Crafty Sewing Room Accessories!

Sewing machine mats tutorial

Hi All, I hope your New Year is off to a great start! I’m really excited about my sewing plans for this year but I thought I’d start with a simple but fun project for my newly created sewing space. As part of that reorginastion, I also cleaned and oiled both my machines. Undoubtedly they’re both running smoother but the racket my overlocker still produced when working at full pedal continued to jangle my nerves. I figured quilted mats were the answer!

How to make your own sewing machine mats

I had one metre of this fab tape measure print cotton poplin and I wanted to see how much I could make from it. I ended up with two machine mats – one for each machine – a cushion cover and enough scraps left over to perhaps make a matching pin cushion too! The difference the mat makes to the running of the overlocker can’t be overstated… it’s like a new machine! If you haven’t got one for yours I highly recommend making your own; I’d never quilted a thing in my life prior to embarking on this and, at least with a project this size, it’s a simple yet fun thing to do! And I got to bust out the ‘quilting guide arm thingy’ that came with my walking foot and has been languishing in a drawer ever since!

I made the above red set as part of a sponsored post for Minerva. I recently re-did my sewing room decor and re-did the machine mats and cushion cover to match! You can see the updated versions – together with a full tutorial HERE.

Hope to meet you back here soon – I’ve got a really busy week or so coming up including making a couple of Review garments from the new Wendy Ward book, a pattern test and my first magazine article being published; not exactly a bad stitchy start to the New Year eh!

Until then, happy New Year stitching to you too!

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A ‘Black Tie’ McCalls 7119

Sew Sarah smith

Sew Sarah smith


It feels like I’ve had this dress germinating in the back of my mind since time immemorial. I originally got my hands on a sample of this Prada satin backed crepe – in red – an age ago. Whilst I loved it, I had no immediate ideas for it. Then, back in the summer, I sewed up a floral version of M7119 (see here) which was my favourite make of the summer. I knew straight away that I wanted to put a spin on the pattern; using the contrasting textures of the fabric to turn it into a Black Tie evening dress version of the tuxedo.

I cut the dress out intending to wear it to a friends 40th birthday bash – a weekend long affair – earlier this month. But unfortunately Sod invited Law to the party too; the dress lay unsewn for quite some time whilst I succumbed to the lurgy. Gah.

McCalls 7119

Anyhoo, my friend forgave me for not attending his birthday ‘do’ and the dress eventually got sewn. I’m now counting on some Christmas party invitations in order to y’know, actually get to wear it.

The dress is this months’ make for the Minerva Craft Blogger Network; the full post including my thoughts on working with this double sided designer fabric can be found HERE.

Since sewing this dress, I’ve filled an online cart in Ikea and I’m quite ridiculously excited waiting for my order to be delivered! Apart from some pattern testing this last week, I’ve finally ‘thrown in the towel’ with sewing on the dining table. Fed up with unpacking and packing everything away at the start and end of each session, I’ve decided to set up a designated spot where I can leave my stuff permanently set up. Although it will be a relatively small area – and I’ll still need to use the dining table for cutting out – I’m hoping it will be a well thought out enough space to mean I can really sew my heart out anytime I want.  Ok, let me rephrase that…to sew half as much as I want to but twice as much as I’m currently able to! 

So here’s looking forward to Holiday party invitations and sewing in peace!

Until next time, stay well sewing friends x




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The Va Va Voom Wrap Dress! McCalls M6884

Sew Sarah Smith

Ah, c’mon, how gorgeous is this claret jersey fabric!? I’d had 3m in my stash for a few months but kept dithering about what to sew with it. But Autumn rolled in and I found myself debating whether to turn on the heating and light a fire, taking up knitting and…Christmas. Then bingo! What I needed was a warm dress – something with sleeves – in a seasonal colour – a wrap dress; y’know, to ‘wrap up’ warm in 😉

Sew Sarah Smith

McCalls 6884 seemed to fit the bill. I’ve sewn knit wrap dresses before (see New Look 6301 here and here) but I wanted something different with a few more design variations. I like the line drawings of 6884 – in a lighter weight jersey, the clean lines of View A with its short sleeves would make a lovely dress for Spring/Summer too. Perhaps in a lovely print.



However, for this make I wanted the longer sleeves and side gathers of View C – it makes for a sexier, more ‘va va voom’ silhouette don’t you think? And I thought a solid colour fabric would show off those gathers beautifully. Decision made!

I made this dress as this month’s make for the Minerva Crafts Blogger Network you can read my full post – including my thoughts on fit – and access links to all the products they sent me to make it HERE.

Sew Sarah Smith

I’ll be back very soon with some more jersey sewing. In the meantime, I hope you ‘wrap up’ warm too; I’m off to make another hot water bottle … brrr!