Wednesday, 23 May 2012

Focus: Open Sewing Sessions

We are regularly being asked about the various classes and workshops that we hold at the Owl and Sewing Cat so 'Focus' is a new series looking at each class in turn. All images are of items made by students in our sessions.

What is the name of the class?
Open Sewing Session

Who is it for?
Anyone! The classes cater for beginners who have never used a sewing machine before all the way to regulars who come again and again. All sessions are run by the shop owner Tracey, and they are always a fun and friendly way to learn sewing. Sessions are usually for between 6-8 people. Suitable for both adults and children after 10 years old.

When does it take place?
The Open sessions are on Wednesday and Saturdays from 10am-1pm. They take place most weeks, but dates can be seen on our website.

What can you make?
The list is endless! Good beginner projects are bunting, simple envelope cushions, cushions made from two fat quarters and tote bags. You can make a simple child's dress, skirt or tunic. If you want to learn something specific, like applique or how to insert a zip, then this is the class for you. We will guide you through your project and give you ideas and advice. You will learn various techniques as you go, including piping, buttonholes and even how to sew a button on using a sewing machine! If you need inspiration please check our our gallery of projects or come in store to chat to us.

How much does it cost?
It is £15 plus fabric costs (although you are welcome to bring your own).

How do I come along?
Look at the class page for dates and then just give us a call on the number on our website to book your session. If possible we ask that you choose your project and fabric before you come and we will cut it and prepare everything prior to your session. You just need to come along and sew!

Happy sewing,


Next month we will be looking at our new Bag Making Workshop.

Monday, 21 May 2012

Made: Items made in our Open Sewing Sessions

Today I thought that I would share some pictures of items that have been made in store in our workshops recently.

All of these items have been made in our Open Sewing Sessions, held twice a week on a Wednesday or Saturday morning. Perfect for beginners or improvers alike. Come along and join the fun.

I will be back later in the week with more information!

Happy Sewing,


Saturday, 19 May 2012

Twitter competition

We currently have a Twitter competition running to win three fat quarters of your choice from our online shop, check out our timeline for more information.

Follow @owlandsewingcat on Twitter.

Friday, 11 May 2012

Tutorial: Bunting

It is almost the weekend and I am here today to share a really simple sewing project with you. Bunting is quick and easy to make, looks great it any room of the house and it is a brilliant beginners project for someone who wants to learn how to use a sewing machine. Lots of people make this in our Open Sewing Session and if you come in store we are happy to help cut your flags.

3 fat quarters
4.5m bias binding
Sewing machine
Tape measure
Needle and thread

1. To start with you need a template for your flags. We use a triangle that is 7.5 inches deep from the bottom point to the top of the straight edge. The best thing to do is cut one out of cardboard that you can use again and again. We have made the bottom point of our triangles blunt so that we can tell which is the bottom of the triangle when cut.

2. Cut 24 triangles in total, which will make 12 flags. We used three fabrics for the front of our flags and the navy polka dot on all of the backs.

3. Place two matching triangles together with right sides facing. Turn the triangle so the blunt cut point is point facing downwards.

4. Then place five pins down the two side edges as shown on the photo above (I forgot to add one at the bottom point so mine just has 4!). The pins are important as the two sides are cut on the bias so will stretch without the use of pins. Stitch down the two side edges with 1cm seam allowance, leaving the top edge open, as shown in the photo below. If you wanted you could sandwich ric rac in between the two layers of fabric at this point for a different look.

5. Remove the pins and then cut across the bottom corner as shown, to remove excess fabric which will help your points turn out easier.

6. Turn the triangles so that the right side of the fabric is now on the outside and press all the edges with an iron. Use a pin to pull out the bottom corner and get as sharp a point as possible.

7. Trim off the excess fabric on the straight un-stitched edge as shown below.

8. Take the bias binding and fold in half width ways and centre under the needle on the sewing machine. Set your machine to zig zag (we use stitch length 4 and stitch width 4 but you will need to test it on your machine). With the bias binding folded in half zig zag stitch along approx 25cm this will form on of the ends of the bunting used for hanging up. Without removing the bias binding from the machine, slide the raw edge of one of the prepared triangles, into the folded bias binding. Pin in place and then continue stitching along in zig zag. Leave approximately 10cm between each flag. We use the distance from the needle to the front of our machine bed each time which saves us having to measure! 

9. Once all the flags are added carry on stitching for another 25cm so you have plenty at the end for hanging up.

Stand back and admire your bunting!

We have used the London fabrics we have had in store for this, but you could easily make this with any fabrics for any occasion. We have already sold out of the red crown fabric but we have a Limited Edition fat quarter bundle called 'London Too' available for order online or in store which would be perfect for making Jubilee Bunting.

We would love to see your completed bunting if you use this tutorial. You can email us or share a picture on Facebook

Happy Sewing,


Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Made: Jubilee Tea Cosy

Here at the Owl and Sewing Cat we are very excited about the Jubilee celebrations and every time we have a spare moment we have been turning our hands to a bit of Jubilee inspired sewing. We also have new sewing machines in store that do embroidery so we have been playing around and came up with this lovely tea cosy. Very British and just the thing at the moment (honestly, shouldn't we be drinking Pimms in the sun not cups of tea by the fire at this time of year?)

If you would like to have a go at making one of these yourself we have the kits available online to purchase. There are two options - Jubilee Teacosy kit with the embroidered wording on the side for £10.50 and without for £9.50. Each kit comes with all of the material that you need and full instructions. If you would prefer to pick your own fabrics you can also purchase the Jubilee Teacosy instructions for just £2.

We are hoping to get a Jubilee themed window done for the shop shortly. I made this bunting last night to go up. I will be sharing a quick tutorial for this on Friday so please pop back then to see how easy it is to make. It looks really effective too.

We have been trying to think of all the wonderful things that we could make if we had the time and we thought of lots of things that would be great for entertaining over the long bank holiday period. Placemats, napkins, table runners, cushions, picnic blankets, the list is endless. The big question is what will the weather be like for all of the wonderful street parties and celebrations that are planned. Fingers crossed!

For a short amount of time we have our second Limited Edition fat quarter bundle called 'London Too' available online and in store for just £14.99. Comprising of two London prints and co-ordinating solid and polka dot fabrics tied up in a Queens Guard ribbon it is a great addition to any fabric stash and the perfect thing for making bunting or other similar items.

We would love to hear what Jubilee items you would like to make, or would like to see us make. We would also like to hear what you think of our fat quarter bundles and any particular themes or colours you would like to see in future.

Happy sewing, 


Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Facebook Competition - win a Fat Quarter bundle

I will be back later with details of a tea cosy that we made with one of these fabrics but  just wanted to let you know that we have a competition running at the moment on the Owl and Sewing Cat Facebook page. Just pop over and have a look and 'Like' us and when we reach 1000 we will randomly draw one person to win a Fat Quarter bundle.

These are the fabrics that I have been putting together this morning, what do you think?

Happy Sewing,


Update 9th May: This competition has now closed. Congratulations to our winner Zoe Eastes. 
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