Scrap-busting, free motion(!) bookmark

Last week saw one of my favourite members of staff at my local children’s centre leave for retirement. She was amazing. She was the one who told me about the sewing tutor job, and she was the one who made me a volunteer and let me support staff to run courses – as well as run my own sewing group. I will definitely miss her!

So of course I had to sew her a little something. I was sure that she was going to be bombarded with gifts so I just wanted to make something little that she would actually use.

And I came up with – a bookmark. I know she likes reading, and after all she is retiring so will have plenty of time on her hands to sit out in the sun and read. And she deserves it!

Anyway without further ado, here it is:

Applique, free motion sewing bookmark

This was my first attempt at free motion sewing. It’s a bit odd that I’m giving my first attempt away as a gift; you’d think I’d practice a bit first… but I’m pretty happy with it!

I totally copied the idea from the picture below that I saw on Pinterest. Isn’t the bird adorable?!

[Source: Pinterest… Here’s the link]

My sister gave me a universal free motion foot for my birthday back in February. The only problem was that it came with no instructions. It took me 3 HOURS on a school night (I went to bed at about 1am…) to figure out how to use it. I finally came across this post by Susie D Designs which explains that you put the screw between the two prongs…. ohhhhhh.

free motion foot

Very obvious now I know. I feel pretty dumb actually. Then I struggled with the tension and the foot was so tight against the fabric that I couldn’t move it without tugging! I realised I could lessen the pressure foot tension on my machine, which helped a bit. So I finally got it on the right settings at midnight. I left it exactly as it was and got cracking with the bookmark at a more sociable hour the next day. In fact, it was the same day, but that’s confusing…

I already bondawebbed [if that’s a word] some scraps of fabric to make the bird on to a rectangle of backing fabric the day before. I LOVE bondaweb.

Handmade bookmark

When I say scraps, I mean really do mean scraps… It felt good to use them but it hardly made a dent in my ever-growing scrap bag!


I ironed some heavy interfacing on to the back of the backing fabric, and dove in. I stitched round a few times to create a nice scribbly effect. It’s messy but that’s actually what I like about it.

Handmade bookmark - free motion sewing

The legs were tricky because they were meant to be straight! But I think he looks cute with his wobbly legs!

I also stitched the recipient’s name, ‘Anne’ on the back for that personal touch. I could do with improving my lettering, but at least you can read it!

Handmade bookmark - applique, free motion sewing

I totally guessed the measurements of the bookmark, based on how much of that pink fabric I had in my scrap bag! But I was having a lucky day because it turned out perfect!

Applique, free motion bookmark

I added a bit of ‘Home Sweet Home’ ribbon in between the layers, which I think finishes it off nicely. (The lovely ‘Sewchet’ gave the ribbon to me in my Sewing Santa bundle! Thank you!)

So, right sides together, turn, press, ladder stitch the gap up, and….

Handmade bookmark

Done 🙂

Oh, and, luckily, she seemed to like it!

I actually made another one on Monday for my stepmum – I’ll share it in Sunday Sevens this week – it’s pretty much the same but in different colours! I had fun doing the free motion sewing, once I got to grips with the settings. I should make one for myself as I’m currently using a scrap of blue paper as a bookmark…

Beth x


Pretty In Pink – Travel Sewing Kit

Now that Christmas has been and gone I can finally share some of the presents I made for my family. First up is my sister’s ultra cute sewing kit. She doesn’t sew but just wanted a few things to enable her to do the basics. So I bought her some needles, little scissors, threads and pins (and made a tiny pincushion!) – and made the kit to hold it all in.

sewing kit

I followed the excellent tutorial on the blog of ‘Lots of Pink Here’.

I’m really pleased with how it turned out. It’s functional and pretty! Win-win!

It folds up into a handy A5-ish shape, and has a long tie to fasten it.

sewing kit

I really enjoyed making this, mostly because I have been making a lot of clothing over the past few months; this made a nice change and used some different techniques.

To begin with I had to quilt the main pieces. OK, it’s only a bunch of straight lines but I liked sewing them! And I think I did a pretty good job at keeping them straight.

sewing kit

The tutorial calls for bias tape, 2 1/4″ wide. I was feeling lazy so thought I’d cheat and use some ready-made tape. The snag was that it was only 1/2″ wide. Hmm… a slight difference!

bias binding

It was fiddly, but it wasn’t as disastrous as you might think. The result was a cute, neat edge on the pockets. Luckily my slanted stitching is only visible in the photo – not so much in real life!

sewing kit

The sewing kit has two good-sized pockets, a thread holder, a scissor case and a little needle book. The scissor case was probably the most frustrating part; it was a challenge trying to get it straight!

sewing kit

The thread holder is a cute idea. It’s got a teeny bit of Velcro to hold it down, and it can fit three or four spools of thread on it; although to be honest the strip is a tad thick so they don’t slip on very easily!

sewing kit

Once all the bits were sewed on, I just had to trim the edges with bias binding. It suddenly occurred to me that I made too much bias binding when I made my Sorbetto top – out of the same ditsy floral fabric that lines this sewing kit!!

bias binding

So I used that! And there was just about the right amount. I machine-stitched it down on one side then hand-stitched the other, which gave a nice neat finish that I’m pretty proud of. I achieved some good metered corners, too, which was new to me!

mitered corner

And that’s it!

sewing kit

Shame I didn’t take a photo of it all filled up because it was really cute!

As I’m not doing a lot of sewing at the moment due to it being the school holidays, I will share a couple more of the gifts I made for Christmas soon!

Beth x

Christmas Decorations!

My blog feed is jam-packed with Christmassy posts lately so it’s about time I joined in, isn’t it?

So here are my most recent makes – little Christmas trees with cinnamon sticks as their trunks.

Christmas tree decs

Lucie @ Love, Lucie reminded me that I wanted to make some of these after I spotted them in Love Sewing magazine. Hers were so cute I wasn’t sure if mine would could contend with them… But I have to say I’m quite pleased with how they turned out. I envisaged them to be made in either a rustic kind of fabric, or cute Christmassy fabric – but I realised I didn’t even buy any Christmas fabric this year. It’s come around so fast!! So I made do with what I have already. I found the cute greenery fabric in my  stash, and the red was free with Love Sewing magazine (which I had forgotten about!)

I also made another one in a polka dot cotton, but this happened…

christmas tree gone wrong...

Urgh. I just need to unpick that top bit and re-sew, but can I be bothered? Maybe one day…

And I messed up the cutting out of the red patterned fabric (I cut a corner off somehow) so I was down to only one red tree and three green.

christmas trees

I just love the cinnamon sticks used for the trunks. My youngest does too… the jar of them kept her occupied for ages whilst I stitched them in place – she kept taking the lid off and smelling them before offering them to everyone else to smell. Bless her, she’s easily pleased.

cinnamon stick for a trunk : christmas tree decs

I intended to make a garland with them, but because the numbers decreased, and I have three of the same design, I’m just leaving them as hanging decorations. And because I don’t really need three identical trees, I’ve decided to send one to my #sewingsanta recipient, and one to a friend. I’m keeping one green and the only red one for myself 😛

Here they are hung on my tree – next to my cute robin I made last year:



And whilst we’re on the subject of decorations, at the weekend my daughter and I had a productive Hama bead session. You’re never too old for these fiddly yet addictive beads!! I made a Santa and a snowflake, which I’m rather proud of and I won’t mention the fact that I simply copied the designs from the Inspiration book and Pinterest…Oops.

Hama Bead Christmas Decorations

I should have thought about the fact that I was going to hang them before I ironed them because I now can’t thread the string though the holes of the snowflake as they melted shut… You live and learn, I suppose.

Finally I had better share some photos of the bunting I contributed to and some of you did ask. (You may have read my post about my ‘r’ – as a group of parents we made a string of bunting reading ‘Merry Christmas’ to be hung at my local Children’s Centre.) Well, here it is!

Merry Christmas Bunting Banner

It turned out really well, particularly considering that we all have different levels of sewing skills and we didn’t know what others were doing on theirs; the end result works really well.

Merry Christmas!!

Beth x