Category Archives: Textiles


Now is not the time for getting to grips with the garden, no matter how much I long to get out there it’s far too wet. This means I can order yet more seeds…done….Read gardening magazines….just too frustrating. What better then than doing some sewing…

Well last weekend it was the RSPB’s bird watch count and as we all know lots of birds are facing problems what with loss of habitat and the use of chemicals to name a couple. So Monday morning I couldn’t believe my eyes when outside my workroom window were 20 + Goldfinches. We have had Goldfinches now for quite a number of years but I’ve never seen so many at one time. Sparrows use to be the most seen bird in many gardens, even when we lived as children in the built up areas of our city you would always see sparrows. Now they are becoming much rarer. After seeing the Goldfinches I had to get something down in stitch.

You may remember me making a journal that I was going to fill with painted and stitched images, well I have managed to fill a few pages as I have posted in the past. So here is my latest page…..


Using scraps of fabric and dyed silk, I first made shapes and bonded them to a backing fabric. With my old Bernina I free machined over the shapes building up a texture with more and more stitching, adding an eye with a tiny bronze sequin and bead. Once I was happy with this I cut the shape out, padded it slightly under the body and glued this to one of the pages.


The back ground is made up of paint and torn painted paper glued to the page.


I am quite happy with the image. So now I’ve managed to filled another page. I started the journal in 2009 and this is only my 4th image so it will take me a while yet to fill it.

Now looking for more inspiration……….. Sue





Filed under Machine Embroidery, Sewing Room, Textiles

Fairy Nuff

It’s that time of year again when the production line gets busy. With name cards for the Christmas table, to making and freezing puddings for the big day. As this is probably my last post before Santa comes I thought I would share a couple of things I have made recently.

The first is an air dried clay fairy for our tree, I have made these before but as they are just air dried clay they are very fragile. So that’s my excuse for another.


All the body pieces were made and left to dry before painting with acrylic paint.


This was then assembled with strong mattress twine and buttons.


Her clothes were made from some off cuts of fabric.


Her face was painted in with Sharpie Pens and the stripes on her dress more faded looking acrylic paint.


With flowers in her hair she’s not a pretty site I agree, but she sits nicely at the top of our Christmas Tree.


Another little project was for the top lamp in my workroom. I find normal lampshades cast too many shadows for me to see to work so I tend to make something seasonal just to make the light look more than just a bulb.IMG_1299

Looking a lot like a child’s mobile and made from coloured card this will tide me over until I decide what to do with it next.

Now as we are opening for three days next year not the usual two, I thought I would make a few things to sell for my charity which is to be the East Midlands Air Ambulance. A very worthy cause I hope you would agree.


So as a start I have made specs cases and pouches for either all the extra store cards that we seem to accumulate or tea bags for when you get to a friend’s and they say ‘oh we don’t drink tea’, well you will never be without with one of these. There will be a lot more ‘makes’ on offer as the dates get nearer.

So as this is probably my last post as I said, I will leave you with my front door wreath, and wish you all a Happy Peaceful Christmas and New Year.


Until 2016…..Cheers.  Sue.







Filed under Christmas from the Sewing Room, Machine Embroidery, Textiles

An Island in Stitch

My boot soles are now a few centimetres thicker today and I don’t think the weather forecast is set to get any better. Those last few bulbs are going to be my Achilles heel.  Ha Ha.

So here I have been in my workroom looking at pictures that I took in the summer of trips out, trying to be inspired, when I strayed a bit and started looking at magazines. Here I found a brilliant picture of somewhere that we visited this year.  Ynys Llanddwyn, Newborough Bay, Anglesey. Well that was it, I had an urge to replicate this in stitch.

Starting with the original image I roughly drew out the positions for each piece of fabric. Once pinned on I backed the whole piece with some pelmet stiffening. This gave a solid foundation to withstand the repeated machine stitching. Small details were added for the little hut and the lighthouse. I stitched, frayed and painted with watercolour to add highlights and depth to the picture. I am very pleased with the result, I hope you like it too.

Here is a little bit of folklore that accompanied the picture in the magazine.

Ynys Llanddwyn is unofficially known as Lovers’ Island, named after St Dwynwen, who lived here in the 5th century, she is said to have given advise to lovers seeking help with their relationships. On her death her hermits cell on the island, but no longer there, became a place of pilgrimage. Even now St Dwynwen’s Day,  January 25th is the north Welsh equivalent of St Valentines Day.

All my information and image came from the Landscape Magazine UK.



Filed under From The Sewing Room, Machine Embroidery, Textiles, Uncategorized

Make-up Pouch Tutotial …Part 2

So now you have a lovely piece of fabric created by you. You won’t find another like it, it is unique to you.

After pressing the fabric and choosing a lining, finding an old recycled zip to use, I have trimmed the patchwork to a rectangle shape. Then cutting it down the middle I have now got 2 pieces measuring approx’ 25 x18 cms, cut 2 pieces for the lining the same size. When choosing the zip find one that is the same length as your longest edge, cutting to size if it is too big.


Lay the zip along the long side and stitch using zipper foot, starting and ending 1 cm in from the start and finishing 1cm before the end.


Do the same to the other side of the zip,attaching to the other piece of patchwork.



Finishing 1cm before the end.


Now sandwich the lining to the seams you have just finished.


You now have a completed zip. Do not worry about the ends of the zip all will become clear later.


With the patchwork pieces R/S to R/S and likewise the lining, pin the seam all the way around, leaving a 6 cm gap for turning at the bottom of the lining.


* Slightly undo the zip before you start stitching or you will find that once stitched it is nigh-on impossible to get the zip open, believe me I’ve done it..! *

Start to stitch the seam at the start of the lining, tucking the ends of the zip towards the lining,finishing as close as you can get to the zip, do not stitch over the zip.


Carry on around the bag,stopping and starting before and after the zip.


To make a really nice professional looking bottom to the bag, we need to square the bottom off. Opening out the corners of the bag bottom and matching the side seam with the bottom seam, pin and mark 6 cms across. Do this to all 4 corners before you start to stitch.


Stitch and trim seam allowance. Turn the bag through the gap in the lining. Press the gap seam to neaten. Making sure all the points on the corners are poked through neatly too, hand stitch or machine the gap closed. Now you will find that the zip ends have sat in nicely. Steam press around the top where the zip is, covering the fabric with a cloth if using a plastic  zip.


And there you have it …one make-up pouch…made from scraps of fabric and a little imagination.

I have been using this cheats patchwork for quite a few years now, the first time it was for a college piece (a very mature student). I made a bodice / basque for a project. Using lots of sheer fabric, a bit of glitter, silk and lace I did exactly the same technique with hand and machine stitching and burning some of the fabric back with a hot gun. This made for a very individual piece.


I hope this will inspire some of you crafters to look at scraps of fabric that you would other wise throw away to think again and create something that is very personal to you….


Filed under Cheats Patchwork, Textiles

Cheats Patchwork….Tutorial….Part One

This summer I have made several zipped tote bags for family and friends, each time I make one I end up with 8 small 6 cm squares, and you know me I have to use them somehow.


The school lunch totes for the girls .


Tote for my daughter – in – law to use in her new job.


A tote sent to Korea to my lovely friend Li-anne.


A bit of indulgence, well a girl can never have too many bags.

I thought I would share with you this tutorial for using up odd bits of fabric, and as you will see they can be any type, just fairly regular in size.

All of the little squares were bonded to a muslin backing fabric.




These were then stitched down using a large zig zag stitch.


Don’t worry about neatness, this is quick and rustic.



Lay the fabric on a surface and cut up through the whole patches.


Taking every other strip, turn them 180′, creating smaller, narrow patches.


Machine zig zag again these new smaller patches.


Doing the same again, cut up the width of the patch and turn every other one 180′.


Creating tiny square patches.

Zig Zag again.


Next bond the whole of this fabric to a piece of bondable wadding.


Change your machine foot to a free machine embroidery foot or darning foot, dropping the feed dogs, lift the needle tension. And away you go. Using the needle as a pen and lots of smooth movements, create swirls in a couple of different coloured threads.


This strengthens the fabric and quilts at the same time.

And there you have made yourself a piece of usable fabric that you can use to make all sorts of things.

Part 2 we will make a small make up type pocket …watch this space…


Filed under Textiles