Monday, 15 July 2019

A Needle Roll in Progress

Image from Inspiration Studios

Two years ago I bought a beautiful Inspirations magazine, completely swayed by the gorgeous Sue Spargo project on it's cover.  When I visited my sister in Brisbane that year, we both bought felt and ribbons to make our own versions of the featured needle roll.  Fast forward to this year and I have finally made a start.

A grey wet day in my sewing room,  saw me pulling out felt, fabrics and ribbons, deciding what I was going to use for embellishing the needle roll, cutting out all the pieces and finally making a start.  I had forgotten how much I enjoyed wool felt applique and the subsequent embroidery it requires.

I am changing my cover design slightly, my eyes can't handle stitching 1cm hexies together, and using different fabrics and trims from the original to make it my own taste.  It's going to be bright though.

Hopefully I get a chance to work on this in the evenings and get it finished this week.

Friday, 5 July 2019

Catch a "Fall"ing Star

Currently I am having an enforced break form sewing, while my machine is getting serviced, so it is a good time to try and finish some of the hand stitching wips I have.

Way back in August 2018, I started a canvas work project that my sister had sent me the pattern for.
I enjoyed working on it, though I did find it a little hard to stitch at night.  For some reason I put it aside and it got lost in the mess that was my sewing room.  Fast forward to a week or two ago, when I finished sewing my, coat and gave the sewing room a much needed tidy up.  Lo and behold I found the bag with it all in.

It hasn't actually taken to long to finish, and I am quite pleased with how it looks.  The finished size is about 7.5" square, and it is rather hard to photograph the colours accurately.

Now I just need to take it to the picture framers and let them work some magic on it.

Sunday, 23 June 2019

Oslo Coat

Much as I love my Sapporo Coat which I made last year, I felt that I needed a more classic colour and style to wear too.   I searched long and hard through pattern books and online, reading blogs and looking at instagram images and eventually settled on the Oslo Coat from Tessuti Patterns.

I bought a beautiful charcoal wool/rayon blend from Centrepoint fabrics, which luckily for me me was in a closing down sale.  The pattern was bought and downloaded, then assembled over a couple of days when I was home alone - it's about 100 pages to piece together.

Preparation of the pattern pieces also took a couple of days - there is the actual coat fabric, lining and interfacing to cut out, notches and tailor tacks to be done and interfacing to be adhered.  I need to remember too that notches work well in some fabrics and I don't need to tailor tack all the markings, the wool would have been a perfect example of this.

The pattern itself is very detailed, one cannot fault Tessuti for their instructions.  My only gripe (and I have seen others comment on this too) is that it is hard to see the photos clearly because of the dark fabrics they have used. I have found Tessuti patterns to be very accurate for my size, so based on my measurements, I made the size 8 without any adjustments.  I love the length of the coat, though possibly I could have lengthened the sleeves by an inch or so. I have read that a lot of people found the pocket placement too low, but I think it's pretty good on me. For the record I am about 5'8".  Sewing the pivot points, was a wee bit tricky, and by the time all the coat was assembled, there was a wee bit of weight to manouvre through the machine.

Lining is a grey and white dotty acetate, and the sleeves a grey bemberg - guess who misread the pattern requirements and didn't buy enough dotty fabric.  I made little tether chains to hold the pockets in place and added a ribbon loop for hanging purposes if required.  Lots of button holes were practiced on scraps, before sewing the real version.  My machine has a few different styles to make and I chose the round end button hole.  A plain black button from my stash finished it off.

Judging by this  predicted weather forecast, I have finished it just in time to  enjoy wearing it and stay warm and cosy.  Miss B has also hinted that maybe next year when she's at university, a coat like this may be useful - guess it's a winning style.

Saturday, 22 June 2019


Recently I have had a few friends in the real world and on social media say they feel like they have lost their creative mojo and/or sewjo.  I know that at times it happens to everyone, (it has to me ) and sometimes life gets in the way, but it has made me wonder that if perhaps with all the social media influences that affect our lives, we are feeling compelled and pressurised to keep up with other quilters, sewers, creative people.

Are we constantly feeling the need to be making something new, producing new quilts or garments, buying the latest fabric, patterns etc,and posting about them, so that we are getting likes on social media. 

I've started working on this in the evenings again.

No, I didn't create this, but I enjoyed eating it.

Maybe when we feel that we've lost our sewjo/creativity rather than endlessly scrolling through instagram or pinterest looking for inspiration,  we actually need to remove ourselves from it for a while and find some new sources of inspiration.

Go for walks, look at beautiful gardens, visit art galleries and museums.  Tidy up your sewing space, maybe even finish some unfinished projects, often the sense of achievment from completing a project is like removing a burden, and that can free up your creativity.  Rearrange your house, wear different colours, read books that take you to a new place- fiction or non fiction, it doesn't really matter, try some new recipes.  This article has some interesting ideas too.

Creating and being creative, is something you do for yourself, something that gives you pleasure, it is not a competition.

Sunday, 9 June 2019

Things Here Lately

Winter has well and truly arrived in New Zealand now.  I'm enjoying
  • reading with the fire going.  I'm frantically trying to finish these two books,  as there are too many holds on them, for me to be able to renew them.  I love Frances Mayes' italian travel memoirs, they make me want to pack up and go to Italy, shop, eat and drink, and explore  all the lovely towns and cities she visits.  The Lost Roses is the prequel to The Lilac Girls which I finished and enjoyed a couple of months ago.
  • putting a brightly coloured quilt on my bed for extra warmth, Meeka enjoys this too.  This is my Anna Maria Horner Trellis Garden Quilt I finished last year,  I've decided it needs to be loved and used, not just kept folded up in case it fades, or gets dirty.
  • making a new winter coat - this time its the Oslo Coat from Tessuti Patterns.  The fabric is a deep charcoal wool/rayon, it's all cut out, tailor tacked, notched and interfaced.  Now I just need some time for sewing.
  • the bright splashes of colour from the flowering Vireya and Manuka in my garden.  I really need to get out and cut some things back for winter and plant some flower seedlings in my front garden for some late winter colour.
  • a few minutes time out in the traffic jam I was stuck in on Sunday while taking my daughter to archery.
Wishing you all a wonderful week ahead.

Monday, 27 May 2019

More Botanic Trousers


I made another pair of Botanic trousers, this time in a navy cupro. 
For those wondering what cupro fabric is, here are the nitty gritty details from Perfectly Basics

Cupro is a regenerated cellulose fiber that is produced by treating cotton cellulose with cuprammonium salt. It is especially known to resemble silk, and is also known as artificial silk.


Cupro fabrics breath like cotton, drapes beautifully, and look and feels like silk on your skin. Just like most other regenerated cellulosic fibers is possess low shrinkage characteristics, as well as good moisture absorbency and wrinkle resistant qualities. It has subtle luster and takes up dye very well – giving rich colored garments. A disadvantage with cupro is that it takes up stains very easily.

This fabric was a delight to sew and I love how this pair of trousers drapes, it really does have the swish factor when I walk.  I made the self fabric belt too, but have had some troubles attaching the belt loops, so that part is still a work in progress.  I'm really looking forward to wearing these, however do need to make or buy some fitted tops more suited to cooler temperatures to wear with them.  

**photos by Miss B**

Monday, 13 May 2019

Finished - Hexie Pillow


A wet Mother's Day afternoon, saw me finally sewing up my hexi pillow.

After trimming the cover to size and curving the corners, I machine basted on the divine rainbow fringing,I had purchased especially for this cushion and decided to make a simple envelope enclosure for the reverse.  I had a scrap of fabric which I felt worked perfectly with the hexies and multicoloured fringing just to jazz it up a little bit.

It is now living on the soda in my family room, with my other AMH hexi and Mandolin cushions. 

Now I can start another pair of botanic trousers feeling guilt free.

Wednesday, 8 May 2019

Botanic Trousers

Late last year I bought myself a pair of lightweight rayon culottes, which I have absolutely lived in over summer.  They've been  dressed up, dressed down, and have made for perfect work wear too.

I recently saw the Botanic Trousers by Pauline Alice patterns on Instagram and decided to try and make some of my own.  They appeared a lot wider in the leg than I wanted, but a lot of sewers seemed to have made them in a stiffer fabric, which meant they wouldn't drape as well.

The pattern was duly purchased, downloaded and assembled, and some lightweight eucalyptus tencel in a dark blackish greenish (licorice) colour was my fabric of choice.

My waist and hip measurements put me as size 40 (European sizing for this pattern) and I decided to lengthen the pattern by 3 inches seeing as I'm taller than who the pattern is designed for.

The pattern itself is a very easy sew.  There is no zip, they have pockets, front pleats and elastic at the back, In fact, the only part I didn't like was the instructions for attaching the waistband with the elastic already attached.  I unpicked it twice and eventually put the waistband on first and then threaded the elastic through and attached it at the side seams.  At this point I have omitted belt loops and the the self fabric belt.

Overall I love how they look, they fit comfortably around the waist (could be a little tighter) float beautifully as I walk, and I love that it looks as though I'm wearing a skirt but I'm actually not.

Tuesday, 7 May 2019

Things Here Lately

Autumn is well and truly here now, although it has been very mild and pleasant outside, evenings are still a little cooler.  Here's a little bit of what I have been kept busy with, and enjoying over the past couple of weeks.

  • The quilting plan for my Hexie pillow cover has changed.  Last night I decided the quilting I had already done just wasn't me.  Luckily I hadn't done any more since this post, so it didn't take to long to unpick.  Some tape for stitching guides was applied, a brighter thread used, and voila, a finished pillow top.
  • Miss B celebrated a birthday last week, I made her a Spiced Honey Cake using this recipe.  Quite mild, not overly sweet, though I could quite happily sit there and scoff a bowl of the icing myself.
  • Some good books have been read.  I especially enjoyed Where the Crawdads Sing.  I have noticed that a lot of my reads this year are based on strong female characters set in the times of WW2.
  • I had a quick trip on the train to Drapers fabric the other weekend.  The greenish/black fabric is tencel and is in the process of being turned into some culottes.  The navy cupro is probably destined for the same pattern, and I couldn't resist this animal print viscose which will be a top of some description.
  • My tamarillos are slowly ripening.  My tree is quite laden and with them currently priced at NZ$12.99/kg in the supermarket I am quite pleased to be able to enjoy lots of them this season.
Wishing you all a wonderful May.