A drawstring bottle bag, a solution for me to put bottle gifts in this year rather than fighting with a piece of paper!

I always have problems wrapping up bottles as gifts, although to be honest anything that isn’t a square box tends to give me problems! I can never get the paper to look right without it tearing a few times and rather than just buying a paper bottle bag I thought I would make one.  I wanted to make something a bit different to my previous crochet bottle holder that I made so I thought I would do a fabric one using some very cute Craft Cotton Company penguin fabric.

 

I am really impressed with how this came out, I might do some smaller ones for some beer bottles I have as gift too – obviously I don’t have enough things I need to make in time for Christmas already!

Drawstring bottle bag:  

  • Cut a piece of penguin fabric 12 inches long by 11 1/2 inches wide. 
  • Next cut a piece of the red zigzag fabric, 12 inches long by 3 1/2 inches wide.

  

  • Place the zigzag piece right sides together at the top of the penguin fabric with the bottom edge of the zigzag fabric lined up with the top edge of the penguin fabric and sew along to join.

  

  

  • Fold the fabric in half with the red zigzag fabric along the top of the bag and place right sides together.  Now starting 6 1/2 Inches from the top of the fabric sew down the side and along the bottom of the bag.  Turn out the right way.

  

  

  • Fold over the top edge by 1cm, and then on both the front and back side seams, fold in the raw edges by 1 cm.  Next fold the zigzag fabric inwards so it lines up with where you started sewing the front and back together – now pin and sew along the bottom edge. Now sew another line 2cm up from the previous line.

  

 
  
 

  • Thread through the ribbon for the drawstring, fold over the end of the ribbon a few times and sew to stop it fraying.

 

   

  • Slipstitch closed the side seam above the drawstring section.

  

 

   
  
 
 

 

 

 

Third quilt down only one more to go, this arrow quilt was so much easier to make than it looked too, so glad my fears were unfounded! 

I saw this pattern in Love patchwork and Quilting magazine issue 20 and really wanted to make it as a gift this year, however, I was really nervous to get started on it as it looked like it would be quite complicated to make – especially with the problems I have encountered and had to overcome so far with the triangle quilts I have machine made.  
However, the time came when I could no longer put it off and had to face my fears. I couldn’t believe it when I got started – it really wasn’t as bad to make as I had thought it would be! I didn’t encounter any major problems with it at all, it ended up being really great to make.  

I did change the pattern slightly and used individual arrows throughout rather than the long strips at the top in the plain fabric, as a result I also made my own template and cut the arrows out individually, rather than the method they used. I also didn’t add the different coloured fabric strips onto the tops of the arrows.  For the fabric I opted to use patterned fabric for inbetween the arrows rather than just the white used in the magazine.  

 
 I also used a slightly thicker batting than I normally use as I wanted it to be a bit thicker, but this did make it a bit more difficult for quilting but I got their eventually with it. The worst part was the choice of backing fabric I used, I knew when I bought it it might put up a bit of a fight and it certainly did, with it being slightly silky it was slipping about with all the other layers no matter how many pins or tacking stitches I put in. But I got there eventually with it and never again will I pick a fabric like that for backing, especially when using thicker batting as that just added to the problems! 
Only one more quilt make to go, I will be so relieved when they are all finished and on their way to their recipients.  

   
    
 

Finally, after making them for other people all these years I have finally got round to making my own table runner. I can’t wait for Christmas so I can use it!

I’ve always wanted to make my own table runner, but it has been on the back burner for a few years now as I get so busy around Christmas with gift makes that I just run out of time to make it, and it just doesn’t seem right making a Christmas runner in the summer! I had a spare evening the other day and some material that was just perfect for it so I decided to get it made now while I had the time and before I assigned the fabric to another gift!

I decided to do a patchwork stripe table runner with an organza overlay on one side.  This meant it could be used on either side for a different effect; one just the patchwork stripe pattern, the other a patchwork stripe with a snowflake pattern over the top.

For the fabric I used a fat quarter set from the Craft Cotton Company fabric in stripes and stars along with some of their silver organza with a snowflake pattern.  The Reds and greens in this fat quarter set are just perfect for Christmas and the snowflake pattern of the organza just adds a little more Christmas sparkle, I do love a little sparkle at Christmas!



Christmas table runner 

1 – Cut a piece of grease proof paper 130 cm by 26 cm wide, this is the full size of your table runner.  If you want your table runner to be wider or longer just increase the width or length.  Now cut out one piece of organza from this pattern piece but make sure you leave a 5 mm seam allowance when cutting.


2 – Take the pattern piece and cut into strips of different thicknesses, I chose to do 5, 6, 7, and 8 cm strips.

  
3 – Cut out the fabric using the pattern strips allowing a 5 mm seam allowance when cutting.  You will need to cut two pieces of fabric for each pattern piece so you have one for the front and one for the back.

4 – Sew all of the front strips together length ways, first placing the first two pieces right side together and sewing down the long edge, then placing each subsequent piece right sides together with the previous piece and sewing down the long edge.  Then repeat for the back.


5 – Place the front and back pieces right side together with the organza piece in-between them. Pin, and then sew around the edges leaving half of the top edge unsewn.


6 – Turn the runner right way around and hand sew the unsewn edge closed with a slip stitch.


7 – Give the runner a run over with an iron to flatten it out and square the edges – make sure you don’t iron the organza side or you’ll melt it!

You could make this as long or as wide as you want, all you need to do is make your pattern wider or longer than what I have done.
For more ideas using The Craft Cotton Company fabric, check out their blog with free sewing tutorials:
http://craftcottonco.blogspot.co.uk/p/free-patterns.html?m=1

I’m starting to worry time may be against me but I’ve got the second of four quilts finished for christmas, let’s hope the final two decide to co-operate as nicely! 

For my second quilt I opted to do a rectangle strip one, I have been wanting to do one like this for a while so was really pleased I could do finally do one! I opted for quite a thick rectangle strip as I didn’t want one that was too thin for working with – especially after my difficulties with the fiddly-ness with the small triangles!
This one came together much quicker than the triangles too – as all that I needed to do was sew together the long strips of fabric. I opted to add quilted detail by sewing a straight line down either side of the seam in a dark contrasting green.  
I now have 2 down and only 2 more to go, I’m starting to think I might actually get these finished in time! 
   
   
Rectangle quilt 
1- Cut long strips of fabric 4.5 inches wide
2- Cut these strips to different lengths, and lay them out to the size of quilt you want.

  
3- First sew the row strips together, placing right sides together and sewing down the short side.
4- Once the row strips are sewn together you can now sew all of these together, by placing right sides together and sewing down the long side.
5- Layout your backing fabric piece, make sure this is a few inches bigger then the batting and patchwork pieces, next lay your batting on top, then place your patchwork layer on top. Pin like mad to make sure it won’t move while quilting.

6-Add your quilted detail.

7- Bind around the edge by taking the backing fabric and folding it over to the front like you would when making a hem and slip stitch around. 

   
   

New stocking all set and ready for Christmas, I’m definitely ahead of schedule this year – fingers crossed it stays that way!  

I’m flying ahead with my Christmas makes so far this year, although I have made sure I have started nice and early as last year I ran out of time. This stocking is the companion to another patchwork stripes stocking over on the Hobby craft blog http://blog.hobbycraft.co.uk/how-to-make-a-patchwork-stocking/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HobbycraftBlog+%28Hobbycraft+Blog%29 made to replace my rather thread bare stockings which I’m surprised managed to survive last year!


This stocking was made with some very cute penguin themed fabric from a fat quarter set from The Craft Cotton Company. I just love this fabric – how can you not with all those penguins! I decided to use the penguin fabrics on the outside to make sure they took centre stage, and a plainer snowflake pattern for the lining.


I’m really pleased I have managed to get both these stockings finished, they will look great hung out for Christmas optimistically waiting for some presents! I just hoping this successful progress with all these Christmas makes continues!



Materials needed

The Craft Cotton Company Penguin fat quarter bundle

Pins

Scissors

Thread

Batting

Lining fabric

Paper for the pattern

Needle

 

1 – Making the stocking pattern.

Draw a pattern outline for your stocking, making it as big or as small as you like.  I fluted mine out a bit at the top as I like it wider at the top for when folding back.  Make 2 copies of this pattern, one is for the lining, batting lining and batting pieces that will be left whole, and the other is for the front and back fabric patchwork. For this piece cut it into three to make the stocking template.

  
2 – Cutting out the fabric.

Make sure you allow 5mm seam allowance throughout.  Using the whole stocking pattern piece cut out the following; two pieces of fat quarter bundle fabric for the lining, two pieces of batting and two pieces of lining fabric for the batting.  Then, from the 3-sectioned stocking template cut out 2 pieces of fabric for each section (one each for the back front so you’ll have six pieces in total).  Make sure when cutting the sectioned pieces and when using different colours for each side of the lining that you have the patterned side of the fabric facing up for the front pieces and the patterned side down for the back pieces.


  
3 – Sew the three separate stocking pieces together.

Place the bottom and middle front pieces right side together and sew down the seam to join them, and then attach the top and middle pieces by placing right sides together and sewing along the seam.  Repeat for the back.


4 – Next to add the quilting detail.

Place the patterned fabric batting and batting lining together and pin to secure in place.  I chose to add a snowflake detailing using a pre-set stitch on my sewing machine, but you could do zig zags, straight lines or any other patterns that you like.  I went down each of the seams with this stitch detail and then diagonally across each of the sections.  I also chose to use two different thread colours, one light blue for going down the seams and a teal colour for the other lines.


5 – Now to make the hanger.

 

Pick one of the fabrics to make the hanger, I chose to use the green snowflake, and cut a strip measuring 24×6 cm.  Next fold the strip in half with right sides facing and sew along the bottom and up the side leaving the top unsewn.  Turn right way out and you have got your strap.  Before sewing the front and back together, fold the strip in half longways to make the loop and pin to the back piece with the ends of the loop hanging 1cm over the edge of the back piece. I chose to place this 10cm down from the top edge to give enough space once the top edge was turned back over.


  
6- Sewing the front and back together.

 

Pin the front and back pieces together right sides together – the loop will be on the inside.  Now sew the whole way around but leave the top edge unseen.  Turn the right way around.

7 – Making the lining.

Take the front and back lining pieces, place them right sides together, and sew around leaving the top edge unsewn.  This lining can now be inserted into the stocking, to attach to the stocking fold the top of the stocking inward by 1cm and fold 1cm of the stocking lining outwards and slip stitch the two edges together.


Now it’s all set and ready to hang out on Christmas eve!

  

 

For more ideas with the Craft Cotton Co. Fabric check out their free sewing tutorials over on their blog:

http://www.amazon.co.uk/CORNAT-KSDSC310-Hologram-Howling-Wolf/dp/B00AZVPNZG/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1448392531&sr=8-4&keywords=Howling+wolf+toilet+seat

I have been so busy with all my other makes I forgot about my mass of Christmas gift quilts I need to make! After a slight panic the first is finished – only 3 more to go! 

 I decided early on in the year that I would make quilts this year for Christmas gifts, by deciding early on I knew I would have plenty of time to get them made. Unfortunately I have been so busy with other makes I completely lost track of time and forgot about getting started on these quilts. After this realisation I had a slight panic about whether I would be able to get them all made, but decided to try and see if I could get them finished alongside with the board of other makes I need to get finished for Christmas! 
I decided to do a triangular one first, which after my last battle with a triangle machine made quilt was quite a brave decision! I battled through however and despite a few problems and a lot (and I really do mean a lot!) of unpicking and re-sewing and a few minor meltdowns I managed to get it finished and I’m really pleased with it – there are a few little bits in not 100% happy with where some of my points haven’t lined up completely but I think thats just me being over critical, and considering it’s only the second machine triangle quit I have done it’s come out really great. 
Now this one is finished I can get on with my other quilts, hopefully these go a little more smoothly and as I won’t be using triangles for these I think they will be a little less probmatic – although now I have just said that in sure they will cause me no end of stress! 

  
Triangle quilt details

1- Draw your triangle template; 4.5 inches long across the bottom and 4.5 inches high, meaning the sides were 5 inches long. 

  
2- Cut fabric into strips, 4.5 inches wide 

  
3- Take two strips of different fabric place right sides together and sew down each side 0.5 cm from the edge.  
4- Now take your triangular template and lay it across the fabric, with the base on one sewn side and the point on the other, cut down the sides, unpick the point and turn right side out – here are your joined double triangles!

   

   
5- Layout your triangles into the colour layout you want, I chose to do a random pattern of the different colours.

  
6- Cut out some singular triangles to form the straight edges at the top and cut some joined double triangles in half to straighten the side edges. 
6 – Start sewing the triangles together, working on the diagonal, place wrong sides together and sew down the seam. Once all the diagonal strips have been completed, sew these diagonal strips together. 

  
7- Layout your backing fabric piece, make sure this is a few inches bigger then the batting and patchwork pieces, next lay your batting on top, then place your patchwork layer on top. Pin everywhere to make sure it won’t move while quilting. You could also do a tacking stitch to really keep it together.  
8- Add your quilted detail, I sewed down the diagonal lines to create a diamond detail on the backing fabric. 
9- Bind around the edge by taking the backing fabric and folding it over to the front like you would when making a hem and slip stitch around. 

  

    
    
    
 

   
    
 

A fabric gift bag – Perfect for making your Christmas presents stand out from all the other gift bags this year 

Instead of putting my gifts into paper gift bags this year I have decided to do something a bit different, and make some fabric gift bags, what I like about these is the recipient can also use them after Christmas so they act as a little extra part to the gift too!

I use some lovely fabric from the Craft Cotton Company for this, a fat quarter bundle in North Star.

 

Time for me to get cracking on a few more of these, really happy with how it has turned out – you can make these as big or as small as you like. They would be great for awkwardly shaped items that are a nightmare to try and wrap with paper too!


Christmas gift bag tutorial
Materials needed

The Craft Cotton Company fat quarter bundle in North Star

Pins

Scissors

Thread

Paper for the patchwork pattern

Buttons

Needle

Ribbon (tip – you can use the one that came with the fat quarter bundle!)
1 – Making the bag.

Take the fat quarter that you would like to use for the main bag, fold it in half and cut off the bottom part making it 35 cm long. Place the fabric right sides together, and starting 6cm down from the top of the bag sew down the side seam then along the bottom.  Turn the right way around.

Next, with the side seam to the left, and starting on the back piece of the bag, fold in the top edge by 1cm, and then fold over the side edge seam fabric so no raw edges are left at the sides (repeat this process on the front piece).  Now fold over the top edge again, this time folding it in half so it touches where you have already started to sew down the side of the bag. Fold the rest of the top edge in this same way, folding it over 1cm then in half. Pin as you go, then sew along the bottom edge of this folded section to fix in place.
  

 2 – Threading the ribbon drawstring.

 Thread your ribbon through the top of the bag – I used the ribbon that came with the fat quarters. Fold over the raw edge at the end of the ribbon a few times and sew to hide the raw edge.  Repeat for other end.


3 – Making the patchwork Dresden pattern pieces. 

Draw a circle with a diameter approx. 6cm in size – I drew around the bottom of a round tub.  Split the circle into 8 Sections and draw a point 0.5cm out from the edge of the circle in the centre of each section. Draw a line from each of these points to each section line to create the pointed edges around the circle.  Cut out two of these whole templates and split them both into sections, this will give you two sets of template pieces one set for the front and the other for the back.

 

4 – Cutting out the fabric for the patchwork Dresden.

Choosing different colours from the fat quarter set, cut out fabric for each of the pattern pieces, ensuring you leave 0.5 cm of fabric around the template. Now tack the fabric around the template, folding the fabric back over the edge of the paper template. Make sure you put a number on the templates so you know where each piece goes for sewing together. Sew the templates together by placing the pieces right sides together and slip stitching down the seam.


  
  
Now, to make the backing piece for the Dresden, take your second set of template pieces and repeat the above process but instead of using different coloured fabric for each price, us the same fabric for each piece.  Place both completed sides right sides together and slip stitch around the edges, leaving a gap – I left one point section unsewn.  Remove the paper temple pieces, turn the right way, and sew closed the gap with a slip stitch.


  

5 – Attaching the button detail.

Take your button, and sew into the centre of the Dresden.

6 – Attach the Dresden and more button detail.

Place your Dresden on the bag and sew into place, now take some buttons and randomly place and sew onto the bag.

  

This tutorial is also over on the Craft Cotton Company blog, here are some other great makes over on there too.

http://craftcottonco.blogspot.co.uk/p/free-patterns.html?m=1

Getting ready for Christmas with the first of a few new stockings – don’t think my old ones would survive another year! 

I have just finished a tutorial for a patchwork stocking which is over on the Hobbycraft blog, really simple to make and perfect for hanging out on Christmas Eve!

http://blog.hobbycraft.co.uk/how-to-make-a-patchwork-stocking/?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=twitter&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+HobbycraftBlog+%28Hobbycraft+Blog%29

There are loads more fantastic tutorials to check out over on the Hobbycrfat blog too.

Following the success of my patchwork quilted spider I decided to make another – you can never have too many spiders at Halloween – only fabric ones that is! 

I was so pleased with my quilted patchwork spider I decided to make another fabric spider for Halloween. I wanted this to be a bit different to the previous spider so decided to make the body out of patchwork hexagons using one of my favourite patch working methods – English paper piecing. I really enjoy patchworking with this method, using the paper templates gives such sharp edges and it’s so easy to do – although it is a bit more time consuming than using a machine. Since I was going to hand sew all the hexagons together I decided I would use on my hand stitching for the whole spider, it’s nice to get a break from the machine every now and then!
Similarly to the previous spider I was lucky to receive some of The Craft Cotton Company fabric and the Brights fat quarter bundle was perfect for this – the Orange and green colours are ideal for Halloween and the navy provides a perfect darker contrast. I was a bit nervous on how it would look in all different colours rather than just in black and white but I think it’s really worked out we, and is s great contrast to the other patchwork spider. I hope I have enough time to make a few more of these, it would be great to have them all in different sizes!

For more inspiration using the Craft Cotton Company fat quarter bundles and to see there full range of fabrics take a peak over on their blog, there are a load more great ideas on there. Trust me you will find it hard to find a bundle you wouldn’t want to make something with!.
http://craftcottonco.blogspot.co.uk/search?updated-max=2015-06-23T08:14:00-07:00&max-results=7&m=1


Hexagon patchwork spider tutorial:


Hexagons:
For this I made hexagons which were 4 cm long on each side, but you could do as big or as small as you want.



Need in total: 14 hexagons, 6 diamonds  (instructions for the diamonds come later)



You can choose whatever colour combination you would like, I’ve chosen to use a bright green, bright orange and a dark navy from the Craft Cotton Company fat quarter set in Brights. I wanted the top and bottom of mine to be mirrored so to make this easier for sewing the individual hexagons together and making sure I got them all in the right places, I laid the top pieces out right side up and the bottom side pieces in the same position but facing right side down as this the positioning I wanted once the body has been sewn all together. I alternated between the colours and chose to use the layout in the picture below.

Next you need to cut out the fabric, make sure you leave a 1cm seam allowance around the hexagon template. Now tack stitch the fabric onto the template by turning the seam allowance around the template and tacking around the edge, repeat this for all the hexagons.


  
  

Now your ready to start putting them together. I joined the top and bottom sections together separately so I didn’t get too confused with all the hexagons and start getting them in the wrong place! To join them together take two hexagons and place right side together and sew down the side seam to join them using a colour similar to one of the hexagons, repeat this until all the hexagons of the top and then the bottom are joined together. I started by sewing one side of each of the hexagons surrounding the middle piece to the middle piece, then I sewed each side of the surrounding ones together.


  

  

Diamonds:

Now you have the top and bottom sections completed, you need to make the diamonds. To make the diamond template: take 4 of the hexagon templates and lay them out in two rows on top of each other, this will leave a triangular shape in between the four hexagons, place a piece of paper in this gap and draw the diamond shape, cut it out and there is your diamond template.


You will need 6 of these, I chose to do 2 in each of the three colours. Now sew these diamonds onto the top piece in between the hexagons by placing the right sides together and sewing down the seams, the positions and the colour layout I chose I shown on the picture.




Now to make the legs:

Cut a paper template 5cm wide and 20cm long. Now cut out 8 legs in different colours. Now for the leg filling – cut out a template 3cm wide and 19cm long and cut out some batting, fold the batting in half and place inside the centre of fabric leg. Now fold over the bottom short edge of the fabric, then fold over one side of the long edge of the fabric and slip stitch along the bottom of the leg to seal, then fold over the other side of the fabric tucking it under itself to make a seam and slip stitch down the side of the leg to seal. Now to create the bend – sew a line across the leg 8cm from the top.


  
  
  
  
Sewing the body together:

Pin the legs to the body four on each side, with 2 legs to a hexagon side separated by a diamond infill piece. Pin them to the right side of the body with 1cm of the top of the leg hanging over the outside edge.


Now pin the top and bottom pieces together with right sides together keeping the legs tucked in on the inside and sew around to join the top and bottom pieces together making sure when you sew those sides with the legs on that the 1cm of the top of the leg is sewn in on the inside between the top and bottom, leaving 3 hexagon sides unsewn so you can turn it the right way around. Before turning take out the tacking stitch and the paper templates, turn right side around then stuff and hand sew the 3 sides closed.

  
  
  
Eyes:  

In white felt cut out two round eyes, I drew around a cotton reel to get the size I wanted.
Black felt pupils:

In black cut out 2 circles, I drew around a smaller cotton reel for this.


Next place the black pupils in the white eyes – position then in a place you like best – its a great way of getting different expressions depending on where you put the pupils!
Now sew them onto the head in your desired position.
Teeth: 

Cut two small triangles out of white felt and sew onto the spider for the teeth. I just did a line of stitching along the top of the tooth so the bottom half of the tooth remains unsewn.

All finished!



He is very happy with his spider friend too!