Hello everybody, I hope you are all well and staying safe at home. I feel like life is a battle at the moment, trying to deal with what is happening and the constant worries about so many things. Keeping busy is my strategy so I have two new things to share with you. First up, I've started a YouTube channel. I get asked frequently if I have a YouTube channel and also told I should have one! I didn't have much confidence in my video making skills so I didn't pursue it but after some thought I've decided to give it a go. The thumbs down feature on YouTube has always put me off. I know that when I get a thumbs down on a video, I will be a bit hurt. I don't have thick skin but I think I need to work on that, I know I will never please everyone! Currently there are only a few short videos on there as I work on uploading videos I have already shared on other platforms but I have big plans and ideas for what I'd like to share. First of all, I want to bring clear, concise 'how to' style videos to show people how to do English Paper Piecing and embroidery. These will be a combination of short videos teaching one or two techniques, and also longer, more in depth videos. As well as techniques, I have some ideas for project tutorials that I want to teach through video. My other idea is to do some lifestyle videos showing how slow stitching can be a beneficial part of every day life. What I show on YouTube will be different from Instagram. Instagram will be more of a daily snapshot at what I'm making and Youtube will be more tutorial led. What are your thoughts? Would you like to see videos like these from me? Do you have any other ideas for videos you think I should make? If you'd like to subscribe to my channel, I would be truly honoured. It's completely free and it means that you will see my new videos when I make them. You can find my channel here.
The other thing I have been working on is updating my Hexagon Needle Book tutorial and putting it into PDF format. It's still available as a blog post but I thought it would be easier for people to download the PDF and save it to their computers rather than having to search for my tutorial. The PDF download is of course free and can be found here. Thank you to everyone who has made one so far, it's so exciting to see them popping up on Instagram. If you do make one and share it on Instagram, please tag me so I can see it.
Take care, until next time, happy sewing!
As March draws to a close, I thought I would do a little round-up of the wonderful Slow Stitch Along that has been happening on Instagram. March hasn't really gone to plan due to the crisis we are all facing but so many wonderful makers have come together to share their love of slow stitching of all types on Instagram and it has been such an inspiring distraction from the world around us. I would like to thank everybody for their enthusiasm in taking part, it has been truly wonderful. There are currently over 730 posts on the hashtag which is amazing!
Zoe and I have decided to keep the hashtag going as we know how much slow stitching is helping everyone deal with difficulties we are facing, and it is helping us too. There's such a wonderful community there and we would love to continue that so if you'd like to carry on with us then share your slow stitch project at any time and tag us so we can see. I've also been doing a live virtual stitch group on Instagram at 9pm uk time on Friday evenings and it has been so much fun. I've decided to make this a regular thing so please join me if you can as it is a lovely way for us all to connect and share our passion for sewing.
I didn't quite make as much progress as I wanted to on my quilt, but I have progressed and I am pleased that I am getting closer to completing it. I have one full row to do, another to finish off and a couple to appliqué to the backing fabric, so I am getting there.
I'd just like to say thank you again for joining in with the slow stitch along and if you haven't been able to join remember that you can join in any time. If you aren't on Instagram, you can still view the posts on the hashtag.
Hello lovely friends. It seems that the world has changed dramatically since my last blog post which was only a couple of weeks ago. So I thought I'd pop on here just to let you know what my plans are for my blog and little shop going forward. First of all, thank you to everyone who bought the Hexagon Sewing Case pattern or if you bought a kit. I was blown away by the response I had to this and I can't express in words how grateful I am for the support I've received. I know there were some people who wanted a kit but missed out and I'm so sorry about that. I was planning to make a few more but with the current situation as it is, I won't be going to the post office. So for now, just the PDF pattern will be available.
I have lots of plans for things I want to do such as free patterns and videos and maybe even going live on Instagram to sew together! I'm hoping the current situation we find ourselves in will allow me the time to create these. I very much want my blog, website and Instagram to be a positive place where we can escape into a world of sewing to relax and detach from the stressful situation around us. So that will be my primary focus going forward. The previous plans I had for this year in terms of in person workshops are unlikely to go ahead now.
Since I started this website, I've always had a contact form on the website homepage just in case anybody would like to get in touch. Thank you to everyone who has used that and asked me to send them emails. I've had a big think and I've decided to create 'lovely letters' each month that will be delivered to your inbox. I'm excited to start this and I hope you all love them. If you'd like to sign up then please head to the homepage and leave your details. I'm hoping my first proper email will go out this week.
I must admit that I've felt frozen over the last two weeks and I haven't done much stitching at all. I know sewing helps me so much through times of anxiety but there are also those times when things feel so difficult everything grinds to a halt. I wish that wasn't happening to me now, particularly during the Slow Stitch Along. I'd like to say a massive thank you to everyone who has been keeping it going whilst I've felt like I've been absent from it (although I've read every single post). This is due to a series of things happening all at the same time which has completely thrown me. I'm hoping that once my little boy is better I will feel more focused to sew and share again and I am excited to work on the things I've mentioned above too.
Look after yourselves during this time and I hope that together we can support each other in this wonderful and creative online community.
I'm so excited to tell you that the Hexagon Sewing Case PDF pattern is finally ready and in my shop! It's taken me a long time to get it ready because I wanted to make sure it was the absolute best it can be.
Thank you so much to Zena @mycreativepottylife, Sarah @sarah.costello.10 and Jen @jenthepiecemaker for testing it for me. They are such wonderful makers and helped me so much. I am so grateful to you for giving up your precious time to help me with this, I honestly cannot thank you enough.
I'm also really excited to tell you I have teamed up with Ashmead Designs who produce the fantastic Hexiform shapes I love to use, and Rose Garden Patchwork who I buy wonderful zips from (she also sells amazing fabrics and notions) to create some supplies kits for the case.
In these kits there will be:
The idea behind the kit is to make it easy for you to get started on your case and to have all of the supplies in one place, rather than having to source them from different places.
It also gives you an opportunity to try the wonderful hexiform EPP shapes from Ashmead Designs. Kits will be available to buy from Monday 2nd March 2020.
Thank you so much and have a great day!x
When Elise Baek asked me if I would like to be part of the book tour for her soon to be released Patchwork Gifts book, I was absolutely delighted! I've never been asked to be part of something like this before, what an honour! I've been following Elise for about a year on Instagram and her work is wonderful. Her designs are fresh and exciting, she uses beautiful fabrics and she is really inspiring, so I knew her book would be fabulous, and I was right!
On receiving my copy of the book, I quickly opened it as I couldn't wait to see the projects inside. They are all wonderful and it was so hard to narrow it down to one. I love the Double Wedding Ring Table Topper as I've been wanting to make one for so long. But I decided on the Meadow Mini Quilt. I fell in love with this design as soon as I saw it because I knew it would be perfect for the many Liberty prints I have. Also, I want to give this as a gift to someone special and I knew that person would love this. It also speaks to my love of tiny EPP so it was clearly the right project for me!
I enjoyed every stitch of working on this project. I really took my time over it, doing a little bit each day. I think the finished result is joyful, bright, cheerful and makes me think of Spring.
If you are thinking of buying this book, I really recommend it. The projects are so lovely and very well explained. I know this won't be the last thing I make from this book, as well as the double wedding, I have my eye on the toadstool pincushion and the kite lavender sachets. I hope my version of the Meadow mini quilt did justice to the original. Thank you to Elise for letting me be part of this book tour, it really has been an honour and the highlight of 2020 so far for me. Make sure you check out the rest of the people on the book tour, every single one is a fantastic maker and it is so inspiring to see what they make. Elise is also running a really fun bingo competition so head over to her Instagram and be sure to follow the hashtag #patchworkgiftsbook.
Hello everybody. Today I would like to invite you to take part in a fun stitch along which is taking place on Instagram and hosted by myself and the lovely Zoe Mayson. So let me tell you all about it!
The Slow Stitch Along is a community event taking place on Instagram throughout the month of March.
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 your stitchy 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 and Zoe 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?
This is the first time we have hosted any kind of sew along and we are so so excited about it. We are both passionate about slow stitching and we really hope you will join us. So let me know in the comments here or over on Instagram, will you be joining us for the Slow Stitch Along? I really hope so!
Something a bit different to my usual posts but yesterday I went to an exhibition of clothing from 1886 to 1966 at Walker Art Gallery in Liverpool and I thought you might like to see a little bit of it. I love history and I am fascinated by clothing from the past. I love watching period dramas to get a glimpse of days gone by so whenever there is an exhibition of fashion from the past I enjoy going to see it. Since becoming a mum, I haven't been to a gallery or museum to see things that are of interest to me so this was a real treat. The lovely thing about Walker Art Gallery is that there is an excellent area for children, so my dad could look after my little one there whilst I viewed the exhibition and there were so many lovely activities there to keep them occupied.
The collection of clothing had belonged to Emily Tinne and is the largest collection of any one person's clothing in a UK gallery. She was an affluent woman and had a real spending habit. Her family had no idea of the sheer amount of clothes that she bought until after she passed away in 1966. Most of what was found was unworn with the price tags still on. The collection was incredible as the pieces were a mixture of daywear, evening gowns, children's clothing, accessories and coats.
Some of her items were from ordinary shops, others made by dressmakers and some were designer pieces. It was said that she often bought clothing because she wanted the shop assistants to earn their commission, so in this respect she was a charitable woman however there is no doubt that she definitely had a spending habit.
I loved these beautiful examples of lace collars and look at the tiny children's shoes below!
Below is a picture of a bathing suit.
I really loved the examples of children's clothing, there were so many beautiful embroidered details.
Emily's evening gowns were stunning. She loved wearing black and chose such elegant pieces adorned with beads and lace. She even had just the front of a beaded gown in her collection and it explained how you could buy dresses in pieces which is something I'd never heard of before.
At the end of the exhibition were pictures and advertisements about the large department stores in Liverpool which brought back memories for my mum and there were some that even I recognised from the 80s when I was a child. Below is Cripps which is where my mum got her wedding dress from.
It was so nice to take a peek into history and immerse myself in the fashions of the past. It saddens me that our high street shops and department stores are closing, I would love it to go back to the way it was where we would all be buying less, it would be of a better quality and we would cherish what we have rather than the fast fashion of today. Viewing this exhibition was a lovely reminder of this and will help me to access the clothing in my wardrobe and who knows, I may even delve back into dressmaking again one day. That's where my online name Vintage Sewing Box comes from, my love of vintage fashion and sewing patterns, and it was lovely to revisit this yesterday. The exhibition is on until 1st March 2020 if you would like to visit it too.
Do you make things to sell at craft fairs or online? Or are you like me and just love making things for fun? I often get told by friends and family that I should sell the things I make but they don't realise how long it takes me to make things. I'm currently working on my Hexagon Sewing Case pattern and it is close to being complete! This has led me to think about how it will feel to sell my pattern. I don't have a job at the moment as I am a stay at home Mum, so making a little bit of extra money would definitely be a help. Thinking about selling it got me thinking about a time in my life when I did make things to sell. I did a bit of digging around and found some old photos so I thought I'd share here.
Back in 2009 I was 26 and working as a Spanish teacher in primary schools. Even though I had a degree and a masters degree, I was working as an unqualified teacher as I hadn't done teacher training at this point. I had quite a lot of spare time and loved making things so I set up a website, an Etsy shop and I sold what I made at craft fairs. I sold nothing through my Etsy shop and nothing through my website because I had no idea about how to promote it or make it show up in google searches. However I did sell quite well at craft fairs. At one fair in Liverpool, a woman came over and bought all of the earrings I had on sale for her shop in the city centre which sold handmade items. I then later gave her a lot of my bags which she took on sale or return.
However, I never went back to her shop to see if she had sold any, I couldn't bring myself to go in. I even stood outside once, with the aim of going inside, but I couldn't do it. I loved what I made. I loved the fabrics and I put my heart into everything. So I think because of this, I was scared she might not have sold any and that she'd ask me to take them away. I was also afraid she might have sold some and then they might have been returned by the customer because they didn't like it or maybe it fell apart. I also felt so strange about asking her for money, I don't know why, it was just so uncomfortable for me. I was crippled by this lack of confidence so much that I never, ever contacted her and to this day I have no idea if she sold my bags or not. I also really struggled at the craft fairs. I loved being around other makers and I always received great comments from them and the customers about my things but I felt so awkward about selling I didn't enjoy it at all. I just wanted to curl up and hide.
Whilst my skills, style and tastes have changed a lot over the past 11 years, this feeling about selling my work has not gone away. When I exhibited my mini quilt in the art gallery over the summer, I put 'Not For Sale' on it. This was partially due to it being a very personal piece, partly because I had no idea how to put a value on it and also because I didn't think anybody would buy it. Or if they did, they might end up disappointed with it. The same negative thoughts as 11 years ago.
It feels quite emotional writing this because I can see how sad it is that this has held me back in some ways. But then the most amazing thing happened last week. After sharing the image of the second hexagon sewing case sample I made online (pictured at the top of this post) I mentioned in my Instagram stories that I might sell it. I was thinking about it but not entirely sure how to go about it. Within an hour I got a message from a lovely person who wanted to buy it and within no time it was sold! I could not believe it and it really made me happy. I could not be more grateful to the lovely person who bought the case and I hope she really loves it. This sale really boosted my confidence and I feel so positive now. I definitely won't be chaining myself to my sewing machine in order to churn out some products to sell, that sort of sewing isn't enjoyable to me. But if occasionally I have a some pieces that I do not need, I don't feel afraid of trying to sell them anymore. Have you ever sold the things you make? How did you find the selling process? I'd love to know, please leave me a comment. Have a wonderful day and thank you for reading!
Just sharing some photos of another needle book I made as a gift for a friend just before Christmas and I think this one might be my favourite so far! I love the blues and greens and the Betsy Ann print I used for the edge/inside is one of my favourite ever prints.
If you'd like to make one too, I have a tutorial that you can follow here. It's a lovely project as it is all made by hand and there's something really nice about that I think.
I love adding little embroidered details like this lazy daisy stitch, I think they are sweet and add a lovely touch.
I've made myself two of these needle books and I wish I needed more as they are so enjoyable to make! Thank you to everyone who has tried my tutorial and made their own already! It really does make me so happy to see your versions. So if you make one too, please share it with me either here or on Instagram as I would love to see.
Happy New Year! I hope you all had a wonderful festive period and I wish you all health and happiness for the coming year ahead. What better way to start the year than with a new project! I've been thinking for a long time about making a quarter inch hexagon wall hanging and I decided over Christmas that it was now or never. If I don't start it this year, I never will. So I set to work gathering scraps and basting my tiny hexies ready to start. If you are anything like me, you like to know the details behind projects so I thought I'd share with you why I want to make this quilt, my inspiration and my method, just in case you'd like to join me with your own quarter inch hexie project. I know quarter inch hexies aren't for everyone but already one lovely person has asked to join me and I'd love it if more people would like to join in too.
I've wanted to make a large piece from tiny quarter inch hexagons ever since I saw Miss Leela's Wedding Medallion Quilt. Please click the link and check it out as it is amazing! I've also compiled a Pinterest board with some ideas and inspiration from other quarter inch projects I've seen. I don't know the layout of my piece yet but I will use these designs as a guide to get me started.
There's a little bit more to making this piece than just wanting to though. Firstly, it will be predominantly made from scrap fabric. I am conscious of the effect the textile industry has on the environment and I strongly believe in making sure the fabrics we do buy are carefully considered purchases and are not wasted in any way. So this project will use floral fabric scraps left over from my other sewing projects in addition to some solid coloured fabrics that I have purchased specifically for this piece. As I am making quarter inch hexagons, even the tiniest of pieces can be used so this is a great way to use up scraps.
Sewing has always been a sort of therapy for me. It allows my mind to be calm and the rhythm of stitching helps me to relax and reduces my stress levels. I've recently struggled again with low mood and feelings of anxiety and worry. I want this project to be the one that I turn to to help me through those feelings and to provide relief from them. Nature has always had a positive effect on my well being and so I plan to fussy cut tiny flowers for many of the hexagons. I know that seeing these tiny blossoms will lift my spirits and will also remind me to focus on the small things in life that can bring us joy. I hope that by thinking in this way, I can feel better. Only time will tell but I will be sure to let you know how it goes and if it does work.
Staying true to myself, I will be making this quilt up as I go along, it seems to be the way I do everything these days! I will be using Hexiform shapes from Ashmead Designs and I'm buying them bit by bit as I think I will need 1000s! I love the Hexiform because you don't need to remove it at the end as you do with papers. It acts as a layer of wadding/batting and it gives a lovely structure to the piece.
I'm using Superior Threads Bottom Line Thread in colour 623 because it blends really well with most colours of fabric. As it's polyester, it is really strong and I need to use a strong thread as I've decide to sew the hexagons together using a ladder stitch rather than the usual whip stitch. When working with such small hexagons, I was finding that my stitches looked really big when I whip stitched, no matter what thread or needle I used. Ladder stitch definitely takes me longer than whip stitching at the moment, and it feels like I'm learning from the beginning all over again. But hopefully I will find my rhythm with it and when I do, I will post some video tutorials on Instagram just in case there's anybody who would like to see.
I don't really have a name for this project yet, but I'm sure one will come to me in time. For now I'm calling it the tiny hexie project! I'm hoping I can spend about 45 minutes a day on it most days and if you want to follow my progress, I will probably show where I'm up to once a week on Instagram.
If you fancy joining me with your own quarter inch hexie project or similar, let me know! It will be fun to stitch along together.
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.