Mammoth quilts!

Mammoth quilts!

I have been working on a quilt commission for the last 6 weeks or so- not solidly, but interspersed with Open University reading, other sewing, teaching and of course, looking after my boys and myself!

Anyway I have finished it now and it is winding its way to Taunton as we speak to then be given to one very special lady for her birthday.

Here it is:

This quilt was ordered from my Etsy shop (, with the main wish of the buyer that it should be colourful. I think I managed that don’t you?

I have now started working on the indigo quilt again. It got sidelined as I got a bit disheartened about hand quilting it all. It was so gorgeous but so time consuming. I have now decided if I want to finish it this decade I have to compromise and machine quilt it. So I’m falling in love with this handsome quilt all over again!

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Location:Thorpe Crescent,Walthamstow,United Kingdom

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Book review:Scrap house quilt

Book review:Scrap house quilt

I had been meaning to buy this book for ages, having somewhere seen a picture of the finished quilt. But I must say the formula put me off a bit. It is available either as a download or a CD rom. I like a paper book to be totally honest, if I am spending money. I have too many virtual books and I never look at them,  and a CD rom would only get lost in my huge pile of (real) craft books. So I never bought it. I did however try my hand at making a block for this quilt, which looked fab and it inspired me to try and have a go at making a whole quilt based around houses and trees. But frankly I never would have done as I have never made flying geese blocks or pinwheel blocks and to gather all the info from all my different books meant I would have had this on my to do lost until I retired. At least.

So when I was offered the chance to review one of Vivebooks I jumped at it. They have just released a gorgeous looking modern smocking book, in fact there are two, and I think they hoped I would review that but I was way too drawn to the Scrap house quilt book to not go for that.

It was a right faff (for me, being impatient as I am) to download this ebook. I didn’t read the instructions, of course not, I just pressed the button and when it appeared not to do anything I pressed it again. And again until I had used up all my downloads. I emailed the editor who urged me to wait. The ebook has videos embedded in it and it is a big file. It just takes time. I grumbled and left the computer to it. I don’t like waiting! Anyway eventually it did download, but then I found I could not watch the videos. I tried everything, downloaded Adobe reader again, restarted the computer, still nothing. Poor Vivienne from Vivebooks got another, well more than one, email from me. She was trying to have a holiday too, bad me. Eventually we figured my macbook was automatically opening it as a straight up PDF in its own reader, which wouldn’t display the links. I have never before had to open anything in the actual reader application before, but once I did it worked fine. If I had read the download instructions I am sure it would have been easier although I doubt I would have worked out to open the actual app. Luckily Vivienne was very helpful. She explained that having videos embedded in the ebook is really pushing the boundaries and of course Apple are not great at co-operating with third party software hence my macbooks refusal to read the file properly.

Anyway. Long winded I know but I hope that means when you buy some books from their website ( you will not have the same issues.

I am super glad I persevered though as the book is amazing and so much more than just any old quilting book. It teaches you lots of different techniques and having someone show you in a video how to make up a flying geese block is invaluable. A lot of people learn by being shown rather than reading it in words so this would really help all those people. Katharine, the writer/ teacher is amazing, I love the blocks and the freedom she gives you to just experiment and have a go, exactly the way I like teaching people. The only thing I did not like was the fabrics used but that is just me, and I am making mine in fun, bright, modern prints. I like that you don’t set out with a plan, you just add blocks as you go, I love working like that.

All in all a giant thumbs up to this book, this format and this wonderful little publisher for bringing this innovative format to the world. Check em out, they don’t just have books about sewing but all kinds of (mostly) crafty books.

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Some pictures of what I have been up to this summer

Some pictures of what I have been up to this summer

The adorable Theo

Fab charity shop find…

Great photoshoot

Hanging out with Superman

Made a quilt from vintage sheets and a gorgeous embroidered table cloth.

Helped Max make stuff

Went to Minnie’s pirate birthday party

What a scorchio day!

Minnie and Max. Made Minnie’s dress with redound skill or shirring

Made with Moxie Prefontayne shorts.

Was given a beautiful Singer 201

Went to Womad

Hung out with Max

Watched the Gorillas rehearse

Ate cake with Francesca

Hung out with Batman

…and Louise and Vicky at the Soul Picnic

Finished my Sexy Librarian Blouse as per Craftsy class

Jasper remaining calm despite Theo chewing his ears off

Saw Jake and Dinos Chapman at the Tate. Fab subversive protest against McDonalds!

Went to Liberty’s! And drooled

Made this quilt for Sarah

Made crazy silver coullotes for myself!

Went to the Pathology museum

Love St Paul’s!!

Started my gypsy quilt finally

Ran a craft session at creative biscuit cafe

Camped with Leo and the kids

Bought some VERY exciting patterns

And welcomed my kids back

And still I had more things on my list!!

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Vogue 2902 dress

Vogue 2902 dress

I spent some time this week making some clothes for me. Really enjoying myself! First I made this vintage inspired Vogue dress. I would not normally wear something this girlie and dressy but I have some weddings to go to soon… However I could not resist blinging it up with some neon ribbon and I think I am going to wear it with some low pink converse after spending hours and hours debating sandals and strappy shoes. I don’t do heels or even “shoes” really. Did consider DMs too..!

Anyway sewing. This was SO easy to put together. I graded the pattern to slightly spread out in the waist (I don’t have a natural waist LOL) and yet it still looks fitted. No other adjustments needed at all, no FBA, nothing. I ended stitching the band to the dress with fluro pink stitching after realising hand stitching it was gonna take forever. And it looks very cute like that. I made it out of some nasty material from the market (£1/ meter!!!) and it just works so well. Very pleased. Will make it again in some nice cotton, maybe my new bambi fabric from Dekker in Holland…

I also finished and wore my foxy Librarian Blouse from the great Craftsy class I did. I love it. I learned some great stuff in the class too, and the teacher is amazing. I left off the sleeves in the end as they made me look like a rugby player (too may pleats in the sleeve, not the fault of the pattern but the way I set it in and I couldn’t be bothered to redo it. Lazy me. Sorry for the rubbish iPhone pics, this week I am not bothering to do anything properly apart from sew and sleep!

Only two days before the troops come home. I had grand plans of also sewing a coat and a pair of shorts. I did almost finish the fabbest pair of culottes, more when they are done. They are silver denim with pink and red accents. Yay. I found this great lady on Craftsy selling really cheap patterns in your own size. This was a kids pattern but it spoke to me and she happily sent me it in my own size. She has literally hundreds of patterns in her shop. The instructions you get with it are basic but I found with some experience I could follow them easily. She is at and also sells on Craftsy.

Here is a pic of all the patterns I thought I might make this week. I also haven’t yet painted my stairs, put my clean washing away, gone to the gym but I am off to the Tate shortly to see Caulfield and Hume whom I both adore and off to the pathology museum tomorrow so I am getting my culture in, and then drinkies Friday and dancing Saturday so I have had a full week of fun, sewing and being totally alone and selfish!

Oh and some cat pics too… he really helped (not) my sewing!

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Sew Cafe

Sew Cafe

I have decided to start running drop in stitching sessions again. Once a month there will be a day where you can come and use the machines (sewing and overlocker), get some advice, get some me-time to sew, finish a project or just come and hang out and crochet! Tea, cake and me provided. £15 for the day or £5 for an hour. I am on hand for advice and teaching but of course there will be other people here so you will not get full time one to one teaching. Perfect for those of you who have not finished your garments or quilt in the classes you have done with me.

The next date is 15th September and booking is through here:

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Sewing World magazine review

Sewing World magazine review

I had not read the Sewing World magazine before about a year ago so I cannot say how it has changed from what it was like before, but I know I like it now! And that isn’t just because they like featuring my work, honestly (although do keep an eye out for August’s issue which has my first published pattern in it, for a summery quilt!). I just like what they do, where they come from and how they present it.

So many magazine are mostly eye candy, gorgeous to behold but I read them cover to cover in ten minutes and then they just linger in a pile, too expensive and pretty to throw away but too insubstantial to read again. Sewing World is not aimed at the same market at all. Although the magazine is pretty with a clean layout and nice colourful photographs, it has more depth. There are lots of interesting features that you will want to refer back to. For example there are proper book reviews (unlike some mags where it is just an uncritical “yay you have published a book, we love it” pointless list of new books. There are in depth techniques features (this month, how to sew with chiffon, how to use your overlocker, how to grade a pattern to your own size), bits of news, a huge number of funky patterns and how-to’s and this month an interesting piece on men that sew.

The magazine’s editor is Julie Briggs who seems knowledgeable, friendly, professional and very lovely and she obviously has a keen eye for what us seamstresses want from a monthly magazine. Fiona Pullen who runs the Sewing Directory writes a regular feature, and Fiona too knows what us seamstresses like and she has whole heartedly endorsed the (new) magazine. And for what it’s worth I, and even the kitten Theo, totally endorse it too!

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cheeky handmades