Neptune Jacket from Sew Hip #10

Sew HIP! sent me the fabric for this jacket – I thought it was going to be a jelly roll of “Nest” by Tula Pink but it turned out to be some fat quarters of Tula Pink’s “Neptune” instead. It did mean a little rejigging of the design but it was the details rather than the main shape so nothing too drastic. One thing that didn’t need to change was the quilting.  I loved doing the quilting on this jacket so much – I like straight lines and neatness, really I do – but what really gets me going is a bit of asymmetry, or when things aren’t too perfect, so these quilting lines are wavy and curving and definitely not regular. You don’t need to mark them on the fabric and you don’t need to measure or use any funny gadgets on your machine. Just take a deep breath and flow along. I’d planned on it looking a little like tree bark when I thought it was “Nest”, but it worked just as well with nautical “Neptune” – think ripples left in the sand at low tide.

I really loved this fabric too – lovely quality. It was with a very heavy heart that I sent this jacket back off to Sew HIP! 

My friend, who so kindly agreed to model it for me liked it too – a lot (it is completely her colours). I think she looks fab in it, but don’t be decieved gentle reader, she may look sweet and lovely but shortly after this pic I had to pin her to the ground so I could wrestle the jacket from her. She is stronger than she looks I tell you!

One thing that did change was the neck detail. I’d planned to do something arty farty with the longs strips of “Nest” jelly roll, covering some cord with them and intertwining them like a, well, like a nest. Probably just as well I didn’t get that fabric. But I did feel I ought to provide something by way of neck adornment…..more about that in another post. For now just look at that gorgeous whippet, isn’t she a lovely one?


“Flights of Fancy” featured in Sew Hip #9

Two sets of butterflies and some smoking hot flames

Yikes! It’s been a while. Ok to celebrate the end of my winter’s hibernation I will do a few little catch up posts.
I think I may have gone a bit off-piste with this project (but I did have fun!).  I was walking around Leeds one day and I say a pair of gilded Adidas trainers by Jeremy Scott) in cage in a shop window, just like birds. I thought they looked so much fun, like wearing a fantasy on your feet. My family may have spoken to me during the rest of that day, I really couldn’t say*, I couldn’t wait to get home and start drawing and planning and designing and such.

The starting point was my childhood dream – I had long wished I could fly, but Mr Scott had already done birds….so how else could I soar … “What do I want to be today?” – a dragon, a butterfly, a bat? Fire, Hokusai’s Great Wave? OK I know those last two don’t strictly involve wings, but I was on a roll – and besides, catching a wave is the nearest thing to flying I can physically imagine.

So then the practicalities, what should it be made from? Well, something that doesn’t fray would seem appropriate, so felt, in layers to give it some body, was chosen.

How big? A quick examination of the lace up trainers in our house showed that the hole spacings were all very different. But I have a soft spot for Converse High Tops, and Sew Hip had asked for the project to be sized for children, so I popped into our local shoe shop where a very patient lady and her team have fitted shoes on my children since they each began to walk. The kind soul must’ve thought me completely batty, but did allow me access to her rather extensive stock of Converse for children so I could measure the lacing spacing. (Thank you so much Yarna at “Soley Kids” in S-O-T).

Then we came back, and I cut and stitched to my heart’s content, and generally had more fun with felt than I ever knew  could  be possible (I know, I’m easily pleased).  And don’t forget the sequins and beads and such – auditioning the trimmings is a very important part.

It was nice to see how they looked laced into the shoes back at the shop though!

These are quite easy to make and if you hated sewing then you could just glue the the layers together and use fabric pens for adding the details to make them even easier (update 29/4/10 – Threadbanger has a great project showing how to do this exact thing- go Threadbanger!).  So really, there is no excuse not to make a pair of your own, you know you want to – go for it – PIMP YOUR CONVERSE!!

* don’t worry gentle reader, they tend to squeak a lot if I don’t feed and water them regularly so I’m pretty sure they didn’t suffer – poor little felt orphans!

Summertime Blues Jacket featured in Sew Hip #8

This is the original sketch I did for my latest published Sew Hip project.

The final version shows some slight variations in terms of fabric choice, and also how the patchwork was done, but it is still quite close.

The fabric is a jelly roll once again – can you detect a theme yet? – this time in glorious sea blues and greens, topstitched with orange.

It is a little extra work to use a jelly roll like this as you have to “create” the fabric first. This does have advantages though – it gives loads of scope for making your own version entierly unique, and also for recycling fabric or using up small bits that aren’t enough to make a garment with on their own. It made me appreciate that while I’m a big fan of recycling for lots of reasons, it isn’t always a low cost option in terms of time. I guess this will be a factor in why sometimes recycled goods can seem expensive, and why as a rule it is more sustainable to choose to reduce and reuse if possible before considering recycling.

Ok so here it is, still in batik but in a different colourway for my son.

The hood here isn’t pieced because I didn’t have enough of the right colour strips in my jelly roll, but it used up a little of my gingham stash and saved a little piecing time too.  

The lining is a stretch terry towelling. The ribbing started its life as a tshirt of mine. It does mean that there are seams in the sides of the ribbing, but  I was having trouble locating the right colour and that tshirt had seen better days. It is a much happier being an ex-tshirt.

PS many sandcastles were made this day on the beach

Wrap Road Test

Mobius Wrap on the beach

Mobius Wrap on Porthmeor Beach, St Ives

Well, more of a beach test I guess. Half term break saw a bunch of us camping in St Ives, Cornwall.  I don’t know how this happens but I’m generally last in the queue when it comes to sewing but I just managed to finish a Möbius wrap for myself before we left. In fact this is a lie, I finished the sewing bit before we left, but the fringe bit was clipped in Cornwall once we’d pitched the tent.

Mine is a bit longer than the pattern calls for – mostly because I just got carried away when I was cutting out the strips. I had to  cut them because I’d bought thin 1/4 yard pieces – a direct result of falling in love with a fabric collection that isn’t available as a jelly roll format. (The fabric is the Al Fresco collection by Michelle D’Amour, I bought it from  Patchwork Corner ).

I think I might remove some of the strips as it is a little too long for my preference, but it still came in very handy on the beach:-

  • for covering up bits that were in danger of burning
  • for protecting against the brisk ocean breeze that popped up every now and again
  • for covering my modesty when trying to get changed from my swimsuit into my dry clothes (used in conjuction with a towel!)
  • for protecting my Cornish pasty from the voracious herring gulls

And at the campsite:-

  • for warming my shoulders as the sun went down while sharing a glass of wine or two with friends
  • for those midnight trips to the shower block
  • for holding a ball of wool in while knitting (it sits in the folded bit in the front very nicely) – you don’t want sand and bits of grass in your lovely new ball of yarn

I’m a frustratingly slow knitter but something about Cornwall always inspires me to buy wool. It is a peculiar weakness of mine when in St Ives.  It does mean I get to spend quality time in nice craft and knitting shops though, meeting some very lovely people (hello Norma and Heidi  at Kuiama Crafts in Fore St, St Ives and to Kay Bartlett and her bears in the House of Bartlett gallery just on St Ives harbour ). 

frescoknittingThis time it was a very tempting little “Sock It To ‘Em” Starter kit containing everything you need make a pair of socks, including a ball of clever Opal 4 ply varigated yarn that makes patterns all on it’s own. I’ve not knitted socks before so I don’t know what possessed me really; I have started, honest, but I can’t promise to actually finish the socks any time before Christmas. Even though I’m a sock rookie I’m enjoying it, but a though occurs – any ideas how to get the patterns on the socks the same?  or shall I go “dangerous” and have intentionally odd looking ones?  

A batch of wraps has been popping up on the Sew Hip Flickr pool, I can’t tell you how much I love seeing what others have done with the design, and seeing the different ways of wearing it.

Almost makes up for being back behind the keyboard and not on the beach!

Adrienne’s Mobius Wrap


A friend of mine who has shared many sewing adventures and quilting epics over the years has made the Mobius wrap up in some beautiful batik fabrics.

The fabrics were from Hoffman’s  version of a Jelly Roll which they call a “Bali Pop”, this one is their “Mulberry” colourway. Adrienne opted for the ragged edge version, and I think she’s made a very fine job of it.

This is the first wrap I’ve seen completed by someone other than me, so it’s a bit special for me.

We don’t live very close so I don’t see her very often but Adrienne is a source of encouragement and inspiration to me. Just last weekend she completed the Playtex Moon Walk, not just a  stroll round a park, this was a 26 mile marathon walk and quite a challenge. Amazing. If Adrienne were here with me I’d give her a big hug, but the way she’s wearing the wrap it looks a bit like being hugged – it isn’t quite as good but it will have to do. 

Well done, and hope your feet recover soon. (At least sewing is a sitting down job!)

Möbius Wrap featured in Sew Hip magazine #7

This is my latest design published in Sew Hip magazine. The pattern for the wrap can be found in Issue 7.  In fact, I’m thrilled to say, it even made the cover. A wonderful compliment! (And yes that’s me too on page 98 sewing the hem of my ClothKits skirt – at least you know which pages to avoid now!) .

The wrap is based on the idea of a Möbius Strip. The construct is used quite often for knitted scarves and wraps (usually unintentionally by me – I’m not the world’s most able knitter!) but not so commonly in woven fabric.  I liked the idea of constructing it this way because once all of the fabric strips are sewn together you really can’t tell where you began and finished. 

This is what it looks like in a different set of fabrics to the ones used for the sample garment in the magazine – this one was made from a “jelly roll” of “Charisma” fabric by Moda (for my sister 🙂 ). Jelly rolls are strips cut from each fabric in a collection from a designer. I like the look but it can be too busy for some people to want to wear as a garment. Happily it  isn’t obligatory to use a jelly roll for making the wrap – you could choose fewer fabrics or a more limited colour scheme to calm it down a bit.

It can be made from fat quarters instead of a jelly roll if you prefer, or any strips of fabric. The first few commissions I’ve done for Sew Hip all revolve around the design challenge of making items from 2.5″ strips of fabric. All of the projects would lend themselves very easily to “wardrobe refashions” or fabric recycled from worn or unused textiles.

Here is the Obi Belt made from a pair of my son’s school trousers (we go though quite a few pairs of these as none of them have indestructable knees!). A percentage of them get made into shorts for the Summer – but sadly we just don’t get that much Summer so I “harvest” the trouser fabric for other projects.  The fabric for the ties was offcuts of hand dyed silk dupion leftover from a previous sewing project.

As usual, if you make a Mobius Wrap I’d really love to know how it turned out, you can share your pics of any projects you’ve made from the mag in the Sew Hip Flickr group .

Obi Style Belt featured in Sew Hip Magazine

Featured in issue 6 of

Featured in issue 6 of

This is the first time I’ve had a project published and I’m thrilled to see it professionally set out. Have been doing a happy dance all day.

It doesn’t have any stiffening and it is quite adjustable so it is comfy to wear (even if you’ve just enjoyed too much Lemon Meringue Pie). It doesn’t take too long to sew and it can be made from remnants – you could use some of those long strippy bits leftover from another project so it will match. I’ve used different fabrics for each of the strips here, but of course it could be all one fabric if you prefer.

The pattern can be found in Issue 6 of Sew Hip magazine. If you make one I’d love to see how it turned out, there is a Sew Hip Flickr group for you to share your pics of any projects you’ve made from the mag. 

Happy sewing!