Not only will you receive everything you need to make our drawstring bag, fully pre-cut, but we are also throwing in a half metre of Retro 30’s Apples & Strawberries (Green) by Lecien and a spool of Aurifil 50wt Quilting Thread.
The giveaway opens today 3rd July and you have 4 different ways to enter:
* subscribe to our YouTube Channel * follow us on Instagram (@justjudebelfast) & tag someone in our giveaway post * like our Facebook page and leave a comment on our giveaway FB post * leave a comment here with your email address
The giveaway is open to international entries and we’ll announce the winner on 11th July!
We will be kicking off our first week by making Svetlana’s Lola Pouch.
Lucy is a British quilter and blogger who designs & sells her own patterns and regularly teaches quilting classes. Lucy worked for two years as a designer and demonstrator on TV and often has projects featured in magazines.
Lucy describes her style as ‘miscellaneous’, enjoying mixing modern and traditional elements in her designs. She also co-hosts #saturdaynightcraftalong on Instagram, a weekly global crafting initiative.
We are still very much in lockdown here, so ‘teaching’ has had to look very different for me.
Aside from my free video tutorials on YouTube, I trialled an online class last month with my ladies – the Causeway Hexie Cushion.
Feedback from the ladies was really positive and I’m looking forward to showing you their results!
Spurred on by their brilliant results and encouragement, I’m making another class available – the Applique Hearts Boxy Bag.
This class will be available first to my ladies from 8th June, and then to the general public from 6th July.
As before, the class will consist of 4 weekly YouTube videos, with an optional zoom session at the end of each session (existing class members only). This is when we check in with each other, talk about any issues, swoon over our progress and fabric choices etc. and generally stay connected (as best we can!).
This boxy bag design is a variation on my original Boxy Bag class I designed and taught way back in 2011!
I often call it my book bag, because the short handles and sturdy body really lend themselves to carrying heavy books and files, to work, college, church or the library!
However, I also think it would be a great project bag. There is a handy divider pocket which could keep a pattern book with lots of room in the main bag for a knitting or crafting project.
I chose to needleturn my hearts onto the bag, but as you will see in the ‘what we cover’ section below, I also show you how to machine applique too!
So here’s what we will cover in this class:
*hand applique (Needleturn)
*machine applique (Satin and blanket stitch)
*suitable materials for the bag
*reinforced divider pocket
*snap fasteners for divider pocket
Many of the materials I have used in this bag are available in my shop.
So if you need another practical and sturdy bag in your life, or can think of someone who would love one, why not join us on either 8th June or 6th July for some step by step handbag making fun!
Some were for my next free tutorial (remember my Scrappy Hexie Basket? Well I’ll be releasing the pattern for this one as a free tutorial very soon).
And some were just an excuse to have fun with teeny pieces of fabric!
These baskets are only 4.5″ and 6″ tall and are ‘improv. pieced’. This means your pieces of fabric aren’t pre-cut to a specific size, rather you just keep adding pieces until you have a section that can be joined to another section.
Improv. piecing for small projects is the perfect way to use up tiny pieces that are too small for English Paper Piecing or regular piecing patterns.
To give you a sense of scale, my smaller basket is holding large spools of 50wt Aurifil thread.
I create my baskets with an inset base with piping. I think the piping gives the basket more definition and shape.
And the structure is provided by the heavy sew-in vilene that the exterior is quilted on to.
I can think of a tonne of uses for these cute baskets, not least filled with goodies and gifted to loved ones!
Tune back soon to hear all about my free Hexie Basket YouTube Tutorial!
(And now there’s a mini tutorial on how to make these improv.pieced versions of my Hexie Baskets here.)
Once upon a time, in the days before lockdown, I visited an Irish linen factory and purchased some small offcuts of charcoal blue medium weight linen (among other things, ahem!).
I immediately fell in love with the muted tones of this linen and thought a striking white thread would contrast beautifully with it!
And that started my pursuit of a series of small sashiko designs which I could stitch and frame as a set.
I found a few free designs I liked on Pinterest and played around printing out various sizes. I settled for 6″ designs and cut out my linens at 7.5″.
Then came the problems!!
Trying to transfer the designs onto this medium weight linen proved tricky! First I tried my lightbox, but the linen was too dense to allow the design to show through enough to trace!
My pattern transfer pen is dark purple and wouldn’t show up on the linen.
So after watching a few YouTube tutorials I ordered some yellow carbon paper. I traced the design through the carbon paper onto the right side of the linen. But the yellow pigment barely left a mark!
So the only option I felt I had left was to trace the design onto baking paper, sew through the paper, and then tear the paper away at the end. I wasn’t too keen on this idea because hand sewn stitches are much less secure than machine sewn stitches and could get pulled out of shape.
So I fused some woven interlining onto the back of the linen and tried one design to see if I could get away with it, and bar one or two stitches that needed ‘settled down’ again after removing the paper, it worked relatively well.
I didn’t have sashiko thread so used an old spool of fine crochet cotton instead!!
And the 7.5″ box frames came from Hobbycraft today, so I wasted no time getting them framed and photographed (I took out the glass for the photoshoot!).
All I need to do now is decide where to hang them!!
Our 2nd quilting retreat at Murlough House, Co.Down was at the weekend, and just like our first retreat last October, it didn’t disappoint!
There were 18 of us, sewing, laughing, eating, playing and having some much needed chill out time!
And like last time, the sun shone which meant the fitter few got to enjoy some scenic walks down to the beach!
Our swap/ice-breaker project was the humble mug-rug. Nothing humble about these beauties!
The workshops this time around were Foundation Pieced Spools on Saturday (later turned into cute wallhangings) and some relaxing hand sewing on Sunday making brooches.
Last year our charity quilt block drive involved lots and lots of scrappy 2.5″ squares, all sewn together to make a postage stamp quilt for Siblings Together. Here is the recently finished quilt, made by 23 people!
Inspired by our efforts, a small group of ladies from retreat organised themselves to make more postage stamp blocks and brought their finished quilt at the weekend to show us.
Our charity quilt block drive this year was all about half square triangles.
The ladies each brought 5 colourful squares and 5 low volume squares with them to retreat, we mixed them up and then gave them back pairs of squares to sew, chop, press and rejoin into blocks of 9 half square triangles.
And just look what 18 people achieved!
And when this quilt is pieced, quilted and bound, that will be another one off to Siblings Together!
And there were many other quilts in the making too this weekend. Here are just a few!
Phew! What a wonderfully creative time we had!
A huge thank you to the wonderful staff at Murlough House, and of course to this crazy lot for making it a very special quilting retreat!
At the end of February we will be having a half term break from classes.
Which means, a new block of classes kicks off in March up until Easter.
And a new block of classes means a new (optional) class project.
We’re going to dip our creative toes into some textile art this term, having unadulterated play-time with mixed textiles and medium.
I’ve 2 class samples to showcase several fun techniques.
This is a 12″ picture in a box frame.
The background can be made with strips of torn linens, cottons, lace, voile, broderie anglaise and anything else light weight which is textured or can fray well. I even included fine strands of felting wool!
We then use a water-soluble fabric to matchstick quilt the background before adding our composition on top.
I’ve chosen some flowers and seed heads, but you could quite easily go with a bird, meadow or beach theme. Let your creativity run wild!
In the making of my picture I used the following techniques:
free motion embroidery
I also included some cut out some embroidered yellow flowers from an old duvet cover!!
What a lot of fun! You’ll never look at textured fabrics, bedding and apparel in the same way again!
I love word art! There’s nothing quite like the perfectly spoken word at exactly the right time to create profound impact and legacy.
If you enjoy poetry and literature you can have so much fun with your composition here. Or how about the name and meaning of a loved one? What a special gift.
The background is made in the same way as picture 1. I’ve also included free motion sketching and printed text here. This time though, I’ve embellished my picture with text printed onto fabric. You need an inket jet printer and freezer paper do to this.
I’m so looking forward to seeing what artistic impressions are released when this class starts in March!
If you would like to join us for some textile creativity, check out all the classes and vacancies here.
I’ve recently gifted a selection of ‘cork pouches’.
I love working with cork! It goes with just about everything, comes in lots of different colours (including sparkly!) can be rotary cut, pieced, quilted, ironed (medium-cool heat setting) and is 3d friendly! Did you know it’s vegan too (though I don’t recommend eating it!).
Here’s the first cork pouch:
This was made for a friend of my daughter who has been through a tough time lately.
I had a very small offcut of this gorgeous animal fabric (Echino, I think!) and managed (just about) to fussy cut the animals. I particularly like the zebras as my daughter’s friend is a young mum and it reminded me of the lovely bond she has with her son.
The pouch was sent off with an inspirational notebook and lots of love!
Pouch no. 2 was made as an ‘end of year’ thank you gift.
As with most of my pouches, I make them up as I go along! I’d seen some lovely curved pouches on Pinterest and thought I’d have a go!
The 2nd side of the zipper is a little tricky as you are sewing against the curve, but completely manageable with patience and deft fingers!
All of the fabrics in this pouch are available to purchase in my studio.
And last but not least, a geographical pouch for a special girl!
My middle daughter has already left for a 3 month missions trip, so I thought a useful but easy to pack pouch would come in handy.
With another offcut of map fabric I managed to include 2 countries that hold significance for my daughter, Brazil (a country she would love to visit one day) and Japan, where she will be spending the first 2 months of 2020.
I quilted both sides of the pouch along the longitude and latitude lines that were already printed on this ‘old style’ map!
So that’s my round up of cork pouches gifted this Christmas.
If you’ve never sewn with cork before give it a try! You’ll soon discover how versatile and user friendly it is!
Well it’s hard to believe that we only have 1 more week of classes left for 2019! Where on earth did that year go!!
I can’t wait to show you the beautiful wreaths folks have been making as part of our (optional) class project this term. They’re stunning!
But before one term is out I always present to my classes what the next term’s (optional) class project will be.
Our technique focus next term will be Pleats & Tucks.
The main difference between pleats and tucks is that pleats are formed by folding the same length of fabric into folds which are only stitched down at the top and bottom ends, whereas tucks are constructed separately and then sewn into the project.
You will of course be more familiar with seeing pleats and tucks in clothing and apparel, but I love how different techniques in textiles can cross over into other disciplines, usually with a little creative tweaking!
So far I have 2 class samples made (both tucks!), but I hope to have one more pleated sample completed before the start of term!
Cushion with Tucks:
There are many different effects you can achieve by manipulating tucks.
I really like the ‘spread’ effect you get from this variation of the Wave Tuck. You can see each of the feature fabrics standing out nicely against the black Essex Yarn Dyed Linen.
Zippy Pouch with Tucks
This is an example of Twisted Tucks. Before sewing along the bottom edge of the pouch, the tucks are twisted back, revealing the secondary colour. This effect adds a lovely decorative touch to bags and pouches.
So that’s us (almost) ready for next term. If you would like to join us for some creative sewing fun, you can see all the available classes here.
In the meantime I have a few Christmas presents to make, and the small matter of workshops for February’s Retreat to make too!
3 and leave a comment here or on FB or IG telling me what’s your favourite textile to work with.
You have until Monday 18th November to enter, when I will announce the winner (international entries welcome). (Please ensure you leave your email address with your comment if you are a ‘no reply blogger’.)
For the past few years, an annual tradition has started among 3 of my long time quilty friends and myself.
2 of us live in N.Ireland and the other 2 in England. We try to meet up each year to sew, taking it in turns to meet on either side of the Irish Sea! And that’s why we call ourselves #Threads Across the Sea!
This year, Trudi and Di came to not so sunny Belfast and spent a weekend of chatter, natter, lots of eating (delicious home baked yummies by Trudi and Sarah!) and of course some sewing in my studio!
One of our traditions is to gift handmade items to each other! This is like Christmas come early!!
From Sarah we each received these personalised Arm Chair Caddies (pattern from the book ‘Zakka Home’). Aren’t they cool! And Sarah got me spot on with my love of denim and all things ditsy!
I will definitely be using mine when hand stitching in the evenings in front of the telly!
Trudi is an amazing hand stitcher and quilter, and being recently laid up with injured ankles facilitated the huge amount of time she invested in these pouches.
I particularly love the sashiko stitching on Art Gallery Denim! Yum!
And from Di we each got a treat bag of goodies!
Di lives in the Lake District and the particular area she lives in is known as the Cake District!!! Fab or what!
Included in the bag were thread snips, mobile thread cutter/needle threader and wood turned items made by Di’s uber talented hubby! Check out the gorgeously tactile needle holder and Christmas Tree decoration!
See what I mean by Christmas come early! I’m so blessed to call these talented women my friends.
And if you want to know what I made for my 3 friends, you’ll have to tune in again to find out (and there might be a wee giveaway too! wink wink!).
Having a sew-social with like minded creatives and wonderful friends is one of my favourite things! Already looking forward to TATS20!
Sorry it has taken me so long to post about our first Quilting Retreat (last weekend). I’ve had some very special visitors this week (which I’ll tell you all about soon).
It’s hard to believe that a week ago today we were heading home after a wonderful weekend of sewing, eating, fun and games!
Murlough house is a 150 year old stately house situated only 5 minutes walk from the beach and surrounded by beautiful and calming gardens. The staff that run the house were so accommodating and friendly and the meals ……. oh my! We were spoiled! Their generous and servant heartedness combined with this beautiful setting established our retreat vibe from the first day.
There was of course lots of independent sewing time in the big hall. I have lots of photos of fabulous finished projects, but here are just a few!
After dinner in the evenings, we had a few fun games like a our pincushion swap, sewing bingo and the postage stamp charity block race, before getting down to more serious sewing time. (The hard core stitchers were still in the Hall to the wee hours of the morning!!)
In addition to all of this I ran 2 workshops:
Sashiko cushion (Saturday afternoon) ……
….and selvedge projects (Sunday morning).
A few folks also managed to fit in some walks (& runs) around the bay!
Phew! What a lot we managed to pack in!
From the feedback forms I can safely say that everyone had a fabulously relaxing and productive weekend.
A huge thank you to everyone who came and participated in all the activities so eagerly and to all the staff at Murlough House for spoiling us.
Thank you too to my 2 lovely friends, Ruth and Barbara, who valiantly helped and supported me from conception to conclusion (they are 2nd and 3rd from the right in the photo above). I couldn’t have done this without you!
I already have Murlough House booked for 2 more retreats in 2020! So watch this space!
It was a milestone weekend in the Hollies’ household!
I dropped my baby off at University of Liverpool to start her 3 year degree, and came back to an empty nest.
I’ve had children at home for the past 24 years, so not having ‘on hand’ mummy duties and living alone for the first time (ever) will be quite an adjustment. But I know that once the grieving ends I will learn how to grow a new set of wings and step into new rhythms and adventures.
In the meantime I have lots of exciting work ventures to focus on, one being our inaugural Quilting Retreat next month.
In addition to oodles of time to sew, chat and relax, there are also 2 optional workshops to choose from.
Saturday Afternoon: Sashiko Cushion
The Japanese sashiko stitching trend has swept through the quilting world in recent years.
This is my simplified take on what can be beautifully intricate hand stitched Japanese designs, often based on themes of nature and geometric patterns.
At this workshop you will learn how to trace patterns onto traditional indigo backgrounds and how to make the sashiko stitches and designs.
Sunday Morning: Selvedge Projects
Quilters are a frugal lot, and we don’t like throwing away even small pieces of fabric!
So when it comes to selvedges, the edges of fabric that prevent it from fraying, to me they aren’t the pieces you trim off and throw in the bin, but rather the unsung treasures of your yardage!
Selvedges not only display the colourful dye shades used in the print, but also the manufacturer and designer’s names and the name of the pattern.
It can take a while to save up enough selvedges to make something from them, but don’t worry, at this workshop I will have lots of selvedges available.
At the workshop you will learn how to cut and sew selvedges with finished edges and how to stabilise them into a new piece of fabric for project making.
And you can choose to make a small basket, pencil case or project pouch.
So start looking at those selvedges differently and hoard them like precious treasure!
Those are the workshops taking place at our Quilting Retreat in October. It’s going to be one fun and creative weekend!
By way of introduction, I’m Judith of Just Jude Designs. I’m a Patchwork & Quilting Designer and Tutor working from my spacious studio in a beautifully converted Victorian linen mill in Belfast, Northern Ireland.
I’ve been teaching now for 12 years, not only designing projects to teach but also designing quilting projects for magazines and a UK based fabric distributor.
I’m particularly fond of sewing with scraps (I generate a lot of them in my line of work!) and this is reflected in many of my designs.
I wouldn’t say I have a particular ‘style’ to my quilts. Sometimes I take inspiration from the fabrics themselves, or a themed brief from an editor, nostalgia or patterns I see in nature and objects around me.
Some of my best work comes from not having a design brief, and simply grabbing a handful of fabric or scraps and just allowing an organic creative process to develop!
I don’t always know what I’m going to end up with, but when I mix a little courage with an open mind, I’m rarely disappointed!
I’m also fond of recycling textiles in patchwork and quilting – linen, denim, tweed, wool and vintage sheets are particular favourites!
So that’s a little flavour of my patchwork & quilting life. You can read more about me here, and see more of my patterns here.
And if you would like to enter Benita’s Grand Prize Draw (4 pre-cut bundles, 3 Aurifil thread sets, Warm & Natural Batting, 2 Sewline Start sets & lifetime membership to Victoriana Quilt Designs) then just click on the button below to enter your details. Winners will be announced by Benita on 1st October.
Almost 2 years ago I launched our first appeal for Syringe Driver Bags for Macmillan Cancer Care in Antrim Hospital.
As the name suggests, the bags carry Syringe Drivers, the vehicle for administering pain or sickness medication. The patient receives the meds via a tube, which means they have to carry the Syringe Drivers around with them all the time. Sometimes they have one syringe driver, sometimes 2.
Providing bright and colourful bags instead of the standard issue grey ones is a small way of bringing a little cheeriness to the patient, especially when they get to choose one they like!
For our first appeal we had a brilliant response from generous sewists across Northern Ireland. So much so, we were able to pass on some bags to other palliative care units.
These bags can’t be reused, and the supply of bags from the first appeal has been exhausted.
Macmillan have asked us for more, so we are launching our 2nd Syringe Driver Bag Appeal!
If you have some sewing machine experience and cotton fabric, would you consider making one or two bags for those receiving palliative care or cancer treatment? You can find the tutorial here.
Previously we have only made for adult males and females, but now we also have a request from The Children’s Hospice, N.I., so we can receive bags in child-friendly fabrics too!
I launched the 2nd appeal on Facebook 10 days ago and we’ve already received 25 bags! THANK YOU!
I’ve always known how generous our sewing community is! Please, please help us to make many more bags! The bags can be posted or delivered to me at home. Email me at email@example.com for my address.
And if you live locally to Belfast, keep your eyes and ears open for an announcement about a free Syringe Driver Bag Workshop at our studio in Conway Mill!
(All sample blocks were made using Handmade fabrics by Makower)
Now in my introduction to this series, I described this part as the Mystery section!
That’s because this post is all about Partial Seams!
Just like the other Log Cabin Family members, in these examples fabric is pieced around a central shape.
1 Log Cabin
You may have noticed that the ‘logs’ in the Log Cabin block above are equal length in each round, unlike the Log Cabin Block from Part 1.
This is made possible by starting each round with a partial seam (denoted here with the number 0.5 instead of 1!).
The first ‘log’ being attached is stitched only half way along the seam. It is then pressed out allowing the 2nd ‘log’ to be fully attached. This one is then pressed out before attaching log 3 and the same for log 4. Now you can bring the unsewn section of log 1 right sides together to log 4 and finish sewing the starting (partial) seam.
I love how clever this technique is. Without prior knowledge of partial seams, it would be difficult to work out how to construct this block. Therein lies the mystery!!
2. Rail Fence
In this example, the ‘rail fence’ sections are pieced separately, before being attached to the centre square.
Welcome to part 3 of my series on Log Cabin blocks (part 1 available here; part 2 available here).
So far we’ve looked at the variations within Log Cabin and Courthouse Steps blocks.
This post is all about the Pineapple Block.
Like me, you may be surprised that the Pineapple block is included in the Log Cabin family of blocks.
But there are definite similarities. Fabric strips of equal width are added in rounds from the centre square outwards (just like Log Cabin or Courthouse Steps).
The main difference this time is each round is trimmed ‘on point’ to create a diamond shape, before the next round is added. By alternating the background and main fabrics each round, pineapple shapes start to emerge.
There are several ways to create the Pineapple Block:
1 Foundation Pieced:
For my block (above) I printed and enlarged a paper template and sewed directly onto the paper, only removing the paper on completion of the block.
While this is a time consuming method (especially for a full quilt!) it results in precision piecing and accurate points and edges.
Welcome back to my Spring into Summer ’19 series of posts.
In part 1 (available here) we’ve covered items 1, 2, 10 & 12 on our display table.
Today it’s all about one of my favourite quilt and fabric designers, Lori Holt.
3 Farm Girl Vintage Book, by Lori Holt:
This is Lori’s first Farm Girl Vintage book of blocks which is no longer available in the UK (FGV2 is just about to hit the shops!). I have sold quite a few in class already, and any that are left will be listed in our shop next week.
FGV shows you how to make all of the blocks shown on the front cover quilt, in both 6″ and 12″ size options.
The instructions and illustrations are really clear. And at the back of the book there are several larger blocks & lots more patterns & ideas on how to use the blocks to make other projects like cushions and table runners.
4 Farm Girl Vintage inspired Table Runner:
I made a table runner using 5 x 12″ blocks from the FGV book. I chose blocks that followed a food/kitchen theme, and they were such fun to make.
The pears are one of my favourite blocks in the book, and I’m working them into another bee quilt (a UFO Brit Bee quilt).
5 Farm Girl Vintage Chick Cushion:
I first made this cushion for my Easter table display last year. I turned a 12″ Chick block from the book into a quilted cushion. Isn’t he cute!
You may remember seeing my aprons on display last term. I decided to leave my dressed mannequin again this term because we are running our 3rd Apron workshop in August (booking available here). In this workshop you can choose from either a tie back apron (pictured) or the Japanese style cross back apron (see here).
2 Kids Tote Bags:
These simple and fun makes are samples for my upcoming children’s workshop.
I have 4 girls and 2 boys registered to learn how to use a sewing machine and let their textile creativity loose!
Children are a joy to teach because they don’t overthink it and are so creatively uninhibited! We adults could learn alot from them!
This is my big and roomy beach bag (first featured in Pretty Patches magazine). It features water resistant Rip-Stop Nylon lining, mesh or cotton exterior pockets and a detachable ‘wet bag’ for your soggy bikini, or drippy sun lotion bottles!
I’ve made a few of these practical bags over the years, and they’ve even been road tested by my girls on their holiday!
If you’d like to join us at our Beach Bag workshop, you can book in here.
As a self-confessed workaholic I have to really focus on ‘not working’ and allowing my mind some down time (not easy for a self-employed sole trader!).
As part of my ‘word for the year’ – CULTIVATE, I’ve been working on cultivating rest and regeneration, not just physically but creatively and spiritually too.
I’m still learning how to do this well, and am very much a work in progress! One way I’ve been doing this is by reading inspiring authors on personal leadership, like Brene Brown.
In her book ‘Daring Greatly’, Brene talks about the importance of being our vulnerable and authentic selves, not bowing to the ‘never (good, thin, happy, wealthy, successful ….) enough’ culture but instead resting in the knowledge that our best effort is always enough; we are enough. The strive for perfectionism and the glorification of busyness erodes the mental health of individuals, families, societies, nations. I know this to be true because I’ve seen it and I’ve felt it.
So if, like me, you want to learn how to cultivate authenticity, self-compassion, a resilient spirit, gratitude and joy, intuition and trust, meaningful work, creativity (yes!), and play and rest (yes, yes!) then I highly recommend to you Daring Greatly by Brene Brown. Her honesty is refreshing and her professional research in vulnerabililty, shame and wholeheartedness eye opening!
“Dare to be the adults we want our children to be.” Brene Brown
Another opportunity for me to cultivate rest and regeneration comes with good weather, a beautiful location and a camera!
We were blessed over Easter with some cracking weather, which meant I could get out and about a bit with my camera.
Taking pictures enables me to notice details, to stay in the present, to connect my surroundings with those I’m with, to stop and smell the roses (sometimes literally!).
If you’ve never tried it, next time you go out to a beautiful park, garden, beach, woodland walk, bring a camera. You don’t have to be skilled at taking the photos. But I guarantee your mental and emotional health will benefit greatly!
(All the photos I took are available here in my Facebook Albums)
And this week I’ve had the best Mothers Day present ever!
All my chicks are back home for a few days, yay!
It’s been so good to hang out together, laugh, be silly, and have precious family time, including the future sons-in-law!
The times when we can all be together at the same time in the same place are becoming fewer, so we make sure we make up for it when we can!
I’m not only blessed with a faithfully loving mum, but I also get the privelege of being a mum, 3 times over!
I was so excited in my first pregnancy to become a mum, but nothing prepared me for how tough the exhausting role of mother would be!
To be honest, I found the earlier years much harder than the teenage ones! I continually lacked confidence, never knew if I was doing the right thing, perpetual exhaustion, extreme loneliness and post natal depression all played their part.
Despite it being the toughest job I’ve ever had (the wages and pension benefits are rubbish!) it’s also been (& still is) the most rewarding. The thing about having kids is they force you to go beyond yourself, to step outside your comfort zones and defaults and face your weaknesses and selfishness.
I’m thankful to my girls for stretching me and making me the person I am today. They inspire me every day and I’m ridiculously proud of the beautiful women they are, inside and out.
To all you mothers out there, you are amazing, keep going. It will be hard at times, but the rewards are deep and infinite. A great mother isn’t perfect (no such woman exists), she’s the one who gets up each morning and invests, sacrifices, referees, feeds, counsels, advises, all for no thanks, and then gets up again the next morning to do it all again!
Already we are coming to the end of our first block of 2019 classes. This week we will wrap up our Necessary Clutch wallets and New Year projects.
I can’t wait to show you all the finished clutches!
And I’m a little bit excited to show you our (optional) class project for the Feb-April block.
In our next block of classes I will be showing 3 different weaving techniques, 2 of which use the Wefty Weaving Needle.
A Wefty Needle comes in 2 sizes, 1″ and 0.5″ and enables weaving both simple and complex designs with little/no fabric waste.
Once you have a deliciously woven panel you can turn it into a pretty basket, a tactile cushion, a useful notebook cover, anything you like!
I’ll have notes available on how to make my 3 examples, but you don’t have to stick to these projects. Just check out my Weaving Pinterest Board for lots more mind blowing inspiration!
Linen Basket Weave Cushion
This is a beginner friendly project, keeping the strips wider and easy to weave into a traditional basket weave pattern.
We don’t use the Wefty Needle on this project, a large safety pin will suffice, though there will be a little fabric waste at the end of each woven strip.
And if you haven’t already them sussed, how about trying some buttonholes and self covered buttons as your cushion closure?
Houndstooth Journal Cover
These 0.5″ strips are woven with the Wefty Needle into a houndstooth pattern.
Again we are using a traditional basket weave here, but clever placement of strips produces the secondary pattern.
I turned my woven panel into a journal cover (my notebook cover pattern is available here), but you could easily use this as a decorative panel in a bag or add some borders for a textured placemat or cushion.
Triaxial Woven Basket
Triaxial means 3 angles. Unlike a basket weave (with only vertically and horizontally woven strips) triaxial weaving involves strips woven at vertical and 2 thirty degree angles.
For my cute basket I’ve used the 1″ Wefty Needle. Triaxial weaving is more complex than basket weaving designs, but once you get your head around it, there are many more amazing designs which can be produced from the 3 angles.
So if you fancy a spot of weaving over the next 7 weeks, or just want to carve out some therapeutic sewing time to work on other projects, why not come join the fun and book into one of our 6 weekly classes.
Ayumi’s brilliant tutorial is for the largest tray you see here. They are so easy to make and resize to suit your own requirements (keep the width the same, and simply shorten the length: L:13″, M:10.5″, Sml:7.5″).
The changes I made to the pattern were to use Flex Foam Bosal instead of wadding, to give more structure, and to sew a few stitches at the corners to help them retain their shape.
I’m sure like me you can think of a multitude of uses for these handy organisers (desk tidies perhaps?).
And keeping with the organising theme, how cute are these!
These are literally made from scraps – Tilda and leather scraps from other projects, and offcuts of Flex Foam Bosal.
The bosal was a little tricky to work with when it came to the smallest basket! But I think this will be the case with any interfacing stiff enough to give these little pots the structure they need. Just cut your interfacing smaller to try and keep whatever interfacing you use, out of the seams.
What an amazing year it has been, both inside the classroom and outside it!
One of my professional highlights in 2018 was attending Patchwork in the Peaks Quilters Retreat, Morzine, France, as guest tutor.
And on a personal level, hosting a memory quilt party for my special friend’s 50th birthday in February was a wonderful day!
Helping 2 charities, Shared Threads and Flourish, launch their new sewing initiatives, both aimed at improving the lives of women, locally and internationally was (and continues to be) a pleasure and a privilege.
Among the many highs and lows that come in a year, I’m reminded of my ‘word for the year’ back in January ’18 – RHYTHM.
I set a word at the start of each year to give me a focus to my professional and life goals.
After a massive year of change in 2017, I feel I definitely achieved some rhythm, allowing life to settle some, and to get into my stride with the new classroom and home.
Of course there were still changes in 2018, some happy, some sad, some expected, some unexecpted; the normalcy of life demands it.
But amidst it all, I have much to be thankful for and am content to leave 2018 with a smile, and embrace the exciting new chapter that is 2019.
Come back soon to find out all about my word for 2019!
I promised to check in again and tell you about my makes at Patchwork in the Peaks (though they pale into insignificance compared to the fabulous makes of my fellow sewers).
Not fully understanding the brief of the weekend, I arrived with no personal projects to work on! Doh!
However, Elita has a very healthy ‘scraps stack’ which she generously makes available to all at Peaks.
So with that in mind, I rustled up a sizeable ‘Quilt As You Go’ pouch.
I always find that other people’s scraps are much more interesting than my own, so it was fun rustling through the scrap boxes for this project.
One of the ‘games’ we played at the weekend was a ‘Roll the Dice Fat Quarter swap’.
It’s much too long winded for me to try and explain how it works, but the essence of the game is that you bring 3 fat quarters to the table and after much hilarity, competitive threats (of the lighthearted kind of course!!) and fast hand action, you end up with 3 different fat quarters!
One such fat quarter is the glorious yellow that I used for the lining of my pouch!
Aaaahhhhh! Sunshine in a pouch!
Following my Denim Applique Bag workshop, there was a nice little pile of offcuts and discarded denim bits.
So in keeping with the denim/upcycling theme, I made another zippy pouch (a girl can never have too many pouches, right?!).
A little ‘Aurifil’ decorative stitching and feature tabs, loops and labels add the perfect finishing touches.
Another of my ‘fat quarter swaps’ made it as the perfect pouch lining!
On Saturday evening we shared our ‘Secret Sister’ gifts (surprise, anonymous gifts left for each person throughout the weekend) and then Gina presented the ‘Mystery Make’.
This is a fun, quick make in keeping with the theme of the weekend. Several little jeans legs were made available with a finished sample of the cutest wee fabric bucket! So we set to it and in no time at all, a family of re-purposed fabric buckets appeared! (see pics in previous post)
Despite the flowers being upside down (!!) I’m going to use mine as a purposeful little thread catcher.
And last but not least, another rummage in the scraps box and my heart started to flutter as I discovered some adorable vintage vibe browns!
Now I appreciate brown is not a universally loved fabric colour, and there are some browns I just can’t do.
But on my bucket list of makes is a vintage brown quilt (I have a secret hoard of brown vintage fabrics in my loft!). So I grasped the nettle and started making log cabin blocks, with no other plan in mind than to enjoy the browns and worry about a design much later!
So considering I arrived at Peaks with no fabric or sewing equipment, I did pretty well don’t you think?
It’s about time I posted another tutorial here, don’t you think?
Before all the sniffles and colds get going, how about pretty, quilted tissue box covers. I’d much rather see pretty fabric sitting in my room, than a functional cardboard box!
And this tutorial will explain how to cover a box of any size, so let’s get started!
You Will Need:
Heavy Sew-In Vilene
Non-permanent fabric marker
Cardboard or template plastic
Measure your box:
Take measurements A (short side), B (long side) and C (top). Then add 3/4″ (0.75″) to each measurement (1/2″ for seam allowances, 1/4″ for ease) to get the cutting out sizes.
You can see my measurements in the example below:
So now that you have the cutting out measurements you can either ….
apply all measurements to your exterior fabrics, lining fabric, wadding and heavy sew-in vilene
instead of cutting out the sides, cut and baste an 11″ x 12″ piece of exterior fabric, wadding and sew-in vilene. Once quilted, this is big enough to cut out all 4 sides.
You will also need this template for the openings. I use the larger shape for rectangular boxes and the smaller shape for cube boxes. Cut out the openings and transfer them to card or template plastic.
Use 1/4″ seams
1 If you haven’t already done so, spray baste the exterior fabrics, wadding and vilene together.
2 Quilt as desired (I marked and quilted a 1.5″ diagonal grid, see photo above).
3 Pin an exterior short side (A) right sides together with the exterior top (C). With a pen, mark 1/4″ in from each corner on the short side (wrong side).
4 Sew from marker to marker, starting and finishing with a reverse stitch. Repeat for the other short side.
5 Press the short ends out before attaching the long sides in the same way (remember to mark your 1/4″ points).
6 Repeat steps 3-5 for the lining pieces.
7 Find the middle of the lining top piece (I simply folded it in half lengthways and widthways and finger pressed).
8 Centre your chosen template opening onto the wrong side of the lining top piece and draw around it.
9 Pin the exterior and lining pieces right sides together. Sew along the drawn line, starting and finishing with a reverse stitch.
10 Carefully cut out the opening, leaving a 1/4″ seam allowance. Snip at 1cm intervals all the way around the opening, taking care not to cut into the stitches.
11 Push the lining through the opening and all the way round to the back of the exterior. Iron around the opening to neaten.
12 Top stitch around the opening, 1/8″ from the edge.
13 Pin the exterior sides right sides together. Sew adjacent exterior sides together, sewing from the top down to the 1/4″ marker (fold the top piece out of the way so you can get right down to the 1/4″ marker). Start and finish with a reverse stitch.
14 Repeat step 13 for the lining pieces.
15 Turn the exterior right side out, by folding it out over the lining. On the inside you should be able to see the right side of the lining.
16 Push the lining well into the corners of the exterior cover. Pop in the tissue box and trim off any excess cover and lining level with the edge of the box.
17 Machine tack (large stitch) around the raw edges 1/8″ from the edge.
18 Make enough double fold quilt binding to get around the bottom edges with a couple of inches overlap. Attach, join and finish the binding as you would for a quilt.
Pop in the tissue box and adorn your bedside table!
Or how about a scrappy tissue box cover ….
…. or have some free motion sketching fun!
Whatever shape or design you choose for your cover, have lots of fun!
A good friend of mine recently celebrated a milestone birthday.
Now this friend is uber creative and talented, especially when it comes to ceramics.
Rachel has a workshop in Conway Mill, just 2 floors above me, and makes the most stunning ceramic house pictures and brooches #weecolouredhouses
I’m lucky to be the proud owner of 2 such creations!
So from one maker to another, I knew my gift had to be handmade!
My ‘Wee Coloured Houses’ pouch is inspired by Rachel’s adorable little houses. They have been free motion sketched onto Essex Yarn Dyed Linen (Flax). Those tiny windows were a challenge!!
I know Rachel loves colour, so I went with a patchworked back and a bright, funky lining.
So here’s to many more creative years Rachel!
And if you would like to purchase one of Rachel’s pictures or commission her for a custom order, you can contact her here.
Also, keep an eye out for her at Frock Around the Clock Fares and the Fine & Dandy Markets, as well as seeing her stock in The Designerie (Bushmills), Belfast City Airport, The Crafty Barn (Carlingford) and Klover (Hillsborough) to name a few!
We’ve had wonderful weather this summer, so I shouldn’t be sad to see the rain! After all, the gardens are crying out for it!
As well as working on some non-work related sewing commitments, I’ve been beavering away on some new patterns for upcoming classes and workshops (more on this very soon!).
But I’ve also managed to snatch a few ‘dressmaking’ moments here and there!
I once remember my dearly passed friend, Heather, telling me about when she used to make her own trousers. After her first successful pair, she made lots more from the same pattern, but just in different colours!
So as a novice dressmaker, I am unashamedly going to follow my friend’s canny philosophy!
Last summer I made this tunic from a charity shop find of Liberty cotton. The pattern is beginner friendly (New Look pattern 6068) and I love the shape and fit of it.
So I cut out 2 more, in vintage fabrics that I’ve collected over the years!
No. 1 The ‘A Little Touch of Granny’ Tunic:
I can’t remember who or where this exotic themed fabric came from, but I didn’t have enough width in the main fabric for a complete front. So I improvised and added in a coordinating navy panel.
Also I wanted a slightly longer length than the original pattern, so I added a mock under-skirt in a contrasting fabric (I call this my granny fabric!).
I’m sure you will think I’m bonkers (!!) but I love my cobbled together tunic!
I have long been trying to set my inner granny/hippy free, and I think I’ve taken another step closer to embracing a very individual and creative style!
And for tunic no.2?
Tune in next time for another ‘eyebrow raising’ post!
I’m back from a little holiday over on English soil, enjoying the amazing Cumbrian countryside with my #sewingbesties …..
….. and visiting family and friends in my old Dorset stomping ground.
The weather was hot, hot, hot! What a cracking summer break.
And I’ll be jet-setting off again in September, as the guest tutor of Patchwork in the Peaks in Morzine, France.
Patchwork in the Peaks is an Alpine Quilt Retreat, hosted twice a year by Busy Needle Quilting.
The retreat is held over 4 days, in a 4 storey chalet with the most spectacular views!
You get to take part in workshops, tutorials and have some free time to relax, explore Morzine, or fit in more sewing! There’s even an ‘in chalet’ quilting shop and you can avail of the Juki long arm quilting machine (tuition provided).
Doesn’t that sound wonderful! You can read lots more about this quilters heaven here and here.
I’ll be teaching my Applique Denim Bag, showcasing techniques such as twin needling fusible bias, satin stitch applique, re-purposing textiles and a zippered pocket (to name a few).
So if you fancy a creative and relaxing retreat surrounded by inspiring scenery, why not come to Patchwork in the Peaks (only a few places remaining)!
This is my Autumn Rail Fence Quilt (as featured in August ’17 issue of Pretty Patches magazine).
If, like me, you have a healthy supply of scraps, then this is a great scrap buster project for you!
In August I am hosting a Scrap Buster Saturday, and this is one of the many quick and easy ideas folks can use to dig in to those overflowing scrap boxes!
Here’s how to make the Scrappy Rail Fence Block (12.5″ unfinished):
1 You will need a variety of scrappy strips, at least 13″ long and of varying widths (don’t go wider than 3″). Press them and make sure they have straight parallel sides. Don’t worry about trimming the lengths, you get a more accurate block if you leave the trimming to the end.
2 I went for a ‘late summer’ colour theme of teals, oranges, pinks and golds. But you could easily use whatever colours you have for a more ‘random’ rail fence.
3 You will notice I have included a brown striped fabric at the edge of each block. These strips are cut 2″ wide and give a little uniformity to the scrappiness of the blocks. If you are going for random and bright colours, try a narrow black and white stripe here.
4 If you are working to a colour theme, try to get an even number of colours per block. The order doesn’t matter, just sew enough together using a 1/4″ seam, not forgetting the stripey fabric on the end, until you can get at least 12.5″ wide. Set the seams (pressing the seam as you have sewn it) before pressing the seams to the darkest fabric.
5 Trim the block to 12.5″ square. If there is excess on the width make sure you don’t take any off the stripey/end fabric. You want these end strips to be of uniform width. I used my 12.5″ square ruler for easy trimming, but you can trim these blocks to any size, just make sure they are square!
6 Make lots more blocks until you have enough for your quilt (or until you have used up all your scraps!).
These beautiful ‘Butterfly Garden’ quilts are stunning on every level (my poor photos not doing them justice at all!).
I love how different fabrics or placement of colour value can completely change the look of the same quilt. In this pattern, drunkard’s path units are combined with squares to make up these curvy blocks.
Aren’t they wonderful! A huge well done to my ladies for ‘going large’ with their curvy project (especially as temperatures soared inside and out!).
If you like what you see here and want to have a go at your own ‘layer cake friendly’ Butterfly Garden quilt, you can get the pattern here.