My swap partner for the “Bee Still My ♥“ mentioned about she would like something for the wall of her sewing room. I’d seen people do art with embroidery hoops that you can hang on the wall so I wanted to do something like that with a bee theme. I had leftover fabric from making the Honeycomb mini when in the August Sew Box we got a link to this great tutorial by Rachael from Sew Today Clean Tomorrow I found the perfect match. On the front pocket I decided to repeat the same bee design as on the mini I just reduced down the size of it on the photocopier before tracing it. On the back of the hoop is a piece of wool felt which I slipped stitched into place to cover up all the fabric ends and make it look pretty. As I didn’t know what notions I would be putting in this hoop I just marked out the stitching lines on the divided pockets about 2″ apart. I made this hoop a couple of weeks before I pattern tested the hexie bowls. I really loved the hoop tutorial so when Rachael wanted pattern testers I put my hand up as her instructions are easy to follow.
I signed up to another Instagram swap “Bee Still My ♥ ” which had a bee theme to it. As soon as I saw this swap I wanted to be involved as I knew exactly what I would make, a mini quilt that is on the cover of Little Quilts designed by Sarah Fielke. I’ve always wanted to make this but never had the need too. My version is a little different to Sarah’s. Sarah has pieced the front of her quilt with hexies and has a single piece of fabric backing, I however have a one piece of fabric on the front and have a hexie pieced back.
I used my Big Shot to cut out the hexie papers and fabric. Due to the size of dies I had my hexies were smaller than in the pattern and I used more. My swap partner liked blue and green and I was lucky to find honeycomb fabric in both colour tones so I used only these 2 fabrics to make the piece. Originally I was going to have the pieced hexies on the front like the original pattern but when it came to tracing on my bee stitchery I couldn’t see through the fabric even over my lightbox with the house in darkness so I had to decide on a plan B. I’d already pieced the fabric so I really wanted to use it in this mini so I decided to use this as the backing.
I’m actually glad my plan A never worked as I really like the bee stitching on the tone on tone hive fabric. It’s so simple yet but really effective. The bee is hand back stitched using 2 strands of floss with the wings on the veins done with single thread. To quilt this I wanted to frame the stitchery in a hexagon so I used an acrylic template to trace around it. I then repositioned the template tracing out the shape over the entire piece using the centre hexagon as a guide. I marked it with a frixon pen (the same way I marked out the stitchery) I didn’t think it would be enough quilting to so I used a smaller size hexagon to trace out an inner line in each one. I used a Rasant thread that matched the fabric. I wanted the quilting to blend into the background. The binding is some pre-made bias I brought at the June craft show. I took fabric swatches with me to get a colour that matches. I found a tutorial by the Haby Goddess on how to sew curved binding as I’ve never done it before. I struggle with regular binding let alone curves. I followed advice from the tutorial, took my time and it was actually easy.
Looking at it I can’t believe I actually made this. It has turned out better than I imagined it would. The quilting on the front mimics hive fabric. I kept the bee stitchery simple. The best thing was I had fun doing this project. It was a combination of hand work, machine work, learning new skills, problem solving. I gave myself plenty of time and I didn’t rush this. My swap partner really likes it and I got to make a pattern I’d wanted to make.
I went to my first Australian Sewing Guild NSW Industry Day and I loved it!!! The event is held annually at Simplicity patterns, we’re lucky to have the factory in a suburb in Sydney.
Throughout the day we had a number of people from different companies within the sewing industry give talks and demonstrations. As were at Simplicity Patterns we were given a talk on what was happening with the company in terms on of products they have and what plans they have in the future. We were told about the current sewing trends both here and in America. It was interesting to hear this information about a company I’ve always heard of but never knew much about. Our first guest speaker was from Japan Made who gave us a lovely history of Kimonos. She talked of how they were made, how they were worn and how through the stages in a persons life different ones were worn. It was really interesting. Our second guest speaker was from Atelier Rose Bridal. She gave us in insight into the behind the scenes running of a bridal gown business, how different customers interacted when gowns were being made, the styles that are popular. Even though I’m not into bridal things I found her talk to be very interesting as she stressed a lot of the fundamental things about fitting any clothing when you are making it. If your going to wear special underwear or shoes with the garment have them on when you are being fitted for it as it impacts your posture and body shape. Before you begin cutting fabric image in your head what the final piece will look like, if you can’t see it in your head than don’t cut the fabric walk away from it and go back once you can envisage it. She also had some exotic fabrics which were taken around the room for us all to have a look at. One fabric was over $1000/m, it was lacy and had wool embroidery through it and beading. When it came around the room I had to touch it as I was never going to get a chance to look at fabric that cost that much ever again. It was beautiful. Our third guest speaker for the day was from In2Mode, she gave us a talk about draping fabrics and demonstrated how to drape a fabric for a shirt. It was interesting to watch and learn. There was a fashion parade where members got up and showed off items they had made. I really enjoyed seeing what others had made. Some people embellished ready made garments, altering them slightly and giving them a new look. Some people upcycled garments from opshops, some people made the same pattern on several garments but in different fabrics each time. It was very inspiring and got my mind ticking at the possibilities.
Between the different talks there was plenty of time for shopping. There were 3 sections of shopping. The first area was where members could bring in fabric from their stash they didn’t need and sell it on a table that was set up. I didn’t buy anything from this section as I just didn’t see anything that jumped out at me. I never know how much fabric I’m going to need for a garment so I’m always hesitant to buy just pieces. I was later talking to a fellow guild member who gave me tips on how to guesstimate how much fabric you need.
The second area were stalls set up by a few retailers (including our guest speakers) where you could buy different fabrics. I got some cotton fabric from Japan Made. I’m not really into dragonflies but I did have them on my old handbag (brought not made) so when I saw this fabric I was drawn to it. Maybe I do have a hidden dragon fly thing. I’ve got 1.5m I’m thinking a bag (possibly another 2ZH) but there is a chance it could also become a skirt or most likely both.
At one store I spotted this grey fabric at the bottom of a pile. I had to get the stall holder to help me get it out. I’ve been told it’s a polyester crepe (I don’t know fabrics) I don’t wear synthetic stuff but I love the cut out work on this fabric. I could get away with wearing it in winter and in my head I see this as a long winter skirt with the cutout as a feature border around the bottom. I think I’ve already got a pattern in mind for it.
At another store I found this wool fabric. There is 2.5m in the main piece and over 50cm in the blue fur. I recently purchased a cape pattern and this fabric would be perfect for it I think… or it could be another skirt.
The third section was by Simplicity, there was notions, trims and of course patterns. I was excited to get the cardboard pattern cutting board for $10. I have been wanting to get one of these for ages. I can spread it out over my cutting table. At the moment I only have a medium size cutting matt so when it comes to measuring out anything over 22″ I struggle. This one has all the different units of measurement centimetres, inches, yards. I always get confused with the maths conversion between imperial and metric.
On the day Guild members can buy any pattern by Simplicity, Burda and New Look for $5 each. I only purchased 1 pattern as I have a few already. To my surprise the trims on the plastic rolls were $5 for the entire roll and not sold by the metre. I picked up a few, I guess I really liked the blue one as I picked up 2 of that trim (discovered this when I got home) I have no idea what I’m going to do with over 5m of 4″ fur trim but I was standing there patting it without realising so when I found out the price it was coming home. I also picked up a set of interchangeable knitting needles. I have the same brand (Boye) in crochet hooks which are great so when I saw these I thought perfect as I was wanting a set and for $20 I’m happy. They are in their own zipper case so I can keep them all together. I also picked up a Learn to Knit series which comes with all your basic knitting needs. After reading the book that came with it I picked out about 3 patterns I wanted to try.
I had a really good day and learnt a lot from all the guest speakers but also from fellow guild members. I even won a lucky door prize of a leather thimble. As far as shopping goes maybe I over spent a little bit but I think its like craft shows the first time you go you lose your mind purchasing everything but the next time you go you’re more selective. Some items are one off purchases like the cutting board and knitting needles. I’m vowing to use the trims and the fabric I’ve brought within the next 12mths. At next years Industry Day if I haven’t used (partly used counts as used) the trims and fabric I brought this time than I’m not going to buy so much.
I’ve finished the baby blanket I’ve been working on the last few months. The final blanket measures approximately 39″ x 55″ (99cm x 140cm) when turned the other way on my queen bed it almost covers the width of the bed. As I have done on previous baby blankets I followed the basic Granny Stripe pattern by Lucy from Attic 24 for the main section. However, this is the official baby blanket I have done that is proper Trebles and not my mutant Half Trebles. To be honest I can’t tell the difference.
I decided to add a border to this one. I used the same border that I did for my cozy blanket, simple 3 rows of trebles. I’m really happy with the border, I think it frames it nicely. I like a straight edge on a blanket. Don’t get me wrong I’m not anti picot edging that does look nice but I really like the look of a straight edge particularly when it’s folded up. It looks smooth.
I used about 5.5 balls of Bendigo Woollen Mills Deep Rose Classic yarn. 5 balls on the main section and about 1/2 ball on the edging. The yarn chosen is 100% wool and machine washable. I’m hoping this blanket will be used for many years as the child grows. It’s kept me warm making it. As with all blankets I have done the minute I weave in the last end I’m at a loss what to do. I don’t realise how much I enjoy doing simple crochet blankets until I stop. Basic treble after treble in mindless but really relaxing.
Hot off my sewing machine this morning I finished a 2 Zip Hipster for me.
This is the second time I’ve made this bag after making one for a friend back in April. You would think second time around it would be easier but unfortunately no. I actually had a bit of trouble with this bag. From the start I will say it was me and not the pattern, the pattern is awesome it was just the person reading it. I probably rushed this more than I did last time. My stitching isn’t the neatest. I had to redo a couple of seams. I didn’t fold back items I should have resulting in having to reverse sew with my trusty unpicker. I broke 2 needles on this bag. Once I forgot to remove my zipper foot before I began to top stitch, I had my needle position moved over so wham needle snapped. Lesson learnt always pay attention. Also last time I think I must have rotary cut the pieces as they are all basic rectangles but this time I cut them by hand which meant they were a bit out of alignment.
This time I think I used a thicker pellon than last time. This made it harder to stitch at times particularly in the bag strap. I broke my second needle when I tried to secure the strap at the end. I didn’t want to risk another needle so I hand stitched with rows of back stitch.
When I brought the fabric for this bag I tried to look stylish and professional (something very different for me) and used the same print fabric for the outside and the inside. The pattern is almost like a leaf or grass print. The outside with black background with blue print, the inside in light blue background with a slightly darker blue print.
I’m sure I’ll make this bag again. I’ll have to look at different pellon next time. I might sticker to thinner pellon as its easier to sew. You don’t really need a thick pellon in this bag or the strap. This is a great pattern with easy to follow instructions. I worked on this bag over a couple of days. I was just having one of those projects where you face hiccup after hiccup but in the end it all gets done.
Last weekend we had a regional Australian Sewing Guild sew-a-thon. The sew-a-thon is a 3 day event held in a local hall.
I worked on the A+ Skirt which I happened to get finished in one day thanks to some preparation I did at home which made the construction of it quicker. I wanted to make the skirt at the event so I could get tips from the experienced members who have been sewing for years. I’m only learning how to make clothes. I’m better at reading patterns, well PDF ones at least than I was before but I’m only at beginner clothing level.
I began working on 4 toys. They were all the same Melly and Me panel. All I had to do was cut out the panel and stitch up. I decided to make them in batches so on that day it was stitching all the limbs and appendages together.
I spent the entire day stuffing limbs and appendages I didn’t even touch my sewing machine. That was the first time I’ve been to a sew-a-thon and not started up my little machine. By the end of the day I still hadn’t finished all the stuffing.
Each day we were spoilt with lovely gifts. I got the cutest lady bug tissue holder, a leaf bowl that you can put bobbins in next to your machine or use as a thread catcher, a tomato pin cushion, pins, a thumb pin cushion and a really sweet hanging bag that you can hide stuff in and place in your wardrobe, if you place a jacket over it you wouldn’t even know it’s there what a great idea.
By the end of the weekend lots of people had made progress on the projects they were working on. We even got some items finished including tops, skirts, sheets, embroidered tea towels, kids clothing. It was lovely to see all the hard work people had done. Yes there was lots of fun and laughter but at times the room was silent as we all concentrated on our sewing. The members who attend are very generous and brought in any fabric or books they don’t need to share with the fellow members. I only took fabric I knew I could use for WIRES pouches and some beautiful knit fabric for a pattern I’ve wanted to try but didn’t have the perfect fabric. I also got some vintage buttons for a project for Xmas. I was also given some Press and Seal so I can create a pattern from an existing skirt I have but don’t want to pull apart. You can’t buy that in Australia so that was a real treat. I was able to speak to a lot of people and get advice on using my embroidery machine. You can read lots of things online but there is nothing like speaking to people face to face to get their advice. I really enjoyed the sew-a-thon. It’s great to spend time with such like-minded people.
The A+ Skirt was one of the patterns we got in this month’s Sew Box. I wanted to buy this pattern as I liked the style of it so I was over the moon to receive it this month. Just after I got the pattern I found this basket weave fabric on sale at quilt shop, it feels more like a linen rather than a quilting cotton. I thought the fabric print was good as I didn’t have to really pattern match I could just get away with it.
The only thing I did slightly different to the pattern instructions was before I started stitching the seams together I overlocked all my raw edges to prevent them from fraying. The pattern says to neaten the edges after you do the seams. My skirt is very unique with purple and pink thread as that is the colours I have on my overlocker at the moment. I really thought about this and put the purple on the dark side of the fabric and the pink on the light side.
The pattern was really easy to follow. It was a simple no stress pattern. Even the zipper was easy to do. I’ve never done a skirt with a zipper before. I made this on my small travel sewing machine so my top stitching wasn’t the neatest. No one will be getting that close to my waistline to inspect it so it doesn’t matter.
I made this skirt in a day. I love it the fit is really good, it’s a simple comfortable skirt. I even did the sit test so I know I can wear it to work. I made the XL size. I got my personal trainer to measure me for this skirt (I’ve known him for 10 years so I can ask him to do things like this and he is cool with it) I find it easier for someone else to measure me. I’ve only made the basic version of this skirt, the pattern has a couple of other variations including one with pockets.