Blue and white upcycled shirt quilt

Blue and white is such a classic combination.  It is both fresh and calming with the relaxed feeling of a lazy summer’s day on the beach.

Summer day at the beach

I used blue and white as the starting point for a quilt that would be a gift for my brother.  He loves rummaging in charity shops so it seemed appropriate to use pre-loved shirts and create an upcycled quilt for him.

Trawling the local charity shops, I looked for men’s shirts in a variety of patterns.  Anything would do  – stripes, spots, checks, tone on tone designs – provided the fabric was 100% cotton and the colours were predominately blue and white.  I even found a few floral, James May shirt style patterns.  Best of all was the little boy’s demin blue shirt covered in dinosaur skeletons!  I mean, who doesn’t love a dinosaur?

Stack of blue and white shirts

Stack of blue and white shirts

 

I wanted to keep the design uncomplicated so as to show off the patterns of the shirt fabrics.   A straight forward nine patch block seemed just the ticket.  The shirts were cut into 4 1/2 inch squares and sewn randomly together.

Blue and white shirt blocks

Blue and white shirt blocks

 

Men need encouragement in their lives too, so I embroidered positive affirmations onto some of the plain fabrics and incorporated these into the quilt blocks.

Words to live by blocks

Affirmation blocks

 

White sashing, 2 inches finished width, was added to separate the blocks and to give it a fresh look.

Blue and white quilt

Blue and white quilt

 

A swirling design, called Hot Cocoa, was chosen for the long arm quilting.  It adds a great texture to the quilt.

Quilt detail showing quilting design

Quilt detail showing quilting design

 

And here is the finished quilt, complete with a dark navy binding to frame the quilt.

Quilt made from upcycled blue and white shirts

Quilt made from upcycled blue and white shirts

At 72 inches square it is a great size to use as a bedspread or to throw over the back of the sofa.  I love that it is a classic design with little personal touches that make it unique.

Have you made a quilt from upcycled clothes?  I’d love you to share a photo and if not, I’d encourage you to give it a go.  So much clothing ends up in landfill and it seems a crime to waste it when it can be re-purposed for a longer life.

Like what you see?  Remember you can follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest to see more of my lovely makes.

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Sewing pom pom trim on an infinity scarf – the easy way

A tutorial for a cowl/infinity scarf with a pom pom trim caught my eye on The Daily Stitch blog some time back (can hardly believe it was back in late 2014!).   I was smitten with the tutorial scarf and bought the necessary fabrics.  Infinity scarves are great.  They stay put and are super easy to make – or so I thought.

Cutting out the fabric pieces was fine.  It was only when it came to attaching the pom pom trim that I ran into trouble.  My sewing machine and the pom pom trim did not get on.  Not at all.  Instead of a nice, straight seam, I found that I had uneven and skipped stitches.  I tried the usual suspects – new needle, re-threading, checking tension – all to no avail.  And so the half finished scarf was put to one side and there it languished for over a year.

Well, the scarf is languishing no more, all thanks to this sewing foot.

Single welt cord sewing foot

Piping sewing foot

Yes, it is a piping foot – or as mine is known – a single welt cord foot.  Originally I had bought this foot for sewing piping on cushions.  However that little grove on the back also helps hold and guide the pom pom trim as it is sewn and makes a neat, even seam.

Here is the finished scarf made in Cotton and Steel fabric and lined with Cambridge lawn in a bright peachy apricot.  Doesn’t it look great?

Pom pom trim cowl

Pom pom trim infinity scarf

Now that I have cracked sewing the pom pom trim, I’ll be whipping up more of these fab accessories.  Because we all know you can never have too many scarves…

Want to see my next scarves?  Remember you can follow me on FacebookInstagram and Pinterest to see more lovely makes.

Lined Clothes Peg Bag

There are few things nicer than the smell of laundry that has been dried outside in the warm sunshine and gentle breezes of summer.  I find the task of pegging out the washing quite relaxing at this time too – a great opportunity to be outside, listening to bird song and enjoying the perfume of summer garden flowers.

Of course pegging out washing implies that you have pegs but what to do with them?  Sure you can keep them in a utilitarian but boring bucket.  But I say if you are going to have something useful then why not have it beautiful too.

Hence my cuter than pie little peg bag that I made last week.

Lined peg bag

Lined clothes peg bag

For the clothes, I used a fabric appropriately called Dress me for the Playground.  I secured my chosen garments onto the backing fabric with Vilene Bondaweb and then sewed twice around the outline.  No fancy free-motion embroidery here.  Just careful sewing with my normal sewing foot.

Lined in white cotton with a fancy spotted trim, my little peg bag is the perfect place to keep my shark pegs and looks fab on the line.

If you’d like to learn how to make your own peg bag, then why not book on my forthcoming class.  The date will be 12 July and details will be on the Fabric HQ classes section very soon.

Lined drawstring bags

Over the past week, I have been busy making cute little drawstring bags in preparation for my Bucks Open Studios event.  For those who don’t know, Bucks Open Studios is the largest visual arts event in Buckinghamshire.  It takes place in June each year and allows members of the public to visit local artists to learn more about their work and the artistic processes involved.  I will be exhibiting my work at St Nicholas Church in Kingsey along with seven other artists.  We’d love to see you if you fancy an interesting day out.

To whet your appetite, here are a couple of the bags that you’ll see on my display.  Each bag is approximately 10 inches high by 7 inches wide  and is made from Jeni Baker’s fabulous pattern available at Incolororder.com  Jeni calls it the Everything bag and it really is suitable for everything.  Her little bag makes a great re-usable present wrapping, or a fabulous gift in its own right.

Lined drawstring bag in Dashwood fabric

Lined drawstring bag in Mori Girls fabric

I love the little houses and apples on this one.  Fill it with a pretty tea towel, specialty coffee and homemade biscuits to make a great housewarming gift for someone moving into a new home.

Lined drawstring bag in Dashwood fabric

Lined drawstring bag in Fablewood fabric

This is one of my favourites.  Just love those little leaping foxes.  Add a baby-gro, a copy of Peter Rabbit and some dribble bibs (Hot Chop Threads makes some fabulous ones) and you have a great gender-neutral baby gift.  The little bag will get so much use later as it is perfect for carrying toys or a change of clothes.

Lined drawstring bag in Briar Rose by Heather Ross

Lined drawstring bag in Heather Ross fabric

Don’t you just love those sweet little knitting bees?  Pop a couple of balls of yarn and some knitting needles in this bag to make a lovely gift for a crafty friend.

Like what you see?  Remember you can follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest to see more lovely makes.

Drawstring bags

This Christmas I resolved to make as many presents as possible.   As well as making the presents, I also took the opportunity to gift some of them in a re-usable wrapping.  Enter the lined drawstring bag.

Shabby chic drawstring bag

Striped drawstring bag

This size (about 10 inches high) is perfect for holding smaller presents, such as socks, underwear, books or chocolates, however the bags can be made in any size that you like.  I used this fabulous tutorial by Jeni Baker.   I did change it slightly in that I cut out a square at the base of the bags to create the box, rather than struggle with lining up seams on the corners.  On Jeni’s blog, you’ll find other tutorials showing how to modify the basic bag pattern, such as this one that I used to make the striped bag above.

It is easy to customise these drawstring bags by choosing colours and fabrics to make a truly individual gift.  Here is one of my favourites, a suitably christmassy bag incorporating a polaroid block.

Lined drawstring bag with bear polaroid

Polaroid block drawstring bag

As well as a re-usable option for present wrapping, I had read on the Daily Stitch recently that drawstring bags are the perfect gift for new mums. Who knew?  This one was made following Jeni’s basic tutorial although I omitted the contrast top and added pom pom trim instead.  It is so cute even the bear likes it.

Drawstring bag

Lined drawstring bag with pom pom trim

These little drawstring bags are remarkably versatile, easy to make and suitable for people of all ages.  Great for holding toys, a nappy, pyjamas, sewing supplies, underwear for a holiday…  The list goes on.  It is a wonder how we all managed so long without them.

Cosy cat hot water bottle cover

What do you do when it is cold and grey outside?  For me, I like to sew, particularly if I am making something that will be cosy and warm.  
 
Cosy cat hot water bottle cover

Cat and mouse fabric

I had picked out these fabrics some time ago thinking that they would be perfect to make into a hot water bottle cover.  The gorgeous green is one from the Miss Kate collection by Bonnie and Camille (Moda) whilst the statement Cat and Mouse fabric is from Timeless Treasures.  

 

And here is the finished item, whipped up on the weekend.  A lovely hottie cover perfect for a friend who loves cats (obviously!) and who has two black and white cats of her own.  

 

Cosy cat hot water bottle cover

Hot water bottle cover in Cat and Mouse fabric

As usual, I took the time to pattern match the design – mis-matched tails and paws would not sit right with me – and machine quilted the cover with an all-over diagonal pattern.
 
Cosy cat hot water bottle cover

Hot water bottle cover in cat and mouse fabric

Kona solid in charcoal was used for the bias binding whilst the green fabric is the secret surprise (who doesn’t love those?) on the inside. And it is beautifully soft and warm, being made from 100% cotton.  

 

My friend loved her hottie cover and will use it every day.  It’s the perfect gift to warm the body and the heart.