Saturday, 14 December 2013

A Christmas Stocking Tutorial : :

My sister has been pestering and pestering me to make up this tutorial, and I have been meaning to do it for a little while now, so here it is (just in time for Christmas).


Firstly, you will need to gather your supplies! 

To make one stocking you will need:

Wednesday, 11 December 2013

A Foxy Little Fellow : :

Another Christmas present done!! (It feels so good to say that)

This little guy is a present for Little Mr Z. 

He is made from a really good quality wool felt. I have never really used felt before, but I actually found it better than cotton. The felt can be stuffed really firm, and it was a breeze to sew. 
I am DEFINITELY going to make more felt toys. He is just too cute! 

I don't know if Little Mr Z is going to love him. He will probably be much more interested in the wooden car I have for his stocking, and not to mention all the wrapping paper that's going to be floating around on Christmas morning.

But *I* think he is really cute. And I know that Little Mr Z's sisters will want to play with him, even if he isn't terribly interested. 

I got this pattern from the craft show that I went to this year. Its called 'Bandit' by Simone Gooding. The pattern is really good with really clear instructions. I finished sewing this little guy in about 2 evenings (not including cutting), and that was taking my time.

Now all I have to do is make two dolls for the girls. I have about 2 weeks to do them, so hopefully I can get them done. I want to get them done quickly too because I have a baby carrier pattern that I would LOVE to make them to go with their dolls. I just need more time! (story of my life)


Monday, 9 December 2013

Oliver & S Lazy Days Skirt : :

Just this word makes me think of the beach, ice-creams, seagulls and thongs (the kind you wear on your feet!).

The girls need some new summer clothes, and I'm in the process of making them some new skirts, shorts, and dresses.

I've had my eye on the free Oliver & S pattern, Lazy Days Skirt for a while. (I love free things!)
So I let the girls choose some fabric from my cupboard, and we whipped them up.
These were SO quick! Seriously, 1 hour later and I had two cute skirts made.

The fabric they picked was Michael Miller's Bella Butterfly. Its been in my cupboard for a while, and these skirts take so little fabric, I still have heaps left!

Little Miss E wanted to help me sew, and since these skirts are easy-peasy, I let her sit on my lap and help me feed the fabric and press the reverse button.  Then of course Little Miss I wanted to do the same thing...

Instead of adding the ribbon around the hem like suggested in the pattern, I used a strip of fabric that I double folded. I didn't have any ribbon but I really liked the contrast around the hem.

I also found some 1/4'' crochet trim to add around the bottom, then I got creative with a few decorative stitches on my sewing machine.

I really liked how quick these skirts came together. The inside seams don't even need any finishing as you just use the selvedges to save time!

They are perfect for lazy hot summer days.


P.S Some exciting other news is we have picked the colour paint for the outside of our house! We are renovating, as you can probably tell, and I cant wait till our house looks beautiful from the outside at least! (Still a few more walls to pull down on the inside!)
We are picking the paint up tomorrow! Ill be sure to take a before and after picture!

Friday, 6 December 2013

Pencil Cases : :

Being a twin must be great sometimes, but other times not so great.
They have to share EVERYTHING...well everything except beds pretty much.
They share clothes, toys, a bedroom, friends at get the idea.

So every now and then I try to get them something that is just theirs. Something they don't have to share.
When I was shopping the other day, I decided to get the girls some new pencils and markers. They needed some new ones as their old ones had the led broken inside and only a few colours left.
I got them a packet of pencils and markers each. They were so happy, Little miss E esspcially. She kept asking 'I don't have to share?'
Since they were both so excited about having their own pencils I decided they needed their own pencil cases.
So I let them pick some fabric from my cupboard (which they LOVE doing), and I made some!

Little Miss I chose this premier prints pink elephant fabric. I coordinated it with a pink fabric from my stash for the piping and lining.
If you look closely at the photo below, you can see quilted circles on the pencil case. (Yes the elephants are up-side down on one side). I free-motion quilted that! First time I have used it, and not unpicked it! It was actually kinda fun too! I may have to use it more often....

I really like how it has a large zipper opening. This took me a little while to make because it was just so fiddly! But it will last longer than the rubbish plastic ones that you get from the store, and it looks better too.

 It didn't turn out quite as well as I hoped, but its still cute, and I'm sure I'll get better at it, because I still have to make another one for Little Miss E, who has been pestering me to make a yellow one for her.

I used a free tutorial from HERE. Its quite a good pattern, although hers is much neater than mine. But that could be because i used a zipper that was too long, then i trimmed it too short. Oops! I also omitted the muslin step, because i didn't have any, so mine is probably not as stiff as it should be.


Tuesday, 3 December 2013

A Vintage Quilt : :

Mr Handsome loves his mum. He treats her like a queen! (Which is one the the things that I really love about him, because that's how he treats me too).

He wants to give her something special for Christmas this year, so he asked me if I would make her a quilt.

He had a look though my quilting patterns and magazines, and we picked one out of my currently-favorite book, 'Simply Retro'.

I have made two quilts from this book so far, and I just love the patterns!

We decided to use the pattern 'Vintage'. This pattern makes a quilt that is big enough for a twin bed! I didn't have that much time (or fabric), so I decided to scale it down. I naively thought that I could just decrease every measurement by 1 1/2 inches to make the quilt smaller. Erm.....WRONG!!

That plan soooo did not work! After getting frustrated, I had to sit down with a pen, paper, and calculator and figure it all out.
It took some work, but I effectively turned the pattern into a jelly roll quilt!
I don't know if that means I can pass this pattern off as my own now...(probably not)....but I'm really happy with it! I am getting a little bit tired of really large blocks, so it was a refreshing change to make some 'normal' sized ones.

Enough chit, is my quilt!

I used the fabric line 'Winters Lane', from Moda. Its supposed to be Christmas fabric, but I think its non-christmasy enough to use all year round. I really like the mix of blue, red and grey.

The background fabric is Kona Snow, which I think matches perfectly with winters lane.
I backed it in a vintage-looking cotton that I got from spotlight, and bound it in a solid red.

Once I got over the measurement/planning stage, this quilt was really fun to put together (although, I wont lie, it DID take me a long time).

All that's left is to label the quilt, then wrap it up for Christmas morning. I hope my mother-in-law likes it!

(This is me trying to be artistic at a park near the beach! I really liked the rope and I wanted to get a photo with it!)

We are spending Christmas is Mr Handsome's family this year, which we do every other year. He has so many Aunts, Uncles and cousins, that even after 5 1/2 years of being married, I still haven't met everyone! (and I have NO CHANCE of remembering names), but it should be a lot of fun, and I'm glad my kids will have a zillion cousins to play with!


Friday, 22 November 2013

A Christmas Wreath Tutorial : :

I have always admired pretty Christmas wreaths on front doors.
I decided that this Christmas I would make one. When I envisioned it in my head I imagined Christmas balls, tinsel, and lots of other Christmas-y things on it, but when I was in spotlight, I thought some red flowers would be nice. 
However when I saw the pink and white ones, I changed my mind, and got them instead! 
You can really let your imagination go wild when decorating your wreath, but this is mine....

(If someone knows how to get rid of smudges from a camera lens, please let me know! I've tried lint-free wipes and other things but nothing seems to work!)

To make this wreath you will need:

  • A Wreath 
  • Decorations (I used fake flowers and some hessian material)
  • A hot glue gun
  • Some clear sealing spray (Optional)

To start with, I decided that I wanted to put some sealing spray stuff onto my wreath. Our front door is under a verandah, and never really gets wet, but I didn't want it to get damaged by the weather, or start to go mouldy. 
So this step is completely optional. You could even paint your wreath a colour, which would offer protection, and look awesome too. 

1. Following the directions on the can, spray your wreath. 

This is the spray I used. It has been in my shed for years and years, so I don't know if you can even get it anymore, but I am SURE that there will be something similar at your local paint or hardware store.

I started off spraying the wreath on some newspaper, but then I couldn't spray the back of it, so I found hanging the wreath on the bush worked really well for me. I gave my wreath two coats, then left it to dry completely for 2 days. As I mentioned before, this step is completely optional, and I'm sure it would work just as well using this wreath without anything on it. 

2. The next step is the fun part! Decorating your wreath! You can do this however you want, with whatever you want. For mine I threaded the flower stems through the wreath until I had an arrangement that I was happy with.

Basically just keep adding and experimenting until you have something that looks good. 

I also had some hessian fabric that i wanted to make into a sweet bow, so I used my handy-dandy overlocker, to overlock the sides of my fabric. When I was overlocking, I tapered in the middle section of the bow so there wasn't a big bulky knot when I tied it (sorry I didn't take a photo of that part, but it shouldn't be too hard to figure out).

3. Once you have everything the way you like it, get your hot-glue gun and glue it into place. I used heaps of glue on mine, as I didn't want curious fingers to be able to pluck flowers from it once it was hanging. 

4. Then using some scissors you don't care if you wreak, or a pair of wire cutting scissors, trim all the stems, putting more hot glue where needed. 

5. Put a small screw, nail or whatever takes your fancy into your front door and hang your wreath!

6. Finally, take one step backward and admire your handiwork! 

I really like this wreath. It was so much fun making it too! I may leave it up all year! It doesn't really look as Christmas-y as I was planning, but hey, its a wreath and I love it, Mr Handsome thinks its OK too, so it stays!


(Step 7. Clean ones camera so photos don't look all smudgy....seriously, any tips would be most welcome!)

Thursday, 21 November 2013

The Newest Member Of The Family : :

Here she is, my new Bernina 1150mda overlocker.

I now consider myself the proud mother of four, my 3 kids, and a Bernina!

I have been thinking about getting an overlocker for a while. Up until now when ever I make clothes, to finish the seams I run a zigzag stitch over them, which is fine, but nothing really compares to the professional look that you can get from an overlocker.
A while back my grandmother gave me her old Janome  603 overlocker. I finally decided to get it fixed, so I took it to the repair man and he had a look over it for me. Sadly it was a bit rusted inside, and needed a fair amount of work to get her sewing nicely again. He offered to sell me an old brother overlocker for the same amount as fixing the Janome, but the Brother was a 4 thread. I was just going to do that, until I realised I could get a more user-friendly, newer overlocker for the same amount.

 I started looking at reviews and what was available on eBay and gumtree. I decided that I would like either a Janome 644d or a Bernina 800dl. To be honest, I never though I would get a Bernina as they are just too expensive!! To cut a VERY VERY long story short, I ended up buying a Janome 644d for a good price. Pretty much the day I picked it up, someone posted on gumtree a new Bernina 1150mda, for a very reasonable price (still out of my price range however).
I gave her a call, and she was so so nice! We talked for a bit, and I asked her how negotiable her price was. She asked me what I could afford, and I told her (which was quite a bit lower than what she was asking!), and because she liked me (and because she has twin granddaughter's and I have twin daughters), she sold it to me!! I love bonding over twins! Anyone who has never had twins just really doesn't know what hard is! (Hats off to those of you who have had triplets!)
So my mum purchased the Janome from me, and I ended up with this super-fantastic BERNINA!

I only just got it two days ago, but Ive threaded it (and it was so so easy), read the manual and checked it out!
I now understand all the hype about Bernina's! This thing could sew my finger off its so powerful! (Not that I'm planning on doing that anytime soon!)

 It also has the micro thread tension control knob, and a whole ton of other really amazing features!

I have ordered some new Oliver and S patterns, so when they get here, I'm going to put this machine to the test!
After sewing on this machine for a while, when I went back to sewing on my Janome sewing machine (which I DO love), it was like going from a really nice Porsche, to a beat up old Ford! I will eventually upgrade my sewing machine, but I'm in no rush. I've never really been one of those people who always *need* the biggest and best, and my Janome and I will continue to get along for quite a while yet! In saying that however, if anyone has a Bernina 750 they would like a good home for, I'm sure I could accommodate :)

After I have sewn a few items with this baby, I will do a proper review for anyone who is perhaps thinking of buying an overlocker.

Till then


Saturday, 2 November 2013

A New Quilt For A New Baby!

My Sister had her second baby last Friday!! A darling little boy! I am now the proud Auntie to one niece and 5 nephews!!So of course I wanted to make her a quilt........Drum Roll.......

 TA DAA!! 
(Yes, I am crouching uncomfortably behind the quilt for the photo!)

I just want to say how much I L.O.V.E. this quilt! It turned out better than expected and I adore it! I used the pattern, Baby Love, from Camille Roskelly's Simply Retro. Yes I know, I have used this pattern before, but its such a beautiful baby pattern I just couldn't resist! (The fact that it whips up super quick, and I accidentally cut enough for this quilt when making this one has absolutely nothing to do with it!)

I have a quilting rule. NEVER make the same quilt twice! So for this quilt instead of just binding off my blocks, I added an additional white boarder, then my row of 'flags' (which were oh-so-easy, and look GREAT) then another white boarder. I really love how the 'flags' are free to wave about, and I'm sure will give my new nephew something tactile to play with and hold onto. 

I used two of my all-time-favourite fabric lines, Sarah Jane's Children at Play, and Out to Sea for the quilt top. There is just something about the little rockets, pirates, and paper air planes that just makes it absolutely perfect for a boys quilt (especially my handsome little nephew!).


I backed it in a minky dot fabric to make it perfect for newborn snuggles. Its super soft and matched so perfectly with the colours in the quilt top that I decided to flip it over and turn it into the binding as well. I have never sewn with minky before, but it wasn't too hard. I spray basted this quilt, which I have also never done, then just stitched in the ditch to join the three quilting layers together. 
I chose a decorative stitch on my sewing machine to stitch the binding down, machine binding being another first as well. 

 The decorative stitch kind of got lost in the minky fluff, but I was still happy with the result.
For a lot of 'firsts' on this quilt, I am super happy with how it turned out! 

 I cant wait to meet my newest nephew and get lots of baby cuddles! 



Friday, 25 October 2013

My New Boss Mary!

Its HERE!!

 Yesterday I received a parcel in the mail, and it was full of lovely fabric from Mary! It feels like I have been waiting for this to arrive for ages!
I couldn't wait to get home, so I snapped a photo in the car then ripped it open!!

And there it was, my currently-most-favourite pattern from Oliver + S! (I must admit to a little girly-squeal in the car when I saw this pattern)
I have been wanting this pattern ever since it was released a few months back, and have been so tempted to buy it, but I thought Id wait until I saw what Mary sent me, *just in case*.
I'm so glad I did! Now, not only do I have the pattern, but the most beautiful fabric to go with it as well!

She sent me some navy blue cotton pique for the pants (which I LOVE the texture of, and I'm sure it will be super comfortable for Little Mr Z too), some light blue cotton blend for the lining, pockets, and waistband facing, and some stitched cotton Jacquard for the vest, which is my absolute favourite!! I am really looking forward to whipping up that vest, just so I can look at and play with that fabric some more! Its going to look so scrumptious on Little Mr Z!!

She also included a little pouch bag for all my notions! Its actually such a good idea, as when I'm sewing, the kiddies like to help. When I say 'help' I mean, nick off with all my bits, so I have to hunt them down when I need them! Also for some reason, Little Mr Z likes to suck the reels of cotton, which is lovely, because then my cotton gets all slobbery and wet! Usually if I'm missing a reel or a bobbin, Little Mr Z's mouth is where I'll find it. Lovely.

Thanks Mary for the bag!! I don't know why I didn't think of it sooner!

As well as all the notions needed for this pattern, she threw in some lovely wooden buttons for my girls. I'm not quite sure what I'm going to use them for yet, but they are so pretty, and I'm thinking perhaps winter coats?

Thanks so much Mary! I really don't think I could've picked better for myself! I think I will really enjoy being bossed around my sewing machine!
Mary hasn't received her parcel yet (I was a few days late in posting it! Opps!), but I'm hoping she will love it as much as I love hers!!

Come back soon to see the results!!


Wednesday, 16 October 2013

Quilt Binding Tutorial

 I've decided to make a tutorial for binding a quilt. Its really quite easy, and I hope I can explain it clearly.

If you haven't already, trim your quilt's excess wadding and backing. The backing and wadding should be trimmed to the same size as your quilt top.

First thing you will need to do is cut your binding fabric into 2 1/2'' strips WOF (width of fabric). The WOF is from selvage to selvage.

Once you have your strips you will need to sew them all together to make one long strip. The best was to sew them together is on the diagonal.
To do this lay one strip out like so (face up), and lay the second strip on top (face down). Then sew from corner to corner, as indicated below. (sorry for the scrappy photo, still learning!)

After that is sewn, trim the seam to 1/4''. (if you keep your scrap triangles there are quilt patterns that use these scraps). Sewing your strips together this way (instead of straight edge to straight edge) will not only give you a more professional finish, but it reduces bulk.

Continue sewing all of your strips together until they are all joined.

Once you have your long roll of binding, fold it in half, with wrong sides together and press.

Get one end of your binding, and starting in the middle of one side of your quilt (your quilt should be right side up), line up the raw edges of your binding, with the raw edges of your quilt.

Using a 1/4'' foot, sew the binding to the quilt, leaving about a 4'' 'tail'.

(In this photo, there is an un-sewn 4'' portion behind where I'm starting. I'm opening the fold to show that the raw edges are lined up with the raw edge of the quilt).

Now, when you get to the corner keep sewing until there is only 1/4'' left. Reverse to tie your stitches and remove from machine. (As seen Below)

Now, fold your fabric up, as below.

Then fold it down, keeping the edge of the fold you just made lined up with the edge of the top of the quilt.

Now put that under your machine and sew from the top, 1/4'' as before.

Repeat for all other corners. When coming back to the start, stop 8'' before where you started sewing. 

Now, line up your binding, and cut it (straight), allowing for a 1/2'' overlap. Open up the binding and with right sides together, sew the ends together with a 1/4'' seam. (Some people like to sew this seam on the diagonal too, but I find it much easier to do it this way, completely up to you).

Then finish sewing your binding to your quilt top.

Now flip your binding over to the back of your quilt and hand stitch in place. You'll notice that your corners will be already perfectly mitered in the front. I love that! Its such an easy, professional way to bind a quilt!

And there you have it! I hope that was helpful. Any questions feel free to ask :)