Saturday, 9 November 2013

Amélie's Butterfly Curtains

Amélie's curtains

This is a way overdue blog post. I made these curtains for Amélie's room a couple of months ago, right before I headed off to Ballarat for Crafty Hijinks, and yes, there is a little girl asleep in her bed in the above photograph.

The last set of curtains I made was for our master bedroom, and the fabric was rubber backed, so really easy to put together. I really liked this fabric from Spotlight, but not being rubber backed, it needed to be lined. This added an extra level of complication to the job, which had me procrastinating for months. And then for some reason it took me a couple more months to get around to blogging them. I was really tempted to not line them, but am glad I did now, as I think they will really help block the hot afternoon sun over the summer, as well as keep her room warmer in winter.

Curtains finished!

The major difference between these curtains and the last set was the hemming. For the first set, I made up the curtains, hung them and then pinned the hem before sewing it. With this set, I did the hem first, sewed the curtains and lining together, added the pinch pleat tape at the top and then hung them. This was because there was a main hem and a lining hem and both layers were joined at the sides, so hemming last would have been tricky.

Getting the pattern to match across the seams was also a factor in these curtains, I never bothered with the first set, but it was more important with the coloured pattern. I do really need to get a more solid curtain rod, as this one sags in the middle.

Including the lining, I used approximately 106 Fat Quarters making these curtains.
SYST13 Running totals: in = 107, out = 253, total = -146

Monday, 4 November 2013

Home is Where the Heart is

Home is Where the Heart is - top

My youngest brother, Allister married his beautiful Tahnee a couple of weeks ago. The setting was beneath some gum trees, on his farm, close to where we grew up. There were paper lanterns hanging from the trees, rose petals on the ground, and the reception was in a beautifully decorated farm-shed. The day was perfect and the location was ideal.

Allister & Tahnee

For the three weeks leading up to the wedding I was crazily making this quilt. The fabric is Road Fifteen, by Sweetwater for Moda Fabrics. The fabric features cute little houses and trees as well as roads and street names. A fat eighth bundle was given to me as a gift from the lovely Jodie of Ric-Rac, and I purchased some extra for the backing and the binding - I also used some of the backing fabric on the top.

Home is Where the Heart is

The pattern is called Starry Terrain, by Jo Kramer and I found it on Moda Bakeshop. The original pattern is 8 squares wide by 8 squares long. I went for 5 x 5 squares. This made the quilt about 60 inches, or roughly 150cm square. I would have loved to have made it bigger, but this size worked for the amount of fabric I had and I had my doubts about being able to get a 240cm quilt under my machine to quilt it. The backing is pieced together with some squares and half-square triangles made up from leftover scraps from some of the blocks.

Home is Where the Heart is - back detail

I used some variegated Sulky thread from Gütermann to quilt it, and went with an all-over stipple. I originally started with some feathers, but it really did not suit the quilt or the thread, so I unpicked it and started again. The un-picking took ages, longer than I spent hand stitching down the binding.

Home is Where the Heart is - label

I printed the label onto some Matilda's Own Ink-jet printable fabric, which I blanket stitched to some left-over matching fabric as a border and then blanket stitched to the quilt. I spent quite a lot of time trying to come up with something profound to put on the label, about making a home together (to go with all the little houses) and then just went with "Home is where the heart is" and hopefully, home will be where this quilt is.

As for the Sew Your Stash Thin challenge, I used approximately 36 fat quarters making this quilt.
SYST13 Running totals: in = 107, out = 147, total = -40

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Kids Clothes Week October 2013

Jumping for Joy!

Well, I didn't sew EVERY day for the kids this Kids Clothes week, and I even sewed something that wasn't for the kids, but I do think that three items of clothing isn't too bad. I love this pattern from the Autumn 2013 issue of Ottobre. It's a very basic raglan style tee-shirt with long sleeves and a cute pocket. Perfect for both Autumn and for Spring. Raglan sleeves are great for small children and for babies, as the arm opening is quite large and it is easier to guide small hands through than a set-in sleeve is. They are also easier to sew as it is pretty much a straight line, or in this case a very slightly curved one. I also love the retro look of a raglan sleeve and feel it works really well for mixing and matching fabrics.

Amélie's Hot Air balloons

I borrowed Mum's cover-stitch machine to do the hems and the bands. Mum was very generous lending me the machine, as it was just back from being repaired and she hadn't even had a chance to use it herself. I can report that it is now making a perfect stitch, and I am having no troubles with the tensioners. You could use a twin needle to do the hems if you don't have access to a cover-stitch, although I do prefer the finish the machine gives, I would love a cover-stitch machine of my own one day, but Mum's will do for now. You could also do the hems with a zig-zag or decorative (stretchy) stitch, or just standard bands and put a band on the bottom as well.

Noah & Amélie in their Lillestoff Raglan tees

The fabric I used is from Crafty Mama's Fabrics. The Hot Air Balloons, the Pirates and the stripes are all Lillestoff. I added Hilco ribbing to the cuffs and neckband for Noah's tee-shirt. I followed the instructions for the neckbands according to the instructions on page 45 for "binding cut from knit used for the garment" for Amélie's tee-shirt, since the stripes have the same stretch/recovery as the rest of the tee, and for "binding cut from ribbing" for Noah's. When I was cutting the cuffs, I accidentally mixed up the pattern pieces and cut an Amélie sized pair of cuffs for Noah's t-shirt. I figured that we could apply the same theory as for the neckbands, since the ribbing is stretchier than the other knit and didn't bother cutting larger cuffs. There wasn't a heap of difference in the two sizes anyway, maybe as much as the seam allowance?


I also made Amélie some leggings. The pattern I used is from the same issue of Ottobre, and they are the Uncomplicated leggings. To be completely honest here, I wasn't really thrilled with these. The legs have a really close fit, but they are really loose around the bottom and tummy. I guess they are designed to wear over really bulky cloth nappies? I also had to match all those stripes down the outsides of the legs, which makes them not really that "uncomplicated" when you have to do that, although I managed it fairly well. I would rather have mis-matched stripes on a crotch seam that is hidden under a garment than down the sides of the legs where it can be seen by everyone. I liked the way that the waistband was done, though. You put a button-hole in the inside of the waistband before you stitch it down and then thread the elastic through. This means that the elastic can be easily removed and replaced if it is too loose or tight without having to unpick anything. I will use a different pattern next time I make leggings, but I will be stealing that waist elastic idea though.


The kids are loving their new tee-shirts. Noah wanted to wear his to kinder today, but it was all dirty from having been worn yesterday, so I had to wash it for him. As for Amélie, she got way more excited about her tee-shirt when she saw that Noah had one nearly the same.


As for the Sew Your Stash Thin challenge, I used approximately 8 fat quarters making these clothes.
SYST13 Running totals: in = 107, out = 111, total = -4

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Noah is Five

Noah is 5 collage

To celebrate Noah's fifth birthday, I made him this cake. It was inspired by this one that I found on Pinterest. The main cake was chocolate cake made from scratch, and the cake pops were made with red velvet cupcake mix and dipped in white chocolate. Coating cake pops in chocolate is trickier business than you would think, but they do look much better when you coat them with sprinkles, and I did that with the rest of them, but never thought to take a photo of those!

Noah's 5th birthday cake

Noah is adventurous and observant. He loves gadgets, accessories, and exploring new places and things. He likes batteries and screws and pulling things apart. He is funny and caring and a great hugger. I do think that one day (if we can keep him out of danger) he will be an amazing man.

Happy Birthday Noah

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Nani Iro gets a New Look

Nani Iro - New Look 6891

I originally purchased this Nani Iro double gauze to make the Oliver + S Jump Rope Dress, but changed my mind. I had ordered 150cm from Ballarat Patchwork (closing down in 4 days, 50% off all stock, get in fast!), but it turned out that there wasn't a full length available. I ended up with one length of about 1m and another length of about 115cm, meaning I had over 2m instead of the 150cm I had ordered. Since I had that much extra, I decided to make something for myself instead.

New Look 6891

I have had the New Look 6891 pattern sitting in my stash for awhile, waiting for the right fabric, and decided that the Nani Iro would be perfect. Whilst this top is "growing on me", I kind of wish I had done a toile first. I chose the pattern size to match my bust measurements, but the model on the pattern is obviously wearing a couple of sizes larger than the size recommended; there appears to be more pattern ease than there really is. Had I done a toile, I would have made it a size or two larger.

Nani Iro - New Look 6891 button detail

The neckline is also quite wide. I need to add some little bra clips to this top as it keeps sliding off the shoulder and won't stay on an ordinary coat hanger. I love the bound neckline, but if I were making another one of these with double gauze, I would cut the binding wider and use some starch as it was quite fiddly with fabric that frays so easily. The rest of the top was a cinch to put together though, and I love the sleeve detail, and the little button at the centre front. The gathers around the bustline are also nice.

Nani Iro - New Look 6891 sleeve detail

The pattern had a weird cutting layout, where you cut the whole piece in half and lay one half over the other. This suited me alright as I had those two pieces of fabric. There is a seam down the centre front and down the centre back, so no pieces are cut on the fold. It would make it really difficult to match patterns but I wasn't concerned with this fabric as it had a kind of randomness to the dots anyway. Whilst the pattern recommends woven fabrics, I am tempted to give this one a try with a stretch fabric as well - I love, love LOVE the double gauze, it is beautiful and floaty - perfect for a sunny spring day.

For this pattern, I used eight fat quarters.
SYST13 Running totals: in = 107, out = 103, total = +4

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Crafty Hijinks

The Crafty Hijinksters and the Crafty Squirrel

Last Weekend I got up to some Hijinks. Crafty Hijinks in Ballarat. The day was organised by Jodie and Gillian of Ric-Rac and Silly Gilly. If you are not familiar with their blogs you should go and check them out now. I promise I will wait here for you. If you decide to come back, that is.

Ballarat is not just a hop, skip and a jump from here, so when I first saw that the Hijinks was happening, I dismissed it as being unfeasible. But the idea was niggling away at me. You see, I really, REALLY wanted to go. When I eventually checked the train timetables, I could see that it could be done. So I got on it and booked myself a place at Crafty Hijinks, ignoring the fact that this would see me using/waiting for public transport for almost eight hours. I just told myself it would be worth it.


I left home at a ridiculous hour and upon arrival in Ballarat, I was met by Annie Flowergarden and Little Red Hen (Jan). You should go and check out their blogs too, they are lovely, lovely ladies. Annie and Jan were entrusted with picking up the 50 scones for morning tea. Ah yes, we'll have three coffees and fifty scones please :) Haha. And then we set off for Hijinks.

Everyone got a little "sample bag" at the Hijinks, it contained all sorts of little samples, some of which you can see here.


Everyone who attended received a door prize. Rebecca's and Cathie's daughters were barrel girls and drew tickets out of the barrel. We all had a number on the back of our name badges. When the girls drew out number 40, I won this awesome pack of Cosmo embroidery threads from Gum Valley Patchwork.

My Door Prize

In addition to sample bags and door prizes, there was also a raffle. Tickets were only $1 each and the proceeds went to charity. There were seven prizes in total. Each prize had a bucket in front of it and we could choose which buckets our tickets went into. I put most of my tickets into the bucket in front of the lightbox and was very, very excited when my ticket was drawn out!

The most AWESOME raffle prize EVER

Another thing we did was have a take what you want table. Everyone brought stash items that they no longer wanted. I filled a suitcase with fabric from home. I was really good and only grabbed this small piece of fabric to take home with me. Some of the fabric I took is going to be used to make a rag rug. It will be interesting to see if any of the fabric I took shows up transformed on someone else's blog someday.

My Haul from the take what you want table

The best part of Crafty Hijinks was catching up with all the fabulous bloggers. Some I had met before, and others who I hadn't met before, but felt like I already knew...

Rachel & Me

Rachel from Four Wise Monkeys

Lara & Karen

Lara from Thornberry and Karen from And So, I Sew

Brianna & Cathie

Brianna from Rolling in Fabric and Cathie from Melbourne Epicure.

Rebecca's Hexagon workshop

Rebecca from Beccasaurus - Rebecca held a little hexagon workshop. Speaking of workshops, Jodie also did a rag-rug workshop at some stage, which I totally missed, and also Wendy of Harty Little Peaces did a bit of a workshop on colour theory.

It was nice at the end of the day to grab a lift back to Melbourne with Nikki of You Sew Girl. Thank you Nikki, I enjoyed talking with you. Thank you to Jodie and Gilly for organising the whole shebang and also, thanks to Annie and Jan for getting me from the train station to the Hijinks. And a really big thank you to all the businesses who donated items for the door prizes, raffles and goody bags - especially those prizes that I won! Thank you to those that ran workshops and thank you just to everyone who came because it wouldn't have been that much fun without you all. It was an awesome day and I have only just recovered from it.

The end result of my massive donation to the take what you want table is that I reduced my stash by 148 fat quarters. There was more fabric than that, but some of what I took was from a bag of stuff someone recently gave me. I will take that off my "fabric in" total rather than adding it to my fabric out, since I donated it, rather than sewing it.

SYST13 Running totals: in = 107, out = 95, total = +12

Tuesday, 10 September 2013

Confessions of a Fabric Addict

Road 15

So, about that "Sew Your Stash Thin" thing I am doing...

It's not going that well, since the object of the exercise is to REDUCE the size of my stash, not increase it. But you know what? It's a win-win thing. If the fabric stash is getting bigger because of fabric as lovely as all this, then it can't be that bad, can it?

The fabric above was given to me by Jodie of Ric-Rac for helping her out with some pattern testing earlier in the year. It's a F8 pack which is the equivalent of 21 fat quarters.... I have decided to make a very special quilt using the fabric, and have ordered another 22 FQs which should hopefully arrive this week. Hey, you have to buy fabric to use fabric, right??


A couple of weeks ago, I was at Spotlight and happened to find this lovely drill fabric with the map of the world on it. Ok, I will admit, I heard about it from somewhere and I was at Spotlight during their 40%-off-sale actively seeking this fabric out. I had vouchers for my birthday and one of those scratchy things and I was really good and it was the only fabric I bought unless you want to count the sheer curtain fabric that I shortened and hung the very next day (so if we were to count it as in, we can count it as out as well, but I won't count it, because there wasn't really that much sewing involved). The boys are really into maps and flags and things like that at the moment, and I have a plan, so it's all good. The drill is craft width and I got two 60cm panels, so I would say that is about five FQs.

Crafty Mamas

I had a little extra money after tax time and decided to treat myself to some delicious knit fabrics from Crafty Mamas Fabrics. This is what has come so far, but there is more on it's way soon. I love those Lillestoff Pirates! There is roughly the equivalent of twelve FQs in the image above, and I still have another six on their way to me.

The Red Thread

I did some top secret pattern testing recently and received some of this gorgeous Hello Tokyo fabric from The Red Thread and some patterns as a thank you. The total amount of fabric I received was about five FQs. I promise I will tell you about the pattern I tested as soon as I can. You will love, love, LOVE it!

Two Blue Birdies

I also had a little spending spree in my cousin's shop Two Blue Birdies, along with some delicious felt*, some Heat'n'bond iron on vinyl and a bunch of brightly coloured zippers, I grabbed half a metre of each of these moustaches and glasses, adding a further 4 FQs to my stash. Yep, that's right, I now have stashes in my stash!

So, in summary, I have added an incredible 75 Fat Quarters to my stash in a very, very short period of time. Luckily, I have a few secret projects up my sleeve that I also haven't talked about - but that is worthy of another blog post (or several).

SYST13 Running totals: in = 255, out = 95, total = +160

*I am not counting felt in my SYST count as I am not trying to reduce my felt stash - it is under good control and fits in it's designated box.

Do you have a fabric addiction? Anything to confess???

Friday, 23 August 2013

Ottobre Creative Workshop 303

Ottobre 303

The most interesting thing I found out about this pattern is that the fit is pretty much identical to the Ottobre t-shirt I made for myself here. The great thing is that this pattern has three different sleeve options - short, long and singlet, and also, three different necklines, round, scoop and V. I can tell you now that the round neckline, as per my photo above, really doesn't suit me. I would do well by making this in a V-neck next time. Perhaps in a gentler colour than hot pink!

I do think it needs a FBA, but as it is just a t-shirt, I can live with it as it is. I added my usual 7cm to the bottom of this top, but it really didn't need it. Ottobre make their t-shirts a generous length, unlike most other patterns, and certainly ready to wear! I did no adjustment on the sleeve length, as I held it up to my arm and could tell that it would be long enough. It is actually a luxurious length for me. I tend to find that long sleeves are more like 3/4 length on me, whilst these actually reach well past my wrists and onto my hands, with just the right fit, so that they don't get in the way.

SYST13: I used aproximately 9 fat quarters from my stash
Running totals: in = 180, out = 95, total = +85

Wednesday, 21 August 2013

Liam is Six

Liam & Skylanders cake 1

It's hard to believe, but Liam turned six last month. He is right into Skylanders at the moment, and loves collecting and playing with the characters that go with the game. For his birthday, I made him two Skylanders cakes. One for the night before, when we celebrated his birthday with a family dinner, and then again on his actual birthday when we were celebrating my 40th.

Skylanders cake 2

One of the things about Liam that I am loving at the moment, is that he is learning to read. I was a real bookworm as a child and constantly had my nose in a book, so I really enjoy seeing his progress. The school Liam attends uses Magic 100 Words to teach reading, and Liam also likes to play Reading Eggs Eggy Words to help practice his words. I am constantly amazed at all the jumps he is making with his reading, and Liam has been getting a new Skylanders character each time his teacher signs off a level at school.

Blowing out candles - Skylanders 1

Liam was thrilled with his cakes and the bonus Skylanders he got with them. He also got a tablet, so he can play his Eggy Words on there, instead of using my phone all the time.

Monday, 19 August 2013



I have just recently tried my first Onion Pattern; "Snitmønster" 2022. I purchased it from Shop Onion, in Denmark, who also provides English translation. Out of curiosity, I plugged the word "Snitmønster" into Google translate and apparently it means "the pattern". I was so excited to get my pattern, I traced the pattern and sewed it all up, except for the hems on the very day it came in the mail. I love this pattern, and plan to make more of these, and eventually the dress version. I would love to make a comfortable, jersey dress that fits me nicely.

I was pleasantly surprised by the fabric. It was in my stash already, and I chose to use it for this "muslin" because I didn't love the fabric. As a muslin, it works quite well, camouflaging the unfavourable seam lines, and I think it is fairly flattering as well, despite my aversion to florally patterns. Perhaps I should revise my feelings on florals?

Onion 2022 - under-bust seamline

Alas, fit is the issue I have with this pattern. I have traced the under bust seam line in the photo above, and you can see it is far too high. It is too small in the bust for me, and therefor needs a FBA done to it. I am not sure how to do it.

Onion 2022 pattern piece

This is what the pattern piece looks like. How would you do it? Any ideas?

SYST13: I used aproximately 10 fat quarters from my stash
Running totals: in = 180, out = 86, total = +94 (woo hoo, under 100 now!)
Blogging tips