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3D Face Mask/Covering with nose wire and filter pocket.

Before I start I want to check in on you guys. I hope that you and your loved ones are keeping safe and well. You don’t need me to tell you that times are difficult in many ways right now, and I hope that sewing is allowing you a few essential moments of peace and calm.

It’s important to say that I am no expert on face masks/coverings. What I am talking about here is a handmade face mask/covering and how I have adapted a great free pattern/tutorial  (linked below) in a way that I feel a little more protected when I wear it. This is by no means a medical grade mask, but a face covering to offer you some protection when you are out and about in low risk areas, whilst still maintaining social distancing rules and washing your hands. I would encourage you to do your own research to decide if this is the type of mask that suits your needs.

Like many of us, I had (half-heartedly) tried a couple of mask patterns over the last few weeks, and not been terribly impressed with the results for many reasons. A couple of weeks ago I saw that Marie aka @stitchodyssey  had posted a picture of a 3d face mask saying how great it was compared to others that she had tried. As tighter rules have come into effect now regarding the wearing of face masks/coverings, this was the perfect opportunity to give the pattern a go.

The free mask ‘pattern’ is from a lady called Romilda Dias ( @romildadps  on Instagram). I say ‘pattern’ – there is not actually pattern pieces that you download or print out, you cut the template yourself – don’t worry though it’s really straightforward. She has a YouTube channel  where she shows a tutorial on how to make it. Although visually easy to follow, it is spoken in Portuguese, and Marie has kindly shared a video on her Instagram TV here  where she takes you through the template cutting and sewing process. (This blog post is NOT a tutorial on how to sew the mask, just how I amended it to my personal taste). It might be worth you heading over to watch the tutorial before you jump into my amendments so that you have a better understanding of what I am talking about.

The finished result of the original mask even without any changes is really good in my opinion. This clever design, gives you separate nose and chin coverage and the fit feels really good right from the get go. The mouth section is comfortably ‘roomy’, making it feel easier to breathe, and not so tight around the mouth like others I have tried.

After making a couple of samples, I felt that I wanted to make two tiny changes. I wanted to add a nose wire to give an even closer fit over the nose, and I also wanted to make the mask lining piece with an opening so that I could add a disposable filter, in addition to the two layers of fabric.

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Such a nice fit around the top, sides and underneath of the mask.

Adding the nose wire was not rocket science! I had picked up some aluminium wire mask strips from eBay. They were reasonably priced and have smooth rounded tips for comfort. Because the aluminium won’t rust I don’t need to remove it each time I wash the mask so I simply measured the centre point of the folded nose piece, the centre point of the aluminium strip and went right ahead and sewed around it. Simple.

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Sorry that the stitching is so difficult to see x

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As mentioned I also wanted to make an opening in the lining to allow me to use a disposable filter. This means drawing up another template with a rectangle measuring 22cm x 12cm ( 1cm deeper than the original 22cm x 11cm). Fold and cut the corners exactly as you did with your original piece.

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To make one mask with a filter opening you will need to use three fabric pieces using the original template and one fabric piece using the larger template (rather than 4 of the original template).

After cutting out your fabric, measure the halfway point down each side, draw a cutting line and cut the piece into two along this line.

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Place right sides together and pin along that straight edge. What you are going to do is sew from each edge in towards the centre using a 0.5cm seam allowance just for a few centimetres and then stop, leaving a gap in the centre unstitched. I hope you can see below I have pinned along the straight edge and placed double pins where I wanted my stitching to stop. I chose to stitch 7cm from each edge, giving me an 8cm unstitched opening in the middle, but you can choose how big you would like your filter opening to be and make it bigger or smaller as necessary.

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Press the seam open, which will reveal the gap in the centre of the seam, and topstitch along both sides of that seam (including along the open edges).

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You should now be left with a piece that is the same size as the other 3 regular pieces that you have cut, and these 4 pieces (along with 2 small rectangles that you have cut for the elastic casings) will now fit together to make your mask.

For the filter fabric I purchased some filter material from Sewing Sanctuary  As said before, I am no expert on this, and would strongly encourage you to do your own research on mask filters. Do share in the comments if you have found other good filter fabrics and where they are from please!

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Not forgetting that there is the flap underneath the chin too. I probably should have raised my head a little higher here, trust me – it’s a nice fit!

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The mask fabric that I have used is a super pretty pink floral cotton poplin from Sew Jessalli  It’s the leftovers from a new dress that I have just finished and will no doubt blog about next week x

The dress that you can get a glimpse of here is the Nina Lee Mayfair Dress  using viscose jersey from The Sewing Cafe.

Dark grey and glitter acrylic scissors necklace available from my shop.

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I used 3mm soft white elastic cord to make the ear straps.

Oh, and the ‘with love from a sewcial distance’ labels are from Modista Sewing. They’re a pretty cute finishing touch right?

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As always take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

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A quick and easy elasticated skirt

I’m keeping it simple this week.

After a few busy weeks, I decided that I wanted to make a really easy, quick project that didn’t require much concentration. A bit of a palate cleanser.

Turns out this was great timing too, as I chose this as the simpler of the two projects that I wanted to make during the recent #sewingweekender and this one was the only one that I finished that weekend, as I was crazy busy!

Who doesn’t love the comfort of an elasticated skirt, right? Especially when you can show off the vibrant print of a pretty fabric.

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Gold mirror acrylic scissors necklace from my shop.

Talking of the Sewing Weekender, this skirt has been in my mind for a year. At last year’s Sewing Weekender in Cambridge, one of the guest speakers was Juliet Uzor. In case you don’t know, she was the winner of the 2019 Great British Sewing Bee, and as you can imagine we were all crazy excited for her presentation.

Her talk was fun, happy and really enjoyable, (she’s absolutely lovely by the way), and all the time I could not stop admiring her skirt. She was wearing a knee length wax print skirt, I think it was pleated though (not gathered like this one), and it was just beautiful.

Fast forward a year and I thought I would use this cheap, but colourful wax print that I had in my stash to make something similar, and guess what my friends, the gorgeous Juliet just so happens to have a youTube video with a cheeky little tutorial on how to make a skirt with exposed elastic! This is the video that has helped me attach the elastic like this and you can check it out here.

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This fantastic rainbow elastic is again something from my stash. I think it might have been an eBay purchase at some point. I have found it quite tricky to find really wide colourful elastic like this, do you have any suggestions of some good wide elastic retailers? I’d really like some wide striped for more skirts like this.

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The fabric, although pretty is very low quality. I was really disappointed with it. There is definitely some polyester in this, but it’s ok for something like this. I guess you get what you pay for .. However the softness of this particular fabric allowed me to make a softly gathered skirt like this and I shall enjoy using a much better quality wax print fabric to make a more structured pleated skirt another time.

Don’t forget to pop in some simple inseam pockets using any pocket template from an existing pattern or drafting your own. You can skip this of course if you are a beginner and want a more simple version.

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I was undecided about what length I wanted, so opted to cut a midi length, and I can always shorten it. I kind of like this length though, so will leave it like this for now.

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Hope that you are all keeping safe and well, and finding time for a little sewing here and there.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Posted on

Felt Mince Pie Bunting Tutorial

Let’s talk about mince pies. Christmas just wouldn’t be Christmas without them would it? Today I am sharing a little tutorial with you on how I made these cute felt mince pies, just in case you are mince pie lovers like we are in our house!

The reason that I wanted to make something different this year, was mainly because I have been using the same handmade bunting for a few years now and wanted a change. Way back in December 2016 I posted a tutorial on this blog for some Christmas Tree Bunting and this is actually my most viewed post ever!! But this year I felt that it was time for something different.

You will need

  • Felt in different colours
  • Bondaweb (or something similar) – not completely necessary, but makes things much easier! The packet shown in the image below contained just a little leftover from a previous project. For this I needed to buy some more and I did this by buying it off the roll at Hobbycraft.
  • White embroidery floss
  • Ric rac tape
  • Bunting tape
  • Usual sewing equipment such as scissors, needle and thread, iron and ironing board and a sewing machine.

 

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Please forgive the shadows on the picture – the sun was out when I took this!

To start off with I printed out a template of a mince pie and also some holly leaves. There are lots of free templates and images online so just find one that you like and print it off to the size that you need. (My mince pies measure 9cm in width and 7.5cm in height – not including the leaves).

I then traced out the various different shapes that I would need onto some tracing paper, and cut them out – but not using my fabric scissors that for some reason I have shown here!!!! Oh no!! Definitely using paper scissors!!!

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Take your cut traced shapes and place them with the right side facing down onto the smooth side of the Bondaweb and trace around them. I did this in bulk to save time. Roughly cut around the Bondaweb shapes and place them (glue side down) onto your chosen felt colours and iron them on. You can then cut carefully around your shape which leaves you with the perfect shapes ready to layer and sew.

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This shows the Bondaweb shapes have been ironed to the felt and then carefully cut out. I left some arrow markings on some of the pieces in case they needed to be placed on the right way up – but you could just work this out as you go along.

Notice that the ‘backing’ shape (which I chose to use dark brown for) does not need Bondaweb (or any interfacing either), so is just cut out straight from the felt ready for the other shapes to be attached to. Word of warning here – make a good choice when deciding what type of marker to use when tracing out your shapes – I just used regular biro and ended up with quite a mess on my iron and ironing board. I’m guessing that a heat dissolving marker like a Frixion pen or something similar might be less messy!!

Now time to layer up your pieces and get sewing! Take your backing piece and lay it down. The first layer is the light brown oval ‘crust’ and the mid brown ‘pie base’. Peel the Bondaweb papers from these shapes and place them glue side down onto the backing shape.

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Gently iron them into place using a medium setting on your iron (you might want to test the heat on a scrap of felt). Below is what it should look like. You can just see some of the dark brown backing showing on this around the edges so  quickly trim around the edge to neaten it up.

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Apply the smaller dark brown ‘mincemeat’ oval on top of the larger light brown oval ‘crust’ piece in the same way and iron that into place too.

Take this to your sewing machine and sew around the edges shown using a decorative stitch. I used a lovely blanket stitch to give it that hand sewn look.

This is what it should look like now.

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Repeat this for the rest of the layers. Next add the light brown ‘pastry star’, iron into position and sew around the edges.

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I find it easier to add the different layers and then sew them into place as I go along, step- by-step rather than ironing them all into place in one go and doing the sewing all in one go.

Next, the holly leaves and finally the berries.

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With the berries, I just ironed them into place and added a little french knot using some white embroidery floss.

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Nearly there now. Finally I added a piece of sparkly cream ric rac to simulate the crust (sewn on using a straight stitch on the machine) and you are done!

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Repeat this as many times as you like and hand sew on to a piece of bunting tape at regular intervals ( I used this wonderful jute plaited ribbon from Hobbycraft, but you can use any tape or ribbon that you have to hand). You don’t necessarily need to add them to bunting – why not add a little loop to the back of them and use them as gift decorations or individual tree ornaments?

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Just for fun, I made up some using  crazy colours, and I just love these too!

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Hang them wherever you like (but not over an open fire) and enjoy them for now and years to come! Although our Christmas tree isn’t up yet, I quite like the idea of using them as tree garlands and for the time being I have placed them on this plant in the hallway.

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This method can be applied to any simple design that you like, do let me know if you try it and what sort of bunting that you made. I will admit that they are not the quick make that I was hoping for, but enjoyable none the less and very addictive once you get started!

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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A Lined Faux Roman Blind Tutorial

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It’s been a couple of years since we moved to our house, and bit by bit we are working our way through all the usual home improvements that will finally make it the home we are after. Painting has been our main focus lately, and we have just finished painting the dreaded hall, stairs and landing followed by the kitchen and utility room. Of course when I say ‘we’ I mostly mean my husband! Haha!

Our utility room had a nasty old (dust gathering) venetian blind, and when this was removed during painting, I decided to crack on with replacing it with something much more lovely to look at.

It’s only a small window, and not one which needs a functioning blind – it is at the back of our house and is not overlooked at all. I had my heart set on a false Roman Blind made from a piece of special Orla Kiely upholstery fabric from Dunelm. It’s a little pricey at £18 per metre, but decided that I might be able to get away with just a half metre as the fabric was plenty wide enough to cover the width of the window and as it wasn’t necessary to be a working blind, I could simply fold it where I liked to make the drop work. So a half metre of this fabric cost me just £9, which I didn’t think was too bad.

The most important thing with this project is to be very precise with your measurements. I wanted this blind to sit just above the window recess, with a few cm ‘overhang’ either side. The window recess measurements are 58cm width and 112cm drop.

I decided that I wanted the finished flat blind measurement to be 66cm in width ( that is the 58cm width of the window plus a 4cm ‘overhang’ each side of the recess). The drop length of the blind is 50cm ( i.e the half metre length that I purchased).

To measure how wide to cut the Orla fabric, I knew I needed the width to be 66cm (width of the finished blind), plus a 1cm seam allowance each side = 68cm. I then wanted there to be a narrow vertical ‘border’ of the Orla fabric on each side of the reverse of the blind where it attaches to the lining fabric. This ‘border’ measures 2cm each side, so the total width that I needed to cut of the Orla fabric was 72cm.

The lining fabric then needed to be cut. I just used some cream curtain lining that I had in my stash, but I’m pretty sure this wouldn’t be too expensive if you had to buy a small amount.

The lining needs to be measured to be slightly narrower than the Orla fabric, as this will allow the Orla fabric to create that lovely ‘border’ on the reverse of the blind that I mentioned previously. So, the lining is calculated as the finished width of the blind (66cm) minus the 2 lots of 2cm borders =62cm, plus 2 lots of 1cm seam allowances = 64cm.

So, to clarify, I cut the Orla fabric at 72cm width, and the lining at 64cm width. This way ensures that when they are sewn together that a nice grey border will run down each side of the wrong side of the blind.

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This shows the cut lining and how it is a little narrower than the grey Orla fabric beneath it.

With such precise measurements, it is essential to press your fabric before cutting. I trimmed off the smallest amount of fraying fabric at the top and bottom of my blind (where the fabric had been cut), and I also positioned the design so that the centre line of one of the stem rows would be running down the exact centre of the blind.

Now to get sewing! Firstly, with the right sides together, I pinned and sewed both side seams.

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Because the Orla fabric is wider than the lining,  you will have a little extra ‘lump’ of fabric when you pin the sides.

When you have sewn down either side of the blind, smooth that ‘lump’ of Orla fabric so that the vertical seams on the back of the blind are evenly 2cm from the edge of the blind. Don’t iron it yet. Before you turn it right side out, pin along the bottom edge and sew this up. Again I used a 1cm seam allowance to preserve what little length I had.

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Apologies for the lighting. It was a sunny day when I took these pictures, but I hope that you can still see what I am trying to show you!

You can then trim this seam allowance, clip the corners and turn the blind right side out again. Use a point turner or something similar to ensure the corners are nice and sharp and give it a good press.

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More sun and shadows – whoops!

You can see from the image above that I then pinned the open top edge together. I neated these edges together with the overlocker.

Next it’s time to attach the velcro strip to the top of the blind. The velcro strip that I used is 2cm wide, so I turned over the top edge by 3cm, pressed it, and pinned and sewed the fluffy side of the velcro along the middle of this turn-over.

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Next, it is time to pleat your blind. This is done purely on your personal preference. I wanted 2 or 3 folds, and I also wanted to pattern match the stem design too. Take into consideration the height that you will attach the wooden batten to the top of the window too.

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When you are happy with the finished folded blind, give it a good press. In addition to pinning it in place, it is a good idea to run some temporary lines of tacking along the folds so that it doesn’t droop whilst you are finishing it off. I also permanently hand stitched the folds at each side of the blind, and also at various intervals along the folds at the back of the blind. Remove your tacking stitches.

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The wooden batten that we used to attach the blind to the wall was just a leftover that we had in the garage. Again, when I say we, I mean my husband! He cut it to just short of the 66cm blind width – probably approx 64cm – so that it wouldn’t show at all when the blind was in position. He then stapled the prickly part of the velcro to it, and screwed it to the wall a few centimetres above the top of the window recess.

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The blind simply sticks to the batten now, with the velcro, and there you have it! Easy!

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I do hope that this might help you if a false Roman Blind is something that you are planning.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

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A Festive Tilly and the Buttons Frankie Baseball T-Shirt

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With the Festive season just around the corner, I am getting in the spirit of things by entering a fun competition that has been arranged by Tilly and the Buttons. The ‘Sew A Xmas Sweater’ challenge is to sew up and decorate any Tilly and the Buttons sewing pattern to wear during the holiday season. If you would like more details about the competition then you can find out all about it here.

It was tricky to choose which pattern to make. As you can see from previous blog posts, I am a huge Tilly fan, and have made lots of her patterns, but eventually I decided that I would make another Frankie baseball t-shirt. I have blogged about this t-shirt here, so you can check that out if you are new to this pattern, but this post is going to concentrate on how I embellished it.

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My fabric choice is a lovely cotton interlock jersey which I picked up from eBay. It’s full-on festive red and green, but if you wanted to tone it down a bit you could choose a white or cream fabric for the main body and just have red and green for the sleeves and neckband.

I wanted the embellishment to be Christmassy, but not too ‘in your face’, so have opted for this fairly subtle ‘cutie-pie’ design. Let me take you through how I made it…

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To make the mince pie, I used a machine applique technique using Bondaweb iron-on transfer fabric that I had been taught when attending an applique class at the Leicestershire Craft Centre back in January.

I searched out an image of a mince pie that I liked on the internet, printed it off, and traced out the key shapes using tracing paper. I then traced out these shapes on to the smooth side of some Bondaweb fabric and cut around these shapes roughly. Iron these roughly cut out shapes onto the wrong side of your chosen fabric (or in my case, felt), and then cut around the outline carefully and neatly. You are left with the perfect shapes to create your layered design that now have the Bondaweb applied to the back.

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As you can see, I also had some cream ric rac tape which has a gold thread running through it which I thought would make the perfect pie crust, so I cut a strip of this too.

An important thing to mention is that it is crucial to apply any applique on to your top bodice before the underarm and side seams have been sewn. This way you are sewing on the flat and it makes your life much simpler! Tilly actually recommends doing this in her ‘Stretch’! book (page 91), and she also runs through exactly the procedure that I am using here too. So I carried out the whole of this applique procedure before I started any sewing on my t-shirt.

The placement  of your applique is also very important. Luckily I have already made the Frankie t-shirt before, so I simply popped it on, worked out where I wanted my design to sit, and pinned it carefully in place. I was then able to work out exactly where to position it on my festive version. As I am embroidering some wording on the top, I also pinned that in position – but I’ll talk about the embroidered wording later in the post.

As you can see from the image below, I was originally going to use scrap fabric pieces for the mince pie, but finally decided to use felt.

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I removed the peel-off backing from the back of my shapes and ironed them into place.

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I’m pretty sure that I have read somewhere that this is enough to hold your design in place just as it is, but I wanted to add a machine blanket stitch around the edges to make super sure that it stays in place and also to add to the decoration. At this point I cut some Stitch-n-Tear and pinned it to the wrong side of my fabric to give it some support and stop it from puckering or stretching when I was machine stitching it. I cut it large enough that it would also be in place ready for when I hand embroidered the wording above the mince pie. In the image above you can see the back of the pins that are holding the stitch-n-tear in place behind the design.

After testing out your stitch size on a scrap of spare fabric, I used a machine blanket stitch around all the edges. This is such fun, take your time with it – it’s worth it. I also cut the ric rac to the correct length, applied some Fray Check to the raw ends, and stitched that in place too.

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Below shows what it looks like on the wrong side after stitching. You might notice that I hand stitched the red berries.

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I hope that how I have written this will make some sense. There are lots of video tutorials on the internet when you search ‘machine applique’ if you need some visual guidance.

Next to apply the wording. I remember that I had watched a great tutorial from Sophia from JessalliHandmade on YouTube a few months ago. I followed this tutorial exactly to create the wording that I wanted and I am really pleased with how it turned out. In brief, you print out whatever wording you want in several different sizes and when you are happy with the font and size, you trace it out on some more stitch-n-tear. As you can see I was torn between making it a sweetie-pie or a cutie-pie slogan!

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Place the stitch-n-tear with your traced design where you want it, and pin it into place.

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Then, using a simple back stitch and embroidery thread, sew over your wording and carefully peel it away when you are finished. Simple!

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There you have it! At this point I just made the t-shirt according to the instructions as normal, and the finished result is really satisfying.

Ooh, and don’t forget the finishing touches!

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The ‘Sew a Xmas Sweater’ contest is open until December 9th, so there is still plenty of time to get sewing if you feel like giving it a go and having a bit of fun. Do head over to the blog post on the Tilly website that I linked at the start of this blog and it will give you all the terms and conditions as well as a look at the FAB prizes that are up for grabs too!

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I am looking to seeing lots of fun sweaters cropping up on Instagram over the next couple of weeks (the hashtag to look out for is #SewingXmasSweater).

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

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#TheBigStitch campaign.

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During the month of July, the British Heart Foundation are running a fun challenge where you can pop over to your local BHF shop, purchase an item of clothing, therefore supporting their charity, and then have a bit of fun altering it and adding your own fashion flair to it!

Off I went to my local BHF shop in Silver Street, Leicester, and selected a white top with black spots for the bargain price of £2.79.

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After running it through the wash, I took a good look at it and decided what I wanted to do.

I knew I needed to take it in at the sides, shorten the sleeves, and maybe take a strip from around the bottom and gather it before sewing it back on. I also knew that I wanted to use some pretty floral bias tape from my sewing stash that I had made some time ago.

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This was ‘before’

First things first, and this was brutal, was to work out how much I needed to take in from the sides and pin and mark it and simply cut the excess away! I also measured how much I wanted to take off the length of the sleeves and cut those to length too. At the same time I removed a strip from around the bottom edge and gave that the chop too!

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After all that cutting, I re-pinned the side seams and simply sewed them back together again. It really was that easy.

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I did not need the sleeve or side seam offcuts, so these were discarded.

Next task was to overlock the bottom edge of the top. I also overlocked was the raw edge of the band that I had cut from around the bottom. Because the top was now a little narrower, this gave me a little length in this strip to gather it slightly and re-attach it, making a gentle ruffle around the bottom edge.

Finally, to finish off the neckline, I chose to edge it with some pink floral bias tape. I made this using scrap fabric from my stash using this tutorial.

Whilst I was at it, I thought I might as well edge the sleeves with the bias tape too!

Simple, quick and easy, the whole thing took me about 45 mins.

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This was ‘after’

This has been a fun way of taking a pre-loved item and making it your own. I am pleased that a top that I would have previously passed by, is now something that I can reach for and feel confident in.

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Have you taken part in the #TheBigStitch challenge? Or perhaps re-fashioned an old item of clothing?

As always it would be lovely to hear from you.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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How I made my Christine Haynes Emery Dress Tie Sleeve Hack

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In my last post, I talked about my thoughts on the Christine Haynes Emery Dress sewing pattern and how I changed the regular sleeves to these tie sleeves in order to recreate a pretty dress that I had spotted on the High Street. I have had so many lovely comments about it on social media that I have decided to write a separate tutorial on how I made these sleeves.

Straight off I want to say that this is how I made these sleeves, I’m not saying it’s the right way, or the only way, or the best way – it’s just my way!

If you would like to read my full review on the dress, and see the High Street dress that I took inspiration from you can click here.

Firstly, I made the dress as normal, until I came to the sleeves. I cut out the regular long sleeves exactly to the pattern and pinned them to my finished bodice so that I could get an idea of how they would lay when stitched. I put on the bodice and pinched the ends of the sleeves around my wrist – I wanted to see if the cuffs would sit tight around my wrist or if there was room for some gathers. Luckily there was some room to allow for the gathers that I wanted ( I have small wrists ), so I didn’t need to change the sleeve shapes at all.

In order to prepare the sleeve we need to make a ‘keyhole’ cut out in the bottom of each sleeve. To do this I folded each sleeve in half longways, right sides together, so that the long sleeve edges lined up. I marked a point 8cm up from the bottom of the sleeve, on the fold, with tailors chalk. At this time I also marked the fold point at the bottom edge of the sleeve.

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I then opened out the sleeve and used a ruler to mark a straight line from the top marking to the bottom (8cm long).

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On the bottom edge of the sleeve, I marked a point 1.5cm either side of the line I had just made.

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Next I drew a curved line, (freehand), from the top point to one of the 1.5cm markings at the bottom.

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Re-fold your sleeve back in half again, pin to stop it from slipping and cut out your ‘keyhole’ shape.

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Repeat these steps for the other sleeve – I used my cut-out as a template for the second sleeve.

To bind the edges of the ‘keyhole’ openings you will need 2 lengths of bias cut fabric, each measuring at least 30cm. I used scrap leftover fabric, but you could use shop bought bias binding tape.

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I cut each of my strips 3.5 cm wide and this meant that they would run nicely through my 18mm bias tape maker. They were also the exact width of my ruler which made things super easy!

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Now it’s time to attach the bias strips to the raw edges of the ‘keyhole’ shapes you have just cut out. Before you start it helps if you iron/press the bias tapes into a curved shape. This really helps you attach more easily.

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Unfold your bias tape and pin it right side down to the wrong side of the sleeve around the ‘keyhole’ opening keeping the edges of the tape against the edges of the ‘keyhole’ opening. Use plenty of pins to keep it secure.

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Upon reflection it would probably be better to attach the bias to the RIGHT side of the sleeve – further into the tutorial I will explain why!

Take to your machine and sew in place all around the edge along the fold line of the bias tape. When sewn into place, snip the seam allowances carefully to enable it to lay flat when finished.

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Turn the tape through to the other side of the sleeve, encasing the raw edge of the ‘keyhole’ and pin into place on the other side.

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Stitch neatly into place close to the edge of the bias tape, and trim the ends off. Give it a good press with the iron.

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Although this achieves a nice neat finish, it does mean that there is a line of stitching visible from the right side. There is nothing wrong with this and it does not bother me, but it may have been better to have started with the bias tape on the RIGHT side of the sleeve as mentioned in red above and then when it was turned through you could carefully ‘stitch in the ditch’ on the right side thereby leaving no visible lines of stitching on the right side of the sleeve. Oh well, you live and learn…

At the end of both sleeves I ran 2 rows of gathering stitches, in preparation for later, then made up the sleeve tube by placing the long edges together, right sides facing each other, and stitched along this edge. I neatened the raw edge and pressed it.

Now time to gather the bottom of the sleeves, I only wanted a gentle gather, and I worked out how much by the following:

I pinned the sleeve to the bodice of the dress again to get an idea of where the end of the sleeve would sit. I then pinched it to fit my wrist and decided that I had about 5-6cm that I could gather it in by. With a tape measure I measured around the ungathered bottom of my sleeve. It measured approx 25.5cm. I then knew that I could gather up 5-6cm so when the gathers were pulled the sleeve opening would measure approx 19cm in length.

I then pulled the gathering threads on each sleeve so that the opening measured approx 19cm long. I then placed these to one side for a moment.

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Next we need to make the tie/cuff band. For this I needed 2 lengths of fabric cut straight along the grain of the fabric which measured 55cm x 5cm.

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To prepare the sleeve cuff/ties, fold the strips in half lengthways with the right sides together. What you need to do is sew them into a tube, leaving a large opening of whatever the length of your gathered cuff is – in my case 19cm. To be on the safe side your opening should really be slightly larger than your cuff length to make it easy for yourself. I left an opening of approx 21cm. I hope in the photo below you can see from my chalk markings where I sewed. The area between the central pins is that gap of approx 21cm – from each central pin I stitched away in each direction to the end, pivoted the needle and sewed down to the fold.

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When all sewn up, snip the corners, trim the seam allowances and turn right sides out. I used a blunt chopstick to do this. Tuck in the seam allowances at the opening that you left and give it a good press.

Slip your tie/cuff over the raw edge of the sleeve, encasing the gathered raw edges of the sleeve in the opening that you left in your cuff piece, and pin it into place.

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Take to the machine and sew neatly as close to the edge of the cuff as you can.

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There you have it – a regular sleeve converted into a tie sleeve.

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I do hope you may have found this helpful. I know it may not be the correct or easiest way but it is the way that I found worked for me, and I am thrilled with the results. Do head on over to my previous blog post to see the pictures of my finished make and the High Street dress that gave me the inspiration to make this adjustment to the sleeves.

I would welcome your comments, and look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Take care, and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

 

 

 

 

 

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How to make simple envelope cushion covers with piping.

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A little while ago, whilst browsing through Pinterest – as you do in the middle of the night – I came across some pictures of some really pretty bedding ideas, and how to arrange your pillows. I immediately decided I NEEDED 2 very large white square cushions to place at the back of the bed and immediately the room would be given that fancy hotel feel!

Upon further investigation of snazzy pictures of how to dress your bed – there are lots of them – I decided that they had to be dazzling white with grey piping, to match our newly decorated grey bedroom.

Originally I wanted to use a white waffle fabric, but soon realised that this would be quite costly, so opted for the budget friendly option of using a plain white bed sheet as I couldn’t bring myself to spend a great deal on plain white fabric. Life’s too short. My cushion pads were from Dunelm and were the largest I could find at 26″ square. The bed sheet was from Primark and was a single flat sheet which was perfect for my project.

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For this project you will need:

  • Cushion pad/s to the size you require. Mine are 26″ square.
  • Fabric ( I simply used a plain flat bed sheet, your choice could be a great deal prettier than this)!
  • Bias Piping Tape ( I bought ready made  tape, but of course you could make your own.
  • Matching threads.
  • Rotary cutter and mat, and/or fabric scissors.
  • Tape measure/ruler.
  • Pins and/or Clover Wonder Clips.
  • Zipper foot for your machine.

As you can see from the pictures, I made two cushion covers. For the purposes of this tutorial I will be describing how to make one cushion cover.

Your cushion cover is made up using one square of fabric – which will be the front piece of the cushion cover, and two smaller rectangular pieces – which make the back of the cushion cover.

I will be using a 1/2″ seam allowance for this project.

Let’s get started!

Firstly we need to measure our cushion pads and decide how large our fabric pieces need to be. My cushion pad is 26″ square. To cover this I will need one square of fabric which measures 27″ square, and two rectangular fabric pieces each measuring 27″ x 22″

The first thing I did was to take both rectangular pieces of fabric and neaten one of the 27″ edges on each of them. I turned the edge over 1/2″ and pressed it, then turned another 1/2″  again, and stitched along this edge. You can put these to one side for now.

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Next take the square piece of fabric and lay it down with the right side up. Pin or clip the piping tape around the entire edge. I am going to be using a 1/2″ seam allowance for this project so I make sure that the stitching on the piping runs along the edge at this distance. The piping should bend nicely around the corners. To help, snip the piping tape  at the corners taking care not to snip too far! Your length of piping will need to be long enough to run all the way around your square and 2 or 3 inches extra at each end to allow for overlapping/joining the binding where it meets up.

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Make sure the piping join meets along one of the straight sides, it would be tricky to do this on a corner. To join them together firstly unpick a few stitches on the piping and open the casing up to reveal the string/cord inside. Cut the string/cord approx 1″ shorter and then fold back the casing to the inside so that you have a neat edge of the end and the string/cord cut just a little shorter than the folded end. I hope you may be able to see this from the picture below.

Next, (again please refer to the picture below), with the other end you will need to cut the piping tape straight up so that it lines up with the end of the string/cord that you just cut on the previous piece.

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Again looking at the picture for reference, the right hand tape will now sit nice and flat inside the left hand tape. Simply fold the left hand tape over the top of the right and pin/clip into place.

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To make sure that your piping tape doesn’t slip or move, I decided to baste it into place. I used grey thread and stitched it to to the fabric. I used the zipper foot on my machine to make it easy for me, but I wasn’t trying to stitch close to the piping – in fact quite the opposite. This is only to hold it in place, it is when you sew it all together at the end that you need to stitch super close to the piping.

O.k, nearly done now.

Finally it’s time to sew the front piece with the attached piping to the two back envelope panels.

Place the square front piece with the right side up. Then place the two rectangular back panels on top, right sides down, with the raw edges of the rectangles meeting the raw edges of the square piece. They should overlap, and this is what give you the envelope opening. I hope this is clear, unfortunately my cushion is so large it was difficult to photograph this step!

Pin/clip into place and then, using your zipper foot sew in place all around the edge – this time sewing as close to the piping cord as you possibly can. This will ensure that when you turn it right side out that only the cord is visible and not the tape that it is attached to! When you are stitching it is wise to reinforce the edges of the cushion cover where you will  open and close it, with extra stitching to give it a bit of extra strength.

Turn your cushion cover right side out and give it a gentle press, ensuring the corners are gently pushed out.

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I hope that you follow this tutorial, it was tricky to photograph such a large project so I hope my written description makes sense when pictures weren’t possible!

The finished result is great and I feel our bedroom is almost complete now.

Have you made any home furnishings recently?  I would love to hear how you got on. Let me know if you have a go at these cushion covers too, tag me on social media so I can see your work!

Take care and I’ll see you soon,

Kathy x

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Fabric Easter Bunny Bunting Garland Tutorial

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Back in December I showed you how to make fabric Christmas tree bunting, and now that we are a week away from Easter I thought I would adapt this to make some cute Easter bunny bunting.

If you would like to check out my previous post on how to make Christmas tree bunting you can do so here. I have made very few changes (apart from the shape)! except this time I decided not to ‘pad’ them out using wadding or interfacing as I wanted to keep them as light-weight as possible.

I wanted to keep this tutorial simple, so your supplies are probably things that you already have in your sewing stash – apart from perhaps the pom poms. I purchased these from The Range in the children’s craft dept. for £1.99, but you could make your own if you have spare yarn and a snazzy pom pom maker or your own template. Or of course you could use cotton wool balls.

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You will need:

  • Fabric scraps. I chose pastel colours as they reminded me of Spring.
  • Any bunny template. There are lots of free templates available on the internet.
  • Bias binding or tape to use as the string for your bunting.
  • Fabric scissors and pinking shears.
  • Matching thread.
  • Pins.
  • Pom poms, or cotton wool balls.
  • Glue.
  • Sewing machine.

 

Let’s go! To start with you need to cut out your fabric a little bit bigger than the size of the bunny. Each bunny requires 2 pieces of fabric. Place the 2 pieces of fabric together, with the wrong sides facing, and pin the bunny template on the top.

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Take this to your sewing machine and carefully sew around the bunny shape as close to the edge as you can.

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Remove your pins and cut around the edge with your pinking shears taking care not to snip your line of stitching.

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Repeat this process for as many bunnies as you want!

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Decide how long you would like your bunting to be and cut a length of bias binding or tape to that length, you may want to allow a little extra to make loops at each end. I did this. I pressed my tape in half lengthwise as this makes it much easier when it comes to sewing it. Evenly space your bunnies along the tape and encase the tops of their ears inside the fold of the tape. Pin in place.

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Now all you need to do is take your bunting to your machine and stitch along the whole length of the bunting making sure that the ears of the bunnies don’t slip out and are caught inside the tape as you stitch. You can turn each end under to make a hanging loop whilst you are stitching.

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Now the fun part. Use your glue to pop a little pom pom tail on each of the bunnies. You could use a few hand stitches if you prefer, but do this whilst your bunnies are still single layer then your stitches won’t show on the back when it’s hanging.

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You’re all done! If you can bear it, it’s a good idea to try to leave it whilst the glue dries before hanging. I wouldn’t want you to lose your tails.

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Show off your bunting wherever you like, I’m sure it will be admired!

Wishing you all a very happy Easter. Take care and I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x

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Fabric Snack Bag Tutorial

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I’m always on the look out for a project that will use up the small scraps of fabric that are lurking in my fabric stash. This is a good one. These fabric snack bags are lined with waterproof PUL fabric so are practical and washable. If you don’t have PUL  or prefer not to use it, and do not require your bags to be waterproof, then they could easily be lined with another piece of fabric. They are also very quick and easy to make, and I think look pretty cute too.

I have made these bags in two sizes, and have chosen different fastening choices.

You will need:

  • Fabric scraps. For the large bag you will need one piece of outer fabric measuring 40cm x 20cm, and one piece of PUL or other lining fabric measuring 40cm x 20cm. For the small bag you will need one piece of outer fabric measuring 30cm x 15cm and PUL or other lining fabric measuring 30cm x 15cm.
  • Sewing machine and thread.
  • Fabric scissors, or rotary cutter and mat.
  • Fastenings of choice. I have used Velcro dots and KAM snaps.
  • Point turner or something similar like a knitting needle or chopstick .
  • Clover wonder clips or pins.
  • Cup, glass or plate to trace a curved edge.

To start, I cut my fabric and lining pieces.

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I have cut enough pieces here to make 2 large bags and 2 small bags.

So that the flap of your bag has neat rounded edges I used a coffee cup to trace a curved edge on two of the corners of each outer fabric and lining fabric piece. You will only need two rounded corners on each piece. Leave the remaining two corners as they are. See pic below.

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Place your fabric pieces and lining pieces together with the right sides facing.

I clipped these in place using wonder clips as I didn’t want to puncture the PUL using regular pins. The clips do a really good job at holding everything in place.

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Next you will need to sew all around the edge leaving an opening of approx 4cm so that you can turn it through to the right side. I used a 1cm seam allowance. After stitching, I like to give it a good press to set the stitches in place, take care though to use a pressing cloth so that you don’t melt the PUL! Clip and trim the edges so that it will lay nice and flat when turned.

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Turn your bag right side out now, and use a point turner or something similar like a knitting needle or chopstick to get a good sharp point on those corners. Again careful pressing with the iron at this stage is helpful. You don’t need to sew the opening closed, just turn the seam allowance at the opening inside and press into place.

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Fold your bag over and decide how deep you want it making sure to leave enough room for your flap to fold over and your flap fastenings. You will probably want to turn it up about 3/4 of the way. Clip or pin in place.

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You are then ready to stitch all around the edge of your bag. I used a seam allowance of approx 0.5cm for this. Start at one of the bottom corners of the bag and stitch up the side, around the curved edges of the flap and down the other side edge. We are now ready to attach your fastening of choice. I have used Velcro dots for this bag, but later on you can see what they look like using KAM snaps too.

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To make sure your Velcro dots line up, close your flap and place pins in where you want the dots to sit. The pin will pierce the flap and the bag below and at this point you can simply peel off your Velcro and place where the pin hole is. Your Velcro dots will perfectly line up.

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I used two dots for each bag. You could use more, or use a strip of Velcro too.

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For my second small bag I used two KAM snaps as fastenings. I love how these looked, and decided to use the snaps as the fastenings for my larger bags too.

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On the darker blue bag I added a line of stitching across the straight edge before stitching the bag closed all the way around.

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Just for fun, (and because I never use the fancy stitches on my machine), I added a decorative stitch along the straight edge on the larger bags. I did this before I stitched the bag together all the way around the outside edge.

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There you go, a pretty way to carry your snack with you when you’re on the go. You could definitely play around with sizes, I have suggested 2 sizes here, but if you need different dimensions then go for it!

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These bags are simple and quick to make and could be used for lots of things, not just snacks. What would you use one for? Make up? Pens and pencils? Store cards?  Or maybe stick to biscuits. Yes, definitely biscuits for me!

Hope you have enjoyed, I welcome your comments.

Take care, I’ll be back soon,

Kathy x