Noodlehead Bucket Bag


My first completed make of the Finish-a-Long is the Noodlehead Bucket Bag.  The pattern is from Handmade Style by Anna Graham, and I’m absolutely delighted with it!  It’s a surprising roomy bag and will be perfect for holiday beach trips.


There are masses of great details, including zip pockets and eyelets (noisy – sorry for the hammering, neighbours), and the chance to use three different fabrics.

I went for some gorgeous Cloud 9 Meridian barkcloth, Birch Organic Bear Flight canvas (currently on sale) and some navy polka dots for the lining.


The instructions are very good.  I did have one oopsie* when I cut both pockets into the same side, but that was because I didn’t look at the diagrams properly.  It was easily put right by cutting the piece in half and swapping them around.dottie-doodle-noodlehead-bucket-bag

Hetty won’t be coming on holiday with us but it will be useful for day trips with her.  Plenty of room for treats and other puppy essentials.

*Oopsie is Small Niece’s word for a mistake or accident – I’ve adopted it.

Modifying Vogue 1247

Vogue 1247 is the pattern I have used the most, with five different versions so far.  I’ve stopped blogging them as it got a bit repetitive, especially as most are in denim, to wear at home.  The pocket shape means anything in them is secure, especially important for my keys when I’m crossing the river with the pup!

I was looking at some of my favourite ready-to-wear skirts the other day and wondered if I could replicate the a-line, no-waistband silhouette I like, without buying yet another sewing pattern.  V1247 seemed a good candidate.

I always lengthen this pattern by eight inches, so this time I used a long ruler to make an a-line shape.


I left off the waistband and finished the edge with a 2″ strip of self-bias.


The fabric is from Dottie Dolly in Wellington.  I’m not sure what it is (cotton/linen?) but it is gorgeous – love the colour.

I’m really happy with this.  It’s much more comfortable without the waistband, and I like the a-line shape.  In fact, I like it so much I’m already making another!


2017 100 day project – completed!


I was determined to get to the end of my #100daysofslowstitches project, and here I am.  It wasn’t the project I thought it was going to be, and I was pleased I had made the definition of what I could do broad, so I could change it as I went along.

My two main projects were completing 25 blocks of The Splendid Sampler, for my niece – quilt top above.  And I kept up with the Ice Cream Soda blocks (see the end of this post).

I started with embroidery and English Paper Piecing, and as the days went on I included machine patchwork and applique.  My thinking was, it might be done by machine, but takes ages, so it still qualifies as slow stitching!

The 100 day project I completed a couple of years ago was #100daysofnewrecipies, and that one really affected me.  I saw a huge difference in my cooking ability and confidence by the end.

This time, I think I’ve learned what I do and don’t enjoy stitching.

I wanted to make a sampler of embroidery stitches, but hated counting threads to get straight and even rows of stitching.

I enjoyed making a Sashiko sampler, because the lines were printed on the fabric, and the embroidery transfer from the Aimee Ray book worked well too (see my previous post for more).  I’d like to use more transfer embroidery on garments, as I prefer to make something that can be used, rather than purely decorative.

The project encouraged me to persist with techniques I was finding difficult – like teeny, tiny patchwork pieces – gah!  And push myself to improve my quilting skills (points, people, points).

It might sound obvious, but making the time to do something towards a goal, however small, is a really good habit to get into.  I hope it’s something I will continue.

So, I’m glad I did it, I’m thrilled I completed 100 days – and I will probably join in again next year!



PS I loved this podcast from Elise on Starting The 100 Day Project


2017 Finish A Long

I’m joining Charm About You’s Finish-A-Long this quarter, and here is my list of projects I’m planning to complete –

Splendid Sampler lap quilt

A Christmas present for my little niece.  I’ve made 20 blocks, so another five to go, plus sashing, a patchwork backing, and quilting.

Nani Iro quiltdottie-doodle-2017-finish-a-long-003
This one is done apart from the applique circles.  I finished the rest of the quilt a while ago, but it got too hot to have a quilt draped over my lap.

Lone star epp

I have some beautiful vintage kimono and batik fabric which I want to do something special with, so I’m planning a lone star mini to frame.

Holiday bag


Anna Graham’s bucket bag from Handmade Style, which I need to finish in time to go on holiday!

Charm About You

If you’d like to keep up with my progress, I’m dottie_doodle on Instagram.

Sketchbook workshop with Cas Holmes


I’ve admired Cas Holmes’ beautiful work for ages, and I’ve often wondered if I could make something inspired by her techniques.  I didn’t know where to start – her books are lovely, but I needed some help.  Then I saw Cas was running a workshop at Thimblestitch in Honiton (about half an hour from me).  It was fully booked (curses), but I put my name on the waiting list anyway.  A few days before the date Zoe rang with news that she’d had a cancellation and I was in!

I absolutely loved it.  Cas is such a good teacher and guided us through a series of exercises – drawing outside, making rubbings, hammering flowers and looking at found objects in different ways.

Below is my first sketch of some grass, and rubbings of twisted wire and waste plastic.


I wanted to use this day to start preparing for a lampshade workshop with Marna Lunt, so I’d taken along some photographs of the river and fields where I walk Hetty.  This is the piece I worked on for most of the day –


And this one of a hare which I finished later –


I feel so much more comfortable with ‘playing’ in my sketchbook now.  Cas gave me some very good advice, which was to draw or do something in my sketchbook every day.  I’m going to start when I’ve finished my 100 day project, which ends on 12 July.  Nearly there!

If you’d like to keep up with my progress, I’m dottie_doodle on Instagram.




5 favourite paper piecing tips

Four months into the Ice Cream Soda quilt along (progress pictured above) and I’ve picked up quite a few English Paper Piecing tips.  Here are five of my favourites –
1. Clover Black Gold Needles
Until a few months ago, I thought hand sewing needles were much the same.  Oh no!  These needles glide through the fabric.  But they do have a tiny eye, so my next tip is …
2. Clover needle threader
I’ve been using this one for months and it is so fine and the design helps to keep it in one piece.
3. Aurifil thread
Beautiful colours, fine and strong.  I use 40 or 50 weight for piecing, and the heavier weights are wonderful for applique and embroidery.  The higher the number, the finer the thread.  I got a little bit obsessed with the Aurifil and bought rather a lot.  Have stopped now!
4. Templates
My dear friend Kathryn gave me a set of perspex templates for the Ice Cream Soda quilt and I am a complete convert.  They make it easy to cut several pieces at once, and fussy cutting is much easier.
5. Sewline glue
Some quilters baste, some prefer to glue their fabric to the paper pieces.  I’m a huge fan of glue – it means I can get to the fun bit (sewing the pieces together) more quickly. Refills can be expensive and the cost of postage means the price varies widely on the interwebs.  If I can’t buy them locally, I check the price when I’m buying fabric online, and include them in my order if it’s a good deal.
If you’d like to keep up with my quilty progress, I’m dottie_doodle on Instagram.

The Gigi dress

One of my 2017 Make Nine patterns is the Gigi dress by Olive Ann Designs.  I made this for little niece Greta and was very happy that she chose to wear it for a family lunch at our house.


The back of the dress – which is what attracted me to the pattern – is gorgeous.  Pleats give fullness, and the bow is so pretty.

I was a bit worried about the front.  The high neckline and short sleeves didn’t look very comfortable, but they are needed because of the low back.  Greta seems to like it though, and the only problem is that the dress becomes quite short when she lifts her arms.  Leggings or little shorts solve that problem, and I’ve made both for her from this bright pink jersey.

She has worn this with a little denim jacket over the top, and it looked adorable – she’s a stylish girl.


A pattern for a matching doll’s dress is included but that looked far too fiddly to make and play with.  Maybe when Greta is older!