Friday 30 October 2015

How To: Easy Felt Bow Brooch

Today I'm sharing a quick and easy tutorial for making a pretty felt bow brooch.


The bow would make a great gift topper. Tie a gift with co-ordinating ribbon then attach the brooch to “top” the parcel. Once the gift is unwrapped, the bow can be kept and worn as a brooch or used to decorate more gifts in future.

I made this brooch with felt from docrafts. This tutorial didn't make it into their magazine, so I'm sharing it with you guys instead! Yay!


You will need:

- The templates provided at the bottom of this post.
- Felt.You need felt that will keep its shape and not flop so avoid very thin and soft felt. 100% wool felt would be perfect for this but thicker synthetic felts would also work well and is what I used to make my bow.
- Matching sewing thread.
- A brooch clasp.
- Sewing needle and pins.
- Sewing scissors.

To make the brooch:

1. Use the templates provided to cut out the following pieces from your chosen felt: 1 x bow, 2 x ribbons, 2 x brooch backs and 1 x centre circle. Turn over one of the ribbon pieces so you have a left and right ribbon.

2. Arrange the ribbons and bow on one of the backing shapes. The tops of the ribbon pieces should overlap each other slightly then be hidden behind the bow piece.

3. Fold the ends of the bow piece so the ends meet in the middle and the 3D bow shape is created. Hold the four pieces together firmly in one hand and sew all the layers together. Use matching thread and keep your stitches in the centre of the bow so they’ll be hidden under the circle piece in the next step.

4. Add the circle to the middle of the bow. Sew it in position with a double thickness of matching thread, sewing two stitches in the centre to form an X shape.

5. Turn over the second backing shape and attach a brooch clasp. Sew the clasp securely in place with a double thickness of matching thread.

6. Place the front and back of the brooch together. Use whip stitch and more matching thread to join the edges of the backing shapes.

Click here to view the template sheet, make sure you're viewing it full size then print it at 100%.

This tutorial is for personal use only: you can use it to stitch as many brooches as you want for yourself or as gifts, but please don't make any for sale. You may borrow a photo if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to the original source, and do not reproduce my entire post or share the pattern itself on your site. Thanks!

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Wednesday 28 October 2015

Childhood Sewing: A Bear for My Sister

Our attic clearout continues. This weekend's rediscovered childhood treasures included a box of soft toys belonging to my youngest sister, including the very first bear my mum bought for her when she was a day old (awww).

One of the teddies in the box was not like the others. His nose is very wonky, he's not very well stitched and his stuffing is showing but his reappearance still prompted squeals of delight. He's a scrappy teddy bear I made for my sister when we were both very small!

I was in primary school when I made this, I'm guessing maybe ten years old? (Update: my mum reckons I was actually about eight).

I loved sewing and one of my mum's friends, who did lots of dressmaking, would sometimes give me bags filled with fabric scraps to sew and craft with. There were some lovely velvet-y scraps in one of the bags - I wanted to make a soft, cuddly bear for my sister, and this fine fellow was the result.


His nose is a button I repurposed from a craft project we did at Brownies (the crafts were always my favourite bit about Brownies). His body is an old handkerchief, and he's stuffed with fabric scraps.

I didn't follow a tutorial or make a pattern, just stitched him together as best I could from the fabric I had. The result is very lopsided but quite charming, I think? My sister loved him, anyway!


It's delightful to have rediscovered this bear after all these years, especially as I now I design and make stuff like this for a living :)

Monday 26 October 2015

#Crafting365 Days 36-48: The Joys of Embroidery, and of Orange

Time for another #Crafting365 catch up! Time flies when you're having lots of crafty fun...

On day 36, I cut my hair. I'm not sure if DIY haircuts really count as a creative task, but I am counting this one anyway! A bit messy, but not too bad and my hair has been looooooong for ages, it's a nice change to have it shorter again.

Day 37 was all about embroidery. You know that feeling when all of a sudden you just have to work on a particular project RIGHT NOW? I just could not resist the urge to work on some embroidery... so I sketched a whole bunch of new patterns and started stitching up this one which has been on my To Stitch list for, like, ever.

On day 38 I dug some pretty fabric out of my stash to plan something new. I adore these colours together.

The embroidery obsession continued on day 39. I thought I didn't have the right sized hoop to stitch up the patterns I'd sketched earlier (I think I used to own the size I needed but used the hoop to make a mobile? and then forgot to buy a new hoop to replace the one I'd cannibalized for my project? That seems like something I would do, anyway) ... but it turned out I had a bigger hoop that worked okay, hurrah hurrah.

On day 40 I started a new shade of yarn for my happy rainbow blanket: a lovely zingy orange. I am loving orange at the moment, and was actually wearing my orange cardigan (pictured at the top of the post) while knitting these squares :)

The orange-square-knitting continued slowly over the next few days, but I squeezed in some other crafty things too. I spent the afternoon of day 41 sticking lots of things into my "things that are too beautiful or interesting to throw away" scrapbooks. It's been such an age since I've added to my scrapbooks, I used up a whole glue stick adding all the new clippings!

Then on day 42 I was doing some filing and rediscovered a vintage pattern that had been "lost" for ages (because I'd put it in my filing pile along with accounts paperwork, etc, instead of a place where you'd think to look for an embroidery pattern - oops!). I'm delighted to have found this again and am really looking forward to stitching it. The pattern is designed for tapestry wools, but I'm probably just going to stitch it up with standard embroidery thread/floss. I'm also quite tempted to adapt the pattern to make a felt applique of some kind? Decisions, decisions.

By day 43, I was building up a nice pile of the orange blanket squares...

... and was finishing up the orange yarn on day 44. I'm knitting large garter stitch squares from each ball of yarn, and using the leftovers to knit mini moss stitch squares for my random patchwork blanket. Sticking with my orange obsession, my next chosen colour = a bright satsuma orange. So cheerful!

Day 45 saw more blanket square knitting, and more embroidery. My handwriting can be a little illegible at times, even when I write "neatly". My mum thought this pattern said "Poe the PEST..." and, well, she has a point, doesn't she? (It actually reads Be the BEST version of YOU). Terrible handwriting aside, I do love stitching handwritten text - though it does involve lots of teeny stitches to get round all those curves.

I finished my trio of embroidered designs on day 46 (I'll blog about the finished pieces soon, I promise!). The fabric I'm stitching on is so pale, I've taken care to keep the back of my work neat and to not carry any threads between sections.


I was feeling a bit sleepy on day 47 so I opted for something super simple: adding some more blocks of stitching to my scrappy cross stitch project.

When I do some cross stitch or embroidery and end up with a bit of thread/floss left over that's too short to really be worth keeping but long enough that it could be used to stitch a few stitches, I set it aside. Then when I've collected a few threads I use them to add some more blocks of colour to my patchwork project. I am so pleased with how this is turning out, and I adore how it's growing organically over time depending on the other makes I've been working on and what threads happened to be left over.

Then yesterday (day 48) I was gripped by the sudden urge to make something leafy and autumnal, so I grabbed some felt and got snipping! Fingers crossed this turns out how I'm picturing it in my head...

Friday 23 October 2015

Sew Sweet Creatures: Adorable Plush Animals to Stitch!

I have lots of fun news to share this month! It's funny the way these things work out - you work on a whole bunch of different projects at different times, then they're all published at once and you seem like a super-busy crafting machine.

Today I'm delighted to be able to show you guys the projects I designed for Sew Sweet Creatures, a new book from Lark Crafts which features 16 plush animals with matching accessories:

I know I am a teeny bit biased but this book is straight up ADORABLE. I actually emitted a small high pitched squeak upon seeing everyone's projects - all the animals are very cute and their accessories are super charming.

You can make a cupcake-baking squirrel, an adventurer bear, a party-loving fox, a lumberjack beaver (complete with logs joined together by velcro so you can "chop" them!), and more!

I designed four creatures for the book.

There's Alex the crafty bunny, who loves to knit and sew...

... (look! there's Alex peeking out from the inside cover of the book!)...

... Olivia the fairy mouse who's here to grant your wishes...


... Lynne the festival-loving panda...


... and Samuel the superhero pig!

It was an absolute joy to design these animals and all their accessories, and so much fun coming up with little stories about them and their lives. I hope you guys will have just as much fun stitching them when you buy the book!

Sew Sweet Creatures is out now in the USA and will be published here in the UK later this autumn. It's available from Amazon USA, the Book Depository and many other bookshops, and you can pre-order it from Amazon UK. Please note: The Amazon and Book Depository links in this post are affiliate links.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

A Wave of Nostalgia: Puzzles & Games from My Childhood

This weekend I fell down a bit of a nostalgia rabbit hole. I was doing some decluttering and re-organising of my stuff, playing lots of old mixtapes while I worked and getting frequently distracted by reading old letters, etc.

Meanwhile, my mum was clearing a few more boxes out of the attic - retrieving more boxes of things from our childhood that were packed up many moons ago. Some of this treasure will be (finally) given to charity shops, but much of it is destined for my new neice and any siblings and cousins she aquires over the coming years :)

I remembered a lot of the things that emerged from these boxes, but there were a few that hit me with such a strong wave of memories that it was slightly overwhelming (in a good way!). I thought you guys might enjoy a peek at some of the games I loved in my 80s childhood - maybe you had some of these too?

Picture Pairs & Animal Friends Dominos: I must have been really young when we first started playing picture pairs but those pictures are imprinted on my brain. The watering can was always my favourite.

Snakes and Ladders - a classic!


Foxwood Tales and Brambly Hedge jigsaw puzzles: I loved these books (especially the Brambly Hedge series) and spent many happy hours looking at the pictures, and (when I was a bit older) trying to draw some of the charming little things in them.

Teddy Bears Picnic: I had 100% forgotten that this game was a thing that existed and I have no clue what the rules might have been, but when it came out of the box from the attic: POW! So familiar!


Something else I'd totally forgotten about: Victoria Plum's Adventures. I loved this book and all the cute pictures, especially as my BFF at the time was called Victoria:

Huff-Puff: My mum tried to get rid of this game when we were deciding what to keep and what to charity shop. "It looks really boring!" she said. "What's fun about building these fiddly little card houses?" But we were having none of it. Building little card houses before the wolf can blow them down = very fun indeed!

Another fave puzzle: I absolutely adored this picture and remember doing lots of paintings with mountains in them just like those.

There was also a box of older-kids games. We spent sooooo many hours playing Guess Who over the years, including many games auf Deutsch with visiting German friends. Once you've learnt the German for things like "does he have a moustache" and "do they have brown hair?" you can have hours of fun...

Finally, rediscovering this card game hit me so hard in the feels I can't even. Old Macdonald Counting Snap! So. Much. Cuteness.

Monday 19 October 2015

Felt Christmas Baubles for Creativity Magazine

In the current issue of docrafts Creativity magazine you'll find some fun festive felt baubles designed by me...

I love Christmas crafting, and felt ornaments are one of my very favourite things to make. They're quick to sew and offer so many crafty possibilities!

I designed a set of eight Christmas decorations for issue 63 of Creativity. There are four Christmas characters to stitch: an angel, a reindeer, a snowman, and father Christmas. Then there's a jingle bell, a button heart, a stripey stocking and a sparkly star.

Can't find docrafts Creativity Magazine in your local newsagent? You can subscribe here or buy individual issues here.

P.S. Look what I made for next month's issue of Creativity: a reindeer jumper! So much fun.

Friday 16 October 2015

A Partridge & Pear Wreath for Mollie Makes

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook you'll know I have some exciting news: I made a Christmas wreath for the new issue of Mollie Makes and it's on the cover! Eep!


It's a partridge and pear wreath, with lots of sparkly felt leaves:

The wreath was a huge amount of fun to make, and it's so exciting seeing it on the cover (especially on the shelves of my local newsagent).


If you don't want to make the whole wreath, you can use the tutorial to make a set of partridge and pear felt ornaments for your Christmas tree. I was thrilled to spot that someone has already stitched a pear ornament from my pattern!

Mollie Makes issue 59 is out now in the UK, available from newsagents, supermarkets or online. The digital edition is available to download from Zinio, Google Play or Apple Newsstand.

If you buy a copy and make the wreath (or an ornament or two) do let me know! :)

Wednesday 14 October 2015

#Crafting365 Days 24-35: A Knitting Obsession and a Needy Kitty

I don't know about you guys, but I find that the arrival of autumn always re-ignites my love for knitting. I've been knitting blanket squares like craaaaaazy over these past couple of weeks! My knitting has been making regular appearances in my daily #Crafting365 photos, but even when there's been no yarn in the pics there's been some knitting happening behind the scenes...

On day 24, I did some knitting and cut out my festive embroideries, ready to turn them into felt ornaments (you'll find the free patterns for these designs here). I used tracing paper to make the circle template - the semi-transparent paper makes it easy to perfectly position the template to frame the motif.

On day 25, I did some work on my Christmas quilt... and did some more knitting.

By day 26, my pile of re-knitted blanket squares was thirteen squares high, and still growing...

... and I (entirely predictably) did a bit more knitting on day 27. I also did some "cutting and sticking", making a few "thanks for your order!" cards to send out with my shop orders. These photos are of some of the gorgeous vintage scissors and sewing threads I inherited from my grandmother.

The next few days were very hectic, as I had a looming deadline. I did a small amount of knitting on day 28 (I'd not noticed how bent that knitting needle is until I took that photo!) ...

... did a little bit of work on some candy corn -themed tutorials on day 29...

... then met my deadline on day 30 (yay!) and collapsed in a bit of a heap on the sofa as I'd come down with a horrid cold (boo!). I spent most of the rest of the day curled up under a blanket with the cats keeping me company (our cats are very pro-blanket, especially blankets with a person underneath them) feeling a bit sorry for myself but very glad I'd managed to meet my deadline.

I tried to do some knitting in the evening but only managed to focus long enough to knit these few stitches. Better than nothing though, right?

The blanket-y theme continued on day 31 as I did some more blanket-square knitting and started sewing together some mini squares to add to my patchwork blanket. I'm sewing the squares together in blocks of one colour then slotting the shapes into the blanket, creating a Tetris-like pattern. 

On day 32 my #Crafting365 projects had to fight with our little old lady cat for attention! She is being super needy at the moment and loudly demanding lots and lots of cuddles. I tried to ignore her while sewing some more shapes onto this cushion but she was very determined and just jumped straight up onto my lap and sat on the felt. Luckily there weren't any pins in it at the time, and she didn't do any damage to the project with her sharp claws!


Our old lady kitty was still insisting on lots of loooooong cuddles on day 33, so I switched to a smaller project that I could stitch with a cat curled up on my lap: finishing the embroidered felt baubles. I'll have a tutorial for making these up on my blog sometime soon!

I let #Crafting365 take over my schedule on day 34 for a hugely enjoyable day of making and crafty brainstorming. It was wonderful! I worked on a whole bunch of different projects, including my geometric cushion which is now almost finished (yay!). 

Then my knitting obsession returned full force on day 35 with yet more blanket-square knitting and lots of happy hours spent working on my mini patchwork square blanket. I added some more squares to the blanket, then wove in a whole bunch of yarn ends.

This is definitely the downside to making patchwork blankets, and the smaller the squares the more ends there are to sew in! It's a very relaxing way to spend the evening though: a perfect simple, repetetive task to do while chatting and watching TV.

I expect there will be lots more blanket squares and lots more yarn ends popping up in my #Crafting365 posts over the coming months...