free pattern

A new Humphrey for you

by Helen on February 15, 2014

Phew …. it’s been a busy few days what with one thing and another!  I’ve been working hard on a couple of commissioned designs as well as the March magazine, so haven’t been around much online recently.  But here I am now with a new updated Humphrey pattern.  

Humphrey was one of  my original free patterns – based on a vintage design from my own childhood.  I’ve updated that old pattern and included some a few tips on how to stop fabrics fraying when hand stitching your softies.  If a softie’s quite plain I sometimes feel felt can be a bit (whisper it) boring so it’s nice to use a patterned fabric, though you do have to deal with the fraying issue. I thought Humphrey needed this patterned treatment  which in his case has acted a bit like a face-lift!  He now looks a lot younger than his age recreated in a lovely vibrant pink check …..

If you’d like to make your own Humphrey, please just CLICK HERE to download your updated free pattern.

I’ve had to keep Humphrey – and his friend, the famous super-model(!) Sidney well out of Daisy’s reach while taking their pictures.  I think she is becoming rather jealous that they take all my attention while I’m sewing them …….

Wonder what she’s thinking!  

She enjoyed her walk today though – the first time for ages that we’ve enjoyed a bright sunny morning – perfect for a longer excursion.  But the bridlepath was blocked by a fallen tree – a casualty of the recent gales.  

We approached the problem in various – but very typical – ways.  I stood back – assessed the situation, measured by eye and decided I could clamber over the tree through a gap in the branches.  Ben used his enormous strength to force a hole then shoulder his way through the lower branches, whilst Daisy – oh dear – couldn’t wait to follow her brother through the hole he’d made but  twirled round and round in mad excitement, then made a flying leap, became stuck in the tangle of ivy festooning the trunk and had to be rescued.  Silly puppy!  Then home for a little stitching on another project for the March magazine….

A vintage illustration from “The Rosie Posie Book” by Anne Anderson. I’m really enjoying stitching this – it makes me think of summer days to come and I hope subscribers will love it too.



Furry Fox & Marching Elephants

by Helen on November 24, 2013

Having a bit of a busy weekend with Rosie – we’re pressing ahead with wedding preparations and this weekend visited two florists in Totnes, Emma Vowles and Blue Geranium (the image below is a Blue Geranium bridal bouquet – isn’t it beautiful!)


 But before Rosie decides, we will return for a proper planned appointment with each florist, before which we need to work out our exact requirements, bouquet, buttonholes, table arrangements ……. so much to think about!  But nice though.  Rosie has an app on her phone now that’s counting down to the big day – to the nearest second – so we know exactly how much time we have.  Table runners and napkins after Christmas – lots of sewing for me!

Meanwhile, I’ve been doing a little less sewing this week as I’ve been working hard on my Furry Mr Fox tutorial  and I’m delighted to be able to say that my video tutorial is finished – well, actually my two video tutes as I’ve broken it into two 10 minute sessions.  

Furry Mr Fox Video Tutorial

 If you’re not a subscriber, then the pattern and tutorial for Mr Fox will be available to purchase after the December Magazine is published on Thursday.  For Bustle & Sew Magazine readers, the links to the video tutorials will be included in your December issue.

Wish upon a Star: Mr Fox

But as well as looking forward – I am planning lots more videos & extra stuff for magazine subscribers next year – sometimes it’s fun to look back too.  I received an email last week asking about my Marching Elephants pattern.  This design, based on an old childhood colouring book page, was one of my earliest, so I dug it out, dusted it off, updated and improved the pattern instructions …..

Marching Elephants

 And if you’d like to make your own Marching Elephants (I think they look a bit Christmassy – maybe I’ll make a Christmas version too?)  then please just CLICK HERE to download the free pdf file. 

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Wish upon a star … Mr Fox

by Helen on November 3, 2013

It’s always a relief when I’ve uploaded and successfully sent out each month’s magazine to my lovely subscribers.  I don’t altogether trust computers, and my internet connection, as I’m so far out in the countryside, is not the fastest, though it’s never let me down completely.  (yet!) Then, once the magazine’s safely dispatched,  I list the patterns I want to offer individually – that’s never all of them as I like to keep some just for magazine readers – so there’s lots to do.  

But once all the computer stuff is finished, I can look forward to all the excitement of starting a whole new group of designs for the following month’s issue.  This month I’m starting with one of my favourite techniques – some lovely hand embroidery – based on a line drawing by my friend Jacqui (Flapdoodledesigns).  Here I am, snuggled in my comfy chair,about to begin …

foxembroidery 002

It’s always such an exciting moment – though of course as I’m sure you know – a lot of work has to happen before you ever reach this point!  Cleaning and resizing the image, transferring it to fabric, selecting flosses and deciding in what order to work the design and what stitches to use – as well as hooping up, removing the Newfies from where I want to put my feet and making sure there’s a nice hot cup of tea to hand.  But at last I could begin – and over the last few days have made very good progress ….

Wish Upon a Star .. Fox wip

These two pictures illustrate perfectly why you shouldn’t trust your computer I think!!  I promise that it’s the same piece of work but something very strange has happened to the colours – one was taken in artificial light – though I did have my daylight lamp on, and the second by daylight earlier on this morning while the sun was out.  The real colour of my background fabric is actually somewhere between the two – probably rather closer to the second photo.  I think that I need to add a little outline around the fox’s white tail tip as it’s getting a bit lost amongst the toadstool’s spots, but I’m pleased with the fur shading so far.  I haven’t quite decided what colours the stripes on his scarf will be yet – blue and green perhaps?  I also like that he feels quite festive – but is not full-on Christmas – so I’ll be able to display him through the festive season and beyond.  

As well as Mr Fox, Jacqui gave me a second line drawing – this time a little hedgehog also wishing on a star – here’s her watercolour version ….

Wish Upon a Star .. Hedgehog

Isn’t he adorable?  And she was quite happy for me to share her hedgehog drawing with you if you’d like to stitch your own hedgehog wishing on a star.  Just CLICK HERE to download the free transfer – there aren’t any stitching instructions included – just the transfer.

When Mr Fox is finished however, he’ll be in the December Bustle & Sew Magazine with full instructions and lots of photographs to help you stitch and shade his fur. I’ll be sure to post more pictures when he’s done! 


I know Christmas (whisper that word!) is still a little way off – although approaching very fast!  But, for me at least, October is the time I begin to think about Christmas stitching and I’ve been very busy with Christmas projects here at Bustle & Sew.  I’ve already mentioned Robert the Red Nose Reindeer, and this morning I’m pleased to announce that my Christmas Tree-O is finished!

Christmas Tree-O(!)

 I don’t have room in my workroom for a conventional tree so I’ve designed a trio of hoops – would you like to see?

Christmas Tree-O(!)

 … that together form a cheerful applique tree decorated with ric-rac braid, felt and a lovely selection of vintage buttons from my Grandma’s button tin.  And best of all, it hangs on the wall so no space needed at all!  Here it’s laid out on the sofa in my workroom, but I’ll take some proper photos when the light is better outside ….

Christmas Tree-O(!)

  Patterns for both Robert the Red Nose Reindeer and the Christmas Tree-O will be in the November issue of the Bustle & Sew Magazine

Robins in Love

 This won’t be published until the end of this month – so if you’re in the mood for some a little easy Christmas stitching before then, you might enjoy my Robins in Love design from a couple of years ago showing nine fat robins – two of whom only have eyes for each other! If you’d like the free pattern for Robins in Love, then please just CLICK HERE to download. 

Christmas Tree-O(!)

 Meanwhile – enjoy the rest of your weekend, whatever you’re doing (we’re off for another lovely walk this afternoon!).