Saturday, 29 December 2012

Tess' Kinder Doll


This happy, smiley Ric-Rac Kinder Doll was made for Tess for Christmas.


Instead of the fabric and ribbon combination for the shoes, I made them from felt this time. In pink instead of the usual black.


I used a stem stitch to sew the mouth and nose this time, instead of the usual back stitch. I used more strands of embroidery floss than the other times, too. This gave the mouth more definition. I made her eyes blue instead of black, too.


You might notice that the fabric matches what I used for Tess, last year.

If you are interested, you can see the other kinder dolls I have made:
Amélie's Kinder Doll
Lima's and Noah's Kinder Dolls
Ellie's Kinder Doll
Adara's Kinder Doll

***Update: The Kinder Doll pattern is now available as a downloadable pattern from Craftsy. Get it Now!

Thursday, 27 December 2012

Maxx's Flat Cap


This is Maxx's new favourite hat. I made it for him for Christmas, using Nicole Mallalieu's Flat Cap pattern. I had been thinking about making it, and whilst chatting with Amy (Badskirt) last Friday afternon, we decided to have a little (virtual) sew-along and immediately downloaded the pattern.


Amy was a little lot faster at getting her hat together than me. I had three little ones to contend with and they were happily spilling things and having little disputes and wanting snacks and bandaids and doing the usual kid stuff. I did manage to get it all cut out and my mess cleaned up before Maxx got home from work. Because it was a secret Christmas gift, it was Sunday night before I got back to it (and finish it), after he went to bed.


The hat is actually made from some furnishing fabric of some kind. I'm not sure exactly what it is, but I wouldn't recommend using it for a project like this again. The weave is actually quite loose, so it frayed really easily, which made for difficult sewing at times. My sewing machine even tried to eat it at one point!

Other than the fabric issues (oh, and the kids-being-around-issue) the hat came together fairly quickly. I think the next hat will probably only take me a couple of hours, now that I know what I am doing and since I will use some proper fabric that doesn't fall apart!

Tuesday, 25 December 2012

Merry Christmas!


Merry Christmas!


I hope you all have a wonderful day, surrounded by loved ones.


If you are traveling, stay safe on the roads.


Pattern: Rudy by Melly & Me

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Teacher Gifts


Please excuse me, I'm running a little behind on the blog!

I made these purses for the boys' kindergarten teachers. Actually, these were just the ones I made for Liam's kindergarten teachers. I actually made seven purses, for six teachers and a kris kringle gift for a friend in my mum's group, but this is the only photo I took.

The purse on the left is made from Ink & Spindle Wrens in inky blue, lined with the same fabric. I chose that fabric for that teacher as she said nice things about my Wren City Bag on several occassions.

The purse on the far right is made from red leather from my leather city bag for the same reasons. I was unable to find my scraps from the panel from that bag, but whilst I was hunting, I found this American Jane print that I purchased from Badskirt many years ago. The lining in that purse is the flower print from the American Jane fabric. Obviously, that kindergarten teacher's name begins with S.

The purse at the centre back is Birch, by Ink & Spindle and the one at the centre front was a remnant from Retromummy (when she had her shop), it's a cheater quilt pattern - I think a Kokka Modern Kimono? I made three more using pieces from the same fabric.

The pattern I used was Nicole Mallalieu's 90mm purse frame pattern. I have made (at least) nineteen of these now, so the pattern was well worth the investment. They make great little gifts.

Monday, 3 December 2012

Antique Leather Hobo


The other day, I set myself a twenty-four hour challenge to make Nicole Malllalieu's Hobo bag, using some beautiful antiqued, lambskin leather I had from NSW Leather Co. I had been thinking about making this bag for a while, and with a Christmas "do" to attend with a new dress that all my current bags clash with, it was at the front of my mind. Someone had said on Facebook, that they managed to put one together in about three hours, and although they hadn't used leather, I thought I should at least have a go. I mean, I had 24 hours and who needs to sleep? (Me! I do!)


Well, it wasn't to be. I managed to get most of the outer bag constructed and then ran into some trouble inserting the zip. Trouble included some problems with leather that is a little stretchy, and some thread-matching and tension issues. In hind-sight, if I was making this particular bag again, I would make the zip gusset entirely from leather.

Something that I have learned about my machine is that it really does like the upholstery thread. I can't seem to be able to adjust bobbin tension enough to cope with other thread thicknesses, and even so, it is difficult to balance the tension so that there is no top thread showing on the bottom or bottom thread showing on the top. So I headed to a nearby store to get some upholstery thread in a lighter colour so it wasn't too dominant on the underside of the fabric.


I also found that the leather liked to stretch out a bit, so, combined with a non-stretchy lining fabric, it was a bit of work to get a nice, non-twisty zipper gusset going on. I found that going really slowly and carefully and using my new Clover clips, I was able to construct something that was acceptable. Switching from the zipper foot to the proper teflon foot, just for the stay stitching along the hidden edge of the gusset really helped. Actually, looking at the finished product, I am more than happy with it.


I used both of the pocket options for the lining. There is a zippered pocket and also another pocket with a pleated mobile phone slot. I did this pocket back to front to Nikki's pattern so that the phone pocket was easily accessible. (I had the zipper pocket closest to my body and the phone pocket further away). If I was only doing this pocket, then I would do it exactly as per the pattern. I am really fussy about the direction of zips too. I like my zipper head at the front when the bag is closed, both for internal and external pockets.

Another little grievance I have with my industrial machine is the feed dogs are a little harsh on soft, lambskin leather and can leave nasty track marks. I learned this when practicing making straps when I made my Red Leather City Bag. When making the City Bag, I used tear-away stabiliser to protect the leather from the feed-dogs. I think it works fairly well, though I don't like the way the thread gets pulled when tearing away the tear-away. I thought this time I would use paper towel. I don't think I will do this again, as it is really tricky to remove paper towel fibres from under stitches. I have another idea that I might try next time.


I love the wide strap on the bag. I made it exactly to the pattern piece, although I only did minimal top-stitching, just along each edge as I think it worked really well with the leather I was using and the over-all slouchiness of the bag. I didn't use any o-rings for this bag. If I did, I would have preferred brass ones and I didn't have any in my stash. I think this was a good decision for this particular bag, there would have been a lot of extra bulk where the straps are attached, which I don't think would have suited the relaxed style of this bag.

Over-all, I am pretty happy with this bag. Could I have made the bag in twenty-four hours? Possibly. I'm not really sure? I am guessing that I actually spent about twelve hours making this bag. Maybe more? I have little kids though, so finding twelve hours out of a twenty-four hour period of time is nearly impossible. Realistically, I would give myself a week, or at a bare minimum, a weekend to make this bag again out of leather. I could make it a lot quicker in quilter's cotton, but I cannot see myself making the entire bag in three hours.

Thursday, 29 November 2012

24 Hour Leather Hobo

Challenge: Hobo+Leather+24Hours. #canitbedone?

I have a new dress to wear to a Christmas function tomorrow night, but it has come to my attention that it doesn't go with any of my bags. So I'm going to have a bash at making a "You Sew, Girl!" Hobo bag from some leather that I have been saving for such an occasion. Can it be done?

Linking up with more Creative Peeps over here.

Saturday, 24 November 2012

How to Sew a French Seam


A french seam is a nice way to finish a seam. It hides the raw edges, and is a great alternative if you don't have an over-locker or cover-stitch machine, and is actually a nicer way to finish seams even if you do. The technique I have described is for a half inch seam allowance (12.5mm).

Apparently, the French call this "Couture Anglaise", or English Seam.
I wonder why no-one is taking credit for it?

To start with, take your fabrics and sew them together with the wrong sides facing each other. A 1/4 inch foot is a great tool to use if you have one. To get an accurate seam allowance, I need to adjust my needle position one notch to the right.


Use thread to match your fabric. I have used black thread here so that it is easy to see what I have done.


So, after you have sewed a 1/4 inch (6mm seam), give it a little press and trim off about half of the seam allowance.


Press the seam open and then fold along the seam line, so that the right sides of the fabric are together.


Sew another 1/4 inch seam, encasing the raw edges of the fabric inside.


Press your new seam to one side (usually towards the back) and you are all done.


You can see the seam from the back, above and from the front, below. Now that was easy, oui?


Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Apples for Grandma

Apples for Grandma

This is the fabulous doll quilt I received from Nic in the EB Doll Quilt Swap. Nic obviously knows what I like and this will be going up in Amélie's room.

Apples for Grandma

Little Red Riding Hood is one of my favourite nursery book characters, and Amélie already has a few Red Riding Hood themed items in her room.

Apples for Grandma

Amélie is also a fan of apples, both to eat and to look at. This mini quilt has a delicious looking basket of apples and also matching apples on the tree.

Apples for Grandma

I love the bow under her chin, and that sweet little round face.

Apples for Grandma

I love the beautiful little bird on her apron, and her stripey tights!

Apples for Grandma

Aren't I lucky?!

You can see the quilt I sent here.

And some of the other quilts, here, here, here, here, here, here and here

Wednesday, 14 November 2012

From a Blouse to a Dress


In action

Can you believe that this dress was once a blouse? I've been meaning to do this for so long, and finally got around to it last Friday. The blouse was mine, but it was too short (story of my life), so I never wore it. The dress is pretty short too, but that makes it really easy for her to monkey around in the back yard.


I really like all the details with the inset lace and the pin-tucks. I love that I now have that effect on the front of the dress without all the effort!

I chopped the front of the dress from the front of the blouse. I really tried to line up the buttons down the centre front, but I mucked it up slightly. If I was doing this again, I would make up a full pattern, rather than trying to cut it on the fold.


The back of the dress was cut from the back of the shirt, and I cut the facings from the sleeves. The pattern instructions only had you interface the facings at the top where the button holes and buttons go, but I interfaced the entire facings.

The pattern is Kwik Sew's 3211, which I believe is now out of print, but you could do the same with any number of basic pinafore type dresses - or even trace yourself a pattern from an existing dress.

New bloomers too

I also made Amélie some cute bloomers. The bloomers are cut from the Bettsy Kingston Baby Ruffle Pants pattern, but without the ruffles. I also used bias binding around the leg holes, as I find it a bit easier. You can get a pair of bloomers up to Amélie's size out of a fat quarter of fabric, so that's pretty awesome. Obviously, you need more fabric if you are going to add ruffles as well..

Sunday, 11 November 2012

Poppy Breeze


My swap partner, Kylie, received her quilt on Thursday, so I can now reveal what I sent. This is some of what Kylie had to say about what she would like to receive:
I like just about anything. Brights or rich tones - especially reds. Not a fan of cutesy stuff, loving abstract designs at the moment. Not a big fan of lots of embellishments. Finished quilt will be hung.


I designed the entire quilt by myself. I decided to do poppies, because poppies are red, but then ended up doing them in these colours because the fabric was sitting there, calling to me... The grass has bees on it, which I think might me a little bit cute, I hope Kylie doesn't mind.


I pieced the sky using various pieces of blue fabric, radiating from the bottom left corner. I used some fabric from my stash and some I went shopping specifically for. The original idea was to give it a bit of a sunset type look, but I ended up sticking with just blue fabrics to keep it simple. The sky includes fabric with planes, raindrops, umbrellas and spots.


I really enjoyed quilting feathers into the sky, I'd never done feathers before this project and although it is more of a traditional style of quilting, I think it works in this more modern style of quilt. I think it looks a little like clouds.

The poppies were attached using raw edge appliqúe before placing the backing fabric on and I later quilted around them. I like how this gives them a puffy look.


I added the stems after all the quilting was done, which was really tricky and I had to use pliers to pull the thread through all the dense quilt stitches as it was so tight. I could have stitched them before I did the quilting, but I was a little worried about quilting catching on my thread, preferred not to quilt around the stems and didn't really want to quilt over them either. It might have been a little easier to have them show on the back as well, but I wanted to keep the back all white. I stitched the stems on an angle to give the impression of the poppies bobbing in the breeze.


Saturday, 3 November 2012

EBDQS Sneak Peak

New trick! Feathers!

I've almost finished my doll quilt for the swap. I've learned a new skill, the feather. I'm pretty happy with how it turned out. I hope my partner likes the finished quilt.

Friday, 2 November 2012

Blogtoberfest Wrap Up


Wow, what a month October was. Whilst I did get behind with a couple of days of Blogtoberfest, over a weekend which was just too busy, I still managed to catch up. I am pretty happy with what I achieved. Let's have a look back at October...


My Snakes and Ladders game quilt appeared in Homespun magazine.


I participated in the Kids' Clothes Week Challenge and managed to make an Oliver + S skirt for Amélie, later hacking the pattern to make her a Chevron Skirt. I also made her a pair of Dortje Pants, and made "Make it Perfect" Snappy Ties for the boys.

Noah & Ty

We welcomed a new Grandson/nephew.

Pencil Roll, Flap closed

I made a pencil roll as a gift for a birthday party Liam attended.

Loose Ends 1

I showed you how to finish off your overlocker threads and found a better way to keep my bobbins tidy. I also showed you how to make some pipe-cleaner Octopuses with your kids.

Beauty Case (open)

I did some pattern testing for Nikki, making a Beauty Case and a USB Key Fob. (I also showed off the Poppet purse, though technically, that was made in September.)


I also did a little pattern testing for Jodie, and introduced Elsie to Amélie who promptly stole her from me and took off her clothes.

Noah's Beanstalks

We did a little gardening and are planning to climb great beanstalks to the sky and meet with ferocious giants, and my mum and I had a fantastic trip to Melbourne, visiting the Polly Pratt pop-up shop in the Olive Grove, Cleggs, Tessuti and the Craft and Sewing Show all in one day.



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