Wednesday, 28 September 2011

it's just one of those weeks..

I'm having a bit of an off week, for no reason in particular really, it's just one of those weeks. I'm so tired and all I feel like doing is curling up on the couch watching trashy telly and eating chocolate.
Not much sewing going on here although I am still making slow progress hand quilting my AMH quilt. So to go with my cocooning mood I made myself a pair of slippers.

slippers 3

The pattern is from Natural Patchwork by Suzuko Koseki
A perfectly fun little sewing project to use up some of those scraps!

Have a happy Wednesday!

x Leila

Friday, 23 September 2011

Random acts of kindness

Lately I have been so spoiled with surprises in my mailbox!

First Julianna sent me this sweet little mug rug which was a total surprise. She did such a wonderful job piecing these words together look!

Julianna was one of my PIF partners and we did a little fabric swap on the side, I really wasn't expecting this little goodie as well. Thank you so much Julianna it reminds me each morning to live a "cool Leila life"!

And if that wasn't enough look what else the postman brought.

For no reason at all, other than she rocks, Elena sent me this wonderful box full of trim and lace and handmade lace and..munki munki! How great is that?!

I admit to getting a lot of post with all the swaps and bee's I'm in and we'll just not mention the online fabric shopping shall we ;-) But these unexpected surprises are the very best post ever!

Thank you so much Julianna and Elena, it's a wonderful idea to have friends in places I have never visited before!

So tell me what did the postman bring you lately that made your heart skip a little beat?

x Leila

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

sewing a shirt

September is Amisha's month in Patchwork 318 the bee.
She chose the sewing themed blocks for her month, which is a most excellent theme! I actually wanted to do something similar for my month but I think I'll come up with something else instead. After all we want to make the most out of the wonderful block patterns in this book.

Anyway I picked the shirt block because I'm still new at paper piecing and this block seemed so straight forward. No curves just a few triangles. Simple right?


Well looks can be deceiving! See the small strip of white background by the collar?  Those are itty bitty inset seams!!


I struggled for two hours with that collar yesterday before I threw in the towel. But a new day can make all the difference and today I managed to sew those corners down correctly - pfiew!
The rest of the block is simple and I got to do a little embroidery as well which was fun.
The block measures 6 1/2" and is made with DS Quilts and Kona snow fabric.

This bee certainly is challenging but lots of fun and very inspirational too. Did you see the amazing sewing machine block Kerry made yesterday?

 x Leila

Thursday, 15 September 2011

Mothers Dream { a Pillow Tutorial }

The inspiration for this pillow came from the PIF pincushion I received from the lovely Kerry.
The block is called Mothers Dream, I just enlarged it and changed the corner blocks to patchwork squares instead of rectangles.


This first pillow came out much smaller than I anticipated because I got all my math figures wrong.
But I have since mastered the art of calculating the diagonals on my triangles, it's Pythagoras  all over again people it's terribly complicated and I am just that clever! {nah not really!  I found this amazing link that will do all the brainwork for you}

This tutorial has cutting instructions to make the same pillow in three different sizes (A)14" - (B)18 1/2" - (C)20"
I am making the largest size in Halloween style fabrics, it's something I haven't done before and I thought it might be fun with the holiday season fast approaching on us. {it's cold and stormy here autumn has definitely begun!}



As with all tutorials and patterns please read all the way through first before you begin. Press your fabrics along the way. All seam allowances are 1/4" unless it's stated otherwise and included in the cutting instructions.

What you will need:
(A) = 14" pillow
(B) = 18 1/2" pillow
(C) = 20 " pillow

  • For the center of the block cut one (A) 5"- (B) 6 1/2" - (C) 7 1/2" square. This square will be set on point so if you are using a directional print like I am you will need to cut this square on point.
  • For the patchwork blocks cut sixteen (A) 2 3/4"- (B) 3 1/2"- (C) 4" squares.
  • From your background fabric cut two (A) 4 3/8" - (B) 5 1/2" - (C) 5 7/8" squares to render 4 half square triangles for the corners.
  • Also from your background fabric cut two ( A) 5 7/8" - (B) 7 1/2" - (C) 7 7/8' squares to render 4 half square triangles for the sides. 
I like to cut both of these last two squares 1/8" larger because I find it easier to measure on the 1/4" and 1/2" when cutting fabric. And also I'd rather trim my block after sewing it together. Bias cuts can shift and move and 1/8" gives you some wriggle room for seam allowances.

    Step 1
    Start by sewing the 4" squares together. Make four blocks.

     Step 2
    Sew your small half square triangles (the 5 7/8" ones) to each of the four patchwork  blocks.

    Trim if necessary.

    Step 3
    Sew two of your corner blocks to your center square, one on each opposite side.

    Step 4
    Sew two large half square triangles to each side of your remaining patchwork blocks to form one large triangle.

    Trim if necessary.

    Step 5
    Sew the large triangles to the center strip.

    Like so.

    Easy peasy right?!

    Quilt as you wish. 
    I'm finishing my pillow with a simple envelope closure at the back.
    If you would like to do the same cut two rectangles 14"x20" Fold under your seam allowance twice approximately 1/2", press and sew. 

    Step 6
    Place your envelope back on top of your pillow front, right sides together. Sew all the way round using a 1/4" seam. Serge or zig zag the raw edges of your seam to stop them from fraying. 
    Or if you like your pillows nice and plump like I do you can enclose the raw edges with a 'reverse french seam"
    Trim back your seams to a scant 1/4" and clip the corners. Turn your pillow case right side out and press your seams carefully. If the seams are bulky, roll them between your fingers before pressing. This helps the seams to sit nice and flat.
    Sew a 3/8" seam around your pillow on the right side, enclosing the raw edges of your previous seam.

    And now you're done!

    Don't forget to send me a picture if you make this pillow I would love to show it off on my blog!!

    x Leila

    Monday, 12 September 2011

    I believe this month will be all about pillows

    It's funny whenever I join a new swap I get obsessed with whatever it is we are swapping and can't stop making more! It's what I love best about swaps they always inspire me.
    Since I joined the Pillow Talk Swap I think you'll be seeing a lot of pillows from me over the next period of time. In fact I have a pillow tutorial in the making. I'll have it up on my blog hopefully in a few days.
    Here's a little peek.


    This one came out smaller than I anticipated {I have never been particularly good at maths!} so I am making another one taking photo's along the way for the tutorial. It will include cutting instructions to make this pillow in three different sizes {I'm just showing off, I finally managed to solve my math problem lol!}

    Here's a pillow I did finish up this weekend.

    I believe this month will be all about pillows..
    It has a bit of a Christmas feel to it don't you think?! I have listed it in the shop.
    How was your weekend, did you get a lot of sewing done?

    x Leila

    Friday, 9 September 2011

    sewing for men

    Is it just me or do you find it difficult as well to come up with fun things to sew for the men in your life? All things fabric and quilted seem much too soft and feminine to me.
    Trying to come up with handmade gifts for men can result in some pretty 'interesting' projects. But I personally don't know any man with a great desire to own a quilted tool belt ;-)

    Imagine my delight when my Mr. asked me to sew him something! He has just bought himself a new i-pad and in his quest to keep the toy in pristine condition asked me to sew him some sort of case to keep it in. I happily took on my mission to come up with the right shape and size and most of all find the perfect fabric for it.

    When I came across this wonderful print by Alexander Henry, I knew that it was just perfect for the job.

    i-pad sleeve for my Mr.

    It was a little fiddly to get the fabric alignment just right so none of the 'ladies' got decapitated! I am glad it all worked out in the end. The rest of this i-pad sleeve came together quite easily.
    My Mr. says it rocks, I call that a mission accomplished!

    What kind of things do you like to sew for your husbands, boyfriends, fathers and brothers? I'd love to know!

    Leila x

    Monday, 5 September 2011

    How to Quilt Flowers - a video tutorial

    Ok, so I feel like I should set a disclaimer first, I'm very nervous both when I made this video and now that I'm about to hit the publish button. I'm babbling and I'm uhm-ing a lot and I mispronounce words and have a weird accent and...well this is new and just making me nervous lol!
    But I made this video to answer some of the questions I've had about how to hand quilt the flowers I'm quilting on my AMH quilt.
    So here goes nothing...please don't laugh!

     Now how helpful was my 'burying the knot' mime?! ;-)
    I forgot to mention that I peel the paper pattern away as I go, it helps me to see where I'm burying my knot as I change thread colours. I just keep pinning my pattern down to ensure it stays put.

    Thank you for watching...I've always wanted to say that!

    x Leila

    Edit to add: I used Swedish tracing paper for quilting, we call that 'pattern paper' here.

    Friday, 2 September 2011

    Go Anywhere Bag

    I was so excited when Anna asked me to test her new bag pattern a few weeks back!
    She is such a talented pattern maker, I absolutely love the 241 tote so I had great expectations of her new pattern.

    Go Anywhere Bag

    I was not disappointed!

    The pattern is very clearly written and has photo's for each step along the way. I personally love a pattern with lots of pictures as I tend to not be the best pattern follower, and the pictures really help me stay on track.

    The Go Anywhere Bag lives up to it's name as it holds so much you could go anywhere with this bag!
    There are two large exterior pockets. The pleated front pocket is divided up in three pockets, a perfect place to put everything you need close at hand like your children's toys or baby bottles, shopping lists, sun glasses, camera or this time of year I like to carry a small umbrella.

    Go Anywhere Bag - front

    The back pocket closes with a magnetic snap. It would be the perfect spot for a book, some magazines, a change of children's clothes, nappies or an extra sweater.
    The Go Anywhere bag also has a slip pocket inside for your wallet, keys, phone and it even has a space to keep your pen.

    There's a space and a pocket for pretty much anything you might need or want to carry with you. Which makes this bag super practical, despite it's size you can arrange it so that you always know where everything is!

    Go Anywhere Bag -back

    I was a bit late posting pictures of my finished bag - sorry Anna!- I was waiting for my fabric to arrive. As soon as I spotted Hometown canvas I just knew this was the perfect fabric for this bag. What better than all these city names as a reminder that indeed you could Go Anywhere?!

    The pattern is available on Anna's blog here.

    x Leila

    Thursday, 1 September 2011

    Fresh Sewing Day #5 (I think)

    It's the first of a brand new month. And as usual Lynne is hosting another Fresh Sewing day as well as the second Small Blog Meet.
    Let me show you what I have made this month, I've been pretty productive if I do say so myself!

    My creation

    Many of you asked for more information on how I'm handquilting my AMH quilt so I'll be working on a little tutorial/ 'how to' over the next few days to show you, hang on tight!
    Now head on over to Lynne's to link up and meet fellow new bloggers, just follow the link here

    x Leila