Author: Melinda

Water Bottle Free sewing tutorial

This water bottle holder, free tutorial will help you step by step through an easy and quick sewing project.   Perfect for handmade Christmas presents, teacher gifts, or just keep it yourself.

Water Bottle Holder Tutorial Sew Up My Alley

I have made and given away many of these over the years.  Initially I was inspired by a pattern by Pink Chalk Fabrics which Kathy published in 2006.  In Kathy’s version she sews in a circular base which is a really lovely finish (I’ve sewn lots like this) however it is very fiddly and time consuming.  My version below is a bit quicker and features straps inserted into the seams.

When I am overwhelmed with life I often retreat into my studio, and sometimes then become overwhelmed with the mess in there, but this soon passes as I navigate around the mess and dig deep into my happy place and create.  Today I thought I would share how to quickly whip up this groovy water bottle holder.  These are super all year round, but especially in summer.  They keep your water bottle cool and make it easy to carry anywhere with you.  Plus you can use up some of your favourite fabrics.

I created this tutorial initially on Instagram Stories but they only stay live for 24 hours.  The photos aren’t brilliant but they were done on the run with my phone.

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If you would like another quick and easy “perfect Christmas gift for all ages” checkout the iChair™ pattern.

Happy stitching.

Mel xxx



















iChair Pattern PDF – more excitement!

This has been an exciting week, first my Gorgeous Fabric Basket tutorial over at sew mama sew and now I am uber excited to tell you that I have published my first pattern for sale.


This all came to fruition with the help of the amazing stupendous Nicole from who turned my words and pictures into a brilliant PDF pattern.  Can’t tell you how great it was to work with Nicole.  Apart from being a great graphic designer, she knows how to write a pattern (she has some gorgeous ones on her website) and was able to contribute lots of helpful points to make the pattern flow.

The iChair™ is the ultimate accessory for your iPhone, Smart Phone or Kindle. Perfect for the office desk or bedside table. I’ve even made a laminated cotton one for the bathroom!

Over the past 4 years I’ve made and sold hundreds of these iChairs™ at markets, and wholesaled to local gift stores.

I have also given countless iChairs™ away to family and friends. The iChair™ is a really popular gift for all ages.

The construction technique has been perfected and in this professionally designed pattern you will have four pages of clear instructions and photos showing how to make your very own iChair™.

They are quick and relatively easy to whip up and once you have the hang of it, this will be your go-to pattern for all gift occasions.   You will be selling them at the office in no time and your investment in this pattern will be returned in a flash.

The pattern can be purchased through my Shop and a PDF will be delivered straight to your inbox.

So… now on to the next pattern out of my head, and into to Nicole’s inbox.





Gorgeous Fabric Baskets

These Gorgeous Fabric Baskets are making their internet debut on Sew Mama Sew.  So hop on over there for the full tutorial.  They really are a cinch to make and can be quite addictive.  Thank you Sew Mama Sew for featuring my tutorial, just so excited to be a contributor.

Sew Up My Alley
Tutorial available at Sew Mama Sew

If you would like to make a mini version of the Gorgeous Fabric Basket just follow the tutorial on the Sew Mama Sew website.  For the mini version simply cut and mark your cardboard 6″ x 6″ with 2″ folding lines, and cut your fabric 6.3/4″ x 7″  All the other instructions remain the same.

Here’s a few I whipped up this morning, using some really cute fabric.


These would be perfect to pop a little gift in, or use to store a multitude of little things.

So looking forward to seeing your Gorgeous Fabric Baskets, so please post your pics on instagram with the hashtags #gorgeousfabricbasket and #sewupmyalley and be sure to link @sewupmyalley and @sewmamasew






Annie’s Quilt

Bio Picklefish Studio


It is a bit embarrassing when people go to my blog and I am talking about Easter (that was the last blog post I did).  It is kind of hard to reconcile how fast the months pass.  If you don’t regularly blog, does that mean you are 1. Not doing anything worth blogging about, 2. Too busy 3. Too distracted 4. Your priorities are wrong????

I think it is a mixture of 2 to 4, I reckon I have lots to blog about, in fact I say to myself all the time “I should blog about that!” Then 2 sets in, followed closely by 3. Read more

Easter Basket Free Tutorial

Preparing for Easter again, whoosh……….where did that year go. I am making more cards (see my tutorial and template for those on a previous post) and one of the shops I supply asked me to make some little baskets. I made some up last night and thought I would share the instructions with you. I am a visual person and often forget how I have done something, so I take lots of photos along the way to help me remember. This time I added a few notes in the picture. I also write measurements etc in my “Production Note Book”

IMG_4998 Read more

Huge Patchwork Ball and The Big Fish at Art and Craft Market 11 October

Orphan Oblate Spheroid
Big Patchwork Ball

Four years ago now, with the help of my local quilt group (Bellarine Quilters) I made this really big  quilted ball. (I did a post about it on my old blog here)

Next weekend, the Big Patchwork Ball (aka Orphan Oblate Spheroid) which stands about 7 feet high is going to make an appearance in Melbourne on Saturday 11th October 9am to 2pm at the Art and Craft Show & Market, St. Thomas Church, 44 Station Street in Burwood, Victoria Australia. Read more

Betty Boop Myki and business card holders

From the moment I found this fabric at a local quilt shop I have been itching to head to the studio and make some Myki/Business Card holders with Betty Boop.

I found some time yesterday and whipped up a few.  (Actually instead of doing the jobs I was meant to do I played with fabric and sewing machine) I love them and I will be sad to part with these ones.  They will be packaged up and end up at Ballyhoo Art and Wildings and maybe my etsy store.

Betty Boop Octagon

Read more

Woven Labels for your sewing and craft projects

Hello fellow crafters.  I used to make my own labels by printing “picklefish” backwards onto a special film, cutting them up and then ironing them on to twill tape.  The result was great and served my purpose at the time, but as production ramped up this became very time consuming and fiddly.

So I went in search of manufacturers of woven labels, and after much research I chose World Wide Labels.   I am often asked where I buy my labels and am so happy to recommend this company.  They nursed this ‘newbie’ through the design process and patiently provided more than a few drafts of my design.   They are very economical and reliable and super quick to deliver.

iChair labels

picklefish labesl

I think they make my sewing projects look just that little bit more professional