It's Giveaway Day!

Sew mama Sew giveaway day
Sew Mama Sew giveaway day
sew mama sew giveaway day

Rooooaaar!  I'm so excited!  It's Sew Mama Sew's annual Giveaway day!  I love Giveaway day and This time I have 2 prizes up for grabs.  Winners can take their pick from any of my PDF felt mask sewing patterns.  They are perfect stocking fillers and make a wonderfully quick and easy last minute handmade birthday prezzie (I should know - pretty much all of the kids in my daughter's class got these for their birthdays this year...!)

Enter using the Rafflecopter below.  Entries close at midnight Sunday American Eastern time. Winners will be notified via email.  

Follow @willow_and_stitch on Instagram HERE:

Great! Good luck!  

If you don't win, want to peruse all my sewing patterns or simply can't wait then you can head over to my Etsy shop to take a look.

Now head back to Sew Mama Sew to enter more wonderful competitions!

Reindeer Mask Tutorial - Bonus Pattern Piece

Reindeer Mask Tutorial

Can you believe we’re halfway through November, moreover, that it’s only 5 weeks until the Silly Season starts?!  I can’t, but that’s mostly because I live in topsy turvy land these days.  I’ve been in Australia for 12 years now but I still can’t get used to Christmas and Spring occurring at the same time.  I really need those environmental clues of the Northern Hemisphere, the autumn leaves falling, the nights drawing in, the chill in the air, to get me into the christmas spirit.  I pine for snow and log fires, sledding and hot chocolate, mittens and hot water bottles.

That’s not to say that I don’t enjoy a hot christmas.  It’s a lovely holiday here, full of light and the joys of early summer.  Little girls in white dresses, cherries and stone fruit, seafood and cocktails, bright sunshine and cool breezes.  We throw open all the doors and lounge around in the garden, enjoying balmy evenings under twinkling fairy lights.

Nonetheless, I do find that it requires more of a conscious effort on my part to make December feel festive, and because I am determined that my children should find it as magical as I remember the holidays from my childhood being I tend to overcompensate by going all out with the decorations, music, christmas craft activities, and, of course, handmade gifts.

One of my favourite Christmassy things to make are these little Reindeer masks. I’m heading to Swagger Child Design Market this Sunday so I have been busy stocking up on them, and today I’m offering you a free pattern piece so that you can make them too.  The cute little fawn in my Woodland Creatures Sewing Pattern can be transformed into a festive Reindeer with the addition of these antlers.  Download the pattern extension piece here and scroll down for the tutorial.  If you don’t have a copy of the Woodland Creatures PDF and would like one then you can purchase it here.

Tutorial:

1. Download the bonus pattern pieces and print out.  Make sure that you set your print settings to 100% or select ‘no scaling’.  Measure the 1” square on the page to check that it has printed correctly.

2. Cut out the pattern pieces and pin them to a double layer of felt.  Cut around each piece and then sew the two layers together, sewing 5mm (¼”) from the edge.

Reindeer Mask

TIP:  For a neater finish and an easier time sewing, draw around your pattern pieces while they are pinned to the felt.  You will need a white marker or chalk pen to do this on the dark brown felt.  DO NOT cut the felt out.

Instead sew 5mm (1/4”) inside your drawn line and then cut along the white line once you have sewn the two layers together.

Doing it this way stops the felt from shifting as you sew which can be a particular problem when sewing around curves.

Reindeer Mask Tutorial

3. Sew your fawn mask following instructions on the PDF pattern.  When you come to sew the 2 layers of the face together, sandwich each antler between the 2 face layers, positioning each approximately 1cm (½”) from the ear, and letting the base of the antler extend at least 1.5cm / ¾” into the mask.  Pin in place before sewing around the face.

Reindeer Mask

As you can see I use the same technique for sewing all of my masks i.e. I sew before cutting wherever possible - It's quicker and gives a much nicer finish!

Well, that's it.  You're done!

Happy Holidays.

Reindeer Mask

Doll Costumes | How to scale dress up masks to fit any size doll

Doll Costume | Batman Mask by Willow & Stitch
Doll Costume | Spiderman Mask by Willow & Stitch

Aren't these just the cutest?  One of my customers gave me the idea for scaling my mask patterns to fit dolls and I think it is just brilliant!

I'm making these doll costumes as part of the children's Christmas presents, I know they're going to love involving their little buddies in their current favourite games of 'superheroes' and 'rescuing'! 

Doll Costume | Wonderwoman Headband by Willow & Stitch

To scale the masks to fit your doll is very easy.  The trickiest part is working out the factor you need to scale by.  All you need to do is measure the doll's face to the width that you want the mask to fit.  Max and Molly's faces were approximately 10cm wide.  Next measure the width of one of the mask patterns that you want to scale.  The batman mask was about 18cm wide.  

Scaling masks to create doll costumes

To find the factor that you need to scale by, simply divide the width of the doll's face by the width of the mask and multiply the answer by 100:

10 / 18 = 0.55 

0.55 x 100 = 55%

You only need to do this once for each doll that you are sewing for.  The scale will remain the same for all masks for that doll.  

Re-print your mask pattern, but when you get to the print settings screen, select 'Custom Scale' and enter the scale that you calculated above.  I am scaling to 55%:

Once your pattern pieces are printed you can sew the mask as usual according to the directions.  You will, of course, need to adjust the length of the elastic to suit the doll's head.

If you want to try this then you can use the free batman mask pattern HERE or you can purchase any of my mask pattern sets on Etsy.  There are currently Woodland Animals, Fairytale and Superhero Mask pattern sets available.  Spiderman and Wonderwoman are going to be part of the next pattern sets which I will release early next year.

I'm also going to be giving away patterns to 2 lucky readers as part of Sew Mama Sew's Giveaway Day so if you'd like to try your luck you can enter via the rafflecopter below.  Comment here and / or follow Willow & Stitch on Instagram or Facebook for extra chances to win!

Willow & Stitch Sewing Patterns

Thank you so much for stopping by.  I'd love for you to take a look around my site.  Check out the Patterns and Tutorials page for lots of free sewing patterns.  Don't forget to head back to Sew Mama Sew when you're finished so that you can enter lots more giveaways!

Here's hoping this festive season leaves you with a full belly and a full heart.

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There's no place like home.

I know a lot of you are here for the sewing – but while I’m overseas I am on a forced break from sewing and my mind is wandering to lots of other things so please excuse my ramblings.  Next month I’ll be back into the sewing, but for now I am enjoying this opportunity to step back and reflect.

Green England

It is wonderful to be back home, back in the place where I grew up.  Back amongst these rolling green hills and dry stone walls.  Everything is so familiar, the smell of the fresh air, the sounds of the voices with their northern accents, the hot cups of tea.  It’s a little like being enveloped in an enormous security blanket and cuddled.

I would never have guessed at 18 where my life would take me.  If you had told me that I would be living in Australia, I simply wouldn’t have believed you.  I’m not the sort for big steps and dramatic changes.  I love home and I love my family and I wouldn’t choose to leave.  But somehow it happened, almost by accident. I never intended to emigrate, but here I am and I can’t possibly regret the decisions that led me here.  I have a home that I love, better friends than I probably deserve and a husband and children who I adore.  Who could ask for more really?

But; while these trips back home make me grateful for the life I have in Australia, I also find that they make me mourn, in equal measure, the life I could have had in England.

Sometimes I feel consumed by sadness at this thought.  England will always be home, but my life is now so fully invested in Australia that I sometimes think that I could never properly be whole again.  It feels as though my life, and my heart, will always be split in two.  But this feeling is one which only really gets me when I am already feeling tired and vulnerable.  More often I am able to see it as a blessing.  Because until you miss something you can never fully appreciate it.  I am constantly missing one of my two homes and my heart is full of gratitude for each of these beautiful places and for the lovely family and friends in both.

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Leaving..

I’m off on a little adventure all on my lonesome. Off to New Zealand for the first time in my life to visit one of my dearest friends who moved there a few years ago.  My original crafternoon buddy to whom I am very grateful for her nurturing of my crafty / sewing instincts and who taught me lots of things – about sewing and more.

This was my birthday present from Nick this year – 5 days away from my mummy duties! I have to admit I’m ready for it; after a very busy week of work and a couple of days with at least 1 very grumpy child, I have been really looking forward to my escape.  Until it came to time to say goodbye to the little ones anyway.  Why is it that they drive me crazy all week and then this morning, despite us waking them before 6 so that we could get me to the airport on time, they were perfect angels in the car – chattering away to us, laughing with each other and cracking us up with the hilarious things they say!  Is it just my mindset? Is it just that I know that I’m going to miss them so I appreciate them all the more? Maybe it’s just pure chance, but it does always seem to happen that way.  When I have endless time with them I find myself wishing they would just leave me alone occasionally and then when I’m sitting here at the start of 5 child free days, I regret those thoughts. I miss them already, I feel a little incomplete without them. My excitement is muted because I can’t see it reflected in their faces, they are my little mirrors.  I wish I didn’t have to be away from them to be able to full appreciate how beautiful life with them is. That’s not to say that I don’t appreciate how lucky I am to have them, it’s just that that appreciation is so often tempered by little irks and annoyances.  Imagine how wonderful life would be if we could let those every day annoyances simply wash over us and only hold onto the joyful feelings.

Ok, I think that’s enough reflection for now – I’m starting to feel quite miserable about being away from my little ones and it’s only been 2 hours! I think it’s time that I close the computer, open my book and start to relax into my holiday. Otherwise I may find myself walking out of the airport and hopping into a Taxi to head home!

For our friends

The weekend before christmas we took a trip down the coast to stay at a little beach house with some of our  friends. I wasn't sure if we should go with it being so close to christmas and with so many things to do to get ready for it, but i'm so, so glad we did.  We had such a great time - the weather was hopeless but it didn't matter in the slightest! We spent our time playing on the beach in the rain, building sandcastles and flying kites, splashing in the waves and swimming till our lips turned blue. We went on adventures through the sand dunes - climbed them, jumped off the tops, rolled down the sides, even surfed down on body boards. We went beach combing for shells and rocks and seaweed. We walked through (seemingly) gale force winds and rain and returned home for hot chocolate and mince pies. My friend and I went for a run along the beach every morning and then then impulsively plunged fully (well, semi) clothed into the icy sea and had to walk home soaking wet - although since it was raining anyway it made little difference!

In the evenings we cooked lovely dinners and ate far too much, then played cards and drank too much wine and sat giggling like school kids (apparently!) We watched purple sunsets and thunderstorms from the deck. We got woken far too early by the little ones and drank copious amounts of tea to try and get our sleepy heads functioning each morning.

I could quite literally go on and on listing all the little things we did - suffice to say that we loved every minute. Best of all though, our little weekend away reminded me that christmas isn't about the cooking and shopping and gifts, but about friends and family and this year I am feeling particularly blessed on that count.

So today I want to say a big Thank You to Annalise, Jordan, Fin and Brea, not only for inviting us to join them on their holiday but simply for being our friends and enriching our lives in lots of tiny ways. 

xxx