30 April 2012

Weekend Wonders & Sibling Stitches

Hello there!
I hope you had a great weekend. Mine started off well with this wonderful package from Courtney (my pretty {little} pouch swap partner)
Courtney very kindly sent over some lovely treats from Trader Joes (which very quickly disappeared thanks D, A & C!!!) as well as this fab pouch
Isn't the wee birdie gorgeous! She also included this lovely notebook with more happy birdie applique
After all this excitement (& eating!) I seem to have spent most of Saturday cleaning the kitchen (believe me, it REALLY needed it!)... but I did manage to get a few bits & pieces finished, like these April do. Good Stitches blocks

I'm terrible for never throwing anything away, so I stitched all the tiny triangle scraps together, added some wadding & quilting....
.... and in the blink of an eye (not quite!) another wee scrappy pouch emerged from the sewing machine!
These are now on their way to Annabella who is our April mama. She wanted us to make bright, scrappy blocks for a Siblings Together quilt. This is a great project which was instigated by Lyn to support a charity working with brothers & sisters who have been separated in the British care system. Here are some of the lovely quilts being stitched, which will be handed over to the charity at the Fat Quarterly Retreat in June...
From Emily
From Susan
There are loads more which you can see here. If you would like to contribute, maybe even wadding for a quilt, or backing, do drop me a wee line - I would love to hear from you
Thanks so much for stopping by & I hope you have a great week
Take care

24 April 2012

Swappy Stitches & A Zippy Pouch Tutorial

Hello there
How are things with you? Over here life has been so busy...children going back to school, big exams looming, birthday parties... the usual family stuff. Although I haven't managed to do much blogging, I've been up to lots of stitchy stuff....like this wee quilt for my Doll Quilt Swap partner
This was round 12 of the Doll Quilt Swap & we could choose 1 of 6 types of blocks...hopefully my partner will like these scrappy log cabins... I also used one to make a co-ordinating wee zippered pouch
Swaps are such fun - they are a great way to meet folks and try out something new for someone new.... a bit like this boxy pouch I made for my pretty {little} pouch swap partner who wanted something to hold her art brushes
I used Terrie's pencil case tutorial and adapted the dimensions a bit
My problem was, once I started I couldn't stop...
Although this lot of lovelies are off to a top secret location I thought I would share with you a tutorial for how to make the flat pouch... it really is the simplest, quickest pouch I've made.
If you have never tried your hand at zips, have a go with this one. You don't have any awkward zipper ends to sort out!
I've uploaded a pdf of the tutorial for you to print out here on the tutorial page but I know some of you prefer to see it on the blog, so here it is.... I hope you enjoy it!
Super Simple Flat Zippy Pouch Tutorial
What You Will Need
2 pieces outer fabric 5” X 7 ½”
2 pieces lining fabric 5” X 7 ½ ”
A small piece of co-ordinating fabric for tabs (approx. 5” X 3”)
2 pieces fusible fleece 4 7/8” X 7 3/8” (ie 1/8” shorter lengthwise & 1/8” shorter widthwise than your outer & inner fabric pieces)
1 zip measuring at least 8” long
Usual sewing bits & pieces plus zipper foot
(When sewing please remember to use ¼” seam allowance throughout (unless otherwise indicated) & backstitch at both ends)

STEP 1: Fuse your fleece
Take one of the fusible fleece pieces & carefully fuse onto the wrong side of one of your outer pouch pieces – you should have approx. 1/16” space all the way round your outer pouch piece (this will make sure the fleece doesn’t get in the way when you match your fabric pieces up later)
Repeat with the other fleece & outer fabric pieces
STEP 2: Attach the zipper
Pin your zipper to one outer fabric piece right sides together. Using your zipper foot, stitch the zipper along the top of the fabric using 3/8” approx. seam allowance
Place one of your lining pieces on top of this zip/ fabric layer right sides together. Stitch along the top of the lining using approx. 4/8” seam allowance (it should be slightly more than your previous seam allowance)
You should now have now two stitch lines visible on the wrong side of the outer fabric like this
Press both pieces away from the zip & topstitch approx. 2/8” away from the edge of the outer fabric using a slightly longer stitch length (I usually change mine from 2.5 to 3)
Repeat these steps for the other outer & lining fabric pieces on the other side of the zip
Great! You should now have something which looks like this on the outer side:
and this on the other side:
STEP 3: Making the flat pouch shape
Pin the two lining pieces right sides together & the two outer pieces right sides together
Using your normal foot & ¼” seam allowance, stitch along the bottom (long) side of the outer pouch pieces
Do the same thing for the lining pieces but stop after approx. 2” & backstitch, then leave a gap of approx. 3” & continue on to the end of the pieces, again remembering to backstitch at both ends (this gap is what you will use to turn the pouch right side out in a wee moment or two)
Take your fabric & layers & refold so that the zip is in the middle, the lining is on the top layer with the gap in the middle of the top layer & the outer fabric on the bottom with the seam line running down the middle (its a lot less complicated than it sounds!!)

You will see from this photo that the seam from the outer layer is centred directly on top of the zip which is centred directly on top of the seam from the lining. Once you are happy with this placement, pin & press in place

Step 4: Making the tabs
Fold your co-ordinating piece right sides together along the length of the fabric scrap and stitch the two raw edges together...you should now have a tube. Turn right side out & press
Cut into two equal pieces (these should be approx. 2 ½” X 1 ¼”). Fold in half & press

Step 5: Inserting the tabs
Take one of the folded tabs &, with the folded edge facing in, sandwich it between the outer pouch layers, raw edges together
Holding the rest of the fabric out of the way, attach the tab to the non-zip side of the pouch outer layer using 3/8” seam allowance.
Repeat this with the other tab at the other end of the outer fabric layer. Trim the zip ends in line with your raw edges
NOW OPEN YOUR ZIP UP HALF WAY ALONG (if you don’t, life is going to getting pretty tricky in a moment or two....)
Pin the outer fabric layers together to the lining panels, making sure your seams & zip are all still centred on top of each other. Now stitch down each side using ¼” seam allowance. You will be sewing over top of the zipper, so take your time.
Step 6: Turning it out
Well done! You’re nearly there!
Pull the pouch inside out through the gap in the lining, so that you have the lining fabric on the outside (right sides out) & the outer fabric inside. Use a chopstick or something not too sharp to poke out your corners & give it a good press
It should look something like this:
Turn the pouch over & hand stitch closed the gap in the lining (ladder stitch is a good one to use for this)
Again turn the pouch right side out through the open zip, so that the lining is all nicely tucked inside your lovely new pouch. Poke again with your chopstick to get those corners nice & press one more time. It should look something like this on the front
And this at the back
Congratulations! You now have a lovely flat zippered pouch :)

I hope you enjoyed this wee tutorial  & apologies for the length of this post....have a great week
Take care

15 April 2012

An Irish Road Trip: Giveaway Winner

Hello there!
I hope you had a wonderful Easter - a bit of sunshine, the children off school, eating too much chocolate, happy times with the family.... I did manage to get a bit of sewing done though....this is a new pattern I've been working - its for a knitting bag:
Inside there are lots of pockets for needles & a wee purse to hold row counters (I used Rashida Coleman-Hale's snappy coin purse tutorial)
I love these fabrics - they're from the Backyard Baby range which I got from Annie at The Village Haberdashery (she's also got the Flea Market Fancy range if you live in the UK)
But back to business: to-day we celebrate the Titanic, possibly the greatest piece of engineering to come out of Northern Ireland, and to remember the devastating loss of life in its tragic sinking 100 years ago when it hit an iceberg on its maiden voyage.
Most of us in the North of Ireland live within an hours drive from dramatic coastlines & incredibly beautiful beaches like the White Rocks which is about 5 miles from our house
Which leads me to the Irish Road Trip Giveaway.... according to random.org the winner of these 40 "shades of green" fabrics & the yummy Avoca recipe book is:
Congratulations Indianna! Would you mind please emailing me your address so I can get this lot of lovies off to you
Thanks so much to you all for the lovely comments....I loved hearing from you & hope you all have a wonderful rest of the weekend
Take care

5 April 2012

An Irish Road Trip: Giveaway greetings!

Hello there!
I hope you are having a good week...
Here on the Causeway Coast we've had a week of sun, wind, rain, snow... you name it, we've had it! Of course, the day & hour the children got off school for Easter holidays the wonderful sunshine disappeared - only to be replaced by wind & rain :( But not to worry, we've had some great games of monopoly....and cluedo... in between walks along the beach....
At the beginning of the year I made a resolution to bring you a giveaway each month &, to conclude our Irish Road Trip I have a wonderful pot of gold (well actually its mostly fabric, but you know what I mean!)
Would you like to see what's inside the pot?
They say when you look over Irish fields, you see forty shades of green, so in the pot there are 40 green fabrics - some fat quarters, some fat eighths... and even some lovely Melody Miller teacup fabric (courtesy of the lovely Eva & Ger) at Pippablue
In the pot there's also an Irish recipe book from the super talented folk at Avoca (which is away down in County Wicklow)
There are lots of recipes for yummy cakes
Delicious delights
And beautiful photography
So....the big question...what do you have to do to win this crock of gold? Well, actually nothing really... This giveaway is only for you if you follow me either here on this blog, or on pinterest, or on facebook... so, if you are one of the long-suffering, very nice followers, I just would love for you to leave me a wee comment & let me know .. thats it... The giveaway will be open until 12th April & I'll announce the winner on 13th.... so good luck everyone. If you are a follower, please just do a wee check before you leave me a comment to make sure you are not a "no-reply" blogger, otherwise I might have a bit of difficulty contacting you.
In the meantime I'll leave you with another view from our Irish Road Trip... this is Mussenden Temple at Benone beach...
I hope you have a great week!
Take care