Saturday, 23 June 2012

An Apple Patch

Since this is my second patchwork cover for an Apple product, Barry and Alex have suggested I called them Apple Patches and set up a shop called The Orchard to sell them. I'm not sure they're sales standard at the moment - but nevertheless, here is my latest 'Apple Patch' for Ben.... a cover for his laptop.

I made it by patchworking felt squares together in rows and then sewing the rows together. When you machine patchwork, it's hard to get patchwork to be exactly even, so I made these ones more mismatched. Nevertheless, these ones seemed to turn out particularly wonky - more so than the iPad case- sorry Ben!

I then sandwiched each piece with two layers of wadding (for extra protection) and some blue lining material and sewed round the outside.

Finally, I sewed both pieces together  (patches facing inwards) to make an 'envelope' and then turned it inside out to make the case. The flap tucks in and a loop of fabric and button keeps it all together. Initially, the flap was going to go on the outside, like the ipad case I made before - but because I padded the flap as well, it stuck out too much at the corners and looked weird. It worked better tucked in so I tried this new way of fastening instead.

I've had a few people asking about these - so if you want to commission one, drop me an email at At the moment, while I'm still practicing, I'm not charging much  :)

Thursday, 21 June 2012

A Patrick patchwork

This is my first attempt at a proper patchwork quilt - albeit one done on the machine, not by hand. I finished it in May - but little Joshua, the baby in question, took his time in making an appearance. But now he's here - welcome to the world Josh and congratulations Patrick and Michelle.
Baby Josh having a rest with a bear

And here's my quilt. The squares are from all over - ebay, leftover pieces, Our Patterned Hand, The Cotton Patch, Fabric Rehab and Beyond Fabrics.

I machine sewed the squares into rows, and the rows into a larger square, ironing flat all the seams.

I layered it with wadding from The Cotton Patch and sandwiched it with the larger piece of Noah's Ark green.

I 'stitched in the ditch' to join all the pieces along the same seams as the patchwork (where possible) and then sewed all around the outside and added the yellow binding.

I've had a few people asking about these - so if you want to commission one, drop me an email at

Noah's animals on the back

Binding - the hardest part.

Spot the hungry caterpillar!

Saturday, 9 June 2012

A DIYcouture swirly skirt at Fabrications

Today I was back in Fabrications, for a workshop with Rosie from DIYcouture. We were learning how to make a swirly skirt - the finished item modelled here (try to focus on the skirt and not my white runners legs!).

Rosie creates books with pictures and diagrams to talk you through making clothes without using complicated patterns.

Waist height skirt
The skirt is a circle style, hanging in lots of folds and flaring out when you spin round. It would look good with a petticoat too. The bird fabric is from Fabric Rehab.

Below you can see how the skirt starts - with two semi circles of material to be joined together. You then add a waistband and a zip and a bias binding along the bottom. There were six of us in the workshop and Rosie dotted between us all, showing us what to do, helping us out and giving us tips on good fabric shops in London (like me, Rosie considers buying fabric, like buying books - 'not really spending money' - so it's good to hear her tips as to where you can get fabric for a pound a metre). Check out the Fabrications calendar for more workshops with her too - I recommend them.

Cutting out the pattern

In Fabrications Imaginarium
The final fiddly bit, adding the bias binding.

More modelling, this time it's sitting on the hips how I made it. After pinning it up, I actually quite like the on-the-waist style (which I think is more how it is meant to be) so I might do another one like that in future now I know how :)

Friday, 8 June 2012

The trouble with patchwork peas..

Since naming my 'making things' blog Patchwork Pea, I have become a little obsessed with the idea of making some. As I linked to in my previous post, I found a great pdf for making patchwork spheres, and used all my green scraps to make a few. However, the pentagon patchwork does make them look rather more like footballs - when Alex saw them he said (not entirely in jest) "it's three footballs in a canoe". I want to add some leaves and a stem at one end. Hopefully this will help them look more pea-in-a-pod-like - but if anyone has any good hints for making patchwork spheres without them ending up looking like footballs or beach balls, I'd love to hear them!

Sunday, 3 June 2012

Hand patchworking at Fabrications

Fabrications on Broadway Market is one of my new favourite places to learn all things sewing. Have a look at their calendar. They run all sorts of open days and sewing classes in Barley's newly created Imaginarium.

I recently went to a 'taste of patchworking' class there with Katherine May.- I'd been getting good at making patchwork on my machine, but I wanted to have a go at doing it by hand, using the old fashioned paper templates.

We used paper templates to handsew a simple square of patchwork, which we quilted to a lining with some wadding from The Cotton Patch (I have used some more of this since and it's really nice pure cotton wadding). There were a number of other people at the class too, and I really enjoyed the feeling of sitting around and occasionally chatting, each absorbed in our own projects but with Katherine there to help out if we got stuck. I didn't have time to fold the lining material over into a hem in the class, but I'll do it later.

I had this idea that I wanted to have a go making patchwork spheres (or 'peas') and I found a great set of instructions on the internet on how to make a patchwork ball. Armed with a bit more confidence from the class, I had a go that evening.

The day's work

Material and paper templates for another patchwork sphere.

I decided to use the first one for a pin cushion, and made another from felt.

My first patchwork pea

More Fabrications fun

Fabrications is an official supplier of Brother sewing machines, so they often run open days where people can come and test drive their machines - and ask questions to Brother representatives. Most recently was a bunting making day, which I popped along to for an hour after work. I experimented with a range of new stitches on their more modern Brother machines and Rachel from Brother showed to how to work my walking foot - and how useful it is when quilting.

Material ready for bunting.

Next week, I'm going along to a skirt making workshop there - I'll keep you posted ;)