Thursday, December 31, 2009

On my clothesline...

Mr F's quilt

So, I didn't get it done for Christmas, but here is Mr F's quilt done for New Year.  I couldn't wait for it to dry before posting some pictures!

I am really happy with it, despite it being far from perfect.  This is my third quilt ever, and the largest by far.  (The first was a doll quilt kit I made as a girl, and then I've done a very basic cot quilt in squares for Strawberry.)

It's single bed size, 10 x 16 of my quartered nine patch blocks (each measures 5.5 inches once pieced), which makes it a kind of long, narrow single bed quilt- fine as my son still has a safety rail on his bed.

Fabrics are the Minny Muu charm squares, and a heap of other stuff including old scraps, 'good quilting fabrics' from proper quilt shops, and inexpensive quilting and dress fabrics from Spotlight.

binding detail

Backing and binding are both from Spotlight- the binding stripe is from the non-quilting range.  I love that every colour is there for my son to point out, and it's not a traditional 'boy' quilt- I left the pink charm squares in, although the prints are not really that girlie.

close up of front

After quickly giving up on the idea of free motion quilting, I machine quilted straight lines in a windowpane pattern, cutting my blocks into quarters-  easy!  And a bit more interesting than stitching in the ditch, I thought.

quilt back

So, there it is.  Can't wait to have my little man use it.  I left it on his bed last night to find when he woke up and he ran out of his room this morning having wrapped himself in it!

Hope you have a fantastic New Year- may 2010 bring health, happiness and all the creativity you wish for!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Merry Christmas!

bird ornaments

Didn't get to post as intended yesterday, so here I am on Christmas night, after all the festivities are over and my exhausted kids are fast asleep.

Some of my last minute attempts towards a bit more of a home-made Christmas this year-  bird ornament pattern from the Purl Bee here- easy, cute and well received by my extended family last night!

christmas cookies

And my favourite cookies, made Christmassy with Craisins and white choc chips.

For anyone who may be swinging by, a very merry Christmas to you and your loved ones.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

No time to stop!

I am really struggling to promptly take pictures of everything I've been making and doing- it seems I'd rather spend my time making more stuff!   I have been quite productive, although not quite on track with my (unrealistic?) goals of having a certain little boy's quilt done for Christmas and making ornaments for gifts.

What I have done...

- baby girl PJs

Baby PJs2

So this my little Strawberry in her first proper PJs.  I used the babushka fabric and a circa 1990 Burda baby magazine pattern- not actually pyjamas, but a tunic/dress and 3/4 pants- the closest I could find to what I wanted.  I always intended to make the top, as it looked cute and I thought bias binding trim made things easy.  Not so, in this case.  I had never used bias binding this way before- I used to just encase the fabric edge and sew one row of stitching, rather than opening it out like in this pattern.  But it does look cute.  Made my own binding out of a fat quarter I had in the stash.

The pattern was so confusing I actually cut off the shoulder seam allowance! And nearly cried.  And then grafted the fabric back together using Vilene like a strip of sticky tape and a tiny zigzag.  I then sewed a slightly larger seam allowance and did some topstitching to reinforce- still I have no idea if those shoulder seams are going to hold!  Next time I might just ignore the instructions.  

Back view

Baby PJs1

The waistline binding continues round the front.  Just modeling here, to be worn properly for the first time on Christmas Eve!


- made another pair of the Oliver + S shorts in denim (grubby already and in the wash), this time with flat-felled seams, and I managed to work out how to have the crotch seam perfectly centred.  Will show soon!

- Oliver + S swingset tunic in progress

- enjoyed visiting the great Asia Pacific Triennial at QAG/GOMA, still plan to visit again.

- saw the Wiggles on Sunday- Mr F paid close attention and stayed very still, and Strawberry clapped until she fell asleep!  A great show!

- saw Away We Go (first movie in ages, thank you visiting mother- in-law)and thought it was just lovely.

- really getting into Kasey Chambers, Poppa Bill and the Little Hillbillies at the moment- some of the songs make me cry they are so sentimental!  The kids however, are not into this album anywhere near as much as I am.

We are off to boiling Rockhampton for some pre Christmas family visiting this weekend, and then it's the mad rush to be ready for Christmas...

Friday, December 11, 2009

This week I...


... was stupid enough to think I might master free motion quilting in one night,

girlie fabric

... had fun choosing these goodies from Threads and More and Gardams ,

running away

... failed to get a good picture of Mr F in the shorts I made him,

Christmas baking things

... have been ignoring my Christmas baking plans, despite this being left on the bench by my husband,

PJs in progress

... have been lamenting my choice of a very confusing Burda pattern for baby's PJs,

... still have had a really happy week!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Christmas is coming, the geese are getting fat!

Christmas Tree 1

Okay, so I've never actually eaten goose at Christmas, but this was my sister's and my favourite Christmas carol to sing while putting up the tree.

I'm still amazed we managed to get our tree up on December 1st this year!  Or rather, my husband put it up and did the decorating while I whipped up a tree skirt.  The poor tree had a naked base for five Christmases until now.

Christmas Tree 3

Just a basic design from an old Simplicity pattern in Mum's stash- I did eight different segments in red and white prints with ricrac trim.  There are some pretty screenprinted Saffron Craig fabrics in there, bought here.

I almost can't believe I actually let my husband do the decorating- usually I am highly obsessional about this, and spend a lot of time rearranging ornaments throughout December.  But it was good to just let go- and he did a fantastic job!

Christmas Tree 2

I love that ornaments I would normally relegate to the back of the tree (such as ones I made as a kid), he has put right up front!  It's great to see what he thinks are the 'special' ones.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Projects Past

I've had a busy week catching up with lots of friends with kids. And cleaning- because I have actually had people at my house and didn't want them to be completely disgusted by my standard of living.

I've been plugging away at Mr F's quilt at night, and realising that I probably can't make all the squares meet up perfectly.  This really does bother me!  I have to keep telling myself, I'm not making it to be judged, it's just for a two year old who won't care.

The quilt will be my main project for a while it seems, so I'm going to have to post some of my past stuff.

I'm actually missing knitting at the moment.  Living in Queensland is it is just too hot to knit in the warmer months.  Which is most of the year.  It's particularly sad as knitting is probably the craft I enjoy most (big call, I know).  It's just so portable and something I can do at times during the day around the kids.  And baby things are really quick to make up.  Like this little set, done in April/ May...

baby cardigan and hat

The knitting of the cardigan pieces took me two days, just knitting when I had the chance during the day, and not staying up late at night. When I had a new baby who hardly slept during the day. It was just so satisfying to get something done!  Sewing in the middle of the night just does not seem as therapeutic.

The lovely baby quilt is by my Mum, featuring several fabrics used for dresses and skirts for me over the years. Actually, her squares seem to meet up very well!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

For the Boy

It is definitely much more fun to sew for a little girl than a little boy- prettier fabrics and way cuter (and often easier) patterns available.  I decided however that I could manage some basic shorts for my son.  As Mr F is getting to the toilet training stage, elastic waists are suddenly highly desirable.

boy shorts front

boy shorts back

These are another pattern from Ottobre 3/2008.  Yes, that's the same fabric as baby girl's shorts from last post.  No, I don't plan to dress them in their matching shorts at the same time!  But, free fabric from Grandma making two pairs of shorts?  I won't complain.  Easy pattern made more special with topstitching.   This was the trickiest part as I had never used topstitching thread before and I followed advice not to backstitch but hand tie all ends underneath.  Which was a bit fiddly, but gave a nice result I think.  

Mr F himself isn't yet interested in fashion (apart from his plastic fireman's hat which he currently likes to wear even while sleeping).  He does however have a bit of interest in quilts, in that he likes to lie on our couch with a very old one draped over him and pretend he's in bed.  So, next project is a quilt for him, that he can have on the couch or use on his single bed.  The goal is to get it done for Christmas.  I had some charm squares in kiddie prints (Minny Muu by Lecien ) to use up, and I've just added basic prints and solids in bright colours, so now I have 360 squares to be sewn up.  

work in progress

So far, I'm doing 9 patch blocks which I think I might then cut into quarters- Mum tells me there is a 'proper name' for this technique but neither of us can recall it.  I am definitely excited about doing this quilt in quite a random fashion, and just getting into it.  I just want it to be a cute quilt for my little boy, where he can point out colours, and teddy bears, and mice with cheese.  

Oh, and the soft dolly kit (by the red thread) is to be made up for baby girl for Christmas, bought from this cute girlie shop in lovely Bulimba.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Baby bottoms!

I have actually been making things lately (despite the lack of evidence here).  My recent favourites have been shorts for my nearly nine month old little girl.  They are super quick to make, and as they require such small amounts of fabric I've had the satisfaction of using up some very old stuff.

Pooh baby shorts

This Winnie the Pooh print is from when I was a toddler in the 70s!  I think I had a reversible pinafore out of this- pretty loud, yes?  It's a great kind of lightweight cotton canvas, and I used lightweight denim for the trim.  The pattern is the Oliver + S 'puppet show' shorts, minus the pockets.  I must admit to being a bit anti licensed prints on kids' clothes, but somehow I'm okay with it when it's old fabric with a story.  I also think the quality and designs are so much nicer than the modern day equivalent.

Another pair of shorts from the same pattern...

stripe baby shorts

This shows the pattern better, although I'm sorry the shorts look a bit wrinkled (after a trip to the park).  Fabric is a red and white striped cotton twill - which could even be older than the Pooh fabric- from my Grandma's stash.

This is my third project with this pattern.  I love the cute pockets and it is really easy.  The Oliver + S patterns must be the best I have encountered for describing exactly what to do- no prior sewing knowledge assumed.

Some (minor) challenges...

These shorts are a small make- my girl is a smallish 9 month old and I've made the 18-24 months size which is just a little big on her.  The first time I used the pattern I made denim shorts in the 6-12 month size (when she measured at 3 month size) and they were outgrown really quickly.  Even made a bit big there's no way she could wear a cloth nappy under them.

It's hard for my machine to get through all the layers of fabric when sewing through the binding on the pockets, so I can't get my topstitching perfect - I think there are 10 layers of fabric at some points!

Finally, there are meant to be gathers at the sides of the legs, but I find my binding strip (cut on the bias) for the legs always ends up too long.  So, when I adjust the gathers to fit the binding they are barely detectable (see on the Pooh shorts).  With this pair, I just gathered a lot tighter, to the point I thought looked best, then cut the binding to fit- I lopped off about 1.5 inches.  And now this pair really do look like the picture on the pattern!

Edit 27/11/2009: I have since checked out the Oliver + S website a bit more thoroughly and found that they have acknowledged the binding length problem in their errata- and it is 1.5 inches too long.  They have errata up for a few patterns, so it is worth checking out the site before sewing.  They also have forums where you can pose questions- nice service!   

These frilly shorts are from Ottobre magazine 3/2008...

ruffle shorts frontfront...

ruffle shorts back...and ruffly back!

Now these are really puffy, and baby hasn't worn them out yet as she looks a bit like a clown in them.  That said, I am really happy with how they turned out.  Made in one night, really easy, although the Ottobre pattern instructions are minimal.  I just end up interpreting the pattern in the way that's easiest for me.  I did a regular elastic casing at the top, not stitched down elastic as in the instructions.  (Having recently replaced lots of elastic in old baby bloomers, I see the benefit of it being easily removed.)  Made in size 74 which is definitely a size too big, but sure to look perfect later in the summer.  And plenty of room for a cloth nappy.  Fabric from Lincraft, and spotty grosgrain ribbon from my stash of gift wrapping stuff (it is washable).

Next, I must make something for my little boy!

Sunday, November 8, 2009


charlie and lola cake

I had a fantastic time today at the Easton Pearson exhibition at GOMA- sadly the last day of the show. After initially being not particularly desperate to see it (hence leaving it until the last day), I am so glad I went. At one point I nearly cried, I was just so into it.

I don't actually own any Easton Pearson clothing, and don't pay it lots of attention in the shops as often the pieces are not the most flattering shapes for me, and it's usually a very embellished, not super practical look. And it's not generally considered a young woman's label. That said, I knew a lot of the stuff is actually made in Brisbane, which is really rare these days, and a lot of attention is given to handmade finishes.

Anyway, in the gallery setting I was able to have a good look at some of their best pieces, and there were great descriptions of how the items were made. And the clothes were just stunning! Absolute works of art. So I left feeling really inspired, planning to put to use some of their finishes like grosgrain ribbon belts, running stitch embroidery, clothing handpainted after construction, and trims like cotton tape and rick rack. Maybe even frills with fishing line edges.

Being the inexperienced blogger I am, I forgot to take my camera so very sadly no pictures! Do check out their beautiful work though!

Which brings me to another source of inspiration- Charlie and Lola. This is my son's 2nd birthday cake from a few months ago- he is wild about Charlie and Lola, particularly Lola, and at the moment even more so about Lola's friend Morten. Charlie and Lola make an appearance on our TV most days, and I adore Lauren Child's style of illustration. Lately I have been enjoying her Pippi Longstocking (supposedly bought for the kids) late at night. I find myself dreaming of having my little girl dressed entirely in 'patterny' Lola-style outfits made by me. And of my son growing up to be as lovely a big brother as is Charlie- surely seven year old boys are not normally that patient and kind with their nagging little sisters?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

More Japanese Love from the Fair

So, it's been over a week since I actually went to the craft fair, but I had to post my favourite find...

japanese fabric2

Anne of Green Gables fabric!

And not only Anne of Green Gables fabric, but manga style Anne of Green Gables fabric! Apparently not usually found out of Japan. Mum even bought a kit featuring this and another Anne fabric (to be made up for baby girl). I was so excited I then spent that night trawling the web for Japanese Anne of Green Gables stuff. It looks like the fabric range is based on this 1979 anime series. This one was my favourite clip, with an English dub. So cute! Although Diana seems very young to be getting drunk (even accidentally). It looks like you can't get DVDs of this in English, otherwise it would certainly be on my Christmas wish list.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Japanese Love from the Fair

It seems all can do at present is show you stuff I've bought. Mum, my sister and I (plus baby girl in tow) went to the Brisbane Craft and Quilt Fair on the weekend and all left with super cute supplies.

My favourites included the Japanese fabrics at Be Be Bold, where I picked up these beauties...

japanese fabric1

The top fabric is to be put away for a dress for baby when she's a little older- it's a beautiful soft textured cotton. And the Babushkas on plisse will (I hope) soon be summer PJs for her! Having a little girl has just been the greatest excuse to by all manner of things cute and girlie.  More to follow!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009


baby dresses

I realise I have started this blog at a time when I'm meant to be working on something else- namely a rather large assignment related to my work (even though I'm actually on maternity leave, it seems I can never truly escape from my job).  So, there will be no new projects to show for at least a couple of weeks.

So, some stuff I have made recently- little shirred dresses for my little girl.  Hanging here they look like doll's clothes!  I had never done shirring before and found it so satisfying-each dress was made in a nap or two.  I just cut a rectangle 40 x 80 cm (just under two times her chest measurement in width) which worked out perfectly for my eight month old, with room to grow. Straps were cut out of the fabric remaining to the side, so you only need the length of the dress (plus an inch or so for hems).

The dress on the left is made of Heather Ross Mendocino fabric bought from here, leftover from a  quilt I made.  This fabric has the most beautiful texture, not really like quilting cotton but more like a nice fine dress poplin.   And the other dress is made from a cute cherry print Mum got at Spotlight I think, with some long hoarded broderie anglaise lace for trim.

I could just keep making these and avoid my slightly trickier projects!  Better still, I could return to working on my assignment.  Oh, to be free of the guilt!

Monday, October 12, 2009

The new Lincraft!


We were so excited about Lincraft opening at Toombul today, Mum and I headed out with the kids to check it out.

We weren't alone in our excitement, judging by the crowd at the pattern books (all patterns are half price)  and long queues.  Between the two of us we managed to placate the kids enough to have a good look-  it helped that McDonalds is right opposite the store!

It's so good to have a suburban Lincraft nearby as I am often disappointed at Spotlight- inadequate restocking (most visits there is some basic item on my list that they just don't have) and awful crowds.  I think the fading Toombul might be revived now, although I hope Lincraft in the city doesn't suffer- it's the only fabric store in Brisbane city now.

As for the stock, I'm not sure if the fabric selection is as extensive as the city, and the yarns are mostly Lincraft brand (which Mum tells me is quite good though) so Spotlight will still be seeing me.  And I've accepted I just have to go to Indooroopilly (Sckafs and Gardams) for really good dressmaking fabrics these days.

Now, what I got...

above fabrics for baby girl clothes, patterns (little girl's dress, skirt for me) and thread for my new overlocker.  So I was pretty restrained,  although then spent more on kid's stuff on sale at DJs.

Next entry I have to show you something I've actually made...

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Well hello there.


So this is my blog.

After getting so much joy from other people's blogs I figured why not?  I stumbled across the wonderful world of craft blogs while looking for tips and inspiration for my projects and have felt a little guilty lurking and not giving anything back.  Maybe someone will want to see my stuff?

So, I plan to log my work here and that, in theory, should provide plenty of posts.  I hope to be showing you lots of sewing for me and my kids (maybe even some clothes for some long naked dolls), some patchwork, quilting, embroidery, knitting (only in the cooler months here in Brisbane) and (maybe if I write it it means it will come true) crochet when I learn it.  And of course stuff I find inspiring.  And maybe some biscuit baking, which I also love.

I don't even have a camera at the moment as my husband has taken it away for the weekend, so for this post I have scanned an old pattern of my Mum's. I have no intention of making this up anytime soon but I do adore it so- especially that collar!

Welcome and hope you enjoy!