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:

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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.

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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.

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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:

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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?

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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.

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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.

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Playing ball

I’ve been wanting to sew something fun but had too much to do, pieces of work that need completing and plans that need to be made, I also had a first birthday gift to think about.

On Monday an email popped up that caught my eye, the newsletter from Sew Can She which featured a tutorial for Fabric Beach Balls.  (If you’re not familiar with Sew Can She check it out, there is a free sewing tutorial 6 days a week).

The balls looked simple to make so I decided that I did have time to play and other things could wait.  I printed the template out and then stuck it onto card to make it easier to draw around and then cut my pieces, (ok I did first spend half an hour or so choosing fabric).

The instructions were clear and simple.  For the circles at the end of each ball, rather than cutting one for each end I cut 2, sewed them rights sides together and then cut a slit in one side and turned it the right way out.  This method meant that the piece already had neat edges saving me any fiddly turning under and was quick and easy to handsew on each end.

Fabric ball

There you have it, one fabric ball, looking a bit lonely on it’s own.  The tutorial has templates for 3 different sizes, I made the small one but think I might just make some more in larger sizes to go with it!   I thought about it becoming a first birthday present but wasn’t sure so made something else instead which I know will be suitable and used for years to come, more on that another day.

This may be the only sort of beach ball we’ll be playing with if the rain continues this summer!

Fabrics: All from the Sugar and Spice collection by The Quilted Fish for Riley Blake

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One Thing, One Week Challenge

Last week I signed up to Amy’s challenge, obviously I was tired at the time of signing up because I said that there were 2 things I wanted to get done this week – surely the title of the challenge is a clue to how many there should be.  Anyway it did mean that I had an option as to what project to work on!

Amy's Creative Side

So Leah’s curtains for her den have yet again not been touched.  But the pattern review that I’m working on for Trish has been tackled.

Trish send me a pattern for the Hazel Hipster pattern.  The pattern comes in 2 styles and 2 sizes, I opted to make the ‘mini’ for Bethan. She picked out the fabrics and we had to negotiate based on how much of each print we had but I think she was happy with the outcome.

So I put the bag exterior and interior together and then realised that the bag was going to be bigger than I had anticipated so thought that I would add an adjustable strap.  I ordered hardware for that and waited…it arrived this morning so I quickly got on and finished the bag ready for a photoshoot.

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I will be writing a full pattern review, come back next week for that and a giveaway, Trish has very kindly offered one reader the chance to win 2 of her wonderful patterns so stay tuned…

I’m linking this up with:

Sew Sweetness

If you missed this party go back and have a look, there are lots of fantastic purse/bag pattern reviews with lots of different interpretations of the patterns – it really is useful especially if you’re new to bag making.

Also linking up with Heather and Megan for Fabric Tuesday, you can link up too if you’ve made something with fabric in the last week, go on over and see what others have been doing.

Fresh Poppy Design

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My Precious QAL and Siblings Together quilt finish

I mentioned back here about the My Precious QAL, I think it is an awesome idea, especially for the fabric hoarders amongst us.  Why is it that each time I start a new project I look around for fabric that I don’t mind using, for something not very special?

So yes Kelby’s plan grabbed me. I’ve had a pile of Sherbet Pips FQ’s for a while, I thought it was 2 years, but it’s actually only 1, I think because it’s precious it feels a lot longer. Anyway when I saw Kelby’s original post I saw it was a great opportunity to pull out this fabric and use it.

My plan?  I wanted to make something gorgeous and girly but my girls aren’t fond of pink which is one of the reasons I’ve hoarded it.  So I bravely decided to make a quilt for the Siblings Together project,  So I planned and planned in my head what I was going to do and eventually I got cutting, but was I making the right decision, would it look good? would it be a gorgeous quilt? I had no idea!

On Friday night I ran a Siblings Together sewing evening at my friends house and took along the quilt top as a bit of show and tell and a bit of ‘ooo look what I made’ and then the question came, ‘which daughter is it for?’ (I have 2), and ‘wow it’s lovely’. At that point I started to have a bit of a panic, why was I making this quilt with such lovely fabric to give away?   Could I keep it? Both my girls already have a quilt each so no reason to give it to either of them, neither of them have expressed an interest in it in the 2 weeks or so that it’s been hanging on the wall.

Sherbet Pips quit top for Siblings Together

So on Saturday I decided I needed to get the quilt finished and out of my system! I quilted when I had the chance, it being a Saturday we were all at home but the sun was shining and the children were good tempered, so by the children’s bedtime the quilting was finished.

Sunday was another sunny day and we had plans for the afternoon so I put in a special request for time to bind the quilt.  I had been sent some small pieces of Sherbet Pips by Jo another member of the Siblings Together group as she knew I was making this quilt and had scraps left from a Sherbet Pips quilt she’d made, she also enclosed a larger piece of fabric that was perfect for the binding.  Not just perfect in colour and pattern but just the right amount of fabric with 6″ left at the end.

By lunch time the quilt was bound and the loose ends sewn in.  So as we were off to the park for an afternoon of helping to organise a ‘pop-up cafe’ I asked if we could take the quilt with us for a photoshoot.

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This is my new favourite location for quilt photography, actually I didn’t have a previous favourite location but the basketball court in the park has wonderful fencing around it, perfect for pegging up quilts:

Ideal location for quilt photo shoot

Sherbet Pips finished quilt

Sherbet Pips finished quilt

Sherbet Pips finished quilt

And the back, pieced with some yardage that I snapped up from Fresh Squeezed Fabric on sale (if you’re quick there is still some yardage left if you want some).

Sherbet Pips finished quilt

So I am delighted to have this finished (well it needs a wash and a label but in my mind as good as finished) and I’m really happy with it, I hope it will bring joy to one girls life.

Quilt Stats:
Made for: Siblings Together project
Size: 53″ x 62″
Fabric: Sherbet Pips by Aneela Hoey for Moda
Quilting: Quilted by me on my machine with straight lines either side of the seams and around some of the inside blocks
Batting: Hobbs Heirloom 80/20
Pattern:  It probably has a name, square within a square maybe, but I made the measurements up by myself!

If you want to support my effort to make 5 quilts for Siblings Together then please click here to donate.

Linking up with:

Sew Happy Geek

QAL

Fresh Poppy Design

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KCWC days five and six

With two children being proud wearers of treasure pocket pants the big sister was feeling a little left out and yesterday Bethan decided it was definitely time for her own pair.   I offered up a pair of old Fat Face cords from this pile:

Pile of trousers ready for upcycling

They are quite flared which is possibly why they are now in the upcycling pile, I was thinking that they would therefore be wide enough to accommodate the pattern pieces.  She was happy with them (phew!) and then asked about what fabric could go with them. She really likes the fabric I used for her mini crayon wallet last summer, but I we decided that it wouldn’t look so great with the beige cords:

Bethan's mini crayon wallet

So I bravely offered up some Echino scooter fabric, I bought some almost two years ago to make a lap top case for Tobit and have been closely guarding the remains ever since:

Laptop case - GIFTED

Bethan has recently shown an interest in learning to sew and wanted these trousers made quick.  So after dinner last night I got the Sewing For Boys book out and gave her a lesson in pattern tracing:

A lesson in pattern tracing

I then cut out the main pieces and when putting her to bed she said I could sew all evening and get her trousers finished!  Funnily enough I didn’t.  But this morning she was keen to sew again, she was working on a project of her own (which I’ll show in another post) so we finished that off and then moved on to the trousers.  Bethan was desperate to sew, so I let her do the straight lines and with some help she did ok.  Anyway by dinner time they were finished:

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She was quite delighted and put them on straight away, the light wasn’t good (in fact it’s been gloomy here all day) but we managed to get a couple of photographs before bed:

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As you can see Leah was keen this time to get in on the photographs:

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I’m not sure how high Bethan was wearing them on her waist but they do look almost a bit short! I cut them at the largest size 6/7 yrs and she is 8 next winter. I guess if I make her another pair I could just add an inch to the length as I think they fit fine everywhere else.

That I think is it for this Spring KCWC for me, have you joined in? Have you been inspired to sew for children?

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Kids Clothes Week Challenge

Have you signed up for this?

Twice a year over at Elsie Marley, Meg runs a week where she challenges you to sew for an hour a day for your children (or someone else’s), that hour might include tracing patterns and cutting fabric, or for the more adventurous designing patterns!

I took part last spring (I had too many other things on in the Autumn) and it was a great incentive to sew for my children.  I’ve just had a look back through what I did (starting here) and am amazed at how much I achieved!  In fact part of my sewing was for Dress A Girl Around the World so if you don’t have children to sew for you could still join in.

So I’m starting to think about what I might sew this time around, do you fancy joining in?

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