Monday, 1 December 2014

Lily's Quilts

Over at Lily's Quilts, she very kindly running a small blog meet up for blogs (like me) with fewer than 50 followers, who would like to get to know some other blogs.

Such a fab idea because sometimes smaller blogs don't get seen, yet often have really interesting info !

Pop over for her website for the the full details

Sunday, 30 November 2014

Neonatal Baby Nest Tutorial

As you may already know on 11th Jan 2015 we are holding a Sewing Day for Milton Keynes Neonatal Unit, making Baby Nests;

For anyone who can't make it but would still like to make a baby nest and drop into us or MK hospital here's a quick tutorial

First Print off these pattern sheets

Next join the pages and cut out the pattern.  Note - Use 10mm or 5/8th inch seam allowance which is included in the pattern.

Next cut out your fabric - the padded head section is cut on the bias to allow it to bend nicely.

Cut 2 x each of the base and the padded piece.

The hospital have asked for just the padded section on it's own, so for this fold the long padded section in half length ways right sides together.

Sew using zigzig/ stretch on your machine (this is really really important as the fabric cut on the bias will stretch when stuffed with the hollow fiber and we don't want popped seams or hollow fiber coming out near babies !) leave both ends open.

Turn inside out, stuff with hollow fibre and close each end with your sewing machine.

So that's complete, now for the Baby Nest

For the padded section fold length ways again but this time wrong sides together, and sew using zigzag stitch leaving both ends open.

Next cut 1 piece of wadding the same shape as the base and quilt together.

Next pin the padded section to the base as shown & sew to the base around the edge - 10mm or 5/8th seam again.

Next take the other piece of base fabric, place on top right side down as shown, sew from notch to notch.

Next turn out so it now looks like this

You are ready to stuff the padded section - so it looks like this 

Fold the ends under and machine stitch closed.  Next turn inside out again and close as much of the gap as you can

Turn the right way out and turn under the remaining gap and top stitch closed with your machine.  Then I hand sew the corners of the padded section flat just because I think it looks nice.

All done :-)

 Don't forget if you want to join us here's the event details 


Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Charity Sewing Day - Update

Just a quick update on our Charity Sewing event in Jan, details here

We have our fabric !!!!  Which arrived this morning.

Just to let you know I will be doing a tutorial and giving you the pattern so even if you can't join us on the day you can buy the fabric and send us your baby nests.

We bought our fabric from - the best price I could find for the Hungry Caterpillar Fabric. 

Monday, 10 November 2014

Work in progress - Toddler Quilt

My youngest boy will be 2 in December and I was hoping to finish a new quilt and matching cushions for his room...but time is ticking it....I need to find more sewing hours in the day.

Because I knew I would be busy with Halloween, and Christmas planning I picked a simple design, from a book I bought by one of my favorite quilt bloggers Allison Harris her blog is

You can read her posts about this book here, it's idea for busy mums like me and the instructions are really straightforward and clear.

I'm making progress on cutting out and some piecing......I've changed the measurements slightly for my version - I need 72 of these blocks shown here. 

I love this fabric, it's called Little Ark by Riley Blake Designs, such fab colours too !

You can view the fabric line here

Hopefully I will have a finished quilt top to show you soon !!

Monday, 3 November 2014

Getting the most from your Walking Foot

I was so pleased when Fiona at The Sewing Directory asked me to write a feature about the Walking Foot, I've only ever written for my own blog and my class course notes very exciting for me to write for such an amazing site !!!

You can find my feature here :-)

Sunday, 2 November 2014

Lily's Quilts

Over at Lily's Quilts, she very kindly running a small blog meet up for blogs (like me) with fewer than 50 followers, who would like to get to know some other blogs.

Such a fab idea because sometimes smaller blogs don't get seen, yet often have amazing posts.  I really enjoy finding new blogs.  I have young children so when I've been up all night, afternoon nap time is my blog reading time which I love !

Pop over for her website for the the full details

Friday, 31 October 2014

Charity Sewing Day for Milton Keynes Neonatal Unit

Charity Sewing Day  Sunday 11th January 10am-4pm 

We are delighted to be holding an event in January to make these much needed baby nests for our local neonatal unit.

The neonatal dept. at hospital have a hungry caterpillar theme so we will purchasing some fabric for the event which has been very kindly sponsored by Milton Keynes Preparatory Schools 

If you can use a sewing machine and would like to donate some time we would love to hear from you, we will provide lots of tea/coffee and biscuits !!

As we have a limited amount of space we are asking people to book a slot either 10am -1pm or 1pm - 4pm  you do not need to stay the full time just as long as you have free.


Date11th January 2015

The Sip and Sew Studios, 70a High Street,
Stony Stratford, MK11  1AH

10am - 4pm 

Contact Emma on   01908 330020 or

Wednesday, 15 October 2014

Sashiko Embroidery

I've always loved Sashiko embroidery designs but reading books about different embroidery I thought they looked like they would take me a long time to do as I'm a slow hand sewer.

Then recently Fiona at   shared a link and as I scrolled through I saw preprinted panels !!!   Wow I never knew you could get pre printed panels how FAB !

I looked on google for a UK supplier straight away, and found  :-)

The very next day they arrived !

It's in Japanese but the pictures are really helpful 

This is the pre printed panel so it has each stitch marked out for you, to help you get even stitches.

You don't need a hoop just a long embroidery needle, and it's just a simple running stitch as shown below.  Then you just even out the tension with your fingers.

In no time at all I'd finished and I'm a slow slow hand sewer !

The printed panel comes with fabric for backing so you could make into a cushion, tote bag, or like me a pot holder/table runner.  I'm going to make 3 all different patterns and put them together on my table as hot food mats !

Friday, 12 September 2014

Bernina Activa 220 - 2 Year Review

Bernina Activa 220 - 2 Year Review

I know people do lots of research before investing in a new machine (I know I did), after all it is a big purchase.  Unlike cars which have magazines providing lots of expert reviews there's often not many reviews on sewing machines other than customer shop reviews which are generally written very soon after purchase and often relate to delivery times and shop service.

I thought it might be helpful to do a review of my home machine.

Model - Berninan Activa 220

Cost when new £549 

Extras I have purchased
Walking Foot - cost new £99 - I got mine on ebay second hand for £40
Extension table - £25
Metal Bobbins 
Patchwork 1/4 inch foot £35

So 2 yrs on what do I love about this machine ?

Most things !

1. Perfect straight stitches every time.  

2. Unlike some other machines you don't need to pull up the bobbin thread before you start, and you don't need lead in fabric it starts off sewing neatly straight away.

3. The 1/4 Inch patchwork foot a perfect quarter inch and it's really easy to use. 

4. I have 9 needle positions to make top stitching easy & neat.

5. It's got a 30 stitch memory so I can design my own stitch patterns by combining stitches.

6. The Needle up / down stop position - love it !, never even knew I needed this until I got it !

7. I can change stitch length and width whilst sewing !

8. Lovely bright lights

9. Easy to put the extension table on.

10. 50 Stitches more than I need personally.

11.  Alphabet Stitches - so I can make school uniform name labels (note these are just basic they don't look amazing).

12. I can drop the feed dogs (although I never do the option is there !)

13. Great darning program and overlock stitch.  I don't own an overlocker so it's really brilliant to have for me.

The extension table, really lovely - really steady, easy to put on no feet add so easy to store too.

From left to right - needle stop up/down, 1/2 Speed option and finish stitch pattern so if you are doing the memory stitches you know when it's complete - good for lettering so you don't run on by accident.

Stitches 1-10 are detailed on the machine for the rest you type in the number

Screen shows you the stitch number selected, the footer you need, and the width and length of the stitch, which you can change.

What's not so good...............

1. This machine does not have a one step buttonhole ! its a 4 step and you are meant to buy a buttonhole foot as extra, you don't get one with the machine. Now I'm a quilter and I did buy the machine primary to quilt but I do think for the money Bernina are mean not putting an auto button hole on the machine !

2. Sewing space to the right of the needle.  Although the machine is really study and well made it's slightly small when it comes to getting a big quilt under it, it's possible but life would be so much easier with a bit more space.

3. The 3 step Lycra stitch on the Bernina is a wave shape not the pointy shape most machines have.... not the end of the world I'm being picky I guess !


Thursday, 21 August 2014

Beginners Machine Sewing - Zipper Bag

I've been busy cutting out fabric this last week ready for our Beginners Machine Sewing class on 5th Oct at Woburn Village Hall. 

Details here  -

We will be making some of these handy zipper bags, perfect as a weekend wash bag or makeup bag. 

I used makower bike path fabric, (which was on sale at the Fabric Guild) and a iron on firm interfacing so they stand up nice and neat !

Saturday, 16 August 2014

Friendship Star Block Cushion

I've just made my son a cushion to match his pillow cases...

I was a planning a zig zag quilt to match as requested......but now the request has changed to a "zombies vs plants" (as game he discovered on the ipads in our new macdonalds !) quilt ! I guess 5 year olds just don't worry about matching decor !  

The whale fabric is Robert Kaufman - Ann Kelle "Urban Zoologie" I love the colours. The Navy is Robert Kaufman "spot on".  

I quilted it on my little lightweight brother machine, as took it with me to a sewing group I attend each Wednesday evening, and my bernina is fairly heavy to walk from the car park with.  My little brother machine did a great job ! I used my walking foot to do echo quilting around the star to help it stand out, and used feather stitch on the top and bottom boarder and then serpentine stitch, also know as running stitch or stitch number 4 on a Bernina around the edge.  I used gutermann 50wt cotton for the piecing and quilting it's a great all round thread. 

Wednesday, 13 August 2014

Ready for Halloween

We are getting ready for Halloween early this year because my 5 yr old simply can't wait after we went to a brilliant Halloween party last year.

I recently went fabric shopping at the Fabric Guild in Leicester and spotted this panel which makes 2 trick or treat bags and a door banner, perfect !

Here's the link if you want one -

The finished items are below, someone was so delighted with his bag I didn't get it back for a photo :-)

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Sewing Workshops at The Sip and Sew Studios in Stony Stratford

I'm so so excited to be teaching again for the fabulous Sip and Sew Studios in Stony Stratford !

The Sip and Sew Society in Stony Stratford meet each Wednesday 7pm til 9:30pm for a friendly skills share session, they have sewing machines you can use including one with a walking foot for quilting and also an overlocker. Or you can bring your own sewing machine along with you.  It's just £5 per session.

They also offer a wide range of workshops such as knitting, crochet & sewing machine basics you can follow them on facebook for updates,

or on their website