English Paper Piecing


I started a new project last night, one I’ve been dying to try for ages.  I’m so glad I did, I’m totally addicted already.  It’s English Paper piecing… basically patchwork by hand with the use of little paper templates.  I was looking for a portable craft that didn’t need an iron straight off or a lot of equipment, so I can do it on the move or in front of the TV.  This fits the bill perfectly.

I’ve been collecting fat quarters for a while so I already had some lovely material to hand.  I decided on a ‘flower’ to start which I’m going to make into a pin cushion, and then move onto a small quilt.

So I got to work cutting out the hexagons last night, so quick and easy, just pin a paper template on and cut around.


Then baste the edges over to secure the template and start sewing together with a tiny whip stitch.  I was worried what colour thread to use as I’ve got both dark and light fabric.  I went with white and it looked fine as the stitches are pretty invisible.  Oops just looked through my photos and realised I didn’t take a picture of the back, but feast your eyes on these pretty fabrics instead!


An hour or so later and ta dah


I just need to remove the pins and attach to a backing piece to make my pin cushion.  So happy with this, can’t wait to plan out a whole quilt!

Strawberry PJ shorts and a little bit of calligraphy

News Updates, Projects

Hi Guys

Hope you had a great weekend?  I rather selfishly spent all of yesterday afternoon sewing, but for a change it wasn’t for me so not so selfish!  I’m in the process of making Laura some PJ shorts, in cute strawberry print.


I didn’t use the same pattern as last time as I only had the large size version, instead I used Lauren Guthrie’s pattern which is in her book.

lauren guthrie pyjamas

The pattern was lovely to work from, the paper is great quality and not as scary as the tissue in the Butterick patterns.  I cut the smallest size and figured with elastication it will be fine.  There were two weird sticky out bits one at the top of the outside leg and one at the waist that I’m still not sure what they were for… so I chopped them off but if you can enlighten me, please do 🙂

I must have been having a brain freeze as it took me three goes to get the inside leg/crotch bit right, I don’t know if it was because they are short ones, so I was getting confused by the tiny inside leg, but either way ARGH!  Got there in the end though and they just need waist and hemming now and they fit!  I’ve also managed to put pockets in which I love to bits, everything should have pockets!

I’m afraid I’ve not taken photos as I was going along so instead I’m going to show you a little bit of faux calligraphy art, that I finished off last night and is all ready to be framed.  Sorry for the rubbish pictures, I blog on my lunch at work and can only get pictures up via instagram!


Hopefully I will get to finish the shorts soon and can let you see!  I’m going to get a plain white vest top to match and applique a motif on, to bring the two things together as a set.

Finished the Shell Top…. and it’s wearable!


Happy Monday guys,

Hope you all had a lovely weekend?  I can’t believe I’ve done it, I’ve finished the top and it fits!  Ok it could do with a FBA and maybe make it a little longer to be more flattering, but it’s done, it’s well constructed and it’s the first thing I’ve made from a pattern with no help!  I’m so pleased with it I’m wearing it to work!



Bouyed with this success I’m going to make some pyjama shorts for my girls! In a lovely white cotton with strawberries on to be teamed with a white vest top cute or what?


I’ve definitely got the sewing bug again, but must learn to step away from my fabric after wine!  Getting a bit giddy on saturday evening, I just had to sew something so decided a pin cushion would be a fairly safe bet?!  You’d think eh?  Well not so, as for some reason all sense of proportion went out the window and I ended up with this which is super tiny and probably only fit for the borrowers!  Oh well lesson learnt 😉





Sleeveless Shell Top – Fashion with Fabric (Sewing Bee)


I’m on a roll, totally back in the sewing groove and thanks to Nadine, I’m much improved as my efforts on my latest project prove!  I started cutting out the pattern for this last week and then put it away as the weekend was a wee bit manic.  I was also really nervous about starting to sew, but last night the children were playing, the husband was out and I just went for it.

Although the top is rated for a beginner, there are a lot of skills I’ve not used yet, attaching facing, neatening raw edges with a zig zag, bust darts etc… However, so far so good I’m over the moon with how it’s looking.


The bust darts were a dream.  I was initially worried about the weird sticky out bit on the side of the front of the top and thought I’d cut it out wrong but duh that’s the bit that’s folded to make the dart.  I found the easiest way to mark them on my fabric was by tracing the dart on to a piece of paper and then onto the fabric (as I had been lazy and not marked them out originally).  They make such a difference to the shaping and were not as daunting as I expected.  I think next time I will do a FBA (full bust adjustment) as although I’ve cut a bigger size I still think it will be on tight side but I didn’t want to over complicate this attempt.

The facing was a mystery to me, I kept re-reading the pattern and not being able to follow what was happening and couldn’t visualise how it would work when pulled through.  I decided just to go for it and low and behold it not only worked, it looks so neat and well finished!  I’m soooooo happy and it’s something I will definitely use again!


The ziz zag neatening of the facing was not such an outstanding success though as my machine wouldn’t allow me to sew along the edge without getting caught up.  I decided just to do it a bit further in and will trim back, but the effect is the same it won’t fray.  Oh for an over-locker but this will do for now.  It’s hard to see in these hastily taken photos but will do better ones when I post the finished top.

All in all I’m giddy it’s gone so well!  To celebrate I’ve ordered a load more fabric for the next projects!

Please feel free to comment, are you working on something which demands new skills?  Do you have tips on the zig zag bit or anything else?

Thank you for reading

Claire xxx

I’m back and I have made pyjama bottoms!

News Updates, Projects

Hi Guys

Sorry for the mahoosive gap but I had no access to the blog due to work constraints (I basically didn’t have Chrome on my temporary PC, so no lunch time blogging) so it was very much neglected. However, I’m back for good now and I have new hobbies to share with you!

The sewing continues with renewed vigour after an awesome sewing class at The York School of Sewing, and now I am also learning calligraphy and hand lettering.  I am teaching myself the new writing skills with the aid of a rather amazing blog called The Postman’s Knock.

I’m still crocheting too and will showcase any new crafts as I learn them.

So last sunday I was lucky enough to take a course with Nadine at The York School of Sewing to make a pair of PJ bottoms.  I decided to make them for my mum as it is her Birthday today.  Happy Birthday Mum!!!!


The course was fabulous, I learnt so many new skills, pattern cutting and adjusting (mum has long legs), sewing curved seams, elastic and drawstring waistbands, button holes…. I’m buzzing and can’t wait to make something else from a pattern!

Last night I started cutting out some gorgeous floral cotton to make the sleeveless shell top from the latest Sewing Bee Book.  I used the tracing wheel method and found it really quick and precise, but I will see how that translates to sewing the garment together.

shell top

Since starting on my calligraphy quest I’ve pledged to make all handmade cards, they are pretty basic but I’m also lining the envelopes and doing artwork on the fronts so all in all pretty post for my friends and family.



I also made Mark this little bit of fun for our anniversary!


So apologies for the lateness of this post and it’s rambling content but you’re now all up to date and I will post weekly.

Thank you for reading and please feel free to comment!

Claire xxx

Crochet Scarf and Novel TeaCup Uses

News Updates, Uncategorized

Hey Guys


Sorry for the lack of posts, I’ve been seconded at work and it’s taken a wee bit of getting my head round so lunchtimes were purely for recovery, not creative writing! However, I’m good now and I did manage to get my crochet scarf finished on Wednesday.  I’m so happy with it I’ve worn it two days in a row.  It’s soooooo soft, just a really simple repetitive treble stitch on a large hook and then joined the two ends together.  I can see me getting a lot of wear out of this.


It’s great how finishing something makes you feel, it doesn’t matter how simple it is, it’s just that sense of I made that.

Tea Cups

I saw this beautiful  teacup pin cushion on line the other date and can’t wait to make a version for myself.


It reminded me of this clever use of a teacup by the lovely Katie from Hello Vintage who I met when I was in the wedding industry.  She made gorgeous teacup candles and gifted me with this one when she came to visit my studio.  I couldn’t bring myself to burn it for years but finally went for it this week and it’s so pretty!  When it’s burnt down I will use the teacup for my pin cushion, multiple upcycling on the same object.



General Update

I did a bit more work on the living room blinds at the weekend, but didn’t really get much further, it’s starting to be a bit of a drag that I just want to get it out of the way so I can do some more fun projects.  I also made a bit of a boo cutting the second one out, which I think I can work with but still having heart palpitations!  If my mother in law is reading this please do not tell your son, he’s happily oblivious till I work out the answer!

I also tried to teach my 7yr old Liv to use my sewing machine… hmm I’m glad we discovered her lack of pedal control before driving lessons come along.  She literally could not coordinate herself to lift her foot off the pedal.  This is something we need to work on before she goes anywhere near my car!

I will be back soon with more little projects and hopefully a finished pair of blinds!

One off the list

News Updates

Hi guys hope you had a great weekend.  Mine was very productive, spent a good few hours working on the mahoosive living room blind on Saturday, you can see from this picture how huge it is compared to my sample blind.   It’s throwing up all sorts of different problems, but tackling them one by one and it’s taking shape.  Hopefully will get finished next weekend.


Sunday we went to meet this little fellow, the gorgeous Bobby D (short for Dazzler).  As we are not in a position to have our own dog at the moment, we have signed up for Borrow My Doggy, so we can walk other people’s dogs at the weekend.  Bobby is an adorable Jack Russel/Collie Cross who loves to fetch balls as we discovered even the heavy rain didn’t put him off. We are totally in love and can’t wait to walk him next weekend.


Last night I was shattered so I curled up in front of Bones with a glass of wine and made this.  So I have officially completed one of the items off my list.  It’s a needle case, made with felt, a little applique and some rather dodgy embroidery (definitely a skill that needs working on!).  I can’t take any credit for the design as I took a photos of one owned by Jane when she attended the same blind workshop as me.




I’m pretty pleased with this and will definitely make more for presents.

Project List


Hi Guys,

I’ve just had my lunchtime fix of reading other peoples’ sewing blogs, today it was the talented Nette, whose creations I love!  I am now finding my list of ‘I’ve got to make that’ is getting ridiculously long!  Here’s where it’s at today!

2 humungous roman blinds for the living room

Finish my poor neglected Clemence skirt

A pencil-case and memo board each for my girls

A needle case that I blogged about here

piecework patchwork inspired by my friend Jo

Cushions for my mum’s living room

Finish my crochet scarf

Considering I work full-time and have two children… this make take a while!

There are some amazing sewing blogs out there and I can’t get enough of them… obsessed me? Erm Yes totally 🙂  These are my favourite:

Guthrie and Ghani

Handmade by Jane

Scruffy Badgertime



So no pictures today just lists, sorry folks but I will be back soon with progress on at least some of these projects!

Roman Blinds with Lauren Guthrie


I feel the need to justify myself sometimes, especially my hobbies. Although I lean towards creating pretty clothes, I thought it would go down better at home if at first I learnt something more practical!  I’ve always loved the effect of roman blinds but they’re just so damn expensive (and rightly so, just out of my budget), so this seemed a good place to start.  Particularly when I found out one of the ladies I’d been extensively blog stalking had a workshop doing just that and it would mean I get to visit her beautiful shop!

Guthrie and Ghani

Image purloined from Lauren’s own blog.

I had previously had an attempt at these blinds, thinking I could whip one up for my au pair before she arrived… hmmm suffice it to say I was at Dunelm buying curtains the day before!!!  Not as simple as the You Tube tutorials looked.

So on Valentine’s Day I tootled off to Birmingham, much more nervous than I had anticipated, and attended the roman blind workshop.  It was a fabulous workshop from start to finish and it turns out they are quite simple to make you just need a good teacher!  This is my mini blind

IMG_8431 IMG_8430

I’m now working on some blinds for my living room, a slightly larger project as the main window is nearly 2 metres wide!  Pattern matching was a bit of an issue but will blog about that in the next post.  I am determined to succeed.

I even managed to take a quick selfie with the lovely Lauren Guthrie


A bonus to an already lovely day was meeting Jane who had this adorable needle case with her.  Apparently it was made for her quite some years ago by her teenage babysitter!  Isn’t it adorable, I would love to have a try to recreate this, maybe with some cherries on the front?


The detail is just beautiful!

Hey I made it back to the blogging world!

News Updates

Hi guys,

Let me introduce myself, I’m Claire,

Just Darling Cakes

formerly of Just Darling Cakes (I’ve taken my website down but still have my facebook page if you would like to see the pictures) but after closing the business some time ago I left the blogging world and have been missing the cathartic out pouring of my geekiness.  So here I am back again to bore/amuse you with my journey as I learn how to sew.

I’ve been obsessed with reading everyone else’s sewing blogs and gradually starting projects of my own.  I do not come from a sewing background, nobody in the family has a machine or the faintest idea what to do with one but it’s always fascinated me!  I got my machine last summer and it’s like coming home, I love it!

My firstproject was rather ambitiously an Elsa dress for my daughter, I drafted and cut my own pattern and sewed it together.  The inside seams make me blush (totally unfinished), but it did come together and was wearable. I made a full circle skirt, the bodice was three rectangles with a ribbon closure.  I sewed a few fiddly, snowflake sequins to the front and to the detachable cape, but they were so annoying to handle I didn’t do as many as planned.  Liv was away the weekend I made it, and we did have fit issues on her return but got there in the end, and many lessons stored away for future reference! Apologies for the photos these were taken without any thought that one day they’d be on the internet!

Front of DressIMG_8433Twirling Elsa

I know I am going to be totally obsessed with making clothes once I get the hang of it, I’m half way through a Clemence skirt at the moment and a pair of roman blinds after a brilliant workshop with Lauren. The blinds are winning through sheer practicality but I can’t wait to go back to the skirt and finally finish a garment that hopefully can be worn!

So I aim to blog about each project I undertake, there will be snippets of crochet and other crafts too so I hope I will keep you entertained.  All comments welcome, thanks for reading!