Welcome to my little corner of the blogosphere to share the ups and downs of starting a craft business, with plenty of tips, mishaps and the odd glass of wine!

Monday 15 October 2018

Sew a Halloween Softie - Frankenstein's Friendly Monster

Oh. My. Gawd.

It's been over a year and a half since I last shared a blog post, and that was a 'Sew a Softie' tutorial.

Life has kinda taken over.

What's happened?

Well in the last year and a half we have moved countries! We were in the UK and now we're in Ireland... not very far away, but still and all...!

So anyway, on with the business at hand... sewing your own Friendly Frankenstein's Monster - we'll call him Fred, Fred the Friendly Frankensteiny!

You Will Need:

Felt in mint green, brown and white
1 pipe cleaner
Toy stuffing
Thread in black, white, mint green, grey and brown
Pattern (at the end of this tutorial)


1. Using 2 strands of brown thread, stitch on the brown hair piece to one of the green face pieces.

2. Using 1 strand of white thread, stitch the white eyes to the felt, leaving enough room for the eyebrow(s)!

3. Using 2 strands of black thread, stitch on the eyeballs, which is easiest if you outline the eyeballs first.

4. Then go back and fill them in with your black thread, keep going over the white parts until completely filled in with the black thread.

5. Stitch on the details, starting with the eyebrows (monobrow!) and then the nose and mouth using 2 strands of black thread. And then using 2 strands of the grey thread stitch on a scar or two, wherever you like. If you struggle to stitch on the details freehand, you can draw the details on first with a pencil or with an air drying pen.

6. Then bend your pipe cleaner into the bolt shape. Try and keep the ends of the pipe cleaner in the middle of your bolt piece, so that they are hidden inside the head once you stuff it. Then using your green thread stitch the bolt into place on the back head piece, or if you don't want to see the stitches you can glue the pipe cleaner in place.

7. Start stitching the front and back head pieces together at the pipe cleaner, using 2 strands of green thread. Work around the bottom of the head and up to the hairline.

8. Stitch around the hair piece, using 2 strands of brown thread, through all 3 layers of felt. Once you get back to the green felt, stuff the softie with the toy stuffing and then stitch up the gap using green thread.

And then you have a Friendly Frankensteiny Softie!

I hope you enjoyed this Halloween tutorial and if you'd like to check out our other tutorials, see HERE.

I'll be sharing the link to this tutorial on Facebook and Instagram where you'll also find other Halloween softie tutorials, by using the hashtag #sewasoftie

Thursday 2 February 2017

Sew A Softie Tutorial for Valentine's Day - Puppy Love

Things are moving a darn sight too quickly for me this year... today marks the 2 month count down to our moving date! I have so much to do, but I couldn't miss out on taking part in the Sew A Softie Tutorials round up for Valentine's Day. (Catch up with our other tutorials here)

I've always struggled to come up with handmade Valentine's gifts/creations, but this one came to me while I was walking the dog, so I've entitled it 'Puppy Love'

You will need:

2 pieces of red felt 10cm x 10cm
1 piece of pale pink felt 10cm x 10cm
1 piece of pink felt 10cm x 10cm
Scraps of black & white felt
Pink embroidery thread
Black embroidery thread
Red embroidery thread
A good handful of stuffing


1. Use all the pattern pieces to cut out 2 red felt hearts, 2 pale pink ears, 2 pink ears, 2 white eye pieces, 2 black eye pieces and 1 black nose piece. Take 1 pale pink ear and 1 pink ear and whip stitch them together. Do the same with the other ear - I reversed the colours, so the ears were not the same both sides, but you don't have to.

2. Turn the ear inside out - I used a pencil to poke the bottom of the ear up inside of itself and then used a pair of tweezers to pull it out of the top. If you are getting children to sew this pattern, you can skip this step and leave the ears right side out.

3.  Glue the whites of the eyes onto one of the red hearts.

4. Glue the black part of the eyes onto the whites. I used the tweezers again to get them in the right position. With younger children it might be easier to draw the blacks of the eyes on with a felt pen.

5. Glue on the black nose and using a pencil or pen, draw on the mouth.

6. Using your black thread, back stitch the mouth onto the face.

7. Pin both red hearts together with the ears sandwiched in between. Then using the red thread, back stitch round, following the picture above. Leave an opening for the stuffing.

8. Stuff the face, making sure it is full, but not over stuffed. Then back stitch up the opening and you have a finished Puppy friend!

I hope you've enjoyed making this along with me and keep a look out for the rest of our Sew a Softie Valentine's series. 

Monday 16 January 2017

Happy New Year... Stressful New Year?

Well, we made it to 2017 - Hurrah!

Do you have any of the fluffy white stuff where you are? We had the lightest smattering last night, which had all the kids very excited on the walk to school today, even though there was barely enough for a snowball - bless 'em.

I'm very jealous of one friend, who lives in Oregon, USA where they've had 6 days off school already with more to come - I'm sure she's bored of it by now, but living in the UK, we very rarely see that much in one year, let alone in one go!

However, I digress. Did you have a good new year? We had a very busy holiday season as it's our last in the UK for a while. We're planning a big move, not a very far one, but a biggie... we're going to Southern Ireland!

We're moving from the purple arrow to the blue arrow and that little stretch of water causes so many more headaches!!

With that in mind, I'm trying not to take on too much as I have a whole house to pack up and ship overseas... but I have decided to join in with the 100 Day Project this year which encourages people to explore an idea for 100 days, as a creative exercise.

I'm going to recreate some of my favourite band logos in felt, ending up, I hope with 100 logos, with magnets in the backs which I can display on a magnetic notice board.

Typically the project starts next week, so I'm going to trying not to fall too far behind during the move.

I've not been successfully blogging for a while now, so if you want to keep up with what I'm up to, Facebook and Instagram are the best places to find me:

Grace's Favours Facebook Page

Grace's Favours Instagram

Thursday 1 December 2016

Christmas Craft Tutorial - How to Make a Robin Softie

Gulp. It's been a while.

I didn't mean to take such a long break from blogging, but as with all of us, sometimes life just gets in the way.

But now, I'm baaaaaaack! (Don't groan - I have exceptionally good hearing you know!)

So, I'm posting this as part of another brainchild by Trixi Symonds of Coloured Buttons the fab idea - Sew a Softie for Christmas. There'll be a host of wonderful bloggers taking part and I'll have another post written up later with all their details.

The idea is that each tutorial is something that you can make at home, preferably simple enough to make with your children.

Here is my offering - A Christmas Felt Robin Softie:

I love these little guys and after doing my trial run, I had a go at making one with Seren, my 8 year old. She was off sick last week, which gave us the ideal time to sit down, without any interruptions and get going.

Seren decided she was fine with everything except the sewing machine as it was a bit fiddly. Although that stage could be done by hand, which she would have managed fine. (Her's is the one with purple legs on the left of the picture above)

You will need:

1 piece of mid brown felt 20cm x 20cm
1 piece of dark brown felt 10cm x 10cm
1 piece of red felt 10cm x 10cm
1 pipe cleaner (any colour you like)
2 small black brads
Toy stuffing
Thread to match your felt
Sewing machine (optional)
Pattern pieces which are at the end of this tutorial


1. Draw around the large pattern piece onto your mid brown felt with a biro (a pencil probably won't show up on the brown felt) You can pin the pattern to the felt, but little hands found it hard to keep the pattern piece in place as it was too large.

2. Turn the felt shape you have cut out over, so that any pen lines showing will be on the inside of the robin,

3. Cut out the red breast and stitch it to the brown felt as shown in the picture. Use 2 strands of red thread to match your felt and back stitch in place.

4. Cut out the small diamond shape from the dark brown felt. Fold it in half and attach just above the red breast with a couple of straight stitches at the top of the beak. 

5. Mark with your pen where you want the two eyes to be and then push each brad through in turn, opening them carefully at the back, so they lay flat against the felt.

6. Starting with one side of the 'face' part, place the rights sides of the felt together and stitch all the way along the curved edge. You can either do this on a sewing machine or using back stitch if sewing by hand.

7. Repeat for the other side of the 'face' and along one other curved side, leaving one side completely open.

8. Turn your robin the right side out, stuff him full of toy stuffing and then ladder stitch the opening closed. If you aren't sure how to do ladder stitch, I have a video tutorial on my You Tube channel.

9. Time to add the wings. Each wing is 2 layers of dark brown felt, whip stitched together and then whip stitched to the sides of the robin. I've angled mine in the picture above, but in the first pic, the trio of robins, they're all on straight with the wing tips pointing down. You can choose whichever feels right to you. Try and line them up so they're both at the same height and angle though.

Lastly you need to add the legs. I've used a single pipe cleaner and folded each end into a W shape for the claws at the end of the robins legs. I've then just stitched the pipe cleaner in place under the robin, so you can swivel his legs to be underneath him, or sticking out like mine are so he's sitting down. You'll see from the top pic that some of the pipe cleaners are longer than others so some have much longer legs - you can always cut down your pipe cleaner if you feel it's too long.

And you've done it - you have made your own Christmas Robin Softie! Well done!

I hope you've enjoyed making yours and I'd love to see any pictures of your creations from my patterns.

If you want to email me a pic, please do so at simmi@gracesfavours.co.uk

Happy Sewing!

PS. Here are the pattern pieces:

Saturday 27 August 2016

How to Make a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket Costume for World Book Day

Who loves Charlie & The Chocolate Factory?

Who knew that this year is the centenary of Road Dahl?

He was born on September 13 1916 and so to mark his 100th Birthday I've created this Charlie & The Chocolate Factory dressing up costume!

AHA! I hear you exclaim. She promised to show us this back in FEBRUARY when the costume was originally made for Patrick (Aged 5) to wear to school and it's taken till August to get round to posting it - I know and I'm sorry! My bad.

So here's the finished costume on a VERY excited Patrick:

You Will Need:

Large rectangle of thick felt - size according to the person you are making the costume for.
Large rectangle of gold felt (same size as thick felt)
Large piece of gold material (at least 2" larger than thick felt)
Black felt for lettering
Iron on fusible interfacing (bondaweb or similar)
4 pieces of elastic for shoulder & waist straps
muslin cloth or cotton cloth for ironing
Sewing Machine
Fabric pen or tailor's chalk
Lots and lots and lots more pins!

How To:

1. Iron the fusible interfacing onto black felt, trace around the letters (the wrong way round) and cut out. Then iron the black felt letters onto the gold material according to the bondaweb instructions. For mine, it's simply, peel off the paper backing and iron on a hot setting with steam for 10 - 15 seconds on each piece. Make sure you use a cotton muslin or cloth on top of the felt & gold material as you don't want to cause iron marks on the shiny material.

2. If you have a really large piece of gold material then you can cut it into a rectangle after the letters are ironed in place. But if you have a piece of material already cut to size, make sure you center the letters on it. I held the gold material up against Patrick to make sure it wasn't too big/too small.

3. Take a large piece of thick felt and cut it to a rectangle 2 inches smaller than the gold material.

4. Pin the gold material onto the felt rectangle and tuck the excess behind the felt. Pin all the way round.

5. Realise that you needed to center your words to the middle of the rectangle... unpin and re-position. Then repin! D'oh!

6. Tack the gold fabric into place using a needle and long stitches. You will be removing these tacking stitches later, so make them large so they're easier to remove.

7. Cut a piece of gold felt to the same size and pin this onto the back of your gold material & thick felt piece. You now have 3 layers.

8. Machine stitch the 3 layers together, with the 4 pieces of elastic slipped in between the layers - 2 at the shoulders and two for the waist. To work out where these should go, hold the 'ticket' up to your wearer and mark with a fabric pen or chalk onto the gold felt.

9. Cut another piece of the thick felt and another slightly larger piece of the gold felt. Pin the gold felt in place over the thick felt, with the edges tucked under at the back. Machine stitch these together.

10. Finally, line up the front and back piece of the ticket (on against your wearer if you have another pair of hands to help you, or you can lay them down flat on the table/clean floor!) and pin the 4 pieces of elastic into place on the back piece of the ticket. Stitch these on by hand, making sure you go over them a couple of times or by machine, but the whole costume might be a bit unwieldy by then to manage on the machine.

And Ta-Daaaa! You have a Willy Wonka Golden Ticket Costume and hopefully a very happy little (or big!) wearer!

I'd love to see any pictures you take from making this costume - or any of our other patterns!

Visit our Tutorials page for more ideas and makes.

Monday 8 August 2016

How To: Felt Weaving - Rainbow Drinks Coaster Tutorial

Happy Summer Holidays!

We're currently enjoying a couple of weeks staying with the grandparents in Ireland, so beaches, lots of being spoiled by Nanny and board games contests are predicted in our futures!

While we're here, I wanted to share a tutorial with you for the 'Thank You' gifts the kids made for their teachers this year - Rainbow Felt Woven Coasters.

This is a great craft for kids of all ages and abilities as you can tailor the challenge to suit their capabilities. As we were short on time (having, as always, left the present making till the last week of term!) I did most of the hard work prep and the kids did the assembly.

You Will Need:

A square paper template (about 5" x 5")
1 piece of felt for the base
5 strips of coloured felts (about 0.75" wide and twice as long as as the square)
A heavy book.


1. Using a sharp pair of scissors, cut 6 straight lines from top to bottom in your base piece of felt, starting 0.75" down from the top and stopping 0.75" from the bottom. Starting with the red piece (if you are using the same colours we did - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green & Blue/Purple) weave the red felt strip in and out of the base piece.

2. Continue with each felt strip, alternating under and over so you have a chequer board look. Wiggle each strip up tight to the one above so that all the strips fit into the base piece. Make sure you have a good length overhanging at each end.

3. Trim the ends, so that on both sides the felt strips match up to the base piece.

4. Add a dot of glue to the end of each strip to secure the felt in place to the base piece. Weigh the coasters down with a heavy book while the glue dries. (Preferably leave overnight) As you can see by the picture below, we tried to keep the ends in place with clips, but it leaves dents in the felt once dried, so the book technique was dreamed up after the first two coasters were made.

5. Wander off and leave Mummy to do all the clearing up!!

Hope you like this one - a great one to try with the kids over the holidays and good for stash busting!

We'd love to see any pictures of things you make from our tutorials, so please do send them to us at: simmi@gracesfavours.co.uk

Friday 15 July 2016

Creating a Mixed Media Collage with a Group

So a while back a friend of mine, who works for the wonderful charity Art Space asked me if I would run some sessions that Art Space hold for adults with early onset dementia. The sessions are part of the MindSCAPE Project, which is an exciting 4 year Big Lottery funded project for the Forest of Dean.
The project is designed for people living with dementia, their families and carers, and has been developed to enable people to reconnect back to the landscape, through a regular series of meetings and workshops at Bracelands Adventure Centre, near Coleford and throughout the Forest of Dean.
I decided that we would, as a group make a large wall hanging, using mixed media (paper, felt, cotton & inks) and a variety of applique methods - stamping, gluing and stitching.
The sessions I ran were held over 6 weeks (one class every other Tuesday) and as the theme was nature, I chose to get the group making a large flower.
This was one of my example pieces:
Each person (or pair if more assistance was needed) had a petal template (which were likened to hot air balloon shapes, so watch out for that next time!) and a host of smaller nature inspired templates that I'd drawn for them. They then got creative!
In the first session, most people spend their time going through the materials and papers, choosing colours and patterns that they liked, cutting out their petal and their smaller images and starting to glue them in place:
Then the middle and last weeks, at their own pace, each person, or couple, got onto the fun part of making their petal really stand out. We had some special ink stampers, some googly eyes and 3D bug stickers, lots of stitching, especially by the men who'd mostly not done any sewing before.

A couple of the chaps didn't have the fine motor skills needed for working with the patterned fabrics and chose to do some stamping instead to decorate their petals. With some help they both achieved some wonderfully creative work:

Ultimately the whole group did such amazing petals and when they were all put together, they looked fantastic!
We had more petals than I originally expected, but it didn't matter, they all worked so well together. I'm over the moon for the group at how great it looks.
I took it home and stitched down the petals that had so far just been glued down. I also wanted to add a date to the piece, so I made a yellow centre for the flower and stitched 'MINDSCAPE 2016' on it. To give it a bit of a 3D element I also stuffed the center. The last thing to do was to add a dowel rod at the top so it can be hung up in it's new home at ArtSpace.

The group all said they'd really enjoyed the sessions and as if to prove it, they've invited me back to run some wet felting sessions next Spring! I can't wait!

Monday 11 July 2016

Sew A Softie Day Tutorial - How to Start Sewing With Kids

Welcome to Grace's Favours' Sew a Softie Day Tutorial for 2016!

If you've stumbled across this post, you may not be aware of the Sew a Softie Day movement. There's a wee post about it here but in a nutshell, it's the brain child of Trixi Symonds who authors the Coloured Buttons blog and she's also the author of the book Sew Together, Grow Together.

Because kids generally love sewing and to stop it from becoming a lost art, Trixi decided to create Sew a Softie Day (the inaugural day is officially on July 16th 2016) and in the run up, for a host of bloggers to post tutorials and inspirational projects to help get people started.

I decided to get my kids involved as they both love sewing, they've both grown up seeing me sew almost every day and from a very young age, have been shown the basics.

I asked Seren (7.5 yrs) to draw an outline of her chosen animal (a cat) and we decided we could use it for Patrick's (big 5 yrs - that's how he puts it as he's almost 6!) dog too.

Based on what Seren drew, I created a pattern for them, with pointy ears for her cat and floppy ears for his dog.

To make a similar animal you will need:

- fleece or felt
- stuffing
- embroidery thread to mach your material (we used pearl cotton as it's not stranded so gets less tangled than the 6 stranded embroidery thread)
- 2 buttons for the eyes
- black thread for the mouth and nose
- pins, scissors and a pencil

How we did it:

1. The kids pinned their paper pattern pieces to two layers of fleece.

2. Then they drew around the animal shape (minus the ears) with a pencil onto the fleece.

3. Next they pinned around their drawn shape (we pinned on the outside of the shape so that they would have a seam allowance and wouldn't cut too near to the line they'd drawn)

4. Then they both cut out their body shapes.

 5. Using 1 strand of pearl embroidery cotton in the same colour as their fleece, I showed Seren and Patrick how to do running stitch and they stitched round their shape, leaving a gap between the legs of their animal for stuffing. Patrick got bored about half way through this step and had me take over, but Seren carried on and really enjoyed herself. Patrick came back and started each of the next steps, but didn't want to finish any of them, which is fine as you need to keep children engaged, but if you make them finish it they won't find it fun.

6. Then we carefully clipped nearer to the lines, so that the seams weren't too bulky and turned them right side out, through the gap we'd left.

7. We lightly stuffed each limb and firmly stuffed the head. Then I drew a line across each limb and showed the kids how to do back stitch. Seren and back stitch really hit it off and she was going great with it. Patrick had a go and got the feel for it and then wanted to watch me sew the rest up.

8. Then we stuffed the body, not too firmly as we didn't want a fat cat or dog and I showed Seren how to do a ladder stitch to close up the hole. If you want to see a video of how to ladder stitch, there's one on my You Tube channel here.

9. Then we drew a nose and mouth onto our animals using the pencil and with some black thread we stitched these details on.

10. The kids then had fun rummaging through my extensive button collection and chose the buttons they wanted to use for the eyes, which I then sewed on for both animals as this was a bit tricky once they were sewn up.

11. The last step, which somehow I didn't get a photo of, was choosing the material for the ears (Seren used the same and Patrick used part of an old Christmas onsie that didn't fit him anymore!) and we used the pattern based on Seren's drawing to cut out 4 ear pieces. We repeated the same process as for the body - draw around them, then pin 2 layers together, outside your lines so that they didn't cut too close to the line. Then we running stitched the ears up, leaving them open at the bottom and turned them the right side out and ladder stitched them to the top of the head.

And voila!! We have two very happy children with their handmade cat and dog!

They were so pleased with themselves, especially Seren who did almost the entire thing on her own! (Although she did say afterwards that she thought her cat looked slightly like a pig!!)

I haven't done a pattern as half the fun was getting them to draw the animal they wanted.

The whole process took us about 3 hours from start to finish with a break for lunch, so if you were teaching a group it would probably take 2-3 sessions depending on what age the children were and how long each session runs for.

I loved doing this with my kids... I even managed to control my urge to get everything looking perfect... the whole idea is for them to be in control - gulp!

I've loved reading everyone else's posts for Sew a Softie Day and I hope you get some inspiration from them.

Here's the list again, so you can discover some other ideas:

July 1

July 2
Maggy Woodley http://www.redtedart.com

July 3

July 4

July 5

July 6
Sandi Sawa Hazlewood http://craftyplanner.com/blog/

July 7

July 8
Stephanie Woodson http://swoodsonsays.com

July 9

July 10

July 11

July 12

July 13

July 14

July 15

July 16
Angie Wilson http://gnomeangel.com

Wednesday 6 July 2016

Creating my First Quiet Book

You have no idea how excited I am writing this post!

A while ago a friend asked me if I could make her a couple of quiet books. I had to do a bit of research as although I had come across some on Pinterest I hadn't really looked into how much work went into them.

A couple of weeks later and here is my finished Quiet Book! I'm so pleased to report that my lovely customer is thrilled with it (almost more than the children she teaches, who it was intended for!)

The first page has shapes, with velcro, for colour association and shape matching.
The second & third pages work together - a washing machine, with a velcro door, which has a basket full of washing on top of it. You can take the washing out of the basket, put it in the machine and then on the third page, peg it out on the line or put it in the basket.

The next page is my favourite - the ladybird, which has a zip pocket, containing 6 black spots, which can be poppered onto the ladybird's body.
The next page is Rapunzel's tower and her hair needs plaiting and tying up.
The spotty page has a trainer with laces to be threaded through eyelets and then done up in a bow.
The baby page has a nappy with poppers which can be done up and then you can play peek-a-boo with the blankie.

The last page has flowers & hearts Noughts and Crosses which attach with velcro.

And because you can't get a proper feel for activity books until you see them in action, here's a video I shot of me playing with it!

I'm now making my second one and I'll be back to share it soon!

I'm also writing up patterns for each page, which will be available in my Etsy shop soon!

Sunday 3 July 2016

Sew A Softie Day is Coming to a Blog Near You!

Hello, my poor neglected blog!

I'm sorry for leaving you alone for so long.

But I'm back with some exciting news.... We're taking part in Sew A Softie Day!

Sew A Softie Day is the brainchild of Trixi Symonds of Coloured Buttons and is all about celebrating the art of sewing with children across the globe. For young sewers (sewists?) the easiest thing to start with is a simple 2D softie, like the yellow strechy men I made a couple of years ago, you can find the tutorial for them here

I'm going to be joining in the fun on Monday 11th July with a simple pattern which can be a cat or a dog (as my kids couldn't agree on what they wanted to make!).

Here's a list of the amazingly talented bloggers taking part (I'm really awed to be included!):

July 1

July 2
Maggy Woodley http://www.redtedart.com

July 3

July 4

July 5

July 6
Sandi Sawa Hazlewood http://craftyplanner.com/blog/

July 7

July 8
Stephanie Woodson http://swoodsonsays.com

July 9

July 10

July 11

July 12

July 13

July 14

July 15

July 16
Angie Wilson http://gnomeangel.com

The first couple of tutorials are already live, so go and have a nosey... don't forget to get your craft stash ready!

Check back here in a few days for our tutorial.

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