The Liberty Sewing Organiser shown here today was made by Anne Commin from the Lewes Sewing Bees. It’s always a bit of a surprise when we receive a project from one of the ‘Bees’. This one was such fun to open as each layer revealed another joyful hand sewn item.
The sewing box is made using a food steamer and has been beautifully refurbished to include a stunning EPP (English Paper Piecing) lid. This uses the Mitsi white on white as a background fabric with the exclusive mustard and greys collection fabrics as the sweet hexagons for decoration.
When I opened this box from Anne, I was already pretty excited. Seeing the top of the box was a pure delight. However, when I opened the box it almost made me giddy. It’s such a wonderful experience (after the lengthy process of designing an exclusive collection) to see inventive things that people have made with fabrics I love. The detail inside the box is astounding. From a sweet beehive with embroidered bees buzzing around, to a really lovely needle case with exquisite detail.
Anne’s needle work is so neat too – with tiny invisible stitches. The underside of the steamer panels are covered using tana lawn which just gives a little glimpse of Betsy Mustard.
I asked Anne about the project and what inspired the make.
“Thank you so much for including the Bees in your exclusive makes again. I feel really proud to be thinking creatively with this beautiful new range. I decided to repurpose a bamboo steamer into a sewing box. I first saw this done by Lynette Anderson in her book Country Style Quilting. She used card and wadding but I am a big fan of Bosal which is an ideal product for this sort of project. It works really well if you are after a stiff interfacing or a bit of body. It is needle friendly so, if you need to, you can sew it into a seam or quilt by machine or hand. All the ‘Bees’ have used it in various projects including bags. To use it, you simply iron on the fabric of your choice. I used the double sided version so you get a lovely peep of Betsy on the underside of each lining. It comes single sided if that works better for your project. It is easily ordered online and, along with the padded pre-cut hexagons made by Ashmead Designs from Devon, is one of my sewing cupboard essentials. These little hexies make such a difference if you want a slightly raised, luxurious feel to your work. I don’t even tack them – a fabric glue stick used on the folded over edges works brilliantly. You sew the hexies together in the ususal way but instead of removing them, as you would papers, you leave them in place. Ashmead Designs make other shapes too and produce some excellent patterns for on the go projects.”
“I had so much fun with this year’s exclusive fabrics. Bees are very much on my mind in this worrying environmental time of change. I kept bees for years and my son now has five thriving colonies. We all have our fingers crossed that, having survived the move from town they will settle happily into their new home beside a stream under a big old oak tree on a run down but potentially beautiful smallholding in Devon.”
“This new range just shouted “BEES” to me and of course bees mean hexagons. The bamboo steamer itself is easily ordered online and comes in different sizes. Gill (one of the other Bees) and I both made one with a smaller circumference which was really quick to complete, needing less embellishment – just some hexies on the top and the fabrics inside. The bee fabric I used came as part of a bee panel “Bee Joyful” by Deb Strain for Moda. The bee buttons are by Kate Holliday from Twickenham. If you need any nature inspired ceramic buttons, there’s plenty of choice online. Flowers and insects abound – I’ve got my eye on dragonflies.”
“The applique beehive design is inspired by a little wooden brooch I have had for many years. Lots of children have admired it so I thought of all their smiles as I stitched. Bondaweb makes the appliqué easy, but you could needleturn if you are clever. A few embroidery stitches add detail and a swirl of French knots represents the honey bees hard at work returning to the hive from foraging.”
“Thank you so much for letting me play with this gorgeous new range. The stand out discovery for me is the Mitsi white on white. I gave the Bees a shopping list for FOQ and top of the list was Lodden white on white. It is so beautiful and I am saving it just to look at for now.”
That’s a pleasure Anne (although the pleasure is all mine) – thank you so much for making something so beautiful.