Spring Clean your Studio Blog Hop 2019

New Profile Pic Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad.JPG

Hello, my name is Jo and I am a Messy Maker. There, glad I’ve got that out in the open!! When I signed up to Cheryl Sleboda from Muppin.com’s Spring Clean your Studio blog hop I was full of positivity...such a good idea …. I thought. But as time ticked on, and the days went by, and the actual date got closer, I came to the realisation that I really was that bad!! I just NEVER seem to be able to tidy up as I go along. It’s the same in my non crafty areas of life. I build up a massive pile of pots and pans as I cook and deal with them later (or if my husband is home, he deals with them!).

Anyhow, the upshot is that my craft studio (and other areas of the house) just has mounds of discarded fabrics, threads and other notions just lying about, occasionally spilling onto the floor where they are ignored! It’s disgraceful and so embarrassing!

But before I show you the worst parts of me lol, if you’re new here I guess I should have introduced myself properly!! I’m Jo Westfoot from The Crafty Nomad, and as well as being a Messy Maker , I am also a designer of modern quilt and sewing patterns. I live in a quaint little English village in Hampshire, UK with my husband, daughter and cat. I have a love for all things rainbow. I love to sew and quilt, teach sewing and quilting and talk about sewing and quilting!! I’m the Chairperson of the Hampshire MQG. I occasionally design for Quilt Now and Love Patchwork and Quilting magazines.

Here are some of my favourite makes. Be sure to follow along on Instagram if you like what you see!

So I digress, back to the studio makeover.....So to say my studio needed this, really was an understatement. Here are some before photos!! Like I said I’m a ‘dropper’, I just drop it where it was last used!! These pictures are so mortifying! And I’ve actually set it so you can click on them and see them bigger with all their awfulness magnified!! I must be mad!

I decided to deal with the main problem: FABRIC. (Hahahaha, not me of course, I couldn’t possibly be the problem!!)

So first I had a clear out. Took two full boxes to my guild meeting and thankfully came home with a pretty empty boxes! I have since filled two more boxes that will be going back to next month’s guild meeting or to charity. And could definitely do more. But let’s just take this one step at a time. I also managed to fill a huge black refuse sack and had lots of recycling too!

Next I decided a trip to Ikea was in order. I needed something better to hold my scraps. You see, as well as a messy maker I am also a fabric hoarder. I just can’t bear to get rid of small scraps. One day I’ll use them. I promise. Well, maybe.....

Anyhow I found some fabric drawers (Flarra) that would fit in my Kallax unit. The only problem was that they were boring black. So I decided to take 10 hours out of my ‘tidying up time’ to pretty them up!!

I added some pretty fabrics to the front to tell me what colours lay inside. And also added a divider to most of them. Five are for scraps, to be organised by colour. The sixth rainbow one is to be used for bundles and bundle scraps. I like to keep collections together where possible. I’ve written this up as a tutorial. It’s available to all my newsletter subscribers. So if you’re interested then do sign up. You can unsubscribe at any time of course, but if you like it, then you might want to stick around as subscribers are the ones that get all my future free tutorials!

Organise your fabric scrap stash The Crafty Nomad.png

So after I had finished making those (read: procrastinating!) I carried on tidying. And here are some after shots. So this one is taken as you walk through the door. I love that if I leave the door open that I see that wall of colour every time I walk past. Most of the minis are made by me with a couple made by friends.

FB Image The Crafty Nomad Spring Clean

I store my threads on those wall mounted stands. Think I need another one though for all the new blues and greens! I wrote a post about keeping threads tidy, how ironic, you can read that here. The little Kallax is home to things I probably don’t need anymore: little kids craft stuff. (My daughter is 15 now!).

Spring Clean 8  The Crafty Nomad

The view from the window. The bookcase houses my small machines, power cables and irons for sewing classes and workshops.

Spring Clean 5 The Crafty Nomad

It’s also home to pretty things like ribbons and tins. I just put my Ombre Improv Curves mini quilt up above it. Not sure it’s staying there, I think I’d like it in a frame in the kitchen!

Spring Clean 7 The Crafty Nomad

On the left (below) you can see the large Ikea Kallax cube unit. Home to fabrics, books, Big Shot diecutting machine, packaging materials, excess batting etc, and now my fabulous scrap boxes! Bolts are laying down on the top, with my light box.

Spring Clean 2 The Crafty Nomad

To the right, the unit stores all my card making and stamping supplies. Have not made any cards in an age so probably should get rid of that! On top are some baskets with WIPs. And then there is my Create Every Day Mini reminding me to do something creative every day!

Spring Clean 6 The Crafty Nomad

I totally love the view from my sewing machine! I wonder how long I can keep it tidy for!?

Spring Clean 4 The Crafty Nomad

Tidying up this room has inspired me to rethink how I use it, if I need to hang on to some stuff and the layout. I see more changes in the future. But before that I will have to clear up the rest of my craft stuff that wasn’t in this room! I currently also use the family room for cutting and storing stuff that won’t fit in this room. I daren’t post a picture of that!! That is now next on my list.

I’ve been pinning craft room storage idea to my Pinterest pinboards for a number of years now, head over and follow to see if it helps you too. Crafty Spaces and Storage.

Wow if you are still with me then well done! Thanks for stopping by and reading this post. If you’re new here and have liked what you have seen then have a good look around and consider following along on Instagram, Facebook or sign up to receive my newsletter.

If you’ve only just stumbled on to the blog hop then do go back and check out the people that posted before me and carry on following along for those to come. If you are on Instagram then be sure to follow the hashtag #springcleanyourstudio2019 The inspirational Sam Hunter is up next tomorrow so be sure to click on the link to her website and see what her studio looks like. Here is the full list.

April 29 – Linda Bratten – http://lindabcreative.blogspot.com/
April 30 – Sandra Johnson – http://www.sandrajohnsondesigns.com
May 1 – Jennifer Schifano Thomas – http://www.Curlicuecreations.com
May 2 – Becca Fenstermaker – http://www.prettypiney.com
May 3 – Sue Griffiths – http://www.duckcreekmountainquilting.com
May 4 – Kate Starcher – http://katiemaequilts.com/blog
May 5 – Jo Westfoot – http://www.thecraftynomad.co.uk/blog
May 6 – Sam Hunter – http://www.huntersdesignstudio.com
May 7 – Simone Fisher – http://simonequilts.com/blogs/news
May 8 – Elisabeth DeMoo- http://www.brownbirddesignsquilts.com
May 9 – Sarah Myers –  http://www.quilted-diary.com/blog
May 10 – Amy Bradley – http://www.purplepineapplestudio.com
May 11 – Kathy Nutley – http://www.QuiltingsByKathy.com
May 12 – Carla Henton – http://createinthesticks.blogspot.com/
May 13 – Sherry Shish – http://www.poweredbyquilting.com
May 14 – Kate Colleran – http://www.seamslikeadream.com/blog
May 15 – Pamela Boatright – https://www.pamelaquilts.com/
May 16 – Cathy McKillip – http://wishuponaquilt.com/blog
May 17 – Cheryl Sleboda – http://blog.muppin.com

Happy Sewing (& tidying!)

The Guilt of Using Single Use Plastic

Is the message starting to sink in with you too?  I have been looking for ways to cut the use of single use plastic in our home.  One thing that has been bugging me for ages in that I use a Ziploc bag every time I bake a loaf of bread, which is quite frequently as we don't eat regular shop bought bread!  

So I decided to track down some food safe waterproof lining fabric and make a drawstring bag for the purpose instead.  That way I can just chuck it in the wash when needed! Instead of chucking it in the bin and reaching for another bag!

Drawstring Bag Sewing Tutorial The Crafty Nomad.png

I was lucky to find some kitchen themed fabric that matched in with some of my kitchen's colours!  I think it's an old Andover fabric.

I've written this up as a tutorial that I'm sending out as an exclusive gift to all my lovely email subscribers!! So if you want to get your hands on it you can sign up HERE.

Simple Tree Free Foundation Paper Piece Pattern & Video Tutorial

I've released a Foundation Paper Pieced pattern recently and have a few more scheduled for release soon.  So given that lots of people are new to this technique I thought it would be fun and useful to release a free pattern with a video tutorial to get you familiar with the process.

Foundation Paper Piecing (FPP) is a great patchwork technique that produces accurate piecing for even the smallest pieces.  For FPP you have a template/s that you stitch the fabric onto and then rip out later when fully pieced into a block.  There are various ways of doing FPP and I will be showing you the way I do it.  You’ll need to download and use the supporting sheets and pattern from my PATTERN PAGE in tandem with watching the You Tube video tutorial.  

I would LOVE to see what you make using this fun FREE pattern so if you are on social media be sure to use the hashtag #thecraftynomadsimpletree and please tag me: on IG I’m @thecraftynomadfleet and on Facebook I’m @thecraftynomad.

If you liked this pattern then do check out all my other patterns HERE.  Hope you've learned something new!

Patchwork Christmas Tree Cushion

Do you remember last month I posted about a free tutorial I had written for The Sewing Directory website? You can find that by clicking here.



Well, I decided to use the same pattern to make a cushion.  I just added extra borders to make it up to 18 inches square.

Patchwork Christmas Tree Cushion The Crafty Nomad Jo Westfoot Holly Quilting

I quilted it with a holly leaf and berry design I made up.  I've added this video tutorial so you can see how I did it!  Let me know if you have a go!

Holly Quilting Design by Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

I chose to add piping to the cushion.  I love a piped edge on cushions it gives them a really professional finish.

Patchwork Piped Christmas Tree Cushion by Jo Westfoot The Crafty Nomad

If you don't know how to do piping and want to give it a go, you might want to check out my Trimmed Cushion Tutorial which shows four different way to trim the edge of cushions: piping; lace; giant ric rac; and bobble or pom pom trim! Lots of tips and tricks to get good results.

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!

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.

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.


  • 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.