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Archive | June, 2016

Hello Wimbledon!


We are so excited that Wimbledon is here because it means summer is in full swing and so are our imaginary 'vintage sewing pattern' tennis skirts!

Like a seam to a ripper, like ric to rac, Esme to Patrick or needle to thread, there are some pairings whether complimentary or contrasting, that can really enhance the end result.

With Wimbledon serving off this week, we've been thinking about some of our classic pairings and projects that come to life when they are presented alongside a strong partner.

The first of our winning combinations is the quintessential English elegance that is the heralded tea pot. It sets the tone for a sport that should be enjoyed at a leisurely pace. And as everyone knows, a tea pot means business. Summer loft collection.

summer loft - wimbledon blog 2

Summer Loft - Moroccan Tile Pink - 2

Celebrating the beauty that is the game, the atmosphere, the spirit and the place, we've chosen some fabric that does just that, because Wimbledon isn't Wimbledon without a sighting of the 219 bus, frankly. British Invasion and Chevrons.

british invasion - wimbledon blog british invasion - wimbledon blog 2








Next on court 3 we have striking tones and bold patterns that intend to be noticed! 'Apple of my Eye' by Quilted Fish is an uplifting and unexpected combination that just works. You won't find this pairing sitting quietly in a corner. If anything personifies summer for us, this is it. Apple of my eye collection.

apple - wimbledon blog 2 apple - wimbledon


Finally, our last perfect match partners are brought to you by Sevenberry, as irritable and sweet as strawberries and cream! Sevenberry collection.

sevenberry - wimbledon blog Sevenberry Stripe Pink

What are your winning pairings? Complimentary or contrasting? Email us at

Until our next game,

Love... 15, 30, 40, game point! x

(Vintage sewing pattern photo credit)

Designer spotlight: - Melody Miller


Mustang CushionWe are still setting in to our new premises but you'll see we've begun furnishing and what could be more welcoming than a foyer stocked with vintage telephone, inspirational coffee table books and a Mustang pillow cushion to boot?!

Playful Mustang - Cotton + Steel Fabric BundleCotton + Steel's incredibly successful founding designer Melody Miller combines irresistible colours with unique retro images and we think you'll agree that the result is a completely irresistible collection of which we think 'Mustang' is suitably sassy.

Chicken or egg / Bobbin or Cotton reel?

Do you buy your fabric with a project in mind and let your project dictate your fabric choice? Or do you buy what you love and find the perfect pairing for it later? This is the constant crafter's creative dilemma! So with this in mind, we've pulled together some of our favourite Mustang moments to inspire possible new projects and things you might not have thought possible of this beautiful cottony gem that is quite simply design in motion...

If you do push yourself outside your comfort zone, please share what you make!

collage-2016-06-16Photo credits: 1 2 3 4 5

Check out our Mustang themed Pinterest board here

The possibilities really do feel endless with this distinct and unique design which is bound to be a great talking point.


Until next time Polka Dotters... x

One new 'Poppy Field' & Summer Top 10 Hits

f3fd32a7f38b4849c707d1a11d29044cWe've moved!

We've been inundated with new deliveries here at Poppies & Polka Dots HQ as well as settling in to our new light and airy premises. As part of the unpacking process, we stumbled over a few classics that deserve a shout out as well as our new releases, and so we've compiled a list of our top 10 summer hits! Inspiration is a plenty, the sweet peas are gaining height and even the need for the seam ripper isn't taking that smile off our faces.

In at number 10.... Strawberries by Sevenberry. This fabric has got Wendy house curtains written all over it!

9) Nature Trail - Flowers & Bees by Dashwood Studio. We think this would make the most beautiful lampshade covering ever. If we could wallpaper Poppies & Polka Dots HQ in this, we just might.


8) Chloe by Tanya Whelan. I don't know about you but I'm making a peter pan collar blouse with mine!

Tanya Whelan - Chloe - Butterfly - PInk

7) Picnic by Melody Miller This is the perfect summer tote excuse - permission granted!

6) Zephyr by Rashida Coleman-Hale. We adore the carefree illustrations of this print with metallic detailing in a choice of two beautifully retro reminiscent tones. Children's attire anyone?


5) Cuckoo's calling by Dashwood Studio. Playsuit please!


4) Tulip Tangled by Sarah Jane. An absolute must have for any purpose, just don't miss out or you'll never forgive yourself (it's one of those).


3) Blueberries by Tasha Noel. Because no one should be without blueberry culottes in their life.


2) Park Life by cloud 9. Camper van curtains, basket lining, table runner, dolls house furnishings, the list is endless for this cheeky wayward snails fabric.


Which means the number 1 spot goes to...  Flower Sugar by Lecien. Patchwork quilt or vintage reproduction dress, the options are endless for this sugary sweet collection with a huge choice of complimentary tones and prints.

Lecien flower sugar tea party - blue

Speaking of new spaces, we've been organising the way we do things at HQ and would love to hear from you if you have any sewing storage solutions or top tips that we can share. Please send us a picture to

Until the next time, blossomy billowy blessings x

Photo credit - We've moved stationary

Wonderland Art Caddy designed and made by Louise Ambrosi, Sew Sofia


Create this fun art caddy with just three fat quarters from the Wonderland collection by Melissa Mortensen for Riley Blake.

The art caddy can hold an A5 size sketch pad or writing paper and 12 felt tip pens/twistable crayons. It’s perfect for travel or taking to restaurants for some quiet entertainment - kids love toting these caddies around and it’s a great way for them to keep their pens tidy too! Once you’ve mastered the basic design, why not add extra pockets on the back or inside and embellish or personalise with the child’s name.

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Finished size: 8inch x 12inch when folded
Seam allowance, unless otherwise stated: 1/4 inch


3 coordinating fat quarters; I used:
1 FQ Wonderland main blue (outer fabric)
1 FQ Wonderland labyrinth (coordinating outer fabric)
1 FQ Wonderland white floral (lining fabric)
2inch piece white sew on Velcro
13inch x 18inch wadding/fleece (I used 2oz polyester wadding, you can also use a sew in or fusible fleece.)
0.75m medium iron-on interfacing
6.5inch x 4inch scrap of fleece or wadding
0.5m ricrac or ribbon (optional)
Basic sewing kit

Cutting instructions:

Cut the following from the outer fabric (rabbits)

2 rectangles 13inch wide x 10inch high (if using a non directional print cut 1 rectangle 13inch x 18inch)
1 rectangle 8.5inch w x 8inch h for the pad pocket (make sure rabbits run along the width)
1 rectangle 6.5inch x 4inch for the flap. Tip: cut interfacing piece first and position over the outer fabric to centre a rabbit on the flap.

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Cut the following from the coordinating outer fabric (labyrinth)

2 rectangles 16inch x 6inch for the handles
1 rectangle 6.5inch x 4inch for the flap
1 rectangle 13inch x 7.5inch for the pen pockets

Cut the following from lining fabric (white floral)

1 rectangle 13inch x 18inch
1 rectangle 8.5inch x 8inch for the pad pocket

Cut and fuse interfacing to the wrong side of fabrics as follows:

2 rectangles 13inch x 10inch (outer 2 rabbit rectangles)
1 rectangle 13inch x 18inch (lining white floral)
2 rectangles 16inch x 6inch (handles)
1 rectangle 8.5inch x 8inch for the pad pocket (outer)
1 rectangle 13inch x 7.5inch for the pen pockets
1 rectangle 6.5inch x4inch (flap lining)

From the wadding cut 1 rectangle 18inch x 13inch for the caddy body and 1 rectangle 6.5inch x 4inch for the flap.

Here is a rough layout of the art caddy outer and lining in pieces.

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Preparing the pieces:

1. Outer fabric If using directional fabric, place the two 13inch x 9inch rectangles right sides together making sure that the print on both pieces is pointing in the opposite direction. Sew along the long side with a 1/4inch seam allowance. This will be the middle of your caddy. Press open seam allowance and if you’d like you can sew a piece of ric rac above this central seam on the right side. Set aside.

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2. Handles Fold the 16inch x 6inch rectangle in half lengthwise and press to make a centre crease. Open out, then fold each long raw edge in towards the centre and press. Fold again in half and press to make a 16inch x 1.5inch handle with no raw edges showing. Topstitch along each long side of the handle. Repeat with other handle piece and set aside.


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3. Flap Fold the lining piece 6.5inch x 4inch and finger press to make a centre crease. Cut a curve on the long raw edge, then place the lining piece onto the outer flap and cut the same curve. Do this to the fleece scrap as well.

If you want to decorate the flap like I did, sew ricrac or ribbon onto the outer flap piece to frame the rabbit.

Take the rough side of the Velcro and centre it horizontally onto the lining flap 1inch up from the raw edge. Pin/hold in place while you sew around the Velcro making sure to backstitch.

Place the outer and lining flap pieces right sides together, then place the fleece scrap on top and clip/pin together. Starting at the top right edge, sew around the flap leaving the top short straight edge open. Trim seam allowance to 1/8inch, turn the flap out and press very carefully on the outer flap – do not get your iron near the Velcro or you will melt it!! Topstitch the flap piece and set aside.

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4. Pad Pocket I decorated the top of the pad pocket with some ricrac. Pin the pad pocket outer and lining pieces 8.5inch x 8inch right sides together making sure that the rabbits are facing up! Starting at the bottom right 8.5inch edge (with the wrong side of the rabbit fabric facing up), sew around the three sides leaving one side open to turn out. Trim seam allowance. Flip the pieces wrong sides together, use a pointy tool or finger to gently poke out the corners and press. Topstitch the top edge only. Set aside.

5. Pen Pockets Turn under one long edge of the pen pocket piece 13inch x 7.5inch by 1/4inch, press and then turn under again by 1/4inch. Topstitch along this long edge only. Turn under the other long edge once only and press.

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Making the art caddy:

6. The pen pockets: Fold the lining piece 18inch x 13inch in half right sides together matching up the shorter edges and press to make a centre crease. Position the pen pocket piece on the right hand side of the lining piece 1inch in from the centre fold, with the topstitched edge on the right and pin in place. Starting from the bottom edge, sew along the two short sides and the long bottom edge.

To make the 12 pen pockets, using tailors chalk and a ruler, mark a 1/2inch line in from both short edges. From the first line mark 11 x 1inch lines.

I find it easier and neater to sew the pockets from the base to the top. Turn the fabric around so that the pen pocket opening is pointing towards you. Starting from the base of the pocket piece, sew along the lines making sure you backstitch at the start and finish of each narrow pen pocket to secure. Test a pen inside the first pocket to make sure it fits neatly. Trim all threads front and back.

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7. The pad pocket – On the opposite side of the lining rectangle, position the pad pocket 2.5inch up from the bottom edge and with raw edges matching. Starting from the right top edge of the pocket, sew along the three side edges to create your pocket making sure to backstitch a few times to secure stitching.

8. Attach flap and handles - centre the flap above the pen pockets, lining side down about 4.5inch from each side and pin or clip in place. Position a handle 1inch to either side of the flap with about 2inch on either side. Baste in place.

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Position the other handle on the pad pocket side of the caddy 2inch in from either side and with raw edges matching. Fold the caddy to check that the handle mirrors the position of the other handle. Baste in place. The lining is done.

9. Final assembly: first you need to mark where the other Velcro tab will go. Place the outer fabric right side down, then the wadding, then the lining on top. Carefully fold the art caddy to close and place the flap over the outer fabric and mark in chalk where the other Velcro tab will go. It should be about 4-4.5inch in from the centre of the caddy and just depends on how thick your wadding is. Taking the outer piece only, sew on the Velcro, remembering to backstitch to secure in place.

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Now for the final sandwich! Place the art caddy lining side up with pad pocket on the left, pen pockets and flap on the right. The flap and handles need to be lying flat inside of the rectangle and could be pinned out of the way. Place the outer fabric right side down on top of the lining making sure that the Velcro tab is on the opposite side to the flap. Place the wadding layer on top and clip all the way around the caddy (you can use pins too but make sure they are facing inwards as we will be sewing on the lining side of the caddy).

Now flip the caddy over so that the pen pockets are on your left, the pad pocket is on your right and make sure that the lining is aligned with the outer fabric and laying perfectly flat. Starting at the top right corner, sew along the short side across the handles, pivot and sew along the long side, then down the other short side with handles and flap. Pivot and sew along the other long side leaving a 6inch gap to turn the caddy. Trim seam allowances and clip corners being careful not to cut into the stitches. Reach into the gap and pull the caddy inside out. Poke the corners out gently and give the caddy a good press making sure to stay clear of the Velcro with your iron! Fold under the open seam, press and pin/clip. Starting about 0.5inch in from the corner with the gap, topstitch all around your caddy taking your time as there are a few layers to get through.

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You are done! Now all you need to do is fill it!

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Introducing our latest guest blogger Louise from Sew Sofia......

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We have admired Louise's work for a while now and are really delighted that she's agreed to join the guest blogger team here at Poppies & Polka Dots. Her first tutorial which will be available from Sunday 12th June and is an absolute beauty, featuring one of my favourite fabric collections so far of 2016 - Wonderland by Melissa Mortensen .DSCF3042

It's become traditional to introduce our guest bloggers to you with a few questions..... so here we go, introducing to you Louise Ambrosi the founder of the wonderful Sew Sofia shop and blog.

1 - Have you always been a fan of making and sewing and when did it all start?

I’ve always been into making stuff. As a child I would spend ages finger knitting, cross stitch/tapestries and handstitching patchwork hexagons together. When I reached secondary school I was sewing cushions on my Grandma’s old Singer for my bedroom, crocheting blankets for the needy and making polymer clay bead necklaces and key rings for friends and teachers. I never really got sewing properly until I got married and we needed curtains for our new house! Then my daughter Sofia came along and I started Sew Sofia in September 2011, inspired by her enthusiasm to create new things every day and I love making new things for her and her brother to try out.

2 - What was the catalyst to opening your shop?

It all started when I was made redundant from a business information centre in 2011. I was looking for something more creative than an office job to keep me busy for a few hours while my son was at nursery. I became interested in making bags after buying the book Sew! By Cath Kidston which gave the basics for bag making. I made a couple of tote bags for Sofia’s teachers and a ballet bag for a friend’s daughter – I got lots of compliments for my first bags and when my friend said “You could sell these!” and put in an order for another bag, I was encouraged to make more!

I then received The Bag Making Bible by Lisa Lam from my sister for my birthday – I initially thought the bags looked far too difficult to make, but once I tried one pattern I became hooked and have not looked back! Now the more challenging the bag pattern the better!

3 - Where do you find inspiration for your makes?

Fabric is a key source of my inspiration – if I see something I like I start dreaming up what I can make with it. I’m also inspired by all the bag pattern designers around the world who come up with some wonderful patterns just waiting to be made into beautiful bags. il_570xN.1000938685_er2g

4 - How would you describe your style?

Funky, Fun and Functional is my strapline for Sew Sofia – I like making items with a purpose and in eye catching prints and colours. I also like working with wipe clean fabrics like laminated and coated cottons which are practical for keeping bags clean and lasting longer.


5 - What is the make you’re most proud of to date?

That would have to be my camera bags, they are a challenge to make but I really love the way they come together at the end.

6 - In terms of sewing, is there anyone in particular that inspires you or someone we should be looking out for / reading their blog?

I’m an avid follower of Melissa Mortensen of The Polkadot Chair blog, she has some brilliant bag patterns and other tutorials on her blog and has recently started designing fabrics too like this Wonderland collection for Riley Blake. She also has some great party ideas for kids!

I love Swoon bag patterns  by Alicia Miller in the US – her work is inspiring and I love taking part in her Facebook group page. I’ve made friends with lots of fellow bag makers around the world and we spur each other on.

7 - What was the last thing that you made for yourself?

One of my Weather Girl wallets in laminated cotton umbrellas print from Dashwood. il_570xN.769957848_638t

8 – Is there anything in the craft calendar you are currently working towards or particularly looking forward to?

I love making quilted advent calendars for Christmas – there’s something lovely about creating a timeless keepsake for families to enjoy year on year. It’s also a pleasant change from making bags.

9 - What’s the most rewarding thing about running Sew Sofia?

I really love what I do, I get just as excited as my customers about picking out fabrics for their chosen bag and find it so rewarding creating something unique and handmade that someone will appreciate. There’s something really special about making something that will end up as a birthday or Christmas gift, a changing bag for a new mum, wedding favours for a bride-to-be or even an ordinary women just wanting to treat herself to a new bag! I love the flexibility of my job too. With most of my customers ordering online, I can choose when I want to be busy or keep a low profile when I need a break. It means that I can spend more time with my family as well and they grow up so quickly so I don’t want to miss out!

10 - Do you have any advice for anyone thinking of starting a sewing business?

11060D__01713.1406084663.1104.1280Oh where to start! Stay on top of admin (she says!) – it’s my downfall as I’d always rather be sewing than keeping those accounts in order.

Product pricing is key…it took me a long while to figure out the right prices for my products and admittedly I started out with much lower prices at the beginning without seeing much profit. Handmade should not be cheaper than mass produced items, it should reflect the time and care and materials that have gone into the end product. I would highly recommend the book “Sewing to Sell - The Beginner's Guide to Starting a Craft Business” by Virginia Lindsay of Gingercake Patterns for some great tips and also clever patterns to get you started.

11 - When not sewing, how do you like to relax?

Aqua Aerobics and walking – to ease the daily tensions of sitting slumped at a sewing machine all day! Plus I enjoy reading and a good bit of not too scary sci-fi!

Massive thank you to Louise for this wonderful insight into how Sew Sofia all began and for the fantastic suggestions and advise. Hopefully this has whet the appetite for the next tutorial which is by Louise and will be available as of Sunday 12th June, for now here's a lovely taste of what's to come.....




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Inspiration fit for a Queen!

With the advent of a weekend's worth of official celebrations to honour her majesty, the Queen of England's 90th Birthday no less, we have been scanning the internet for some of our favourite Royal themed design, crafts and all things yummy!

We've pulled together this board of inspiration to recreate some of the regal excitement of the weekend and general British summer fun ahead!


Picture credits / links: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10

If on the other hand you've just made a cup of tea, check out the complete collection we've gathered here

What do you think, feeling inspired?

Or have you already been crafting away in preparation for an upcoming street party to mark this occasion? Are you and yours celebrating in style? We'd love to see what you've been up to, so why not drop us a line and send some of your photos for us to marvel at -

Or get in touch via our Facebook page

Is there someone in your life who'd jump for joy at one of these regally themed designs? Or perhaps you are the worthiest Queen you know? In which case peruse this arrangement of suitably royal fabric selections, at your service. Grab yourself a Ferrero Roche, put your feet up and enjoy, your highness! x

Brand new from Lecien:

Lecien flower sugar trellis - redLecien flower sugar trellis - blueLecien flower sugar trellis - whiteLecien flower sugar tea party - blueLecien flower sugar tea party - whiteLecien flower sugar - blueLecien sugar flower large polka dot - red



Lecien flower sugar - red on white












Some of our Red / White & Blue Bias Binding:

Bias Binding - Navy Blue Polka Dots on White Navy Gingham Bias Binding Red Gingham Bias Binding

Red Polka Dot Bias BindingNavy Polka Dots Bias Binding





Bias Binding - Red Stripe






Classic Sevenberry Red, White & Blue...

Sevenberry Gingham Red Sevenberry Medium Spot - Royal Blue Sevenberry Stripe RedSevenberry Gingham BeigeSevenberry Stripe BlueSevenberry Red Small Spot










Lace Zip anyone?


Lace Zip - RedLace Zip - White Lace Zip - Navy