Thursday 31 December 2020

Sewmotion Makers' Gallery of 2020

Well, what a year! I won't go into the stresses and strains of 2020, but instead focus on being grateful. Thankfully, my family and friends, up until now (fingers crossed, touch wood and all that) have all stayed safe and well, even though this has meant not seeing them as much as usual. But as we know, this time will pass and these sacrifices will be worth it as there is finally an end in sight. It may take another few months and even more sacrifices to get there, but things will return back to normal and we can restart our lives again. 

I know I can't wait to get back to exhibiting at quilt and sewing shows, I have really missed the in-person interaction I have with my customers, having a good old chat about quilting, as well as meeting up with my fellow business owners. Since March I have relied solely on online sales, and have been overwhelmed by the support and kindness from my customers who really have kept Sewmotion going this year. As well as placing orders, many of you took part in my block-of-the-fortnight quilt along, and shared some lovely pics of your progress. I have also received some very lovely and often timely emails with such kind thoughts and encouragement - thank you so much.

So to show my gratitude, I thought I would host an online gallery of Sewmotion makes to end the year on a high. I am also offering a prize bundle of Sewmotion goodies - the winning participant will be drawn out of a hat on Friday, 1st January by my glamorous assistant Justin :)

Having put a call out to my Newsletter subscribers and on Facebook, I have been inundated with photos of some truly gorgeous makes, I'm sure you'll agree. Many of us have kept busy working through the stash or finishing that pile of UFOs, and of course working through all those kits bought over the years. So without further ado, enjoy!

Clockwise from bottom left: Lynda, Sue, Naomi, Ven, Ven (again) Jan and in the centre Jill

As it's still the festive season, I thought we would start with a collection of Christmas EPP Hoop projects, aren't they beautiful?! I just wanted to mention Jill's hoop, she made this for her daughter Joanne, who sent in the photo and explained that even though she couldn't see her mum this Christmas, receiving this beautiful gift felt like she had some of her mum with her, how wonderful is that!? Well done Jill ;)

Continuing the Christmas theme, next we have the Table Runners and Placemats, one of the great things about these projects is that they can be brought out year after year, so even though you may not have used the whole set this year, they will still be there for 2021 :)

Clockwise from bottom left: Naomi, Suzanne, Dileas, Karen, Jacquie, Carol & Laura.

Finally, a little more Christmas with some fabulous bunting... 

From left: Fiona, Lesley & Theresa


Rather than making a string of bunting, Alison made these individual stars to send to friends and family around the world who she wouldn't be seeing over Christmas, another wonderful example of how craft has brought people closer together during these times of separation. 

Many of you have spent 2020 making cushions, and even better, discovering new techniques such as EPP and my fave, curved EPP. Starting with the ever-popular Diamond Star...

Clockwise from top left: Carol, Ven, Janet, Kay, Lynda, Christine, Debby & Pamela.

And then there were the gorgeous curved EPP cushions...

Clockwise from bottom left: Lesley, Lesley (again) Pamela, Sue, Joanne, Julie, Debby, Shirley, Jacquie, Kathy & Carol

Some of you went tiny with your EPP projects and made these beautiful pincushions - you can never have too many right?!  I love Helen's embroidery to remind her of her day out at Duxford quilt show where she bought the kit :)

Clockwise from top left: Michele, Kay, Kay (again), Patricia, Helen & Naomi 

Some of you got creative with machine quilting, while others found their own projects to make using my designs and fabrics...

Clockwise from top left: Patricia, Pamela, Katy, Tess, Naomi & Lynda

And then there are the quilts, so many glorious projects...

Clockwise from bottom left: Fiona, Anne, Joanne, Karen, Jan, Naomi, Pat and in the centre Margaret

Clockwise from top left: Barbara, Joanne, Sally, Sally again, Ellen & Jan.

And finally, I would just like to end with these glorious Hope in the Stars quilts - this was my quilt-along offered free to my Newsletter subscribers earlier in the year using traditional hand piecing, a technique that was new to many of you. I also sold sets of templates, raising over £400 for the NHS Covid-19 charity. Thank you all so much for taking part, I know there are many more half finished quilts out there, and I look forward to seeing them in 2021 ;)

Clockwise from top left: Ven, Helen, Shirley, Joanne, Laura, Samantha and in the centre Gracie

I love every one of these quilts, and it makes me so happy to see my design created in so many different fabrics. I don't have favourites of course, but I would just like to mention Gracie in the centre, who decreased all the templates so she could make an English paper-pieced version, this finished mini quilt is just 14inches square, isn't it stunning?!

Thank you to everyone for taking part in this celebration of the Makers, we will be announcing the winner of the prize draw on a Facebook live tomorrow at 1pm (Friday 1st Jan). The winner will also be announced on a future blog and the next Newsletter. 

With all the best wishes in the world for you and your family to have a much happier 2021, keep on sewing, sharing and inspiring xxx

PS if you have been inspired by the wonderful makes above, click here to visit the Sewmotion shop for quilt, cushion and EPP kits, fabric pre-cuts and patterns.

Thursday 1 October 2020

Recent Makes & New Kits

Gosh, it has been a while since my last post, but I haven't gone anywhere, just been busier than ever trying my best to get some of the millions of ideas that run around my head down on paper or made into new projects. I really could do with another me I think!

For starters, I have been so pleased and overwhelmed by the response to my Hope in the Star Quilt. This series of free blocks was free to my Newsletter Subscribers in an effort to help them, and myself, through lockdown. Starting out as a mystery quilt, each fortnight I sent out the pattern for each of the nine main star blocks, followed by the choice of layout for the final project. It could be a wall hanging with some simple sashing and corner stones, as above, or you could go big and on-point with this beautiful finished quilt below. As you can see,  the two projects are so different, and what's more, it's all hand sewn! Like me, so many people are discovering the amazing health benefits of some quiet meditative hand sewing, and this project has proved to be so helpful through these unprecedented times.

If you would like to join us in this hand sewing project, there is still time. I am planning on sharing my tips on hand and machine quilting these two different quilts soon, so until then, the Hope in the Stars Quilt is still free to my Newsletter subscribers - you can sign up here.

Another new kit has been this ever so cute Square Dance in the Rain quilt. This great pattern is based on the 5" charm square, and the kits include all the pre-cut 5" squares, borders and binding, plus full instructions. What's more, this kit now comes in two sizes, the Cot (41" x 48") and the Bed (57" x 61") - you can find out more about these here.

Last, but definitely not least, is the latest version of my Curved EPP Flower Cushion kit, this time using this gorgeous Adlington Hall print from Liberty's Flower Show collection. As soon as I saw this print, I knew it would be perfect for this pattern - you can find out more about this kit here, and if you sign up to the Newsletter before October 9th, you can get 10% off!

I have so many new kits coming out soon, which will probably mean another long break between blogs, so if you would like to hear the latest news from Sewmotion, please sign up to the Newsletter.

Wishing you all a creative and peaceful week, xx

Linking up with Mid Week Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday

Wednesday 5 August 2020

Making a start on this year's Handmade Christmas

Well we certainly seem to be living through some strange times, and they don't look to be getting easier any time soon. I am very lucky that I am able to keep myself busy with my online business, and also feel privileged that I am helping my customers keep themselves occupied and grounded through our wonderful craft. If there was ever a time for some immersive hand sewing or EPP then this is definitely it!

In the last month I have been concentrating on getting my Christmas Kits published and available for purchase on the website. My Picture This table runner has been a favourite over the years, and looks particularly good in this year's festive prints from Makower, in both the Yuletide and in the Scandi collections. Each of these kits comes with all the fabric you need for the front, including binding, the full amount of templates you need for the easy half-square triangles foundation piecing, and full comprehensive instructions. You can find out more here.

My second festive project is my Christmas Wreath Table Mats kit, these kits again come in the two collections, Yuletide and Scandi, and include fabrics, pre-cut paper pieces for the EPP wreath, and full instructions. You can find out more here.

My last Christmas project is a lovely hand sewing EPP project, my Christmas Star Bunting. These kits have flown out this week to customers looking for a relaxing project to lose themselves in while the mad world carries on around them, what a wonderful thought eh? You can see my Star Bunting Kits here.

I do hope this has inspired you if you have started your festive makes yet, it's never too early right? :) Wishing you all a peaceful and creative week. 

Thursday 2 July 2020

Back on John Scott's Sewing World

It's been such a busy month, yet most of my sewing has been secret so I haven't been able to share much. A couple of projects are my new Diamond Star and Hexy EPP Cushion Kits which I demoed on John Scott's return show after lockdown. We were all happy to be back in the studio, but it felt very weird not being able to hug anyone - it is lovely to realise how much hugging is done in the sewing world though. 

Anyway, we managed ok, if you missed the show you can watch the show on YouTube here - I'm on in the second hour where I show how to hand piece the diamonds and hexagon shapes together using two EPP techniques. The Cushion Kits are also still available to purchase on the Crafter's Companion website here and include all the Alison Glass Sun Prints fabrics you need for the front, plus the grey background fat quarter, pre-cut paper pieces and full instructions.

I have also been keeping my Newsletter subscribers busy with my free lockdown mystery quilt, Hope in the Stars. You can see some of the latest blocks below, aren't they beautiful! Thank you so much for sharing (clockwise from top left) Bev, Carol, Helen T, Ruth, Helen L, Andrea, Elaine, Jayne and Gracie.

If you would like to learn more about this hand sewing block-of-the-fortnight quilt, free to my Newsletter subscribers, sign up now by clicking here for the latest block, the Le Moyne Star, plus links to all past blocks.

As we are now in July, although it feels more like October here, I think we're now allowed to mention the C word, us makers have permission to start Christmas projects early don't you think!? I have a long list of projects and kits to get on with, including a new Christmas Wreath Table Mat kit, to be featured and demoed on my next appearance on John Scott's Sewing World on 14th July. Kit production is in full swing, which included cutting 600 2.5" fabric strips, ahhh!! 

So, I best get back to it, I really hope you are all keeping well, managing to stay safe and sane during the madness, hopefully through sewing, and hope that we can soon look forward to better days. Best wishes to you all xx

Thursday 4 June 2020

Progress on the Hope in the Stars Mystery Quilt

After such a warm and sunny spring, this sudden change in the weather has been a bit of a shock to the system to say the least! Still, I suppose it gives us an excuse to let Mother Nature do her thang in the garden and for us to get back indoors to our sewing. And if you're looking for a hand sewing project to immerse yourself in, why not join us on my block-of-the-fortnight Hope in the Stars Mystery Quilt. 

This quilt is made up of nine different star blocks, which are sewn together using a traditional hand piecing technique. There will then be a choice of final layout revealed at the end. This SAL is free to my Newsletter Subscribers - you can sign up here and it's totally free!

I am making two versions, one in Alison Glass Sun Prints, and the other in Edyta Sitar's Super Bloom, both fat quarter bundles are available in the Sewmotion Shop. We are on Block Three now, the Kaleidoscope Star, but there are links in the current newsletter to previous blocks, so you can always catch up. Each pattern is released every fortnight and includes instructions and templates for that block. However, I am also selling a set of pre-cut card templates for the whole quilt, proceeds of which will be donated to the NHS Charities Together Covid-19 Appeal.

Here are some of the blocks that have been shared on social media so far... thank you Helen, Jacqui, Susan, Annette, Barbara, Anna, Ruth, Andrea and Gracie, they look wonderful!

So if you would like to join in the fun, sign up to the Newsletter today! Wishing you all a peaceful and safe week, xx

Linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday.

Thursday 14 May 2020

The Hope in the Stars Mystery Quilt

For my latest free pattern to my Newsletter Subscribers, which is totally free to join, I have decided to host a block-of-the-fortnight mystery quilt. I know our world is on the verge of slowly getting back to some sort of normality, but I think it's going to take a long time, and is also going to be quite a stressful time for us all. And my best cure for stress? Hand sewing of course! Many of us will still be remaining at home as much as possible with time on our hands, so I'm releasing a block a fortnight to see us through the summer, hopefully sat in the sunny garden.

My Lockdown Sewdown quilt, otherwise known as Hope in the Stars, is made up of nine different blocks made using the traditional hand-piecing method - I know, not EPP!! What is wrong with me?!! I have recently fallen back in love with this technique and wanted to feature it in this glorious stars quilt. I have made two versions, one in Alison Glass's Sun Prints and the second in Edyta Sitar's Super Bloom, both fat quarter bundles are available on the websiteI also have a set of pre-cut card templates to make life even easier, also available on the website.

Here is a pic of the first block, the Blazing Star, I love the 3D effect created by careful fabric placement. Once all blocks are made up, you will then have a few options of layout, all to be revealed at the end, so if you would like to join us in this hand sewing mystery adventure, why not sign up now

I hope you are all keeping well and have this glorious sunshine, even if it is a little nippy. Stay safe and best wishes to you all xx

Linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday.

Tuesday 28 April 2020

Scrubs Bags Tutorial

How are we all? I hope you are all keeping well and nicely occupied with a good sewing project or four :) We're doing ok, Justin is able to work from home so can have his favourite Radio 6 on in the background, and I'm still quite busy with internet orders, while planning a hundred new patterns and kits in my head! We've also been working in the garden. We only moved into this house back in September, so it's been a lovely surprise to see what's been coming up in the garden - this Montana clematis is stunning and these tulips are definitely still my favourite flower!

Last week I dropped off my set of scrub bags to my local contact, she lives within walking distance so it was nice to have a walk out. Although it was only a meagre amount compared to some other amazing sewers, I was quite overwhelmed by the response by the lovely lady who told me how so many of the nurses and key workers were immensely grateful for the bags - as I explained last week, they use the bags to hold their dirty scrubs in to take home and wash, and are able to throw the whole lot in the washer without contaminating anything in their homes. I've even been approached on Instagram to make some for someone's mum and her friends who are all nurses.

So I have raided my own stash this time and grabbed some old bolts off the shelf to make lots more, there does seem to be talk about them not being needed anymore, but this certainly isn't true, they are very much needed and greatly appreciated, as are actual scrubs, headbands with buttons, scrub caps and mask extenders. John Scott of John Scott's Sewing World has a great video on how to make the scrub bag, and also the cap and headband, which you can watch on his Facebook page here. However, I thought I would write a blog about how I have made a scrub bag following John's excellent pattern - mine are a little larger finishing at approx 18" x 20". I did start off cutting half metres of fabric and then washing them, only to find they shrunk in the 60degree wash, so the bags turned out too small! So now I cut approximate 70cm lengths and pre-wash at 60degrees before doing any sewing. 

Give your fabric a good hot press and lay it out folded, selvedge to selvedge as it would be on the bolt of fabric, and trim to a 60cm length. Using your quilter's ruler to square up, cut along the fold and trim off the selvedges - which should be approx. 20" x 24" each.

Use either an overlocker or your sewing machine to secure all four edges on each piece. I have a special foot and stitch on my machine, but you can also use a normal zig zag stitch.

Pin your two pieces right sides together. Then using a pencil mark 3.5" and 4.5" marks from the top edge on both sides.

Take it to the machine and starting with a backstitch to secure, sew down to your first mark, backstitch again to secure and break thread. The seam allowance doesn't have to be exact, just consistent, so I used the right side of my foot as a guide against the edge of the fabric. Lift the needle and start again at the second pencil mark, backstitching again to secure, then continue down the whole side. Repeat on the other side of our bag.

Press both seams open.

Now take it back to the machine and top stitch down both sides of the seam, catching the pressed edge underneath. You will see you have a nice neatly sewn line either side of the hole left for the straps. Repeat with the other side.

Take your bag to the ironing board and fold down and press a quarter of an inch hem along the top edge - make sure this is the edge nearest the strap holes. Then fold down another 2 and a quarter inch hem - I use my mum's old seam guide for this, a very nifty tool which I'm sure she doesn't know I have :) 

Topstitch approximately an eighth of an inch from the top edge of the bag. Then topstitch along the bottom of the hemmed edge catching the quarter inch fold underneath, then finally topstitch around the top again, just above the top of the hole left for the straps.

Pin and sew the bottom seam of your bag. To make a boxed bottom, open out the bag so you can match the side seams to the bottom seam. Insert a pin into the side seam about 2 inches from the bottom and bring it out through the bottom seam creating a triangle at the bag's corner. Flatten so you can insert the pin fully. Then draw a 2 inch mark along both diagonal edges from the corner, and draw a line across joining both points. 

Sew along this drawn line starting and stopping with a back stitch to secure. Turn your bag right sides out to make sure you're happy with the box bottom, then turn inside out again and snip off the excess leaving a quarter inch seam allowance. Secure this edge with your overlocker or a zig zag stitch as before.

For the straps, cut three 2 and half inch x width of fabric strips, at least 42 inches. Cut one in half, and attach one half to the end of one full strip using diagonal seams as you would for quilt binding. Trim off the excess seam allowance, and press open. Fold the strap in half and press.  Unfold and then refold each edge to that centre crease, and press. Open out so you can fold in each end and press, then refold.

Finally fold the whole strip in half again and press firmly, preferably with steam. Take to the machine and sew down the whole length, backstitching at both ends to secure. As I have folded in both ends which should be caught in the sewing, I didn't bother sewing across the ends, but you can if you wish. Repeat with for the second strap.

Attach a safety pin to the end of a strap and feed it through the first hole in the channel at the top of your bag, bring the strap all the way round to come out of the same hole. Then feed the second strap in and out of the other hole. Even up the ends, then tie them into a knot, pull them to close the bag your and your scrub bag is complete! These would also make gorgeous Christmas gift bags as well wouldn't they!

If you would like to make scrub bags or any of the much needed PPE equipment for our amazing frontline workers, start by finding out if there is a local group who are collecting items to distribute to those who need them in your area. I found the awesome Making Scrubs for James Cook JCUH on Facebook so there may be similar groups on there. If you can't find any, you can send them straight to John Scott who is collecting them for Dulcie Scott's national charity Helping Dress Medics - John Scott's Sewing World, PO Box 6688, Stratford on Avon, CV37 1TZ.

Wishing you all a safe and peaceful week, stay safe xx

Linking up with Monday Making, Midweek Makes and Needle & Thread Thursday

Thursday 23 April 2020

Appliqué points tutorial

How are we all doing? I do hope you're all keeping well and finding some much needed calm and sanity in your sewing. When I've not been processing orders, I've been working on some new kits to help inspire my customers, many of who are going through their stash and UFOs very quickly indeed! I also have many new customers who are using this down time to finally get round to learning how to quilt, which is amazing!! My Beginner's Quilt Kits are ideal places to start. I now just have to get on with some new kits to help them develop theirs skills even further... hahah!

Many customers are also finding solace in my EPP cushion kits, not only are they small do-able projects, but as I said in my last post, hand sewing really does help centre the mind and shut out the world for a little while, something we all need at the moment.

Once the EPP is complete on my Cushion and EPP kits, you then have to appliqué the panel onto background fabric, and I have often been asked how to deal with the 'dog ears' and how to get nice sharp points. I have now included this in my kit instructions, but I thought I would also share a little tutorial here.

Once you have centred and pinned or basted your panel onto your background fabric, you will use a tiny slip stitch to sew it down. Knot the end of the thread and bring your needle up from behind the background fabric. Pick up a couple of strands of fabric from the very edge of your pieced panel, then insert your needle directly downwards back into the background fabric. Travel a tiny way along behind the background fabric and bring the needle up again to pick up the edge of the pieced unit again, and as before go straight downwards into the background. The smaller the stitches the more invisible they will be.

When you get to a point, you will have a flap of fabric in the way - these are called 'dog ears' and must be kept in tact - don't be tempted to snip them off, though if they are too large, you can trim them slightly. Fold the 'dog ear' to the left and out of the way and stitch up the folded point. 

Add a couple of stitches to strengthen the point, then tuck the dog ear underneath the panel and continue to sew down the next side. As you can see below, this gives you a nice sharp point to your shape.

Talking of EPP cushions, I have just released a pair of new kits in Riley Blake's Heart & Soul prints - a Diamond Star and a Hexy, which would make a lovely matching pair on a sofa. Each kit includes all the fabric for the front, pre-cut paper templates, embroidery thread and full instructions. Click here to find out more.

I know many of us have been putting our sewing skills to good use and making much needed PPE supplies for our wonderful workers on the frontline of this terrible pandemic. From scrubs to masks, headbands to scrub bags, I have seen some wonderful fabrics being brought out of the stash for this amazing cause. I myself have been making scrub and shoe bags which will be going to my local hospital James Cook in Middlesbrough. 

I really want to crochet some mask extenders too, it's been so long since I crocheted!  I have also just heard from a friend that she has the filter fabric needed for face masks available on her online shop Sewing Sanctuary, so maybe that's the next project... 

Wishing you all good health, and hours of sewing happiness and calm. xx

Linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday