Quilting small projects

cotton & steel quilted pencil case

With spring on its way I have been looking at my  storage boxes and unpacking.  Inside were all sorts of small pieces of fabric, kept from dressmaking and quilting project and not been used.  Just started cutting squares from the smaller pieces and from a larger pieces left over from a Mortmain dress made a huge boxy pouch that is now sitting behind my sewing machine – full of all my sewing bits.

boxy pouch

Today I have a few pieced project to quilt and a small pile of 3 inch Cotton & Steel squares that I am going to make a wash bag from – thought I’d use a shower curtain as a water proof lining.  Have you used one to line or make a wash bag?  Thought it would be easier to sew, as laminated fabrics can be a pain and also far more expensive.

pot holders

Also found some embroidered hot pads that hadn’t been finished, bound them with one of my favorite fabrics to bias cut by Riley Blake green diagonal stripe from Tikki Patchwork and now they are ready to fly off as an Easter gift.  Its been the most productive few days in quite a while, I supose recovering from a bad cold and loosing my voice has added bennifits!

Treasury Tuesday | Easter Etsy

‘sweet spring & Easter eggs’ by floraandpoppy

Geometric Rabbit Neon Brooch…


12 mini Easter bunny “…


Origami easter rabbit stamp


White rabbit, Alice in Wond…


Rabbit Stamp: Wood Mounted R…


Bunny Rabbit Card- Easter Ca…


Silver Rabbit Necklace – Ste…


Hare and Bay tea light holde…


Rabbits Happy Easter Card – …


Bunny face stamp with a bowt…


Bunny Rabbit Greeting Card, …


3D White Easter Bunny Rabbit…


Dinosaur Easter Egg


Sterling Silver Origami Rabb…


Ruby the Bunny Rabbit Adjust…


Happy Easter Card


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Little quilts

bee little quiltThis week I posted off a little quilt, it’s the second little quilt I’ve made from the Little Quilts book, love epp.  I have found transferring the bee more tricky, last time I used dressmakers carbon paper, this time I used water soluble fleece.

little quilts bee

It made the tracing and embroidery so much easier, as I could see where to position the bee and stitch.  Hand quilted

little quilt beeI did wash the quilt by hand to dissolve the fleece and any sticky residue once it had been quilted and bound.

little quilts bee

It was a great way to start me stitch and I’ve also finished my March Bee Europa

March Bee Europa

I found the improv challenge more tricky, although Colette did have a great Pintrest board for us to get inspiration from.  Can’t wait to see the finished quilt!  Hope you all have a wonderful weekend.

Sewing Machine Needles

sewing machine needles guideOne thing I get asked about on a daily basis at work is about sewing machine needles, what size or type to use for different fabrics.  So I thought I’d share with you a little of what I have learnt.

Using the correct needle for the fabric will save lots of problems and make your sewing a lot easier too.  There is a wide range of needle sizes:

  • 60|8 for Light weight fabrics such as silk, cotton lawn & sheer.
  • 70|10 for light weight fabrics such as cotton lawn, net, muslin & nylon sheer.
  • 75|11 for light weight fabrics such as cotton shirting & quilting cotton.
  • 80|12 for medium weight fabrics such as quilting cotton, poplin & gingham.
  • 90|14 for medium weight fabrics such as linen, linen union, cotton sateen and curtain linings.
  • 100|16 for heavy weight fabrics such as denim, upholstery fabrics, leather, pvc &vinyls.
  • 110|18 for heavy weight fabrics such as selvage denim, heavy canvas and leather.

I have made a needle size chart in PDF format if that helps.  Amongst the range of sizes are various specialty needles:

denim needlesDenim needles are thicker and strong with a very sharp point.  Great for denim & heavier weight fabrics.



leather sewing machine needlesLeather needles are strong with a sharp shaped point that pierces leather and will leave a hole.  Great for suede, faux leather, vinyl and non-woven synthetics.


machine embroidery needlesMachine embroidery needles have a larger smooth eye and are suitable for rayon, acrylic and specialty threads as it helps stop the threads fraying.

janome-quilting-needlesQuilting needles have a sharp, tapered point and designed to sew through multiple layers.



stretch sewing machine needlesStretch needles are designed to prevent skipped stitches on fine, lightweight knits.  Great for lycra, silk jersey and multi way stretch fabrics.  worth trying if a ball point needle is skipping stitches.



jersey sewing machine needleJersey needles have a ball point needle, that will not damage knit fabrics.



topstitch sewing machine needleTopstitch needles have an extra-large eye for thicker top stitch thread and sharp tip for accurate stitching.



microtex sewing machine needlesMicrotex needles have a sharp fine point for micro weave fabrics, great for top stitching and good for sewing silk.



twin sewing machine needlesTwin needles come in various widths and weights.  Give perfect even double stitching.



universal sewing machine needlesUniversal needles are designed for woven, some knit fabrics and they come in various sizes.



I use most brands of needles, some are better than others and I know some machines prefer certain brands.  A friend has a Bernina and only uses Schmetz, but my machine is much more forgiving.  Do you have a favorite brand of needle?

Breakfast Granola | homemade

Granola recipeI’ve been in search of a delicious healthy breakfast cereal and started to experiment with recipes.  My starting point was a granola recipe in Tessa Kiros’s, Apples for Jam.  I do love this cookery book, lots if delicious recipes and they work out brilliantly.  The Guardian has an interesting article on making the perfect granola including their recipe, and the Honestly Healthy alkaline has a vegan version.  If you’d like my recipe Granola recipe click here.

granola recipe

I think with this batch I did slightly over bake, but still deliciously crunchy.  It’s a basic granola recipe and you can change nuts & seeds to suit your taste, thought I’d use cashews next time instead of walnuts and a dash of allspice.

granola recipe

The honey I used was from Little Apiaries, I bought it in Sainsbury’s where it was on special offer yesterday.


For years I have like the idea of keeping bees and for one reason or another it hasn’t happened.  But after moving to my new home this has become a real desire, Omlet has a fun and practical solution.  Do any of you keep bees’ or tried?  What have been your experiences, do you think living in central London and being a total novice its a good idea?  Any advice welcome!

Pj’s – The Rosalind

the rosalind pj'sLast year I found this pattern for PJ’s at the Knitting & Stitching show in Ally Pally.  I have had it awaiting in a little pile of ‘would like to make’ patterns and when I saw a cute giant spot fabric in the sale at John Lewis, decided that it was just the fun fabric needed.  The pattern is printed out on good quality paper, is very well written and explained.  There are 2 styles included with the pattern and I chose the style without turn ups.

The Rosalind PJ'sAlso didn’t include piping, although my next pair PJ’s will do – yep loved this pattern and have decided to make a version with shorts rather than full leg pj trousers.  The trouser has pockets set into the side seam, perfect for lounging in and are roomy and ever so comfortable.

Rosalind PJ'sIts easy and quick to make, thought tana lawn would be lovely for summer weight pj’s and the monster loves brushed cotton for winter.

the rosalind PJ'sI made these at work, just to help I did use a water erasable pen to mark the back pieces – as I do get a little distracted.  Have found using one of these pens very useful and have now started using one at home.  Made marking the button-hole positions very easy and no need to unpick tacking stuck in seams and stitches, works really well for darts too.

rosalind pj'sFound some lovely mother of pearl buttons and they have a subtle pinkish sheen.  Can see this pattern being very well used. Do you have a pattern that you love and would recommend?

plastic bag free


plasticbagsI have been trying to go plastic free, it’s slow progress working through everything.  I already use fabric bags to go shopping, be that groceries or regular pottering, my favorite bag is from Burda Style.  This week I have been making some muslin bags to use in the supermarket, so instead of using the poly bags I can pop my fruit and veg in these.  Have been trialing different sizes and now have a definitive that works for me.

muslin produce bagsThey are large enough to take carrots, apples, pears etc and when I whizzed them up at work it was suggested a larger version for potatoes.  The bags are made from muslin and I overlocked the seams and also all around the raw edges.  This makes them quick to make and more durable for use.

muslin produce bag                            muslin produce bag close up

I thought I’d share the muslin bag pattern with you, do let me know if you make any!  If you don’t have an overlocker you could use french seams or stitch and zigzag the raw edges.