Made By Mrs M


How to Make Patterns in Photoshop

Tutorials, Pattern DesignKate Marsden

I’m often asked about my design process. Both my illustrations and pattern designs start life as black and white pen and ink drawings - I generally only work in colour in my sketchbook. One of the reasons for this is to make my life easier when designing patterns! It also means I can tweak and recolour designs easily without having to recreate the original drawing.

I recently taught my students how to make simple repeat patterns using Photoshop and it’s been suggested that I share my method here. The tutorial below is based upon a combination of the versions of Photoshop and Photoshop Elements which I have access to in my studio and at college, but the terminology is the same regardless of the version you have - if you can’t find something I’ve discovered that a quick Google search will provide the answer!

In order to start this tutorial you will need to scan your original artwork (preferably this will be black and white). Aim to save every motif in your design as a separate .jpg file - this will give you a lot more freedom when it comes to placing your motifs and playing around with the arrangement.

My original drawing above and repeat pattern below.

My original drawing above and repeat pattern below.

Repeat 2000px.jpg

Making a Simple Pattern

1.     Open the chosen motif in Photoshop. Use the Background Eraser tool to delete the background. Save as a .psd file.

2.     Create a new blank document the size of the repeat (aim for at least 2000px wide – at 300dpi (or higher if you intend to enlarge the image) and in colour. Return to the motif file, select all and then go to edit/copy merged and paste this copy into the new file.

3.     To make the motif smaller select it then go to edit/transform/scale. Always start with the image at the largest size – if you make it larger than the original it may appear pixelated.

4.     To copy a motif, select it from the layers menu on the right, right click and select duplicate layer. Once this layer is selected you can move it around using the move tool.

5.     When satisfied with the arrangement the motifs can be coloured, and straight, brick or half drop repeats created in a new file by copying and pasting the pattern tile.

A screenshot of Photoshop Elements - it’s a good idea to have a play around to locate the tools you need - you’ll only be using a handful of those which are available.

A screenshot of Photoshop Elements - it’s a good idea to have a play around to locate the tools you need - you’ll only be using a handful of those which are available.

To Create a Seamless Repeat

1.     Starting as before, make a note of the size of the new file (i.e. 2000px square) then arrange your motifs in the centre of the box.

Filled Page.jpg

2.     Go to the filter menu and select the offset filter. Set the vertical offset to half the image size (so if it’s 2000px this will be 1000px) and the horizontal offset to 0. Ensure that the wrap around option at the bottom is selected then click “OK”. This will split the image leaving a gap in the middle.

Vertical Offset.jpg

3.     Fill in the middle section with more motifs or rearranging the existing ones.

Vertical Offset Filled.jpg

4.     Return to the offset filter and set the horizontal offset to half the image size and the vertical offset to 0 (again ensuring that the wrap around option is selected) – once again fill in the gaps.

Hotizontal Offset.jpg
Hotizontal Offset Filled.jpg

5.     Keep applying and reapplying the offset filters, if necessary, to check for any remaining gaps in the pattern. Once satisfied return both offset filters to 0. The pattern will now repeat seamlessly however the offset is set.

6.     Test the appearance of the repeat by creating a new file and copying and pasting the pattern tile in.

The final tile above and as a repeat below.

The final tile above and as a repeat below.

Repeat 2000px.jpg

If you have any tips or encounter any difficulties using this tutorial please contact me. Look out for a second post in which I will show you how to add and change colours in your pattern design.

Snazzy Peg Bag Tutorial

Craft, Inspiration, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

I'm back on the tutorial bandwagon!!!! Well for this week at least.... It's been an absolute age and I thought it was about time. I recently bought a new peg bag as my old one was disintigrating after 15 years of use. Someone told me I should've made my own but I pleaded lack of time. However as my old bag had a rather lovely wooden hanger inside I thought I'd make one anyway and put that to use!


So here it is. Made with my Dining Chairs fabric, I think it looks rather good. Here's what you'll need to make your own.

Wooden coathanger (preferably shaped like the one shown below)

1 x Fat Quarter of my Dining Chairs fabric - if you choose to use a different fabric make sure it measures at least 50cm deep by 75cm wide.

Thread, pins, scissors, sewing machine, iron and ironing board.

Pattern - available to download here.


1. Print your downloaded pattern pieces out onto A4 paper at full size - tape together and then cut out along the dotted line.

2. Fold your fabric and pin the pattern to it on the fold (I cut my fabric into two pieces first - each measuring 50cm high by 37.5cm wide. Then cut out.


3. Once you've cut your fabric out, remove the pattern and cut it across the middle on either one of the dotted lines as shown.


4. Cut this piece on the fold.


5. Remove the pattern from the fabric, sellotape the two patten pieces together and then cut along the other dotted line. Cut this piece out on the fold as well.


6. You should now have three pieces which look like this...


7. Press all three pieces and then fold in the edges of the front opening by approximatly 3/4mm. Fold again to hide the raw edge and press. Do the same with the centre top of both sides as shown below (this is where the neck of the coathanger will sit).


8. Topstitch all of these folds in place as close to the edge as you can.


9. Trim your threads then place the pieces right side together. Pin and stitch from neck opening to neck opening, ensuring you leave plenty of space to insert the coat hanger.


10. Trim the corners then turn the bag out to the right side.


11. Give it a good press, insert the coathanger and you're done!


The pattern pieces look like those below - ensure you print them at full size. They can be downloaded here.

Peg Bag Pattern Page 1_edited-1.jpg
Peg Bag Pattern Page 2_edited-1.jpg

2 Minutes with... Hester van Overbeek

Blogging, Books, Craft, Inspiration, TutorialsKate Marsden

We’re heading to the seaside today to meet craft writer extraordinaire, and fellow concrete lover Hester van Overbeek

Hester photo by James Gardiner.jpg

Hello Hester! Who are you and what do you do?

Hi! I’m Hester, a Dutchie living in the seaside town of Ramsgate, and I like to make things!

I’m a craft and DIY blogger on and write DIY books, books published so far are Furniture Hacks, Crafting with Mason Jars, Making Concrete Pots, Bowls and platters. My latest title Made with Salvaged Wood will be published in October. 

I love using materials I already have lying around so you could say I’m an up-cycler. The tutorials on my website are all interior based and range from small home accessories makes like plant pots and cushions to bigger build like a wardrobe made from old doors and a wood clad bed base. When I moved into my current home I documented the makeover from the tired stuck in the 90’s ex rental to the modern Scandi style homely home it is today. You can find a new video tutorial on my website every week.

Made with Salvaged wood book.jpg

Why do you love what you do?

Whats better then looking at a piece of furniture in your house and think ‘I made that!’

Being your own boss is great as well, sometimes it seems like I work 22 hours a day but on lovely sunny days I can take a long coffee break and walk my dog Kermit on the beach. I’ve always been freelance (my previous career was doing makeup and hair on photo shoots for magazines and ads) so don’t even know what it’s like going into an office very day :)

Ikea dogbed hesters handmade home.jpg

Out of all the different crafts and DIYs you’ve tried, which technique is your favourite?

I’ve tried every craft technique and besides knitting I love them all. There is just something about having to follow a knitting pattern so precisely that I sort of loose all interest. Which is weird as I like following instructions, love a flatpack assembly! ;)

If I have to choose I think wood will be my favourite material followed by fabric and concrete. Wood is so versatile and easy to work with, just make sure you measure twice before you saw. Same goes with fabric, I love using scrap bits of fabric and wood and turn them into new projects.

Concrete was a new material for me when I got commissioned for my Making Concrete book but it fast became a favourite. I’m not very patient so having to wait for the concrete to cure before seeing any results was a bit testing but the end results just give such a lovely industrial vibe to your interior.

kitchen makeover hesters handmade home.jpg

If you could collaborate with anyone (dead or alive!) who would it be?

Oh, that is a tricky one as there are so many possibilities. I’m slightly obsessed with Ikea (think I could easily live in their store) so anything with them would be amazing. How great would an Ikea hack kit be that you can buy with your flatpack!

I’m a magazine addict, a production in one on my fav’s would be absolutely amazing. At the moment I love Cereal, Kinfolk, the Magnolia Journal, Sweet Paul and Living magazine by my all time hero Martha Stewart.

An other collaboration that would be amazing is with a power tool brand, I’m on a mission to get more girls convertible in using power tools. There are some great DIY girls in the USA but over here its still a very male dominated environment (Builders are very surprised I do all the DIY in the house and not my boyfriend) I’m all for gender equality and hate the pink DIY tools and books some brands think we girls need

Coffee cup jar hesters handamde home.jpg

What exciting plans do you have for the next year? 

I do a series on my blog called Meet the Maker in which I interview crafter makers and have a look around their studio or workshop. I haven’t done many video’s for this yet but there are a lot more planned in the next couple of months. 

My new book Made with Salvaged Wood is out in October and can’t wait to see what people think of it, it’s my favourite so far! All project are made from wood you might already have lying around in your shed, from bits you can find in a salvage yard and branched you can find in the forest.

wardrobe build hesters handmade home.jpg

Thank you so much Hester! Read Hester’s blog here and follow her on Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Pinterest.




Tutorial for Caboodle Magazine

Craft, Inspiration, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

It's been a bit quiet on the old tutorial front lately, I really need to work on some new ideas for you all! In the meantime though you can pop out to your nearest quality magazine store, pick up a copy of the new issue of Caboodle and cheat at screen printing with me!

I've designed a rather snazzy little star cushion which you can print yourself with an old pair of tights and an embroidery hoop...

I love the chair it's been photographed on - must keep my eyes peeled for one of these!

There are lots of other rather fab space inspired crafts in the issue, along with the usual colourful and inspiring treats! In case you need an extra incentive to go and buy a copy, Caboodle always smells divine too!

If like me, you and can't buy Caboodle at your local shops, you can get a copy on their website here. And if you "screen print" some stars, do share them with me!

House of Cards

Books, Craft, Inspiration, Paper, Review, TutorialsKate Marsden

If you read the Just A Card blog (which I also write) you'll be aware that the marvelous Sarah Hamilton has written a rather lovely book, and here it is!

I had to wait a little longer to get my hands on my copy as I was away over half term but it was worth the wait! It's a gorgeous hardback book full of beautiful images and inspiration, oh and features one of my cards too - can you spot it?!

Image (c) Kirsty Noble

Image (c) Kirsty Noble

Apart from a feast for the eyes, the book contains lots of useful stuff too - 10 tutorials by some of my favourite folks including Gabriela Szulman, Anna Jackson and Sarah herself, plus tips on finding inspiration, selling your handmade cards and licensing your designs and more.

I need to sit down and have a good read, although it's already inspiring me to get my lino cutting stuff out again...

House of Cards by Sarah Hamilton is published by Pavilion Books and it's out now!

If you already have a copy of the book, Sarah will love you forever if you leave an Amazon review - you can do so here!

This is not a sponsored post.

Make Your Own Tote Bag!

Craft, Products, Sewing, Textiles, Tutorials, WorkshopsKate Marsden

The latest new addition to the shop is a tote bag making kit! This is a full kit to make one of the bags you may have seen being stitched at my workshops, and it includes everything you need (except for scissors, pins and an iron!).

The kits are now available in my Etsy shop and you can choose any of my in stock fabrics in order to make it your own.

A nice little treat for yourself or a great gift for a crafty friend - they're so simple that even people who say they can't sew can make them! No need for a sewing machine as they can be hand stitched (as they are in my workshops).

Concrete Fans Rejoice!

Books, Craft, Inspiration, Interiors, Review, TutorialsKate Marsden

The perfect mix of two of my favourite things, craft and concrete, arrived on my doorstep last week (literally, thanks Mr Postman - I was in...) in the form of my review copy* of uber craft and interiors blogger Hester van Overbeek's new book. Here it is, (it made me squeek a little when I opened the envelope!)...

You may be surprised to hear that for someone whose such a big fan of the grey stuff, I've never tried my hand at making something out of concrete (Mr M made concrete gnomes one freezing November in the 1990s for a Young Enterprise project - the memory of which has left his hands feeling rather cold - so one of us has experience!).

I just needed an excuse (and some ideas to start with in order to save me getting very very messy for nothing) and it's as if Hester read my mind. The book has lots of ideas (well 35 to be precise) some of which are small and simple, others a bit bigger and messier - so there's something for everyone. Three projects caught my eye immediately:

This bowl is just gorgeous and I know it'd look fantastic on my garden table (which is below my son's bedroom window so I'll get to have a birds eye view of the lovely pattern too - maybe in yellow?). There's a rather nice looking canopy with lights too, which is a rather more involved project but would also look fab on the patio...

Then I jump straight into furniture!

Just look at this table! I would pay good money for one of these and it actually looks pretty straightforward (heads out to buy copper pipes...).

And another bowl (but this time of the indoor variety) - I love the combination of the wood with the concrete (and I already have a wooden bowl like this - just not sure Mr M will let me pour concrete onto it but let's see!).

As I've said before, I'm not terribly good at following instructions in craft books and I like to go off and do my own thing, and I may well do that with some of the things in this book. But as a person who's never worked with concrete before this is a massively useful starting point. The wide variety of projects in the book enable you to see how the concrete behaves in different situations and will undoubtedly help when planning other projects.

Now I just need to pop off to B&Q and then wait for the sun to come out so I can avoid those freezing hands!

Making Concrete Pots, Bowls and Platters by Hester van Overbeek was published yesterday (7 February 2017) by CICO books, RRP £12.99. Buy your copy from Make etc and receive 20% off with discount code CONCRETE20. 

*I received this book for review purposes. All opinions are my own. The link above is NOT an affiliate link.



Looking Back on 2016 - Part 1

Blogging, Business, Craft, Events, Photography, Sewing, Sketchbook, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

I think most of us will agree that 2016 can't come to an end quickly enough. I have however been putting together my annual roundups and have found masses and masses of positive things which have come out of this year, evidenced here by some of my favourite (and most popular) posts. Have a little look, reminisce if you're featured (!!) and pop back next week for more positive stuff from this year...

1. Getting Personal

One For the Makers (16 March) was a slightly scary post to write but the love I received (and the number of people who read it) more than made up for my nervousness, A little reality check...

2. Sharing Sketchbooks

Yep - the things I found in the shed (at my parent's house) - 24 February - this one was very popular - stuff I was coming up with in the 90s...

3. Just A Card

In the spring I joined the Just A Card team and I talked about it in my post of 13 April...

4. Getting Personal (again)

A newfound fear of sharing my work - Sharing Work and Feeling the Fear (21 October)...

5. Guest Tutorials

The most popular of which was this lovely one by Kelly Cheesley - Patchwork Table Cover Tutorial (29 August)...

6. And more guest posts...

A really popular post on marketing you business using social media from Emma Donovan - Marketing Your Small Business with Social Media (25 April)...

7. Sewing Bee!!!

I caught the dressmaking bug, yet again... Sewing Bee-itis (23 May)...

8. Photogrpahy

I shared the evolution of my product photography in January and lots of people wanted to see my mistakes!! Product Photography Progress (27 January)...

9. Blogtacular!

I actually took some actions this time and thought about my post! Taking Actions from Blogtacular (27 June).

10. Blogtacular (again!)

Sorry, but the photowalk was so much fun (and one of my most popular posts which is still getting lots of views) so I had to include that too! Blogtacular - The Photowalk (22 June).

See! Lots of good stuff! Keep an eye out for plenty more positive things next week...

Block of the Month - December

Craft, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

3 down, lots more to go! I'm determined to have some semblance of a quilt by this time next year so here's my third monthly block. Once again a little unconventional in it's construction, but hey! If you'd like to have a go at this too there's a template at the bottom of the post.

You can find block 1 here and block 2 here.

I went for VERY narrow seam allowances on this one but with hindsight it would be better to go for standard ones and then trim away the excess. You live you learn...

I thought I'd cracked piecing the points together but they were far from perfect.

And then an unconventional border...!

And still stitching them together as I go along as I'm impatient!

Here's your template:

Christmas Tutorials

Craft, Inspiration, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

I confess that I've been struggling for time these past few months, and as a result my festive crafting hasn't started yet - eeek!

So in an attempt to get myself (and hopefully you too!) in the mood for some Christmas prep, here are some of my most popular tutorials from previous years...

Click on the links to be taken to the tutorials:

1. Festive Applique Table Runner

2. Festive Felt Garland

3. Felt Patchwork Table Mats (this wasn't a Christmas tutorial but change the colours and it is!).

4. Christmas Cross Stitch

5. Upcycled Wreath (this was a post-Christmas reuse your wreath base tutorial but again, add in some more festive colours (if you like) and voila!).

If you head over to the search box on the right and type in "tutorial" you'll find a whole heap of other makes which could easily be made festive (or might give you some gift ideas!).

Happy stitching!

Block of the Month - November

Craft, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

How is it November already?! I'm getting on nicely with my little quilt and today I'm sharing the second block I've designed...

This one features my Barbican fabric in both yellow and blue, Battersea in blue and my (now discontinued) Bankside design. Here's the template in case you'd like to stitch along with me:

I stitched these pieces together in the same way as I did last time - once again it is a little wonky!

I could probably resolve this by remaking the pattern pieces with the seam allowances added.

Ever impatient, I've decided to stitch the blocks together as I go along so I can see the quilt progressing...

It would be lovely if you could join in with me! You can find the first block here. If you do make one (or all of them!) please share with the hashtag #madebymrsmblockofthemonth

Made By Mrs M Block of the Month

Craft, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

So, I've been wanting to make a quilt from my fabrics for an age - but I've really struggled to find time. I'm also rather inexperienced with quilting - I have one wonky hand pieced quilt under my belt and I'm half way through an English paper pieced hexagon quilt (which I've been working on for 2 years...). It didn't bode well.

Then I had a thought - lots of the quilting magazines and various blogs do a block of the month - so why don't I try designing my own simple blocks using my fabrics and challenge myself to post one a month here? So, here's block number 1 and it's machine pieced...

Super simple (and already a little wonky - that'll be the charm *cough*). I've used my new Suburban Streets and London Town Dotty fabrics along with Barbican in blue. Here's how I made it, in case you fancy joining in!

A template (you can print this out should you choose:

I drew this out at the finished size and added 1cm seam allowances afterwards (which may be why It turned out a little wonky!). The shapes were determined by the fabric pieces I had - mainly the long strip of London Town Dotty. I then cut the pieces out (you can see I didn't have quite enough of the Barbican fabric so had to squeeze the seams a little).

I stitched the top two and two bottom pieces together first, pressed the seams open and trimmed to fit.

I then joined the top and bottom pieces to the central strip of fabric and pressed the seams open again.

And that's that! I may try something a little more daring next month, but let's see. Aiming for 12 to start with but I may just end up making a cushion or two!

If you'd like to join in with my block of the month, please do so and share on social media with #madebymrsmblockofthemonth - even if they get trickier they'll always be easy (and wonky) by quilting standards!!

Patchwork Table Cover Tutorial

Craft, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

Guest post from Kelly Cheesley of A Place of My Own - follow Kelly on Instagram and Twitter.

We have a shoe storage unit in our hallway that gets used as a bit of a dumping ground. I have found that covering it up with a nice cloth really helps me keep it clear. When Kate sent me some scraps of her wonderful fabric I knew that this would be a perfect use for them. I used a solid grey fabric to compliment the prints and make the feature fabrics go further.

Fabrics - I used small pieces of print fabrics and some Essex Dyed Linen in Grey (approx a fat quarter). I used a print from my stash for the back.


Cutting Mat

Rotary Cutter

Sewing machine


You can adapt this to any size that you like*. I decided I wanted a little overhang on each end so after measuring my unit I decided to make the table cover 36” wide by 14 1/2” high. 

Iron your fabrics and cut them into pieces that are 6 1/2” wide. I cut up all the prints that I wanted to use and then also cut the grey fabric into strips as well.

Lay your fabrics out and play around with them. I decided that some would be just one print and grey, and others would have 2 smaller prints separated by the grey. Ensure that when sewn together they will be bigger than your height plus 1/2”.

Place the pieces right sides together and sew the pieces together along the 6 1/2” seam. Use a 1/4 seam allowance. There is no need to fix your stitches in place at the start and the end of the seam.

Iron your seams open.

Continue to do this for the other strips.

Lay them out side by side to check you are happy with the overall layout.

Trim each one to the correct height - in this case 15” (height + 1/2” seam allowance) then one by one sew the long seams together.

When all strips are sewn together press well with an iron, opening and ironing the seams flat as before.

Take a coordinating piece of fabric for the back and cut to the same dimensions as your patchwork piece.

Place the two rectangles right sides together and pin to hold in place. 

Stitch the two pieces together, hoping all the way round the rectangle, but leave a 6” gap for turning. Fix your stitches by going back and forwards over a few stitches at the beginning and the end.

Remove the pins and snip the bulk from the corners, being careful not to cut the stitching.    

Press, turn right sides out and then press again. Make sure you cannot see any of the backing from the front. Press the fabric across the gap neatly, tucking the seam allowance inside.

Topstitch 1/8" all the way around the edge of the cover, starting and ending at the same place, making sure that the stitching closes the gap neatly.

One more quick press and you are done. Place on your table and admire.

*Take the width you require and divide it by the number of strips you want (in this instance 36" divided by 6 = 6” - then add 1/2” for seam allowances. So I cut my strips 6 1/2” wide). Then when you reach Step 8 just cut them to the height you require plus 1/2”.

No Cut Fat Quarter Apron Tutorial

Craft, Dressmaking, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

Have a heap of fat quarters and you’re not sure what to do with them? This very very simple apron is made with one full uncut fat quarter of my fabric (measuring 75cm wide by 50cm deep), and can be run up on the sewing machine in just a few minutes.

To make the apron you will need:

Fabric – 1 fat quarter
A length of ribbon – long enough to wrap around your waist and tie comfortably at the back or front
Sewing machine

1.     Press your fat quarter flat then fold in and press each of the side edges and bottom edge by 1.5cm.

2.     Fold each of the bottom corners in (to mitre the corners) then fold and press each of these sides again, enclosing all raw edges.

3.     Pin if you feel you need to (I pressed mine quite firmly and managed without pinning) then stitch right around the three sides 0.5cm from the outside edge. Backstitch at the start and end.

4.     Press the hemmed sides then fold the top edge over by approximately 2cm. Fold the corners in again to hide them, then fold over again and press.

5.     I did need to pin this time…

6.     Stitch right along the top edge close to the bottom (you need to allow space to feed the ribbon through).

7.     Press everything really well.

8.     Take your length of ribbon and pin a safety pin to one end. Use the pin to guide the ribbon through the channel you created along the top.

9.     Once the ribbon has been pulled through, check you have an even amount on each side then put one pin in at each end to hold in place.

10.  Return to the machine and run a line of stitching approximately 2cm from the outside edge (on both sides) holding the ribbon in. Once again backstitch at the start and end of this line.

11.  Press again, and then wear your apron with pride!

Wooden Handled Bag Tutorial

Craft, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden


Create a self drafted wooden handled lined bag, in less than two hours.

You Will Need –

Wooden Bag Handles with a 18cm / 7in slot (such as these)
Twill cotton medium weight fabric 1m x 50cm
Lining fabric 1m x 50cm
Sewing thread in matching colour
Sewing scissors / Sewing needle / Sewing pins / Tape measure

Let’s Create!
Make your design with lots of vintage style with your very own pattern.

Draft Your Pattern

First you will need to draft your pattern. It’s easy in just six steps.

Take a piece of A4 paper or dimensions 21cm x 29cm

Make 3 dots across the top of the paper at 7cm, 13cm, 14cm.

Make 1 dot on the left side at 9cm from the bottom.

Join the first dot at the top left of the paper to the dot on the left hand side to make the side of the bag and then curve to the bottom right corner. I used a piece of Daler board as my ruler as its durable and more economic than a fancy metre ruler.

And add the curve freehand...

Add your centre fold line to your pattern on the left edge. This is the side you will place on your fabric to make a whole bag shape!

Add your top pleat and have a pattern! *Remember to add your 1.5cm / 1.7” seam allowance when cutting out*

To Make Up Your Bag

Cut 2 of your pattern out of your fabrics remember to add a seam allowance of 1.5cm. You will have four pieces ready for assembly.

Stitch  the wrong sides both of your outer and inner bag fabrics to make two pieces, one of the outer and one of the inner.

Option to use the pleat or you can use a gathering style when you attached the wooden framed handles. If using the pleat add this now.

With the right sides together stitch the lining and outer fabric to each other as seen in the seam of blue and yellow fabric in the picture. Clip your seam and turn the right way and press.Your bag is now starting to look like a bag. Push the lining in on the bag and press.

With the two raw edges, these are the two that you are going to turn in on themselves, with the handle slid in and then secured with a line of stitching. This is a little tricky if you are a beginner but you can either pleat your fullness or gather in with a line of stitching and press.

When it’s finished it will look like this (if you used the gathered method) at the top of your bag.

And you are finished. Take your bag out for a spin, show it off. You made it yourself!

A big thank-you to Made By Mrs M for featuring my DIY make today!

Happy Stitching,

For more inspiration, visit my website or check out my workshops at

Felt Dahlia Brooch Tutorial

Craft, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden


Today I'm sharing a free tutorial for making felt flower brooches...

... regular readers of my blog (Bugs and Fishes) might remember these flowers as I used to sell them in my shop. Now I no longer sell these I thought it would be nice to share the pattern with you guys.

I've always thought of these as dahlias but really this design is just a simple beaded felt flower that you can make in any colours you fancy.

The flowers make lovely brooches but they also make great headbands! Just sew on an elastic headband instead of adding a brooch clasp.

You will need:

- Felt in your chosen colour
- Black felt
- Matching sewing threads
- Seed beads (I used sparkly silver beads for my flowers)
- A brooch clasp (or elastic headband)
- Embroidery scissors (these are perfect for cutting out neat shapes from felt)
- The templates at the bottom of this post

To make each flower:

1. Use the templates provided to cut out one small flower piece and two large flower pieces.

2. Arrange the flower pieces on a backing piece of black felt, as pictured. Use matching sewing thread and running stitch to sew along the centre of each petal.

When I sew these I like to sew the final stitch of each line over the end point of the petal to hold it securely in place but doing this means you have to be very careful when cutting out the flower later, so you avoid accidentally snipping your stitches. If you're worried about this, finish each line of stitching before you reach the end of the petals.

After you stitch along each petal, take your thread back to the middle of the flower and start again so you're not carrying your thread across where you'll be cutting later. The back of your work will look something like this:

3. Carefully cut out the flower, leaving a narrow border of black felt around it.

4. Add a cluster of seed beads to the centre of the flower. If you're using silver beads like I did, use thread to match the felt. If you're using coloured beads use thread to match the beads.

Sew the beads flat like an O with three or four stitches holding each bead in place. Start by sewing one bead in the centre of the flower then sewing more beads around the edge. When you've finished your flower will look like this:

For an extra-sparkly flower just add another ring of beads!

 5. Using your flower as a template, cut out a matching piece of black felt. This will be the back of your flower.

6. Turn the back piece over and use a double thickness of black thread to sew on a brooch clasp.

7. Then place the front and back of your brooch together. Sew them together with black thread and running stitch, sewing flush with the edge of the petals. Finish your stitching neatly at the back.

And you're done.

These are such fun to sew – you could make them in lots of different colours as gifts for your friends and family!

To make a headband instead of a brooch, follow steps 1-5 then sew an elastic headband to the "wrong" side of your stitched flower with whip stitches (sewing into the felt but not through it). Then place the front and back of the flower together and sew around the edges with running stitch or whip stitch with more black thread.

Click here to view the template sheet in a new window or tab. Make sure you're viewing it full size, then print at 100%.

This tutorial is for non commercial use only: you can use it to make as many flower brooches as you want for yourself or as gifts, but please don't make any for sale. You may borrow a couple of photos if you want to blog about this project, but remember to credit me and link back to this page on my blog, and do not reproduce my entire tutorial / share my templates on your site. Thanks!

 Fancy more floral craft projects? Make large felt flower brooches or pretty felt flower headbands, or stitch a flower embroidery pattern.

Thanks so much to Laura for sharing this tutorial! Laura has two books which contain lots of different felt tutorials Super Cute Felt and Super Cute Felt Animals - make sure you check them out and her blog as well!

Hand Stitched Tote Bag Tutorial

Craft, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

I thought I'd share the tutorial for my recent workshop at Barnaby & Co. We made these simple, but effective tote bags using only hand stitching, and I'll be taking you through how to do this in the same way. You could however run them up on a machine too (it would be quicker but you can't watch telly at the same time!) - the instructions would be exactly the same.

You will need:

Fabric – approximately 1 fat quarter - my Bankside design shown here is now discontinued, but you can find similar fabrics in my shop.
Webbing for the strap – 1m

Press the fabric then cut two pieces, the same size as each other (the size of these pieces will depend upon the size of bag you would like).

Cut your webbing into two matching pieces of your desired length.

With the fabric right side up, measure then pin the webbing in place along the top edge, ensuring the straps are flat and not twisted.

Tack the straps into place then remove the pins. Repeat for the other side of the bag.

Fold the top edge over twice (hiding the raw edge) then turn the handles back the right way – pin along the edge.

Make one row of running stitch along the bottom edge, taking care to capture the webbing.

Top stitch with a second row of running stitch.

Using large stitches create a cross at the base of each strap to strengthen it. Repeat for the other side of the bag.

Press, taking care not to place the iron onto the webbing.

Place the two pieces on top of one another WRONG SIDES together and pin.

Using a large running stitch, stitch around the sides and base of the bag, approximately 0.5cm from the edge.

Turn the bag inside out.

Press, then pin.

Using a small backstitch sew around all three sides ensuring the raw edges are enclosed.

Loop a few stitches over the top edge at each side to neaten.

Turn the right way out and press.

Enjoy your bag!

Watercolour Leaf Garland Tutorial

Craft, Paper, TutorialsKate Marsden

Something a little different for you today... I took inspiration for this tutorial from a recent prompt for #sgiew (So good in every way - a weekly photo challenge on Instagram - do check it out) - leaves. I didn't want to just photograph a bunch of leaves, so I ended up making some and turning them into a rather pretty garland. Here's how I did it...

You will need:

1 sheet of A3 cartridge paper
Masking tape
Thick card or wooden board (larger than A3)
Watercolour paints
Paint brush
Small piece of paper measuring approximately 9cm square
Bakers twine (which should be however long you want your garland to be)
Thin washi tape.

Using the masking tape, tape your cartridge paper down flat onto the board - you can stretch it in advance if you're keen, but sticking it like this kept it flat enough for me.

The main colour you choose may depend upon the time of year (if you're making an autumn garland you might wish to go for browns and reds), but I started with a pale green, and covered the whole sheet.

I then added in areas of other colours which I'd associate with leaves, so other shades of green, yellow, red, orange and brown. I kept the colours fairly light, but you could be bolder if you prefer.

Once you're happy, leave it to dry completely.

While you're waiting, fold your small square of paper in half, draw half a leaf shape on one side then cut out - I went for a rounded, stylized leaf - you might want something more realistic (or more than one design in your garland, in which case you can do several!).

Once the paint is completely dry, use your cut out as a template and try and fit as many leaves onto the paper as possible (I managed to get 18 on). Don't worry about being too neat with the outlines as you'll be cutting them out.

Then carefully cut them all out. I chose not to cut the centre sections, but you might want to.

Cut your baker's twine to the desired length then find the centre point.

Working from the centre out, evenly tape your leaves onto the twine using the washi tape.

And you've finished! String your garland up and admire your handiwork!

Stitched Cityscape Tutorial

Architecture, Craft, Paper, Sewing, Textiles, Travel, TutorialsKate Marsden


Hello!  Recently I was lucky to visit New York for the first time. An amazing city which has left me with even more creative ideas than normal! One of these was to make a piece of stitched art based on the Manhattan skyline which works perfectly with Made by Mrs M's range of fabrics.

Today I’m going to show you how to make this picture based on the architecture of this iconic island.  Although these instructions make up into an A4 sized picture, the design could easily be adapted to make a larger motif for a cushion or repeated to make a lampshade. Please do share your projects with me using #pollydextrous.


The project is intended to be machine stitched but can easily be adapted to be hand sewn or glued if you prefer.


1. Cut the tissue paper to just less than half height of the card. (10cm on A4). Leave a 1cm overhang on the bottom edge as the paper will move a little.

2. Glue lightly along the top edge to hold in place during sewing.

3. Stitch a straight line along the top.

4. Sew using wavy lines to represent water. Work from top to bottom, smoothing the paper out as you work.  Add more lines, working upwards this time. 

5. Pull threads through to the back of the work and fix using double sided tape.  Trim long ends. 

6. The picture has three layers – background; mid ground and foreground. Cut out the background buildings (templates a-d) in fabric, placing the pieces to suggest windows. 

7. Draw a faint line 1cm above the top of the 'water'.

8. Arrange the pieces along the line, using the diagram as a guide and tack in place.

9. Stitch around the edge of each piece using the diagram to add additional details, shown as dashed lines on the template. Finish as for water stitching.

10. Cut out the middle ground (templates e-i).

11. Repeat as for background, but align with water.

12. Cut out foreground, this time place slightly overlapping water, stitch in same way.

Brooklyn Bridge

13.  Stitch two horizontal lines from furthest building on right hand side up to edge of paper.  Lines should be approx 4mm apart.

14.  Measure 15 mm from start of bridge deck and stitch two parallel vertical lines, approx 30 mm high.  

15. Repeat at 40 mm from first tower. 

16. Stitch diagonal lines from the top of each tower to the deck.

17. Switch to a medium zigzag stitch and sew between the two horizontal lines.


18. Still with a zigzag stitch, change to the widest stitch setting, but fairly short stitch length.

19. Stitch along base of the island, over-lapping with water to resemble trees.


20. Lightly sketch two different sized boat outlines.

21. Using a short straight stitch sew over pencil lines and continue line behind to suggest the wake.  

22. Tape down and trim any loose thread ends . Trim any paper/fabric overlaps.

23. Stand back and admire your finished work!

24. Share your creation with #Pollydextrous

Your templates... Click here to download




Ikea Hack: Custom Seat Cushions for Garden Furniture

Craft, Sewing, Textiles, TutorialsKate Marsden

Guest post from Sarah Fisher - read her blog here

Hello! I’m Sarah, a graphic designer and creative based in Southampton. I’m so excited to be posting today and sharing a little project I’ve been doing recently.

I’ve been trying to think of something nice to do with our balcony ever since we moved into our rented flat a few years ago, so this year we finally decided to buy some garden furniture and turn it into a space we can enjoy and relax in. For a grand total of £45, these 2 chairs and table from Ikea were an absolute steal and fit the space perfectly. 

However… there was a problem… two problems in fact. Firstly, wooden chairs tend to get slightly uncomfortable after a couple of minutes, and secondly, I can count at least 2 other flats in our block that have exactly the same set of furniture!

Here is where our wonderful Ikea hack comes in; I decided to solve both problems by making my own custom set of chair cushions and seat pads, and it was so easy that I’ve written the tutorial down so that you can also have a go!

I’m so pleased with my new cushions and seat pads, and hope you enjoy making some too! :-)

Sarah x

To make the cushions:

Essentially these are just a giant envelope of fabric that you stuff your cushion into! I chose some lovely soft, taupe linen for the cushions. You will need about 1m2 of fabric for 2 cushions, plus cushion inners.

1. Cut out your fabric. (See illustration) These cushions are made from one continuous piece of material, so they’re really easy to cut out. As a general rule, it’s good to make your cushion cover roughly 10% smaller than the size of your cushion inner so it’s nice and plump and doesn’t sag, my cushion inner was 45cm square so I made my cushion covers 40cm square.

2. Hem short edges of fabric.

3. Fold over top and bottom of fabric to make a square ‘envelope’ (see illustration, [1] and [2]) making sure the right side of the fabric is on the inside. Pin together and sew down the sides. [3]

4. Turn cover inside out so the right side of the fabric is on the outside. Insert cushion inner like you would with a pillow case, making sure it fills all the corners. Plump up and you’re done!

To make the seat pads:

You will need about 1m2 of fabric for 2 seat pads, plus foam inners.

1. Cut out your fabric using your foam inner as a guide. (See illustration) The seat pads are also made out of one continuous piece of material, plus 4 small strips of fabric per seat pad to make the ties.

2. To make the ties for the seat pads, take one of your strips of fabric, and hem one of the short ends.

3. Pin the edges of the long edges down, and then fold the whole strip in half and pin together.

4. Sew around the edges of the pinned length of fabric in a box shape. Repeat steps 2-4 to make 4 ties.

5. For the seat pad, fold the fabric in half with the right side of the fabric facing inwards. Pin the 2 edges adjacent to the fold and sew together, leaving the bottom side open.

6. To make the corners of the cushions, sew a straight line diagonally by the 2 corners next to the fold of the fabric. The length of the line should be the same as the depth of your foam.

7. Turn the fabric the right side out and insert the foam into the opening.

8. Pin together the remaining edge of the fabric and sew together by hand.

9. At the corners, sew 2 fabric ties onto the edge of the fabric.

10. Fold the remaining fabric over and sew shut, a little like an envelope.

11. Repeat steps 9-10 with the opposite corner.

For a little bonus, with my leftover fabric I made a little table runner and some napkins! :-)