Thursday, 30 July 2009


I just wanted to shout out a huge thankyou to Toni from Make It Perfect.

I was the lucky winner in her giveaway of this wonderful pattern that arrived in my letterbox on Tuesday!

I can't wait to get started on a jacket soon. Check back later to see what I make.

Once again, thankyou Toni!


Chris over at 4 Lil Darlins is having a giveaway on her blog!

She has bows for toddlers, bigger girls and will even custom make bows for school girls.

You need to enter before Saturday to be in the draw.

So go, enter! Win something great!

Wednesday, 29 July 2009


Curtains are very difficult to photograph.

Here are some pictures of the curtains that I finished over the weekend for our bedroom. It is difficult to tell, but the fabric is cream, with a textured floral pattern.

The curtain rods had to be antique brass to match the bedside lamps. The curtain rods still need to be shortened. Spotlight were out of the 150cm rods, so I bought 2m rods. I might not cut the full 50cm off though.

Spotlight also didn't have the hooks that I needed for the pinch pleats. They assured me that they would have some in later in the week, which they didn't. They didn't two weeks later, so I ended up doing the mail order thing from Lincraft. I ordered 40 hooks. You would think that would be enough. Nup, I needed 48. So I ventured back to Spotlight who by this time had them in. One of them broke when I went to hang the curtains. So Lincraft have better hooks, just so you know.

I also needed extra rings, as there were only 40 supplied with the rods. (Hence the reason I thought it would be enough hooks, I mean, they were 2m rods!) Of course, they didn't have any in the antique brass, so I got some silver ones. You can hardly tell, but I have brass on order.

I am glad to have my dining table back - not enough room in the sewing room for making curtains. Who knew curtains would take so long?

Well now that the curtains are done, and I love them (just so that you know I am happy about them after all the rigmorale) - what colour to paint the bedroom?

Tuesday, 28 July 2009

Tuesday Tips, Tools, & Tutorials

Bias Binding

I was first introduced to bias binding in high school. The first item I ever made using it was an apron. We used store bought bias binding, which is cheap and convenient. It's cheap for a reason though. Generally, it is plain and boring. Often it contains polyester, which means when you press it, it shrinks and melts.

You can also make your own bias binding. It is easier than you think. I like to use quilter's cotton. It comes in many great colours and patterns, and it doesn't shrink and twist out of shape when you iron it with a scalding hot iron.

Bias binding is basically just strips, cut at 45 degrees to the selvedge edges. The edges of the strips are then folded to the centre. Lengths of strips can be joined together to make even longer bias binding. Pretty Jane has a really great tutorial to make continuous bias binding.

Once you have made your continuous bias strips, you need to fold them. You can use this technique, which I haven't tried myself, but it looks quite clever. Or you can use bias tape makers. Clover make great bias tape makers. Even though they are about double the price of the other brand that you often see, they are well worth the extra money.

There are many different ways to attach bias binding. Angry Chicken has a really good tutorial on how to attach bias tape to your project. You should watch it, if nothing else, you will be thoroughly entertained. I actually prefer (when I remember) to attach the bias first to the wrong side of the fabric, and then fold it back over to the right side, and then top stitch it down. Sometimes, I will fold all of the bias tape to the front of my project so that there is none on the wrong side at all. This technique actually works really well for an apron. The project shown above (sneak peak, its a gift, I will reveal more later) was sewn with the bias attached first to the front and then topstitched also from the front catching the bias at the back.

If you are looking for a project to use up all the pretty hand-made bias tape you make, Nicole Mallalieu has a free tutorial for a bib. One day, when I have one that is completed and is not covered in someone's dinner, I will post a picture here. They seem to be going straight from the sewing machine to the table these days.

Saturday, 11 July 2009

EB Bag Swap - My Bag Revealed!

For the Essential Baby Bag Swap, I was paired up with Kelly from Western Australia. I decided to do Nicole Mallalieu's Day Bag. The shape of the bag is rectangular, but Nicole includes instructions to bring in the sides to give it this shape.

I did so many things with this bag that I have never done before. I used interfacing and wadding to give my bag structure. I used an extra layer of interfacing to the centre panel of the bag, as it wasn't as heavy as the denim side panels.

To make my bag a bit more unique, I used my Janome 350e to embroider the side panels of the bag.

I attached the handles using O-rings and eyelets using this tutorial. Nicole has just done a new video tutorial for eyelets as well.

I also used this tutorial to insert magnetic clasps. I didn't put my clasp in the recommended place on this bag, I inserted mine beneath the strap that holds the large O-ring on the front of the bag. I decided to do this after I had attached the lining, but before I had stitched it closed. This made the insertion of the clasp quite fiddly. When I make this bag again, I will be inserting the clasp before I insert the lining. Something that I did do that I think was a good idea was I actually added the handle straps last, after everything else was put together. I think they would have gotten in my way otherwise. I still managed to sew something to a strap that I didn't mean to at one point.

Nicole includes instructions to insert a zippered pocket to the bag, but I actually used this tutorial from U-handblog to insert a zippered pocket. Please excuse my blurry photography, I also made this label for the inside of my bag using this tutorial from Pepperberry. I also added to the other side of the inside of my bag a mobile phone pocket, as well as a simple pocket that can be used perhaps for a notebook?

It actually fits my Palm Pilot, so Kelly, if you are reading this, and you have one of those, that's where it goes. I didn't use any tutorials to make this pocket, but I kind of copied the pocket from one that I saw inside another purchased bag.

I used this tutorial to insert a hard base in the bottom of my bag, and I added purse feet to protect the bag base. Nicole Has just done a new video tutorial for purse feet.

I had lots of fun making this bag, and it was really hard to post it, but I told myself that I can always make one for me some other time.... I really hope Kelly likes it!

Friday, 10 July 2009

So many beautiful bags!

Well, today is opening day for the EB sewing girls bag swap.

I have collated a list of the participants here, so that everyone can blog-surf and admire all the bags over the weekend whilst EB isn't working.

Anna (tomsmum06)
AuntyC (that's me!!!)
Bec (becanne)
Jen (paris-stella)
Kelly (kabailz13)
Lou (mumof3girls)
Muse (Romi)
Tania (megansmum)

I am Soooo Lucky!!!!

Today is the day we can open our bags for the bag swap!

I was the lucky recipient of the bag made by Sahra. It is made from Alexander Henry Fabric and the pattern was the Lots of Pockets Tote Bag from Keyka Lou Patterns, available on Etsy.
Sahra has enlarged the pattern by 20%, which makes it a perfect size for me.
Sahra has also added a beautiful beaded zipper pull to the inner zipped pocket.
As the pattern name implies, there are heaps of pockets. I was forever searching around in my old bag, looking for things (actually, sometimes I would even upend the whole thing just trying to find my purse) so the pockets are exactly what I need.
I am so sorry, but the photos just don't do this bag justice. The bag is made really well and I am very impressed with the quality!
I especially found the internal zipped pocket to be quite impressive, as I know how tricky they can be.

Thankyou Sahra, for a beautiful bag that is perfect for my needs! I can't wait to take it out to show off to all my friends!!!

Friday, 3 July 2009

Robot Manufacture

Okay, this is my first robot. There are a few things that need a little tweaking, and as I was watching the machine sew this litte guy, I could see ways to improve him.

I could use a couple of undisturbed hours to play some more and I think I will have him to a standard that I am happy with.

As you can imagine, undisturbed hours are in short supply around here.

Liam (almost 2) has just had the side of his cot removed as he is climbing in and out. He is really good at climbing in. Noah is in a matching cot with sides still on. Liam keeps climbing into Noah's cot. Alas, Liam is not as good at climbing out. Especially when he knows that mum is coming and time is of the essence. Hopefully we will avoid serious injury.

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

A bit stuck....

I have this idea. It involves these robots (my own design - do you like?) and my embroidery machine. Unfortunately, I have been having trouble converting these guys into embroidery designs so that I can continue with my project. Its very frustrating....

My plan is to have a sort of applique thing going on, where the actual sillouhette is cut in a plain fabric, and the rest is embroidered over top. I'm hoping just getting this out there will help me.

The word sillouhette even helps a little I think....
Blogging tips