Tag Archives: men

Loving handmade

Apologies for the lack of posts in February – making, doing and organising for the wedding has entirely taken over my life and blogging has somewhat fallen by the wayside… fear not though, I’ll be making up for it in May by telling you about everything I’ve been making for the wedding, including a sewn bridal bag, a personalised guest book, paper table confetti, a sewn bridal wrap decorated with crocheted hearts, a decorated card box and more.

Alongwith wedding crafting, I’ve also been working on (paid!) commissions for Simply Crochet and The Sewing Directory. I’m not quite sure how I’ve squeezed it all in really…anyway, my latest make for The Sewing Directory has been this canvas messenger bag:

Sewn canvas messenger bag

Sewn canvas messenger bag

I really love messenger bags – I feel secure with it worn across the body, I like the way it sits on the hip, and it’s easy to get stuff in and out. They’re the perfect bag for me!

I’ve wanted to try my hand at making one for ages, and then my current messenger bag (the one in this post, here) started fraying so I knew it was time. I pitched it to The Sewing Directory and they said yes, so I got to work and I’m really pleased with the outcome.

It wasn’t easy and took me about a week to make it, while working out the pattern at the same time, and then another week to write out the pattern in detail from my scribbled notes and draw step-by-step diagrams that someone else could follow. But it’s a pattern I’m really proud of. The bag itself has also been getting a lot of attention – people can’t believe it when I say I made it (I always love that).

If you’re interested in making your own messenger bag, pop over to The Sewing Directory for the free instructions. What I don’t mention in the instructions, though, is the extra pocket that I added to make the bag perfect for me! When I travel on the bus, I always worry about losing my bus ticket and try to keep it in the same place every time – but that place is usually inside a pocket that’s inside my zipped-up purse that’s inside my zipped-up bag. It’s a Russian doll effect that makes it tricky to get the ticket out in a hurry if I’m late and the bus is arriving just as I am (yes, that happens more times than I’d like to admit). So I gave my bag a hidden outside pocket along the side – you can see it in this photo if you look for the extra stitching near the orange flower:

Hidden outer pocket

Hidden outer pocket

It was fun trying to line up the pattern on the two pieces of fabric to get that ‘hidden’ effect and I think I did a pretty decent job. I love having a special hidden bus ticket pocket – it’s perfect for me. I also added another little pocket inside for my house key (which I can never find when I need it!). It’s these sorts of little life-improving details that makes me love handmade!

And so onto another made-to-measure treat that I crocheted for Simply Crochet – these men’s colourwork mittens:

Crochet colourwork mittens

Crochet colourwork mittens

These fine mittens are modelled above by my other half (soon to be husband!) who happily got to keep them afterwards. He really did deserve them as well because I made them to fit his hands while we were on holiday in November – he tried them on so many times for me that I think he worked almost as hard as I did to help bring them to life!

I used a simple spike stitch wave pattern to create a manly argyle look (if you squint, you can see it much better!). He loves these mittens (I just checked with him and he does) because they’re soft and warm, they have a subtle pattern and obviously the fit is perfect. He’s worn them much more than the previous rainbow-coloured mitts that I knitted for him about 10 years ago, so I think that’s a success.

If you’re interested in the pattern, you can get the pattern on Ravelry here or on Etsy here. Or it’s in issue 41 of Simply Crochet magazine, which also features the pattern for my rainbow scarf:

Rainbow scarf

Rainbow scarf

I made this one a while back and blogged about it here. It’s one of my favourite ever scarves and I wear it all the time, so it’ll be great to see what creative effects other crocheters can achieve with the pattern.

Right, I’m off back to sewing crocheted flowers onto a crocheted ribbon to decorate the front of my bridal car…

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Posted by on February 29, 2016 in Crochet, Sewing


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150 Thrifty Knits

It’s been a while since I’ve knitted anything – crochet seems to have been demanding all my creative time! So it was fun recently to work on a knitting bookazine, 150 Thrifty Knits, which is on sale now:

150 Thrifty Knits bookazine

150 Thrifty Knits bookazine

My involvement was to compile the patterns inside from previous issues of Simply Knitting magazine. The most fun challenge of working on this was trying to get 150 patterns into 132 pages – not easy!

But I’m pleased to say I managed to squeeze in all sorts of patterns for every occasion, including sweet little makes for babies and kids, gift ideas for all the family, treats for yourself or a very special friend, fashion and accessories, and homewares.

At just £7.99, I think this is a real bargain. You can find out more at or purchase a digital copy from within the free Simply Knitting app (see here for more).

I’m surprised how this bookazine has reignited my enthusiasm for knitting – now, where is my needle stash…

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Posted by on November 29, 2014 in Knitting


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Simple sewn mats

You might remember that we redecorated our bedroom in July, and I got busy crafting little extras to make it truly ours. Maybe you even remember this photo of our windowsill:

Bedroom temporary plant mat

Bedroom temporary plant mat

Yes, that was a spare oven mitt being used as a plant mat, to protect the wooden windowsill that I’d very carefully painted. Well, I’m happy to tell you that the oven mitt is back in its kitchen drawer, where it should be, because we’ve made a whole windowsill full of pretty, sewn mats:

Six simply sewn windowsill mats

Six simply sewn windowsill mats

The best thing about this sewing project is that all six mats were made by both me and Jonny (the other/better half). We had chosen the fabric together, I’d cut all the pieces and threaded the sewing machine – I was all ready to get started by myself when (as a joke) I asked him whether he might be interested in learning to sew by doing the first (easiest) sewing stage on the mats. To my surprise, he said: “Yeah, I’ll give it a go.” I was surprised and delighted in equal measure!

I think his willingness was, in part, due to a television programme that we’d watched the night before. The BBC do a show called The Great British Sewing Bee, which I really enjoy. Well, they did a series of three charity specials recently, for Children in Need, with celebrities – some of whom were men (some of whom were pretty good). We watched it together and I think seeing other men sewing had made it acceptable for him to do the same.

So I pinned two pieces right sides together and showed him the basics of using the machine, backstitching, sewing in a straight line, turning a corner and leaving a turning gap. And he was really good. He’s not too fond of any task that is “tedious and repetitive”, so his attention span only stretched to doing three mats before he had to have a break. But he came back and sewed the other three. He also helped me turn them all through to the right side and then I just added the wadding and did the topstitching to finish them off. Here’s one a little closer:

Side 1: beige flower fabric

Side 1: beige flower fabric

We made them so that they have a different fabric on each side and each one has a different feel. Sometimes I’m in the mood for the beige side with its delicate little white and blue flowers. Other times, I crave the visual stimulation of the blue side with its geometric patterns:

Side 2: Blue fabric

Side 2: Blue fabric

So far, we’ve got the best of both by having some of the mats on one side and some on the other side. It’s really lovely to have a few different handmade items decorating our new bedroom, but what’s makes these mats even more special is knowing that we made them together. They’re the product of a crafty romance 🙂

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Posted by on November 1, 2014 in Sewing


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101 Quick & Easy Crochet

Just wanted to quickly tell you about the latest bookazine I’ve been working on, which is out now. It’s called 101 Quick & Easy Crochet Makes. I compiled the patterns inside it from previous issues of Simply Crochet magazine.

There’s a huge amount in here – 101 patterns in fact! There’s something for everyone, including cute babies and kids makes, gifts for men, treats for yourself or a friend, fashion, accessories, homewares and gift ideas for Christmas (yes, I said the C-word!).

You can order a copy for £7.99 from or purchase a digital copy from within the free Simply Crochet app (see for more).

101 Quick & Easy Crochet Makes

101 Quick & Easy Crochet Makes

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Posted by on October 23, 2014 in Crochet


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Upcycled shirt

We’ve all got items of clothing in our wardrobes that we can’t bear to part with, even though it’s stained, threadbear or falling to pieces. It’s funny how memories can soak into pieces of fabric.

My other half loves his checked shirts and a fair few have come and gone over the years. One of my favourites was a red and green checked shirt that he often wore when he visited the office where I worked. I keep a photo of him in my purse (from all those years ago!) and he’s wearing that very same shirt.

Anyway, he donated that shirt to my fabric stash a little while ago (it was threadbear in places), and I promised to make him something ‘cool’ with it. In my experience, crafting things for men isn’t easy, so it took a while to think of something suitable…

Shirt folder outer

Shirt folder outside

So this is it: an A4 folder covered with his shirt. It’s simple but practical and manly. You can still see a good portion of the shirt’s pattern repeat on the front and back, and lining up the buttons with the spine adds interest and means you can still see that when it’s on a shelf.

On the inside, I had to make a gap for the binder workings, and the buttons helped out here again…

Shirt folder inside

It took a bit of pulling and pinning to get the top pocket of the shirt to sit straight on the inside back cover of the folder. It’ll be handy for pens, pencils or even secret notes…

After a lot of slip stitching by hand, the folder was finished, and it got a thumbs up from Jonny. Phew!

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Posted by on December 4, 2013 in Sewing


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Cosy Knits

Before my holiday, I’d been working really hard on some more craft bookazines for Future Publishing, and now they’re out in the shops!

First, I worked on a Simply Knitting special bookazine, called Cosy Knits:

Simply Knitting Cosy Knits bookazine

There are so many great patterns in the issue, it’s great value for money and essential now that the weather has started to turn distinctly autumnal. No matter what the occasion or who you’re knitting for, it’s easy to find a pattern idea because we divided them all up into women, men, kids and home. Simple!

Cosy Knits contents (on sale 6th September)

To buy your copy, click here or click here to download the free Simply Knitting app and then purchase a digital copy within the application.

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Posted by on September 28, 2012 in Knitting


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