Wednesday, 10 September 2014


Regular blogging should resume shortly.
My apologies for being so tardy!

Friday, 15 August 2014

Pay it Forward

Last November, I signed up to a Pay it Forward with Mary on Lake Pulaski and like she said in her blog post - "it is time to move it on"!  Thank you Mary - your hand embroidered tea towel was truly beautiful.

Pattern by Rebecca Sowers on Etsy

For my Pay it Forward, I am offering three people the chance to have one of these fun and colourful scrappy flower brooches sent to them in the post.  One of these flowers would look fab on a plain handbag or on a sweater, don't you think?

If you are interested, please comment below agreeing to the following:
  1. You will make a handmade gift for three people to give away on your blog (you must have a blog).
  2. You will do so within the next 365 days.
  3. You will smile while you PAY IT FORWARD.....I sure have!
The first three people who comment agreeing to the above will get a fun, happy, scrappy flower brooch!


P.S.  Please make sure I can contact you for your postal address!  Open internationally and the flowers will be posted in the last week of August.


Thursday, 14 August 2014

Big Bear

The lovely and talented Juliet of Tartan Kiwi put a call out for pattern testers. Once I saw the 'Big Bear' I KNEW I had to make him.

This is a 30 inch foundation paper pieced block and comes together really easily.  As ever, the hardest part was deciding which fabrics to use and then where to use them!

I decided to use my precious Art Gallery Pat Bravo Carnaby Street fabrics (I had 10 fat quarters) to make this gorgeous bear.  I wish now that I had used more contrasting fabrics for his back/hump against his light face.  I guess I will just have to make another!

My plans are to add a skinny border in navy (still undecided on navy) and then a nice wide border in Kona Silver to match the background that I used in the block.  Not sure what I will bind it in.

I hope to practice some free motion quilting on this guy too - wish me luck with that as I a seem unable to get the correct tension on my machine.

Thank you Tartan Kiwi for letting me test Big Bear.

Linking to WiP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced 

WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced

July 2014 month in reviw

Ooops - here I am with another very belated month in review.  Better late than never though, right!?

I loved the month of July. Once I returned from my great trip to Canada to see family and (new) friends, I set myself some deadlines and got to it!!  Here is what I achieved:

With all the sewing in July, I managed to cross off a few things from my Quarter 3 Finish Along goals, as well as A Lovely Year of Finishes July goal.  Yay - I love achieving things and crossing them off the list(s)! 

My favourite two makes of July were the Arrow Table Runner and the Ellie Travel Tote that I made for my partner [Clothwork Melissa] in the Sew Sew Modern Swap.  I even made a Melody Miller mouse and a thumb/finger pin cushion to go with it!  Everything coordinated. 

In July I also battled with did a bit of garment sewing, got caught up with the Aurifil Designer of the Month blocks, got busy with some hand stitching on my Oakshott 'Plaid' quilt and made my bee test blocks in preparation of being bee mama in August.  All in all it was a busy month and I enjoyed every minute!!

I received swap items as well so I will blog about them soon!


Wednesday, 6 August 2014

ALYoF August 2014 GOAL

My A Lovely Year of Finishes goal for August 2014 will be to finish my EPP Carnival project (Katy Jones pattern) from Fat Quarterly Retreat three summers ago.  Strangely enough, I worked on this again last summer but I haven't touched it since.  Perhaps NOW is the time... again??

Christmas Carnival

Wish me luck!

Linking to Fiber of All Sorts
A Lovely Year of Finishes

Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Honest garment sewing

As a Plus Size goddess woman, I find it difficult to find clothes that fit and that can also be considered 'trendy' for my age group.  I long to wear handmade clothes in the fabrics that I drool on in the fabric shops.

The minute I was contacted by Simplicity New Look (shortly after the #NYLon meet up) to see if I would like to sew a couple of patterns from their website, I jumped at the chance.  Once I started looking on their website for something that I liked and would possibly suit me, I discovered that they had Plus Size patterns!  I put 'plus' in the search box and there were loads of garments available - and at very reasonable prices (in pounds sterling).  I eventually chose "It's so easy it's Simplicity" pattern #1494 for unisex Pyjama bottoms [US sizes S-XXXL] along with a "Burda Style" Dress and Tunic pattern #6972 [US sizes 18-30].

These patterns were provided at no cost to me so that I could review them.  All my opinions are my own!  Thank you Simplicity for allowing me to try my hand at garment sewing.  I will definitely continue sewing clothes for myself and I will no doubt improve each time.  Everyone has to start somewhere, right!   

Here are some of my top tips when sewing a garment:
  1. Take really thorough measurements of your body and TRUST the sizing guide on the pattern!
  2. Before cutting into really expensive fabric, make a test garment in cheap(er) fabric to see if you need to make any adjustments.
  3. Buy a fabric marking tool (a tailors chalk or something similar) to transfer all of the pattern markings onto the fabric.  There are different colours out there so depending on what colour your fabric is, you can buy a colour that will show up.
  4. Read the pattern OUT LOUD if the instructions are confusing or if there is no diagram to follow. 
  5. If you trace the pattern, be VERY VERY accurate and mark all the pattern markings onto your tracing paper.  Label each piece as labelled on the original pattern.
Yes, this is a list of things I wished I had done!!  'Sew', with all of these tips in mind, let me share my garment sewing experience with you!

Pyjama bottoms
I did not measure myself for the pyjama bottoms - I figured that I was a XXL so I went for it!  I pinned the pattern directly onto my fabric, cutting through the printed tissue and then followed the directions to sew them up.  Before the waistband and hem stage, I could already see that they were going to be huge so I put them on to show Mr Crafty Shenanigans and we laughed and laughed!  They were about a foot too big at the waist and the 'waist' came up to my boobs!  Sexy pj's right?!   

So, I spent some time ripping out all the seams so I could re-cut the fabric to my size.  I sort of measured myself and still didn't trust the pattern (I am apparently a slow learner!) so I cut the Large size on the pattern.  However.... since I cut the tissue paper initially to the XXL size, some of the L size markings were now cut away so I had to make a few modifications to make them fit me better after they were sewn up.

Additional modifications I made were to narrow the legs slightly only because I thought they were a bit too baggy.  I also cut 5 inches off the waist before inserting the elastic and I double folded the fabric at the waist band where the elastic went to make it sit on my waist when the elastic was inserted.

I learned quite a bit from making this garment and I am happy to say that I will make another pair of these again another day, now that I know what 'size' I am and how they fit.  I already have the most delicious flannel for the next pair!  The most useful thing I did was label each piece of leg fabric in pencil near the waist area to show me which was the Front and Back.  This made sewing them together much easier.  When they were finished, I sewed a little ribbon to the front of the pj's so I can tell which way to put them on!

Before hemming.  Pixlr graphics. 

My opinion of the pattern would be that it was a great Beginner pattern but I personally needed a couple more diagrams (I am a visual learner) to make some instructions easier to follow or perhaps a few extra sentences in the written instructions instead!  The pattern was definitely suitable for Beginners and I eventually created a wearable pair of really cool looking pyjamas.  Success!!

Tunic top
I am sad to say that I have given up making the tunic top (in my chosen fabric anyways).  This pattern has beaten me despite being labelled as 'easy'.  The fabric I picked was a delicious Kaffe Fassett rayon, which the pattern said was a suitable fabric to use, but I discovered it was too slippery for me to sew.  As a beginner, I think that I should have definitely picked a different fabric.

The pattern did not have enough diagrams for me so I struggled from the beginning.  Like I said before, I am a visual learner so pictures or diagrams are more helpful than words.  Not understanding the written instructions made me quite frustrated which meant that I procrastinated and avoided completing it.  Each time I attempted to work on it, I felt overwhelmed and stupid for not understanding so I would walk away.  In hindsight, I should have made a test garment in cheap(er) fabric so the pressure of messing up expensive fabric wasn't always on my mind!  

One of my first mistakes was that I traced my pattern and I am fairly certain that I was not accurate enough.  Add that factor to the slippery fabric and I created a disaster before I even started!   This pattern had a lot of pieces compared to the pj's which only had two!  

One day I will attempt another version of this tunic and enlist the help of my clever garment-sewing pals.  Once I have someone helping me and explaining as I go, I am sure it will all make sense and I will realise how simple this tunic (probably) is/was.  Stay tuned I guess!

My opinion of this pattern was that it was not 'easy' as suggested.  Someone with more garment sewing experience under their belt would no doubt make this in a flash but as I have only followed two tissue patterns in my adult life, I found it difficult. 

Thank you Simplicity [] for sending me these patterns to review.  I look forward to sewing for myself again one day!

Readers: please let me know some of your top tips to follow when sewing garments - I need all the tips and advice I can get!

Happy sewing!