Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

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....

Wednesday, 9 December 2015

Christmas Crafts - Sewing World Magazine 2015

DIY Quilted Dog Coat Tutorial




The fantastic Christmas issue of Sewing World Magazine is in the shops now and it's full of inspiring seasonal makes including my quilted dog coat tutorial and pattern.  I set out to create a coat that was quintessentially English, with an added festive twist! 


The coat is fully lined for warmth and I stitched mine using an old child's kilt which I picked up for pennies at a local car boot sale!  It's super easy to make and the magazine comes with a full-sized pattern, for a medium sized dog, which can then be resized on a photocopier to suit any size of dog.


The kilt buckles provide a lovely traditional feel, perfect for a posh looking pooch! 


The festive touch comes courtesy of a cute 'Santa Paws' applique! 


I used our neighbour's dog for my model - Thanks Yogi! 


The issue is on sale until 18th December, so there's still plenty of time to get your Christmas stitch on!



Thursday, 3 December 2015

Upcycled Shirt Quilt - Finished!

Pinwheel Blocks




 Blogging has taken a bit of a backseat over the last couple of months as family life has a habit of getting in the way!  I've still been stitching though, including a number of 'secret' projects which will be published in various sewing magazines over the next few months.

I've also been working on an upcycled shirt quilt which was inspired by this absolutely stunning quilt made by Debbie over at Serendipity Patch.


As I didn't want to directly copy Debbie's fantastic work, I decided to stitch more obvious traditional pinwheel blocks which suit the quilt perfectly.


I laid all my finished blocks out on the double bed in our guest room so that I could rearrange them into a pleasing 'random' fashion. However, our very naughty cat was obviously jealous of my attention being lavished on something other than her!  At first, this simply translated to her lying on top of the blocks but, having failed to distract me from the task in hand, she then decided to attempt to completely shred the blocks by scratching them vigorously with all four clawed feet!




Some of the blocks ended up with caught threads and runs and had to be swapped for new ones but the quilt is now finished and the perfect size for multiple occupants to snuggle under whilst sat on the sofa in front of a roaring fire! 


Wednesday, 30 September 2015

British Biscuits Appliqued Cafetiere Cosy

'Sewing World' Magazine October 2015




Regular readers will know that my Patchwork Sprocket Cushion was featured in this month's Sewing World Magazine, however I'm delighted to announce that another of my projects also made an appearance;



This 'Sweet Treats' Appliqued Cafetiere Cosy 


Featuring iconic British biscuits such as Jammy Dodgers and Fox's Party Rings, it's just the thing to add some fun retro chic to any kitchen.  The appliqued biscuits conjure up such memories of childhood teatime treats, I was always partial to a 'Nice' coconut biscuit although I wasn't quite so keen on Pink Wafers!


The magazine includes a full sized pattern and should the teacup not rock your boat, simply change it for the recipient's initial;


The design is also perfect for tea cosies....


...time to get started on stitching all your Christmas gifts!


Tuesday, 22 September 2015

Patchwork Wedge Sprocket Cushion

'Sewing World' Magazine Feature




October's Sewing World Magazine is in the shops now and includes my 'Sophia' patchwork pillow;




I stitched it up using the stunning range of Sophia fabrics by Makower UK.  A new 1950s retro inspired collection in yummy creams, teals, mustards and pinks.  I loved using this range and the clever mix of modern and classic means that the finished cushions would be a stylish addition to any home!




The pattern is perfect for beginners as the cute little covered button cleverly conceals any mis-matched points!  I made my piping for a fully coordinated look but for a first project omit it completely or simply use pre-made.  The magazine tutorial includes easy to follow step-by-step instructions with colour photos and a full sized pattern piece.