Small (but perfectly formed)

Last month Storey Publishing sent me this book to review:

one yard
Little One Yard Wonders available from Amazon and lots of other book shops I’m sure.

For some reason I was surprised at the amount of projects in it; however the clue is on the cover!  I immediately spotted a couple of items I wanted to make and have already made 4 pairs of shorts in various sizes but more about those another day.  Last week I decided it was time to make something for my about to be 3 year old niece, I had another browse through it and there were a couple of things that caught my eye; one was this:

Tot Tote and Wallet

Sadly I didn’t have any grommets to hand and didn’t have time to start trawling round to find some.

The other was the Casey Apron, it looked pretty cute and simple; and more importantly something that my niece might like.  So I traced the pattern on to Swedish tracing paper and got planning.

As you may guess from the title of the book ‘Little One Yard Wonders’ all the items can be made from one yard.  However I don’t often buy yards of fabric, I’m more likely to buy fat quarters, fortunately I have a couple of large pieces of Sugar and Spice prints in my stash so I pulled those out and worked out what pattern pieces I could get from each.

The instructions were really clear and so are the layout instructions for the pattern pieces on fabric, but as I’d decided to use 2 different prints I cut the main panels on the fold rather than flat and having to flip the pattern piece over. Interestingly the pattern materials state that the pattern is not suitable for one-way prints but the accompanying photograph shows the apron in a directional print.

apron on hanger

The pattern instructions were straightforward and I made this from start to finish in less than 2 hours (not including pattern tracing time). I made the small size and after asking my 4.5 year old to model it am sure it will fit my 3 year old niece.

So yes, there are photo’s! My son was persuaded to try the apron on in exchange for a tiny chocolate egg! Handy pockets:


To be fair to him it was really sunny which is why such lovely facial expressions were used, I don’t think he really minded modelling.  This apron would look great in more masculine prints too.


He is the cutest little boy I know, and our gorgeous lavender bushes seem to make a good backdrop for outside photo’s.


It’s not easy to see here but the neck strap is made of 2 parts and have velcro on so it can be done up behind the neck and the same goes for the waist; no tricky ties to do.  The main panel is lined with the fabric I used on the neck and waist straps.

The apron was delivered to it’s new owner by post yesterday, however when I spoke to my sister-in-law yesterday the birthday girl was asleep so yet to open her gift. I can see more of these quick makes in my future.

So far I am delighted with this book, I think it would be great for people who are just starting on a sewing journey and want to sew for children. There are useful guidelines at the beginning of the book on sewing for children, an extensive glossary; handy if you are new to sewing and don’t know what something means (lets be honest we’ve all been there). At the front there is a pocket which contains all the pattern sheets for every item in the book. You know that a yard of fabric will be enough for each project so even if you don’t have a stash of fabric all you need to buy is one piece of fabric (try limiting yourself to just one though ;-)). My favourite thing? (apart from the patterns) joy of joys the book is spiral bound, so when you lay your book down to carry out the next step you do not loose your page, how I love that; I can just glance across and look what the next step is without having to find the right page (again).

The theme for Le Challenge this month has been ‘small’ so this is my entry; for a small child, I have made a host of other ‘small’ things but you’ll just have to wait and see.  Check out what other ‘small’ themed things people have been making:

Le Challenge

Storey Publishing sent me this book to review however all opinions are my own.  I will continue to make items from the book and write about them here.

Read More

Lola the Owl and a Gingercake giveaway

**before you get your hopes up I’m not giving away a baked Gingercake**

A month or so ago a lovely email popped into my inbox from Virginia of Gingercake, it was a request to take part in her Handmade Gift Series.  I was delighted and flattered as I’ve been a fan of Gingercake patterns since I came across them a few years ago.

I’ve used the Love Your Lunchbox pattern:

Love Your Lunch Box

It’s been used every school day for 2 and half years and it’s still going strong.

I’ve made 20 or so of the Mini Crayon Art Folio (found as a bonus in the Crayon Art Folio pattern):

To the rescue - crayon wallet

You may well have seen one or more of the many journal covers I’ve made using the Notebook Slip Cover pattern as a starting point:

Selvedge notebook/journal covers

So I was given the opportunity to choose another pattern to try out and chose Lola the Owl.

Now Virginia initially made this pattern up as a cushion but what I was really taken with was the pattern variation of making an owl bag.

I had a browse through my fabric stash and none of the fabrics really grabbed my attention, so I then had a think about what I had in my vintage/thrifted stash and found the perfect fabrics.

Lola the Owl bag

As expected the pattern was easy to follow (once I’d found my felt stash anyway!).  I decided to omit the closure option of velcro or a magnetic snap.

Lola the Owl bag

The one change I did make to the pattern was to make the strap adjustable with the use of buttons and buttonholes:

Lola the Owl bag

So it can grow with your child (or be borrowed by you if you fancy!).

What I really needed was a child to model the bag for me, neither of the girls could find time in their busy schedules to help out (truth be told we had just got back from the library and books were far more exciting!).  So a small boy in an owl hat was enlisted and pulled some especially cute faces:
Lola the Owl bag
Virginia has kindly given you the chance to win a copy of the pattern so you can make your very own Lola bag or pillow just in time for giving as a gift, simply enter using the Rafflecoptor form below.

AND as an added bonus you can use the code: GINGERCAKE to take 15% any orders placed in my Etsy shop through until Saturday 30 November, so you can stock up on vintage sheet fabrics to use for your holiday crafting.  Grab yourself some vintage sheet fat quarters which are new to the shop:


Or treat yourself to a charm pack of 21 different prints (42 charms total), all sourced in the UK:

Vintage Sheet Charm Squares (5")

Thanks to Virginia for inviting me to be part of this series, check out her blog for links to others taking part and for more chances to win.


Disclaimer: I was given the PDF pattern for the purposes of this series;  all views are my own.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Read More

More new pyjamas

I made myself some pyjama bottoms and my middle child asked if I would make some pyjamas for her as she said she didn’t have any with long sleeves – not true but never mind, any excuse to sew.

Earlier this year I made a pair of pyjamas for Mathias (age 3yrs) using the Goodnight Sweetheart pattern from Sewing for Boys:

Bedtime boy

Originally I traced the pattern pieces for the 4/5 size then realised that it would be far too big on my little boy, so retraced and made a pair in the 2/3 size.  This did mean that I had the pattern ready for Leah, she is 6 but I knew from looking at the measurements that 4/5 would be about right for her.

A couple of years ago Tobit had a work trip to the US and also went fabric shopping, one of the fabrics he bought because he really liked it was a flannel by Valori Wells, Della Owl Friends.  I had almost enough of this for the jacket but not quite so I decided that I would make the cuffs of the sleeves and jacket from the same fabric as the bottoms.  However I made an error in my cutting (simply folded the pattern in the wrong place) so the fabric of cuffs on the sleeves are longer than the cuff on the jacket.  I’m guessing that if I hadn’t told you that you wouldn’t have noticed!


(Guess who had just lost a tooth and loves sticking her tongue through that gap?)

The fabric for the trousers is a Robert Kaufman flannel I bought from Quilt Me Happy for less than £5 per metre, I think I bought all 3.5m that was left, so there well be more pyjamas in the same fabric…


I really struggled to find the right buttons, I think on the visit to shop number 4 I found some, a bag full of lime green buttons for £2.50 and plenty of the right size. It wasn’t until afterwards that I remembered I could have made my own with my stash of self cover buttons!

The button holes were even more of a problem, my machine has a very clever foot in which you put the button and it stitches the buttonhole to be the right size for the button. I tested it out on a offcut of the flannel and it worked perfectly. But when it came to making the buttonholes in the top it was a different matter. The foot was unable to cope with the edge of the jacket and also the piping.  After numerous attempts I gave up and Tobit got my old machine out of the loft:

2 machines

I used the simple buttonhole function on that and had them all done pretty quickly.


One final detail was to add a label.  I was the lucky winner of a giveaway at Boy, Oh Boy, Oh Boy of 2 sheets of custom labels from Ananemone.  Tobit came up with a design for the label and Sara worked her magic.  The labels are 100% organic cotton, machine washable and dryable and cleverly printed on the bias so fraying should not be an issue.  I’m pretty pleased with them and Leah requested it to be sewn on the back of the jacket.


I like this pattern, even more so second time round.  You might guess from the photographs that Leah is pleased with her new pyjamas and I love that they are unisex enough to be handed down to her little brother in a few years time.


Big sister surprisingly didn’t want to miss out on the photo action so went and put her own pyjamas on, she’s never worn these bottoms but I did make them for her (the top is shop bought).  The patterns in the book don’t go up to her size so I may just have to find a different pattern – any recommendations for 8 year old plus pyjama patterns?

Linking up with Craft Book Month

If you’re interested in other projects I’ve made from this book check out these posts:

Goodnight Sweetheart pj bottoms

Treasure Pocket Pants; here, here, here and here (yes I’ve made a few pairs!)

Easy Linen Shirt

Kickin’ Back Sweats

Raglan Tee

Read More

A goal for September

The children go back to school next week so I’m anticipating some more time to sew.  Time to start something new? Hmm maybe I should deal with some of the WIPS I found when sorting out my sewing space:

Portholes workshop with Lu Summers

I made these portholes blocks in Lucie Summers workshop at FQ Retreat in June 2012 so it’s high time I did something with them.

FQ Retreat 2012: Portholes class

Believe it or not I think they might become cushion covers.  So that’s my simple plan for the month, I’ll let you know how I get on.

Linking up with:

A Lovely Year of Finishes

Read More

KCW round up

I had a vague intention to blog more frequently this week on my Kids Clothes Week progress, but after the fail so soon after the start I focused on sewing rather than sharing!

So here are the shorts I made, the top 2 pairs are the pairs that due to the printer scaling the pattern turned out more like a size 5 than a size 8.  Fortunately for me I have 2 daughters and these do fit my younger daughter and she likes them!

KCW shorts

The bottom 2 pairs are the size I intended them to be , they are now shoved in Bethan’s drawer waiting for the sun to shine!  It is still pretty chilly here so rather than getting the girls to wear them for a photoshoot (not so great in our building site of a garden) I pegged them up.  No prizes for spotting the difference between the pairs but it’s enough for me to know which pair belongs to which child when they come out of the wash!

I also made half of the Goodnight, sweetheart pjs from Sewing for Boys:

Goodnight, sweetheart pj bottoms

Yes I went for the easy part first, the bottoms.  I have cut the pieces for the top this afternoon but not yet had time to sew it.  I used some lovely soft flannel from the Children at Play line by Sarah Jane Studios.

I hesitated about what size to make these, Mathias is 3 1/2 and his height is below average for his age, but the pattern comes in a 2/3, 4/5 and 6/7.  I was worried that 2/3 would be on the small side and the 4/5 would be way too big.  Fortunately my sounding board (aka Tobit) suggested 2/3 would be fine and I’m so glad he did, without the cuffs turned up they fit Leah (almost 6) pretty well so with the cuffs turned up 2″ they are on the big side for Mathias!

Goodnight, sweetheart pj bottoms

I sewed a piece of blue ribbon in at the back of the waistband to help him know which way on they go (I opted out of the faux fly).

Goodnight, sweetheart pj bottoms

Bethan was very taken by the sight and feel of the flannel pj bottoms and requested I make her some!  I didn’t have enough flannel in my stash to make a pair so we had a browse through the flannel section at Pink Castle Fabrics and were very tempted by most of what was on offer especially with 20% off this weekend (code EVERYTHING20).  I got the feeling that Bethan wasn’t really prepared to wait a week or so for fabric to arrive and then I remembered that I had found some flannel at the car boot a year or so ago.  I wasn’t expecting her to like it but she loved it, so I quickly cut out the pieces and sewed them up, probably the fastest garment I’ve ever made!

KCW Pyjama bottoms - size 8

These were too long on Bethan so I turned up the cuffs 2″ and they fit better, so hopefully both pairs of pyjama bottoms will last the children a good while!

Again a piece of blue ribbon at the back.

KCW Pyjama bottoms - size 8

So all in all after the near disastrous start to the week I’m really pleased with how productive I’ve been, especially with plasterers, builders, roofers and electricians working in and on the house.

It was a trying week, seriously; I got back from the school and preschool drop off on Friday morning to discover the contents of the under stairs cupboard all over the living room and the electricity turned off for almost all the morning!  I’m hoping that I can get on with the other half of the pyjamas tomorrow but I’m not holding out too much hope as the electrician is due here again!

Now the only thing to decide is whether or not to go and buy some of that delicious flannel from Pink Castle Fabrics ready for next time…

I hope you’ve had a productive week whether you’ve been sewing for children or sewing for something/one else.

Linking up my Sewing for Boys project with:

Heart of Charnwood

Read More

A quilt finish for Siblings Together

So I finished this quilt a week or so ago, I just needed time to write about it!

Last year I bought some charm packs of Little Apples by Aneela Hoey from an online fabric store that was closing down, they were a bargain price and ideal for a quilt for a girl.

It took me a while to decide what to do with them.  I had ideas of making 2 quilts with the 4 packs that I had, but after much sketching and calculating I decided to it would be easier to make just the one with this fabric.

I’d seen Jeni’s Patchwork Chevron Quilt and liked the idea but didn’t want to make quite such a big quilt.  So I scaled it down using 4 patch blocks instead of 9 patch and this is the result:

Little Apples for Siblings Together

Believe it or not we actually had sunshine one day last week so I took the opportunity to take some photo’s in the park, pegging the quilt to the fencing of the tennis courts.

Little Apples for Siblings Together

The yellow fabric was left over from last years Siblings Together quilts, I used it to back the Sew Cherry quilts.  I had enough left to make 3 rows of chevrons but I then decided I didn’t want a square quilt, so I ordered some more fabric, enough for another row and for the backing too.

Little Apples for Siblings Together

The Klona is wide 54″ so a metre goes a bit further than other solids.  The finished quilt is 54″ wide, I basted it on the floor in the half an hour or so that I had left before the dining room was shut off in the building works.  Unfortunately when I’d finished basting I discovered that it had a big crease in the back, so I decided to unbaste it and add a strip of Little Apple charms in to the back which made the backing fit a bit more comfortably and basting easier (although with no dining room floor I had to take it to my mums to get it done).

Little Apples for Siblings Together - back

I quilted the background fabric between the chevrons following the line of the chevrons.

Little Apples for Siblings Together

Little Apples for Siblings Together

The binding is Cross Hatch in Bus Red from Lucie Summers Summersville line, I’ve used it on another quilt that I’ve yet to blog about and I do love it as a binding fabric.  I bought 3 yards of it with plans for clothing but I might just keep it as my ‘go to binding’.

So I hope that while this is my first quilt this year for Siblings Together it will not be my last, only time will tell!  Oh and I must get a label from Laura Jane to finish it off.

Quilt Stats:

Size: 54″ x 72″
Fabric: Little Apples charm pack by Aneela Hoey, Klona Maize
Backing fabric: Klona Maize and Little Apples
Binding: Cross Hatch in Bus Red from Summersville collection by Lucie Summers
Quilting: Quilted by me on my machine
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom Wadding 80/20
Pattern: Based on this idea by Jeni Baker

Read More

Commissions – bunting and a journal cover

Don’t forget Ruby Star Wrapping giveaway still open here for UK and Ireland folks.

A quick update on some recently completed commissions:

Bunting commission

Bunting for a boy:

Bunting commission

using the delicious fabrics from the Mechanical Genius range by Mo Bedell:

Bunting commission

Bunting for his sister:

Bunting commission

using Sherbet Pips by Aneela Hoey

Bunting commission

I have a bit of a thing about using tone on tone, plain or lightly patterned fabric for personalised bunting, I’ve seen some where I struggle to see the letters clearly.  These were commissioned by a local friend for her to send to friends in Indonesia – hopefully they’ll be there soon.

Another journal cover, again commissioned by a local friend:

Patchwork journal cover - commission

for a birthday, for a lady who likes green;

Patchwork journal cover - commission

Made in the same way as this one:

Patchwork journal cover - commission

With the addition of some selvedges for fun.

A little bit of subtle stitching to personalise it, I even managed to get it on the spine!

Patchwork journal cover - commission

Two happy customers and some fun for me.

Linking up with:

Fresh Poppy Design

Read More

Colour your own lunch sack

All of our children have packed lunches for school/preschool.  A couple of years ago I made Bethan a lunch bag which is still going strong but not looking quite so fresh.

Love Your Lunch Box

Leah’s shop bough lunch bag has been looking quite grotty so I agreed to make her a new one.

I ordered some of Lu Summers Alphabetty laminate in coal from her etsy shop, planning to use it as it would be wipe clean and longer lasting than a shop bought one.  I also bought a big pack of sharpies with the intention that Leah could colour in the fabric before I stitched it.

Then the hunt began for a pattern, Leah has more in her lunch bag than Bethan and the chief sandwich maker (aka Tobit) told me that the bag Bethan has would not be big enough for Leahs lunch.  After a hunt around I came across a free downloadable pattern from Ellen Luckett Bakers book 1,2,3 Sew available here.  It’s for a lunch sack, it’s roomy and less structured than Bethan’s.

I read through the pattern details and discovered that the laminate fabric was not going to work with the design – whoops.  I was convinced that this bag would be better for Leah so ditched the laminate idea and pulled out the non laminate version of the same fabric!  I cut the main panel pieces out and handed Leah the fabric pens and she coloured in some of the letters, she was just going to colour in the letters of her name but discovered that all the ‘e’s’ were off the fabric, hidden in the seam allowance or not proper ‘bubble writing’ (I blame the designer!).

In my stash I have a pack of insulbright which I used in Bethan’s lunch bag, the same stuff you can use for oven gloves etc.  I used this instead of wadding and pulled a Kona orange out for the bag interior/top bit.

A few days later the bag was finished, a few weeks later the sun eventually shone and photo’s were taken:


Oh my she can be such a cutie.

I adapted the pattern, Ellen’s instructions are for a handle either side, I don’t know if her children carry their own bags to school but mine like to put them under the pushchair.  That can’t last forever so I put an adjustable strap on this one, so she can wear it across the body, over the shoulder or if I’m feeling extra generous I can carry it in my hand with the strap short.


You can’t really see from the picture but there is a drawstring at the top of the orange inner bit which keeps everything contained.  So far it’s holding up pretty well, she’s proud of it which also means any leftover fruit skins are put in a pot and then in her bag (school policy is that they bring home all empties so that we know what they have/haven’t eaten) rather than just chucked in to start decomposing onto the fabric.  It can go through the wash which I’m not sure I would have done if using the laminate.


So now I just need to decide what to do with a metre of lovely laminate?

Linking up with:

Fresh Poppy Design

Read More

Not a quick birthday present

There is a pile of things I’ve made over the last month or so that I’ve not written about, here is one of them:

My eldest daughter Bethan has a good friend who was celebrating her birthday, her mum appreciates and admires my work so it only seemed right that between us (Bethan and I) we made something to gift.  Young girls it appears like stationery, Bethan certainly does and enjoys writing things down (I’m not sure what I’m not really supposed to look) so the plan was to make a journal cover.

Bethan told me that Louisa’s favourite colour was yellow so she pulled out the yellow scrap box and selected a pile of fabrics she liked.  I suggested that we put in a little bit of grey to add a bit of interest and then I was left to sew!

Quilted journal cover


I patchworked the fabrics together into the right size piece and then basted it to a piece of batting and straight line quilted it.

Quilted journal cover


Quilted journal cover

I used a Lecien print (Honey Tune) that I bought from the Eternal Maker  at the Creative Stitches show last September, it was in the £7.50 per metre basket so I snapped it up.  I love it, Bethan wasn’t so keen but as she got distracted with something else I used it anyway!

As a finishing touch Bethan stamped Louisa’s name on the front, just so there is no doubt who it belongs to.

So why was it not quick?  Well by the time the fabrics were chosen, ironed, stitched together, quilted and then turned into a journal cover a few hours had gone by.  But it was such a satisfying project and fun to use up some more scraps, how to bust the rest?



Read More

2012: another year of sewing

It’s the end of the year so I’m having a quick look back at what I’ve achieved in the last 12 months, I am pleasantly surprised!

Quilts: all started and finished in 2012

Eight big quilts (and a few baby size), six of which I have given away!  Quilts for Siblings Together was a big project in the early ‘summer’, it was a joy to sew for others and wonderful much later in the year to read Lynne’s post about the giving of the quilts.  I already have plans for next year!

Bags, pouches and purses finished in 2012

A selection of bags, purses and pouches that have been made, featuring heavily is the Lined Drawstring bag (pattern by Jeni), I love it.

Clothing finishes 2012

At the beginning of the year I joined in the Sewing for Boys sew along, I guess I managed 4 months before life got in the way.  But it inspired me to think about sewing for the children again, and I love the Treasure Pocket Pants pattern, making 5 pairs of those.

Other finishes 2012

There was other ‘stuff’ cushion covers, zakka style sew along items, gifts and I even wrote a few tutorials, and of course the weekend away at FQ Retreat.

A big step for me this year was teaching.  I’ve never done it before, but I lead a couple of evenings at a friends home sewing for Dress A Girl Around the World and Siblings Together.  In July I taught my first workshop at Arrietty, teaching six ladies how to make frame purses.  I’ve done a few more since then and have also taught some private one-to-one sessions.  I’ve loved teaching, sharing knowledge, inspiring and giving others confidence in their abilities (and starting fabric habits in others – hahaha!).

So that’s it for today, I have vague plans for 2013 but output may well be determined by building work on our house.

Here’s hoping you have a wonderful 2013.


Read More