Last month I had the absolute honour of being featured in a wonderful magazine called Be Creative. Be Creative is a UK textiles and needlework magazine that features artists from all over the world. As a reader of the magazine myself, I love how they showcase artist's work. You get to know the artists and the inspiration behind their creations. The magazine also features some projects for readers to make which are always so inspiring.
The piece I wrote was about my Mabel's Garden mini quilt and the story behind it. It is such a personal piece, made in memory of my Gran who passed away almost two years to the day of the publication of my piece. I know she would have been incredibly proud to see my work in print. Thank you so much to the team at Be Creative for giving me such a lovely opportunity to be featured in such a wonderful publication.
Hello Friends, how are you doing? I hope that wherever you are in the world that you are doing ok during the difficult times we have been facing. In the UK we are in our third lockdown and I have found this Winter lockdown to be difficult if I am honest. But I have tried to stay as positive as I can and sewing has really helped me to do that. I have just let myself make whatever I feel like and that has been really freeing and enjoyable.
Over the last 12 months, I have really learnt how important sewing is to my mental health and well-being. If I haven't managed to fit a bit of stitching into my day, I don't feel as calm, relaxed and happy. Stitching allows me to forget about any worries and gives me something positive to focus on. This week on my Youtube channel, I shared a video about the projects I have been working on during this lockdown and what it is about these projects in particular, that is helping me to cope with lockdown. You can find the video below. I have also linked a video below that I made in September, which describes how slow stitching helps me deal with stress and anxiety. I hope you enjoy watching these videos, thank you so much and take good care of yourself.
Last year, in March 2020, I hosted the Slow Stitch Along on Instagram with Zoe Mayson. It was a lovely community event and lots of people took part, and it came at the right time, just as the UK and many other countries went into lockdown. I know that it helped me have something positive to focus on at a very confusing and worrying time, and so many people have contacted me to say it helped them too. So we've decided to do it again this year, and we also have the very lovely Miss Leela hosting with us too.
In case you didn't know about it last year, or if you need a refresher, here is some information all about it:
What is the Slow Stitch Along?
Working on a long term, slow project such as a hand pieced quilt, knitted blanket or cross stitch, is lovely and rewarding but it can be easy to run out of steam. I think, aiming to do a little bit each day or as often as you can, and sharing with friends online, will help to keep you motivated and you will soon see visible progress. So that’s where the Slow Stitch Along comes in. Dig out your favourite long term stitchy project - this can be epp, embroidery, cross stitch, knitting, crochet, or any type of craft you want, or start a new one! The idea is that we share a slow, meaningful project together. This stitch along doesn’t really have any rules other than take your time, no pressure to complete your project at all. Just relax and find some quiet time when you can. This can be daily, weekly, it’s entirely up to you. Find ten minutes, find an hour, whatever fits in with your life. Stitch your project and share a lovely photo of it to inspire others. Support and cheer others on with their slow projects.
How did this idea come about? - I think we all sew for two reasons, the process and the product. Yes, we want the product at the end and the product is important. It might be an item that we need or it might have personal meaning or be a gift, but I think ultimately, it’s the process of sewing that is healing and rewarding. I really believe there is something to be said for slow, repetitive stitching. Being mindful in your project, sewing for the process not putting pressure on yourself to have a completed item. Doing a little bit when you can and seeing your project grow!
No competition, no prizes. Just community and friendship, the sharing of ideas and supporting one and other. So if you’d like to take part, use the hashtag #slowstitchalong and tag me, Zoe and Miss Leela so we can find you and share as many photos in our stories as we can.
Each week there will be a topic to discuss if you'd like to, and we will of course remind you of this as we go along, but here is a brief outline. It’s just an idea, you don’t have to stick to this!
Week 1 - introductions
Introduce yourself and tell us about your project. Have you started it? Show us the stage it is at currently. Is it a new project? If so, share your planning process. Is there a story or special meaning behind your project? Tell us all about it, we love hearing the details behind a project!
Week 2 - Progress photographs and videos. Share any progress you are making on your project this week however small it may seem. Are you working on your project daily or every other day? How are you fitting it into your routine? Are you doing ten minutes or an hour? Is it the only project you are working on or are you switching between other, quicker projects? Remember to follow the hashtag and cheer others on too. The best part about Instagram is seeing what other people are doing and building friendships through our love of craft.
Week 3 - Slowing down - How does slowing down feel? Are you enjoying working at a slow, relaxing pace with no pressure to finish. Is it helping you to feel more grounded, relaxed and calm? Are you feeling more creative without any time pressure? Share your thoughts and feelings.
Week 4- How does your project compare to when you started the stitch along? Did doing a little bit often work well for you? Did you see results and feel like you have made good progress? Have you made new friends online and felt motivated? Has slowing down and being mindful in your project felt good and had a positive effect on your wellbeing?
I do hope you will join us and follow along. I know that during these times, being part of a community of likeminded people is really important to me and I hope it will help you too. I still can't decide which project I am going to focus on for the stitch along! Should I try to finish my row by row quilt, work more on my POTC (above) or continue with my Alexandria quilt? Help me decide!
This week's Youtube video (well it should have been last week's but I am behind on all of my plans already!) is a little tutorial for how to make a hexagon cushion. This cushion is really easy to make for the following reasons:
1. I used pre-cut 1 1/4" hexagons from Ava and Neve for most of the hexagons, I only cut a few out myself. This really speeds up the process. The Liberty fabrics are so pretty and I love the overall "busy look" they created. I usually use solids to break up prints in what I make but I wanted to create a different look here. I also tried to create a bit of a rainbow gradient but not too obvious.
2. I used 1 inch Hexiform hexagons which were pre-cut too. Using pre-cut shapes and fabrics made it really quick to baste the shapes to get to the sewing part faster.
3. I glue based the shapes which is another really quick and easy method.
4. You can make the cushion any size you want, just lay out your hexagons to the desired size, remembering you will lose 1/4" in your seam allowance at the end. As a guide, my finished cushion is 14 1/2" x 12 1/2" and I made it from 7 rows of full 1 inch hexagons, 10 hexagons in each row. I also added 5 half hexagons to the top and 5 to the bottom. So that's a total of 70 x 1" hexagons and 10 x 1" half hexagons.
5. Hexiform is designed to be left in so this speeds the process up further as removing papers can take time.
Having said all of that, it still took hours to sew it all together by hand so it was not a quick project for me. It was extremely enjoyable and relaxing to make and I am really happy with my finished cushion. I have lots of plans for more EPP cushions and I might have started two more already!
Thanks for checking out my video, have a lovely day.
Wishing you all a happy and healthy year ahead. Thank you so much for the support you have all shown me over the past year. It's been a difficult one but your support has kept me going. I hope you enjoy the little video of my favourite tiny stitches of the year. Take care x
When Helen Philipps invited me to be part of the book tour for her gorgeous new release Home Sweet Home Sewing, I was so super excited! I've followed Helen for quite a while now and have some of her other books. She is an incredible designer, her projects are so inspiring and her style and photography is beautiful.
When the book arrived I had a hard time choosing a project. There is a lovely mix of projects that are quite quick to make, and projects that take a bit longer and have lots of hand stitched details. The book has projects in that use a range of techniques too from machine piecing, to embroidery to English paper piecing. I chose the Little Birds Doll Quilt because it uses a lovely combination of machine piecing, embroidery and appliqué.
I'd recently received a beautiful bundle of Liberty exclusive fabrics for my birthday and I new they had to feature in this little quilt. I'd also received a new mini iron as a birthday gift and it is literally the best mini iron ever! I wanted to improve my machine piecing skills and I spent a couple of lovely afternoons cutting the little squares and sewing them up. I found that just taking my time, pinning the seams carefully and pressing with my new mini iron really helped me to get the seams to line up well.
Once the quilt top was done, I took my time over the subsequent weeks, embroidering the little birds and stitching the flowers on. The pattern uses buttons in the centre of the flowers but the buttons I had didn't look right so I just added some French knots instead.
This is a doll quilt but I am going to use it as a wall hanging in my sewing room. Therefore I just quilted it simply by hand with a diagonal running stitch.
This was one of those projects that I didn't want to end (even though I am thrilled to have a new mini quilt in my sewing room) because I loved every stitch. Thank you so much Helen for inviting me to be part of this lovely tour. Make sure you check out the rest of the tour, there are so many wonderful makers taking part. The hashtag is homesweethomesewing. The book is available at local bookshops as well as Amazon. Thank you so much to Helen and Tuva Publishing for my copy of the book and for having me on the tour.
Giveaway now closed. Thank you to everyone who entered, I enjoyed reading about your favourite flowers. Random number generator picked number 25 and that was Janet Lockland. Congratulations! I've sent you an email Janet.
Every day I am blown away by the incredible support I am shown by all of you. I am truly thankful and I wish I could find a way to give back to each and every one of you. As a small gesture, and to say thank you also for the 20 thousand followers I now have on Instagram, I thought I would do a little giveaway. I tried to host it on Instagram but for some reason Instagram seemed to think my post was branded content (which I have never done) and they seemed to think I was breaking their rules if I didn't tag a brand. I think it's just a case of their computer algorithm getting it wrong. But just in case my account would be compromised, I thought I would have it here instead.
Over on Youtube this week I showed a little video where I made some floral art work. For the giveaway prize, I will make something similar for the winner. To enter, leave a comment on this blog post letting me know what your favourite flower is! I will leave the giveaway open until October 20th 8pm UK time and then I will randomly pick a winner and announce it on Instagram. You will have to leave your name on your comment so I can get in touch with you.
Thanks so much, for your incredible support.
I'm really excited, and equally nervous to share that I am going to be adding more things to my shop on a regular basis! If you've read my newsletter or seen my latest Youtube video, you will have heard that as a family we have decided that it might be a good idea for me to try to sell a few extra things along side my patterns, rather than go back to my teaching job. So I have been working hard to find lovely, high quality items for my shop.
First up, I am going to offer kits for all of my patterns. So far, I just have hexagon needle book kits available. I'm hoping that next month I will have the hexagon storage basket kits available and that it will continue to grow from there. The kits contain everything you need to make the item and are really good quality materials. Of course there is some Liberty Tana Lawn in there too!
I absolutely love the French brand Sajou. Their products are beautifully made in France and have a vintage style to them. So I was delighted to become a stockist. Currently I have some of their needles and also their embroidery and gloving threads available. The gloving thread is a fine but stiff waxed thread that is strong and excellent for English paper piecing. I love the Sajou Retors du Nord embroidery thread so much! The colours are so pretty and the thread has a gorgeous lustre to it. It glides through the fabric and is just perfect for all hand embroidery. It is colourfast only up to 40c so shouldn't be used on any items that need regular hot washes.
I also have some of the beautiful Sajou sewing boxes and I have filled them with Liberty charm squares, needles, threads, bobbins and some pretty scissors. These boxes are such a treat for anyone who loves tiny patchwork!
I have lots of plans for more things that will be coming to the shop, so I really hope that you like what I have. Thank you to everyone who has made a purchase already, the response has been amazing.
Take care, until next time,
I've always loved vintage sewing items, from fabric to patterns to books and magazines, they've always fascinated me. It's the reason I got interested in sewing, it's the reason I named myself Vintage Sewing Box on social media many, years ago! A few weeks before Covid changed our world, I visited the Bronte Museum in Haworth and I was in awe of all of the wonderful vintage sewing and patchwork items that were there.
The Bronte sisters were avid sewers and painters as well as readers and writers. They were such a creative family. I love the quilt on this bed and I want to recreate it someday, in my own colour palette.
There was even an exhibition by an artist called Tamar Stone, of tiny patchwork quilts. This was displayed in the Bronte house and it was lovely to see. If you can visit one day, I highly recommend it. The Brontes are an important part of British literary history and it is so interesting to learn about their lives.
I've been looking through the vintage sewing things my Gran left to me. It's really inspiring to see them, but also very emotional as they bring back memories. Unfortunately she did not finish much of what she had, and many of her kits are untouched. It makes me determined to use and enjoy what I have. If you'd like to see more in detail, I have a video showing everything on my YouTube channel and there's an unexpected twist in the middle as I decide to start working on one of her table cloths. I hope I can do it justice.
Have you collected any vintage or antique sewing things? What do you treasure? I'd love to know.
Hello! Today I am here with a little tutorial for how to make this tiny sewing case which is perfect for carrying around tiny stitching projects. The case has the little house block appliquéd onto it. You will find the templates for the house and the video showing how to make it here.
To make the tiny sewing case, you will need:
1. Take one of your pieces of cotton that measures 10 1/2" wide by 5 1/2" tall and find the centre by creasing it.
2. Applique your little house block to the right hand side.
3. Create a quilt sandwich by placing your other piece of cotton measuring 10 1/2" wide by 5 1/2" tall right side down, place the foam on top and then your piece with the house on top of that. Pin in place and sew all the way around the edge using a 1/4" seam allowance to secure the layers.
4. Next construct your pocket. Iron the interfacing to one of your pocket pieces. Place the two pieces of pocket fabric wrong sides together, pin and sew all of the way around the edge with 1/4" seam allowance.
5. Press your pocket binding piece in half length ways with the wrong sides facing each other. Line up the raw edge with the raw edge of the top of your pocket piece. Pin in place and sew with 1/4" seam allowance.
6. Fold the binding to the back and sew in place with 1/4" seam allowance or by hand if you prefer.
7. Place your exterior piece with the house on face down and put your pocket on top with the right side of the pocket facing up. Align the pocket with the bottom edge. Secure the pocket in place by sewing a 1/4" seam around three sides
8. Measure 5 1/4" in from one side to find the middle and stitch down the middle of the pocket to split it into two pockets. Tip - I used a Hera marking tool made by Clover to mark the central line to give me an accurate sewing guide. This is a great tool because it makes a crease in the fabric which is not permanent so you don't risk ruining the fabric.
9. Next fold your felt in half width ways and open again to find the centre and place it on top of the centre line you just sewed down the middle of your case. Make sure the felt is equidistant from the top and the bottom. Sew down this line to secure it in place.
10. I appliqued an EPP flower to the front of my felt and stuffed it with toy filling before sewing all of the way round so that the flower can be used as a needle stop. You could do this with a hexagon flower if you prefer.
11. Line up both parts of your felt pocket and add a running stitch around three sides to keep the two pieces together and to form a pocket.
12. Apply bias binding around the entire edge of the case. Finally add a snap fastener of closure of your choice and the case is complete!
I hope you liked this little tutorial and I really hope you enjoy making the case if you do give it a go. I think I will definitely be making another one soon! They make lovely little gifts for sewing friends.
Take care, until next time, happy sewing!
About the Author
My name is Emma and I love all things sewing, especially EPP. My little blog is the place where I document what I'm making. I hope you enjoy reading what I'm up to! All opinions are my own and I only share things that I think you will love. Thank you for taking the time to stop by.