Creativity is for Everyone!


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Time and learning new things during quarantine

Happy Face Mask Fabric Design | Sew your own mask!

I remember a saying when I was a kid, “You can be anything you set your mind to.” During self quarantine I’ve been thinking a lot about time. I think the saying really should be “You can be anything (or do anything) you set your TIME to.”

As I pursue new things – some out of curiosity, some out of necessity, some out of both – I realize now more than ever how important time is. Time waiting for the dough to rise. Time practicing sewing to make masks. Taking my time giving my husband a haircut.

Setting our mind to something, having a goal or intention, is important but it’s only the first step. Spending time working on something is the essential ingredient. Each time I bake bread I learn more about the process. The more I sit down to sew, the less it feels like starting over. I threaded the bobbin again today!

I have more time these days. I think it’s important to be intentional about what I spend my time on. I can do anything!

“Smiles Happy Face Mask” Fabric is available in my Spoonflower shop. Browse all my fabric designs here.


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Improvement Every Day – Sewing Masks and Designing Fabric

Sewing Masks tutorials - learning to sewing improving every day

For weeks I’ve wanted to try sewing a mask, but I don’t really know how to sew. From time to time I try, but then so much time passes I forget everything. It’s like starting over every time. I dusted off the machine and prayed it would work and that I wouldn’t have to do anything complicated with the bobbin. No such luck, the stitches were all wonky. When I looked closely at the bobbin, it didn’t appear to be threaded correctly. With the machine’s instruction manual at my side, I was able to rethread the bobbin. Finally, I was sewing! I’ll admit all my movements are awkward. I said to my husband, if sewing was cooking, I’d say, “I can’t even boil water.” Trying to pin the fabric was a struggle. Why did my mother make me take physics instead of Home Ec? I’ll tease her about that forever.

Finally, I made a mask! It was pretty decent! The second one wasn’t so great. The next night I tried again and the two I made came out okay. The following night was even better. I’m seeing improvement every day! That’s what happens when we keep practicing right? I’ve been experimenting to see which tutorial video mask I like the best. These are the 3 I’ve tried. #1 fits around the nose. #2 and #3 have folds and expand over your face. They all have aspects I like. Does anyone have a mask tutorial they recommend?

The unexpected bonus is that I can finally make something with the fabrics I designed! I have a pile of fabric samples. Recently I designed a new one with watercolor smiles on it. It’s what I miss about going to the supermarket – you can’t see anyone’s smile. You can check out my fabric designs on Spoonflower here or visit Spoonflower and design your own! Not sure how to create a repeating pattern from your artwork? Read this post.

Happy Face Mask watercolor Smiles Fabric


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A Swimming Quilt – Guest Post by Susan Finlay

Intro. by Eileen McKenna – “I enjoy designing fabric prints but I don’t sew! So, I’m always so interested to see what people make when they purchase one of my fabric designs on Spoonflower. I was so thrilled when Susan Finlay (Wee Susie Stitches) tagged me on Instagram when she posted her swimming quilt. Susan used my Rainbow Goggles and Swimming Laps fabric designs in her quilt. And I was even more excited when she agreed to write a guest post about designing and making her ‘Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat’ quilt.”

Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat by Wee Susie Stitches

Firstly I would like to say a massive thank you to Eileen for asking me to write this piece about the quilt I made using some of her fabrics.

My daughters’ swim club are always looking for ideas to raise funds. The club wanted to raffle something that the kids would want to win rather than the usual hamper or bottle of whiskey that they have no interest in. I was asked to make a quilt.

I spent time (too much) online looking for suitable fabrics, first I looked for waterproof/resistant that the kids could take poolside, but nothing was suitable. So, I started thinking about the design rather than the fabric first. I saw a quilt that Lucy from charmed by you had made. Seeing Lucy’s quilt inspired me – the mantra of lots of swimmers that they wear on their t-shirts & hoodies is EAT, SLEEP, SWIM, REPEAT. That was going to be the main body of the quilt and designed using club colours of Royal Blue and Yellow. I would add a border of squares to represent the tiles of a swimming pool – the swimmers look at these for hours every week!!

"Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat" swimming quilt by Wee Susie Stitches #swimming #quilt

For the border I didn’t want plain fabric, boring, I wanted something special that would appeal to the kids. Back to searching online and I couldn’t find any fabric shops in my area that inspired me but then I found spoonflower and fabric from Eileen and Julia Diane Studios that I thought, yes, I could use them, they were perfect! So, I clicked order and a few weeks later the most beautifully tissue wrapped amazing fabric arrived.

Excited? Yeah. Husband and daughters too were excited! The girls asking the question what are you making for me Mum?? Sorry girls, as usual, this is for someone else!

"Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat" swimming quilt by Wee Susie Stitches #swimming #quilt
I started cutting perfect 6 ½ inch squares to create the pool tile effect from this beautiful fabric.

Then began the process of precisely cutting the letters A, E, I, L, M, P, R, S, T, W, or in full ‘EAT, SLEEP, SWIM, REPEAT’ to applique onto the background fabric.

"Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat" swimming quilt by Wee Susie Stitches #swimming #quilt
I used my Elna 680 sewing machine to blanket stitch around each letter.

I joined the squares to make border round the main letter panel. Next, I machine quilted the fleece backing with a nice simple straight line to continue the pool tile and lane rope effect. I finished the quilt off with binding.

The MASC quilt was complete.

My girls were excited by with the end result! The Swim Club were excited by the end result. The quilt is now being raffled to raise funds for Musselburgh Amateur Swimming Club. Hopefully it will make one swimmer happy and keep them cosy after a hard training set and ready to Eat, Sleep, Swim, Repeat.
"Eat, Sleep, Sew, Repeat" swimming quilt by Wee Susie Stitches #swimming #quilt


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A Creative Collaboration {A Drawstring Bag}

Free Sewing Pattern for a Delux Drawstring Bag with Pockets. Swimmer pattern, Perfect for the pool!
Since starting to design fabric prints, I’ve lamented that I can’t sew. A few months ago I decided to look for someone who can. The first person I found when I googled “sewing blog” was Mary Sigler-Earle of thedailysew.com. Mary was the second person I reached out to. I gave her the link to all the fabrics that I’ve designed and simply stated,

“I’d like to offer you free fabric, from one of my own fabric designs. My motivation? Seeing them turned into something beautiful! I can’t sew at all, but love designing fabric prints! And a mention on your blog would be awesome! I’d in turn post on my blog.”

I was thrilled when Mary said yes. She didn’t hesitate in picking the “Swimming Laps” design, but as she writes in her post she did hesitate in deciding on a sewing project, eventually picking a drawstring bag because of something I wrote in a post. You can download the drawstring bag pattern here.

It’s amazing when you meet the nicest people – all from a google search! Mary put a lot of work into designing and sewing the bag, and creating the pattern and thorough instructions with photos to go with it! My younger son said to me, “Do you get the bag?” I told him no, it wasn’t about getting the bag, but seeing it turned into something. But guess what? Mary wrote that she wanted to send me the bag.

Of course I was thrilled, look how cute it is! I wrote to Mary and said that I really got the better end of this collaboration! She put so much time into it. How could I ever thank her? How about some more fabric?

Download the FREE drawstring bag pattern here.
Order my fabrics on Spoonflower here.


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Free Pattern: Sew a Super Deluxe Drawstring Backpack!

Free Pattern: Sew a Super Deluxe Drawstring Backpack
Mary Earle-Sigler of the Daily Sew, 
has created a drawstring bag “that you could sew with little experience, with ease, that could be sewn in almost any type of fabric and possibly some you already own. A carry-all for any size, any gender, and could be made for any personality or in any style with the choice of fabric (did someone say suede?) Plus there’s plenty of surface space for embellishing, painting, patching or bedazzling.” Mary says, “You can sew this bag. It isn’t difficult and I provide you with very detailed, step by step instructions with a lot of photographs.”

Visit thedailysew.com to download your Super Deluxe Drawstring Bag pattern and instructions for Free! I couldn’t be happier that Mary chose my “Swimming Laps” fabric for the bag! But not just any bag! A drawstring bag with a pocket so your keys don’t get lost in the bottom of the bag and another pocket for your phone. A bag with enough room to carry your stuff plus your water bottle, and still, have space for more!”


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A Collaboration with Mary of the Daily Sew

I’m so excited to announce my upcoming collaboration with Mary Earle-Sigler of the Daily Sew. Mary is a sewing blogger who created her blog back in 2014 after getting aggravated with pattern instructions. Mary says,

“I started The Daily Sew to encourage more people to sew. To show that it isn’t hard to explain better or add some extra pictures. To help people enjoy sewing. To share what I learned and am learning. To inspire anyone to persevere through a project. To encourage creativity, individuality and great fitting clothes. To eventually see such a large sewing movement that home made clothing is taken seriously and given respect.”

When I first approached Mary, I asked her to pick any of my fabric designs. She chose the “Swimming Laps” design and is planning on creating a bag. I can’t wait to see it! Full instructions will be available so you can make one too.

Swimming Laps fabric print. Swim team, swimmers https://www.spoonflower.com/fabric/6301733-swiming-laps-by-eileenmckenna

Mary publishes a monthly newsletter with a sewing tip and useful resources. Visit the Daily Sew to sign up.