So Sew Easy ‘make it yours’ competition

I thought I’d have a go at the exciting competition over at the Sew So Easy blog but I am a bit on the last minute!

The competition is to make a bag using the pattern provided here and add your own design features/embellishments etc to make it your own. The contest rules are fairly straightforward – you can read them here. The bag pattern was for a small clutch style and this type of bag always reminds me of a ‘night out’ as it’s the only time I ever have a neat little clutch bag!  Most of my life has been accompanied by a handbag big enough to carry round extra paraphanalia applicable to my stage of life!  This was nappies, wipes, drinks etc when the children were small – and now taking my mum out it’s …. well not a lot different really  🙂   (ha ha she’s not really that bad!)

So onto the clutch bag!

I chose some milk chocolate coloured linen look fabric for the outside and an orange floral print for the lining – very 70’s – more or less the last decade when I actually did go out and about as a young free thing!

After cutting out the fabric and some interlining for the  interfacing the first thing I did was to insert the magnetic snap closers.  I found pushing a pin through the marker on the pattern and then marking where it came out on the other side was a good way to ensure the parts are in the right place for matching up later.

pinning through the pattern marker

pinning through the pattern marker

marking fabric for clasp placement

marking where pin comes out











Next I decided to add an internal pocket in the same fabric as the lining as that way it’s not so obvious where your valuables are when you open your bag!

using paper template for the pocket placing

using paper template for the pocket placing

Getting in the right place was a little tricky as I had to keep folding the bag into its finished form so as to make sure the pocket would be  placed right. I used a paper template to mark out the final position.

I cut a double sized piece of fabric for the pocket piece,  folded it right sides together and sewed up the sides.  I then turned it right way out and  sewed it to the lining, turning under the bottom hem as I sewed.

handy little internal pocket!

handy little internal pocket!

inside the bag

inside the bag

bad with my seventies beads!

bag with my seventies beads!















I finished the bag off by sewing a shaped piece of lining fabric to the front and adding two big decorative buttons!  Just need to get my orange nail varnish and beads and I’m off!!




Stash Building…not Stash Busting!

No pictures of stuffed  tights on the line this week 🙁  …… this is because it hasn’t stopped raining long enough!!  I can’t wait for the warmth to return so I can get my wool washed, and also now I have a HUGE pile of fabric to wash! Why? Well I have been stash building instead of busting!!

I have been given someone else’s stash!!  Yes really – it’s amazing and I was sooo excited when I saw what was in the bags as it’s really lovely pretty cottons. Some of it is small off-cuts but some is unused, folded, still-with-a sheen!  It’s fantastic and I am very fortunate to have been offered it, the only drawback is the smell … it has obviously been kept in a smoker’s house and really reeks. I can’t even keep it in the kitchen I had to put it in the garage!   The fabric doesn’t look dirty in any way, if it did I probably wouldn’t have accepted it.  Now I know why people put ‘made in a smoke-free house’ on their selling sites!

fabric being machine washed
about a third of it being washed!


I am having to unfold and wash every piece and then I suppose it will need ironing too (boo, nasty word).

One wash was not even enough to remove the smell but as I use non-bio unfragranced soap powder I thought I would  go and buy some biological stuff with added essential oils and see if that worked.  It did!  It now smells sweet and fresh. I decided to put in on the line even though it’s going to rain as the rain and fresh air should help even more !

It’s been interesting unfolding the cut pieces though as it’s a peek into that other unknown woman’s sewing life as I try and guess what the circular shape cut out of some ditsy floral could have been! There are navy blue ‘school skirt’ fabric remnants and what looks like an airtex pocket shape too, I wonder if she made school uniforms for her kids?

fabric on the line

on the line in some SUN (didn’t last long!

It makes me think about what someone would make of my stash if they suddenly were to acquire it!!

Well I am sure I will have plenty of new  makes to write about once I have it all washed and .. ironed… (shudder!)

Off to link up with the lovely Handmade Monday Crafters as usual and enjoy some reading with my glass of wine 🙂

Sunny days and writing reviews!

Wow it’s Sunday again – weeks are flying by, and yes, in 5 weeks the days start to get shorter! (sorry!)  I do love the warmer weather though, not the intense summer heat of July and August but the warm Spring-nearly-Summer days which often seem uplifting and full of promise…..  somehow though I never quite do all the things I intended but at least the weather does make everything  more pleasant – especially  boring housework jobs!  I  love being able to wash and dry throws, dusters and cleaning cloths all in one day!  This week I have been washing and drying old wool blankets for felting – the fluff in the tumble drier was amazing – I kept thinking I should make something out of it but maybe that is taking upcycling just too far?!!

I haven’t had any success with my loft-stored  wool by leaving in out in the sun for a couple of days  – it still has the ‘dusty’ smell so now I am going to try washing it all.  I will take a picture of my washing line full of tights stuffed with wool and post it here next week!

I’ve spent some of the warm days out in the garden working on the review section of my website this week.  I always enjoy finding and reading reviews of items on blogs where it’s more of a how-useful-is-this-in-real-life type of review instead of the short one sentence ones on manufacturers websites, so I decided to write about my experiences using things and post them here for others who are researching before buying.  As crafters we have a wealth of varying experience and it seems a shame not to share our knowledge.   It’s a section of my site which will be an ongoing project with new reviews and updates added along the way.  As I just got my Huskylock overlocker back from being fixed  it’s time I added that to my machine section!

I was very happy indeed to find that it had a 5 year guarantee so it was sorted out by Jaycotts (where I bought it from) at no cost except for the £11 for a new blade!  I thoroughly recommend Jaycotts in Chester.  They sell online but also have  small unit where you can see sewing machines and threads and notions and purchase things from the online stock.  It’s so nice to have real people to talk to about your machine and who will service and mend things – something you don’t get if you buy online or from ebay!.

Off now to link up with handmade Monday… see you there?



I’ve not done a lot this week.  I decided my quillie rug needed more swiss rolls making so I have been cutting up strips from felted charity shop jumpers!  Charity shops are great for getting materials to work with as long as you take time to check the composition of each item. So many times I have found a beautiful wool jumper only to see it is ‘superwash’ which means it won’t felt!

There was a wool blanket in one local shop for a couple of pounds which would make lots of strips for a rug!  I didn’t buy it though as I have been in the loft and reclaimed 3 huge wool blankets which where my mother-in-laws and which we used for camping carpet and play tents when the children were small.  These should felt up nicely!

I also found a suitcase full of my wool from years ago when I knitted and crocheted a lot of things.  It is all in good condition apart from a musty ‘loft’ smell. Same applies to charity shop wool – it often smells funny to me so I don’t buy it.  I don’t know if you can wash balls of wool without ruining them or whether I should crochet them up into things then wash the finished item?  Can anyone offer any advice on how to make this wool pleasant again?   Hopefully I can reclaim this old stash as it must add up to a fair amount of money in today’s prices!

I’ve also bought a couple of really good quality cotton shirts recently which will make beautiful patchwork fabric!  If you’ve never investigated your local charity shops I would recommend it next time you want some fabric. Even a cotton dress for around £3 will yield plenty of fabric for patchwork or to make bags.

I did manage to finish one WIP this week!  A sundress for me – made from an Abakhan remnant and some lilac cotton jersey from my stash and a home made pattern based on another charity shop sundress!  It actually fits and two people have admired it and asked where I bought it!

I’m now off to the Handmade Monday Linky!!


sundress in poppy flower fabric

sundress in cotton with stretch cotton jersey bodice and straps!

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Standing Wool Rug- Quillie Rug

At  Wonderwool last week I was fascinated by the beautiful rugs made with by the standing wool rug-making technique also known as making a ‘quillie’ rug.  I wrote about it in this post.   Apparently it’s not a very well known or practised technique which is strange because it’s very addictive and I found it not at all difficult to do.  I thought I would show you how I did it  in case you would like to have a go! I watched the quillies being rolled up at wonderwool and then how they are sewn into a complete rug but didn’t see how they were kept individually rolled beforehand so that bit is just my own way. I started with the  cut-offs of wool blankets I bought at Wonderwool


my wool cut-offs

Back home I cut them all up into strips with my rotary cutter.

Wool strips ready for quilling

The wool squares cut into strips

Then the fun bit: First lay two different coloured strips on top on one another and begin to curl them up between your fingers  keeping the initial fold as tight as you can.


two strips laying one on top of the other


beginning to curl the strips

It’s quite easy to roll them up but you do need to keep tight hold or else they flirt open and leap onto the floor!   I kept mine  from uncurling by sewing them through the middle using  sock wool  with a very long needle.  Mine is a called a Doll needle and there were 3 in a packet,   I find the 5inch one easiest.  It was very hard to pull the needle right out of the other side of the roll without using a needle grabber.  Once I bought the grabber it was very straight forward. If you were making these to combine for a rug or item to be used you should sew them together with linen thread for strength.

wool and doll needle for sewing up

pushing the long needle threaded with sock wool through the ‘swiss roll’ quillie together


wool right through the ‘swiss roll’ quillie

I just snipped the wool off the leave a short piece through the middle


finished quilllie with wool through

Here are the first few I made


First few quillie rolls

Here are the finished ones grouped together but not sewn together. I wanted to experiment with the colours.   I haven’t decided if this will be the final colour layout but   I will add more quillies as soon as I cut more strips from my store of felted charity shop jumpers! image I could sew these together and then add to the rug so it grows like freeform crochet or I could wait until I have all my quillie rolls and create the design first.  Decisions!

The sewing up part involves sewing two together – straight through the middle of each in a couple of places, then adding another one and sewing it to the first two in what ever shape you want.  Each quillie needs to have several strands of wool, or preferably strong linen thread, holding it to the others around it, using the long needle,  and then needs to be sewn at the top edge  to the adjacent quillie, using a curved needle. I imagine this is to make it secure enough to be walked on unless you wanted to have it as a wall hanging.  They could also be made into place mats though which would be much quicker!


using curved needle to sew up at the top edge

My largest quillies are about 3inches in diameter, the ones in the picture are 2 inches.  You just roll up the strips till you have the size you want then cut off the rest! Hopefully next week I will be able to post a complete rug! Linking up with Handmade Monday now and off to see what everyone else has been making!

More Bunnies!

Oh dear!

It all started when I read on Pillows-a-la-mode’s blog about making bunnies!  To be fair she got the idea from another blog! The Little Fabric Shop Blog Well, I was hooked!    Quick, simple template and oh so cute!!!

First it was these…..

basket of fabric bunnies in red and white and green and white.

Basket O’ Bunnies!

and now I’ve started again ….

I think I prefer the pinking sheared edge ones the best, which is a shame ‘cos I made a non-pinked one in my favourite liberty fabric!!


three little bunnies sitting in a row!

They are stuffed with soft fibre filling and dried lavender, they smell wonderful and, I don’t care if it’s a placebo or not, they are helping me sleep better!

But I really have got to stop making them!    – So I am linking up with Fresh Sewing Day and Small Blog Meet in May at Lily’s Quilts – so now I have witnesses –  I really will stop making bunnies 🙂

And that was my highlight of my April makes!

Lily's Quilts
Lily's Quilts