Making Hugh the Hound

As soon as I saw Hugh the Hound, I just knew that I would be making him at some point! He’s a bit tricksy but lots of fun to make and I’ve included some tips for sewing his head and inserting the foot pads (which you can use for all of Luna Lapin and friends).

Making Hugh the Hound (pattern by CoolCrafting) and tips for sewing dungarees and handsewn scarf by fabricandflowers

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

I ordered a Make Me Hugh the Hound kit from CoolCrafting in the tan colourway but had already decided to use the patterns from Sewing Luna Lapin’s Friends to make some clothes.

Having already made Luna and Alfie Rabbit, I wasn’t feeling too nervous about making Hugh. Like the rabbits, most of the body parts are over-sewn together. The construction of the legs and body is slightly different, as the legs are fully poseable (similar to Luna’s arms) but the instructions are easy enough.

Sewing the head for Hugh the Hound

The head though……now that required a little bit of head-scratching!!!! A few things I did (sometimes as a result of some un-sewing!) which might be useful are;

  • Tacked the side head on the upper head before sewing in place with a blanket stitch on the machine as this gave me much greater accuracy.
  • Hand sewed the nose in position, leaving a 1cm overlap, as per the pattern. On the underside of the flews (jowls) I used double thread to sew the little roll of felt in place (to help give the nose shape) and each corner of the nose down.
  • Used a long pin when pulling the nose into position to try and get it just right before sewing, using the tail of the doubled up thread! I found that trying to match up the two corners of the nose (that were sewn down in the previous step) on the underside of the mouth gave the best result.
  • When securing the nose in position, try to not to pull the threads too tight. Even though I thought I hadn’t, it still looks like there is a slight dimple on one side so I would be more careful at this stage next time.
  • I wasn’t entirely sure from the instructions on how to sew up the neck so that there wasn’t a gap left between the neck and the lower jaw. Eventually, I ladder-stitched one flap in position, before folding the other flap over, going back over my stitches and down the neck. This seemed to give quite a neat finish.

Inserting the foot pads for Hugh (and Luna Lapin’s Friends!)

I thought it might be worth adding a few pics of how I sew the foot-pads as it seems to be one of the steps people find a bit tricky. I’m not sure this is the recommended way, but it’s what works for me!

  • Fold the foot in half lengthwise and place a pin on the centre line at each end.
  • The foot-pads are ever so slightly narrower at one end, so you want to make sure that you are inserting them both the same way. Fold them in half – heel to toe – to identify which end is narrower.
  • Decide which way round you want to position the narrow end of the foot pad, and match the centre pin with a foot seam. Pin in place.
  • Repeat at the other end of the foot.
  • With the foot-pad facing up, start sewing halfway down one of the sides, using a scant 1/4″ seam allowance. Sew slowly around the curves, re-positioning the felt if you need to until finished.
  • Turn the foot out.

Other tips for sewing Hugh

When adding the legs to the body, I actually snapped the elastic thread whilst trying to pull them together! Nightmare! My top tip is – if you have someone to hand – ask them to squeeze the legs together whilst you’re knotting the elastic. That way, there’s not as much pressure on the elastic and two pairs of hand definitely make this bit easier!

Making clothes for Hugh the Hound

When it came to dressing Hugh, I was going for an artists vibe! The dungarees for Freddie Badger from Sewing Luna Lapin’s Friends seemed the basis of the perfect outfit. I used a cotton-linen mix fabric that is loosely woven and I’m not sure that Hugh has the same body shape as Freddie which led to a few challenges!

Making Hugh the Hound (pattern by CoolCrafting) and tips for sewing dungarees and handsewn scarf by fabricandflowers

I made the dungarees up as per the instructions in the book and tried them on Hugh before adding the facing and the straps. They were huge! To get a good fit I made a few tweaks;

  • Hand-stitching the hems for the pockets, although I think this helps to add to the artist vibe!
  • Took another 1/4″ off the front and back centre seams (but did not adjust the crotch).
  • Left a 1″ hole in the back seam for the tail to go through (I tried the dungarees on and eyeballed where this should be placed!!!)
  • Took approximately 1/2-1″ off the height of the front and back bib so that they fitted properly. Reshaped the back to get the right shape at the top to attach the straps.
  • Joined the facing all the way around except across the top of the back bib. I then placed the straps on to figure out how exactly where I should sew them in position before finishing the seam (if I were using a cotton fabric I might have gone for trial and error but this fabric was not very forgiving!!!).
Making Hugh the Hound (pattern by CoolCrafting) and tips for sewing dungarees and handsewn scarf by fabricandflowers

The final touch was a little Liberty Scarf with a hand-rolled hem (partly because it was a tiny piece of fabric and also because I was finishing it in the car on the way to the party!!!). There are excellent instructions for how to do a hand-rolled hem here if you would like to do the same.

Making Hugh the Hound (pattern by CoolCrafting) and tips for sewing dungarees and handsewn scarf by fabricandflowers

Have you made any Luna Lapin and Friends yet? They are quite addictive I have to say and I do love personalising them….how long until I make another do you think?!

S x

Today’s sky::: beautifully sunny and blue skies.

Tutorial – Easy fabric basket tray with handles

A little while ago, I was having a play and whipped up this easy fabric tray come basket (trasket?!) with built-in handles! It is a quick project, only needs a small amount of fabric, and is ideal for holding small bits and pieces.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

Materials

Finished Size – 6″ long x 4″ wide x 2.5″ high
  • Outer Fabric: 11..5″ wide x 9.5″ high
  • Lining Fabric: 11.5″ wide x 9.5″ high
  • Medium Weight Interfacing: cut two (2) 11.5″ x 9.5″ pieces
  • Buttons, Rivets or Thread

Notes about materials

  • This pattern works best with non-directional fabric, which I didn’t do for the burgundy version but I figured a large scale print would be fairly unforgiving!
  • For the interfacing, you want to use one which is quite stiff. I have used a non-woven type which feels quite papery and helps to give the Trasket it’s shape and firmness.

How to Make a Fabric Trasket

Iron interfacing to the wrong side of both pieces of fabric.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

Place the pieces of fabric Right Sides Together. Starting on a short edge, and an inch from the corner, join the pieces together using a 1/4″ seam allowance. Stop 4″ from where you started sewing, to leave a gap for turning.

Trim each of the corners – I like to cut at a 60* (ish!) angle so that when it is turned out there is not too much bulk in the corner.

Pull the fabric through the hole so that the right sides are showing. Use a chopstick or something similar, to push out each of the corners gently. Fold the edges in where you turned through and give it a good press.

Top stitch around the edge of the rectangle with a small seam allowance to close the gap and secure the layers together. I like to leave long thread ends so that I can knot them together and bury the ends so that they are not visible.

Taking one corner, fold the short edge Wrong Sides Together with the long edge to create a 45* angle. Clip in place.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

Using a ruler, draw a line at a right angle to the edge of the fabric, 2.5″ from the corner point. Repeat for each of the remaining 3 corners.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

Stitch along each of these lines to secure. I like to start/stop a little bit in from each end, but you can go all the way if you like!

Note: You could miss out the squaring of the corners if you wanted. If you added poppers instead it would make a tray that can be folded flat for storage. However, I found that stitching the edges of the tray made it stronger, making it ideal for everyday use.

Fold each corner in towards the short edge and they should overlap by approximately 1″. Clip in place. If using a button to secure the corner flaps together, I sew through both layers at the same time.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

To mark accurately – for example, to add a rivet – use a ruler to measure 1/2″ in from the corner point and halfway down, which is about 1/4″.

Tutorial for an easy fabric basket tray - a trasket! - by fabricandflowers

If using a rivet, it helps to use a punch plier to create a hole in each fabric corner for the rivet to go through. I always like to dab a spot of fray-check on the hole before adding the rivet to prevent the fabric from fraying over time.

I also thought about embroidering an ‘X’ or a flower if there weren’t buttons to hand…….lots of options!

Fill with pretty trinkets and enjoy! I’d love to see if you make one – please do tag me and use the #fabrictrasket.

See you soon,

S x

Today’s sky::: some blue sky but largely overcast. Boo!

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Flower Meadow Cushion with tips for sewing curves

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

Today I’ve got a finish to share with you – hurrah – and some tips on how to sew curves! It’s been a fair while in the making as, although it’s not very big, I’ve been working on it as and when inspiration strikes, trying out different techniques and methods. It’s been quite fun!

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

The idea for this cushion originally came to me when I started working with my Drunkards Wheel templates. Whilst making the Candy Swirls Quilt, I started playing with the different ways in which the blocks could be tessellated……I kept thinking of flowers and couldn’t help grabbing some fabrics to make a mini meadow!

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I love sewing curves. They open up the opportunities to make so many different patterns. Because of the segments in the Drunkards Wheel you can use lots of fabrics – always fun – and it’s a great way of using up scraps.

If you’ve never sewn curves, they can be a bit scary to start with – I remember reading up on it so much before finally having a go. And it wasn’t anywhere near as bad as I thought it would be, honestly!!! The trick is to experiment and find what works best for you.

Some Hints & Tips for sewing curves;

  • Use a smaller rotary cutter eg. 28mm for cutting the curves around the templates, with a max of two layers.
  • Do not use too smaller a stitch length (eg. Anything less than 2.4) – if you need to redo a seam, using a larger stitch length will prevent the fabric from stretching too much.
  • Sew at a slower speed than you normally would, until you are more familiar with the shape. You may also find stopping and repositioning the fabric as you work around the curve, will help to give you a smoother line (if you have one, a knee lift can be very helpful).
  • I like to work with the bigger curve (with the excess fabric) on the bottom.
  • Holding up the fabric as it is being fed into the machine can help with easing the bottom fabric into the curve.
  • The seam ripper is your friend! It can be used to help keep the fabric in place as the fabric goes through the machine and sometimes you will need to redo a seam – but the more you sew, the less this will happen!

The Flower Meadow is a great way of practising sewing curves together in different ways…….the purple flower (a tulip?!) was the trickiest because of all the seams in the centre. I found that sewing the blocks together in to pairs and then basting the centre seam of the two halves in position before joining them together helped with the accuracy, and is a great trick to use whenever you’re working with bulky/difficult seams.

Once the flowers had been made there was a small debate about what to make it in to……..I didn’t need three more cushions (Mr f&f is already moaning!) and then inspiration struck: if I used a king-size pillow, it would be perfect for my book-worm daughter to lean against whilst reading!!!!!

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

To make the cushion top I went improv and low-volume, adding fabric scraps until I reached the size I wanted (36″ wide x 19″ tall). I worked on each of the flowers individually before adding the panels together. I’ve added the cut measurements to give you an idea if you would like to make your own, but you can alter it to whatever size you want! Or maybe even make lots of rows and turn them in to a quilt?!

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Can you see the yellow thread where I hand-basted the quilt layers together? I remember reading somewhere once that the best way of making a job you don’t like bearable, is to find the most fun way of doing it. I’m not a fan of basting quilts, so figured this would be worth try. It was certainly a fun way of doing it (although I’m not sure I’d be so keen on a big quilt!) and the layers kept together really nicely whilst I was embellishing it, so I’ll definitely do it again.

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Some bias binding strips for the stems, free-form leaves which were needle-turn appliqued and it was all ready for quilting! I used a mix of embroidery, free-form quilting, echo-quilting and kantha stitching (I ‘drew’ lines 1.5″ apart using a hera-marker so that I knew where to stitch. It was a great way of trying different techniques and the great thing with a small project is that because it’s not too big it’s easy to work with and doesn’t take too long to finish!

Flowers meadow cushion and tips for sewing curves by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Do you ever make a project just to play and try new things? If you’d like to have a play with sewing curves, you can pick up my Drunkards Wheel template set here, or maybe have a go at a pouch or mug rug which are always great quick projects for trying out new things!

That’s all for now, back soon,

S x

Today’s sky:::bright blue but freezing cold!!!

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A new Clip’n’Pincushion

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

Oh, it’s been a busy few days! We spent the weekend in London which was amazing, but wow! So. Much. Walking!!!! By Saturday evening we’d managed a whopping 11.5 miles. I don’t mind admitting my feet were a little tired by the end of the day!

A new Liberty fabric Clip'n'Pincushion to sit on my sewing machine by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I’m working on lots of things at the moment – which I’m really excited about sharing with you very soon – but it means there’s not quite as much sewing going on or the project’s going slower than normal, so there’s not much to show! Today though, I needed to sit at my machine for a bit and decided to tackle a bit of a UFO and use up some left over blocks – a double bonus!

A new Liberty fabric Clip'n'Pincushion to sit on my sewing machine by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I had the remnants of a hexie EPP panel left over that I couldn’t quite bear to throw away (because, you know, Liberty!) but when my eyes landed on it today I figured it would be the perfect size for this little project!

A new Liberty fabric Clip'n'Pincushion to sit on my sewing machine by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I sew with a Janome Horizon (which I absolutely love!), the only frustrating thing being that my old pincushion doesn’t fit around the neck. I’ve been managing, but recently I’ve taken to sitting my clip’n’pincushion on the bed of the machine so that I can place my pins and clips on there as I go (clearly, reaching around to the other side of the machine is just a step too far!).

I used my Clip’n’Pincushion pattern guide, using the ‘Make it Your Own’ instructions at the back to make it rectangular – the pincushion top finishes at 2.5″ wide x 5.25″ long, the perfect size for fitting in the throat of my machine.

A new Liberty fabric Clip'n'Pincushion to sit on my sewing machine by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I’m so pleased with it – not only did I manage to use up the remains of a perfectly good EPP block, I get to look at the pretty Liberty fabrics every day. And I don’t know about you, but I always find that doing little projects like this really help me get my sewing mojo back!

A new Liberty fabric Clip'n'Pincushion to sit on my sewing machine by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Anyways, lots to be getting on with. See you soon!

Sx

Today’s sky::: mostly blue with a few clouds, but quite chilly!

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Tutorial – the Stash’n’Go drawstring bag

NOTE: this post may contain affiliate links and you can read my full disclosure privacy policy here. Thank you.

Hello there! It’s been a bit quiet here hasn’t it – I’ve been away for a few days but did manage to put together a drawstring bag tutorial which I’m calling this the Stash’n’Go bag.  It’s a really simple pattern that goes together quickly and would make an ideal gift if you’re looking for some inspiration!

The StashnGo drawstring bag tutorial by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

I was inspired to make these after seeing some of the nifty make-up bags on the web – often called lay and go make-up bags. I love that it opens up to lay completely flat allowing you to see everything!

I’ve used a waterproof lining to protect it against any spillages and it can be chucked through a washing machine with ease! I think it could be used in so many different ways though – carrying around toys/snacks for a young child (this would have been so useful when my kids were little and I was looking for a clean surface for them to eat off of!!!!) or maybe even a project bag for some sewing or knitting?! So, shall we get on with how to make one…….

Finished Size:  17″ diameter

Materials

  • 1 FQ for the Outer
  • 1 FQ of wadding
  • 1 FQ for the lining (I used ripstop which you can get in lots of fun designs)
  • 1 FQ for the cord casing
  • Cord (I used paracord)
  • Cord Stoppers (also available in lots of different colours!)

Preparing your fabrics

To start with, I made a template as I knew I wanted to make a few of these! I used an empty cereal box and, using a tape, measured 8.5″ from the corner up one straight edge. I then moved the outside edge of the measuring tape towards the other straight edge marking 8.5″ dashes at regular intervals. Join the marks to create an 8.5″ wide quarter circle. Cut out.

Use the template to cut out (1) outer fabric and (1) lining: fold the fabric in half, and then half again. Place the template on top, matching the straight edges with the folded edges of the fabric.

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

TIP: if you are using ripstop, it can be quite slippery. After making a few of these bags, I have found that using wonder clips to secure the template to the ripstop in place gave a better result.  

For the cord casing, open out the FQ and press. The casing needs to be cut on the bias so that it will curve around the edge of the bag. To do this, cut a straight line at a 45* angle to the selvedge. Cut three strips 2″ wide. 

Take two strips and place the ends right side together. Sew. Repeat for the other strip. Press the seams open, before folding the casing wrong sides together matching the long edges. Press. Square of one end and cut the folded strip to a finished size of 54″.

Making the bag

Lay the outer fabric wrong side down on to the wadding and quilt as desired, I went for random wavy lines. Trim any excess wadding.

Take the cord casing and lay it right side down in front of you. Fold one end back (wrong sides together) by 3/8″ to create a hem and stitch. Repeat at the other end. 

Fold in half and place a pin on the central point. Fold in half again and place a pin so that you now have four quarters marked on your casing. Take the outer bag piece and fold in half, marking each side with a pin. Open out and then fold the pins together to match, placing a pin in the fold on each side again. 

Match the quarter marks of the circle with the quarter marks on the cord casing. Place the casing on the right side of the bag outer and pin in place matching the raw edges of the casing with the raw edge of the circle. Add extra pins if you would like. Sew around the circumference of the bag using a 1/8″ seam allowance.

Place the lining fabric right sides facing with the outer panel. If you are using ripstop, use clover clips to prevent marking of the fabric and secure in a few places. Start, securing the beginning stitches and using a 1/4″ seam allowance, sew around the edge of the bag, stopping when you are 3-4″ from where you started, leaving a gap for turning.

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

Pull the bag through the opening until it is the right way out.  On the outer side of the bag, fold in to position and pin in place (I don’t go through the lining so as to avoid pin marks on the ripstop).

Place the bag lining side up, and begin top-stitching around the edge – I like to start just after the opening and leave long thread tails so that I can knot and bury the threads.  If you take it slowly and pull the casing slightly as you work your way around the edge, you will get a lovely neat finish.

When you reach the turning-out gap, gently fold the raw edge of the lining under and stitch in place. Stop when you have completed stitching all around the bag. I like to pull the threads through to the front of the bag, knot and then bury the threads in the wadding.

Take the length of cord and trim to around 55″ – you may need to burn the ends to seal the threads and stop them unravelling. Place a safety pin through the cord close to one end, and begin to feed it through the casing.

Once the safety pin has been threaded all the way through the casing, feed the cord gently through a cord-stopper. I find it easier to thread through each end individually. Tie a knot with the two cord ends to prevent the cord stopper coming  off and Ta Dah!!!! You’ve finished your drawstring bag!!!

The StashnGo drawstring bag tutorial by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

To use the bag, pull the cords to gather it up, and the cord stopper to keep it closed. It will become easier to gather/open with continued use.

Tutorial for the StashnGo drawstring bag by fabricandflowers | Sonia Spence

These are quite quick to whip up – only a couple of hours – and a FQ can do the casing on at least three stash’n’go bags if you want to get in to production style sewing!

If you do make one of these, I’d love if you could use the hashtag #stashngobag so that I can see what you’ve made and you can check out my other tutorials here!

Back soon, 

S x

Today’s sky::: mostly grey and very cold!!!

If you’ve enjoyed this post, please do sign-up to my newsletter to have updates and news sent to your inbox. And to see my patterns check out my Etsy shop here.