Thursday, 23 May 2013

More New Homes!

Hello there! How has your week been? Mine has sped by, I'm not really sure where to!
So far this year I have been spending a lot of time with my sewing machine. Sewing in the UK seems to be experiencing a rise in popularity in much the same way as baking did a few years ago  (probably due in part to a certain TV program) and I'm very happy about that :-) But that is not why my machine has taken to living on my craft table, by happy coincidence it turns out my decision to spend some time sorting through, washing, & ironing my fabric stash has re-ignited my love of fabric :-) It has been egged on by some of the beautiful sewn items I have seen produced by some of the talented bloggers out there - immediately I'm thinking Sew Sweetness or pretty much anything here at Happy Little Cottage! I also love reading Sandra at Cherry Heart (I mean how can you resist this?) and that was where I came across this which is based on this by Amy at NanaCompany . OK now I read that back that sounds really long winded but isn't that the way lots of us discover new goodies online? You follow the link from one place to another... well hopefully some of you will now be able to enjoy some new goodies by following those links!
Anyways... Once I saw those beautiful little needlebooks I had to make one. Oh I have been meaning to make one for a while to go with my pin cushion & scissor fob, but you know how it goes, new things get added to the "to make" list & some things get bumped down the list... well this just shot up the list instead! I especially loved how it used some really tiny scraps of fabric, you know the kind of pieces non-hoarders would consign to the bin! In my fabric sorting I had decided to start a scrap box for all the off cuts & tiny bits I couldn't bring myself to throw away and so I emptied this out & started to rummage....
This is the back of my needlebook, twelve little 1" squares quilted in a big running stitch with embroidery floss. There are some tiny offcuts from my Easter bunting, the cross stitch project bag, the Let's Sew wall hanging which the eagle eyed amongst you might spot! There are also a couple of squares from dress making projects from my school days & one square from a dress making project of my Mom's from before I was born! For the front of the book I used fusible web to applique some even smaller pieces, the purple strip Mr Owl is sitting on is just 1/2" wide! I embroidered along the edges with a variegated yellow embroidery floss and used one of my hand painted wooden buttons with a deep purple ribbon loop for the closure...
For my inside fabric I used a bigger piece of the lilac floral print you can see on the front and some lilac felt trimmed with pinking shears...
This really was a very happily spent Saturday! I think I might make a few more of these...
Another thing I have been meaning to make for a while is a proper cover for my Pazzle. As some of you will know I have had a bit of a love hate relationship with this beastie since it came to live with me back in the October of 2011 following a trip to Glasgow for the big craft show. I had intended buying some paper punches so how exactly did I end up coming home with an electronic diecutter? Well...
This is a Pazzle Inspiration...
It truly is amazing how much this one little machine can do, in addition to cutting it will emboss, pierce, draw, you can even get attachments that are food safe so you can cut fondant icing for amazing cake decorating! You can find out all about it at the Pazzle website. I don't know why they aren't more widely known over here as they work out much cheaper than more popular brands of diecutting machines which use cartridges, just hook the Pazzle up to your computer and you can import any image you can find or design yourself. So what was the problem? I found (still find!) it incredibly complicated to get it to do what I want!!! I think what I should have done initially was sit down and go through it all methodically learning my way round the whole machine. But it was 8 weeks before Christmas & I had mountains of cards to make & so I jumped right in. To be honest even if it hadn't been that time of year I probably wouldn't have done it any differently, I'm not that kind of person where technology is concerned. Because it will do so much it has so many variables and  inevitably I had a few disasters that put me off, but at the start of this year I decided I had to start over & learn to tame this beastie. 
After spending a bit more time with each other I think we have declared a truce, and partly as a peace offering to it, I decided it deserved a proper cover instead of living under a scrappy bit of the original packaging! I had seen some fairly straightforward quilted sewing machine covers online & thought it shouldn't be too hard to adapt one of these. I also wanted to try free motion quilting & thought this would be a good first project as it basically lives in my bedroom out of sight! There is a lot of information online about free motion quilting but I found the video tutorials here by the uber talented Patsy Thompson especially helpful.
The cover would consist of three sections, two end panels joined together by a rectangle. I traced round the end of the Pazzle on tissue paper to get the curvy end panel shape & cut out two of these from my fabric. I measured around the curved edge of this shape to give me one dimension of my rectangle and measured the length of the Pazzle to get the other. I came across this tutorial for making "super easy pinwheels" which I fancied trying so set off making some for the central part of my rectangle. I framed them with two scrappy borders of rectangles and used a Loop de Loop pattern to quilt them. I sewed the end panels on to each end of my finished rectangle, made a lining from plain navy fabric, and taa dah!
Finally my Pazzle has a new home! 
What I learned from this project -

  • "super easy" is a relative term! The process of making the pinwheels is pretty straightforward but my sewing machine was not too happy going through all those thicknesses of fabric at the center...
  • free motion quilting is a skill that will take me many many hours of practice in order to achieve the results I want!
  • sometimes you need a couple days at the end of a project before you can go back & look at it with a less critical eye. After all how closely do you inspect something like this in day to day use? Yes, some of the pinwheels are not so precise at the centers as a result of battling to get my sewing machine to keep going through all those layers, and the stitch length on the quilting is ummm, shall we say variable?! But in the end I am quite pleased with it now, it certainly beats the white foam packaging!
Thank you for visiting here today, I have more sewing projects to share with you soon... I am on a bit of a roll with these at the moment and seem to be spending a large part of the day upstairs with my sewing machine & the evenings downstairs with my knitting or the granny stripe blanket. I hope you are enjoying your week however you are spending your days & evenings!


  1. wish I were as talented...the needle holder was adorable and I love the cover for your pazzle...I've wanted to make covers for appliances, but havent gotten to

    1. Awww thanks Cathy! Well never say never, it took me a while to get around to it too ;-)

  2. What a lovely cover for your Inspiration! Glad you've got a 'truce.' Let us know if we can ever help!

    1. Thank you so much! I mainly have issues with getting it to cut at the right depth/pressure. A lot of times it either isn't a clean cut or the paper rips, I guess it is all just trial & error...

  3. Oh wow you are so clever. I love both of your finishes. I am utterly useless at sewing!

    1. Thank you for your sweet comments Sally! We all have our talents ;-) Have a lovely week,

  4. As always...gorgeous! I love the things you make! Especially love the little needle book. Always a joy to read you posts ^_^

    1. Awww, thanks Steph! Hoping to be back with a new post soon... hope your week is going well?
      Helen xox


Thank you for your message - I love hearing your comments & ideas!