Workshop – Know Your Style Profile And Choosing Best Patterns For Your Body

Recently I was lucky enough to do another workshop with the talented Anne Whalley. The theme of this workshop was “Know Your Style Profile and Choosing Best Patterns For Your Body” As I’m still trying to figure out if I even have a style this was a great workshop for me to attend. If you were to ask me what my style was my answer would be I don’t have one. I don’t dress up for work or out. I throw on what ever is clean and moderately appropriate.

Anne Whalley

We begun the workshop by filling out a questionnaire given to us by Anne so she could learn about each persons lifestyle, clothing preferences, personality. One by one Anne went through each persons answers and asked additional questions. Afterwards she wrote down 4 statements / words that she thought summed up what each person was aiming for when they make an item of clothing. It sounds odd but it was a like a checklist of things to consider when choosing an item of clothing to make or buy. My 4 were

  1. Comfort
  2. Classic
  3. Creative / Quirky
  4. Natural Fabrics

I would totally agree with all 4 statements. I am super fussy with clothing, if it isn’t comfortable I will not wear it. I like clothing that is breathable so stick to natural fibres where I can. In clothing I want items that I can wear today and in 10 years time, I don’t do fashion trends. My personality is little odd and off centre. I like things that are a little bit different. I like to put my own twist on things. So yes those 4 statements are me. I am also pleased to realise the patterns I recently purchased from Simplicity fall into that classic category. The pieces looked comfortable and they looked like I could wear them for years and years.


For my work wardrobe which is where I’m really missing items as I want to take it from daggy to professional but not overly corporate (I’m sure that is an actual style if not it is mine) Anne wants me to focus on looking at jacket styles. She has given me homework to check out classic styles of jackets at the shops and see if there is any in particular that I like. One thing Anne did stress is that it is wonderful to have a wardrobe of things that you have made but it is ok to buy items if they it is missing from your wardrobe and fits in with your needs. You can thing concentrate on making all the other pieces in your wardrobe.  I think jackets fall into this category for me. I’ve made a couple of zippered vests before so I guess a jacket is just a step up from those.


There was only 4 us of in the workshop so Anne held it at a café. I really liked the intimacy of the small group because it felt like you were chatting over coffee with friends which basically you were.  Each of us brought different fabrics and patterns (or photos of them) with us to get Anne’s thoughts on if they would suit us or not. The 4 of us were very different in personality, lifestyle, sewing needs. It was very interesting to see the needs of each person. Anne also pointed out colours and styles that anyone could wear no matter what they looked like. I was really surprised to learn that a teal coloured jacket that I threw on that day after having in my wardrobe for about 10 years was a colour anyone could wear. I may have to start wearing that jacket more..

I found the workshop very beneficial. I came away from it with lots of ideas and tips, not just what patterns I should look at making but also how I make my clothes. My gift making is my primary reason for sewing and anything I do for charity or myself comes after that. Instead of feeling guilty for spending a heap of time working on my clothes I need to break up my clothing making into chunks, working on bits at a time. Cut the pattern out one day, sew a set of seams another day. I love this idea as it makes it feel all more manageable. I’m already looking at my 2017 plans for gifts and I’m going to take what Anne said on board and organise my sewing / craft time better so that I can fit everything in that I want to and not feel guilty about doing anything.


Sew Box October 16

The October Sew Box has been revealed and with the weather heating up this month’s theme is Divine Summer and it is something for the ladies this month.


In the box we got

  • 4m Blue Velvet Ribbon
  • 4m Lace Trim
  • 2m Rainbow Chiffon
  • Summer Blossoms hat pattern by Angel Lea Designs
  • Willow Kimono pattern by Designer Stitch
  • Cases and Clutch pattern by Studio Cherie
  • Sewing Pins
  • Machine Needles for Chiffon
  • Retractable Pocket Tape Measure

The chiffon fabric as the box name suggest is divine. It is reminds me of all the fabric painting I’m currently doing with all the mixture of colours. I’m not sure how I will use it. Maybe I will make an over dress with it. I want to make a kimono but I want to use a fabric with a bit more warmth (I’m paranoid about getting cold) All the patterns we got this month are cute. The clutch pattern looks so stylish. The notions we got this month will come in handy. I’m one who likes to keep a tape measure in every bag I have so it will get used. The pins I’ve already used multiple times. The blue ribbon I just wish to pat as it feels so nice. The lace time is gorgeous, I’m not sure how I will use it yet.

Sadly it was announced today that the November Sew Box will be the last one. Sew Boxes has decided to close down. I have been sad all day by this. Since I discovered Sew Boxes I have enjoyed getting them every month. I’ll be honest I wasn’t sure if I was going to like them but after the first one I knew they were perfect. It was like getting a present every month. I would stalk my email each month to see if the box had arrived at the local post office for me to collect. I have made so much from the patterns and fabric I have gotten from them and I still have upcoming gifts on the cards using Sew Box items or products. I know it was an extremely hard decision for the owner of Sew Box to come to the decision she has but I know it is the best thing for her. I consider how now as a friend and I wish her all the best.

Sew Box are having a sale this weekend. They are clearing previous stock so not to be a vulture but everyone does love a bargain you may find something that you can use.


Blue Painted Scarf


I had never painted on any synthetic fabric with liquid radiance but you can put liquid radiance on to any fabric so I knew that it was possible so I had a play. I cut a strip of white organza about 6″ x width of fabric. I soaked it in water a little bit longer than I did the calico to ensure it was fully soaked.


To paint it I scrunched it up on a board and put drops of blue, cyan and the odd drop of teal paint. Because the fabric is so thin I didn’t use much paint remembering the golden rule with liquid radiance “where there is moisture there is movement” I knew the paint would spread on the wet fabric. I did roll the fabric around a little to help the spreading process. After I was happy with the paint distribution I scrunched it back into a heap and sprinkled it with Epsom salts. To heat set it I ironed it between 2 pieces of calico using a hot iron. The calico protected it from melting so I didn’t have any issues there.


I love the pattern that salt crystals have formed. As always you can’t predict what patterns will occur. These have a very fluid almost like water current pattern. It looks so natural. Some areas are darker than others. This has to be my most favourite piece of salting I’ve ever done on.


On the edges I did a double roll hem using monopoly clear thread. It is a simple row of stitching down each side of the scarf. This was an experiment that worked really well. I loved the brightness of the aqua colour that it had when it was wet but I think I love the colour it has turned when it dried even more. I can wear this around my neck or my wrist with some many different outfits.


Hungry Little Caterpillar


This little guy came out of no where but I am so proud of him.


I brought the pattern (Simplicity 8156)  on a whim at the ASG Industry Day. Prior to the day I had planned out all the patterns I would be buying but on the day I remembered I needed to make a gift for a 1 year old this Christmas. I was too lazy to find an existing pattern in my stash instead I flipped through the Simplicity catalogue and came across this pattern thinking yep that will do. To be honest I wasn’t really taken by the pattern but it looked easy and it was different to the other taggie toys I’ve made. As I was going to sleep that night I had an idea.


The next morning I started work on him. I decided he would be the Hungry Little Caterpillar. I set myself a personal challenge of only using fabrics from my scrap stash. I love setting myself challenges like this as it really forces you to think. This toy was the perfect toy for a scrap challenge as you only needed small pieces for each of the various bits. I raided my scraps and found enough of everything.


I made him a little bit different to what the pattern says to. I used only cotton fabric for the body not cotton and fleece. I didn’t use ribbons instead for his legs I made my own fabric tabs from a left over piece of red cotton and for his antennas I used wool felt. I also decided he needed a tongue inside his mouth to add a bit more character. In real life I’m allergic to caterpillars so I would never have imagined myself making a Hungry Little Caterpillar🙂 Essentially he is a taggie toy but because he doesn’t look babyish as the child grows the toy becomes a character in a book that the child can read whilst holding their little toy. Most taggies lose their use once the child stops teething. This little guy could be made for a child of any age.

I have also reviewed this pattern on Pattern Review. If you have never been on Pattern Review before and you like sewing you will find it a very interesting website. People post personal reviews on anything that you can sew, books, sewing machines. It is a very informative site.



Christmas Prep – Hand Painted Fabric

For a special touch to some gifts I’m making this Christmas I thought I would use some hand painted fabric in them. One of the best things I did this year was discover Liquid Radiance so why not incorporate it into this years gifts.


Not giving too much away as to what I am making but each item will contain a zipper. I tried to paint the fabrics so that it would match back to the zipper colour I’ll be using.


The ones to match the orange zippers are a little light but they still do look orange and not yellow. The bottle of orange I have mixed up is very pale so I added extra red and yellow as I was painting the fabric then blended it in. I salted all the fabrics with episom salts. The salt markings are very obvious on these.


The purples turned out really well. From memory I think I added a bit of few drops of the pink to the fabric as I was painting it as well as some red I think. Once again the salt markings are very striking on these.


On the pinks I used mostly pinks with a touch of red and yellow. On the pinks the salt markings weren’t so obvious which just proves how random salting is. You can’t fully control how the salt will react and the patterns it will form.


On one of the pieces I’ll admit that perhaps I added too much red and yellow to the mix and it turned more orange. This isn’t too bad at least I know now to add a dash of pink to my orange mix next time to make it more deeper. The photo doesn’t really show it but there are strong patches of pink in it. Alternatively the reverse side of the fabric is a lighter shade of pink so I could use that as my right side. There are no rules so you use what ever side you want.

Because I hadn’t painted fabric in a few months I had forgotten how fun and quick it is. I only did 2 pieces at time and left them to dry overnight as I was limited to space but I could’ve easily done them all in one hit had I taken over the entire space of my spare room. Each piece started out as piece unbleached calico and is now a unique one of a kind piece of fabric. So easy.


Cloth Pads Stash

I had been meaning to post this for some time. I made up my stash of cloth pads. After my first attempt at making the 2 before I did a bit of research into patterns and techniques. On YouTube I came across Amy Nix. Amy is a wealth of knowledge in the area of reusable menstrual products. I watched all the clips she made and learnt a lot.


When I first started to pull fabrics from my stash for the pads I got out all my ugly fabric, by that I mean fabric I’m unlikely to use in gifts. In my mind pads are functional not fashion so I didn’t need them to be pretty I just needed them to work. I ended up using the fabrics I pulled out on WIRES pouches. I had a fat quarter bundle of Rosalie Dekker fabric sitting in my stash so I used that. I never thought I would make pretty pads with fabric made in Japan.


For the cores I used a combination of French Terry Bamboo and flannelette. I made 2 different absorbency levels heavy and regular. For the heavys I used 3 layers each of bamboo and flannelette, for the regulars 2 layers each. Each core had to be individually assembled so they layers wouldn’t shift about. This was a great project to use half full bobbins on as it didn’t matter what colour you used, I emptied a lot of bobbins.


Once the core is done you attach it to your topper fabric (the pretty fabric) Your bobbin thread is visible on the top of the pad. I have half full bobbins in many colours and was able to match these to the fabrics. In addition to the line of stitching attaching the core to the topper I did a row of channel stitching down the centre of each pad. Chanel stitching isn’t fully necessary but some say it helps wick the fluid away and channel it into the pad.

For extra peace of mind I decided to place a hidden waterproof layer in the pad of PUL (PolyUrethane Laminate) in each pad. It comes in many colours but you don’t actually see it as it is hidden inside the pad, I chose blue for obvious reasons. PUL is a breathable fabric which sounds strange as essentially it is coated polyester fabric but it was originally used in hospitals as it can be used closed to the skin, is waterproof and not harmful. Amy has a great tutorial on how to make a pad with a PUL layer.


It is extremely hard to tell the absorbency level of a pad just by looking at it. Even sewing the cores I had to distinguish the heavy pads with a pin because once they are sandwiched together and stitched the look the same. I read many ways people tell their pads apart. Some use different fabrics, some use different coloured snaps. My first thought was to use the lettering on my machine and do H for heavy.  I did it on the pads but it didn’t look like it would last so I thought I’ll just do different coloured top stitching when I got to the top stitching stage.


For my backing fabric I used flannelette. By chance when I was putting the backing fabric on my first heavy I placed the fabric upside down. This was my instant solution to identifying between regular and heavy. It was a clear obvious distinction. When I’m half asleep and getting ready for work I don’t have to put much thought as to what I’m grabbing I just know if I want heavy it needs to be plain. I don’t need to look for coloured snaps or top stitching or a particular fabric which are some of the ways people use to tell them apart.


I used white thread for all the top stitching on the pads. Most of the fabrics had white somewhere in the design, if they didn’t the white still went well with them such in the yellow one. The top stitching is right near the edge of the fabric and disappears in so you don’t really see it.


I used light pink snaps on every pad. I have heaps of that colour so it used them up. The pink snaps again go with most of the fabrics.


I even squeezed in some hexie printed fabric. The pattern I used was the Luna Wolf 11.75″ It is a free pattern. I liked the shape of this pattern as it very much symmetrical. Google cloth pad patterns and you find different shapes and sizes as everyone has different preferences.

I made 20 pads. I used 10 fat quarters as I got 2 toppers per piece. I used nearly 1m of the French Terry (I have small bit left over) for the cores. The PUL I used I think about 1.7m admittedly I wasted a lot of the PUL as I cut it in a rectangle shape, once the pad was the pad was constructed I cut away the excess. It was a little slippery and because I was making so many I didn’t have the time or patience to cut the exact shape from the start. I still need to make my overnight pads. I want them to be longer. I had to buy more supplies which I have done. I still have to do one more pre-wash of the French Terry (you do several pre-washes to shrink it and increase the absorbency) I still haven’t decided on a pattern yet. Luna has a tutorial on how to lengthen the pad pattern I used so I may go with that idea.


Also I need to work out a way to store them. Sadly currently they live in a pillow slip under my bathroom sink. After I get my Christmas gifts done I may do a fabric basket or something along those lines. For now I’m not bothered I have pads I can use, they are comfortable and they work.


Cover Hem First Attempt – Fail

So I kind brought a Coverstitch machine about a month ago or so. The machine I brought is a Janome 3 in one Overlocker, Cover Hem and Top Hem machine. Even though I already own an overlocker and use it regularly I kind of fell in love with this machine. I’m determine not let it sit in the box so I have played around with it a couple of times. I bit the bullet and tried it on skirt I’m making.


The front looks good and I’m happy with it. Those parallel lines of stitching just look like they are floating in mid air.


The back is a fail. I was sewing this skirt in the round not flat as I had already constructed it. In parts (ok a lot of parts) I missed covering the raw edge. I measured my hem all around and ironed it down before sewing but somehow I must not have lined the folded edge fully on my machine as I went around. I’m not too stressed about it and I don’t want to unpick it as it will leave 2 rows of holes. I have come up with 3 options

  1. Fold the bottom edge over again and slip stitch the hem down. This will mean the parallel stitching lines will be closer the edge but will still be there
  2. See if I can sew cotton twill tape or maybe some binding over the raw edge. I was think of using monopoly clear thread so it wouldn’t be so obvious on the front side
  3. Cut the hem off completing, overlock over the raw edge and try again with the cover hem. If I miss the hem line I can always tack the section in place with a few stitches and at least the raw edges are done. I have enough length in the skirt so I can get away with it.

At this stage I’m leaning more to option 2. I have white twill tape which I can use. I’ll have a think.