Zippered pouch – I still can’t get a neat top!

15 Dec

I thought I’d make a little zippered pouch to put my sister in law’s Christmas present in, and so followed the tutorial by Melly Sews – loads of people seem to have found it gives them a nice neat top but even though I unpicked it three times I still got this big curve instead of a nice straight top. I watched the video and used the written tutorial but think I’m misunderstanding something :|

Still, I think she’ll like it, I love the colours and the contrast zip

But… How do you get neat tops?!


Box bag, needle book, and trying to find a knit circle skirt pattern (!!)

28 Oct

It’s been a slow few weeks sewing for me, as work has been busy and I’ve been engrossed in a few books (my favourite was We Have Always Lived In The Castle by Shirley Jackson, I didn’t find out til after finishing that there’s a film of it out this year! Odd that I picked it up from deep in the fiction section of the library)

But I got the sewing machine back out this weekend, for a little bit of sewing therapy using only my stash for maximum satisfaction!

First I made a box bag, using the tutorial from Truly Myrtle. It’s a great tutorial and I’d recommend it! I admit that I can’t quite figure out the maths of it, so I made it exactly the same depth and width as the tutorial, but my fabric wasn’t wide enough so I used pieces about 10*17 inches. All the pieces were from my stash, the pink was from a FQ bundle and the blue was a half FQ from a charity shop ☺️


Last time I made this (for a sewing kit for uni my sister) I was too scared to add the handle, so I thought I’d try it this time. It was really easy to add but I think next time I’d try to make it half as thick as it’s difficult to hold it.

Next, I made myself a needle book for my hand sewing needles. I used four of these small rectangles I got in assorted packs from Durham market, some Vilene H630 for a little body to it, and some leftover white felt.

I didn’t add a closure as I’ve decided to invest in some Prym pliers and some non-sew snaps, so I want to add one of those when they arrive. I love this fabric so much, I am really glad that I found a way to use it!

I am slightly baffled by all the available fasteners and tools, but I am going to get the Prym love vilio pliers, some colour snaps, and a mini metal snap set including the tool. That should cover all my needs in the near future!

Then I made the second one of the circular pot holders that I made a few years ago (I cut out the fabric for two but only made one), but added a much longer strap this time so I can hang it up easily.

Now, I think I am ready for some garment sewing next! I have this stretch crepe – this shade of blue is exactly right for a half circle skirt to coordinate with some of my favourite tops (the black is a woven crepe that I plan to use for a skirt or dress)

My problem is that I can’t find a pattern for a skirt like this that seems like it would be ok for knits. I like Simplicity 1200:

When I read an article about things to sew with knits, it suggested the hollyburn skirt, but it only recommends wovens and all the reviewers online seem to have used wovens.

So, I would love some help to help me make this perfect blue skirt!

  • Has anyone used a knit fabric for a pattern intended for wovens? Did you have to make any changes?
  • Can you recommend a knit skirt pattern that is like (but not necessarily exactly like) a circle skirt? I’m terrible with self drafted patterns but that’s all Google will give me.

Ideas for a wintry woven fabric

29 Sep

I can’t properly remember where I got this – it was either Goldhawk road in London or Abakhan in Manchester.


It’s woven, I’d say medium-heavy and super soft/cosy feeling. Plus I love the colour and design! My only problem is knowing what to do with it. If it were a knit, I think it’d make a lovely Christmas jumper or skirt (as much as the matching would be stressful!!) But as a woven I am not so sure what to do with it.

It’s 60″ wide, and I have about 1.5 yards.

I thought about making a cardigan, which may be more forgiving with it being a woven, and also have fewer places for matching? I initially liked the look of view B of New Look 6397, but the reviews say it comes up large and I already thought it looked a bit blocky (huge sleeves!)6397.jpg

I think some of the leftovers from whatever I make will be really good for a hot water bottle cover, but I just can’t work out what to use it for! I would love to find a garment for it, as it feels so nice it would be a shame not to use it for that, but  I guess anything snuggly would be nice if I can’t find anything – some pillows, maybe.


I’ve had this in my stash for two years now, so I am hoping this will be the year I actually use it!! I’d love any ideas you have :-)

New sewing machine – Singer 4423 (heavy duty)

26 Sep

I got myself a new sewing machine last month. I am still a fairly light sewer but I had a few reasons for wanting a new machine.


First, I had been thinking for a while about buying a second, cheaper machine to leave at my parents’ house so that my parents and my sister in law (who lives bearby) can use it, and I can have one for when I am home for Christmas etc. since I don’t drive. But, I figured rather than spending money on a cheap and low quality new one for that purpose, maybe I could buy a new one for ME and retire my Singer Tradition 2250 into that role?

Second, even though my Singer 2250 still works ok, I got it five years ago when I didn’t want to spend too much as I wanted to see if I liked sewing. After five years, it’s fair to say this hobby is worth the money! So I feel I can justify a machine with a few more features, like:

  • A top-loaded bobbin (it’s so good to be able to see the bobbin emptying!)
  • A sturdier construction – my old one bounced about the table so much things would fall off the table in the vibrations.
  • Three needle positions
  • Space for a second spool of thread
  • A bunch of stretch stitches
  • One step button hole
  • Super fast stitching for using the zig zag stitch to enclose seams

None of these are drastic, but together make for a more pleasant experience!

And finally, I had a tough month with stress, illness, and bereavement, so felt an urge to splurge on something to cheer me up a bit!

I found that learning to use my singer 4423 helped to keep my mind off everything that was going on, and meant I got lots of birthday presents sewn up!

I got an ex-showroom model from so it only ended up costing about £200, and I am so happy! 😊

How did you decide when to upgrade, and what were your main desires in your upgrade machine? I am fully aware that this will not be my final machine purchase…


Peg holder

9 Sep

My sister in law asked me for a peg holder for her birthday. I had bought this fabric a while back without a clear idea for it, it’s a light upholstery style fabric but frays a lot!


Here’s how I made it:

  • I bought a wooden adult-sized hanger, and drew around it onto a piece of paper.
  • I added 2.5cm of seam allowance, and 35cm in length.
  • I cut out one piece of fabric exactly like the drawn shape, and another 10cm longer.
  • Cut the longer piece horizontally a little bit below the bottom of the hanger – a bit above halfway up the hanger. If the fabric isn’t very rigid, add some interfacing here. Then along the edge I just cut, enclose the two new raw edges using double-folded hems (as narrow as you can deal with).
  • Also add double-folded hems to the top (where the metal bit of the hanger goes).
  • Then I sewed together the three pieces, slightly overlapping the two front pieces.
  • It was gaping a little, so I added a couple of poppers at the opening, about 6cm in from the two sides. I have no idea why poppers are so hard to undo but I figure it is only necessary infrequently when wanting to wash it.

And it’s done!

Silk pillowcases and a liberty eye mask

8 Sep

For my sister’s birthday, I made her a couple of silk pillowcases using two pieces of 150*50cm purple silk and some matching invisible 50cm zips.


I love silk pillowcases – I bought one last year, then sewed one for my boyfriend, and the silk (from Goldhawk Road) actually feels nicer than the one I bought ready made!

I decided to add on an eye mask, using the tutorial from the red kitchen, but:

  • I used three klayer: liberty cotton, a black polycotton layer inside to block more light, and a fleece layer.
  • I added a second strap to go under the ears to help it stay on in the nught.
  • I added a second line of topstitching.

I do struggle to work out the logistics of the pillowcase, I put the zip in first on the short ends of the 150*50cm pieces, then use french seams on the other two edges – but the ends of the zips are always a little messy. Hmm. Any tips are very welcome! I also panic because the silk frays so much.

I’ll be giving it to her tomorrow, fingers crossed she likes them :-)

Doorway puppet theatre!

5 Sep

I made this doorway puppet theatre as a joint gift for my niece (2) and nephew (4). They already have a few hand puppets so I hope they will enjoy playing with this!

I used the tutorial from Crafty Cupboard but published on Skip To My Lou. I thought it looked so good that I stuck as closely to the original design as I could – unfortunately a little while ago I gave away a couple of fat quarters of a very similar to the red curtains, but I recently bought this black crepe with a nice subtle textured pattern that is a nice substitute. All the fabric is from Goldhawk Road, and the trimmings are from eBay. My only changes were that I used lots of velcro. First I made the curtain ties velcro.

I then made the stripy fabric much longer than the trialtut suggests (using the full yard I bought). Then I added a strip of the rough side of velcro close to the hem. I added a strip of the soft side of velcro just under the stage opening, and another two evenly spaced between that and the bottom (about 13″ spaces) so that the kids can choose which height they want it at. This is on the middle soft strip of velcro. At full length the whole thing is almost the full height of a doorway.

I really hope they enjoy it! It was very fiddly to make and with all the stripes and dots my eyes struggled a bit at the start when measuring, but it was all ok once I started doing hems and seams.

Now to see if I can find some hand puppet tutorials – recommendations welcome :-)