1910 Singer sewing machine manual

I have an old Singer machine, which you can read a bit more about here. Well, the other week, I was checking out the Betsy’s Button Shop Facebook page. This is always interesting, as she sells lovely bits and bobs, but the 1910 Singer sewing machine manual caught my eye. I thought it may come in useful for really getting to grips with my machine. singer sewing machine manualIt really is a work of art, the same as the machine. Check out the graphics on this page about how to wind the bobbin.
singer sewing machine bobbin instructionsThe only problem is that it is incredibly fragile, so I’m going to have to be really nice to it to make sure it doesn’t fall apart.

Beautiful vintage sewing goodies

I hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and wishing you a Happy New Year. I just wanted to share with you my Christmas present from my in-laws – a biscuit tin of sewing goodies. Random possibly to the uninitiated, but to me it is absolutely brilliant!
vintage sewing itemsMy favourite bits are the wonderful clock buttons – how cute are they? And it is a full set, so I’m thinking what outfit I can add them to. I also love lovely colours and names of the Sylko threads. The colours are so vibrant, I’m sure modern threads are not so exciting.

I didn’t get chance to make many presents this year, but I did make some calendars for my grandparents, using these blank calendars. I printed off copies of my family and the pets, and used some craft paper, punches and my letter stamps to decorate them. It took ages, as I had to wait for each page to dry, but both sets of grandparents were thrilled, which is all that matters.

How to make a pack a bag

Earlier this year, I was asked if I would like to do a blog post for a new website, Seams and Scissors.  I came up with this packable bag idea, and it was featured in early September.  I thought it was high time it also made an appearance on my own blog.

The idea for my pack away bag came from a really useful bag I was given as a present a few years ago, and I finally got around to trying to replicate it.  It is surprisingly easy, and and doesn’t require masses of equipment. These fold away bags are small enough to bung in your handbag, and very useful when I go to visit my family in Wales (where you have to pay for plastic bags). cocojude pack a bag tutorialIngredients

  • Cotton fabric (a nice, thick good quality one is recommended. I did try version one with thin cotton, and it was a bit of a nightmare. My bag is made from some very retro curtain fabric)
  • Cotton thread
  • Sewing machine
  • Pins
  • Sharp scissors for cutting fabric


To make the main body of the bag

  1. Measure and cut a piece of fabric to 44cm by 70cm.
  2. Hem the top edge, fold in half width ways and sew around the bottom and open side. Zig zag the edges for a tidy finish. bag finished edge
  3. To make the straps, cut out two strips of fabric, each measuring 60cm by 9cm.
  4. Fold in half length ways, right sides together, and sew down the length. Turn the right way out and iron flat.
  5. Turn the bag inside out, and sew the straps securely into place, by sewing backwards and forwards a few times.  Make sure they are evenly spaced! sew strap into place

To make the mini pack bag

  1. Cut out two rectangles of fabric – one measuring 13cm by 16cm, and the other one 13cm by 22cm. Hem the top edge of both rectangles. pinned mini bag
  2. Lay the bigger rectangle right side up on your workspace. Fold the hemmed edge to make a 5cm flap.  mini bag ready to sew
  3. Right sides together, lay the smaller rectangle on top. 
  4. Pin everything into place and then sew around both edges and the bottom. Zig zag the edges for neatness. finished mini bag

Assembling the pack a bag

  1. Turn both the big bag and the mini bag inside out. Stitch the bottom of mini bag to the bottom of the big bag. sew mini bag into place
  2. Ta da! Your bag is now finished! To pack it away, all you need to do is stuff the big bag into the mini pack bag. completed bag

Simplicity “Jiffy” dress patterns

As I mentioned the other day, I have been given a big bag of fabrics, including this rather nice tulip print cotton.
tulip pattern fabricI got some Simplicity “Jiffy” dress patterns from Habithat. The patterns were on sale, and they were posted very quickly – the whole website is worth a look, as there is so much choice! The “Jiffy” patterns are modern reworkings of vintage patterns, and I got a 1960s shift and a 1970s wrap. I think I’m going to use the tulips for the shift dress, and I should have enough left for a skirt as well.
simplicity jiffy dress patternsI like vintage shape dresses, as they seem to suit my body shape, but I was particularly attracted to these patterns as they are supposed to be really simple. I’ll let you know how I get on with them! Does anyone have any other recommendation for easy dress or skirt patterns they have made successfully?

Messy scrap cushion

Following on from the messy scrap patches I made the other week, I used them to make a squishy cushion as a present for a friend. In the end, I used some cream and pink spotty stripes to break up the patches. As an aside, check out the lovely Melin Tregwynt Welsh tapestry blanket I had for my birthday. It is so cosy! patchwork cushion cocojudeI used my yellow retro sheet from the back (I swear it is never ending!)yellow cushion back cocojudeI did have some issues while making it – I felt a bit rough and ended up made way more mistakes than usual. I had to unpick and remeasure a few times (partly because the cushion pad was so squishy it was hard to work out exactly what size the cover needed to be).

I still have some pieces of fabric left, including this lovely blue one which looks a bit like seagulls, and this beige version of my favourite black bird fabric.
beige and blue fabric cocojude I’m currently cutting out fabric for a little mini quilt, and I’ll be using these, along with even more yellow retro sheet and other blue, yellow and green fabrics in my stash. I have also had the idea of appliquéing beach hut-looking houses onto it as well – kind of Brighton themed! I have some Britten Hus fabric from IKEA, to cut the houses out from. The link is to a blogger who used the fabric, as it seems IKEA don’t do it any more, but I do love the idea on the blog!

My guest blog post at Seams and Scissors

Back in August, I was asked if I would like to do a guest blog post for a brand new website Seams and Scissors. I have shared a couple of tutorials on their sister site AllFreeSewing

I challenged myself to do something a bit different and useful, and came up with a pack a bag (made from some lovely curtains I bought AGES ago). I really enjoyed making the bag, and figuring out how to sew it all together (the mini bag took lots of attempts to get right!)
cocojude pack a bag tutorialThe tutorial is on Seams and Scissors from 6th September, and it will be posted on my blog too at some stage. But head over to Seams and Scissors if you can’t wait til then!

Great grandmothers knitting needles

We didn’t end up camping this weekend, but instead took an impromptu trip back to Wales. I came back with a bag full of stuff my dad offloaded on me, including old books and my great grandmothers knitting needles. I also did a little bit of beach-combing, and have some nice bits of driftwood, which I have some plans for. box of knitting needlesI now have no excuse whatsoever for not getting on and learning to knit, as I also have stacks of yarn! There are some nice thick wooden needles, and I think they would work well with some of the nice thick wool my sister gave to me a few weeks ago.knitting needles close upPlease someone point me towards some fool proof, small, beginner knitting projects.

Folksy Friday fabrics

folksy friday fabrics

All these beautiful fabrics are available to buy on folksy – click on the links below to go to the suppliers shops.

(Clockwise from left)

Envelope cushion tutorial

My friend asked me to hem her curtains for her new flat, and in return took me to see Amelie at the Preston Manor outdoor cinema, which was all set up in the lovely gardens.  I got round to sewing the curtains up today, and had loads of fabric left over, so decided to make a quick envelope cushion to match.  The front fabric is a sample scrap from C&H fabrics, which cost me 20p!  It is a nightmare of fraying-ness, but it looks very retro.  This is more of a mini tutorial, but thought it may be useful.  It took me a few minutes to make sure I was making my cushion-cover sandwich the right way round. pink and purple fan cushionFor the length, measure the cushion pad and then multiply by 3.  I used one third of one fabric for the front, and two thirds of curtain fabric for the back.  For the width, measure the width of the cushion pad and add a seam allowance.

Hem at both ends and line up nice and flat.  Fold the front piece so one third of the fabric is on top of another third.making an envelope cushion step 1Then flip the other end of the fabric to cover the front and middle thirds of fabric.  You should now have a fabric third sandwich, which you can just make out in the picture below. making an envelope cushion step 2Sew up both of the sides, and zig zag the edges if your fabric is particularly fraying (like mine was).  Turn the whole thing the right way around, and then stuff in your pillow.  I added a few decorative buttons to hold my front fabric in place as it was gaping a bit, I think because it was so loosely woven.

Please let me know if you have any trouble following the instructions, and I’ll do my best to help!