Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Soups On!

Is it just me or are there sometimes days when you just shouldn't sew?  don't get me wrong, I love sewing and sew pretty much every day.  But, every once in a blue moon I find that I don't really feel like stitching.  I sometimes try regardless but I'm usually slow to start, end up cutting things wrong, make terrible colour choices or even end up throwing the whole project in the bin.

After several of these experiences I've learnt that when I wake up feeling like I don't want to sew.....I shouldn't! Maybe it comes from sewing constantly every day.  I need a break not because I don't love it, but just to clear my head, do something different and then go back at it refreshed.

So, after just one such day recently I decided to skip the sewing and take the time to do something different.  It's mid winter here and after a very food filled Christmas I felt the need for something healthy that would take the chill off.

So we took Rudy here and headed off for a snowy walk in the woods out back. Rudy loves a good long walk!

Empty wood slat house

Snow laden evergreen branches

On the way back we stopped at the wood pile to grab some firewood.

Then back inside to set the fire crackling happily and begin my soup.....

Honeyed Carrot and Coriander Soup

You will need:
  •  2 medium brown onions (diced)
  •  2 Tbsp olive oil
  •  1 bag of carrots (peeled and chopped)
  •  1 bunch of fresh coriander (chopped)
  •  1 large potato (peeled and chopped)
  •  2 litres of vegetable stock
  •  2 Tbsp honey
  •  salt and pepper
  •  sour cream to serve
  1. Heat olive oil in a large soup pot over medium heat.  Add onions and cook until soft and opaque.
  2. Add the potato, carrots, and coriander.  Cook for another 2 minutes.
  3. Add stock and two thirds of the chopped coriander. Reserve the remaining coriander for garnish. Bring to a boil.
  4. Reduce heat and simmer soup for 30 minutes or until vegetables are cooked through.
  5. Remove from heat and blend with an emersion blender or food processor until there are no chunks of vegetable and the soup is smooth.  *Be careful not to burn yourself with hot soup!                                                                                   ***If the consistency is too thick you can add more stock or some hot water to thin it.
  6. Return the soup to low heat and add the honey.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.
To serve:  
  • Ladle soup into bowls and spoon a dollop of sour cream into the middle of each bowl.  Scatter remaining chopped coriander over soup.
  • Note:  You can easily reheat leftover soup on the stove top but keep in mind that once blended it tends to stick and burn to the bottom of the soup pot if left too long.  You may need to add a little extra water to thin the soup when reheating.
  • Serve with some good bread from the bakery or make your own.  I used a lovely olive bread from the store and brushed it with olive oil before lightly grilling it.
The fresh coriander makes this soup and the sour cream provides a nice tangy contrast to the sweetness of the honey and carrots.

Aside from being a delicious and healthy soup for the winter months, if you make sure to use gluten free stock and omit the sour cream, it's also suitable for anyone who has celiac's or is lactose intolerant.

No sewing but a busy day nonetheless.

Monday, 13 February 2012

The Stethoscope Cover Tutorial

Not sure what a stethoscope cover is?  Not exactly something you'd think to make?  Me either!  So when my doctor brother in law  asked me to make some I had to ask a few questions.  His response was that he needed them for 3 reasons.....  
  1. Pretty stethoscope covers in eye catching colours or children's prints help kids relax and give them something to look at while the doctor treats them.
  2. The covers protect the plastic tubing from the oils from your skin which will harden the plastic and make it inflexible over time (I had no idea!).  
  3. Covers are warmer than cold plastic on the skin. 
So when he asked me if I could make him some of these slip covers I got to work and made a tutorial to share at the same time.  They are very quick and simple to make.  You need only to be able to sew a straight line and do a bit of measuring.

The covers would make a great gift for any health professional needing to use a stethoscope.  I plan on making some in seasonal and holiday theme prints as well.


You will need:
  • one fat quarter of your chosen fabric
  • 1-2 inches of sew in Velcro
  • thread
  • basic sewing machine
  • iron and ironing board
  • rotary cutter, cutting ruler, cutting mat

Cutting Directions

From the fat quarter cut:
  • one 7.5" x 20" rectangle 
  • two 2" x 4.25" rectangles
  • two 2" x 4.5" rectangles
from Velcro cut:
  • two 1" pieces
Note:  all seam allowances 1/4" unless otherwise stated

All cut pieces and Velcro
 Step 1:

Begin by centering one side of the Velcro tape 1/2" from the end of a 2" x 4.25" rectangle.  Stitch around all four sides of the Velcro back stitching at beginning and end.  ***You will need to sew close to the edges of the Velcro.

Pieces for tab #1 with Velcro attached
 Step 2:

Place the other 2" x 4.25" rectangle on top of the one you just sewed the Velcro to right sides together.  Pin in place and sew around the long sides and short end with the Velcro using a 1/4" seam allowance.  ***Do not stitch the short end without the Velcro.

Clip the corners and turn the tab out through the opening and press.  ***You could top stitch the edges of your tabs if you want a more finished look.***

Finished Tab

Step 3:

Repeat the above process with the 2" x 4.5" rectangles.

Step 4:

Take the other half of one of your Velcro pairs and place it in the bottom right hand corner of your main fabric rectangle about 1.25" from the short edge and  1" from the long edge. 

Velcro placement on bottom right hand corner of main fabric rectangle

Stitch around all four sides of the Velcro back stitching at beginning and end, securing it to the fabric.

Step 5:

Fold both of the short ends of your main fabric rectangle under by 1/2" and press.  Stitch in place using 1/4" seam allowance.

1/2" folded short edge with finished 1/4" seam
 Step 6:

Find the midpoint of the 5.75" edge WITHOUT the Velcro piece and mark lightly using a pencil or non-permanent fabric pen.

Marking the midpoint of short edge for Velcro placement

 Center the other remaining Velcro half  on this mark and 1/2" in from the edge of the fabric.

Finished stitched Velcro
Step 7:

Take the 4.5" long tab and place it (Velcro side facing up) over the matching Velcro half in the right hand corner of the main fabric rectangle.  Make sure the raw edges of the tab and the raw edges of the fabric are aligned and the tab is centered over the corresponding Velcro piece on the main rectangle. Pin in place

Pinned tab in right hand corner of main fabric rectangle
Baste in place using a 1/4" seam allowance.

Basted Tab
Step 8:

Fold your rectangle in half lengthwise aligning raw edges.  Make sure to keep your basted tab away from the 1/2" seam you are about to sew. Pin in place.

Lengthwise fold with raw edges matching and pinned
Stitch the pin edges together using a 1/2" SEAM ALLOWANCE.

Finished 1/2" seam on long edges
Press seam open and turn right side out.  Press flat so that the seam is centered on the back of the cover. You're almost finished and should have a tube with attached tab that looks like the one below.

Front side of cover

Step 9:

Take the 4.25" tab and place the raw edge end inside the tube with Velcro facing upwards.  Make sure the tab is centered over the seam on the back.  Align the raw edges of the tab with the raw edge of the folded seam inside the tube.  Pin in place

4.25" Tab placement inside tube
Step 10:

Stitch the tab in place using a 1/4" seam allowance back stitching at beginning and end.

Finished sewn tab

You're finished!  Take your newly finished stethoscope cover and present it to your favorite health professional!


 This is my second sewing tutorial so please feel free to post comments or ask questions if you have any problems.  I would love some feedback!

*** This tutorial is for personal and limited commercial use only.  You may use this tutorial to create stethoscope covers to sell at craft fairs or craft sites such as Etsy.  Please do not claim this pattern as your own or reproduce in whole or part for commercial use. Thank you***

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Men's Retro Robot Wallet Tutorial


 After a LONG absence from blogging during my move back to Canada and over Christmas, I'm happy to say my first blog of the new year is a great tutorial for a men's wallet.  I've been working on this pattern for a while now and I'm very excited to share it with you.  With a large slot for cash and six card pockets this wallet has room for everything.  (Each card pocket can hold 2 cards)

Even though it took me 4 tries to finally perfect it I really have a lot of fun making these wallets.  Once you get through the first one they are super easy to put together and take no time at all! 

If your guys not into chocolate and wine why not whip one of these wallet's up for the perfect Valentine's Day gift?  If he's into recycling you could even use a favourite old suit jacket and shirt to make an upcycled version.
If you're short on time or just can't be bothered?  Check out the Bakeapple Designs website or Etsy shop for some great ready to go gifts.

You will need:
  • heavyweight exterior fabric (home decor/suiting/wool/ denim/canvas). Enough for one 4.5" x 9" piece
  • one fat quarter of light-medium weight interior fabric. I used 100% cotton.  (you will have leftovers)
  • 1/4 meter of light/medium weight interfacing (you will have leftovers)
  • size 12 & 16 needle
  • cutting mat and ruler
  • thread to match fabric
  • disappearing fabric marker or pencil

    From the exterior fabric cut:
    • one rectangle 4.5" x 9"

      From the interior fabric cut:
      • one rectangle 4.5" x 9" (for the main body of the wallet)
      • one 7.75" x 9" (for the cash slot/pocket)
      • one 6.75" x 9" (for the large card pocket)
      • one 5.75" x 9" (for the medium card pocket)
      • one 4.75" x 9" (for the small card pocket)
      ***if you are using a novelty print like the robot one I did you can fussy cut a piece of your material for the accent on the outside of the wallet***

      From the interfacing cut:
      • one 4.5" x 9" rectangle
      ***Note: If you use a lighter weight fabric or wool (which stretches) for the exterior I recommend that you interface those pieces as well***


         ***  All pieces except the interfacing.

      Step 1:  Begin by clipping the corners off your 4.5" x 9" piece of interfacing to reduce bulk and iron it to the wrong side of your 4.5" x 9" cotton interior piece.

      Step 2:  Fold your 7.75" x 9" rectangle in half along its length and press well.  Repeat for the other pocket pieces (ie: 6.75" x 9", 5.75" x 9", 4.75" x 9").  Top stitch along the folded edges (I used a 1/8" seam allowance). Press flat to secure stitches. You should now have 4 top stitched pocket pieces.

      ***Note: you may want to pin the folded edges before sewing to prevent the fabric from shifting while you sew***

      Step 3:  Line up the two largest pockets and pin.  Make sure the top stitched (top) edges are straight and parallel.  This may mean your bottom edges are not exact, but that is okay. Draw a pencil line 2.5"  from the top edge of the largest piece.

                                                             ***This line will be hidden later***

      Pin fabric in place along this line to prevent shifting and stitch along the line. Press.

      Step 3:  Take the next largest pocket piece and pin in the same way, again making sure the top edges are straight and parallel.  this time draw your line 3" from the top edge, pin along the line and then stitch.  Press

      Step 4:  This step is difficult to explain but here goes!

      In order to reduce the bulk in the seams when you finally sew your wallet together we now need to cut off the excess fabric below the lines we just stitched on the pocket pieces.  First, you will need to fold the fabric at the back of the pieces (the largest card pocket) out of the way laying it flat so that the middle pieces (the fabric below the line we just stitched) are flat and laying in the opposite direction. ***See picture***

      Trim the excess fabric (the middle pocket pieces) 1/4" from the 3" seam line ***See picture***


      Step 5:

      Place the small pocket piece in place as you did the others (making sure top edges are straight and parallel), pin in place.


      Step 6:  Using your ruler find the middle of your pockets and lightly mark points along that line. Mark a faint line 1/4" on either side of your mid-point.  You should now have two lines 1/2" apart and centered on your pockets. ***This will form a spine where your finished wallet will fold and keep your cards in place***

      Pin the fabric in place along these lines as I find it tends to shift during stitching.

      Stitch from bottom of pockets to the top along the lines, back stitching at beginning and end.  Trim the threads neatly or tie them off. You should now have a set of pockets that look like this but with two lines of stitching 1/2" apart.

       ***Mine has only one down the center because it was the first one and I changed it to two lines to help the wallet fold better.

      Step 7:

      Lay your 4.5" x 9" interior piece out right side up and place your pocket set face up on top and pin in place.  It should look like this.....

      Step 8:

      ***If you are using a fussy cut piece of novelty print as an accent you will need to sew it to the right side of your exterior piece here making sure you leave a margin of at least 3/4"***

      Lay the basted interior piece on top of you exterior 4.5" x 9" piece RIGHT SIDES together.  Line up corners and edges. Pin in place leaving a 4.5" opening along the side with the top of the pocket pieces.
      ***There are fewer layers of fabric on the top and it makes it easier to fold the opening closed when you make your final top stitching***

                                                      Pocket piece right side down on exterior piece

                    Exterior 4.5 x 9 piece right side together with the pocket piece and gap at top for turning out

      Change your needle to size 16 as we will now be sewing through multiple layers of fabric.

      Slowly and carefully sew around the outside of the wallet using a 1/2" seam allowance back stitching at the corners for strength.  Remember to leave your 4.5" opening for turning the wallet out!

      Step 9:

      Press your seams to set stitches.  Clip you corners and trim any wonky seam allowances as necessary.

      Step 10:

      Turn the wallet out through the 4.5" opening you left and gently push the corners out to square them off.

      Press the entire wallet well folding in the raw edges at the opening and keeping them as straight as possible.    Pin the opening closed.

      Step 11:

      Slowly and carefully top stitch around the entire exterior of the wallet (using a 1/8" seam allowance) enclosing the opening as you go.  Back stitch at beginning and end.

      Step 12:

      Fold wallet in half and press well.  Enjoy!

      ***This tutorial is for limited commercial use only.  I'm happy for people to make these wallets to sell at craft fairs or on ETSY sites, but ask that you not claim the design as your own or publish it as such for commercial use.  If you would like to link this tutorial to your web page or blog I'd love you to do so but would appreciate a note as to its origins.****

      Thanks and happy sewing!