Sewing For Charity!

By Judith on March 9, 2017
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Quilters are among the most generous, big-hearted humans I know! Always quick to respond to the needs of others in the ways they know best, quilting!


Recently on my Facebook Group, The Sewing Surgery, a request for sewers to make Syringe Driver Bags came through from Marie Curie Cancer Care, via a group member.


Folks in the group immediately responded, and pictures of syringe driver bags started appearing!  Big pat on the back TSS members!


2 Syringe Driver Bags I made


These bags are in constant need by Marie Curie, so if you would like to make one to send to them, you can get the pattern and details here.



Another brilliant UK charity supported by quilters is Siblings Together. Each year, we try to make 100 quilts to give to children at summer camps. These kids are separated from their siblings by the care system.  They join up with their siblings at camp and the quilts are given out at the end of the camp, as a comforting reminder of their time together.


In addition to individuals making quilts for ST, there are also several quilting bees supporting ST.  I’m in one of them (Siblings Together Bee 2) and, with the help of my bee mates, I’ve managed to complete 1 quilt so far.

STB2 Canvas Quilt 2017


This is Canvas quilt (named after the Canvas blocks we made). As you can see it’s a colourful, scrappy quilt, and at 60″ x 72″, will make a great big quilty hug for a child at ST.



The quilt has been beautifully quilted by a good friend, bound in my trusty black and white stripe fabric and labelled ready to be posted to ST.


My 2nd ST quilt isn’t too far away from completion either! A big thank you to my ST bee mates for their contributions to these quilts.



And finally, another charity quilting bee close to my heart is Bee Blessed. A Belfast based group of ladies meet once a month to make quilts for those in need. This group is brilliantly supported by quilting bloggers too!

You can read all about the quilt donations and monthly blocks here. (There’s a particularly adorable recipient enjoying her new quilt here!)

Giving a little time and fabric in this way is so rewarding! So if you have been inspired to help any of these worthwhile causes in any way, please let me know and I can point you in the right direction.

Happy giving!


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Sew Together Bag

By Judith on March 4, 2017
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I’m always a little reluctant to jump on band wagons!  Preferring to watch from the sidelines for a bit!


When the ‘Sew Together Bag’ band wagon rolled into blog-town I admired the many versions of the pouch that were being created! I got to see some in real life too, and was surprised by how big and roomy they were.


Sew Together Bag


So the pattern went on the very long ‘bucket list’, that ‘one day I’ll get around to it’ invisible list!


Sew Together Bag


That ‘one day’ was last weekend at Brit Bee Retreat. I had already prepped various sections of the bag, using some favourite Liberty scraps and Essex Yarn Dyed Linen.


Despite the odd head scratching moment, and a puzzled brow or two with the pattern, I finally got it finished.  (I only broke one needle, not bad eh?)


Sew Together Bag


I decided not to make the pin cushion and needle holder. This bag is so roomy, and is now filled with almost the entire contents of my sewing box.  Much easier to transport to sewing ‘together’ venues!


Sew Together Bag


You can get the pattern here if you fancy having a go.  However I would not grade this as beginner friendly (some experience of sewing zippered pouches (and a healthy dose of patience!) is recommended).

Happy sewing!



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2016 in Quilts

By Judith on December 31, 2016
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Another year has flown by!

But what a busy one it has been!


2016 in Quilts


This is what my year in quilts looks like, 17 of which have been published in magazines.


2016 in cushions & bags


And of course there were many more makes in 2016 – bags, pouches, cushions, bee blocks and more!  This is just a sample – phew, I think I need a lie down!


One of my highlights this year has been getting my new website up and running!


And to celebrate a great creative year, I’m launching my New Year Sale today!



Get 20% off EVERYTHING in my web shop and Etsy shop using coupon code newyearsale17.



That’s 20% off patterns, fabric, pre-cuts, haberdashery, kits, including 20% off my new stock of Kaufman Indigo Denim.



This soft denim is 60″ wide, and perfect for dressmaking, bag making and soft furnishings.


So why not celebrate the new year with a bargain! The coupon is valid until Sunday 8th January.


Happy New Year to you all!



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Gift Bag Tutorial

By Judith on November 26, 2016
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It’s wonderful to see so many folks entering my Tula Pink giveaway.




If you haven’t already entered, just sign up for my newsletter (right) and/or like my Facebook page here.


So Christmas is sneaking up quickly, and I thought you might like a quick and easy Christmas tutorial.





How cute are these gift bags?

They are fully lined and stand at 7″ tall. Perfect for jazzing up those smaller (but no less important) gifts!


So let’s get started.  Here’s what you need:


Outside: 2 x (7.5″ wide x 10.5″ tall)

Lining: 2 x (7.5″ wide x 10.5″ tall)

Channel: 2 x (2″ wide x 8″ tall) or use 1″ wide ribbon

Drawstring: 2 x 20″ lengths of narrow ribbon

Safety pin

Small square ruler





Assume 1/4″ seam allowances


1  Place both outside pieces right sides together. Sew around the side and bottom edges. Repeat for the 2 lining pieces, but this time leave a 2″ gap in the middle of the bottom edge.




2  Make box corners: Pull the corners apart and place the side seam on top of the bottom seam. Place the ruler on top of the corner and measure and mark 3″ vertically (or 1.5″ from tip horizontally).




3  Sew along the line, starting and finishing with a reverse stitch. Repeat for all 4 corners. (I like to trim off the excess from the lining, but leave the corners on the outers for a ‘stronger bottom’!)




4  Turn the outer bag right side out (leave the lining inside out).


5  Place the outer bag inside the lining. Match and pin the side seams and top edges.




6  Sew around the top edge (you will find this easier if you remove the accessory tray). Start and finish with a reverse stitch.




7  Turn the bag right side out through the gap in the lining.  Push the corners out and stitch the gap in the lining closed.




8  Push the lining into the bag and press the top edge to neaten.




9  Make the Channel: Press under the short ends of each piece by 1/4″. Also press under both long sides by 0.5″.




10  Pin the channels to the bag. The top edge of the channel will be 1.5″ down from the top of the bag.  Don’t worry if there is a little gap at the sides.






11  Slide the bag into your machine (without the accessory tray) and sew around the top and bottom edges of the channel, 1/8″ seam away from the edge.  Rather than stopping at the sides, just continue sewing onto the next channel. Start and finish with a reverse stitch.




12  Finishing: Attach the safety pin to one end of a piece of ribbon. Thread the pin into the channel at one side, all the way around and out the same side.  Knot the ends of the ribbon together.






13  Thread the other piece of ribbon in the same way, this time from the opposite side.




14  And you’re done!  Fill with goodies and make lots more!





Happy sewing!



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6 Free Back to School Tutorials

By Judith on September 1, 2016
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School’s back in session! (I can hear all the parents cheering from here!)
When my kids were younger, we all enjoyed the ‘stationery shop’, filling up new pencil cases with brightly coloured pencils, funky shaped sharpeners and rubbers, new files and bendy rulers!
But most of all I enjoyed making them items they could use for school.
 6 Free Back to School Tutorials

Here are 6 of my ‘back to school’ projects to keep your kids equipped (& the envy of their friends!).

And there’s even more temptation inspiration here on my ‘Back to School’ Pinterest board.

Happy sewing!




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Retro Beach Bag

By Judith on July 24, 2016
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I have a confession to make!

I’m a closet hippy!  Born a decade too late, I’ve been repressed ever since!!

So nothing delights me more than sewing with retro, funky fabric!


Beach Bag (Pretty Patches Aug16)
Fabric is ‘Linen Cupboard’ by Emma Jean Jansen for Ella Blue


This is my Retro Beach Bag in the August issue of Pretty Patches.

Beach Bag (Pretty Patches Aug16)

I love the simplicity of beach bags – roomy, sturdy and with ‘make it easier’ features like webbing for handles and mesh for outside pockets.



I also love projects that are functional and practical, so I’ve made the lining with wipeable Rip-Stop nylon, and a detachable ‘wet bag’ for your swimming costume and drippy sun lotions.


Beach Bag (Pretty Patches Aug16)


I know some of you have a ‘zip phobia’, but trust me when I say this is one of the easiest ways to insert a zipper.  The entire bag is made first, and then the zip is top stitched onto the top of the bag.


Here’s the same pattern done in Ikea ‘deco’ weight fabrics (unquilted).


Bethany's Beach Bag


So if you don’t want an over-complicated, summer bag, have a go at this beginner friendly pattern and get in touch with your inner hippy!

Peace man!



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S.H.O.P. Tote Bag

By Judith on June 11, 2016
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It’s been a crazy busy week here!

But the sun has been shining and my friendly flowers are making an appearance once again.




I haven’t even had time to tell you about the rest of my magazine entries this month!

SHOP tote (Quilt Now June16)

Quilt Now sent me some lush Alison Glass fabrics (Endpaper) for a ‘WORD’ themed bag.

The design for the letters came together surprisingly easily – straightforward piecing (there will definitely be more pieced letters in my design future).

I love how the colours really stand out against the Essex Linen (Flax).

SHOP tote (Quilt Now June16)
Lining by Michael Miller Mini Chic Chevron

There’s also a sneaky little pop of colour behind the straps.

SHOP tote (Quilt Now June16)
So for all you shopaholics out there, this one is for you!
SHOP tote (Quilt Now June16)


The June issue of Quilt Now is Out Now!
Happy Shopping!


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Beach Ball Bag

By Judith on May 27, 2016
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Ok, so I’m pretty sure summer is just around the corner (or maybe the next corner!).

Can you believe that May is nearly through?  But then comes one of my all time favourite months!

And no better time to start prepping for all this amazing weather we will be having this year (wink!).

When I think of warm sunshiney days, I think of fun at the beach, picnics and long, lazy, unhurried days out.

Beach Ball Bag (Sewing World June16)
Photo courtesy of Sewing World

I designed this roomy bag to suit any kind of summery day out.

As you can see, I had me some more porthole fun, making a simple half square triangle block to slip in behind the porthole.

I love how useful curtain eyelets can be for adding features to a bag. Super easy to put in (though still not a great range of colours in them yet).

The bag also features a spacious back pocket so no excuses for losing keys, sunnies, or any other essential sunny day out equipment (umbrella?).

So if you’re as deluded hopeful as me that summer will make an appearance this year, grab your copy of Sewing World now, for lots of great summer makes.

Happy sewing!

Jude xo


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Bags & Crutches!

By Judith on May 5, 2016
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Apologies for the radio silence!
It’s been over a week since I last blogged and in that time, we have entered into a new month (and hopefully a new season!).
Also since I last blogged, I’ve had car trouble, teeth trouble, and now ankle trouble!
Crutches ..... again!

My 2nd bad sprain in 10 months! Boo!
But I’m getting better at hobbling faster, and can even manage the foot pedal on my sewing machine!
Win, win!
So onto to much more fun stuff like sewing!
Popular Patchwork release 13 issues per year.  Their extra issue is a bag special, which comes out today!
Guess who made the front cover?


Lunchbags (Popular Patchwork Bag Special May16)

My fun appliqued lunchbags are insulated with heat resistant wadding (Insul Bright) and have wipeable and washable linings (rip-stop).

Lunch Bag Class samples

There’s also a handy elastic bottle holder to stop your drink from squishing your sarnies!

Lunch bag

And another of my bags features in this issue!

Summer Flowers Bag (Popular Patchwork Bag special May16)
This is my Summer Flowers Handbag, using pretty fabrics from the aptly named Pretty Fabrics and Trims, made into Economy squares, with Essex linen and faux leather handles from Fabric Yard.
Summer Flowers Handbag (Popular Patchwork Bag Special May16)
Features include an zippered pocket at the back and a magnetic closure.  You can also learn how to mitre a striped border.
This is a roomy bag, which could easily take a towel for fun days at the beach!
So that’s me up to date!
I will try to stay out of trouble, for a few days anyway!
Happy sewing!
Jude xo


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Mini Easter Baskets Tutorial (& more)!

By Judith on March 22, 2016
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It’s so lovely having my ‘Uni daughter’ back home for a wee while.

Fun with Family
We visited one of our all time favourite places (Mountstewart, Co.Down) today, and took some wonderful pics.  But more on that another day!
Today’s post is all about this wee bundle of goodness:
Easter Basket
Now I can’t take credit for this basket pattern, the original tutorial is here. It is quick and easy to make and great for using up tiny scraps.
Easter Basket

And if you don’t want to work with 2″ squares, you could vary the pattern using 6 x 3.5″ squares, or no squares at all!

And here are more free Easter tutorials from Blogland you might enjoy!

Felt Daffodils by Abby Glassenberg (While She Naps)
Applique Easter Basket by Peta (She Quilts A lot)
Fabric Basket and Eggs by Amy Smart (Diary of a Quilter)
Bunny Face Bag by Veronica (Sew Very)
Scrap Fabric Bunny Softie by Kim (Seven Thirty Three)
Fabric Birds by Hobbycraft

And as if that’s not enough, there are lot’s more tutorials on my Easter Pinterest Board – as well as my previous Easter tutorials. Go check them out!  There’s something for everyone!

So that marks the end of my mini Easter series of tutorials.

I hope you have enjoyed them! You still have a few days left before Easter to make them, so don’t panic!

Happy Sewing!

Jude xo


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Bunny Bags (Part 2) Tutorial

By Judith on March 7, 2016
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Happy Monday everyone!

With less than 3 weeks until Easter Day, I think it’s time we got started on some fun tutorials, don’t you!

And to kick us off, how about some cute drawstring Bunny Bags!

Easter Bunny Bags tutorial

How cute are these!  The perfect size for filling with small chocolates and eggs!

Bunny Bags!

Approx. 4″ wide by 7″ tall (incl. ears!)

You will need:

Outer Bag: 2 x (6″ wide by 8″ tall)
Lining: 2 x (6″ wide by 8″ tall)
Ears front: 2 x (2.5″ wide by 4.5″ tall)
Ears back: 2 x (2.5″ wide by 4.5″ tall)
Lightweight iron-on vilene: 1 x (2.5″ x 9″)
0.5″ wide ribbon: 2 x 17″
small safety pin

Assume 1/4″ seams

Download ‘Ear’ template here.

1. Iron the vilene onto the wrong sides of 2 matching ear fabrics. Cut the 2 pieces apart. Using the ears template, draw an ‘ear’ onto the wrong sides of the other ear fabrics.

2. Place (different) ear fabrics right sides together and sew on pencil line (use a reverse stitch to start and finish). Trim away excess fabric, leaving 1/8″ seam allowance.

3. Turn the ears right sides out, press and turn under the open ends. Sew across the ends as close to the edges as you can.  Put to one side.

4. Place the outer fabrics right sides together.  Mark 2″ down from both top corners.

5. Sew around sides and bottom from marker to marker.  Repeat for the 2 lining pieces, but leave a 2″ gap in the bottom edge.

6. Pull the corners apart and place the side seam on top of the bottom seam. Measure 1″ along the seam from the point (this will give you 2″ vertically).  Mark the vertical line and sew along this line. Repeat for both corners on outer bag and lining.

7. Place the top ‘flaps’ right sides together, outer fabric with lining. Pin at the point where the side seams meet.

8. Sew around both ‘flaps’ between pins at both sides. Use a reverse stitch to start and finish, and take care not to sew into the existing seam.

9. Turn bag right side out through the gap in the lining. Hand or machine stitch the gap closed and press well.

10. Press the flaps under by approx. 0.5″ or until they reach the side seams. Pin and sew one flap down (as clos
e to the edge as possible).  Use a reverse stitch to start and finish.

11. Pin the ears onto the remaining (turned under) flap leaving approx. 1″ between the ears at the bottom. Sew along the edge of the flap and along the bottom of the ears. Use a reverse stitch to start and finish.

12. Attach the safety pin to one end of the ribbon and pass through both channels until it comes out the same side where you started.

13. Knot the ribbon ends together and repeat for the other piece of ribbon from the opposite side.

And you’re finished!
Fill up the bag with chocolate goodies and pull the drawstrings to close!
(I guarantee you it won’t stay closed for long!!)
Tune in again for more tutorials on everything you see here in my Easter basket!
Easter Tutorials on my blog

Happy Easter Sewing!
(If you don’t want to miss out on any tutorials, why not ‘subscribe’ by filling in your email address at the top right of my blog home page! That way you will automatically be notified via email when I next post on my blog.)
Jude xo


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Bunny Bags (part 1)!

By Judith on March 2, 2016
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Now that we are into March, the focus turns to Easter!

With just over 3 weeks to go, there’s still plenty of time to get in some fun Easter crafting (especially if the weather continues like this)!

Rainy day


Over the next week or two I’ll be running a mini-series of tutorials on ‘Easter makes’ (as you can imagine, most of them involve chocolate in some way or another!).

But before I get to that, let me show you my Bunny Bags currently featuring in the March issue of Pretty Patches Magazine.

Bunny Bags / Pretty Patches March'16

I love piecing more than applique, and so designed a patchwork bunny with hand embroidered details on the face.  I knew this bunny would become a bag, (perhaps for collecting eggs during an Easter egg hunt) but thought it was a little too big for a smaller child.  And so the mini bag was born!

Bunny Bags / Pretty Patches March'16
The ‘heads’ are both worked to the same dimensions, despite the mini bunny looking bigger!

They are called ‘Big Sis, Little Sis Bunny Bags’ and I used my trusty Essex Linen for the main bags.

Bunny Bags / Pretty Patches March'16
So if you need fun bags for collecting Easter eggs, or just love bunnies, then pick up a copy of Pretty Patches for the patterns for both bags.
Easter Bunny Bags in Pretty Patches (March)

Jude xo


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My Favourite Bag!

By Judith on February 17, 2016
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Also in Popular Patchwork (March issue) is one of my most favourite bags!

Qayg bag for Popular Patchwork Mar16


It’s my favourite bag because the ‘quilt as you go’ technique is one of my favourite quilting techniques and I get to continue my love affair with scraps!

QAYG Shopping Bag class sample

I love the texture QAYG creates, and it’s perfect for projects where you need a little more structure.

QAYG Mosaic
My pattern will show you how to ‘quilt as you go’ and also how to insert a recessed zipper, perfect for keeping all your fabric purchases essentials secure!
Hmmm, all this talk about QAYG makes me want to make something else using this fun technique! It’s not like I don’t have plenty of scraps to choose from after all!
Do you have a favourite quilting technique?
Jude xo


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