Orren’s Baby Quilt

Wow, over a year since my last post, I was away longer than I  thought. But I have been busy…this meme springs to mind!


I spent most of my pregnancy making his quilt and having made quilts for other babies I was very excited to finally making one I’d get to keep for my own buba!


I found it so difficult to sit at the machine in the last few months it was a slow progress.  I was doing the last of the hand stitching in hospital a week before his arrival. Having something to work on kept me sane and was at least a talking point with midwives and doctors!

I finally finished it the morning I went into labour, talk about the nick of time!

Felt Cloud | Bonsai Hewes

For a first attempt I’m quiet pleased with my little felt rain cloud!

The felt originally came from a gift, which was supposed to make a bird, but this proved to be way beyond my crafting capabilities. So it sat in a draw for months on end, waiting for some good old Pinterest inspiration!

The only specialist bit of kit you need is a felt needle (I’m not even sure if that’s the right name for it I’m such a novice at felting). I believe your meant to use craft foam, but I used a kitchen sponge and it did the trick! You’ll also need an embroidery hoop, fabric and of course un-spun wool fleece (the felt).

Felt Cloud | Bonsai Hewes

Pop your fabric into the hoop, pull off small pieces of the felt and roughly pull apart.  Place on the fabric in the pattern/shape you want with the sponge behind and basically stab like crazy!!

Getting the shape of the droplets was a little tricky, to neaten the edges I found it worked well the use a finger to roll the edges into the middle, hold the wool and stab, a little slower and carefully around the edges.  I think you can use cookie cutters but I found free handing it worked ok! I could have spaced out the drops a little better, there’s a bit of an annoying gap in the middle, but maybe I’m being too picky!

Evie Baby Quilt

My first thought, after hearing my friend’s exciting news that she was expecting her first baby, was to congratulate her, my second thought was about the quilt I was going to make!

Not knowing that the baby was a little girl when I started I opted for a mix of bright colours, hopefully to capture baby’ attention and make tummy time more interesting for her! I like using animal prints as a theme, I’d like to think it could a be game to name them as she grows up!

This time around I chose a simpler pattern than ‘baby Wong’s‘ quilt, I hadn’t given myself as much time!

Here are a few photos of the quilt in the making, if you want the full tutorial and sneaky hints, click here

Cutting the pieces

The pattern is essentially made up of two ‘pairs’ of rectangle sewn together to make ‘squares’.  The pattern alternates the squares in portrait and landscape.

Sewing the patches


Once the pairs are sewn together to make the individual square, press the seams open, like so…

Evie Baby Quilt |Bonsai HewesAlthough I have a vague plan of the pattern in my head before I start, I like to lay out the squares and jiggle them around until I have a pattern I’m happy with. But I can be quite fickle, so sometimes the plan goes out the window at this point and I have to make new squares, but I’d rather that then have something I’m not happy with!

Once you’ve got the layout just right snap a photo to remind you and then start sewing!


Before we talk about layering the quilt we must talk backing fabric.

If you’re making a quilt to be hung the wall you might not ever see the backing fabric, so you might want to go with something cheap and plain.

But for a blanket, especially a gift, you want to pick a nice fabric for the backing. After all your hard work you want it to look beautiful from all angles.  Using my knowledge of Sensory Integration from my work as an occupational therapist, I always choose a plain backing fabric, the front can be interesting and stimulating to look at, but you don’t always want baby to be stimulated, sometimes you want to calm them and muted colours and simple, repetitive patterns work best.

You will also want to put some thought into the wadding you’re using, crafty.com has some useful information, click here



So far all my quilts are quilted using the ‘stitch in the ditch’ method.  I’m not brave enough to do free motion quilting and I only have basic manual sewing machine.  For quilting, I definitely find a walking foot is the best option and worth the investment.  It helps to keep all the layers moving together so you get less slipping.

Particularly when sewing at the edges make sure all the layers are flat or this happens! Argh!

Evie Baby Quilt |Bonsai Hewes


Did I mention making quilts is a marathon, not a sprint! Keep going you’re nearly there!

To finish the quilt, it needs binding.  You can make your own binding or take the cheats away out and buy ready made, double folded bias binding!  First job is trim and square up the quilt.


Binding isn’t all that tricky, but I can never remember how to do it!  So I need to refresh my memory with a few you tube videos!

I cheated this time around.  There is a method of attaching the binding so you don’t see any stitches, it gives a lovely finish, but takes a long time.  This time around I used a decorative stitch to make it part of the design.  Being quite a wide stitch it also meant that I would definitely catch the binding tape on the top and the bottom!

Finishing touches

To finish the quilt, tuck any loose threads into the blanket using a fine needle.  Give it a wash (and if you have a hair cat, give it a once over with a lint roll). It’s all done!

Christmas Tree Dress

This has to be best Christmas tree I have ever had!  Our mischievous little cat, Zeb, makes having a Christmas hard work.  He delights in climbing or knocking the thing over and has a great time chasing the baubles, he can’t understand how we don’t find it as equally fun!!  Plus we usually go home to our parents at Christmas so we usually don’t bother….but then I came across Christmas Tree Dresses!  How could I resist, I had to make one!

It’s sturdy enough that Zeb can’t knock it over but delicate enough that he can’t find any purchase to climb it!  It’s so striking that I don’t think it needs baubles, so there’s less temptation!

It was surprisingly easy to do, it probably took me about 3 or 4 hours, but it was so exciting to see it taking shape that the hours just slipped by.

To make one yourself, you will need:

  • A dress form (I happened to already have one!)
  • Chicken wire, wire
  • Wire or sturdy ties
  • A top/fabric to make the top of the dress.
  • A Christmas tree.  I used an artificial one (I think you could a real one, but there;s a lot of cutting and fiddling so you’ll inevitably knock off loads of needles, plus some trees are poisonous to cats).

How to do it:

  • Slip the top on to the dress form
  • Wrap the chicken wire around the waist of the dress form to form the skirt and shape – remember the branch will add volume so keep the skirt slightly small than you the dress to be when you’re finished.
  • Cut the branches from the tree, wrap some wire (about 6 inches long) and wrap around the base of the branch, leaving a couple of inches to make a hook
  • Start with the large branches and hook on the chicken wire.
  • Working from the bottom up and keep moving around in circle building up the layers as you go.
  • Step back from time to time and make sure the branch are nice and even.
  • When you reach the top of the wire you need to hide any exposed wire or gnarly ends of the branches.  I cut some individual branches and wrapped them through the wire then finished it off with a pretty ribbon.
  • Then wrap around the lights

I’m going to make a chunky necklace with baubles to disguise the neckline and make the top pretty, I’ll upload the photos when it’s done!

Now, it feels like Christmas!


Shopping Tote Bag | Free Pattern

Perhaps not the most exciting sewing project, but certainly a practical and worth while one!

I try to be environmentally but I’ll be honest, the real catalyst for this project was the introduction of the 5p charge for plastic carry bags!  It’s easy to see that is having an effect on people’s reliance on plastic bags, I see people juggling loose shopping in their arms on the way out of the shops (they obviously for forgot their ‘bag for life’ to!).  Whether it’s our annoyance and protest at having to pay for a bag or increasing the public’s awareness of the harm the cause it’s certainly working!

I’m rubbish at remembering to take my old carrier bags (I also slightly dislike being a walking advertisement for the stores) but putting the energy into making a much prettier ‘bag for life’ is certainly helping!

I used half a metre of ‘Street Life’ by Jessica Hogarth for Dashwood Studio plus some leftover fabric from a patchwork quilt (which I’ll post soon!).   This pattern has a little design feature that gives the bag a boxed bottom, so the bottom of the bag is flat, which makes it stands up (when full) and opens the bag up so you get more in it!

Shopping Tote Bag | Free Pattern | BonsaiHewes

There are a few ways to box the bottom of bags, So Sew Easy has a great video tutorial showing how to do it.  Personally I find cutting out the corners easier to do, but use whichever method works best for you.  (If you use the other ways shown in the video, don’t cut out the corners and used in this pattern!)

To make the bag:

  • Print out the pattern  and cut the fabric.

Shopping Tote Sewing Pattern Bonsai Hewes

  • Line up the top panel and main section the bag, right sides to together and sew.  Do the same for the bottom panel with cut out squares at the bottom. Repeat for both sides of the bag.

Shopping Tote Bag | Free Pattern | BonsaiHewes

  • Make the straps with left over fabric from the main panel.  Fold in half lengthways, right sides together and sew just the long edge.  The ends will close when sewed to the bag. Then pull the right way round (this can be fiddly so just be patient with it)
  • Hem the top of the bag by folding the edge down twice, about a cm metre each.
  • To attach the straps tuck the edges under the fold with straps hanging down towards the bottom of the bag and sew straight across.  Now fold the straps up, so the handles are the right way up, just be careful not to pull the hem line with them. Then sew a little box around the edges to hold them in place and make them nice and strong! I realise I forgot to mark on the pattern where to place the straps – measure 5cm from the centre fold on the pattern and line the inside edge of the strap.

Shopping Tote Bag | Free Pattern | BonsaiHewes

  • Now, to sew two sides of the bag together.  Places the pieces right sides together, making sure the all the edges line up.  Sew down each side and the across the bottom, but do not sew the two edges of the cut out squares.
  • Once the edges are sewn, pinch the corners of the cut out square and pull, the straight edges with come together, sew them together, trim any excess.

There you have it, your every own shopping make.  Just remember to take it with you – I’m trying to get in the habit of hanging the bag on the handle of the front door so I remember to take out the car with me!

Arm Knit Blanket | Free Tutorial

For regular visitors to my blog, you may remember I started an arm knitting project a few months ago, well…..I finally finished it!!

(I only bought a couple of balls of yarn to see if I liked it but the store ran out, so I had to wait while until it came back into stock!)

Here is the finished master piece and shots of it in progress!)

The blanket is so warm and the yarn is beautifully soft, perfect for snuggling into on these chilly evenings! So cozy it gets the cats seal of approval!

Arm Knitting Tutorial | Bonsai Hewes

I found the tutorial on Pinterest by Simply Maggie.  She does a great video tutorial and she makes some lovely scarfs, definitely worth checking out!

Arm knitting may be my only venture into knitting – I just suck at regular knitting!  Knitting needles are too fiddly for me and its takes so much concentration – it gets me really frustrated.  But arm knitting is so much easier, I think for me not having tools is the key!  The movement is nice and repetitive so it gets into muscle memory – which means my concentration is freed up to chilled out and watch TV or listen to music while doing it!

I will be honest, it took me a lot longer than 45 minutes to make, probably nearer 3 hours!  I don’t really have the patience to sit still for that long, so I used my hubby’s weight bar to transfer to knitting on to so I could get off my arms for a break.  I think Lee was slightly offended his weight bar was used for knitting, but at least it was getting some use!  It’s just so new that it took me a while to get into the rhythm, but I was getting much quicker towards the end, so the next one definitely won’t take as long!