Wednesday, December 16, 2009

my creative space

I have a decent collection of old silk scarves and decided it was time to turn them into some soft summer dresses for my friends shop
The range of possibilities are endless as each scarf has its own personality almost

Red and blue is so nautical , I think this is my favourite...

how i do my bias-binding

Ive been thinking of doing a tutorial on bias-binding for a while. It has come to my attention that people tackle it different ways. Its such a nice way to finish off edges and maybe, just maybe, theres someone out there who'll read this and try it if they never have before. Hopefully ill make it seem easy. This is how I do mine.

If youve seen my earlier post you'll know that I like to make my own from linen and pure cottons, this is what ive used here. They are good fabrics to use because you can finger pleat them as you sew them on and they'll stay in their folds readily as they are the type of fabrics that crease easily.

Sew the binding on to the inside edge making sure that both the fabric and the binding are upside down when they enter the machine.

                                                  armhole being trimmed to size

I dont cut the binding to size before I sew it on as 9 times out of 10 it will be too short, plus I dont like to waste even small pieces of it. Trimming the ends neatly is helpful at this stage, cut straight across the binding as you will find it easier to start the top-stitching

Pin at the important points where you will notice if you sew it wonky or you will see the stitching come from underneath, also at the seams as its hard to sew thicker parts on ( I go very slow over these bits)
If you are doing a wrap dress that has ties that extend past the ends of your hems then begin sewing at the ends of the straps... this way you can continue sewing all the way around and end up with one professional single line of stitching.

I like the finished result to be as slim-line as possible.

Just do the best you can and happy binding!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

sunday stash

Here is my sunday stash.These are some special things that I recieved from two very close friends recently. I love to just sit and look at them and dream of the possibilities....

Friday, December 11, 2009

brown paper packages

I cant wrap presents! I always end up wrecking the paper and having to iron it. I love to give things to people though and having my Etsy shop now is challenging me to wrap things perfectly and quickly too. I really hope to have my own signature style that I can perform over and over again. I came up with this what I hope to be fool-proof approach. I folded the item as small as possible and placed it on a diagonal to the paper, yes its one of my etsy dresses....

I just kept folding and made sure there was enough overlap but wasnt quite sure if it was going to work out nicely or look professional at all. Secretly I was aiming for an old-fashioned, simple Japanesie-esque style without the hassle. One more fold and I placed some string around it and used my Vistaprint stamp for a professional finish. The tree print is a woodcut from my husbands studio and I managed to smudge it terribly

Here is the result which I think looks, dare I say, ever so slightly origami-ish ( better than if I tried too hard and creased the paper in the process)

Thursday, December 10, 2009

bias binding

This is my sewing pile for tomorrow. Some dresses for my etsy shop with homemade bias-binding for that real nanna feel. I highly recommend making your own as its satisfying to say the least, not to mention so much cheaper than buying it. The really funny thing is that you can slice up the most unattractive of fabrics and give them a new life as an edging.

seasonal cushions

After I had tidied my lounge today I decided that I was so sick of my cushions I felt like throwing them away immediately. I get like this at every change of season.

The cushions you see have wandered to this room from various other rooms in the house and only two of them were purposefully made for here, astonishingly enough. Needless to say, these uninvited ones were promptly thrown into the washing machine (not the bin as that would be silly), and are now on the line, and will be stored away for next winter.
I looked through my pile of covers and found one leafy one that would be nice and fresh for summer but needed a couple more in the blueish colour range to match and tie in the black one, which I had decided to keep as it is very soft and also my husbands favourite.

Here is the result of my afternoons sewing...

I found a tablecloth with just the right amount of blue to be summery and to mix with the black and red one i was keeping.
I chose aqua because its my favourite colour for summer. I do love different versions of it throughout the house at all times of the year.

All of these fabrics were bought at different times too, even different years now that i think on it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

quilted cushion

I have had this quilt for about 15 years and the edges were getting worse and wearing out with every wash. It needed a new life so I sewed two european sized cushions from the remaining good parts of a beautiful old vintage quilt. I probably wont leave it outside for use on the hammock as it is here.
I stitched on an edging ribbon as the quilt was too thick to do a normal hem and doubled it over to encase the raw edge.

I have my nannas trusty old Singer and it sews through everything.

a dress for etsy

My etsy shop is revving up and I have been doing a few custom orders. This is a size 3 dress I really enjoyed making this week. It proved challenging as the embroidery was too wide at the shoulders so I decided to pin-tuck the centre back.

Friday, November 20, 2009

charmed, Im sure

This is a friends home in Ireland. She hasnt touched it for more than 20 years as its location is remote. Most things in Ireland seemed remote, actually. We stayed here overnight recently and I couldnt resist snapping happily away at what I consider to be some of the most amazing decor Ive seen first hand. It was a good lesson for me to perhaps leave certain rooms untouched in my next renovation and enjoy them in all their glory.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

twilight market

I made some vintage envelopes for a twilight market happening nearby. Its best not to overthink these things or I talk myself out of them. My lovely neighbour (pictured in the long mushroom skirt) across the road urged me to add to her stall. "Just anything will do", she said, so I tried not to worry too much and had fun. I was nearly ready to leave and discovered that I would need some bags for purchases. I ran up some paper bags on my trusty old machine . These proved just as popular as my stationery and were a good form of advertising. I sold a few sets of stationery and was able to meet people who gave positive feedback about my things on offer. The potter you see was a really nice man and such a good advertisement for the local arts group where the market was being held. Ummmm, I think i might take up pottery....

Friday, November 13, 2009


I found this fantastic metal rack at the op shop the other day for only $5 and immediately I knew I would use it for my embroidered trimmings and ribbons and bias bindings etc. I have mounted it on a wall in the studio. Whenever im sewing now, I can walk to it and hold my item close up and see immediately what will 'go' instead of having to rifle my way through boxes of tangled trims.

my iris painting

My husband began this painting of irises a few years back now. Its very unfinished in his eyes but I have always loved it as it is. In fact, every time he tries to finish it I make him promise not to lose the painterly effect of it, because I have become so used to seeing it this way. Silly me cos I would still love him to finish it.

spice jars

Ive had my spices in old glass jars for a few years now but whenever someone new comes to visit me they love this idea. With a big family I have always bought my spices in bulk so the small supermarket jars dont even come into the equation for me. There were so many of these at my local thrift shops that it would have been a shame not to find a use for them. I love the colours and they are ready at hand because who would want these to hide away in the pantry.

Friday, October 2, 2009


Now I know these images are really blurry. But this is why I found them interesting. I took them with my camera phone while I was at my mothers house. You know when you have those rainy days going through old photos and letters, talking about relatives and family trees? I have always loved this shot of my mother. I tried to take it as close up as possible, and in the best light, because I thought i would enjoy simply having it as my screen saver. Looking back on it recently I started thinking that it would be a really beautful addition to my wall as a large scale pop-art style art work. Im married to an artist but I intend to do this myself on yet another rainy day. I dont know how ill go about it really but i have an extensive fanned colour chart and ill start there. Oh and ill need to purchase a canvas of course

organized books

One saturday morning recently my husband and I woke up and decided to colour co-ordinate our bookcase, it was a bit more me than him admittedly. When we moved in to our place we were so surprised to find that the books we had never been able to fit into all our other houses (most of them have been in boxes for over ten years) actually all fit into this one side of the lounge. We have even more shelves on the other side of this room! Well, needless to say Im very pleased with the outcome and highly recommend trying this at your place. Things are easier to put away than you would think because its pretty idiot proof. as you walk by you may see something in the wrong coloured spot and immediately know where it belongs! It was way more enjoyable to do than you might think too.

waiting for baby

I came across this photo of my daughter while looking for something to post. She was waiting for baby to arrive and I got a surprise visit from her and her husband, which was really nice.They live an hour away. In this shot she is trying to hide the yoghurt she is eating because everytime someone has taken her photo during her pregnancy she seems to be eating. Now that I think of it perhaps she just stopped by to visit my fridge and not us afterall!
I think she looks beautiful here and has since had her own daughter, Mali

Thursday, October 1, 2009

a finished quilt

A photo of another quilt but ive actually completed this one. It was so quick to do as I made it up as I went along. I didnt stop to think about it too much, I simply sewed some strips together until it was about half a single bed size. The only thing that I had decided upon was a stricter colour palette than usual, being red and green. I then laid it out on the floor and cut it up into big squares. I found a piece of vintage fabric or 2 and cut these up into the same size squares and chequerboarded them until I had the full single bed size I was after.


I seem to always have quilts on the go. My first one was this ambitious one above(520 squares) but all of my friends were doing the exact same design so it became very easy when we had each other for company while sitting outside on gorgeous sunny mornings in my courtyard. We swapped squares and helped each other cut out over cups of tea. everyone else finished theirs 3 years ago and mine is 'almost done', so I keep telling myself. It is the one thing that is always out near my sewing table within easy reach, just in case today is the day I finally finish it

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

my first attempts

I wanted to show these wrap tops for little girls. I made them with a lot of play in mind, for the wearer I mean. I thought long and hard about how to use the beautiful embroideries we sometimes find in opp shops. I came up with this design. The circled embroidery is on the centre of the back.
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