Some Recent Makes

As well as the blogging & swap-organising I’ve been doing recently, I have been trying to make things too, I’m just not sure whether I’m particularly happy with the results. I’ve dithered about photographing them and putting them on the blog, let alone putting them in my Folksy shop…

But, I think it’s dishonest to present crafting and creating as an always- rewarding experience, so I’m going to post the pictures and see if helps with my perspective. Even just taking the pictures has made me think that they’re not quite as unsatisfactory as I first thought…

Inspired by the recent scrap swap I wanted to work on some ideas for using small scraps of fabric, maybe with a view to writing some tutorials for the blog. My first attempt was this coin purse design:

Small log cabin zippered pouch

Small log cabin zippered pouch

I’ve used log cabin patchwork, which is obviously a great way of using narrow strips of fabric. I like the size (it’s a great size for carrying my small digital camera safely too), and I like the general idea, but I think, in my enthusiasm for using up tiny bits of fabric, the strips are too narrow and the resulting design is (I think) too busy – and I’ve got my contrasting lights and darks in the ‘wrong’ places. What do you reckon? I think fewer, wider strips, and a better contrast in the colours and/or designs on the fabric would work a lot better.

A scrappy pin cushion

I like this pincushion quite a lot design-wise.. but I’ve stuffed it a bit too much, and it looks like it’s going to burst at the seams! The problem with this is the stuffing I’ve been using… it gets really lumpy, and to try and counteract that, I have stuffed the cusion a bit too much.  I might have another go with it, and I’d be really interested to know what other people use to stuff their pincushions… I know some people use wool, and I’ve also heard good things about crushed walnut shells. Would love to hear what you use and where you buy it.

One project that we ALL (me, the boys, and Sandy too) completed today, and that we’re all very happy with, are these lovely little softies:



Zoom by Alex Barrow

I thought it was time that the lads had a bit of go at sewing, and given that they are currently obsessed by the fabulous kids’ magazine Okido and reading the wonderful adventures of Zim, Zam and Zoom, AND because Zoom is a very pleasingly simple shape, well, everything fell into place…

Here’s the illustration that I worked from – I sewed all the features and me and the boys & Sandy did all the sewing round the edges and stuffing the Zooms’ middles.  Zim, Zam and Zoom is drawn for Okido by the illustrator Alex Barrow (you can see more of his work on his groovy blog – including some of Zim, Zam and Zoom’s adventures). Dan and Tom have popped off to bed now with their Zooms and their favourite ‘Moon Issue’ of Okido. If only our Zooms could turn into a rocket, like he does in the story!



16 thoughts on “Some Recent Makes

  1. I love the purse – not too busy and I particularly like the prints that you’ve used for the penultimate side logs…any chance you can remember what it’s called?! I stuff my pincushions with scraps of polydown wadding, I just pull it apart to fluff it up a bit and force as much as I can inside the (usually slightly too small) gap.

  2. I love the little purse and don’t think it looks too busy. I don’t think it matters about the light and dark positioning so long as it looks good in the end – and this does! How did you do the zip? It looks like you covered the ends first but how did you get the corners tapered like that?
    And just to let you know, I’ll be sending my scraps off today and hope to receive mine soon 🙂
    Teresa x

  3. Hi Ali,

    I really like your coin purse…I like the fact that the light and dark pieces aren’t balanced…it gives an abstract feel to it. I love that fact that it’s made up of so many tiny pieces of fabric…I don’t think it’s too busy at all! If I hadn’t just bought a purse I would buy this!

    Your pincushion is lovely too! I don’t know what people use to stuff pincushions (I must read the other comments here) and whenever I’ve made them for myself I never seem to get the stuffing just right….it’s not like stuffing toys.

    Zoom (both of them) is great….brings back happy memories of making things with my Mum when I was little 🙂

    Clair W. x

  4. Hi! Its Rachel from handmade uk. I really love the coin purse. It is a fun mix up of fabrics and textures. I like the pinwheel pincushion as well. Have you ever tried stuffing with wool? It is what I do my dolls with and I have found it stuffs well without being clumpy.


    1. Hi Rachel, lovely to meet a fellow member of Team Handmade UK! I haven’t tried wool, and would really love to – especially as I think the lanolin in wool would probably be good for pins. I love your gorgeous dolls – my sons went to Steiner playgroup and we really loved all those natural materials. 😀

  5. I don’t think the strips of your coin purse are too small, perhaps just not in the right place as flaming nora suggests. Getting the right contrast can always be a bit tricky. I have a number of ‘iffy’ log cabin blocks languishing in a drawer, being slowly cannibalised.
    I really love your pin cushion, and I don’t think it’s over stuffed. If you don’t want to risk seams/stitches showing have you considered sewing it on to a backing piece before stuffing?
    Sawdust is good but it can break down too far. I work with it a lot for my door stops but have to fill them out side to avoid breathing in what can be quite dangerous dust.

  6. I really like both the purse and pincushion, the balance of colour and pattern work beautifully. I’m about to have a crack at stuffing a pin cushion with a torn up brillo pad/wire wool with spare wadding wrapped around it! Following a suggestion from the Purl bee blog. Have also heard that sawdust is good and emery powder – although that’s really heavy. Love the fabrics on the pincushion btw!

    1. I like the idea of having something heavy in the bottom of a pincushion – partly because then it would double up as a very useful weight! I heard the thing about emery powder too, but *then* I read that emery powder isn’t necessary now that pins are plated….

  7. I read somewhere that used coffee grounds are really good to fill pincushions as it is supposed to stop them from rusting. Never been brave enough to try it my self! Those old fashioned red round ones with little chinese figures on the top are always stuffed with sawdust, pet shop?
    Do really like the pincushion though, great colour combo. Think the coin purse doesn’t quite work because you have large dark prints on the sides and smaller/ more delicate/ lighter prints on the top and bottom. Throw em up in the air, give em a little mix and all will be well.

  8. Love the pincushion and the purse and I don’t think the purse design is too busy at all – it’s very cute. Buy crushed walnut shells as lizard litter from large pet stores (I bought some online from ebay) – it’s totally and utterly divine!

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