September 2013 archive

Sewing therapy


Put your hand up if sewing is your therapy ;)  This week is selfish sewing week and I totally needed to make myself some pretties to feel better.    Yesterday I turned my quilt as you go (QAYG) mini into a cushion.  I didn’t quilt it at all as I just wanted the colours to show.  Isn’t she pretty?

QAYG selfish cushion

Because it’s selfish sewing week I decided to use one of my favourite prints on the back.  I’m worth it dammit.

Because it’s Selfish Sewing Week I used a special print just for me!

As much as my daughter loves this cushion I managed to snaffle it for myself and I love how it looks on my bed.

I used some favourite scraps and LOVE how it turned out!

This morning I really needed some sewing therapy; look good, feel good, right?  I pulled out the last of my Nottinghill voile yardage and grabbed a dress that I love but is a little too small.  I managed to kind of figure out the measurements and set about making myself a dress.

Nottinghill voile halterneck dress

Big love to the folk on IG who gave me some honest feedback that the boobs were baggy so I spent a good hour adding darts and trimming.  In hindsight I think the issue is probably that I joined the skirt to the bodice too low.  I think the dress would have a better shape if the elastic casing was just below the bust rather than at waist height.  Anyway, I got on with it, hemmed her (I love a good blind hem!), added a contrasting sash and decided that if it feels good it looks good ;)

You will notice there is one spot and one spot only in my yard suitable for photos LOL

I’m not generally one for a halterneck and I actually prefer this dress with the straps hanging long rather than tied in a bow.  It will be nice and cool on our hot summer days anyway :)

Summer here I come!

And the all important details :)  I use Aurifil 50wt for dressmaking, in fact I use it for everything!  I do need to start growing my Aurifil stash again, at the moment I’m getting by with about 20 spools.  The cushion is 20″ square with wool wadding, has a concealed zipper closure in the bottom seam and is backed with an old Alexander Henry print, African Butterflies.  I bought the Nottinghill voile at Pink Chalk fabrics and 3 yards got me both a Washi dress and this halterneck dress (I’m stingy LOL).

Selfish Sewing Week: Hosted by Made with Moxie and Imagine Gnats

I’m linking up to TGIFF over at Cherry Valley Designs for my cushion (it’s a mini quilt!) and Selfish Sewing Week because this week it’s all about me!

If you’ve read this far you probably already know, but don’t forget that I’m starting my quilty linky party here at Pretty Bobbins from next Thursday.  You can read more about it here.

i quilt blog button


I Quilt Thursdays Linky Party Announcement


i quilt blog button

So I had an absolutely brilliant idea recently and I’ve been dying to share it with you, I just had to ponder on it for a while (I’m a thinker!). ;)  Today I’m announcing a brand new linky party here at Pretty Bobbins.  Now I am living in fear that it will be me all by myself, so please feel free to link up every Thursday (starting next week, 3rd October) so that I don’t feel like it’s me and my imaginary quilting buddies ;)

Create Quilt

So what’s it all about???  I love quilting.  I mean I really love quilting.  For the last twenty years I’ve known that I wanted to go to University, learn languages, get married and have babies but I really didn’t have have any sort of passion for a career outside of being a Mummy.  For about twelve months I’ve known that quilting is it for me.  It took awhile to be brave enough to say it out loud (and a few times I had people look at me like I’m nuts) but if I quilt every day for the rest of my life I will die a happy and satisfied woman.

In addition to quilting I quite enjoy blogging.  Admittedly I do prefer the making of quilts to the sitting at the computer editing, but I really love the sense of community there is in the online quilting/crafting world, and my blog is a big part of how I connect to that.  I had been brainstorming trying to think of ways that I can give back to this community.

Celebrate Quilt

So the idea I have come up with is a weekly linky party here at Pretty Bobbins that is all about quilting.  Whilst my focus will be on free motion quilting on a domestic (and later a long arm) sewing machine, I would also love to see your quilting be it free motion, hand-quilting, or straight line quilting.  Do you use pantos, do you sketch your designs, do you just jump in and start stitching?  Come link up and share your knowledge!  All I ask is that you talk about your quilting process.  For example, how you came up with the design, any challenges you had, how you overcame them, anything you would do differently next time.  What weight thread worked for you, do you find one type of batting shows your quilting better than another.  The idea is that by sharing your quilting experience we can all learn and improve ours :)  We’re talking process baby!

Single my Aunt

Does that sound like fun?  It sounds like fun to me!  You don’t need to write an essay, just as long as your post has some focus on your quilting process.  Please don’t feel your quilting has to be perfect, the whole idea is that we’re all learning :)

Flight of the Butterflies

I then plan to have a theme on the last Thursday of the month.  For example, if the theme is feathers I would share my tips on quilting feathers and show you some examples of my feathers.  You would be welcome to join in by trying out quilting feathers or even just sketching them.  I want to encourage you to expand on your quilting.  That might be trying free motion quilting for the first time, trying a new design or trying a new technique.  I hope to learn as much from you as you do from me.  I also plan to share my experience getting to know my long arm next year as well as continuing to quilt on my domestic machine.  This party is for all quilters! :)

When a quilt is needed

I would love to hear from you.  Is this something that you’re interested in?  Are you excited?  Do you have a quilting question that you’d like me to address?  Any suggestions?

Starry Skies

I look forward to seeing you next Thursday!  Feel free to grab my shiny new linky button <3  The code is over there on the top right ->

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Let’s get busy quilting! See you on Thursday xx

South Pacific Dreaming


Tova Dress and Top for me!


As soon as I saw the Wiksten Tova pattern I knew I had to make it (I bought the PDF version available here).  It’s my favourite type of pattern; hides the wobbly bits, has a decent neckline (gives me shape but not too revealing) and versatile.  I would recommend it to intermediate to advanced sew-ers.  It is a rather forgiving pattern but the collar is fiddly and I had to make a few alterations to give it some shape.

I love this top with jeans!

First up I made a Tova tunic with long sleeves in Madrona Road (Wild Carrot in Straw) from Pink Castle Fabrics and Aurifil 2000 in 50wt.  It was very easy to lengthen the sleeves, I just measured my arm from shoulder to wrist and added about an inch then cut the sleeves to that length.  I found the top too large around the bust so I added a dart to each side, this took a bit of pinning to get right and they are slightly uneven on my first attempt, but not noticeable.

Tova top with full length sleeves and shortened collar

I really need tops that hide my tummy but don’t make me look like maternity wear.  When I first tried on my tova for fitting I looked like I was wearing a potato sack.  Not cool.  I added 5 rows of shirring (10″ wide and .5″ apart) at the center of the back  which really helped to give my tova some shape.  I also made the collar half the height of the pattern piece, Very Kerry Berry has a tutorial on this step.

Shirring added at center back to give shape

I was so happy with my tova top that I promptly whipped up a second one, this time as a dress using some yardage from the Notting Hill range.

Tova dress; feeling bold ;)

For my Tova dress I broke out some Nottinghill (Primrose Magenta from Pink Castle Fabrics) and stuck with the original 3/4 length sleeves and collar height.  I did make the same adjustments to the pattern (darts and shirring) and made the pattern at the suggested dress length.  Now I’m not one for a short skirt but I love this dress so much that I don’t mind that it’s a little shorter than I’m comfortable with.  I could easily lengthen the hem by an inch but I took up some of the length doing an invisible hem.

Tova dress back with added shirring.

The pattern suggests that you need 3.5 yards, I made a size L and just managed to squeeze it out of 2 yards of fabric with only the smallest of scraps left over (I wouldn’t suggest this and I couldn’t have done full length sleeves, but just so you know, it is possible).  I had fun using a bold pink thread, Aurifil 1100 in 50wt, I figured if the stitching won’t blend in because of the graphic print, then why not let it feature? :)

I find both my tova top and dress so comfortable to wear that I’m planning on making another with short sleeves.  I also think it would be the PERFECT pattern to use as a nightie, I’m thinking I might make a long sleeved dress Tova in flannel for next winter.  In the meantime I have a few other patterns that I’m itching to break out.  These two are fairly straight forward and one actually looks quite similar to the Tova.

Left: Simplicity 2363. Right New Look 6557

I’ve had these for ages but having had such success with the Tova I’m thinking I might try one of these two which require a bit more work.

Left: DKNY V2900. Right: Vogue V1086.

I have a few different prints that I have enough yardage to make myself another dress and I can’t wait.  I prefer to wear clothes by me as they fit perfectly, look good and I feel a little clever ;)  Plus, I NEED to grow my wardrobe.  Seriously.

Once again I’m adding these photos to the Selfish Sewing Week pool on Flickr.  Technically these weren’t sewn this week but they were sewn in September and I did have selfish sewing week in mind.  That counts, right? ;) There are some lovely items being made so make sure you pop over and check it out!

I’m linking up to Sew Cute Tuesday at Better Off Thread, pop by and say hi to Janice if you haven’t seen this linky before :)

Quilted 241 tote


I don’t remember when I first stumbled upon the blog Noodlehead, but I pinned her 241 Tote ages ago.  I love the shape and it’s a great pattern to use a number of different contrasting fabrics.  I recently purchased the pattern and made myself a 241 Tote to use as a travel bag for my trip to Australia.

Quilted 241 Tote

Almost all of the reviews of the 241 Tote mentioned that it is a little on the small size so I scaled up the pattern by adding about an inch to the pattern pieces (I kept the strap at the original length).  I did try to be clever and increase the print size but that was beyond me LOL  My tote ended up 15″ tall (in the center) and 17″ wide.

I LOVE the blue zippers! High contrast = fun

The bag ended up the perfect size for travelling but probably a little big for an everyday tote.  Mind you I tend to grab my phone, keys and wallet and not even use a bag most of the time!  It would be great as a Mum bag or a diaper bag once you’re not carrying around a HUGE amount, just a lot ;)

I love the pop of blue safety pins on the strap (my inner punk)

Being the quilter that I am I couldn’t resist the opportunity to quilt this baby :)  Using a gorgeous rich red (Aurifil 2260 in 50wt) I quilted one main panel in wonky SLQ and the other in a feather and some pebbles.  I really wanted the quilting to be free and natural rather than perfect and I’m so pleased with how it turned out.  I used the same red Aurifil thread to top stitch all of the sections of the bag and I love the affect.

The 241 tote makes a great travel bag with it’s numerous pockets

I had fun using some contrasting blue zippers and matching kona lagoon whilst using some loud oranges and yellows for the side panels and pockets.  In fact, all of the fabrics that I used for the exterior are favourites and I figured that this way I get to keep admiring them once I’ve used up all the rest in quilts and cushions.

pockets galore, key loop and a magnetic closure

I have a stack of interfacing but these days I much prefer to use wadding for bags to give structure.  I used some scraps (100% cotton wadding) and a furnishing weight fabric for the lining.  The lining isn’t the best match for the exterior but it does the job and saved me from dying of boredom whilst ironing on interfacing ;)

I’m adding this tote to the Selfish Sewing Group on Flickr and I encourage you to pop over and consider joining in.  Whilst I won’t use my 241 tote every day, it is my new go-to travel bag and I LOVE it!  We should all spend a little time sewing for ourselves occasionally :)


Cascading Color Quilt


I’ve finished my son’s Cascading Color (Colour) quilt top and can I say, I LOVE it!  This is destined to be a winter quilt with a flannel back and I really think it is going to bring such lovely colours into the house in winter.  But for now I have folded it up and put it away to quilt once I have my long arm next year.

The quilt is supposed to have a cascading tetris look to it, hence the lighter columns.

My husband kindly gave me five minutes to photograph this beauty before he headed to work this morning.  We have bright mornings in Nouméaa!  I love the affect of the colour cascading down the quilt.  I used so many favourite prints and it really was an exercise in admiring my stash :)

Colour comes tumbling down

I actually remarked to my husband last night that I’ve been really good and haven’t bought any fabric lately (he pointed to a large box of wadding that I claimed doesn’t count because it’s boring and essential).  He poo-pooed me and claimed to have seen fabric arrive of late.  Of course he is right, but again it doesn’t count because what he is referring to is my stash subscription from Pink Castle Fabrics and I don’t choose those, it’s more like a nice surprise each month ;)  Yup, total fabric ban happening here folks ;)  Seriously though, most of the low value prints in this quilt are from my subscription and I really find it so very useful.

The light spills from top left with the bottom right of the quilt being the darkest area.

In complete contrast, possibly my favourite area of this quilt top is the dark areas down the bottom.  I really think that this quilt will have longevity as it offers a variety of hues and only a few novelty prints.

Lots of fun prints including a French text print referencing our time here.

I actually pulled the prints for this quilt months ago and had been planning a Plus style quilt but I really love what I have here.  Essentially a heap of 5″ (cut 5.5″) squares and some rectangles that make up a 65″ x 90″ flimsy.  A great size for a twin bed and there is fun to be had in the quilting!  After having ten days of sewing I really enjoyed getting back to my Bernina and piecing this beast.  I used my Sewline gluepen rather than pins and the points are perfect.  I highly recommend it, although I’d be interested to hear if anyone has had trouble with it gumming up their machine (no problems here so far).  As always I used Aurifil thread, 2000 in 50wt which is one of my two favourites for piecing (it’s a golden cream and disappears quite well.  My other favourite for piecing is 2605 in 50wt which is a grey and good for darker colours).  With the mix of organic cottons, art gallery fabrics, linen blends, quilting cottons and Aurifil thread this baby feels like silk.  Some seriously good texture in there!

Unfortunately my iron (I only bought it a month ago!!!) died just as I finished sewing the rows so you may notice some wrinkles.  And when I say died I mean I walked away and came back to find it sitting in a puddle and then felt the current in my arm when I touched it.  So yeah, that’s it for my Philips 2860 (I had the same model previously and it last about 18 months, even surviving multiple drops onto the tiles).  Tomorrow I will send the husband out to try and get a refund or swap without the receipt (I’m quite certain I didn’t keep it).  That will be an interesting exercise I’m sure!

It’s even bright in the shade at 8am in Nouméa!

I’m calling this a finish as I only planned to get the top pieced at this stage :)  It feels like a finish! I’m linking up to TGIFF over at Missy Mac Creations this week.


Cascading Tetris Quilt in progress


Phew!  That’s a mouthful but I really do have an image of a kind of colour-clever cascading tetris for this twin quilt.  But before we start on the WIP I must apologise for the silence.  I’m unwell (sinus infection) and am really struggling with fatigue and just haven’t had it in me to blog.  Keeping everyone fed and clothed and food at the ready has been enough for the last week.  But before the sickness I was in Australia test driving long arm quilting machines and it was so wonderful and exciting and fantastic and great and…  Well, you get the idea ;)  But I’ll save all that for a post of it’s own!

Months ago I pulled out fabric to make a winter quilt for both of my sons.  Mr 5 has a light-weight quilt that is big enough to sleep under but doesn’t drape over the sides of the mattress at all.  Combine that with the big move back to Australia at the end of this year where we will be experiencing four seasons and I definitely NEED to make winter quilts for at least two of my three babies!  (Miss 3′s princess quilts has a flannel back and wool wadding, the boys currently have cotton and bamboo).

Adding in some low value prints

The thing I love about quilty blogs is the process, seeing how other people work and taking some of their methods and trying them out myself.  It is slightly ironic then that I often find myself hesitant to share a quilt in the earliest stages of progress.  I tend to have a very clear image in my head of what the finished quilt will look like but I worry that people won’t get my vision and will preemptively judge a quilt.  So what am I saying?  Trust me, this quilt is gonna be fab! ;)  (From lack of self confidence to in your face in two seconds folks, that’s me!)

Sewing the rows – the cascade affect taking shape

So whilst I’m here to show you my current work in progress I guess I’m also talking about self confidence.  Mine in particular.  A few months back I was interviewed by Kathreen Ricketson who was travelling Australia with her family.  Two days after I sent off my finished interview and photos, Kathreen and her husband tragically passed away.  The news was gut wrenching, completely unbelievable.  Not only do online connections make people seem more real and close, but I’d only just been corresponding with Kathreen.  Like many in the craft world I was swept up in the outpouring of grief for Kathreen and her family.  It isn’t my place to tell her story, we weren’t close friends, but she did do something really important for me.  She made me face the world and put into words what my hopes and dreams are.  I had thought that the article wouldn’t go ahead and to be brutally honest I thought it would be rude of me to ask the magazine if they were going to run the story.  So it was a big surprise to hear that the article has been published in the current issue of Quilter’s Companion, an Australian quilting magazine.  I haven’t seen the article yet but I did see an image (below) by Siobhan of Beaspoke Quilts on instagram this morning.  That’s my mini quilt there!  So big thanks to Kathreen for making me step up and share my dreams with the world.  After I’d typed it up for Kathreen it was much easier to share it here, and now I’m at the point where I’m just about to invest in a long arm machine and start my quilting business in earnest next year!

Image with permission from Beaspoke Quilts

So what’s the moral of the story?  Be brave.  Voice your dreams and pursue them relentlessly.  Accept that good things happen in time.  Cherish every moment.

That’s where I am right now.  Have you got a dream that you don’t have the confidence to share?  I encourage you to shout it from the rooftops!  Write it down, tell a friend, mention it over a cup of tea.  I’m finding that everyone I tell only has positive and encouraging words and that just helps me on my way :)

I’m linking up to WIP Wednesday at Freshly Pieced.

August round up


Not only is August over but it’s already the 4th of September here in Nouméa!  August was a big month for me which ended with a double birthday party for two of my children.  I know I probably shouldn’t reinforce gender stereotypes but I must say that I really enjoyed making a princess cake and seeing all the little girls dressed up as princesses.  I wouldn’t be lying if I said I put my own princess dress on LOL  Of course my biggest finish for August was my daughter’s princess quilt.  You can read more about it here :)

Princess Quilt

I can’t forget the Celebration Quilt that I made with my Wombat Stew bee blocks.  LOVE!!!  And it made the perfect backdrop at the party :)

Celebrate Quilt

As always there were lots of cushions completed in August.  I seriously have a thing for quilted cushion covers.  Fun!!

Clockwise from top left: Mr 5′s birthday cushion, two quilted cushions (not blogged yet), Curvy Quilted Cushion Cover, Victoire’s birthday cushion, Gaéton’s birthday cushion, sweet pouch swap (not yet blogged).

I am linking up rather late to Fresh Sewing Day at Lily’s Quilts.  Did you have a super productive August?  I’m hoping the productivity will continue in September despite packing up the house…  Wishful thinking LOL



Big apologies on the delay of this announcement (although I did contact the winners on Monday), my internet has been dropping in and out and I’ve not had a signal long enough to write an entire post…  Fingers crossed I’m back online!

Congratulations to Ashley from Instagram who has won the quilted cushion cover!

Quilted Curves Cushion Giveaway (closed)

The winner of the French cross stitch magazine is Patty K who said:  I’m a follower. I love to hear French being spoken. It’s such a romantic language.

I’m still waiting to hear back from Patty who I have emailed but hopefully she’ll see this post :)  If not I’ll redraw in two days.

French Cross Stitch magazine giveaway

I also want to say a HUGE thank you to everyone for entering and your comments.  I am slowly getting through and replying.  Your comments regarding my blog were so helpful and inspired a very fun idea that I’ll be sharing in a couple of weeks!  In the meantime I have a crazy week ahead with a whirlwind trip to Australia to test drive some long arm machines!  Can you believe that?  It’s all happening!  I’ve also started a running list for the move so things are getting pretty crazy here.

Thanks again xx