Posts Tagged ‘sewing’


Our car recently spent some time at the mechanics. It went in for a service and some other repairs. Having one car makes it very difficult to get  Gorgeous Girl to school and back when it is out of action. Fortunately, some friends of ours lent us their car so that we could get to and from school.

So I made them some placemats to say thank you. One thing I love about sewing is the speed at which the projects come together (if I don’t screw up the cutting or sewing…)


I picked up these placemat panels before we left South Africa, so they have been marinating in the stash for a while.

I backed them with traditional African fabric that I was stunned to see one of the local supermarkets here in PNG selling. This is the same brand as the fabric I picked up in Zambia during our holiday there.


Hopefully they like them.

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I made an article of clothing from a pattern and it fits!

As soon as Gorgeous Girl saw it she put it on and then grabbed dolly with the matching dress (same pattern, not the same fabric).


She likes it.


I managed to do french seams on the sides.


I’m quite impressed with myself about that.

Gorgeous Girl found some lace in the stash when we were selecting fabric and insisted that it be added. Thanks to my friend Google I worked out how to add lace to a hem without too much trauma.

lace hem

While the machine was out I made a pillowcase for a friend of Gorgeous Girl’s who is having a birthday soon.


Gorgeous Girl insisted on giving it a test run.


Funny kid. It’s now all wrapped up and ready to be gifted. I hope the recipient likes it. I’m always worried about giving handmade gifts to other people’s children because I know not all families value handmade as much as ours (and our extended family) does.

Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl went out to one of the National Parks recently. Here is Gorgeous Girl relaxing after a 2 kilometre walk and a leech bite.

Araminta in Varirata

Gorgeous Man really does take the most beautiful photos of Gorgeous Girl. This really captures her. She wasn’t too fazed by the leech bite. She told me that she “wasn’t happy” because she got bitten by a leech, but it was OK because Daddy had picked it off.


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I finished the dress for Gorgeous Girl’s doll. I’m pleased with how it turned out. This doll belonged to me as a child but she lives with Gorgeous Girl now.

doll dress1

The pattern is a free one from from Oliver + S. I am a sewing pattern novice and this was easy to follow. I’d pay money for some of their other patterns it was so well written.

I think Gorgeous Girl is happy with the dress.

doll dress2

Dress, sewn by me, fabrics chosen by Gorgeous Girl.

(As an aside, you can see the neighbour’s house in the background of the photo. Ours is identical.  We park our car underneath).

While hunting through the stash to find the fabric for Gorgeous Girl’s dress I came across a few test blocks from a quilt I decided not to go ahead with (test blocks revealed some serious flaws in the pattern instructions). I decided to whip them together quickly and make a coaster for Gorgeous Girl to keep on the coffee table. Not my best work, but out of the stash and put to use…

quick coaster

This is my picture. Not content with that, Gorgeous Girl asked for the camera so she could style the shot.


Her dress is in progress, but I’ve learned not to sew when tired, so instead of finishing it off tonight I’m going to crash on the couch with some knitting for about 20 minutes and then head to bed. Hopefully I’ll be able to sneak a few minutes at the machine tomorrow.


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When I lived in South Africa I belonged to a number of yarn and fibre clubs run by the fabulous Carle at Nurturing Fibres.   Last year I used one of the yarn clubs to make this shawlette.

22.5 degrees1

Each yarn club came with the main ball of yarn and then a small ball of luxury yarn dyed in the same colourway. I needed to break into my luxury yarn to finish this off and I had a tiny ball left over. I didn’t want to just throw it out, but there really wasn’t enough to do much with. Anyway, a few minutes with my crochet hook and I had made this.

crochet flower bookmark

A new bookmark, and there was only one inch of yarn left at the end.

Recently I decided that it might be time to cut into the fabric that I bought to make Gorgeous Girl a dress with far too many a few years ago. This free pattern,  the popover sundress by Oliver+S caught my eye.

I decided to make the doll sized dress first to make sure I understood all the instructions in the pattern before cutting into the good stuff. (Also Gorgeous Girl is unwell and is not willing to stand still for measurements etc). Gorgeous Girl picked two fabrics from her fabric stash. I enlarged the pattern. Her vintage doll (used to be mine) is the same length as the doll the dress is designed for, but is a little bit wider.

Several hours later I have a half finished dress.


I think Gorgeous Girl has put really nice fabrics together. The sense of accomplishment I felt when I realised I had successfully added the bias strip to the sleeve was ridiculous.


You have to remember that the last time I made a garment from a pattern was 22 years ago and I did it with lots of help from a friend’s mother. You are also reading the blog of a woman who failed sewing in Year 8 (back in the days when F’s still appeared on report cards) and only managed to scrape a C- in Year 10 (the last time I took the subject…)

Gorgeous Girl is on holidays at the moment, and she’s got a nasty chest infection. So the school hours when I usually work on my thesis are otherwise occupied at the moment. This means I need to start using my evening crafting time as writing time instead. So I don’t expect to see this finished until next weekend.

It’s currently sitting on the ironing board and I pat it every time I go past.


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One of our neighbours is turning one next week. (I promise this next bit is related) Yesterday Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl and her new carpooling friend set off for school. Traffic was so bad that they moved 100 metres in an hour. At 8.45 am (an hour and a half after they had set off) Gorgeous Man made the executive decision to turn the car around and bring them home for the day.

In the morning Gorgeous Girl and her friend did some maths and English worksheets and books I had in the house. They also did some painting and played outside. After her friend went home at lunch time. We decided to use the rest of our school free day sewing. (I also have to stop studying if Gorgeous Girl is home for the day, so it was ‘school free’ for both of us).  Gorgeous Girl asked if she could make a birthday present for the neighbour.

She raided her stash and drew a design on a piece of paper. (She traced one of our wooden figurines from South Africa). I helped by pinning the two bits of fabric together, cutting out, and sewing around the curves.

Presenting “Hornbill”

Side B

I also stuffed and sewed the eyes. I think it’s a great design. She’s very clear on her design vision, shape and fabric wise, just needs a little bit of help in the execution of it.

Hopefully her little friend will like his Gorgeous Girl Original.

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I have a mental block when it comes to sewing. Not the sewing that involves making quilts. That’s not a problem. But the sewing that involves making other things gives me pause.

Perhaps it comes from failing sewing in Year 8 at high school. I avoided it altogether in Year 9, opting to do woodwork and then in Year 10 scraped a C-. After that I chose all the academic subjects and my schooling in sewing was over.

So when it comes to sewing things I tend to procrastinate a little, and then I’m always amazed when they work out. Today I finished some sewing projects for Gorgeous Girl.

My MIL worked in China for a while and brought back a significant amount of novelty cotton yardage for me that she had found in the markets. I turned most of it into a top sheet last year. Last weekend I cut out part of the fabric and today cut out the rest, and sewed it to make a pillowcase.

I used a tutorial from an Australian magazine (either Handmade or Australian Patchwork and Stitching can’t remember off hand and it’s been put away already) that I picked up last time I was in Australia. I was very pleased with myself when this fitted the pillow.

Buoyed on by this success I turned my attention to a drawstring bag for Gorgeous Girl’s marble collection.

I used an online tutorial and in retrospect should probably have reduced the size of fabric they started with. My bag turned out huge. I also had problems squaring off the corners. Need to play around with that a little more I think.

Gorgeous Girl choose this fabric when we were still living in South Africa. It’s been used in a soft toy for her and now this bag and there is a little bit left to find its way into quilts. She chose the sheer purple ribbon for the closure. I have my doubts as to how that will hold up. But we will replace it if necessary…

Time to go and crash on the couch with my crocheting for an hour or so before tackling a new-to-me recipe for dinner.

What did you get up to this weekend?

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I finished two pieces of knitting recently. They are currently sitting on  a shelf waiting to be put into a ziplock bag and packed away for when we are in a colder place…

Firstly a linen stitch scarf from two balls of left over sock yarn. I love how this turned out. I keep eyeing the stash to see what other combinations I can put together.

Secondly, I finished a beaded silk cowl from handspun yarn. This was also left over from another project. It seems I’m all about using up the scraps at the moment.

I had the urge to sew this weekend. I added another two borders to the Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt. No photos. My design floor is currently occupied with train tracks… and then because I didn’t want to do the maths required to add another border I played with some scraps.

Here’s the scrap block before trimming.

It looks like a bit of a dog’s breakfast. There’s some left over fabric from my quilt in there, some scraps Kate sent me a while ago, some Saffron Craig fabric I found in an Op Shop (thrift store) and some fabric that I received from retiring quilters. I don’t foundation piece these. I just have a template next to my sewing machine that I measure against – it’s slightly larger than the size I trim to.

Then the block is trimmed.

And at some point they will be sewn together.

I find it amazing how well such a random selection of fabrics go together. I have piles of fabric set up and take the first one that fits in the space. The only proviso is that I don’t use the same fabric twice in a block.

I also made some cards, but sealed up the envelopes before I remembered to take a picture. I’m a bad blogger.

In other news we finally got insurance approval last week (for the car accident I had on the 14th of May). Our next door neighbour actually used photos of our car at a presentation he was giving at a conference on insurance in developing nations. We were his example of bad practice since it had taken so long to be processed. Anyway, we dropped the car off this morning to be repaired. Hopefully it won’t take too long to get done.

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Today is one of the hottest days we’ve had for a while (which is saying something, because everyday is hot here…). I’m hoping the neighbours didn’t see me in a wool hat standing on the balcony taking pictures of myself.

It was bright out as well.

Looking like my big 40 birthday is rapidly approaching. I don’t wear much make up here, it just sweats off, and I definitely need a haircut, but will wait another 10 days and get it done in Western Australia.

Here’s the top of the hat. I love the colours in this yarn.

Pattern is Runway . A donation of the pattern sales goes to a worthy cause. You can find more details about my hat here. 

I did this as a KAL. I might have been a bit too speedy, so far only one person in the group has posted a progress picture… I guess I have no life…

Because I’m not just a one trick pony, there has also been some sewing going on.

Finally working up some of those many placemat panels I bought before we left South Africa.

As you can see they don’t sit square – they are printed skew on the fabric. But I’m hoping that when they are around the table individually it won’t matter. These are earmarked for Christmas gifts.

Finally, one last batch of the purple merino measured and caked up. 173 metres to 75 grams.

It’s super soft and fluffy. Since I have a whole bunch  of this colourway I’m going to need to find a big project for it.

Father’s Day here today. We started the day with a cooked breakfast and will probably go out for lunch. We can’t go out for dinner because it’s too dangerous to drive back home in the dark. Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl have been down to the lake to feed the giant fish.

In other news, yesterday I went for a walk with Gorgeous Man and Gorgeous Girl.  I managed. I did start to feel a bit sore on the homeward leg – and we didn’t go far…I did have to take some anti-inflammatories when we got home, but there were no major repercussions this morning. So I can see progress happening slowly.

This year we’ve planted a little garden. We’ve put in tomatoes, cucumber, rock melon, and courgettes. When I find some pots so that it can grow in the shade we’ll plant some basil. One thing that is a surprise to us is how fast things grow. The cucumbers came up three days after planting and I swear you can see them get bigger from one day to the next. I’ll take some pictures this afternoon when things cool down a little.

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Morris now has a body. Legs and tail to follow soon. He has a two-tone body because I didn’t have as much of the dark yarn as I thought I had…

What is that interesting fabric Morris is sitting on? I hear you ask.

Well, today is a public holiday and so Gorgeous Girl had yesterday and today off school (as you do…). Yesterday she decided she’d like to do some sewing. So we put the borders on her little quilt top.

I found the green hippo fabric in an  op-shop (thrift store) in Australia at Christmas time. It’s lime green and is from IKEA. I kept a few bits for myself, but most went into Gorgeous Girl’s stash. These pieces were already cut into strips making it perfect to just add to the quilt. The borders are starting to wave a bit, so I think it’s time to convince Gorgeous Girl that it’s big enough and we should move on to quilting. I’m going to put the walking foot on my old machine (which she now refers to as her sewing machine) and let her go for it.

A very long time ago  I won a prize from Leah. I made the doll pattern pretty much immediately, but the blog roll pattern was tucked away for a time when my sewing skills were better. Last week hunting through the fabric stash I found the pattern and decided it was time (only 4 years later) to give it a whirl. I’ve started the embroidery section.

I only know how to do back-stitch. Really should look up how to do some other stitches…

Finally, admist all the scrapbooking, I took the time to make a simple thank you card.

Fussy cut flower from scrapbook paper and a die from my SMIL. If you look very carefully you can see that I’ve used my new bottle of perfect pearls (thanks Cathi) to edge the flowers.

In other news the camel yarn is plied and just needs to be skeined and washed. (Yeah I know, my life is terribly exciting…).

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Last week Gorgeous Girl’s platypus made an unexpected trip through the washing machine. He came out looking like this.

Very lumpy and misshapen. I carefully unstitched the hand stitching and removed the stuffing. Then a quick run under the iron to smooth out the wrinkles.

Then I restuffed him and sewed him shut again.

As good as new and one happy Gorgeous Girl.

In 2011 I bookmarked this tutorial for a gorgeous needle book case. Today I dug into the felt and embroidery stashes (these are both very small) and finally made one.

I need to get ink for the printer and so couldn’t print out the templates provided on in the tutorial, so I free hand drew the cloud shapes and the embroidery.

I used a back stitch for the swirl, I need to learn some more embroidery stitches at some stage. The three layers are joined along the top of the cloud.

I’m really pleased with how this turned out. It was quick and easy and I think these would  make a nice little gift for crafty friends.

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