My New Sewing Shop!

Hello everyone! Ages since I’ve been on here. I’ve had a really good excuse though and bring some exciting news. In August last year, I opened my own sewing shop (with workshop space)! Squeal!!!!! Still feels slightly surreal but I’m slowly but surely getting into the swing of being a shop owner; and absolutely loving the fact that I have oodles of space to spread out my sewing projects.

Space to Sew and Craft PenicuikSpace to Sew and Craft - Shop and sewing workspace

It’s taken a lot of planning and financial commitment to get to this stage. Having worked at home for many years, branching out into the big wide world was a very daunting prospect. But it was a decision that had to be made if I wanted to take my business forward.

The online sales of bag-making supplies, through my website SusieDDesigns were steadily increasing, which meant I was buying in and storing more stock than my home could cope with. I was also running out of space to work on the projects that I design and make for sewing magazines and my own patterns.Etsy Handmade Bags by Susan DunlopI knew I couldn’t afford to lease a shop on the high street, so my dreams of expansion were fruitless for a long time. However… we have small row of commercial units in our residential area and one had been sitting empty for ages. I had often passed it thinking it would be a great space for me. Well, after a year of passing it, I finally plucked up the courage and spoke to the owner. Luckily for me, it was affordable and I snapped it up like a shot. So, here I am. My new shop is called Space to Sew and Craft and it boasts a good-sized shop area and an equally good-sized work area. I have 3 large tables set up with sewing machines where I teach classes and workshops. Best of both worlds!

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Customer Make – the Tri-fold Wallet sewing pattern

Check out Amy Fahey’s version of the Tri-fold Wallet sewing pattern! I love the fabrics Amy has used and the matching bag is great too!

Customer Make - The Tri-fold Wallet sewing pattern by SusieDDesigns“My first attempt. I like the pattern very much!” Amy Fahey

Thank you, Amy, for allowing me to share your fantastic wallet. I’ll look forward to seeing more makes from you.

If you’d like to have a go at making the Tri-fold Wallet sewing pattern, it’s available for instant download from my Craftsy and Etsy shops. It’s also available as a PDF download from www.susieddesigns.co.uk, as well as a printed version with full-size tissue pattern pieces.

Tri-fold Wallet on Craftsy, by Susan Dunlop of SusieDDesigns

Reader Make – Summer Shoulder Bag in Sewing World

Check out Janis Davies’ version of the Summer Shoulder Bag, my bag-making project featured in this month’s issue of Sewing World magazine!

Sewing World magazine Summer Shoulder Bag

“I loved the bag on the cover of June’s issue of Sewing World. I had offered to make a bag as a present for my friend’s 60th birthday and this one was perfect. She asked for purples, browns and greens, plus she loves cats, so I incorporated a machine embroidered cat, using my Janome Memory Craft 350e and came up with the attached. I love the finished result and hope my friend will too!” Janis Davies

Too cute! I think Janis’ friend is going to absolutely adore this bag. Well done Janis and thanks so much for allowing me to share your make.

Sewing World Magazine June 2015

Reader Makes: Trendy Hipster Bag from my new book, Style and Swing

Delighted to come across a blog post, at Linda’s Quilt Mania, about the Trendy Hipster Bag that Linda has made from my new book, Style and Swing. Linda makes the most gorgeous samples for displaying at Katja’s Quilt Shoppe, in Kamloops, Canada. What do you think of her version and don’t you just love the fabrics she’s used?

Trendy Hipster Bag from Style and Swing: 12 Structured Handbags for beginners and Beyond. Made by lindasquiltmania

Here it is on display at Katja’s Quilt Shoppe, where you can buy these gorgeous fabrics and a copy of Style and Swing!

Trendy Hipster Bag from Style and Swing made by lindasquiltmania

If you’d like to have a go at making this or other bags from my book, it’s available through most good book stores and from Amazon, worldwide. You can also get it direct from the publishers, Martingale’s / That Patchwork Place or order a signed copy from SusieDDesigns. Here’s my Trendy Hipster Bag, which I made using fabrics from the Comma collection by Brigitte Heitland of Zen Chic for Moda Fabrics.

Style and Swing - 12 Structured Handbags for Beginners and Beyond - Project 5

Sewing World magazine June 2015 out now!

Sewing World Magazine June 2015

The new issue of Sewing World magazine is out now. I was ecstatic to find my new bag-making project is featured on the front cover! I used the lovely fabrics from Suffolk Garden by Brie Harrison for Dashwood Studio. I have these prints in stock, in my online shop.

What’s in this month’s issue:

TECHNIQUES & FEATURES

  • We Meet Janet Clare
  • Competition
  • Fabric Showcase – Summer Florals
  • Masterclass – Decorative Edgings
  • We Visit CallyCo
  • Brilliant Bagmaking – adding zips
  • Re-fashion! Collars

PROJECTS

  • Summer-time – Modern shoulder bag
  • Here comes the sun – Empire line sundress
  • Sundial Cushion – Easy appliqué circles
  • Cosmetic Purse – Using Vilene Lamifix
  • Fun in the sun! – Girls sun-top and skirt
  • Funky Key Fob – Colourful key holder
  • Criss-cross Table Runner Set – Quilted runner and coasters
  • Bear Cushion – Animal friend cushion
  • Scratchin’ Chicken – Appliqué and embroidered bag recycler
  • Home from Home – Campervan picture

If you’d like to get a copy of the magazine, it’s in the shops now or can be ordered online at Inspired to Make.

Local Auction Find: Vintage Singer Sewing Machine

I spotted a lovely old Singer® sewing machine, at a local auction house last week. I was so pleased to find it hadn’t been converted to electric, as I’d been looking for one like this for a while now. I had to leave the auction early, before the lot came up, so I left a hopeful bid of £30. I was delighted to win it for £25! I know there’s a lot of them around and they don’t go for much but I’d been having a hard time trying to get my hands on one. I think they’re so popular now, everyone’s snapping them up!

1927 Vintage Singer Sewing Machine with original wooden cover.

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Instructions and Accessories

It’s in fantastic condition, with its gorgeous wooden cover, original instruction booklet and metal bobbins. There’s even a pack of old, unused needles. The kids were fascinated by it and I’ve promised to teach them on it. It works beautifully and I’ve checked up on the Singer® website to find out it’s a 1927 model (although the instruction booklet has 1928 on it?) If you’ve got one that you’d like to check it’s age, go to http://www.singerco.com/support/machine-serial-numbers and click on the link relevant to yours – no letter pre-fix, single letter pre-fix or double letter pre-fix. The serial number of mine is located on the front right-hand corner:

1927 Singer Sewing Machine

Did you know that SINGER® sewing machines were first manufactured in 1851. The manufacture dating on their web site is reproduced from the original company register number log books. They’ve not located the log books for 1851 to 1870 as yet, so the serial numbers for those years aren’t available.

Serial numbers on SINGER® sewing machines manufactured prior to 1900 are numbers only. After 1900, the machine serial numbers have a single or two-letter prefix.

I plan to use mine for teaching the kids on and for putting on display in my new sewing studio (more on that in the very near future). Do you have a Singer®? How old is yours and do you use it or display it?

Vintage Singer Sewing Machine Presser Foot

Purse Projects featured in Issue 9 of Quilt Now Magazine

Super excited to see my new purse projects featured in this month’s issue of Quilt Now magazine. They’re on the front cover! So exciting!

Quilt Now magazine issue 9Purses in issue 9 Quilt Now magazine (web)

You’ll get an exclusive free gift with this month’s issue, a Go Forth and Quilt retractable tape measure. It’s double-sided with both metric and imperial measurements.

Also included in this month’s jam-packed Quilt Now:

  • 30 fantastic projects inside!
  • This issue’s cover quilt is super simple but with striking effect!
  • Perfect Potholders by Laura Jane Taylor – a pair of English paper-pieced potholders that would make an ideal housewarming gift
  • Popular author and blogger Susan Dunlop has not one, but two, kiss clasp purses for you to try!
  • Jo Avery’s striking offset lone star quilt is strip-pieced for speed and simplicity!
  • Make a bed-sized quilt and matching cushion with just eight fat quarters (plus some background fabric)
  • Making the same project in different fabrics can completely change the effect. Hadley’s flying geese cushions demonstrate this perfectly!
  • Be the most popular guest at the baby shower with Angela’s trio of gifts, including a quilt, cushion and matching taggie blankie!
  • Editor Katy uses Cuckoo’s Calling from Dashwood Studio to make an adorable baby quilt and matching monogrammed cushion set.
  • Keep your essential bits and bobs organised with Sonia’s little zippy pouch.

For more info, check on the Quilt Now blog. They’ve got a fab subscription offer too!

White Tree Fabrics Dressmaking Project – McCalls K3601

I joined the White Tree Fabrics blogging team a while back and, at long last, I have my first completed project to show off!

I chose some lovely Tilda fabrics and McCalls pattern K3601, both supplied by White Tree Fabrics, to make a kaftan-style top. This has also been the first thing I’ve made with my brand new overlocker, more about that in another post! So not only did I have a lovely new top to make, I could also make it on my new machine and hopefully end up with a professional looking piece of clothing.

I found this McCalls pattern quite easy to follow, but… it did take little while to get the collar right as it was slightly confusing as to how it would end up the right way around! Got there in the end though, I just needed to follow the instructions very carefully. You need to fold the outer edges of the collar section to wrong side and press, then pin it, wrong side up, to the front/back neckline, also wrong side up.

Showing the collar construction for McCalls K3601

After stitching around the neckline and the marked centre line, which is then cut to open the neckline slit, it’s turned to the right side of the front/back of top. Then pinned in place and topstitched around the edges.

Dressmaking - McCalls Pattern K3601 neck detail

The collar detail of McCalls pattern K3601

Due to my own mistake (rushing ahead) I ended up having to do set-in sleeves rather than the easier method of sewing the shoulder edges onto the front/back before sewing the sleeve and side seams. I’d already sewn the sleeve seams by the time I’d noticed and couldn’t be bothered unpicking. It worked out just fine though as they didn’t need any gathering to fit. They fitted into the armhole really well and I was so pleased (relieved!) with the result. I needed more practice with set-in sleeves anyway!! LOL

McCalls sewing pattern K3601

So here’s my finished top, ta da…

Finished Top McCalls pattern K3601

White Tree Fabrics have generously given me a special coupon code for readers to get a fantastic 20% discount and free postage on any orders. Visit www.whitetreefabrics.com to view their lovely range and use the code SUSIED when purchasing anything.

Projects from my new Bag Making Book: Style and Swing

Style and Swing - 12 Structured Handbags for Beginners and Beyond by Susan Dunlop

I can finally reveal the bag making projects from my new book, Style and Swing: 12 Structured Handbags for Beginners and Beyond. I’m so thrilled that it’s release is just a few more months away! So exciting! I hope you like the designs and would love to hear what you think. So here they are…

This is the over-view for my new book, over on the Martingale & Co. Publishers website:

You’ll find plenty of reasons to sit down and sew these boutique-quality yet achievable bags and accessories. Everyone from beginners to experts can create an assortment of modern, practical projects for gifts or personal use. Start with a simple, elegant handbag and progress to more challenging designs; skill-level ratings are included.

  • Step-by-step illustrated patterns for 12 attractive projects in a variety of shapes and styles

  • Stylish accessories include a pleated clutch, market bag, satchel, and wallet

  • Includes resource info and comprehensive how-to techniques; learn about tools, fabric prep, interfacings, linings, and purse hardware

If you’d like to pre-order my new book (big hugs if you do and thank you so much for your support!) it’s available at Amazon.com and Amazon.co.uk, and other major book suppliers. I’ll also have signed copies available from my website, from mid-march at www.susieddesigns.co.uk

Images from Style and Swing by Susan Dunlop, Martingale, 2015; used by permission. Photos by Brent Kane. All rights reserved.

My First Bag Making Project in Quilt Now Magazine!

Excited to bring you news of my first bag making project for Quilt Now magazine! Issue 5 is in the shops now and I’m delighted that Katy Jones (editor) has featured my new Rail Fence Bag sewing project. Perfect for using up fabric scraps from your stash, this bag is sure to delight any little girl.

Rail Fence Bag Project by Susan Dunlop in Quilt Now magazine

Issue 5 is all about those scrappy bits you can’t bear to see go to waste! From little projects to big beautiful quilts, like this issue’s cover star, you’ll find it all. There’s a brilliant range of patchwork and quilting projects suitable for all sewing skill levels. As well as all the great projects, this month’s issue also has plenty of interesting reading and fabric eye-candy to get you inspired.

Issue 5 Quilt Now magazine

Christmas Projects made with Dashwood Fabrics in issue 8 Love Sewing Magazine

I’m delighted to have some of my Christmas projects featured in this month’s issue of Love Sewing magazine. I made a Christmas sack and table topper, using the gorgeous fabrics by Lizzie Mackay for Dashwood Studio, called Christmas Wish.

Christmas wish table topper & sack by Susan Dunlop for Love Sewing magazine

Christmas Sack by Susan Dunlop for Love Sewing Magazine 1

Christmas Table Topper by Susan Dunlop for Love Sewing magazine

You’ll also find more great projects in this fantastic Christmas issue of Love Sewing, including a free dressmaking pattern to make a fab evening/party dress. Issue 8 will be hitting the shops within the next couple of days, enjoy!

Issue 8 Love Sewing Magazine

Issue 8 Love Sewing Magazine

Cuckoo’s Calling – New Fabrics from Dashwood Studio

Look what arrived recently! A fabric bundle from Dashwood’s new collection, Cuckoo’s Calling by Bethan Janine. I was delighted to be asked by Creative Director, David Sweet, to make a couple of my purse frame pouches using these gorgeous new fabrics for an upcoming Dashwood open day.

Cuckoos Calling by Bethan Janine for Dashwood Studio

Cuckoo’s Calling is Bethan’s second collection for Dashwood Studio. Cuckoo’s Calling is bright and fun and inspired by Bethan’s Grandmother’s cuckoo clock, pretty meadow flowers and little leaves she drew whilst on her holidays.

Such a lovely collection, I’m looking forward to making some purses with these. The fabrics should be arriving in stores now, so go get them! What do you think you’d make from these fabrics?

Update: here’s some new purses I’ve made with these gorgeous fabrics.

Handmade Purses by Susan Dunlop for Dashwood Studio

Quilting Tutorial: Cathedral Windows Part 2 – Making the Windows

This is the 2nd part of my Cathedral Windows Tutorial. See the previous post for Part 1. In this post, I’ve completed the background panels and now I’m going to add the print fabrics and make the windows.

Cut 3” squares from your chosen fabrics. I used a load of different Liberty fabric scraps so that all my windows would have a different fabric but they’d still go together.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 16With a square wrong side up, hold two of the corners down with your thumb and index finger and press over the just the centre of the edge by approx. 1/4”. Be careful the hot iron doesn’t burn those fingers!

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 17Repeat with all the edges and then do the same with all your fabric squares.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 18Place the fabric squares, right side up, on top of each diamond shape of the prepared background panel as shown. Here I’m adding them to a small single row panel. Later on you’ll see my larger panel version too. Pin them to secure in place.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 19Fold each free edge of the background panel over each each of the square. A natural curve will be created due to the points of the background panel being stitched together (see previous post, Part 1). Pin through all the layers to hold firmly in place and ensure that the window is completely filled with the print fabric. Gently tuck the print fabric into the corners, if it’s not sitting right into them.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 20Repeat the folding/pinning process to make all the windows. This is when it starts to get exciting as you see the gorgeous windows forming!

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 21I decided to go one step further and cut small petal shaped pieces of the print fabrics to fill the gaps now formed in each corner of my panel. Aren’t I the show off! The thing is, once you get started on this technique, you don’t really want to stop.

Cathedral Windows technique 22Now it’s time to topstitch along the edges of all the folded over edges. I decided to do double rows around each corner petal shape and single rows around all the diamond shaped windows. Put your machine on a longish stitch, as there’s lots of layers and the stitches also look better when they’re longer. Carefully stitch all the edges, removing each pin as you get to it. When you get to the edge of each fold just continue stitching over to the next one, so you don’t have to continually keep stopping and starting and new line of stitch. Just try to keep the stitching as neat as you can, as you work your way around each one.

Cathedral Windows technique

Cathedral Windows technique 2

Cathedral Windows Tutorial Part 1

Now to decide what I’m going to use these panels for. I think they’ll be great made up into cushions with co-ordinating panels. What do you think? Have you made Cathedral Windows before or will you be having a go at making them for the first time?

Quilting Tutorial: Cathedral Windows Part 1 – Preparing the Background Squares

I’ve long admired the Cathedral Windows quilting technique and was determined to learn how to do it. Well, at last, I’ve done it and I loved the result so much that I’m eager to share the technique here with you. If this is something you haven’t tried yet, I definitely recommend you do. It’s one of those techniques that appears really hard to do but, once you get to grips with it, it’s really not as difficult as it looks. Yes, it is time-consuming but it’s so rewarding.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial Part 1

Sneak peek of a Cathedral Windows panel I’ve made.

I used a cream background fabric with scraps of Liberty prints for the windows, which I just knew would make for a stunning effect (if I could complete it anyway!!). As you can see above, I did complete it and loved every minute of making it. So on with how to do it. There’s a lot of pictures but I felt this technique warrants lots of how-to images.

CATHEDRAL WINDOWS: PART 1

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 1These are the Liberty fabric scraps and plain background fabric I used, along with some prepared squares I did earlier.

To prepare the fabric squares: cut the plain fabric into accurate squares measuring, 10” x 10”. Then cut a piece of thick paper, measuring 9” x 9” – this will be used as a guide, see below, to fold over the raw edges by 1/2”.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 2Place the paper template onto the wrong side of a fabric square, leaving equal 1/2” gaps at all the edges. Fold over and press each edge of the fabric as shown.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 2Remove the paper template and fold the square in half, matching up the folded edges, press. Open up and fold in half again, the other way, press. Open back out.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 4Fold one of the corners to the centre point, press.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 5Fold the remaining corners into the centre and press. Try to do this as neatly and accurately as possible, ensuring that the folds butt up to each other and don’t overlap. Take your time, you’ll get quicker with a bit of practice.

SAMSUNG CSCRepeat the folding process, folding one corner to the centre point and pressing.

 Cathedral Windows Tutorial 7

Fold and press the remaining corners to the centre point, press. Pin through the layers to hold securely. Fold and press more squares in the same way.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 8Place two of the squares side by side and unpin the flaps next to each other. Pin them together.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 9Sew the flaps, along the crease marks, ensuring they’re aligned neatly.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 10Open back out and unpin the sewn together flaps. Stitch another square onto the panel, in the same manner. Add more squares if you want the row to be longer.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 11Press the sewn together flaps flat again. Make more rows of squares in the same manner.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 12To make bigger panels, join two rows of squares together: place side by side, unpin the adjacent flaps and pin together.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 13Ensuring they are aligned, stitch along the crease mark of the pinned together flaps.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 14Unpin the sewn together flaps and press them flat again. Add more rows together in the same way, if you want bigger panels.

Cathedral Windows Tutorial 15Hand-stitch together, all four points at the centre of a square, so they stay securely joined at the points only. Repeat with every square. Do the stitches small and as neat as possible. Once you stitched the points together, you can remove all the pins from the panels.

That’s the background panels now completed. I just made one small panel with three squares joined together and another panel with six squares joined together. You can make your panels as big as you want. I just wanted to start off small whilst learning this new technique.

See the next post CATHEDRAL WINDOWS PART 2 for how to add the prints and make the windows.