make a trendy metallic leather tote


Yay! Mollie Makes issue 57 is out in the UK, and I can share a peek today at the trendy tote DIY that I contributed. If you live in the UK, it should be available at your favorite stockist so you can make your own trendy tote in your favorite materials!

I loved the bronzey/goldish metallic lightweight leather that I found from a small shop on Etsy called Leather Treasure Shop and the hip canvas designed by Nate Berkus that I found in the home decor department of my local JoAnn Fabrics. It’s the perfect, understated combo for me to toss a few things in for an outing.

For my friends here in the US, we have to wait a bit longer. (darn it!) Instead, right now you can find Mollie Makes issue 56 on newstands in Barnes and Noble and at JoAnn’s! I stopped by last Sunday to grab a copy of the Somerset pub Faces for my artwork, and while I was there, I peeked around and saw this:

leah farquharson mollie makes 56 duffle bag

You can grab more info on making this fun duffle bag here. Have an amazing weekend! Will you be making anything? I’d love to hear what’s getting your excited about making if you feel like leaving a comment!

tips for using printable pdf sewing patterns

bluebird chic tips for working with pdf sewing patterns

Last week I mentioned that I wanted to share some tips for working with printable pdf sewing patterns. Since I grew up sewing before the age of the internet (yikes!), most of my experience as a sewist was built around using “traditional” patterns that I bought at our local fabric store. When I first started seeing printable patterns online, I’ll admit – I was skeptical. How do you print something at home that needs to be so big?

So, today, I thought I’d share what I’ve learned about using printable pdf sewing patterns, so you can take that and feel more confident in trying all of the wonderful patterns available out there online! I’m using the lovely city gym shorts pattern I featured in this post from Purl Soho’s blog The Purl Bee.

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1.) When printing, make sure that you UNcheck “fit to page”. For some reason it can pop up as a default setting in Adobe. Fit to page will resize the pattern to fit whatever Adobe thinks it should be to print. Not cool. So, be sure to check all of the boxes when you’re printing. Most patterns will have a test box on the front page for your to measure, so make sure that it’s true to size.

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2.) Read through the directions to understand the pattern maker’s pieces. This pattern was super easy to understand – pieces A,B,C,D assemble together to make the front piece of the pattern. Different pattern makers label their pieces differently, so it’s important to know how the pieces go together.

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This photo shows the instruction along the edge “attach to piece B”, “attach to piece C”

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3.) Leave extra space on the edge when you cut out the pattern. I’ve found that I can attach the pieces together SO much more accurately when I leave this little edge.

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4.) Layer your pieces together and tape them using a clear tape that allows you to see that the pieces are perfectly aligned.

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You can see in this photo that the extra edge left on the piece, made them easier to put together.

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After I assembled the first two, I followed the same method for pieces C and D – again, leaving that extra edge makes it so much easier to assemble!

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Now you can attach the bottom to finish the entire piece.

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Once you’ve assembled all of the pieces of the pattern, you just need to follow the instructions from the pattern maker! I can’t wait to get another pair of these cute and comfy shorts together. Feel free to leave any questions in the comments of this post!


my feet are walking on hugs

bluebird chic sperrys

I have such a confession to make. I have really wide feet. Wide enough that I sometimes opt for men’s trainers for running and have a hard time finding dress shoes that fit AND make my feet look cute. Not only that, but when I do purchase them (keep in mind, I don’t purchase cheap shoes), I typically have blisters for a week or so to break them in. I don’t know – maybe other people can relate. When my sister kept suggesting that I try sperrys for the last couple of years, I protested because, well, it’s so cliche.

I finally gave in. It still took a bit of looking – I had to try both styles. I definitely can’t wear the cute slide-ons and need to stick to the type that tie. But, oh, wow. I’ve worn them every day since I got them and they feel like my feet are walking in hugs. No blisters, yay! I guess it’s all about finding the right fit.

Hope all of my wide footed friends find this helpful! (And ps, no, I don’t have any affiliation with them, just sharing girlfriend to girlfriend!)

nautical themed packaging idea

leah farquharson maya road anchor gift wrap


I loved putting this fun idea for simple nautical themed packaging together using supplies from Maya Road last month! Things got a bit crazy and I forgot to post it here, but I still wanted to share. I always love digging into my crafting and making stash to create the perfect packaging for a gift!

purl soho city gym shorts pattern review

On Friday, I posted that I finally took the time to try out a pattern that I’ve been eyeing for a really long time – Purl Soho’s City Gym Shorts.

leah farquharson purl soho city gym shorts 1-1


I wanted to take a moment to review the pattern for anyone that’s interested in trying it, because when I can hear first hand from other people that they’ve had a good/bad experience with a pattern, I’m much more confident in trying it myself. Honestly, no one wants to put the time and supplies into making something that you’re not sure is going to turn out well!

First, I’m happy to report that I loved this pattern! This pattern is offered on their website for free, and I was willing to take the leap of faith on this one because I know how consistent they are with their products and posts. They’re a great company to follow for ideas, and I’ve ordered from them a few times, as well!

Here are the top things I rate a pattern on: ease of use, fit, how clear instructions are, and level of experience required to complete the project. Here’s my take on the City Gym Shorts!

purl soho city gym shorts pattern

Ease of use: A

Downloading, printing, and putting the pattern together was really easy. (I’ll be sharing my tips for using printable patterns next week). I would have liked an instruction sheet that I could refer to while assembling the shorts, but it’s a free pattern, so I understand. I used my iPad to view the instructions on the blog while I put it together. The pictures are beautifully done and great to refer to, as well!

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Fit: A+

When I measured my hips, I came out at the very top end of one of the size designations. Wanting to make sure that the shorts would fit when I finished, I bumped up to the next size. As I finished the piece and tried it on, I found that this wasn’t necessary. I’ll be making another pair, and I’ll drop the size down one, because it’s proven that they’re true to size. Yay!


Clear Instructions: B+

I found the instructions to be clear for assembly, but I am also approaching the pattern as a skilled sewist with lots of years of experience putting together almost anything I’ve been able to imagine. When I looked at the instructions again, but tried to imagine it through the eyes of a beginner, I could see that I might have a little bit of trouble. But if you use the photos to refer to, and keep pushing through, I’m fairly certain you could still accomplish this project!

Level of experience required: Beginner to intermediate.

I think if you’re persistent, you could push through as a beginner, but having some level of experience will help in putting these shorts together. I also wanted to note that I chose to buy the biased tape for finishing the edges instead of making my own. The biased tape making tool that they feature in the pattern instructions is actually something that I do want to invest in, though! As someone who sews a quite a bit, I could see it being useful to make a more professionally finished project. It means I can really match the fabrics and use what I choose instead of relying on pre-made colors available at the fabric store.

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One final note on the shorts. I chose to add some of this crocheted elastic lace trim to the edges of my shorts for an extra little touch! The lace is actually stretchy and I can’t wait to use it in more projects. It’s made by Maya Road, and you can see the the shorts that I made featured on their blog last Friday.

I hope that you found the pattern review helpful! I definitely recommend that you give this one a try. The pattern is also available in kids’ sizes, and these would definitely rock as jammie shorts!

simple sewing on a friday – purl soho city gym shorts

sewing purl soho city gym shorts

Today I’m finally tackling this easy printable sewing pattern for city gym shorts from Purl Soho that I shared forever ago. You can find all of the pattern links here. Yeah. That was a whole year ago. Good news is that I’m getting back to a lot more personal sewing!

Of course, when I pulled all of this together this morning, none of the piles of fabric that I have on hand were “just right” for what I wanted, so I “had” to run to the fabric store. (Classic, am I right?) That also means that I came home with supplies for two more projects. I can see where this is going!

always learning to make things even better

bluebird chic leather finish


One of the things I love most about being a maker is the constant quest to learn new things and make things even better than before. I love being able to say with confidence that something I’ve made is the best it can be. I recently discovered a local leather shop (leather working is just not as common a thing as you might think!), and when I went in to browse through their finishing products, I found just what I had been searching for. My previous method for finishing edges was “good” , but now I can say that it’s the best! No more fraying around the edges, and all of the leather has a beautiful edge seal that’s painted on and hand smoothed over. Sigh. It’s a beautiful thing.

how to make a great gym bag to fit your style


I had so much fun putting together a pattern for a gym bag that feels more personal, practical, artsy – more of what I would want in a bag (and hopefully you, too). It ended up having a sort of retro feel to the final project, but modern enough to carry every day. Is it ok to say that I love it? And I hope you do, too.


Of course YOUR bag will look the way you choose depending on your fabric choices, colors, zipper, snaps and everything. And honestly, that’s the coolest thing about making your own stuff.

You can grab the pattern/instructions for making the bag in Mollie Makes issue 56 which should be dropping into mailboxes in the UK and Europe this week, and is usually available here in the US about a month after publication at places like JoAnn Fabrics and Barnes & Noble. You can see a preview of Mollie Makes issue 56 here (but it doesn’t include a peek at the pattern, sorry!)

pushing creativity – don’t be afraid to give yourself that gift

bluebird chic artwork preview

So, I have come to a proverbial fork in the road – I’ve been doing a lot of work to push my inner artist: my design sense, my plans, my aesthetic. But the one missing piece is the regular act of doing.

(Anyone else there? Please tell me I’m not alone.)

So, this week marks a little bit of a self challenge to make more art. I’m determined to give this gift to myself.


meet the awkward me – have you ever video blogged before?

So, yeah. After I took this, I thought of so many more things I could have said – like how  I’ll also be sharing a more personal peek at what it’s like being a small business owner, and how I sometimes get hung up on perfection(which is important for products that I sell, but not life) and that keeps me from pressing the button on stuff and I’m trying to change that. I thought about doing another take, but then I realized that was pretty much counter to my whole point. So, here it is. Shaky, imperfect, me. In my studio space talking about where I’ll be going with this blogging stuff.

Happy Friday!