Quilting stress!

I made a little quilt. As its a little quilt, I will keep this post short. (In the essence of honesty, it’s also trauma which is keeping this post short!!)


One of my workmates was leaving for maternity leave. I saw the free pattern from Fat Quarter Shop for the Panda-Monium baby quilt and thought “eureka, that’s perfect!” for a leaving present. The unofficial theme for her baby presents was Panda’s and this would fit right in!

Then I started to doubt myself. I’m not experienced with quilting and the pressure of giving it to someone other than immediate family freaked me out I’ll admit. So I decided I “didn’t have the time” to make it and put it out of my mind.

Then, the weekend before my work went on leave, I found myself buying fabric to make this quilt. And I made it, quilted it, gifted it and it was well received. There was a bit of angst involved in the finishing and making the decision to actually gift it (I didn’t tell anyone I was making it in case I stuffed it all up and it looked silly). In the end, all the angst was unnecessary – why do we do this ourselves? A big thanks to Mr T who told me that keeping it “was not an option and of course she’ll like it”… thanks dude!

In the making of this quilt I learnt many things:

  • start early, not the week before its due
  • I need to work on straight lines when finishing the quilt top
  • my machine binding has improved out of sight since the first time
  • using masking tape to mark the quilting lines is easy, but has its issues
  • using the washing machine and dryer does not remove the masking tape you accidentally sewed over!
  • people love things you make them even if they’re not perfect
  • something can be great, even if its not perfect!

This was an angsty project, but if I’d not been going to give it to someone else I would have thoroughly enjoyed it. The piecing was so much fun, and as it was so little (originally approx 20″ square, though mine was a little bigger) it went fast! And now, after more words than I thought it would be, some photos!




Have a good week! xx


Where I try to “properly” make a skirt

I am very (very very) slowly doing a sewing course by correspondence. I signed up long ago before I realised the wealth of information that was available on this here interweb, and although I can get all the info I need from fellow bloggers, I am stubborn and want to get this course finished. One day.

As part of the course there are a number of garments to be made for assessment. And I have learned that sewing for me, myself and I is one thing but showing it to other people to get marked is quite terrifying! But I guess thats the point huh….


Love this fabric

So I was determined to make a really really really professional skirt for assessment. I wanted to do it right and have it  look perfect. I had some amazing denim I’d brought on sale on a trip to Auckland and decided to make the Grainline Moss. Its a mini skirt but can be adapted to a knee length and that sounded about right.

So I cut it out and went to sew it up. And paused. This was being marked after all!

Then I reread the course material and realised that the Grainline Moss didn’t meet the requirements for this garment  – it needed to have darts. Oops. But it meant I could make up this skirt without worrying if it was good enough – yay!

This is a pretty popular skirt and for good reason. Its a great wardrobe staple – though I can’t see myself in the mini skirt ever! The additional band at the bottom makes it much more life appropriate for me!

I finished all the seams in this skirt with Mock flat fell seams using Colette’s tutorial – they’re super easy. I was planning to do proper flat fell seams but with the smaller seam allowances I couldn’t be bothered fiddling with them to make them work! But I am really pleased at how even the Mock flat fell seams made it look better.

Check out the mock flat fell seams. can't see them? They're there, honestly!

Check out the mock flat fell seams. can’t see them? They’re there, honestly! (Ignore the puckers at the waistband though. You can’t see those either!)

There was a lot in this pattern that was new, and as a result a lot of unpicking which led to a little bit of stretch in some places. The denim has a lot of stretch in it anyway and the cotton matched the fabric so well I couldn’t see it on the dark fabric to unpick. But in the end its turned out ok.

This pattern had me use both inset pockets and a fly zip – two new techniques I can check off the list to skills to learn (the list to perfect the technique is another one that is hidden away in a dark dark drawer somewhere!).

All done!

I am proud to say that this is the most well constructed garment I’ve made. And improvement is what I am working towards. Perfection is non-existent really and I make these things cause I like them. As long as the clothes I make are wearable, I keep making them and so keep making them better. That’s the aim!

Mr T and I got these photos over the weekend when we headed up the line. We went to an outdoor sculpture park so had a great time. I love weekends!

side view


The finished product

The finished product

And some pictures from the sculpture park…

At the top left of this scuplture is a Fantail, a native bird. This one was quite interested in what Mr T and I were up to and followed us around for at least 15 minutes.

this horse is made of chicken wire...

this horse is made of chicken wire…

ok, this wasn't a sculpture but was my favourite thing!

ok, this wasn’t a sculpture but was my favourite thing!

bye for now

My Sew Weekly Reunion items!

All done!

Love these colours - it all turned out much more retro than I thought it would. But I"m really happy with it!

Love these colours – it all turned out much more retro than I thought it would. But I”m really happy with it!

The Sew Weekly Reunion Facts #1 – Capelet

Fabric: Burgundy Faux Fur, Lavender Silk Satin lining

Notions: Diamante Button, Burgundy Ribbon for binding.

Pantone Challenge colors: Beaujolais (yep a Man’s colour 🙂

Pattern: Peppermint Capelet

Year: 2013

Time to complete: Two evenings

First worn: Hasn’t been yet!

Wear again? Certainly will 🙂

Total Cost: $30(NZD)

The Sew Weekly Reunion Facts #2 – Skirt

Fabric: Burgundy Wool (40% wool, 60% viscose)

Notions: 20cm Zip

Pantone Challenge colors: Beaujolais

Pattern: Charlotte; By Hand London

Year: 2013

Time to complete: One evening 🙂

First worn: Aug 2013 @ work

Wear again? Probably – needs lining to be less scratchy!!!

Total Cost: $14 (NZD)

The Sew Weekly Reunion Facts #3 – Top

Fabric: Grey with blue and pink ribbons(100% polyester chiffon)

Notions: Blue bias binding

Pantone Challenge colors: Vivacious, Deep Lichen green, Mykonos Blue

Pattern: Burda Style 6/11 Boat Neck top

Year: 2011

Time to complete: 3 hours

First worn: not yet…

Wear again? I will. I have this in black and wear it a lot

Total Cost: $16.50 NZD

I’m so happy I did this challenge, these are colours I would never have put together – the grey and the burgandy, with the blue trim on the top (that you can’t see). Its been great seeing what others have done with the same palette as well.
And so endth the August sewing challenges… onto September!

Wow… halfway through 2013

Hey Happy 1st July…

jeepers this year is racing past isn’t it. At the start of the year I had set myself the challenge of sewing 12 items in 2013. At the start of April when I started this blog I had made none. Oops.

BUT things have changed people, I am up to 7 items – over halfway!!

1) orange skirt

2) grey wool skirt

3) Watson jacket (finished!!!!)

4) my wearable muslin for the dress to wear to the wedding

5) the bed rest/leaner thing

6) black boat neck top (a bit boring so unblogged)

7) Forest friends quilt

AND I have just finished my By Hand London Charlotte skirt…  today so I’ve not blogged it yet. Soon dear reader soon.

So I think I’ve done pretty well so far. I’ve discovered the unbelievable support that is the world of Sewing Blogs, particularly the Wellington girls. I have almost doubled my fabric stash, AND my pattern stash. I can’t wait for the rest of the year, I have SOOO many things planned to make.

So thanks for reading  my blog all you lot. I really appreciate it! Hope you have a great creative and productive rest of 2013!

A big hug from me to youl!!!

A big hug from me to you!!!

My first quilt

Sometimes I come across a project that gives me a burst of inspiration. Something that I immediately fall in love with and have to make. My first quilt is one of those.

Finished quiltI got Amiee Ray’s book Doodle Stitching: Embroidery & Beyond from the library the other week.   Oh my goodness I LOVE it!! Aimee Ray From the Pin cushion on the cover to the gorgeous patterns inside there is so much that I want to make in here!

I have done cross stitch for years but all other embroidery seemed too hard! :)But Amy explains it all in such a way that I can’t wait to dip in and give it a go.

When I first opened it  I saw the “Forest Friends Quilt” and it was love at first sight! I knew I had to make it, and have been consumed by thoughts of it ever since 🙂 The

It doesn’t happen that often that I get this obsessed but I love it when I do. If you look closely you can see the cross stitch embroidery that embellishes the quilt. There’s little trees, and animals and I loved the way it made a basic quilt a wee bit special.

So I decided to make my first ever quilt – just cause I could! This was a mission of love (wow how many times am I going to use that word in this post!!!) and I am so pleased with it! I know nothing about quilting so I just followed the books instructions and it all went a-ok. I am a little bit unhappy with the finish of the binding – its a bit puckered – but it will do for now til I learn more and replace it. One day….

The quilt isn’t that big at almost a meter square. It has 36 squares and I went out and selected 12 different fabrics. Then got home and looked at them and wondered if they were too dark AND too busy. Hmmm.the fabric selection

There were certainly patterned, but I limited the number of the three heaviest patterns and, although less bright than the original, they look ok. It does mean however my cross stitch is less obvious – but its more like a hidden forest. You have to look for the special bits!

The cross stitch is done with waste canvas which  lets you remove the threads after you have finished stitching. This is the first time I’ve used it and I’m a convert. I can see many many uses…

Waste canvas

And now some photos…

all done!

all done!

top left

Bottom left

I'm ready for my close up...

I’m ready for my close up…

the all important Gnome...

I thought something was missing, so I made up a pattern for a wee gnome – there is always at least one in any forest – and added him to the bottom left!

So my first quilt is done and dusted. Its not perfect by any stretch of the word, but I love it and thats what matters. It also counts as my first item for Indie Pattern month, another challenge run by the fantastic Curious Kiwi and the awesome Kat (check out the link for their great blogs, AND more info on the sew along).

The only issue with this project was that it made me realise how much time sewing takes away from other craft – you can only do one thing at a time. I’ve found over the last couple of months if I’m not working on something sewing-wise, I’ll be lurking on sewing blogs drinking in all your inspiration. Which leaves little time to pick up something else. Does anyone else have this tension between two loves? How do you deal with it??

The next post will hopefully be my update on my Charlotte skirt, also for Indie Pattern Month. Back to the sewing room I go!

May means Burda Sew Along… Part 3

Time for another update…

Last time we caught up with our intrepid dress it looked like this….

hmmmm not so good.But fear not dear reader… things have moved on 🙂

I pulled it all to pieces. put the correct edges together (and found another one that had been matched wrongly as well!) to0k out the extra-extra width pieces I’d added, took out the pockets that made my hips look huge and sewed it all together again.

And guess what, it looks like a dress:

Its a dress!!Despite the fact I was wearing my gym gear which means my undergarments are not conducive to support, I think we might be onto a winner. Maybe. However it still needs some major help with the fit….

still a bit big though...so next steps will be to head to a friends and fit it to me. I’m feeling much happier with this iteration.

There are some things to work on though:

  • the darts for the bodice aren’t in the right place, well one is, but the other isn’t
  • the skirt darts are not aligned. need to work on this
  • wondering if it needs a little bit more length?
  • for some odd reason, the front of the skirt which I didn’t make any adjustments is too big and doesn’t match the width of front bodice, which I have made wider. Weird!

But I am still enjoying this experiment and can’t wait to see how it looks next 🙂

So fellow Burda Sew Along folks, how are you are doing? I’m loving the photos on the Pinterest page. What challenges have you had, what successes? only one more week of May – scary huh!

In other news, I have many many many next projects planned. I met up with the fantastic girls from the Wellington Bloggers Network on the weekend and came away feeling really inspired. Can’t wait to get started. On everything. At the same time. Now!!!!!!

May Means Burda Sew Along… Part 2

so…. my Burda dress. We are after all halfway through the  month so time for an update it is.

Just a refresher – this is what the end product should look like when done….

BurdaStyle 3/2010

BurdaStyle 3/2010

challenges with making this are:

  • I’ve never made a dress before
  • I don’t know if it will suit me
  • I have to drastically adjust the pattern as I have nowhere near a Burda figure

Just a few things!  So I am doing the proper thing and making a toile first. As I don’t know if I would wear a dress like this anywhere else and as I think it might take me many tries to get right so I’ve started with muslin. And half a month in, my dress looks like this….

hmmmm not so good.

hmmm. Now I have to be honest and say that I have no idea how to resize a pattern. I started with cutting out the pattern as is, then measured across the front bodice and worked out how much I thought I needed to add on. I figured I needed another 1.5cm all the way around. I decided to increase the size of each front pattern by 1.5 cm – including the length figuring that it was easier to shorten rather than lengthen.

After drafting up and cutting the new pieces out, I then couldn’t work out how to get the jolly things back together! There are 5 pieces for the front bodice alone and of course they curve some so the flat edges don’t match like you think they should. In the end I pinned the original pieces together to work it out, and while playing with them realised that the original middle bodice pieces fit quite well – I just needed width.

So, I ended up with the original pieces with extra length added on. They went together fine and I figured I was on a roll. I added some width to the back pieces as well and then turned it into a bodice – yay! The only thing I couldn’t work out was a strange pointy thing where the centre bodice seams met – it stuck waay out… very very very strange. I looked it up online and couldn’t find anything like it elsewhere.

But onwards and upwards. I added some width to the back of the skirt – cause the front strangely fit the adjusted bodice as is (go figure). I knew I had some extra room in the back of the bodice. But this is a learning project and I AM learning. By late last night I had it roughly together, ready to fit I thought. Til I figured out I have an extra 14cm of fabric in the back of the bodice. And that the weird pointy bit was caused by one of the bodice pieces being sewn together upside down. Whoops.

So I spent the rest of last night unpicking most of what I have done. However before I did that I tried to see what it would look like on me finished – and I am very sad to say I don’t think this is gonna be a goer. I’m not the right body shape I fear. However, as annoyed as I was last night I think this dress is gorgeous and I am determined to keep trying. So its back to trial and error…. More updates before the end of Burda Sew Along May I promise!

In the meantime, a shot of my front room/drafting room!Scene of the ctime