sewing for Christmas 2014

sewing for christmas 2014I’m launching my sewing for Christmas 2014 early this year as I need to pace my self and to avoid a last minute panic and also to keep to my budget.  I have a few little projects tucked away already in a drawer and planning my list of makes.  Thought I’d post some makes | tutorials and also an Etsy treasury to inspire and buying from Etsy also one needs to account for postage times too. My family range from 5 to 75 and some more tricky than others!  Want to know whats on my list of ideas so far?


felt money piggies

embroidered lavender cushion

monogrammed laundry bags made from linen tea towels x 2

padded coat hangers

wash bag

pin cushions galore (poss 1, 2, 3) or jars

Have you started a tentative list to make yet, or too early for you?

hexy fun #littlequiltsswap

IMG_4859I have finished my Mini quilt for #littlequiltsswap, I’m in #hivejules and so pleased with it.  The binding is made from diagonal printed stripe, so when cut on the bias I get straight lines – a huge thank you to Tina at Tikki Patchwork for suggesting it!  All the fabrics I used are from Tikki, I just picked fat quarters I liked and adore the super cute bee fabric.

IMG_4839I used a small off cut of poly batting and found that this at times poked through, anyone else ever had this happen?  Now I’m back into the swing of things after a mad couple of weeks at work, I’m ready to finish

IMG_4549another mini quilt for another #igminiswap swap.  I found the right backing fabric (and the layer cake I used) at The Eternal Maker, a great place to visit

IMG_4797as they have a wonderful selection of fabrics, haberdashery, patterns, notions yarn and a cafe – coffee, cake and fabric what could be more fun?

IMG_4789          IMG_4787          IMG_4793          IMG_4791

So now I must get sewing, have given my self a deadline for posting all my swaps on Friday.

London quilt shops

Earlier this year I wrote a piece for the London Modern Quilt Guild on London quilt & fabric shops and I wanted to add a new shop I found to the list.

IMG_4728Stag & Bow is a haberdashery with a difference, they stock new items but specialise in vintage.  There will soon be lots of vintage fabrics to quilt and sew with

IMG_4729yarn and vintage patterns,


IMG_4734It is a gold mine of products

IMG_4737and as well as selling haberdashery they also have a stitch night and classes.  So if your in London a trip down to Forest Hill makes for an interesting morning!  And a trip into vintage stitching.

Thread | a festival of textiles

IMG_4698Today the monster and I went on a trip down to Farnham Maltings for the Thread Festival, I had been luck enough to win a pair of ticket from Made by Mrs M.  We met lots of fabulously talented people including the lovely girls behind Gather Kits.

IMG_4699Thought the Buchanan would be a brilliant jacket if cut a little shorter as well as great all round dressing gown.

IMG_4703The wonderful Nancy was also there, we last met her earlier this year and so please she was there today.  This kit is destined to be a cushion for a friend.

IMG_4705The fabric is by Made by Mrs M, loved her fabrics, the prints are great and so original – came home with a half yard.  Perfect for a cushion and can you guess what the print is?

IMG_4706The monster bought a key x stitch from What Delilah Did and is now sat stitching away, great to see such enthusiasm!   There were lots of workshops on offer, although we didn’t sign up for any.  A really fun trip out and would definitely recommend it to everyone!

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Little Quilts by Sarah Fielke & Amy Lobsiger

IMG_4631This lovely little book flew through my letter box yesterday, after signing up for a Little Quilt swap over on instergram.  I fell in love with the adorable mini quilts that could grow into much larger designs and being small are achievable!  Seven little quilts have been designed by Sarah, Amy also designed 7 and the final quilt is a collaboration.

IMG_4623The book is packed with 15 projects, some machine pieced, hand stitched English Paper Piecing and embroidered.  grandma's house quiltGrandma’s House

There is lots of information on the piecing process, from foundation piecing,needle turning, english paper piecing, so a great book for someone wanting to explore new techniques and as the quilts are small – the results are so achievable.  All the patterns at the back are full size, so no need to dash out to enlarge templates.

IMG_4632The Cuttings quilt was made by both Sarah & Amy, a fantastic whimsical flower.

IMG_4633Paper Dolls

There are lots of tips and time saving short cuts, some little quilts are 1 block, some are made up of several blocks.  Its a great collaboration between 2 wonderful quilting ladies and they have st up a flickr group and pinterest board for the little quilts.  Now all I have to do is choose which design I am going to make for the swap!

Victory Patterns | Madeleine

IMG_4596The monster loves the Madeleine skirt by Victory Patterns, easy to wear and fabulous to sew.  If you are a beginner its easy and the pockets are so useful with a fab top stitch detail.

IMG_4598It’s the second version I have made, this is in a darker denim from Fabrics Galore, has a great drape.  Pockets are lined with Hemingway fabric left over from my last Mortmain dress, again fabric from Fabrics Galore.

IMG_4601The monster chose this zip last weekend from the Eternal Maker, adds a lovely back detail.

IMG_4597I used shell buttons and stitched them on with my machine.  I spend my working days teaching & advising people about sewing machines and never use half the features on my own!  Its so easy I can only suggest the next time you need to stitch on a button, check all those extra bits that you have tucked away from your sewing machine and if you have a button foot – try.  If anyone would like a tutorial on this do get in touch and I’ll make one simple step by step guide.

Scrappy Bits applique | book review

scrappy bits applique.jpg©c&t publishing

Every quilter, sewer has scraps left over from projects and what to do with the smaller pieces can be tricky. Shannon has been creating things with her hands since she was a very young girl, but fell madly in love with modern quilting in college. Shannon is a modern quilter and this is a very modern take on appliqué methods.

scrappy bits applique©c&t publishing

The book starts with the basics of raw edge appliqué techniques, advice on colour theory, quilt design, collage techniques and various finishing methods.

There are 8 projects in the book with charts so one can make a baby quilt up to king with full fabric requirements for the different sizes. Various quilting methods are explained and shown, along with basting techniques and advice.

scrappy bits appliquec&t publishing

The Little fox is very cute and far from the South London manky fox I see! The half triangle boarder is brilliantly explained with lots of tips and makes sewing the Geese blocks so less challenging.

scrappy bits applique.jpg©c&t publishing

Windy Poplar is very effective with the low volume background. The Elephant with its pieced background, Around the World would be an amazing gift for a gap year student or wall hanging. The book comes with templates, but as I had a PDF review copy I cannot say what size patterns are.
The fallen leaves cushions are a brilliant starting point; there is a lot of topstitching with the designs. This anchors the edge of the scraps and also adds definition to the designs.

scrappy bits applique©c&t publishing
At the back there are lots of ideas and other quilts Shannon has made to inspire your imagination. I love The Kraken and Shannon has featured this quilt on her blog.

fabric shopping in Chichester

IMG_4511I have signed up for a mini quilt swap over on instergram and found this fab layer cake  by Melody Miller at the Eternal Maker, the monster spotted

IMG_4517by Riley Blake, it’s destined to be made into a blouse from Tilly’s book.  So have a busy few stitching weeks ahead. The monster also loved it and has a bagful of beautiful buttons to make a button bracelet, do hope she will make one for me – swap for the blouse I’m making her?  We were down in Sussex for party and with a couple of hours to spare spent time wandering this fab shop – abet sightly over dresses!  If you have not had the pleasure of a visit to the shop, it is packed to the gills with fabrics, notions, patterns, buttons, threads, embroidery patterns and Yarn.  The online shop gives you an idea, but nothing beats a trip down, they even have a lovely cafe. 

ClothkitsClothkits is also based down there and so worth a visit, with amazing dressmaking kits, fabrics and patterns.  I have a great fondness for Chichester as I grew up in a little village not too far from there and it’s going home to me – luckily its not to far a drive and I am planning a return trip.   Now to switch off and get sewing!



cinnamon spelt buns

cinnamon spelt bunsAfter a mad day building flat pack furniture on my day off, I baked a batch of cinnamon spelt buns.  Super easy to make and utterly delicious too – this slice was breakfast!

Cinnamon Spelt Buns

345g white & wholegrain spelt flour

3 tablespoons light soft brown sugar

1 teaspoon maldon salt

2 teaspoons easy bake yeast

120ml water

60ml semi skimmed milk

45g butter

1 large free range egg

Cinnamon swirl mix

45g butter

2 tablespoons cinnamon

60g light soft brown sugar.



Heat the water, milk and butter in a saucepan until the butter is melted.

Place the flours, sugar & salt in a mixing bowl (I use a stand mixer and dough hook), mix in the melted butter, water &  milk.  Add the egg and mix with a dough hook or by hand.  When the dough is ready place cling film over the bowl and leave to rise for half and hour.

Cinnamon swirl mix: mix the cinnamon, butter and sugar together and put to one side.

Grease a baking tin lightly.

When the dough is ready, roll out on a floured work surface.  I rolled this quite thinly and then spread the cinnamon swirl mix – all over the dough.  Roll tightly into a sausage shape and then cut the rolled dough into 1 1/2 inch slices.  Place theses cut side up in prepared baking tin and leave to prove again for 30 minuets, or until doubled in size.

Bake in a pre-heated oven 200′ (180′ in a fan oven) for 30 minuets or until it sounds hollow when knocked on the base.

Place on cooling wrack and make a simple water icing, drizzle over the warm buns.

IMG_4397enjoy warm or cold, perfect for breakfast or tea!