Completed: pencil roll

My daughter’s school participates in a project that collects shoeboxes filled with some school supplies, personal care products and small toys. These are then shipped to other countries and distributed to children living in poverty so they receive a gift with some practical and fun items.

handmade pencil roll rolled open showing 12 coloured pencils.

All packaging material has to be removed from the gifts because in the receiving countries they may not have the ability to dispose of the waste in a sustainable manner. Fair enough, but I thought it was a bit messy to have 3 pens, 3 pencils and 12 coloured pencils just lying around in the box among all the other items. So, I decided to make a pencil roll to at least keep the coloured pencils organized. I imagine that this will also be useful for the eventual recipient as a storage solution.

Two fabrics on top of eachother. The one below for the outside of a pencil roll. the one on top will form the pockets for the pencils.

I didn’t want to spend too much time making one and searched for some quick tutorials. This 10-minute one was definitely the quickest tutorial I found! Not sure I’d be able to finish one in just 10 minutes though, but it’s definitely quick. I did not follow the instructions exactly because in the tutorial the roll is made from a single fabric and I wanted to include a print on the inside to brighten things up.

A pencil roll in progress. The pockets for the pencils have been sewn but the edges still need to be finished.

The outside fabric is a curtain remnant and I used the part that was already hemmed (time saver!) for the top of the roll. It was cut to 8 1/4” x 12.5” which allowed me to make twelve 1” slots for the pencils leaving ¼” on each side to finish the edges.

A pencil roll in progress. The edges of the fabric have been overlocked but the tails still need to be buried.

The pocket is a piece of quilting cotton that I doubled up so the top also didn’t require any finishing. I simply sewed from top to bottom to create the pockets, but at the top of the pocket I did some backstitching to reinforce that part. The sides and bottom were finished with my overlocker with the threads that it already happened to be threaded with. The tails were hidden in between 2 fabric layers at the very end.

The outside of a handmade pencil roll showing the ribbon that is used to close it.

On the outside I sewed a 50 cm ribbon to one of the sides as a closure. I am happy with how this pencil roll turned out and I hope one little girl will be able to use it for a long time to make pretty drawings.

A handmade pencil roll, rolled up and tied up with a ribbon.

New Directions: Pattern tester makes!

From my work as a scientist, I know that papers improve a lot when you receive feedback on the text and figures from colleagues or peer reviewers. After reading a text again and again and again you simply no longer spot missing words or typos. When you are completely submerged in the subject, concepts that are super clear to you may not be as clear to others that know less about the topic and may require additional clarification.

So, knowing how valuable feedback can be, I had the New Directions pincushion pattern tested before it was released to make sure that there are no errors in the FPP templates or instructions. Two of my quilting/blogging friends offered to test the pattern for me for which I am very grateful! They were able to provide me with useful comments and suggestions that I incorporated in the instructions.

New Directions pincushions made by Sanne from sewbysanne.

Sanne tested both the flat and boxy pincushion options and I think she used some fun fabric combinations. The top of each pincushion has a slightly different look because of how she positioned the fabrics. Also, look at those nice fussy cut flowers in the center squares!

New Directions pincushions made by Sanne from sewbysanne.

Tierney tested the flat pincushion option, I think she used shot cottons and they give her pincushion a luscious look. I must admit I was surprised at first that Tierney wanted to test the pattern at all because she has not kept her thoughts about FPP a secret in the past!

New directions pincushion made by Tierney from tierneycreates.

As I went through the process of writing a pattern and having Sanne and Tierney test it, I started to think whether it would be good to have a peer review system for sewing patterns to improve the quality of what’s available. I quickly realised that it would probably not work because in science the peer review process is part of getting your work published in good journals. While there are several quilting magazines to which you can submit pattern ideas, most patterns do not end up in journals but are self published. It got me wondering though, which sewing magazine would you consider to be the Nature and Science of quilting?

New Directions Pincushion pattern release!

For quite a long time now I’ve had a dream to create sewing patterns. This past year I’ve taken some big steps to make this dream come true!

The most important step was spending a lot of time playing with Adobe Illustrator, to learn how to use more of this software’s many functions and how to use those functions more efficiently. As it turns out I really enjoy doing this and as a result my first pattern is now completed! I’ve created detailed instructions on how to make the pincushion that I made for the dutch MQG swap that I participated in last spring.

The top of the pincushion is made from a foundation paper pieced 3” finished block. The sewing pattern contains instructions to turn this block into a flat or boxy pincushion. It is of course also possible to use the block in a quilt if you don’t want or need another pincushion!

I chose the name “New Directions” because the shapes in the block remind me a bit of a compass. This pattern also marks a new direction in my sewing and quilting hobby because it’s the first pattern that I’ve created for other people to use. This feels both exciting and a tiny bit scary.  

The New Directions Pincushion pattern has already been released to the subscribers of my monthly newsletter. If you’d like to get the pattern as well, that is still possible. When you sign up for my newsletter you can now download the pattern for free.

Now that New Directions is out in the world I am going to focus on the next patterns that are already in the pipeline!

I’ve also worked on developing a logo and house style. You may already have noticed that my blog looks a bit different from the last time you visited. I’ve tried to incorporate some of the house style features on my blog. The theme I am currently using is a bit limiting in what I can change, however, so eventually I am going to move my blog to