Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Friday, 27 May 2016

'Grandad's Shed' Appliqued Journal Cover

Sewing World Magazine June 2016

The new June edition of Sewing World Magazine is in the shops now and is packed full of lovely summer projects, including my fabric journal cover featuring a very cute applique garden shed!

As it's nearly Father's Day, it's themed as the perfect present for a much loved Grandad (or Dad!) but could be easily customised by embroidering any name above the door making it suitable for your favourite gardener or horticulturalist!  

The back of the cover features a cute little watering can and personalised gift label.  Some jaunty summer bunting is the finishing touch, let's hope it encourages the sun to come out soon!

Happy Father's Day!

Thursday, 19 May 2016

Upcycled Shabby Chic Tin Cans

Vintage Book Page Pen Pots

I took a little break from sewing this week and instead indulged myself with lots of lovely cutting and sticking, making these vintage style pen pots from old tin cans.  I used the same basic technique as my decoupage book page eggs, which remains one of my most popular posts of all time.

Would you believe they started out as cheap and tacky plastic eggs?!  

As the tin cans are intended to be used as desk tidies for stationery supplies, I decided to theme them around novelists and works of literature.  Not surprisingly I was unable to source any suitable printed paper napkins, so instead I stamped plain white serviettes using the stamp sets below;

I used an old book of quotations, which had seen far better days, for the script background and then gave the cans a quick colour wash of watered down brown paint to enhance their 'foxed' antique finish. After this I carefully trimmed the stamped tissue images before sticking them to the cans with thinned white PVA glue (USA - Elmers).  This is sooo much cheaper than Modge Podge, just add water until the glue is the consistency of thin single cream.  The final step was to give each can a couple of coats of polyurethane varnish.

Unique upcycled craft storage tin cans!

Monday, 16 May 2016

A Gift For A Geography Teacher

Appliqued Globe Zipper Pouch

Our eldest child left school last week and that old cliché 'it only seems like yesterday he was a babe in arms' has never felt so true!  We have been incredibly lucky with all his teachers and we wanted to show our appreciation to the wonderful educators who have given him so much over the last five years.

This little applique zipper pouch is for his Geography teacher, who also teaches our daughter History and they both love him!  In fact Geography is one of the subjects George is hoping to continue for 'A' level in September.

A few years ago I made this pencil case for a friend, who had been promoted to Head of Geography, and the children suggested that Mr Mitchell would like a similar design.  

I took the children's idea (but made it a bit less fussy as it's for a man!) and whipped up a personalised pencil case.  I find it quite challenging stitching for men but hopefully he'll like it - And as a Geography teacher he will at least appreciate the fact that the fabric for both the main case and the lining came from upcycled work shirts which had seen better days!

Good luck to everyone sitting exams!

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!