Friday, 27 May 2016

Beach Ball Bag!

Ok, so I'm pretty sure summer is just around the corner (or maybe the next corner!).

Can you believe that May is nearly through?  But then comes one of my all time favourite months!

And no better time to start prepping for all this amazing weather we will be having this year (wink!).

When I think of warm sunshiney days, I think of fun at the beach, picnics and long, lazy, unhurried days out.

Beach Ball Bag (Sewing World June16)
Photo courtesy of Sewing World
I designed this roomy bag to suit any kind of summery day out.


As you can see, I had me some more porthole fun, making a simple half square triangle block to slip in behind the porthole.


I love how useful curtain eyelets can be for adding features to a bag. Super easy to put in (though still not a great range of colours in them yet).

The bag also features a spacious back pocket so no excuses for losing keys, sunnies, or any other essential sunny day out equipment (umbrella?).

So if you're as deluded hopeful as me that summer will make an appearance this year, grab your copy of Sewing World now, for lots of great summer makes.

Happy sewing!

Jude xo

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Attic Crosses Quilt

Hello everyone!

How are you all doing? Every now and then we get a glimpse of summer here, and my garden is loving it (that of course means my grass is growing faster than the weeds!!).

My garden May16

I've been beavering away on some secret squirrel stuff, can't wait to tell you all about it soon!

In the meantime, I'm so excited to share with you my modern Attic Crosses Quilt, commissioned by Love Patchwork and Quilting magazine (my first with LPQ).

Attic Crosses Quilt (LPQ June16)
Photo courtesy of LPQ
This is also my first quilt made entirely of Kona Solids. 


The talented peeps at LPQ had a hand in choosing the solids.  They are Iron, Dusty Blue, Wasabi, Silver, White and Dusty Peach on the back.

I forgot to take my own pics of the quilt before sending it off, so that's another photo-shoot I need to do when I get the quilt back!

The June issue of Love Patchwork and Quilting is jammed packed with trendy designs, including a stunning hexie quilt by my super-talented friend, Svetlana.

Grab your copy in the shops now (but pay for it first!).

Happy reading!

P.s. thank you to everyone for joining the discussion about pattern gradings in my last post. I have enjoyed all your comments and am taking your feedback on board. If you didn't get a reply from me, it means you are a 'no reply comment blogger' and your email address doesn't register with your comment.

Jude xo

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Beginner, Intermediate or Advanced?

As a pattern writer, I'm always interested in how other designers and companies rate their patterns according to ability levels.


Until now, I have been reserved about 'grading' my patterns.

You see, unless I know your background and attitude to sewing, it would be hard to recommend to you a 'beginner', 'intermediate' or 'advanced' quilting pattern.

I've been teaching people to sew and quilt for nearly 8 years.  I've seen complete beginners take on technical patterns with a 'bring it on' attitude and totally nail it.  I've seen seasoned sewists attempt beginner level techniques for the first time and have near nervous break-downs!  And I've seen everything in between.

One thing I've learned is that your APPROACH and ATTITUDE to your learning is key!


Yes of course we have different learning styles; yes of course we have our preferred techniques and comfort zones. Sometimes additional support or explanation is needed from others, and of course experience can count for something. But never underestimate the power of a mind that is open and teachable to new things. (I also find a healthy dose of patience and determination go a long way too!)

Old Spools clothed in Liberty scraps

No matter how long I've been sewing for, I still have much to learn.  When I try out a new technique for the first time, I become a beginner all over again!

We all have different perspectives of what these terms mean. I get 'beginners' in my classes who have never used a rotary cutter before, and some who have; some already know how to use a sewing machine and some don't! Some know what quarter inch seams and fat quarters are, and others look at me like I've got 2 heads!  The term 'beginner' can be quite a broad umbrella!


Trying to define such subjective terms as 'beginner', 'intermediate' or 'advanced' within nebulus parameters isn't always helpful.  For instance, a pattern marketed as 'intermediate' or 'advanced' may put off someone who has been sewing for only a short time (and yet would be more than able to complete it), or someone who has been sewing for years but hasn't tried much variety in their sewing. Equally, a 'beginner' graded pattern may rob a veteran sewer of the joy of a satisfyingly quick and uncomplicated make (my favourite kind!).

I appreciate that guidelines are sometimes needed, even if they are out in the ball park somewhere! I'm not against patterns being graded (though perhaps a more informative explanation should be given about the techniques involved, rather than just the typical 2 out of 5 stars/spools/scissors rating for example.)

What I'm not keen on is someone else, like me, or any other pattern writer, telling YOU what you are capable of achieving or not achieving. YOU are in charge of your learning.


So my questions to you are these?

How helpful are pattern gradings to you?
Do you pay much attention to them?
Would you like to see more of them?
Do you find a disparity between the levels across different pattern producers?
Do you define your sewing ability by one of these categories?

I'm keen to hear your thoughts on this.  At the moment I''m reviewing some of my existing patterns and writing new ones! Your comments will help me enormously.

Thank you,

Jude xo 

Sunday, 8 May 2016

Pinwheels for Siblings Together

Happy weekend everyone! I hope you got to enjoy some lush sunshine today!

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16
66" x 77"
This quilt is called Pinwheels and Prairies!

A couple of years ago, my daughter was pattern testing for me and made this quilt top.

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16

During a recent re-structuring clear out of my quilt cupboard I re-discovered this flimsy.  A good friend quilted it up in the cutest hearts, and I bound and labelled it!

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16

So that's another quilt off to Siblings Together.  We are just over the half way mark, with lots more quilts being worked on!  You can see them all here.

Pinwheels & Prairies for Siblings Together '16

Happy sewing!

Jude xo


Thursday, 5 May 2016

Bags and Crutches!

Apologies for the radio silence!

It's been over a week since I last blogged and in that time, we have entered into a new month (and hopefully a new season!).

Also since I last blogged, I've had car trouble, teeth trouble, and now ankle trouble!

Crutches ..... again!


My 2nd bad sprain in 10 months! Boo!

But I'm getting better at hobbling faster, and can even manage the foot pedal on my sewing machine!
Win, win!

So onto to much more fun stuff like sewing!

Popular Patchwork release 13 issues per year.  Their extra issue is a bag special, which comes out today!

Guess who made the front cover?

Lunchbags (Popular Patchwork Bag Special May16)

My fun appliqued lunchbags are insulated with heat resistant wadding (Insul Bright) and have wipeable and washable linings (rip-stop).

Lunch Bag Class samples

There's also a handy elastic bottle holder to stop your drink from squishing your sarnies!

Lunch bag


And another of my bags features in this issue!

Summer Flowers Bag (Popular Patchwork Bag special May16)

This is my Summer Flowers Handbag, using pretty fabrics from the aptly named Pretty Fabrics and Trims, made into Economy squares, with Essex linen and faux leather handles from Fabric Yard.

Summer Flowers Handbag (Popular Patchwork Bag Special May16)

Features include an zippered pocket at the back and a magnetic closure.  You can also learn how to mitre a striped border.

This is a roomy bag, which could easily take a towel for fun days at the beach!

So that's me up to date!

I will try to stay out of trouble, for a few days anyway!

Happy sewing!

Jude xo

Wednesday, 27 April 2016

Beauty and The Beast!

A few weeks back I was offered an industrial Singer Sewing machine!

The Beast

She was originally a factory girl, retired long ago!

I call her 'The Beast'!

She weighs an absolute tonne (it took 3 men to carry her upstairs!) and sounds like a jumbo jet taking off (I hope the neighbours don't mind)!

The Beast

But boy can she sew, through super thick layers like denim!  And she's fast too, so I'd better keep my fingers well out of the way!

And the latest Brit Bee block I've been working on, was a complete Beast to make (!) but turns out is a Beauty for who I was making it for.

Brit Bee R4 Block for Fiona
30" x 15"

This block was designed by our Brit Bee Mama Laura Jane (who has just recently become a mama herself!!) and took a lot of patience, unpicking and even more patience! It is by far the most involved block we have made in Brit Bee so far and my attempt is perfectly imperfect!

Brit Bee R4 Block for Fiona
Love these wee doggies!
I was making for Fiona, in her choice of colours, and I've had the thumbs up from Fi (phew!).

So it looks like my 'beasts' have inner beauty after all!!

Jude xo

Tuesday, 26 April 2016

Garden Shed Tidy!

Despite the chill factor, the sunny skies we've been having recently mean it is gardening weather once again!

Have you got your summer seeds ready yet?  I've already planted some beetroot and sunflowers, and am trying purple carrots for the first time this year!

So here's a wee project for all you keen gardeners (& sewers) out there!

Garden Shed Tidy (Pretty Patches May16)
Photo courtesy of Pretty Patches
This is my Garden Shed Tidy, in the May issue of Pretty Patches.

Garden Shed Tidy

Handy see through pockets mean you can easily keep an eye on all those seed packets and smaller knick-knacks!  Don't worry, sewing with pvc isn't as tricky as you might think!

Garden Shed Tidy

And you can keep your scissors and string handy on the clip-on key fobs!

You could easily adapt this tidy to suit a bathroom or bedroom, or even keeping stray envelopes and stamps in order!

Whatever you decide to tidy, enjoy the process and the results!

Happy gardening!

Jude xo