Appliqué coin purse tutorial

I thought I would share a short tutorial on making these extra cute coin purses today! They make brilliant little gifts and are so handy to have, and I quite often get asked for them. This week my mum asked me for a couple of small purses so it was perfect timing to pass on the knowledge both here and in the Bag Making Adventures and More Facebook group.

My method of putting the zipper in these is a little different to a lot of the tutorials out there – I don’t use tabs but keep most of the zipper tape out of the side seams by turning it at an angle. You’ll see what I mean by this below. It can be a little fiddly but I really like how neat these look. Note that you absolutely need a zipper with a stop for this, zipper tape by the metre will not work.

The appliqué dog on these was based on an image I found on Pinterest. You need something fairly simple that you can easily break down into component parts that are large enough to cut and sew. I drew out what I wanted the final picture to look like, then traced each component part separately to give me templates to draw around. Think carefully about how the pieces will go together and if there will be any overlapping. Simple is definitely best here!


Supplies List

Outer Fabric – 2 rectangles 6 x 4 inches

Lining Fabric – 2 rectangles 6×4 inches

Fusible Interfacing – 4 rectangles 6×4 inches

Fusible fleece – 2 rectangles 5.5 x 3.5 inches

Scraps of faux leather and vinyl

7 inch all purpose, closed end zipper


Method for purse construction

1. Prepare your outer and lining fabric pieces by fusing interfacing to them all. Fuse fleece to the outer pieces leaving a 1/4 inch border on all sides.


2. Cut out your appliqué pieces – for this dachshund I have 5 pieces; a tail, main body, ear, collar and nose. I cut the tail a little longer than required so that it tucks underneath the main body piece.


3. Work out the order that you need to sew your pieces – remember that you need to start at the bottom and add layers upwards. Here, I’m starting with the tail, adding the body piece on top, then the collar, then the ear and nose. Have a play with the pieces so you know exactly how you want them and practice positioning them. Take photos to help if needed.


4. Start with your lowest piece – I glue my pieces and take my time about it, but you could use double sided take for a quick fix instead. WARNING – if you use regular double sided tape, keep it out of your stitching lines because it will gum up your needle and you will swear later! However, the wash away tape you can get for hems is perfect and can be sewn through (but it is pricey).


5. Sew around your piece 1/8 inch from the edge using a longer stitch length (3-3.5 is perfect). Remember to use a Teflon/roller/walking foot to help with this as a regular foot can drag. I didn’t take my own advise here and you can tell… Pull your threads through to the back and tie off.

6. Add the next layer on top, the body piece for me, fixing with glue or tape as required. Sew in the same manner, and continue layering up your pieces until you have completed your appliqué.

7. On the top edge of each outer piece, mark 3/4 inch in from each side, then lay your zipper on top FACE DOWN. Now comes the tricky bit – at the closed end of the zipper, fold the tape upwards at a 90 degree angle as close to the stop as you can get, and line up the vertical part of the zip teeth with the 1/2 inch mark on one side and pin or clip. It’s clearer what this means if you look at the picture below. Pin along the zip until you get to the mark on the other side, then fold the tape and pin again. Remember that the teeth on the zip that are now pointing upwards should line up with the mark. This side is trickier as it’s loose, so if you have any trouble with it put a couple of basting stitches in the end to secure it.


8. Baste the zipper in place, sewing with 1/8 inch seam allowance.

9. Lay the lining piece right side down onto the basted zip, then sew in place with a 1/4 inch seam allowance. Trim the zip ends.


10. Turn the panels so that they are wrong sides together, press away from the zipper and topstitch at 1/8 inch.

11. Repeat steps 7-10 for the other side of the zipper.


12. OPEN YOUR ZIPPER! Flip the panels so that the lining pieces are right sides together, and outer pieces right sides together. Take care to make sure that the outer top edges are nicely lined up.

13. Sew around all 4 edges, leaving a 4 inch turning hole in the bottom of the lining. Go slowly over the join between lining and outer as it can be bulky here, even without the zipper in the seam.


14. Trim the corners and turn the purse right side out. Poke out the corners, and seal the hole in the lining either using a very narrow seam allowance on the machine, or by hand using a ladder stitch.

And you are done!

However, if appliqué isn’t your thing – skip the steps on this and use plain panels front and back. If you want to jazz it up a bit, use a bit of faux leather or vinyl as an accent instead. Not big enough for you? Change the size – make them longer, deeper or both. Up to you. You could even make patchwork panels if you like. Here are a few others I did for small gifts. Cute, aren’t they!?

Hope you enjoyed this tutorial (despite my rubbish photos 😂), and do let me know if you make any.

Love Mrs B x



Catch All Tote Sew Along!

So I was a bit naughty and didn’t manage to get a post up in March, but in my defence I was working my little socks off on a top secret project that I will unveil in a couple of months. I finally finished the thing last night so I thought I’d take the bull by the horns and check in here right now!

April is a mega busy month for me as it is my wedding anniversary, The Big One’s Birthday, my nephew’s birthday and my birthday. It generally goes by in a blur. However, to add to all the madness, a friend and I set up our own bag making group on Facebook so have been busy with that. We wanted a UK based group that would host lots of sew alongs and tutorials and be a great learning place for both absolute beginners and experienced bag makers alike. We are small at the moment, but in my opinion perfectly formed 😀 If you’d like to join us, search for Bag Making Adventures and More and you’ll find us….

Anyhow, our first Sew Along is kicking off officially tonight, 14th April, which is so exciting! We’ve chosen to go for a simple tote bag for our first pattern, the Catch All Tote by Lean Mean Sewing Machine. We like it because although simple, it is so easy to modify to make it your own by adding embellishments, pockets, trims, changing the panels etc. So without further ado, here are the two I made!



For the first, I chose to leave off the vinyl accent called for in the pattern and cut out simple, plain panels – to do this, just cut the outer pieces the same size as the lining pieces. I used a heavy jacquard fabric here so skipped interfacing and just applied fleece. Now, the pattern tells you to sew down the sides and along the bottom, then cut out the corner pieces and reinforce the seams. This means to basically add a few extra stitches at the places I’ve marked in red below to strengthen the seams ready to “box” the corners of the bag. There are other ways to do this, and I’ll show you one of them on bag two in a short while.


For this one, I also decided change the handles so rather than sewing handles into the top seam (I’ll come back to that), I completed the construction of the bag, top stitched and then riveted leather handles on afterwards. Selfish reason here – I need to find something to do with a totally impractical patent leather hide I bought a while ago for no real reason 😂

For bag two, I went with oilcloth and vinyl accent in the dimensions given in the pattern. Again, because these are heavier materials, I did not interface the outer, just added fleece. My lining in both bags was interfaced cotton. I have to say it though, I HATE OILCLOTH! It is a nightmare to sew. Never again 😂 What I did for this one was constructed the outer panels, added the fleece and then top stitched the seam between the vinyl and the oilcloth. I do it this way because I feel that it’s a nice bit of extra security for the fleece. Then I cut the corner sections out before sewing the panels together for both the lining and the exterior panels. Sewing the sides and bottom after cutting out the corners means you can backstitch at the ends as you go. Totally up to you how you achieve it!



For bag two I also changed the handles, making fabric handles from the lining cotton rather than using vinyl. Because I had only a small piece of fabric left, I had to patch together the handles in two pieces each, which is why you can see a 45 degree seam in the pics below. I cut 3 inch wide strips rather than the 1.5 inches called for in the pattern. I folded this down the middle long ways, pressing well. Then I folded the long edges into the centre to meet the crease and pressed these too. Then finally fold along the original crease again to give a fabric strap with final width of 3/4 inch, top stitching down both sides. And please ignore the state of my ironing board cover, it sees a lot of action 😂



These were basted onto the outer of the bag as per the pattern, and the construction finished as described.


One final tip though for those who sew on a vintage or flat bed machine – the final top stitch is easier if you turn the bag inside out and have your presser foot inside the bag. Sounds bonkers, but try it. In this pic I also used tissue paper between the foot and the oilcloth because even my Teflon foot hates sticky oilcloth!


Anyway, I hope that this helps someone! It’s not a complete photo tutorial but I just wanted to capture things that our lovely group beginners might have trouble getting their head around. Any questions, please shout, either here or in the group 😀

Love Mrs B x

Sourdough deliciousness

I admit it, I’m a bread addict. Have been for a long time. I mean what in the world is better than fresh, crusty, still warm bread slathered with butter? It used to be my aim that I would make all of our bread but with 2 kids that’s a tricky one. Bread is not difficult but it takes time and attention. However since the Little One has just started nursery, I’m regaining some time that I can put towards supplying my family with things like this. So I thought I would write up what I do, because I know I’m not the only one who can’t be trusted around a homemade loaf….

White Sourdough Starter Culture

So you need a little faith here. This thing will very likely go through a phase of smelling utterly disgusting and you will probably want to throw it out, but you must resist!

1. In a large container (go bigger than you need because you will be adding to it and it needs headspace) mix one cup of strong white bread flour with one cup of water. Beat it well with a fork, whisk or food mixer, whatever you fancy, to get some air into it. Cover loosely and leave overnight at room temperature.

2. Have a look at and smell of your starter. If it’s starting to bubble and smell a little sour or beery, perfect! If not, give it a beat and leave it just one more day. Now add another cup of flour and a cup of water and beat well. Cover loosely and leave overnight again.

3. Every day for the next week or two, pour away half of the starter and add a cup of flour and a cup of water, beating well. This is “feeding” your starter. Get used to how it looks and smells.

4. When you get to the stage where the smell has settled and it is consistently bubbling away after feeding, you are ready!

5. If you are going to use it regularly or even every day, continue feeding in the same way. If you aren’t going to be using it imminently stick it in the fridge where it will sit happily for a week between feedings. When you want to use it, take it out of the fridge a couple of days before and give it a good beat and a feed to get it active again.

Here’s mine, in a totally impractical and utterly unsuitable jar 😂😀


Since your starter is unique to your environment and how you have created and treated it, it cannot be compared to anyone else’s! This is why you need to get to know it – yours might smell fruity, beery, sour or something else. But it’s yours, love it and nurture it. You can also switch the white flour for wholemeal, or even add a bit of rye. Make it your own.

White Sourdough Bread

Here I’m using the recipe amounts specified by the River Cottage Bread Handbook, but borrowing a little from Peter Reinhart’s methods in Artisan Breads Every Day. These are two of my favourite bread books (I have one more, will get back to that one some other time 😀) and I would recommend them to anyone. The River Cottage one is more mainstream and Peter Reinhart’s gives much more theory and a very different take on how to produce bread at home using some nifty techniques!

1. Make your “sponge” – mix a generous ladleful of good active starter with 500g strong white bread flour and 650ml warm water. Mix well and leave overnight to ferment

2. Add a further 600g strong white bread flour and 25g salt to the sponge and mix as best as you can. This is tricky! It will start of as a totally unmanageable, sticky mess but we’ll fix that. As long as you can can group it all together as a kind of shaggy lump, you’re good. Look, here’s mine…

3. Oil a worktop and your hands, tip out the dough and “stretch and fold” – pull the left side of the ball out and into the centre, then the right, then the top, then the bottom. Turn the ball over and put back into a clean, oiled bowl. Set a timer for 10 minutes. It will still look seriously rough.

4. When the 10 minutes is up, tip the dough out and repeat the stretch and fold process. Look at the improvement!

5. Repeat this every 10 minutes until you have a beautiful, smooth ball of dough. Four times was the charm for me and you can see the improvement with every repeat.


6. Once your dough is ready, cover and leave for 1 hour to rise. It likely won’t rise a lot at this stage, but bear with it! Once the hour is up, tip out the dough, flatten it out with your fingertips and form back into a ball. Repeat a further 3 times.

7. After 4 hours of rising and knocking back, shape as required and leave to prove for a final time until doubled in size. This final stage will take 2-3 hours, just keep an eye on it. I went for 3 baguettes, a focaccia and a boule. The focaccia is drizzled with oil, dimpled with the fingertips and sprinkled with salt before baking. Baguettes and boule were floured and slashed.




8. Throw a small cup of water in the bottom of the oven and bake at 200C for 20-25 minutes for baguettes/rolls, or longer for larger loaves. Make sure the crust is crisp and the loaf sounds hollow when the bottom is tapped. My focaccia was baked for 30 minutes (no water in the oven for this one) and the boule for 45 minutes.


9. Enjoy!

I’m afraid that focaccia is the big favourite in my house, so it wasn’t long out of the oven before it was hacked into 😀 But look at that structure! This isn’t the usual way I make focaccia and it came out with a more crisp crust than traditional focaccia maybe would, but my oh my was it tasty!

Do let me know if you make some – I won’t mind if you type with your mouth full 😉

Love Mrs B x

Where has February gone?!?

I can’t believe the second month of 2018 is almost over, but in fairness it has been a busy month for me. The most important thing that happened is that the Little One turned 3! And that means my baby will be starting nursery next week. He’s totally ready though, and he’ll OWN the place by the end of his first week, he’s just that kind of guy 😂 Birthdays mean cakes of course, but I have to admit that this wasn’t one of my finest attempts. You see, he doesn’t really like cake that much, and he has few strong preference about much else so it seemed a waste to spend umpteen hours slaving over it like I did when the Big One turned 3. So I went with simple, one layer, easy peasy decoration. Burnt the bloody thing (since I am only human, after all) but trimmed it up and all was good. Really tasty too – basically a Victoria sponge recipe with a whole heap of melted white chocolate added to the batter. Decorate with some swirly blue icing to look like water, crumbled digestive biscuit sand and a KitKat treasure chest filled with chocolate coins and MnMs, and there you go, done!

I have also done loads of sewing this month, including these adorable dachshund coin purses. My grand plan was to write a short tutorial on these but I haven’t quite managed that yet….

To help me along on my clothes sewing journey, I made pattern weights for when pins are just too much hassle. I was worried these would be too light but they actually work really nicely.

I also finally worked out the layout of my Honey Pot Bee quilt, and even made a start on sewing some of it together!

For clothing, I made a pair of leggings, a vest top and a few underwear items from the new Made for Mermaids range I mentioned in my last post. But I’m not about to put pictures of my pants on my blog, sorry!

Lastly, but certainly not least, I planted my chilli seeds. Last year was the first year in about 6 or 7 when I didn’t plant my chilli babies and I really regretted it. So this year I have played 25 seeds, 3 different types and I’m hoping for a bumper crop because I want chilli jam!

Love Mrs B x

Body Confidence

There’s a lot of love going about in the Made for Mermaids Patterns group on Facebook at the moment, and it’s all because of some exciting new pattern releases 😉 But more about that in just a minute…..

When I first started sewing, I had no interest in making clothes. It all looked so difficult and I’ve always struggled with body confidence so the thought of measuring every bit of myself in minute detail to try to fit something has always left me shuddering. As a girl who loves cake and lacks willpower the numbers are terrifying.

But as a certified fabricaholic, I joined the Facebook group of a fabric supplier and kept seeing all these amazing clothes people had made and I just wanted in on the action. I went digging to find the sources of the patterns they used and discovered a whole world I had no idea existed. I figured if they could do it, so can I! After all, I can make a decent bag with tonnes of steps and equipment and hardware, surely I could do a simple t-shirt?

So I took the plunge, and I bought ONE pattern – something loose fitting, casual, and easy enough that I would have a reasonable shot at producing something wearable. I went for the Patterns for Pirates Relaxed Raglan and I was hooked. It’s not fancy but I made it and I love it. Since then I have acquired quite a number of new patterns and actually made a fair few of them with plans to make the rest! This month, I’ve actually made myself three new tops, all of which I absolutely love 😍

Which brings me to body confidence – I think I can honestly say I’ve never felt so good. I lost 2 stones last year which has helped massively, but what has been most monumental in this has been joining the Patterns for Pirates and Made for Mermaids Patterns groups on Facebook. These groups exist specifically to support people using patterns from the respective companies, but they have got to be some of the most positive and inclusive places out there in internet land. Everyone is represented here – tall, short, thin, curvy, all the “fruit” related shapes 😂, whatever! And most importantly, that goes for the pattern testers as well as the punters like me! No longer do I have to deal with ill fitting clothes that I’ve bought leaving me feeling uncomfortable and shamed for loving cake too much 😀

So back to all the commotion at Made for Mermaids – they have just released a cute lingerie set in time for Valentines and the results really are unbelievable. There are so many people posting about their partners finally being interested in their sewing, and in most cases actually bank rolling and actively facilitating trying out the new patterns 😂 but best of all, there are so many people feeling better and more confident about themselves because there are others out there making beautiful clothes to put on their totally normal and imperfect bodies, and utterly rocking it. Well done Made for Mermaids!

So I’m just going to carry on loving cake whilst hoping my willpower makes a comeback someday, wearing my gorgeous Mama Claire that fits me, now, how I am.


Love Mrs B x

Happy Creative New Year!

2018 is here, and I’m feeling smug because I’ve already managed to tick off two items from my big plan 😀 I’ve come into this year feeling fresh, bursting with ideas and excited about what is yet to come, so naturally I couldn’t wait to get started on my goals. This year I am trying to be more organised, tidy and methodical and to keep better records, so what better way to start than with a couple of “useful” items!?

First up was an Emmaline Retreat Bag which I’ve been planning to do for an age and never gotten round to. I bought a couple of sets of frames about a year ago and have had the perfect fabric waiting almost as long. And here it is!

fect place for all my scissors, rotary cutters and associated bits and bobs, and I love the structure that the internal wire frame provides. Will definitely find a use for my spare set of frames, in fact, the Big One has requested one for all his pens 😂

Next up was a Little Moo Turnabout Pouch, another pattern that I have been desperate to try and I am so glad I did!

This one is home to my “bullet journaling” supplies, although I feel I should use that term loosely as I am not using it to plan anything other that craft projects – little or no real life stuff in there I’m afraid! This is such a stylish wee pouch, and it makes me smile every time I see that rainbow. That zip is a tricky little devil though and prompted one or two bad words from my sewing space….

The British Bag Makers group on Facebook (come join!) is hosting its own January challenge again this year – New Year New Bag Pattern, in which you have to make something you haven’t done before. Therefore, both of these count as contributions from me, bonus!

One of my other goals was to try to make some zipper charms for my bags using polymer clay that Santa/Dear Hubby brought me for Christmas. Since it appears that I need one or two tools to do the more fancy stuff (and I’ve blown this month’s craft supply budget), I thought I’d start simple and have a go at some swirled lentil beads taking inspiration from YouTube. I was going for galaxy effect, but alas I wasn’t totally successful. However, I got a couple of usable beads that I think are stunning, and I can’t wait to try more.

Now though, I have so many ideas that I’m on the verge of becoming “paralysed by possibility”, so I’m needing a wee kick up the bum to get going on something. I had already decided on three top patterns I fancied trying but was feeling indecisive about fabric, so tonight I just made a snap decision and went for it. Garment number 1 for 2018 is in progress, and I can’t wait to get it finished!


As the end of the year draws near, I’m still reflecting on what I’ve done in the last year and looking ahead to what I would like to do. Yvonne at Quilting Jetgirl is hosting a linky planning party on her blog so I thought I would get in on the action and get some goals down in writing in the hopes that it gives me the push to keep up with them!

First a final look at 2017

In Quilty stuff:


  • I started and completed my first quilt following the Sew Fresh Quilts Have a Jolly Little Christmas quilt along
  • I also participated in the Honey Pot Bee hosted by the glittering Molli Sparkles
  • I have yet to complete my Honey Pot Bee quilt as I need to construct the top, but all the blocks are sewn and awaiting my attention
  • Through the Honey Pot Bee I have developed a bit of a thing about paper piecing, but both quilt alongs have taught me tonnes about what I’m good at and what I need to work on (accurate seam allowances mostly 😀)

In bag type stuff:

  • I’ve made quite a number of purses and bags, small and large, but accumulated even more patterns (almost 80 at last count 😳)
  • I’ve branched out materials wise, and tried my hand at faux leather, vinyl, Kraftex, oilcloth, glitter fabric and cork on top of the usual cotton.

In clothes:

  • Despite saying not that long ago that I had no interest in making clothes, I dived in and gave it a go
  • I have made 8 items of clothing for myself and one each for my two sons, mostly from two pattern companies, Patterns for Pirates and Made for Mermaids. I love their style, and the sizing and fit is perfect for me
  • I invested in my first overlocker, which is currently scaring the life out of me 😂

But the important part of this planning party is setting out what I’m going to do in 2018, so here goes!

In Quilty Stuff:img_4107

  • Finish the Honey Pot Bee Quilt – need to complete the construction of the top, sandwich, quilt and bind
  • Use up orphan blocks from Honey Pot Bee – some block tutorials produced more that one block and I know that some of the larger duplicates won’t make it into the final quilt as they might throw my colour balance. I would like to use these up, even if it’s only for an odd cushion cover or a panel in a bag
  • I received the fabulous Animal Quilts book by Juliet van der Heijden (aka the Tartan Kiwi) for Christmas and I want to complete one project from the book – and I mean complete and turn into something, not just make the animal block!
  • The town I live in has an annual Horticultural and Craft show, so I would like to complete the patchwork cushion cover I started this year and actually enter it in to the competition for 2018!

In bag type stuff:

I would like to further develop my bag making skills (but also make a couple of useful things for myself) with the following patterns being top of my list

Little Moo Turnabout Pouch

Little Moo Craftinator Project Pouch

Swoon Annette

Blue Calla Lotus

Emkie Designs Midsummers Night Traveller

Emmaline Bags Retreat Bag

  • I want to use the FIMO polymer clay that I also got for Christmas to make some cute beads for zipper pulls on my bags

In clothes:

  • I want to make at least another 6 items of clothing, including one pair of trousers and one dress

So 6 bags and 6 items of clothing plus my quilts to start/finish adds up to a minimum of one project per month – achievable, right!?! To keep me on track I have some beautiful swanky new notebooks for my bullet journal adventures and I can’t wait to get started!

See you in the New Year!

Love Mrs B x

Ernie’s Last Week 2018

As the excitement of Christmas hit the household, and we are all starting to get back to full health, Ernie upped his game a little 😀

Day 16 – Ernie donned his tin foil space suit for a trip to the stars

Day 17 – PlayStation time with Teddy

Day 18 – Last year, Ernie toilet papered the Christmas tree, this year him and his dinosaur friend picked the TV!

Day 19 – I really wish everyone in my house would just leave stickers alone 😂

Day 20 – Ernie’s favourite area of mischief got it again, removing all the baubles from the Christmas tree…

Day 21 – Ernie brought gingerbread houses for the boys to build and decorate

Day 22 – Ernie’s Last day before hitching a ride back to the North Pole with Santa, so he brought a fizzy bath bomb, new cosy pj’s and popcorn to eat with the Christmas film he brought on arrival day.

Farewell Ernie, we’ll see you next year!

Love Mrs B x

Week 2 2017 with Ernie the Elf

This week, the dreaded sickness bug hit our house, leaving all four (five including Ernie) feeling rather under the weather. Needless to say, Ernie has been a little more sedate in his antics….

Day 9 – Ernie wasn’t feeling too good like the rest of us so had a night on the sofa


Day 10 – Super Ernie is feeling a little better and loves a bit of climbing!


Day 11 – Ernie brought return letters from Santa 😀


Day 12 – One of Ernie’s favourite stunts from last year was drawing on photos and he’s been at it again!


Day 13 – Toy story time 😀


Day 14 – Band practice with monkey


Day 15 – Ernie brought Christmas books and DVDs


Fingers crossed the last week and a bit before Christmas is a little “healthier”! Thinking caps on for me 😉

Love Mrs B x

Week 1 2017 with Ernie the Elf 😀

So Ernie has returned, and look what goodies he brought for his North Pole Breakfast arrival day! That’s him, naughty wee soul, in the little Christmas tree 😂

Last year he brought tonnes of lovely home baked cookies and brownies and made strawberry santa’s but the boys just wanted cereal so that’s what they got this year along with scotch pancakes, toast and milkshake straws. Mini crackers, a new Christmas DVD and a little Kinder gift completed the set up!

Day 2 – Naughty Ernie has his wrapping paper stilts on to steal chocolate from the advent calendars.


Day 3 – This Elf just can’t help himself where the Christmas tree is concerned! The last two years he toilet papered it, but this year he went for pants as a new decoration!


Day 4 – Ernie has obviously annoyed one of the other toys….


Day 5 – one of The Big One’s most vivid memories from last year was of Ernie’s marshmallow bath, so obviously he had to repeat the experience, but with a few sweeties thrown in for good measure. The Elf version of bath bombs, no doubt 😂


Day 6 – Ernie loves animals, and this wee pup was happy to take him for a ride!


Day 7 – After a few naughty antics during the week, Ernie brought the boys some Lego mini figures to make up for it. What a kind soul!


Day 8 – Ernie is a terrible driver, as you can see….


I wonder what the next week will bring with our festive visitor!?

Love Mrs B x