Because life’s celebrations shouldn’t cost the Earth

Thursday, 25 May 2017

Zipper End Tab Tutorial

How to cover zip ends ~ An easy DIY!

It's been absolutely ages since I lasted posted a tutorial, so without any further fuss here's a new one ~ Demonstrating how to create the little tabs covering zipper ends of bags and pouches.  They're such a cute little design feature, adding a pop of colour and a fabulous professional feel to your finished makes. 

So that you could see the difference they make for yourself, I began by stitching up an example pouch without tabs......

Just look how pinched and puckered the bulky zipper teeth make those poor side seams....

Now doesn't that look better?!


The first thing you'll notice about this tutorial is that I'm not one for lots of complicated measuring.....I'd much rather get on with the actual sewing and then cut off the 'extra' bits later!  This makes the whole process sew much quicker and easier 😀

To begin, firstly cut two strips of fabric just a touch wider than your zip and approximately twice the finished length of the tabs (I think about 1½ cm looks perfect) plus an extra 5 or 6 centimetres ~ See I promised no real measuring was needed!

Now cut your zipper so that it is roughly 4½ cm shorter than your pouch side pieces. I sew my seams with a narrow ¾ cm allowance but if you stitch a wider seam just cut your zipper proportionately shorter.  Trimming the zip also loses the metal 'staples' from the zipper ends, sewing machines needles do not come off best in a fight against them (guess how I know that!).  You could also sew the zip ends closed with a couple of hand stitches, I don't bother but I guess there is a slight risk you might lose the zipper pull off one or other of the open ends! 

Next fold under approximately 1 cm on each end of your fabric strips press, then fold in half and press again.  From now on the fabric strips will simply be referred to as tabs.

Place one zipper end just inside the first folded tab and hand tack into position.  The less zip you have within the tab the better, as the whole point of the exercise is to reduce unnecessary excess, thus eliminating the annoying puckering that comes from those bulky zipper teeth.

Machine stitch into place and repeat with the other zipper end, you'll then be left with the ends looking like this;

Now continue constructing your pouch in the usual manner......

....and once you've stitched your zipper pouch sandwich, simply trim off the excess tab fabric 

Looking good!

There you have it, a quick and easy guide to creating zipper tabs,
I told you it was easy!

For the pouch above I chose to stitch the tabs in a high contrast fabric for a very modern effect, but they also look great in matching fabric;

In the pouch below I made the tabs an absolutely integral design feature of the finished item... 

Pretty cute huh?

See More SewforSoul zipper pouches here

Tuesday, 9 May 2017

'Big Top' Applique Circus Bag

Embroidered Circus Tent Sack

May's issue of Sewing World Magazine is available in shops now and it's packed full of lots of lovely projects just waiting to be stitched, including my 'Big Top' Toy Sack.

Leanne, the magazine's editor, asked me to design a drawstring bag which pulled up to create the vaulted top of a circus tent!

It has a fantastic retro vibe going on (not least because we no longer expect animals to be used as a source of amusement and fun!) and the nice and roomy size means it can easily swallow absolutely loads of toys or a full PE kit.

As usual I used my favourite freemotion machine embroidery and raw edge applique techniques.  I just love the way the 'doodled' black stitching really brings the pictures to life  ~ Take look at that cute monkey!

We also have a baby elephant...

 ..and a very talented seal


Happy Stitching!

Wednesday, 12 April 2017

'You're my Sunshine' Embroidery Hoop Art

'Rainy Days' Project ~ Sewing World Magazine

April's issue of Sewing World Magazine is in the shops now and it's packed full of Easter and Spring makes to sew, including my little appliqued embroidery hoop picture.

I love Spring and at this time of the year, here in the UK, we often feel like we experience all four seasons in one day!  As the skies open it's good to remind ourselves that 'April showers bring May flowers', just as some people always brighten our gloomy days!  

I stitched up the hoop for my big sister who has a birthday later this month, as I know she really is the 'Sunshine on a rainy day' for lots of different people!

The magazine has a total of ten spring projects just waiting to be stitched, including these;   

 Happy Easter!

Monday, 27 March 2017

Beautiful Bags ~ New Bookazine

Applique Peg Bag

I've had seven different projects published in various sewing and crafting magazines so far this year and it's only March!  However, in between the actual stitching and writing of patterns, I juggle the needs of my children with caring for elderly parents, suffering from dementia, so blogging unfortunately takes a (very) back seat.

I'm hoping that as the nights draw out taking photos will be easier and I'll therefore be able to use the lighter evenings to create some longer blog posts but in the meantime it remains hit and miss!  However I wanted to quickly share this project featured in a new bookazine by the folks behind Sewing World Magazine.

I particularly like bookazines as I find they work out such good value, this one is priced at £6.99, and contains fifteen new bags with clear step by step photo instructions and a full sized pull-out pattern sheet ~ That's just over 45p per project!

My contribution is an appliqued peg bag with a very cute little house and washing line

 I want to live in a house with a white picket fence!

 The bag has a little velcro strap so that it can be quickly and easily fixed to the washing line.  The bucket shape also means that it can be free standing, if preferred, so your pegs will always be close at hand.


Friday, 27 January 2017

Valentine's Applique Wall Hanging Pattern

Sewing World Magazine February 2017

February's Sewing World Magazine is in the shops now and features lots of lovely Spring and Valentine's projects for you to sew, including my floral 'Loving Hearts' applique wall hanging;

The magazine has a pull out section with full size patterns for each of the makes, along with step by step colour photos and easy to follow written instructions.

Wall hangings offer a great way to display mini-quilts and I use a really simple method to create the casings to hold the dowling hanger (or old knitting needle!).

The quote comes from a traditional Greek proverb and is perfectly complimented with hearts, flowers and vines.  Not surprisingly I designed it to include lots of raw edge applique and free-motion embroidery, as they're my absolute favourite techniques!

The use of black, both in the stitching and binding, adds a really contemporary feel to the hanging and it would fit into any room whether modern or traditional!

Happy Valentine's Day!