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

Feeding the animals

You know sometimes you intend to write about something and then you don’t?  Well this is one of those!

Way back in May I won a wonderful prize in the Sew Mama Sew giveaway day, it was from the lovely Amy who blogs at Lots of Pink Here and has a great Etsy shop Pinked Fabrics.  The prize was to choose 2 yards of fabric from her shop and a pattern.  Well I ummed and ahhed over the fabric and then cheekily asked if I could have it in charm packs, Amy being the kind lady that she is said yes.  The pattern was easier to choose, not fancying clothing patterns for the children I was taken by the ‘feed the animals’ coin purse.

SMS giveaway win from A Lot of Pink Here

I’m ashamed to say the charms are still in their packs awaiting the day when I find the perfect project for them.

During the summer I pulled the pattern out, traced all the pieces and then put it away again.  Then in September once the children were back at school I took the opportunity to get it out again and spent a few happy hours sewing.  As you can see from the pattern cover there are a number of little pieces so the cutting did seem to take forever but then the sewing of the purse was pretty quick.  Yes, it took a while to choose fabric and the buttons for eyes, but once that was done…

So I made a cute cat, with a white applique nose and white stitched whiskers which you can hardly see:


This has gone off to live with my 3yr old niece who has filled it with hair clips and bands safely away from her little sister!

This gorgeous dog I made for Mathias, he was well aware that his big sisters have their own purses (none of which are as cool as this) and had been asking for a purse for a while, so this was wrapped up and given to him on his 3rd birthday last month.

Feed the animals coin purse

Should I at this point mention that he has no money to put in it and the poor dog has been chucked in the toy cupboard…

Feed the animals coin purses

I’m delighted with how they turned out.  The pattern is by the Straight Stitch Society which is part of Oliver + S.  I’ve never sewn with any of their patterns but read great things about them.  This pattern is well written, I understood all of it, at no point did I make any errors or get confused (believe me that happens regularly to me).  They don’t use a lot of fabric and you can customise them however you like.  So yes, I would recommend it.    Oh and the bonus is that if you do want to make some of these yourself you can buy a digital copy of the pattern and not have to wait for it to arrive in the post.

Next up: the monkey?

Ok I’m off to play at Emily’s, have a great day.

Read More

Wiggle it, just a little bit

Last week the children and my husband were all at home, the girls had swimming lesson every morning, we (yes all of us) got involved in toilet training Mathias and it rained most of the week.  So there wasn’t much opportunity to sew but I had seen Emily’s post about wiggly bags and thought that it was a fairly simple project that the children might help with. The bags are used to hickman lines and the idea is that a bag made from lovely fabric might help to brighten the day.

We pulled some child friendly/novelty prints from the cupboard and cut 6″ squares.  The girls took it in turns to press them, feeling quite grown-up using an iron (yes, I should have done the pressing before cutting but who cares?).  Bethan cut some tape in to the right lengths but got distracted after about 8 pieces (I was planning to make 10 bags and needed 4 pieces for each bag).  She did a good job of cutting the velcro though so I won’t complain too much.

That was where their involvement ended leaving me to press and stitch.  They are pretty straightforward bags to make as long as you remember to put the tape in at the right point (I only forgot on one).  And before too long we had 11 (someone can’t count!) bags ready to brighten a poorly child’s day.

Wiggly bags for children in hospital

So if you have a little bit of fabric to spare and a bit of time then please consider making one or two. Either contact Emily and send them to her or contact your local hospital, I’m sure they’d be delighted to have your support.

Read More

1st birthday gift

One of my nieces celebrated her first birthday in July, I was umming and ahhing over what to make for her. I made this:

Fabric ball

It’s cute but I wasn’t convinced about it’s suitability for a 1st birthday gift, maybe as a set of 3 it would work but I didn’t have the energy to make 3!

Then at last I remembered that I had made her sisters name out of letters for her first Christmas and gifted her some bunting for her first birthday:

Letter shapes bunting - HAPPY BIRTHDAY - GIFTED

Can’t quite believe I just found that photo, if I’d bothered to hunt for it I could have made letters in similar fabric, instead I made these:


So these can be added to the bunting when celebrating her birthday for years to come and I believe that for the rest of the year they are up on her bedroom door.

I’ve a nephew with a first birthday coming up next month so I’ll see what inspires me for that, have you got any suggestions?

Read More

Soft books for babies – George and Grace

A few weeks ago I had a stall at a market in a nearby village, it’s a new venture for the village and I was more than happy to support a community event.  A bonus is that we have some good friends who live there, one of the families moved there after living next door to us for 5 years, so it was lovely to spend some time chatting with them!

Anyway one of my lovely friends commissioned me at the market to make 2 soft baby books, so I’ve been working on those over the last week.  I really have to be in the right frame of mind to work on these, they are quite fiddly to work on but once I get going it’s good fun.

I put a request out on facebook for suggestions for some of the letters for the book, thank you for those who came up with ideas.

Here are the finished books:

Soft books for George and Grace

Soft book for George

Now George was a bit of a tricky name with 2 g’s and 2 e’s. But as you can see I managed.

Grace was fairly straightforward except for the fact that I much prefer working with 6 or 7 letter names – they fit well onto 8 pages and make my life easier! So to get round this little issue I put a large G on the first page and the giraffe opposite:

Soft book for Grace

I went to bed last night with George finished and Grace very nearly done, so I sent my friend a message to let her know they would be completed very soon. This morning my youngest was awake and lively at 6:15 so rather than wrestle with him and try and convince him to go back to bed/sleep and risk him waking his sisters, the two of us crept downstairs. While he was quietly eating a bowl or 3 of breakfast I got on and finished off the book for Grace. It was definitely worth getting up early, but I don’t want to make a habit of it.

As the books were finished my friend came over this morning to pick them up, fortunately she was delighted with them and I was able to have a cuddle and giggle with the very gorgeous 4 month old Grace who now has a lovely book to suck and chew.

My husband is on holiday from work for 2 weeks so I may well get some extra sewing time in or I might not do any at all – watch this space.

Read More

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.

Read More