Refugee Sewing Project

I don’t normally comment openly on my feelings about things politically, but this week news of the Refugee Crisis has been overwhelming. I wanted to do something to support people facing this awful situation, but most of the volunteer organisations here in Frankfurt are actually overwhelmed with clothes, food and volunteers (how great is that?! Go Germany!)

What I did find however is this lovely project  – Mini Decki! The aim of project Mini Decki is to provide every refugee child with their own fleecy cuddle blanket. The blankets are supposed to be a symbol of comfort and safety and let the children know they are welcome in Germany.

In order to achieve this, the project is collecting fabric to turn in to patchwork loveliness at a group sewing event. As I can’t attend the event as I will be away with work, I wanted to make a contribution by sewing something at home. I whipped up these cute little fleecy snuggle pillows with a pinwheel design using the Missouri Quilt Company’s easy pinwheel tutorial.  

I’ve attached the pin wheels to some fleece to make a lovely snuggly comforter pillow.

I’m really pleased with how these turned out and can’t wait to take them to my local quilt shop, Quiltmanufaktur, to be added to the supplies that will be going to refugee children here near Frankfurt.

I really want to make some more of these using some of my cute animal print fabrics, as I think they will be much more children friendly, but unfortunately today I ran out of stuffing 😦 So tomorrow I am off to purchase stuffing and then maybe later this week there will be a part II to this post! Happy sewing people!

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Sewing Space Organisation

As some of you may know, I don’t really have a proper sewing space yet, and am already developing master plans of amazing sewing spaces for when we move in to our new flat! In the meantime I have to satisfy myself with making little tweaks to the little table that sits in our lounge where my sewing machine lives. Tweak of the week was my discovery of these super cute Mason Jars.

I normally use Mason Jars to put salads in for my lunch at work, but when I discovered these with ceramic geometric design lids, I thought they would be great for holding sewing notions. I like the way that they almost make a feature of all the bits and bobs that come with sewing!

The jars of bits and bobbins currently sit on top of a slightly boring looking little Ikea organiser. It’s actually really helpful though for holding all sorts of sewing related little things.

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Boring but useful …

I’m planning on jazzing up this little box with Washi tape, as per this tutorial I found online. Any tutorial called “how to unboring-ize a desk organiser” has to be a winner! I might see if I can find some Washi tape today in some cool colours, so check back later to see if I have any success!

The last thing I wanted to share with you is my absolute favourite part of my mini sewing corner – my Ikea Raskog trolley. These trolleys are well blogged about by sewers across the internet, and they really aren’t wrong. What is particularly helpful for me is that I can wheel it out to my dining table, so it’s like having a portable sewing room! It can get a little messy sometimes (this is the tidy version!), but it usually only takes 5 minutes to get it back in order. Dave the Dachshund now proudly rides around in the trolley and keeps my sewing cheery!

Dave’s Chariot

How do you organise your sewing space? Do you have any inspiration for me for when I move to my new home?

Make Up Bags Galore

I have a bit of an obsession with make up bags, and when I started to sew, I was really keen to tackle making one. I stumbled across the free Sew Sew Easy Cosmetic Bag Pattern and I really liked the shape and size, so decided I had to give it a go. What made it really easy and a great confidence builder was the handy YouTube video tutorial.  It really helped me with the zip insertion and top stitching and now I feel pretty good about zips. I also particularly enjoy the part when Debby’s cat shows up to help!

Since then I have made no less than 5 of these handy little bags, and I still find it really satisfying. Now I’ve had a bit of practice it probably takes me about 90 minutes to make one, so they are a fun quick sew. It’s also a great pattern for fat quarters that you really want to use and they make great gifts!

Here’s one I made out of a fat quarter of fashionable vintage French lady fabric as a gift for my mum:

Oo La La!

I love the contrast lining which I think is really in-keeping with the vintage French lady luxury theme!

Earlier this year at the Dutch Fabric Market (blog post coming soon!) I discovered this great fabric company, Kiseki.

They make and sell the most beautiful fabrics from Japan, and I love their laminated versions. They are absolutely perfect for make up bags and come in the cutest prints. A friend of mine fell in love with this gorgeous bird print whilst we were at the market, so I decided it had to become a make up bag for her birthday.

Here’s the finished bag in all its glory!

I lined the bag with some dark green cotton, which I thought was a nice contrast to the outer fabric, whilst still being in-keeping with the zip colour. I also know that my friend is a big fan of teal blue and green, so it had to be a winner!

I also really loved this elephant print … so couldn’t resist making one up for myself! I lined it with some grey star print cotton I had left over and I absolutely love it. I use it every day and it makes me smile when I am putting on my make up in the morning!

Ernest the elephant would be pleased …

So that’s my round up of my favourite make up bag makes! Have you tried Debby’s Sew Sew easy pattern? I’d love to see what you’ve made. Do you have any other great free zipper pouch patterns to add to my list? I’m keen to make zipper pouches in all shapes and sizes!

New Pattern Excitement!

My minimalistic pattern collection …

So … this is my current sewing pattern collection … pretty minimalistic huh? What I love about this collection is it actually contains a good few key pieces, from trousers to tops, to a couple of skirts and jackets. I find Simplicity Patterns really work well for me in terms of sizing and fit, and they can be slightly more generous on the cut than some of the Indie patterns out there which is nice for a fuller figure.

Until now I have been supplementing this collection with some really handy sewing books … Tilly and the Buttons’ Love at First Stitch was the first sewing book that I bought and I loved the fact that it had pattern pieces with achievable projects which made me feel like I could actually do this sewing thing! More on Tilly’s book in a review coming soon …

In addition to the books, as you may have already noticed, I’m also a big fan of the online free pattern. There is so much out there with some great video tutorials and a community of people to help you when you get stuck! It’s almost as if I’d never need to buy a pattern … until today!

Earlier this week I signed up for my first real face to face sewing class (just a teeny bit excited – wheeeee!) and for that class I need to choose a pattern. I’m looking for something challenging enough that I can get the most out of having supervision to hand, but not something so challenging that I feel despondent/can’t get it finished in the 16 hours of class we have.

So I went shopping … for one pattern … and ended up with three! This is partly due to the fact that I made a fantastic discovery! Living in Germany, I’d always been put off by the latest Indie patterns, with the exchange rate being as it is and delivery costs and customs costs all adding up. Today however I discovered UrbanCut Indie Patterns – a great German website stocking ByHandLondon and Sewaholic. I also discovered a German stockist of some of Tilly’s older patterns, as well as separate stockist of Collette patterns.

My three patterns of choice were:

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Moneta by Collette patterns

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 Coco by Tilly and the Buttons

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 and the Charlotte Skirt by ByHandLondon.

I am no closer to choosing which of these I should go with for my sewing class … all I know is that I am super excited to start thinking fabric and notions!

Which pattern do you think I should pick for my sewing course? Have you made, Coco, Moneta or Charlotte and have any hints or tips? I would love to hear from you!

A few of my favourite printable patterns ….

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Hi there!

This will be an ongoing post which I will update regularly with my favourite free printable patterns online – many of which are fantastic for beginner sewists!

You’ll see me mention a few of these in my Blog Posts when I get to making them up!

Many many thanks to the wonderful people who publish these free patterns – I have learnt so much from the very generous online sewing community!

I’d love to hear how you get on making some of these!

Sew Sew Easy Cosmetic Bag: You have got to love Debbi from Sew Sew Easy and her free cosmetic bag pattern and youtube tutorial. This was one of my first makes and I still make it up regularly!

BirchFabrics Elephant Tutorial: Ernest! Oh Ernest the Elephant! This one is a fan’s favourite!

Dave The Dachshund: One of many fantastic free patterns that SewMag has to offer! Definitely worth printing and making up a couple as gifts (or to keep you company while sewing!)

Jelly Roll Jam Quilt: If you’re thinking of dabbling in the world of quilting, the Fat Quarter Shop’s Jelly Roll Jam and Jelly Roll Jam II are a great place to start!

Baby Dino: Kristen’s BabyDino pattern is a simple sew with good results and a super cute gender neutral baby gift!

Sorbetto Top: I am yet to sew Colette Pattern’s new Sorbetto top, but I LOVE the shape and versatility! I can’t wait to sew it up … coming to a Blog Post near you soon!

Polly Top: Thanks ByHandLondon … can’t wait to get this one printed and stitched! So versatile!