Make & Review – Sewing Happiness


I’ve been making a few projects from Sewing Happiness by Sanae Ishida this month.  A while ago, I volunteered as a pattern tester and Sanae very kindly sent me a copy when it was published.

As well as a book of projects, Sewing Happiness is part memoir, and account of how Sanae came to sewing.  Like Sanae, I’m a huge fan of enjoying ‘the practice’ and doing something regularly to get better at it.  Without pressure, but also wanting to improve.

Last year I took part in the 100 Day Project.  Every day for 100 days I cooked a new (to me) recipe. And guess what – I got better at cooking.  I’m more confident, more able to substitute ingredients, more willing to give a new technique a go.  Some days were more successful than others, but it was always edible!  Sanae’s experience of sewing sounds very similar.

I also like her take on using social media “There is an overarching sense of terror about creating something that didn’t exist befoe and putting it out into the world for judgment, but when you do it repeatedly, the confidence muscle strengthens”.

I’ve made four of the projects from the book so far.

The fabric origimi butterfly above is for a tooth fairy pillow.  There is a little pocket formed by the wing folds.  It took me a little while to get the folds right, but I’m delighted with the result.  It is so pretty and delicate.

Then I made a fabric bucket to hold bottles in the bathroom.

The blue triangle bag was my tester pattern and is another project that uses origami folds.  I especially like the strip of contrasting fabric used as the handle.  The infinity scarf is made from double gauze – melissa makes made me one as a gift, and I’ve since made several for friends inspired by her use of contrasting fabrics.

It’s unusual for me to try so many ideas from one book.  The projects are straightforward, but have some interesting and unusual techniques too, and they are perfect for showing off special fabric.

Is still want to make some aprons, a dopp kit and try some sashiko.  And surely  there is room for a floral crown in my life?!

If you want to make beautiful presents which don’t take forever, it is a wonderful book to have.

I’ve been reading…

dottie-doodle-books-october-2016When I’m not sewing, I’m often reading. Here are some of my favourites this year.
A three-month old baby girl is the only survivor after a plane crash, and she is claimed by two very different families. Beautifully constructed, with memorable characters, and it kept me guessing until the very end.
This is brilliant. Nearly 500 pages, and I read it on holiday in a day. I couldn’t put it down. Kate wakes up in hospital after an accident with post-traumatic amnesia. But she does have memories, which belong to a lady who lived 400 years ago. Reminded me of the BBC series The Living and the Dead.
A series of interconnecting tales. Absorbing and covers so many aspects of modern life – from reality tv to the supernatural.
Frank is 82 and decides to risk his home and life savings to fly to help his daughter in Los Angeles. Funny, sad and crazy. I loved it.
Yasmin and her ten year old daughter Ruby set off on a journey across Northern Alaska to search for Ruby’s missing father. This is recommended on the back as a thriller – and it is – but the narrative of most of the book moves at a slow pace and Rosamund Lupton writes beautifully about love and having trust in a person. It made me want to watch Ice Road Truckers too – I never thought I’d say that!

Union Jack Quilt – finished!

I finished my first quilt! Very very happy with it, and I loved the whole process.
The pattern is the Union Jack Quilt from Hexa-go-go by Tacha Bruecher. I especially like the combination of hand sewn hexis (sewn in the evening mainly, in front of the TV) and machine sewn borders (because there came a point when I just wanted to get it done!).
I bought most of the cream fabric and three FQs of blue, but everything else is made from scraps or small stash pieces. I was able to include plenty of the vintage scraps I’ve been hording, including some seventies Laura Ashley.
The back is made from two large pieces of batik (intended for a dress, but it was too heavy) with a strip of blue squares down the middle.
I had no idea how to make a large quilt when I started, so I broke the process into sections and learned each one as I went.
I was most intimidated by the quilting, and how to handle the bulk of the quilt on my machine. I watched a Creative Bug class on machine quilting basics which was brilliant. Much easier than I thought it would be. I quilted three lines across the cross and diagonal lines, with some triangles on the blue sections.
For the binding, I cut alternating strips of vintage Laura Ashley sprig and some modern quilting fabric and used Kerry’s tips from the Simple Sampler QAL. Very pleased with my mitred corners – and they weren’t difficult.
Hexagogo is a lovely book, with lots of ideas for combining hand and machine sewing. I will certainly make another of the quilts one day, but my next project is the Simple Sampler QAL. If you’d like to keep up with my progress, I am dottie_doodle on Instagram.

Simple Sampler Quilt Along

I was on holiday in Corfu when Fiona announced the Sewing Directory Simple Sampler Quilt-Along. I love the sampler quilt look and there are some interesting techniques I haven’t tried before.


Colour inspiration was all around me.

Blues, greens, sun bleached stone, bright pink flowers, and some sparkle.

I’m also including the amazing teal/sea green I see when I’m swimming in the sea – bit difficult to get a picture of that!


I love scrappy quilts (and I’ve got a lot of scraps to use up!), so I’ve pulled out some smaller pieces from the big bag in the cupboard. Liberty Lifestyle, Amy Butler, screenprints from Umbrella prints and some scraps of pink Gypsy Bandanna from around 6 years ago.

Metallic Essex linen for the golden light and sparkly sea. Pictured with Moda Mixologie green and stone scraps.


These are bigger pieces. The blue floral is Liberty City Poplin (from a dress which didn’t suit me), chambray left over from a skirt, Rifle Paper Co Rosa Floral and Rhoda Ruth Starry Sky in teal and shadow.


I’m looking forward to taking part, and seeing all the other lovely colour combinations.

Link to the Simple Sampler Quilt-A-Long

Sewing for tiny niece

2015summerdressGreta-002 I’ve been too busy to do as much sewing for Greta as I’d like, but I thought you’d like to see her in a couple of quick patterns I have managed to make.

It’s also a chance to share this beautiful photo, taken by my sister, Jo. She looks like a little fairy!

The dress is the smocked one I made at the beginning of the summer, here, with a matching pair of shorts from McCalls 5416.

Next is the free halter dress pattern from Prima Magazine, July 2015. 2015summerdressGreta 2015summerdressGreta-001

Doesn’t she look adorable? The fabric is a Tilda quilting cotton, and Jo says it’s a really useful dress. Very quick to make, so a pattern to keep and make again for next summer.

IMG_4323 There is an adult version too – I’m going to try out this for our summer holiday!

The 100 Day Project – Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwich recipe


Today is day 100 of The 100 Day Project – I did it!  I challenged myself to cook a new (to me) recipe every day for 100 days.

To celebrate the final day, I’ve created my own recipe for Chocolate Chip Cookie Sandwiches.


100g soft brown sugar
120g coconut oil in solid form
2 eggs
200g plain flour
50g cocoa powder
half teaspoon baking powder
pinch salt
50g chopped dark chocolate (or chocolate chips)
200g full fat cream cheese
150ml double cream

Preheat the oven to 200 C

1. Beat the sugar and coconut oil together (I use a food mixer, but you could use a wooden spoon).
2. Add the beaten eggs and mix
3. Mix in the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt – adding a little at a time.  You should have a smooth, pliable ball of dough.
4. Mix in the chopped chocolate.
5. Roll into balls, flatten slightly, and place on a baking tray.
6. Bake for 10-12 minutes.  The cookies will still be soft – you want them to be quite ‘cakey’ in texture, not crisp.
7. Cool on a rack
8. Whisk the cream and cream cheese until stiff.  Use to sandwich together pairs of cold cookies.



This has been an incredible, inspiring project to take part in.  If you’d like to see more the hashtag on Instagram is #the100dayproject.

Mini Liberty magnets giveaway

dottie doodle liberty magnet

I’ve cut back on the number of craft fairs I go to, and so my first of 2015 is in a few weeks time – I’m excited!  You can see my calendar of events here.

I  like to have something new for the fairs each year, and this time I’m making mini fabric magnets.  They are only 25mm across (about the size of a pound coin), and so cute.

I have a set of five Liberty print magnets to give away – leave a comment on this post if you’d like to win them!

dottie doodle liberty magnets

Anyone, from anywhere can enter, and I’ll pick a winner by random selection on Tuesday 23 June.