Posts Tagged ‘Sewing’

Welcome Back

In today’s post I would like to share a picture of the Rice Heat therapy bag I made a couple of weeks ago.



As regular readers will know, I struggle with joint pain and find wheat bags really soothing. It’s almost impossible however to find them un-scented! The one I have is getting on a bit now and I was getting really worried what I would do if it wore out.

I found a great tutorial for how to make a rice heat therapy bag and modified it both inside and out and created this handwarmer. It’s great, for one minute in the microwave it stays hot for about 20 minutes. I’m working on designs and trialing different fillings. If you are Celiac then the option of filling your bag with rice is a safe option as the store-bought bags are often wheat filled.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

In today’s post I will be reviewing the following

Simplicity's Guide to Sewing DVD


Simplicity’s Guide to Successful Sewing DVD


Around £10-£12 (At time of writting 2010)

As a newbie to sewing I am looking for information to explain the new terms I come across and how to master the basic techniques. When I have seen this advertised it’s pitched at beginners or people looking to review techniques, so it sounded ideal, especially as I am a visual learner and struggles with long descriptions in books.


The DVD has eight chapters

  • Lay and cut out patterns with confidence
  • Successful seaming tips
  • Clipping, notching and grading explained
  • Understand darts and how to sew them perfectly
  • Enjoy sewing with stretch fabrics
  • Get confident with Zips
  • Trimmings


There are lots of great tips on here that really help when you are just getting started. If you are struggling to follow explanations in books then this DVD could really help. I’d buy this just for the section on zips


The biggest problem with this DVD is the production quality! Fine for You Tube, but disappointing for a commercial DVD from a main manufacturer like Simplicity!

  • Audio: On several occasions the presenters voice is drowned out by; emergency vehicle sirens, torrential rain and by music at the end.
  • Lighting; Camera gets between the set lighting and the presenter, often leaving her in shadow
  • Filming; Many key techniques from demonstrations happen off camera (see the You Tube comment!) You see the back of the person’s hand rather than what’s being sewn or the camera stays on the presenters face while she points to things on the project, so its out of sight.
  • Set; This is filmed in someones house rather than a studio and as a result there are a lot of distracting items in the background. A busy wall hanging and a Digital photo frame whose picture keeps changing which takes the eye.

Value for Money

At under £15, its worth it, there are some great tips on here and if you have prior knowledge of the subject or are using it for visual reference of individual elements then its worth having in your library. Especially if you have  that you have more detailed explanations elsewhere, perhaps in a book for example.

Summing Up

This seems like a good idea, let down by the production team. It feels rushed and sorry to say the end result doesn’t really hang together too well. I have watched it trough several times now and still have questions about what was covered. For a total novice with no prior experience its left me bewildered and confused on several things, especially the things that happened off-screen!

It would be ok as a refresher for someone who has sewn before but as a newbie the continual use of the phrase ‘Of course you will have done ‘X’ before you did this step’ was confusing and became annoying. Much like recipe books that say make a sauce without any information on how to make said sauce!

If you are looking for something that introduces you to the tools you need for sewing, how to get started with a sewing machine for the first time, in-depth techniques and something to get you started from the very beginning…then my recommendation would be Debbie Shaw’s DVD Sew What? Which I reviewed last month. It’s much more in-depth and approachable.

I’m still looking for tutorials for getting started and just hope Debbie Shaw extends her DVD series, she does understand the confusion and at times trepidation that new sewers have and her explanations are much clearer.


Simplicity I bought my DVD direct from Simplicity, the postage was sensible and they delivered fast! This is the UK site but there are links to Simplicity sites around the world from the home page :)

I HATE to give negative reviews!!! I really do, this DVD has merits, it just wasn’t for me. I hope I’ve made helpful points that the manufacturers could solve on later projects and not just winged! Do you have this DVD? What do you think of it? Do leave a comment and let me know how you got on.

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon

Billie :)

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Welcome Back

For those of you who follow my witterings on Twitter, you may have heard me mention that I bought a sewing pattern for making owls. I collect owls, and when I saw the pattern for them on Etsy, I couldn’t resist. I used some of the lovely fabric my friend Crafty Nanna gave me earlier in the year and made this.

My first Little Owl

My first Little Owl

Isn't he adorable

Spent a crafty afternoon with my neighbour’s grandaughter and helped her make the following owl.

Little Owl Keyring

Little Owl as a Keyring

Used Tim Holtz keyring findings, sewn to the little owls head to change him into a key ring. He’s dead cute and this was made from the Large owl pattern. I’m going to enlarge the pattern further and make a much bigger owl, then fill him with lentals so he can sit on my book and hold the page open for me. I struggle to hold books open for long coz of the RSI, so he will be a really useful helper.

To make your own adorable owls, check out The Little Owlery on Etsy, where you can purchase the pattern.

Best wishes and thanks for reading

Billie :)

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Welcome Back 

I have a crafting confession today: 

Sew What! Skirts

Sew What! Skirts

Here is the latest book to join my library. When I got my sewing machine, I had intended to make bags, and indeed I have made several now. But I am quite short and struggle to find skirts that fit me. Either they are far too long or just horrid material. 

This book is in the same series as  Sew What Bags! NO patterns, but lots to read and learn. Perfect for a newbie, I’ll review it at a later date when I’ve had time to read it and digest what it says. 

Got a lot on all fronts at the moment. Hope I can clear some space to get creating very soon. 

Best wishes and thanks for reading, see you soon 

Billie :)

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