A Wondeful Weeekend

This weekend was my fist experience of the Fat Quarterly Retreat in London. It’s safe to say it blew my socks off!

I met so many lovely people all with the same addiction….. I think it’s fair to say there wasn’t a shortage of things to talk about, not to mention all the handmade bags and clothes to marvel at.

It was great putting faces to some of the people I’ve interacted with on blogs and instagram. There was a such a great buzz of excitement as everyone got to know each other.

The weekend started nice and easy on Friday afternoon learning how to make Bag Charms – I made this for my daughter Ellen. It was a very relaxed session and fun to sew and chat to the others around the table.


Saturday morning I had a lesson in fabric choosing in Kerry’s fantasy fabric store session. So much useful information about putting together colours, tones and patterns. Here we are drooling over a table of gorgeousness!

20130723-130500.jpgSaturday afternoon was my first encounter with a sewing machine in Lu Summer’s Portholes class. I totally loved it, its such a simple but effective technique, which once learned I could have carried on all day making them. 3 hours just wasn’t enough!

20130723-130721.jpgFriday and Saturday evenings were spent on the terrace eating and drinking and socialising and buying fabric and other goodies during our market evening.

20130723-130804.jpgSunday morning – the tiredness was kicking in. My final workshop was making a flexi pouch. I’d already got in a bit of a flap getting all the cutting done for this class, so I was hoping that the rest of it would be a breeze. Lets just say Tacha was very kind and patient with me. I did have flash backs from school; trying to finish my maths when everyone else had packed up and gone out to play. I think there were a lot of experienced sewers in this class because most people were finished half an hour before the end. My finished pouch is pretty nice really, the blocks aren’t as they were supposed to be but I’m glad it turned out usable at least!

20130723-130855.jpgThen there was nothing else to do but say good bye to all our new friends. Mary, Emily, Susy and I headed for the train laden with bags and sewing machines for the journey home. Emily was a total star driving us all the way up and back (Thank you Emily!). I’m also very happy to have got to know these girls better and look forward to some more sewing and socialising with them soon!

20130723-130953.jpgNow the summer holidays are nearly upon us and I’m not sure how much sewing I will get done. I did get a nice one to one session on how to do English Paper Piecing from a lady from New Zealand called Susan. She was lovely and gave me a whole pile of cardboard hexagons so I could carry on – I will probably be packing these along with all the camping clobber when we head off to Cornwall.

Oh, I almost forgot. Mary surprised me when we arrived on Friday with this fab name tag. I felt quite reluctant to take it off at the end.


End of Term

In the knick of time I’ve managed to get these finished. The third and final thing on my ‘have to get that finished before the end of term and have no sewing time for 6 weeks’ list.

The kids don’t actually finish for another week but after 3 days of sewing at the Fat Quarterly Retreat this weekend, I’m guessing my sewing cup will be petty full for a while.

We’ve had some lovely teachers this year, all very deserving of a nice bag!


Hands-free Summer

I am rather partial to a new bag and as the summer holidays drew closer I realised that my favourite shoulder bags will be just plain annoying when trying to heard children around.

So I’ve had a plan (for a while) to make this fab cross-the-body bag by Noodlehead. Now this got a bit waylaid by my quilt making (and life in general). In the meantime Mary and Susy made their own versions. Being a competitive sort, this of course spurred me on!

Today after a trip to the fabric shop to buy a zip (and a visit to Mary to scrounge the strap buckle) it’s done.

I finished it minutes before I had to leave for the school pick-up. Anyone with children will know that as soon as they get home you can kiss goodbye to the idea of finishing anything!

Here it is in the very photogenic apple tree.




Seaside Time

I’m very happy to say my seaside quilt is finished! It looks lovely and I’m so pleased with it.

It’s my first proper big quilt and its now on our bed. It will come camping with us in a few weeks too. Lets hope the sun is still shining then!

I tried out some curvy quilting on this one, which I loved doing. I quickly learnt that those seemingly crazy people you see on YouTube wearing rubber gloves are right! An inside out pair of marigold washing up gloves works a treat. Here’s a photo of me trying to fit a double quilt though my machines tiny throat plate.

The curving quilting idea cane from this blog post by Katy. So simple but so effective and it really helps break up all the starlight lines of the fabric.

I finished the quilting a few weeks ago and wanted to wait and savour the finishing off moment.

That moment wasn’t quite what I pictured as the school day whizzed by and I was left with one (long) side which wasn’t quite right and no time to fix it.
So I duly unpicked it and waited again to have time to finish it. I’m glad I did. Wonky binding would have always annoyed me!

Here it is and the end of the seaside quilt chapter.




Dresses for Malawi

Last weekend I got to be part of a lovely sewing afternoon making dresses for little girls who need them.

The inspiration is from the Dress a Girl Around the World project.

Mary (who gets a mention most times I write) and a few other local ladies organised it.

It was great fun to sew with so many others. I took my little 10 year old sewing assistant along who made a dress of her own and cups of tea too.

We made 36 dresses on the day. I can’t wait to see the photos when they arrive in Malawi.

Here are a few photos of what we got up to.