Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Tuesday, 26 May 2015

Felt Camper Van Keyring Tutorial

DIY Felt Combi Van Key Chain

These adorable felt key rings are sew easy to stitch up!  They require only the tiniest amount of materials and make equally perfect bag charms or luggage tags.

Even better, they stitch up in less than an hour and are great gift ideas for your 'difficult to buy for' relatives! 


I infused the backing felt on this little car appliqué with essential oils and it now hangs in hubby's car as a cute air freshener!



Coloured fabric
Scrap of denim
'Bondaweb' (fusible web)
Split ring
Black thread

1.  Begin by drawing a template, simple shapes are best and suitable motifs include owls, flowers and hearts.  If you doubt your drawing skills you can even download digi-stamps as templates.  I stitched up the car and cupcake using stamps by the very talented Wendy Massey over at Handmade Harbour.

2.  Trace your final design onto 'Bondaweb' or other fusible web, iron onto the reverse side of your fabric scraps and then cut out neatly.

3.  Lightly mark the windscreen wipers and 'VW' logo with a pencil.  Now arrange the pieces into position on your backing felt and then carefully fix into place with your iron.

3.  Trim the felt at the top of your design and then lay onto a scrap of denim or other hardwearing fabric.  Fold a short length of ribbon in half and tuck between the two layers.  Now comes the fun part!  Machine around the appliqué pieces at least twice using black thread and aiming for a 'sketch-like' feel.  It doesn't even matter if your stitching is a bit wobbly as this all adds to the appeal of raw edge appliqué and free-motion embroidery!

4.  Now closely trim around your design using a small pair of embroidery scissors.  Finally thread onto a metal split-ring and that's it......See I told you it was easy!

Have fun making your own for Father's Day, Christmas stocking fillers, fund raising, etc. etc....

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

Altered Peat Pots

Oh So Shabby Chic!

I was so pleased with how my shabby chic tin cans turned out (full tutorial here) that I decided to make some more but the only member of our family to eat canned food is the cat and I didn't have enough empties to hand.  So I turned to the internet for alternatives....... 

......and saw these stunning altered peat pots.

I really wanted mine to have an aged look, with the lace forming an integral part of the design rather than appearing 'stuck on', so I used Powertex fabric hardener. This brilliant product allows fabric to be set solid into any position whilst still allowing the original colour and texture to show through. 

The lace will be permanently fixed into soft ruffles with an application of  Powertex.

Once the Powertex was dry I sponged the pots with gentle shades of cream and white, allowing the paint to crackle between coats.  The lace really does look part of the pot and has the feel of antique ceramics or pottery.  

Peat pots are ridiculously cheap, I purchased mine in a pack of thirty from our local 'Everything for a Pound' store! 

I had such fun altering these and whilst I used the lace the possibilities are endless, what about twine, raffia, pearls, gems, glitter...etc...etc?!

The pots are featured over at the Buddy Crafts Blog, where you can also find other fabulous Powertex projects.   

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Sneak Peak!

New Summer Project

Having to meet deadlines for magazines usually means working weeks or even months ahead.  I finished this Summer themed project for Sewing World Magazine back in April, whilst looking out of the window at heavy frost!
The inspiration for it came from this pretty little vintage caravan zipper pouch which I stitched up last year as a present for a very dear friend.

However as I like to keep my creations fresh, the make it inspired isn't a zipper pouch but I can't tell you any more until it's published........although I couldn't resist sharing some quick sneak peaks!
The floral fabric I used in both projects is Cottage Flowers and it comes in a pack of six different colourways.  You might also recognise it from my fabric notebook cover tutorial.  
Shhh, don't tell the kids but I'm now working on a 'Back to School' project and we haven't even had our summer break yet!

Tuesday, 12 May 2015

Fifty to Make - Sewing World Bookazine

Featuring SewforSoul

The publishers of 'Sewing World' magazine have published a new bookazine packed full of no less than 50 stunning makes and SewforSoul is featured twice!

The projects are favourites from the last few years of makes from Sewing World and were voted for by both their readers and the editors.  As they always publish projects of an extremely high standard the competition was very tough so I was genuinely honoured to have been chosen.  It was an even bigger surprise to find that both my needlebook and pencil case had made it to the front cover!

The bookazine costs is fantastic value at £7.99, which works out at less than 16p per project!  "Fifty to Make" is available from most branches of WH Smiths or online direct from the publishers.

Happy Sewing!

Tuesday, 5 May 2015

Altered Tin Can Tutorial

Upcycled Shabby Chic Soup Cans

It shouldn't surprise anyone to hear that I'm a fan of creating upcycled crafts, after all my tagline at SewforSoul is 'Because life's celebrations shouldn't cost the Earth'.  In keeping with this, the female guests at our recent Easter party were each gifted with an empty cat food tin!

Thankfully, I washed and altered the cans first! 

I lovingly created them with the application of delicate lace, a lick of paint and some handmade clay embellishments, I then filled each tin with a gorgeous little Primula bedding plant.  Whilst mine were created for Easter, they would make equally stunning wedding table centres.  The romantic blend of lace and linen conjuring up visions of antique wedding frocks, and their shabby chic vibe adding a touch of relaxed glamour to the celebration. 

Unlike cut blooms, flowering plants also won't fade within a few days, thus providing a lasting memento of your perfect day, which honoured guests can take away with them!  I actually popped my plants into a small paper inner cup, so that they could be lifted out and planted into the garden where, as a hardy perennial, they will provide years of beautiful flowers.  The empty tin cans would then make wonderful pen pots.

Viola who blogs over at 'Shabby Chic Inspired' also uses hers for stunning art supply storage


So, firstly prepare your tins with a very hot thorough wash, as mine had contained cat food this was an essential stage to remove any lingering odours!  Once dry, I then used a pair of pliers to flatten out the slightly sharp inner lip on each tin.

Next came a quick coat of white acrylic paint followed by an application of Powertex Stone Art mixed with Powertex Fabric Hardener which provides a lovely rough 'aged' texture.  If you can't easily source Powertex you can either miss out this stage or mix your white paint with a small amount of craft sand and plaster of Paris.

Leave to dry and then let your imagination run wild with a glue gun and lace trims.  You can use any colour of lace as the tins will have more paint applied, however pale colours will require less paint to cover.  I used lots of different lace, some from my Granny's sewing box which are at least fifty years old, mixed in with more modern pieces.

Once you're happy with your lace placement, give each tin can a couple more coats of white paint and then leave in a warm place to dry.

If you like the plain white look, then you're done!  I left the tin on the right below pure white and it looked lovely.  However, you can also get busy with your paints again and 'antique' the lace by sponging it with complementing shades of cream, grey and taupe.
The beauty of this project is that once you've created the basic tin, it can be then customised in any way you like, creating a totally unique finished item which perfectly reflects your individual character and tastes!

I added linen yo-yos, vintage 1950s buttons and personalised embossed clay tags

I also gently sponged the same shades of cream and taupe paint onto my linen yo-yos (Suffolk puffs) to tie them in with the lace and really rock the vintage shabby chic vibe!

A matching embossed clay butterfly completed the romantic spring feel

The possibilities are endless, what will you add to yours? Silk flowers, pearls or gems perhaps? 

Happy Crafting!

Thursday, 30 April 2015

Reloved Magazine ~ SewforSoul Feature April 2015

Decoupage Napkin Eggs 

Easter seems ages ago but officially the season lasts fifty days until Pentecost, which this year is 24 May ~ I therefore don't feel too bad about this post appearing 'late'!

My decoupage eggs were featured in April's edition of Reloved Magazine.  Whilst they can be used as Easter decorations, I keep mine out all year around.  They've also proved to be one of my most popular makes, 'The Country Farm Home' shared a link to Pinterest which has been repinned over 3,700 times and counting!

Reloved also gave me a lovely little write-up in their 'Blogs We Love' feature which was totally unexpected but very flattering!

Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Fabric Notebook Cover Tutorial

Linen Journal Cover

One of our dearest friends turns 50 this week, so I stitched her up a little personalised present, a linen notebook cover with matching compact mirror.   The shops are full of beautiful (and expensive!) fabric journals but once all the pages have been written on they're rendered redundant.  Making your own removable cover means that you can simply pop a refill in, saving the both planet and your unique design!

I added a pretty little printed cotton panel, which provides a lovely pop of colour and texture.  The fabric is called Cottage Flowers and it comes in a pack of beautifully coordinating colour ways.  I've used most of the colours in the pack, but I can't blog all the projects yet as some have been sent off for publication!

As journal covers always make such welcome gifts, I've written a tutorial so that you can create your own.  Once you've mastered the basic construction (which is easy!) you can then decorate it in any way that takes your fancy. Perhaps some applique? Click on the link beneath the picture to be taken to some of my appliqued journals.

SewforSoul Appliqued Journal Covers

The tutorial will guide you through the process of making a cover with a panel insert. They're a little addictive and once you've made your first, you'll be dreaming up ways to customise the next!


The first step is to measure around your closed notebook from front to back edge including the spine.  As you can see mine is 31cm. You will also need its height, this one was was 21cm.

As I am going to be using 1cm seam allowances, I added 6cm to the width measurement of 31cm to allow for the joining of my floral panel, as well as the side seams.  If I were making the cover from just one fabric, I would only need to add 2cm for the two sides. You will also need to add 2cm to the height dimensions.  This sounds complicated but just remember that when you have pieced your fabric together it need to be 2cm wider and taller than your notebook!

The picture below shows the cutting measurements of my fabric pieces and when they had been pieced together the resulting fabric measured 33 x 23cm - Perfect for my journal which measured 31 x 21cm.

I simply joined them together with a 1cm seam allowance and then pressed the seams towards the darker fabric. A quick bit of top stitching adds a nice professional touch! 

The next step is to iron a piece of lightweight interfacing onto the wrong side of your pieced cover. This is particularly important if you are using a fairly open weave or light coloured fabric.  

To make the inner flaps, which will hold the journal in place, cut two pieces of linen fabric measuring 18 x 23cm.  Fold in half vertically and press, giving the folded edge a nice crisp crease.

Place your finished front cover piece down, right side up. Put the two flaps down on top with the folded edges facing in.  If you're adding a closure to your journal (I used a hair elastic) place it halfway down, in-between the back cover and flap.

Cut a lining from your floral fabric, so that it is the same size as your front cover piece (in my case 33 x 23cm).

Place the lining, right side down, on top of your fabric sandwich.  Pin or tack securely and then machine stitch around all four sides, remembering to leave a small turning gap!

Trim your seams and clip corners to reduce bulk and turn through to the right side.  Press gently and then hand sew the turning gap closed. 

Once the cover is turned through to the right side, the flaps will be on the inside ready to hold your notebook neatly in position. I took the photo above before the final press!

If you included a closure elastic, stitch a button into place on the front and then insert your journal and that's it.....

.......A beautiful handmade journal cover!