Thursday, 11 February 2016

New on DMTV - Broken Heart Pincushion

Valentine's Day is just around the corner so for all you romantics out there we've added a new video workshop to DMTV today. Join me to make a heart pincushion, it's a quick and easy sew and a great opportunity to practise your fabric painting skills.

Make one to add some love to your sewing space or to give to a sewing friend...

DMTV subscribers can log in now to watch:

Thanks for visiting the blog today,
Love Laura

Sunday, 7 February 2016

Sketchbook Sunday

I've been working in my sketchbook and one of my favourite ways to start a page is to make a background or border using rubbings. For these pages I'm using some wooden letter shapes. You could use wooden shapes, or maybe you have card versions.

Jut pop the letter under the page, hold it so it doesn't move and use the side of a graphite stick to take the rubbing. Don't worry what the letter is, any will do, it's just about the pattern and shape.

Try different sorts of graphite stick if you can, some are much softer and will give darker results which much more 'noise' in the background. (I think this can be a good thing!).

If it all looks to solid and heavy, interrupt the rubbings with marks made using an eraser. I'm using a putty rubber which easily moves the graphite around and removes some of it making for an even more interesting result.

Don't forget to finish up with a spray of fixative or hairspray to stop the rubbings from smudging.

The next stage? Some drawing...coming soon.

Thanks for visiting today,

The wooden letters I used were provided by Baker Ross, thanks guys! Check out their site for loads more craft supplies.

Friday, 5 February 2016

Through Our Hands Book Review

If you've not already seen it, do check out the review of Through Our Hands Portfolio on

and you might like to get your own copy. Buy online with worldwide shipping:


Thursday, 4 February 2016

New on DMTV - Mosaic Quilt Planning

Linda often works in my studio, helping finish and cut Fingerprint fabrics, and generally trying to tidy up (she doesn't believe in my system of piles). I reward her with her pick of fabrics and last week she left with this haul - quite a few metres of hand dyes and some digital prints on cotton. 

She needs them for her latest quilt which is a hand pieced mosaic on a ginormous scale! It has to be super king size when it's finished and as you can imagine, it's eating fabric.

DMTV viewers can log in this week to see a new video workshop with Linda which features this quilt. She explains how important it is to plan and pay careful attention to colour and value, even for something that starts out as a scrap quilt.

It's looking good but there's still a way to go.

Subscribers can visit the website now to watch the video. If you've not subscribed yet, why not join us? There are always more than 30 video workshops to watch. All the info at:

Thanks for visiting the blog today.
Back soon,

Monday, 1 February 2016

Madeira Frosted Matt

Really excited today to be road testing some new Madeira sewing threads. We've just taken delivery of a selection of Madeira Frosted Matt. Previously this thread was only available in the industrial range, but now us home sewers and textile artists can use it too!

Available in 40 colours, Frosted Matt has a ceramic core wrapped with polyester. On the spool it has a matte finish and is a nice fine weight (slightly thinner than a Rayon 40) so I think it should work a treat for both embroidery and quilting. One of the big advantages is that the thread is extremely lightfast so great for artworks hung in direct light.

I'll be back soon to let you know how I get on with it!

bye for now,

Thursday, 28 January 2016

New on DMTV - Stitching Paper Monoprints

Going live on the website today is my latest video workshop for DMTV, 'Stitching Paper Monoprints'.

When I teach monoprinting I always encourage students to print on paper first, but inevitably by the end of the day, the textile enthusiasts are always asking how they can get the same lovely effects on fabric too.

The simple answer is, you don't have to! In the video workshop I'll show you how to prepare the paper prints and arrange compositions ready for stitching by hand or machine. If you've got a pile of prints then I hope it'll be just what you need.

Subscribers can log in to watch now, if you're not yet a subscriber you can sign up today for access to this video and lots more.

Thanks for visiting today,

Wednesday, 27 January 2016

Free Magazines

**Update: All these mags have been snapped up. Thanks for helping me find them new homes!**

I've been tidying the studio and have decided that I really don't need all the magazines I own.  It's been a tough call. Of course I get distracted and start reading articles and decide I have to keep them...but no, be strong.

These ones are up for grabs. They're all in good condition and if you'd like them, you can have them for the price of the postage. Just email me to let me know what you'd like. Because the mags are quite heavy, this is just for UK only. If you're outside of the UK and really want them, that's OK, but I'll have to re-check the postage.

6 issues of The Quilter: 
Winter 2008, Winter 2013, Summer 2009, Summer 2014, Spring 2014, Winter 2014 
Postage: £3.80

3 issues of Flair: Winter 2009, Autumn 2013, Spring 2014, and 1 issue of Stitch: Oct/Nov 2013
Postage: £3

4 issues of SAQA Journal: Winter 2009, Spring 2009, Summer 2009, Winter 2010
Postage:  £3

And for some reason I have 4 copies of this issue of Quilting Arts Magazine, Aug/Sept 2007
Postage £1.80

Thanks for doing the decent thing and helping me sort out the studio!
Bye for now,

Friday, 22 January 2016

Free hand dyed tote bag

If you read my blog then you'll know I'm on a bit of a mission to try not to use plastic shopping bags. To help you do the same we're giving away hand dyed cotton tote bags. Get one free with every order over £10 in the Fingerprint shop (excluding bespoke orders and while stocks last).

I've hand dyed them myself in a lovely slate blue. They've got to be a better option than a plastic bag!

Place your order in the shop and the bag will automatically be added, you don't need to do anything, we'll just pop one in with your fabrics.

And don't forget, worldwide shipping is still free, for now, so it's a great time to order.

Thanks for checking in with the blog today.
Back soon,

Thursday, 21 January 2016

New on DMTV - Finding Inspiration

New on DMTV today, it's the second part in my series Finding Inspiration. This series of videos is really like a little course exploring ways to find, record and use inspirational ideas in your work. In today's episode I'll help you analyse the inspirational things you've collected and help you make a start in your sketchbook. Even if you're a complete beginner I hope you'll find this step-by-step approach works for you.

Thanks for watching!

If you're already a DMTV subscriber you'll know you can login to watch the show now as many times as you like. If you've not yet subscribed, we'd love for you to join us. You can have access to this workshop plus 30+ others, with new content added weekly starting from £6.25/month. All the info is here:

Thanks for visiting today.
Love Laura

Monday, 18 January 2016

A chair

I'm really excited to show you this piece. It's an antique chair I bought a few months ago in a very shabby state, but look at it now...

Let me take you back to the start: I bought the chair partly covered in a grim green fabric. I had the best of intentions to reupholster it myself, but let's be serious, it was never going to happen. So I enlisted Rosemary from Charlton Interiors and she's done a fabulous job.

The chair was a little rickety so she's repaired all the joints and polished the frame. The seat had well and truly sunk so that was completely stripped back to the springs. Finally after lots of hard work, the chair was recovered in calico ready for the final fabric.

Linda and I designed a fabric for a quilt called 'And the Swallows', way back in July last year. We made the quilt and exhibited it at Festival of Quilts. I always loved the design and thought it would be perfect for the chair. This time we printed it onto cotton velvet which is so lovely and luxurious.

Rosemary fussy-cut the fabric to place the special features of the design exactly where we wanted them. The panel on the back of the chair was the perfect spot to showcase the swallows.

The chair is finished with a self-coloured double piping for a contemporary style.

The chair looks good in the round as it has another panel on the back. The sgraffito marks that I'd painted for this fabric design worked a treat enlarged to fill this area.

It's a handsome chair and so worth all the effort to get it back into shape. I just love the mix of antique chair and painterly digital print. I'm not sure I can bear to part with it, but the chair is available for purchase. It's £480. If you are interested and would like more info just drop me an email. 

If you have an upholstery project in mind why not get in touch? We can print your own designs, or you can choose one of ours and bring your chair, sofa or footstool back to life.

Thanks for visiting the blog today. Back soon,

Saturday, 16 January 2016

Sew Saturday - Reversible Shopping Bag

OK, so my next resolution - to use fewer plastic bags. I read somewhere that we use 500 billion plastic bags worldwide each year. I also read the average bag will take at least 100 years to degrade, maybe more like 400-1000 years, and that even when they've degraded that they just break down into tiny pieces which might often contain harmful toxins. One site stated that nearly 90% of rubbish in the oceans is plastic and that annually it causes the deaths of around 100,000 marine animals who get tangled up, or mistake them for food.

Sounds like a good enough reason to find something else to carry the shopping home in don't you agree? In the UK supermarkets try to sell us 'bags for life', thicker plastic bags that we're supposed to remember to take back to the store and reuse. The internet tells me you have to use one of these bags at least 100 times before it gets close to reducing the carbon footprint of the bag.

OK, so I'm going to reuse the plastic bags I've already got until they fall apart and then I'll give them to the nice Ocado delivery man who'll recycle them and give me 5p for each one. I'm also going to make fabric shopping bags. I already have fabric, I can sew, perfect solution! Perhaps you'll join me and run up one or two...

You'll need:

A piece of paper to make a pattern (a sheet of newspaper will work just fine)
Sewing kit and sewing machine
Suitable fabrics and thread
Ruler and pen

I've designed this bag to be reversible so you'll need two fabrics. I raided my fabric cupboard and found a nice piece of denim and a printed piece of cotton.

First let's draft the pattern. It's easy.

Get a plastic bag out of the cupboard and see how big it is. I looked at a couple of bags as a guide and then drew a 15" square. To three sides I added an additional 2.5". This'll form a gusset when we box out the corners.

Next I marked the centre of the side without the extra 2.5" and then measured up for the handle. Mine is 8" away from the top of the bag edge and 3" wide. Using a French curve, flexi ruler or a plate, draw a smooth curve from the top of the handle to the top of the bag. This is easier to do without the enthusiastic help of a furry assistant.

Cut out the pattern piece and place on your fabric. The handle should be placed on a fold to minimise seams. If your fabric isn't big enough for this, cut it out not on a fold and then seam together. Do this for both fabrics.

Place right sides together and sew the curved edges together. You can do this on your sewing machine and zigzag the edges, or on an overlocker like me. Use a polyester thread for strength. My seam allowance is about 1/4".

Now turn the bag through the handle. It'll seem like it won't want to go through, but it will, just keep teasing it through and tell it who's boss. If you were using two quite thick fabrics, say canvas for instance, or something quilted (wouldn't that be nice) then it might be too hard to turn through. In this instance you'd need to make the strap broader, say for instance 5" rather than 3".

With the fabrics wrong side together, roll the edge between your thumb and fingers to make the seam sit neatly at the very edge. Press with an iron.

Now line up the bag right sides together and sew down the side seams, you'll be sewing down the whole edge, lining and outer in one run.

Now line up the bottom edge of the outer fabric and sew. Repeat this for the lining but leave an opening for turning through.

Line up the corners so that the seams match and sew across. This'll box out the bottom of the bag.

Turn through and topstitch the opening closed. I like to top stitch the whole seam so it looks like I mean it.

Finally, it's not essential, but it looks really nice to topstitch around the bag top/handle edges. I used a Madeira Aerofil thread in a 35wt which is perfect for topstitching.

And there you have it, a reversible, reusable shopping bag that's a lot better to look at than a plastic bag-for-life.


Use a contrast thread colour for the topstitching to make a feature of it
Team a lightweight quilting cotton with a heavier fabric like denim for a durable bag.
Make use of smaller fabric scraps by piecing them together to make a fabric large enough to cut the bag.