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Patchwork Quilt Made From Old Tea Towels And Pillowcases

Every year the school holds a Summer fair to raise funds for the PTFA and I make various things for them to sell or raffle, often at the last minute, so I’m feeling a little bit smug that I’ve already started this year – and it’s not until June!

In three mammoth jam-making sessions I managed to make 42 jars of Blackberry and Apple jam, 25 of which are being donated for the school fair.


Last year there was a ‘Horsington’s Got Talent’ stall, whereby parents and pupils make all manner of crafty things to sell, and for which I made lots of things. It was a huge success, selling out completely apparently, so the Committee have put out another request for handmade items.

As I inevitably end up spending quite a bit of money on things I make like sugar and lemons for the jam, all the ingredients for 50 scones and cakes for the cake stall, I try to make the crafty items out of things I can source for free or that I already have in my supplies.

Like this pile of (freshly laundered) pillowcases and tea towels, all surplus to requirements and acquired from several different people who know I can’t say no to gifts of leftover/unwanted fabrics.

I don’t know what you see when you look at this mix but, add in a bit of vintage lace trim and it screams “Patchwork quilt” to me. No? Well, that’s how my mind works, anyway:)

The very word ‘vintage’ conjures up images of faded florals and linens, so I picked out the remaining old Ikea pillowcases (some of which had been cut up to make hats for the jars of jam) and 3 or 4 neutral tea towels which would work nicely.

My Olfa quilting set made short work of cutting out the 48 6″ squares needed to make a quilt just large enough for a single bed.

I laid them all out on the floor and fiddled around until I was happy with the arrangement.


All seams were stitched with 1/4″ seam allowance and pressed as each strip was completed.

This is the finished quilt top.


For the backing, I had to piece together bits of wadding and leftover curtain lining to make up the size I needed.

With right sides facing, lay the lining on the quilt top, then the wadding on top again.

I stitched around all four sides, leaving a gap through which to turn the quilt. Then the lace trim was sewn to the edge.

Finally I added a little “Sewchet” label.



I may go back and add a bit of hand quilting if I get time, but it actually doesn’t need it.


It’s just the right size to be a comforter on a single bed, or would make a cosy lap blanket for the sofa.



It took me six hours yesterday to make, so the fact that it will probably be sold for about a fiver has to be put to the back of my mind – but at least the fabric was free!


#Stitching Santa Update – Upcycled Cross Stitch

A couple of weeks ago I rescued this beautiful cross stitch from our local charity shop. It was mounted and framed but needed reinventing into something more usable in today’s modern life and was far too wonderful to leave there.

Only measuring a modest 5″ x 7″, I ummed and aahed about what to do with it for a while, having some brilliant suggestions on Instagram.

Ultimately, this is for one of my Stitching Santa recipients (I’m doing both sewing and yarny versions) so I wanted to make it a useful object. This lady is multi-talented across many craft disciplines, as are so many of my blogging pals, and she dabbles in cross stitch herself so I thought this would be perfect for her.

I decided to make a zipped pouch, about the size of a cosmetic bag, which could have a variety of different uses. Maybe for a portable cross stitch project, a small crochet or knitting project, or maybe as an actual cosmetic bag – it is rather swanky, after all!

So here’s a quick run-through of what I did, which might be informative if you have a similar piece of needlework that needs reinventing.

It had been spray-mounted to card and well laced across the back, so all that had to be undone. I then gave it a little steam press.

After trimming the needlework to a useable size, I used it as a template to cut two lining pieces and a back.

Iron-on interfacing was attached to the reverse of the front and back sections to stabilise the bag.

I used the covered tab method for the zip to give as neat a finish as possible (there are plenty of tutorials online on how to do this).

The zipper tabs should be about 1/4″ shorter than the width of the bag to ensure that they don’t get caught in the seam allowance when the bag is stitched together.

After inserting the zip, I topstitched close to the seam through the lining as well. This means that the fabric won’t get stuck in the zip when opening and closing.

OPEN the zip.

With lining-to-lining and front-to-back (right sides together) stitch all the way around, leaving a gap in the lining through which to turn.

Be sure not to catch the tabs in the seam as you sew.

Trim the tabs to reduce bulk.

Cut across all the corners before turning the right way out.

Close the gap in the lining either by hand or machine.

I added a coordinating leather tassel from my supplies.

The sequinned fabric is a small piece cut from a length of fabric that will become a dress later in the week. It adds a touch of glamour.

Some matching blue lining is a nice vibrant surprise when you look inside.

I hope she likes it!


Upcycled Needlepoint

On one of our regular visits to our local charity shop, I spotted this framed needlepoint. It was wedged in a basket at the back of a stack of picture frames and would probably have been consigned to the bin had I not rescued it.

I was struck by the hours of work that had obviously gone into it and was disappointed, if not surprised, that the value that had been attributed to it was just ONE pound.

Unfortunately, as a picture, it just does not work.

It’s old-fashioned and the cheap gilded frame couldn’t be further removed from current interior trends, yet it totally misses the ‘vintage’ vibe, too.

Without really thinking it through, I knew I had to buy it and try to reinvent it as something I would be proud to have in my home – no small task!

A number of Instagrammars had the great suggestion to turn the needlepoint into a tray by adding handles to the frame, or a suitable alternative frame.

I love this idea and very nearly went for it until I was honest with myself and admitted that I have lots of trays and this one simply wouldn’t get used, which seemed such a shame.

Going with my initial idea, I decided to turn it into a cushion cover, after all, the colours would tie in seamlessly with the ones currently in our lounge.

I started by running a blade around the edge of the backing to remove the needlepoint from the frame.

The canvas had been criss crossed with thread to hold it in place, so I was careful not to cut through the canvas when removing the thread.

Having liberated the needlepoint from its frame, it was obvious that it had been a kit originally. I used the colour guides on the side of the panel to choose a fabric from my stash that would serve as the cushion back. 

Luckily, this herringbone tweed matched the colours in the needlepoint exactly. There was just enough cord left on a roll to make some piping, too.

The piping cord was made first, by cutting strips of fabric on the bias and basting it around some cord.

I basted the piping as close as possible to the edge of the needlepoint, clipping up to the stitching to turn the corners.

I had to piece the remnants together to make a 15″ square backing to match the size of the needlepoint front. 

The zip was inserted into the back section rather than any one of the side seams to minimise bulk at the seams. I top stitched it down close to the zip to stop the fabric getting caught in the zip when removing the cover for cleaning.

With right sides facing, I pinned the backing to the front, remembering to open the zip for turning through later. 

As the zip was too long, I would just sew all the way around, in effect creating a new zip stop in the seam, so I didn’t cut it to length at this stage.

The excess canvas was trimmed and the corners were cut across.

Turned through to the right side, this is the finished cushion, shown on a grey chair for contrast: –

I think it will actually live on this sofa.

When I said it coordinates with our existing colour scheme, here’s what I meant – it sits perfectly with the other cushions. I don’t know about you, but I don’t think it looks at all dated now, quite the reverse, in fact and I love it!

The total cost of the cushion was…….£1.00

Not bad when you consider that this kit is currently available for around £40.00, not including the backing fabric or insert!

Not so old fashioned now, is it?!


Re-fashioned Cashmere Jumper

To see what I did with this shapeless, holey old jumper, click on the link to head over to the full blog post on the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network: – Cashmere Jumper Transformation


Upcycled Chair

To see what I did with this old chair, a pot of paint and these colourful fabrics, click on the link below: –

Minerva Crafts Blogger’s Network: Upcycled Chair


Chalk Painted Dresser Makeover

A couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to buy this solid oak dresser on eBay for just £96.00.


Now, I know there’s nothing wrong with it and it is, indeed, a beautiful piece of furniture just as it is, but I had plans to paint it.

We have a large kitchen diner with a LOT of wood in it, so yet another ‘heavy’ piece was never going to look right. I spent months searching for the right dresser at the right price and the right size and eventually found this modern one, which was beautifully made and really solid.

Mr H-L drove for over an hour to go and collect it and wasn’t particularly happy about it being painted, but resigned himself to the fact that I was going to, anyway. What he DID object to, though, was that I wanted him to chop a section of the dresser out, in order to fit our coffee machine in.


I won that debate, too:)


Having used Annie Sloan and Rustoleum chalk paint successfully in the past (guest room makeover), I opted for ‘Bleu Clair’ by Autentico, purely because they had the exact shade of blue that I was looking for.


The main reason that I chose chalk paint in the first place is that there is no need for preparation on most surfaces – you just slap it on.


Two coats are usually needed for good coverage, especially when covering dark with light.



When the paint was totally dry, a coat of finishing wax was rubbed in and buffed to a sheen to protect the surfaces.

I’m told it takes a month to cure completely, so be careful until then. It’s been over a month now, and the finish is still blemish free.


With a bit of determination (for which, read ‘impatience’), I managed to get two coats of paint and a coat of wax on in just one day.


Then I left it for a month.

Or two.

And decided that the knobs had to go.


I dug out four wooden knobs leftover from the kitchen cabinet doors and painted them with two coats of ‘Walnut’ wood stain and a coat of Matt varnish.


Now they match the kitchen units.


So this is the finished article, brightening up the other end of the kitchen part of the room, and I have to say that I’m very pleased with it.


The coffee station works brilliantly with everything in one place – all I need now are some beautiful mugs to hang on the new hooks we installed.


Turn around 180 degrees and this is what greets you, so you can see that both the style and the colour work really well as a whole.


Before and after: –

I love it both ways, but it just sits in our kitchen better now it’s painted and if I ever change my mind, it should be easy to get dipped back to the plain oak.

What do YOU think – love, or loathe?




What to do with a bag of scraps?

We live in a lovely little village, not quite a hamlet because, by definition, a hamlet doesn’t have a church.

We have a church. And a village hall. Nothing else.

The pub is a twenty minute walk away in the next village which is great in the Summer. Not so on a cold, wet Winter’s evening when you fancy a pint.

I digress. The point is, being a small community of just 91 dwellings, people are friendly and generous and generally get on rather well. (Remember those flowers?)

A few weeks back, I had an email from an artist living in The Old Stables asking me if I would like first dibs on some textile-y things as she was having a clear out of her studio. Of course, I jumped at the chance and popped round that afternoon to have a look. I ended up coming home with a car load of stuff from fabric remnants a few yards long to tiny 4″ squares of silk oddments.

After being quite strict with myself, I kept only what I knew I would definitely use and, with her permission, bagged up the remainder for the charity shop.

There was also a bin liner stuffed to the brim with feather cushion pads which is where I made a start.


No.1 Son is now twenty-three, has his first post-graduate job and is saving hard for a deposit for his own house. He is also amassing quite a ‘bottom drawer’ in readiness for his new home, the most recent being this cute little Edwardian armchair from eBay.


Anyway, amongst the things I found when rooting through the stash of goodies I had been given, was a square of fabric from Anthropologie. Possibly a (very large) napkin in its original incarnation, it was unused with the store tag still attached.


A little bit too ethnic for my taste, I asked said son if he liked it and would he like me to make him a cushion cover from it. Having received a ‘yes’ on both counts, I set to.

There was a small carrier bag full of bits of top quality wool tweed in several shades of grey which were pretty useless on their own, but which I could see (!) would piece together to make a nice back to the cushion.


See? They go together quite well.


I patchworked some strips together until I had a square measuring 20″, the same as the front.


Then, because it still looked exactly like what it was – scraps of fabric sewn together – I added some detail in the form of turquoise top stitching along all the seams.



It was still a bit ‘functional’ so I thought a few appliquéd swirls wouldn’t go amiss.




And a few more….


There, that’s enough. Now it looks more like a piece of textile art than leftovers!


Using some turquoise linen (left over from this dress), I covered some piping cord in a shade that would pick out the blue in the Anthropologie napkin. See, there was a reason for choosing turquoise?!


Piping was basted on first…


…then a random zip from my collection was inserted.


The zip was too long so I shortened it by sewing a new ‘stop’.



Sew round the remaining three sides, turn inside out and – TADAH!


A tip is to make the cushion cover slightly smaller than the size of the feather insert, then it stays nice and plump like this.


The turquoise piping ties the front in with the back.


Actually, there’s not really a front or back as both sides are deserving of top spot!



I thought it looked quite at home in our lounge and said as much – at which point it was “Thanks, Mum” and whisked off to No.1 Son’s bedroom before I got too attached to it!


Boys T-shirts From Love Sewing Magazine

A couple of months ago I refashioned and repaired an old T-shirt discarded by my father-in-law in favour of some new ones, and made a perfectly wearable ‘new’ T-shirt for No.3 Son. (Blogged about here.)


I also had these two still waiting to be transformed into something The Boys would happily wear.


I was flicking through my old Love Sewing magazines when I came upon this pattern in Issue 10: –


The last T-shirt refashion was drafted from an existing shirt but, stupidly, I didn’t make a paper copy of it, so when I saw this one in Love Sewing, I thought I’d give it a whirl.

(Talking of Love Sewing, look out for my feature in the next issue!)

The sleeves would have to be short though, and the neckline is a bit too wide and ‘girly’ for my boys.

I cut out the largest size age 8-9 as No.3 Son is 8 next week and No.2 Son is 9. Perfect.


The two remaining shirts were different coloured versions of each other, so I decided to funk them up a little by swapping the sleeves as part of the remake.


I left all the original hems attached so these were both whipped up within a couple of hours – including tracing the pattern!

I used plain cotton tape to face the neckline as it was all I had to hand and it works perfectly.


Here they are waiting for The Boys to wreck them – they are mightily hard on their clothes!



Yep, they fit a treat – thanks, Love Sewing, for the free pattern!


So that’s another two items upcycled and given a new lease of life – fun, this sewing lark, isn’t it?


Men’s T-shirt Refashion

Father-in-law needed some larger T-shirts, which meant a pile of too-small ones were destined for the charity shop – until I saw several holes in them.


I don’t know about you, but anything which is slightly damaged goes in the clothes recycle bin rather than the charity shop as I know lots of people are unable to make small repairs.

As the holes could either be cut around or patched, I decided to have a go at refashioning them into T-shirts for The Boys.

They were all polo-style shirts and the piqué fabric was good quality with plenty of wear in it yet.


Using a well-fitting T-shirt from No.3 Son’s drawer, I cut around the basic outline from the body of the shirt, cutting the sleeves from the original sleeves.


After sewing the shoulder seams, the sleeves were set in and the raw edges overlocked, then I sewed the side seams (right sides together) in one continuous seam from the sleeve hem to the bottom edge.

The raw edges of the seams and the hems were overlocked, then the hems were top stitched in place.

The side seams were reinforced at the bottom with some decorative stitching.


For the collar, I cut off a strip from the original polo collar, sewed the short edges to make a circle…..


….and stitched it to the neckline right sides together, finishing with some more top stitching.



Then to deal with the hole in the middle of the back….


I cut a square of left over fabric (about an inch larger than the hole all around) and pinned it to the inside over the hole.


Working from the right side, I used this stitch on my sewing machine (combined with a stitch length of less than one) to completely fill in the hole.



The repair is virtually invisible on the outside.


The inside looks like this: –


Trim close to the stitching for a neat finish.


No.3 Son was excited with his ‘new’ T-shirt!



I was just pleased to be able to make another wearable item from something which would otherwise have been discarded.

Now, onto the other two….


Refashion: Onesie To Slipper Boots

This the last in a three part series showing how I upcycled an old Onesie into three new garments.


Second part: HOODIE

This third and final part shows how to make a pair of slipper boots!

before  and after

These are the feet of the onesie that were remaining after the rest had been remade into other garments.


Some more leftover knit fabric was cut into a 5″ strip twice the width of the flat boot top, plus a seam allowance.


After sewing the short edges together to form a circle, pin to the boot top, right sides together and matching seams. Stitch in place.


Press seam up towards the cuff and overlock the raw edge.


Top stitch about 1cm up the cuff, catching the seam allowance as you go.


Turn cuff to the inside having the overlocked edge protrude over the seam by about 1cm. Pin in place.


Working from the right side, stitch in the ‘ditch’ of the seam, leaving a gap for threading the elastic.


Stitch again in the middle of the cuff, leaving a gap for the elastic as before.


Top stitch close to the top edge all the way around the cuff.


Cut four pieces of 1/2″ elastic to loosely fit the ankle…


…and thread them through each channel on both boots with a safety pin.


The ends of the elastic are hand sewn together.



A sweet pair of slipper boots.


These turned out to be the favourite part of the recycled outfit and are great for sliding across oak floors.

Hmmm, that reminds me of a ‘game’ we used to play when we were kids. Mum used to put wax polish on rags, tie them to our feet and ‘let’ us slide on the linoleum floor in the dining room.

Wonder if I could use that ruse on my boys?


Hope you enjoyed this post, how to make slipper boots from an old onesie – if you’d like to see more;

You can find the first post here: TRACKSUIT BOTTOMS

and the second post here: HOODIE