Overcoming My ‘Zip Phobia’


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‘Happiness doesn’t result from what we get, but from what we give.’

    Ben Carson

Would you believe that I have never inserted a zip until this week? It’s true.

I do not make my own clothes so I have never had to sew a zip into a skirt or dress. When I have made cushion covers in the past, I have chosen to make envelope-backs just to avoid using zips. I have always managed to avoid inserting zips, thinking I might ruin a project if I did it incorrectly.

Whatever was I afraid of? It’s not at all difficult as I learned this week. I have spent a couple of days sewing gifts to give to my family. Like many other quilters, I have a hoard of fat-quarters and left-over fabric from previous projects, taking up space and not ‘doing’ anything, so I decided to finally make use of it and clear some space. Of course, using it up also means that I can now buy more!

After watching a couple of online videos I set-to and made the zippered bags and coin purses that you can see above. Easy projects to make with small amounts of fabric and my ‘zip phobia’ has finally gone.

Want a zip inserted anyone? I’ll be happy to do it!


Completed: My Four Seasons Block Quilt


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‘Happiness does not come from doing easy work but from the afterglow of satisfaction that comes after the achievement of a difficult task that demanded our best.’

Theodore Isaac Rubin


I can’t believe that it is a whole year since I sewed all the half-square triangles for my Four Seasons Block Quilt, but it is. Where did that year go? I finally completed the quilt this week (except for hand-sewing the label on) and have taken the few photos below. I didn’t find it easy to get the whole quilt in one photo as it measures 44″ square, so it’s shown placed over our dining table.

Would I make this pattern of quilt again? Probably not. Personally, I find it difficult not to have any stretch along the long edges of the cut triangles and, being a large quilt (for me), it was challenging to do all the quilting on my standard Janome sewing machine.

But I do like the colour combination of the plain white with the Moda ‘Black Tie Affair’ fabric and am happy with the finished quilt. I hope the intended recipient will like it too.


‘Christmas In July’ Sewing

I always like to get started on Christmas gift sewing around July so that I have plenty of time to complete the items if I get distracted by other things, as I almost always do. This year I have been looking for inspiration but had not found any until I saw a fabric panel online with a Christmas theme. The panel contains images of four stylised animals: a stag, polar bear, penguin and what looks like a moose to me.

When the fabric arrived this week I was planning to make bags with long handles but the panels are so large that I had to have a rethink.

The photos below show the results so far and you can see straight away that I decided to make draw-string bags. These bags are large enough to hold all the family’s Christmas gifts, well, all of those that I have bought so far! Each one is fully lined but I still have red cords to thread through the last two before I have completely finished.

In case you are wondering the fabric is Merrily by Moda. I used the Merrily Fabric panel with four 18 x 21.5 inch images, the backing fabric is Merrily Holly and for all the bag linings I used fabric from my own stash.

It has been a fun and very straight-forward project and I found it fairly quick to do. I hope you like the results. Happy Christmas sewing everyone!

Playing With Pinwheels

I haven’t posted for a while but I have been quilting when I get the time. My latest project has been very quick to make, taking only two days of cutting, sewing and hand-finishing. It’s a table runner for my eldest daughter who has a small dining table, about four feet long, so this ‘quilt’ is made up of only 4 squares.

The fabric I used is Quattro by Moda and the pattern is one posted online by The Missouri Star Quilt Company called Kindred Pinwheels. I used 5 inch square pre-cuts in the patterned fabric and used up some white and off-white pieces I already had from previous projects.

But I have a question for you. How much information do you include on your quilt label? I usually include my name and date on a pre-printed label (because that’s all that will fit on) but I suspect I’m in the minority and you Quilters out there like to include more. I would love to know what others do and what you consider to be essential information for your quilt labels. Do you make up labels of your own rather than pre-printed ones?



Pinwheel Table Runner



Change Can Be Good

“Your life does not get better by chance, it gets better by change” -Jim Rohn


Dare I say that I’ve been thinking my dining chairs are boring??

Not the Ikea chairs themselves, but the seat covers which are just …. so bland!

I decided at the weekend that a change was long overdue. Something had to be done (1) to make the chairs more interesting and (2) to stop them looking less than clean.

I spotted this fabric with a taupe background in a local shop and bought 2 metres, more than enough for six seat covers. It took longer to cut the fabric into the correctly-sized pieces than it did to cover the seats. A couple of hours of work and two pieces of material were left including a long strip, enough to make a narrow table runner when I get the time.

My chairs are now much more appealing, to me anyway. I know they’re just chairs and you only sit on them, but making a simple change can drastically improve how you feel about something, anything.