First attempts at free motion machine embroidery

I’ve completed my final project before we move house.   As the kids have gone back to school, I didn’t want to fork out on school insignia emblazoned uniform and accoutrements as I’m going to have to buy it all again for their new schools (yet to be sorted out and we move it 2 weeks! Eeeek!). However they still need to take their PE kits in and a carrier bag just wasn’t going to cut it.   I had some bits and bobs of canvas in the stash so decided to whip them up a couple of personalised bags, using this tutorial.


To personalise the bags I decided to try a bit of free motion machine embroidery.   My results weren’t amazing but not bad for a first try. I struggled with moving the fabric under the presser foot, even with the foot pressure set to the lowest.   It didn’t help that Eli’s name was stitched over a bulky seam line.



I lined the bags too.



The materials, including cord were ntirely from my stash too, so zero cost.

My sewing stuff all got packed away after I finished this project. The conversation with my husband went something like this.

Me: I think I’ll pack my sewing stuff. I won’t do any sewing now until we’ve moved.
Tobi: Yeah, I’m not sure I like that idea.
Me: Why?
Tobi: I like you reasonably stable.

For me, like many, sewing is a form of therapy. A mindfulness exercise where you can be nowhere other than in that moment. When I’m feeling particularly anxious, worried or low Tobi has been known to usher me towards my sewing machine as he knows he will get his level-headed wife back at the end of the evening.

I’m not sure I’ll have anything to post between now and the start of my new job in mid-October. But I’m hoping to make it to Charlotte’s (English Girl at Home) SewBrum meet-up on 31st October as I will only be half an hour away on the train. Fingers crossed the rota for my new job has me off on that day.

Until then, adieu.


A personal note & One Lovely Blog Award Nominee

Hi Guys.   Sorry I’ve been a bit on the quiet side lately.   I don’t want to be a moaner, and I’ve done my best to keep my day job off the blog, but the short reason I haven’t posted particularly regularly recently is that I’m really stressed with my day job.   Stressed to the point that my GP signed me off sick for three weeks.   So I have three weeks to collect my thoughts and decide where I want the next 30 years of my career to go.   I need Careers advice, anyone know where an adult can get that these days?

I’m hoping to use the time off for a bit of self-care too.   For my day job I look after other people all day long, I come home and have two young children to look after, with some support from my husband, and family stresses and strains to support with.   All this means I rarely get time just for me (I’m sure a lot of you ladies out there are in the same boat), so I’m going to look after myself in the bits of time I can snatch to myself.   My three-year old son, Eli, goes to nursery on a Wednesday and Friday mornings so I will have at least two mornings a week to do what I want to do.   Of course, for me that means sewing and hopefully a bit more frequent blogging…   That note brings me smoothly to the next point.

One Lovely Blog award Nominee

One Lovely Blog Award

I was blown away when Laura at the Accidental Seamstress nominated me for the One Lovely Blog Award.   Here I was thinking I was talking to myself but there really are people who are vaguely interested in my waffle.   Thanks so much, Laura, I’m really flattered, particularly as Laura’s blog looks so much more professional than mine.   Although, I’m hoping the quality of my photos will begin to improve as Tobi bought me a digital camera for my birthday at the end of November, especially for the blog.

You’re probably scratching your heads wondering what this award thing is all about.   Well, the One Lovely blog award is given to bloggers by bloggers.   It’s funny because I’d not really considered that I’d reached the point of having earnt the title ‘blogger’ but I guess it’s official now.  Of course there are some requirements to the award.

1.  Thank and link back to the blogger who nominated you

2.  Follow the blogger who nominated you

3.  List the rules and display the award

4.  List seven facts about yourself

5.  Nominate your own Top Ten Bloggers (let them know on their “About” page).

So, without further ado, here’s seven facts about me…

1. I married my first boyfriend.   We’ve known each other since we were eight and grew up in the same village in rural Hampshire.   I couldn’t stand him as a child but clearly that changed along the way.

2. I have a filthy mind.  You know the phrase ‘mind like a sewer’? Well, my friend Martin reckons that the sewers in my mind are so big there are people punting gondolas down them.  He has dubbed me ‘Gondola Mind’ as a result.

3. I once, very briefly, had a food blog.   I think there were only one or two posts on it and they were lame.   I can’t even remember the name of the blog or where it was hosted.

4. I love music and I’m a bit of a rocker really.   I have an eclectic taste in music; from Marilyn Manson to Bedouin Soundclash.

5. I’m incredibly lazy.  My car looks like a rubbish bin for my children, my bedroom floor is always covered in clothes and I think I’ve only cleared my car twice in the three years I’ve had it.   There’s more important things than housework, like spending time with my children, blogging and sewing.

6. My claim to fame is that my Dad was on UK chat show called Kilroy, hosted by Robert Kilroy-Silk,  twice and was also in a UK magazine called Woman’s Own.   I’m not going to share what the story was but feel free to have a guess, I bet you’ll never get it.

7. I find blogging a real effort.   I started the blog to be able to take part in the conversation and the amazing Sewing community that exists online, but I find it really difficult to motivate myself to blog.   I’m a bit of a hermit really and not the most social of people in real life.   Bear with me on the blog when there are big gaps between posts, I’m probably just psyching myself up to actually put something out there.


Well there we go, that was actually harder than I thought it was going to be trying to find 7 vaguely interesting things about myself.   As per the instructions of the award, I will be nominating my top 10 bloggers for the same award  but I’ll have to have a think about who to nominate.   So I’ll come back to you again and let you know who I chose.

The Knitting and Stitching Show and Giveaway Results

Look at me go, two posts in one week.   I’m still trying to find the perfect window of time to get some pics of finished makes done.   However rain and Tobi working the last two weekends has meant it’s been impossible so far.   Do not fret, it’ll be worth the wait. I’ve been pretty productive since I got a dedicated sewing space in our new house.

I’m not just here to waffle at you though.   I want to tell you about the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexandra Palace that I went to courtesy of a giveaway from Charlie at This Blog is Not For You.   I don’t have any sewing friends in real life and I wasn’t sure who to take with me.   Tobi volunteered but I pointed out he’d have to trail behind me while I bored him with sewing talk all day.   The plan then changed to him sitting in a cafe while I gawped but I thought I might as well go on my own.  My mother-in-law, Jayne, has been talking about getting a new sewing machine, after her last one was pronounced dead when it went in for a repair.   Like most of us, with our different shaped bodies, Jayne finds it difficult to find ready to wear clothes that fit well and so plans to alter charity shop buys to fit.   So, she seemed like the best person to ask to come with me and she agreed immediately.   Yay! the first day out with just the two of us.   Now, I know for some people this would be their worst nightmare but Jayne and I get on really well so I was really looking forward to the day.   Plus, FABRIC!!!!!

Although Andover is only and hour away from London on a direct train, we had to get across London on the tube and catch another train. Despite leaving Andover at 9:46 we didn’t get to Alexandra Palace until about 12:15.   I think the entrance was like a magical portway that induced a slightly maniacal grin from the moment I entered to the moment I left.

I wish we’d had more time to look at the galleries as we missed big chunks- I was too set on the shopping, having been told the night before by Tobi that my budget was about three times what I had originally planned.   We did see some amazing textile artists though.   As soon as you enter you were greeted by the knitted Pergoda, complete with budgies and a birds nest.

I did tear myself away from the shopping to see this lovely delicate head made of thread.   Unfortunately I didn’t make note of the maker.

My favourite display however was the Renate Keeping display with these amazing stuffed heads.

This Granny stole the show for me.   She had whiskers round her mouth and everything.   They reminded me of all of my social work clients, in a good way.

So I bet you want to see the haul.   I blew half my budget on this lovely mutli-coloured dahlia print on the Lady Sew and Sew stand.   This colourway is all of my favourite colours all bundled into one and the fabric feels really soft.   I have a feeling it’s going to be worth the money.

This is my favourite though- The COWS!!!   As my lovely friend, Chelsea, put it- it’s amoozing!   I had to have it as I’d seen this dress by Vanity Project dresses with the same fabric.   I practically elbowed someone out of the way to get my hands on the bolt.   I love the way it just looks like a black and white pattern from a distance but up close you see it’s a herd of beautiful bovine.

Last but not least was this lovely African Wax print.   It’s only half a metre but I’ve wanted to add some wax print to my stash after seeing so many amazing makes around the blogosphere, so it was snapped up.

Thank you again, Charlie, for your amazing giveaway.


On to the Giveaway.

Thank you to everyone who commented on the All the fun of the Fair post.   I’m glad you liked the makes.   They’re still much loved by my brood. And now, drumroll please…. the winner, chosen by the scientific method of putting names in a hat is…..

Congratulations, Bunty W!  Please e-mail me your postal details at so I can get your prize out to you asap.   To all of you who didn’t win you can still grab your own copy over at and you can be stitching up your own animals in now time.

Catch you again guys.

Kestrel Makes Spring Sewing Swap Goodies

Well, my spring sewing swap parcel arrived yesterday and, after a really stressful few days, I nearly hugged the post woman when I was she had the parcel of joy for me.   My swap partner was Andrea Winterflood, Sew Actually on Facebook.   She doesn’t yet have a blog, but I know she’s planning on launching one soon, so keep your eyes open.   Andrea runs local sewing classes and enjoys upcycling.

Now, the budget was £15 or local equivalent and I think Andrea has somehow stepped into a time where money was worth at least twice what it is now, because I received an amazing parcel.

I’ve been eyeing up this Simplicity pattern since Gertie made a few versions this time last year.   Have a look here, here and a post on the scalloped collar option here.   Andrea has great instincts on patterns for others.   I’m sure I’ll have fun adding to my summer wardrobe with this beauty.   I’ve wanted to try self-covered buttons for ages so I was pleased when I saw those.   The brown ribbon has a cute tape measure markings on it.

Andrea read on my blog that I applied for series three of the Great British sewing Bee and so she thought she’d set me a challenge and I received this interesting piece of leather which, I’ll admit now, I currently have no idea what to do with, but I’m sure something will come to me.   Maybe now isn’t the bet time to disclose that I had a telephone interview for the Sewing Bee after I submitted my application but sadly they never got back to me after that, so you wont be seeing me on next year’s series.   I love the flip-flop fabric, again not sure how it’s going to be used, but I’m sure it will be.

I nearly swooned when I saw this delicious floral print.   It’s bloody gorgeous and, on Twitter, I told Andrea that I was considering eloping with it, I love it so much.   Now, the question is, what do I make with it??   I’ve got about two metres and I want something that shows off the wonderful drape and fluidity of the fabric.   I’ve browsed through my old Burda Style mags from the last year and haven’t spotted anything quite right yet, but I’ll keep looking.   If you’ve got any suggestions give me a holler in the comments.

Now I think poor Andrea got the shitty end of the stick in this sewing swap, as I tend to raid charity shops etc. for all of my sewing finds, so I’m feeling a tad guilty now my beautiful package has arrived.    Here’s a big thank you to Andrea and to Kerry at Kestrel Makes for organising this brilliant swap.   I’ve loved it, and getting to know new people in the Sewing Community.   He any of you taken part in the swap?   Did you get any gems?

Kestrel Makes Spring Sewing Swap

I am taking part in the Spring Sewing Swap, organised over at Kestrel makes. The idea is that all those who sign up are paired up and are tasked with gathering together a sewing parcel of love to send to their swap partner. The budget is roughly £15 and it is suggested that with this you get 3-5 items for your partner.
I’ve been paired up with Andrea Winterflood- Sew Incidentallyand on twitter (@summerdrought17) for the swap. Andrea has a love of upcycling which has got my little noggin whirring for ideas for the swap. I’ve got a few bits and bobs lined up and I hope to post this out to her asap.
I’m super excited to receive my parcel so watch this space and I’ll share with you what I get. It’s so exciting getting happy post.

I know you all love seeing outfit posts and I promise I have several projects up my sleeve at the moment. It’s just sewing time that’s a struggle at the mo but I hope to have some finished garments ready to share ASAP.

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