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!

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?

The Liberty Book of Simple Sewing: Book Review Part 2 – Patchwork Picture Frames

the Liberty book of Simple SewingTime for another project out of my new Liberty Book of Simple Sewing! Last week I made the Liberty print table mats, complete with cutlery pocket. This week I’ve made something completely different – patchwork picture frames!

OK – so this post is a little confusing: I’ve made something out of a sewing book that doesn’t actually involve any sewing. Sometimes it’s fun to shake it up a bit though, right? Plus these Liberty patchwork frames were just a bit too difficult to resist. And it involves a nice bit of recycling and using up those fiddly, small pieces of fabric that you don’t know what to do with otherwise…

Liberty Simple Sewing patchwork picture frames

To make the patchwork picture frames, you first need some old, wooden frames (the more intricate the detailing the better). I didn’t own anything that fit the description, so I headed into a local charity shop and picked up the 2 in the picture for about £3.50. Success!

The next step is to get out your PVA/decoupage glue and paintbrush. Cut your fabric into strips big enough to cover the frame, paint the frame with glue and then lay the fabric on, using your paintbrush to push it down into all the frame detailing. Repeat this according to the instructions in the book (pay attention to the corners!) and the end result is one lovely patchwork picture frame!

Liberty Book of Simple SewingI’ve hung the two I made in my powder blue bedroom as it really makes the colours stand out. I used a postcard I picked up in Paris for one frame and kept the embroidered garden-scene from the charity shop in the other (this wasn’t the original plan, but it’s signed by an old lady named Dorothy and I just couldn’t bear to throw it away! Plus it looks quite nice alongside the Liberty print…) What do you think? Is it something you’d like to try for yourself?

If you’re interested in buying the Liberty Book of Simple Sewing, published by Quadrille Craft, for yourself, the RRP is £20 but I hear Amazon stock it much cheaper! It’d make a great Christmas present for yourself…. sorry, I mean for your friend who loves sewing…

Purple Patchwork Cushions

patchwork cushions 2OK, so I know all I ever make is cushion after cushion after cushion, and I know by now I probably should rename my blog ‘Sew Many Cushions’, but if you ever come round to my house you’ll understand the obsession – and you’ll never want to leave because it’s just far too comfy!

We moved into our house almost a year ago and, this year, have finally got round to decorating it how we want. Our living/dining room is now a luxurious plum colour with a matching, damask print wallpaper at one end. All our wood is oak, our furniture dark brown, our accessories cream and our sofa cushions…. pink and red. Do you see the problem?

So last weekend I popped into the Remnant House (if you can call a half hour visit a pop) and bought myself 5 patchwork squares in matching colours and contrasting patterns. The result? A handful (or sofa-full) of purple, patchwork cushions. Lovely!

patchwork cushionsI made up the pattern myself – the first is just a simple square patchwork and the second I decided to experiment a bit with different shapes. The back of each cushion has an envelope closing made using two of the purple-coloured patterns and a hook-and-eye closure. I’ve even got enough fabric left to make one more, but it’s just too warm to sew! If only we had a garden so I could take my sewing outside!

The Finished Patchwork Knitting Bag

patchwork knitting bagA while ago I wrote a post about the 120 hexagons of fabric and paper I was cutting out and stitching together in order to make a patchwork knitting bag. Now, a few weeks (alright, a few months) later, the end has been reached and I have one, completed knitting bag! Applaud if you will.

Once all the hexagons had been sewn by hand and in the right order – allow about 10 weeks for this –  the next job was to make the lining. As the external patchwork of the bag has more colours than a double rainbow, I decided to keep the inside simple and just use a plain, inside the knitting bagpink linen fabric. I also bought some round, plastic, wood-a-like handles from eBay that give the finished knitting bag a nice, homely touch and make it look more like the photo in the pattern!

Although I’ve been moaning about how difficult the hexagons are to sew together, it was actually the lining that proved to be the hardest part. The Cath Kidston knitting bag pattern is incredibly clear, with diagrams, right through all the patchwork-making stages. Once it’s time to cut, stitch and attach the lining, however, there are 2 bullet points, no pictures and the instructions may as well be in Russian. If you’re also stuck on this part, I recommend viewing this thread on the Sewing Forum which proved to be very useful.

And so, 12 weeks from the date of inception: my patchwork knitting bag is finished (and already full too…)!

Hexagonal Patchwork

cath kidston knitting bagI’m starting to think that I may as well change my name to Cath Kidston, as here is yet another sewing pattern of hers that I’ve decide to make. This one is perhaps more time-consuming than the rest but the end result is something that I’m sure to be proud of for years to come. After all, one of my most amazing friends bought me an Emma Bridgewater tin containing an abundance of fat quarters in beautiful, co-ordinating fabrics for my birthday, so it’d be a disservice to her if I didn’t use them for something great.

The pattern I’ve chosen is to make a knitting bag with circular, wooden handles. It requires me to cut out 60 hexagons out of paper, 60 hexagons out of fabric and then stitch them all together in a lovely patchwork pattern. Easy!

hexagonal patchworkWell, easy in theory. A week later and I’ve just finished baste-stitching my fabric hexagons to their paper counterparts. And that’s before I could even begin ordering and sewing them into any sort of honeycomb-style arrangement. If I was clever I might have cheated and bought my hexagons pre-cut on Etsy, but I am neither a trickster nor a rich kid, so laboriously cutting out my own was my only option.

I’ll post again once the polygons begin to look more like their intended end result… bear with me.

My Patchwork Table Runner

This weekend I made a lovely, patchwork table runner for the dining table in our house. We often find ourselves with nowhere to put the plate of garlic bread, bottle of ketchup or dishes of fajita ingredients so a table runner was an absolute essential.

Our dining table is also solid oak and the last thing I want is a burnt-on ring from a hot plate that’ll remind us of that night we had coriander naan bread forever.

To make the table runner, I measured the length of my table and decided on a suitable width. I picked some colour co-ordinating fabrics (I went for neutral colours with a blue and pink tones) and then cut enough patchwork squares to fit the length of the table. I didn’t use a pattern for this, I just cut the fabric according to how much of it I had in the first place. I also quite like the way the squares are less regimented and are all different sizes instead.

I sewed them all together into a long strip, cut a long piece of neutral cream fabric for the backing, and then sewed both strips right sides together (leaving a gap at one end so I could turn it from being inside out into the right way round).

To prevent the table runner from simply looking like a giant pillowcase, I also quilted the fabric along each of the patchwork seams and did a border in blue cotton all the way around the edge. And that’s it! I think it looks pretty good – and it was much cheaper than buying one. Perhaps I should make a more festive table runner next so I can change with the seasons?

6 months + 12€ = 1 finished quilt

And finally, 6 months after purchasing 12€ worth of fabric in Montmartre, Paris, I’m happy (and proud) to say that my patchwork blanket is complete!

The story goes like this: I was au-pairing in Paris from February to April and spent the majority of my free time visiting places around the city. I wrote a blog about everything I did, whether it be sitting in creperies on Easter Monday or shopping for Parisian vintage items in the Marais. My favourite place, however, is Montmartre and the Barbès Rochechouart arrondissements to the North of Paris. Full to capacity with craft shops, fabric markets and little boutiques selling more sequins, feathers and buttons than you can afford, it’s easy to see why I loved it.

On one particular day I invested in a handful of fat quarters in a mixture of pink, green and orange colours. It was spring at the time and the blossom around Paris was more than beautiful, so I assume this is what inspired me. I then spent the following week cutting each piece meticulously into rectangles (168 of them to be precise).

Once I returned home to the UK, I stitched all these rectangles into squares of 4, then rows of 6, and then into one enormous sheet of patchwork. I sewed a thin layer of wadding in the middle and covered the back with a big bit of thick green cotton material. The blanket was finished by hand-sewing the bias-binding all the way around the edge (the binding that I bought in Bazar de l’Hotel de Ville on their huge craft floor). There were 5 metres of edging in total so this bit took quite a lot of time and determination.

Anyway, 6 months, a house move and a new job later my patchwork blanket is done. And just in time for the British winter to begin.

The Technicolor Blanket

Recently, approximately 98% of my time has been dedicated to buying a house with the boy of my dreams. Whilst incredible and very exciting this has, alas, left little time for my sewing projects. Although I’m delighted that in a few weeks I will finally have a home and a sofa for all my handmade soft furnishings (see all my cushions here – warning, there are quite a few), I am a little saddened by the lack of recent craft items to blog about.

Anyway – the couple of Saturdays I’ve had at home alone (when the boy’s been at work and the kitchen table has been available) I’ve set my heart to finishing my picnic blanket. I bought the fabric for this when I was in Paris in April (see here) and spent a bit of time there cutting it all into uncountable rectangles. A couple of weeks ago these all got stitched into rows of four, and then rows of six, and then into an entire blanket. The end result is a picnic blanket big enough for every bear who dares to go down into the woods this summer.

The next step was to buy an enormous piece of wadding and find an even bigger piece of co-ordinating backing fabric. Luckily my Grandma is fantastic and in the huge chest of material she kindly donated to me (see here) I had a big enough piece of spring-onion green fabric that I could use as the base for my blanket. I think the material must have originally been a pair of curtains because it’s quite thick – useless unless I want spring-onion curtains in my new house, but great for the bottom of a picnic blanket that is destined for grass stains and wine spills.

Anyhow, once all the three layers were in place the next step was to quilt them all together – first by sewing vertically down every square and then horizontally. This sounds a lot easier in text format than it actually is. See the picture above. My sewing machine, whilst substantially heavy and good enough to sew skirts and Kindle cases, is not industrial-size. Fitting a piece of material approximately the size and thickness of my duvet cover underneath it is not an easy feat. By the time I got to quilting down the middle I was pretty much wrapped up in the blanket like the Baby Jesus.

This weekend I will finish my picnic blanket (if I’m ever going to use it before the summer’s out). I realise this is a bold statement to make and I realise that the current weather trend is very ‘British summer’ rather than ‘Parisian summer’ that perhaps we are all still hoping for. I need to finish the quilting and then work out how to attach the bias binding all the way around the edge. Perhaps one more weekend won’t be long enough after all…