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!
My 5 minute demo in class this month was how to make these super easy infinity scarfs.
You can use anything between 1 and 4 pieces of fabric for your scarf.
The sumptuous softness of Art Gallery fabrics or Liberty Lawns work particularly well, but you can also use quilting cotton, or for a more cosy scarf, try brushed cotton or snuggly fleece.
Would you like to know how to make them? My tutorial shows you how to make a scarf from 4 fabrics.
You will need:
Scarf made from 1 fabric: 1 x (20″ x 60″) or
Scarf made from 2 fabrics: 2 x (10.5″ x 60″) or
Scarf made from 3 fabrics: 2 x (10.5″ x 30″) & 1 x (10.5″ x 60″) or
Scarf made from 4 fabrics: 4 x (10.5″ x 30″)
3 metres mini pom pom trim (optional)
Adjustable zipper foot
Use 1/4″ seam allowance
1 Sew 2 panels right sides together along the short edges. Press the seam open. Repeat for the other 2 panels.
2 On the right side of one of the pairs, pin and machine tack 2 x 60″ lengths of mini pom pom trim down both long sides. The pom poms should be facing away from the outer edges. I used my zipper foot for this part so I could sew past the pom poms.
3 Place both paired panels right sides together and sew down both long sides. Again, I used my zipper foot here.
4 Turn the scarf right side out.
5 Iron under the raw edges of one short end by 1/4″.
6 Take the other short end and twist the scarf once before tucking it into the ironed under short end.
7 Even out the short ends, pin and sew them together, 1/8″ from the folded edge. You are only sewing through the 2 short ends here.
And there you have it! A beautifully soft infinity scarf.
You can of course lengthen and widen the measurements here to suit your needs or style!
Have fun making these versatile and practical scarves. But be warned!
In keeping with our ‘curves’ theme this term, my monthly ‘5 minute lesson’ in classes this week was all about Improv. (improvisational) curves.
As the name suggests ‘improv.’ means you pretty much go with the flow and make up the curves as you go. No two curves are the same, and there are much fewer rules to abide by than with standard pieced curves. You don’t even have to worry about an even seam allowance (gasp!).
You can imagine how well this technique went down with all my rebellious non-conformists (you know who you are!!).
There are many examples of improv. curves on Pinterest (see my Curves Pinterest Board here). And to give an example of these in class, I made some improv. curved placemats, in the lovely coastal Beachcomber fabrics by Makower.
Here is the tutorial on how to make my Improv. Curved Placemats (makes 4 x 15 1/4″ diameter mats).
You will need:
Between Nine and Twelve 10″ squares (I used Beachcomber by Makower)
50cm of Wadding or Insul Bright Heat Resistant Wadding
50cm of calico
1 metre of Heat Resistant Non-Slip Table Protector (at least 35″ wide)
4.5 metres of 3/4″ wide bias binding
505 Basting Spray
Method:Assume 1/4″ seams
1 Place 2 squares of fabric on the cutting mat, right sides facing up, and overlapping. The wider the overlap, the deeper the curves can be. I usually overlap by 2-3″ (I am using up a smaller piece of fabric here to overlap the 10″ square).
2 Using a rotary cutter, cut a curve up through the overlapped section.
3 Remove the excess pieces (this will be the smaller piece of the right hand fabric and the smaller/underneath piece of the left hand fabric). The remaining pieces should fit neatly together.
4 Sew the 2 pieces right sides together. It is easier to do this by straightening the underneath piece with your right hand and lifting up the top piece with your left hand. Don’t worry if your seam allowance isn’t even the whole way down, just make sure there are no tucks.
5 Press the seam to the darkest fabric.
6 Repeat steps 2-5 for a third piece of fabric, over lapping the left hand edge of the first piece.
7 Spray baste the curved pieces, wadding and calico together (tutorial on spray basting available here).
8 Quilt the mats, starting centrally and working towards the outer edges. I quilted in the ditches and then’echo’ quilted the curved seams 1/2″ apart.
9 Place a round plate or bowl on top and draw around it. Cut along the line and remove the excess. Put to one side.
10 Place the same plate/bowl onto the felted side of the non-slip table protector. Draw around it and cut out.
11 Machine tack the table protector to the wrong side of the mat, making sure the felted side is on the inside. Machine tacking means using a large stitch on your machine, and stitching close to the edges. If you find the rubberised table protector resisting or sticking to your sewing machine, make sure the rubberised side is facing up and engage the dual feed/walking foot on your machine. If you don’t have these, stick some matt scotch tape to the underside of your presser foot keeping clear of the needle opening.
12 Open out the bias binding, and leaving a few inches unsewn at the start, attach the binding around the edge of the mat using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance, stopping a few inches short at the end (remember to use a quilting size stitch length here, not a tacking stitch).
13 Place the end of the bias binding over the start and measure and mark 1/2″ overlap. Trim off the excess.
14 Open out the binding and sew the short ends together using 1/4″ seam allowance.
15 Finger press the seam open and finish sewing down the remaining binding to the mat.
16 Snip all around the edge of the mat at 1cm intervals, taking care not to cut the stitches.
17 Push the binding over to the back of the mat. Pin in the ditch from the front, making sure the binding is caught at the back.
18 Stitch in the ditch from the front side finishing with a reverse stitch.
And you’re finished!
Adorn your table with your beautiful mats and wait for the compliments!
So why not have a go at this organic and fun technique!
I hope you enjoy your venture into improv. curves!
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)
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.