A Birthday Dress for My Little Niece

I couldn’t resist buying Simplicity 1624 when I saw it in a half-price sale on the Simplicity New Look website a while back.  I loved the little ruffle dress with the puffed sleeves and thought my niece would look adorable in it!

1624_env_frntHowever, this is one of those patterns where I struggled to see the dress in anything other than the fabric used on the front of the pattern!  I therefore had a tough time finding a fabric I was happy enough with to make the dress in.  I eventually came across my chosen fabric in the John Lewis January sale and bought it for £6 per metre.  It is 100% cotton.  Whilst it is not the same as the fabric used on the pattern it still has a vertical stripe which I liked and being from John Lewis I knew it would be a nice quality cotton.

I made this little dress for my niece’s 2nd birthday and therefore cut the pattern out in size 2 hoping there would be a little bit of growing room to at least see her through the summer.  I love the detail of this dress with the 4 tiers of ruffles, puffed sleeves, and little button fastening on the back.

© 2016 Jennifer Richardson

What I liked about this pattern:

  • I like making things for little humans as you often only need a metre of fabric and you don’t have to deal with darts and things so fit isn’t a massive issue.
  • The dress has a simple loop and button fastening so didn’t require a zip inserting.
  • Apart from the sleeves the dress didn’t require lining.

What I didn’t like:

  • Whilst the construction of the dress is reasonably straight forward there are quite a few pattern pieces to cut out (each ruffle is 2 pieces). Therefore it took a little while to get everything cut out and there was quite a lot of pressing of seams and hems involved.
  • I found the loop fastening a little fiddly to get right and as a result it didn’t turn out as neat as I would have liked.

Would I make this pattern again?:

  • Yes, I think this is a very cute little dress. I’ve also bought fabric to make the trousers in the pattern.
© 2016 Jennifer Richardson

I was pretty pleased with the finished dress and according to the free copy of Tattler magazine I was flicking through a few weeks ago to see how the other half live ruffles are apparently in this season!  So hopefully my niece will be right on trend wearing her ruffles!

And here’s a photo my brother took of my niece modelling her ruffles…how cute does she look?!

© 2016 Jennifer Richardson

Quick Baby Quilt and Matching Bib Set

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This is a quick and easy project if you’re in need of a gift for a new arrival.  From 1m of fabric I was able to make 2 matching quilt and bib sets that I gave as gifts to two friends who were expecting baby girls.

© 2016 Jennifer Richardson

To make the sets:

  1. I bought 1 metre of patterned fabric.

I found this pale blue, patchwork effect, 100% cotton poplin in Dunelm, which was 112cm wide.  I thought this would be perfect as it gives the effect of being a quilt without having to sew lots of pieces together!

  1. I cut enough fabric off the bottom for creating 4 bibs.

I quite often make bibs for new arrival gifts as I think they are always useful and I know when my niece arrived my sister-in-law enjoyed having some bibs that were different to the ones in the shops.  The pattern I use is one that was in a Village Haberdashery newsletter a while ago and can be found on their website here.

  1. I then cut the remaining fabric in half lengthways and straightened off the edges to create 2 rectangles for the quilt tops.
  2. I had enough wadding in my stash leftover from previous projects to fit the 2 quilt tops. This is a great project for using up leftover bits of wadding, but if you don’t have any leftover wadding then you will need to buy 1 metre.
  3. To back the quilts I used some pale blue flannelette/winceyette that I already had in my stash. If you don’t already have something suitable then you will need to buy 1 metre or you could instead back them with a towel or something like a brushed cotton sheet.
  4. I used some spray adhesive to stick all the layers of the two quilts together and hold them in place. I then used some coordinating blue bias binding bought from Dunelm to edge the quilts and top stitched with coordinating blue thread.  And ta-dah, I had 2 finished quick and easy baby quilts.
  5. To finish the bibs I backed them with the same pale blue flannelette/winceyette that I used for the quilts. I edged them with some blue, lace-edged bias binding I already had.  I added some Velcro for the fastening.  As I finishing touch I used some scrap bits of the fabric to make fabric yoyos which I hand-stitched on to the bibs with some little buttons.

The finished quilts measured roughly 55x73cm (21.5”x28.5”).  They are a good pram size and I have been told they are great for car seats too!  They could also be used as a changing mat.


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Super Snuggly Baby Blanket

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I was browsing Pinterest looking for ideas for something I could make for the arrival of my friends’ first baby and came across Mrs Brits’ Sweet and Chunky Baby Afghan crochet pattern here.  This looked like just the thing I was after.  Being in chunky yarn I knew it would crochet up quickly and the pattern is easy peasy so it was something I could mindlessly follow whilst sat watching something on the TV in the evenings.  I loved the colours of the yarn Mrs Brits used for her blanket, which is what caught my eye in the first place, but I knew my friend was expecting a baby boy so wanted something more boy appropriate.  The pattern uses Bernat Baby Blanket yarn, but this does not appear to be terribly easy to get in the UK.  However there are sellers on Amazon and also eBay where I got mine.  I wanted something a little bolder than typical baby colours so after much deliberation I ended up buying 2 balls of the Bernat Blanket Big Ball yarn in Sailors Delight.   This is a multi-coloured yarn of blue, orange, brown and beige and is sooooo soft.  The end result is a super snuggly blanket!  I followed the pattern exactly using a 9mm crochet hook and my finished blanket roughly measured 30” wide and 36” tall.  I think this may become a go to pattern for new arrival gifts!

© 2015 Jennifer Richardson

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Gift tutorial: Japanese paper pendant

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This is a quick and easy tutorial to make a Japanese paper pendant that can make use of any scraps of paper left over from making my tea bag folding cards, the tutorial for which can be found here.  I have attached my pendants to keyrings, which I think will make great stocking fillers for Christmas!

© 2015 Jennifer Richardson

You will need:

  • Pencil
  • Scissors
  • Silicone craft glue
  • 1 X Cabochon setting (I am using a 25mm square antique bronze setting)
  • 1 X Glass cabochon (I’m using a 25mm X 25mm X 7mm transparent square)
  • A scrap piece of Japanese paper (at least big enough to fit your setting)
  • Cord/key ring fob to hang pendant from (I’m using an antique bronze key ring fob)
  1. Take your scrap piece of Japanese paper and place your glass cabochon on top of it and move it around to find a section of the paper you particularly like. I am using a 25mm X 25mm X 7mm transparent square glass cabochon to fit a 25mm square setting.
  2. Holding the glass cabochon in place with one finger, take your pencil and draw around the cabochon.
  3. Using your scissors, cut out following your pencil outline giving you a piece of paper that should fit your cabochon setting.
© 2015 Jennifer Richardson
  1. Spread a thin layer of silicone craft glue to the inside of your cabochon setting.
  2. Place your piece of paper into the setting right side up. Press down lightly to make sure the paper has stuck and there are no creases or air bubbles.  Here I am using a 25mm square antique bronze setting, but you can use any shape, size or colour.  It doesn’t have to be a pendant setting.  You may wish to make earrings or cuff links instead.
  3. Give the back (flat side) of your glass cabochon a polish to remove any finger prints and apply a thin layer of silicone craft glue. Place the glass cabochon into the setting on top of the paper and press down to remove any air bubbles.  Polish the top side of your cabochon.
  4. I have attached my Japanese paper pendant to an antique bronze key ring fob matching my cabochon setting. To do this I used a pair of pliers to open the jump ring at the end of the key ring chain and fed this through the loop of the pendant then used the pliers to close the jump ring again.  If you want to wear the pendant as a necklace, however, you may wish to thread a piece of cord through the pendant loop instead.
© 2015 Jennifer Richardson

I bought all my supplies for making my Japanese paper pendant key rings from eBay.


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