Monday, 14 September 2015

Getting ready to #coatalong

Hello there! Well, today is the start of the #coatalong and typically I have a small boy home sick and last week flew by with secret sewing and other family related situations taking up my time, so I've not been able to write the blog posts I'd been hoping too. Ho hum. I did spend some time last week putting together a Pinterest board with interesting articles I've found about pattern matching, coat-alongs and interlining which will hopefully be interesting to you - if you find any other articles let me know and I'll make sure to add them as well as link up each of my blog posts so that you can follow along if you fancy.

So, excitingly, my second attempt at ordering coat fabric arrived yesterday. Woo hoo! I really love it and I think it's going to look amazing with the musical notes lining although I do admit to having slight (okay, many!) panic moments over pattern matching. What have I done choosing patterned fabric?! But I'm going with lots of prep and planning before any actual cutting....

Today I'm going to focus on finishing a couple of bee blocks that need doing and then I will begin cutting out all the pattern pieces. There are So. Many. Pieces!!!!! I fear it may take me all week just to do that! And then I'll make a start on a muslin.

There is no real schedule - partly because life is a little bit hectic and I don't want to over promise - and also because the idea is that we all sew at our own pace and give each other support. However, my plan is to post each week my plans, progress and failures (although hopefully there won't be too many of those!). See you soon,


Today's sky - overcast, grey and very rainy. Boo!

Friday, 4 September 2015

Would you like to #coatalong?

Have you got a wish list of things that you'd like to make? A quilt? A dress? A bag? Me...I have a wish list as long as my arm but one of the things I've been saying for - oooooh about three years now?! - is that I'm going to make myself a winter coat. It's become a source of amusement for Mr f&f each time autumn/winter comes along when there is no shiny new coat to wear. This year though I've decided to pull on my big girl pants and actually Do It (partly encouraged by the fact that my current coat is falling apart and I can't put anything in the pockets without it falling through the lining into Never Never Land. Very annoying!!!)

A couple of years ago I bought the Collette Albion Duffle Coat pattern but wasn't quite sure as it seemed like it would need quite a few changes to make it more feminine and then Grainline launched the Cascade Duffle Coat. Perfect! I've decided it will be my celebratory kids are back at school sewing project!

A chat on IG (where you can find me as @fabricandflowersuk) led a few people to say that they would also like to make a coat, and we thought it would be fun to sew along together in a #coatalong. Would you like to join in? It will be informal with everyone sewing the coat of their choice and helping/giving moral support to everyone else.

So, if you'd like to join in the fun (and maybe the odd bit of cursing!) all you need to do is come back early next week and I'll put together a blog post with an outline of the #coatalong with a view to starting Monday 14th September.

Have a great weekend,


Today's sky - some sun and still cloudy but no rain. Yay!

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Recent goings on!

My word, the last few weeks have flown by! I always forget how little I get to do sewing wise over the summer. However, a few secret-sewing projects have now been published so it's exciting to finally be able to show you these! First up are these giant pin-cushions that I made for a new to me e-zine, Make Modern Issue 7. It's a really good read with lots of patterns, articles and a modern medallion Block of the Month. There are some fantastic contributors in there so I'm really honoured to have made it in too.

Next up is a Colour Block cushion that is published in Issue 14 of Quilt Now. These blocks are a gentle introduction to improv and a great way of using up little scraps of fabric. There is also a scaled down version of the block to make a set of coasters.

Other than that very little has happened! There was the very exciting arrival of a new sewing machine which I had to have an immediate play on.....

...I used some Cotton & Steel scraps that I had lying around to whip up this little pouch and took the opportunity to play with some of the quilting stitches. It was lots of fun but I felt like a new sewist trying to find my way around the machine!!!! Hopefully once the kids are back to school (tomorrow!) I'll get some time to play and get back up to speed.

In the meantime there has been some stitching of a different kind with a small knitting project. I've made a start on a Hitchiker shawl, I'm a slow knitter but am hopeful that it will be finished for Autumn/Winter.

See you soon,


Today's sky - mostly grey with the odd splash of blue and lots of rain. Meh.

Wednesday, 22 July 2015

The last few weeks have been mostly about.....

...working on my Siblings Together Bee quilts: I asked for scrappy trip blocks when it was my turn with any colours. It's quite an eclectic mix to be honest! Its pretty much all finished now, so hopefully a ta-dah picture soon!

...visiting Alice Caroline fabrics for the open day of their new shop: you need to phone in advance to check they're around but if you're in the Cheltenham/Tewkesbury area it's definitely worth a visit! I was quite restrained and restricted myself to rummaging through the scrap buckets to get these beauties!

...working on my handpieced mini swap: as you would guess, this has been all handpieced and those little curves have been pretty tricky (the radius is just 1"!!!) but I'm pretty pleased with how it's looking so far. I just hope my partner feels the same!

...making lots of teacher gifts: somehow I've managed to make a total of thirteen dumpling pouches this week and a pencil case too. Crazy!!!

...cake making: Boy 2 is soon to be 5yrs and requested a "minecraft cake please Mummy". A quick search on Pinterest found me a pixel plan of a creeper and using my (cleaned!) 6" square quilting ruler was able to bulk cut the squares out!!!!! He seemed pretty pleased with it which was the main thing!

What a crazy few weeks! School has finished now so I think there will be more hand-sewing going on as I try to squeeze some sewing in amongst the craziness that is the summer holidays!

Guess I'd better get cracking!


Today's sky - overcast with regular showers...typical for the summer holidays!

Thursday, 25 June 2015

A new pincushion

It's been another busy time....I've started to notice a rhythm to the school year and the lead up to the long summer hols are always hectic: me frantically trying to get things ready for kids who are going to be bored (or is that just mine?!) and lots of school events. Mixed in with some secret sewing and time has been flying!!! So it was a lovely surprise last week when a gift from Jessie at Sew and Quilt landed on my door mat. 

Jessie has recently launched pre-cut paper pieces for EPP'ing - I think she's got all the shapes covered!!! - and I got the chance to try them out with this cute hexagon pincushion kit, the perfect project for a bit of relaxing sewing over the weekend!

I thread basted my hexies (through the back only) and have to say that the paper shapes are just the right thickness to make basting nice and easy and give a good shape but also strong enough that after removing them they are still good to use again which would be great for doing a bigger project, or maybe even another pincushion!

The pincushion is finished with a button through the center to give it a bit of a donut feel! I used a button for both sides because I couldn't quite decide which was my favourite so now I can choose depending on my mood!!!

If you fancy any paper pieces for yourself then do pop along to Jessie's shop - at the moment she's including a free Hexagon Pincushion pattern with every order! - I think I'm going to find myself another project for the summer, EPP is perfect for picking up and putting down whilst the kids are around.......


Today's sky - cloudy but sunny and warm!

DISCLAIMER - I was sent a free hexagon pincushion kit to try out, all opinions are my own. 

Friday, 12 June 2015

Tova with a touch of Liberty

I don't know if it's because I was doing so much quilting in the lead up to Easter, but I've had a real craving for some dressmaking lately, and the Tova was high on my wish list! The one I'd made a few years back felt a big snug and the sleeves had always bugged me because they were at the length which meant that every time I stretched my arms they would get caught on my elbow!!!! So I dug this chambray out of my stash with the idea of making a light and floaty summer tunic. But it was a bit too see-through, so shirt it was!

I double checked the measurements and ended up making the Small again but the fit feels a lot better this time. The only thing that I can think is that first time round I wasn't so careful on my seam allowance (this pattern has a 3/8" seam allowance and I think I did french seams on my last one and it was one of the first garments I sewed, so there's always going to be errors, right?!) and that maybe the fabric shrunk a bit in the wash? To be doubley sure though, I used a scant seam allowance on the side seams....

I was worried that the chambray would look a bit too plain and after a bit of thinking came up with adding a touch of Liberty to the collar, placket and sleeve bands for a bit of contrast and fun. I'm really pleased with how it worked out and have to say it's lovely way of adding a bit of luxury - with only a little bit of fabric - to what could have otherwise been a fairly boring shirt. And it makes me smile every time I wear it (and squint in the sun too!)

So, deets:

Pattern::: Wiksten Tova
Size::: Small
Adjustments::: cut 2 additional placket pieces in Liberty, shortened the height of the collar by 1/4" and curved the ends (a la Kerry's Tova Along tutorial); lengthened the sleeves (although in all honesty I probably could have done with another inch or so!); lengthened the tunic by a few inches.

It was so much fun and I'm loving wearing it. I've already got another summer Tova dress planned (in Liberty Lawn, here's a sneak peek for you!) and then I also want to make a autumn/winter version a bit later in the year - I'm think Anna Maria Horner's Loominous might look lovely in a Tova, what d'you think?

Linking up with Sara's Dress-up Party


Today's sky - sunny and cloudy!

Wednesday, 3 June 2015


Gosh, I've been gone a while haven't I?! Things have all been hectic since Easter....daily life with the children seems to be getting busier by the term and I've been trying to sort some things out on the home front too. Slowly, slowly I'm making progress and you'll hopefully see me around a bit more!

Still, there's been quite a lot of sewing going on, especially of the dress-making variety. There was a sample quilt for Simply Solids for a new kit that they will be selling, a kimono using By Hand London's fab tutorial, a Chambray Tova with a hint of Liberty (more about this later in the week!) and some Wavy Coasters for a commission.

Probably the most exciting thing that happened this month was some secret sewing I'd done for Quilt Now being published and finding out that I'd made the front cover. I confess to squealing and jumping up and down a bit when I found out. Sooooo exciting! And the quilt in full.....

It was so fun to play with a bundle of Cotton & Steel! The pattern is foundation pieced and is a great introduction to the technique if you're new to it - I'd love to know if you have a go at making it.

Anyways, I think that's probably enough for tonight - will be back soon!

S x

PS - a special thank you to Debbie for the note you sent me! I'm afraid I couldn't respond as you're a no-reply blogger but please know that your message meant a lot. Thank you x

Today's Sky - cloudy

Saturday, 21 March 2015

Little Lady Liberty Book Tour

Hi everyone and welcome if you've popped by on the Little Lady Liberty (or Sew Pretty for Little Girls if you're in the US!) book tour. I jumped at the chance when I was asked by Stitch Craft Create as I'm a bit of a fan girl of Liberty fabrics!!!

The book is written by Alice Caroline who was introduced to sewing at a young age and is also a longtime fan of Liberty fabrics so much so that she now sells them! It's a beautiful book to look through, and covers everything from starting to sew, different techniques to colour theory as well as covering a wide range of projects from a hair scrunchie (which I think is the first thing I ever sewed!) to a bed quilt. Its the perfect book to look through with beautifully styled photos and a range of projects that the little lady in your life (and probably you too!) would like to sew. I particularly love the layered skirts, although I daren't show them to Little Lady as she will be hassling me immediately!

One of the things that I was inspired by were the butterflies that were scattered throughout the book and used in the curtains and lampshade project - they are so bright and cheerful and, given how pricey Liberty can be, the perfect way to make a few precious scraps go a long way.

I didn't quite fancy cutting out that many butterflies so instead used the instructions for the Orla Pencil Case, traced some butterflies from the back of the book and then spent a happy while arranging everything until I was happy!

The instructions were easy to follow, although I did make a couple of additions to the pencil case by putting in zipper tabs ends and boxing out the corners. And soon enough I had a couple of pouches and the desire to decorate all the things with butterflies!!!!

You can find a copy of the book here and if you'd like to make some of your own butterflies you can find some scraps here. And don't forget to check out all the other stops on the book tour;

Mon 2nd – Alice Caroline
Wed 4th – Crafting Not Cleaning
Thu 5th – Sew4Home
Fri 6th – Bloom
Sat 7th – A Spoonful of Sugar
Sun 8th – Fabricworm
Mon 9th – Pieced Brain
Tue 10th  Pretty Nostalgic
Wed 11th – Olivia Jane Handcrafted
Thu 12th – One Shabby Chick
Fri 13th – Sew Creative
Sat 14th – The Last Piece
Tue 17th – Sew Crafty Jess
Wed 18th – Stitchery Dickory Dock
Fri 20th – Molly Flanders
Sat 21st – Fabric & Flowers
Sun 22nd – A Bright Corner
Tue 24th  - Straight Grain
Wed 25th  - Sew Justine Sew
Thu 26th  - Tracey Jay Quilts
Fri 27th  - Feather’s Flights
Sat 28th  - Monkey Do
Sun 29th  - Miss Print

Tue 31st  - Sew Scrumptious

Thanks for popping by,


Today's sky - beautifully sunny. Hopefully it will stay that way as we've got an outside party later!!!

FULL DISCLOSURE::: Stitch Craft Create sent me an ecopy of Little Lady Liberty for review. All views are my own. 

Friday, 20 March 2015

Behind the scenes::: an unwitting learner!

Hello everyone! Are you ready for this weeks installment of Behind the Scenes?! Okay then, let's hand over to Mr f&f......

There are times (usually early in a Project) when my opinion is actively sought.  Fabric swatches, colour palettes, patterns have all at some time or another been wafted under my nose for me to comment on. 

Mrs F&F thrusts five different swatches of fabric at me:  “Do these go together?”
Me:  “Err, yes?  Is this a test, or are you genuinely unsure?”
Mrs F&F:  “Hmm.  What about if I swap one out for this one instead?”
Me:  “Can’t you just use all six of them?”
Mrs F&F:  “No, stop being silly, this is important”

Now apart from the relatively short term anguish of navigating my way through these minefields, you could be forgiven for thinking that this has no lasting impact on my day to day living.  You would be wrong.  So very wrong.

I first noticed something was up 3 years ago, whilst attending a work conference.  There were 200 or so colleagues attending a day long off-site series of presentations and rousing calls to arms by various members of the management team.  Listening intently, sitting in the auditorium, I became distracted by a lady two rows away – not in *that* way – shame on you.  No, I noticed this lady had on her lap a rather fetching tote bag made in Cath Kidston waxed fabric.  I became quite concerned with how I knew not only the style of bag, but also the type and designer of the fabric used.  I felt a bit light headed, and completely zoned out of the rest of the presentation.  

Nowadays I regularly find myself well versed in fabrics and patterns, fat quarters, jelly rolls, bag designs, cut and fit of clothes.  I even got into a conversation with work colleagues (female) regarding the position and use of bust darts in dresses.  All of this has been absorbed via some sort of osmosis over years of having snippets explained to me before being asked for an opinion.  As a gentleman of advancing years I am frightened that I may be losing key bloke-knowledge to make room for the continuing onslaught of sewing related data.  

What if I lose the ability to list the Iron Maiden albums in chronological order, with year of release, so that I can classify the various feet which fit a Janome sewing machine, with their respective purpose?  I suspect my new found knowledge would be of limited use in the pub with friends.  I’d better go and revise, perhaps I’ll start with album number 4:  Piece Of Mind (1984).

Hee hee, I have to say that I think this is my favourite of Mr f&f's observations so far - I will even confess to reading this through tears of laughter! - although I think he's going to have to absorb a lot more sewing info before he looses any music knowledge (seriously, he has hundreds of CDs, alphabetised too!)

Have a great weekend,


Today's sky - beautiful clear skies here, great for seeing the eclipse this morning!

Saturday, 14 March 2015

Quilt Now Little Zippy Pouch Tutorial::: how to add zipper tabs

Hello everyone! How are you all? I'm very excited to have a project - Little Zippy Pouch - in the latest issue of Quilt Now (9), which came out this week. I had lots of fun working it out and, measuring around 5" (h) x 8" (w) x 3" (d) it's the perfect size for carrying make-up around although I think it could also make a fab project bag. 

I made another Little Zippy a Pouch for a friends birthday last week and added zip tabs and thought I'd put up a tutorial just in case you would like to add them too.

To make the zip tabs you will need;
(1) 1 1/2" x 4" fabric
(1) 1 1/2" x 4" interfacing 

Iron interfacing to the wrong side of the zipper tabs. Cut into (4) 1" strips along the long side

Optional - secure the open end of the zip together with a few stitches.

Taking two zipper tabs, place them right side together, sandwiching the zipper in between. Make sure that they are just on the other side if the metal zipper tabs so that sewing machine needles don't get broken!!!

Secure in place using a 1/4" seam allowance. I also completed another line of stitches at 1/8" for extra strength. Trim the zip.

Fold the zipper tabs back so that they are right sides together. Finger press/iron. Top stitch.

To add a tab to the other end of the zipper, use a ruler to measure 16 1/2" from the end of the zipper tab that you've just made and mark the zip.

Follow previous steps for adding the zipper tab. Once everything has been trimmed and top-stitched the zip should measure 17 1/2" in total from end to end.

Continue with the instructions for making the bag as detailed in the pattern. 

If you have any questions, please do get in touch. And if you make one please use the hashtag #littlezippypouch as I'd love to see them all! And in the next couple of days I'll be announcing a #littlezippypouchalong on Instagram if you'd like some support/help along the way.

Have a great weekend,


Today's sky - overcast and miserable

Friday, 13 March 2015

Behind the scenes::: are there benefits of living with a sewist?!

On this weeks Behind the Scenes Mr f&f is waxing lyrical about the alleged benefits of living with a sewist......

I rarely moan.  I can live with the loss of the study to the fabric stash, and even the overflow of work in progress projects to the rest of the house.  I try to be the supportive Mr F&F I hope you hear lots about.  The upside of having somebody so skilled under our roof is that niggling defects in everyday items of clothing can be resolved with the merest wave of a needle and thread..... or so I thought. 

I understand that these little jobs cannot hold the fascination of piecing a 70 x 70 quilt or shopping online for fabric.  I did raise an eyebrow however when it took Mrs F&F 4 years to sew up a hole in the inside pocket lining of my main work suit.  In the intervening years the jacket has absorbed countless receipts for expenses and at least 3 different biros who let go of their lids expecting the comforting embrace of the pocket.  Imagine their anguish as they plummeted straight into the abyss of the suit lining (it’s no walk in the park fishing the blighters out either)!  I’ve watched dresses, quilts, bags, cushions and more all come into existence whilst my pocket acted as a mini black hole.  

It is now fixed, and is holding fast.  The quality of the repair will undoubtedly see out the life of the suit, and most probably me.  There’s a teddy bear in our utility room awaiting the skilled reattachment of an ear.  NHS waiting lists are nothing in comparison to his predicted treatment date of July 2018.

As you can see Fluffy (the teddy bear in question!) has now had his ear reattached, finally! Is it bad if I also admit to using a Sharpie to label school clothes....I don't want to use my precious sewing time sewing on name tags!!!!

Have a great weekend!


Today's sky ● miserable, grey and raining. Boo!

Friday, 6 March 2015

Living with a sewist::: the birth of a quilt

Happy Friday everyone! I'm so pleased you all enjoyed last weeks post about Living with a Sewist (you can read it here). So over to Mr f&f for this weeks Behind the Scenes.....

After a week of work it’s nice to spend some time at home, relaxing with a movie and a glass of wine.  I have noticed, however, that as a project nears completion it requires more of our house be given over to it.  It’s as if the successful “birth” requires the increased consumption of resources as the happy day of arrival nears.  Of course, there are occasional “contractions” where things are forced back into the Sewing Room, but they quickly spill out again the following evening, spreading further than the night before. 

I'm now used to watching movies from the sofa whilst Mrs f&f scurries about the floor between panels of material, muttering to herself about the best order for piecing them together, unpicking and disappearing to re-sew at the machine, before returning to continue.  This normally culminates in a night or two where the entire kitchen floor is given over to the project and I have to either accept that the kitchen is off limits, or engage a Greg Rutherford long jump technique to make it across safely.  Greg should consider training for Rio by jumping over pinned quilts with a cup of tea and a digestive biscuit!

I've learned the hard way that during these particularly tense periods there is no substitute for silence.  My role is to make tea, and keep quiet, only offering gentle encouragement when prompted.  Actually, that sounds quite a lot like my incidental role in the arrival of each of our Smalls, so maybe the whole birth analogy is a better fit than I first thought.

Mmmm, I can't be the only one that spreads out around the house......can I?! And I'm glad to report that Mr f&f has never actually attempted to long jump over my quilt basting attempts, woe betide him if he spilt tea on any fabric!

Have a great weekend everyone! Come back next week to find out what I (allegedly!) have in common with NHS Waiting lists......


Today's sky ● gorgeous blue with the odd cloud, most spring like!!!

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