The Great British Sewing Bee need you!


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vogue pattern

I have finally, finally finished all the crafty projects that have kept me from my friends, family, the outside, any sort of fun this Summer (I even did my Tax Return on Sunday. Phew). Rather than taking a well earned break or tidying the house I’ve immediately started thinking of the next creative challenge.

I found this gorgeous Vogue pattern at a market on Saturday and I really want to get started on it As Soon As Possible. It’s a 36 inch bust which I certainly am not so I am rather afraid I won’t do a very good job. Where’s Patrick and May when you need them?

Programme Name: The Great British Sewing Bee - TX: n/a - Episode: n/a (No. n/a) - Picture Shows: (L-R) May Martin, Patrick Grant - (C) Love Productions - Photographer: Charlotte Medlicott

Well, funny I should ask that right? (Not really, that was just a clunky introduction to what this blog post is really about.) BBC2’s Great British Sewing Bee is looking for contestants for the next series of the show.

The makers of BBC2’s

I would love to take part (mostly so I can become Claudias BBF) but not sure the tabloids would like me too much what with my ever growing library of craft books to my name! I’m sure there’s lots of you out there who know your godets from your gusset and if you do and want a chance to test your dress making skills against other like minded people then click here for more information. Download the application form here and rules here. Closing date for application is the 6th of November


craft: a Halloween pom pom pumpkin (or a pompkin if you will…)



Pomkin sewyeah2

I just had to share this perfect Halloween craft project with you. I’ve been busy working on a secret pom pom project but these two couldn’t wait to get out into the big wide world and start scaring people (yeah right, who are they kidding).

In the world of pom pom making then these are a bit more involved than you basic one colour ones but I’ve tried to make the step by steps clear. Remember when it comes to pom poms then it’s all in the trimming, poms can look pretty dire when they first come out of the maker but get snipping with some sharp scissors and all will become clear… You can also move individual strands of wool within the pompom with the tips of your scissors or a needle to get the perfect pompkin expression…

If you don’t have any plastic makers then the truly remarkable Mr Printables has some instructions on how to make your own cardboard ones (plus loads of other cool stuff).

pompkin steps

and if all that’s not spooky enough for you then head over to  where you have the chance to WIN the bespoke sweatshirt I made for this months Make Do & Trend craft page.

bat sweatshirt

Don’t worry if you don’t win. You could always have a go at making one yourself with their handy step by step guide.


Exclusive! Instyle festival headress craft workshop

Having been recently annointed Instyle magazines Craft Guru here at Sewyeah Hq I am busy preparing for our inaugural Make do and Trend craft event this Thursday. To celebrate the fact we are slap bang in the middle of Festival Season I am running a Floral Headress making session from 6.30 till 9pm at the wonderful location that is Lights of Soho in London.

Included in the session are all the materials to make a silk flower headress … If you are not festival bound this summer then the flowers are perfect for weddings and summer parties (I’ll show you how to add them to a comb or hairclips for a more subtle look!), there’s also cocktails and canapes and an exclusive Instyle goody bag full of treats and surprises.

All the info you need to book a ticket is below… Hurry limited numbers only!

Thursday 6th August, 6.30pm to 9pm.

Lights of Soho, 35 Brewer St, London W1F 0RX.

Tickets are limited, so book yours now for just £30 here. Your craft kit, cocktails, canapés and an exclusive goody bag worth £50 are included.

Make: Easter Bunny coffee pot warmer


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Coffee pot warmer

photography Carolyn Barber taken from Homes and Gardens Magazine

Here’s a sophisticated little Easter craft. This bunny shaped Coffeepot warmer is an easy project to jazz up your Easter morning coffee break. You will need some grey felt, a large white wool pom pom some card and a sewing machine … though you can also sew him by hand.

Download the template and instructions hereEASTER BUNNY COFFEEPOT TEMPLATE

Hot cross bunnies for breakfast anyone?

If you liked that try this

bunny egg cosy

You could scale the Coffeepot warmer template down to make egg cosies or try this project from my archives

bunny cosy template

make: Easter Bunny Cake Wrap Papercraft


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photo copyright Carolyn Barber

photo copyright Carolyn Barber

It’s nearly Easter … the bulbs are coming up and sometimes the sun is almost shining! This Easter I am actually prepared with some lovely crafts to share with you and  today it’s this pretty papercraft Easter Bunny Cake Wrap. I’m prepared because I worked on a shoot over a year ago for the beautiful Homes and Gardens Magazine and it’s finally out this month.

Working with the talented stylist Marisa Daly and wonderful photographer Carolyn Barber we created a whole array of Eastery inspirations and from now till Good Friday (April 3rd just in case it’s not in your diary) I’ll be sharing some of these lovelies with you.

cake wrap homes and gardens

Today it is the Easter Bunny Cake Wrap. This is a super simple but effective decoration to jazz up any Easter cake you are planning to bake (or buy!). All you need is a piece of medium weight card around 65 x 12 cm large – White watercolour paper has a nice texture to it but patterned papers or bright colours will work well too – a craft knife and a steady hand!

Click here to download the template and further instructions.

Other projects in the magazine include these wrapped eggs and gift tags made with Liberty fabrics and vintage letterpress stamps. They are the perfect way to give a homemade touch to a shop bought Easter Egg.

photo copyright Carolyn Barber

photo copyright Carolyn Barber

And these paper craft egg decorations

paper easter egg decorations

photo copyright Carolyn Barber

Don’t forget to buy your own issue of Homes and Gardens for the full story and further instructions. More next week …

make: Mercury Glass Tealight Holders craft project


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final image

Christmas may be over but that doesn’t mean the fairy lights and decorative tea light holders have to be put away does it. Does it? I hope not as I have this clever little craft project to share.

I love mercury glass; the pretty marbled effect glass that originated around the 1840’s made glass vessels look more expensive and glamorous. Late last year I was commissioned by Country Homes and Interiors magazine to devise six craft projects that would utalise left over Christmas candles in different ways. These mercury glass tea lights were one of them.

All you need to make them is some old clean jam jars with wide necks … The Bonne Maman ones are perfect, masking tape, a water spray bottle and some mirror effect spray paint  – the Americans use Krylon Looking Glass Silver but I think Plasticote Brilliant Metallic Silver is the closest British equivalent.

Here’s how to do it…


Simple! This method also works well on small panes of glass. It gives an old foxed mirror effect when done on the underside of the glass.

Here’s a sneak peak of some of how the jars looked in the mag and also some of the other projects. The whole feature with instructions on how to make is in the current issue of Country Homes and Interiors available in newsagents now or to download here


copyright Dan Duchars


copyright Dan Duchars

copyright Dan Duchars

copyright Dan Duchars

they’re already telling us what to wear next spring …


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Yup, Fashion Month has started … The fash pack have all headed out to New York for the start of the crazy whirlwind that takes them from NYC to Paris via London and Milan. There they will find out what the designers have been creating and what they have planned for us to wear in 6 months time.

This all means that the Marie Claire Runway team have started planning the content for the next issue and it also reminded me I haven’t posted about the wonder that is the latest issue!

Once again it was a joy to work on … Design wise each issue is inspired by the shows … Autumn/Winter collections are often calmer and more grown up than their fun Spring/Summer counterparts and that’s something that I tried to reflect in the design.


Lovely trends … Both greys and neutrals and bright colours are in … so that’s good.



We went backstage at Fendi and took some beautiful pictures


We cut out a lot of shoes, bags, hats, belts, necklaces and sunglasses

Philip lim

and chatted to many designers.

Sophisticated and calm design for the most part anyway! We turned our insider gossip pages into a hommage to the teen mags we loved when we were young – this involved a couple of days re-reading old Smash Hits, Just Seventeens and Bliss’s (all in the name of research you understand.) We ended up with this crazy colourful (so well designed it looked quite bad) mini mag which is quite frankly genius!

ebtcMarie Claire Runway is on sale now or you can download straight to your iPad & iPhone, Kindle (just search the store for ‘marie claire magazine’), Nook or Google Nexus for only £2.99.

The Badgers Sett visits Port Elliot


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by Jo Henderson

As you all may know recently Ros Badger and I were running a series of craft workshops at Port Eliot Festival in Cornwall. Being a festival newbie I didn’t really know what to expect but as first festivals go this one was pretty spectacular! Sunshine with no threat of rain all weekend, an amazing location and crazy crazy things going on all the time. It was fun from the off. It was also incredibly hard work.

On the Friday and Saturday we ran five workshops a day, we expected between 20 and 25 people a session and ended up with over 50 each time. Everyone was so friendly and so keen to learn and their creativity knew no bounds!

Port Eliot festival

I could write an essay entitled “What I Did At My First Festival” but instead I shall tell the story in pictures…

We set off on a Tuesday. The car was shall we say full. (There was a roof box too!)

We set off on a Tuesday. The car was – shall we say – full. (There was a roof box too!)

The car exploded all over our tent

The car exploded all over our tent …

decorating tent

… With a little bit of Port Eliot magic a transformation happened. (Note to self, step ladders are like gold dust when setting up festivals, chairs on tables are not as good/stable/high.)

Thanks to Wilko, Hobbycraft and Block Design we were momentarily organised with scissors for paper and scissors for fabric ... (guess how long that lasted!)

Thanks to Wilko, Hobbycraft, Nutscene and Block Design we were momentarily organised with scissors for paper and scissors for fabric … (guess how long that lasted!)

Pretty soon we were ready for business

Pretty soon we were ready for business …

the badgers sett

Business came in droves

… Business came in droves

We made bunting ...

We made bunting …

 ... and pom poms

… and pom poms …

and head dresses Thanks to G.F.Smith for the amazing paper samples they sent us.

… and pretty paper head dresses. Thanks to G.F.Smith for the amazing samples they supplied us with.

We made beautiful felt flowers and hair accessories thanks to the felt supplied by Blooming Felt

We made beautiful felt flowers and hair accessories thanks to the felt supplied by Blooming Felt

wedding idea

and this lovely couple are getting married next year. They came and learned how to make paper pinwheels. So that’s their wedding decoration sorted. (Just 20 or 30 left to make!)

There were paper pom poms as big as your head

There were paper pom poms as big as your head

Famous authors popped by to make themselves a corsage for their upcoming talk.

and famous authors stopping by to make themselves a corsage for their upcoming talk. Lovely Susie Bubble also popped in and took some beautiful photos for her blog (a great place to visit if you want to know what went on at the rest of the festival!)

There was a moment of calm when Ros taught crochet. (wooll and hooks supplied by the wonderful Loveknitting

There was a moment of calm when Ros taught crochet with the wool and hooks supplied by the wonderful Loveknitting. (I lay down under a tree at this point and drank some gin.)

we couldn't have done it without the help of many many people certainly these two were amazing. Jago and Lewenna helped, cut up, rip up, hold up and tidy up all weekend.

We couldn’t have done it without the help of many many people. Certainly our two festival fairies were amazing – Jago and Lewenna (above) helped cut up, rip up, hold up and tidy up all weekend. So big love and thanks to them and to Jo Henderson our amazing photographer who was snapping away all weekend recording all the goings on for our neeeeeewwww project coming next year …

To the wonderful people at Block Design, Blooming Felt, GF Smith, Hobbycraft, Homes and Gardens Magazine, Loveknitting, Nutscene, Port Elliot festival (Cathy and the team made us feel so welcome), Quadrille Publishing and Wilko thank you for the supplies and support.

A final thanks to all the lovely lovely people who came and took part in our workshops, tried a little crafting and learned a new skill. See you all next year.

boys at sunset

This was not me

thank you people



Jennie Maizels amazing alphabet patches


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jennie patches 2

Back in June I went to the Rumour PR press day. They had so many lovely Christmas gift ideas that I did momentarily wish it could be Christmas that very day (and then I went out side and it was beautifully sunny so promptly forgot my wishes).

My favourite and my best thing that I saw there were these fabric patches by Jennie Maizels. Jennie patches

Now I love a circus alphabet – I try and do a version in most of my books.

alphabet letters

From my books Fresh Prints and Little Sew and Sew

But Jennies little box of letters blew me away. I love them. I love that there are different colourways of each letter, I don’t love that the ‘C’ is quite boring but I’m used to that (I think it’s just a bit of a dull shape to begin with).

jennie maizels alphabet

Apart from letters Jennie also does packs of patches made up of cute little illustrations, all perfect for decorating plain jackets and dresses and also for disguising worn out jean knees and stains on favourite shirts.

jenni maizels dress

There’s much more to Jennie than iron on clothes plasters, she also writes and illustrated pop up books and has an awesome  Instagram account. Recently she has been on holiday and has been documenting it in a visual diary. Now this is my holiday diary …

holiday diary

(admittedly I was 6 years old)

and this is hers…

Jennie Maizels wednesday

tuesday Jenni Maizels


Oh to be on holiday in Jennies world!

To buy any of Jennies patches click here. To follow her on Instagram and be cheered up by her crazy bright colourful world click here.


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