recently attended a Sewcial Retreat arranged by Viv of Purple
Stitches, a Patchwork & Quilting store based in Basingstoke. This
is the second time that I have attended the Retreat which is held at
a the VOCO Oxford Thames hotel on the outskirts of the city.
time I was joined on the retreat by my good friend Pat so was able to
share the journey and accommodation.
of the activities is a Secret Sister gift making and sharing. This
time the project was a pin cushion and having checked out the
instagram feed of my selected partner I made the pin cushion in her
favourite colour and featuring her favourite pet – a cat.
Jackie was delighted with her gift as was I with my reversible Bicornu pin cushion.
Whilst at the retreat I was able to make three garments and undertake a new technique – ‘Quilt as You Go’ more posts later…..
on a roll of gift-making I thought I would make another Luna Lapin.
This time I used some Pale Grey felt plus some spare pieces of
quilting weight cotton print from a charm pack for the insides of the
ears and soles of the feet.
Luna came together very quickly and despite the fact that I always
avoid hand stitching as much as possible, actually enjoyed the
completed Luna, I took the time to add a fluffy tail to her and the
previous iteration using a pom-pom maker. I have never used this item
before and it certainly made pom poms very quick and easy to produce.
I still have to make clothes so both ‘girls’ are currently naked.
later changed my mind about giving this Luna as a gift, in the
meantime she shares a place on the pillow of the spare bed with the
first Luna and my ancient Teddy Bear!
I felt in need of a simple sew before embarking on the next dressmaking project. I had a couple of ‘laundry’ related printed fat quarters in my stash and was inspired by an article in an old sewing magazine to sew a fabric bin.
A great quick and easy sewing project, this mini laundry bin was completed within an hour. The bin is lined with car headliner foam (an alternative to Bosal foam) which makes it self-supporting. The bin has a diameter of approximately 10 inches and stands about 12 inches high. Just the right height to stand on the work surface and beneath the wall cabinets.
addition to our utility room. This is a handy storage bin for hand
towels and tea towels prior to loading the washing machine.
is a similar bin to use for glass awaiting a trip to the re-cycling
It is now
almost one month since I joined the coach trip to visit the Festival
of Quilts at the NEC, Birmingham. I visited with my friend Pat and we
were joined at the Festival by another friend who had travelled from
Chiswick. We all had a great day and for once the weather was
There were so many quilts and shopping opportunities, I did not really know where to start. In the end, we started with the shopping – no change there then. I had a list – I did not stick to it!
From the Fabrics Galore stand I bought another 2 metres of my favourite Frida Kahlo printed cotton which is destined to be a simple shift dress to showcase the design.
I also bought 4 metres of an unnamed cotton lawn at the bargain price of just £6/metre which has since been made up into my second version of Vogue 8577.
Lewis & Irene stand I collected some free patchwork patterns, and
a hug from one of the owners of the company (he remembered me from a
talk where I had worn a dress in Lewis & Irene print fabric)!
On to the Thimbles stand which I visited twice. On the first visit I bought some leaf print (Monstera Deliciosa) which I intend to make up into a bag.
The second visit I bought this beautiful Tapestry-style fabric with Roses plus 4 lengths of faux leather with a snakeskin finish.
The Roses and Red faux leather will be made up into a Companion Carpet Bag (pattern by Mrs H).
I have already sewn some of the Gold finish as an accent on a pouch (detailed post coming shortly) and I have plans for several new style bags which will utilise the Black & Navy-coloured faux leathers.
After a break for lunch (a very tasty Haloumi salad) we viewed a few more of the many, many quilts before returning to the shopping hall. We visited the Sewing Quarter stand where I had the opportunity to chat to John Scott – what a lovely man.
We then visited Rosenberg & Sons’ stand. I was ‘persuaded’ to buy some beautiful boiled wool in Blue to make a jacket (Simplicity 4032) and a remnant of Mustard boiled wool to make a ‘hack’ waistcoat/vest from the same pattern.
break for afternoon tea and a further browse of the quilts before a
rest and relaxation whilst we waited for the coach and journey home.
I loved my
visit (not sure my credit card was as keen) although I did find it
very tiring. Bearing in mind the size of my fabric stash (I swear the
fabrics reproduce overnight) and lack of resistance when it comes to
fabric buying, perhaps I should refrain from attending any more shows
for a while until I have reduced my ‘stock’ and the bank account has
I am often inspired by my stitching friends and on this occasion I was delighted to meet Luna Lapin made by Maureen. Apparently this charming felt rabbit is all over the internet and even has her own facebook page.
My friend loaned me her copy of the book that is complete with full-size patterns. I ordered up some wool felt and as soon as it arrived I was off!
I am not known for a love of hand sewing but I really enjoyed stitching Luna and am very pleased with the result. Currently she is naked (gasp!) but I do plan to make a set of clothes to be topped off by the Pale Blue coat featured on the cover of the book. There will also be the pretty comfy armchair, instructions for which are included in the book.
I hope to make her friend – Alfie who, together with his wardrobe of clothes, is also featured in the book.
In the past I have purchased White Waffle cotton mules from The White Company. After several years of wear and washing they have disintegrated until there was very little remaining of the fabric uppers. However, the embossed plastic soles were still good.
was a great opportunity to re-cycle.
unpicked the uppers, the foam insoles, bias binding trim and fabric
insoles that I then used to draft paper patterns for both the uppers
and the fabric sole liners.
a fat quarter of my favourite Teal coloured cotton print I made new
uppers and binding. It was a chance to make some lattice quilting on
the upper and provide some extra padding underfoot.
The mules went together very easily and quickly and I am very pleased with my new footwear. Now I just need to locate the other old pair of White Waffle cotton mules and re-cycle them.
originally had 4 metres of the Red background floral printed cotton
that I have been using for the sewing accessories. I checked the
amount left and thought I had better check to see there was
sufficient for a dress. There was and I will be posting photographs
etc., as soon as the hem has been finished. So back to some more
used a couple of TNT patterns to make 2 scissors cases. The large one
will take pinking shears and dressmaking scissors whilst the smaller
one is just right for a small pair of scissors plus a stitch ripper.
I used a double button for the closure on the large case and a White
KAM snap on the small. Neat!
readers of my blog will have seen several versions of the clam-shaped
pouch (sometimes referred to as a ‘dumpling’). This iteration was
made using some leftover Bosal ® wadding with a plain White
poly/cotton lining. I have run out of Red zipper pulls so instead
used White plus some Yellow hair bungees for the pulls.
I have just two more small items – an extra small pouch for my
wonder clips and a small storage ‘bin’ for odds and ends to put by
the side of my machine whilst I am working.
finally, I will have used just about every scrap of the 4 metres and
move onto dressmaking projects that have been cut out and are
ready-to-sew:- a spring-themed cotton print dress and two jersey
the years I have found several ‘must have’ accessories that make my
sewing life easier. This needle organiser designed by Meg Leach of
New Threads Quilt Shop is just one of those items.
you ever wondered what needle was in your sewing machine? Do you lose
your needles or get them mixed up? Keep track of them with this handy
needle organiser. Whenever you put a needle into your machine, place
the daisy-headed pin in the appropriate section of the needle
organiser and you will never wonder again.”
have made many of these organisers to gift to my sewing friends and
of course I needed to have a coordinated one to take on the Sewcial
panel is printed onto cotton which is then bordered with 1.25 inch
wide strips and a backing added. I insert a piece of thick card
(which stops the needles poking out at the back) before stuffing
firmly with polyester toy filling.
needle organiser does exactly what it says on the tin!
Machine Needle Storage Pouch
that I have a smart new needle organiser I also needed some form or
pouch or purse in which to store new and unused needles. I was
inspired by the clear vinyl pockets that are in the Sew Sturdy Sewing
Organiser by Annie Unrein and also the Peek-a-boo pouch by Caroline
Fairbanks-Critchfield featured on the sewcanshe.com website. This
roll-up pouch seems to be the answer.
cut a long length of my chosen outer fabric, layered it up with some
trellis pre-printed wadding and quilted. I then layered up some
plain White polyester cotton which I quilted in channels
approximately 1 inch apart.
cut 4 pieces of clear vinyl the width of my outer panel x roughly 3
inches deep. I made bindings for the tops and bottoms of each vinyl
panel from 1.25 inch printed fabric. It was easy to slide the vinyl
into the folded bindings and because there was fabric top and bottom,
the machine coped well with feeding the fabric through for stitching.
placed each vinyl pocket onto the lining panel and stitched the
bottom edge of each binding. I then basted the sides to the lining
panel. Next was the slightly more difficult bit of stitching as the
vinyl kept sticking to the underside of the foot. However, with
determination I succeeded in stitching sections through each pocket
to make a total of 12 sections.
added a Gold sparkly bungee loop to the top edge of the outer panel
together with a ‘handmade’ faux leather label. I placed the outer and
lining panels right sides together and stitched around both long
edges and the short edge where the loop was basted. Turning through
to right side out was a little fiddly and I carefully pressed the
fabric, taking care to avoid the iron coming into contact with the
vinyl. I turned in the final short edge and hand stitched closed.
folded up the pouch and checked button placement. I found this lovely
‘jewel’ button in my stash which is the icing on the cake!
Now that I have a pouch for my woven fabric needles, I need to make a second one for storage of the jersey/stretch fabric machine needles but that can wait for another day……
part of my new coordinated set of sewing accessories that I want to
take with me to the Sewcial Retreat in Oxford next month, I have just
completed a new Pin Dog. This is a favourite TNT pattern that I have
made many times. For this set of accessories I am using some pretty
Red-background floral cotton print from Fabricland that has been in
my stash for a very long time. Even after making the Sew Sturdy
Sewing Organiser featured in an earlier post plus the pin dog and a
couple of pouches, I will still have sufficient fabric remaining to
make a dress- but maybe not to wear to the Sewcial Retreat!
came together quickly and easily, the only real points to take
special care of is the matching of the notches for the head gusset
and the underbody gusset.
used polyester toy stuffing, making sure that the tail and feet were
well-stuffed before moving onto the head and body. Once fully
stuffed, Daisy has her belly closed with some neat hand stitching.
Her eyes are two black glass-headed pins that will be replaced with
drawn eyes once I am completely happy with eye placement.
Finally, a pretty gold collar from a hair bungee to complete.
Be warned – this post is text only. A post of my favourite makes will follow shortly.
A Happy New Year to my readers – I know that there are not many of you but hopefully my subscribers will increase in 2019, especially if I finally manage to get a You Tube channel operational!
have checked through my notebook of all the projects I made last year
– phew! There were a lot! NINETY FOUR to be precise. But be advised
– some were only very small, quick and easy projects and some were
fails though thankfully not too many were the latter.
2019 I will be shopping my stash of patterns and fabrics for two
reasons; 1 to reduce the quantity of sewing ‘stuff’ around the house
and 2 – saving funds to be spent on experiences, travelling and
will also be concentrating less on quantity and more on quality – I
feel a need for some slow sewing to feed my soul.
working in the financial services industry I needed formal business
attire and when acting as President of a Women in Business Club, some
‘smart’ outfits. Now that I am fully retired my wardrobe requirements
are much more for casual (and comfy!) garments to keep me warm in the
winter, cool in the summer, emphasising any good figure features and
hiding the bad. Although some people may think that dresses are less
casual, I prefer them to separates although I have a feeling that I
have made many tops throughout 2018.
of my working life skills have transferred to my personal life – I
love a spreadsheet and from that I can see exactly which type of
garments I have made most frequently, which fabrics stores and
pattern companies I have used and more importantly what I need to
concentrate of making in 2019 to fill gaps in my wardrobe.
initial thoughts regarding which type of garment most frequently made
has been borne out in the analysis of the spreadsheet. Twenty-three
dresses and twenty-eight tops with only three pairs of trousers, two
jackets, one gilet and just one skirt. I will continue with my love
of making dresses but maybe cut back on the number of tops, although
I still want to find my perfect raglan-sleeved top and tie front
cardigan/shrug (to wear with sleeveless dresses). I usually wear tops
and tunics with leggings, jeggings and jeans although I do also own a
couple of RTW denim skirts. I don’t feel a particular need to make
more skirts as they are my least favourite garment to wear. I would
like to make a coat to wear over my full-skirted dresses, some fancy
pyjamas for the sewing retreat and a pinafore dress as I have only
one RTW denim version in my wardrobe.
of patterns used shows that only 9 projects were made using the major
pattern company designs, Indie patterns are most definitely my
preferred option. Fabrics were purchased mostly from Fabricland, New
Threads Quilt Shop and the Textile Centre.
This analysis of my sewing through 2018 has been most interesting and informative. I will be continuing with my record-keeping and see what 2019 brings.