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Silk eye mask

14 Sep

I needed a quick win, so figured I’d make something simple for a boost:)

Years and years ago, long before I got a sewing machine, I had a lovely silk dress from Monsoon (UK) and it was about half a foot too long, so I hemmed it by hand. What a long evening that was..!

I kept the scraps and apparently completely forgot about them. I found them recently and decided it would make a lovely backing for an eye mask :) I lost my last two eye masks in the move, so need a new one! My backup is ok but RTW and a bit too big…

I’ve used the tutorial from the red kitchen, which has a great template (I add a second strap though to go under my ears to keep it in place).

So here it is! Liberty lawn, fleece, and a layer of well washed silk – with some soft lingerie elastic to finish it off. The photo makes it look much brighter than it is…

It is weirdly not as neat as usual but I think contrasting the white thread with the dark blue silk didn’t help – but it’s only for me to see!

The silk does feel so much nicer on my skin and the fleece gives it a nice weight and blocks out the light – perfect!


Mini box cosmetics bag

7 Sep

For my sister’s birthday, she asked for a kit for taking care of her hands and nails.

I got her some nice classic nail varnish shades, strengthening products, creams, and a manicure kit with cuticle tools. And I figured she needed a cute little bag for them to go in!

This is about 4x2x2″ – so cute and dinky! WhatsApp Image 2019-09-07 at 17.26.20

I used the Truly Myrtle box bg tutorial which I’ve used about five times before (first when making a sewing kit to leave with my old sewing machine at my parents’ house for my family to use and a sewing kit for my sister, and two others to keep my fabric scraps in!)

To make this size, I used:

  • Fabric 8″ and 9″
  • An 8″ zip
  • I cut the squares for the corners at 1″ instead of 1.5″ (I’d have made it smaller but I was worried I wouldn’t have been able to turn it inside out through a hole!)

I always find making smaller versions of things harder, as there’s often less space for things like turning it inside out, and it’s easier to accidentally sew extra layers in and then have to unpick it… somehow I avoided that here!

These fabric are from a kimono Fat Quarter set, which I absolutely love – they are soft and wash really well :)

Scrappy bunting!

5 Sep

My sister-in-law asked me for some bunting for the church’s small hall for kids’ parties – a great opportunity to delve into my fabric stash!!


The church hall is 5-6m wide, so I made the bunting about 8m (for the string I took 8 strips of 2″ wide fabric, the width of the fabric, so it’s probably a bit longer than 8m) so it will have a nice amount left over for the drapey look. It took the equivalent of 5 fat quarters plus 8m*5cm for the ‘string’ (I turned it into bias binding).

I love that it’s made with all the leftover fabrics from my previous projects for the family – aprons, hooded towels, beanbags (2), and not for them but my very first sewing project, a purse I gave my mum! It brings back lovely memories of making and giving those gifts as well as being a fun sewing project by itself :)

Then as a little extra gift, I made her a set of reusable cotton wool pads, with a fat quarter by ‘kimono’  (it’s such gooooorgeous fabric) and some leftover fleece. I’ve been using mine for a while and she seemed interested in some, so I hope she likes them! I also made this little envelope pouches to keep/wash them in.


I wouldn’t normally have given her the ‘botched’ ones but here I figured they are fine as ones to use with anything that will stain (i.e. nail varnish remover!)

This was my first sewing project after a rough summer (a break up after 8 years, so I am back living with my parents and less space to sew!) so it was lovely to start with a simple but really satisfying project that will get plenty of use :)

New passport cover

1 Apr

Ten years ago, my mum bought me a pink leather travel set for my first ever trip abroad (New York!). It’s high quality, which meant that even though I am not a fan of pink, I’ve been using it ever since. I was doing a mini clear out and decided that it’s been well used and valued, so since it’s still in great condition I donated it to a charity shop.

And I made myself a new one!

I used the same tutorial as I used for my second ever machine sewing project, back in 2014. The tutorial from Unify handmade does not seem to state the seam allowance – I mentioned in my blog that the pattern pieces they give are far too large, but I actually think I was working with 1/4″ or 1/8″ seams instead of 5/8″ – I now know that 5/8″ is standard, but back then I clearly thought that was excessive! I sewed this up initially with my smaller pattern pieces and a 5/8″ seam, and had to unpick the whole thing. Without that step, I think this would have been completed in less than an hour.

I got this gorgeous fabric from Hobbycraft, it’s a fat quarter set from “Kimono” sold by the craft cotton company. It’s gorgeous and sooo soft. I can’t wait to find a use for the other almost-three fat quarters!

I also had an old luggage tag that had broken, so I took an old fake leather strap and made myself a matching new one :-) I didn’t use a tutorial because all of them seemed to use vinyl (which I didn’t have, and I didn’t want to wait to get some).

I made a pattern template starting from a business card. It seemed sensible to use that, then I can just slot it in and don’t have to worry about a stranger potentially having my keys and address in the same place… I would scan and share the template but I think I made it a little bit too small, so would want to add another 1/8″ in most directions before sharing it!

This was the first time I ever made buttonhole, and I used the one-step button hole on my new ish Singer 4423… I love it! I’ve always been scared of making button holes but this was great. I used the manual and the YouTube video, to make sure it went well, but I was pleasantly surprised :-)

New skills

  • Creating a fairly basic template that requires some maths/thinking of the structure.
  • Making a button hole!

Scrapbusting – reusable “cotton wool pad” substitutes

1 Mar

As I neared the end of my pack of cotton wool pads, which I use for my face cleanser each day and also for Dettol or nail varnish remover occasionally, I started to wonder whether I could make some reusable ones.

I looked on Etsy and saw that there’s loads on sale there, so I figured it would be pretty simple to make some! I had some cotton fabric scraps, and some leftover fleece from making a quilt (which I’ve also used for eye masks). I managed to make fifteen!

I made fifteen…

It was pretty easy

  1. Cut out a 2.5″ circle template (I traced it around the top of a jam jar) and use it it draw circles on your scrap fabric.
  2. Pin the fabric (uncut) to the fleece, keeping the pins within the circle so they won’t get in the way of the scissors – you can also use jersey, Terry cloth, etc, but I had this on hand and it was nice and soft :-)
  3. Cut the circles out, add new pins pointing into the centre, and reposition the original pins to also point into the centre.
  4. Sew around the edges to keep the seams in – overedge stitch, zig zag stitch, or if you have an overlocker that would be ideal…

I couldn’t get my overedge stitch to work – the tension seemed off, the join between top and bottom threads were meeting at the bottom side on the fabric rather than at the edge, and it was a bit loose too. I turned up the tension to 8, from the usual 4, but it didn’t seem to work! It’s ok, zig zag stitch worked ok :-)

They aren’t the neatest but they’ll work! I might not use them for nail varnish remover as that might ruin them, but I’ve already started using them for face cleanser and I’m happy ☺️

Next, I figured I’d need a bag to keep the clean ones and another for the dirty ones. So I used an old tutorial and some scrap fabric and ribbon to make two 17*10cm bags with some scrap fabric.

This is the same fabric I mentioned in my January UFOs post. One of my UFOs was a pencil case made out of this fabric, and I said that I had no idea why I stopped making it when all I had left to do was sew the lining in. Well… I discovered why. This fabric is hell to sew. It is a stretchy, slidey viscose. It used to be a super short skirt (modified from culottes bought on sale) and I loved the fabric.

Great to wear.

Delightful to look at.

A nice wash, not holding creases.

And a complete pain to sew. I have now binned all the remaining bits of this fabric as I simply cannot bear to make anything else with it ever again. It’s a relief to let it go!

Are all viscose fabrics like that?! Should I avoid it in future or are there nicer (easier handle) ones out there?

First project of 2019 – starting small with a cushion cover :-)

3 Feb

After organising my stash, I could see all my fabrics and easily pick a project – and found two fabrics that I thought would go really well together for this lovely cushion cover.

I got this owl fabric from The Works, £3 for 0.5 yards. It’s quite thick and rough, almost like a potato sack, but was listed as 100% cotton so I think I bought it for oven gloves. But I think it makes a lovely cushion! I got the backing cotton from the remnants pile at John Lewis, it was about a fat quarter and a lovely colour so I am so glad I found a way to use it so it could be displayed in my flat :-)

I used the tutorial from Little Black Duck, which I used to make my sister’s Christmas present. My boyfriend has decided it is perfect for his desk chair, and he works from home a lot so it’ll get lots of use!

Update on the clear out – all my fabric in one small box. Next up – UFOs!

20 Jan

I can now fit all my fabric stash into a single 32l box!



I have arranged it by:

  • Wide section (in left and right photos): pieces of fabric about 1 yard or longer, arranged by colour and facing up.
  • Narrow section (in left photo): pieces of fabric about 1 fat quarter, arranged by colour.
  • Narrow section (in right photo): any potentially useful scraps, in two box bags – blues and blacks in one, red pink and whites in the other.

Now my fabrics are all in one place, and organised by size and colour! I already feel like I can go into future projects without spending so long on finding fabrics. 😊😊😊

For the scraps I made two new box bags using the tutorial from Truly Myrtle. I made them 7.5″ long and 4″ tall and wide. This used up four fat quarters from the pile too 😊


I also put together a pile of “pretty” or “interesting” small scraps, which I will cut around with the pinking shears to give some shaped fabrics (that won’t fray) for my niece and nephew to use in gluing with paper glitter stickers etc.

I did give a few bits to the charity shop, which I bought with something in mind (e.g. for when my niece and nephew were babies) but either didn’t get around to making or didn’t use up all the fabric on whatever I made. I had also held onto a grocryg bag worth of scraps that I definitely won’t use, so they are going to the local fabric recycling (to make insulation etc).

This felt like a huge step! It’s a weight off my mind to know I now only have the fabric I love and that I can find it all easily.

Here is what else I have done in organising my sewing stuff:

  • Allocated one box for patterns.
  • Assisted one box for measuring, marking, and cutting tools. It also contains my sewing machine tools.
  • One bag contains all fasteners (zips etc) and ribbons.
  • One bag contains all interfacing and wadding.
  • I’ve got rid of my old sewing box, giving it to a charity shop. It’s small and anything I kept in there was split with being kept somewhere else, which was inefficient. I got it from eBay for £2.50 in 2010 so it’s done it’s time! It’s still in excellent condition so someone else can love it now.
  • Organised my threads. They don’t yet fit into one box but I am closer than I was :-)

Next up is to tackle my UFOs… So I won’t be taking any new fabrics out of that box for a while. Wish me luck…!