Tuesday, 31 March 2015

How to tie a knot in thread in 4 seconds!

With this quick video tutorial you'll learn how to tie a knot in the end of your thread in only 4 seconds!  Pretty rapid,  I know!

I was so excited when I first learnt about this trick.  It's saved me so much time faffing around tying knots in the end of thread, especially when I was a primary school teacher tying knots in 30 threads! 

So let's not keep it a secret any longer, sharing is caring after all!

Just click the link to watch it. 

Why not try it out on your next Cuddle Crew sewing pattern?

Monday, 9 February 2015

A guide to sewing with fleece fabric

I've received several emails over the past few years asking me if there's any difference between the different types of fleece fabric available.
I love fleece, it's so easy to use and it looks great with all our toy sewing patterns.
Here's a quick guide to which fleece is which.  

Polar/Blizzard/ Anti Pill/ Medium Weight Fleece

The majority of Cuddle Crew sewing patterns are designed to work with polar fleece*.  Polar Fleece can be divided in to two categories, anti-pill and non anti-pill.  Anti-pill tends to be a more high quality fabric, and doesn’t “ball up” or “pill” after several washes.  Non anti-pill is cheaper, but will get little pills after wearing and washing.  I personally recommend spending a little bit more money for the anti-pill as it will look nicer longer.  Polar fleece can come in different weights, a medium weight tends to be the most common one that you will find in your local fabric store.

Sewing on fleece can be easy because it doesn’t slip under the needle or fray. However the more stretch the fleece has, you will want to sew with a ballpoint needle.  Stretch can vary greatly between brands and grades.  Typically the cheaper the fleece, the lest stretch it has (and you can get away with sewing with a standard needle).  If you experience trouble with sewing your fleece, try changing needles and lengthening your stitch and/ or using a zig zag stitch instead of a running stitch.

*Please note that the term “polar fleece” is a copyrighted term that is often misused for medium weight fleece.

Micro Fleece
Softer than polar fleece, micro fleece is wonderful to touch and is mostly geared for baby and children projects.  There is a very clear right and wrong side to most micro-fleece.  One side has the heavenly feel with its tiny (almost furry) fibers.  It is thinner than the medium weight fleece. And while it doesn’t fray the ends don’t fray they can be stretched out of shape, so it recommended not to leave exposed edges raw.

Minky or Cuddle
While debatable if this is truly a fleece fabric it is often clumped in with the fleece group.  Named Minky (also known as cuddle) for its simulated feel of mink, this fabric is truly heavenly.  However it does require special care.  Sewing on Minky can be difficult as it will slide under the needle.  This means lots of pins, a jersey ball point needle or a walking foot to sew on this fabric.  The edges can ruffle and lose shape so finishing is recommended.  You should also never wash Minky in warm water or dry it on a high heat as it will lose its signature softness.  You can buy double sided Minky (uber expensive) but most often it is a single sided fabric.

Coral Fleece
Coral fleece is more closely related to Minky or cuddle fleece. It had a more fur like texture (longer fluff)! Because of it’s construction and texture it’s not recommended for no sew projects as it will shed and stretch more that polar fleece. The edges need to be finished so it won’t get stretched out in the washer. If you wash it cold, do not use fabric softener and dry it low, it will help to maintain it’s soft fury texture. Hope that answers your questions!

So there’s a quick guide to fleece please comment or email me if you have a question!

Are you ready to start sewing with fleece? Take a look at our range of toy patterns.  Only £5 for instant downloads or £7.50 for paper patterns.


Friday, 28 November 2014

Big December Giveaway!

There's no better way to spread Holiday cheer than giving you a chance to win everyday until Christmas.

All you need to do is visit the website www.cuddlecrewpatterns.com 
and look in Competition Corner or click on this link and choose your favourite Cuddle Crew Pattern.  Simples!  And the great news is... You can enter everyday, as a new winner will be picked from each day's entries.

If you're a lucky winner, you'll be able to choose any instant download for free.

And for an extra chance to win, you can enter again everyday on our Facebook page.  www.facebook.com/cuddlecrewpatterns

Good Luck

Wednesday, 25 June 2014

How to make your soft toy's look fab everytime.

Ever sewn a toy which didn't quite look like the pattern did?

Here's a few hints and tips to make sure your toy's look fantastic every time.

It's taken me many years to perfect my toy making skills and at the beginning it's sometimes difficult to know what went wrong.

Here's my top five tips for making your toy's look great every time.

1. Choose a pattern which is the right skill level for you.
    Most good toy patterns should have a difficulty rating on them with some indication of what skills you'll need to be able to complete it.  Take a second to read through this, especially if you're a novice.  If there is no rating system, and you're just starting out, try to choose a pattern which has fewer pattern pieces.  Normally, I find, the less pieces there are the smaller the room for error!

2. Use good quality equipment.
    Good quality pins and pinning can make a big difference when you go over to your sewing machine. It's also important to have good quality cotton in your machine.  It needs to be strong especially if your giving the toy to a child so it can withstand a bit of rough and tumble. Another consideration is whether to use safety eyes and noses. There are plenty of tools to speed up the process.  The best of which is a Rotary Cutter.

3. Choose your fabric wisely! Some patterns will suggest certain types of fabric but all patterns can always be made out of any fabric, it just makes the pattern easier or harder depending which type you choose.  Fleece is your best friend when it comes to making toys!  It's stretchy, so it makes tight corners look fantastic and it's fluffiness hides any stray stitches.  There are pro's and con's to using other fabrics. Jersey or other stretch fabrics also look fantastic when finished but can be difficult to sew with on your machine.  Cottons, linens and Poly cottons are very easy to sew with on your machine but when it comes to turning the toy the right side out you might find tight corners look messy and pulled.

4. To over stuff or under stuff? That is the question.
    The amount you stuff your toy's can made them look really different.  If you're using a stretchy fabric it's important to over stuff as this can warp the shape of the toy.  If you're using a non stretch material, then it depends what kind of feel you'd like to your finished toy.  If you want it squishable then don't pack it in too tight.  If it's more for display or needs to support the weight of the toy, for example the legs, then it will help to over stuff a little.

And my biggest tip of all...
5. It's all in the face!
    So often, I get sent HELP ME emails and photos from customers whose toy looks a little like something from a horror movie rather than a cute cuddly fluffy!  This is always easily resolved when they look more closely at the face.  The positioning of the eyes and nose make such an impact on the way your finished toy will look.

                          Ahhh, Cute compared to Ahhhh, run and hide!

You can see from this that it's not only positioning (the mouth and eyes are far too low here), it's what you choose to make the facial features from also makes a massive difference.  To be sure, have a good play around before you sew anything down.

For lots more hints and tips and full video tutorials head over to my YouTube Channel


Ready to start your next toy sewing project? Come and meet the whole crew.


Monday, 16 June 2014

Launching Cuddle Crew Patterns website.

Hurray!  The day has arrived... www.cuddlecrewpatterns.com is now live and has already received 5 orders!

So far Derek the Dinosaur has been by far the most popular toy sewing pattern.

To celebrate the opening of the website, I'm offering Buy One a Get One Free.

Fingers crossed, all the hard work pays off.

Sunday, 8 June 2014

Where can I buy toy safety eyes?

Trying to find suppliers of toy safety eyes is much hard than I ever imagined!  Especially when you're looking for 38-40mm eyes!   Yet you see all these new style toys for sale in the shops now with over sized eyes.   He's my new pattern Tiddles the turtle but as you can see he needs some enormous safety eyes.  Yet it's beyond me where I can source them.   Any help from any crafters would be greatly appreciated.

Update 9th June

Wahey!  It appears I have found the answer!  I've found every kind of safety eye imaginable over on www.suncatchereyes.com $3.95 for a pair of eyes and although she's located in America (a long way from lovely Lancashire) postage was only $6.95 which I did not think was too bad at all.  Looking forward to receiving them!

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Where to start?

Well this is a whole new world for me.  I still don't really understand Twitter though I would call myself a bit of a Facebook pro, so hopefully with time I will get the knack of this.