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Pin Sharpening - Pin Cushion - Step by Step Guide

We'd been thinking about dull pins a while back and had heard that wire wool could be a good solution. So off the back of that we decided to create our own pin sharpening pin cushion.

Fancy giving it a go too?

Here's how we went about it....

Tools / Materials you'll need:

Cup & Saucer (we got this one from a charity shop).

Small piece of fabric - amount will depend on the size of your cup.

Scissors, Needle & thread, glue gun and super glue, a little bit of toy stuffing and some wire wool.

Step 1

Draw a circle approximately twice the size of the cup you are using (see picture above).

Step 2

Super glue your cup to the saucer

Step 3

Sew a running stitch the whole way around the edge of the fabric circle.

Step 4

Keeping the needle and thread attached, draw up the edges of the circle a little.

Step 5

Add a little bit of stuffing to the piece of fabric.

Step 6

Add the wire wool.

Step 7

Draw in the edges of the circle and sew together - fix the end and cut off the needle and remaining thread.

Step 8

Add lots of glue to the bottom of the cushion you have created and then stick to the cup and saucer.

Step 9 (Optional)

Add some embroidery scissors using some ribbon, to the handle of the cup. Now you have a pin cushion, little tray for holding other notions and some scissors all in one place - perfect!

Dashwood Studio - Quilted Advent Calendar - Your step-by-step guide


Festive Friends Quilted Advent Calendar

Tutorial by Louise Ambrosi, Sew Sofia

Seam allowance, unless otherwise stated: 0.25inch


1 Dashwood Festive Friends Advent Panel

1 FQ coordinating fabric for the backing

1 FQ wadding

3.5inch x 13inch piece of fabric for dowelling pocket

2 decorative buttons

2m bias binding

11inch piece of narrow wooden dowelling

2 small metal or plastic rings (I use Prym 16mm café rod rings)

0.75m ribbon

Basic sewing kit



Poppies & Polka Dots have a ready made kit with virtually everything you'd need to make this Advent Panel check it out here

Points before you start.

Consider using a contrasting thread like mint green.

A Rotary cutter and long ruler can help with precision cutting.

A walking foot is recommended for any decorative quilting at the end but not essential.

Backstitch at the start and finish of any sewing to secure stitching.

Seam allowance is 0.25inch throughout.


Cutting instructions:

First iron the advent panel to remove any creases. This will help with more precise cutting of all those pockets!

Cut along the central dotted lines of the panel piece to separate the backing panel from the pocket strips.


Cut around the back panel piece leaving a 0.25inch seam allowance all around in the pale mint green.


Preparing the pockets

Cut the 5 pocket strips horizontally leaving a line of mint green and a line of white above the pocket strip (we’ll call them the seam allowance) and leave just the white seam allowance below each pocket.


Fold over the top green edge of the pocket strip and press.

Fold over the short edges of each long strip, press, then fold over the white edge and press again.


Pin and stitch close to the edge along the top of each strip.


I sew on the right side to make sure I’m not sewing over any pictures.


On the advent panel instructions they suggest making pleats using the dotted lines as a guide. I find it simpler to cut along the dotted lines … it also means you can place the pockets wherever you like and not necessarily in numerical order.


Press under the sides of each pocket, then pin on to the backing panel.


Sewing on the pockets

I find it easier to manoeuvre the panel by sewing from the bottom right corner. Starting at the top right corner of each pocket, sew down one side till you reach the bottom, raise the foot with needle still in the fabric, pivot, lower the foot and continue sewing the bottom and other side of each pocket. Remember to backstitch at the top of each pocket to ensure it is secure.


Prepare the Backing

 Dowelling pocket

Fold the 13inch x 3.5inch rectangle in half lengthwise and press to make a centre crease. Open out, then fold each short edge in by 0.25inch, press and stitch. Fold in half lengthways, then fold in each long raw edge to the centre. You will have a 12inch x 0.75inch piece with no raw edges showing. Pin and stitch to close the open edge.


Position the dowelling pocket 2.5inchs down and centred on the right side of the backing fabric. Stitch in place along the same stitching.


Layer your quilt sandwich

Lay the backing fabric wrong side up, place the wadding on top, then place the advent pocket panel right side up on top to make a sandwich. Pin or use wonderclips to secure the three layers together. Baste stitch using a longer length stitch all around to secure.


Quilting the advent calendar

If you have a walking foot, now is the time to use it! With contrasting thread stitch along the solid lines that frame the advent. Get creative by using a decorative stitch below each line of pockets. Make sure you don’t sew over the ends of the dowelling pocket when quilting…!



Open out the bias binding and with right sides together pin along the raw edge of the calendar. Sew along the first fold line leaving a 0.25inch space at the corner edge to help ease the binding around to the next side. Continue until you reach the last corner. Cut the binding about 0.5inch off from the edge so that you can fold it under and hide the raw edge on your last stitch.


Now fold the binding over to the backing side of the calendar, pin in place and stitch in place, taking care to ease the binding around the corners before sewing. Take your time, this can be quite fiddly but worth the end result!


Finishing off

Cut an 11inch piece of dowelling and insert into dowelling pocket. I slip stitch each end of the pocket just to make sure the dowelling doesn’t come out.

Hand stitch two small rings 1inch in on either end of the dowelling pocket


Hand stitch two decorative buttons to the front of the calendar at the top corners.



Thread through a length of ribbon, tie into a pretty bow and your calendar is done! Now all you need to do is fill it!

finished_advent_calendar_4 finished_advent_calendar_3 finished_advent_calendar_2 finished_advent_calendar_1

'Colour Me' - Basic Tote Bag - Tutorial

So it's the summer holidays and given the 'changeability' of the British weather, we've had plenty of opportunities to try out some different crafts and activities here at P&PD HQ.

Not long ago, we took delivery of the fabulously fun 'Colour Me' range from Michael Miller designed by Hayley Crouse, if you haven't already seen our previous post on this, then check it out here.

One rainy day last week, I decided it was time to test out this fabric with my children and one of their friends. So I cut out a half a metre of each design and set them to work colouring.....


We already had some fabric colouring pens to use, but if you don't then these are readily available on-line.

The children range in age from 3yrs to 9yrs, boys and girls (but a 12yr old has also since requested some of the fabric!), so I think the designs are pretty versatile.


They took it very seriously and were really excited by the prospect of having a major input on the final design of their bag!

Having promised 4 new tote bags by the next day, that evening I set to work!

The bag pattern is incredibly simple and would be an ideal project for anyone new to sewing. The bag can be embellished with trimmings, fabric floral brooches, buttons etc. to turn it into a unique and wonderful creation of your own.

A few points before I get started with the tutorial:

1 -Apologies for the lack of pictures at some steps and the mixture of fabric designs that feature. I was rushing through 4 bags and wasn't 100% focused on the images that might later be required - sorry!

2 - This pattern works for any fabric that doesn't have a specific direction. If you are using a design which needs the fabric to face a particular direction for the bag, see the bottom of this tutorial for a couple of tweaks to the pattern*

3 - We wanted to get started on the colouring straight away, but you could definitely make the bag first and then give to someone to colour in and personalise. You might just want to tell them to put a piece of cardboard or something similar, inside the bag when colouring, to avoid any of the colours bleeding through to the other side of the bag.

What you'll need:

1/2 metre of fabric - we used the Colour Me and the Elephant Tumble by Wyndham Fabrics. Matching cotton. Rotary cutter and mat or Scissors. Pins. Iron and ironing board.

Step 1 - Cutting the fabric

You will need to cut the following pieces:

2 x pieces - 3inch (7cm) x 22inch (56cm) - for the handles

1 piece - 14inch (36cm) x 36inch (90cm) for the body of the bag.

Step 2 - Making the handles

Take one of the handle pieces and with the wrong side facing up, press each length of the fabric in 1/4inch (just over 0.5cm) along both sides. Then fold the entire length of the piece in half to create the handle.

Stitch along both sides of the handle 1/8inch (0.3cm) from edge on one side and the same from the fold on the other side.

Repeat this entire process for the second handle.

Colour Me_Tote_Tutorial_1 (1)

Step 3 - Attach handles and hem top edges

Place the main piece of fabric - pattern side up and one of the shorter sides at the top, ready to work on.

Next you need to pin the handles to the shorter ends of the bag (which will later become the two top sides of the bag).

Take one of the handles and pin one end of it 3inches (17.5cm) from the side of the fabric - with raw edges together. Then ensuring the handle isn't twisted, pin the other end of the handle 3inches (17.5cm) from the other side of the fabric - again with raw edges together.

Now turn the piece of fabric around so that you can attach the 2nd handle to the opposite end of the fabric. Repeat the above step, being sure to check that your handle isn't twisted.

Using a zig zag stitch, sew along the top edge of the bag, attaching the handle in the process and also creating a neat hem.


Repeat this step for the other side of the bag, attaching the 2nd handle in the process.

Next, turn the fabric over so that the wrong side is facing upwards.

Now fold over the top edges of the bag by 1 1/2 inches (approx. 4cm) at both ends and press. Pin the handles in place, making sure they are perpendicular to the horizontal sides.


Sew this fold down with a 1/4 inch (0.5cm) seam allowance from the top edge and then with a second seam 1/4 inch (0.5cm) from the bottom zig zag stitch.

Repeat for both ends of the bag.

Colour Me_Tote_Tutorial_2 (1)

Step 4 - Sew together the bag

Fold the body of the bag in half, so that the right sides of the fabric are facing each other and the handles are now together at the top of the bag. Pin the sides of bags together, ensuring that the top edges of the bag meet perfectly.

Sew together the 2 sides of the bag using a 1/2 inch (1cm) seam allowance.


Snip off the bottom corners.

Zig zag stitch both raw edges along the sides of the bag, to give neatly finished hems which won't fray.


Turn the bag right side out and push the corners out and press.'s complete!

Here are the children the day after, on an outing to the cinema - feeling very proud with their new personalised bags!

Colour_Me_Tote_Bag_Tutorial_Girls_Shopping Colour_Me_Tote_Bag_Tutorial_Finished_Product

*If you are using a fabric which is directional (like the Colour Me - A Royal Life Panel - as seen in some of the pictures above), you will need to cut the main body of the bag in two different panels. In which case, simply cut the two handle pieces as per above, plus 2 x 13.5inch (35cm) x 18.5inch (47cm) for the back and front of the bag - be sure to check which way your pattern needs to face for the bag before cutting. Then follow the steps as above, but instead of one panel which you attach handles to both ends, you have two pieces, which need to have handles attached to the top edge of the fabric. When you get to step 4 - simply pin all three sides of the bag and sew around each edge as per above.

Any questions, please don't hesitate to email us at




How to recreate a favourite dress without the pattern!

The lovely Anna who recently joined the Poppies & Polka Dots team is a big fan of dressmaking, so we thought it only right to ask her to share some of her knowledge! Here she walks us through the process of recreating a favourite shop bought dress, fabulous! So over to you Anna.......

Recreate your favourite dress

My daughter is three and so making clothes for her is an absolute joy. Projects are small enough to complete over a weekend and she is beginning to take real pride in selecting her own fabrics and teaming whatever it is that I have lovingly made for her with swimming goggles and a pair of snow boots! Blinding outfit combinations aside, there are some things she always comes back to. One of these is a little cotton wrap-around dress but it was shop bought and therefore I don't have a pattern for it. There's no point buying a similar looking pattern and attempting a recreation for the child that sleeps with one eye open, should anyone try to extrapolate her My Little Pony, and so it started me thinking about just how feasible it is to reproduce firm favourites whilst keeping them intact.


As it turns out if you've ever made a dress before, child's or otherwise, then you'll have the skills required to do this because you'll appreciate the need to construct the bodice pieces and skirt separately before attaching together. Also it's likely that terms such as 'gather' will feel comfortably familiar!

Nonetheless and to be on the safe side, I would estimate this as an intermediate level project.

French chalk and chocolate at the ready? Then here's how I went about it:

1. I started off by ironing the original dress, laying the dress flat and working out how many panels it consisted of. As it turned out the dress was made up of six panels in total: 1 x bodice back piece, 2 x bodice side panels (one reversed), 1 x skirt back panel and 2 x skirt side panels (one reversed). The side seams all lined up. There were also two side straps that were the same length and which held the dress in place when worn and tied in a bow at the back.


2. Using dressmakers tissue paper I traced around each panel exactly as it appeared and teased out the curves as I went in order to capture bulky areas such as armholes.


3. Once I had all panels replicated on tissue paper, I re-traced each piece to add a tolerance for how much my daughter had grown and also a 1.5cm seam allowance. This was particularly relevant where the skirt length was concerned.


4. I then lay each of my pattern pieces out on the table in the order in which they would sit once constructed so as to check that nothing strange had happened (remember that dresses will be gathered and hemmed so there is room for error if these don't sit seamlessly together).

5. Next, I labelled each of my pattern pieces for ease of recreating at a later date.


6. I took my pattern pieces over to the cutting table and started pinning, ensuring that the fabric was the correct way up and that any pieces that were designed to sit on the fold were indeed on the fold!


7. Once everything was cut, I started by joining my skirt pieces first at the side seams. Lots of skirts are constructed out of two pieces, a front panel and back panel, but mine was made up of three panels. By the time I had joined up all the panels I was looking at the fabric equivalent of a Viennetta!


8. I ironed out my side seams and ironed in the hem at the same time. I find it easier to hem while the fabric is on the flat rather than after it's been gathered - you're welcome!

9. Now for the bodice: I attached the two bodice side panels under the arms to the back panel at the side seams, right sides facing. I then attached the shoulder seams and ironed these four seams flat.


10. I cut two lengths of fabric to roughly match the length of the dress straps. These were twice the width  needed to create the finished straps and I folded them over, right sides facing, and sewed up one side on each to form an inside out tube. *- Tip: If you have enough fabric left, cut a third strap which you can turn in to a scrunchie to match the dress! -*

11. I then turned these right side out using the safety pin method. I ironed these neat and flat.

12. I pinned each strap to the bodice side edges so that the pattern was not right side up while pinned but would be once the strap was secured, hemmed and turned in on itself.

13. The moment of truth!  I attached the bodice to the skirt by gathering the skirt and adjusting the distribution of gather so that the seams of the bodice lined up with the seams of the skirt and pinned in place. I then sewed to finally secure, removed gathering stitch and finished seam with zig zag stitch to prevent fraying.


14. I then ironed all the way around the skirt side edge and sides of the bodice and neckline so that the skirt, bodice front and neckline were folded over twice in the same manner as a hem. I stitched carefully in place from bottom of skirt corner around skirt sides, bodice front, neckline and back down the other side. The straps now sat correctly and had been secured as part of this process.


15. I made some bias binding for the armholes to finish off the bodice. You could also use the same hemming process as the skirt and bodice if preferred.

16. I then made a small slit in the bodice side seam by opening up a few of the side stitches just above where the skirt joined the bodice and reinforced with stitches at the top and bottom of where the strap would sit. This was to feed one of the wrap-around straps through to secure in place when worn.


And here you have it, the finished article.



I hope you feel inspired to copy yours or some else's favourite dress without the fear of having to unpick it and thus lose the original garment forever in the process!

The fabric I used was Fablewood Buds & Bloom by Dashwood Studios click here for details

Your Poppies & Polka Dots seamstress in residence,

Anna x


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Zipper Purse - Easy Step-by-Step Guide to making your own!

Zipper Purse - FinalPersonally, I think you can never have enough little zipper purses....there's always something you can keep in them and they look so pretty!

Zipper_Purse_Cotton_SteelThis is a perfect beginners sewing project. It doesn't take long to master, doesn't use up much fabric, so if you make any catastrophic mistakes, it won't cost the earth to start again. Plus it shows you how to insert a zip. Something which lots of people try to shy away from, but honestly it isn't that hard at all!

Zipper_Purse_Cotton_Steel_OpeningAnyway, here I've tried to provide all of the instructions that you'll need and include various pictures to help you along the way (sorry, I've tended to jump around with the images that I took, as I was making all three designs at the same time).

I have been itching to use these Cotton + Steel fabrics for months and the Dashwood Twist range works perfectly as a contrasting lining, Hope you like this and find it useful.Zipper_Purse_Cotton_Steel_zipper_tabs

Materials for one:

1 Fat Quarter fabric from Cotton + Steel's Melody Miller fabrics - outer fabric.

1 Fat Quarter fabric from Dashwood Studio Twist collection from Nature Trail by Dashwood Studios - lining fabric.

1/2 m Heavy Fusible Woven Interfacing

1 x 23cm (9in) standard zip in contrasting or matching colour

Basic sewing supplies

Cutting Instructions:

Cut the following pieces from the outer fabric:

2 x pieces (front & back), 27cm x 13cm (10.5in x 5in)

Cut the following pieces from the lining fabric:

2 x pieces (front & back), 27cm x 13cm (10.5in x 5in)

2 x pieces 5cm square (2in square).

Cut the following from the heavy fusible woven interfacing:

2 x pieces (front & back), 27cm x 13cm (10.5in x 5in)

How To Make The Zipper Purse:

1. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the interfacing to the back of the 2 outer fabric pieces.

2. Trim each end of your zip, taking a small amount off each end - no more than 1/2cm (1/5in).

3. Take the zip to the machine and roughly sew together the ends of the open side of the zip (it doesn't matter which colour of thread you use as this will not be seen on the finished article. This process will help you later on when sewing the zip onto the fabric.

Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 54. Take both of the 5cm square (2in sq) pieces of lining fabric to your ironing board and iron in half, then open up and iron each side in approximately 1/2cm (1/5in) - see image below.

Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 45. Take the first of the two pieces of lining fabric that you have just ironed place one end of the zip into the middle folded material. Line up the folded edges of the fabric with the end of the zipper teeth. Pin in place as per the below picture. Repeat with the second folded lining piece - pinning it to the opposite end of the zip.

Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 5

6. Take the zip to your sewing machine and using a zipper foot stitch the lining fabric to the zip at both ends - try to sew as close to the edge of the fabric ensuring you sewing both top and bottom fabric edges to the zip - see the image below.

Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 67. Trim off the excess lining fabric in-line with the edge of the zip. Now your zip is ready to be attached to the fabrics.Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 78. This is when things become a lot more fun...... take one of the outer fabric pieces and lay it face side up on your work surface. Then take your zip that you've just been working on and place wrong side up (teeth down) onto the face fabric. Then finally you need to place one of the lining pieces that you cut out on top - wrong side up.

The picture below shows the order of fabrics and the way they should face, but you need to get each of the items lining up along the top edge, so they can all be sewn together.Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 8

9. Pin or clip (I like to use clips at this stage as it is easier to keep the fabrics together and remove the clips as you sew), then take all 3 items to your machine. Don't worry if your zip is slightly shorter in width compared to the lining and outer fabrics - this is what you're aiming for at this stage.

10. Again, using your zipper foot, sew along the top edge of the three layers approximately 1/2cm (1/4in) from the edge attaching all 3 pieces together. When you get towards the end where your zipper pull is, stop sewing, reverse stitch and finish off. Remove the fabric from the machine and then move the zipper pull further up past the part that you've already sewn. Then place your fabric back down at the machine and continue sewing where you left off to the end of the fabric.

Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 9

11. You've now attached one side of the purse to your zip, you need to attach the second side. Take your 2nd piece of outer fabric and as with step 8, place this fabric right side up. Then take your zip (which now has one side attached - try to ignore that!) and place the zip wrong side up (teeth down), then place the remaining lining piece wrong side up. Line the top edges together and pin or clip in place.Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 1012. As before, sew all 3 layers together approximately 1/2cm (1/4in) from the edge. When you get to the place where your zipper pull is, reverse and finish then remove the fabrics from your machine. Move the zipper up and out of your way. Then replace the fabrics back down at the machine and continue sewing where your left off. Continue sewing the whole way down the top edge of the fabrics. Exactly as you did with the first side.

Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 12

13. You've now attached both sides of the case to your zip and can take it to the iron to press it open.Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 1314. Once you've pressed the pieces open, you now need to take them back to the sewing machine and with your regular foot, top stitch along the length of the zip on both sides approximately 2mm from the edge of the fabric (1/16 or 1/8in).Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 14Here's a couple of examples of the finished pieces with the top stitch complete.

Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 14Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 1515. Now everything is ready to sew together the purse! ***It's really important at this stage, to open your zip half way***.

Then take the bottom edges of the 2 outer fabrics and line the 2 pieces together, Then do the same with the lining pieces.

Next line up the edges of the fabrics at the zip. It is important to fold the zipper fabric that you attached earlier in the process in the direction of the lining fabric. See the picture below which illustrates this, as it's tricky to explain exactly what I mean!

Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 16Once you have lined up all of the fabrics, pin the fabrics securely at the zipper section and then pin or clip all the way around the item. See image below:

Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 1716. Now take the purse back to your sewing machine and starting approximately 2/3 of the way along the bottom edge of the lining fabrics, start sewing the 2 fabrics together. Use a 1cm (approx 1/2in)  seam allowance along the bottom edges and 0.5cm (1/4in) allowance along the sides (to minimise the amount of bulk at the zip sections).

Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 17

17. Each time you reach a corner remember to keep the needle in the fabric, lift your footer to turn the fabric around 90 degrees before placing the footer down again and continuing sewing along the edge. Remember to be very careful when sewing over the zipped sections as you will be going through quite a few layers of fabric at this point. Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 1818. Once you arrive back on the original long edge of the lining fabric, sew long until you are about 1/3 of the way along that length and finish off. You should now have sewn all the way around the purse, leaving an approximately 6-8cm (2.5in) opening.

19. Remove the purse from the sewing machine and now start to turn the piece right side out through the opening that you left in the lining.

20. Hurrah - you should now have a lined and zipped purse! At this stage you can use something pointy (I used a knitting needle to help), to push out all of the corners including each end of the zips. Once you've done that, you now have to take the purse back to the sewing machine and sew together the gap in the lining.

Cotton + Steel Pencil Case / Make Up case - 19

21. Now all that remains is to push the lining back into the purse and take it back to the iron to give it a final press.

22. Now sit back and admire your work - a beautifully lined purse with zipper tabs in a contrasting fabric. This can be used as a pencil case, or to keep make-up brushes or make-up for how about a purse for your crochet hooks?


Zipper_Purse_Cotton_Steel_Opening Zipper_Purse_Cotton_Steel

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Spring & Easter Bunny Bunting - A quick & easy how to....

Spring Bunting - How to make your ownWith Easter just around the corner, I decided it would be nice to make some bunting which we can use for decoration at a kids Easter party we're hosting.

This is a simple and cost effective pattern, which only requires 1/2 metre of the main fabric for the flags, plus half of a fat quarter or whatever scraps you have lying around for the bunny decoration. Plus some some little pom poms and bias binding to hold it all together....

Here's exactly what I used:

1/2 metre -Essex Yarn Dyed Linen - Chambray (currently sold out) but this would look great too Essex Yarn Dyed Linen - Indigo

1 FQ - Sidewalks Small Floral Cream

3 metres - Polka Dot Bias Binding - Yellow

1 metre - Small Pom Pom Trim White

Fusible webbing

Rotary Cutter & cutting Mat


Pencil / Pen

Matching thread

Fabric glue


1. Cut out the bunny rabbit stencil - I have attached a pattern below, which you may wish to use. Attach your fusible web to the back of the patterned fabric (using the manufacturers instructions), then draw around the bunny rabbit stencil and cut them out - you will need 9 bunnies for this bunting.

Spring Bunting - Bunny Rabbit - Template

2. Cut your half metre of Essex Yarn Dyed Linen from 50cm to 40cm in length (your fabric piece should now measure 112cm wide by 40cm drop). Next fold the fabric in half along the horizontal, so that it is now 112cm wide by 20cm length (double fabric).

3. Using your ruler and pen/pencil make a mark along the top folded edge of the fabric every 22cm the whole way across the 112cm width until you run out fabric.

4. Do the same along the bottom edge of the fabric, this time make a mark every 11cm.

5. Using your ruler and rotary cutter, start at the top left hand corner of the fabric and diagonally place the ruler from the top corner down to the first mark at the bottom of the fabric (11cm along from the edge) - now cut the fabric on the diagonal. Then starting at the bottom (at the point you have just cut) cut on the diagonal up to the first mark you made at the top of the fabric (22cm along from the left edge). Continue doing this, cutting on the diagonal from bottom to top, until you have cut out 9 triangle flags (still double fabric).

6. Some of the triangles will need to be cut along the top edge where the fold was, to create 2 triangular pieces (see this earlier blog post for more clarification on the cutting process. If needs be.

Bunny Rabbit to be sewn onto flags

7. Once you have all 9 flags cut out (2 pieces of fabric for each) and you have your 9 bunny rabbits in the contrasting fabric, you now need to attach the bunnies to the front of each flag. Follow the manufacturers instructions for the fusible webbing to do this.

8. If you would like to secure your bunnies further, stitch around the edge as I have done in the below image. Don't worry about being too neat around the tail area, as this will be covered with the pom pom tail!

Bunny Attached to fabric

9. Once all 9 bunny rabbits are attached onto the front piece of each flag, we can begin to assemble the bunting itself. Starting with the first flag, take both pieces of fabric (front and back) and turn the fabric right sides together, so you can sew the bunting together inside out. Then starting at the top corner allowing approximately a 1/2cm seam allowance, sew the first side together. Stop sewing approximately 1/2cm from the bottom point, keeping the needle in the fabric, lift your footer and turn the fabric. Now sew along the 2nd side, back to the top of the flag. Leave the top (straight edge) open - do not sew these edges together.

Sew the sides of the bunting flags together

10. Once you have sewn all 9 flags together on the two sides, as shown in the below picture, snip the bottom corner off the fabric, being careful not to cut too close to the stitches.

Snip the bottom corner off each flag

9 Basic Bunting Flag Shapes

11.  Next you need to turn each flag right side out, being sure to poke out the bottom corner (I used a knitting needle to be sure I got some nice pointy corners). Then using your iron, carefully press each flag flat, making sure you get nice crisp straight lines on both sides of the flag.

Turn each flag right side out and press12. Neaten up the top edges of each flag, so you have good, straight line to tuck into your bias tape.

Trim the top edge ensuring a straight finish13. Back to your sewing machine with all 9 flags and the bias binding. Fold the bias tape in half at one end (length ways) and sew together the open sides, staying as close as you can to the open edges. I did this for approximately 20cm - however, depending on what you think you'll need to tie the ends of the bunting to, you might prefer to have longer trims at each end.

Attach the bias tape14. Take the first flag you'd like to sew into place and put the top open edge into the opening of the binding - make sure that the top of the flag is as close to the folded inside edge of the binding as possible. Begin sewing along the open edge of the tape to attach the flag and close up the binding.

Top Tip: I find using quilting clips really help to hold the next flag in place just before it reaches the sewing machine needle. Much easier and quicker than pinning and also means you can be sure the flag is held tightly in the correct place and properly inserted into the binding.

5cm gaps between each flag15. Continue sewing past the edge of the flag for 5cm and add another flag. Then add another flag into place on the binding. Repeat this process until all of the flags are attached.

Attach all 9 flags in the wayBe sure to sew another 20cm (minimum) of the binding tape together after the last flag has been attached, in order that you have extra on the end to hang the bunting with.

16. Once all of the flags are sewn on and you have sewn together enough binding tape at the end to allow for the bunting to be hung, you have nearly finished your Easter bunting. All you need to do now is attached the bunny tails. Simply cut 9 pom poms from the pom pom trim and using a fabric glue, stick each one in place!Cut pom poms for the tail17. Hang your yummy 'Spring-time Easter Bunting' and admire your work!

Spring Bunny Bunting - Finished product

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Pom Pom Fairy Lights - What a combo!

pom-pom-fairy-lightsSo, I think it must be pretty clear by now, that I am a HUGE fan of Pom Poms.... there's something so tactile and scummy about them and they add such lovely bit of yumminess to any project.

Given this, I decided that our Christmas decor selection (despite already having a festive pom pom garland) didn't quite have enough of a nod to Pom Poms yet. So what better thing than to combine some fairy lights with a pom pom garland?

This is incredibly simple, yet very effective (if I do say so myself) and is currently looking fab hanging from one of our fireplaces this Christmas season.

So here are the basics:

First of all you need a selection of pom poms. For this garland I used the Small Clover Pom Pom Makers and Stylecraft Special DK however you could also use one of our Pom Pom Garland Kits which includes a selection of Stylecraft Special DK yarn as well as the Clover Pom Pom makers.

Here's a picture from one of my earlier posts which illustrates how to use the pom pom maker...however there are also clear instructions provided.

Clover Pom Pom Maker InstructionsHaving got yourself a selection of pom poms, you'll also need a yarn needle (one with a very round / blunt end), a pair of scissors, a set of battery powered LED fairy lights (I got these from Robert Dyas, but lots of shops currently sell them) and a little extra yarn in the colour of each of your pom poms.

Pom Pom Fairy Lights - What you need

Then all you have to do is take each pom pom in turn and carefully sew it onto the fairy lights. Simply sew through the middle of your pom pom and then wrap the yarn around the wire, sewing back through the middle of the pom pom as you come back. Repeat this as many times as you feel you need to, so that the pom pom feels securely attached to the fairy lights. Please note, it is very important to use a blunt yarn needle, so to avoid piercing the wire of the fairy lights at any point.

Pom Pom Fairy Lights - Attaching the pom poms

Then keep adding more pom poms until you are happy with the look you've created. For this example, I decided to simply add a pom pom each side of the led lights and that seemed to work quite neatly. However you could add more or less than that, depending on how you wanted the finished garland to look.

Pom Pom Fairy Lights - Attaching the pom poms - 2This is a pretty quick job, but look how fab the end result is....

Pom Pom Fairy Lights
Pom Pom Fairy Lights - 3Let me know what you think and hope you enjoy making your own unique pom pom garland!

Happy Festive Crafting x

Nature Trail Tote - by Katy Cameron - The Littlest Thistle

Nature-trail-toteAbout Me For SidebarDesigned and made by Katy Cameron


Finished size: 11.5inch x 13.5inch

Seam allowance, unless otherwise stated: 1/2inch



Dashwood - Double Border Nature TrailMaterials:

1/2 m Double Border print from Nature Trail by Dashwood Studios

1/2 m Bunnies print from Nature Trail by Dashwood Studios

1/2 m Fusible Woven Interfacing

1 m Cream Mini Pompom Braid 

1 m Orange Ricrac 

Basic sewing supplies

Cutting Instructions:

Cut the following pieces from the outer fabric:

2 front/back pieces, 12.5in x 14.5in (if using the double border print, fussy cut the borders between the duck and the hedgehog, and do not cut the selvage off)

Cut the following pieces from the lining fabric:

2 front and back pieces, 12.5in x 14.5in

2 handles 4in x 21in

Cut the following from the fusible woven interfacing:

2 front and back pieces, 12.5in x 14.5in

Cut the following pieces from each of the trims:

2 pieces 12.5in long

Preparing the pieces:

Step 2-3 1. Following the manufacturer’s instructions, fuse the woven interfacing to the back of the outer fabric pieces.

2. Sew the mini pompom trim to the outer bag pieces, 4in from the top of the 12.5in edge, parallel to the edge.

3. Sew the ricrac to the outer bag pieces, 1.5in from the bottom of the 12.5in edge, parallel to the edge.

 How To Make The Tote:

4. Take one front and one lining pieces and place right sides together, matching top edge. Stitch together along the top edge, then open out and press seams open. Repeat with the remaining outer and lining piece.

Step 5 5. Place the 2 pieces from step 4 right sides together, matching all edges and seams. Stitch all the way around, leaving a 4in turning gap in the bottom of the lining, then press the seam allowances open (you can do this by pressing one side at a time towards the body of the tote)

Step 6

6. Clip the corners of the outer and lining as per the photo and turn through the turning gap using a small pointed object, such as a chopstick, to push the corners square, and tucking the seam allowance from the turning gap inside.

7. Sew the turning gap closed, then tuck the lining inside the bag and press. Topstitch 1/8in from the top edge all the way around.

Step 88. Take one of the handles and fold in half, matching long edges, and press. Open out and fold the long edges in to the centre fold and press again. Fold along original fold line and press again.

Step 9a9. Open out along the original fold line so that the short ends are right sides together, as per the photo.

Step 9bUsing a 1/4in seam allowance, sew the short ends only, then clip the corners as you did in step 6. Turn the handle right sides out, so that the short seams are now on the inside, folding it along the original fold line.

10. Top stitch all the way round the handle 1/8in from edge.

11. Repeat steps 8 -10 with the other handle.



Step 1212. At each end of the 2 handles mark a box using a removable pen as per the photo, 1in up from the end.

13. Step 13Pin the handle ends to the bag so that the end of the handle is 2.5inch in from the side and 1.5inch down from the top, catching both the front and back of the bag with the pin. Stitch in place by sewing around the box twice, including the diagonals.




14. Step back and admire your new tote bag

About the pattern:

When I first saw this print I knew it would be perfect for a little girl who would be needing a present soon. The Nature Trail prints are so cute, and the wee trims just added a little extra something to the tote.



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Remembrance Day Poppies.....get your hook out!

Remembrance Day PoppiesIt isn't too late to create one of these lovely crocheted Poppies for this weekend's Remembrance Sunday. We used a pattern from HappyBerryCrochet.

However there are loads to choose from depending on the style you prefer....check out this link for ideas:

You Tube - Crochet a Poppy Ideas

Here's the red & black yarn that we used, happy crocheting!



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Introducing Katy Cameron - AKA - The Littlest Thistle

About Me For SidebarWe stumbled across Katy's blog some time ago and have loved reading about her wonderful makes, including gorgeous quilts, patchwork and the most scrumptious of totes, ever since.

If you haven't come across her yet, you'll find her blog here and she is also a regular contributor in 'Quilt Now magazine'.

If you like to sew and are especially keen on bags or quilting, then Katy's work and tutorials are definitely worth checking out!

Dashwood - Double Border Nature TrailSo you can understand our delight, when having got in touch with the lovely Katy she agreed to become part of the Poppies & Polka Dots Blog team! Yeaaaay! And have we got a treat for you this month... Katy has been busy creating an irresistible tote for you using this little package of yumminess, which includes the lovely double border print from the Nature Trail collection. Think, perfect gift for someone (or yourself!), so be sure to check this out over the coming days.

In the meantime, I thought I'd share a little more with you about Katy, so here's some questions we recently put to her.....(and some pictures of her makes!) Enjoy x

Have you always been a fan of making and sewing? When did it all begin?

I am what my mum would call a ‘fidget’. I swear I spent half my childhood listening to her saying ‘will you sit at peace!’ so I made things to keep me occupied and when I left home, woah, there was no-one shouting and I had so much more space to make things! I’ve meandered through a number of crafts, having learned to embroider when I was very small, hijacked my mum’s unused sewing machine in my teens, wandered past glass painting, watercolour, scrapbooking, jewelery making and teddy bear making before settling on bags and quilts.

IMG_6726What was the catalyst to starting your blog?

I used to make my one of a kind artist teddy bears to sell, so I started the blog    after encouragement from fellow artists as a place to show progress in the making and maybe even sell. That never really happened, but when I stumbled across Sew Mama Sew giveaway day in 2011 while looking for dolls’ clothing patterns, I both found a whole new area of things to sew (quilts) and a set of things to focus my blog on (initially clothes and bags, then quilts).

Where do you find inspiration for your makes?

IMG_2167All over! I carry a sketch book in my bag, and especially when I’m travelling you can see me sitting in train stations and airports furtively sketching bag shapes and design features. The women at work also provide all sorts of ideas with their handbags. I’ve never copied a whole bag, but I’ve certainly noted down what I consider to be ingenious ways of doing things. There’s one girl who was sitting in front of me at a company meeting recently, and there was an adjustable bit at the top of her bag that I’m dying to use somewhere!

p19eho46odgf2enc1qs7t55vdi9How would you describe your style?

Practical, for the most part. I’m not good at girly and pretty, and until very recently I didn’t even use handbags, preferring to shove everything in my coat pockets, but then someone pointed out that the handbags might be a good marketing tool if I actually used them! My mum has received most of my smaller bags over the years, but the bigger ones are usually ones I make to fulfil a need when travelling.

Can you explain the ‘bear’ thing?

See previous answers :o) I used to make and sell one of a kind artist teddy bears out of mohair. The bear that is my blog avatar was my very first design, and the one that is my Facebook avatar was a finalist in the British Bear Artists Awards.

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

These days I’m all about the eye candy on Instagram. I’m quite selective about who I follow because I don’t have a lot of time to spend, but recently the #beesewcial bee have been making some fantastic quilt blocks, lots of great improv and interesting inspiration.

IMG_3715We’ve seen that your patterns have featured in various magazines, how did your first feature come about?

My first feature was in a one off bag making magazine. My friend Jo from My Bearpaw happened to know the editor and was making something herself and suggested I send in a pattern. I’m a regular in Quilt Now magazine after one of my patterns was successful in an open call to submit for the first 3 issues magazines. I’ve been in almost every issue since.

What was the last thing that you made for yourself?

Ummm, well I’ve got 2/3 of a ‘My Small World’ supersized quilt top made, which will be for me, does that count?

Are you planning any Christmas makes? If so, what are you most looking forward to getting started on?My family demands homemade every year. My mum has requested a bag, and has specifications, so that will be my favourite as I won’t have to imagine the whole thing from scratch ;o)

IMG_8119What are you most looking forward to in 2016 in terms of sewing & any upcoming projects?I’m most looking forward to Sew Brit Bag Camp, a weekend bag making retreat that I’m running with my friend Samantha from Patterns By Mrs H, which will be in March. It’s a lot of work, but should be such a fun event!

If you want to learn more about Katy and her latest tutorials, patterns and much more, be sure to head over to The Littlest Thistle

Don't forget, her latest tote and 'how to instructions' for the lovely Nature Trail double border fabric, will be available here at Poppies & Polka Dots in the next couple of days..... be sure not to miss it!




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