Chat, Sewing

Heavens Above

Sew something simple. Primitive stars. Really I’m using up some calico remnants but you might say I’m being forward-thinking, organised and thriftily sewing bits and bobs for Christmas. Your call.

The template for you:

Primitive Star Sewing Template

The inner line is the seam allowance. I like to sew it the Tilda way – trace the outline of the template onto folded fabric, sew round it and cut it out afterwards.

Leave one side open when you stitch round so you can stuff it. Finally, close the open side up with ladder stitch. Decorate as your heart desires.

Well, weird choices of interests today. Was watching Harlots while doing a bit of sewing then came back to my ‘office’ and listened to The Passion of St Matthew on You Tube. Passion everywhere! A bit incongruous but there you go.

Then watched Greg Davies doing his impression of Chris Ewbank (Eight Out of Ten Cats) reading classics and laughed like a drain. Not my Lovely Girls Laugh…

Then watched a clip where Jimmy Carr asked what Susie Dent had been doing, apart from looking up Glory Holes (more Eight Out of Ten Cats), and laughed like a double drain. Whatever that may be. If there is such a thing.

Chat, Sewing

Little cottage cushion


Today I finished making a second little cushion. It’s got lots of hand-embroidered stitches, beads, buttons and wooly bits.  It’s  approximately 12″ x 12″ and has a feather-filled cushion filler inside and is deliciously plump and squashy.

It’s made from pink wool-rich Tweedy fabric with a funky floral design cotton material over the top.

Finally, a mid-weight linen panel with an appliqué cottage and tree to decorate in the middle.

layoutcushionNow that I’ve got a little repertoire of hand stitches mastered, I’m ready to move on.

I’ve been practising:

  • Twisted Daisy Border Stitch
  • Sheaf Stitch
  • Tete De La Boeuf
  • Russian Chain Stitch
  • Rosette of Thorns

They’re very pretty and not too difficult or fiddly to do nicely.

Some really need some guidelines and perfect for the job is an embroidery marker. Draw on the design or guidelines and when you’re ready to remove them, a quick spritz of water vanishes the pen marks away like magic.

My next project will feature a few of these new stitches and I’m really looking forward to doing something with them. If you’re looking for inspiration and help with hand embroidery, I recommend Sarah’s Hand Embroidery.

It’s a real treasury of stitches, techniques, information, tutorials.


In Stitches

satin_stem_frenchHere are a few of the stitches I’ve been practising for my little cushion (see previous post).

Stem stitch is very sweet and is a definite favourite. Almost up there with the French Knot.

Back Stitch, Split Stitch and Running Stitch are useful basics to know as well.

I’m no expert at hand embroidery but enjoy it enormously and love adding new stitches to my repertoire.

I’m sharing with you my tutorial  for sewing Feather Stitch today. It’s versatile, quick and easy.


feather stitch_p1








You can download the full PDF tutorial here:  feather stitch

Chat, Other, Sewing

Case of the E-Reader Solved

I’m in proper poke, pull, tug and faff mode today. Cupboards are getting a sort out. Fabric mountains are getting folded into submission and am getting ready to start making my favourite Advent Jubblies.

I make sweetie Jubblies for lots of occasions and always love how they turn out, you can see them here here, here, here and here! This time of year I look for the little Christmassy chocolates, the Santas, Snowmen and Cadbury miniatures, etc, to fill them with. The miniatures are becoming as hard to find as hen’s teeth and reindeer poo, though. They must have been discontinued as I haven’t seen them in a few years now. The really hard part, though, is not scoffing them all before December!

The same goes for the Halloween sweeties. We always buy a couple of big tubs of Celebrations, Roses, Quality St, etc, and big bags of chews. The hard part is not eating them before the 31st.

Anyway, Getting back to what I started, first I tidy up then become MrsMakeMessFun – that is the way of things.

I made the basics of an e-reader case a couple of months ago. Straightforward construction. Three long layers in a sandwich. Top layer with long lines of embroidery stitching, a batting layer and a lining layer.  They fold down to form a case, raw end inside covered with bias-binding then stitched together all round and bound with satin bias binding on the outside.

I had got as far as pinning and tacking the bias binding then just left it. I’m a bit rubbish at machine stitching bias binding. I have seen a good few You Tubes that clearly show me how bloody easy easy is it but I cannot finesse it. Drives me bats. So it was abandoned in favour of nicer, easier things to do.

Until last night. I put my big lady knickers on and faced up to it and stitched it down with a pretty triple zig-zag stitch. It’s not perfect but it’s my best attempt yet. Just as well, as it’s for an e-reader and is to be a birthday present for a friend.

Am pleased with my progress so am definitely improving. Having battled the bias and battened it down, I made it a button hole and stitched on a pretty wooden button.  Done. There were a few pieces of embroidered wadding around so I pinked the edges and stitched onto a luggage label to make a gift tag.  They kind of go together, what do you think?

Someone asked me why I put the ‘www.thesingingtree’ on the pictures – it’s because they can end up on Pinterest. How many times have you seen something on Pinterest and thought you’d like to visit the site and read/see a bit more only to find it’s a link of a link….? I have and have given up on many occasions.

Anyway, if you post pictures and want people to see them on your site as well as Pinterest, add your link on the image and that way they’ll find you.

Be good and play nicely.


Free, Other, Sewing, Tutorials

Ideal craft fair sellers and purse-friendly gifts – free phone case pattern

Heylo Dare! A Friday Freebie. I made a couple of phone cases last night. They took me about half an hour each and I wasn’t hooshing them along. Nope, a gentle pootle along with cups of tea and cake kind of make.

The template is easily adjusted and you can add a key fob or a lobster claw to clip to a bag strap or purse. Lots of possibilities.

Most importantly, they do all the wonderful things that us sewists love:

  • Use small pieces of fabric (stash busters)
  • Cheap to make
  • Quick to make (half and hour or so!)
  • Easy to make
  • Can be gussied up gorgeous for all ages and genders
  • AND very useful!

All of the above add up to craft fair sellers and gorgeous gifts that won’t bend the pennies or bust the bank.

The one in the picture is for my phone which is a Sony Xperia but the pattern is simple and easily tweaked to suit your phone or other sizes – Google to look for popular phones and their dimensions.

Anyhoo, here’s a free PDF including the template and instructions with photos and illustrations by me. Enjoy!

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