Monthly Archives: October 2013

Hooded Towel and Dribble Cloth FREE PATTERNS!

Created with Melly and Me’s Snug as a Bug fabric from Riley Blake, main print in white, and a towel from the local supermarket, this project is a great first sewing project or quick make for a new arrival in the family.


 Great makes for new sewers, and great gifts for new babies!


27” x 24” towel or terry towel fabric (we bought a standard 70cm x 130cm towel, which had some ribbing at each end that we had to cut off to get the right size.)

The total for the main fabric is 38” x 24” (24” x 26” for the main towel, 12” square for the hood and 12” square to make the bias tape).


If your towel has ribbing across it (see image below) then start by cutting it off.

snugextras 001

Now cut the towel into 3 pieces, start by cutting a rectangle 24” x 26”, then cut a 12” square from the leftover towel, you will now be left with a third piece of towel for your dribble cloth/s, which you may want to cut down, our dribble cloth is approx. 15” x 12”.

Take your 12” square and fold it in half diagonally, to create two triangles, cut along the crease, you now have two triangles, 1 will be the hood, the other is spare. 

snugextras 003

Place one of your triangles on top of a 12” square of fabric, so that the right side of the fabric is facing you. Then sew a seam along the longest edge (marked with a blue line on the image below).  If you haven’t already done so, trim the main fabric so that it is in line with the towel triangle.

Fold the towel fabric over the top of the main fabric (so that the seam is hidden) and iron flat.  hood3

Put the hood to one side, and take your large piece of towel.  Place it on your table and smooth out any creases, place your main fabric on top (so that you are looking at the back of the fabric) and smooth that out, then pin the two pieces of fabric together at regular intervals.

caterpillar 084

Take your ruler and mark out a square measuring 23.5” x 25.5”, if you don’t have a ruler like the one shown below, use anything in your house with a definite right angle, to make sure your square is square – a large book for example.

caterpillar 086

Now take a bowl or plate and place on a corner, so that both sides of the plate are touching the lines of the square.  Play around with different size plates and bowls until you get a curve you like, then mark it on the fabric. Repeat this on the other 3 corners.


Peel back the main fabric from one corner and place the hood you made earlier over the exposed towel, so that the main fabric is facing you, the sewn edge is running across the towel (see blue line on image below), and the raw (unsewn) edges line up with the edges of the main towel, then fold the main fabric back over and pin back into place.


Sew a seam around the edge, placing the sewing machine foot so that the outside edge of the foot is in line with the drawn line (so that the sewing will appear inside the shape), starting about half way down one of the sides.  As you sew round keep the edge of the sewing machine foot in line with the drawn line on the fabric (following the curves on the corners).  Stop 3-4 inches from the start, so that you have left a gap for turning out.

snugextras 018

Now trim the fabric.


Find the gap you left, pull the fabric through the hole and then iron flat. 

caterpillar 093

Find the gap you used to turn the towel out and sew up the gap using a ladder stitch.  If you are new to ladder stitch I recommend watching the following You Tube clip link, it is really clear and you will be stitching invisible seams in no time!   


Done!  Now for the dribble cloths.

Decide how big you would like the cloth/s to be and using the same technique as for the hooded towel, draw a rectangle onto the cloth and create curves on the corners, then cut out (our dribble cloth is 12” x 15”).  


Now for the bias tape.  You need to draw 2” strips on to the back of your bias tape fabric, but at a 45 degree angle, by creating strips ‘on the bias’ you end up with fabric which is stretchy enough to smooth round corners without accidently sewing in any creases.  If you have a quilting ruler (see image below) place your ruler on the fabric so that the 45 degree line is straight, the edge of the ruler will now be at 45 degrees and you can draw the first line.  


Measure down from the first line 2” and draw a second line, repeat this until you have marked 2” strips across the whole of the fabric.

caterpillar 125

Cut the strips out, straighten the short edges and sew them together, right sides of the fabric facing, and then iron the seams out flat.
caterpillar 061

Now iron the strip in half and then open back out.bias1
Now you need to fold the bottom raw edge up, so that the raw edge meets the crease you have just ironed in, iron into place. Repeat this action with the top edge.bias2
Then fold the whole thing back in half, using the original crease and iron once more. 
caterpillar 066

You have just made bias tape!

The best way to attach the tape is place it on top of the dribble cloth and open it out (on one side), so that the raw edge is lined up with the raw edge of the dribble cloth (as below).
Fold over the short edge at the start of the tape, so that you can see the raw edges, and they are facing the way you are about to sew.
Using the longest stitch on your machine, sew the bias tape around the cloth, making sure the stitches stay between the raw edge and first crease on the bias tape.
When you get to the join, where the two ends of your tape meet, place the second end of the tape over the end you have already sewn into place (see images below) and carry on stitching until you get to the end of the tape. 


Turn the tape over the edge of the cloth, so that the middle crease (the 1st one you ironed in) is now the edge of the cloth and all the raw edges are tucked under.  Turn the stitch on your sewing machine back to your normal stitch length, and then sew a seam all the way round the cloth.  


All done!

Click here for printer friendly instructions.

Click on free patterns and guides, at the top of the page, to see more great makes!

Make November Sewvember!

This year we are making November, Sewvember, with a new free pattern being released each day (Monday to Friday).  From beanbags to pencil cases, modern eiderdowns to door stops, we have set ourselves the challenge of producing over 20 patterns during the month to inspire you all turn November into Sewvember.  All patterns will be posted here on the blog, and if you sign up for our newsletter (on our main site you will be sent a link each time one is published.


Snug as a Bug Caterpillar Free Pattern

Another great free pattern, using Melly and Me’s Snug as a Bug fabric for Riley Blake.  I had this fellow in my head for months before the fabric arrived and have now had the chance to make him for real.  I hope you enjoy making your own caterpillar, let us know how you get on.

Approx. finished size: 19” long.


3” x 44” strips x 4 (for the first 4 balls)
2.5” x 44” strip x1 (for the last ball)
5” x 20” for head
300g of toy stuffing
Embroidery thread for eyes and mouth
You can use off cuts from the balls for the nose, eyes, tail and antenna (the antenna won’t both be the same fabric).  If you don’t want to use the off cuts you will also need:
3” x 2.5” for the nose
8” x 3” for each eye
3.5” x 8” for each antenna
5.5” x 3” for the tail.


Start by cutting out your body pieces, first ball, last ball and main ball pieces (x6 for each ball). cutpieces

Now you need to sew each of the balls together, the method is the same for all the balls, including the first and last ball where the shape is different.

Take the fabric for the first ball and place the fabric pieces together in pairs, right sides facing, and then sew a seam down one side of each pair.pairs

Now sew the pairs together, take two of the pairs from above and place together, right sides facing, and sew a seam down the right side (blue line on image below). Open out the finished piece, take the third pair and place it on top, right sides facing, with the left hand edges lined up, and sew a seam down the left side.


Repeat this process for each of the balls.
caterpillar 141

Now you need to sew them together, take the first and second ball and place the fabrics right sides together, pin together and sew a seam along the raw edge.


Now take the next ball and place that on top, right sides facing, and sew that seam, continue doing this to add all the balls right to the end of the caterpillar.
all balls

Turn the caterpillar over, fold the fabric over lengthways and sew a seam along the raw edges (shown as a blue line in the image), leaving a gap at one end for turning out and stuffing.

Turn out, stuff and sew up the gap left for stuffing, if you are new to sewing visible seams, we recommend watching the following You Tube clip about ladder stitch.

Now for the head.  Cut your fabric pieces out.
cutttingtheheadTips: the Front Head Top piece needs to be placed on top of a piece of fabric which has been folded in half, so that the straight edge is lined up with the fold, trace the shape and cut round on all sides EXCEPT the folded sided.  For the Head Front Bottom piece, fold a piece of fabric in half, right sides facing, trace the template and cut out, you will have two pieces of fabric, transfer the mark, circled above, to the fabric.  For the back pieces we recommend folding the fabric in half, right sides facing, marking the shape on the top piece and then sewing the seam shown above (third image), before cutting the shape out, that way you can avoid pinning and in the worst case, having to recut because the fabric slips when you sew the seam.

If you haven’t already done so, sew the seam on the back of the head (final image above).

caterpillar 211

Now take the Head Front Bottom pieces, place them together right sides facing, and sew a seam down from the mark.  Then snip the fabric along the mark, up to, but not over, the seam.headbottom

Place the Head Front Top piece on top of the Head Front Bottom piece, so that the points marked below with circles, are lined up, then sew a seam (second image).  Then repeat on the other side (line up the points marked on the third image below).


Now you need to sew the front to the back, place the pieces, right sides together, pin in place, taking particular care to get the cheeks lined up and the seams at the bottom lined up (all marked on the second image below).  Sew around the shape, leaving a gap at the top for the antenna and stuffing.


Turn out and then stuff the head until medium firm, but not too firm, you can add more stuffing later.


Put the head to one side and make the nose.

Sew a running stitch around the nose BY HAND, then light pull to gather the nose together, then stuff and gather more until the opening is closed.  Sew the opening shut.


Attach the nose to the head.  Use the longest needle you have, insert into the front of the head and pull through to the back, make a small stitch and send the needle back to the front.  Repeat once more, making a stitch in the back and sending the needle to the front.  Pull the thread and get the nose into position, you will notice that the cheeks pop out nicely.  Work around the nose, sewing it to the front fabric to ensure it is secure.

attaching nose

Add more stuffing if required.

Now for the antenna.  Take the fabric for 1 antenna and fold it in half, place the template on top and mark the shape.  Sew around the shape, leaving the bottom open, then cut the antenna shape out.  Repeat for the second antenna.


Take the end of a spoon or pencil and push the fabric through from the top.  When you are half way through add some stuffing, then push the rest of the way through and finish the stuffing.antennastuff

Place the antenna in the space at the top of the head and sew into place, finish by sewing up the gap in the middle. TIP: keep checking the stuffing, you may find that you want to add more as you sew the gap up.caterpillar 010Now for the eyes.  Cut two eyes and sew each of them in the same way as the nose earlier, attaching them to the front fabric of the head only (there is no need to take the needle through to the back of the head).attachingeyes

To finish the face, use embroidery thread to sew the centre of the eyes and mouth.

caterpillar 023

Finally, the tail.  Cut a semi circle (using the template) out of one of the off cuts.  Fold in half, right sides facing, so that the straight edges are lined up and sew a seam.  Turn the fabric out and hand sew around the opening (as with the nose and eyes), stuff and pull shut.  Sew the opening together and then sew onto the end of the caterpillar.

 Why not?
Add a rattle to one of the balls and/or a squeaker to another one or the face.
Stuff the tail with cellophane for a crinkly noise when crushed by little fingers.

Download printer friendly instructions

Click here for the templates

Visit our store to buy this project in kit form.

Melly and Me Snug as a Bug Collection

Drum roll please……. We have been excitedly waiting for this collection to arrive, we are big fans of Melly and Me sewing patterns and have always stocked their fabric collections, indeed we still have stock of the Where the Wind Blows collection and Little Menagerie collection.

The latest collection, does not disappoint, full of yummy prints that fully co-ordinate, and 3 panels which include all the pieces and instructions you need to make one of their great bugs – just in time for a birth in the family or even Christmas!