Thursday, 28 February 2013

Keeping your machine clean

Today I performed a very necessary task that I am always on at the ladies in my sewing classes to get down to.  I got out the screwdriver, the vacuum & good ol' Google & I cleaned my machines - overlocker too, and I realize I have been a little remiss lately.  As I use my machines daily, I probably should be doing this every few weeks, not every few months!

I found this lovely website for cleaning and oiling my wonderful overlocker - pictures & all!

Cleaning the bottom of the machine

Photo from website mentioned

I had never removed the bottom of my overlocker to clean that out, and you could tell as much when I did!!  Oh brother, I uncovered an army of fabric-dust mice under there.

Whatever brand of machine you have, chances are there will be a guide online on how to clean and oil it, you may even be lucky & find a YouTube video for your specific machine, but here is a good one for general machine cleaning.
There are many parts to this - be sure to watch them all.

Part 2
Part 3
Part 4
Part 5

Go on, get cleaning!!!

Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt

Or as more of you will know it... The Very Hungry Caterpillar.  The beloved children's book from author & illustrator Eric Carle.  He wrote the book for his sister - don't skip this link, it goes to his blog with 2 lovely pics of the two siblings together - over 40 years ago, and it is still going strong!

If you have a child in your life, between the ages of 1 and 4, you REALLY KNOW this book.  You have read this book again & again, and said child never tires of it!  Luckily it is beautiful - I am not sure being subjected to any other book OVER & OVER & OVER again would be as pleasant.

Mr. Carle's parents - German immigrants in the States, when he was born - moved back to Germany when he was a young boy.  He relocated back to the States in 1952, and published this beloved book there in 1969.  His life seems to be full of many ties with Germany, good & bad - it makes for interesting reading (curiosity over the author of this book had me researching him).  You can watch him reading the German version of the book here - it is quite wonderful!

Any way... all that to tell you that the young Hungry Caterpillar fan in our lives turned two & as part of her gift I made this cushion - with fabric I found searching all the lovely fabric stores in Gouda in December (Thanks Mart!!!!!) and have been keeping for this very project.

Happy Stitching!!

Sunday, 24 February 2013

Studio Mascots...

I SHOULD be going to bed....


what I AM doing is trawling crafty sites!  Oh me, oh my, I can get lost in them for hours!  I have just discovered Vicki O'Dell and all the wonderful crafty things she does.  DO pop over & have a peep at her Pinterest boards - WOW!
Specially for Chef-in-Berlin (from Vicki's Repurpose, Recycle, Re-Love Board)

Sadly, the original blog post from is no longer there ;(

Vicki speaks about her studio mascot in her post, her beautiful Miniature Schnauzer, Holle.  She mentioned that Holle reminds her to eat at lunchtime.  

I have a mascot in my workroom too... Calico.

Our beloved Maine Coon Kitty stays by my side the entire time I sew.  He also never forgets meal times - his own!  And has been know to stretch out up the back of my chair & apply claws to my vulnerable back if I am tardy with said meals!  He also reminds me when it is late & I should be heading off to sleep (mostly because he gets a treat at bedtime!).

He loves to stretch out on pattern pieces/ fabric

He never misses a thing

He oversees production from his window seat

And finds the craziest places to nap!

He just adores when fabric arrives in paper bags, he always has fun with these!

Right now he is YODELING that it past his treat (and my bed) time! 
So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, good night! 

Quilted (fabric) Placemats with binding

After reading this, you should know everything you ever needed to know to make any quilted, bound placemat your heart desires.  Of course you can also make table runners, mug rugs, tray cloths, quilts... using these methods.

Things you can do on placemats:

EASY all in one stitching:
You add all in one:  batting, backing and the front panel of your placemat
You can also use this without the backing fabric, but rather a thin cotton (to stop your feeddogs hooking to your wadding), and then appliqué  after this, THEN add your backing fabric.
OR, you could top stitch around designs in your fabric before you add your backing.
As I have done around the bird & branches below:

Stitch in the Ditch:  VIDEO
Use this to make your panels pop!

TIPS for Applique:
Try bond-a-web!!
Read through this helpful guide.  You can buy bond a web online as well as at Volksfaden (and other craft/ fabric supply stores - I just happen to know Linda at Volksfaden stocks it).

If your machine has a blanket stitch, this is a lovely way to stitch down applique pieces.

To hold your pieces together (main fabric, wadding & backing) while you sew, use safety pins!!  This video has MANY good tips!

Adding your binding:
I like to use a double folded strip, cut from co-ordinating fabric.  The width of your strip will depend on the fullness of your wadding, but in the placemat you see above I used a 6cm strip.

You cut your strips on the bias & join them as you did for bias binding - see the three links below.
TIPS & tricks
When we made piping

You should know what to do after reading the above :)

Then I add my strips like this

BUT, I finish my ends like this.  LOVE her method!!  And her video is clear & concise.

Here are loads of ideas for your placemat on my Pinterest Board.  Don't you adore Pinterest?!?!  Not a member yet?  WHY on earth not???  It is AMAZING!  Thanks Mandy for introducing me to it right in the beginning!  I get so many great ideas here & it is wonderful for filing all those creative ideas & tips.

I think that about does it on the placemats!  Sorry I sent you all over the net, but why reinvent the wheel  :)

Happy stitching!!


All things Diva

I just came across this guest post I did on The Antiques Diva's blog last year...and had forgotten all about :)

I am about to start work on more bespoke bags for her Diva clients.  It is always fun to work on them.  Here is a peep at the beautiful fabrics I will be utilizing:

Thursday, 21 February 2013

More on the newsboy hat...

Remember the Free Newsboy Hat tutorial I posted?
Well guess what?......

It is suitable for kids too :)

Friday, 8 February 2013

Tie Dye Diva: Girls Ruffled Sunsuit Romper

This pattern is a GEM!  It is pretty, sweet & easy to put together.  It is well thought out & the instructions are clear & easy to follow with photos added when necessary.
(Isn't their little model too cute with her little chubby baby legs!!!)

Ten out of ten for this lovely romper pattern!
It is easy enough for a beginner with some sewing experience to manage.  I made it up in about 90 minutes.

A follow up:  

I emailed Jen - the brains behind the pattern to tell her that I was somewhat enamoured with her romper pattern & she posted this post on FB.

Thanks Jen, that was very sweet of you!

I made a 2nd one for birthday girl, and even though it is cold for spring here - she wore it!  Very cute with Winnie the Pooh tights & long-sleeved-t!
And the obligatory Schnuller  :)

Tuesday, 5 February 2013