No Sew T-Shirt Vest Bag



Has your favourite vest shrunk in the wash?  Or stretched out of all proportions?  Don’t bin it just yet – give it a second life with this super quick and ridiculously easy bag tutorial.

What you’ll need:


  • Old vest made from t-shirt material
  • Scissors
  • Tape measure

For this tutorial, you can style your bag one of two ways – knots inside or knots outside.  For knots inside, turn your top inside out before cutting.  

What to do:

Step 1


Lay your vest out on a flat surface, ensuring your front and back hems are matching.

Step 2


At 1 inch intervals, cut up from the bottom 2.5 inches all the way along.  Remember to also cut up the side seams.


Step 3

Take the first tab on the top and the corresponding bottom tab.  Knot right over left, then left over right, ensuring to pull tight.


Step 4

Repeat all the way along.


And voila! One finished shopper bag, saving yourself 5p next time you hit the supermarket.


Vintage Scarf Top



I love vintage scarves.  They have such amazing designs and colours that make them pretty much irresistible.  And with this repurposing tutorial, you’ll love them just as much as me.

And not only do you get one new top with this tutorial, but two with this reversible vintage scarf top how to.  You can pick up the scarves for a few pounds from charity shops.

Before you begin, it’s worth to note that these scarves come in various sizes and the size you’ll need will depend on your dress size and the desired fit of the finished garment.  As a guide, as a size 18 I’m using two 88cm square scarves for a loose fitting/oversized top.

What you’ll need:


  • 2 scarves in your desired size
  • Pins
  • Needle and thread, or a sewing machine if you have one
  • Tape measure
  • Scissors

It’s okay if your 2 scarves aren’t precisely the same size as all seams will be hidden on the inside.  I had about 1 cm difference in mine.

Top tip: do a dry run with pins to ensure you get the right fit.

Step 1

Before beginning, decide which side you want as the top.  Place right sides together and pin the top edges of your 2 scarves together.

Top tip: the right side has a shiny, satin finish.

Step 2


Using your tape measure, find the centre point of your top seam and mark vertically with a pin.  Measures 15cms from each side of this central point and mark vertically with pins.  This will become your head hole, so remember to leave this open when sewing!

Step 3

Sew your top seam, leaving a seam allowance.  I’m opting for a 5cm seam allowance to achieve my desired fit.

Top tip: if you’re using a sewing machine, mark the distance you need for your seam allowance with masking tape to ensure you keep an accurate line.


Step 4


For the side seams, measure 28cm down from the line you have just sewn on each side and mark with a pin.  These will be your armholes.  Continue to pin below this point to the bottom edge of your scarf.

Step 5

Sew along the pinned edges, again leaving a seam allowance.

Step 6

Turn right side out and voila! One vintage scarf top of your own creating.


This is a basic scarf top pattern, so feel free to go mad with it.  If you find the fit is too loose, bring in the side seams.  Create a bubble hem by inserting elastic, embellish with beads, or simply add a belt!  I just tied mine with a bobble for a cute extra detail.







Getting ready for the new Jarrow Market


Craft Market Preparation

This Sunday (16th October) I am selling at a brand new market in Jarrow, Jarrow Stalls @ The Viking Centre. It is an exciting opportunity to support other local businesses and meet lots of new people. We are expecting a great turnout for this event so I want to be prepared.

Getting ready for craft markets can be time consuming. I try to build up a buffer of stock but this has been running low after a successful summer selling at Harton Quays.

If you want to find out why I love Harton Quays you can read about it here.

On Friday I got an exciting delivery of gift boxes for my jewellery. I try to order these in bulk so I will have enough boxes for my jewellery for future markets. I don’t want to run out of stock at a market, this would be terrible. This weekend my craft market preparations include a lot of extra tasks because of my special delivery. I also wanted to use this weekend as an opportunity to get ready for my upcoming Christmas markets too.


After unpacking all my boxes the next step is to write my website on the back of all the boxes. I have got a stamp and this would be easier but I like the personal touch. It is important to me that people buying my jewellery know that each product, including the packaging is made with love.


I have experimented  a lot with creating my brand. The next stage of getting my boxes ready for market is hand stamping them. Each box is slightly different making them unique. I stamp them in batches, I love how they look when they are finished but stamping over 100 boxes is boring.


I have been feeling super creative recently so I already have 40 pairs of earrings made ready for their new boxes.


Essential Craft Market Kit

  • Cash tin – plenty of change
  • Carrier bags
  • Mirror
  • Table Cloth
  • Banner
  • Pen
  • Paper
  • Scissors
  • Tape
  • String
  • Blue Tack
  • Price Tags
  • Bottle of Water
  • Tissues
  • Plasters

I have a lot to set up so I have a box of props I use on the stall and an A and B box for stock. Box A goes on the table and box B is used to replenish sold stock. I still have some finishing off to do but most of this week will be focused on marketing so people will know where to find me.


What do you do to get ready for craft markets? What is in your essential craft market kit?

Tutorial: No Bake Cereal Bars


Warning!  These are seriously scrummy!



Yup, you read it right – no baking skills required!

These are perfect with a cup of tea, mid morning snack or lunch box sweet.

What you’ll need:



  • margarine (for greasing)
  • wooden spoon
  • metal baking tray
  • scales
  • mixing bowl
  • small pan
  • cling film
  • blender/food processor
  • space in your freezer




  • 225g jumbo rolled oats
  • 50g plain or chocolate rice pops
  • 85g sultanas
  • 85g dried mixed fruit (chopped small)
  • 100g agave (from the sugar aisle)
  • 100g peanut butter
  • 125g runny honey

What to do:

  1. Lightly grease your baking tray and line with cling film.
  2. Blitz the porridge oats in your food processor/blender until slightly powdery.  This is important or they won’t stick together.
  3. Pour into your mixing bowl, adding the sultanas, dried mixed fruit and rice pops.  Stir well.
  4. Heat the agave, peanut butter and honey in a pan over a medium heat until melted.  Top Tip: when measuring out the wet ingredients, use the pan as your measuring bowl to save on the mess!
  5. Pour over the oat mixture and mix with a spoon until it has cooled slightly.  Then get in there with your hands to make sure the oats and fruit are well and truly coated.  Top Tip:  lick your hands clean!
  6. Tip the mixture into the lined tray and spread evenly.  Lay another piece of cling film over the top and press down firmly
  7. Leave in the freezer for 1 hour until set.
  8. Remove from the freezer and take off the top layer of cling film.  Turn out onto a chopping board and remove the rest of the cling film.  Cut into 24 bars (or less if you want a nice big piece, which you will).



These will keep if you wrap in grease proof paper and store in a sealed container in the fridge.  They can also be kept in the freezer, but let’s be honest, they aren’t going to last that long.



Tutorial: Decoupaged Toy Box



I’ve recently acquired some new furniture which unfortunately means something old just has to go.  But you know me, I refuse to throw anything away.  So instead I’m going to give it a little face lift before finding it a new home.


I present my rather boring/plain/devoid of any character toy box.  But not for much longer. With a little patience and a lot of PVA, this is going to be the envy of every other toy box that ever was.

What you’ll need:

  • toy box
  • assorted papers
  • sandpaper
  • PVA
  • glue spreader
  • scissors/paper trimmer
  • newspaper if working indoors

1.If you’re working indoors, then I strongly suggest laying some old newspaper down under your toy box and surrounding area.

2. Clean your toy box.  This one has accumulated a bit of dust and grime.  Give it a good once over with a damp cloth, then make sure it’s dry before moving onto step 3.

3. Give the surface you’re going to cover a light sand to give it a ‘key’.  The rough finish will help your glue to adhere more securely.  Give another rub down with a damp cloth to get rid of any dust so that you’ll have a nice smooth finish when you apply the paper.

4. Now for the fun bit where we get all creative.  Collect together your assorted papers. I’m using craft paper stock, buy you can go crazy.  You can use anything that will stick: wrapping paper, wallpaper, take away menus…the list goes on.


5. I’m going for a patchwork pattern, so this is bit is a tad bit time consuming.  And as I’m a bit of a perfectionist, I’m going to do a dry run to make sure I’m happy with the layout.

TOP TIP: take a quick pic of your layout before you start gluing so you can use it as a reference if any of your pieces of paper get moved around.

6. Now messy time.  Using PVA (white school glue) and a spreader, paste the reverse of your paper and smooth down onto your box.  And repeat until your box is covered.  As simple as that.

7. Leave to dry.  Very important.  You want to make sure all your edges are stuck down securely and your paper is thoroughly dried before moving onto the next step.  I left mine overnight, just to be extra extra sure.  And this gives your plenty of time to sit and peel all that dried PVA off your hands.

8. Now to protect your masterpiece.  Coat your papered areas with at least 2 layers of PVA, ensuring you allow the first layer to dry before applying the next.  And voila, one revamped toy box!



POW Bib Necklace Tutorial


Hi everyone, I’m Sam, owner and designer for Ava Kitsch. I want to share my passion for jewellery design, textiles and upcycling with you.

Use this tutorial to design your very own bib necklace. Once you’ve learnt the technique, start experimenting with your own designs. I would love to see what you make so don’t forget to share using the #avaDIY.


What you will need

  • A4 paper to make you necklace template
  • Scissors
  • Pen
  • Glue suitable for felt
  • Needle and thread to sew buttons
  • Ribbon
  • Buttons
  • 2 sheets of felt
  • Wool or embroidery thread to finish your design.


Step 1

Fold the piece of paper in half so your design will be symmetrical and draw the outline for your bib necklace.

To make the POW design draw a spiky design.

Make sure your collar is the same width or a little bit wider than your ribbon.

Cut around your shape.

This may take a couple of attempts to get right so it is best to practice with the paper before moving onto the felt.

Top Tip

Experiment with different shapes to create your own unique bib necklace design.

Laminate your paper bib template, it will be easier to draw around and you can use it again in the future.


Step 2

Once you are happy with the bib template lay it over the felt and draw around it.

You will need 2 cut two pieces of felt.

The first piece of felt is the front and you will sew your design onto it.

The second piece of felt is the back. We will glue this to piece one to hide all the stitches. This will give your bib necklace a neater finish.

Top Tip

If your two pieces of felt aren’t an exact match don’t worry. After gluing them together you can trim the edges so they match.


You could do a simple version of this necklace by gluing the buttons onto the felt rather than sewing them. Sewing will make your necklace more durable, it will take longer to make but will last longer.


Step 3

Before sewing your buttons lay out the design you want.

To make the POW design smaller buttons work best.

Top Tip

Lift each button and use a pen to draw a dot on the felt. This will make sewing your button design easier. Check the spacing often to ensure your design is working. You can see that I’ve ended up with a wonky W at the end because I didn’t do this often enough.


If you are using this techniques to make your own design then any buttons will work. You could add patches, pieces of broken jewellery, scraps of fabric and ribbon, go with the creative flow and see where it takes you.

Step 4

Decide how long you want your ribbon .

You might want to leave your ribbon longer to make a big bow or shorter to make a knot.

Top Tip

If your stitches are messy sew a button over the top, it will make it look much neater.


Step 5

Turn your bib necklace over and cover the back with glue.

I love Dovecraft Silicone Glue because it doesn’t soak into the felt and it stays flexible.

Wait for the glue to dry before moving onto the final stage.

Top Tip

Test your glue on a piece of scrap felt first to ensure it is suitable for felt so it won’t ruin your finished design.


Step 6

At this stage you can see if you need to trim around the edges a little to tidy up the final design.I used DK yarn to create this simple blanket stitch to finish the edges of your design.I decided to use a bright contrasting colour to make the POW pop.

Need help sewing a blanket stitch? Click here for a simple YouTube tutorial from Red Tab Art.

If you would like to download a pdf booklet for this tutorial click here to download from Dropbox.

I hope you have fun making this bib necklace. If you need any help just leave me a comment.


Why I started a business


The Story of Ava Kitsch

So you want to know why I started a business? Well much like our favourite fairy tales I will start at the beginning and finish at the end.

Like Spiderman I was bitten by a radioactive spider… wait hang on a minute… that is the wrong story.

The Beginning

You want to know more about Ava Kitsch, so let’s start with me as a kid.  I was obsessed with making things and playing with my dolls and my dollhouse handcrafted by my Dad. Most of us grow up and grow out of such things and for a while I did.  I became a grown up. I put away childish things and got a proper job as a Business Studies lecturer. Teaching is a rewarding vocation but it leaves little time for anything else. I was learning all the time, but there was still this niggle – a part of my wanting to create, make and play.


The Middle

I’m so lucky that I grew up in a creative household. Both my parents are incredible at making things. They continue to nurture that creativity in their children even though we’ve grown up. My favourite childhood memory involves making homemade paper. The squish of paper pulp is satisfying between your fingers.

I had worked so hard to get my first teaching position. It is exciting to be teaching a subject you are passionate about. My little mam gave me some great advice that I ignored for a long time “don’t lose yourself”.

For me being creative is not just a nice thing to do on a rainy afternoon it is part of who I am. I found myself longing for days that I could make something.


From Buttons to Business

You will soon discover that I love fairy tales and tales of escape such as Alice and Wonderland. I have an eclectic style and this is reflected in the jewellery I make, but Alice in Wonderland started it all. My mam brought me back a present from Edinburgh; some clock buttons that she thought I might like. I loved them and I started to wonder what I could do with them. The holidays ended and the buttons went away and the grown up work came back out. Those buttons were put away for a long time until I decided what I wanted to do with them. I decided I wanted to make and Alice in Wonderland inspired brooch. My mam and dad didn’t realise that those buttons would be the start of an amazing journey and the start of Ava Kitsch.

I ordered my supplies and retrieved my jewellery making tools from the back of the cupboard.  I started to feel that hum of creativity as I made earrings, necklaces and bracelets. And the more I wore these pieces, the more people commented on them.  And I wondered… what could I do with all that I had made?  So  these few buttons grew to a small collection of jewellery to my own shop on ASOS marketplace. And so Ava Kitsch was born.

I had the opportunity to make a change and start a new adventure. My teaching role was no longer the same job I had started so I made the leap to something new. I still teach part time and this has given me the time to be creative and start my own creative business.


So Sam, why is it called Ava Kitsch?

Wait a minute I hear you say …  you are wondering why did I call it Ava Kitsch? Well that is simple my friend, I wanted my jewellery to have a personality of its own. Strong, independent, adventurous just like Alice and her adventures in Wonderland. More than that though I also wanted it to be fun and playful. We spend far too much time worrying and not enough time having fun. Ava Kitsch is that fun free spirit inside of you waiting to play – just like when we were kids.

If you would like to know more I always love answering questions and having chats.  Tweet me, send me a message on Facebook or send me an email. Remember just because we’re growing old doesn’t mean we have to be ready to grow up just yet. There’s always a rabbit hole awaiting an adventure…