Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Linen Zipper Pouch

Appliqued Violin Pencil Case

My son has taken violin lessons at school since Year Four (he's now in Year Eleven!) and sadly his lovely violin teacher is leaving this week.  He wanted to give her a personalised gift to thank her for all those wonderful years of lessons, so I designed this linen zipper pouch featuring a cute little violin applique.

The beautiful sky blue linen was a gift from my bloggy friend Jude and if you haven't visited her page then get there now, you're in for a real treat!  She posts far more regularly than me and most months can also be found published in lots of  magazines.

The brown linen was salvaged from a pair of Mr. Larkin's shorts which had seen much better days.  The initials were then cut using some old table napkins, carefully avoiding the more marked patches!

Thank you Ms Jones ~ You'll be missed!

See More SewforSoul Pouches Here

Monday, 11 April 2016

'Sew Playtime' Bookazine

Pirate Rag Dolls

Traplet Publications have just released a new bookazine full of adorable stitched toys and gifts for children entitled 'Sew Playtime' and I was delighted to be asked to submit two designs for it.  For the first one I knew I wanted to make a doll that was suitable for both boys and girls, so a pirate theme seemed the perfect choice.

As with all of my creations the finished dolls feature raw edge applique and upcycled fabrics.  They also have a very cool retro groove going on and look the epitome of Sgt. Pepper chic circa 1967!  

The published pattern includes a dress-up set with a very dapper felt moustache, so that your little one (or you!) can really rock the look.  I also like to think Johnny Depp would probably approve of this hip take on the pirate theme!

SewforSoul Pirate Doll and Dress-up Set

Question 'Why do Pirates cry on their own?'
Answer 'Because they have private tears'
Boom Boom! 

Happy Stitching!

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Fabric Storage Buckets

Free Tutorial and Pattern

Easter is early this year and I feel very behind with my preparations.  We host lunch after church on Easter Sunday and each family always receives a small handmade gift.  I don't have time to go into overdrive this year, so instead I've decided to stitch up some quick and easy fabric gift baskets, which we'll be filling with little chocolate bunnies and chicks!

I've stitched a clear vinyl window to the bucket fronts, to hold a small Easter gift label, giving them that lovely personal touch which our guests should love!  

If you don't have any suitable vinyl (I upcycled mine from a thrifted toddler's activity book) then the baskets also make excellent storage buckets.  They can be stitched up in less than an hour and, if you don't add a vinyl window, they're also completely reversible! 

The tutorial gives a choice of two methods for creating the square bucket bottom, the first has the shaping included in the pattern piece, the second shapes the corners after stitching the side seams - Simply pick the technique which best suits your way of doing things :)


Pattern Piece
Two 34 x 20cm rectangles of contrasting fabrics
One 34 x 20cm rectangle of light weight iron-on interfacing

Method One

1.  Create paper pattern using the dimensions shown and then cut your two fabric pieces in contrasting (or coordinating!) colours.  Apply interfacing to reverse of outer fabric.

2.  Fold first rectangle in half as shown and stitch both side seams with a scant 1cm allowance.  Press seams open.

3. Fold in bottom corners as shown and stitch, again using a scant 1cm seam allowance. 

4. Repeat these steps with second rectangle.  Then place both pieces together, one inside the other, with right sides together.

5. Pin securely and machine stitch, remembering to leave a small turning gap!  Turn through to right side and hand sew gap closed with a ladder stitch.  Your bucket will now look like this; 

6.  Tuck lining inside bucket, then turn down top by a couple of centimetres, creating a lovely contrasting border..
...and that's it!!

Method Two

1. Cut two rectangles measuring 34 x 20cm from your contrasting fabrics.  Fold in half and stitch all side seams.

2.  Fold each rectangle in half and trim off corners 3.5cm from bottom point, then stitch as shown in photo above.  Now simply continue following steps 4-6 from method one.

See, I told you they were quick and easy!

Happy Easter!

Zingy Spring Colours...

And Lovely Linen!

Wednesday, 2 March 2016

Specs Appeal!

Embroidered Glasses Case 


I'm pretty rushed off my feet at the moment with 'family stuff', so sewing and blogging seems to have taken a bit of a back seat but I did find time yesterday to whip up this cute glasses case.  It's part of a handbag set for a friend who's poorly, I shared the matching zipper pouch in my last post and I've also stitched up a little tissue holder although I forgot to take any pictures of that one!

The case is quite large so can also be used for holding statement sunnies
(If we actually get a summer worthy of wearing sunglasses this year!)  

 As ever, it's very much an upcycled project, using faux suede taken from an old sofa, a hair bobble for a closure and a vintage button from the 1950s!  Protection is provided by a layer of pure cotton wadding left over from a previous quilting project.

Happy Sewing!

Wednesday, 3 February 2016

Faux Suede Make-Up Bag

Upcycled Couch Pouch! 

Whilst at our local car boot sale last summer I came across a chap selling a large amount of soft faux suede which he had removed from his sofa after the frame had apparently given way.  I was most impressed that he had taken the effort to recycle as much of the original materials as possible and absolutely delighted when he said he only wanted £1.00 for the lot!  I shoved it through the washing machine and it came out looking immaculate but it then found its way into a cupboard where I promptly forgot about it, until now....

..And this upcycled couch pouch(!) is the first project I've made with it. The suedette sewed up beautifully, the only downside is the gorgeous napped finish attracts tiny bits of fluff which then need picking off - As a little bit of a neat freak this would have driven me to distraction on a sofa!

I added a matching layered applique flower to the front, which I cut on my Sizzix machine using this Marianne Design flowers die.  The final touch was a vintage blue flower button in the centre of the flower, finishing the pouch off perfectly!

Zipper pouches are always a great project to make as once you've mastered the basic technique, they can be customised in an infinite number of ways.  They also make very useful gifts being suitable for cosmetics, pencil cases, travel pouches etc, etc!   Their look changes completely depending on the decoration added and they can easily be adapted for men, a group I always find it difficult to stitch for!    

Check out more SewforSoul zipper pouches here.

Wednesday, 20 January 2016

'You're Just My Type' Appliqued Hoop Art

Valentine's Embroidery ~ Sewing World Magazine February 2016

February's Sewing World Magazine is in the shops now and features my appliqued typewriter hoop art

 The design is a tactile mix of beading, machine and hand embroidery  

 Hoop art is bang on trend at the moment, along with upcycled vintage sheeting ~ Sew hipster! 

The project includes two retro typewriters to choose from, one that is totally hand cut and the second which uses a pre-printed motif from the stunning Melody Miller 'Typewriters' fabric.

I just love the kitsch feel of the vintage sheet I employed for the backing but it would look equally effective with a more "modern" choice of fabric!

My finished hoops are going to be gifted to a couple of fantastic women, both of whom really are 'just my type'!

If you fancy reading more about creating your own adorable retro typewriter, then the lovely folk over at Sewing World have made the full magazine article available as downloadable PDF. 

Happy Valentine's Day!

Wednesday, 16 December 2015

My Very First Quilt - Finally Blogged!

Rail Fence in Zig-Zag

Regular readers might remember that I started my first full sized quilt back in the summer, a classic rail fence design, stitched from old duvet covers and one of Mr Larkin's work shirts.  I found the whole process of cutting out hundreds of rectangles pretty boring and moaned about it in this post!  Some kind, and very experienced, quilters suggested I should try strip quilting to speed the whole process up - Although by the time I blogged my woes, I had already started my next quilt an upcycled pinwheel shirt quilt which unfortunately wasn't suitable for this method.

I actually got the quilt finished in just a couple of weeks but I find the process of taking decent photos even more trying than cutting out rectangles.  I snapped these shots on a sunny day back in the summer and didn't really want to blog them as they make the quilt colours looks very insipid. However, I've finally acknowledged to myself that I'm not ever likely to retake them!

I've now started my next quilt project a scrappy string quilt but my lovely Bernina 440QE was pulling to the left and has been sent off for a service, so progress has been halted.  It also means that for the first time ever I'm not stitching up any Christmas presents, so I'm not sure what to do instead....