Fabulous Gift Ideas for Quilters

It's that time of year again!  If you're reading this post you are either looking for ideas to tell your loved ones to get you! Or you're desperately trying to figure out what to buy for the 'Quilter' in your life!  Here are 10 gift ideas for quilters.  I've also sneaked in five more stocking stuffer ideas too!  So that's really 15 fab ideas for you!

10 Christmas Gifts Ideas for Quilters FB.png

These are all things I either own, or really really want!!!  No one has paid me to tell you about them, I just think they are fab ideas,  Some links are affiliate links though (see note on affiliate links in top right of page) .  Just click the pictures to find the item!  Obviously your local quilt shop may stock these items too so be sure to check those too if you want to support local independents.   I'm pretty sure that Sew Busy in Fleet stocks the rotary cutter, blades, thread cutter necklace and possibly the rotating cutting mat.  Purple Stitches in Basingstoke stocks the seam roller too.

1. Olfa Rotary Cutter - there is no denying that Olfa are one of the best brands around for quilting tools.  I absolutely love my Quick Change Olfa Rotary Cutter.  It's really comfortable to use and has the added safety feature of being able to cover the top part of the blade when being used.

 

2.  Wonder Clips: Took me ages to buy some of these and I really wished I had done it sooner! First off they are really pretty as they are so colourful! So they look really cheerful! And second they are really easy and quick to use!

Use them instead of pins when binding.  They come in a really cute tin to store them in which is handy.

 

 

 

3.  Obviously I'm biased but I think the perfect present for a quilter would be my Pattern Subscription Service!

Membership to the VIP club means the gift recipient will get that nudge every month to get quilting.  They will receive a new pattern through the mail every month, discount on all other patterns and exclusive membership of a Facebook group for support and extra video tutorials.

For more details about it click here.  

To buy it as a gift for someone click HERE.  Choice of 3,6 or 12 month subscription plans.

 

 

4. One of my recent purchases also made it onto the list! 

This really handy Seam Roller is perfect for when you are foundation paper piecing.  It saves hopping out to the iron every five seconds!

 

 

 

Sewing Machine Pincushions by The Crafty Nomad.jpg

5. No self respecting quilter wouldn't have a pin cushion! I make these super handy pin cushions that attach to your sewing machine.  They are for sale at Sew Busy and come in all different fun sewing themed fabrics.  If you can't get to Sew Busy just drop me an email and I can post you one out (UK only due to the filling). I'll be adding more in the next week or two.

Alternatively if you want to make your own, the pattern is available here as a PDF and here as a Paper pattern  If you do make your own and want the crushed walnut shell filling I sell it here.

 

 

 

6. Another tool I absolutely love is my Fiskars Rotating Cutting mat.

This reduces the amount of work considerably when cutting half square triangles, or any small squaring up.

 

 

 

7. I spotted this cutting board recently and it looks brilliant.  Especially for those of you who go to quilt clubs or retreats. 

This mat folds up.  Half of it is a cutting board and the other half is an ironing board!

 

 

 

 

8. If you are wanting to improve your free motion quilting then this book has got to be on your list! 

Lori Kennedy is an amazing quilter.  Her designs are so creative and she inspires you to have the confidence to have a go.

Her website, The Inbox Jaunt,  is full of great video tutorials as well so be sure to check that out too.

 

 

9.  This next one is so on my Christmas Wish List!  The 2018 Quilters Planner! 

I hope my family are reading this ;-) Please someone buy this for me lol!  It's so pretty!  They have used the designs of one of my favourite fabric designers in it!  It looks amazing and so much better than my plain squared notebook!!

 

 

10. We all know that quilters LOVE fabric.  They adore it! They swoon over it! They have been known to stroke it!!  But what to buy when the selection is so big and everyone likes different things?  Well the easy thing to do is to get a Gift certificate for your local fabric shop so they can choose their own.  Sew Busy certainly offers gift certificates and I'm sure your local shop will too!

Now for the Stocking Stuffers!

11. Everyone needs a USB stick, and much nicer to have a fun sewing themed one!

12. Thread cutter necklace!  So you can sew wherever you are without scissors.  I believe you can even take these on a plane.  Perfect for hand sewing on the go.

 

 

 

13. And whilst we are on the subject of thread cutters I really LOVE these ones recently released by Quilt Story.  Cute colours and you can stick them anywhere.  

 

 

 

 

14. New blades for the rotary cutter will always be well received.  I know I certainly go through a lot!

 

 

 

 

15. And finally, sadly, we quilters need a good seam ripper and why not have a really pretty one!  You can even get them as necklaces so you will never lose it!  [Note to husband: I really love this one!! Hint Hint!]

 Click the picture to find heaps of similar items on Etsy.

 

 

Hope this helped with your gift buying for the lovely quilter in your life.

How to use Pre-printed Stocking Advent Panels - Part 2

In the last post I showed you how to make up one of the regular advent panels.  In this one I'll show you a quick way to sew up the cute little advent stocking panels.  

Advent Stockings Panel Tutorial The Crafty Nomad

They do have very brief instructions printed on the edge but if you need more detailed instructions then look no further!

You can find a link below to download my full tutorial for how to make up these sweet little advent stockings.

To download the full tutorial click HERE

Thanks for stopping by!

How to use Christmas Advent Panels - Part 1

It's about this time of year that everyone starts getting busy with their Christmas Sewing.  When I was teaching I used to run a class showing people how to make advent calendars using those gorgeous printed panels!

Advent Panel Tutorial The Crafty Nomad

They do have very brief instructions printed on the edge but if you need more detailed instructions then look no further!

You can find a link below to download my full tutorial for the standard type of advent panels.  In the next post I'll show you how to deal with the sweet little advent stocking panels.

To download the full tutorial click HERE

Thanks for stopping by!

Christmas Tree Pot Holder Tutorial

So excited to let you all know that one of my tutorials is being featured on The Sewing Directory.  If you aren't familiar with The Sewing Directory, it's a fabulous resource!  Full of free tutorials and information about Sewing shops and classes.

I have written a tutorial for them that is a really fun Christmas themed one!  It's a Patchwork Pot holder with a Christmas Tree design.  Click on the picture for the full tutorial.

So why not protect your table from heat marks in style!  If you have a go at making one I'd love to see a picture of it!

Hey Mr DJ Mini Quilt

I bought this really fun foundation paper pieced pattern from Molli Sparkles a while ago and decided to use it with some fabric that my friend, Helen, gave me.  

Helen Steele screen printed fabric

Helen is screen printing fabric and planning to sell it on Etsy.  

So I pulled some fabric from it...and designed this little mini with the Hey Mr DJ pattern in the middle.

The Crafty Nomad Hey Mr DJ Mini quilt

I reduced the size of the paper piece pattern to fit the gap in the middle.

Really love how it turned out!

The Crafty Nomad Hey Mr DJ Mini Quilt

I was actually auditioning the headphones pattern for a quilt I want to make for my daughter! She loved it too!  It passed!

Charity Sewing

Just wanted to share with you some charity sewing I'm involved with at the moment.  I'm involved in supporting two quilting charities at the moment: Project Linus; and Siblings Together.  

For Project Linus I make a quilt as and when I have time normally.  At the moment the one I'm working on at the moment is a Star pattern which is foundation paper pieced.  The pattern is by Kristy Lea of QuietPlay. The pattern was in Make Modern digital magazine Issue 15.  I've only done two blocks so far but keeping plodding along with it.

For Siblings Together it's a bit more organised as I'm part of a sewing bee.  So each month I am asked to sew up two blocks as per instructions and send them off to the monthly Mama who will stitch it all up.  This is what I've done so far, with another one in the works.

I love being part of the bee for the obvious reason, that the quilt goes to such a worthy cause.  But also for a bit of a selfish reason, it gets me sewing blocks I wouldn't otherwise make.  So it pushes me outside my comfort zone.

Do you quilt for charity? If so which one and why?

Longest W.I.P. finally complete

Anyone else end up feeling super relieved after they have completed a project that has been hanging about for way too long?

I don't love hand sewing, I just don't! It always seems like such a chore to get it done! I think it's because I'm so slow at it.  I do quite enjoy hand finishing the binding on a quilt but I think that is only because I know it will complete the project so well and I'm not a fan of seeing stitching on binding.

Anyhoo this little birdy hoop has been on the go for about 3 years!  Finally finished the hand stitching of the quote and the beak recently and got it on the wall!  It has sat in this state for a long long time!

IMG_3758.JPG

All finished and on the wall!!

The Crafty Nomad Birdy Hoop Art

Totally love this quote! 

'Use what talent you possess - the woods would be very silent if no birds sang except the birds that sang the best' Henry Van Dyke

My little mission when I taught classes was the get people to have a go at sewing and not to be afraid of it.  People are often worried that what they create will look rubbish, but if we never try, then we never know.  And if we never try again then we never improve.  So keep trying and you will love what you create!

The Crafty Nomad Birdie Hoop Art Use what talent you have

The patchwork is foundation paper pieced.  All stitching, apart from the words, beak and eye, are done on the machine.  Bird and leaves are appliqued on.

The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot Hoop Art

A Day Out with My Sister at The Country Brocante

A few weeks ago I had a really lovely day out with my sister.  We visited the Country Brocante at Daylesford Farm.  This is right up my sister's street she loves all this vintage stuff.  As for me I certainly like bits of it.  I ALWAYS head for the vintage haberdashery bits and bobs!  Just loved The Old Haberdashery stall.

I found quite a few lovely things to photograph for you!

No visit to my sister's would be complete without a visit to Diane at Harry & Floss though!  Had to restock on some of my favourite low volume prints, always got to have some new aqua in my stash! And really could not resist that cute little ruler!!!

Stash from Harry & Floss

What have you been buying lately?

Tutorial Tuesday - How to Applique

The Crafty Nomad Tutorial Learn How to Machine Applique

Ok I know it's Wednesday! But shhh they might not notice!

I wanted to get some hints and tips on to here about applique.  Learning how to machine applique was one of my most popular classes when I was teaching.

The term applique simply describes the bonding of one fabric to another to form some sort of picture.

For it to be effective you will need to use some sort of fusible web.  Bondaweb is a common brand in the UK, but there are many brands out there.  Some are cut in A4 or Letter size sheet so you can run them through your printer.  Some are repositionable for a time.

If you are using Bondaweb you can see and feel the glue on one side.  You will want to draw or trace your shape onto the non-glue side.  Take care to trace the reverse of the image you actually want on your finished project, this is really important if you are tracing letters!  Do NOT cut on the lines at this stage, cut about a quarter inch / half a centimetre around the outside of your line.  You'll have to trace all the bits separately, notice the birds wing is separate to the body. 

Then iron them in place on the wrong side of the fabric you want to use for the shapes.  Follow the instructions for the brand you are using.  Normally though they say to make sure the steam function is switched off on the iron and press in place for about 5 seconds.  No more or you could burn the fabric.

Now carefully cut on the lines and cut your pieces out.  Use a pin to score the paper part of the bondaweb, this makes it easier to take off without damaging the edges.  You'll notice that the glue is left behind on the wrong side of the fabric when you peel the paper off.  It doesn't feel sticky, but you can see it.  If you find that the glue starts to peel off with the paper, then you need to lay the paper back down and re-apply the iron.  You might want to protect your ironing board and/or iron from the glue!

Once the paper is off you need to position your pieces onto the background fabric and iron it in place. Again follow the instructions for your brand.  Normally just press with iron for ten seconds.

Now it's time to stitch them in place.  Stitching them down gives a more secure finish, especially for items that are going to be washed.  But it also adds the character and detail.

I used to teach three main machine stitches, but really you could use any stitch you like.  

Straight Stitch

Applique 4.png
  1. By far the easiest is using a straight stitch.  You can use this in two ways: neat or messy.
  2. For the straight neat stitch you will want to aim to consistently follow the outline of the shape between ⅛ and1⁄16inch from the edge on the applique. 
  3. If your machine has a locking stitch button then use this.  If not then just pull the threads manually through to the back and tie in a knot.  Do NOT do reverse stitching as it looks unsightly.
  4. Don't be tempted to start at a corner!  Most people do, but actually you'll get a much better finish if you start on a straight-ish edge instead of at a corner, as it is far easier to match up along a straight edge than at a corner.
  5. When you reach a corner, stop a few stitches before the corner, manually crank the stitches through with the hand wheel and stop at the point you want to pivot around with the needle in the fabric, lift the presser foot and turn the fabric.  Put the presser foot back down and continue stitching.
  6. Reduce the stitch length if stitching curves or small pieces.
  7. If you want to try the messy stitch to get the 'sketch' look, then you start off doing the neat straight stitch as above but you don't need to be so precise with it.  When you reach the place where you started, you stitch a second line kind aiming for the first one but just missing, it's like you are stitching a wavy line over the first one.  A contrasting thread colour works well for the sketch look.

Blanket Stitch

Applique 5.png
  1. Not all machines have this stitch, but if you do have it it gives a finish akin to hand sewing
  2. You need to use a Satin Stitch foot for this stitch.  The satin stitch foot has a groove on the underneath of it that allows a chunkier stitch to glide right through.  Plus they are normally perspex so you can see your stitches more clearly.
  3. They vary between machines so practice to see how the stitch is formed.  This is particularly important to know for navigating corners and curves.  It's important to know where your needle will go next so that you don't stitch backwards into the background fabric at a corner.
  4. You can usually change the stitch length and width on this stitch
  5. You are aiming for the right hand part of the stitch (i.e. the line) to fall onto the background fabric and the left hand part of the stitch to fall on the appliquéd shape.
  6. This stitch has locking stitches at the beginning and the end.  The beginning is automatic, at the end you have to press a button.

Satin Stitch (very close zig zag)

Applique 6.png
  1. This is by far the most professional looking stitch when done well! It's also the hardest to get a good finish on a domestic machine
  2. For this stitch you use a zig zag stitch and reduce the length so it is very close together. Length equal to 0.2-0.4.
  3. You must use a Satin Stitch foot with this stitch, if you don't then the bulk of the thread will cause the foot to get stuck, resulting in a big mess of thread.
  4. Ideally you would use the same colour thread as the fabric behind so that any gaps in thread aren't unsightly.
  5. On an electronic machine this stitch has locking stitches at the beginning and the end.  The beginning is automatic, at the end you have to press a button. Just pull the thread through to the back on a mechanical machine and manually tie a knot.
  6. If opting for this stitch it can be advisable to stabilise the fabric to avoid getting puckers.  You can use tearaway stabiliser on the back or if you haven't got any of that you could use interfacing.

Tutorial Tuesday - Single Fold Quilt Binding

Binding Tutorial Single fold The crafty Nomad.png

I've been meaning to add a binding tutorial to the website for a while now.  So today's post is for single fold binding.  I will be adding a post on double fold binding soon too! 

Single Fold binding is how I was first taught to bind a quilt by my friend Lorraine, on more recent quilts I have used double fold binding.  But for all my classes on patchwork and quilting I taught single fold binding.

First up measure all the edges of your project, add these numbers up and 10 inches.  This is the length of binding you need to make.  Cut strips that are 1 and 7/8 inches wide - I know it's a very specific figure!  Piece these strips together.  I like to do this on the bias to spread the bulk of the seam.  Lay the strips crossed over right sides together as shown. So lay one strip right side up and lay the next one right side down crossways at the corner.  Using an acrylic ruler with a 45º angle marked on it draw a line as shown.  Stitch directly on the line.  Trim to quarter inch seam allowance.  Press seams open.  Repeat until you have the necessary number of strips sewn together.  Using a bias tape maker (these gadgets are fab for preventing burnt fingers!) feed the strip of fabric in wrong side facing up.  Use a pin to help it through or if necessary cut the end into a point.  Gently pull it through and iron the folds into place, the raw edges should meet in the middle.  Now fold together so raw edges are inside and folded edges meet perfectly and iron in place.  Wrap around a piece of cardboard to help keep the folds in place and keep it clean and off the floor.

Open out all those folds.  Starting in the middle of an edge away from a corner, leave about 6 inches free, pin the binding right sides against the right side of the front, as shown, all around the table runner.  When you reach a corner, fold the binding as shown below and continue all the way around.

When you reach the place you started lay the left hand tail on top of the right hand tail.  Using your acrylic ruler mark a 45 degree line.  Fold back the top layer carefully and mark a corresponding line on the binding underneath.  Trim to a quarter inch past this line on both ends.  Pin together lay flat to check you've pinned it correctly.  Sew on the line.  Trim away the dog ears.  Lay flat, finger press the seam open and pin in place.  Using a walking foot stitch in place, along the first fold or just ever so slightly to the right of it.  When you reach a corner, stop when you can feel the extra layers of fabric beneath, you don't want to sew over those.  It should be about half an inch from the end.  Secure your stitches.  Fold the flap of fabric out of the way.  Insert the needle a half inch from the edge and continue.

Re-form the folds and flip the binding to the back.  Mitre the corners neatly.  Pin in place and hand stitch all the way around with an invisible ladder stitch.

I'll post a tutorial soon for the double fold binding.  The main benefit to single fold is that it uses less fabric.

Interested in the tools I used?  Here are some affiliate links.

Gifts Galore Christmas Table Runner

My latest make is this fun table runner.  I designed it months ago and never actually got around to making it until recently.  I was teaching a lady patchwork and quilting and we were discussing what she wanted to make.  'Something Christmassy...' Aha I thought I have just the thing! Not too big or complicated for a first time patchworker.  So I set to work!

Gifts Galore Table Runner Pattern by The Crafty Nomad

It's actually a relatively quick make.  

The pattern will be available from the 15th October as a PDF or as a Paper Pattern.  But if you're in my VIP Club by 30th September then you'll get a copy sooner than that!

Gifts Galore Christmas Table Runner Patchwork Quilting Pattern The Crafty Nomad
By Lori Kennedy

I quilted it with a snowflake design that I found in Lori Kenning's book: Free Motion Quilting 1-2-3.  

I love Lori's style she makes it all look so easy lol!  The book is brilliant.  Easy to follow and gets you to step outside your comfort zone and give it a go.

[Disclaimer: this post contains affiliate links - this means that if you buy this book I get a tiny percentage for advertising it - you don't pay any extra, so it's win-win all around!  I only ever list products I think are fab!]

Under The Sea - Contemporary Fish Baby Quilt

So this is the second quilt I'm entering into Amy's Bloggers Quilt Festival.  

Bloggers Quilt Festival Amys Creative Side.jpg

So earlier in the summer I made this little quilt to go in the window of a shop where I used to teach classes.  The theme for the window was Under the Sea.  It was for the town carnival and all the shops are asked to decorate their windows along the same theme.  

I had an idea for a modern design with on point quilt construction. I played with the fish block construction quite a bit, ended up with quite a few rejects before I settled on this one!

Under the Sea Modern Contemporary Fish Patchwork Quilt The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot

I decided to quilt free motion wavy lines to represent waves.  And wanted to add bubbles coming up from their mouths.

Baby Quilt Pattern Fish The Crafty Nomad Under the Sea Patchwork

The only problem was that as usual I was quilting late at night (please tell me I'm not the only one that does this!) and to a deadline and given the nature of the block pattern I quilted the bubbles upside down!  I could have left it as it was, no one else would have known the quilt was upside down as the fish look no different one way to the other.  But I would know and I had wanted the Mamma fish to be uppermost....so lots of unpicking followed, lots of burying threads.  But now the bubbles are in the right place!

Baby Quilt Pattern Fish 2 The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot

This quilt is now available from my pattern shop, as a PDF or a Paper Pattern.

I'm currently working on a rainbow version of this quilt!

Rainbow Fish Under the Sea Quilt Patchwork The Crafty nomad Jo Westfoot Pattern

Bloggers Quilt Festival

Excited to see that Amy from Amy's Creative Side has decided to host the Bloggers Quilt Festival again this year!

It's a bit of fun where you can share a quilt or two that you have made recently.  And on the plus side there are heaps of cool prizes too!!

So I decided to share one of my recent makes! The Tumbling Spools Quilt.  I made this quilt for the Quilt Now Magazine.  It was always intended to go on my wall in my craft room!

The Crafty Nomad, Jo Westfoot Tumbling Spools Quilt

It's no secret that I love the rainbow palette, and therefore no surprise that I LOVE Alison Glass's fabrics, particularly the Sun Print ranges as they are sooooo vibrant!

The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot Tumbling Spools Quilt

I wanted to challenge myself with the quilting on this one.  So I did a spools design that was modified from one I did previously on a cat quilt.  Also until now I hadn't been a big fan of pebbling, but found it was perfect for filling in the words! I used Rayon thread so it would catch the light more and make the words stand out.

The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot Tumbling Spools Quilt

The pattern appeared in Issue 39 of Quilt Now.  Always so exciting to see my work in a magazine!  If you missed the magazine when it was out, you may be able to order back issues from them directly [I just checked and print copies are all sold out, but you can still get digital copies].  Alternatively you can wait until February 2018 when I'll be able to release the pattern ;-)

Thanks for stopping by!

 

Bye Bye Summer

OK so when I finished up teaching back in early July I had every intention of starting up regularly blogging.  And then, well then, I decided to take the summer off!  It's been lovely to take a break.  I've still dipped my toe into social media.  But it was pretty obvious to me that I needed a good long break.

Quite a while ago I got to play with Sun Print 2017 fabric by Alison Glass.  I love a rainbow palette so I love all of Alison's fabric ranges!

Rainbow Tumbling Spools Quilt by Jo Westfoot Quilt Now Issue 39

I made this fun Rainbow Tumbling Spools Quilt.  It appeared in issue 39 of Quilt Now.  It features a column of thread spools that appear to be tumbling.  

The Crafty Nomad Tumbling Spools Quilt Jo Westfoot

The words are then free motion quilted with a pebbles design.

Rainbow Tumbling Spools Quilt by Jo Westfoot Quilt Now Issue 39

The background is quilted with a spool design.

Quilt Now Issue 39 The Crafty Nomad Tumbling Spools Quilt Jo Westfoot

Always so exciting to see my work in a magazine!  If you missed the magazine when it was out, you may be able to order back issues from them directly [I just checked and print copies are all sold out, but you can still get digital copies].  Alternatively you can wait until February 2018 when I'll be able to release the pattern :-)

Tutorial Tuesday - Wraparound Quilt Binding

Hi guys.  So as some of you will have seen over on my Facebook page last week, I made a quilt for my lovely aunt who turned 80 this year.  I'll share that with you on here soon.  Whilst making that quilt I was kind of up against it time-wise! So instead of doing traditional hand sewn binding like I normally do, I did wraparound binding instead.  So today I'm going to show you how to do that.  I know that those of you who groaned during classes when I mentioned hand sewing are going to LOVE this!

  • OK so first you'll want to make sure that your quilting stops about half an inch from the edge of your quilt top.  Any ends will need to be buried, as the back won't be covered by binding.

  • With scissors carefully trim away the excess batting / wadding.  Leaving the backing in place.

  • Trim the backing so there is an inch excess on all four edges.

  • At each corner fold the corner in at corner and finger press.  Open up and fold the corner into the fold line and finger press.  Open out and cut along the second fold line you made.  This reduces some of the bulk at the corners when a lovely mitred corner.
  • Using an iron, fold and press the backing fabric in half and inch along one edge so that the raw edge of the backing fabric meets the quilt top.  Press in place.  Now fold it over another half inch so that it has wrapped around and is now sitting on the front covered the raw edge of the quilt top.  Press in place along one edge.  Pin.
  • At the corner fold in at a 45 degree angle as shown.  Then repeat the process above: folding the backing in half and inch, pressing in place, then folding in again another half inch and pressing.  
  • Repeat this process until all four edges and corners are done and pinned in place.
  • Now edge stitch in place with your sewing machine.  Ideally using a walking foot.  Pivot at each corner.  Your stitching should be no more than an eighth of an inch from the quilt top.  I would not recommend reverse stitching, instead bury your ends inside the quilt.

Hope that all makes sense?!

Luggage Strap Tutorial

Off on holidays soon? Struggle to spot your plain black suitcase in the midst of hundreds just the same? Then make a colourful luggage strap to help you spot your case easily!  Download the PDF HERE.

Materials:

  • 40cm fabric
  • 40cm interfacing
  • Buckle 50mm
  • Thread & Scissors
  • Sewing Machine
  • Pins and/or fold back clips
  • All materials available in Sew Busy!

Preparing the fabric

Measure around your suitcase and add 10 inches (mine was 52 inches plus the 10, gave 62).  Cut fabric - given that the length needed will be longer than the standard width of fabric, you will need to cut two pieces to stitch together.  These should measure 7 inches wide. When stitched together along the short edge they should measure the full length you calculated above. Mine were: 7x42 inches; & 7x20.5 inches.  I added half an inch for the seam. 

Stitch together along the short edge to get one long skinny piece (Fig 1).  Press seams open (Fig 2). Attach interfacing to the wrong side of your fabric to give more structure. I used medium weight iron on interfacing.  Again you will need to use two pieces. (Fig 3).

Pressing in place

Press the two short edges in, half inch wrong sides together (Fig 4).  Press wrong sides together along the long length (Fig 5). Open out & press outer long edges to the centre (Fig 6). Then fold and press along the centre line so that all raw edges are hidden inside.  Pin or clip together (Fig 7).

Sewing together

Stitch using an eighth inch top stitch along all four edges (Fig 8).  You may also like to add further lines of stitching along the length to add interest and structure (Fig 9). 

 

Attaching to the Buckle

Thread one end through the end of the buckle that only has one gap (the female end) (Fig 10).  Clip in place (Fig 11).  Stitch in place with two lines of stitching reinforced well Fig 12 & 13)

Thread the other end through the other side of the buckle (Fig 14) and secure onto the case (Fig 15).  All done.  Now all you need to do is pack and fly away somewhere warm!

If you would like to download a PDF of this tutorial then click HERE.  If you liked this tutorial then check out my other tutorials HERE.

A Spot of Dressmaking

I bought some funky comic strip fabric a while ago.  Mainly I bought it because it was aqua (I'm a sucker for aqua!) but also because of the funky comic print.

Wasn't really sure what I was going to do with it.  But then I realised what a fab beach slouchy dress is would make!  And seeing as I am off on holiday soon I got to work.

Last year I made a top with a cowl neckline. The pattern was from Lekala.co.  I love this website as you plug in your measurements and they email you a custom PDF pattern within minutes to your size!  It was pattern 4119.

I decided to use that pattern and instead of adding the waistband, I would just lengthen the top to a dress and hem the bottom edge.

I just love the way it turned out!

IMG_3389.JPG

Easter Bunny Bunting and Easter Egg Decorations Tutorial

Are you starting to get ready for the Easter Holidays.  Some schools broke up today and some are later but either way we are on the count down now.  

So I've put together some fun little decorations you can make.

First up is this cute Bunny Bunting.

You Will Need: Hessian/Burlap; White Fleece or Felt; Giant white Bobble Trim; pretty Bias Binding; Fabric Glue; Thread, Template

  1. Use the template to cut your shapes out of hessian (burlap) - you could use fabric instead if you prefer.  
  2. Pin the hessian shape to the fleece/felt.  
  3. Sew in place about an eight inch in from the edge of the hessian.
  4. Use some fancy scallop fabric scissors or pinking shears to trim the fleece so you have a cute border.
  5. Cut a bobble off your bobble trim and apply some fabric glue to it
  6. Stick the bobble on to act as the bunny's tail!
  7. Stitch your bunnies' ears onto the bias or some fancy ribbon and string up somewhere!

Easter Egg Decorations

You Will Need: Fabric; White Fleece or Felt; Buttons; Pretty Ribbon; Thread, Template

  1. Use the small egg template to cut your shape out of fabric
  2. Pin to a double layer of  white felt or fleece, using decorative scissors cut around the edge allowing a small border.
  3. Cut a piece of ribbon for hanging about 6-8 inches
  4. Sandwich the ribbon between the two layers of fleece and stitch the fabric on, securing the ribbon as you stitch.
  5. Add some pretty buttons or ribbon to the front to decorate.

I have given a larger template for the eggs as well as the small one so you could use that to make bunting!

DOWNLOAD the Templates HERE.

Guide to Buying your First Sewing Machine

Lots of people ask me to recommend them a sewing machine to buy.  It's always a difficult question to answer as there are so many variables! Plus there are so many fab machines out there to buy it is very difficult to limit it to just one!  So I decided to put together a little list of things to consider when buying a new machine.

Guide to Buying a Sewing Machine
  • Budget: The first thing to consider is your budget of course.  When you have decided how much you would like to spend then make sure you get the most bang for your buck.  
  • Where to buy from?:  If you can buy from a local independent retailer then please do.  I know you can buy sewing machines from department stores, but how about thinking of supporting a local family business? If we don't use them we lose them!  Most independents will price match if you ask them to.  They'll appreciate you buying from them rather than just test driving it there and then going off and buying online!  They have a wealth of knowledge about sewing and sewing machines that can't be matched at department stores or supermarkets.  If you are local to me (Fleet, Hampshire) I'll put some links at the bottom to local dealers.  I would caution against buying from a budget Supermarket.
  • Test Drive it First: The benefit of buying from a local dealer means you can test drive the machine first.  They will sit with you and show you the features of the different machines you are interested in.  In my opinion this is vital before buying a machine as even a machine with the same features, but from different brands, will 'feel' different to use, much like one car to another.  So find one you like the feel of lol!  Plus, of course, if you buy from a dealer, they will be there for any after sales service.
  • Brand: This is a toughie, my personal preference would be Janome because they are so reliable and have machines to match all budgets.  If your budget is big then I would say Bernina.  I am basing these opinions on my experience of having all sorts of brands brought in to me for the Get to Know your Sewing Machine Class.
  • Mechanical versus Electronic?:  Generally the machines at the lower end of the price spectrum will be mechanical machines with dials on them.  As you go up through the price banding you will start to see electronic machines which have buttons instead of dials.  Electronic machines normally allow you to have more features and stitch patterns.  Either option is fine for your first machine, your budget will normally determine type.
  • Mini Machines:  I would caution against buying a mini sewing machine, even for a child.  I haven't seen a good one yet!  They are really noisy, very limited in what stitches they can do and you are unable to change the presser feet on most.
  • Features: OK so this list could be endless! But for your first machine, so you don't feel the need to upgrade immediately I would recommend the following.
    • The ability to vary the length of the stitches rather than having preset lengths
    • The ability to vary the width of the stitches rather than having preset widths
    • A buttonhole feature would be useful, 4 step is fine, 1 step would be fab
    • The ability to drop or cover the feed dogs - helpful if you want to stitch buttons on, do free motion embroidery or free motion quilting.
    • An automatic needle threader is a nice to have - especially helpful if your eyesight isn't great!
    • Snap on feet - so you can purchase the relevant ones you might need in future

Hope that helps you in some way.  If you are local Hampshire and looking for a local dealer I can recommend Sew Divine in Reading.  And also Sewmaster in Reading and Guildford.

Mini Easter Basket Tutorial

Thought it was time for another tutorial on here!  This time it's a Mini Easter Basket.

1. Adhere the interfacing to the handle fabric.  Fold the handle along it’s length, press.  Open out and fold the two raw edges into the centre fold, press.  Fold so the raw edges are now enclosed and you have a long skinny handle.  Stitch an ⅛ inchfrom the edge of each long edge and add decorative stitching if you want to.  Set aside.

2. Adhere the In R Foam to the outer fabric, quilt if desired.  Fold right sides together, so that it measures 11 x 4.5 inches.  Stitch the two short sides, using a ½ inch seam allowance.  Stitch the lining in the same way but without the foam.

NB. If you can't get hold of fusible In R Foam, you can stitch it around the edge instead.  Or using fusible fleece or wadding will give a similar result, just less structured.

Using fold back clips on the foam is easier than using pins!

3. Use a template to draw a 1½ square on the bottom corners of each fabric.  Measuring from the side stitch line and the bottom fold.  Cut these squares out.  Press the side seams open.  Open the basket and box the corners by stitching the two short sides with a ½ inch seam allowance.  You may wish to trim the foam seam allowance back to a ¼ inch.

4. Keeping the outer inside out, pin the handle in place with the raw edges sticking out.  Now insert the lining so that the two fabrics are right sides together.  Match up the side seams and pin all the way around.  Stitch with a ½ inch seam allowance all the way around leaving a 4-5 inch gap for turning at one side..  Turn right sides out, topstitch all the way around a ¼ inch from the top, closing the gap as you go.

You may like to add a bow or some pom pom trim around the top edge.  Now just fill with eggs!!