Tuesday, 10 November 2015

About our Classes

I thought I should write a little bit about our workshops in general so people know what to expect;

1. Class Size
We keep our class sizes small to ensure you get enough tuition, for example absolute beginners machine sewing is no more than 5 students.   We also show our class sizes on all our bookings.  

2. Friendly flexible tuition
Although each class is fully planned our classes a not formal, we don't stand at the front and talk at you, we show you each step and then if needed each step on a one to one basis. We don't expect everyone to work at the same rate, we welcome questions not just about the project but any sewing questions you have.  I hope that this way the course is tailored to each group & everyone learns lots of new sewing skills.  

3. We include refreshments tea/coffee :-)

4. Equipment
We don't send you a huge list of equipment you need to go out and buy after you have booked the course ! All the equipment pins, rulers, rotary cutters, cutting mats, marking pens, needles, etc are all available to use on the day.  For some classes we will ask you to bring your own fabric, this is so you can choose the fabric you like but we always provide equipment for you to use.   

5. Sewing Machines - we have modern easy to use sewing machines available to use if you don't have a working machine to bring along.

We have 2 Brother LS14  

We have 1 Brother ES2020  - computerized with auto button holes really user friendly
We have one Bernina 220 - this is my own home machine really it's heavier than the others and so I only bring this as a spare !

6. Location/Space
We currently teach at The Nimble Thimble in buckingham , their workshop area is bright and theres lots of space really important to have room for cutting out.  When we aren't able to use The Nimble Thimble we hire local venues, we always ensure class numbers are not too big for the space.

The Nimble Thimble Workshop area

Monday, 9 November 2015


I do apologise for the lack of blog posts, we have been so very busy with 1:1 classes I've not been very good a taking photos or writing for the blog.  

I have also been working on 2016 workshops including researching new classes as we have had lots of requests for dressmaking.

I've just added a tab on the blog with some photos of our teaching locations here 


First up is The Nimble Thimble Quilt Store in Buckingham.....

Friday, 21 August 2015

Half Square Triangle Cushion

I love half square triangle quilt blocks there are so many patterns, so I decided I would use some left over cotton/linen fabric to make some patchwork cushions.

The fabric I had was probably too thick really for patchwork, but I got away with it ( i think), if you want the linen look for patchwork you can get Robert Kaufman essex linen which is lighter in weight, mine was closer to upholstery weight not ideal.

I've seen lots of half square triangle sampler quilts so the idea was to make a set of HST cushions each with a different block design.  Just for fun I'm going to see which of our guests notice they are different  !

Cutting out all the half square triangles was really quick because I used my fab Sizzix Big shot with the 4 1/2 inch finished square die.  If you are thinking of getting a sizzix I would totally totally recommend they cut perfectly, and are so so quick as you can cut upto 8 layers of quilting weight cotton in one go. I got mine from Hobbycraft  on offer - look out for the offers, and if you sign up to their newsletter I think you get 20% off too.

If you don't have a die cutter you could use charm packs and use this method  I still use this method for larger square, the only drawback with the sizzix machine I have, they do a bigger machine but that's more expensive and not as easy to take to classes etc.

 I quilted with top just a little in the ditched using cotton/bamboo wadding.

Now I just need to make some more !

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Handmade Espadrilles !

I was browsing Sew Magazine the other day and they mentioned that The Makery had done a YouTube video on how to sew your own Espadrilles here.

The Makery also sell everything you need including the soles, but being a bargain hunter I did a little googling, to see if I could find any soles on sale, and found that New Look had these sandals for just £3

As I'm often between sizes I ordered a size 6 and 7, and even with delivery was still only £9.99 !

The only downside to my money saving idea, was unpicking the new look sandal, and not having a pattern, which is provided with the prymm sole that The Makery sell. 

There is a free pattern here although the prymm one is probably better as it's designed for their sole.  I decided to make my own pattern as I have wide feet and thin ankles so have a nightmare with shoes.   

Here's my test version....I have identified I need the size 6 but a few stitches at the heel makes these wearable so I'm ready for the beach.  I think on the next pair I'll make the heel fabric a bit higher and the foot part smaller but they are really easy to make, I never hand stitch anything if I can avoid but I really enjoyed sewing the blanket stitch around the edge was very simple to do.

Monday, 6 July 2015

Sewing Cafe - Mini Make

At our Sewing Cafe day on 2nd August - details here there will be some free mini makes to take home;

The first one is a no sew fabric butterfly for any children who attend.  These will be prepared to all you need to do is cut out with a sharp but round ended pair of scissors.

Here's what to do

Iron on 2 pieces of firm interfacing on the reverse of your fabric (this will be done for you for the sewing cafe afternoon).

Draw yourself a butterfly template, and then draw around this using air eraser pen,

Next cut out your butterfly

Then you need to fold your butterfly's wings out so it can fly :-)

Then make your butterfly lots of friends

There's so many things you can decorate with these, sew or glue them on hairbands or hair clips, or on canvas for wall art :-)  Or white tack them to your walls, mirrors or chalk board !

Saturday, 4 July 2015

Oliver S Sunny Day Shorts - Free Pattern

I mentioned in my last post I was going to try out this free pattern, by OliverS, and I'm glad I did it's a great pattern ! Here's the shorts I made, (I'm planning lots more).

The free pattern goes from 6mths to 12yrs, great that OliverS have made this classic shorts pattern free ! The instructions were really well written and very easy to follow all round FAB.

Wednesday, 1 July 2015

Purl Bee City Gym Shorts - Free Pattern

It's so so hot here in the UK at the moment I thought I'd make some children's shorts for my twin niece and nephew for their birthday.

I've found  few free patterns on the internet the first one being for PurlBee's City Gym shorts 

The free pdf pattern was quick to put together and the instructions really clear.  I used interlock jersey for the main and quilting cotton fabric for the bias binding.   

Hope she likes them, I'm not sure about the shape of them really but I'm glad I tried the pattern out.....next up is another free pattern OliverS Sunny Day Shorts....will post pics when they are finished.



Sunday, 26 April 2015

Almost Finished Quilt !

This weekend I'm delighted to have almost finished this quilt ! as the quilt top has been waiting to be quilted a little while but prep for sewing classes and other quicker projects jumped the sewing queue !!

I whizzed through the quilting, and put the binding on in such a rush that it needs a little more attention before it's used, but I thought I would take some pictures in the garden now while it's dry as we are forecast rain this week.

I've been on my hands and knees basting it for what seems like forever, it's a little creased, but over all I'm really pleased with the finished quilting. 

I used EQS 100% Bamboo wadding and I was a little disappointed as it's thinner and not as bouncy as the 50% Cotton 50% Bamboo and I think the quilting doesn't look at nice as with my more expensive wadding but it was on offer online and I have lots more to use up !  It does drape beautifully and it's a lovely weight I'm sure it will wash up just fine !!!

I quilted it with Aurifil Cotton 40wt as I like my quilting to be seen, and I used stitch No. 4 on my Bernina Activa - running stitch also know as serpentine stitch.  I had the width set one notch below max 5.4 and the length 3.4, and I used my walking foot.  This quilting is so easy and quick !
Here's a closer look at the quilting 


The fabric line is Riley Blake Little Ark and the pattern is from a book by my favorite blogger Alison over at CluckCluckSew.

I shall post some pictures when is washed so you can see how it looks and hopefully the wadding will wash up better !

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Beach Bag Tutorial

The weather is getting warmer so the perfect time to make yourself a colourful bag for the beach !  

The fabric we used is Robert Kaufman Geopop Canvas by Emmie K, I totally love this fabric line & there's some more colour options see over on the Robert Kaufman Website 


1/2" Seams throughout unless directed otherwise.

1. First cut out your fabric; 

            2 x Outer Fabric 45cm x 50cm
            2 x Lining Fabric 45cm x 50cm
            2 x Outer Fabric  2.5inches( sorry for the change to inches used my patchwork ruler) x 80cm
            2 x Lining Fabric 2.5Inches x 80cm

2. Handles - Take the long pieces of fabric, (the handles) and fold the long sides over so they meet,

Iron flat,place both folder edges together and pin

Then Top stitch approx 1/4 inch from the edge.

Now you have your handles ready to attach to your bag !

3.  Attach Handles - Mark 51/2" from each edge of the top of your bag, and place the strap on the outside of the mark as shown below. Then sew with a 1/4inch seam back and forth a couple of time to hold in place.  (Tip, try to keep the handles at a right angle to the bag).  Repeat for both handles.

4. Sew Bag edges - Place fabric right sides together (Tip, I find it easier at this stage to pull the bag handles up out of the way), and using 1/2" seam sew the sides and the bottom of your bag together, as shown by the dashed line below.

5. Sew Lining Edges - in the same way as shown above for the outer fabric.

6. Make Boxed Corners - Take the bottom corner of your bag outer fabric and measure 11/2" from the seam as shown below;

Mark the 11/2" square, cut it out and then pull the seams together to form your boxed corner as shown below.  Sew this gap closed using the same 1/2" seam allowance.

Sew the gap closed using the same 1/2" seam allowance so now it looks like this;

Repeat the boxed corners for the lining also.

7. Now we can turn the lining fabric out so that the right sides are on the outside, push out the corners from the inside so it looks like this;

8. So we are almost done we just need to sew the lining fabric to the bag outer fabric ! To do this put the lining inside the bag so both right sides are facing, so the outer of the bag is still inside out.  Tuck the bag handles inside the bag. 

Now sew a 1/2" around the top of the bag but leaving a gap of the few inches between one set of the handles.

9. Next turn the bag the right way out through the gap you left.

10. Iron the top of the bag so it's flat ready for top stitching, and then top stitch (in a lovely colour thread) 1/4" or closer to the top of the bag all the way around this will close the turning gap we left.

11. Your beach bag is finished !!  

We had a great time making this at a recent Beginners Sewing Class I taught; 

Wednesday, 8 April 2015

Our class sewing machines

A few of our students have said it would be helpful to know what machines  we provide at classes, to help them decide if they want to bring their own or not. Good idea I thought ! I'd like to know if I was coming to a class !    

We have.....

2 x Brother LS14 Machines
These are only a few months old, really really easy to use. Top loading bobbins, 14 pre set stitches including zig zag, and 4 step button hole.  My first machine was a brother so I'm very very bias but these machines are excellent value for money for a basic beginner machine.  Nice and light to take with you to classes/sewing group etc.

More details here if you are looking to buy a good basic machine.

1 x Brother ES2020 

Computerised machine, every easy to use.  Can change stitch width and length, and choose from 40 stitches also has auto buttonholes.  It has a LCD screen which tells you the stitch number selected, width and length and it also tells you which presser foot to need for certain stitches ! love that.

1 x Bernina Activa 220

I only bring this machine to some classes as it's heavier and slightly more complicated to use, although it's really easy once you get used to it just looks like lots of buttons !  It has variable needle positions which are really really handy - I have done a full review of this machine here

We do hope to expand our range of machines as soon as we are able, as the business grows :-)