DIY Patchwork Baby Blanket

As soon as I found out my sister-in-law was expecting, I knew I wanted to make her a blanket. Baby blankets are useful in all situations, whether it’s as a comforter in the cot, for warmth in a pram, or simply as a comfy floor covering whilst baby lounges around. So that’s what I’ve got to share with you today – a patchwork baby blanket!

elephant patchwork baby blanket

Now, I’d like you all to know that I made this blanket before I knew the baby would be a boy. I also made it before I learnt that my sister-in-law was going with a grey and white colour scheme. But when can you make a brightly coloured quilt if not for a little one?!

The fabric I used for my patchwork blanket is from the Remnant House in Harrogate. I bought fat quarters of yellow polka dot cotton,  elephant print cotton, and about 2 metres of green gingham cotton to use for both the patchwork squares and the backing.

patchwork baby blanket

Now it’s time for the maths (thanks to my cat, Barnaby, for helping me measure)! I didn’t follow a pattern to make this blanket – it’s all DIY and common sense. Based on the number of fat quarters I had, I worked out I could make the blanket 8 by 9 squares, 72 in total – 18 yellow, 18 green and 36 elephant. I stitched the squares into rows with a 1cm seam allowance, and then stitched the rows together one by one to form the front of the blanket. Easy!

Next, I attached the patchwork front to a thin layer of 2oz wadding by quilting down the vertical seam lines. Go slowly when you attach the wadding so that it doesn’t get caught in your sewing machine!

baby blanket backing

The back of the blanket is simply a big square of green gingham with a strip of elephant print cotton along the top and bottom edges. To assemble the blanket, I then put the patchwork and backing pieces right sides together and stitched 1cm from the edge all the way round 3 sides. I then turned the blanket the right way out (so the wadding is now in the middle), pressed under the seam allowance on the open edge, and stitched a 1cm border all around the blanket. Oh and I added a little ‘handmade’ tag for good measure.

So do you love it? Do you think it’s suitable for a new baby boy? I hope he loves it too!

 

Hexie Sewing Machine Cover!

hexagonsOh my gosh you guys you have absolutely no idea how long it’s taken me to finish this project. I’ve had the blog post for it scheduled for February and then March and then April and then May… well, you get the picture, and now here we are in August! For this week’s post I thought you might finally like to see my hexie patchwork sewing machine cover!

A while back I suddenly became obsessed with the look of hexagons, pinned a load of projects to my Pinterest and made a mini hexie patchwork clock for a friend. It was so much fun to make that I thought I’d take on something a little more ambitious and make a hexie patchwork cover for my sewing machine! I think I got the word ‘ambitious’ right on point.

This project has taken me many months to complete – I kept picking it up here and there and then putting it back down again. There are a total of 284 hexagons making up this design and each one has to be sewn together by hand. That’s 6 sides on 123 hexagons which = 1704+ lines of hand-stitching. Can you see why it took me a while? However, just look at the result! Isn’t it beautiful?!

hexie patchwork sewing machine cover 2

The fabric I used all came from my ‘fabric scraps’ stash – you know, that big bag of pretty leftovers that you just can’t let go of. Each scrap comes from a project that I’ve made in the past so it’s good fun to look at the hexagons and think ‘oh! that’s a piece of my chambray shirt, my Liberty print t-shirt and my piano stool cover!’. I tried to pick out all similar colours – shades of blue, purple and turquoise – to give it a bit of an overall theme. I even lined the whole thing using some bigger scraps of mint-green seersucker from a pair of pyjamas that I made.

hexie patchwork sewing machine cover 3

I actually made up the pattern for the cover myself – I simply measured the height, width and depth of my machine and then stitched enough hexagons together so that they would wrap all the way around it. I ended up with a big ‘snood’ of hexagons which I ironed at the ‘corners’ to make it a box shape. I then stitched a separate top panel, squared off the edges and machine stitched that in place. The lining was made in a similar fashion – a front and back panel, two side panels and a top panel. I then slipped the lining inside the hexagon cover (wrong sides together) and stitched a hem all around the bottom to attach them together. Phew!

As well as making my machine look lovely in the corner it also prevents the dust settling in those moments when it’s not in use. So, do you love it? Have you got a cover for your sewing machine? Or perhaps I’ve inspired you to make one? Let me know!

Blogger Network #17 – Embroidered Wedding Gift

carolyn gavin bird embroideryJust a quick post for my Minerva Blogger Network make this month – why? Because it was a super quick project to make! I’ve been enjoying getting stuck into a few more ‘crafty’ projects recently (rather than just dressmaking) as I’ve always loved dabbling in a bit of everything, whether it’s cross stitch, sewing cushions, origami or card making. This time it’s embroidery!

I picked this Carolyn Gavin/Dimensions embroidery kit from the Minerva Crafts website as a wedding gift for my near and dear workmate. He and his beautiful wife got married in Ilkley a couple of weekends ago (I got to wear my China-blue-toile By Hand London Elisalex dress– yay!) and, when you’re as crafty as I am, it’s only fair that they get an equally lovely handmade wedding gift 😉

dimensions embroidery kit

The kit I used is called ‘A Heart That Loves’ and features a heart-shaped flower, a cute little bird and a quote to the side. All the things you need are included in the kit, like the coloured canvas, fabric shapes, embroidery thread and needle, so all you have to do is follow the instructions and you’re done! You get to practise a few different stitches so it’s a good little project for those with limited experience/patience. I think I completed it in an afternoon!

embroidery kit contents

The only thing that the kit doesn’t include is a frame. I bought a gold frame from H&M (no longer on their website) which has glass on both sides and a chain to hang it up – I used some coloured paper on the reverse side of the embroidery and wrote a little note to the happy couple!

Overall a great little project and (I hope) a fab wedding gift! Have you ever made anything like this before?

 


Blogger Network #16 – A Needlework Tote Bag

embroidered tote bagHappy July! With a new month comes a new Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post – and this time I’ve taken on embroidery in the form of a needlework tote bag. This is a great make for the sunny weather we’ve been having, I can see myself using it on holiday or on trips to the beach this summer. In fact, it’s the perfect size for a book, some sun cream and bottle of wine!

Everything you need to make the bag comes in this Design Works kit and the only prep work involved is cutting up the canvas. It’s a great project if you don’t have a lot of time to sit down and sew. I actually completed most of it in front of the TV! The bag is made up of 34 squares of plastic canvas which you embroider with the Aran yarn provided. There are 3 square designs to alternate between. You know those sewing cards you used to get when you were little – cardboard pictures with a shoelace to thread through? It reminded me of those!

aran needlework tote bag

Once you’ve stitched all 34, you then assemble the squares in a random pattern and stitch them all together into one big piece. Next, you attach the felt lining and fold it into a bag shape, stitching all the sides closed with the yarn. It sounds a lot more complicated than it is! You also get a lovely set of bamboo handles included in the kit which you just have to sew onto the sides of the bag once you’ve assembled it.

wooden tote handles

If you’re looking for a sewing project to take on holiday with you, to stitch by the pool or sat in the garden, then I really recommend this kit. It’s a great pick-up-and-put-down project and one that kids (or husbands) can definitely get involved with too. Have you ever made anything like this before?



Blogger Network #15 – Cute Cloud Cushions

liberty book of simple sewing cloud cushions‘How did it get so late so soon? It’s night before it’s afternoon! December is here before its June, my goodness how the time has flewn. How did it get so late so soon?’ – I love that Dr Seuss quote, doesn’t it just sum up how quickly the year has flown by so far? Here we are in June already, and it’s time again for my monthly Minerva Crafts Blogger Network post! To tie in with the spirit of sunny days and light evenings that June promises to bring I’ve had a bit of fun for this month’s offering: cloud cushions!

The idea for these cushions came from the Liberty Book of Simple Sewing, which is a delightful sewing book full of homeware projects that’s just as lovely to look at as it is to sew from. I’ve been eyeing up the cloud cushion project for a while (there’s also a cloud mobile in there too but I don’t have a baby to justify making one of those just yet) so it was definitely time to put the pattern to the test.

Making the cushions really is quite simple, with the set of three taking me just one Saturday morning to make. The book calls for you to photocopy the template and enlarge it by a few hundred percent but I still don’t actually know how to do that so I drew my cloud template freehand instead! It took a couple of attempts to get my symmetry right but I do believe that anyone has the ability to draw a cloud and can do this for themselves if they, too, don’t fancy photocopying!

liberty book of simple sewing cloud cushions 2

Once the template was cut out (I drew one large cloud and one small cloud), I cut two of each from my fabric so that each cushion has a front and a back piece. I picked three vibrant, pink polycottons to make the cushions with – a cerise mini daisy print, a baby pink daisy print and a candy stripe print. Polycottons are one of the easiest fabrics to work with as they always do what you tell them to! Try it if you don’t believe me 😉

gift wrapped cloud cushionsI then stitched around the edges, leaving a small gap at the bottom, and stuffed the clouds with fairy dust and raindrops (polyester toy stuffing) until they looked fit to burst. I think they look adorable all grouped together – how about you? I actually made these cushions with the intention of giving them to my sister-in-law for her birthday this weekend so I hope she likes them as much as I do. I mean just look at that lovely pink bow.

Have you ever made anything from the Liberty Book of Simple Sewing? If so, show me! If not, have you ever made anything with a weather theme? I’d love to see pictures of umbrella-print dresses and sunshine-themed shorts 🙂



Blogger Network #14 – Summer Strawberries

strawberry country kitchen table matsHappy May! OK, so this post is a bit late to the table (I can only apologise for both the pun and the delay) – my Blogger Network projects are always done and dusted for the start of the month…. but this one didn’t exactly go to plan. I had originally intended to make a dress – Simplicity 1699 in fact – but, well, I’ve got some place mats to show you instead! I’m trying to be optimistic about it because this month’s post features gingham and strawberries in abundance. In fact, it’s is pretty much Wimbledon in fabric form and I can’t exactly pass up on that…

Now, I absolutely love the pattern I had intended to show off this month. It was from Simplicity 1699, which has a dress, peplum top, jacket and trouser pattern option included (which I definitely plan to come back to). I was originally going to make the dress but then decided I’d actually rather try the peplum top, as I’ve never made one of those before. To cut a long story short – it just did not go well. You can read more about that over on the Minerva Crafts blog if you can bear to look 😉

The fabric I’d picked was a navy blue gingham and strawberry print cotton poplin and it’s incredibly soft, a little like a cotton lawn. It’s great to work with and is perfect for country-kitchen based sewing projects. So, to avoid calling my original make a total disaster, I decided to use my remaining fabric to make something completely different – table mats! This fabric is calling out to be used for a homeware project and I wish I’d listened to my instincts in the first place. I love how they’re a bit nautical-come-Wimbledon and the little gingham cutlery pockets are just my favourite.

liberty simple sewing table mats

The pattern for the place mats comes from the Liberty Book of Simple Sewing and they really are a joy to make. I actually already own a set of  mats just like these – you can see that post here – so I’m unsure as to whether I’ll keep these for myself or hand them out as a gift. Saying that, I think they’d do great for a wedding present for someone this summer.

Do you ever have a great idea in mind that just doesn’t turn out quite how you expected? Or have you ever experienced a fabric/dress pattern clash like I did? I love to learn from my makes but it’s always disappointing when things don’t turn out quite as planned. Bring on my next make is all I say!



DIY Hexie Patchwork Clock

hexie patchwork clock diyThere’s something about hexagonal patchwork that just looks so beautiful, isn’t there? I’m always being inspired by the hexie projects I see online (take Lucie’s hexie glasses case, Sairer’s patchwork cushion and even my own hexie patchwork knitting bag) so, for my friend’s birthday this month, I chose to put my inspiration to good use and made her this fantastic hexie patchwork clock!

The idea for the clock came from Owen’s Olivia’s blog here but it’s easy enough to freestyle – I downloaded a hexagon template from the internet (these ones are about 3cm big but you can pick whatever scale you want) and then cut out 61 of them from a sheet of paper. Once you’ve done that, you use each hexagon as a template to cut out a piece of fabric – make each fabric hexie about 1cm bigger than the template all the way around. Next, fold the fabric around the paper template and baste it in place.

Making hexie patchwork is quite time consuming as it’s all done by hand, so it requires a fair bit of patience. It’s a great little project to do whilst sitting in front of the TV on an evening though! I found the repetitive motions of cutting and basting quite therapeutic. Once you’ve got all your hexagons done, it’s then time to sew them together – I started at the bottom corner and just built up from there. Remember to use tiny stitches very close to the edge so that they don’t show through too much on the other side!

diy hexie patchwork clock

I embroidered the numbers 12, 3, 6 and 9 around the edges of my patchwork clock face and then carefully attached the whole thing to a piece of thick cardboard that I’d cut to the same shape- double sided tape does the job just fine. And then came the hardest part of all – attaching the clock mechanism! You can get hold of these very easily on the internet (mine was just a few pounds from eBay) but they do require a fair bit of bashing and crying… you poke a hole through the centre of the clock and then push the handles onto the base very hard until they click and sit squarely on your clock. Next, simply pop in a battery and you’re away! Well, I wish it was that easy – my husband had to give me a bit of help because I was about to throw a tantrum, but it’s ok, we fixed it in the end 😉

What do you think? Have you ever tried hexie patchwork before?

Blogger Network #11 – Valentine’s Day Pompom Heart Bouquet

heart pompom bouquetSo, here comes February, and time for a Valentine’s themed Minerva Crafts project! With Valentine’s Day being just a fortnight away I thought I’d use this month’s post to my advantage. However, now that I have an actual husband, I can’t help but think that this V-Day nonsense is perhaps a bit redundant.. so, rather than make something super smushy and lovey dovey, I’ve gone for a more subtle approach to a Valentine’s craft… a pompom bouquet!

Ever since Kirstie used a pompom maker on her TV show last year I’ve been longing to give one a try. Personally, I see no problem with the good old circular card method, but I’ve seen so many blogs about them that I felt a little bit left out – but not any more! I may be a bit late to the pompom party but I’ve definitely arrived – in pompom bouquetthe form of a heart-shaped pompom maker. Perfect for a Valentine’s craft!

I chose to make my heart pompoms in a variety of blue yarns – it matches our bedroom just marvellously and is a bit more ‘manly’ (if pompom hearts can ever be called manly!) for my husband. To make them, you simply wrap your yarn around the arms of the pompom maker, close it up, tie another piece of yarn tightly around the middle, cut all the way around the edges and then pull really, really tightly to seal the deal. This sounds like the easiest thing ever but, believe me, you have to go careful otherwise you can get a bit over-excited and end up with tiny bits of cut-up yarn all over the carpet…

heart pompom maker

Anyway, once I’d made a good handful in various shades of blue, grey and cream (I think there’s a topical 50 Shades of Grey/Valentine’s day reference in there somewhere), it was time to make them into a bouquet. To do this I got hold of some wooden skewers and simply poked one into the middle of each pompom. Easy! I also cut some of the skewers to different lengths to give the bouquet a bit of varying height and then popped them into a glass vase on my windowsill.

This is such an easy Valentine’s day craft – great for both kids and grown ups – and I’m sure you could make just the same for Mother’s Day too. Give it a try! ❤

Liberty Sunglasses Cases

liberty sunglasses caseAfter returning from the Minerva Crafts blogger meet-up weekend not that long ago, I was desperately tired but desperate to sew, and this Liberty print sunglasses case project seemed like just the perfect thing to make. Two of my closest friends had birthdays just recently too and were in need of a present that I could post to each of them – luckily a well-timed Tweet from Liberty Lifestyle was all it took for me to decide that this was what I was going to make!

liberty sunglasses caseAnd I am definitely making more of these – they were such a delight to sew.

The fabric I used to make the cases is a Liberty lawn that came in a patchwork bundle my mum got me for my birthday last year. Each piece in the bundle is a long strip, about 10″ wide, and so I keep dipping into it for small sewing projects like this one every now and then. My lining fabric is just a blue cotton I had in my stash, as were the buttons and the gold elastic used for the closure.

liberty sunglasses case and patternTo make the case, you need to line each of your pieces with interfacing and attach a layer of thin wadding to the lining so that it’s nice and squishy and will protect your sunglasses from scratches whilst they’re in there. The pattern also calls for box corners – something that I’ve never done before – so I’m glad to have now learnt that skill! If you need help with box corners, try this handy guide that I used myself.

Now that they’re finished and posted off to their recipients I think it’s time to make another one for myself – especially now that I’ve seen all the fingerprints on my glasses in these pictures!

Roald Dahl Lickswishy Sweets Lampshade

Roald Dahl lampshade making kitYes, you read that title correctly – I’ve made a lampshade covered in Roald Dahl sweetie fabric! When the lovely folks over at Elephant in My Handbag got in their range of Roald Dahl fabrics I knew that I just HAD to make something fun. I love Roald Dahl and I absolutely love the new range of Quentin Blake-designed fabrics that have been popping up around the internet. Don’t believe me? Go and have a roald dahl charlie and the chocolate factory lickswishy sweets fabriclook at the range available –  you’ll be convinced!

After a few hours (days) of contemplation, I decided upon the Charlie and the Chocolate Factory ‘Lickswishy Sweets’ design – isn’t it great?! I mean, just say ‘Lickswishy’ a few times out loud, right now. It’s fantastic. Anyway, if sweets aren’t your thing, have a look at the awesome Matilda  fabric  or the fabulous Fantastic Mr Fox designs. I think I love them all.

The lampshade kit that I used for my project is from Need Craft, and one that I actually won in a competition last year (!!). You can also buy similar kits at Elephant in My Handbag right here. The kit I used is a 40cm drum lampshade and the box comes with everything that you need (aside from the fabric) to make your lampshade from scratch. And it’s surprisingly easy too! Here are a few pics of the process:

roald dahl fabric diy lampshade

What do you think of my finished Roald Dahl lampshade? It matches my blue bedroom perfectly (despite what my other half says!) Now show me your own Roald Dahl creations!

Oh and here a few tips for DIY lampshade making: make sure you have LOTS of space, don’t be afraid of everything getting stuck to everything else and definitely DON’T break the lightbulb when you’re changing the shade for photographs: it hurts and you’ll need a bandage!