Clamshells Handbag


By Judith on May 19, 2017
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Hello everyone!  How has your week been?

It’s been another busy week here in the Hollies’ household – lots more sewing to share with you in the coming weeks.

 

A wee while ago I was prepping for an English Paper Piecing class and brought in some of my sample projects.

 

 

I had diamonds, hexies, kites and coffins to show in a variety of projects, but there was one shape I was missing………. Clamshells (scallops).

 

Clamshells are a great example of curved EPP.  I often get free pre-cut EPP papers with quilting magazines.  Which is where I got these clamshells!

 

 

The little project book that came with the papers was helpful too!  It gave me an idea for a sample.

 

EPP Scallop Bag

 

I decided to make this little bag using some Tilda leftovers teamed with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax).

 

Joining curved EPP shapes is a little different from straight edge shapes. Shapes like hexies and diamonds can be sewn right sides together using a whip stitch along the straight edges.  Because there are no straight edges on curved shapes, the pieces are appliqued down onto a background instead.

 

EPP Scallop Bag

 

A little note on basting clamshells – snip into the fabric along the curves, approx. 1cm intervals before folding the fabric over the paper.  I’m a fan of hand tacking/basting the fabric to the papers, but I know some of you are big into the convenience of the glue basting pen.  However, the glue pen doesn’t work so well here because the papers have to be removed before they are appliqued down.

 

I sourced some vintage wooden handles on Etsy that were just the right size.

 

EPP Scallop Bag

 

So now I have a sweet little Clamshells Handbag to keep all my English Paper Piecing papers and wips in!  Great for sewing ‘on the go’!

 

EPP Scallop Bag

 

Have a wonderful weekend!

 

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Flex Frame Sunglasses Case Tutorial


By Judith on May 15, 2017
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Hello everyone!  I hope you’ve had a wonderful weekend.

 

With all the sunshine we’ve been having lately, I thought it was time I shared my Sunglasses Case pattern with you.

 

 

If you are new to the world of ‘flex frames’ don’t worry, they are really easy to insert, and there are lots of pictures to help you along.

 

Of course you can use these handy cases for regular spectacles, they make lovely gifts too!

 

 

But a sunnies case is embracing of the imminent summer season and will get us all in the mood for when the sun comes out again!

 

Good To Know:

There are 2 sizes available.  This is because not all sunglasses fold flat.  If they do, like normal glasses then you need to make the narrower case using a 3.5″ flex frame (available from here).

 

 

However, if your sunglasses are wrap around ones (like mine), you will need to make the wider case using a 5″ flex frame. Now it’s a little more tricky to get hold of these within the UK.  However they are widely available from Hong Kong and China via Ebay (remember, Hong Kong is a country with a pre-paid Import charge agreement with the UK, so no customs charges will apply on your parcel).

The construction method is the same for both sizes.

 

 

So let’s get started.

 

You will need:

First of all, you will need to download the applique glasses template here.

3.5″ or 5″ Flex Frame

Narrow case: 2 x (4″ x 9″) each from outer fabric, lining fabric & sew-in vilene (heavy weight)

Wider case: 2 x (5.5″ x 9″) each from outer fabric, lining fabric & sew-in vilene (heavy weight)

Fabric for applique sunglasses (2.5″ x 5″)

Bondaweb (2.5″ x 5″)

Jewellery pliers or similar

Adjustable zipper foot (this makes sewing in the flex frame easier)

505 Basting spray (optional)

 

Method:

Assume 1/4″ seam allowances 

 

1. Spray baste the vilene to the wrong sides of the outer fabric pieces.  Using the template provided, trace onto the papery side of the bondaweb.

 

2. Iron the bondaweb to the wrong side of the applique glasses fabric. When cooled, cut out on the line.

 

 

3. Remove the paper backing and carefully iron the glasses to the right side of the outer fabric, centred and approx. 2.5cm (1”) up from the bottom edge.

 

 

4. Applique the glasses according to your preferred method. I used raw edge ‘sketch’ applique – for this you need to drop the feed dogs and attach a free motion/darning foot to your machine (you can get more information on how to do this & other machine applique techniques here.)

 

 

5. Put the 2 outer pieces right sides together and mark 6.75cm (2 5/8″) down from both top corners. Sew down both sides and the bottom edge from marker to marker, leaving the top open (this is the flex frame section).

 

 

6. Repeat step 5 for both lining pieces, leaving a 5cm (2”) gap in the middle of the bottom edge (for turning).

 

7. With right sides together, match the outer flaps to the lining flaps.

 

 

8. Carefully pin these sections as shown below, making sure to match the side seams.

 

 

9. Sew around the top unsewn section from pin to pin.  Use a reverse stitch to start and finish and take care not to sew into the existing seams.  Repeat for the other flap.

 

 

10. Carefully snip the corners at an angle to lessen the bulk.

 

 

11. Turn the pouch right side out through the gap in the lining. Push the corners well out and press flat. Hand or machine stitch the gap closed.

 

 

12. Push the lining down into the case. Fold back one of the ‘flaps’, pin and sew close to the outer edge to create a channel (an adjustable zipper foot is useful here).  Start and finish with a reverse stitch. Repeat for the other ‘flap’.

 

 

13. Insert the flex frame into the channels.

 

 

14. Push back the fabric to expose the open ends of the flex frame.  Slot the hinge together, insert the bar fully into the hinge, and then close the ends of the hinge using jewellery pliers.  Resettle the fabric along the flex frame.

 

 

Simples!

 

Pop in your sunglasses and enjoy!

 

 

Happy sewing!

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Ditsy Daisy Quilt


By Judith on May 6, 2017
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Hello everyone!  I hope you’ve had a wonderful Saturday!

 

I’d like to show you the first of 2 of my magazine commissions this month.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

The lovely peeps at Popular Patchwork sent me the cutest fat quarter bundle of Flo’s Little Flowers, by Lewis and Irene.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

The ditsy prints and soft colours are adorable (if a little tricky to photograph!), and I knew I had to design something floral for these fabrics.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

Now daisies are one of my favourite flowers (as Meg Ryan would say ‘they’re so friendly!’ You’ve Got Mail).  I sketched a daisy and thought it might work as a stitched outline on some Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax).

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

But I didn’t want anyone freaking out thinking they had to free motion stitch these, so I purposely top stitched all the petals and blanket stitched the centres.

 

 

While this technique may be a little slower than free motion stitching, I think it gives much smoother lines and makes it possible for people who haven’t yet tried free motion stitching.

 

So that was the first part of my idea working out.

 

But I needed another flower, this time as an alternating block with the daisies.

 

Source: Pinterest

 

A little Pinterest search revealed the seasonal hydrangea, a flower head made up of lots of little flowers!  When I saw a close up of the little flowers, I knew I had my 2nd block.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

The piecing involved in the Hydrangea blocks is really easy. I like how big they are in contrast to the daisies and how they show off the Lewis and Irene fabrics so well.

 

Ditsy Daisy Quilt (Popular Patchwork May17)

 

I hope you like my Ditsy Daisy quilt, in the May issue of Popular Patchwork (out now!).

 

Happy sewing!

 

 

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Tweed Hare Cushion


By Judith on April 30, 2017
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Hi everyone, can you believe we are through April already!!

 

It’s been an eventful month for me, especially this past week (more on that another day). But as always, there has been lots of sewing!

 

I have two great friends that I regularly breakfast with.  They have birthdays 2 months apart, and you may remember ‘Vi in Tweed’ made an appearance as one of these birthday gifts.

 

Harriet Hare in Tweed, Wool & Linen

 

For my other friend, I made ‘Harriet in Tweed’!  I recently inherited a lovely bag of tweed and wool, which set my heartbeat racing!!  I couldn’t wait to use them and immediately new a Tweed Hare Cushion was on the cards.

 

Harriet Hare in Tweed, Wool & Linen

 

I made the background in the same way as before, piecing strips of tweed and then quilting the seams onto wadding.

 

The main inspiration for this version of Harriet was a piece of vintage chintz linen.  It went perfectly with a piece of green tweed I found in the bag.

 

Harriet is my favourite of my Woodland Friends.  I used Irish linen for her face, ears, feet and tail.  There’s just something about her sweet, friendly smile that gets me every time!

 

This time, I satin stitch appliqued the pieces to the background (bondawebbing them first of course)!  I used Aurifil 12wt wool threads for the satin stitching, with a size 100 needle (just use your normal thread in the bobbin).

 

Harriet Hare in Tweed, Wool & Linen

 

It’s soooooo satisfying when you have just the right coloured threads!

 

Harriet Hare in Tweed

 

The back is an open weave tweed, trimmed with the chintz linen and a recycled duffle coat button to finish.

 

My breakfast friend is chuffed with Harriet.  So that’s two happy breakfast friends, with new Woodland Friends of their own!

 

 

Wishing you all a wonderful start to the new month!

 

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Tilda Circus Table Topper


By Judith on April 14, 2017
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Hello to everyone tuning in for the final stop on the Tilda Circus blog hop.

 

 

To say I love Tilda fabrics is a huge understatement!  The vintagey feel I get from their collections and the cute and ditsy prints just make my heart flutter!  And as for their colours – simply delicious!

They have a beautiful way of styling their collections too!

 

 

I received 5 gorgeous fat quarters from Sew and So from the new Circus collection.  How did they know elephants are my favourite animal (and if you read through to the end of this post, you’ll see proof of that!).

 

So what did I decide to make with this lovely fabric?

 

 

 

I teamed the Tilda fabrics with Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax) to make this quilted table topper.   I quilted the background first before appliqueing on the petals and flowers.

 

But I had a little help!

 

Tilda Circus Table Topper

 

My trusty Sizzix Big Shot helped me cut out all the petals and flowers.  It even cut out the bondaweb too!

 

Tilda Circus Table Topper

 

I satin stitched the petals and flowers into place (one of my favourite applique techniques!).

 

Tilda Circus Table Topper

 

And with all the leftovers and a little other Tilda stripe thrown in, I had enough to make the backing and binding.

 

Tilda Circus Table Topper

 

The finished topper measures 21.5″ x 44.5″ and I love how it looks on my table.

 

Tilda Circus Table Topper

 

Thank you for tuning into the Tilda Circus Blog Hop!

 

Oh and just to prove that I am a bona fide elephant lover, check out my awesome mother’s day present from my amazing girls.

 

 

Cool or what!  My very own sweet Flora!

 

Happy sewing!

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Home Sweet Home Wallhanging


By Judith on March 20, 2017
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Hello everyone, we are well into Spring here, and the April issues of quilting magazines are hitting the shops!

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

In keeping with the Spring theme, I designed a birdhouse wallhanging for British Patchwork & Quilting (April issue).

 

 

One of the things I love about Spring is the sound of chirping birds in my garden. I had this cute birdhouse fabric in my stash, (Sugar Hill ‘Birdy in Pink’ by Tanya Whelan) and I drew inspiration from there.  Can you see little birdhouses in the fabric?  That got me thinking about the little birdhouses in my Woodland Friends quilt.

 

So a few template alterations later, and I had the basis of a spring-time wallhanging.

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

Before fusing any of the shapes to the Essex linen background, I quilted the background in a grid pattern, with calico behind the wadding. (The finished wallhanging is double backed, which means after all the other applique is complete, a pretty back of more cute ‘Sugar Hill’ fabric is attached.)

 

 

Satin stitch applique is one of my favourite ways to applique, and luckily I had a fat quarter of fabric with love birds printed on it.  I simply cut these out, bondawebbed them to the birdhouses and stitched round them.

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

The lettering required a little more thought.  I enlarged a cursive font of the word ‘sweet’, transferred it to fabric and got it satin stitched in place. I knew I wanted a contrast in the lettering of ‘home’ so I drew the words on with a water soluble pen and free motion sketched over them.

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

I’m really digging curvy corners at the moment, and shaping the top corners on this wallhanging removed some excess negative space which better balanced out the proportions of the design.

 

 

Some standard quilt binding and a few hanging tabs later and voila!  A Birdhouse wallhanging to welcome Spring into your home!

 

The wallhanging measures 19.75″ x 16.5″ and it made front cover of British Patchwork & Quilting magazine.  Woohoo!

 

Home Sweet Home Spring Wallhanging (British Patchwork & Quilting magazine April17)

 

Happy chirping!

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A Family of Owls!


By Judith on February 19, 2017
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A lovely ‘owl loving’ friend of mine had her birthday this weekend!

 

Family of Owls Wallhanging

 

‘Olive Owl’ first made an appearance in my Woodland Friends quilt last year.  (And I’m currently teaching this quilt in my classes – it’s been so lovely watching a beautiful ‘Parliament of Owls’ appear!)

 

I adapted the pattern to create mummy owl, and her 3 babies on this Essex Linen wallhanging.

 

Family of Owls Wallhanging

 

I love satin stitch applique, scraps and mini quilts wallhangings! And I’m pleased to say that my friend (a talented quilter herself) does too!

I managed to source an Owl wire hanger too (no pics sorry!).

 

Family of Owls Wallhanging

 

So these cute birds are now too-wit too-woo-ing their way into their new home!

 

It’s a while since I’ve linked up to Nicky and Leanne’s Scraptastic Tuesday!  Great to be checking in again with the many other talented scrap-busters out there!

 

Happy tweeting!

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Christmas Baubles Quilt


By Judith on December 11, 2016
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Popular Patchwork very kindly sent me a gorgeous bundle of ‘Wrap it Up’ fabrics by Makower with a ‘festive quilt’ remit for their December issue.

 

 

I took inspiration from the baubles shapes in the fabrics and designed this applique baubles Christmas quilt.

 

 

These fabrics were lovely to work with, and I teamed them with Makower’s Pindot (white) for the background.

 

Christmas Baubles quilt (Popular Patchwork Dec16)

 

The quilt comes in at a roomy 61″ x 64″, perfect for snuggling under and watching all those festive movies!

 

 

And if you think this contemporay quilt would look good next to your Christmas decorations, you can purchase it here.

 

 

Or for this and lots more Christmas Patchwork patterns, pick up your December copy of Popular Patchwork!

 

Happy decorating!

 

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Hearts & Patches Quilt


By Judith on October 20, 2016
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I have a particular soft spot for Tilda fabrics.  I love the calming colours and the vintagey feel the ditsy florals and spots evoke.
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
‘Autumn Tree’ is a collection that came out last year, and is still available to purchase.
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
I went with simple 16 patch ‘on point’ blocks with appliqued hearts for my autumn quilt submission to Pretty Patches magazine.

And they put it on the front cover!  Woohoo!
Hearts & Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
I definitely think there will be more Tilda quilts in my future!
Hearts and Patches Tilda Quilt (Pretty Patches Nov16)
Happy sewing!

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Folksy Tea Cosy


By Judith on September 23, 2016
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Sewing World asked me to make a Scandi inspired Tea Cosy for their October issue.

After much deliberation I broke with tradition and chose felt to best illustrate my design.

Folksy Tea Cosy

I used my trusty Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax) for the background.  I think the rustic linen gives a lovely foundation for the tactile felt.

I bondawebbed the shapes down (took quite a bit of heat to adhere) and then had to decide on how to applique them.

Folksy Tea Cosy

 

I haven’t free motion sketched on felt before so wasn’t sure if my risky decision would pay off.  But I’m really pleased with the added texture it gives to the felt.

Folksy Tea Cosy

I hope you like my cute cosy, and my nod to all things Folksy!

(The October issue of Sewing World is in the shops now.)
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Woodland Friends Quilt


By Judith on September 21, 2016
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Happy Tuesday everyone!

I’m super excited to be able to show you some of my new friends!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork, Oct issue)

This is my Woodland Friends quilt, made with Aneela Hoey’s ‘Foxgloves’ & ‘Vignette’ collections on an Essex linen background.
It all started with a commission from Popular Patchwork to make an Autumnal/Woodland quilt.

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

I found a picture of a fox and started drawing over it! And so ‘Vi’ Vixen was born!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

But Vi needed a friend to play with, so ‘Rusty Red’ came out to play!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

Now Rusty is a cheeky chappie, and he and Vi get up to all sorts of mischief. Especially when sleepy ‘Flora’ Fawn is trying to nap ….

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

…. and ‘Boris’ is busy sniffing and rustling out tasty treats on the forest floor!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

‘Olive’, the great and wise overseer of the Woodland is tut tutting at Vi and Rusty!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

She sends in ‘Harriet’ Hare, the only sensible fur in the whole forest, to keep harmony between the rascals, the nappers and the rustlers!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

 

Order once again is restored and all the friends can enjoy the treats of the forest!
Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)
Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

I so enjoyed designing and making this quilt. The characters evolved organically, and they have become like little characters to me!
I chose satin stitch applique for this quilt, using ‘stitch n tear’ behind the bondawebbed shapes.

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork Oct16)

 

Next came the tricky decision on how to quilt it!  I couldn’t bring myself to sew through my cute new friends (I tried, honestly!).  So in the end I went for ‘interrupted’ vertical lines.
And to top it all off, Popular Patchwork put my Woodland Friends on the front cover of the October issue!  Weehee!

Woodland Friends Quilt (Popular Patchwork, Oct issue)

 

 

I hope you have enjoyed meeting my new pals.
And what would you think to me running this as an applique Quilt-Along next year?
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Autumn Tree Wallhanging


By Judith on September 18, 2016
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Now that I am embracing Autumn, I can show you one of my favourite makes of this year!

 

Autumn Tree Wallhanging (Pretty Patches Oct16 issues)
This is ‘Autumn Tree’, an applique wallhanging measuring 27″ x 30″, which I will definitely be displaying in my home.
Autumn Tree Wallhanging (Pretty Patches Oct16 issues)

 

I adore the warm autumnal purples and pinks in Denyse Schmidt’s Chicopee range, especially on a Kona Bone background.  In fact, the leaf shapes are the by-product of the Sizzix Drunkard’s Path Fan die!!  I always keep these shapely leftovers, and was so pleased to be able to turn some of them into a seasonal project.

Useful tip:  Quilt your background first before appliquing on the shapes.  This means you don’t have those head-scratching moments when trying to decide how to quilt around the shapes.

 

 

Satin stitch is my favourite applique technique, and I think it suits the clean lines of the leaves and trunk.

Autumn Tree Wallhanging (Pretty Patches Oct16 issue)

The pattern for this wallhanging is in the October issue of Pretty Patches Magazine.

And maybe one day I will make Spring, Summer & Winter/Christmas versions to hang up with each changing season!!

Hope you are off to a great Autumn!

Jude xo

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‘Back to School’ Pouch


By Judith on August 6, 2016
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Here in N.Ireland we have really loooooooong school summer holidays.  They start off slowly at the end of June, but seem to really speed up in August as we hurtle towards September!

We are already in the throws of school uniform buying in the Hollies’ household!

So my ‘Back to School’ Pencil case in this month’s issue of Quilt Now is quite timely!

Back to School Pouch (Quilt Now)
I love these colours on the Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (denim).
And on the other side ……
Back to School Pouch (Quilt Now)
If you want to banish your fear of zippers, this is a lovely project to get in some practise. The pattern will talk you through how to insert the zipper, and how to make covered zip ends to get a lovely finish to your pouch.
ABC Pouch for Quilt Now (Aug16)

 

This is a really roomy pouch, so no excuses for forgetting school supplies!!
And if you’d like to get some of this quality linen/cotton mix, you can find it here in my shop.
Happy sewing!
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Denim Sail Boat Cushion


By Judith on June 19, 2016
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Hello everyone!  My that’s another week gone!

How has your week been?

My June is always a little crazy, but exams are over, Uni daughter comes home for a visit on Thursday, so all is right with the world!

Did I ever tell you that I love recycling denim (only once or twice right! Wink! Wink!).

Sometimes an idea just comes on me and I have to run with it.

Denim Sailboat Cushion (Pretty Patches July16)


This started out as a little denim ‘play therapy’!  I had a clutch of Aurifil 12wt wool threads which I knew would marry the denim perfectly!

And so a little fun applique project turned into a cushion commission for Pretty Patches Magazine.

This was my first time using Aurifil 12wt threads in my machine.  I used them for some of the details, but not the main satin stitch applique.

Denim Sailboat Cushion (Pretty Patches July16)

I had used Coats Creative thread before in this way, and really liked the effect. But it’s difficult getting a wide range of shades in Coats Creative thread.  Aurifil however have a lovely range of 12wt colours, and with a size 100 needle, it ran through my machine like a dream (I used normal cotton thread in the bobbin).

My favourite bit is the uniquely worn part of the ‘sea’ – can you guess which part of the jeans this came from!!

You could easily substitute the denim for quilting cotton if you don’t have spare jeans lying around!!

So if you fancy dreaming of sailing away on the summer seas, then pick up a copy of Pretty Patches (July) today!

Happy Sailing!

 

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Flex Frame Sunnies Case!


By Richard Bleakley on June 3, 2016
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Apologies to my bloggy friends living in the East of England, but it has been full-on sunny here …. all week!  ALL WEEK!

And more to come!  Squeeee!

Pardon my excitement, but it only happens once a millennia here!

Timely then for my Flex Frame Sunglasses Cases to be published in Popular Patchwork this week.

Flex Frame Sunnies Pouch

 

The flex frames I use come in 2 sizes, 3.5″ and 5″.  My wraparound sunnies don’t fold flat, so if you have glasses like mine you will need to make the 5″ case.
Sunnies Cases (Popular Patchwork June16)

 

Some fun sketch applique on the front, easy assembly and you’ll have a sunnies case quicker than you can say ‘still can’t believe the weather we are getting!’
Flex Frame Sunnies Pouch

 

I love how these bright prints pop against the Essex yarn dyed (Denim) linen (more listed in my Etsy shop here).
Flex Frame Sunnies Pouch

 

So if you’ve still got some summer sewing prep to do, I promise these won’t take long!  Popular Patchwork (June) is in the shops now!
Sunnies Cases (Popular Patchwork June16)

 

Happy sunning!
Jude xo


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Light And Leaves!


By Judith on April 20, 2016
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We had the most gloriously sunny day today!

I tried to capture the light on the limited features in my small garden.

Light in my garden
Light in my garden
Light in my garden
Light in my garden
Isn’t light so inspiring, and seems to make everyone feel much more positive! One of my daughter’s names means ‘bringer of light’ and she does just that, every day!
And here are a few more leaves to tell you about!
Applique Leaf Cushion (Sewing World May16)
Photo courtesy of Sewing World Magazine

This is my Applique Leaves Cushion in the current (May) issue of Sewing World, out now!
Applique can be a little intimidating for novices, especially when thinking of satin or blanket stitching the edges.
‘Raw edge applique’ is a great way to introduce new shapes and pictures to your quilting.

 

This pattern uses bondaweb to fix the stem and leaves in place, and simple top stitching close to the raw edges completes the picture. No special foot needed, no changing the stitch settings on your machine.  Simple, fun and quick!
So if you’ve never tried applique yet, why not have a go at raw edge applique!  The possibilities are endless!
Happy sewing!
Jude xo

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