My first quilt – a WIP

My first quilt - a jelly roll quilt for baby - a work in progress.

Did you read the review of the FREE Piece, Patch, Quilt class that I took.  It really did give me all the skills I needed to make my first quilt a success – except I hadn’t really thought it through properly when I ‘designed’ my quilt.  Before we go any further, don’t worry, this is not turning into a quilting site, and the way my first ever quilt is going, I’m not sure there will ever be a second! But sharing things that don’t quite work out is often more fun than those that do…

Color block dress pattern – POTM

OMG. I just have to make this dress! It's like everything I want in one pattern.

I LOVE this dress!  I can assure you that I am not as slim as this dress makes me appear, but the design, shape, dark side panels and careful shaping to the center panel creates an illusion that makes the wearer look slimmer and smoother.  I’ve combined mine with a border print for the center panel but this dress also looks great in a solid too. This color block dress pattern is Pattern of the Month for August. Make this dress loose and figure skimming or really turn some heads with a figure hugging look and some vibrant colors. Looks best with a patterned or brighter central panel and darker side panels to emphasise your shape. Features: Scooped neckline with binding. Slightly A-Line skirt Center back seam for perfect fitting Princess seams front and back Use dark panels on the outside … Continue reading

Back to school sewing ideas

35+ ideas for Back to School sewing projects. Bags of course, plus lots more.

Hasn’t the summer break been great this year.  For me, I had a great couple of weeks staycation here on Cayman and enjoyed some fabulous scuba diving.  At the time of writing, we’ve not had any hurricanes (fingers crossed) and we’ve still got plenty of summer weather to look forward to yet.  Here’s a look at what I like to do when I’m not sewing. But for some, summer is almost over, and the kids will be soon back to school.  Does that mean you get more sewing time?  Here are a few back to school sewing ideas to try.  As one sewist put it, it’s not just a home-sewn backpack, they’re carrying my love with them. Hover over any of the thumbnails below to see more details and click to go and visit the original page.   Back to … Continue reading

Oliver the Owl Pillow – Fun with Fusible Applique

Making an Owl applique cushion. Fun with Fusible Applique.

Have you seen owls have been everywhere the last couple of years.  So I wasn’t surprised when one of the expectant moms-to-be in my circle asked me to make her an owl cushion for her nursery, but not one that was ‘too cutesy’. I’ve dabbled in applique before, and designed a couple of small mug-rug type projects for the Spring Mug Rug and the Nautical Mug Rug. They were really fun to make. But I really was making it up as I went along in terms of my technique, materials and especially my stitching.  For this project, I wanted it to be really special, something I could be proud of for a new baby’s nursery, and I wanted a really good owl applique pattern.  I’d had my eye on a course called Fun with Fusible Applique and remembered that it … Continue reading

The perfect Maxi Skirt pattern

How to make the perfect fitting maxi skirt without it being too flared or too tight.

If you’ve been reading sewing blogs for a while now, no doubt you will have come across tutorials for easy maxi skirts.  Basically, sew a tube of fabric, add in some elastic and you’re good to go.  I’ve read some really funny reviews recently of ladies who did just that and then had to hobble around with tiny little steps because these skirts didn’t have enough room to actually walk properly! Most of us take a stride which is much greater than the width of our hips. Making a tight fitted ‘wiggle’ skirt might be OK for knee length, but make it longer and it will be like a permanent sack race. photo credit: Steve Bowbrick via photopin cc There are basically two types of maxi skirt I think – a low volume skirt that is not gathered and basically … Continue reading

How to make and use piping

How to make your own basic piping and attach it to a pillow or cushion cover

When I sewed my Woven Fabric Pillow, I wanted to make a nice edge to the woven front panel, where it joined to the plain back.  Adding in some piping also helped to give the cover a nice shape and definition.  But the focus of my project was really the woven fabric strips and I rushed the piping, not making a perfect job.  Well, I’m working on another cover this week and want to make some perfect piping.  Let’s see how I get on. Making basic piping How to make and use piping.  Piping can be made ahead of time and stored, just the same way you make bias tape from fabric left-overs and save it for the perfect project.  In fact, piping needs to be made with bias tape, because it needs the fabric to be cut on the … Continue reading

Insulated ‘Keep Warm’ Baby Bottle Cover

I love these for baby shower gifts. Practical but pretty 'keep warm' insulated feeding bottle bags.

I’ve made a few projects with the insulated thermal lining before, the Long Arm Oven Mitts, the Can Cozy and Easy Quilted Pot Holders.  So when Daniela from On the Cutting Floor wrote to me with some more ideas she had, we were inspired to create a couple more projects to share.  See her project at the bottom. With so many of my friends expecting new arrivals to their families, I wanted to make a insulated baby bottle cover that could help to keep a feeding bottle warm.  I thought this could be used while out and about, or for night time feeds.  I did a little online research and many looked difficult to open with round zippers and the like.  With a baby in one arm, who needs complicated so I decided on a simple drawstring version which could … Continue reading

30 minute easy skirt pattern

I like this tutorial better than most others because it includes proper shaping between waist and hips, not just a tube.

  While I was learning to sew with stretch fabrics and taking the excellent Sewing with Knits class (see the class review here and 25% discount), I got lots of knit remnants to practice on, and one day I simply sewed up a tube, added a fold over waist and made a skirt.  It all took no more than 30 minutes from opening the door to my sewing room and leaving wearing my new skirt.  In truth, I never did wear it a lot because I’d made it rather too tight, the fabric was very thin and it showed a VPL in the rear.  But the theory was good. Today, I’m having another go and refining my sizing to make a skirt that is the same principle, a 30 minutes easy skirt, but this time with a more everyday fit. … Continue reading

Make a handy mesh shower caddy

Use mesh fabric to sew this shower caddy or organiser

Did you see the mesh lingerie bags I sewed?  I had bought a yard of the mesh fabric and even after several bags, I still had a good size piece left over.  What to do?  Well I thought about the properties of the mesh fabric.  It’s pretty hard wearing, its breathable and lets water drain right through.  Washable, you can see through it and its a bit stretchy in one direction. I was in the shower wondering about how to use the left overs when I realised my husband had used the last of the shampoo. Grr, I hate having to drip water all over the bathroom floor to go and get a new bottle. If only we had room for more bottles and all my beauty goodies without cluttering up all around the bath.  Light bulb moment – we … Continue reading

Sewing a buttonhole with the buttonhole foot

Sewing machine buttonholes, perfect first time, every time.

Did you see my earlier article and video on how to sew on a button with your machine?  It wasn’t difficult at all, just a little bit of fiddling to make sure the needle lined up exactly with the button holes.  But, I admitted, I’m scared silly of actually sewing the buttonhole. Why?  Well the buttonhole is usually sewn right at the end of the project when eveything else is done. What if it messes up, gets all tangled, is skewed or just plain untidy?  It must be very hard to unpick a tiny buttonhole and resew without damaging the fabric.  And what if there are several, say 6 buttonholes to sew.  That means 6 chances to make a mess.  To do it nicely, each and every one has to be sewn correctly.  Getting it right on the first try, … Continue reading

Free bag pattern – Turning Japanese Bag

Free bag pattern. The handles make this bag really easy to make, but it looks fab! I want one!

Never sewn a bag before or just looking for a quick and easy project? The use of metal handles in this bag means there is no need for fiddly zippers or closures, but the bag still looks super cute and just like something you could have bought in a nice store. Feedback to the site, comments on Facebook and emails I’ve received show that you all love to sew bags!  You asked for more quick and simple projects, more bags, more for new and beginner sewists and more projects that can be made with small pieces of fabric, or short periods of time.  I think this bag fulfills all of those. My First Bag Series - In fact, I’ve decided that over the next 12 months I’ll try to bring out several new bags that could all be sewn by beginners … Continue reading