Monthly Archives: September 2015

Needle Organisers

needle organiser from New Threads pattern

Ever wondered what needle was in your sewing machine? I have the perfect solution – a needle organiser pad. These unique pads were designed and printed by Meg Leach at New Threads. I have purchased and made several over the years for myself and friends.

Each time you set a new needle into your sewing machine,  insert the daisy-headed pin into the appropriate section of the needle organiser pad. Or if you use a specialist needle for a short time and want to keep it for another time, don’t worry about re-inserting into your pack of brand new needles, place this part-used needle in the section of the needle organiser pad ready for the next time you want to use that particular type.

Two friends from Franklins Patchwork & Quilting group expressed an interest and I have made them up as gifts. I used scraps left over from the reversible apron project.  To stiffen the reverse and prevent the pin from exiting at the back of the pad, I used two sheets of card from the boxes of my cat’s favourite Whiskas and then ensured that all the padding was in front of the card.

If you want to make your own needle organiser, contact Meg Leach at New Threads – to buy the kit.

needle organiser 2 from New Threads pattern

Petrol Blue/White Cross Body Bag by Deby Coles Mark VI

cross Body Bag VI front so sew easy

The seasons are changing and so must my bag. Currently bag versions II to V are all located at various sewing stores advertising the upcoming sewing workshops and in the meantime I have been using Bag version I which is a Linen Union printed in Pink on a Cream background – not really suitable to co-ordinate with my  Autumn wardrobe. For the time being I will use the new bag until I have the opportunity to make another in the great Autumn shades that I love – so watch this space.

This bag was made from a naive  print of White on Petrol Blue furnishing fabric that was donated by a friend. Although the Linen Union fabric is quite robust I still used fusible interfacing, Vilene F220 on the outer fabric and fusible wadding on the lining. As I did not have sufficient to make the entire bag in this colour, the reverse zip pocket is in the same print but a contrast Forest Green colourway. The lining is made using a Creamy White curtain lining from my stash. The top stitching and construction sewing was done using Aurifil 80 thread in White, originally purchased from New Threads at Weyhill Fairground. (

The only items that I bought to complete the bag were the hardware: a tuck lock, swivel hooks, D rings and an adjuster rectangle all in nickel.

Another lovely bag for my growing collection – at this rate I shall have one for each month of the year!

cross Body Bag VI reverse so sew easy

And finally, completed twister placemats

twister placemats

Back on 12th March 2015 I posted about the twister (whirly gig) patchwork that we had done at Franklins Patchwork Group. Whilst sorting through my Round-tu-it box I came across these unfinished pieces. Whilst the Brother Innov 10 was set up for quilting the Swoon Baby Quilt, I decided to get yet another unfinished project out of the way.

I have quilted the two placemats differently. One has a straightforward grid quilting in the ditch and the other I experimented with quilting 1/4 ” away from piecing seams to highlight the individual twisters. Both styles of quilting have pros and cons, I don’t really have a preference but another time I think, for speedy completion, I will stick with “in the ditch” grid lines. The binding is a pretty floral print that came as part of a set of Fat Quarters bought in Hobbycraft.  Whilst the print is charming I am very disappointed with the quality of the fabric. It is very thin so the remaining FQ’s will be kept back to use as bindings on small projects only.

Swoon Block II

baby quilt quilted swoon

Back on July 5th I posted an item regarding this block. I had finished the piecing and also layered up with/polyester wadding and a plain pink cotton backing. Now I needed to quilt. For the moment the project was set to one side whiIst I made bags and dresses. For the  first meeting of the new term for Sprat & Winkle Quilters and we had been asked to bring along the completed quilts. Argh!! I needed to get quilting and binding ASAP!  I quickly set up my small Brother Innovis sewing machine which is permanently fitted with a walking foot and quilting needle, threaded with pink and got quilting.

In a about one hour the piece had been quilted and a narrow binding applied. I would take along needle and thread to complete the project during the evening’s meeting. Done!

We had a display of quilts donated so far, there will be more to come at the next meeting. So far, those that have been produced demonstrate a great variety of colour and print themes not to mention various block designs in addition to the Nested Churn Dash and Swoon that had been suggested.  You can see photographs on the Sprat & Winkle Quilters blog.

Camouflage Wraparound Skirt

camouflage wrapover skirt

You may recognise this fabric as I have used it before on a Cross Body Bag – it came from New Threads sale rack at just £5 per metre !   Using  2 metres of the 150 cms wide fabric and a squared paper diagram pattern I managed to recreate a wraparound skirt similar to ones that I had way back in 1976!


The diagram pattern is featured in “dressmaker” a sewing guide for beginners by Ann Ladbury and accompanied a TV series of the same name. The book was published in 1976 and I can remember vividly the television step-by-step instructions which I watched each week. I made several of the garments at the time and used the skirt pattern to give my younger sister some basic sewing lessons.  I don’t recall making a skirt in camouflage fabric but I know that I did use some floral curtaining – it was the 70’s after all and flower power still reigned supreme.

Fortunately I had metric dressmakers’ pattern drafting paper to hand and it did not take long to draft the pattern according to the largest size in the book (size 16 – 30″ waist). Since my waist measurement was that a long time ago, I had to enlarge the pattern but that done I set to and cut out the skirt. I added an additional panel to the underlap as I am paranoid about the wind catching the wrap and exposing my delicate underwear! At  first fitting I added two darts evenly spaced either side of the centre back seam. I used flat seams pressed open and overlocked. All the outside edges were also overlocked. Prior to adding the waistband I stitched the edges of the overlap, underlap and hems  with my favourite twin needle.  I added a waistband with a finished width of a bare 2″ and then stitched 4 buttonholes across the top of the overlap to match neutral beige buttons from my stash.

Now that I have a refined pattern I hope to make the skirt again in another – more subtle print  fabric -perhaps a plain would be best and next time I might make the waistband a tie instead of buttons which will then provide more scope to match my variable waistline!

Tunic Top Mark II

tunic top 2

I previously made a “sample” top from woven fabric to demonstrate the project planned for a workshop on Saturday 28th November at New Threads, Weyhill Fairground, Andover, Hampshire.  The sample was made to fit me, let’s just say it is a generous size 20! New Threads happen to have a dressmaker’s dummy at the shop,  she is called Elsie and  is  a very slim size 12. As encouragement to prospective students of the workshop I have now made Elsie a new top in her size.

I used a novelty printed cotton from my stash. I was a little short of fabric and had to cut the back bodice as two pieces with a centre back seam. This time around I made bias binding for the neckline from a remnant of the same fabric. The binding was cut 2 inches wide, then folded in half lengthwise, wrong sides together in the same way that one uses binding on patchwork quilts. Combined with all the seams sewn as flat fell seams, including the setting in of the sleeves, means that there are no raw edges on the inside of the tunic. The hems on the tunic bodice and sleeves were sewn with a twin needle – such a great professional finish to the garment.