The Keen Sewist’s Christmas Wish List

The Keen Sewist’s Christmas Wish List

Cooking done. Glass of wine at hand and presents that are all to do with sewing. Lush!!!!


  1. New books of ideas and patterns so we can dream and plan new makes for the coming year. A pretty notebook would be nice too.
  2. Fabric to feel hold and plan what to do with whilst the Christmas film is on. Dreaming of that beautiful dress, jacket or coat.
  3. The latest gadgets to tidy my stash and enhance the craft room. A ruffle foot is high on the list.
  4. Time to potter in the fabric stash cupboard planning projects while the family enjoy a doze after lunch!!!!

If you’re stuck for a last minute present for the sewist in your life for Christmas you will not go wrong with books, fabrics, patterns needles and threads. Oh and may be a new sewing box to store those bits and bobs we all love to stash.


Five things to do with Fat Quarters before Christmas

Fat quarters are handy sized pieces of fabric and there is so much you can do with them! Here are 5 ideas:


  1. Make a pincushion. Every sewist needs one and yours can be truly unique if you design it yourself. Make sure you fill it with plenty of stuffing and embellish it as you please! 
  2. Make a little lined zippered pouch, whether for pencils or make up. There are dozens of tutorials for these online. A FQ is ample fabric for outer and lining, but you can get creative by using a contrasting FQ for the lining perhaps.  You just need a zip and perhaps some interfacing to stiffen the bag. Box out the corners and bob’s your uncle. 
  3. Transform a cushion, pillow case or item of clothing with appliqué. Using bondaweb you can cut out from the FQ the shape you’d like to use, and iron it on where you want it.  Secure it with a decorative machine or hand stitch round the edge of the shape. DSCF0321 DSCF0322
  4. Make binding for the edge of a quilt. Cut the FQ into strips of each 2 1/4 inches wide. Join them together until you’ve got a strip long enough to go around the quilt.  Press in half lengthways, stitch to front of quilt with raw edges together then turn and hand sew to the back.
  5. Make home or Christmas decorations.  Use templates to cut out stockings, hearts, stars or reindeer, sew 2 wrong sides together, turn through, stuff and sew closed.  Add a ribbon for hanging or decoration.


Crafty Baba’s Top Tips for Buying Fabric


You are in the fabric shop and wow,  the choice! Where to start? These top tips should help you make the right choices.

  1. Check your pattern for their recommendations. They may specify only to use certain fabric for example, a stretch jersey.
  2. Unsure what the fabric is? ask the sales assistant for help. Fabrics can have some odd names like pongee* for instance.
  3. Unroll some of the fabric and hold it up to the light. Look for how it drapes or falls. Scrunch for creasing. Check for a nap (the way the fabric shines in the light e.g. velvet).
  4. Ensure you know the width of fabric and check with your pattern to see how much is required for that width.
  5. If there is an obvious pattern on the fabric allow more for matching. To find out the pattern repeat, measure from a point on the fabric pattern find where it repeats and measure the distance to the next same point.

*Pongee is a soft thin woven cloth. In the early 20th century, pongee was an important export from China to the United States. Pongee is still woven in silk by many mills across China, especially along the banks of the Yangtze at mills in Sichuan, Anhui, Zhejiang and Jiangsu provinces. . Generally it varies in weight from 36 to about 50gm/sq m. In lighter variants, it is called Paj. It is used as a blouse weight or lining silk.


Wednesday Lunchtime Sewing in Ipswich

Are your lunchtimes a little same same? Why not join us for a little midday sewing (in the warm and dry). Every Wednesday lunchtime we settle down with a different project like the silk fish below, and enjoy some creativity. Just come and join us, no booking required.

Where? Crafty Baba, 32 St Peters Street, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP1 1XB

When? 12.15-1pm every Wednesday

How much? £4 per person including materials


Broomstick Lace Cuff

This has got to be one of our favourite projects to recommend in a long time.

This crochet lace bracelet from Cult of Crochet is super chic.

crochet-bracelet3This crochet technique, termed broomstick lace, gives a delicate lacy effect. Try it in different yarn colours to match your wardrobe.

The step-by-step instructions include great photos to make it easier. But note, the instructions have been adapted to cater for left-handed crafters. Head to Cult of Crochet for these instructions. If you want the original instructions, head to Daylilies Creative.

So, no excuses – both left-handed and right-handed crafters are catered for.

Vintage Toddler TeePee

As Summer approaches I can’t wait to get my toddler into the garden and away from the TV!

I thought I would make her a Vintage Toddler TeePee to enjoy tea parties in. It was so easy so I thought I would share the pattern.

Vintage teepee

1. You need four metres of fabric (I used a polycotton with a strawberry and butterfly print from our shop), four poles (I used garden canes) and a sewing machine. I also made use of my overlocker (also called a serger) but it’s not essential.

2. Cut the fabric into four triangles. I simply folded the fabric in half and cut them all at the same time so they were symmetrical. Cut the tops off each of the triangles approx 5cm from the tip. This it to leave a space for the poles to poke through.


3. Start to sew the long edges together with right sides together. Keep sewing until all four triangles have been sewn into a pyramid.

Vintage teepee

4. Cut a hole in one piece to form a door. The size of this depends on how tall your toddler is! I made mine 60cm tall for her to crawl in. I serged the edges but you can neaten them by adding bias binding or just folding the edges over to form a hem.

5. Time to make the tubes for the poles. With wrong sides together, sew a new seam over your existing side seams to make a tube for the poles to fit into. At approx 5cm from the top, turn a right angle and sew back towards the edge, This is to form a casing otherwise the fabric slips off the poles.



6. Finally, neaten the top and bottom by either serging the edges or perhaps zig zaging round.

7. Insert the poles and welcome your toddler in to play!



Added Extras

I sewed a pocket onto the side of my teepee so my toddler could put her teddy in. I also waterproofed it from light showers using a waterproofing spray. Lastly, I added a bow with some stiff ribbon to hold the four poles in place.

If you make your own Toddler TeePee, please do share your photos with us at!

Vintage teepee








fabrics-001We’re all a bit guilty of hoarding a bit more fabric and yarn than perhaps we ought to, I know a few ladies who can scarcely confess to their partners the extent of their stash (but will gladly give you a guided tour!). To try and alleviate the guilt, we will be holding another one of our glorious SWISHING! afternoons and you are cordially invited.

Swishing is when you bring a few items you can bear to part with, be they fabric, yarn or haberdashery, and swap it for something you do want. Don’t have anything to bring? That’s fine, just pop a modest donation in the charity jar (this year we are supporting Papworth Hospital Trust).

The date is Sunday 23rd March

Place is 41 North Hill Road, Ipswich

Time is 2-4pm