House plushie

A little while back, I decided I fancied a small sewing challenge. I have some IKEA house print fabric in my stash, left over from a variety of different projects, and I used this as a basic template to make a house plushie.
house fabric template Having selected my favourite house shape, I cut it out (and a matching bag shape from some retro floral sheet). I appliquéd on the window shapes, using a couple of different coloured fabric scraps and the sewing machine.  
house pinned in place

To finish off, I used piece of scrap ribbon as a hanger and sewed the house shapes together, right side together (following the black outline). Make sure there is a little gap to stuff it with! Sew up the gap using ladder stitch.House finishedThis was a fun little project, and you could just as easily use a sharpie or a fabric pen to draw the house outline. It hardly took any time at all to make, so could also be a useful last minute present idea.

Flora Waycott

In my browsing for lovely artwork for Wordless Wednesday, I have come across the wonderful little website of Flora Waycott. She has some absolutely beautiful images and patterns on her website, as well as details of where you can purchase her prints (including online through Etsy).

This is one of my favourite, craft-themed images.

sewing and making flora waycott

Sewing and making by Flora Waycott

Tea and home ATC

I got my lovely ATC in the post the other day. I have been waiting in excitement for the post every day for at least a week, and I was definitely not disappointed when it came. I never have been – my cards are all so different and beautiful in their own little way. atc collectionThis is how my card came wrapped up and also the little note to explain the the background to the card. I’ve got a little collection of the notes that have come with my cards, I like having a bit of background to the inspiration behind the project.ATC wrapped upAnd now for the card. I LOVE this card because it is so “me.” The tower is slightly Oxford (where I went to university) and dreaming spires, and the tea ribbon is brilliant. I actually have a small piece left in my stash 🙂 I drink lots of tea, to the extent that my work colleagues now just don’t even ask me when they do a round, I just get a cup as standard. So all in all, it is a triumph and it is now safely nestled with my growing collection.

tea and home atcMy partner has a facebook page called Polka Dots and Cocker Spaniels and an Etsy page to sell vintage goodies, why not go have a look?

I’m not sure when the next ATC swap is planned, it probably won’t be for a while, so keep your eyes pealed on the Very Berry Handmade website.

Pincushion tutorial

This is just a quick and easy idea for a pincushion more than a tutorial. It is a great scrapbuster though (I like a good scrapbuster!)
square pincushionI made this pincushion for my mum, who is just getting into sewing. I already seem to have lots of pincushions, including a crochet cupcake and my slightly tacky wooden one, which is the perfect size for sitting on my sewing machine while I sew.

You need two squares of fabric in the same size, and four rectangles. My squares were around 14cm by 14cm to start with, and the rectangles were 14cm +2cm seam allowance (1cm each end) by 6cm.

Sew the rectangles together in a long strip, being mindful of the seam allowance. Each seam of the rectangle strip should line up with the corners of your squares. Then right sides together and working one edge at a time, pin one of your squares and the rectangle and sew. 
sewing pincushionYou should end with a box which looks a bit like this.

pin cushion sewing projectThe next stage is to sew the second square onto the rectangles, making a lid. Make sure you leave a gap to turn it all the right way.

pin cushion turning holeTurn it all right way round, and stuff it with toy stuffing. Make sure it it pretty solid, to accommodate your pins and needles. Sew up the hole using ladder stitch, which is the tidiest way to blend in the seam.LADDER-STITCH-1

Draw string bag tutorials

I went home to visit my family last weekend, and while I was there I had a bit of a sewing session with my mum. She’s meant to be doing a sewing workshop soon, and felt she needed some prep before she went. We used this old Singer machine, which used to belong to her mum, but she passed it on as she no longer uses it. We had it serviced, and it runs really nicely now.old singer sewing machineMy mum decided she wanted to make a little bag to put the pedal and wires in. So we raided her as yet quite small sewing stash, and used one of the fat quarters I bought her for Christmas! For maximum practice, we also sewed on a pocket decorated with an appliqué owl, and a long hidden pocket inside for scissors. sewing on pocketHere’s the finished item, complete with Bryn the dog. I’ve also found some links to some different types of draw string bags on Pinterest. They all have great instructions, enjoy!completed draw string bagDraw sting bag tutorials

My mum sent me a picture this morning of another bag she’s made, this time with cat appliqués. I think she may be addicted!

A round up of really easy beginner sewing projects

I’m by no means an accomplished sewist, but I am definitely getting more confident. I thought it may be useful to put together a list of projects suitable for very new seamstresses, looking to start their sewing journey.

A great first beginner project is bunting. There is really no end to what style you can do it in, as there are so many combinations of fabric and methods out there to chose from, but basically it is just lots of nice straight lines you need to sew.finished bunting flagsThe method I use to make bunting I got from Sew in Brighton, which I’ve summarised in this post. If you’re looking to get going with sewing, I can recommend booking into a sewing class. They’re a great way to learn the basics away from any distractions. There are classes springing up everywhere, so it is best google away to find one near to you.

I am terrified of zips, and this project changed my mind about them. I used this excellent tutorial from Rachel at Transient Expression to make this Russian doll patterned purse which I use as a make-up bag/pencil case.

Russian doll pencil caseTote bags are really simple and also really useful. I have this book – S.E.W. Sew Everything Workshop which has really clear instructions for all sorts of projects, including a tote bag and a more structured handbag style bag which I made as a present a couple of years ago. There are also TONNES of ideas and tutorials on Pinterest!

I also came up with this tutorial which shows how to make a tote bag with a little pocket inside for you to stuff it up really small and bung it in your handbag. It took a couple of attempts to work out the engineering behind it!finished retro tote bagWhile I have made a pair of self drafted PJ bottoms, my plans for this year include making a dress. I have a couple of patterns and fabric all lined up – I just need some time to sit down and do it really. No more excuses!

Home Sweet Home ATC swap

Another ATC swap from Very Berry Handmade is here. Apparently, this is the biggest ever with over 50 sign ups. I think I’ve taken part in all of them apart from the first one now. The swap is an enjoyable challenge, as you have to think small which is harder than it sounds!home sweet home atcI love the sound of the theme, and have a few ideas already.I treated myself to a bag of scraps from Wychbags the other week, and there are some great ATC-sized scraps for me to use. I particularly like the daisy print fabric. It is kind of a thin corduroy, and will be included somewhere in my ATC I’m sure!fabric scraps