The notepad cover

This was meant to be a nice quick and easy project, but I ended up doing more measuring than I intended, and making a teeny tiny version to figure out how to sew it up (I still went wrong and needed to unpick it!) It turned out ok though, there were a few mistakes, and when I make it again there are a few things I will do differently, but as with anything I sew for the first time I’m always impressed when it works out as I had hoped!

Firstly you need to decide on your layout, I’m a big fan of stripes, and I knew which fabrics I wanted to use on the front, and the rest was based on what suitable sized scraps I had to hand!

As I needed to have vaguely straight and parrallel lines I did end up measuring each panel, and where necessary attempting to cut and then sew along a particular point in the pattern of the fabric.

Once you’ve got your layout and cut out each bit (or you can just use one fabric) Stitch it together so that you have the width of the open notepad, plus extra for folding over and creating the pockets for it to sit in. (There is no point in me providing measurements as not all notepads are the same size!).  Make sure you leave enough fabric at the top and bottom too, mine is that little bit too snug a fit, but that was because I didn’t have the right size bit of wadding. You may not want too much excess fabric round the edges but consider this when measuring and cutting out.

If you want to add any decoration do so now, I decided to add some crochet lace  over one of the front seams, but ric rac would look equally cute, you could even sew on some buttons! You could even add some ribbon to form a tie, which I think I will do next time.

After you’ve added any decoration, you can add a layer of wadding if you want (I haven’t tried making this without yet but it would probably look just as lovely. I like using a cotton backed wadding, but purely because I don’t like the idea of sewing the wadding being on the bottom with nothing covering it.

Once you have your ftont panel, you can bind the ends. Make sure the panel is long enough to turn over the edge of the notepad to form the pocket that it sits in.

Christmas Fabric notepad cover with bias binding

You then need to cut a piece of lining fabric if you want to, this needs to be wide enough to sit between the two pocket bits.

Now the complicated bit.  Lay your front panel facing upwards, then the lining fabric on top of this in the middle. Fold the ends towards the middle (making sure you’ve left enough room for your notepad to fit), but underneath the lining fabric and pin in place. I forgot to take a photo of this bit though, and this was the bit I got wrong first time!

Then it is as simple as sewing two lines! As you’ve not stitched the lining fabric to the lining it’s easy enough to turn out without getting too confused.

It’s a relatively simple thing to sew when you get your head round it, and I think it makes a lovely Christmas gift! Good Luck and I’d love to see how you get on, post a picture on our Facebook page, or tag us on Instagram, Pinterest or Twitter!

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Christmas in July!! 

July is now well underway (and the school holidays will be here in no time at all!!), so I thought I should start embracing Christmas In July. I have no idea who came up with the idea, but given that despite my best efforts, finishing everything I want in time for Christmas is usually an impossible task, I welcome the concept of starting a bit early!

I don’t think I need to start hanging up paper chains or singing Jingle Bells, but I am rather partial to a Christmas film (it doesn’t matter how bad!). However it does feel a bit of a shallow sentiment without the cold weather, mince pies and excitement.

So I started to think about what I could do,  and decided that as I have so many unfinished (or not started) sewing projects, I thought I would set myself a little challenge.

I decided to write a list of Christmas sewing projects, with the plan being to start and actually finish as many as I can within the month.  I have split them into three categories; Decorations; Gifts and Home. I’m not going to make hugely complex items, or attempt to start a super complicated quilt (as much as I’d love to!!) and will mostly be sticking to nice easy projects.  I suspect there will also be a bit of overlap with the home and decoration projects, but I don’t think anyone will tell me off! I’m hoping to learn some new tricks and skills as many of the things I haven’t attempted before, so it’ll be a learning experience for me.

I’m also hoping to work out ways to make things look a bit more interesting than I would usually attempt, so rather than just using a plain piece of fabric for something, if possible I shall try to add some other details.  I usually struggle with this because I get impatient! I get so excited about starting (and wanting to finish) something new, that I forget about making things look as pretty as I’d like. Although it is kind of sensible doing something simply in the first instance to iron out any problems, and work out how to do it better next time!

I’m hoping to learn some new tricks and skills as many of the things I haven’t attempted before, so it’ll be a learning experience for me. bit inspiring and give you some ideas in plenty of time for actual Christmas!

The Countdown Begins!

So two days ago was June 25th, which means it is now less than six months to Christmas!! Now I know that is still a really long way away, but as there are only a few weeks left of the school term, then the summer holidays it’ll be September and autumn before you know it, by which time I start to panic abit about what projects need finishing from the last few years, let alone all the new ideas and inspiration from all over the place.

As much as i’d love to spend every day sewing, life does get in the way a bit, so trying to do a little bit here and there is utterly necessary. So it’s about time I got started (started/carried on with/finished) This is my current to do list in no particular order, and I will hopefully get round to sharing some of these as soon as I can:

  • Bunting – Quite a simple idea in theory, but no matter how many times I make it, I never seem to be happy with it somehow, the spacing between the flags isn’t right, or the size is wrong and you can’t see enough of the pattern, or I think I should decorate it with buttons and ric rac, or should I just make different sorts – some plain, some simple, some with kids fabric only, and should I add Merry Christmas and if so should I even use triangles? The options are endless and this doesn’t help me as I’m rubbish at two things (making decisions and finishing things I start!) neither of which are particularly helpful in this case. Watch this space.
  • Bags and purse type things – Again endless options, but it’s easier to be more decisive as they are usually just little things, and they can be made again if you want something different. Whether these are for gifts or just to keep bits and bobs in who knows, but I love experimenting with these sorts of projects.
  • Patchwork – As much as I really really really want to make a Christmassy Quilt, at the moment my ability to cut and sew things precisely needs a bit of practice. So that’s what i’m doing. Probably by making panels for bags and purse type things, but i’ve attempted a couple of cushion covers so far, which from a distance look ok at least!044
  • Other home bits – so yes cushion covers are the obvious one. I realise that not everyone wants their house filled to the rafters with Christmas things, but just a little cushion won’t hurt surely? And if it’s good enough for the High Street, then who am I to argue! I also hope to make a table runner, table mats, table cloth (well hemming a simple bit of ticking anyway), and maybe some of those pot holder type things.
  • Felt and other decorations – Now this is the obvious bit, Stockings! beautiful lined decorated with buttons and bells and all sorts, and hopefully big enough to put more than a tangerine in. I also have a grand idea of making a wreath with lots of little decorations on and a garland of felt characters – Santa, his sleigh, a Snowman, Gingerbread man, Christmas Tree etc, I’ve done a few and now need to re-make the ones i made years ago as my sewing skills and collection of useful bits has improved!

I’m sure there is more, and listing it in chunks rather than individual items makes it a bit less scary, but that’s a good place to start! Watch this space!

January 2nd- Clinging onto Christmas

So whilst most people may be thinking about diets, New Years resolutions, and ridding the house of clutter and Christmas decorations, I am currently trying really hard to hold on that little bit longer to the loveliness of Christmas.

I realised a couple of years ago that whilst the actual Christmas part of Christmas (i.e the travelling and trying to please and fit in with numerous family members in various locations) can be stupidly stressful, the build up to Christmas really is the most wonderful time of the year.

I am more than likely the minority here, but it felt like pretty much everything related to Christmas was better than the normal versions; mulled wine and my new favourite discovery mulled cider are heaven in a glass; Christmas Cake, Mince pies and especially Stollen exude an air of winter cosiness making you think of log fires, wood panelled rooms and comfy sofas; then there is the Christmas Tree, ok so you may end up with needles everywhere until April, but the smell is so worth it! and every year the lounge just looks that little bit depressed and darker without its twinkly lights in January when it gets taken down. I could go on!

So in order to enjoy all of these things for as long as possible I decided to let Christmas start as soon as the shops think it should! So on go the Christmas movies and music, and out comes the sewing box.

Having been bitten by the craft bug afew years ago, my plan to decorate the house in homemade decorations gets more elaborate each year (mainly thanks to Pinterest and Kirstie Allsop) and each year i never have enough time to finish even half of the things i want.

So even though i should be thinking about taking the tree down, i’m actually thinking about what sewing i didn’t finish for this Christmas, and have instead decided that rather than putting it all away until autumn, i’m going to keep making christmas decorations all year!

So that is what this blog shall be about, my attempts to finish all those ongoing projects and start all the ones in my head in plenty of time for next Christmas, so that by December 1st all my decorations and other Christmas related craft and present ideas are all done and dusted, giving me more time to watch Elf and The Snowman with a glass of that lovely mulled cider!

So I’d love to know if I’m the only one with this obsession? and if anyone has any ideas for me?!?

Thanks, Charlie