SMP Craft
7 Nov

Author of the Month: Helen Angharad Henley, author of Tote-ally Amazing Bags

WELCOME, Helen Angharad Henley!


Helen Angharad Henley

This month, we sit down with Helen Angharad Henley, mother of three, handbag designer, self-proclaimed “compulsive maker,” and author of newly published Tote-ally Amazing Bags: 30 quick and easy bags to make for all occasions. Helen lives and works in Wales where she designs, makes, and sells her sewing patterns and handbags. She blogs her stitching endeavours at and sells her bags online at angharad handmade. herringbone tweed clutch bag_small1. What’s your craft?
I am a compulsive stitcher, and enjoy all kinds of needlework from bag making to quilting; I’m never without a project or three on the go!

finished scrap quilt_smalltweed bag_small

2. What project would you consider an all-time best?
I’m quite fickle when it comes to favourites–one day it might be a herringbone tweed bag and the next a hand-quilted scrap quilt. For me the pleasure is all in the finishing touches, whether it be a pretty row of Liberty tana lawn covered buttons, or a neat line of topstitching.

3. What project would you consider an all-time worst?
I’ve had some cracking craft-fails over the years, but I know my husband would vote for the lederhosen I made for him out of some old 70s curtains when we were students. He was forced to wear them through central London on the way to a fancy dress Sound of Music sing-along with friends, and I don’t think he’s ever quite recovered from the experience!

purple organiser_small4. What tool or material could you not live without?
I couldn’t be without my rotary cutter, rulers and mat. I find that cutting out is the most tedious part of a project as I’m generally itching to get needle and thread to fabric, so anything which can speed up the process, and introduce a bit more accuracy to boot, is a winner in my book.

5. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?
I’d love to have the power to accomplish several tasks at once – that way I could be stitching up a bag or two whilst simultaneously helping with the children’s homework and making a cup of tea.

sausage dog coin purse_smallChristmas stockings_small

Follow Helen’s stitching adventures on her blog,

Happy stitching!

 Tote-ally Amazing Bags includes a wide variety of 30 bag designs and full-sized patterns and instructions, guiding beginners and intermediate sewers through all the possible incarnations of the tote bag. Available now at your favorite bookseller:

Barnes & Noble

Check out our new title in November!

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6 Oct

Author of the Month: Molly Goodall of Wild Things to Sew and Wear

Hello, Molly Goodall. WELCOME!


Molly Goodall, photo by Hoyoung Lee

This month, we sit down for a Q&A with Molly Goodall, artist, designer, creator of the unique children’s clothing brand, Little Goodall, and author of Wild Things to Sew and Wear. Originally from North Carolina, Molly earned her BFA in fashion design from Parsons School of Design in 1997, where she became focused on children’s wear. She then worked as a toy designer in New York before deciding “it would be more fun to be an artist” and moved to North Texas, where she, her husband, and son currently live.


1. What’s your craft?

I design and sew unique children’s clothing.

lion front etsy  SweetheartOwlHatCheekyGreenDinosaur




[The original Ferocious Felt Lion Coat, Sweetheart Owl Hat, and Cheeky Green Dinosaur Coat pictured above are among an incredible collection of children’s playwear, animal-themed coats, dresses, and accessories (and a few adult sized coats under the label “Mrs.Goodall”)–all handmade in North Texas–at the Little Goodall online shop. Founded in 2010, Little Goodall grew out of the original Ferocious Felt Lion Coat, which Molly designed and made to inspire her then two-year-old son who refused to wear the hoods on his coats.]

2. What project would you consider an all-time best?

It’s usually the one I’ve just finished! This year I reworked two of my first designs; a lion coat and an owl coat. I made them from more luxurious fabrics, added removable hoods and several other details so they could be more versatile. Part of the process I enjoy the most is seeing how garments wear and what children like best about them, and then figuring our how to make them even more special.

3. What project would you consider an all-time worst?

Once, when I was about 17 I decided to make my dress to wear to a cotillion dance. I found a lovely and feminine rose print chiffon and a pattern which was all cut on the bias. I hadn’t had any experience sewing with the tricky chiffon, and I chose a lining which was not compatible. I ended up in tears the night before the party, with an ill fitting puckered disaster of a dress which wasn’t even finished. Needless to say there was an emergency shopping trip the next day to find a suitable dress.

4. What tool or material could you not live without?

My iron! It makes everything look finished, helps construct 3-D shapes when sewing, and revives tired looking fabrics. A garment which is pressed throughout construction is much more professional looking than one which is pressed only after finishing. I am a big fan of pressing thoroughly and often.

5. If you could have any superpower, what would it be?

Making time more elastic. I always misjudge how long something will take me, so if I could stretch time out when needed it would definitely be super. Most days could use an extra hour here or there, whether for finishing a project or just catching up on sleep.

To learn more, visit Molly’s blog and the Little Goodall company website at

Interested in sewing something a little wild for your little one? First: WARNING: These are simple, bold, and playful clothes that your child may never ever want to take off.


In Wild Things to Sew and Wear Molly expertly guides you through the creation of 15 adorable children’s garments and accessories in the shape of woodland animals, wild animals, and farm animals, including a lion or fox coat, an owl hat, a leopard skirt, kitten mittens, and more. The book includes easy-to-follow patterns to suit all sewing levels, from beginner through advanced, a comprehensive techniques section that shows how to lay out the pattern pieces on the fabric, transfer markings, and cut with confidence, and as an added bonus, a pattern CD is also included!


Buy Wild Things to Sew and Wear at your favorite bookseller:

Barnes & Noble

Check out our October and November titles!

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1 Sep

Author of the Month: Liz Keegan of The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible

This month we sit down for a Q&A with expert sewing machine embroiderer Liz Keegan, author of The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible: Get the Most from Your Machine with Embroidery Designs and Inbuilt Decorative Stitches. Liz launched, compiled, and edits Flair, the U.K.’s only machine embroidery magazine. She also teaches and lectures about machine embroidery. With expert advice about what to look for when buying a new machine and a troubleshooting section for solving common mistakes and problems, Liz’s new book will help you get the most of out of your modern sewing machine.

1. What’s your craft? Sewing machine embroidery is my first love. I embellish anything and everything. Quilts, cushions, art quilts, patchwork projects, dressmaking, home décor. If it can be stitched it is embroidered.

2. What project would you consider an all-time best? I made my daughter’s prom dress in embroidered chiffon with embroidered lace and I was delighted with it.

3. What project would you consider an all-time worst? There are plenty of these; I have had as many disasters as the next person. My worst was not realizing that machine embroidery shrinks fabric a tiny bit during the embroidery process and a client’s very expensive, heavily embroidered silk bustier was too small. Each panel had shrunk by an 1/8″ and, over eight panels, it was an inch too small. I had to improvise very quickly before the lady in question realized I had made a dreadful mistake. From then on I learned to cut pattern pieces after embroidery, not before!

4. What tool or material could you not live without? My embroidery machine. Having discovered machine embroidery and how much I enjoy it, I would find it very difficult to live without it.

5. If you could have any superpower, what would it be? That is a very difficult one. It sounds corny, but I really would like the power to wipe all the suffering in this world and let people live their lives in peaceful harmony.

The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible is all the help you need to get the most out of your sewing machine’s embroidery functions, including details about the types and formats of available designs, how to get these designs off the Internet and onto your machine, how to stabilize your fabric, which threads and needles to use to get the best results, and of course how to use the patterns creatively for stunning results. It also provides guidance for making use of the built-in embroidery stitches that modern sewing machines offer, but which are mostly forgotten about and underused. The focus is non-brand specific, so you can follow along no matter what model you have. A comprehensive section covers the details of editing, organizing, and saving your designs to transferring designs between your computer and sewing machine, downloading from the Internet, and much more.

The Sewing Machine Embroiderer’s Bible is on sale 9/9/14. Pre-order now!

Barnes & Noble

Check out our new September and October titles!




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31 Jul

Author of the Month: Deanna Csomo McCool of 50 Ribbon Rosettes & Bows to Make

Deanna McCool with daughtersThis month we sit down for a Q&A with expert ribbon crafter and sewer Deanna Csomo McCool, author of 50 Ribbon Rosettes & Bows to Make: For Perfectly Wrapped Gifts, Gorgeous Hair Clips, Beautiful Corsages, and Decorative Fun! Deanna has practiced arts and crafts since she could tie her shoes. The mother of two daughters, she began sewing bows so that her daughters would feel like princesses. Find her blogging at Sew McCool and check out her fun and fabulous designs available on her Etsy page.

1. What’s your craft? I’m a ribbon crafter and a sewist/quilter. My love of fiber arts began by sewing quilts and knitting more than 13 years ago. When my older of two daughters was entering kindergarten, I started doing ribbon work because I wanted to make her some special bows that she could wear to school. My girls wear school uniforms…which are quite plain…so I wanted to dress up my girls with some hair accessories! I made bows almost exclusively for about 6 years. I really love it! And when I’m sewing other items, I enjoy incorporating ribbons and trims into my designs.

2. What project would you consider an all-time best? My favorite types of bows to make are layered boutique bows—I can get lost in my work while deciding on colors, textures, and bow centers…and then it’s so fun to put them all together into an attractive design. The large layered bows are featured as the final project in “50 Ribbon Rosettes and Bows to Make,” and you can see one on the girl on the left, on the cover. While these layered bows aren’t always to every adult’s taste, I’ve found that all girls love how pretty they are, and enjoy wearing them. They’re like mini works of art.


3. What project would you consider an all-time worst? In my early days of bowmaking, I had a lot of flops. One in particular was a Halloween bow—in orange and black, of course—that I thought was going to be the next best thing in the bow world. I mean, seriously, I expected to take the ribbon world by storm. I was selling bows on eBay at the time, so in addition to the bow being really scary looking (and not in the good “Halloween scary-looking” kind of way), the photograph was horrible. I hadn’t yet developed good photography skills. I don’t have the photo anymore, but suffice it to say….it was bad.

4. What tool or material could you not live without? I have a wood-burning tool that I bought for—shocker—wood burning projects, back in the early 1990s. I no longer make wood-burning designs, but this particular wood-burner is perfect for sealing the edges of ribbon so it doesn’t fray. I’m often surprised that this tool keeps on working after all these years!

5. What’s your hidden talent? I’m a decent portrait artist. I became a little obsessed with portraiture when I was in middle school, and the interest never went away. In college I minored in studio art and focused on figure and portrait drawing. I haven’t drawn portraits very much since college, but when I do bring out the pencils, the skill comes back to me. One of my professors required us to draw 50 heads, hands, and feet before the end of the semester…so I had a lot of practice during that class alone!


Capture1Capture2Capture39781250052117_FC50 Ribbon Rosettes & Bows to Make is a delightful collection of more than 50 decorative ribbon projects—some classic, some whimsical, some elegant—that will prove irresistible for anyone with an interest in craft. With many sizes, colors and designs to choose from, you can craft a rosette or a bow as a charming addition to an outfit, a gift box, or even a bouquet of flowers. Each design features written instructions accompanied by clear step-by-step illustrations, and absolutely no experience is necessary!

Barnes & Noble

Check out our August and September titles:


2 Jul

Author of the Month: Leonie Morgan of 100 Colorful Ripple Stitches to Crochet

Leonie Morgan HeadshotThis month we sit down for a Q&A with crochet and knitting expert Leonie Morgan, author of 100 Colorful Ripple Stitches to Crochet. Inspired at an early age by her mother’s granny blanket, Leonie taught herself how to knit and crochet from various books and hand-me-down knowledge.

Find her blogging at WoolnHook and check out her beautiful and inspiring Pinterest page. She lives in Wales with a wool-tolerant partner and three wool-loving cats.

1. What’s your craft? I crochet and knit – all the time.

2. What project would you consider an all-time best? My Book Blanket is my all-time-best. I used all the squares designed for my first book and joined them together. It’s really warm, cosy and full of color.

Book Blanket

3. What project would you consider an all-time worst? One of the first crochet things I made was a cropped cardigan. I missed some of the stitches out and didn’t block. I knew it wasn’t going to turn out grand but carried on regardless and wore it around the house feeling smug. As the day wore on, the arms got longer, and longer, and longer. It went in the unravel pile that evening.

Crochet Disaster

4. What tool or material could you not live without? Wool. If there was a wool drought I’d have to unravel sweaters.

5. What’s your hidden talent? Super hearing.

9781250049490_FC (1)100 Colorful Ripple Stitches to Crochet is a wonderfully illustrated and easy-to-use guide to making and using ripple stitches in delightful and inspiring ways. With 75 original stitch designs to choose from there is plenty here to appeal to every crocheter—blankets, accessories, and more! Each design has a clear written pattern, an easy-to-follow chart, and a color variation to try out. The designs range from simple to more advanced patterns and also include ripple stitches worked in the round for unusual and eye-catching projects. It even includes five great projects as inspiration for how some of the designs could go together!


Barnes & Noble
Powell’s Books

Check out our July and August titles:


CAUGHT CRAFTING: SMPCraft’s Spotlight on NYC Crafting

SMPCRAFT #CAUGHTCRAFTING Thursday morning, Astoria, Queens. Accessorizing with a lovely temporary floral tattoo she learned to make from DIY Temporary Tattoos: Draw It, Print It, Ink It by Pepper Baldwin!



Father's Day is less than three weeks away -- Sunday, June 19th in the U.S. -- just enough time to start prepping for what would make dear old pops feel loved....What dad, what MAN, wouldn't want to get a bright red tool box full of homemade BBQ, bacon, and chili flavored chocolate? Or a handmade Paracord hammock? Does he play golf?--hand dipped tees? Does he like to hike? Enjoy nature and the great outdoors? How about homemade beef jerky? Or does he enjoy watching sports--Remote Control Cookie? What about beer? One of the coolest new items coming out of Japan is a Frozen Beer Slushy Maker by Kirin Ichiban that perfectly pairs with the DIY black and tan soap! Scroll and click for more homemade DIY Father's Day gift ideas sure to make pappy happy! Hashtag #SMPCRAFT #DIYFATHERSDAY!

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