Vote for me!

I’m really pleased and honoured to have been nominated for the dotcomgiftshop Blog Awards 2017.

Dot com gift shop awards nomination

I would be absolutely delighted if you would like to vote for me – and the happy news for you is that all voters enter a prize draw to win £100 worth of their chosen dotcomgiftshop gifts, so please spread the word and get your friends, family and followers voting!

Thanks as ever to all my lovely readers for their support and friendship – I always hope, when I get nominated for something like this, that one of you out there gets their name drawn out of the hat for the prize!


Very Berry Patterns on Etsy

So, one of the reasons why I have been so very quiet on here lately is that I have been focusing my mind very hard on writing patterns for the workshops I am teaching at Hollies Haberdashery and at my Studio. What has been brilliant, and a bit unexpected, is that I have had such lovely feedback from students about how easy to follow the patterns are, and how much they appreciate the level of detail that I include. So, I have decided to take the plunge and am starting to sell them in my Etsy shop. It’s a slow process because I am getting volunteers to test them thoroughly before I put them up for sale – but my first pattern is now available!

As you can see, it is a nice big roomy tote bag. It is a pattern that would suit confident beginners – it includes a internal zipped pocket and has a flat base – great first bag techniques to learn. There are loads of photos and as much information as I can think of about all the steps involved. The pattern runs to a little over 16 pages, so you can tell it has a LOT of detail, and my aim is to guide you through the process as smoothly as I can.

I’ve used the pattern several times myself – this one was the original class sample:

Here’s how the internal zip looks:

It’s a great zipped pocket for a beginner to tackle because you don’t need to fiddle around with a zipper foot, and it’s fairly straightforward to get a lovely neat finish. My pattern tester was a bit worried about this bit, but very pleased with the results.

Here’s the early prototype version that I got to keep for myself – I am using it as my everyday work/shopping bag. I really love mix and matching the fabrics, and I added a bit of appliqué on this one:

All the trimmings tote

And a version made for a friend, with more appliqué:

Tote bag for Lisa

And here’s the lovely version that my pattern tester Gwawr made – isn’t it gorgeous!


Hope it takes your fancy! And if it does and you decide to buy, I’m really happy to help with questions and see and share pictures of your finishes.

And there’ll be more Very Berry patterns to come… 🙂  And, oh yeah, if you fancy being one of my pattern testers, and getting hold of a pattern for free, do follow me on Instagram.

Introducing my new sewing studio

Earlier in the summer I had the opportunity to move from my lovely studio 27 at ACAVA Studios: Spode Works to a bigger space (2.5 times as big!) in the same Studio complex. Although it’s a scary prospect (2.5 times bigger means 2.5 times the rent!) I feel increasingly sure that I want to focus on teaching, so it makes sense to me to have a space where people can come and learn with me in my studio.

I am very gradually settling in, and I’m not done yet, I need a few more bits of storage, another table and some chairs for starters, but it is increasingly beginning to feel like home, so I thought I’d share some photos of the work in progress. First up on my wall were my selvedge mini-quilts, made for Love Patchwork and Quilting about 18 months ago. I am so glad I decided to keep these!

Mini quilts on the wall in my studio at Spode

I was also glad to get all my ATCs and mini-hoops into position on the window sills. I have two lovely large windows, but I don’t get the sun until the late afternoon, which is so much better for sewing and photography purposes! My old studio used to get uncomfortably warm on sunny days.

The window sill at Studio 5 Spode Works

This is my main sewing area. The windows are quite high, so fortunately I can’t get too distracted by what’s going on outside.

My work space at Studio 5 Spode Works

My succulents are doing well in their new home – and I am gradually acquiring vintage Spode china to put them in. This pattern is one of my favourites – Chinese Rose:

Succulent in Spode china cup and saucer

This is my favourite corner of the studio. I am on the look out for a nice comfy armchair to put next to the lamp for those times when I am sewing binding or doing a bit of English paper piecing. It’s great to have a finished quilt on the wall too!

Favourite corner of Studio 5 at ACAVA studios Spode Works

Here’s a view from the ironing board of the entire space:

Studio 5 the home of Very Berry Handmade at Spode Works

Lovely isn’t it! I’m very lucky I know. No doubt I will be sharing more photos as time goes on – I love to rearrange furniture until I have everything just right. And if you fancy a day at the studio, I am planning stitchy retreats and small class teaching in the studio – do get in touch if you might be interested.