2014 review in makes

he Twelve Days of Christmas - illustrated by Brian Wildsmith (1972)The Twelve Days of Christmas – illustrated by Brian Wildsmith (1972) 

This year has been quite a turbulant time for the monster and me.  My faith has helped pull me through along with the love of family and friends – for them I can not be more thankful.  I have made more clothes this year than quilts.  Dress wise I have discovered a favorite pattern, The Mortmain

20140311-192307.jpgthis was the first, made in cotton fabric from a John Lewis reprinted vintage design.  I wear this dress to work and love it, I modified the bodice to be more fitted and also I used an invisable zip.  After that a few more arrived, one a little longer, one with the exposed metal zip after the Gather Girl’s let me know where to find the 22 inch metal zips – Jaycotts.  I now have 4 hanging in my wardrobe and also 1 nealy finished.

IMG_2789The Vogue 8956 wrap skirt is a great pattern and have made 3 skirts from the pattern view B & C.  Its quick to make, nothing tricky at all and a great wardrobe staple.  Below is a quick snapshot of some of the clothes I’ve made this year – not always managed to photograph everything.  The Hot Patterns was the only disaster interms of overall fit, although I did have an ironing disaster with a blouse part way through construction and will never ever skim and buy Polyester instead of silk ever agin.

The Priscilla Slip  colette patterns laurel  IMG_3714  hot patterns  the mortmain  mortmain dress

colette patterns Myrtle  victory patterns | madeleine  mortmain dress Gatherkits  lottie Blouse | Simple Sews  the maker atelier | bomber jacket simplicity 1609  by hand london | flora

I made 4 silk crepe de chine flora bridesmaids dresses, such a fantastic pattern and have my eye on a special fabric about to fly into the sale at work.  Will be a great summer dress, along with a few patterns I found this year and plan to stich as soon as I can find the right fabrics.


Quilting has been a little slower, some EEP as well as machine piecing.  Although with 2 new babies on their way I am planning 2 more baby quilts for early January.

clamshell block  ferris wheel baby quilt  IMG_3348  20140321-173506.jpg hexy logcabin block

IMG_4549  IMG_4859  IMG_5264  hot water bottle cover  15757463582_abe3ff7545_o  15615530357_d41856db63_o


There were lots of little makes throughout the year with the odd tutorial dotted in too.  Its been great to concentrate on sewing with everything going on, the concentration needed really does help.  A little meditation time when all goes well and then there are the times the quick un pick is needed!  But after my bro decided to start misehaving I realised how much I depend on him to help me relax, he’s now home and waiting to be pluged in.  Here is a snapshot of some small projects that have been whipped up:

st mungos hat  ribbed cowl  shopping bag  IMG_3065  free motion machine embroideryIMG_3544  japanese knot bag  IMG_3616  needlecase  hot water bottle tutorial 6sewing bee | urban thread  liberty kitten | urban thread  silent night | urban thread  monogram | urban thread  egg cosy | urban thread  christmas stocking  pin-ring 12  never more the raven

Thank you so uch for all your comments and emails – instergram & twitter too!  I do hope you are all enjoying Christmas and wishing a wonderful Healthy & Happy New Year!

Sewing for Christmas

sewing for christmas 2014This is one of the last makes before Christmas, my sewing machine has had a breakdown under the stress and now hopefully can be fixed.  I was stitching my Christmas Mortmain in a fabulous silk and it just would not sew a straight line and then refused to work all together (have just looked into my wardrobe I have 5 Mortmain dresses – so it really has been my fav pattern of 2014!).  Its lucky that I can sew at work and have finished off a heavily quilted hot water bottle cover.

hot water bottle coverThe quilting is almost matchstick, I used the Janome 6600 built in walking foot as a guide.  I can not remember where i found the fabric, the batting inside is insul bright from Fabrics Galore and lined in plain cotton.  Insul Bright is simply the best insulated wadding I have found, keeps toes, teapots & boiled eggs warm and brilliant for oven gloves, table mats or pot holders.

hotwater bottle coverIf you’d like to make the hot water bottle cover, here’s my tutorial.  The quilt int he background was my very first machine pieced quilt, the brilliant bubble quilting was done my Karen at the Running Chicken – she is a brilliant long arm quilter and has a lovely sellection of fabrics in her on line store.  Ok now to pack up some presents and clear up where my sewing machine normally lives.

Stitching for Christmas

never more the raven

I have been making lace this weekend with a Janome 350E and an Urban Thread pattern.  Having read advice on making lace, I used Solu-fleece from MacCulloch & Wallis and 2 layers of it in the hoop. Although I think 1 may well be enough and will exprement and let you know.  If you can offer any tips, please do!

never more the ravenSo here it is embroiderd, simply place into water and

IMG_5424                                                    IMG_5427

it disapears!  What’s left is free standing stitching.  I left them to dry last night and today I gace the lace bookmarks a light pressing and now have some fabulous finished bookmarks!  I am absolutly delighted with the results!

never more the ravenNow I thought initally that this was Mortimer from Mortimer and Arabel, I know now its form The Raven by Edgar Allan Poe.  But thought if your around my age, you’d enjoy a trip down memory lane and see Jackanory!

gifts for Christmas

sewing for christmas 2014With Christmas just under 2 weeks away, are you ready?  I’m not a big internet shopper, although Etsy did prove to be invaluable this Christmas with the over time I’ve been doing at work.  I’ve been scaring South London traffic cycling to the sorting office to collect parcels, off again this morning!

IMG_5396My makes list has nearly been completed, poor machine now needs an urgent service.  At work yesterday managed to make quite a few pin rings, lots of interest from people asking what I was doing!  I thought I’d share the tutorial they are super quick and only require a 4 inch square of fabric and a little stuffiing.

IMG_5309What you will require : 4 inch square of fabric, matching thread and some toy filling.


1.  Cut 1 4inch square of fabric (here I have used an off cut of British tweed from Fabrics Galore).

pin-ring 22.  Fold the square in half and pin.

pin-ring 33.  Stitch using a 1/4 inch seam allowance around the 2 open edges.

pin_ring_44.  Make a 1 inch slit on the folded edge.   I also sniped off the pointed seam allowance, as below.  Turn through and be careful when pushing through the points.

pin-ring 55.  Yours should look a little like mine below, if made in quilting cotton the points are a lot sharper.

pin-ring 66.  Start to fill your triangle, I placed lots of stuffing in the central part – do not fill the edges as these are going to form the ring part of your Pin Ring.

pin-ring 77.  Whip stitch closed the opening.  I use a name lable to hide my whip stitching – but thats because it is so untidy.

pin-ring 99.  To form the ring, fold the two ‘wings’ around your finger.  I then placed a long pin through to secure the wrapped ‘wings’.

pin-ring 1010.  Stitch in place with a matching thread and you will have a fab new piece of sewing kit or jewellery!

pin-ring 11I did play with shapes and also made a rounded version, in the tweed it worked brilliantly.  Have fun and do show me your pin rings if you make one.  They are addictive, here’s a hand full in shades of Kona Solids.

pin-ring 12

simplicity 1609

IMG_5344I made the monster Simplicity 1609.  She loved the dress when Dave, the Hairy Biker made it on the celebrity sewing bee.  I found the fabric and pattern at the crafty sewer, tartan is great to sew with and not difficult to match up the pattern.

IMG_5349It’s unlined and very quick & straight forward to put together.  It fits really well and the sizing is true to the measurements.  I overlocked all the seams to give a neat finish.  So very tempted to make one for myself!  This version is 6 inches shorter than the original and to make it seam less homemade I added a label.  Used a standard zip with this dress, I stitched to the base of the zip and then with a large stitch finish the whole seam.  Press open and then place the zip on top of the seam, tack and then stitch into place.  That way I get a good, hidden zip placement.

IMG_5311For the hem I used one of my favorite dressmaking tools, brilliant for very even hems.  With the fabric left over I even managed to make a mini wrap round skirt!  So enormous value out of 2 meters of fabric.  I am cutting out my last dress before Christmas and hope to have it finish tomorrow – its my entry to the #gatherxmasparty.

Christmas Makes – progresss

sewing for christmas 2014

Yesterday I was busy finishing off a few projects and they are now packed away ready for wrapping.  Thought I’d share a few snaps, I have been asked to get egg cups for 2 chaps and I thought I’d add in monogrammed egg cosies and napkins.  The egg cosies are made from scraps from a vintage blanket, monogrammed by a Janome 350E and piped, lined and bound in cotton gingham.  The napkins are very large and pure cotton with a satin stripe, found in a funny little linen shop by Oxford Circus, first street up Regent’s street north.  Fabulous find on my way to work, a treasure trove and very old fashioned!

IMG_5272   IMG_5231


The tea cosy is to go with another kitchen gift, all fabrics from Tikki Patchwork and my final finish yesterday was a Christmas stocking for the London MQG charity challenge.  It is made from some Japanese fabric left over from another Christmas make.  I love the fabric, I found at Fabrics Galore.

IMG_5271What have you been making this week?