Tuesday, 12 August 2014


Things are progressing nicely here with the sewing studio.  Gone are the blue and yellow stripes and daggy eighties curtains.  Hello to calming light white and gorgeous new flooring.  I'm starting to feel very excited :)  Such a relief to see this finally changing.  How did I suffer the old room so long?

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Back to work

I've been quiet again, and my excuse this time is partly due to more holidays, but also because I have been renovating like a maniac.  I have a bit of an exciting project underway at the moment which I will be able to tell more about in the coming months, but it involves giving the sewing studio a BIG makeover.  Gone are the hideous blue and yellow walls and floral curtains.  Goodbye nasty mottled carpet.  A fresh coat of paint and new curtains are in and over the next couple of weeks the new flooring will go in.  I don't have a lot of money to splash around though so there will be less renovation and more innovation I think.  One thing I am considering is the ugly fluorescent lighting in there.  The studio has some good natural light in the early part of the day but those bright lights are essential for late afternoons and evenings when you are hunched over a needle.  So instead of removing them I am considering concealing them with some kind of creative disguise.  Like this - the Polish paper chandeliers they call Pajaki.  There are so many possibilities to be creative here so I don't intend to stick to tradition at all.  Only thing is I have to make mine rectangular to fit the fluoro tubes.  I can see I'm going to have fun with this  :)

Friday, 4 July 2014

Add a zip to a bag

Every now and then someone asks me if one of my bag patterns has a zip closure.  I've made my patterns as simple as possible for the beginner but they are easily upgraded for those ready for the challenge of zips.  Here is a great tutorial from Pattern Pile that shows you how to add a zip to a bag that otherwise didn't have a closure in the pattern.  And it's free!  Yay!


Of course, if you're doing the Sling Tote I think the easiest way of adding a zip would be to make the Sling Bag first and then pin the zip directly udner the top seams of the bag and stitch into place with the zip unzipped.

Friday, 27 June 2014

So very British and so very inspiring.

Image for How to make a bow tie
I just love this show to bits - The Great British Sewing Bee.  I only just started watching it - I had heard about it but assumed it wasn't shown in Australia.  But then one night while channel surfing whammo, there it was. I have to say I'm bummed that I've missed so much of it, but I'm catching up with bits of it here on the BBC site, where you will find their tutorial on making this cute bow tie.

I love that the show, unlike designer-y shows like Project Runway, focuses on regular people and the sewing skills they need for everyday projects.  And I love their challenges that focus on remaking thrift store finds.  Think I might have to have a go on that front.  I haven't altered a thrift store find for myself in a looooong time!

Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Stars and stripes

Happy Memorial Day for yesterday to our US friends.  Here's what I was making on the day, appropriately enough - a sweet little skirt from two cheap bandannas:

Maybe an odd thing for an Aussie to be up to, but my daughter's much loved Deputy Principal is retiring on Friday and she's American, so the kids will all be dressing up in American garb for her last day.  I think she'll get quite a kick out of seeing them all dressed up in her honour.  :)

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Maiden voyage

I can report that the new kiddie machine for my daughter is going well.  She loves it!  She immediately had me helping to make a library bag out of Barbie fabric and then up at 6 the next morning still in PJs to make a spotty skirt for Fluffy the toy echidna.  :)  Now she's asking for a scarf but I might hold her back for a minute to make a mini sized sewing machine cover coz that's the one thing this little devil didn't come with.

So she's finding the machine very easy to deal with.  The foot pedal is just right for her - nice and slow as predicted, and a good size too.  The only difficulty she is having so far is how to have her hands when the work is going through the machine.  If it's me sewing, I would normally have one hand on the left gently guiding the fabric through and the right hand holding the bottom out so it's not buckling.  Thing is she can't seem to have her two hands doing different things.  It must be a bit like rubbing your tummy and patting your head, but it makes her focus on her hands rather than the needle.  (Don't take your eyes off the pointy bit!)  So for now I am doing the right hand for her and she is doing the left.  We are a funny octopus to watch.  I have to say, there's a fair bit of funny goin' on in this house.  :)

Thursday, 15 May 2014

The perfect kids' sewing machine!

Check out this little darling I got on Ebay.  Cutest thing ever and so light.  I picked it up for my daughter.  She's started school now and is asking to make "real" things with me so I thought it was time to upgrade her to a "real" machine.  

I started her out a year ago on a toy machine that only does chain stitch (which unravels all over the place) and I've been reading all sorts of reviews online for a proper children's machine.  Initially I was hoping for something with a needle guard but no luck there.  Instead I came upon this, the Elna Mini (or Elna Sew Mini) - it's about a third the size of my Janome and only weighs about 2 kgs (and yes, I have considered that maybe I will be sneaking it away with me on trips!) but best of all for beginners and kids, it is nice and slow.  

The foot pedal is nice and small for tiny feet to control and the speed is limited so even if you slip and stomp down on it you aren't going to take yourself out with the needle.  After seeing my sister in her youth sew through the bone in her finger (and then stare mutely at the needle stuck there, completely startled at what she'd done) I was keen to find something with a bit of a safety feature.

This machine seems to be very similar to a couple of others on the market.  The Janome Sew Mini (the same name oddly) and the John Lewis Mini and then apparently Ikea even has a mini machine, although sadly not in Australia.

I can't wait for her to get home from school now.  I'll let you know how the maiden voyage goes.  And in the meantime, anyone want a children's toy machine in hot pink?