Friday, April 18

On the side

Between fine tuning and hosting the Furry Nice Class, birthdays and a lot (like: really A LOT) of school free days and school holidays between mid April and mid May it's hard to find time for 'fun' projects but I'm trying to squeeze in one nevertheless... This project is quite small, worked with two threads (instead of my usual one-thread-only-for-furry-stitching-policy) and a lot of fun to do.

You can properly view the end result in a few weeks time but I can reveal it has something to do with Alyssa Thomas' new fabric line Here Kitty Kitty which is not out until May.

Here Kitty Kitty features some seriously cute cat and crafty inspired designs and if you're quick you can pre-order a Fat Quarter Bundle and get two free embroidery patterns and a quilt pattern as well! (this offer ends the 22nd of April ) Sounds like a great deal to me :)

In other stitchy news: on the &Stitches blog we are hosting a fun embroidery swap. This is actually the last day you can sign up so go and check out the details here quickly.

Tuesday, April 15

My Rag Doll Blog Hop + Giveaway

Today I'm very pleased to introduce you to a lovely new book called My Rag Doll.* My Rag Doll is written by Corinne Crasbercu. Corinne is author of Everything Patchwork (part of the 'Made in France' series), has a background in dressmaking and worked as a costumer for film and tv. All that experience in sewing and dressmaking, combined with a wonderful attention to detail has come together beautifully in this book.

The photography, the projects and the materials used have a clean and timeless feel to them. I'm particularly partial to the simple, classic look of the materials used throughout the book: dots, gingham, stripes and pretty florals. However I can imagine these projects would look fabulous when made in other styles of fabric as well. One of my favourite items from the book is this Kimono-style dress. I wouldn't mind wearing that myself (in a bigger size obviously)!

As you can tell from the photos the attention to detail is amazing. Each doll is styled and dressed to perfection. There are instructions for  bags, wands, tiny cupcakes, hair clips, a tiny teddy and much more. Just look at the outfit and accessories for a 'Little Red' Style doll:

I read through various pattern descriptions in the book and I do think it's an advantage if you have a little sewing experience when you take on projects from the book. There's no separate sewing technique section in the book or added visual 'help' in the instructions. Not that the projects are incredibly complicated but it does help if you know about the grain of fabric, seam allowances, or how to handle notches for example.

To sew (and sometimes knit) the projects you work from descriptions and use the patterns which you can find in the large pattern section in the back of the book. You will need to enlarge the patterns to get them to the right size.

There are 11 different 'types' of doll you can make from one basic doll pattern including a ballerina, fairies and the 'outdoor' type you see pictured above. Their faces, hair, clothes and additional items give each doll a different look. Obviously you can choose and mix elements from different dolls to create your own unique doll. It would make a fabulous gift for a small girl (or perhaps a boy although there are no specific boy patterns in the book) especially when you adapt the doll to their style with some serious doll couture. :)

If you'd like a chance to win a copy of this book (of course you do!), then please leave a comment on this post before 12 AM, 22nd of April (Amsterdam time) and tell me who you would like to sew one of these dolls for and how would you style it?

The winner will be chosen at random and announced here on the blog on the 23rd of April. Please make sure to check the announcement and/or leave your e-mail address in your comment (or some kind of trail that leads to it) so I can contact you if you are the lucky winner. If I can't find you I'll choose a new winner. Good luck everyone!

You can find more information about the book here. For previous and future 'hops' with more reviews and giveaways, please visit the following blogs:
Sun 13th - Kestrel Makes
Mon 14th - Dolls and Daydreams
Tue 15th - my blog!
Wed 16th - Whipstitch
Thu 17th - A Spoonful of Sugar
Fri 18th - Feeling Stitchy
Sat 19th - House of Pinheiro
Sun 20th - A Stitching Odyssey
Mon 21st - iCandy Handmade
Tues 22nd - Shimelle
Wed 23rd - Heather Bailey
Thu 24th - Emma Lamb

My Rag Doll is now available for pre-order.

*I received a PDF version of the book for review, as always everything I write here is my own opinion.

Tuesday, April 8

Polar Bear & Scarf

polar bear

I'm a bit under the weather at the moment which is kind of inconvenient with just a few days to go until the Furry Nice class starts! I did manage to take a quick photo yesterday of the Polar Bear that is the star of the class. I think he turned out rather sweet but I am tempted to add a whole lot more flowers to the border. Maybe later though because I already have another furry character in the hoop at the moment, at the request of a fellow embroidery designer! 

Sunday, April 6

Alpaca in a Sweater a Free Pattern

Usually I post a free pattern on my blog around the time of my birthday (it was last Thursday). I didn't think I could manage to do it this year as things are very busy at the moment but before I knew it I had drawn a sweet Alpaca in a Sweater. Too cute not to share, right?

As always this is just for personal use only. Feel free to share/Pin/etc the pattern but please always link back to this blogpost! You can download the pattern here. Happy Stitching everyone!

Tuesday, April 1

Beetle in Progress

Enough with the Furry Stitching already! It's bugs for me from now on! Well maybe not quite but I am enjoying stitching this little yellow beetle for my online 'Furry Nice' class. Obviously it's not furry but it's a little voluntary excursion for the students to get to know one of the techniques a bit better. I must admit that the thought crossed my mind that a Bug class would be nice too. Maybe next year?

If you're interested in possibly enrolling in one of my future online Embroidery Classes then it's a good idea to sign up for my Newsletter!

Friday, March 28

Keep it together: tutorials for drawstring bags

craft bag

The best way for me to keep embroidery project supplies together is by keeping them in a bag or basket. Bags are especially good if you want to take your project with you. I made quite a few drawstring bags (and received some too!) over the years. Generally they are quick and easy to make and you can find lots of tutorials online.

I recently made a new, lined drawstring bag from a tutorial by Jeni Baker of In Color Order. A perfect project for the cute Owl & Pussycat fabric I had in my stash. Jeni's tutorial was very easy to follow and I love that the bag has a 'boxy' bottom. I like bags with boxy bottoms. :) My bag can hold smaller projects but if you are looking to make a larger version you can buy a pattern with various sizes.

A few other drawstring bag tutorials. There's one from the Purl Bee Blog and another really easy one by Amy Smart. And if you like a scrappy patchwork bag then be sure to check out this tutorial by Ayumi of the Pink Penguin blog.

A couple of years ago I made this drawstring bag for a swap. It's from the Pretty in Patchwork Holidays  book but you can find this particular tutorial by John Adams for free on Sew Mama Sew.

Do you have a favourite sewing tutorial or pattern for craft bags, caddies or other craft storage solutions? I'd love to know!

Monday, March 24

Double Dutch


Double Dutch is the name of the quilting/sewing group I regularly attend, we meet about once every three months for a day of chatting and sewing and to show each other our best quilting efforts. So yesterday I travelled to Leiden, a lovely old town in the western part of the Netherlands, to attend our Spring meeting. Despite the fact that I went to uni in Leiden I can never find my way around town. I graduated in 1996 and the town probably didn't change much in the past 18 years but neither has my sense of direction. ;) 

I didn't have much to show in the meeting as the last time I worked on a quilt was in January and I'm not exactly the most talented quilter of the group anyway. The other ladies brought some pretty impressive stuff with them though. Muriel (top right) brought a Pippi Longstocking quilt top she and other quilters made in the Cocorico Patchwork Bee. Fabulous theme and all the blocks were so well executed and original. You can check out this and other wonderful patchwork projects in the Cocorico Bee Flickr Group

Lotje made the 'Everything but the kitchen sink' (which I just found out is actually called 'Funky Garden') quilt on the left which consists of a delightful random collection of different quilt blocks. There was so much to see and admire and we all felt really inspired by Lotje's quilt. So there and then we decided to start a Double Dutch Quilt Along to make a similar (yet different) quilt for ourselves. Everyone is welcome to join in and details will be announced soon!