Love Love Sewing

Sorry to have been so quiet! We have been up to our ears in various domestic upheavals. It was time for our boys to get separate rooms and exciting new beds, which resulted in much building of flat-pack furniture and rearranging of other furniture around it. It was a bit like doing one of those sliding puzzles that are so infuriating. The low point was when husband and I realised that we had built the wrong bed in the wrong room… I am surprised we all came through that alive to be honest!

Whilst we had the skip in the drive, we also decided to demolish the fitted wardrobe in our bedroom and move the Very Berry workshop upstairs. It was an horrific experience of not knowing where anything was, but things are a lot better organized now, so I can relax again.  We are nowhere near finished rearranging (we seem to have an awful lot of STUFF, including an embarrassingly extensive fabric stash…), but the end is in sight I hope.

A note of excitement in amongst all the chaos was the arrival of Love Sewing magazine:

Love Sewing - take a look at these gorgeous free gifts!

It’s a new arrival to the UK craft scene and I am lucky enough to be featured in the main magazine and in the awesome Liberty supplement. Here are some show-offy pics…

First up in the main mag is my Mini Art Wrap:



I designed this Liberty and linen wedding clutch as a new project for the magazine. I absolutely love how they have styled this. It’s so wonderful to send something off and see what the magazine stylists do with it to make it look its best:

Liberty wedding clutch


Finally, my Liberty Wallflower Cushion is also in the supplement. You can buy fabric kits for this pillow in my Liberty fabric shop (I will custom cut the patchwork pieces for you):



The good news for me is that I am working on a couple of things for future issues. Here’s a little something involving improv Liberty patchwork and Kantha stitching that’s a prototype for another Love Sewing project. Haven’t got it quite how I want it, but it’s getting there, and very relaxing to sew in amongst all the DIY:



Happy Post from Seamstar

One of the great things about the work I do is the regular arrival of parcels at my door. There really is nothing like getting parcels is there? And the best parcels of all are the ones you have forgotten you were expecting (and no, it doesn’t happen that often, my senior moments are mostly confined to scissor/rotary cutter location problems…!).

So of course, I love the idea of fabric and craft clubs, where you get a surprise parcel every month. On the other hand, I’ve always been a bit wary of them , because, control freak that I am, I’m not sure how keen I am on someone else choosing my sewing stuff for me.  But my recent experience of trying a new Craft Club from Seamstar has been very positive indeed.  Courtney, the very lovely owner of Seamstar asked me if I’d like to try the first month for free (a big thank you to her for such a treat..), so I gave into temptation and put my control freakery to one side.

To be honest, I shouldn’t really have worried, I already know (as a regular customer) that the folks at Seamstar have good taste. I opened the parcel with great interest – there was so much squeezed in.


The bundle  includes a Monthly Makeable – something you can get your teeth into straight away – April’s kit was this sweet little bird, and included the fabric, stuffing, thread and instructions needed.


I always associate Seamstar with lovely bright colours, modern, bright and quirky prints, and the kit contents really reflect that. I got sweet ribbons, buttons and felt applique shapes.


And some more gorgeous felt in trademark Seamstar brights, in generous pieces:


But my brain really got whirring when I saw these fabulous animal prints (the kits are themed – and the April theme was animals – next month the theme is Vintage Notes). 


I’ve been really keen to make a patchwork version of my mini art wrap (here’s the tute) for quite while, and these fabrics were just exactly what I needed. So with a bit of linen from my stash, I came up with this:



There was enough fabric to make part of the inner pocket too, along with some more polka dots from my stash:


I think even if I’d had to pay the subscription (£9.99 plus £2.99 P&P for each month) I would have been really impressed with the quality and quantity of fabrics and habdash I received in my bundle from the Craft Club – it’s definitely worth checking out – you can read more over at Seamstar. Thanks again to Courtney and the gang for the opportunity to do some sewing for the sake of sewing. I really enjoyed it – it’s been about 3 weeks since I had my sewing machine out, and even then it was just to turn up a pair of trousers…!  

Hope all my lovely readers are getting to do a bit of sewing this weekend…

Tutorial: Mini Art Wrap

Art wraps close up

These little wraps measure 5.5″ x 7″ (18cm x 14cm) folded, and 10″ x 16.5″ (25cm x 41cm) unfolded. There is room inside for a small notebook/sketch pad (A6 size) and 16 full size pencils/pens (2 to each pocket).Flowery art wrap 2

Please feel free to use this pattern in any way that you wish, but I would very much appreciate a link back to this tutorial, or at least to my blog, if you are going to make art wraps for sale – many thanks!

The fabrics used for the flowery art wrap in this tutorial are from my wonderful blog sponsors: My Fabric House.

Art wraps

Project Requirements

I’m not specifying how much you need of each fabric to complete this project, because you can mix and match the fabrics you use, but the absolute maximum you will need is a couple of co-ordinating FQs and some contrast fabric for binding (and there’ll be left overs from the FQs!). You’ll also need low loft fusible fleece and medium weight iron on interfacing (you can read more about this, my favourite combination for providing structure without bulk, just here). You’ll also need a quilting ruler, a fabric marking pen – I mostly use my wonderful Chaco Liner Pen – and an iron and pressing cloth. A Sewline glue pen, or other washable glue stick, is also really useful, but not essential – pins will do!

Cutting List

The outer part of the wrap is made up of 3 sections, as you can see from the picture below.
Left panel (panel 1 in pic): 6.75″ x 11″
Middle panel (panel 2): 9″ x 11″
Right panel (panel 3): 2.75″ x 11″
Fusible fleece: 10.5″ x 17″

Outside art wrap

Main ties, cut 2: 18″ x 1.75″
Tie tabs, cut 2: 4″ x 2″

The inner section is made up of one piece of main body fabric, and 2 pieces for the pocket.
Main body fabric: 17.5″ x 11″
Pocket outer: 17.5″ x 4″
Pocket lining & binding: 17.5″ x 5″
Iron-on medium weight interfacing for main body: 10.5″ x 17″; for the pocket: 4″ x 17″ (not always necessary)

Step 1: Make the ties

1) Fold the first tie in half lengthways and finger press to form a crease (picture 1 below). Unfold, and fold the 2 edges into the middle crease, pressing them into place with an iron (picture 2). Fold in half, then press again and finally stitch the long open edge as indicated in picture 3 (don’t worry about stitching the narrow ends – these will be hidden). Repeat these steps for the other tie.
Pic 12) Next take one piece of tie tab fabric and fold in half lengthways, finger pressing the fold, then unfold again (picture 1 below). Fold the 2 edges into the middle fold line and press with an iron (picture 2). Keep the edges folded in and fold in half widthways this time, finger pressing again (picture 3). Unfold and press the 2 short edges into the crease you just made (picture 4). Now Fold down the middle again – you should have created a nice little square (or close enough!) with all of the raw edges hidden.

3) Now to attach the tie tab to the one of the ties you created earlier. Place one end of a tie into an unfolded tie tab, with the end of the tie positioned next to the short crease in the tie tab and pin or glue into position (picture 5). Fold the tie tab again, and then stitch as indicated in picture 6.
Pic 2

4) Repeat for the other tie and tie tab.

Step 2: Make the outer section

1) Stitch together the middle panel and the left hand panel, along the 11″ edges, with a 1/4″ seam, then press the seam towards the centre panel fabric, as shown.
Pic 62) With right side facing, on the outer edge of the middle panel, measure 4″ from the bottom right corner and mark. Pin the ties, one on top of the other, at this point, with the bottom edge of the ties aligned with the mark you made, with about a 1/2″ overlap, as shown in the picture below.
Pic 73) Now position the right hand panel, on the right hand edge of the middle section, right sides together, sandwiching the ties and pin in place, as shown below:
Pic 84) Stitch a 1/4″ seam along the line indicated in the picture, and then press the seam towards the middle section of the outer body, as before. This picture shows how the completed seam on the wrong side:
Pic 95) Take the 10.5″ x 17″ piece of fusible fleece and fuse to the wrong side of the outer section , following the manufacturer’s instructions. Because I don’t like my wadding/interfacing cluttering up my seam allowances, the fleece will be a little smaller than your completed outer – position it centrally.

6) Top stitch about 1/8″ from the 2 seam lines on the centre panel fabric (not essential, but it looks good!). Strengthen the area where the ties are placed, stitching a little rectangle and cross across the seam line and  through the end of ties, as shown.
Pic 12 7) You’re done with the outer section for now – hopefully it will look something like this: Pic 10

Step 3: Make the inner section

1) Iron the interfacing to the main inner body fabric, following the manufacturer’s instructions. Once again, because I don’t like too much interfacing in my seam allowance, the outer fabric will overlap the interfacing a little – position it centrally. Once you’ve done this, put to one side whilst you make the pocket.

2) Iron interfacing to the outer pocket piece if using (this isn’t absolutely necessary if you are using heavier linen or cotton/linen mix fabrics for the pocket). Pin the pocket and the pocket lining right sides together, with the top edge aligned. The pocket lining will be an inch longer than the pocket, as shown in the picture:
Pic 33) Stitch a very careful 1/2″ seam along the top edge of the pocket. Then open up and press the seam so that seam allowance is against the lining fabric, as shown in the picture:
Pic 44) Now fold the lining over the top of the pocket front edge so that the 2 fabrics are wrong sides together, but there is a 1/2″ of lining showing at the top of the pocket to create a bound effect. Top stitch the binding edge, as indicated by the red dotted line.
Pic 55) Position the wrong side of the completed pocket section against the right side of  the main inner, aligning the bottom edges. Pin in place, then zig-zag stitch or baste along the 2 short sides of the pocket and the bottom edge, to keep the pocket and inner nicely aligned whilst you are sewing the pockets.

6) Using a quilting ruler and an erasable fabric marker, mark the pockets divisions. Working from the right edge, the pocket widths are as follows: 6.25″ (this includes the seam allowance), 1.25″, 1.25″, 1.25″, 1.25″, 0.5″ (this is an empty bit to allow the wrap to fold neatly), 1.25″, 1.25″, 1.25″, 1.25″ (the last pocket edge is the left hand edge), as shown in the picture. Keep these as parallel as you can – the important thing for a good looking finish is to keep them all at a 90 degree angle to the top edge of the pocket.

Pockets on art wrap

7) Stitch the pockets making sure that you make reverse stitches at the top of the pockets, as shown below – remember these are going to take a lot of wear and tear, so you need to know that your stitches aren’t going to unravel. It’s also a good idea to pull the loose ends of threads through to the back and knot them. Tedious, but more secure in the long run. Here’s the look you are aiming for:

Pic 13

Step 4: Putting it all together

1) The final stage! Pin the the inner and outer sections right sides together and stitch the bottom and the sides with a 1/2″ seam, making sure that you don’t trap the ties in your seams. Don’t stitch the top edge yet.

2) Mark the seam line of the top edge and then use something with a curved edge (a drinking glass is good) to mark the curved corners of the top edge, as shown in the picture, then trim the curves you’ve made to create a 0.5″ seam allowance.
Pic 153) Now stitch the top edge, with its curved corners, leaving a 3-4″ gap for turning. Turn through and check that everything is as it should be, before turning the wrap inside out again to trim the seams and clip the curves.

4) Turn right side out and push out the corners with a blunt pencil or knitting needle. Press the wrap really thoroughly, using a damp pressing cloth to get a really neat finish, and ensuring that you turn in the the seam allowance edges of the gap you left in the top seam. You can stitch this gap closed with a ladder stitch (here’s a great video tutorial for ladder stitch) if you like, but I usually just temporarily glue or pin the edges in place and rely on good top stitching to make it look perfect (I hope…).

5) Now for the very final step – top stitch round the entire art wrap, keeping as close to the edge as possible. You might find you need to swap to a machine needle that copes well with lots of layers (a 90/14 is good) if you have been using a finer needle up until now. Here’s a close up of my top stitching (mostly because I am quite proud of it…!):

Pic 16

And that’s it! All you need to do now is fill it up with your art supplies, fold & tie!  I hope you can work out how to do that bit….

Flowery art wrap

Please remember that this is freely provided, so if you have any difficulties with the pattern 0r (no, surely not!) criticisms, word them nicely! I have proof read it several times, but I’m bound to have missed something, so be kind..

Click here for lots more FREE sewing tutorials from Very Berry.