A bag fit for a crocodile

For a while Leah has been asking for a handbag like this one I made for Bethan a couple of years ago.

Hazel Hipster Mini

I suggested that she might like something a little different and showed her the Mini Messenger bag by Make It Perfect, she was quite happy to go along with my suggestion.

make it perfect bag

She had a rummage through my fabric stash and pulled out the fabrics she wanted me to use.  I have a few rolls of different coloured webbing and one of them went perfectly with her chosen fabrics, I also happened to have a packet of vintage bias binding that matched the webbing.

It’s a free downloadable pattern, so I printed off the pattern and got cutting.  I talked to Leah about what she might use the bag for and what she might want to put in it and we decided to add an inside zip pocket and patch pocket.  I also suggested an adjustable strap so she can wear it across the body or on the shoulder and it will grow with her too!

The pattern does not call for any sort of closure so I decided to add in a magnetic snap:


The pattern suggest using a medium weight interfacing, I used interfacing left over from another project, I’m pretty sure it’s the UK equivalent of Soft and Stable, it’s worked wonderfully, giving the bag some shape.


You may be interested to know that a medium sized crocodile fits comfortably inside the bag (that is of course when it is not being swung around by it’s tail).


Thanks very much to Make it Perfect for the great free pattern.

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It’s still shorts weather here

Another post about shorts and another pattern from Little One Yard Wonders (read reviews of the Western Shirt here and Casey Apron here). I made shorts earlier in the summer for Bethan, and Leah said she needed some too. So she pulled fabric from stash, I traced the pattern in a size 6/7 for her.


The pattern was pretty straight forward to follow.  As with other patterns from this book I’ve opted to use more than one fabric for the item, but I can see that you would get all the pattern pieces from one yard.

As the name suggests they are a long short, the sort of short that Leah likes to wear.


The pocket fabrics were bought by Tobit for the girls while on a trip to the US, she loves it.  The shorts were a success so I made her another pair:


The only issue I had with this pattern was with the waistband casing, the pattern instructs making a casing of 1″ and edge stitching close to the edge, this does not leave room for 1″ wide elastic so I used what I had in stock which was 3/4″ wide and fitted perfectly.


I made them in a size 4/5 for Mathias:

Cargo Board Shorts

The pockets on these are great, big enough for a wooden pot of pretend jam and half a wooden tomato, this boy loves to carry around ‘treasure’ so the pockets are perfect (just don’t forget to empty them before they go in the washing machine!).

On all pairs of these I’ve opted to make bias binding for trimming the pockets rather than using grosgrain ribbon as the pattern suggests.

Bethan didn’t want to miss out on the Cargo Board Short action and chose Summersville prints from my stash:

Cargo Board Shorts

I used a turn and stitch seam for the crotch adding some durability to the shorts and finished the leg seams with a zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.

Cargo Board Shorts

I’m really pleased with how this pattern turned out (you could probably guess that as I’ve made 4 pairs) it’s brilliant because the children have worn these shorts all summer long which means not only were they good to sew, they are good to wear.

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Sunday Stash #15

Way, way back at Easter I won a £30 gift voucher to spend at Oakshott Fabrics from Lily’s Quilts.  I was delighted, especially as I was on a fabric fast, however despite browsing their online shop I couldn’t find anything that I ‘needed’ to buy.  So I ‘sat’ on it for a while.

At the end of August I received an email from Oakshott with details of their sale.  I had been eyeing up the Calluna which is wonderfully described by Kerry here.  So I eventually decided on 2 metres of Erica:


It was patiently waiting for me when I got back from holiday, it has a blue warp and pink weft and looks pretty stunning. I don’t know what I’m going to make with it yet, but I’m pretty sure it will be a piece of clothing for me.  Thanks very much to Oakshott for the gift voucher.

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Goal for September

It’s September; my girls go back to school next week and my little boy starts school; part-time for a couple of weeks so my days will be a little bit disrupted but then full time by the end of the month.

In theory this should leave me a lot more time to sew but right now I have no idea if that will be the case. I have lists in my head of all the things that need doing in the house I don’t want to list them here for fear of being overwhelmed.  So I’m going to be gentle with myself for September.  I’ve done very little EPP (English Paper Piecing) preferring the speed of the machine, but as we’re on holiday for a week without my sewing machine I’ve decided to give it a go.

I’ve long admired this project in 1, 2, 3 Quilt by Ellen Luckett Baker:


So I’ve cut my fabric and my papers and I’m ready to go.


There are just 36 hexagons that I need to baste and sewn together, I don’t think that should be too difficult.  The rest of the bag is pretty straight forward and I’ve already got a pair of bamboo handles I bought from a charity shop a long while ago so I’m aiming to finish it this month!

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Sunny Day Shorts

At the beginning of summer there was a request from my eldest for new shorts; she had grown out of all the pairs I had made last summer (or was it the summer before?).

The pattern I’d previously used was the Lily Bird Studio Shorts with Pockets pattern it goes up to age 8 which now she is nearly 10 would be a bit on the small side.  So I thought I would try the Sunny Day shorts free pattern from Oliver and S.  Bethan chose fabrics from my stash, I’m just discovering that she likes green!

Sunny Day Shorts

Bethan and I made these together. I did the cutting out but she did most of the sewing. We made a size 10 and added pockets from the Lily Bird Studio shorts with pockets pattern.

The crotch was stitched as advised in the pattern and finished with a zig zag stitch to avoid fraying. I think it’s always worth reinforcing the seams on childrens clothes especially when they like running around playing football.

Sunny Day Shorts

I then made another pair; again with the fabrics of her choice:

Sunny Day Shorts

I’m glad we added pockets, they add a nice touch to the shorts and my children love to have somewhere to put stuff.  They are also an opportunity to add detail, I love the binding on the pocket :

Sunny Day Shorts - pocket binding

On both pairs we stitched a flat fell seam on the inseam and the outseam of the shorts, giving a neat and tidy finish on the inside and extra stitching detail on the outside.

Sunny Day Shorts - seam detail

As mentioned the pattern is available as a free download and if you’re new to sewing children’s clothes (and even if you;re not) you will find detailed photo tutorials on the Oliver and S blog, well worth a read before you start.
I’m hoping we’ll get a few more weeks of wear out of these before the are put away until next summer.

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A cross baby quilt

At the beginning of July I finally felt inspired to make a quilt for a new niece. I made a test block:

test block

While I was wanting a scrappy look, I decided that this was too scrappy and got a bit organised. I had some mini charm packs that I thought I could use to reduce my cutting time.  These were Daydream by Kate Spain, Hubba Hubba by Me and My Sister Designs and Simply Style by V and Co.

Each block had a colour theme based around the contents of the charm packs.  I didn’t use all the fabrics from the Simply Style pack, I left out the dark blues, purple and mustard prints.  I also left out a few prints from the other packs as they were too white and would have not had enough contrast with the white fabrics.  All the other prints were from my scrap boxes; no fat quarters or yardage were harmed in the making of this quilt!  The solid white was left over from another project and is the Better Value Plain Cotton in white from Seamstar, there are other low volume prints used that again came from my scrap box.

For the blocks with a white cross I cut:

1: 2.5″ sq
4: 2.5″ x 1.5″

4: 2.5″ square
4: 2.5 x 1.5″

For the blocks with the coloured cross I swapped the white and colour measurements over. This made a unfinished block of 6.5″.  In hindsight you could cut the centre square as a rectangle of 4.5″ x 2.5″ and there would be 2 less seams to sew, but I wasn’t thinking that far ahead.  However if you see this post you will see what I mean about the block construction.

Before the end of the month I had a finished quilt top.

Finished baby quilt top

So my goal for August was to hand quilt this; I’ve never hand quilted before so it was a step into the unknown!  While stitching around the first cross I broke the needle, not really a good start; and I had to wait a week or so before I had the chance to get a new one.  But once I had a new needle I got on and stitched.

Scrappy Cross Baby Quilt - hand quilting detail

I had wanted a project that I could take with me if we were going out and about during the school holidays and this was good for that.  It was more bulky than an EPP project but I did some sat in the hospital awaiting a child’s blood tests and then spent an afternoon’s stitching at a friends while the children played.

Scrappy Cross Baby Quilt - hand quilting detail

For the backing I used Strawberry Dot flannel from the Marmalade collection by Bonnie and Camille, it’s wonderfully soft and snuggly:

Scrappy Cross Baby Quilt - back

The binding I thought was going to be a tricky choice, I didn’t want pink but didn’t know what else I had in my stash that might work. Then I came across some yardage of Rainy Days and Mondays (by Melimba for Riley Blake designs back in 2010!) in my stash which picked out colours from both the front and back of the quilt:

Scrappy Cross Baby Quilt - binding and backing

It’s stripy too which I love in a binding:

Scrappy Cross Baby Quilt - binding

I’m really happy with how it turned out:

Scrappy Cross Baby Quilt

And it was a good reminder of how satisfying a small quilt can be; quick to make, easy to baste and useful for keeping my niece warm especially as autumn seems to be making an early appearance!

Scrappy Cross Baby Quilt

Despite the post title I have no evidence to suggest she is a cross baby…

Quilt Stats:

Pattern: Cross blocks, measurements my own
Fabric: a wide variety from scrap boxes and as above
Binding – Raindrop print from Rainy Days and Mondays by Melimba
Backing – Strawberry Dots in flannel from Marmalade by Bonnie and Camille
Wadding – Super-Soft 70/30 Eco-Blend by Sew Simple
Quilting – hand quilted by me around each block
Size – Approx 36? x 42?

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STQB for September

I’m the Queen Bee for September in the Siblings Together Quilt Bee, we’ve got holiday coming up and then school starts so I’m getting organised! I’ve decided to go big and simple for my quilt. I searched around for my little used Touchdraw skills and drew up this:
bee block stqb Sept 2014

I’m asking the bee to make 18.5″ unfinished cross blocks in blue or green.  This is my block:


This will be a quilt for a boy so I’m asking for use more masculine/gender neutral prints where possible (i.e. no florals, hearts etc). Background fabrics are to be low volume, I would prefer prints but a white/cream/pale grey solid will be fine if you don’t have suitable low volume prints.

Cut from coloured fabrics:
1: 12.5” x 6.5”
2: 6.5” x 3.5”
Cut from low volume fabrics:
4: 6.5” x 6.5”
4: 6.5” x 3.5”

And piece together in order as shown:

STQB Sept annotate

This will make a 18.5″ unfinished block. I’m thinking about adding a border around the 12 finished blocks to increase the size of the quilt top, but will decide on that once the blocks have arrived.

Please let me know if you have any questions.

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Sunday Stash #14

Yesterday I made the trip to the Festival of Quilts at the NEC, Birmingham with Susy and Sue.  We had a wonderful day, met up with and bumped in to lovely ladies we know online and in real life, I met some bee mates and some fellow vintage sheet addicts too!

There were plenty of great stalls to visit, more than enough fabric to buy and many amazing quilts to view.

If you’re a regular reader you will know that I signed up to Fabriholics Anonymous at the end of last year, I was supposed to do an evaluation at the beginning of July but didn’t.  But I can say that during that time I only bought backing and binding for the wedding quilt and 2 fat quarters of Mixed Bag to make a very specific gift for my daughters friend, so all in all I did very well.

So in theory I could have bought anything I wanted but cautious as ever I did not splurge and only bought this lot:



A metre each of the Pearl Bracelets from The Shuttle (I believe they have a shop in Shipley but nothing online as far as I can see), a metre of the Michael Miller Stripe Couture which I think will make excellent binding fabric for a rainbow quilt that might be in my future from Abakhan.

I do wonder what Abakhan’s sales strategy is, they had a great lot of fabrics on their stand but none of it appears in their online shop.  I’d say they were missing a trick, there are plenty of quilters who do not have an Abakhan shop local to them but would be delighted to stock up on designers fabrics for £5.75 per metre!

The other piece is a fq of black and white stripe with a selvedge which reads: Graphix by Paintbrush Studio Design which I’ve not come across before but again I can imagine using this for binding.

So yes I was pretty restrained but I do think fasting has possibly changed my fabric buying habits!  Show me yours, what have you bought?

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A little late…

We’re into the second week of the school holidays now so way past time for sharing the things I made for teacher gifts.

Three years ago Bethan and I made this for Mrs Brand:

Leah has had her as a teaching assistant this year and she is still using it as a pencil case. Funnily enough it is looking a little worse for wear so we thought we would make another one:




It’s completely different, a boxy pouch (based on this tutorial) all based around the daffodil fabric that I received from Catrin in a swap, Mrs Brand is Welsh so we knew that she would appreciate the daffodils.


Something inspired me to make a rainbow pouch and as soon as Leah saw it she decided it would be for her teacher.

Bethan has had the same teacher for 2 years, she has been great, allowing Bethan to run origami sessions during Golden Time, so what better fabric to use that some from the Mixed Bag range by Moda along with a some of a mini charm pack of Simply Style by V and Co and other coordinating scraps:




For a teacher that Leah has one day a week and another teaching assistant I made these:


They are similar to the boxy pouch but on a smaller scale! I used this great tutorial, they finish up at 3.5″ long.

For Mathias’ preschool I made superhero capes and I also made each teacher a key fob.  I gifted a bag of them and told them to squabble over  decide amongst themselves who had which one.


So that’s it on teacher gifts for another year!

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