H's Sew Photo Hop on Instagram

This month I have been taking part in House of Pinheiro's Sew Photo Hop which has been a month of Instagramming everyday.  It's been a challenge to find a picture for each day's word, but a fun challenge.  It's been great to see what everyone else was getting up to too.  Getting inventive with translating the days tasks into pictures shows all the sides of how I am creative as some of mine were not strictly sewing related.

So from the top left picture it all starts with the list for the month and then each days goes from left to right.
Day 1 - Hello (Introduce yourself) - Just me, this picture was from when I was working in London on the canal side in Kings Cross.
Day 2 - Can't/ won't live without - My sewing box from Sammy.
Day 3 - Colourful - This theatre was made by children at a local primary school for a project I run at work.
Day 4 - Work/play - The blog - always work and play!
Day 5 - Silhouette - My giraffe looks like a cat in the silhouette!
Day 6 - Pattern that changed my life - this purse I bought at a vintage fair which is pretty much the same as one I found in my late grandma's belongings!  We were clearly more alike than I thought.
Day 7 - Sew up close - Putting some darts in a dress to alter it.
Day 8 - Sewing playlist - My eclectic taste in music is always interesting.
Day 9 - Stash - Just a few of the fat quarters I have.
Day 10 - Would exchange closet with - Drew Barrymore, I want to be her!
Day 11 - Bucket list - I don't have one so found this quote instead.
Day 12 - Motivation - Writing notes and this quote!
Day 13 - Sewing space - My sewing space is also my dining room table and workspace in general.
Day 14 - Style - I love the Hoxton Hotel's style - totally me.
Day 15 - Secret corner of shame - underneath my dining room table/workspace is a world of non sorted shame!

Day 16 - Tiny vs Big - Loved this shot at Waterloo station - everyone looks so small.
Day 17 - Proudest Achievement - My friends, my own place, my work and my nieces.
Day 18 - Sewing resolution - To actually make up the patterns I have.
Day 19 - Boldest Fabric - This used to be my Mum's dress, now a skirt.  Love the print.
Day 20 - Learning & Practicing - I love to learn new skills, this was Espadrilles attempt at The Makery in John Lewis, London.
Day 21 - Shades of summer - Bubble friday always happens at work in the summer, makes the summer.
Day 22 - Last thing I made - I made this papercut for work as I am doing a workshop on it.
Day 23 - Favourite sewing technique - I love a straight stitch.
Day 24 - Worst part of sewing - Realising your bobbin thread is no longer there after doing a whole set of stitching!
Day 25 - Behind the seams - The first dress I ever made! Simplicity Pattern 3833.
Day 26 - Labour of love - My sari from my brother's wedding 8 years ago to be made into the Anna Dress.
Day 27 - It's been a while - since I had seen my nieces - now rectified!
Day 28 - Trims & Haberdashery - Bias binding and zips from Sew Crafty.
Day 29 - Eye Level - Making some frozen inspired cupcakes for my niece's first birthday.
Day 30 - Favourite Era - I love the 1960's and 1970's so please don't make me choose!
Day 31 - Last thing I bought - This massive crochet hook for using with my Wool and the Gang t-shirt yarn.

There is a bonus play for tomorrow too of Buttons or Zippers!  Let's see what I get up to then.  Which one to choose!?!

Did you do the Sew Photo Hop?  How did you find it?  I loved checking out what everyone else was doing
and there are so many great new sewers out there to follow on my Instragram.

Hope your having a great Bank Holiday Monday - even if it is a little soggy!

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August Favourites

The weird weather month that was August is almost over and that means two things. One that our annual Makers Month is nearly here again and two that is is officially Autumn, my favourite time of year. Lets dive in to some more things I have been loving over the past month

I have been loving this home made granola that I saw on Lily Pebbles blog/vlog. I have never been keen on shop bought cereal, and although I like porridge and granola, it is expensive and usually has dried fruit in, which is not my fave. I have been making myself a batch once a week and having it for breakfast and an occasional snack too.

I have been spending a lot of time on everyone's favourite Pinterest recently, trying to streamline our blog account and build up my shop account too. Head over an follow our blog account or Sew Crafty  too keep up with all the best crafty pins.

In between pinning sessions I have mostly been chained to my sewing machine and I have been loving it. I have been working on a super secret project which has kept me pretty busy, but I hadn't realised how much I missed sitting and sewing.

To anyone who has followed this blog for a while will be aware of addiction to stationery, in particular stick notes, well this month is no different and some of my fave places ( Paperchase and W H Smiths ) are doing a great job of keeping me in supply of really cool note taking equipment.

Hope you are all looking forward to a epic bank holiday weekend, Have a good one what ever you have planned.

Sammy xxx

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How Blogging Can Help your Handmade Business - Feature in Craftseller

If you head down to your newsagent this weekend, don't forget to pick up the October issue of Craftseller magazine, not just because it's a great crafty mag, but you may see an article with some familiar faces.

We were asked a few months ago to weigh in on the subject of how having a blog can help your handmade business.  Something we love to talk about!

The piece by Karen Dunn includes some other amazing Girl boss bloggers, the lovely Kat and Kat founders of Blogtacular, Camilla Westgaard from the Folksy Blog and Alice Tams from Birds in hats.  I know we are biased, but it is well worth a read if you are in any doubt as to whether blogging is for you and your brand.  Spoiler alert.  It totally is!

As if you needed another reason to head out and grab a copy there is also a great interview with Amanda Overs of I Can Make Shoes, who's workshops have been on our wishlist for ages.  Definitely on our Christmas list now!

We would love to know if you have a handmade business or brand and how your blog has impacted it, or if you find social media and blogging just a bit overwhelming?  What have you learnt about yourself or your customers via your blog?

Sammy and H xxx

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Simple Styling: Workspace

I thought I would come back to a bit of simple styling this week for another nosey into my house and hopefully a bit of inspiration.  I am nearly there with my workspace and so I thought this would be a good time to show a bit of simple styling.  The rest of the workspace involves shelving and hiding things away in boxes and so not much to show there.  To start with the Table was given to me by my folks and it does extend out so a great thing to have around and the chair is from the local charity shop.

Sew Crafty Sewing Journal

You may or may not have noticed that H has been taking the reins this month, she has been picking up my slack over here whilst I have been dealing with some exciting things over at Sew Crafty.  Today I can exclusively reveal Sew Crafty's first ever product release, on September 1st we are launching the Sew Crafty Sewing Journal. 

To give you a little back story, My Mum has always kept lists and notes about her sewing and crafty makes.  A few years ago when we started this blog I started doing a similar thing to keep track of all the stuff I was making for the blog and as gifts for friends. Earlier this year Mum and I were having a chat about what products we wanted to create that would also be useful in the sewing community.  The answer was right there in front of us as we sat listing and sketching out ideas, a sewing journal.  
After months of designing and making prototypes, the real thing is actually here and we are so excited to share them with you.  Let's start at the beginning, there are three different covers to choose from, the graphic spot and dot cover where the little crosses are actually scissors, the watercolour peony and succulent cover which reminds me of a beautiful print fabric and lastly our photographic cover which features one of my favourite images of our little sequin pegs.   

The inside pages is where we think our journal stands apart.  We have designed pre-printed pages filled with prompts to help you record your sewing projects.  Although if you are more of a crafter the journal still works as it is versatile enough to use for non sewing projects too! 

In-between each set of project pages there are free sketching 'Ideas' and 'Notes' pages with plenty of space to plan your next projects. The journals are A5 which we think is the perfect size to pop in your bag for making notes on the go or taking with you to pick up supplies from the fabric store. 

We wanted to make the journal something that you can make your own and use in a way that suits you, at the same time helping you to remember those little things that sometimes we forget. There is space to record the pattern you may have used as well as notes on what went right, what went wrong and the thing I always forget, where I bought my supplies!  You can easily jazz up the inside with swatches, stickers and washi tape or leave it plain for a more minimal look

If you want to get your hands on one of these Journals they will be available from my online shop sewcraftyonline.co.uk from the 1st of September 2015 priced at £12.95 (plus £2.95 p+p you get free UK shipping if you spend over £25. International delivery is our usual low rate of £7.50). If you are interested you can pre-order your copy from today! Head to Sew Crafty and get your hands on a copy ASAP.

I am so excited to get these lovelies out into the world and see how everybody puts them to use! How will you use yours? 

Sammy xxx

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Let's Meet: London Craft Club

This month we got to have a little chat with Sonia from London Craft Club.  We are going to a Friday Late at London Transport Museum next month where she will be making your Oyster card holder look extra special for their late night opening event.  But mostly London Craft club runs workshops and meet-ups around London and their new venue - see below.  They will also be at The Handmade fair, so plenty of places to find them.  So let's hear what Sonia has to say about our random questions!

Espadrilles with The Makery

Yesterday we got the chance to visit the new workshop space for The Makery in John Lewis, London.  We are big fans of The Makery as you may know from our posts about our visit in 2013 and again in 2014 and so we were so happy when we found out they were opening a workshop space in London and even more excited when we were offered the chance to join a workshop!

We decided to go for the Espadrilles workshop as neither of us have ever made shoes before and so what a great workshop to try.  Also we thought we would let you join in the fun by showing you our photos as well as adding their You tube video as part of this post.  So that you can make your own at home if you can't get to Bath or London for a workshop.

We had to bring our own fabric to the workshop - but luckily we have our own 'little' stashes at home, ahem. I went for rockets and spaceships and Sammy chose colourful chevrons. Although as the workshop space is on the 4th floor in John Lewis, you can always buy a little something from their fabric department if you forget or don't have any to bring.

We started by cutting our fabric using the pattern pieces for the shoe size we are.  We cut 2 pieces of each and then 2 each of the lining fabric. One set is for the front and the other is for the back and sides.

Then, we made sure they were right sides together before sewing around the edge, making sure to leave a gap so that you can pull it through.

Once we had sewn around our pieces,  we cut notches in the curves of the front piece where our toes will be and the bottom of the back piece to make the curve lay flatter when turning them through. 

We then turned them through to the right side and pressed them flat, making sure to have points in the end of the front piece and turning in the gap and pressing down.  You won't need to sew this shut as it will be sewn in place when you construct the shoe.

Now time for sewing your pieces to the soles.  Starting with the back and sides piece, find the middle of the fabric and pin it to the middle of the back of the shoe, you then pin around the edge of the shoe at an angle (so the pin goes into the sole), with the fabric flat to the sole.  I am sure this is where the video above will come in real handy.

Then it's a case of blanket stitching around the edge of the sole, making sure the loops go to the inside of the shoe, not on the edge of the sole - again I am sure the video will explain much better than I can, but you can see below how the stitching sits.

Once all the edges are in place, you need to straight stitch up the side of the back and side piece to the front piece so that it all stays together when you put them on.

Then voila, you are done - new shoes!  I can see how these would be really addictive to make, Sammy has already bought another pair of soles to play with.

What pattern would you choose?  I think if I was going to make another pair,  I might go for classic on the outside and then a fun print inside, or slightly different prints for the back and front pieces.
Thanks again to The Makery for giving us the opportunity to attend the workshop, we had great fun!


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Autumn Ready Wishlist

Shirt  /  Boots  /  Shirt-dress  /  Bag  /  Necklace

Autumn is my favourite time of year and I can't wait for it to arrive. To be ready, I have been keeping my eye on my favourite shops, building my wishlist for a wardrobe re-boot. What is your favourite time of year? What are you looking forward to about autumn?

Have a lovely weekend
Sammy xxx

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Make it: Yoga Mat Tutorial with Zazzle

It's summer, we are all about the healthy living right?!!  So we thought that a tutorial to make your own Yoga mat would be a great idea!  It can also be used as a blanket for a picnic, don't worry.  It really is a simple project that can be done in a few hours, it just needs a bit of space to lay it all out and to use it of course!  So lets get H to talk us through it.

You will need:  Fabric for your front and back (I used my fabric I got printed from Zazzle, see the post here & some neoprene I got from The Cloth House - a great remnant find!), Something for padding - I used an old blanket, but old towel or wadding will be good too, Scissors, tape measure, air erasable pen, Webbing or anything to make a strap, a sewing machine and thread of course!

First thing you will need to do is make sure your fabric is all cut to the same size.  As I mentioned above my neoprene I used for what will be the floor side, was a remnant, so it's always good to check that the size is correct.  Also this restricted the size of the mat, but you can make it as long or wide as you like.  Mine comes to 50cm x 132cm and so a little smaller than normal yoga mats (roughly 170 x 60cm) but it suits my needs.  I doubled over my blanket for extra padding as I find yoga mats are not quite as thick as I would like and so I thought it would be useful to have double thickness.  That's the great thing about making things yourself, you can get them to suit your needs.

Once they were all cut to the correct size, I layered them together.  As I will be turning this through to get a nice clean edge, you want to get the layers in order.  So, both of your eventual outside pieces need to face each other right sides together.  Then on top of one of these pieces (doesn't matter which), you add your padding.

Then all you need to do is pin or tack all your layers together so that they don't slip when you are sewing.  This is where starting out with all your layers the same size really helps as then you can keep it all straight along the way.

Now, it's off to the sewing machine to get started stitching.  I opted for a zig zag stitch as I felt that it would keep everything together better and be a stronger stitch.  I also used a heavy weight needle (see our sewing tips basics for further information on choosing a needle) as I had to go through 4 layers of fabric including that blanket!

All you need to do is make sure one end of your yoga mat is left free so that you can pull it all through the hole.  I sewed halfway along the last end and so I already knew where to tuck it all back in once it was pulled through.  I also then cut off the corners of fabric, so that for the next stage the corners would go to a point.

So, the fun part.  Pull it all through so that you have it all right side out!  Use a crochet hook or something to poke into the edges to get crisp corners.  This is where those corner cuts will come into play as there will be less fabric to go into the corners so you can get a crisper point.

I then laid it out on the floor and so I could tuck in the end that I had not sewn and pin it in place

Time to sew it up!  Also I added a strap here so that you can tie it up for storage/carrying.  It's just out of shot here which is super useful I know.  I just added some yellow webbing into the gap and then sewed it all up together.  I opted to use a straighter stitch for the edge here and then I decided to do the same on the other end of the yoga mat so that they matched up.  You could also use an invisible stitch so that you cannot see the stitching here or anywhere on the mat as it will all appear to be inside.  Check out our Sewing Machine foot guide for further information.

Then I pressed everything - my most hated part of sewing - hate ironing!  Just to make sure that it all sits in place and I am all present and correct before thinking I am done.

The last thing I did was to finish off the webbing, by folding it over and using a zig zag stitch to keep it from fraying.

Then, that's it done!  You can now use it or give it as a gift if you know someone who likes yoga or wants a small blanket for out and about.  You could always make a squarer version which would probably be a bit more suited for that.

The good thing about it, is that when it is fully rolled up, it can be used as a pillow too!  Handy to have about for picnics or the odd nap.  You can use so many different fabrics for this too and so it can be thicker or thinner depending on what you use and your plans for what you are going to use it for.  Perhaps use some waterproof material for the backing or use an old yoga mat for the filling if you want it to be a bit more sturdy.

I am going to use mine for the Pilates I have been doing and a bit of restorative Yoga, apparently its good for calming the body and making sure you relax.   Would you use yours for Yoga or picnics, or both!  That's probably the plan for me, gotta love a dual purpose object.


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