Yoosta-Bee is in the bagging area!

Hello Dear Reader,

As promised, I told you that as soon as I’d finished, that I would start thinking about Christmas. I’m planning on making a few bags to sell so people can give them away at Christmas and I made my first attempt at a new pattern as a practise. I used old curtain material and it is brighter than it looks in the photos where it appears to be totally washed out. I have a mass of curtain and upholstery fabric which I shall use to make lots of these bags. I have the fabric so they won’t actually cost me anything to make. I shall use this bag for taking books to and from work as it big and roomy and every seam is stitched and then top stitched so it’s very strong.

 It’s a great bag for crafters and quilters to take to workshops with their fabric and notions inside and their tools, scissors and threads in the pockets. It certainly wasn’t easy to make and has taken me the best part of a day to make my first one. I will get quicker as I make more. I would advise anyone to use jumble sale fabric to make your first dress or bag so it doesn’t matter if the seams are lumpy or the pockets don’t sit as you would like them to. I paid 20p for this off cut of fabric at one of the local jumble sales so it really hasn’t cost me much to make it.

 The pattern very cleverly guides you to sew the lining into the outer layer and then turn it inside out. I’m really impressed with this pattern and I’m looking forward to making a whole load of these bags with the fabric I have.

If you want to make one of these really useful and sturdy bags the number of the Butterick pattern is B5741.

P.S I will have a ‘Christmas Bazaar’ page up and running by the end of October so my ‘Scrappy Bags’ will be onsale by then.

Over to you, who else is sewing for Christmas, or getting ready for the Christmas Bazaars and Fayres? It’s a great way to earn some ‘pin money’. Who is sewing or knitting for Christmas gifts?

I’m off now to pin out and cut out the next bag as I’m setting myself the target of three a week…… I love a deadline!

Yoosta-Bee? I make bags from fabric and they used to be something else.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxx


Get sewing, it will save you money!

Sent by Idealo for me to review and keep

Hello Dear Reader,

Back in September of last year my blog award was sponsored by Idealo, who I had never heard of before. My bread machine came to me via their website and now this sewing machine. I wanted a machine to teach people to sew on, that I could use here or take to them. I wanted something sturdy, reliable and that wouldn’t rock about when a beginner used it. I wanted a machine that was a simple as possible yet didn’t feel like a cracker prise.

I have a basic Brother machine, which is good enough to use as a travel sewing machine and at £80 it did incredibly well and I made all of my first quilts on it. It’s now ready to be passed on to my daughter for her to use. I now sew on a professional quilting machine but wanted something half way. I didn’t want it to cost too much but I didn’t want it to be cheap. Also, essential for a fumbling beginner, I wanted a threader so the novice could enjoy learning to sew with out the fuss of trying to get the thread through the needle.

I’ve used this little Husqvarna tonight and it has a low throaty hum which makes the whole thing sound reliable and it’s certainly quiet. I learnt to sew on a Husqvarna at school a million years ago and I’m delighted that this is still as easy to use. I’ve put it through its paces and it does everything my huge Elna does! 

Now, I never ever suggest you ever get anything unless you really need it but I can no longer imagine life without a sewing machine. I’ve put lots of links up across the blog to take you to Idealo, where you can find sewing machines at the best price. It’s kind of the compare the meerkats of everything!

I’ll be listing my next sewing workshops really soon, including a couple of just come and sew and natter days.  I’m also available to come to you (within Devon and Cornwall) to teach you to sew in the comfort of your own home. I’ll also be able to offer the use of this lovely machine for workshops here if you can sew already but don’t know if you want to go to the expense without testing it first. 

For those who live too far away, if there’s anything you would like a tutorial for, then let me know and I can post it on here. I’ve not forgotten that one dear reader wanted me to demonstrate how to turn up trousers and I will get round to it.

Now over to you. Who else can’t imagine life without a sewing machine? Who else has saved a huge amount of money by recovering their furniture or making curtains or keeping the family warm with quilts?

I love hearing from you.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Frugal Cushion from fabric samples

Hello Dear Reader,

As promised, here is some very basic sewing to make an envelope cushion, that’s a cushion without any zippers of buttons. I’m using luxury heavy weight linen, in a hydrangea design. I want my living room to look like one of those rooms in ‘House and Gardens’ but mine will be upcycled, freecycled and scrounged as I have precisely zero pounds to spend on it. This fabric is from a sample book in a curtain shop that was disposed of, it came to me via a friend who saw it being thrown out and I’m very glad of the donation.

I have cushion pads which are 18″ by 18″, which I want to be firm so I will make the cover slightly smaller to squash the cushion pad in. I started by measuring my offcuts, which are from a sample book, they are approximately 21″ by 21″. I needed three of these to make my cushion cover. You could use a piece of fabric which was 21″ by 63″ if you have it. I like natural fibres as they are easier to work with and run away screaming from man made fibres as they are a devil to sew with.

I ironed it all and then pinned and sewed the top edge (the edge away from me) with a quarter inch seam, I’m not precise but roughly about that much.

I then sewed all three pieces together with the same seam allowance.

You can see my fabric is themed, tonal but certainly doesn’t match. I can’t afford to buy any fabric so I use what I can upcycle or that has been given to me. Being frugal sometimes means not being fussy but making the most of what I have.

I pressed the seams out from the middle.

I then took both raw ends and folded a one inch turn and ironed.

I then turned again and ironed again. 

Here is the finished seam and then turn over and iron the right side as this will be visible and you want it to look neat. 

Next, with the right side on the inside, fold over your cushion pad so you have a four inch (or thereabouts) ‘opening’ – the overlap means the cushion will sit neatly without needing any buttons or a zip. Pin carefully secure the ‘size’ you want, without pinning to the cushion pad, which you are going to slide out.

You need to check your central panel, if you have used offcuts, is in the centre and you might need to un-pin and reposition. I then sewed a half inch seam on either side and then ironed both sides to make sure it was completely flat.

 I then turned the cushion cover the right side out and poked my fingers into each corner to push it out and make sure it was square, then using a steam iron I made sure it was flat and very square. Using the cushion as a guide, I worked out I could have a seam running round of just under 2″ to create a housewife pillow effect. 

 I then folded each side at 2″ and ironed and then sewed on the outside of that line.

When everything was crisply ironed, I stuffed the cushion pad inside and here’s the finished result.

Here are the two I have made so far and I’m going to make six more for my living room.

This is the one I’ve made today.

Here’s what the back looks like, on the cushion I made yesterday.

The cushion pads cost me £1.35 (or 65?) each, which is exactly what the cushions have costed each. I make things out of old fabric that was either from a charity shop, thrown away, from a jumble sale and I make do and mend. I want my house to be homely and comfortable and I have no disposable income for refurbishments so I have to be creative. You could use denim, or jumble sale or charity shop curtains or any substantial weight of fabric to make your cushions.

I have a lot to do to my house next year and I’m going to have to be ingenious to do most of it. Anyone else doing up a house on the square root of naff all? We can swap ideas. I hope this tutorial was useful and as requested there will be a ‘star block’ tutorial soon. 

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogsxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Frugal luxury

The back.
Hello Dear Reader,
When people know you are a thrifty sewer, they will often offer you fabric they have come by or they have no use for. I have been given a sample book of fabric; of Nina Campbell upholstery and curtain fabric. It will make great bags and cushions. It is 100% linen and made in the UK. 

The front.
I have the entire sample book and I’m going to use it to make cushions. You’ll have to watch this space as to what I do with the cushions. Next year you will be able to follow my extremely and deeply frugal home make over. That’s a home make over when you haven’t got any money. You know how it goes.

The fabric samples
Here’s what the fabric looks like when it had been cut from the sample book and the labels removed from the back. The steam iron and patience got those off. Should you wish to buy any of Nina Campbell’s fabrics, then you’ll need to start at £55 a metre! I bought the cushion pads for £1.25, so that is exactly what each cushion will cost me! The fabrics all have a faded but elegant shabby chic look about them and they are going to be a welcome addition to one of the rooms I will refurbish.
If I were selling these, they would be part of my frugally luxurious range!
Until tomorrow,
Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxxx

Bag making workshop

Hello Dear Reader,

If only we’d had longer and if only we didn’t chat so much. Five ladies sat down to sew today. We learnt how to use a pattern to cut out our fabric. We used greaseproof paper to duplicate our pattern so we would take it away and make another bag at home.

Here are two of the bags. Three ladies had a variety of reasons for not finishing but went away with the skills to finish their bags and makes as many more as they chose. This fabric is grand but the participant had in payment for some work they did. 

Here’s mine! I used some embroidered curtain fabric for the outside, a vintage sheet for the inside and a vintage pillow case for the edging. The exterior was donated and the interior came from a charity shop.

The fabric is stunning and I’ll be giving this to my mum.

A workshopee sent me a photo of her finished bag and I think it’s lovely!  I love the deep blue and this is all made of thrifted and recycled fabric which is Yoosta-Bee at its best!

I would have loved to have shown you more but sometimes time is against us. I had a very early start and a lovely but busy day. I’m off for a sit down and cup of tea xxxx

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Bags of sunshine!

Hello Dear Reader,
I’ve finished another bag! I’m on a bit of a go slow as I’ve had a headache for two days which is just started to subside! Here’s another Yoosta-Bee. The outside used to be a curtain, the inside used to be a tablecloth and the edging used to be a pillow case. 

I bought all of these fabrics at a jumble sale and I’ve been practising my bag making skills to share with people at the bag making workshop on Saturday. Here’s a reminder to everyone coming, you’ll also need pins, fabric scissors, plenty of fabric, your sewing machine and thread. Really, really looking forward to this Saturday as it promises to be a lot of fun xxxx
Until tomorrow,
Love Froogs xxx

For the love of fabric

Hello Dear Reader,

Today has been a brilliant fabric day! I had a mooch around the charity shops and found a pair of vintage curtains for £4 and an equally vintage sheet for £1. I’m going to use the fabric for upholstery and bag making. I’ve also been given the most stunning curtain fabric remnants which I’m going to use for the same purpose.

I love it when I find any thing that says ‘Made in Britain’, not much is made in Britain any more. I’m not only being thrifty with fabric but with my patterns too. In homage to all thing tech, I’m backing them up! I’m using brown paper which was intended for wrapping parcels. You could equally use newspaper but I would be afraid of it marking the fabric.

Here’s the pattern and the duplicate. I’m washing and drying the curtains tonight and I will cut the fabric tomorrow. 

I know I already have a stash of fabric the size of a small European country but I love fabric and I’m going to love working with all of it. This week will be known as bag making week!

I would like to thank everyone who left comments of support yesterday and to the three emails of thanks I received today. I’m so grateful to all of you.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Like on the telly……..but cheaper!

Hello Dear Reader,

I was up at stupid o’clock this morning as the ‘clock change’ always puts me out of kilter and I spend four days not knowing what time it is. I flicked through the TV channels and came across the ‘Create Crap’ channel where a lovely lady made a Christmas stocking from a kit she was flogging for £31. I knew I had enough odds and sods lying around to make one for next to nothing. I had some spare batting, some old pyjamas, some scrap material and a cut up man’s shirt from the charity shop. The lovely ‘Create Crap’ channel has a small video of the very nice lady making the stocking and here’s the link 

I cut out a stocking shape, you can do this in any size you want. I then found some decorative fabrics to cover and back the stocking and an old linen table cloth ( I bought a job lot for 99p on ebay have been using them for a variety of craft activities ever since) I used the flip and stitch method of quilting and she shows you how on her video 

Here’s the close up.

Once I covered the entire stocking shape and pinned the edges and then sewed down the edges.

I used some snowmen jim jams for the backing.

I put the backing and the fronting right sides together and two layers of inning or inny bits on the bottom of the pile. I pinned it and then trimmed it.

Here’s the pinned and trimmed stocking.

I then sewed all round the edge to secure the whole lot.

I then turned it all to the right side – here’s the back with Mr Snowy.

Here’s the front.

I then decided I wanted a Yoosta-Bee logo on it………..this would have been easier if I had done this before assembling the entire thing!

A stocking needs a loop to hang it. I used the cuff off the short sleeved shirt and turned it in on itself and then stitched it.

I used another shirt to make the edging and I did this just as I edge my quilts.

My hand sewing on the inside, isn’t so neat but it can’t be seen from the outside.

Here’s the finished stocking.

Close up of the back.

Close up of the front.

A long shot of all of it.

One stripy Christmas stocking, didn’t cost £31! and took me about an hour to make it. Now I just need to make the items to go in it for my daughter! Then, one for my son!

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxx

Stay on track and save money!!!!!

Hello Dear Reader,

Anyone who’s given something up knows that the first week is the hardest. We are half way through the first week of not shopping and it feels unusual as we’ve usually bought something by now. I had major cravings today and wanted to go to the scrapstore and fill a bag with fabric for a couple of quid. I need sewing room extension as it is and have enough work in progress to get on with and I don’t need any more. We are all going to have to roll up our sleeves and just step away from the shop and walk away! 

I love a mooch around charity shops in acceptance of the fact that I might spend money, I’m not going in them either! Has anyone else had any cravings? Let’s use this opportunity to release the need to confess and get it off our chests! 

I may have wanted to waiver but I didn’t! I’m off to the sewing room to create a few blocks.

Come on Dear Reader, do share. The weekend is going to be tough so we better be ready to cheer each other on.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs xxxxxxxxxx

Homemade scarf if you’re crap at knitting!

Hello Dear Reader,

I’ll admit it. I’m crap at knitting. I think it’s the sitting still bit that beats me. Quilting involves the to and from the ironing board aerobic workout but knitting needs me to sit still which isn’t going to happen! It’s going to be cold here real soon and as we have a big house with heating in one room only, we need all the scarves and thermal long johns we can layer up with and still move. I bought the jumper for 70p and made the scarf for Dearly Beloved. He loves scarves and hats. Now I need to find a way of making hats from old fleeces – they have loads of fleeces in the charity shops.

Cut jumper into strips, sew lengths together, pull inside to the outside.

Sew down the last edge by tucking the seam in on itself and sewing along the outside edge. Here is it modelled by the wonderful husband!

He likes it! Now I’ve experimented with this one, I shall be making them for gifts. You can also make scarves from old tee-shirts but old jumpers are thicker. Why not make one for your children out of their old school sweatshirts or jumpers for them to wear on their walk to school. I know what my two offspring will be getting for presents.

Until tomorrow,

Love Froogs