am delighted to have worked with Keepsake Quilting to produce a Modern Solids Quilt which is now available through their website to order as a kit. Some of you may have already received the Keepsake Quilting catalogue through the post and spotted it.

Oh hey look! There's my quilt in the summer issue of the Keepsake Quilting catalogue! Buy the kit for just £39.99 and make your very own πŸ˜€ #keepsakequilting #chevronquilt

I love the styling they have done with the quilt and it was great to work with the new range of Freespirit Designer Solids. Of course having the wonderful Elizabeth Dackson for company on the opposite page with her stunning Sparkling Diamonds quilt is lovely too!

The Keepsake Quilting website and catalogue are bursting with gorgeous quilt kits, its hard to pick but my favourites of the moment have to be the Honor Roll Flying Geese Kit and the Bumblecomb Quilt Kit

But its not just kits, there is fabric galore and oodles of quilt and project patterns. including this free Queen Charming Pattern download that is just perfect for Layer Cakes.

They also have some great fabrics from Tula Pink, Joel Dewberry and Heather Bailey in the sale! Of course I want you all to hurry over there and grab a bargain (if only to stop me spending all my money!) But what I really would love is if you brought my quilt kit ;-)

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

My Small World QAL (& Giveaway Winner!)

Following on from last weeks bloghop for 50 Fat Quarter Makes: Fifty Sewing Projects Made Using Fat Quarters I have a winner for the girls twirly skirt bundle!

Using random number generator, there were 23 comments (24 actually but the 24th was spouting spamming nonsense about about my post being helpful and insightful, thats gotta be spam!)

Screen Shot 2015-06-16 at 15.03.46

And the winner is comment number 10 who was SewLittleToSay! Congratulations! I will be in touch for your address!

Thank you to everyone that entered and for all the lovely comments about the book. Don't forget you can buy 50 Fat Quarter Makes in all good bookshops, or here on the publishers website where you can also buy an e-book version for your tablet or iPad. And of course you buy from Amazon!

You can also find a video tutorial for the gathered skirt, Satchel bag and nesting bowls in my new '3 projects in 30 minutes' film course over on Craft Daily. In the video I will take you through step by step how to make each project so its great if you feel you need a little extra help! While you are there why not take a look at the other video tutorials Craft Daily has to offer, there is something for everyone!

When I have had any downtime recently (which isn't often as you may have guessed!) I have been mostly working on a new project, My Small World Quilt.

Image from VeryKerryBerry.blogspot.co.uk

The quilt is a design by the talented Jen Kingwell published in the Spring Special 2015 edition of Quiltmania magazine. The QAL is being hosted by VeryKerryBerry amongst others and full details of the posts and support available can be found here on her blog.

I LOVE Jen's style and have had it on my 'to make' list for an age to make one of her quilt designs. However until now I never seemed to find the time. I think I saw them as long term large scale projects, with the challenge of lots of new skills in the different piecing techniques. So, it kept on being bumped to the bottom of the list despite my passion for the quilts

Step up 'My Small World'. It just fits the bill and my life so perfectly, the time I have to 'selfish sew' and my family and ethos. The size (at 33"x52") means it is a manageable project to take on, the new skills I need to hone will be practiced on a smaller scale so somehow feel more achievable. The size also means I can use the ample stash of scraps I have, with no need to buy more fabric which is always a bonus in my mind, not least because I can dive in and sew whenever the opportunity arises without waiting for supplies.

Treating myself by making a start on #mysmallworldqal cutting after a long work day 😍
low volume stash explosion!

My Small World also struck a cord with my emotional connection I often seem to develop for quilts. The children have loved looking over the pictures and finding new hidden treasures in the quilt each time they look, I really enjoy it when the quilt and the making becomes a real family activity. Our world IS small. We live in the rural countryside, with everything being fairly close. School is a mile up the lane, I work from home only occasionally travelling to teach. I like life this way, it suits us well and we are all happy and secure.

Making food progress on part 1 of #mysmallworldqal

This quilt just seems to reflect that so well. Whilst my life is lived in a small world my connections are huge, thanks to social media I am connecting with likeminded people from all over the world everyday.


It seems that this quilt has struck a cord with many people, although perhaps not everyone will read as much into it as I! What can I say, having come from a family virtually devoid of heirlooms I seem hell bent on creating as many as I can for my children and their children and more generations to come. And so ingraining meaningfulness in them from the very first stitches makes them all the more special straight away, compensating for not having decades of family heritage in them.


So far I have completed part 1 of the quilt. I am thoroughly enjoying playing with my scraps, the challenge of the needle turn appliquΓ© was equal parts frustration, agony and delight! So much so that I decided to hand piece the curved section in the bottom left corner over machine piecing it.

Some of my point are pretty horrendous, the seams don't match in places. But it doesn't matter. This is a quilt made for enjoying the process and the using, for showing favourite fabrics and inventing  stories to go into it.

I will keep you updated with my progress!

Tuesday, 9 June 2015

50 Fat Quarter Makes { bloghop }

50 Fat Quarter Makes: Fifty Sewing Projects Made Using Fat Quarters is the brand new sewing book from the crafty publishing geniuses at F & W Media. Edited by Ame Verso and featuring 50 projects from 11 contributors from all over the bloggerverse and sewing-sphere including moi!

I can't tell you how excited I was to work with some of my most favourite designers such as Jessie Fincham, Jo Avery and Kaye Prince to name a few from the impressive line up. I have heard that the book was in the top 1000 of ALL books on Amazon just a week after its release, super proud moment here at Strawberry Patch!!!

One of the things I most love about this title is that is JUST uses fat quarters as the basis for all of the projects. There are so many of us that are guilty of buying up fat quarters like kids in a penny sweet shop, then they sit in the stash as we have no idea what to do with them! Well, this book will solve that problem. Jam packed with 50 projects, ranging from using just 1 fat quarter right up to 10.

In the book you can find 5 projects from me including an adorable little girls twirly skirt, a satchel bag that would make a great gift outfit when paired with the skirt, a versatile set of nesting bowls, a snuggly soft playmat and a chevron quilt that would make a great first patchwork quilt project. 


All the materials for my projects came from the wonderful Stitch Craft Create, they have such a great selection of fabrics and supplies its really hard not to find something you want!!


I had a great time choosing the fabrics for my projects, of course Tula Pink was bound to feature, I love her bright saturated prints in these nesting bowls. So quick and simple to make, perfect for gifting filled with goodies!


If you fancy a go at patchwork for the first time this simple baby playmat is backed with super snuggly plush fleece and is hand tied so no awkward quilting to overcome! Using just 6 fat quarters its a great introduction to making a quilt. 


Or if you are feeling a little more adventurous, grab 10 fat quarters and make yourself a chevron quilt! Using fabric value to make the design stand out, its a really fun way of experimenting and learning about fabric and how to use it, just be sure to pick 5 darker/heavily saturated prints and 5 light and low volume prints to really make your chevron shout!

I have to say this was my favourite project to make for the book and I am itching to make another chevron quilt, this time from my stash, the piecing is so quick and simple and its a great way to learn how to construct a half square triangle unit if you haven't made one before, the large scale means you will have a quilt in no time with a minimum of piecing.


You can buy 50 Fat Quarter Makes in all good bookshops, or here on the publishers website where you can also buy an e-book version for your tablet or iPad. And of course you buy from Amazon!

You can also find a video tutorial for the gathered skirt, Satchel bag and nesting bowls in my new '3 projects in 30 minutes' film course over on Craft Daily. In the video I will take you through step by step how to make each project so its great if you feel you need a little extra help! While you are there why not take a look at the other video tutorials Craft Daily has to offer, there is something for everyone!

Here is the full schedule for the rest of the blog hop:

Monday 1st June - Jo Avery -  myBearpaw 
Tuesday 2nd June - Liz Betts - BetsyBetts
Wednesday 3rd June - Ali Burdon - VeryBerryHandmade
Thursday 4th June - Jesse Fincham - MessyJesse
Friday 5th June - Louise Horler - SewScrumptious
Monday 8th June - Kevin Kosbab - Feeddog
Tuesday 9th June - Emily Levey - StrawberryPatchRamblings
Wednesday 10th June - Cynthia Shaffer
Thursday 11th June - Kaye Prince - MissPrint
Friday 12th June - Ame Verso - StitchCraftCreate

And I did promise you a little giveaway last week! So I have dived into my stash and come up with a sweet little bundle of goodies for you. There are two pretty fat quarters and enough elastic for you to make your own twirly girls skirt. Of course if you don't have a little girl then you can make whatever you wish with these sweet fat quarters!


All you have to do to enter is be a follower of my blog and comment below to say how you follow. You can have an extra entry for following me on Instagram, Facebook and twitter. One extra entry per type of social media and be sure to leave me an extra comment to say where you follow me for your extra entry!

Please remember if you are a no-reply commenter to leave an email address in the comments so that I can contact you if you are the winner.

I will close the giveaway in a weeks time on June 16 and use a random number generator to draw a winner, good luck!

Thursday, 4 June 2015

Me Made May 2015 Roundup

Me made may has come to a close and annoyingly we just seem to be getting the warmer weather I kept hoping for all month! My handmade wardrobe was severely tested by the climatic conditions and I have made a mental note to sew more warm clothing!!

For those who have been living under a rock for the last few years Me Made May is an annual pledge made by many sewists and bloggers to try and wear handmade as much as possible for the month of May, lead by Zoe of 'So, Zo....what do you know?' It is a challenge you make to yourself to wear more handmade than usual, not about panic sewing and expanding the wardrobe by tenfold over the month, although it seems wearing handmade has this exact effect on me and I clocked up 8 new handmade clothing items!

The mosaic below shows almost all of my outfits from the month, I wore handmade every single day but there are a few days that went undocumented. On several says I even managed to wear multiple handmade items!

My creation

I thoroughly enjoy wearing handmade, it gives me a sense of pride that I have fashioned the clothing I am wearing, it is always considerably more comfortable than RTW given that it is sewn solely for my body shape and tailored to fit me.

Comfort is always important to me. I work from home and unless I am going out to teach I don't feel I need to dress up, I would much rather be warm and comfortable than smart!

This prompted me to add to my handmade wardrobe in May, finding I had plenty of dresses and skirts but not much leisure wear, I concentrated on knits and jersey, a relatively unexplored area for me. I love the speed I can whip up a raglan on my overlocker now! I now boast a new liberty raglan long sleeve tee and two new sweatshirts, thank you chilly May!

I also turned to the Love at First Stitch book from Tilly Walnes for another Delphine skirt, this time in chambray in anticipation of the warm summer weather (hurry up please sunshine!) and had a go at a new pattern, the Mimi blouse. 

Dressing in a princess bedroom at my Nannies for #mmmay15 #memademay in @tillybuttons Mimi blouse and Delphine skirt. #sussex #loveatfirststitch

I really love the Mimi, smart and grown up, yet comfortable and there are some great design details. I already have at least one more planned from stash, once I have recovered from the Me Made May whirlwind!!

Dressmaking was my first sewing love, and it will always hold a very special place in my heart. Me Made May is the perfect opportunity to remind myself of that, enjoy old and new items and remember the importance of ethical clothing and savour the simplicity of handmade garments.

I will be back next week to introduce you to a brand new book, that I have contributed too! There is a fantastic blog hop happening right now with all the authors.

Here is the full schedule:
Monday 1st June - Jo Avery -  myBearpaw 
Tuesday 2nd June - Liz Betts - BetsyBetts
Wednesday 3rd June - Ali Burdon - VeryBerryHandmade
Thursday 4th June - Jesse Fincham - MessyJesse
Friday 5th June - Louise Horler - SewScrumptious
Monday 8th June - Kevin Kosbab - Feeddog
Tuesday 9th June - Emily Levey - StrawberryPatchRamblings
Wednesday 10th June - Cynthia Shaffer
Thursday 11th June - Kaye Prince - MissPrint
Friday 12th June - Ame Verso - StitchCraftCreate

Both Ali and Jo are giving away copies of the book on their blogs, hurry over for your chance to win! And I am sure I can come up with a little giveaway for you next week too ;-)

You can buy 50 Fat Quarter Makes in all good bookshops, or here on the publishers website where you can also buy an e-book version for your tablet or iPad. They currently have 40% off all books and ebooks until this Sunday so if you hurry you can get a bargain! And of course you buy from Amazon!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Something For Your Sugar Daddy - A Mans Wallet Tutorial

Find me over at The Sewing Directory with a brand new tutorial for this mans wallet. With multiple card pockets, a section for notes and a zipped pocket on the outside for loose change it will make the perfect gift for the man in your life on Fathers day! Hop on over to get the full project.

And if you fancy coming to sew with me in person I have a new class starting next week, at Serendipity Patchwork and Quilting in Bovey Tracey in Devon. My prairie point table runner will teach you how to make neat and easy quarter square triangles and use up even little scraps of all your favourite prints to make a scrappy and colourful runner. Classes are on Tuesday 9 & 30 June from 10am-1pm and cost just £30 for the two lessons!

Contact Serendipity directly on 01626 836246 to book.


Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Trying to restart the fire

I'm here, its been quiet....I am not sure who, if anyone will be interested in reading my blog anymore. I have to admit I am most definitely and wholly in bed with Instagram these days. Who isn't? But there are just some things Instagram cannot do for me, so I am back with the blog.

So much to tell you all, I don't know where to start!

There has been much sewing, so so much sewing, of course. I don't think I will ever run out of new projects and ideas, there is so much inspiration around and of course the odd bandwagon to jump on aided by Instagram!

I have had many patterns published in magazines, Love Sewing magazine have been wonderful to work with and I have done many pieces for them

LS05.P52 LS07.P72 LS08.P58 LS08.P73 LS10.P61 LS12.P58 LS12.P62

I have also been working with Sewing World Magazine and have several patterns in recent issues and of course working with F & W on their exciting new venture, Craft Daily TV!


I have now filmed several episodes for them and it has been so much fun! I really love teaching and so this was a dream for me! You can find it on Mondays at 10:30am and Thursdays at 7pm on Sky 192, Freesat 402 and Freeview 244 (showcase TV) as well as repeat episodes being available on the Craft Daily TV website.

You can find my presenter feature on the Craft Daily website here.

Yayyyy!! It's a wrap πŸ˜„ best two days in the studio filming for Craft Daily TV! Fun fun fun πŸŽ₯πŸŽ₯πŸŽ₯

As if you haven't had enough of me, I can also be found on the Stitch Craft Create website where you can purchase my Video Tutorals for several projects; Sewing with Fat Quarters, Easy Patchwork Cushion and my Easy Gathered Skirt which can also be brought as a kit with everything you need including the instructional video.


603274_1 603276_1

There has also been much fun had at classes at my local quilt shops. I love teaching, being out on the front line, connecting with likeminded people and sharing my knowledge. It will always be one of my most favourite things.

Of course, much more has been happening, I do like to be busy! Hopefully I will swing by a little more regularly so I don't have to overload you with news of this quantity every time. If you would like any more details on any of the projects I have featured here today please don't hesitate to contact me either through the comments or by email which can be found on my Tutoring page.

Until next time, happy sewing everyone!