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 

Friday, 27 March 2020

Finding Calm

Wow, how the world has changed since my last blog post! From excitement for the year ahead with new shows and projects to look forward to, to a feeling of loss, fear and confusion that, to be honest, I'm struggling to get my head around. How can this have happened so damn fast!? 

As a mainly online business, working from home or alone at my unit isn't really any different for me, but it breaks my heart to hear about other business owners fearing for their survival. Us sole trader entrepreneurs have taken that leap to follow our dreams and have worked so hard to make it work - to see it all come to an end through no fault of our own, is just killing me. Many of us don't have back up funds in the bank, let alone any profit as it is all ploughed back into the growth of the business.

Anyway, enough with the worry and stress I tell myself, there's nothing I can do about it other than keeping going as best as I can, support other businesses where I can, and to help my customers in the best possible way. I am very fortunate to be in an industry that can offer amazing help to people at this unsettling time, as we all know sewing and craft can bring great calm and relief in times of stress, and we have never needed it more. 


It has been said that us quilters have been preparing for this our entire crafting lives and this is the perfect time to hit the stash, so if you are looking for inspiration, I have a number of free patterns on the website, including the All Squared Up quilt, and my Curved EPP Flower Cushion for those lovers of hand sewing. Click here to see the collection.


So far I have found hand sewing to be my saviour, together with an engrossing audible book really helps to switch off the world for a while and just concentrate on one thing. Which is why I have a new EPP Diamond Cushion kit out, this one features lovely soft blues and greys from Makower's Bloom collection. The kit includes all the fabric you need for the front, pre-cut papers and full instructions. I am also offering 15% off all EPP Cushion kits to my Newsletter subscribers, so if you need a project you can lose yourself in, why not sign up now and treat yourself to some sewing sanity. Once you have subscribed and received the verification email, the discount code will be in the final Welcome email.

Linking up with Midweek Makers, Needle & Thread Thursday and Can I Get a Whoop Whoop?

I really wish you all the best of health, stay inside as much as possible and look after each other. xx

Monday, 10 February 2020

February's free pattern and show news

As we all know, now that the longest month of the year is out of the way, the remaining eleven are going to fly by, and this year looks to be a very full one for Sewmotion. I've got some great shows coming up starting with the Spring Quilt Festival in Harrogate - Friday 21st - Sunday 23rd February, 10am - 4.30pm (4pm on Sunday) 


This show is smaller than the Autumn one and creates a much more intimate atmosphere, visitors are able to walk around a lot easier, see the quilts on display at their leisure, have a lovely lunch and then start shopping in a non-rushed relaxed manner. Harrogate is also my nearest venue to home so it means I get to sleep in my own bed every night, though I'm just hoping the snow stays away...
You can learn more about this event by clicking here.

My second show this month is brand new to me. Formerly known as the Knitting & Stitching Show held at Olympia in London, it has now changed name and venue to The Stitch Festival, to be held at the Business Design Centre in Islington, north London, about 20mins from my mum, so it would have been silly not to really! 

I'm very excited about this one as it's my first in London so it will be interesting to see how it does - I won't bore you with the kit and fabric prep for these shows, but I'll just say I'm needing nightly baths to ease my back and feet at the moment. 


You can find out more about this show by clicking here.

I also have a discount code for tickets - instead of paying £15 for an advance adult ticket and £13.50 for concession, you will pay just £12.50 - to book tickets visit the website or call 0844 854 1349 and quote code STITCH113 when prompted. (Unfortunately there is a £2.20 booking fee and £2.50 for postal, which you would have to pay anyway, but hopefully this discount will help). 

In more exciting news, I am lucky enough to have been asked to be involved in John Scott's very first show on his new venture, John Scott's Sewing World!!!


For those who don't know who on earth I'm talking about, John Scott was one of the presenters on Sewing Quarter where I was a guest designer. He's also had quite a fascinating life himself having worked as a costumier on Hollywood films and a fashion expert on TV, and so many other amazing things over the years which he is sharing in his own regular blog. He is also mad about sewing, and happens to be one of the most genuine people I have ever met. 

So, once Sewing Quarter closed, the wonderful people at Crafter's Companion snatched him up and he's now got his own show under their umbrella of Crafters TV. To begin with, it will be aired every Tuesday 8-12noon, with plans to expand over the year. 

I was very chuffed indeed to be asked to be one of his first guests on his inaugural show on Tuesday 3rd March where I will be selling my own EPP cushion kit in two colourways - as I am launching them on the show, I can't show them yet, but here is a pic of the mammoth kit production underway to give you a clue, yep, that's a bit of Liberty and Alison Glass! :) 


In all this excitement, I nearly forgot to tell you about my latest free pattern for my Newsletter subscribers. For February, I have returned to my favourite curved English paper-piecing to make these cute Coasters - for your own free copy, plus 10% off the two available kits, subscribe to the Newsletter today.


Wishing you all a creative and sunny week, linking up with Monday MakingMidweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday



Thursday, 9 January 2020

New Year, New Month, Free Pattern!

Ok, this year is already going too fast for my liking!! Happy New Year everyone, even if it's already the 9th January, I hope you had a wonderful break surrounded by love and happiness, be it with friends and family, or some quiet sewing time to yourself.

We had a lovely quiet Christmas with my mum, then went to our best friends in Germany for New Year which was so much fun. Now I'm back full of more ideas than ever and great plans for 2020.


2020 has already started with a bang thanks to the final airing of Sewing Quarter. As I may have mentioned, this great sewing TV Channel had to close at the end of 2019, which really was very sad for everyone involved. However, they had some airtime to fill at the beginning of January and gave us guest designers the chance to film solo shows to let viewers know how to keep in touch with us and learn more about our businesses. We weren't too sure when these shows were to be aired, but when I suddenly started getting Newsletter subscribers and orders online, I knew my show had to be on, what's more they were on a loop, so every few hours this would happen again, so funny! I really enjoyed doing my shows at SQ and I'm so glad so many viewers have decided to carry on following me and Sewmotion, so if you are one of them, thank you very much!

On my SQ show, I demoed my latest cushion kit, the Overlapping Circles and Flower cushion in Liberty Pinks. Having watched my YouTube tutorial on my EPP Curved Flower cushion, customers have been asking for one on the overlapping circles, so I'm really pleased I got the chance to record this one - if you have purchased this kit in the past and need a little extra help - maybe you learn better from following a demo rather than reading instructions - then you can view this recording on Sewing Quarter's YouTube channel



I have also been working on this month's Free Pattern to send out to my Newsletter subscribers, a little late again, but I really do plan to get on top of these this year and not leave them til the last minute, honest! This month I fancied some hand sewing, but instead of EPP, I have returned to the first patchwork technique I learnt, American hand piecing, which involves sewing a tiny running stitch along a drawn line. I had forgotten how much I love this method and plan to do more of it! This wall hanging (or table runner, it's up to you) was inspired by my love of Orla Kiely's graphics, and is a kinda homage to her Stem design. Subscribe to the Newsletter now to receive your own free copy straight to your inbox.

Wishing you all a warm and creative week, linking up with Midweek Makers and Needle & Thread Thursday