The Homemakery Blog

Homemakery How To: Crochet Around An Embroidery Hoop

How to crochet an embroidery hoop

I confess I have a little bit of a love affair with HoopLa! For those of you not sure what I’m on about Hoopla is quite simply using humble Embroidery Hoops to frame stitching, sewing or other crafty endeavours. What goes inside the hoop is just as important as prettifying the hoop  itself so today I’ve done a quick How To on Crocheting around an embroidery hoop. It looks amazing when its done and its quick project that only takes a couple of hours.


Yarn – I used Rico Essentials Cotton DK in Candy Pink (12)
4mm Crochet Hook
Embroidery Hoop – 7 inch


All Crochet Stitches are UK. If you are new to Crochet I have linked each stitch to a handy diagram over on Learn to Knit

1. Create a slip knot on your crochet hook and slip stitch onto the hoop.

Slip Stitch onto Hoop

2. Double Crochet (DC) into the hoop. To do this put your hook into the hoop, hook the yarn through (from the back to the front). You will now have two strands of yarn on your hook. Yarn over the hook and pull through both strands of yarn. Thats your first DC completed.

Double Crochet onto Hoop

3. DC all around the hoop until the yarn covers the hoop completely.

4. At the end of the hoop turn your hoop around, Chain (CH) 3 and then Treble Crochet (TR) into every other DC in the row below. Note: I did experiment TR into every DC but found that as I had so many DC it created a ripple effect which I didn’t like. Depending on the yarn you are using you might want to TR into each DC rather than every other.

Treble Crochet in every other DC

5. Once you have TR all around the hoop join the last TR to the first CH3 with a slip stitch.

6. To create the scallops skip 1 stitch then TR7, skip 1 stitch and DC. Repeat. Note: if on the previous row you TR into every DC you might want to skip 2 stitches, then TR7, skip 2 stitches and DC.

Slip stitch & scallop

7. When you get to your last couple of scallops its worth double checking the number of stitches left in case a little fudging on your scallops is required. I got lucky with this one and it worked out perfectly!

Crochet around an Embroidery Hoop

Scallop trim on embroidery hoop

And thats how you crochet around an embroidery hoop!

A note on yarn

I used Rico Essentials Cotton DK yarn which is a mercerised yarn. The mercerisation process binds the fibres, strengthening the yarn and gives it a gentle sheen which reminds me of the sheen you get on embroidery thread. Owing to the mercerisation process the yarn is very smooth and the fibres stay together making it perfect for crocheting around an embroidery hoop. Normal cotton or acrylic yarn will give a slightly different effect as there is more give in the fibres and you probably wont have to do quite so many DC on the first round!

I will be back soon to show you what I did with my finished hoop!

Happy Hooking!

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Kate May
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Baking: Westcountry Easter Biscuits

westcountry easter biscuits

I don’t have the greatest memory in the world, but I seem to have a photographic memory when it comes to food  I still remember the best sandwich I’ve ever eaten, Florence 2004, the most incredible Macaroni Cheese with Lobster & Truffle, Portland Maine, 2010 and the Easter Biscuits from my local farm shop which I consumed by the packet load as a child.

I grew up in the West Country in a small village in the Mendip Hills which is a stones throw from that popular yoghurt dairy, Yeo Valley. What I didn’t realise until I moved away, is that the Easter Biscuits I had as a child were a local speciality which you don’t find outside of the Bristol/Somerset area. These Easter Biscuits are essentially Shrewsbury biscuits with an extra ingredient added to them….. Cassia Oil.

Yes Cassia Oil, I hadn’t really heard of it either! Apparently it comes from the bark of a Chinese Cinnamon tree, which is native to China, how it ended up in the Westcountry is anyone guess! Its really difficult to describe  the taste of Cassia Oil its a bit like cinnamon but spicier and with the most incredible, warming cosy smell. Baking these biscuits makes the house smell nicer than any yankee candle!

This year after going almost a decade without proper Westcountry Easter Biscuits I tracked down some Cassia Oil  and had a go at recreating these Easter biscuits, they are really quick to make and taste amazing! If you don’t have any Cassia Oil you can substitute it for Mixed Spice.


285g Plain Flour
200g Butter
140g Golden Caster Sugar
70g Currents
2 Egg Yolks
8 drops of Cassia Oil or 1-2 tsp of mixed spice to taste


  1. Heat oven to 160C
  2. Mix the butter, sugar and flour until well beaten.
  3. Mix in the egg yolks and add the Cassia Oil or Mixed Spice.
  4. Add in the currents and mix by hand. If the dough is dry and crumbly add a splash of milk to bring it together.
  5. Roll out the dough to about 1/2 cm thick and cut out your easter biscuits
  6. Place biscuits on baking parchment covered baking trays and cook for 10-15 minutes until the edges start to go golden. When you take the biscuits out the oven they should still be fairly yellow in colour. Sprinkle with sugar and leave to cool and harden on the baking tray for 10 minutes then move to a rack for cooling.
  7. Eat and enjoy!

I hope you like the recipe and if you do have a go at baking them be sure to let me know what you think!

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Kate May
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How to: Patchwork Sewing Machine Cover

Patchwork Sewing Machine Cover

When the Prairie fabrics from Dashwood Studios arrived a few weeks ago I knew they would be perfect to give my little sewing area a bit of a spring time makeover . Over the next few weeks or so I will be bringing you some sewing tutorials for prettifying your sewing area using just one bundle of Prairie fat quarters, well thats the goal anyway! First up is a patchwork sewing machine cover!

I’ve had my little  sewing machine for about 7 years now. She came with a vile plastic cover which over the years has became torn and tatty, enough was enough and I decided a new outfit was in order!

Making a sewing machine cover can be as simple or elaborate as you like. Essentially its one long piece of fabric which goes up and over your sewing machine, you can keep it as simple as that adding ties on the side to keep it in place, or you can add side panels so that your machine is entirely encased. You can patchwork or applique, sew on buttons or trims or add a little embroidery, really you can be creative as you like!

This tutorial shows you how to make a lined patchwork sewing machine cover which will completely enclose your machine.


1 metre of lining fabric – Pink Ditsy Bow
Prairie by Dashwood Studio Fabric Pack
1/2 metre Essex Linen in Grey by Robert Kaufman
1 metre of Crochet Lace Trim in Pink
1/2 metre medium weight sew in interfacing
2 metres of bias binding – Pink Stripe Bias Binding
Coats Cotton Thread – 1716
Coats Cotton Thread – 3612 (for sewing on the Crochet Lace Trim)


For this tutorial I made a lining for my machine first. Sewing machines look quite a simple shape but when you start measuring them you realise they are quite lumpy with bobbin winders and hand wheels all sticking out. By making the lining first, it’s almost like making a muslin of a dress before you jump in with your nice expensive fabric, it gives you an idea of how your cover will look on your machine and also let you make any adjustments so when  it comes to making the pretty front for your cover, you will be all set to go with your measurements.

First up measure the length, width and height of your machine and then measure up, over and down your machine.

Basic Sewing Machine Cover Template

Sewing Machine Cover Lining

1. Take your lining fabric and cut the long middle piece, for mine I cut a piece measuring 30.5 inches by 18.5 inches including the seam allowance (which is a 1/4 inch throughout).

2. I then cut two side pieces, I needed a piece 9 inches at the bottom (plus half inch seam allowance) and 6 inches at the top (again plus a half inch) so 9.5 bottom, 6.5 top and with a length on either side of 13 inch (including half inch seam). I doubled up my fabric and cut the two side pieces at once, since they are exactly the same.


3. Pin one of your side panels to the long length of fabric . Sew up this side from the bottom to the top. When you are almost at the top stop quarter of an inch from the top, leave your needle in, pull up your sewing machine foot and swivel your fabric so you bring the top of your side panel alongside the long length of fabric you just stitched.


Bring your foot down then stitch along the top. P4129923

Again when you get 1/4 inch from the end, stop put your needle down into your fabric and swivel so the other edge of the fabric can be stitched down the long length. Stitch down and you have sewn one end of your cover.

4. At this point you may want to put it on your machine and adjust the fabric length. I had been too generous with my fabric so I was able to cut off a couple of inches before sewing in the the other side piece. (make sure you sew the side piece so the you start from the same side of the long piece of fabric that you did previously, that way if your long piece is too long you can just cut it off one side).


(A note on interfacing: when I had made my inner and outer cover I decided they needed a little stabilising so I sewed a piece of interfacing to the wrong side of my inner by stitching it to the main lining piece (not the side pieces). To save you a job later you may want to sew your interfacing onto you long middle piece before sewing on the side pieces.)


5. You are done with your lining. Now onto the outer! If you made any adjustments to your measurements it might be a good idea to measure your inner as a guide for your outer


Sewing Machine Cover Outside

Patchwork Template

Making the patchwork piece requires a little bit of maths depending on the width of your machine. My sewing machine measured 18.5 inches wide. I wanted to use 2 inch patchwork pieces so I worked out 16 inches = eight 2 inch patchwork pieces and then a border on either side of 1.25 inches would bring my cover to 18.5 inches wide (note these measurements are for the finished piece and do not include seam allowances!). In total I used 88 squares for my 11 rows of eight patchwork squares.

1. Cut your 88 pieces using a rotary cutter and ruler. I used 8 fabrics so needed 11 squares from each fabric piece measuring 2.5 inches x 2.5 inches  (including the seam allowance of 1/4 inch). I layered two fabrics on each other and cut through them at the same time to make the cutting process a bit quicker.


Once you have a pile of patchwork pieces it’s time to sew them together.


2. Decide on the order of the pieces for your first row, then chain pieced them together.


Chain piecing makes it really quick to piece your squares together by sewing them one after another, and then snipping the threads in between the blocks before sewing the blocks together to form a row. At the end of each row press your seams all the same way.

3. Repeat for another 10 rows. For each patchwork row I moved a pattern block along so I ended up with the staggered effect you see below. Keep your rows in order so that when it comes to sewing your rows together you can pick up your pile and go!

Patchwork Piece

Pieced patchwork

4. Once all your rows are sewn together its time to add in the borders. I used Robert Kaufman Essex Linen in grey for mine I cut two pieces measuring 22.5 inches by 1.75 inches (incl seam allowance) and sewed those to the long sides of my patchwork.


5. Then I cut two linen pieces measuring 19 inches x 4 inches (including seam allowance) and sewed those to the bottom of my patchwork piece.

Outer sewing machine cover

6. I then sewed some co-ordinating crochet lace trim down the seam between my patchwork and bottom linen pieces using a matching thread.

Stitching on the crochet lace trim

7. Once thats done its time to sew in your side pieces using the same method as for your lining. It is also a good idea at this point to make sure you pin the middle of your long patchwork piece and the middle of the top of your side pieces as you want to ensure that they meet when you sew in your side pieces. Otherwise you could end up with your patchwork piece being off centre.  Better to find out now than after you have finished stitching in your first piece!

8. Once your side pieces are in and your outer is sewn its time to put your cover together. Place you inner on your machine, right side facing the machine, wrong side facing out then, put your outer cover on top right side facing out.

At this point I trimmed all around the bottom of my cover to get all the lengths even, straight and ready for the bias binding.


9. Whilst my cover was still on the machine I pinned my bias binding to the base of the cover. I used pre made bias binding, it comes pre-folded which provides a handy line to sew along.

If you’ve never used bias binding before you sew one side with your sewing machine and then hand stitch the other side for an invisible finish.

Sewing in the bias binding

10. Sew along the folded line closest to the bottom of the cover. Once done  flip the bias binding down and onto the inside of the cover to conceal the raw edge. Sew the bias binding to the inside of the cover using whip stitch (there is a great video for whip stitch here).

Thats it, your patchwork sewing machine cover is done!

P4130049 1

This is what the lining looked like completed. Handy that it’s also reversible!


Yes I’m really rather proud of my new machine cover, its certainly spruced up my sewing room!

Finished sewing machine cover

Happy Sewing!

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Kate May
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Homemakery How To: Mini Hexagon Pin Cushion

Mini Hexi Pin Cushion Tutorial - The Homemakery Blog

My mum taught me to English Paper Piece (EPP) when I was a little girl. I was very keen to learn how to sew and commandeered her sewing machine on numerous occasions. Introducing me to EPP was no doubt her way of getting me off her sewing machine for five minutes! One of the undoubted benefits of EPP is that it is so portable, no sewing machine required, making it the perfect sewing craft for taking on weekends away or for enjoying sunny days in the garden.

I popped over to Madrid for the Easter break and took with me some fabric scraps and some hexagon templates and came back with an almost finished pin cushion. I cannot convey how much love I have for hexagons, they are possibly the prettiest of all patchwork. If you have never English Paper Pieced before this is the perfect bite size project to get you going, it wont be long before hexis are taking over your life. If you fancy giving it a go here is the how to:


Fabric Scraps – I used fabrics from Dashwood Studios Prairie Collection
Essex Linen in Grey by Robert Kaufman
Thread – Coats Cotton 1716
DMC Perle Cotton – I used 604
Quilting and Basting Needles for the piecing and Cross Stitch & Embroidery Needles for the embroidery
Hexagon template from Incompetech I used hexagon size 0.6
Toy stuffing for filling

You will also need a rotary cutter, self healing cutting mat and ruler.


1. Decide on the size of your hexagons and print them out. I wanted to make a pin cushion approximately 4 inches square so after printing out a couple of sheet of hexagons ranging from 0.5 inches to 1 inch I settled on a 0.6 inch hexie. I recommend printing your hexis on card to provide a solid base for your paper piecing.

2. Cut out your hexagons.

3. Baste your hexagons

Basting a hexi step by step

    • Attach your fabric to the card hexagon piece using a pin (note. your pin should be on the other side of your fabric, so it doesn’t interfere with your basting like mine, blame the holiday vino!).
    • Cut the fabric around the hexi leaving half an inch or so.
    • Starting at one corner of your hexi fold over each piece of fabric and use your nail to create a sharp crease where the fabric folds over onto the card. Sew a couple of small stitches ensuring the fabric stays together. Once the corner is secure move onto the next corner and repeat.
    • Continue stitching each corner until you reach the start corner, finish the basting by securing your thread by stitching again over the first corner.
    • Note: some people sew through their paper to the front of their hexis, thats fine for some projects as you will be removing the basting stitches, for this project we will be leaving the basting in place, if you stitch through your paper it will make it difficult to remove later on.

Repeat until you have a pile of hexis, you will need seven for the flower for the front of your pin cushion and if you intend to create a hexi back to your pin cushion you will need about another 33 hexis.

4.  Join your hexis to create your flower. Take your central hexi and first outside piece, with the pieces right side together whip stitch along one side. Use tiny little stitches and be sure not to sew too far down the hexi they should just pick up a few strands of the fabric thread.

Sewing hexis together

Take a second piece and right sides down, whip stitch it to the centre piece. Now join the two sides together using whip stitch. Continue adding hexis to your centre piece until you have sewn 7 pieces together and formed a flower.

Hexi Flower

5. Take out your paper (or card) hexagon pieces, but keep the basting in place.

Back of the hexi flower

6. Take your piece of linen and pin your flower in the centre. Sew around the outside of the flower using tiny whip stitch. You want to keep your stitches small, frequent and as hidden as possible.


7. Next comes the quilting, I quilted my flower using DMC Perle Cotton, Perle Cotton is the equivalent to 3 strands of embroidery thread and since its in one thread its great for hand quilting as the strands don’t come apart. I stitched around the centre hexi and then for decoration I followed the flower shape and hand stitched onto the linen.


8. For the backing hexagon patchwork piece, join your hexis together using whip stitch to form a piece of patchwork fabric approximately 5 inches by 5 inches. I used 6 by 6 hexis to achieve this.

Hexagon backing fabric

9. Remove the paper hexis but again keep the basting stitches. Using a quilting ruler cut your hexi patchwork so that it measures 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches.

Cutting the backing

10. Cut your linen to measure 4.5 inches by 4.5 inches ensuring your flower is centred in the middle.

Pin cushion fabrics

11. Pin your front piece and back piece, right sides together. Sew around the square using a ¼ inch seam allowance and leave a two inch gap on one side. Backstitch at the start and end of your sewing so that when you turn it out the delicate hexi patchwork doesnt start to fray.

12. Turn right sides out and fill with toy stuffing, use a pen or your finger to push it into the corners.

Stuff your pin cushion

13. Stitch your gap shut using ladder stitch which will give you an invisible finish (there is a great how to video on youtube here).  Thats it your finished hexi pin cushion.

P4250724 P4250757 Mini hexi pin cushion finished

Happy Sewing

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English Paper Piecing with the Sewline Glue Pen

Sew Line Glue Pen - The Homemakery Blog

English Paper Piecing seems to be everywhere at the moment, I picked up the latest copy of Love Patchwork & Quilting Magazine and they have 10 pages dedicated to it! Its not surprising as the weather warms up English Paper Piecing is the perfect craft to take outside and enjoy in the sunshine.

Before I left on holiday we got a humougous delivery of Sewline Glue Pens and since I cannot go on holiday without a craft project in my suitcase I popped in some fabrics, some hexi paper pieces and a Sewline Glue Pen.

Having previously only basted my paper pieces with a traditional needle and thread I thought I would share my thoughts.

How to:

Using a Sewline glue pen is really easy, simply pin your fabric to your paper piece and glue along one side of you paper piece. Using your nail fold your fabric down over the glue ensuring it is flush with the edge of the paper.

Step 1

Repeat on the next side of the paper piece, you will need to apply some glue to the fabric where it overlaps the previous side.

Step 2 Repeat

Repeat all the way around until your paper piece has been basted.Step 3 finish

and thats it!

Pros of using the Sewline Glue Pen

  • Super portable and much easier to whip out and use than a needle and thread
  • Much quicker than using a needle and thread, you will have a stack of basted paper pieces in no time at all
  • Comes with an extra glue refill and more refill packs are available
  • Glue goes on blue but dries clear so you can see where you’ve put it
  • Its easy to peel off the fabric to remove the paper pieces

Cons of using the Sewline Glue Pen

  • It is glue and glue does melt so probably not one to use on super hot days or left in direct sunlight where it *might* melt.
  • Its not quite as secure as thread basting and I did notice that my fabric occasionally came unstuck when I was sewing my pieces together, not a huge problem when you can easily glue it back down

Despite the couple of cons I’m definitely a convert and don’t think I will be returning to needle and thread basting purely because using a glue pen just saves so much time!

Finished Hexi Sewline Glue Pen

If you are looking for Paper Pieces to go with your Sewline glue pen you can find our full range here. I will hopefully be back in a week or two with my finished hexi project, still debating how to finish it!

Happy sewing!

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Kate May
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Homemakery How To: Lined Box Pouch with Lace Zipper

Lined Box Pouch with Lace Zip Tutorial

We have had these gorgeous lace zips in for a while now and I was keen to use one on a box pouch to show it off in all its glory.

I searched high and low for a proper lined  box pouch tutorial using a lace zip and couldn’t find one so I ended up mixing and matching a bunch of tutorials to make my finished pouch. I thought I would share my version here .

The finished box pouch measures 8 1/2 inches long by 5 1/2 inches wide and 2 1/2 inches high.

If you are looking to make a lined pouch with a normal zip I thoroughly recommend checking out tutorials by Pink Stitches and Pretty Modern.


1 Fat Quarter Cream May Flowers by Bonnie & Camille for Moda (Exterior Fabric)
1 Fat Quarter Red Spot by Bonnie & Camille for Moda (Interior Fabric)
30cm Lace Zip – Emerald
Iron on Interfacing
Green thread to sew on Zip – 6724
White Thread


Rotary Cutter and Mat
Quilters Ruler
Sewing Machine

How To

1. Cut 2 exterior pouch pieces measuring 13 by 8 inches, 2 interior pouch pieces measuring 13 by 8 inches and  2 pieces of light weight iron on interfacing measuring 13 by 8 inches.

Cut your fabric pieces

2. Iron the interfacing onto the wrong side of you exterior fabric (if you havent used iron on interfacing before its the rough side with the adhesive on it that should be ironed onto the wrong side of the fabric using a hot dry heat).

Iron on the interfacing

3. Take an exterior piece of fabric, right side up, and an interior piece of fabric, right side down and pin along one of the long sides.

Pin the exterior and interior pieces together

4. Sew a quarter inch seam, press the seam open, then put the wrong sides together and press the seam down. Repeat with the remaining interior and exterior piece.

Sewing the exterior pieces

5. Pin your zip on the right side of one piece of exterior fabric where you pressed the seam. Measure in 7/8 inch from each side and pin this should be after the metal parts of the zip so they are hidden later. Practice opening the zip to check it wont catch the fabric when sewn.

Pinning the zip on one side

6. Choose a thread to match the zip for the top stitch and a thread to match the interior fabric for the bottom stitch. If you have a zipper foot for your machine pop it on and move the needle over as far as it will go. Starting from where you pinned in Step 5 sew the zip in place approximately 2mm away from the zip, try not to sew over onto the lace part of the zip if you can help it. When sewing its easier to start at the bottom of the zip ie. not the puller end. Stop when you reach the horizontal pin at the bottom.

Whilst you are sewing check that you are catching the fabric in place.

Sewing on the zip

7. Once you’ve sewn your zipper on check that it zips ok

Sewn zip on one side

8.  Pin the other side of the zip to the right side of the remaining fabric piece, this may take a couple of trys until you get it just right.  Open the zip to check it all looks ok and then sew down your zip as before, you may want to swap your zipper foot the other side first.

Sewing on the other side of the zip

9. Phew for me thats the toughest bit the rest is just simple sewing in a straight line! Change your thread, put back on your original presser foot and move your needle back to its original position.

10. Next separate your interior fabrics from the exterior fabrics so both interior pieces are right side together and both exterior pieces are right side together. Pin and then sew a quarter inch seam along the bottom of both pieces. For the interior piece leave a gap a couple of inches wide in the middle, secure on both sides as you will be pulling the bag through it later (if you forget to do this like me just unpick part of the seam and secure either side with your sewing machine). Press your seams open.

Sewing the fabrics together

11. Line up the seams so they are centred on the zip and press, make sure for the exterior piece this is lined up perfectly, if its not perfect you will end up with your zip and seam not lining up on your finished pouch so this is one step you want to double check.

Line up the zip with the exterior seam of the pouch

12. Pin the exterior fabric shut at the end of the zip (not the zip pull end). You want to make sure the interior fabric is pulled back from the line you are going to sew as you don’t want to sew your interior fabric at the same time. I needed to unpick a few stitches where my Interior and exterior fabrics were sewn together in step 4. I sewed in about 7/8 inch from the edge and went over the zip a number of times.

Sewing the end of the pouch

13. Repeat for the other exterior fabric edge moving the zip pull out of the way. Cut the excess seam on both sides back down to 1/4 inch.

14. Now push the zipper so it is open, if you don’t do this now you wont be able to turn your pouch out the right way later on.

15. Zipper pulled back? Now sew up the ends on the interior fabric, as before keeping a 7/8 seam and then cutting back to 1/4 inch when finished

Zipper open? Sew the inner fabric shut

16. Now to make the corners all boxy. Pinch each corner, it may help to line up the corner at a 40 degree angle on your mat. Measure up 1 1/4 inch from the corner and mark a line in pencil. Your pencil line will measure approx 2 1/2 inch across. Repeat for all 8 corners and sew across each line.

Making the pouch boxyP6142731

Cut off the corners to leave a 1/4 inch seam.

17. Turn you pouch out through the gap in the seam of the interior fabric. This is why we left our zipper open in Step 14.


18. Stitch the gap shut using ladder stitch

P6142737 P6142738

19. Congratulations your pouch is finished!!

Finished Box Pouch with Lace Zipper


They are quite addictive I made a second with this adorable Cherries fabric from Chloe’s Closet.

Lace Zip Pouches

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial, do link me up if you make one of these pouches I would love to see it.

Happy Sewing!

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DIY Waste Paper Bin Kit

DIY Waste Paper Bin Kitjpg

Don’t you just love instant fix crafts? The ones that don’t take long to do but you still get that “yes I made that” feeling when they are done. Well today I’m talking about waste paper bins, not something I tend to give much (if any!) thought to at all, but they are one of those insanely useful things to have around the house.  I recently relocated my sewing area to our spare bedroom and was in desperate need of a bin for all my sewing off cuts, so rather than buying I decided I was going to make one! Cue these rather awesome DIY bin kits!

Making a bin is so easy, it takes about 30 minutes tops and if you have made a lampshade in the past it basically follows the same kind of principles. If anything the hardest thing about making the bin is picking which fabric to use!! I was tied between using the Yellow Crochet Squares from the Dashwood Studios Prairie range or one of the Flower Sugar Roses fabrics. In the end I decided on the Flower Sugar, making that decision almost took as long as making the bin itself, I kid you not.

All you need to make a waste paper bin is:
1/2 metre of fabric – I used Flower Sugar Roses in Pink
Bin Making Kit
Scissors or Rotary Cutter and Mat

1.  First iron your fabric getting out any creases. Put the fabric right side down on a clear surface and put your adhesive panel on top. Have a think about the direction of your pattern, the longer length of the panel will form the top of your bin and the shorter length the bottom so make sure your fabric is the right way up now!

Place panel on your fabric

2. Pull back the paper from the adhesive panel and stick the panel to your fabric. Slowly remove the paper bit by bit and apply even pressure to the panel so it adheres to the fabric with no lumps, bumps or creases. Once done flip it over and smooth the fabric onto the panel.Remove the adhesive coveringSmooth down the panel onto the fabric

3. Using scissors or a rotary cutter, cut the excess fabric from around the panel.Cut around the fabric

Covered panel

4. Snap the creased edges on the top and the bottom of the panel and remove them carefully leaving behind strips of fabric.Crack the sides

5. Take the metal rings and apply the double sided tape around the outside of the ring. Remove the paper from the tape and then fold the tape over the rings so it s fully covered and ready for sticking on your panel.

Apply double sided tape to the metal rings

press the tape down over thring

6. On one side of the panel there is some self adhesive tape remove this, then align your rings with the edge of the panel on the opposite side.

Take off the strip of adhesive

7. You want your rings to line up exactly where the panel meets the fabric. The large ring is at the top and the small ring is at the bottom.Slowly roll the rings down the panel

8. Gently roll your rings along the panel ensuring you keep the rings in line with the edge of the panel at all times.

Start rolling the ringsMake sure the rings are right on the edge of the panel

9. When you get to the end firmly press down on the overlapped fabric to get it to adhere to the sticky strip

10. Now comes the most time consuming bit folding the fabric over the rim and getting a neat finish. My tips are cut off any frayed edges before you start. Use the corner of the serrated edge of the tool to push the fabric firmly under the rim, a couple of pushes should get it in. Finish any stray threads using the pointed end.Tuck the fabric under the rings

On the picture above you can see I folded over the end of my fabric before tucking it in to get a neat finish.  Finish

11. Repeat with the bottom ring and you are nearly finished!

11. To finish peel of the plastic protective covering to the base and then firmly push the base into the bottom of your bin. You will be able to remove the base  if needed, or if you want it stay put just glue it down.

Pop the base in and you are finished

Thats it your bin is finished!  The finished bin measures 31cm tall and has a diameter of 25.5cm, it also makes for rather handy yarn storage!

DIY bin kit also makes for handy yarn storage!

Yes I definitely need to make another to store my current crochet WIPs, an excellent opportunity to use that yellow crochet squares fabric!

Happy Crafting

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Kate May
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How To: Fabric Pumpkins in 3 Sizes

Fabric & Felt Pumpkins

This year I had high hopes of growing my own pumpkins but unfortunately I planted them too close to what turned out to be a couple of very aggressive courgette plants so absolutely no pumpkins for me! Taking matters into my own hands I decided that I was going to make my very own fabric pumpkin patch as well as making a mental note to next year plant the pumpkins well away from the courgettes!

I think its fairly well acknowledged that when it comes to making fabric pumpkins Martha Stewart pretty much nailed the pumpkin tutorial and its a great place to start. But nevertheless I thought I’d share how I made my own little pumpkin patch.

The pumpkins will vary in height/width based on how you stuff them, my biggest pumpkin ended up at around 7 inches wide by 4 inches tall and my smallest was around 4.5 inches wide by 3 inches tall (excluding the stalk). The smallest pumpkin was definitely the easiest to make so if you are making these with the kiddos that is probably the best place to start.


Fabric – I used Orange Leaf from Vintage Happy by Lori Holt, Fox & Friends Cream Leaves by Lewis & Irene and Sevenberry Vintage Ditsy Flower Orange & Mint
Toy Stuffing
Needle & Thread
Embroidery Thread 
Knitters Needle
Felt – Chocolate, Grass Green, Holly Green
Beacon 3 in 1 Craft Glue

This is how I made my three pumpkins:

Fabric Pumpkins in 3 sizes

Cut your fabric:

Large fabric pumpkin : 21 inch x 10.5 inch

Medium fabric pumpkin: 19 inch x 9.5 inch

Small fabric Pumpkin: 15 inch x 7.5

1. Fold the fabric in half right sides together and sew the short sides together.

2. Knot your thread tightly then do a running stitch along one of the open sides, it wont be seen so it doesn’t need to be too neat.


3. Pull the thread tight so your fabric bunches up and secure. I tie a knot then wrap the thread around a couple of times, taking my needle and thread back through the gather and then knot off.


4. Turn your pouch out the right way and stuff full of toy stuffing

5. For the next step I used a double piece of thread (take a long piece of thread pop it on your needle make sure the two ends meet and tie a big knot). As before do a running stitch along the top of the opening. You will need to pull it tight once you get back to where you started and depending on how much stuffing you have used it may break if you don’t double up or use a strong thread.


6. Once you’ve done your running stitch pull tightly and secure with a knot and a couple of stitches through the gathers.


7. To form the pumpkin shape you will need about 2 metres of embroidery thread. I found a metre made 4 segments of a pumpkin and to get you pumpkin looking really pumpkiny you need 8 segments. Take your embroidery thread and a knitters needle, tie a knot at the end starting at what will be the base of the pumpkin. Push your needle through to the hole at the top of the pumpkin, this can be a bit tricky I found pushing the pumpkin down onto the needle made the needle easier to find. Once at the top of the pumpkin take the thread over the outside and back up through the bottom of the pumpkin and again to the top to form a segment.


Repeat on the opposite side, do this again so your pumpkins are in quarters. I then took another metre of thread and made each quarter into an eighth, doing it with two pieces of thread meant that you could adjust and pull your threads tighter or looser at the end when you had made all your segments. Tie the two threads together to secure.


8. For the stalk take a piece of felt approx 3inch by 8 inch for the large stalk, 7 inch x 2 inch for the medium stalk and 6 inch x 1.5 inch for the small stalk, roll the stalk up and glue the end in place with some Beacon 3 in 1 glue.P1015405

9. If you want to add leaves to your pumpkin cut a leaf shape measuring approx 1.5 inch wide by 3.5 inch long from the grass green felt and then cut a slightly larger leaf from the holly green felt, I then sewed around the leaf and up the middle on my sewing machine. (I made a smaller leaf for the smallest pumpkin)

P101540810. If your pumpkins are going to be man handled by little people stitch your stalk and leaf to the centre of your pumpkin, since mine were more decorative I glued them in place using my Beacon glue.

Thats it finished pumpkin!

Finished pumpkin


Happy pumpkin making!

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Kate May
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Paper Pieced Nordic Christmas Star Table Runner

Star Paper Pieced Table RunnerI’m a huge fan of Scandi Christmas decor so this year I fancied whipping up a Nordic inspired Star Table Runner. Its such a simple project using English Paper Piecing and can be done almost entirely by hand, great for evenings in front of the TV!

The finished table runner measures 12 inches by 40 inches or 30cm by 100cm


Back of the Nordic Star Table Runner


Winter Wonderland Fabric Bundle

1 Fat Quarter Sevenberry Red Gingham

Aurifil Thread in 2021 and 2250 (red)

3″ 8 Point Diamond Paper Pieces

Sewline Gluepen (if you aren’t thread basting)

1/2 metre Osnaberg

Wadding (I used Warm & White)

DMC Perle Cotton Red 321

How To:

The Stars are made using 8 Point Paper Diamonds but you could also use 6 Point Paper Diamonds for a quicker finish. If using 8 Point Paper Diamonds you will need  24 paper diamond pieces and 24 fabric diamonds. I simply pinned my paper diamond to my fabric and cut around it leaving at least a 1/4 inch seam. I cut 12 white and 12 red diamonds from my fabrics.

Use a glue pen or thread to baste your fabric to your diamond paper pieces. See our post here for thread bastingand here for glue basting. When paper piecing with diamonds don’t cut the off dog ears we will use them later, if possible try and make sure they point the same way.


Sew the diamonds together using whip stitch and red thread. Stitch 4 of your diamonds together to form one side of the star, when you have two sides made up stitch them together to form an eight pointed star.


Repeat to make another two 8 point diamond stars.


Press (iron) your stars, keeping the paper pieces within the star. Take your first star and gently remove the paper pieces, I found that because I had pressed (ironed) my stars with the paper pieces in place when I took them out the stars retained their shape even though I had used my glue pen rather than opt for the more traditional thread basting.

Take your half metre of Osnaberg and fold in half and then in quarters to find the mid point. Pin one star to the centre of this mid point and pin all the diamonds down, applique your star.


Things I found useful when appliquéing my stars:

  • When appliquéing your star to the Osnaberg use the same thread colour as the fabric diamond you are stitching.
  • Rather than working around each diamond in a clockwise direction take it in turns stitching opposite diamonds down eg. North, then South, East then West, NE then SW etc. to make sure they all lay flat when stitched down.
  • I used a large 12 inch embroidery hoop when appliquing to maintain the tension of the Osnaberg.
  •  When you reach the point of the diamond trim back the dog ear leaving about 1/4 inch poking out, using your needle tuck the dog ear underneath the point and stitch down.

Repeat for remaining Stars ensuring they are lined up.

For the backing patchwork cut 30 squares measuring 4 1/2 inches. Using a 1/4 inch seam sew three squares together for each row, then sew your rows together to form the backing of the runner, you should have 10 rows in total.

Cut some batting slightly larger than the backing, and cut your Osnaberg front down to 12.5 inches wide ensuring your stars are centered in the middle. Layer on top of batting and baste the three layers together using safety pins.

Using your Perle Cotton hand quilt around the stars using running stitch


Once you have finished your quilting take the fabric you are using for your binding and cut into strips 2 1/2 inches wide. Sew all the strips together so you have one strip of fabric. Press the joining seams open and then fold the strip in half and press. With the unfinished edge of the binding aligned to the edge of table runner stitch it down using a 1/4 inch seam.  If you haven’t stitched binding before we have a photo how to here


Hand stitch your binding to the back of your table runner.

IMG_4874And thats it you are finished!




Happy Christmas Sewing!

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Kate May
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Tilda Zipped Pouch Tutorial


Hi, its Nicki here and I am delighted to have the opportunity to blog here at The Homemakery. Kate’s online shop is our go-to fabric supplier here at homebird and belle – Kate’s taste in all things crafty is faultless and I could spend all of my time and money browsing this super pretty site (and often do).

Today I am sharing a zipped pouch tutorial with a simple patchwork pattern using the gorgeous Tilda Happiness is Handmade collection.

I have made several of these pouches in various sizes.  They are perfect for storing and transporting any WIPs but also brilliant for keeping all kinds of things organised in your handbag, like make-up or those odd bits and pieces that float around at the bottom of your bag, never to be seen again (I’m thinking hand cream, mints, hair bobbles, tissues etc).

So let’s get started!  The pouch I am making here has a finished size of 9” square (23cm).

You will need:


*note, we will be using 1/4” seams throughout, unless otherwise specified*

1. Begin by pressing your fabric well.  I like to use spray starch to get that boxfresh look at the end.

2. Using your rotary cutter and mat, cut 18 3.5” squares from your fabric scraps. 


3. You will be making two outer pieces, each made of 9 squares in a 3×3 formation, so lay them out in a way that you find pleasing. You can use the same layout for the front and back pieces, or have a play around and do each side differently.


4. Now, you will have three columns of three squares.  You want to sew the squares together into columns first.  Starting with column one, put squares A and B right side to right side and sew across the bottom, as straight as you can make it.  Then, put squares B and C right sides facing and sew across the top.

Repeat for the other columns.

5. You then need to press your squares carefully, with the seams in column one pressed upwards, in column two pressed downwards and column three pressed upwards.  You can see how I’ve done this in the photo below.

PIC SEVENPut columns one and two right sides together and make sure that the horizontal seams in each column butt up against each other nicely.  This will make sure that the points of your patchwork are perfectly aligned.  I have tried to demonstrate this in the picture below.


6. Pin the fabric into place and sew carefully along the length of the columns. You will finish with two pieces of fabric, each made up of 9 squares each.  Nicely done!

Want to stop for a cuppa?  You’ve earned a little break!

8. Ok, so now we need to baste the patchwork pieces to a piece of wadding each.  This will make sure that your pouch is nice and thick and holds its shape.  You can either use pins, tack the fabric to the batting with large running stitches (to be pulled out later) or use 505 basting spray (which is, frankly, fabulous).

If you are using basting spray, spray the fabric lightly and evenly with 505 and press carefully onto the wadding, taking care to smooth out any creases as you go.  (I press gently with the iron at this point, just because I’m obsessed with smooth fabric.)

9. Switch to the walking foot on your machine (you can do this with a regular foot too, but go slow) and increase the length of your stitches ever so slightly.  Line up the foot with the ditch of the squares (the seam where they are joined together) and sew a straight line approx 1/4” from the seam line.   I used an 1/8 this time as it always feels simpler on my machine.


Complete the process until both outer pieces of fabric have been quilted with vertical and horizontal lines on both sides of the seams.

PIC TEN10. At this point, you might want to embroider or embellish the pouch.  Go ahead! I wrote Claire’s name freehand with a frixion pen (which is removed with heat) and did a simple backstitch with sparkly floss.


11. Now you are ready to insert the zip, if using a larger zip cut off the bottom so that you have approx 1 inch of extra zip on either side of your fabric, then we will pin into place first, as follows:


Lay your outer piece face up and place the zip face down on top of it.

Then, place a lining piece face down on top of that (so your zip is sandwiched between the two pieces of fabric).  Make sure the top edges of all three pieces are neatly aligned and pin.

12. Switching to the zipper foot on your machine, sew as close to the teeth of the zip as you can without sewing into them.  As you can’t see the zip you’ll have to feel for it, but it should be quite obvious.  Take it slowly and get a nice straight edge.  As you get to the bulky slider of the zip, stop sewing, leave the needle in the fabric and lift the foot.  This will allow you to move the zip away into the part of fabric that you just sewed and it will be easier to get nice and close.


When you’ve done that, flip both pieces right way round and press well, away from the zip.

13. Still using the zipper foot, top stitch a nice straight line along the top of the outer piece.


14. Complete the same process with the other side of the pouch.  So, lay remaining outer piece up and put the zip face down on top of it (the other side of the zip obviously has the completed pieces attached, try to forget it’s there for now).  Then, place a piece of lining fabric face down on top of the zip, to sandwich it again.  Pin, as before, and stitch as before.
When you have finished, press both pieces away from the zip and top stitch neatly, the same distance from the zip as you did for the first piece.  Snip the ends of the zip flush with the fabric.

You will be left with this:


15. Here’s where we finish off the whole thing.  And where I forgot to take a photo and hastily made a little sketch.


Open out the fabrics and put the matching pieces of fabric right sides together.  So, the two quilted pieces are right side together and the two lining pieces are right side together.  You’ll have a rectangular, inside out piece of fabric with a zip sandwiched in between.  Rather like the sketch below:

Homebird sketchLine up the pieces neatly and try to align the seams of the squares with each other on the two quilted pieces.  Pin carefully and start to sew all the way around the edge of the rectangle (the dotted line), leaving a gap at the top of the lining pieces of approx 2”.  This will allow you to turn the pouch right way round at the end.

When you get to the bulky bits of fabric where the zip is, take care!  It is super bulky here and you need to go slow through the layers to ensure you don’t break a needle.

16. Phew.  Once you have sewn all the way around the edge, clip diagonally across the corners of the pouch and chop some of the bulky zip away taking care not to cut through any of the seam you just made.

Turn the pouch right way round from the inside, using the gap you left in the lining fabric.

Use a pointy tool to poke the corners out nice and square.


It’s a bit of a faff poking the zip out but do your best.  The corners at the top will be slightly rounded.

17. Press the lining fabric and stitch up the gap either by hand or with the sewing machine.  Push the lining neatly into the pouch and then press carefully.

Fill with treats and give to a friend.


I hope you love your new patchwork pouch.  

Nicki x

Kate May
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An Introduction to Paper Flower Making

Introducing Paper Flower Making from The Homemakery

If you have visited the Homemakery lately you may have noticed our new range of  Paper Flower Making Supplies tucked away in our Home Crafts department!

Paper Flower Making is the perfect craft for many of us combining both a love of making and a love of flowers!  Paper Flower making is a craft that harks back hundreds of years but gathered popularity during the Victorian era when paper crafting supplies became more widely available. Now paper flower making is heralding a come back for the pinterest generation looking to create their own fabulous floral displays for their homes, parties and weddings.

When the supplies arrived on Friday I had a play over the weekend and made my first Dahlia, its not perfect but not bad for a first try!


So if you haven’t come across Paper Flower Making before and fancy giving it a try, here is our beginners guide to Paper Flower Making!

Flower Making Supplies

Paper Flower Making How To From The Homemakery

You don’t need a lot to get started with paper flower making, a roll of florist crepe paper,  paper covered wire (for the stems) and roll of floral tape will get you started:

Florist Crepe Paper

Florist Crepe forms the foundation of your flowers and is used to make petals and leaves. Coming in 25 colours there really is a colour for every flower! What makes Florist Crepe different from normal crepe is probably its pliability, florist crepe goes from a being a flat (albeit rumpled) piece of paper and with a little carressing you can work the paper to form the cupped shapes that form the individual petals of your flowers and leaves. Florist crepe is a lot more sturdy than normal crepe making it more durable and long lasting.

Florist Crepe PaperFloral Tape

Floral Tape is also known as stem wrap and is an essential piece of your flower making kit. Flower Tape is used for attaching petals and leaves as well as covering the stem. Floral tape is slightly sticky with an adhesive that releases as the tape is stretched and wound around the flower.

Floral Tapes


If you are making a bouquet of flowers you will need a sturdy stem to support your flower heads. Paper Covered Floral Wire come in 50cm lengths and using wire cutters they can be cut down to size. Using the Floral Tape you can cover the stem turning it any colour you like.Floral Tapes


Flower Templates are really useful part of your kit if you are looking to create a specific flower like a Peony, Rose or Dahlia. Made from sturdy cardboard the templates can be reused hundreds of times. Alternatively there are many Paper Flower Making Books on the market which come full of templates which you can photocopy and cut out. Alternatively you can draw your own and experiment using different petal shapes!

Flower Making Templates

Flower Centre & Stamens

To start your flower you need to create a flower centre, the simplest method is to fringe cut some crepe paper, if you want a round centre you can use a cotton wool ball or polystyrene ball covered in crepe paper. Packs of Flower Pips are available in multiple colour combos and they are used to make the very realistic flower stamens at the centre of the flower.

Flower Pips


You will need a pair of scissors for cutting your petals and leaves, craft wire and glue though not essential can prove a life send when trying to secure multiple petals and stamens. Something I am very keen to try with Paper Flower making is painting my petals to add depth, detail and colour variation to the flower petals, I cant wait to try that!

Paper to Petal

If you are thinking of dipping your toe in the wonderful world of Paper Flowers I would definitely recommend the wonderful book Paper to Petal. I have had my copy since February and I have been chomping at the bit to get the supplies in so I could start flower making!


Not only is Paper to Petal the most stunning coffee table book packed to the brim with beautifully styled and amazingly stunning paper flowers, its also a practical how to book. The front section of the book shows every flower beautifully photographed in drool worthy settings, next comes a section on the materials you need, followed by basic paper flower making techniques. Step by step instructions on each flower project in the book then follow along with 264 templates which you can photocopy and use to make your own flowers.

But don’t take my word for it watch this gorgeous video or pop over to Amazon and  you can take a look inside

That’s paper flower making in a nutshell, if you fancy giving it a try check out our range of paper flower making supplies here, there are even pre-made kits containing floral crepe, floral tape, templates and instructions so you can get started straight away!

Happy Paper Flower Making!

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Kate May
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How to: Crochet a perfectly straight granny square

How to Crochet a perfectly straight granny square

Have you ever crocheted a granny square and found that it looks skewed or wonky, like its being dragged to one side? If so I have a few tips for you on how to crochet a perfectly straight granny square.

My golden rule to avoid the wonky granny square is……

“Flip your work on every round”

Cottage Garden Granny

What does this mean? Basically after finishing every round of crochet, rather than starting another round where you’ve finished, you flip your crochet over and start hooking the next round on the “wrong side”.

If you think about it if you add round, after round on the “right side” you are always crocheting in the same direction which helps create that skewed granny square look. If you use the flip method you will essentially crochet in opposite directions on each rounds which corrects any skewing!

If you don’t believe me look at these samples:

Crochet granny square examples

I have a few other tips which I use when hooking up my granny squares:

1. Do two chains (rather than three) in your corners

2. Start each round on a different side, so you aren’t joining the yarn in the same place on each round.

3. Never start a new round in a corner, always start your rounds on a side.

4. Don’t chain stitch between your clusters (tr uk or dc US), except on the corners see no.1

Cottage Garden Yarn Pack

I am currently in the middle of hooking up a giant granny square blanket, thats where you make a granny square and you keep adding rounds so it spreads out into a square blanket. The beauty of the giant granny square is you keep adding rounds until it reaches your desired size, or you become fed up, whichever comes first! I’m thoroughly enjoying seeing my granny growing on each round.

Cottage Garden Granny Square

Cottage Garden Granny

I’m using Stylecraft Special DK in 10 colours: Cream, Fondant, Pomegranate, Candyfloss, Wisteria, Sage, Storm, Meadow, Sherbet and Citron. 

Cottage Garden Yarn Pack

I will keep you posted on my progress!

Happy hooking!

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Kate May
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