How to sew a doughnut charm

I love a good doughnut and I blame that totally on growing up in Canada and living around the corner from a Tim Hortons... a country-wide chain of coffee and doughnut shops named after a hockey player (can you get any more Canadian than that?!). There's nothing like a classic Chocolate Dip but when I was little it was all about the Sprinkle Dip!

Here's my ode to a classic treat that you can clip onto your rucksack or bag. This is also one of our kids sewing party projects, so if you'd like to me come and teach your child and their friends how to make these, please get in touch!

What you need:

  • Beige or light brown felt
  • Pink felt (or whatever colour you'd like for your frosting)
  • Scraps of other colours for sprinkles
  • Beads or small buttons (optional)
  • Wadding
  • Sewing kit: scissors, thread, needle and pins
  • Dog leash clip

Let's get started!

1. Start by making your template. Find a small bowl in your kitchen and trace around it and then draw a smaller circle inside it. Mine measures roughly 13cm across with a small circle that's 4.5cm across inside it.

2. Pin your template onto your beige felt and cut out 2 doughnut shapes from the beige and one from the pink for your frosting.

3. Trim your frosting circle so it's a bit smaller than the beige circles. I like to cut it so it's a bit squiggly around the outside edges and make sure you trim down the inside circle too.

4. Now it's time to decorate your frosting! Cut small rectangles from your scraps of felt, or use beads and small buttons to create little "sweets" and sprinkles. Arrange them in a way that you're happy with, and then start to sew them onto your pink felt.

5. Once all your sprinkles are secured, stitch the pink felt to one of the beige circles. A small running stitch along the edge will be just fine. 

6. Then, place your two doughnut pieces on top of each other and stitch around the inside circle first using an over-stitch, also called a whip stitch. Then work your way around the outside edge, leaving a 4cm hole so you can stuff it with your wadding.

7. When you're ready to close up the hole, cut a rectangle of felt that will act as a holder for your leash clip. Slip it through the clip and sandwich it between the two doughnut pieces. Hold it in place while you secure it with a small and strong running stitch. You may want to go over it a couple times to make sure it's nice and tight.

8. Close up the rest of the hole and you're done! Clip it on your bag and off you go!

The Golden Rules of Sewing

We all have our favourite quotes and mantras to live by. When it comes to teaching sewing, I have my golden rules, which aren't really rules at all, but rather things to think about when just starting out. Whether you're eight to eighty and learning to sew, here are some thoughts to sew by.

Always be positive.

Start every project with a positive attitude. Think it's going to be super hard? You can do it! If you get stuck, remember to take a break before you get panicky and stressed. Sewing should be fun, challenging but fun. 

Use your imagination and make it your own.

Don't be afraid to get creative and try something new, and maybe different. Mix and match fabric patterns, go bold and unusual, make your project your own. It doesn't have to be perfect and it doesn't have to look the same as someone else's. 

Practise.

Sewing with success does take practise. I can always tell when my students haven't touched their machines over the summer holidays or Christmas break! Just like any other skill, it requires regular practise. It took me at least a dozen test buttonholes to get them just right! Thank goodness for scrap fabric :)

Sew slow... the turtle wins the race, remember?

On week one when I get a fresh group of eager students, they just want to sew, sew, sew! They're so eager that they put the pedal to the metal and sew as fast as the machine will go. STOP! Control is key when sewing and while some think sewing faster will get their project done faster, that's not true at all. You'll often make more mistakes when rushing, have to stop and unpick and sew again. Sew slow like a turtle and you'll get there in the end, with a beautiful project to boot!

What's your creative mantra? 

West Norwood FEAST invaded by pandas

Not literally! I was asked down to the West Norwood FEAST in South London to do a bit of sewing at the last market, on Sunday. Let's just say the forecast wasn't ideal... rain, rain and more rain!

We huddled underneath our tent and enjoyed a morning of sewing nonetheless! It was a very cosy session sewing some panda pocket warmers... it's only a shame we didn't have a microwave on site to warm them up with once they were done!

Check out how these cute pandas turned out!

They're a cinch to make too, it's a simple square sachet (about 2 1/2" x 2 1/2" in size) with a little face embroidered on one side. We sewed them together, right sides facing in and then once we turned them right side out, we filled them with a mixture of rice and lavender.

All they need now is 10-15 seconds in the microwave and them pop one into your pocket to keep it cosy and warm.

Crazy for bento bags

I've always loved Japanese aesthetic. It's just so simple and so minimal. We all need a little bit of that in our lives! Remember those Japanese twine tawashis I made a while ago? Well my Japanese inspired making hasn't stopped there and lately, I've been a little bit obsessed with bento bags... and the girls in my sewing classes are loving them!

I found the tutorial for making the bag over on the Very Shannon blog. Her instructions are easy to follow and she has some nifty diagrams too, to help with the origami folding part. This is a great project to tackle with young designers since it requires only straight stitching and the possibilities for customising are pretty limitless. 

These girl's creativity always inspires me!

Love getting crafty? Check out our range of craft kits and templates in the shop, to inspire your next project. After you make a bento bag, of course!

bento bag detail.jpg
bento-bag.jpg

A whole new Sewcial Circle launching soon!

The sewcial circle has been nothing more than an idea for a really long time. But i think it's about time this little project of mine made it into the world... for real!

Inspired by my group of sewing girls and the possibility of a very rainy summer, I've come up with lots of fun projects designed to inspire a new generation of designers and also mums to bring those sewing machines out from the backs of closets and dusty attics and get them oiled up and working again.

You can expect a lot to be launched in the coming weeks including information on sewing parties in your home or venue, sewing classes, workshops and some very special events.

Inspired by a new generation of designers.