Archive | January 2013


Did you know that every year, 2.3 million children die because they don’t get enough of the right food?

In recent years, millions of children have been saved from preventable diseases by the world taking action. But despite major progress, hunger is still the root cause of a third of all child deaths.

We all know, and are experiencing the rises in food prices. It feels bad to us, but try to imagine just how bad it must be if you are one of the world’s poorest people? How hard must it be?

Our Prime Minister, David Cameron has announced that he will lead the way in the Race Against Hunger. Save the Children want him to use his G8 presidency in 2013 to set ambitious plans to tackle hunger and save millions of children’s lives. 

Do you support this? Sign the petition here . Thanks to Save the Children for the facts and for coordinating the petition.

Crafters who have want to be part of the solution, not the problem, have been working hard to get hunger towards the top of the G8 summit agenda. They have been doing this by joining the Craftivist Collective Jigsaw Project. Crafters are invited to make a jigsaw piece with embroidered with a provocative message to support Save the Children’s Race Against Hunger campaign.

The project will create an art installation using all the jigsaw pieces to raise awareness of the issues of world hunger and injustice. It will be displayed in London initially then the plan is to for it to be displayed at the G8 to raise awareness and show how the craft community wants the government to use it’s power.

If you want to join in, you can find jigsaw piece templates, a story to reflect on and suggested phrases here.

All over the country craftivists are organising stitch ins to help publicise the cause. When I found out through Jelly that Roo from Little Stitch Blog was organising one in Reading, I had to take part. We were very lucky that jigsaw pieces had already been cut out and we were provided with a pretty tin full of embroidery thread to use.

My embroidery after a long day at work wasn’t anyway near as well stitched as other people’s, and as I started small, I had to continue small, but it seemed appropriate for the phrase I chose:


The lighting wasn’t great, which made threading a needle and taking a photo difficult!

All together we made all of these:


There were some more experienced embroiderers there! I will share better photos if someone posts them…

I had a thoroughly enjoyable evening, helping to make a difference piece by piece. Many thanks to Roo for organising!


Chop Chop!

As you probably know, I’m a teacher. As part of that role I set homework for my students. When I was at school I wasn’t too keen on homework. I did it, but unless it was something which really interested me, I usually did it last minute and could probably have put more effort in.

So, why mention that now? Well, my Making Your Own Clothes class is on a Monday night, and the evening after my first class I was cut out all of my pattern pieces. Two days before my second class I had even finished my wrist pincushion. Do you get the impression that this is homework I want to do?!


I wish I could share lots of progress with you. Everyone spent our second lesson cutting out their fabric. Some needed to cut their pattern pieces first, but they still were cutting out fabric by the end. I soon spotted that most people folded their fabric in half and then pinned and cut out their fabric. Mine was a bit more complicated!

The main body pieces of Colette’s Jasmine are cut on the bias. Placing the first ever pattern pieces that I’ve cut on the bias, along with flipping them over, seemed tough, but with a bit of help I did it. I’m glad I’ve figured it out though, as surely this will mean that I can cut most patterns?!


Now most of the others seemed to have a much lower number of pieces to cut than me. One only had three! Here are some more bits I cut:


(some of these are folded slightly and obviously I still need to remove the pattern paper)

As you can see I went for patterned fabric. I do think this pattern would work in a plain colour, but I fancied a bit of a pattern, but thought matching it might be hard, so I went for something small. Here it is in close up on one of the tie pieces:


I’m thinking this maybe a good spring/summer top 🙂

My plan now is to do some tailor tacks to mark my darts – is there anything else I need to mark? I also plan to cut out and iron on my interfacing before my next lesson.

Wish me luck!

Fabric Scraps!

I frequently only need a relatively small piece of fabric, but to do so I will often buy 25cm or 30cm of the fabric I need. This means I often end up with lots of fabric in my stash, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but I have to find somewhere to store it all! I know you can buy fat quarters, but until recently I hadn’t done that much. Fat quarters can also cost quite a bit more than 25cm of a roll. How can you get the fabric you need without either breaking the bank or ending up with lots of extra fabric you don’t want?

When shopping for fabric for my making your own clothes course I went to a wonderful little shop in Maidenhead called Sew Crafty .


Sew Crafty is a brilliant haberdashery which stocks virtually everything you need. I was amazed by the range of goods for sale, from ribbons to buttons and much much more. Being a bit clueless when buying fabric for dressmaking, I was very grateful for the very helpful assistant who ran through suitable material with me and dealt very patiently with my questions! I will definitely head back in the future.

So why is this post titled “Fabric Scraps”? Well, Sew Crafty have a couple of baskets selling scraps of fabric. They vary in size, but crafters (probably not dressmakers!) would be able to make use of them. I much prefer that people find a use for these rather than they end up in landfill. This is the only place I’ve seen recently that does this.

Larger scraps cost 50p. I got:


This 28 x 24cm piece of fabric would be great for appliqué or cover buttons.


I can see a small Christmas gift bag being made from this 35 x 27cm piece of fabric.


I don’t yet know what I’ll use this 44 x 36cm piece of black and white check fabric for, but I will find a use for it! It’s quite thick and feels really good quality.

They also sell smaller scraps for 20p.


The polka dot fabric is 23 x 16cm and the flowers are 17 x 16cm. With such small designs I’m thinking either appliqué or for cover buttons. I love them both 🙂

I will definitely root around in fabric scraps baskets again after these great finds. I found some lovely bits for not much money.
What would you use the fabric for?

Material World

There are many, many craft books on the market. Most have beautiful photos of projects and instructions on how to make them. Material World by Perri Lewis is refreshingly different.


The book begins with the basics, which goes through “everything you need to get your craft on”. I love the sketches of some of these items – who knew how pretty bobbins can look? There is also info on essential techniques. I’d like to think everyone knows how to sew a button on, but you never know! Perri explains it well, so this book is suitable for a complete beginner.


There are fifteen main chapters, each focusing on a type of craft. You can learn all about Embroidery, Decoupage, Printing, Encrusting, Cross Stitching, Quilling, Millinery, Embellishments, Paper Cutting, Leather Work, Macrame, Patchwork, Jewellery, Tailoring and Applique.

Each chapter starts off with information on materials needed and then the technique. It is a go to book for when you want to know how to do something. The words are well written and the lovely sketches help you to understand what to do.


Common problems are also dealt with and Perri explains how to solve them. After learning the techniques you then read tips from some industry experts, such as Mr X Stitch for cross stitch, Philip Treacy for millinery and many more. If you want guidance on something to make there is a project per skill.


There is also extra information and suggestions of what to make with your new found skills.

There are so many craft books out there that you can buy, which you will read through once and then put on a shelf, where you leave it. This book will be coming off the shelf on a regular basis to answer my queries as to how to do something. It is an enjoyable read and you can just sit down and enjoy. The book has impressed me!

I was lucky enough to receive this copy of Material World to review. Perri Lewis’s blog Make and Do was one of the first I followed when I started blogging. Perri is also on twitter.

Wrist Pincushion

During my first session on Making Your Own Clothes my tutor showed us a pincushion she wears on her wrist whilst dress making. It means she always has pins to hand and doesn’t have to scrabble around. She gave everyone a copy of the pattern and here is my version:


and on my wrist (well a bit further up my arm!)


The pattern is fairly self explanatory and can be found here.

The pattern calls for soft and stable to stiffen the band. I don’t have anything that thick, so used sew in interfacing from my stash. I cut interfacing half the width of the band fabric (2″ rather than 4″).


Yes, I did this after dark (which is not hard at this time of year)! The interfacing is 1/2″ shorter than the fabric, but if I was to do this again I’d probably leave a bit more as 1/2″ is not much when split between both ends!


I then folded both in half length ways, and ironed the fold to make the creases more visible.


Then I placed the interfacing in the fabric and folded the fabric over the edge so it was like a v shape. After unfolding I used the creases on the fabric to help place the Velcro. If I’d been able to have the machine out I’d have sewn the Velcro using it, but I sewed it by hand which took a while.

Today I used my machine to sew around the strap. I started at the end and went over each end three times before doing both sides. I also sewed around the circle, leaving a gap to turn through.


I trimmed around the circle using my pinking shears before turning it the right way around. I only left a small gap which made it quite difficult! To save you stabbing yourself whilst wearing the pincushion you are advised to insert a circle of plastic at the bottom of the pincushion. I used the bottom of a pot noodle pot left after one of Mr M’s late night snacks. It’s virtually the perfect size!

To make the stuffed circle into a flower you draw your thread through the middle of the pincushion and around the edge and back through the middle. Initially I tried doing this using sewing thread, but when you pull on it to make it as tight as you want, it snaps! The pattern does actually say to use crochet thread, and luckily I found some in a charity shop last year. After initially trying with black thread that you couldn’t see, I quite like the contrasting thread.


So, ta dah! I will take this to my next lesson on Monday. I wonder if anyone has made one? I guess I’ll find out soon…

This is another stash busting make. I used buttons the same when making my owl softies and I first used this fabric when making a needle case before I started blogging. The iron on interfacing used to strengthen the base of the flower and the sew in interfacing in the strap were both bought in to make clutch bags. It is quite nice to not have to go shopping to make something. Do you have a stash of crafty bits? Are you trying to make a dent in it? I’m still growing mine, and being able to make things straight off is one of the reasons I justify having it!

Gorgeous Greys

Who says grey has to be boring?


Isn’t this vintage floral fabric lovely?


What about this seagull ribbon?


Or these teal (ok, these aren’t grey!) buttons?

Thanks to The Polished Button all of these are mine. I won her recent Gorgeous Grey Giveaway and a 12″ by 96″ piece of the vintage fabric, 1.5m of the ribbon and all those buttons are winging their way to me 🙂


Now what should I make with them?
Should I use them together or separately?
There are soooo many possibilities!

A Make By Hannah

Hannah was one of my earliest blog followers and is towards the top of my list of commenters, post wise. She is a very talented young woman who juggles crafting, including learning new skills, with her studies. When I reached 100 followers I had a giveaway which Hannah entered by every manner possible, and which she won. Did I mention that she is young? Well she had her 21st birthday last month and then wrote a 22 before 22 list. As part of that she has just sold her first ever crafted item and she used one of her wins in it. To see what she made and what she used see her blog post. Pop over and read her blog – I can virtually guarantee you’ll be impressed that this is only the second item she’s made with this skill set!