fabric iPad sleeve tutorial

 

Harriet 005.

I had been wondering what I could make with a little embroidered piece that I stitched recently and finally decided on a new iPad cover.  I already have a ‘Smart Case’ for my iPad and, whilst I like the protection that the hard folding cover gives to the screen, the fact remains that it is a dull grey colour, a little grubby from fingerprints and well … just plain boring!

So, I wanted to pretty things up a wee bit and this is the result …

iPad cover1

iPad cover3

iPad cover2

iPad cover9

iPad cover7

iPad cover11

I made a slightly different version for my mother-in-law, adding her initial in embroidery on the front. I added a velcro flap at the top, rather than an elastic and button closure and I also quilted the background of the linen section.  I found some wonderful embroidery templates for monogram letters here.

iPad cover4

If you would like to have a go at making a fabric iPad sleeve, I’ve jotted down some quick instructions below on how I made mine.  You can do anything you like on the front cover – I used my new Harriet & her Teddy design on the front of mine (available in my pattern shop), or you can just keep it simple by using two pretty co-ordinating fabrics – just go with what you fancy!

Before we get started, I need to point out that I made mine big enough to accommodate an iPad4 and a Smart Case.  If you want to make a cover just for an iPad on it’s own, I would suggest using a 1/2″ seam allowance throughout (for a snugger fit), rather than a 1/4″ seam allowance.

So, what you will need is:

For the outside

  • 2 pieces of fabric 9.5” x 8.75” – for the bottom of the outside cover
  • 2 pieces of co-ordinating fabric 9.5” x 3” – for the top of the outside cover
  • 2 lengths of ribbon around 10” long, plus extra for the bow
  • 1 small button (for the bow centre) and a larger button for the closure
  • 1 adult hair elastic/ponytail holder (or similar thin elastic)

For the inside

  • 2 pieces of thin wadding (batting) 9.5” x 11.25”
  • 2 pieces of lining fabric 9.5” x 11.5” (the extra 1/4″ in length for the lining fabric is for the trim at the top edge)

*Use 1/4″ seam throughout

1. Cut out all the pieces before you start

Harriet 3

To make the outside cover …

2. With right sides together, stitch each of the two top pieces (9.5” x 3”) to the bottom pieces (9.5” x 8.75”)

Harriet 1

3. Cover the seam lines by stitching on some co-ordinating ribbon

Harriet 2

4. Make a ‘quilt sandwich’ by laying one 9.5” x 11.25” piece of wadding down on your work table first, followed by the front cover (right side up), followed by the back cover (right side down), and finishing with another 9.5” x 11.25” piece of wadding. Line up all raw edges and pin.

5. Stitch all four layers together using ¼” seam, leaving the top open. Backstitch a few stitches at the start and end of sewing to stop the seam opening when you turn it right side out.

Stitch all the layers together

6. Trim away the wadding to about 1/8th of an inch from the sewn line to reduce bulk, clip the corners and turn right side out. Push out the corners to give nice neat points.

7. Sew the elastic hairband onto the outside of the back cover by placing it in the centre and stitching over it a few times about an 1/8th of an inch from the edge. Allow a little of the elastic to hang off the edge (you will trim it later).

Harriet 11

8. Now take your lining fabric and place the pieces right sides together. Stitch down both long sides and along the bottom, leaving a 4” opening at the bottom for turning. Leave the top open.  Clip the corners, but don’t turn it right side out yet!

Lining

9. To join your outer cover and lining, keep your lining inside out & your outer piece right side out and slip the assembled cover inside the lining, matching up your two side seams. They should now be right sides together.

Harriet 10

10. Line up the top edges of the lining and the outside cover and stitch a ¼” seam all around the top edge. Trim away the excess elastic from the seam allowance.

Collage1

11. Gently pull the front cover through the gap that you left in the lining. *Tip:  I use a star headed screw driver to turn things out as I find that the little star head grips the fabric and helps things along 🙂

Harriet 512. Poke out the corners and press

Harriet 8

13. Stitch the opening closed

sew opening closed

14. Gently push the lining inside the cover.  You will find that a little of the lining will naturally fold around the wadding at the top edge to give a nice little trim along the top (that’s the reason why we cut the lining pieces that extra 1/4″ longer 😉 )

iPad cover12

15. Sew on a pretty button and top-stitch ‘in the ditch’ where the lining and the outside meet to give a neat finish (although it looks just fine without this step).

Top stitch to finish (optional)

ipadcover5

I have just begun to stitch another little version of Harriet & her Teddy, this time I am embroidering the entire thing on to soft white linen (no applique).  I’ve added tiny beads as flower centres and smocking at the top of her dress…

A pocketful of posies

 

… not sure what it will become this time, just gonna see where the stitches take me …

Natalie x

 

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vintage-style zippered pouch

I have been on a wee bit of a sewing spree just lately. Not a marathon session or anything, more a case of a few stolen moments in my sewing room …

Cosmetic pouch patter npics 198

Anyhow, the result is that I have FINALLY managed to put together a pattern for my little vintage-style zippered pouch, which is now available as an instant download in my Etsy shop.

The pattern for this vintage-style zippered pouch is available in my Etsy pattern shop

I’ve written it in the style of a step-by-step tutorial and have included almost 50 close-up colour photos to help you along, The cool part about it being a digital file is that you can zoom right on in to the photos on your computer if you want to see the details even more closely!

Yo-yo

I have made lots of these little cuties for friends and family now, but this one I will definitely be keeping for my very own 🙂

Inside

Cosmetic pouch patter npics 200.

Suffolk puff embellishment2

Vintage-style zippered pouch1

zip open

And whilst I was in a creative mood, I came across a great tutorial for a fabric notebook cover and enjoyed putting together my own version from the left over fabric scraps.

Notebook5

Add second accent strip Collage

Quote

They make a lovely set … don’t you think?

set3

set2

 Happy stitching everyone!

Natalie x

 

 

one year ago today …

… I began my adventures in blogland with a very nervous first post from my sewing room.

To tell you the truth, I was not at all convinced that anyone would be the slightest bit interested in my ‘wee bits o’ nonsense’ (aka sewing projects).  But I was amazed how quickly I was made to feel welcome in the blogging community with lovely comments and words of encouragement.  Bloglanders are such a friendly bunch 🙂

Looking back over my blog I realize that I have created a colourful little journal of my life in stitches!  I didn’t think about that aspect of blogging when I started out, so it’s an unexpected and happy bonus!

Hexy flower side view

One year on and I would like to thank you all for reading my words, looking at my pictures, checking out my tutorials and for all your wonderful encouragement and amazingly generous comments! I can’t tell you how much you brighten my day by taking time out of your busy lives to share your thoughts with me!  It is particularly heart warming when someone tells me that they have been inspired by something they have seen on my blog! And I have to pinch myself when I see a Sewing Room Secrets project on Pinterest!  That still freaks me out every time! (in a good way!!)

I have picked out 12 of my favourite makes and posts from the past 12 months and hope you will humour me as I take a little trip down memory lane…

Little hexie needle caddy

Little hexie needle caddyIt’s a giveaway!

Etsy Collage

A treasury of applique

sewing-room-secrets-sewing-caddy11

Hexagons for Harriet

Harriet before applique

‘Lola’

Lola8

Zakka Style

fabric boxes11

Zakka inspired gift set

red-set-with-flower1

‘Morning Star’ … a journey of a thousand stitches

Morning star 20

How to make a Suffolk Puff

image

Time to just be me

My glasses case

Catching up …

Crafty Creatures

On white

Chocolate Tiffin Recipe

tiffin5

Thank you for your company this past year … having you along for the journey has really been a blessing 

●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●●

*Edited: I will be taking a step back from blogging for a while, as I will not be able to devote as much time to it in the coming months, due to other demands in my life right now. I will still be ‘around’, working on my Love Entwined quilt and drafting several new patterns for my Etsy shop, but unfortunately blogging will have to take a back seat for now.  I will try to pop back from time to time with updates when I can, but for now I bid you all a fond farewell and happy stitching!  Love & hugs, Natalie xx

 

it’s a giveaway!

I promised you something a little bit lovely as a giveaway prize and I hope this wee offering fulfills that promise.

Set1

You wouldn’t believe it, but I have completely trashed my sewing room putting together that wee bit o’ nonsense. My husband entered my sewing room during my “creative phase” and gave me *that* look. You know the one; complete disbelief mixed with a slight suspicion of some kind of hidden mental illness. Mania perhaps?

“Do you really need to empty all this stuff on to the floor every time?” and “How can you find anything in all this mess?” was what he said, or words to that effect. He was genuinely perplexed, bless him.

Good questions.

Why do I do that? Every time.

scissors

supplies

Almost every other creative person I know does the same. You get a whiff of an idea and every piece of fabric, thread, button, lace, ribbon, felt etc that you own gets pulled out and examined for worthiness of inclusion in your current project. You can lose track of all earthly time and find yourself still in your jim-jams and furry slippers at 2.30 in the afternoon. Shocking!

Furry slippers and jim-jams

I had gone into Hobbycraft last week looking for something or other (can’t remember what?) and I came out, not with the thing I went in for, but with some beautiful Tilda fabric.

Sound like a familiar story? Are you kidding me, I know you guys do that kinda thing too 🙂

Tilda fabric

After much fabric stroking and fretting over the actual cutting up of such a thing of beauty, I finally convinced myself that it was the right thing to do. After all, it’s what the fabric would have wanted, right?

in progress

And with my Facebook page reaching a wee personal milestone of 2000 followers (I know! can you catch your breath!), I thought it timely to host a little giveaway to say ‘thanks’ for keeping me company all this time 

So, here it is … a pretty wee pouch for one lucky reader. Well worth getting my sewing room all messed up for 🙂

pouch5

The pouch is padded with cotton wadding for extra softness. A wee bit of lace and a few other carefully chosen embellishments help to create a delicate, feminine look that I just love!

Close up heart tag

pouch side on

The little suffolk puff has a brooch pin sewn on to the back of it, which allows you to detach it from the pouch, so you can pin it on to something else if you like. Nifty!

close up suffolk puff

Close up brooch on leaf

And whilst I was on a roll, I made a wee lavender sachet to match which I’ll include in the prize

Lavender sachet

Set from above 4

For a chance to win, here’s all you need to do:

  • be a follower of this blog by subscribing to email (click the box in the top right of the home page) or Bloglovin (or some other means!) and leave a comment below telling me which way you are following along. If you are a no-reply blogger, be sure to leave me an email address so I can contact you if you win 🙂
  • for a second chance to win pop over to my Facebook page and follow the instructions on the giveaway post pinned to the top of the page

That’s it!  The giveaway is open until 24th October 2013 at midnight, GMT, after which time a winner will be picked at random from all entries here and on Facebook. The winner will be announced on Friday 25th October 2013.

Good luck everyone and thank you for entering!

Natalie x

Edit: This giveaway is now closed, but you can purchase the pattern for the little zippered purse featured in this giveaway here.

The pattern for this vintage-style zippered pouch is available in my Etsy pattern shop

zakka inspired gift set

With Christmas just around the corner, I have been putting some thought into what little fabric gifts I can make for friends and family this year.

Every year, I make Christmas cookies for the girls at work and last year I made some wee fabric gift bags to put them in

Gift bag template can be found here

Gift bag template can be found here

This Christmas I want to give the girls a little something to go with the usual cookies and I have been wondering what it might be. Every time I think of an idea, I have been jotting it down on a yellow sticky note and pinning it to the notice board in my sewing room.

Sticky notes are great when you need to jot something down real quick; I use them all the time! And I certainly wouldn’t be without them at work (along with the humble highlighter pen!)

sticky notes

Which got me thinkin’! Wouldn’t it be nice to have something pretty to keep them in?

Dangerous thing, thinkin’ … cos now my sewing room is all messed up again!  There are fabric scraps everywhere, I’ve completely forgotten to leave anything out of the freezer for tea, the housework is untouched and I have no idea where the time has gone! But I don’t care … not really

… cos now I have a whole bunch of these wee cuties! 🙂

Pile notes on top

pile aqua on top

Aqua open with pencil

This little sticky note keeper fits two sizes of stickies – 7.5cm square and 9.5cm square

Open showing different sizes of stickies

And the really cool part is that they happen to go great with the little twisted hexagon coasters that I made a couple of weeks ago!

twisted hexagon coaster

I added in a little Sarubobo keyring and Bob’s your Uncle! … a cute little Zakka inspired gift set was born! Don’t you just love it when a plan comes together 🙂

Green set with lily

Green set from above

Green side on

These little Zakka style gift sets will be perfect to accompany the Christmas cookies this year!  I just need to make another half a dozen sets and that’s Christmas 2013 all ‘sewn up’ … (pun intended folks 🙂 )

If you would like to make a sticky note keeper of your own, here’s how:

In the main fabric cut:

  • Four 5” x 1¼” strips (for the borders around the pinwheel centre)
  • Two 4½” x 5½” rectangles (for the back and the inside pocket)
  • One 4½” x 9½” rectangle (for the lining) 

You will also need:

  • Two 3” squares of fabric – one light, one dark – for the pinwheel
  • 5½” x 10½” piece of cotton wadding
  • One 3½” square and one 3¾” square of stiff card

Materials

First make the patchwork pinwheel …

*Use a ¼” seam throughout (unless otherwise stated)

Place the two 3” squares right sides together and sew a continuous ¼” seam all the way around the edge

sew all around the square

Cut the sewn squares in half diagonally.   Then cut again diagonally in the opposite direction

four trianglesPress the patches open towards the darker fabric

Press seams towards the dark fabric

Lay the four patches in the formation of a pinwheel.  It’s easy to mix the patches up and sew the wrong edges together, so I lay the pinwheel out right next to my machine and that keeps me on the right track 🙂

join four squares

Place patches 1 and 2 right sides together and sew together with 1/4″ seam. Join pieces 3 and 4 in the same way. Press the seams towards the dark side.

Join two halves of pinwheel

Now join section A and B with ¼” seam, making sure that  the centre seams are nested together

Press the seam open to reduce bulk

press the centre seam open

Trim the pinwheel – it should measure 3” square

Trim pinwheel

Stitch a 5” border strip to two opposite sides of the pinwheel patch and press the seams out towards the border

first two borders added

Trim the borders flush with the sides of the pinwheel patch

Trim first 2 borders

Stitch the other two border strips to the remaining sides of the pinwheel patch and press seams out towards the border

Pinwheel trimmed

You now have a framed pinwheel block – yay!

Stitch a 4½” x 5½” rectangle to the framed pinwheel block and press the seam away from the block.  Place the piece right side up on the wadding

Lay face up on wadding

Quilt the two layers together by stitching around the pinwheel square and inside the light coloured triangles, about ⅛” from the seam lines.  I did a mixture of hand stitching and machine stitching on mine and I also added a little bead to the centre.

Embellish pinwheel

Trim the wadding flush with the sides of your work

Trim Collage

Take another 4½” x 5½” rectangle and fold it in half, matching up the short sides. Press.  This will form a pocket on the inside.

press pocket

Lay the lining fabric on your work table right side up. Line up the raw edges of the folded pocket piece with the raw edges on one of the short sides of the lining fabric and pin in place

pin pocket to lining fabric

Next, lay the pinwheel panel right side down on top of the pocket panel, matching up all raw edges and pin. (The pinwheel should be at the opposite end to where you have pinned the pocket). Sew all the layers together, leaving the short edge nearest the pinwheel open

Join lining to front panel

Trim away some of the wadding to reduce bulk and clip the corners

Trim wadding

Turn right side out. *Tip – when turning things right side out,  I use a Phillips (star head) screw driver to push out the corners, as I find the little ‘star head’ helps to grip the fabric and is less likely to pierce it than a knitting needle or scissors would. Try it yourself and see what you think!

Insert a 3¾” square of stiff card through the opening and push it to the bottom. It’s a fairly snug fit, so you may have to give it a wiggle. *I used card that was 1/8″ thick for the first couple that I made, but then I used two thicknesses of cereal packet stuck together and that worked just fine.  I used a simple glue stick to stick the card together.

insert first card

Starting from the seam line of the pinwheel block, sew two lines of stitching ¾” apart.  These two lines create a sort of ‘spine’ and encase the cardboard at the same time

encase the first card

Place a 3½” square of stiff card into the opening up to the sewn line

Insert 2nd card

Last bit! Fold in the raw edges of the opening by about ¼” and pin

Close opening

Stitch the opening closed with a line of stitching very close to the edge. Continue to stitch all around the edge of the square very close to the edge, wiggling the cardboard out of the way as you go. I sewed along to the first corner and then, keeping the needle in the down position, I was able to wiggle the cardboard out of the way and pivot my work and sew to next corner and so on.

If you prefer not to sew a line all around the outside, you can just slip stitch the opening closed by hand.

sew close to the edge

finished

That’s it, you’re done!

All you need to do now is insert the back few pages of a sticky note pad into the little pocket and you have a pretty little home for your stickies (oh the simple things that please us eh?) 🙂

Aqua sticky note keep

You don’t have to have a pinwheel as your centre block.  Depending on how you sew your half triangle patches together, you will get a different pattern. For example, I put the patches together as a ‘broken dishes’ block in the centre of this one

red set with keys

… and this one

Pile green facing

Or you could perhaps keep the whole piece plain and embroider a little design on the front – I think some redwork on linen would look fab! A nine patch block would do the trick too – you do whatever takes your fancy.

I’m a wee bit fond of the little red set, so I might have to keep it for myself (maker’s perk an’ all:) )

red set with flower

red set from above

red set with pencil

red set open with pencil

I hope you have enjoyed this little project and feel inspired to make some of your own wee Zakka-style sitcky note keepers – if you do, I’d love to see some pics of your creations! 

Happy stitching and creating everyone

Natalie x

little hexie needle caddy

If you have been following my blog for the last however many weeks you will know that I have been afflicted with a bad case of ‘hexagon-itis’ and my wee pink tin of 1/2” hexies has been my constant companion.  I have really enjoyed re-acquainting myself with the simple pleasures of making hexagons (something I haven’t done since I was a child!) and I can at last reveal the final resting place for all those little six-sided cuties!

Needlebook on fabric pile

My wee pink sewing tin is empty – almost! Just a few lonely little hexies left languishing at the bottom for another day …

pink tin empty2

It has been a very interesting and rewarding mini-hexie-adventure, which began with a neat little pile of the prettiest fabrics …

fabric pile 2

which turned into these …

Hexie tower2

Hexies before joining

which were sewn together like this …

Hexies

which grew into this …

Hexy6

and was appliqued on to linen and embellished with pretty beads and the simplest of embroidery stitches …

Hexies long row with embroidery

and framed all neat and tidy with some dotty aqua binding …

Needlebook binding

to create the perfect home for all my sewing needles 🙂

cover

fully open with needles

Needlebook Open with needles

slope down to the right with needles

When I started making all those wee hexagons I had no idea what I was going to do with them all.  I just liked the cuteness of them and the fact that they require no special tools to construct, just paper, fabric, needle and thread.  No special effort or concentration … a way to just sit, be still and stitch for the love of it.

Needlebook9

Needlebook51

Needlebook47

cover angle flowers

Needlebook10JPG

Needlebook37

It’s been interesting sharing my love affair with hexagons here on my blog and on my facebook page, as it has revealed to me that people are ‘hexagonating’ all over the world! And loving it! It seems we all have a certain fondness for the humble hexagon.

I have written up a pattern for my little needle caddy and it will be listed in my Etsy shop from midnight on Thursday 15th August 2013. I have loved working on this sweet little design and it has been made even more fun by having all of you hexie lovers along for the ride, keeping me company in all my little sewing endeavours, during what has been one of the most glorious British summers for many a long year! Thank you, and happy ‘hexagonating!’!

close up thimble

I am taking a little summer break from blogging and facebooking, but I will be back in September again :). Whilst I may be absent from cyberspace for a few weeks, I will still be ‘around’ stitching and  creating .

Until September then … happy stitching!

Natalie x

the luck o’ the irish

Oh yes! These Irish eyes are smilin’ ….  and the reason for my smiliness is this sweet wee linen pouch which I won in a giveaway hosted by my bloggy friend Irina over at El Petit Taller. 

Linen pouch2

linen pouch3

This gorgeous pouch has been lovingly made by the talented Margarita of Linen Artisan, who shares my love of linen. Margarita has a whole Etsy shop stuffed full to the brim with amazing hand stitched linen goodies – there are so many beautiful things to choose from in her shop. 

It was beautifully wrapped too – such a personal touch, thank you Margarita!

Linen pouch1

And the pouch even has my initial stitched on the front. I really like the little embroidered trim too.

linen pouch4JPG

linen pouch5

Thank you Margarita, I will treasure it 

Natalie x

all set for the big day

If you saw my last post you will know that I have been preparing for a family wedding taking place this weekend and I have been scurrying around trying to find a wedding outfit.

Apart from cleaning the oven, shopping for clothes ranks among my least favourite activities, so shopping for ‘dressy’ clothes is akin to sticking pins in my eyes. After much rummaging through clothes rails, I managed to get kitted out for the big day (yay!) …. except for a clutch bag. Rather than subject myself to any more retail therapy torture, I decided to make my own and I found a great little tutorial for the perfect little purse over at Elm Street Life.

It is surprising what you can do with a fabric bow and a wee bit of bling  😉

Clutch bag4

Clutch bag1

There is plenty of room for the essentials – make up, lipstick, phone, money.  Just need to get the confetti and I’m all set 🙂

clutch bag

We will be having people stay with us this weekend too and I have been doing a lot of pillow plumping and house cleaning in preparation for their arrival.  I took a break from all that today in order to make some gifts for my female guests. The girls are big Cath Kidston fans, so I got them each a set of Cath Kidston hand creams and I made them a wee tissue holder each as well.   I hope they like them.

Tissue holder4

Tissue holder3

Tissue holder2

Tissue holder1

I baked some of Aunt Annie’s fruitcake yesterday, as well as a whole bunch of lemon drizzle cake, so we will have plenty of yummy treats on hand. I love making lemon drizzle – it’s one of my favourite’s!  I use Mary Berry’s method to make it. It’s super easy; just put everything in the bowl together and mix – never fails, yum! Here’s a link to the recipe.

With all the preparations done, I just couldn’t help it ….. I had to try out the lemon drizzle to make sure it was gonna taste good, right?

… And. It. Does.

lemon drizzle cakeJPG

Have a wonderful weekend folks ♥

good fortune for ‘Lola’

I say ‘good fortune’ because, if it had not been for the fact that I have a soft spot for ‘Lola’, she would not be sitting pretty right now, rather she would be sitting in the dustbin!

Lola23

As soon as I saw the latest edition of Molly Makes, I just knew that Lisa Lam’s little fortune cookie purse on the cover would be perfect for Lola, so  I ordered the frame straightaway from U-Handbag and got to work making up the body of the purse.

Lola16

I have never made a framed purse before, but  the pattern was straight forward enough and I was surprised at how quickly and easily it all came together. 

So, this little purse-y version of Lola sat proudly on my work table with a pin holding it closed, patiently awaiting the finishing touch – that lovely antique brass frame! As I gazed lovingly at the little bulbous pouch, I was beginning to think that I could even run up a few more and give them as gifts. But I was getting ahead of myself …

A few days later the purse frame arrived.  Now, I knew I would have to glue the frame to the fabric and, if I’m honest, a few wee pangs of anxiety were already beginning to creep in – it was the ‘glue’ that was making me nervous. Give me a needle and thread any day, but glue? Mmm … nah!

Lola24

I mean, get a grip, how hard could it be to glue the frame on?

To say I swore a couple of times would be a lie… more like a dozen times or more!  The air was blue, I can tell you – even my husband put a concerned head around the door at one point to see what all the huffin’ and puffin’ was about. The problem was that the purse was just the teeniest, tiniest bit too small for the frame and, try as I might (and I tried mighty hard!), there was no way that I could get that little bugger to fit in the frame! Poop!

To cut a long story short, I ended up having to insert a tiny little triangle of fabric each side of the gusset to make it fit.  And even then it took a good bit of jiggery pokery to get the pesky thing just right. Talk about a bad frame day! Tsk!

Anyhow, as the saying goes ‘all’s well that ends well’ and perhaps I will love that wee Lola purse even more for all the trouble it caused me 🙂

Lola20

I thought at first that I would use the purse for make-up …

Lola14

Lola22

But then I changed my mind.

I think ‘Lola’ deserves pretty ribbon and lace …..don’t you?

Lola15

Because she’s worth it 😉

Happy stitching folks!

a treasury of applique

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy1

Given the choice, I prefer hand sewing over machine and appliqué has got to be one of my favourite techniques.  It’s like a form of art, I guess – the way you can take the teeniest, tiniest scraps and layer them, so as to build a picture out of nothing.  The down side to this, of course, is that I find it difficult to throw even the smallest piece of fabric away.

I recently made a little appliqued sewing caddy and it has been getting such a lot of attention from fellow stitchers that I thought I would share it here on my blog.

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy13

I first saw the pattern by Hitomi Fujita in one of my quilting magazines, yonks ago, and I fell in love with it straight away (Australian Patchwork & Quilting, Vol.4, No.6).

Australian Patchwork & Quilting MagBut, you know how it goes – it went down on my ‘to do’ list and then was forgotten about, until a few months ago, when I was flicking through my collection of old magazines (I can’t throw them away either :)) and I came across the pattern again. 

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy14

I’m so glad I didn’t just file the pattern away again, because now I have the most wonderful little home for all my sewing essentials.

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy11

There is a place for everything, from my embroidery scissors

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy9

a small fastener ensures that my scissors stay securely in place

to my tape measure and leather thimble

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy8

pockets where I keep my pins, embroidery threads and the all important stitch ripper!

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy10places for a ruler, pencils and threads

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy15

there is even a pin cushion and needle book

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy3

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy7The great thing is that the needle book and the pin cushion are both detachable from the pouch, as they are secured in place with velcro. Genius!

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy6

but, best of all, I got to do lots of lovely applique on the outside

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy5

Sewing Room Secrets Sewing Caddy2

This labour of love is now one of my most cherished creations ….. every stitch holding a memory of thousands of tiny seconds of time spent in my sewing room doing what I love most ♥

Happy stitching everyone!

** Edited 21.12.13**  I have had many requests for the pattern for this sewing caddy. Unfortunately, I don’t know where you might obtain the pattern these days – some of my readers have tried contacting the magazine, but unfortunately they have not been very helpful 😦  I do know that some people have managed to get a copy via Ebay and others via Bonanza.com or by posting a request on quilting forums.

Under copyright law, I am at liberty to publish my own photographs of my interpretation of the design, so long as I give credit to the source and the designer (which I have done in this post) but, unfortunately, the copyright for the design lies with the designer (which is not me!) and so I am not able to re-distribute the pattern in any shape or form, sorry. Natalie x

spring arrives with a baa-ng!

sheep7

I’m back in my sewing room after a lovely Easter break with my family in Northern Ireland.   Long walks, (way too many) coffee shops and ‘wee buns’, warm fires at night and a glass or two of my favourite tipple!

Irish Mist

It’s funny, but I still refer to Northern Ireland as ‘home’, even though I have lived in England now for more than half of my life. There is definitely something magical about going ‘home’ – that feeling of true belonging that cannot be felt anywhere else on earth.

It was lambing season whilst I was there, but sadly there were fewer lambs than usual in the fields surrounding my parents house this year. The recent heavy snow falls meant that many sheep and their lambs perished, buried in huge snow drifts of up to fifteen feet high in some areas! 

Thankfully, many pregnant ewes survived the harsh conditions and, now that the snow has all but melted, lambs are once again a happy sight on the Irish hillsides 🙂

sheep in snow1

sheep in snow2

It was scenes like the ones above that inspired me to create a sheep-themed pouch like the button pouch featured in my ‘button love’ post.

sheep4

sheep3

 

pouch back

 

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I use this one to keep cotton wool in, but there are any number of uses for it. You can find the tutorial for it here.

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I’m back home in England now and as I sit at my sewing table, looking out at the daffodils making a later than usual appearance, it makes me smile to see their sweet golden faces heralding the arrival of spring at last!

daffodils

Happy stitching everyone!

annual sewing retreat

Just got back from a fabulous weekend at Alston Hall with some of the lovely ladies from my sewing group.  Oh my goodness!  I have literally eaten the equivalent of what would feed a small family this weekend! The food was amazing! Back on the diet tomorrow for sure…. 

Alston Hall

For anyone not familiar with Alston Hall, it is an adult education centre set in a large Victorian House in Longridge, near Preston.  Perfect for a sewing retreat – large rooms, high ceilings and lots of natural daylight streaming in through large windows. There is a lovely relaxed atmosphere in the house, just like home from home really.  I spent the entire time in my slippers and tracksuit and no one batted an eyelid.

Besides eating my own body weight in food and laughing with my friends until my sides hurt, I actually managed to make a little bag for summer.

Phoebe bag

I used the Phoebe Bag pattern by Rebeka Lambert and I love how it has turned out. I’ve cut out another one already and can’t wait to get started!!

But, alas, there are packed lunches to make and clothes to iron and tomorrow’s dinner to think about, because it’s back to work on Monday.  Oh well, it was good while it lasted ….

Hope you all had a great weekend too.  Happy stitching!

button love

Buttons6

I don’t know what it is about buttons that makes me want to squirrel them away for a rainy day. I’ve always had a fascination with them – I can’t throw them away, so I cut the spare ones off new clothes – you know, the ones that are sewn to the care label – and I save them in my button bag (is any of this making me sound crazy?!!).  Ironically, I don’t think I’ve ever had to use one of these ‘spare’ buttons, but I always keep them ‘just in case’.

Buttons7

I use buttons quite a bit in my sewing though, so it’s not like they don’t serve a useful purpose 🙂  

Tiny buttons used as flower centres

Tiny buttons used as flower centres

 I like to use them in fun and decorative ways and am always on the look out for unusual or cute buttons.

Buttons2

I spent a couple of hours in my sewing room the other day,  just organizing my button collection. I sorted them all into colours and then placed them in cute little jars that I came across at IKEA.  They are supposed to be spice jars, but what the heck! I use them for buttons!  The jars have a wonderful pot-bellied shape and aren’t too big, which I like.

Buttons5

Even with all these buttons, I still buy more any chance I get!  I mean, just look at these little beauties – who could resist those?

buttons

I featured a little button pouch on my face book page recently and promised to do a tutorial to show you just how easy it is to make one.

Buttonsy

Buttons4

Buttons12

Embroidery and buttons

I promise to write up the tutorial for the little button bag in a day or two, so pop back often – you won’t want to miss it!

In the meantime, have fun and happy stitching!

mother’s day gifts

I have been wondering what to make with my stack of Suffolk Puffs

Stack of suffolk puffs - sewing room secrets

And, with Mother’s Day just around the corner, I really wanted to use them in a pretty way to make a gift for my Mum.  I had already purchased some delightful novelty pins from Teeny Tiny Vintage (trust me, her pins are even more gorgeous in real life!), but I wanted to give my Mum something else that I had made with my own two hands.

Pins

So ……  I began my usual ritual of ransacking my sewing room, trying to find inspiration from my stash of pretty fabrics, buttons, ribbons, lace and the like.

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For a while, I drew a blank, but then ‘it’ happened.  You know that moment when you get a picture in your head of ‘it’ – the thing you want to make – and suddenly you become even more frantic in your search for that ‘perfect piece of fabric’.  “I’ll know it when I see it” says the voice in your head and, sure enough, the exact fabric you need turns up… eventually.

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Amidst the mess that was once my tidy sewing room, I have managed to sew a cute wee zipper pouch and two lavender scented sachets.  All in all, I’m really happy with my efforts. All that’s left for me to do is to package it all up in a pretty ribbon, ready for Mother’s Day (after I’ve put my sewing room back together that is :))

Mother's day gifts from sewing room secrets

Mother's day gifts from sewing room secrets

Mother's day gifts from sewing room secrets

Happy Mother’s Day everyone! x

time to just be me

One of my favourite designers, the talented Kate Popovski (aka LiliPopo), has just released a new embroidery pattern and my copy arrived last week.  I have been itching to get going with it, but there was always something else to do and I’ve not managed to find the time.

Today, with the March sun streaming through an open window, I managed to sit down in my sewing room, just me, and stitch for a few glorious hours. 

lilipopo in progress

Oh! there are few things more satisfying than those precious moments when nothing else requires your attention, other than the needle and thread in your hand and making sure there is tea in the pot!

lilipopo in progress2

I love combining appliqué with embroidery and have done so to great effect in many of my own projects, but I think that these little LiliPopo designs are perfect to showcase just how effective this technique can be.

My glasses case

ipad2

I shall need to carve myself out some sewing time next week in order to make a Mother’s Day gift.  I have some Suffolk Puffs lying around somewhere; I’m sure I can rustle up something lovely with those 😉

First though, I shall need to post this wee glasses case to my aunt in Northern Ireland.

Aunt Hilary's glasses case3

I just love days like today, when you can while away the hours just sewing, nothing else, just that.  Bliss x

camper van iPad sleeve

Have you noticed the sudden return in popularity of the VW camper van?  With all the ‘vintage love’ around, the iconic old camper van is popping up all over the place! Some people are even getting married in them!

I was in town a few weeks ago with a good friend and we stumbled upon a great little shop selling all kinds of vintage memorabilia.  I just couldn’t resist buying this piece of metallic wall art  for my sewing room wall.  I can’t help but smile when I look at it.  It’s just too cute!

my happy little campervan

my happy little camper van

My friend’s cousin has just got a new iPad and I know she’s just crazy about camper vans, so I have been working on a camper van themed iPad sleeve for her.  This is how it has turned out ……

Campervan iPad sleeve

Campervan detail

Her name is Emily but everyone shortens it to Em, so I have embroidered ‘Em’ on the flap to personalize it. I really hope she likes it! Monogram on iPad flap Happy stitching folks!

fabric iPad sleeve and mobile phone case

My lovely husband bought me an iPad for Christmas and I’ve been glued to it ever since!   These days I refer to it for almost everything and don’t know how I managed without it!  I still use the laptop as a word processor, but the iPad is just great for sending a quick email or for instant access to the internet, since you don’t have to wait for it to ‘boot up’ like the laptop.

Now that I’ve got an iPad,  I need a sleeve for it, right? Sure, I’ve got the official apple iPad case thingy, but I’m talking about one made from fabric! So naturally, I went ahead and made one.….

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imageI am totally in love with the little Sarubobo character that hangs off the side. I’ve made lots of these little cuties as keyrings for friends and family – they are just so sweet!!  Sarubobo dolls are traditionally made in Japan by mothers for their daughters as lucky charms.   They are not supposed to have faces but I sewed eyes on mine. You can find the tutorial on how to make them here.

shabby chic flower on flap

shabby chic flower on flap

I also made a matching case for my mobile phone …..

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image

It seems that everyone is using some sort of tablet these days. Quite a few of my friends and family have got iPads now and I have been busy making sleeves for them all.  I’ll post some pics of the them soon, but until then ……

Happy stitching everyone!!