Tiana’s Quilt

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My most recent quilt was for Tiana, my friend Kal’s little girl, who was one year old this week. Tia and Jesse have been the cutest little friends in their first year together whilst Kal and myself hung out lots on our maternity leave, taking walks, attending baby classes, sharing baby worries and funnies and, most of all, eating a lot of cake!

The colours I chose for this quilt – pink, turquoise, orange and red, I think are perfect for Tia: girly, gorgeous and bright. They are all by Riley Blake, that I got from my local, and favourite, place to get fabrics: B&M fabrics, who are located in Leeds Market but have also just opened a second shop on the outside of the market selling designer prints…I’m a regular visitor!

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I used a pinwheel pattern for the patchwork around the edge, Tia’s name in the middle, surrounded by some appliqué lotus flowers: a symbol for prosperity, fertility, eternity, and eternal youth.

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Unlike the quilts I’ve made previously, where I’ve sewn the designs using either regular appliqué or free-hand machine appliqué, for Tia’s I couldn’t quite decide which; so I used both!

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As well as machine quilting the pinwheel patches, I hand stitched a running stitch around each of the nine centre patches using embroidery thread of alternating colours. I love doing this stitch as I think it really adds an extra bit of detail.

The orange floral fabric that surrounds the centre panel also backs the entire quilt and I’ve edged it in cream lace binding (which I love using on girly quilts).

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Pretty Drawstring Bag Tutorial

SONY DSCThis pattern is a real favourite of mine and have used it sooooo many times for a range of different types of bags. It’s really easy, quick and can be adapted to suit whatever size you want to make (or fabric you have spare!)

You will need:

  • Fabric for your outer
  • Fabric for your lining
  • Small piece Bondaweb
  • Coordinating ribbon
  • Coordinating thread
  • Chalk and a pencil
  • Scissors
  • Sewing machine, pins and needles
  • Iron

SONY DSC1. Cut out your pieces of outer and lining.
Fold your fabric in half, right sides together and cut a rectangle (the size of mine is 14.5 inches x 11 inches). Repeat with your lining fabric so you have four rectangles in total.

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2. Add your applique shape to your bag.
On the paper side of your Bondaweb, draw the shape you want to add to your bag – I’ve decided to draw a pair of pants!

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Place your Bondaweb, glue side down (paper side up) onto the wrong side of a small piece of contrasting fabric – I’m using the same fabric as my lining. Press for a few seconds, until the Bondaweb sticks to the fabric.

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Cut out your shape and peel away the papery backing of the Bondaweb.

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Place your shape (pants) onto one piece of your outer fabric and press, so the shape sticks.
Using a contrasting colour thread and a small zig zag stitch on your sewing machine, stitch around the shape.

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Tip: When you get to the corners of your shape, stop sewing, leave the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot up and spin the fabric to the direction you need to continue to sew.

Snip your threads to neaten.
Here, I’ve decided to add a little bow to my pants. I made the little bow from ribbon and hand stitched it to the outer fabric.

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3. Sewing your outer and linings together.

Place one piece of your outer fabric, right sides together with a piece of your lining fabric.

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Pin across the top (the short side of the rectangle).
Using a 1/4 inch seam allowance, sew across the top, attaching one piece of your outer fabric with one piece of your lining fabric.

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Repeat the above steps with the other outer and lining piece.
Press your seams open. You should now have two sides of the bag (made up of one outer and one lining).

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4. Sewing your bag together.

With right sides together, place one side of the bag on top of the other, with the outers facing and the linings facing (so here we have the florals on top of each other, and the spots on top of each other).

SONY DSCLine up the seam and pin all around the bag.
Using a ruler, measure 1 inch either side of the seam line and make a chalk mark. Repeat this on either side of the bag.

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SONY DSCStarting at the bottom of the lining, sew all around the bag, stopping and starting at each chalk mark (so you have a gap 2 inches wide over the seam line). Stop sewing about 2 inches before you get to where you started (so you have a gap for turning the bag the right way round). Stay stitch (sew a few stitches forward and backwards) at the beginning and at the end. Snip your threads.

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SONY DSCTip: Use a larger seam allowance on the bottom lining of your bag – this way, the bag lining will fit better inside the outer.

Trim your excess at the bottom of your lining.

SONY DSC5. Turn your bag the right way round.

Press the seams open of the gaps you made in the bag.

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Snip all four corners.

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Pull the bag through the gap at the bottom of the lining.

SONY DSCTip: Use a pencil to poke out the corners.

Press your bag, paying attention to the gaps, so all the bits that need to be tucked in are!
Hand sew closed the opening in your lining.

SONY DSCPush the lining into the outer and press.

SONY DSC6. Finishing

Using a contrasting coloured thread, starting on one side of the channel (the bit where we will be threading the ribbon around the top of the bag), top stitch all around the top of your bag. Stay stitch at the beginning and end.

SONY DSCUsing a safety pin attached to one end of your ribbon, thread it through one opening at the side of your bag and all the way around the top of your bag, through the channel, and out of the other opening on the same side you started. Cut the ribbon and tie the ends together.

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SONY DSCYou could finish here and have just one tie, I like to have two, one on either side, so I threaded another length of ribbon around the top of the bag, through the opening on the opposite side of the bag.

Beautiful! You’ve made a little pants bag.

This tutorial is really versatile; you can adapt the size, colours, applique shape and it can have a multiple of uses; I’ve made a number of these for underwear bags, smaller ones for gift bags and larger ones for laundry bags and even Santa sacks.

Use two contrasting fabrics on the outer and change the applique shape to suit…this bag below was for my mum who asked me to make her another after I gave her one for her birthday and she likes it so much!

Add a pocket…

The possibilities are endless!

Brogues for Baby Barney

I haven’t made much new to shout (or post) about lately as before Christmas I was really busy with Christmas stockings and Santa sacks…those that I made last year were even more popular this year! I didn’t want to post about them, however, as pictures and descriptions of these are already on this blog, my Instagram and Pinterest (ahhh Pinterest, how I love you so, but…note to self: be more prepared for the influx of your own enquiries this year, it’s not just you that uses it!).

This time last year was all new with the arrival of my baby, but it’s all change and new routines again this year with returning to work and Jesse starting nursery. So, after having a little bit of a break after the stocking making, for the first ‘make’ of the year, I eased myself in gently with a gift for another new arrival.

Remember my Twin cushions? No, well, as I little reminder I made another of these just before Christmas as a Christening gift.

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I adapted this cushion for baby Barney who arrived at the beginning of January. For the cushion cover I used a blue medium weight Japanese cotton/linen fabric printed with mini robots, bought a little while back from an Etsy shop. The lemon spot is also an Etsy purchase. Etsy is brilliant for finding fabric when you have a specific design, style or colour in mind, there is a great range to choose from.

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Picking out the colours of the robot fabric, a matched fabrics to make up the letters of his name, first machine appliqueing these, then hand sewing a running stitch around each letter with embroidery thread.

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I change little Mary Jane shoes with a button detail, that I’d sewn for the girl’s cushions, to mini brogues to suit a little boy. I hand drew the brogues, using roughly the same outline as the Mary Janes, to get a similar shape and size, adding the parts of the shoe by layering up the tan and blue coloured felt pieces, and machine and hand sewing the stitching detail, finishing them off with embroidery thread laces.

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There is alway got to be something I’m never fully happy with; on this cushion it’s the right shoe, but I think this is just me being picky! Overall, I think it’s cute and I think will become a regular on the list of gifts for baby boys (hopefully perfecting the shape of the right shoe!).

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Jumping on the Great Baking band wagon.

I very rarely watch TV…in fact, I actually don’t even know how to turn it on (ask Pete…this is the honest truth!). However, I do make an exception for The Great British Bake Off (and even then I watch it on iplayer!) – it’s my weekly treat.

It seems, like sewing, that baking is yet another good ol’ tradition that has come back around in popularity and ‘trend’. I personally love baking…I just wish someone would give me a few more hours a day to be able to fit it in.

Anywho, I reckon because of this rise in baking (ha ha, rise, get it…oh dear!), I have been asked to make a number of aprons of late – both for adults as well as children…

A cute retro-style half pinny customised with name and age (there is a little 21 in the small heart…if you can see!)

The other apron I made for a fellow Dominique Bader bride – check out her wedding here – beeeeaaaauuuutiful!

Hannah contacted me to make an apron and oven gloves for her friend who loves baking…and sausage dogs (who doesn’t!).

(Note to self: must find a better way to photograph these aprons!)

And of course – the token children’s apron…everything’s cuter made in size mini…

Happy baking everyone! (Please save me some cake…)

Jess’s Quilt

I was asked to make a gift that could be given from a boyfriend to his girlfriend – Jess. The brief was…pretty brief (I know he won’t mind me saying that!).

The brief consisted of a list of all the things that Jess liked including elephants, rabbits, Cath Kidston and warm cuddly stuff…sounds like a lady after my own heart.

After mixing these idea ingredients together in a big pot, the result was an explosion of colour and a hand-made, thoughtful gift that was created out of love of one person to another.

I think that’s enough photos…you get the idea.

(And I really enjoyed making this too…although a bigger table would have come in really useful!)