Quilting and Patchwork

Last week I tried my hand at quilting for the first time when I made a small mug rug:

I really enjoyed making this - and it made me curious to learn a little about quilting - and patchwork. What is the difference? How did it start? And here's what I found.

According to Wikipedia,

Quilting is a sewing method done to join two or more layers of material together to make a thicker padded material
Patchwork or "pieced work" is a form of needlework that involves sewing together pieces of fabric into a larger design.

The earliest example of quilting was found more than 3000BC on a carved figure of an Egyptian Pharoah! 

Quilting and Patchwork were used through history mostly it seems for bed quilts - often made from old clothing - enabling people to re- use even worn items and very small scraps.

There was even lots of quilted armour - like a Gambeson.
Would you believe I even found a pattern/tutorial so you can quilt your own armour!  Amazing!

In later years - quilted clothing like the Doublet - became popular as mens clothing!

Personally - what interests me most about quilting and particularly patchwork is the 'recycling' aspect of it.  It seems like a fantastic way to use up scraps!
Of which I'm sure all of us who sew have LOTS! Bucketloads even!!

Or even another way of upcycling those old clothes!
Earlier this year I started trying to find ways to use up my scraps - and made this patchwork pincushion - or is it really a pet bed?

A patchwork pillow for Mickey:

And this cute patchwork fabric basket 

I'd kind of forgotten about these until I made my mug rug last week - and it's revived my interest.
I'm definitely going to be trying out lots more patchwork and quilting - to try and use up my scraps and stash!


First quilting project!

I did it!
I tried quilting and I'm quite happy with my little result:
This Mug Rug!

I was excited to discover my machine has a "quilting guide"  - who knew??
 (I've now had my machine for 7 years and am still discovering things about it!!)

I had fun stitching the wavy lines - nice to have a play around!

But am painfully aware that the corners of my binding need a little work!

Overall - I enjoyed my first foray into quilting, and will definitely be doing more!  If anyone has any simple quilting tutorials to recommend - please leave me a comment! I'm on the hunt!

For now I can enjoy my new pretty Mug Rug!

Just perfect for a cup of tea, homemade chocolate chip biccie. 


Fabric Halloween Baskets

I made these baskets using a great tutorial I found over at
 A Spoonful of Sugar a while ago.
I've had it pinned to my "things I want to make" board over on Pinterest - and since I had some cute ghostie fabric - thought I'd try them out for Halloween!

I made two - one with the ghostie fabric each way up - gold on one side, silver on the other.
Here's the underside of the baskets so you can see the fabric better:

They make perfect little table containers for parties!

 I used rip-stop nylon for the inside - so I could use it to serve snacks and be able to wipe it out.

Aren't they cute?

They are super simple to make - for the tutorial go here.
Many thanks to the talented ladies at A Spoonful of Sugar for the inspiration and the tutorial!

I'm going to be linking this to a new party I found called:
Liked it, Pinned it, Did it at La Nouvelle Mode

Halloween lights from recycled cans!

I remember seeing this idea somewhere last year and liking it - so finally have got around to trying it myself

Candle holders from old food cans!

I washed out the old cans, removed the labels, then filled them with water and froze them
 (this helped stop the can from bending when I punched the holes in):

Then wedging the cans between a couple of bricks - I just used a hammer and a long screw to tap holes in the cans:

I tried to think 'Halloween' when making the holes!
Here's my ghostie...

And my pumpkin (which looks kind of apple like!)

Then I stood them in the sun to melt the ice.

They did admittedly look pretty ugly on the table when it was still light, but when it got dark - I popped a tealight candle in each one and lit them up!

Much prettier!

I've already recycled some old wine bottles as candle holders - and I'm loving the dripped wax down the sides.

As for the cans - I thought they looked ok for my first attempt - but I'd like to try them again and improve them.  Perhaps I could draw on a design first and then punch the holes?  And maybe paint the cans so they look prettier during the day?

What do you think? 
Have you recycled anything else as a candle holder?

How to make your own mouse pad wrist rest in 5 steps and 15 minutes

These days I use the computer a lot and was finding that my wrist was getting sore from using the mouse for long periods of time.
There are lots of wrist supports that you can buy - but why buy when you can make one?

This is a nice simple project -

Here's how:

1. Take a piece of material 24 cm x 16 cm (9.5 x 6.25")

fold in half lengthways right sides together and pin.

Stitch around the edges, leaving a gap of around 3 cm (1") to turn out. Snip corners.

2. Turn right sides out through the gap, and then fill 2/3 full with dry rice using a funnel.

3. Pin and machine stitch the gap closed.

4. Now to make the cover. 
Cut a piece of fabric 28 x 16 cm (11 x 6.25"), and double turn one of the shorter edges and stitch to neaten.

5. Finally lay the rectangle of fabric right side up, fold the finished short end in 4 cm (1.5").

Fold the other end over, like this:

Then pin and stitch along the top and bottom sides:

Turn right sides out, slide in your rice pack,

And now you have your own ergonomic mouse pad wrist rest!

Which I also made in a slightly less girly version too - from some luxury gold velour!

Why not try making one for yourself - and save your wrist getting sore?

For the downloadable PDF version of this tutorial, click here.

For over 100 more free sewing tutorials for all levels of sewing abilities, take a look at My Free Tutorials Page.

Upcycled skirt to bag

Back in May I did a month of clothes upcycling projects. Since then, when I completely cleared my stash of old clothes - the pile has been steadily replaced my yet more worn, outgrown and no longer loved items of clothing, so I thought it was time to get upcycling again.

I can't do a whole month again - so I'm going to stick to one a week!
Here's this week's effort:

Skirt to Bag Upcycle



The skirt was one of my daughter's which she'd grown out of.  It had a lovely strip along the bottom which I cut off for the straps:

And the skirt already had a lining - which meant my bag was already lined when I made it!! Bonus!

I used an old belt buckle, and a scrap from my stash for the feature on the front:

I'm liking my new bag a lot!  Of course being my favourite colour - purple, I would!

What do you think?