Free Patterns & Tutorials

Monday, 13 February 2017

Busy working on a new project

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Working hard on launching a new project, hopefully next month!


Sunday, 5 February 2017

Vintage Scarf Top - PDF Tutorial now available for download

vintage scarf top by karen vallerius

Ta da!  Drumroll!  Very happy to present the first PDF worksheet in my range of Easy Sewing Projects - my Vintage Scarf Top!  This has been my most popular blog post by far so I have created a pdf worksheet with instructions and picture directions so that you can make your own.  (Click on the link here to take you to the worksheet).



I was thrilled to be contacted by the charming deputy editor of Dressmaker magazine who had seen this blog post and wanted to feature the scarf top in the January 2017 edition of the magazine in a feature on Second Hand Sews.  This is a lovely magazine with heaps of sewing features and includes some lovely patterns each month, a great way to build up your sewing pattern library.


Friday, 13 January 2017

More Tiny Teddies

tiny teddy by Karen Vallerius

Hello Again

Do you remember this little guy from my earlier post?

Well, he now has some little treasured teddy pals.

I am really pleased with how this little design worked out.  I wanted to give the applique motifs a bit of depth so stitched the sleepsuits over a layer of felt to give a bit of depth, adding a bit of extra wadding for the tummy.  And then I put some stuffing into the heads, almost like old fashioned stumpwork.

I love how - even though I am stitching the design the same way - each little teddy has his own expression and character!

tiny teddy by Karen Vallerius

tiny teddy by Karen Vallerius

tiny teddy by Karen Vallerius


Thursday, 5 January 2017

New Year Resolution & Supersized Tiny Teddy


Applique experiment


My tiny felt teddy experiment from an earlier post (details here) was a bit TOO tiny, only approx. 3 inches high, and I decided to fatten him up a bit for the future.  I also wanted to experiment using the template for applique work and as I love it when applique has been lightly stuffed to give a more tactile quality (reminiscent of stumpwork I guess), he got a little light padding.  So this first stitch attempt on the left shows the teddy with a more cuddly body which has been stitched over a light wadding as well as felt scraps.

I cut a small notch into the rounded head shape which gave more depth to the head, and I cut a similar little muzzle for him (see photo below showing before & after body shapes for detail).  Rather than stitch his ears flat on the backing fabric, I decided to stitch them on like you would for a toy so that they stand up!  He also wears a tiny collar on his sleepsuit and has French knot buttons.  The backing fabric is a really fine polycotton which is very soft.

You might be interested to see the original tiny doll I stitched when I first designed this template, she can be found here.


So how does the New Year Resolution come into this?


I love stitching, I love designing, I love experimenting, especially with upcycled sewing projects. But there is only so much stitched stuff I can store in the house without there being no room left for me, hubby and small dog.  I often donate items, especially vintage style garments, to the wonderful Sue Ryder Vintage & Retro shop in Peterborough (where I volunteered as a seamstress for several months).

But I wanted another outlet for my creativity.  I had heard of some charity projects who stitch for various overseas aid causes but in general they only want one type of item and I love trying out different ideas and techniques.  Then I found the wonderful charity Loving Hands (link here) who coordinate the sourcing and distribution of knitted, crocheted and stitched items for a whole host of charities, many of which are in the UK.  

I registered on the website and am busy stitching.

And the New Year Resolution?  To stitch at least one item a week for a good cause, which will be either Sue Ryder or Loving Hands.

It is nice to make a Resolution I will be able to keep!!


Saturday, 17 December 2016

Vintage Christmas Gift Guide



Vintage 60s Christmas Gift Guide from karen vallerius blog

Christmas 1960

I remember when "seven and six" was a fortune!  Busy indexing my vintage sewing and craft books and magazines this week (yes, a seemingly neverending tax, one bookcase and several archive boxes full!), and came over all nostalgic when I found this Christmas Gift Guide from November 1960

Ten Bob Buys

Retro 60s Christmas Gift Guide from karen vallerius blog


A ten bob note was the equivalent to a scratchcard win in the 60s!

It is cool to see how many of these little items would appeal to retro style afficionados today.  And yes, I remember loads of these things.  And yes, I am that old ....

The price gets higher

Retro 60s Christmas Gift Guide from karen vallerius blog

Retro 60s Christmas Gift Guide from karen vallerius blog

Hubby and I often discuss how some consumer items seem to be cheaper, relatively speaking, than they were back in the day.  In particular clothing and shoes.  Less mend and make do, more spend and chuck out.

Anyway, glad there are some of us who still like to upcycle and rework textiles and clothing.  Lots more projects being posted in 2017, please visit soon. x

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Tiny teddy bear trial

tiny felt kawaii teddy by karen vallerius

I wanted to experiment with stitching a Japanese inspired tiny teddy in the kawaii mascot genre, so I wondered whether the tiny doll template I made a couple of years ago would serve as the body for the little bear.

I had stitched the original doll in flat form over a tiny pipecleaner frame and had always found her a little flat!  Still cute though at just under 3" tall.

This time, I ladder stitched the outside of the felt teddy body and then stuffed it with some wadding scraps (I pushed them in using a cocktail stick).  I like this shape to the body more, it is much more cute.

I tried to cut out tiny felt circles for the eyes but simply could not cut the felt small enough, so resorted to good old French knots in black embroidery floss.  Teddy also has red buttons made from French knots as well.

Will report back with more tiny experiments soon x




Monday, 28 November 2016

Burghley House Christmas Fair

Christmas Fair at Burghley House

Burghley House near Stamford

We spent a lovely morning at the Christmas Fair at Burghley House, a beautiful Elizabethan house set in fabulous landscaped grounds designed by Capability Brown.

I am always impressed by the amazing Christmas decorations at our stately homes, and those at Burghley did not disappoint.  Above the gorgeous swags and wreaths on the entrance to the Orangery Restaurant.

Christmas Fair at Burghley House

Beautiful details

Burghley House near Stamford

Attention to detail was fantastic with so many beautiful floral designs.

Burghley House near Stamford


And even in the Ladies' cloakroom there was an exquisite needlework display which caught my eye ....

Needlework at Burghley House near Stamford