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


A ‘Tilda’ Birthday Present

Having been invited to a friend’s birthday party at the beginning of December, I found myself in the unusual position of knowing exactly what to make her as a gift.

She had previously shown me a book purchase in which there was a typical Tilda doll, and mentioned that she loved them in all their whimsical weirdness. As I happen to own several of Tone Finnanger’s publications, it was an easy decision to actually go ahead and make one for the first time.

I had some wool left over from knitting the Westie, but had to add in some pink to make two-tone sleeves as there wasn’t quite enough of the cream. Although just a small project, the jumper and stockings took the best part of a day to knit – but aren’t they cute?

Cutting a star shape out of some firm interfacing, sequins were individually sewn on until a sequin star was achieved.

The use of pink sequins ties in with the pink sleeves.

Now, on to the doll itself.

The instructions direct you to draw around the pattern pieces and sew BEFORE cutting them out. This is the best method when dealing with narrow pieces of fabric.

This is what you end up with and then comes the fiddly bit – turning them the right way out!!

It took at least an entire hour to turn, stuff and assemble the doll, probably nearer two – then you end up with the weirdest proportioned doll you have ever seen!

Following the instructions to the letter, the hair was added.

I ran out of cream yarn so, instead of winding tiny balls for the side buns, I wound what was remaining around two miniature pom poms for the same effect.

Two dots for eyes were added along with a smudge of blusher, and she’s finished.

The trousers were a simple and quick finishing touch.

I added a thread chain at the base of her neck so she could be hung from a hook as well.

Here she is sat on my table just before being wrapped and gifted an hour later. I know, I know, yet another by-the-skin-of-my-teeth project!

My husband thinks it’s ugly and odd, and I kind of see where he’s coming from but, luckily, my friend loves it and that’s all that matters.

Will I make another one? Well, it’s time-consuming and extremely fiddly in parts, but Tilda’s creations are strangely attractive partly because they’re so unusual and Scandinavian in character, so I think I probably will. The fact that I have four of her books on my shelf is rather telling……


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?


Tilda’s Appliquéd Make Up Bag

I’ve had a few birthday presents to make lately, luckily all of them for women, so it was just a case of browsing through one of my many books and choosing something appropriate to the individual.

I find that making a gift for someone you know is very different to making items to sell, in several ways: –

  • For a start, I don’t have to consider how long it will take versus how much I can sell it for, I can put as much time and effort in as I want which usually means it can be more elaborately decorated.
  • I can take the recipient’s personality into consideration and personalise the gift accordingly.
  • I enjoy the process far more, knowing that the thought and effort that I have invested will be appreciated.
  • It’s a one off – I get bored making more than one of things which is often what you have to do when stocking up for your online shop/craft fair etc.

I found the perfect little gift in Tilda’s book, ‘Sew Pretty Homestyle’.


A cute little make up bag (cosmetic purse) with appliquéd detail on the front – the sort of added extra that can take hours and couldn’t possibly be done at a profit if making to sell.

After tracing off the single pattern piece, I cut out candy-pink striped fabric for the outside, coordinating checked fabric for the lining and some batting to add structure.


This method for appliqué is a good one for tiny items where there’s not much fabric to put under the sewing machine foot.

You start by transferring your design (angel’s wings) onto a double thickness of fabric and stitching around, leaving an opening for turning.


Trim close to the stitching.


Turn and press.


Repeat with all the appliquéd elements and pin to the front of the make up bag.


Sew all the motifs on, making sure your stitches are hidden.


This type of appliqué gives a raised finish when sewn on and the stitches are almost invisible rather than being a feature.


Little swirls adorn the wings, all done by hand with the tiniest of stitches.


Add some eyes and hair to the naive-style face together with an embroidered flower and the decoration is complete!


Construction was straightforward enough.


A row of rustic running stitches keeps the lining from getting caught in the zip as well as being a pretty detail.



Of course, the process could be sped up enormously if the motifs were stitched on by machine and free-machine embroidery used for the wing swirls and flower.

I chose to do it by the book, so to speak, as it gave a more homespun feel that I was looking for.



I love the coordinating lining – it makes the inside a nice surprise when you undo the zip.


This was the ideal project to use up scraps too, as it uses so little for the body and lining of the bag and the appliquéd motifs are literally tiny pieces you’d normally throw away!


Thankfully, the make up bag was very well received, so all that effort was worthwhile – I might even make some more for Christmas presents.