A new bag pattern


Step by Step tote

I’m happy to let you know that I have a new simple tote bag pattern available on Etsy. I call it the First Steps Tote Bag because the pattern is very straightforward, and would make an ideal project for someone who is getting back into sewing, or who hasn’t sewn for a long time. There’s lots of straight lines to sew, and nice big half inch seams to play with. The pattern is very detailed, and thoroughly tested by stitchers at my sewing classes and by pattern testers too (very big thanks to them!).

Here’s another version I made:

finished bag

The little trim is a very achievable challenge which makes this simple tote shape a little bit out of the ordinary. As usual with my patterns, there are loads of pictures and the instructions are as detailed as I can possibly make them. Great for beginners of course, but if you are an experienced stitcher after a very quick-to-sew and reliable bag pattern, then I hope this will tempt you!


Some Artist Trading Card Resources

Textile Artist Trading Card with using selvages or selvedges
My June 2016 Artist Trading Card under construction!

As I know people always have concerns about putting together their Artist Trading Cards, I thought I’d pull together some links to some of the posts that I’ve written and that guest swappers have written over the years. Other sources of inspiration are the Very Berry ATC Swap Flickr Group (please do load your pics there if you are a Flickr user), and did you see my film on YouTube?

ATC Top Tips

Tips from Bekki on sizing and design.

Labelling at Artist Trading Card

Mini-tutorial by me on using Transfer Artist Paper to label the back of your card.


ATCs and the creative process

Some fab thoughts from Catherine on bringing your ideas together.

ATC construction ideas

Some practical ideas for creating the shape of your ATC from Carley.

Finding your ATC inspiration

A great post about bringing your ideas together by Susan, including a pic of Ryan Gosling to distract you..

Making your own printed fabric for your ATC

Mini-tutorial by me about how to print our own unique piece of fabric for your ATC – you can print the back too. I think this is my favourite way to present the info on the back of the ATC. Remember, you need to include the title (in this case you could use the theme, ‘Small Things’, your name, the date, and means of contact – email, IG name, etc.).

Another way to construct your ATC

Mini-tutorial by me showing another way of putting an ATC together, layer by layer.

When your ATC goes missing

Staying philosophical if the worst happens… a post about the post by me.


And finally – do keep in touch with me during the swap, and feel free to come to me with any questions you might have. Thanks so much for swapping along!


Pincushion challenge on Instagram

I know I have been rather absent here, for which I am most apologetic. I have been in a frenzy of making, writing, planning… I will have more to tell you about all of that, but in the mean time I thought I’d tell you about the fun Instagram challenge I joined in with in August. Tinkerellen (well worth a follow on IG, she is so talented and an all round sweet person) set up the hashtag #pinnieparade and challenged us to share a photo of a handmade pincushion every day of the month. I confess I mostly shared pics of pincushions I’ve made over the last 6 years or so (and I have made a LOT), but I did make some new ones:

Pinnie parade day 11a
This one is made with some left-over stitched strips of silk tweed I sewed together when I created this leaf brooch. These gorgeous fabrics are from Beyond Measure.


Liberty blue pincushion
For this pincushion I used some tiny Liberty lawn and Oakshott cotton blocks that I had made for a miniature quilt which didn’t happen! The main theme to this blog post is, NEVER THROW ANYTHING AWAY!


Pinnie parade day 15
A square hexie pincushion I made as a sample for my class in English Paper Piecing at Hollies Haberdashery. It’s a bit on the large size for a pincushion, but easier for my beginner-stitchers to sew together!


Pinnie parade day 18
For this little pinnie I used some triangles I cut a long time ago when I made this mini-quilt for the Schnitzel and Boo swap back in late 2015.  So yes, scraps and orphan blocks are never wasted – I try and make sure I store them in ziplock bags so I can find them easily when an idea comes to mind.


Pinnie parade day 7
Lovely Sarah from the fabulous Duck Egg Threads sent me some of this gorgeous Liberty print, Adelajda, because she know it is my favourite. I couldn’t resist making a heart with it, and adding some hand crocheted lace. Makes me very happy, this pincuhsion – if it appeals to you, you can find it in my Etsy shop.


Pinnie parade day 23
Some more tiny bits of Liberty that I found in my ‘leftovers’ box – I can’t remember what I made these strips for, but I think they look right at home where they are now. This one is also for sale over in my Etsy shop, if it takes your fancy.


Pinnie parade day 25
There’s a story behind this one.. I was listening to the wonderful musician Chris Thile on YouTube last night talking about the uniqueness of each individual’s inner response to music… he finished with the brilliant affirmation – You’re It! Got me thinking that as stitchers we all see things differently and make things differently, according to our unique inner vision and perceptions of colours, patterns, fabrics, textures, moods, etc. Such a hopeful thought when self-criticism is dominating. I thought I’d try and remind myself of this on a daily basis with a new pincushion for my workroom.


Pinnie parade day 21
And last, but not least, and probably my favourite – this one is made with some of my favourite scraps, pieced together willy-nilly, just for fun.

Hope you enjoy all the pics! Instagram has such a lovely quilting and sewing community,it’s well worth joining if you have been wary of yet more social media. I generally find it a fairly positive place, and Instagram challenges like this one are a great non-pressured way to expand your creativity (and use up fabric scraps!).