New Pattern – The Little Zippy Pouch

New Pattern – The Little Zippy Pouch

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links. It will not cost you any money if you click on them and just means that I get a small commission for recommending it.

Hellooooo! Well, that was a slightly longer than intended break! We had an early half term and since then I’ve been working away on my next pattern and I’m so excited to finally share it with you today!

If you’ve followed me for any time, you may remember that I designed the Little Zippy Pouch a few years back for Quilt Now, and then went on to tweak it slightly by showing you how to add zipper tabs. It’s been one of my most used pouches as it’s the perfect size to carry just enough hand-sewing around with me.

Over the years, people have asked if I would look to release the pattern and, after lots of testing and thinking about tweaks, I set too!

The Little Zippy Pouch pattern is now available and has been completely re-written. It includes more step-by-step pictures, how to add zipper tabs, an optional slip-pocket and also a bigger size (the Not So Little Zippy Pouch!) – two pouches in one pattern!

  • The Little Zippy Pouch                 8”    wide x 5” high x 3” deep
  • The Not So Little Zippy Pouch     9.5” wide x 7” high x 4” deep
New PDF Sewing Pattern - the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch. A great project bag, make-up or toiletries bag. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

It would make a great project bag for sewing, knitting or crochet. For one of my samples, I added a little lobster clip – ideal for keeping stitch markers to hand! And if waterproof fabrics were used, it could make a great make-up/toiletries bag in either size!

The pattern calls for fusible wadding for the outer panel – this is both for ease and also structure. However, if  you don’t have any to hand (I ran out from making all the samples!) I found that you can achieve exactly the same effect by ironing interfacing to the wrong side of the bag panel, and then layer it with wadding and quilt as normal.

PDF Sewing Pattern - the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch. A great project bag, make-up or toiletries bag. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

There are lots of options for playing with colour on these pouches – you can use a piece of feature fabric, applique or patchwork for the outside and then co-ordinating/fun fabric combinations on the inside for the lining and pockets. A great stash buster.

PDF Sewing Pattern - the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch. A great project bag, make-up or toiletries bag. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

You will need a couple of zips for this project – I can highly recommend this shop as they do a great range of colours in lots of different sizes (they used to send a colour code card through with your order) – the shipping is a bit pricey if you’re in the UK but I went half with a friend a few years back, bought a huge bundle of zips in lots of different colours and they’re only just starting to run out, so it worked out good value in the end!!!

New PDF Sewing Pattern - the (Not So) Little Zippy Pouch. A great project bag, make-up or toiletries bag. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I really hope you enjoy making this pattern. Don’t forget to check out the #zippypouchalong posts which you can find here for some extra hints and tips, and if you would like to get a copy of the pattern then please pop to my Etsy shop here.

Speak soon, 

S x

Today’s sky::: raining and grey. And did I mention the rain?! Horrible weather!

Gingerbread Man Christmas Banner

Gingerbread Man Christmas Banner

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links. It will not cost you any money if you click on them and just means that I get a small commission for recommending it.

Have you seen the Gingerbread House quilt-a-long that Love Patchwork & Quilting are running this month? It’s a row-by-row design by Gracey of Burlap & Blossom Patterns which you can find in Issue 66.

Gingerbread Man Christmas wall decoration with details on how to add embroidered words by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I was asked if I would like to have a go at making a block and after a quick look at the pattern, I couldn’t say no! I decided upon a Gingerbread man, because who doesn’t love a good gingerbread man (although Boy 2 was a bit disappointed when I told him I’m made one only for him to then realise it was in fabric and not an actual biscuit. Oops!)

There are a lot of little pieces in this block – the buttons are cut at just 1″ (so, finishing at 1/2″!) and I’d been gifted some fabric with little snowflakes on which I thought would make cute buttons!

It’s a fun make and actually comes together quite quickly.  I wanted to use stripes for the cuffs. If you would like to do this too, make sure that you cut your squares out at a 45* angle to the selvedge (on the bias) so that the stripes are going in the right direction. along the arm.

Gingerbread Man Christmas wall decoration with details on how to add embroidered words by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

As we have enough cushions in our house (according to Mr f&f anyway!) I thought a Christmas Banner would be a fun make.  The blocks finish at 10.5″ inches but for mine, I extended the top and bottom border (piece’s A and G) by 4.5″ and 5.5″ respectively, as well as curving the bottom of piece G to mirror the writing. 

Gingerbread Man Christmas wall decoration with details on how to add embroidered words by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

To add a more festive touch, I printed out ‘Merry Christmas’ so that I could trace the words on to the fabric using a water-soluble pen (if you are wondering, I used the Tempas Sans font at size 120 and curved the words slightly in Microsoft Office).

Gingerbread Man Christmas wall decoration with details on how to add embroidered words by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

It took a little time to embroider each of the letters – I used a padded satin-stitch – but I think it was worth it!

I’m so pleased with him, although I might have to find some little button eyes in green, I think that would finish him off nicely?! Have you started any Christmas makes yet? You can check out this post if you’re thinking of making your own family sized Advent Calendar.

I think I’m going to have to make a present list and get started on it soon! And if you’ve enjoyed this post, please sign up to my newsletter to find out about new tutorials and patterns.

See you soon, 

S x

Today’s sky::: grey, windy and miserable. Meh!

New Pattern – The Flexi Tote

New Pattern – The Flexi Tote

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links. It will not cost you any money if you click on them and just means that I get a small commission for recommending it.

It’s taken a while, but I’m really excited to launch my latest pattern, the Flexi Tote!

The Flexi Tote PDF sewing pattern - a small tote that can be adapted to use for lunch, shopping or craft projects. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I first made this bag last year as a Christmas present – my in-laws have a farm shop nearby that they pop too quite regularly for a few bits and pieces, and I wanted to make them something which would be tough, durable, reusable and not too big!

The first version I made (or the standard version, as I’ve called it in the pattern) is made using a heavy-weight fabric such as canvas, denim or upholstery weight fabric. As a result, you don’t need to worry about adding interfacing for extra stability, making the tote that much quicker to make (always a good thing, in my eyes!), yet still tough and durable. And because there are only six pieces to the pattern it comes together really quickly!

The Flexi Tote PDF sewing pattern - a small tote that can be used for lunch, shopping or craft projects. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

As I worked on the pattern though, it struck me just how many different ways it could be adapted: make a patchwork version with lining,  add slip pockets on the inside, a contrast hem or even include a zip top – in combination with Insulbrite wadding, it would make a great lunch bag!

My personal favourite combination so far is a denim/heavyweight fabric for the gusset and patchwork sides…….linings and pockets a bonus depending on what I want to use it for!!!

The Flexi Tote PDF sewing pattern - a small tote that can be adapted to use for lunch, shopping or craft projects. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

The finished bag measures 10.5″ wide x 9″ tall (excluding handles) x 6.5″ deep – a good size for carrying the essentials, or even making it a great project bag for whatever knitting or crochet you happen to be working on!

The Flexi Tote PDF sewing pattern - a small tote that can be adapted to use for lunch, shopping or craft projects. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I’ve worked really hard to make the pattern easy to follow and adapt to make YOUR perfect bag and have been blown away by the different versions that my testers have made!

The Flexi Tote PDF sewing pattern - a small tote that can be used for lunch, shopping or craft projects. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence
The Flexi Tote PDF sewing pattern - a small tote that can be used for lunch, shopping or craft projects. Pattern by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

If you’d like to make your own Flexi Tote, please visit my Etsy shop to find the pattern and let me know if you make one. Use the tag #flexitote so that I can find it on Instagram, I’d love to see how you adapt it!

Thanks for popping by,

S x

Today’s sky::: bright blue with a chill in the air and gorgeous coloured leaves on the trees. I love autumn!

My favourite must-have sewing tools

My favourite must-have sewing tools

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links. It will not cost you any money if you click on them and just means that I get a small commission for recommending it.

Did you see the #greatbritishquilter event that happened over on Instagram during September? It runs for the whole month and is organised by Sarah Ashford Studio and Very Kerry Berry. It’s a great way of getting to know/find other quilters, and there are prompts for what to post each day to help everyone get to know one another. By the end of the month, you will most likely have a longer wish-list of fabrics/patterns and projects than you started out with, and more friends too!

My favourite 5 must have sewing tools by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

The prompt for one of the days’ was ‘flatlay‘ – making an arrangement of items to tell a story and taking a picture from above. I chose some of my favourite sewing tools and I thought you guys might be interested in hearing about them too?! Although not an exhaustive list by any means, these have become my favourite tools over time!

1. Needles, Pins and Clips!

Needles

It probably goes without saying that, as a Sewist, a needle is one of the most important tools that you can have! In my humble opinion, I think needles are very much a personal choice dependant on your own sewing technique and preferred ‘feel’ of a needle. For hand-sewing, after trial and error, my weapon of choice is an Applique Needle No. 10. I have packs of gold-eye and black gold needles, but will normally pick the gold-eye needles as I find them a good length to work with and they glide nicely through the fabric. Sometimes, if I’m doing very fine applique work I will use shorter applique needle as it makes me feel more in control of the sewing (why, I don’t know, but there you go!). I’ve heard great things about Tulip Needles but haven’t yet tried them, I’ll let you know if I do!

My 5 must have sewing tools - Clip'n'pincushion by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Pins

Although I have some decorative pins which are useful when I want to be able to see them on the fabric (or take pretty pictures!) I mostly use dress-maker pins: they are made of stainless steel and quite fine so don’t tend to mark the fabric too much – which also means that you can leave the pins in until the last minute when sewing on the machine to keep the seams together. The one downside is that they don’t have a glass head on them so you do have to keep an eye on them so that none go missing! They are also good value for money in comparison to some of the prettier pins that you can get. Mine are by Prym but I found some similar ones here.

My 5 must have sewing tools by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Wonder Clips

These clips have so many uses! I first got them when I started bag-making as they’re brilliant for holding thick layers of fabric together, or fabrics that you don’t want to mark with pin-pricks such as laminate, or waxed cotton. They’re also handy for holding all the pieces of a block together, keeping pattern pieces together……..You can read about how these little clips inspired the Clip’n’Pincushion here.

3. Seam Ripper

A good seam ripper is essential in my sewing room as it gets a lot of use!!!! After years of using the standard version, I picked up a Seam Fix seam ripper at a quilt show and was amazed at what a difference it makes! The bigger handle is ergonomic making it really comfortable to use, the blade is sharper and – my favourite bit! – you run the rubber end over the stitch line that you’ve just ripped and it pulls out all the stray ends of cotton that are left behind and makes the needle holes virtually disappear. It’s magic I tell you!!!

My favourite 5 must have sewing tools by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I also find a seam ripper very useful for holding fabric together when sewing them on a machine as the point means that you can grip the fabric right up to the last minute!

4. Small Ruler

I have lots of rulers – mostly acrylic for quilting – and I picked up this little 6″ metal Stanley ruler when I was making curtains for turning hems over. I’ve always had a seam gauge ruler but to be honest, I’ve never been a big fan of them: the little orange marker tends to move quite easily and the rulers are quite flimsy and seem to bend easily. I wanted something that would be robust, and this little ruler really does the trick. And being solid it doesn’t matter if you catch it with the iron. It’s fine enough that if I’m checking a seam allowance whilst sewing on the machine I can get this right in where I need to. And as an added bonus, you can also use it as a bit of a pressing tool for folding a crease into fabric if there’s nothing else to hand! I picked mine up at a DIY store.

5. Scissors

It goes without saying that these are pretty important in a sewing room! A small pair of sharp scissors/snips are essential for trimming all the threads as you go, but not necessary right from the get-go. Fabric cutting scissors are also a must, but quite a personal choice I think in terms of what feels right. I have a pair of Ernst & Wright stainless steel scissors which are beautiful and cut really well. But. I find them really heavy, so if I’m cutting out a big project my hands end up aching. A few years ago now, I was given these Ring-lock scissors as a Christmas present. They look a bit strange with the holes in the blades but I Love Them! The holes are apparently there as it means they weigh less, and I have to say they have never made my hand ache whilst cutting out large projects, they are brilliantly sharp and so comfortable to use. These have been going strong for maybe seven years now?!

My 5 must have sewing tools by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

There are lots of different types of scissors on the market – Kerry has a great review here of spring-loaded scissors which is another option if you find your hands struggle with heavy scissors. 

I have to confess, that last year I managed to cut a pin with my beloved scissors and dented the blade. I was devastated and they just wouldn’t cut properly after that. Disaster. And then someone recommended I try a mini scissor sharpener – I wasn’t sure if it would do anything (I was getting ready to buy a new pair of scissors!) but thought it was worth a try. It totally revived my scissors so I would definitely recommend giving it a go if you have a favourite pair of scissors that need rejuvenating!

6. Thread

For quilting, I always use Aurifil thread. I mostly use a 50wt thread as I find it great for hand and machine piecing. I did get a spool of the 80wt thread which is really fine to try for hand-piecing and I have to say it does make the stitches almost invisible. Mostly though, I stick with the Aurifil 50wt (orange spool!) in grey, white and a pale yellow. I was quite surprised by just how handy the pale yellow is, as it blends with a lot of colours really well.

My 5 must have sewing tools by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

For dress-making and bag making though, I always use a poly-cotton. The thread is stronger and has a little bit of stretch to it, which is very helpful on seams that can be under pressure/being stretched. 

I hope you’ve found this useful – are there any tools that you think I’ve missed off? What are your must haves? 

If you have any questions then please do drop me a line and if you’ve found this post useful and would like to keep in touch, please sign up to my newsletter to keep up to date with news, tutorials and patterns.

 

Thanks, 

S x

Today’s sky::: some blue but quite a lot of grey today!

New Pattern – Big Pocket Advent Calendar

New Pattern – Big Pocket Advent Calendar

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links. It will not cost you any money if you click on them and just means that I get a small commission for recommending it.

Today I thought it would be good fun to share my Big Pocket Advent Calendar pattern with you……talking about it in September seems a little soon, but I’ve seen Christmas Cards in the shop so I guess that almost makes it okay?!

The Big Pocket Advent Calendar sewing pattern with pockets big enough to hold treats for the whole family by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

This pattern had been simmering in my mind for a little while to be honest. For years, I’ve been looking at the advent calendar panels that you can buy – they’re all so lovely and they look like the start of a fun family tradition….. But! I never fancied making three. Let alone have the wall space to hang them all! And the pockets were never quite big enough to squeeze enough things in to get away with making just the one. Boy 1 is also allergic to dairy, so I was after some pockets big enough to fit alternative treats.

The Big Pocket Advent Calendar sewing pattern with pockets big enough to hold treats for the whole family by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Last year, I finally managed to carve out some time to create a pattern and so the Big Pocket Advent Calendar was born!

The Big Pocket Advent Calendar sewing pattern with pockets big enough to hold treats for the whole family by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

The pockets are big enough to fit three packets of Haribo! It’s designed so that the sides of the pockets expand which means you can fit some generous size chocolates or small gifts, if you so wish (last year I managed to squeeze in three pairs of socks, but it was quite tight and seeing that my kids feet keep on growing, I don’t think that will be happening this year!!!).

The bit I loved about making the calendar from scratch is personalising it. I used a couple of different coloured sets of iron-on felt numbers which I got from Etsy with a glittery felt background and some hand stitching. There are so many different options though! I had a look and found so many different options! The iron-on luggage labels would look great on each of the pockets and I especially love those wooden tags, I think they would look fab sewn on. Or you could hand embroider or applique the numbers or pictures on. The possibilities are endless!

The Big Pocket Advent Calendar sewing pattern with pockets big enough to hold treats for the whole family by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

The advent calendar finishes at 20″ wide by 44″ deep. I included tabs so that it could be hung from a thin branch or branch of some sort – I was definitely going for a Scandi look when I made this version! – and it hangs nicely on the back of the under-cupboard stairs door that we have.

The Big Pocket Advent Calendar sewing pattern with pockets big enough to hold treats for the whole family by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Here’s another version of the calendar that Rebecca at Green & Bell made – I love how she has made it so bright and modern and added more trees at the top! You could even add different pictures, ‘Merry Christmas’ or your family name?!

If you would like to make your own version of the advent calendar, please visit my Etsy shop here to buy a download of the pattern. And if you do make one, don’t forget to tag it #bigpocketadventcalendar so that I can see it!

Back soon, 

S x

Today’s sky::: overcast and grey. Meh!