Tag Archives: patchwork

Sew Your Own: Baby Playmat

Handmade Baby's Playmat

This looks more complicated than it is. Which, in my opinion, is the best kind of sewing project out there.

I bought the alphabet fabric – a kind of faux patchwork called ‘Letterbox’ – from kidsfabric.co.uk, and backed it with a thin layer of wadding and another layer of fleece. I sewed the three layers together by following the edges of the ‘patches’ in vertical and horizontal lines. Then I used a bit of bias binding to neaten the edges of the finished playmat.

And voila! Roughly the same effect of a more standard stich-all-the-squares-together-first patchwork quilt, but with more time left over to watch The Great British Bake Off. What’s not to like?


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Filed under Babies and kids

Thank you, Mr Postman.

Craft Books

Would anyone like to look after a small child while I sit and devour these with a nice cup of tea?

From the bottom up; Decorating With Style by Abigail Ahern, Patch! by Cath Kidston, and Coming Up Roses – the story of the Cath Kidston brand – which was published yesterday to mark its 20th birthday. Expect reviews for each as soon as the boy takes a nap/goes to bed/learns to entertain, feed and change himself.

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Filed under Crafty people, Crafty reads, Patchwork

These are a few of my favourite things…

Mum's bunting in action in our kitchen

Mum’s bunting in action in our kitchen

So here’s this week’s big news. I’ve finally signed up to Instagram.

I realise this admission proves just how far behind the times I am (incidentally, I still have a tellie that requires a corner, have not quite got my head around Twitter, and like to occasionally send letters. Through the post).

I have, though, recently upgraded my mobile phone to something a little more 2013, so I decided it was about time I jumped on the Instagram bandwagon. To test out the different filters I started snapping some bits and pieces in my little boy’s nursery, and realised how many lovely handmade gifts we’ve been given. As my own crafty pursuits have been somewhat slowed by his arrival, it’s nice to get a bit of inspiration from talented friends and family. I’ve included the name of the Instagram filter for each photo below, should anyone else out there be as far behind as I am.

My mum’s handmade bunting
My mum made this floral bunting to decorate the house for my birthday-slash-baby-shower-slash-summer-barbecue last year. I haven’t found anything in the shops that’s anywhere near as pretty – it looked gorgeous in the kitchen and I planned to put it up in the nursery if I had a little girl. Alas, it’s more likely to be a Liverpool FC poster if the husband has his way.

Mum's handmade bunting. Filter: Mayfair

Mum’s handmade bunting. Filter: Mayfair

My auntie’s Wonky Wilma
My auntie Linda makes and sells everything from cute knitted hats to beautiful patchwork quilts on her Plum Cottage blog. She got this particular project from Janet at Kitchen Table Sewing – a fellow Bedford-based craft blogger who designed the Wonky Wilma pattern to raise money for Great Ormond Street Hopsital. Thanks to this crafty pair, Wilma the elephant now has pride of place on my little boy’s toy shelf.

Auntie Linda's Wonky Wilma. Filter: Earlybird

Auntie Linda’s Wonky Wilma. Filter: Earlybird

My sister’s quilt
I made a patchwork quilt for my sister’s little boy a few years ago, and she returned the favour with a much more complicated and absolutely gorgeous hexagonal quilt. It’s beautiful, and the fact she hand-stitched the whole thing makes it even more special to me. Unfortunately the photo just doesn’t do it justice – it’s so pretty I’m saving it for best.

My sister's quilt. Filter: Toaster

My sister Zoe’s quilt. Filter: Toaster

My friend’s Scrabble frame
My friend Rachel is one of the craftiest people I know – her house is full of beautiful projects she’s made, not to mention bits of furniture she’s upcycled. She gave me this framed, personalised Scrabble picture – made with pieces from a vintage Scrabble set on eBay – just yesterday, and I’m already excited about getting it up on the nursery wall.

My friend Rachel's Scrabble picture. Filter: Amaro

My friend Rachel’s Scrabble picture. Filter: Amaro


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Filed under Babies and kids, Christmas, Crafts, Gift ideas

Make A Patchwork Quilt – The Easy Way

Baby blue patchwork quilt

Make a patchwork quilt – the easy way.

One of my best friends has just had a baby boy, so I’ve been been rooting through my sewing bag in search of baby blue fabrics over the past couple of days. In the process, I’ve come across loads of offcuts from a patchwork quilt I made for my sister’s new arrival over a year ago, and while I try to figure out what to do with them, I thought I’d post some photos and a very brief ‘how to make a patchwork quilt’ guide on here.

The quilt itself was really simple. I cut a 5-inch square out of a cereal box, used it to cut what seemed like millions of matching squares of fabric (I found the best place to buy fat quarters – AKA the standard 18″ x 22″ fabric squares used in quilting – turned out to be eBay), and machine-sewed them together, first in rows, then in squares, until I had a single piece that was just a little bigger than the measurements of my nephew’s cotbed (bear in mind new babies can’t actually sleep with quilts, so it’s purely for decoration until they’re a bit older. Also, it’s worth washing and ironing all your fabric before you start cutting anything out, firstly to avoid it shrinking further down the line, but also to wash off any chemicals).

Patchwork quilt - in progress

Just keep adding squares until your quilt is big enough/you run out of fabric/you get bored…

After that I bought some wadding – that’s the foamy bit in the middle that gives your quilt shape (check it’s suitable for babies/children when you buy it) – and some plain blue fabric to back the whole thing. Then I pinned the three layers together and quilted the whole things on the machine, running diagonal lines first one way, then the other, until I ended up with a diamond pattern on the back.

Patchwork quilt - back

It was a bit of an effort to fit the whole lot through a standard sewing machine, but it’s definitely do-able for a quilt this size (and let’s face it, there was absolutely no chance of me going down the old-school route and hand-stitching it). Plus, I bought a special quilting arm from Singer to go on my machine, which helps hold the layers of fabric down as you sew.

To finish it off, I sewed bias binding around all four edges to hold the thing together. Tack it on first as it’s crucial to get this bit right and snag all three layers of fabric within this casing.

Patchwork quilt - detail

Of course, there are loads of different ways to make a quilt, and there are some really ornate designs and patterns available if you fancy doing something a bit more detailed. What I like about this version, though, is that it doesn’t really require you to follow any particular instructions – it’s just a case of picking fabrics you like the look of, and sewing together as many squares as you need for the size of your quilt. As long as you stick with the same size squares throughout, you’re sorted. And if you’re limited on time, you can make the squares bigger and get essentially the same result. Now, if I could just figure out what to do with those offcuts…

Patchwork quilt - finished


Filed under Babies and kids, Quilting, Sewing projects