Sewing Bee Inspired Wish List

Have you guys been watching the Great British Sewing Bee in the UK? I’m loving the contestants this year, even if they’ve followed the stereotypes of TV contestants again! I couldn’t ever attempt some of the garments they make (a robe? a cape?), but I’m definitely feeling more inspired to try some basic sewing when I get a little bit more time. It’s certainly one of the creative areas I’d like to improve on.

After getting a new sewing machine from John Lewis recently, it inspired me to take a look at what is on offer in their extensive haberdashery section!Sewing-Bee-Wish-List-Claireabellemakes

Janome DC3050 Sewing Machine

Espadrille Shoe Kit / Stork Embroidery Scissors / East of India Tape Measure

Sewing Kit Case / Great British Sewing Bee Book

Twin Lid Sewing Box

I have only ever used a digital sewing machine but I do love how easy it is to set up as it automatically sorts the tension for each stitch.


Once I have perfected my skills I was thinking of making some pouches for the shop as I found some really nice Scrabble fabric! What do you think?

I’d love to know what sewing supplies you have on your wish lists or if there are any projects you think would be good for beginners?



*This is a sponsored post. Some pages on this site may contain links to outside sites, including paid affiliates. Read more about my disclosure policy here.

DIY Envelope Pillow Cover

For today’s post I’ve teamed up with John Lewis to bring you a super simple sewing tutorial for a DIY Envelope Pillow Cover. DIY-Envelope-Pillow-Case-Claireabellemakes

I definitely consider myself a learner when it comes to sewing, I can make a few basic home furnishings such as curtains, pillows and cat beds, but I haven’t yet ventured into dress making and I’ve only sewn a zip once.

So when the Janome DC3050 sewing machine arrived in the studio, I thought I would share the way I make all pillow covers in our house!

I’m not even sure what all these stitches are for, but I’m looking forward to having a play around with them, especially the one that looks like hearts!

Janome-DC305-Sewing-Machine-Stitch-SelectionI decided to sew with a material I hadn’t used before on the machine, wool. This meant I needed to get some heavier needles than the basic cotton ones I already had. These inexpensive gold fabric scissors were from Tiger Stores and I am so impressed with them.Wool-Sewing-Machine-Needles

I had a 12″ square pillow to make the case for, so cut a fabric piece that was 12″ x 28″. Sewing-An-Envelope-Cushion-CoverI then hemmed the short edges by 0.5cm with a straight stitch. I love how the electronic sewing machines sort all the tension etc for you – I was never any good at that when I had a manual sewing machine! This one also has an automatic needle threader – it saves SO much time. Making-A-PIllow-Case

Next, I folded the two short edges in towards each other, overlapping them a little to create ‘the envelope’ and then pinned the side edges. The right side of your fabric should now be on the inside. I then stitched the pinned edges with a straight stitch, clipped the corners and turned the pillow cover right side out. How-To-Make-An-Envelope-CushionAdd the cushion pad and it’s all done! Such a quick sewing DIY and all you need to learn is how to sew in a straight line. You can adapt  this for any size cushion – a simple online search will bring up different measurements for when you want to make other size covers.DIY-Envelope-Pillow-Cover-Claireabellemakes

Sewing with wool fabric was not difficult, but it did shed fibres all over my desk! I am hoping to learn how to sew some simple zip pouches soon as I have quite a bit of fabric to use up in the studio. I shall get some tips from my Mum who has been mastering pillow covers with zips. Watch this space!How-To-Make-An-Envelope-Cushion-Cover

What have you been sewing lately?



*This was a sponsored post. Thank you to the brands that help keep Claireabellemakes a creative place!
**Some pages on this site may contain links to outside sites, including paid affiliates. Read more about my disclosure policy here.

Adjusting a Vintage Dress

A year or two ago, I went to a great swishing event and came home with two vintage dresses. One in brown silk with white polka dots and another bright orange polyester shirt dress. It might sound like a horrid dress, but I felt it had potential and that every vintage dress has a journey to follow.

The orange dress stayed in my ‘needs mending’ bag at the bottom of the wardrobe for quite some time. The length just wasn’t right. Finally I got around to adjusting it.

I started by measuring the hem to see how much I wanted to take the dress up. Then I realised I would need to prepare myself for cutting vintage fabric. *Dread*.

Whilst on, I loosely pinned the hem of the dress and with a friend’s help, decided that just above the knee would be a much more flattering length.

Pinning the hem was actually the most tricky part of this little project as the dress didn’t behave and lay flat. Plus the iron hates this fabric!

I folded a double hem and pinned along the length.

Then I plucked up the courage and cut the excess! I don’t know if anyone else has the vintage cutting fabric fear, but I find it really scary!

I used my sewing machine along the hem being careful to hold the slippy fabric in place as I removed the pins.

The dress has a new shape now it is shorter and I know I will actually wear it now. I will accessorise with a skinny waist belt and gladiator flats if the Spring weather ever brightens up!

Have you ever adjusted vintage pieces? Please share your posts or stories.

Claire x