2011 was a quilty Christmas for us and a quilty Christmas has got to be a good Christmas.
I made my brother Tim (who occasionally makes cheeky comments on this blog) and his wife, Holly a quillow. I haven't made them anything before and so was keen to make them something special. I started with this collection of fabric I bought at Purl Soho (Sorry I couldn't resist that name drop! I just had to remind myself that Caroline and I spent 10 days together in New York with out kids and it was fantastic AND we went to Purl Soho TWICE!!):
I added a few blues so the fabrics reminded me of the sea - perfect for Tim, Holly and the boys, who spend all their spare time on or in the water - swimming, sailing and surfing.
A quillow is a nifty thing - half quilt, half pillow. It is perfect for snuggling under on a night spent on their boat and equally good folded up ready to go for a picnic. And if a quillow is nifty, so too are these instructions
for how to make one. Nova (from A cuppa and a catch up
) obviously has a verycleverbrain and made the construction very easy.
You can see the pocket in both pictures. The quilt all folds into here to create a useful little pillow with a take anywhere handle:
So I hope it wont be long before I find this quillow a little bedraggled, crusty from salt spray, pocket filled with some sand and maybe even a few red wine stains from the last picnic. I know it will have served its purpose.
Pippa was very excited to receive a quilt from Granny (my Mum). The main panel is a piece of fabric from Kaffe Fassett, beautifully hand quilted. It's hard to say which is the front and which is the back. Mum has appliqued some very sweet Matryoshka dolls on the other side.
Mum is not precious about the things she makes, she just wants them to be loved. This quilt obviously is.
Madeleine was feeling a little left out when I was taking these pictures. She thought that I should show you some pictures of the quilt that Granny made her a while back.
Her justification went something like this:
"Well, Pippi and I share a room. So I think you should show people my quilt so they know how well they all match"
I have decided to oblige her:
The 6 blocks are beautifully hand appliqued and embroidered.
Here are two up close:
I think both quilts are well loved!
I was also so excited to receive a gorgeous quilt for Christmas. Caroline has made me a fabulous quilt. The fabrics in it make me want to sing - scraps from the clothes she has made and the classes we have taught together. I would love to show you pictures but it's not quite finished yet. I was a little mournful when I had to return it. (Cara, I hope you are finding this motivational!!) I can't wait to snuggle under it and show it to you.
Last year, we started a new family tradition - Christmas Eve Pajamas.
This year, the girls requested nighties and I was happy to oblige. A peasant dress is comfortable to sleep in and very quick to whip up. I found a fantastic vintage sheet at the recent Fabricabrac
. I am not usually a vintage sheet kind of girl, but this one just spoke to me - gorgeous pinks and purples in sweet patchwork and there was plenty of fabric to make 3 nighties
"3?" I hear our regular readers say "But she has only got two daughters"
There's no mistake. All members of our family participate in this tradition!! You'll note - there are no photos of me in my nightie. I was going to say it is best to leave some things (like the image of a 41 year old woman in a peasant dress nightie made from a vintage sheet) to the imagination, but I really think it is best not to even imagine it!!!!
The boys had pajama shorts made from Sherbet Pips Puppy Dog Tails in Cotton Candy Blue and matching t shirts.
And here is the full team:
For our Northern Hemisphere readers, I thought I would point out that these photos were taken outside our home at about 7pm on Christmas Eve. Long days and gorgeous evenings are a part of what makes this holiday time so special for us.
I would like to say that shortly after this photo was taken, all children were fast asleep in bed, but Madeleine spent until 11pm telling me that Christmas Eve was the most difficult night of the year to fall asleep. Thankfully, she did eventually!!!!
Lately, I have been sewing, sewing, sewing my little heart out. Up early in the morning, forgoing my daytime naps (yes, I am extraordinarily lucky to have a two year old and an almost four and a half year old that still sleep nearly every day!) and getting to bed late at night. I really feel like I've hit the peak sewing zone. I've made lots of goodies that I love (which is something that doesn't always happen round here.)
I can't show you any of it ... They're all gifts that are secrets (shhhhhhhhh!) There's something very frustrating about writing a sewing blog and not being able to share the sewing joy at this time of year. Argh! I guess I'll have to wait till after the 25th.
In the meantime we have been doing lots of non secret Christmas things too...
Making festive and super-easy napkin rings
Learning how to wear party hats in preparation for the big day....
Eating lots of delicious food...
and best of all? Spending lots of time with family and friends celebrating the season!
Merry Christmas - I hope you are all enjoying this time of year as much as I am!
We are very excited to be participating in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day. We love giving things away and having new visitors to our blog. But if I am really honest, I need your help...Someone needs to benefit from my total lack of organisation and you may be the lucky one!Every year I make my girls Christmas dresses
. This year I decided to pretend that I was a carefully planning, highly organised person and bought this lovely collection to make Pippa her dress in October:
- The O and S Family Reunion Dress Pattern in size 5-12
- 1.4 m ( a little over 1.5 yards) of this sweet fabric called Sevenberry
- A contrasting piece of shot cotton (sorry, I am not sure of the colour name or manufacturer)
I brought my little package home very excited and promptly lost it. I spent the next 6 weeks trying to find it - I pulled out the cupboard under the stairs several times, checked under my bed, checked in the kid's cupboards, in the toy boxes and the shoebox. I have to admit when I need to do a quick tidy up, these are all common places where I shove things. I even thought to look in my sewing room, but no matter how hard I searched, I could not find it anywhere.
I tried to convince myself that maybe I had lost it before I even got home, but deep down inside I knew - it was somewhere in the chaotic black hole I call my home.
I finally gave up, re-bought the pattern and fabric and made dresses for both Pippa and Madeleine.
I think you know the rest of the story...
Once the dresses were complete, I found the original pattern and fabric tucked into my... hat box.
So, one lucky Sew Mama Sew reader will reap the benefits of my disorganised life. The winner of our giveaway will receive the pattern and fabric. There is enough fabric to make a size 5 (or possibly a size 6 dress) or the shirt version in any size. I love O and S patterns. Every time I use one I learn a new skill. The Family Reunion pattern is no different. I will use the techniques I learned making these dresses to put on all my facings in the future - such a great way to give a lovely finish.
So to participate in this giveaway, you need to help me out.
I must get my life more organised and I have decided that 2012 will be the year to do it.
Please leave a comment with some advice about how you keep your life organised so I can benefit from your wisdom. It could be a tip about cleaning, diaries, weekly planners, storage ideas or even a link to a tutorial - anything that you think will help me get my act together.
The giveaway will be open until December 16 at 5 p.m. PST. A comment will be chosen at random and that lucky person will be the winner. We are happy to post internationally. Please make sure you leave an email address so we can contact you.
Thanks so much for all your help and good luck!
Maryanne (the disorganised one) and Caroline
This giveaway is now closed. We will be backlater today to announce the winner!
This is the time of the year when I most productive when it comes to sewing. I am so productive, I feel like I could rule the world (if ruling the world involves cutting up fabric into tiny little pieces and then sewing it all back together again really fast!)The problem with spending every spare moment making Christmas gifts, is that there is not much time for anything else, including blogging. So I will make this quick.I loved this tutorial for Where the Orchids Grow
that I made this:
It was fun to make, so I made these too:
Filled with stationary, they made great presents for Madeleine and Pippa's teachers.
I hope they like lime and orange as much as I do!
Make sure you pop by on Tuesday. We are participating in the Sew Mama Sew Giveaway Day and I think you'll like what we have to give away.
A little while back Maryanne blogged about the embroidered serviettes
that she made for The Haby Goddesses' Red and White Kris Kringle. She's way more organised than I am and finished her contribution before the deadline.
Me? I'm a deadline kind of girl and managed to finish my present right. on. the. due. date. phew!
This project kind of evolved. I've really enjoyed my brief foray into patchwork in the last couple of weeks so I decided to make a spotty, scrappy table runner.
Staying true to our scrappy Christmas goal, I managed to make it out of my stash.
I machine appliquéd lots of hand cut red circle scraps on to white to make the front of the runner and while I planned a plain red backing, I found that I didn't have enough fabric so I stripped (is that even a verb? ... in the sewing sense I mean!)up a panel for the middle. Luckily, a gross miscalculation (maths was never my thing) when I was making advent bunting meant that I had plenty of red and white checked binding to finish the project off.The hardest thing about this project was taking a reasonable picture of it ... hence the collage. Like Lizzy's cushions it's a little bit wonky but made with lots of Christmas spirit and the very best of intentions! Thank you so much Jodi for organising this - I have really enjoyed it and you have inspired me to make my whole Christmas a red and white one this year!
This is a quick one today! Use some of your scraps to make some gift cards.
I cut my fabric at 3inches x 3inches.
I even found an old brown cardboard folder to sew the fabric on to, so these cards really cost me nothing.
Triple stitch gave me a look that I liked. I lengthened the stitch to 3.5mm and a jersey needle seemed to punch through the cardboard better than a sharper needle.
Here's one close up:
I know the photos would have looked better if I had included a half eaten mince pie, but today I resisted the urge!
The lovely Jodie from The Habygoddess
has been hosting a Handmade Kris Kringle. The theme was Christmas - Red and White. I had lots of fun with this project, so thank you Jodie.
I love Christmas. I think it is my favourite time of the year. Yes it is busy (OK - hysterical), but for me, it is a time to think about the people and the values that are most important to me.
So, this is a gift of six napkins embroidered with the ideas I want to celebrate at Christmas time:
You can see how the embroidery runs across the whole serviette.
The embroidery was inspired by some I had seen on the Quillow tutorial from A cuppa and a catch up
-a tutorial I have been studying quite closely lately!
If you want to make a set for yourself:I cut the napkins at 18 inches and used my trusty water soluble marker to mark out my embroidery.The embroidery is a simple combination of running stitch and back stitch.Once the embroidery was completed,
I sewed them right sides together with the backing fabric, leaving a small hole to turn them through. Once they were nicely ironed with crisp corners, I top stitched them. If you would like more detailed information and pictures to make some double sided napkins, I found a tutorial here
.And this last picture?Well I needed an excuse to eat a mince pie...
It was good!
My head space for sewing right now is Christmas, Christmas , Christmas. My physical space for sewing is mess, mess, mess - fabric, stuffing, embroidery thread, books and patterns
from one end of the small room to the other. I can't show you any pictures, I am too embarrassed. Just feel very sorry for my husband who shares this space with me for his study. We are being walled in by my sewing stuff.Caroline and I have been talking in the past few weeks and
both think that for so many reasons a scrappy Christmas is a happy one:
So over the next few weeks we will be posting some of the Christmas gifts we have been making
- Christmas is usually a time of mass consumption. By using what we already have we can try and reduce buying too much new stuff.
- By using scraps we can justify our sewing time as tidying time - with each project I complete there will be one less scrap on my sewing room floor!
- Scraps often have lovely memories associated with them. Re-live them while you sew!
- Scrappy projects are often small and fast to make - this means you can give more of your family and friends a handmade Christmas
, with a commitment that (most of them!) will be from the scrap pile.To start things off I thought I would do a bit of a scrappy gift idea round up.
I love this little organiser. I have already made one and done the patchwork outer for another 5! Madeleine and Pippi's teachers will all be getting them, filled with some little stationary loveliness. I am obsessed with this patchworking technique. I'll write more about it next week. You can find this great tutorial here
at Where the Orchids Grow
Sew a rainbow of scraps? Who wouldn't want to do that? Susan, from Living with Punks
had a Scrap Your Stash Month
with lots of fantastic tutorials. This Pen Wrap and Roll
is one of my favourites. Its made by Katy from No Big Dill
This fabric bowl is made using cotton clothes line wrapped in scraps - something I have never seen before and would never thought of. I love the way it allows you to create a bowl with structure. You can find this great tutorial at CraftStylish
In 2009 Sew Mama Sew did a Scrap Buster Month
. This sweet dolly quilt will really use up your tiny scraps - the pieces you need are 1 x 2 inches. Wouldn't it be a great way to use the scraps from all the clothing you have made a special little girl to make her dolly a quilt. The technique looks a lot easier and quicker than you think. Thanks to Amanda Jean
for this great tutorial
from Jeni at In Color Order
is the cleverest way to make a lined drawstring bag that I have seen. I have made a few to use for gift wrapping. With a rotary cutter and a big ruler you could make 5 or 6 of these in an evening.
These Juggling Balls
were also featured in the Living With Punks Scrap Your Stash Month
. They were created by Sachiko from Tea Rose Home
.They are beautifully constructed and I love her choice of fabrics.
She has sewn them by hand and I am really enjoying a little bit of hand sewing. These are on my list for Will. I will make a fabric basket to toss them into and store them when they are not being used. I could also make them for my brother - he could use them to improve his juggling skills!
So that's just a little taste of some Scrappy Projects on offer for your Christmas gifts. All these tutorials are well written and simple enough that if you have done a beginners sewing course (like ours
!) you would be able to complete them with ease. Don't forget our tutorial page
- many of the projects there only require small amounts of fabric and would look great made up with some scraps.Have fun! I am off to do some sewing... I mean tidy the sewing room...
Since I've had children, making an advent calendar has been on my to do list.
Four years down the track I've finally done it! Christmas day is over in a flash - an advent calendar gives you the chance to enjoy the anticipation of the big day and this one can be easily filled (and refilled) with special treats and suprises...
There isn't really whole lot to this project. It's just repetitive - you have to do the same thing 24 times!You'll need
- Five metres of twill tape
- 8.5 - 9 metres of bias tape - I took the simple approach and bought mine
- Red fabric
- Something to make the numbers - I used my Silhouette and white heat transfer vinyl, but you can use whatever takes your fancy!
To start with, you'll need to make a template using the following steps.
- Cut a rectangle 12cm x 15cm
- Fold the rectangle in half lengthwise and use a plate/cd/cup/whatever is close at hand to round off the bottom corner.
- Voila! Now you need to cut 48 of them out of your fabric
Take 24 of the pieces you have just cut and measure and mark 5cm down from the top - just like this...
Fold on the line you have drawn and press. After you have done this sew a row of stitching 1cm from the folded edge. Repeat 23 times!
If you want to applique a number onto the front of your pocket - now is the time to do it! We'll now call these pieces the front pocket.
Next, take one front pocket piece and one back pocket piece. Place them wrong sides together. Take your bias tape and pin it to the curved edge of the back of the pocket. Pin through the bias, the back and the front pieces of the pocket.
This is what the front of the pocket looks like at this stage...
There should be numbers on the front of the pocket at this stage, but I put mine on later!
Sew the bias tape on, using a 1cm seam allowance.
The next thing you need to do is flip the unsewn edge of the bias tape to the front of the pocket and pin carefully.
Sew as close as you can to the inside edge of the bias tape. Repeat 23 times! Phew!
You should have 23 pockets that look like this...
Now you're up to the easy part! Take your twill tape and iron it in half length wise like this -
Sandwich and pin the pockets between the two edges of the twill tape.
Leave about 15cm at the beginning and the end of the tape so yo can hang your bunting. I left a 5cm gap between each pocket - but it's really up to you. Because you need 24 pockets you end up with a super long piece of bunting. I ended up making two 12 pocket pieces of bunting because I think they'll be easier to hang in my house.
Sew along the length of the twill tape close to the edge of the pockets. All of your raw edges should now be enclosed in the twill tape.
There - you're done! Fill your pockets with treats and have a very merry Christmas!