Archive for the 'accessories' Category

Another Sidekick Tote (a vomit proof bag)

Earlier this year I made myself a Sidekick Tote, I’ve used it a lot and love it:

Sidekick Tote - Echino Scooters

During the summer holidays I made a trip to the local fabric shop and spotted some gorgeous webbing that was being unpacked from a delivery, I decided that I needed it for the strap for my next bag!

Yes, I did have a plan for a new bag already in my mind but the webbing was the deciding factor for actually making it:

Laminate Sidekick Tote

Ever the practical person I don’t like to use my first Sidekick Tote if it’s raining, I don’t want to get it soaked and risk the contents getting soggy too, so I pulled out my stash of Summersville Alphabetti laminate to use.

Laminate Sidekick Tote

The pattern suggests the use of interfacing but I didn’t in this one as the laminate is quite stiff. I’ve no idea how the fabric houses go about deciding on the strength of the laminate they apply to their fabrics but the Moda one is considerably stiffer that the Michael Miller (used for the pocket) and also matt rather than a gloss finish.

Laminate Sidekick Tote

I must make a note on the paper pattern about the pocket closure; I missed it the first time and almost this time too. It may be because of where it is on the page or because I use the 2nd pocket option but it’s quite annoying to have to fiddle around to fit the velcro it in.


It’s a wonderful bag, again I made the small size which is plenty big enough for my needs. It holds up well in the wet weather and little did I know that during our camping trip it would also be put to the test of projectile vomiting from a poorly child (my child rather than anyone else’s – does that make it better or worse?). A wipe with antibacterial wipes and it was as good as new, sadly the same could not be said about poorly Leah!

I have a packet of Sharpies which I am very tempted to use to do some colouring on the bag but so far I’ve resisted, maybe I’ll make a third just for colouring purposes!

It’s not quite Tuesday here but it is some places in the world so I’m linking up with:

Sew Cute Tuesday

Teacher gifts 2013

It was the end of the school year for my girls last week and it has fast become a tradition for me to make a gift for their teachers.

I try to get them to think about what their teacher might actually like and appreciate, something a bit personal and not just a generic item.

Bethan has previously made journal/notebook covers for friends birthdays and thought that Mrs Brook would like one too.  We came up with the idea of making the front cover look like a piece of paper by stitching a pink line down the left hand side and then blue lines across the page:


Bethan then wrote on it with a fabric pen and I free motion stitched over it to make it stand out a bit more. For the back of the journal I used a ‘school’ themed print:


Lucky for her I still had this, it was destined for the ugly swap at FQ retreat as I never thought I would use it!

Bethan is fortunate to be having the same teacher next year, so we’ll have to come up with another idea in a years time. Mrs Brook said that she would write her lesson plans in it over the summer and there was I thinking she was going to have a well deserved 6 week holiday especially after taking 25 eight year olds on a residential trip for 3 days!

Leah’s teacher this year is what we call an NQT (newly qualified teacher) so this was her very first proper class. And she has been awesome; very kind, patient, encouraging and firm (sometimes necessary with my wild child). Leah told me that Miss Burrow is always losing her pens and pencils so said that we should make her a case for them. She also wanted to write a note on the case.

Somewhere along the line there was a miscommunication and I got it all wrong, she didn’t want it to look like paper on the pencil case she wanted to write a note to go inside it. I left the pencil case to one side and went off to London for the weekend. On Monday evening I told her that it had to get finished there and then or there would be nothing to give on Wednesday. Nothing like a bit of pressure to focus the mind, by the time I went to bed there was this:


Leah did the same as Bethan, writing on it with a pen and I stitched over it, keeping the 6 yr old handwriting and spellings!  ’Miss Burrows penceil and pen case for keeping safe’

Leah chose some Summersville Alphabetti for the back, I used this for her lunch bag so she said it will help Miss Burrow to remember her and she can colour it in if she likes!  Such a thoughtful child.


Lining is some more Summersville Scandi


This gift was well received too, I’m really hoping that she will stay with the school as Mathias would love to be in her class in a couple of years time!  So that’s it for another year, I hope inspiration strikes again.

Giveaway Day is here again – now closed

Hello and welcome to all of you lovely people visiting for the first time as part of the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day and happy Monday to all my regular readers, especially if you’re in the UK where it’s a bank holiday.

I’m Mary, I live in the south west of England with 3 young children and a wonderful husband.

I love to sew and to support my sewing/fabric habit a year ago I opened an Etsy shop as an outlet for my excessive vintage sheet collection, thanks to all you who been helping me out by buying the kits and charm packs over the year!  As a little extra treat on top of the giveaway, use code: SEWMAMASEW to take 15% off any purchase in the shop through till next Sunday 12th May.

Last summer I started teaching some workshops which has been great fun.  One of the classes is a zip pouch workshop and earlier this year I took part in the Triple Zip Along, (yes using not one but three zips in a pouch) and made two pouches that are very similar.

Triple zip pouches

I used some text print fabrics from a charm swap and I mentioned at the time that didn’t need two pouches and at some point I would give one away.  Now seems as good a time as any to do just that.

Triple zip pouches

I’m happy to fill the pouch with scraps too if you’re a fan of scraps!

So to be in with a chance of winning it’s simple; just leave a comment below telling me what was the last thing you sewed and who it was for.

The giveaway closes on Friday May 10th at 5pm (PST) (which I believe is midnight here in the UK, funnily enough I’ll probably be asleep so any comments left after this time will be deleted!).  I will use the Random Number Generator to select the winner who will be notified by email and announced on the blog.  Please ensure that I have a way of contacting you by email.

Thanks for stopping here and good luck with this and all the other giveaways listed on the Sew Mama Sew blog!

Help please!

This coming weekend my lovely youngest cousin is getting married, the present is made, a gorgeous quilt with photo’s coming soon (it just needs a label), now the small matter of what to wear.

Truth be told that has actually been decided, I’m not a great one for looking glam or smart or even wearing much apart from jeans but I bought a dress back in the summer that I’ve not worn yet and it will do just fine.

So how to accessorise?  I’ve got some jewellery that will go wonderfully I just think that I need to make myself a clutch purse to go with it.

The blue floral fabric at the back is my dress, the other fabrics are those that I’ve pulled from my stash to make something with:

Dress and fabric

I have a 6″ x 3″ purse frame that I’m thinking of using.  Have you seen Emily’s frame purse tutorial over at the Village Haberdashery, it’s pretty smart and I’m tempted to make a pieced purse.

So what I’d like from you are suggestions as to what I could do on the purse, bearing in mind I can’t use the index finger on my right hand so any more than a little hand sewing is out of the question (obviously there is more fabric in my stash that I could use, let me know if you think I’ve missed something).

Be quick it needs to be done before we travel on Friday and if I’m not careful I’ll spend hours browsing this group and this group on flickr and not do any sewing atall!

I will be back soon with a winner from the UR Priceless giveaway just need to turn on the comment numbering gadget thingy.

Commissions, swaps and lot of wood

If you’ve not entered the giveaway be quick it closes tonight at 9pm (UK time)

I’ve been working on a few things recently some of which are earphone pouches:

Earphone pouch

Some are for a friend who runs her own soap business Soapdaze and ‘gets’ the whole buy handmade idea, so it was a delight to sew for her.  Sharon had fun choosing the fabrics from my stash and I sewed the up the other week.  I was quite delighted with the blue one on the left in Amy Butler Charm fabric and how well the fussy cutting went.  I don’t have a photo of the other side of it but it looked great!

3 earphone pouches for swap

These are for another local lady Artist Sarah, with whom I’m doing a swap, she’s making me a pile of compact mirrors in exchange for these.  I’ve supplied her with some fabric too so some will be to co-ordinate with other things that might be gifted this Christmas.

I’ve been busy with another commission but you’ll have to wait until later in the week for more on that.

Yesterday we went to visit my mum and eldest brother, some chain sawing and log carrying took place:

Our car boot was filled, we unloaded yesterday afternoon and stacked it in our log store, at some point or other I managed to bang the index finger on my right hand and it is now badly bruised and swollen.

I’m not talented enough to take a photo of it so you’ll just have to take my word for it!  Anyway it might have put paid to any sewing this week – I’ll have to wait and see.

I’ll be back on Wednesday for my day on the Holiday Lane Pillow Blog Hop.

UR Priceless Blog Hop and a giveaway – now closed

Giveaway now closed

After a week of seeing what others have created in this priceless blog hop it’s my turn to share some of my handiwork.  First a big thanks to Mdm Samm for the great pattern and instructions and Katherine for organising the blog hop.

Over the last six months I’ve made a number of frame purses;

Japanese patchwork frame coin purse

Glue-in frame purses

I’ve also been teaching others how to make these in workshops at Arrietty.
All these purses have been made using the frames where the fabric is glued in rather than sewn in so I was keen to join in this blog hop and try out the sew-in frame.

I found the pattern straight forward to work with, the instructions were clear and the photographs really helpful.

The first one using Jay McCarroll fabrics turned out just fine:

Frame purse - Garden Friends

Frame purse - Garden Friends

I bought my frames from 3D Pattern Paper, the shop is based in China and I was a little bit concerned about how long delivery might take to the UK but was amazed when it took just 7 days for my parcel to arrive!  They have a wide selection of frames in store and the prices are great.

I used a iron on cotton interfacing which has no brand name but I buy it from my local fabric store and it has a great feel and is easy to work with.  It has a fleecy feel to it and so is thicker than normal iron on interfacing.

The next one I made involved upcycling some old jeans and using some scraps left over from a scrap quilt:

Denim coin purse - front

The back has a different strip of scraps:

Denim coin purse - back

I found sewing the purse into the frame wasn’t too awkward (although I did manage to break a needle), the instructions were useful for this otherwise I’m not sure where I would have started.  I used threads from my collection, most of it is from the car boot sale or the charity shop so I don’t really know what it is.  A couple of times the thread did break but I was able to fix it and not have to start again.

Red Letter Day frame purse

This purse is a bit special, made using some of my favourite fabrics, last week it was one of the winners of the ‘Your Andover’ contest.

Red Letter Day frame purse

Last but by no means least I whizzed this one up on Saturday evening, I needed a bit of sewing time after my daughters 8th birthday party.  So while my children were engrossed in watching ‘The Railway Children’ I pulled out my bag of Sew Cherry scraps left from a Siblings Together quilt:


So what to do with all these purses?  Do you fancy one?  I’m giving one away (but not the orange duck one) – if you’re lucky it might even contain some of that shiny chocolate money!

Just leave a comment below letting me know which one you would like (Jay McCarroll, upcycled denim or Sew Cherry) to be in with a chance to win.

For an extra entry you can sign up for email subscription (top right).  Leave an additional comment if you choose to do so.  Giveaway will close at 9pm (UK time) next Sunday (18th November) I’ll use random number generator to select a winner – please make sure I have a way of contacting you if you win.

If you want to purchase the pattern you can find it for sale in Mdm Samms Craftsy store.

So go on hop along and see what these other priceless people have made, you might even find another giveaway:

Read, quilt, cook, pray

The Learning Curve

Bacon Then Eggs

Nati’s Little Things

Feltfree pa Asly

El Patchwork de la Abuela

Amy’s Crafty Shenanigans

Maryjo J

s.o.t.a.k. Handmade 


Janice M

Throw a wench in the works

Everyone Deserves a Quilt

A Stitch in Time

Sew Me Something Good

And check out the Pinterest board here to see all the purses made during this blog hop.  Thanks for stopping by.

How to be a good student…

Last month I taught my second purse frame workshop at a local vintage shop Arrietty and even remembered to take my camera this time to capture the finished brilliance:

Purse frame workshop

The ladies were great students, some more confident than others, some perfectionists slowly learning that it didn’t need to be perfect to look great! They were all delighted with their finished purses and one went home and made another one pretty quickly and sent through a proud photo through a few days later!

Purse frame workshop

And you know you have the best students when one of them turns up with an apple a bag of selvedges for the teacher – thanks Elaine.


The next workshop I’m running is a zip purse/pouch workshop, a chance to conquer your fear of zips and make the perfect pouch.  I’ve been sewing up some samples:

Zip pouch - Alexander Henry

As Tobit was off to San Francisco last week I thought I ought to start using the wonderful ‘home sewing is easy’ print that he brought back last year, with some thread on the other side:

Zip pouch - Alexander Henry

and a gorgeous interior too:

Zip pouch - Alexander Henry

This next sample was made with the option of a boxed bottom, I quilted it and then gifted it to a friend for her birthday, so I guess I need to make some more!

Zip pouch with boxed bottom

Zip pouch with boxed bottom

So if you’re local and fancy learning to insert zips then I’d love to help you out.  Next class Thursday 18th October 7-9.30pm.  Please contact Arrietty for more details.  And if you really are scared of zips then why not do some hand sewing with the wonderfully talented Kerry.

Oh and I nearly forgot the winner of a packet of Vintage Fabric Tape is:

Maybe it pays to leave a compliment!  Congratulations Cindy  I’ll get some tape off in the post to you.

P.S. The vintage sheet FQ swap group is up and running, we already have 10 members, pop on over if you fancy joining in.

Linking up with:

Sew Happy Geek

Old fabric, new life

I’ve spent what feels like a lot of time cutting vintage sheet charm squares recently for my Etsy shop and have been wondering what to do with the off cuts. I already carefully cut each piece of fabric carefully before folding and putting through the Go! Baby but inevitably there are bits left.

I have a drawer in a chest in our bedroom that is stuffed full of sheet offcuts, some because they have a slight mark on and others because they are smaller than 5″ square, I also have narrow and wide hems in there!

In a mission to reduce the amount of fabric in the drawer I decided to try and make some fabric tape. Now here is a joyous moment when I realised that in the UK we have something that folks in the USA don’t seem to have – double sided sticky tape!

The long and short of my experimenting is that – it works! So from today I will be adding packets of fabric tape to my Etsy shop.

Vintage Fabric Tape

I’ve used it instead of clear sticky tape when wrapping presents, it adds a real ‘pop’ to the gift:

Presents ready to be gifted using vintage sheet fabric tape

I gave a friend a birthday gift on Friday that was wrapped and used the tape on that, she was quite delighted, even more so when she realised the gift also contained a packet of tape for her own personal use, she then told me it would go in the special stationery box just to be looked at!

So I hope you like it and if you fancy a packet of your own to use (or keep) head on over to my Etsy shop.  You can also enter to win a packet, please leave a comment below and I’ll use the random number generator to pick a lucky winner next Sunday evening (7 October). Giveaway now closed.

Linking up with:

Sew Happy Geek

The Hazel Hipster – pattern review and a giveaway – now closed

Last month I saw that Trish at Two Peas In A Pod Design was looking for bloggers to choose one of her patterns to review and I jumped at the chance.

I had a browse through Trish’s etsy shop and eventually decided on the Hazel Hipster.

Trish’s pattern are not pdf’s so I had to wait for it to arrive in the ‘old-fashioned’ way.  I must say that while I love the convenience of a pdf it never quite compares with a professionally produced paper pattern with full size pattern pieces that you don’t have to tape together.

I had a read through of the pattern and a look at the style options and Bethan asked if I would make one for her.  There are 2 style options, style A had exterior pockets which are straight and B has pockets at an angle (see pattern cover above).  The pattern is also in 2 sizes, full size and mini.

Bethan opted for style A and had no choice over the size, I knew that mini would be most suitable for her at 7 yrs old.

The materials list doesn’t list the amount of fabric required for the mini bag but as I wasn’t buying fabric for this project and just using stash fabrics we looked at the pattern pieces and worked out what we needed from that.  I traced the pattern pieces onto pattern paper and cut them out.

Hazel Hipster Mini

The bag has interior and exterior pockets and these are lined.  When I was deciding which fabric to use for which part of the pocket I wrote a list so that I knew which piece was which as I was starting to get a little confused!

For interfacing the materials list states medium weight fusible fleece.  Until recently I don’t think this has been easily available in the UK and I prefer to buy my interfacing in person rather than online so I can be sure of the weight that I am buying.  Sometime last year in my local sewing machine shop I came across a bolt of what I would call fusible fleece, it had no label/branding on it and was £3.50 per metre (I’ve seen Vilene fusbile fleece on sale in the UK for £3.60 for half metre) so I thought I would give it a try.  I’ve used it in frame purses and it works really nicely so time to give it a try in a bag.

The main panels of the bag (both interior and exterior) are all interfaced as is the outside of both pockets.  The pattern piece for the pocket lining state Cut 1 for interfacing but I think this is incorrect as Step 2 of the instructions states ‘the pocket lining panels will not be interfaced’.  Fortunately I had worked this out before cutting.

I have used magnetic snaps a number of times before so had no need to refer to the tutorial on Trish’s website.  There was no suggestion in the instructions for where to place the snap, obviously (to me) it should be central and I estimated how far down from the top of the bag it should go (bearing in mind seam allowance).  I discovered when I came to top stitching the bag that it could have done with being slightly lower as I struggled to sew in a straight line past the snap.  I have just now looked at the tutorial and in the comments below someone else has asked the question how to measure for the snap and Trish suggests 1.5″.  So I know for next time.

In step 5 of the instructions it’s time to construct the exterior and interior main pieces.  The pattern instructs to leave a 6″ opening in the bottom of the bag for turning.  I did not do this, I dislike stitching the opening closed on the right side and instead opted to leave  a gap in step 7 when the interior and exterior are sewn together at the top of the bag.  So rather than sewing all the way around the top of the bag I left a gap of 4″ to turn through.  This worked absolutely fine and as I had done as I was told at the beginning of the pattern and read through it all before starting, I knew that I would be top stitching at the end so closing this opening tidily.

Hazel Hipster Mini - interior view

The strap for the bag is a simple fixed fabric strap.  I was making this bag for Bethan and had in mind that I wanted it to last for a long time so a bag strap that is the right length now might be too short in the future (I am assuming that she still has a fair amount of growing to do!).  I used a bag of mine that has an adjustable strap to work out how short it needed to be and how long I might want it to be in the future.  I ordered a bag slider and ‘D’ ring set from Sew Who Are You?.  The slider is 1″ wide so I cut the strap 4″ wide and 45″ long.  I cut the interfacing 2″ wide and fused it down the middle of the strap.  I then folded the strap long sides together and pressed and then opened it up and folded the edges into the middle and pressed again and top stitched down both sides of the strap.

I only used one of the ‘D’ rings and made an open ended strap for this 4″ wide by 3″ long and made it in the same way as the long strap.

Finished size of the mini bag is 9.5″ wide and 11″ tall.

Hazel Hipster Mini

Bethan is delighted with her bag, she took it to school for ‘show and tell’ this week and it was admired by a few of the mums as well as her class mates!

Hazel Hipster Mini

In conclusion: this is a well written pattern, there are photographs at every step, a space for notes at the end (which I’ve used for strap measurements ready for next time).  Yes, I would use this pattern again, the mini size is a decent size, I’m not sure I would use the larger size.  I’m actually thinking about scaling the mini one down and making a smaller one for using most days when all I need is somewhere for my keys and purse.  I also think I would add an interior zip pocket and a key fob strap as I’ve done in previous bags.

Thanks to Trish for the opportunity to review this pattern,  Trish has very kindly offered to giveaway a surprise pack of 2 patterns from her Etsy shop to one lucky reader.  Open internationally.

To enter:

Leave a comment below telling me which of Trish’s patterns you would most like to try.

Extra entries:

‘Like’ Two Peas in a Pod on Facebook – come back and leave a comment telling me you me you’ve done so.

Share this giveaway on facebook, twitter or your blog and again leave a comment to let me know.

So that’s 3 possible entries. Giveaway will close on Wednesday 25 July at 9pm UK time. I will use random number generator to pick a winner. Please ensure that I have a way to contact you if you win.

Kim has also carried out a pattern review and is hosting a giveaway so why not pop over there for another chance to win.

I have been sewing

I’ve not had much to say in the last week or so, I’ve been caught up with sewing and other stuff and not felt the motivation or had the energy to write.  I’ll be short and maybe sweet, I’ve got a craft fair on Sunday at Matthews Hall in Topsham, the Craft Hub Summer of Love fair from 10am  - 4pm, if you’re local do please pop along.  So I’ve been sewing for this:

A stack of selvedge journal/notebook covers:

Selvedge notebook/journal cover

Selvedge notebook/journal covers

At Christmas these were really popular so as I had a bag full of selvedges I thought I make some more. They are A6 size and I made some with a more masculine feel to them (and I have another pile on the table waiting to be finished).

Selvedge notebook/journal cover

I’ll have any leftovers for sale in my Etsy shop next week, but if you want to buy one now they are £10 plus p&p (just send me your paypal email and I’ll invoice you).

And a pile of these wonderful earbud pouches:

Circle Zip Earbud Pouches

I made one for Tobit last year using Erin’s fantastic tutorial, he uses it all the time and says it is fantastic for keeping his earphones tangle free and safe.  So I purchased Erin’s pattern with a licence to sell and made a pile for sale.  You could also use them for coins or any other small things you want close at hand, I can imagine my children storing marbles or lego pieces in them:

Circle Zip Earbud Pouch

Circle Zip Earbud Pouch

Circle Zip Earbud Pouches

As with the notebooks any ‘leftovers’ will be for sale, these are £9.00 plus p&p.

It is often the case that there is more but that will have to wait, I’m finalising another kit for my Etsy shop and hope to be able to show you before the end of the week.

Linking up really late with:

Sew Happy Geek