Sewchet

Sewing, crochet, crafts, accessories, baking, tutorials,


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Stitching Santa Part 2

My second Stitching Santa parcel was a sewing one from Ali who blogs at Thimberlina and it came in the guise of a stuffed-to-the-brim red Christmas bag.

On to my second glass of Bailey’s by now, as it had taken me almost an hour to open and photograph the many contents of my first parcel from Bekki at DYC, I started by emptying the bag out onto the coffee table. Just look at that little lot, every single one individually wrapped again!

This metallic top-stitching thread is for my overlocker, but could probably be used on the sewing machine, too. I’ve never used this, so am keen to have a go.

Some embroidery thread with a lovely sheen. This won’t hang around for long as I do a surprising amount of decorative hand stitching.

I just love this little tin, although I think it will become a travel sewing kit as it’s the perfect size to throw in my bag.

I love these! They’re going to be saved for those really special projects that deserve something more than my humble labels.

Next was this bag of treasure……

See what I mean? Those turquoise buttons in the middle caught my eye straight away, as did the sparkly one on the pin. Then I spotted a familiar item from the past in the form of a matchbox.

Isn’t that a blast from the past?

Inside were the tiniest cranberry-coloured beads that will be perfect for lots of different things, the first idea that springs to mind is edging for a crocheted wine glass cover to keep the flies out.

The very next present I opened was this jar filled to the brim with numerous beads in all shapes and sizes. I have a shelf in my sewing room with all my beads and buttons stored in these Ikea jars, so this will sit right next to them.

The Boys have already claimed these, so I’ll have to think of a project to which they can be added.

This horsey print fabric was earmarked for The Boys too…..but I’m going to keep it for myself ‘cos it’s cute and will be wasted on them:)

I’m hoping there will be enough of this lovely knit fabric for a Coco, as it’s thick and perfect for Winter. There’s a good couple of metres, so I’m hopeful there will be enough – watch this space.

Time for a little hydration in between the Baileys – Ali sent me some sparkling spring water from her home county!

I’ll be on Ravelry looking for inspiration for these three little Merino beauties!

Ali made me some beautiful coasters from this very same speech-bubble fabric a couple of years ago, so I was thrilled to unwrap a hexi caddy in matching fabric. Handmade by Ali, of course, and much admired by me when I’d seen several other versions on her blog earlier in the year. This will live on the table in my sewing room, keeping all my essentials close to hand. And if I feel stressed I’ll just read out loud some of those quotes – that’s sure to cheer me up!

Several bundles of homemade bias tape is such a timesaver and will be put to good use. I remember loving the blue and white fabric when I saw it made into PJs on Ali’s blog.

Lacy trims because one can never have too many.

Two chunky zips will come in handy as I’ve never got one when I need it:/

Such a pretty doily and so intricate that I don’t think Ali made this one (please correct me if I’ve just insulted you, Ali!). I made my mother two little beaded covers that keep insects out of wine glasses for Christmas, so I totally appreciate the work that goes into these tiny stitches.

The next gift I opened made my heart skip a beat. I recall being totally inspired by the Raggedy Annie workshop that Ali attended, and here is one of the actual squares she made at said workshop! I recognise the sheep on the other side, but this side has a gorgeous pin from Wool And The Gang on it. I’d forgotten all about the workshop but, now I’ve had another read of the blog post, it will be a technique I’m trying in the New Year. You MUST head over to read Ali’s post to see what it’s all about!

Yay, my very own set of pattern weights and a bag to keep them in, too! I’ve made plenty for other people but somehow have never got around to making any for myself and end up using the weights from the kitchen scales most of the time.

As I unwrapped my final gift I had my fingers and toes crossed that it might be one of Ali’s famous peg bags – and I wasn’t disapponted! She put a sneak peek on her blog or IG and you could just make out the front opening so I was a bit excited, especially as she personalised it with hens for me. I can tell you now that it won’t be a peg bag though, it’s far too good to be shut in the broom cupboard all the time. It’s going to be used in my sewing room to keep those tiny (1″) scraps of fabric that I can’t bear to throw out. The plan is to make ‘new’ fabric from the scraps and re-purpose them into a scrappy quilt eventually.

Last but not least was the card that Ali had included which threw in the casual remark that I was right at the top of her list of sewing heroes – not too much pressure for the coming year then!

Seriously though, that is the nicest blog related compliment I’ve ever had, so ‘Thank you” Ali, and that goes for all of you wonderful, supportive Bloggers and IGers out there – what a fabulous community we are privileged to be a part of. Happy New Year to you all!!

Sheila xxx


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Stitching Santa Part One

A belated Happy Christmas to everyone!

I didn’t get chance to sit down with my iPad in the two weeks running up to Christmas as things were so hectic here, what with hosting for two separate lots of people and with present-making continuing right up to the wire. I also made the decision to wait until the last guests had gone home before opening my two Stitching Santa parcels, which meant resisting the temptation to have ‘just a little peek’ until the 28th December.

The 28th – can you imagine the willpower needed!

Anyway, when the time came, I put on a Christmas film for The Boys to ensure no interruptions, poured myself a large glass of Bailey’s and recovered the last two presents from underneath the Christmas tree.

(Well, last-but-one, as the niece’s boyfriend appeared to have gone home without my noticing that he hadn’t opened our gift.)

At this point in the proceedings, the obligatory festive red dress and sparkly cardigan had been discarded in favour of ‘lounge wear’. But not just any lounge wear, oh no – hubby bought me some Cashmere trousers to go with the waterfall jacket bought previously. So I’m sitting smug, head-to-toe in ridiculously soft Cashmere. And drinking Bailey’s.

I had already put one of my presents in the fridge as per Bekki’s instructions, so I opened her parcel first – a Yarny one from The Dartmoor Yarn Company.

Beautifully wrapped in snowflake paper and stripy cord, I had already had a quick look when I put the first gift in the fridge a week earlier.

This was the first to be opened and turned out to be fudge made by Bekki herself, which was a godsend as the fudge I had made turned out more like toffee. (I re-named it ‘Fudge Brittle’ and I think I got away with it!).

In true DYC style, Bekki had chosen a fab card and letter in with the parcel.

The very next present I unwrapped was my favourite of all – a hand dyed skein of yarn from a company local to me with which I am already familiar; Rosie’s Moments. A self-striping yarn in my favourite shade of fuchsia in what I think is a DK weight.

I have already cast on a pair of socks and it is knitting up beautifully!

One of Bekki’s famous Christmas puddings was next out of the box – isn’t it sweet?

Some wool tops in Christmassy red, green and white will turn into a felted creation or two, when I’ve got my creative head back on.

Bekki even included one of her handmade lavender scented candles – one of my favourite scents! That is going straight on my bedside table as it helps induce sleep. Not that I ever have a problem sleeping (I do love my bed; it’s currently 12.35pm!), but it will smell lovely just before lights out.

Yes Bekki, I did guess it was an egg cosy!

Three gorgeous handknit sacks each contained a tiny handmade gift.

Bell-shaped flowers crochet stitch markers…..

….knitting stitch markers, already in use on the socks……

…..and the dearest little pearl-drop angel.

Now I’d unwittingly given my input on the design of this hat, as Bekki had craftily canvassed for opinion on pom poms on her blog, which she dislikes and I love – so the pom poms won out!

Despite concerns about exploding pom poms, mine are perfectly intact, as you can see.

Even The Dogs had a gift each of identical bandanas. Fifi wears hers holly side out…..

…and Tess wears hers tree side out. They both posed obligingly for the photos:)

And here it is all together!

Thanks SO much Bekki – I love everything and you got me spot-on. The thought that has obviously gone into my parcel is immense and all those handmade extras are a joy which I will treasure.

Now to get back to those socks…….


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Crocheted Project Bag

Early on in the Stitching Santa, I had already decided that I was going to make a project bag for my ‘Yarny’ recipient as I knew I had lots of odd balls of yarn lying about. In effect, this was to be a ‘free’ handmade extra to add to the parcel as my £10 budget had been spent entirely on yarn.

Rooting through my leftovers to see what colours went well together, this is what I ended up with.

Quite nice and pastel-y, I thought, and the limited palette should be enough to make granny squares in a variety of colour combinations.

So, colours decided, I started on the squares and soon had a growing pile.

I used single crochet on the front to join the squares together, adding a bit of texture for interest.

I ended up with a rectangle of squares 10 wide by 3 high, and a base panel of 4 squares.

If you fancy making your own, you can use the photo below as a colour guide.

Obviously, the bag needed to be lined to prevent any knitting needles or crochet hooks slipping through. This was simply a process of cutting around the crocheted sections and adding a seam allowance.

Next, I crocheted the short edges of the bag together to form a tube.

Then the bottom panel was single-crocheted in place.

The lining was sewn by machine in the same way.

Two handles were crocheted as below with a starting chain of 75.

The handles were sewn in place by hand, before sewing in the lining.

The lining was just oversewn around the top edge only.

Here’s the finished bag: –

I added one of my labels, of course:)

It’s a good size for a jumper or something similar, so should prove quite useful to my secret recipient – let’s hope she agrees!


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Stitching Santa Gift – Handmade Sewing Kit

So, before I even knew who I would be sending a parcel to for this year’s Stitching Santa, I made this not-so-little sewing kit. Well, what needlewoman couldn’t do with a new sewing kit?

Tilda's Sewing Kit handmade needlecase

Made entirely with fabric offcuts from my collection, the pattern comes from Tilda’s Toy Box, although you could easily copy mine just from the photos as it is pretty straightforward.

Tilda's Toy Box

Hopefully, you can recognise the shape of a house with its front door and a pot plant under the window.

A little robin perches on the sign above the door which, instead of the house name, says “Sewing Kit”.

The whole thing is quilted with a layer of wadding to add support.

Inside, there is a heart shaped pin cushion and two little pockets…..

…..a place to store hand sewing needles and embroidery scissors.

I’m adding my new labels to my handmade things now.

Including some “Handmade With Love” labels, buttons, pins and needles (all from my own supplies) will make the sewing kit more complete.

I haven’t included any scissors though, as I think I’m going to spend the whole budget on some fabric – a good pair of embroidery scissors could use it all up!

handmade sewing kit needlecase

handmade sewing kit needlecase

How are you getting on with your handmade gifts this year?


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Tutorial: How To Make A Faux Sheepskin Bag / Tote

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No, your eyes don’t deceive you, this IS yet another post featuring the lilac faux sheepskin fabric I bought last month. It really has been the fabric that keeps on giving as I have made not only a full length coat and two pairs of mittens, but also TWO tote bags!

If you would like to make your own, either from similar fabric or from a thick fleecy fabric, here’s a quick tutorial on how I did it.

Materials: Approx. 3/4yd of 45″ wide Faux Sheepskin or fleece

2 Magnetic Snaps

Cut pieces from your fabric following the diagram below (which is NOT to scale). If your fabric has a nap or a directional pattern, be sure to take this into account when cutting out.

You may have to adjust the size of the pocket to suit your particular ‘phone – this pocket is the perfect size for a normal (not ‘plus’) iPhone and you may well have to make it larger for a Samsung Galaxy or similar.

Sheepskin Tote Pattern

This photo shows the main pieces; front and back, gusset and interior mobile ‘phone pocket.

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Seam allowances are 1/4″ throughout.

All raw edges are left unfinished and the seams are constructed with WRONG sides together, making a feature of them.

If you have your own labels, sew them to all pieces before any construction takes place. This avoids any fiddly sewing later on.

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Sew your pocket to the inside of the BACK section of the bag around three sides only, leaving the top open.

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Apply the magnetic tabs according to the manufacturer’s instructions, using the photos as a guideline for placement.

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Pin a tab to the top centre of the front and back sections.

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Sew in place.

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Pin the gusset to the back section with WRONG sides together. There will be surplus fabric to cut off later.

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Stitch with 1/4″ seam allowance, being careful not to get any puckers as you sew around the corners.

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Pin the front to the remaining long edge of the gusset and stitch as before.

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Trim the corners off the front and back sections to give a rounded finish.

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Onto the handles.

Fold in half lengthways with WRONG sides facing in.

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Stitch close to the raw edges.

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Pin handles about 3″ in from the sides of the bag, on the INSIDE.

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BASTE loosely in place if necessary, although I just pinned them.

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Take your 4 little squares – these will cover the ends of the handles to lend a neat finish on the inside of the bag.

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You will need to remove as much of the pile on the reverse side of the fabric as possible. This will reduce the bulk and leave a flatter surface.

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Pin each square over the raw edge of a handle and stitch in place, crossing your stitching to strengthen the base of the handles as shown below.

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And that’s all there is to it!

This is the first one I made.

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I even managed to make a second one using the rest of the scraps. There wasn’t enough to cut the main sections out in one piece, so I had to make a seam for the centre front and back, and I actually prefer this version.

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I added my label in a slightly different position and it looks just as good.

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The inside is nice and roomy with the all-important interior pocket to keep your ‘phone easily accessible.

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The magnetic tabs give an element of security and stop the bag falling open.

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As always, your own label adds a professional touch both inside and out.

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The handles are short enough not to have the bag dragging on the floor (if you’re around the 5″ mark like me!), but also long enough for you to carry over your shoulder if that is your preference.

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One of these is to be a Christmas gift for family and the other one may well end up in my Stitching Santa parcel, depending on who I get in the draw.

Which is your favourite?


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Stitching Santa Reveal #2

Having blogged about my knitting/crochet Stitching Santa parcel last week, I’ve locked myself away for half an hour to make sure I blog about my second parcel – the sewing swap.

This box of goodies arrived well in time for Christmas and came from Lynn who blogs at Tialys, with the strict instructions not to open the card in advance of Christmas Day as it contained spoilers.

When I finally got around to opening Lynn’s parcel three days after Christmas, I was greeted with this stunning project bag made from a striking cat print fabric (utterly appropriate from this Cat Lady) and it was put into service immediately for a knitting project.

Contained within were a number of individually wrapped gifts which I was glad I had to photograph as it stopped me from ripping them all open at once in excitement, after all, it had been sitting under the tree teasing me for ten days!

First up was this bundle of pretty floral cottons, so useful for the free motion embroidery that I like to do so much.

A Deer and Doe pattern was a real surprise, and a fab one at that as I’ve never sewn one of theirs.

I LOVE the Liberty print zipped pouch that Lynn made – so pretty and in all my favourite shades of pink. (It will be the make up bag that I keep in my new Mulberry handbag that Mr H-L bought me for Christmas:))

This now holds my car keys – no longer will they get lost in the depths of my handbag:)

The entrance to my studio is into the loft via a ladder so there is no doorway on which to display this – it will be nailed onto the beam at the top of the ladder instead, to welcome me very time I enter. ‘Embroidery Workshop’, Google translate informs me!

A mini photo sticker gave me a clue as to what was in the next two presents……

…….bandanas and a new collar each for Fifi and Tess!

Lynn makes and sells these in her Etsy shop, donating some of the profits to dog charities. Check out her shop if you haven’t already done so – there are some fab and funky designs in there and you’ll be helping homeless dogs at the same time!

Finally, there was a cute little drawstring pouch filled with chocolates which The Boys ‘helped’ me to eat.

I think you’ll agree that it was a very generous and thoughtful mix of gifts – thank you Lynn!


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Stitching Santa Reveal #1

Everyone loves a Secret Santa, don’t they? Apparently so, because 45 lovely ladies (and a man!) signed up for #stitchingsanta 2016, a themed Secret Santa for fabric and yarn lovers who blog or Instagram. 

To read all about it and to join in next year, have a look at this post.


I participated in both the sewing swap and the knitting/crochet swap, so was treated to two parcels under my tree in time for Christmas Day – although I didn’t actually find a quiet moment to myself in which to savour their opening until the 28th December!

I had a lovely pub lunch in Wells the week before Christmas with Claire who, together with regular input from her lovely black labrador, blogs at Mollie & Claire. Claire had drawn me as the lucky recipient of her knitting/crochet parcel – and Boy, was I treated!

We have even both been to Stephen and Penelope’s in Amsterdam – highly recommended to anyone who visits this wonderful city. This project bag contained all my goodies and sat under the tree for about ten days……..


……during which time a mouse had chewed itself a little doorway……


….and helped itself to the tasty fudge within!!


There was plenty to go around though, so I didn’t mind sharing with a cheeky little mouse:)

Just look at this mountain of presents!


I must admit that I went straight for the one that looked like it might contain the hand dyed yarn that Claire had not-so-subtly hinted at previously. Dyed with her own fair hands, Claire had even caked the skein for me so it is ready for use. It’s utterly gorgeous – 400m of sock yarn in the perfect shade of pink, which may become a shawl or socks. I’ll take my time deciding what to make with it as I want to make sure it gets plenty of use.


More handmade items were revealed in subsequent presents – one of Claire’s many Mandala creations is far too pretty to be used as a mat of any kind and is destined for the wall in my studio so I can enjoy it every day.


I love this slouchy beanie hat and couldn’t wait to model it, so here it is whilst I’m in my PJs!


It sparkles with silver sequins – here’s a close up.


Two little felted baubles with yet more sequins!

I rather think they’d make lovely earrings:)


What about this ceramic heart brooch? How sweet?


I can’t tell you how bloomin’ useful this stitch counter is going to be. I’ve got two of the kind that go on your needles but, as I’ve invariably got more than a few knitting/crochet projects on the go at any one time, it will save me swapping between needles.


Claire also threw in some sewing related gifts – anyone who sews will appreciate the quality of these threads.


I love the snowman ribbon!!!!


A pack of Christmas pud decorations for the tree next year.


Some pampering treats which smell divine – when are they going to invent scratch ‘n’ sniff for the internet?!


Now this really is lovely and will be used every day until it’s all gone.


Claire even included a gift for Fifi and Tess from Mollie! That’s if No.1 Son hasn’t eaten them before we get home from France, mistaking them for iced biscuits……


I even rescued all the satin ribbon, which was beautifully tied around several of the gifts, for future use.


Finally, this car decal made me smile – how true are those words?!


Thanks so much Claire – I feel thoroughly spoiled!