Anke’s Brushes Bag – now with Video

Free pattern and video tutorial to make this cute cosmetics bag with brush roll attached.

Do you remember that awesome tutorial and pattern that Anke shared for how to add a brushes bag section to the Easy Cosmetics Bag? I couldn’t make up mine right away because I had to wait for my closures to arrive from overseas but I was so keen to give this bag a try.  I just love it when people send in photos of things they’ve made with my patterns, and especially this one where it was such a big change from the original. This is my version – what do you think? Knowing how long her tutorial was, I had set aside a whole afternoon, but in fact, it went together very quickly. The tutorial was just long because she had been so very thorough and included great photos and instructions for every step. None of it is difficult or … Continue reading

How to install bag feet – 2 styles

How to install bag feet, different types and where else to use them

I’m always looking for ways to make my homemade bags looks more professional and although it does increase the cost, adding hardware such as clasps, feet, grommets, sliders, straps, rivets, studs and handles really does make them look great. Today I’m looking at a couple of examples of bag feet and how we can easily install them. Both of these examples came from Pacific Trimming. There is one you are probably more familiar with, the flattened cone shaped ones with the long prongs, and another that you don’t see as often but are actually very versatile, these dome shaped ones with a screw fitting. Let’s have a look at how we can use them. How to install Bag Feet – Do you have a ‘firm bottom’ ? Firstly, in order to install the bag feet, you need a bag with … Continue reading

Scrappy reversible Halloween table mats

Great way to use jelly rolls or scraps for a scrappy look. Love the silhouette applique on the back.

  Halloween is a great time of year to have friends over.  Costumes optional, although with some of our friends, it’s sometimes hard to tell! Whether you are having a full-on party, just a few friends over for nibbles or a family dinner, it’s fun to put together a Halloween table setting.  I’ve been making a few things to share with you. Bargello Style Halloween Table Runner My Bargello-style Halloween table runner tutorial is being featured over at GYCT today as part of their 31 Days of Halloween series.  There is my usual video and a tutorial on how to make this reversible table runner. I’m using the same Jelly Roll today to make matching table mats, although in a different design. Scrappy reversible Halloween Table Mats These mats are quick and easy to make and a fun way to … Continue reading

How to sew a hem facing on a circle skirt

How to sew a wide hem on a circle skirt using a hem facing

I’ve got a project I’m working on that has been giving me a headache.  I’ve been itching to make a half-circle skirt but the hemline is just not turning out as I would like.  It really is impossible to sew a ‘regular’ hem when the bottom of the skirt is so curved.  Usually on a skirt I would turn in half an inch and press, and then turn up another inch, inch and a half or even two inches on the bottom of a regular skirt, and sew. But that’s not going to work on a circular hemline simply because the length of the hem around the outside is longer than the length of the fabric you are turning into, so it’s never going to lie flat. Now you can sew a teeny tiny hem, by pressing up tiny 1/8th … Continue reading

How to sew snap tape to close a pillow back

How to sew snap tape to make a pillow back so you can remove the cover for washing.

I’ve been making a few throw pillows (cushions if you are British) just recently and been looking for ways to close the back so they are still easily accessible for removing the insert and washing the cover, but I don’t have any long zips right now (and I admit I’ve not yet ever sewn a zipper into a pillow cover) so I was looking for alternatives. A few ideas: Just step up and learn how to do it with a zipper (added to a future to-do list) Sew on buttons and buttonholes (I’ve got these skills mastered now I think) Use Velco, hook and loop tape (sticks to everything in the wash) Make an ‘envelope’ back that just opens and overlaps (Like my woven fabric pillow and the Oliver the Owl nursery pillow) Just stuff and then sew the pillow … Continue reading

Faux chenille baby blanket

The most adorable chenille style baby blanket. I want to make a full sized on for my own bed. Just takes a bit of patience!

After my recent attempt at quilting and all the adventures, failures and very steep learning curve that went into making a baby quilt, I decided for my next expectant friend, a different approach was in order. Pinterest to the rescue for inspiration and I came across this tutorial for a faux chenille baby blanket. Although the end result is lovely, it didn’t look easy and even the writer had plenty of problems along the way. Never to be daunted, I gathered my materials and got to work. Materials needed: Top layer – I used this cotton panel above.  Any good quality non-stretch fabric should work. Quilt binding, or make your own Underneath – shaggy layers, I used 3 pieces of flannel.  Try with 3 or 4 layers. Basting spray Patience – lots of it I wish I’d used a lighter color … Continue reading

Estimating extra fabric for pattern matching (and giveaway)

How to work out exactly how much extra fabric you'll need to buy to match a pattern.

So you’ve got the perfect pattern and you’ve seen the perfect fabric.  Except the envelope says that you need 3.5 yards to make this dress.  THEN its says ‘extra will be needed for pattern matching’.  Your fabric has a print you’ll want to match.  So exactly how much extra fabric will you need.  Half a yard, a yard, 2 yards?  I know exactly the lady who knows – introducing Gwen who knows everything there is to know about matching fabric to patterns. How Much Do You Want? We all know that feeling…  Maybe you’re shopping for a particular project or maybe you are just window shopping – but all of a sudden, out of the blue, a piece of fabric catches your eye and you just can’t look away… The color, the texture, the design – it connects with something … Continue reading

Oliver the Owl nursery pillow with piping

How to sew this cute owl nursery pillow

Did you see the owl applique I made following the instructions and pattern as one of the projects in the Fun with Fusible Applique course?  He was destined to become a nursery pillow, nothing ‘too cutesy’ by request, but still colorful and fun. But so far he’s just on a plain ivory colored cotton panel so I thought he needed a bit more color.  I wanted to make a patchwork border, but couldn’t face sewing lots of little squares together!  It’s just not me.  Match this fact with my lack of sewing time this week, a raging headache and just being overall in a big rush and he didn’t exactly turn out as I had imagined.  Moral of the story – sewing can’t be rushed if you want to do it properly. Watch out everyone, there’s another sewing failure on … Continue reading

How to add a zipper pocket to any purse pattern

Tips and video on how to add a zipper pocket to the inside or outside of a bag pattern.

So you have a basic purse pattern, or have a pattern that includes a basic slip pocket and you would like a zipper pocket.  Not a problem – this sort of thing can usually be added to any bag.  You can add them on the outside like in the Nautical Expanding Tote Bag, or on the inside of the bag in the lining like this example from the Carry All Bag.  Or both if you want lots of pockets and storage.  The exposed zipper can really add a nice pop of color and an interesting design feature to any bag. Here are a few of my tips and tricks to help you insert your first zipper pocket, as part of the My First Bag series of patterns and tutorials. Watch the video Here is an extract from the Nautical Tote … 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

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

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