Holiday sewing and Scissor Envy

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During the holidays (which when the weather is wet and windy and utterly miserable, do feel well and truly over) I tried to catch up on all the small bits of sewing that I’d been putting off while I was sewing and making things for the craft fairs.  I had a basket piled high with holey socks which were all too pretty to chop up for stuffing so spent several surprisingly pleasant afternoons darning socks using a lovely old darning mushroom (like Wagon Wheels these were definitely larger in ‘the good old days’) and a selection of darning wools and vintage crewel wool (which darned just fine)  I’d also purchased the above bear before Christmas and he was in need of some repair work so re-stuffed a leg and repaired and darned some seams and holes.  I still need to re-sew his nose and make him a little outfit.


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During the Summer months I had started sewing some patchwork together (small 2 1/2 inch squares) made up from a selection of fabric, it was just right to take to craft fairs as it is all sewn by hand, the pieces are small but not too tiny, so it makes a very portable project.   I tend to sew the squares together in strips of 4 or 5, then join these strips together once I am then home.  So over the holidays all the pieces were sewn together, and I’ve now got a patchwork piece 23 squares by 21.  (It is just under 4 ft by 3 1/2 ft)  I’ll probably make it a bit bigger as I want it for downstairs as it can get a bit chilly in the evening.  This is ideal for using up fabric from scrap bags, and has been lovely to sew.  I can’t always remember what I did a couple of days ago, however looking at the patchwork I see fabric from Sylvia, pieces from Beth, a few squares of fabric from Phils shirt, and a couple of tiny squares from D-frans shirt left from sewing a quilt from Chloe which used fabric from her family and friends, fabric from Nicky, a piece from Nanny’s bed sheets (it wouldn’t feel right without using that), fabric from Sasha,  pieces from Alison who taught me to quilt…… for me this is better than a photo album and is my favourite way to piece patchwork.  Every so often I have to stop, sort out fabric, draw out squares and cut them out with seam allowance, then I can carry on.


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I know that if I used my sewing machine  I’d get this sewn up in the blink of an eye, but I much prefer sewing this way, it’s much more pleasurable and means I can watch old films and listen to the wireless while I’m sewing.  It’s also incredibly portable and as it is constructed of lots of little pieces can be picked up and sewn almost anywhere.  Another bonus to hand sewing is that it is very easy to remove and replace a square if two fabrics the same are joining (I don’t mind the same colour next door but not the same fabric)


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I do sometimes use a rotary cutter when cutting fabric, but the majority of these squares have been cut using a pair of fabric scissors.  Many years a go I made the mistake of lending out a pair of lovely scissors and never got them back (it’s a mistake we all make) and have been making due with a pair that had seen better days.  However I’ve had my eye on these gorgeous Merchant and Mills scissors for some time, and at Christmas I was lucky enough to unwrap a pair from Kathy and Phil.  They had also bought me a pair of the Merchant and Mills buttonhole scissors which are designed for cutting buttonholes, but are equally ideal for notch cutting.  Eldest sister came round on Sunday afternoon and when I showed them to her (I was very kind and even let her hold them) she admitted to experiencing Scissor Envy.


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They are made in Sheffield, and come packaged in a beautiful heavy cardboard box, which reminded us of how the haberdashery items were stored when we were at school.  They are heavier than than the scissors I’ve been using but are so sharp.  They really are a delight to touch, use and look at.  If you have been thinking about buying an pair then I would most absolutely recommend them as they are wonderful.  (I just wanted to show the back of the patchwork…it’s not ironed yet, but I just love how the seams look so soft and touchable)

8 thoughts on “Holiday sewing and Scissor Envy

    1. To be honest it’s strangely satisfying sewing small pieces together, I think the hardest part is gathering together enough different fabrics, (but you and some friends all sew then swopping small squares can soon build up a nice collection) I think if I was only using a few fabrics (say a couple of dozen) then I’d get a bit bored. When you start joining the strips together it’s so lovely that it is a bit difficult to decide when it is big enough. Go on, try doing some yourself…you may surprise yourself xx

      1. Your enthusiasic words really whet my appetite 😉 Since I’v a new sofa I’m thinking about a dog blanket of all the remnants in my stash. But I’d start with big squares 😉 Lately my housemate brougth my a big pile of almost new shirts which doesn’t fit anymore. That would be great material to start. Do you use remnants and remains or do you buy these quilt packeges? For me always a weird thought – cutting new fabric in pieces 😉

      2. I made both my cats quilts from old brushed cotton /flannette shirts (well one also used a pair of my sisters pyjamas…she had given them to me so she didn’t go to bed cold!!) I cut the squares for these quite big, about 4 to 6 inches, and you could quickly sew these on a sewing machine. One quilt was then put together like a proper quilt (wadding and backing) and then I hand quilted it using button thread so my stitches weren’t so tiny. The other quilt I used a pieced of fleece fabric so didn’t use wadding, and again used button thread to quilt it.
        Some of the quilts I have made have been made using new fabric (I treat the fabric shop like a sweety shop and buy a fat quarter as and when. I’ve never bought all the fabric for a quilt in one go, I’ve never got that much money and I quite like being able to add to as the quilt grows. My favourite quilts are made from scraps. I will cut pieces out form new fabrics but some of the “new” fabrics have been in my collection over 15 years…. and I’m very lucky to have a friend like Sylvia who gave me her collection of vintage fabric when her fingers no longer could cope with sewing. I’ve bought scrap bags of fabric before, and will use fabric from shirts and skirts that I have bought from car-boots (flea markets and jumble sales)
        I agree that it seems silly to buy fabric for quilts brand new, which is why I prefer to mix up a lot of my fabrics.
        I hope I’ve inspired and encouraged you to make a quilt for your dog, animals do seem happiest when they are laying on a piece of sewing!!

    1. Thank you, I think you’ve made the bear very happy as he seems to get more handsome with each new compliment. I’ve already cut some more squares ready to make the quilt a bit bigger.

  1. Yes I definitely had scissor envy 😉 …and if you’re a really good girl, next time i see you I just might bring along my collection of rotary cutters for you to admire 😉

    1. lol if you saw my rotary cutter you’d laugh. It’s not quite held together with sticky plaster and tape but it looks pretty battered and a couple of pieces have broken off it. I don’t think you’d get rotary cutter envy from looking at it…it probably needs some yellow accident tape around it!

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