A finished EPP project #ALYoF September

My goal for September was some English Paper Piecing (EPP) and a Hexagon Handbag (pattern from 1, 2, 3 Quilt).

I took it away on holiday and spent the evenings stitching. It took me 4 or 5 evenings to baste and then stitch all the hexies together.

I felt fairly pleased with myself and had a quick read through of the pattern to check out the next step.  It was at that point that I realised that the EPP panel was just for the front of the bag and the instructions were to use one piece of fabric on the back.  I wasn’t so keen on this idea so once we returned from holiday and the children were at school I cut another 36 hexies and basted and stitched them together!


The rest of the bag came together fairly easily.  The pattern suggests using a canvas weight for the lining but I didn’t have anything suitable so used Soba in fog by Lotta Jansdotter and added some batting to give it some shape.   This turned out to be not the best idea!


I had a pair of bamboo bag handles that I planned to use, but once the bag body was finished I realised that there was no way that they would be big enough.  So I searched online for bigger bag handles and really struggled to find any larger than 6.5″.  I ended up buying a pair of wooden D shaped handles after checking with Julie the shop owner about the internal measurement, it’s approx 5.5″ the best I was going to find in the UK I think.

When the handles arrived I realised that I was going to have to squidge the fabric in and I really could have done with an extra pair of hands!  I cut back the wadding from the top of the bag so that there was as little bulk as possible in the top part that needed stitching over.


So it did work ok in the end, but if I ever come across wider handles I think I’d be tempted to replace these ones:


Fun was had fussy cutting too:


I really enjoyed the hand stitching, it was a good starting point for a first EPP project, not too big and it turns out quite achievable for me!

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Sunday Stash #16

On Friday I had the opportunity to go to the Stitching, Sewing and Hobbycrafts show at Westpoint thanks to 2 pairs of free tickets I won from Sew Scrumptious and Sew Magazine.

I went with my friend Sue and we had a lovely hour and a half browsing the fabric stalls, mostly ignoring the papercraft and knitting ones.  I made some great purchases:


From left to right; 1 metre of a cream on cream print Muslin Mates by Moda (I like a tone on tone print and this one will have many uses I’m sure), 1/2 m of Simply Sweet Orange Zig Zag by Lori Whitlock (yellow/orange are lacking in my stash), Geekly Chic lavender glasses by Dorothy Tsang, Gracie Girl numbers in pink by Lori Holt and 2 metres of a text print from the Sunkissed line by Sweetwater.

It’s not often that we find great bargains in the UK; but considering that I had free tickets to the show and no postage costs, all this fabric for less than £25 is brilliant and I’m rather delighted to have new stash additions!

There was something in particular I was looking for but didn’t find so ordered it online when I got home, hopefully I can show you it next week along with the project I need it for.

Check out what others have been stashing and share yours:

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Time for bed

A year on from these and these both of my youngest children have almost grown out of the pyjamas I made for them so I browsed online fabric shops for flannel before remembering that I have some in my stash!

Amazingly when I showed Leah these flannels she was happy to pick out two she liked:

Flannel - Marmalade by Bonnie and Camille

Using the tried and tested pattern Goodnight Sweetheart pattern from Sewing for Boys I cut out a 6/7 for her:


As before they stitched up wonderfully. I made piping for the trim around the neck facing, I’m pretty sure it was Kona Coral which went really well.

For Mathias I made size 4/5:


Both children were delighted to be allowed to bounce up and down on our bed which Tobit took some photo’s:


Both pairs have large turn ups on the trouser bottoms so I can lengthen them as the children grow.


You never know; new, snuggly pyjamas might encourage them to curl up and go to sleep:


Or not:

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My Super Supertote

I am just a little bit excited to show you my new bag.

Last year at Fat Quarterly Retreat I took a paper piecing class taught by Joanna and Julianna which I wrote about here (free pattern available here).

The result of the class was this block:

Read between the lines

It has hung rather beautifully ever since on the wall of my sewing space; patiently waiting.

In January this year a local lady came round to pick up some fabric she had purchased from me and suggested that I used the block on a bag.  That suggestion stayed with me.

I’ve had Noodlehead’s Supertote pattern for a while now and a few weeks ago decided it was time to tackle it.  So I read the pattern through a couple of times, read others people’s reviews and modifications of the patterns and set about thinking what to do with mine.

Laying the pattern piece for the exterior pocket on my typewriter block I was delighted to discover that it was the perfect size for it (I had to remove the glasses as they would be caught up in the seam allowance).

I opted for recycling a pair of jeans from the charity shop for the main panels and gusset as I wanted something hard wearing and that would contrast well with the typewriter.

I was struggling slightly with the amount of denim I had to work with (approximately one and half legs!) and creatively cut up one of the seam lines and used the uncut seam as the middle of the back piece.


The changes I made were to add an internal zip pocket on one side rather than the elasticated pockets.


Here are the elasticated pockets on the other side:


I added piping to the top of the pocket and all around the gusset, it adds a great pop of colour to the dark denim. I used the same orange on the back as I used in the typewriter block.


On the front I used a packet of vintage bias binding that went well with the typewriter paper:


You can see some of the detail on the top stitching in Aurifil 40W 2150 a dark orange which again just adds some lovely detail.  For the straps I used webbing and top stitched the paper clip print (Type by Julia Rothman) on to it, in keeping with the desk/office theme!

Conveniently I had a chunky bright pink zip that I’d bought from the charity shop for 50p that was the perfect size for the recessed zip:


I even remembered to add a label too:


In summary I am pretty delighted with my new bag:


It’s a great pattern, lots of preparation work to do before you start sewing but it’s worth it. Not only do I love it but Tobit has declared it’s his favourite bag that I’ve made too!

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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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