Giveaway week day 2: Prinfab

Big giveaway week image


My lovely sponsors Prinfab provide a fantastic service – giving you the opportunity to create fabric using your own designs, artwork or photos. With a really simple-to-use design interface and 10 different kinds of fabric to print onto (including cotton, cotton percale, poplin, linen and drill) – it’s really easy to get started on your custom fabric adventure. I really urge you to go and have a play.

I’ve had a go at designing my own fabric, as I’ve written before, and it’s great fun! I was enthusing about this experience of Prinfab to a colleague of mine at Spode Works, artist and illustrator Sally of Sally Bateman Designs, and guess what? She now has the Prinfab bug and is starting to pull together her own fabric designs. They are so lovely, I thought you’d like to see them – for that little bit of inspiration – those cupcakes are making me feel hungry!

Sally Bateman’s fabric designs

As well as designing your own fabric, like Sally has, you can also buy fabric created by other artists/indie designers for a unique touch for your sewing. And if you are interesting in earning money from your fabric design, you can sell your own fabric designs for commission payments.



Printing underway at Prinfab


Unique fabric creations from Prinfab


Gorgeous bear design by Annie Swift

The giveaway

  • Prinfab are offering one Very Berry reader the opportunity to print 1 metre of their own design or photograph on any of their available fabrics including free delivery.
  • To be in with a chance of winning this fabulous prize, just leave a comment on this blog post – you are free to just say ‘pick me’, but if you want to tell me what you would do with the prize, then please do.
  • Entries are welcome from readers around the world
  • I will do the draw on Sunday 2nd April in the evening, so any entry made before then will be included in the draw.
  • To get extra chances of winning, please sign up to follow Prinfab on Facebook, sign up for their newsletter (link at bottom of page)follow Prinfab on Instagramor on Twitter, but you need to leave extra (one per follow) comments to let me know you’ve done so!

You can still enter yesterday’s giveaway! And tomorrow there will be yet more goodies for you!


Big stitching

When it comes to stitching, I have a penchant for small things. I love tiny EPP projects, foundation piecing little Artist Trading Cards, making tiny appliqué mini-hoops, crocheting adorably small crochet animals, making tiny mini-quilts and sweet little pincushions.

Tiny Liberty hexies
I’m currently stitching up these tiny 1/4inch hexies.

Given the choice I would always choose to work on some tiny stitching project rather than a huge ambitious quilt.

There are a couple of problems with all this tiny stuff… I get super-tense about making sure each tiny stitch is at least in the right place. This results in gripping the fabric and needle for dear life, and the joints in my hands get really sore, and my shoulders feel like I have been working at the coalface all day! I have to remind myself to relax and breathe on a regular basis (maybe that’s not such a bad thing – a topic for a future blog post there!).

Hoop swap work in progress
My other, ongoing, stupidly small project is this teeny appliqué for the Very Berry Mini Hoop Swap.

And then there’s my eyesight. I use reading glasses and and a magnifying lamp which helps a lot, but when I settle down for an evening of relaxation, I absolutely don’t want to be sitting there with my reading glasses perched on the end of my nose and the bright light of the daylight bulb affecting my ability to go to sleep later on!

So, my head, hands and eyes are telling me I need a break from all this close up work, and my heart seems to have recognised this, because I’m constantly being drawn to quilting and sewing styles where the focus is on big stitches, texture, improvisation and fun. Quiltmania, my favourite quilting magazine, has been a great source of information and inspiration on this. It was there that I first read about the kantha quilts of India, and more recently I saw the fabulous work of Akiko Ike (here’s a little introduction to her work), read about the style of stitching that she calls Chiku Chiku (aka Crazy Sashiko), and from there started to spend ages scouring Pinterest and blogs for pictures of Boro and Sashiko stitching which influenced her. I won’t go on about this – but if you are interested, the fabulous Susan Briscoe has written a blog post which serves as fab introduction and there’s a fabulous description of her meeting with Ike-san and her introduction to Chiku Chiku just here.

This is a very long introduction to telling you about my current project! Hidden away amongst all the gorgeous treasures at Beyond Measure (my new favourite online shop for stitchy gratification) there are the most wonderful bundles of wool tweed fabric (which are amazing value and top quality wool).

Beautiful pile of tweeds from Beyond Measure
Gorgeous wool tweed! I love all these, but the one with the square spirals (second bottom) is my absolute favourite.

When I was lucky enough to my hands on one (kindly contributed to my stash by lovely Grace who is the brains behind Beyond Measure), I knew what I wanted to do (influenced by this beautiful Boro-inspired bag, and this one, and many more!). Here are some pics of my progress – I’m making it up as I go along, as you can probably tell.

Wool tweed from Beyond Measure further away

Wool tweed from Beyond Measure closer up

Wool tweed from Beyond Measure close up

I am making two panels for the bag front and back, quilt as you go style. I’m still working on the first side, and the great thing about knowing that I will be making the other side is that I can put what I learn into practice. I am going to end up with a bag with two very different sides!

Wool tweed from Beyond Measure furthest away

I’ve used quite big pieces so far – but will probably add some smaller pieces (maybe circles) on top, further down the line. I am really enjoying the improvisational nature of the project, and my decision not to worry about whether I am breaking any rules (mainly because I am not sure there are any…).

Can’t wait to show you my further progress and what I am learning. And if you skipped over all those links back there – do go and check out Susan Briscoe’s lovely post about her meeting with Akiko Ike, it’s so nice!

Thanks so much again to Beyond Measure for the lovely lovely fabric. If you are feeling inspired, here’s the link to the wool tweed again, and they also have some wonderful Sashiko needles too. And if you fancy a day out, there’s a Beyond Measure Open Day in fabulous Todmorden on April 1st

New adventures in teaching

I’m so excited to let you all know that I am going to be teaching sewing classes at my local fabric shop, the excellent Hollies Haberdashery, here in my home town, Newcastle-under-Lyme (near Stoke-on-Trent) in Staffordshire. I’ve been busy making samples, writing class step-by-steps and generally getting everything into place for what I hope will be some really fun classes.

Simple cushion class sample. How cute is this sweet dachshund fabric by Jillian Phillips for Dashwood Studios?

The first class is going to focus on learning how to make a simple cushions, with lots of tips and tricks on how to get a really nice finish by selecting great fabrics, using interfacing, and adding trims, cute details and top-stitching.

Hopefully we will get time to include some cute little details like this.
Same pattern – different style. I really wanted these cushions to show what a difference using different fabrics can make. These are from the Guess How Much I Love You collection by Clothworks.

I’m also going to teach an Absolute Beginner’s Sewing Machine class – keeping the class-size very small (only 4 people), and focusing on my strong belief that students do best when they are learning by doing, we will make a really simple ring binder cover. I really want people to go home with something to show for their hard work as well as becoming confident about using their sewing machine.


Although there are more classes in the pipeline (and coming very soon, check back next week), for lots of fun makes like tote bags, zippy pouches, clip-frame purses, English Paper Piecing, and hopefully a weekly evening patchwork class, the only other course available for booking right now is Beginning Patchwork: Nine-Patch Cushion class.

My aim here is to provide a really fun introduction to basics of patchwork, whilst giving people the chance to actually finish something on the day. Here’s the cushion I made using the pattern I’ve created for the class:

I loved fussy cutting these adorable animals for this nine-patch block. The fabric collection is called Foxtail Forest and it is designed by Rae Ritchie for Dear Stella Fabric.

I am really looking forward to sharing the fun that you can have with very straightforward patchwork designs and simple straight line quilting.

If you’re interested in coming along to a class (which run on Tuesday mornings and on Saturdays at the moment – do let me have any feedback about times because we are super-flexible and can put on more classes to suit), here’s where you can read more and make bookings. I really look forward to meeting some of my blog friends in real life!


Support Very Berry Handmade by visiting my sponsors Prinfab – where you can create and print your own fabric!