Sunday, 24 March 2013

Please let the postman have wings this week...

This will only be going into the mail tomorrow & I need it to get to Donaghmore, Ireland by Easter... hold thumbs (and toes and any other body part you think may help!)

Saturday, 23 March 2013

@ home, sick... but still sewing :)

This pattern is lovely!  I bought it from one of my FAV handbag pattern designers 
- Michelle Webster - 
have a look here.  
Her patterns always turn out perfectly, are easy to follow & well thought out.

Monday, 18 March 2013

Handmade Baby Shower gifts

Did you see the gift I made for brand new Anna Sophia here?

Now get ready for the cuteness that is Anna....

Friday, 15 March 2013

Birthday Celebration

Handmade gifts to welcome a new baby....

Seeing as Anna Sophia's Dad thought to ask, I will mention here that the fabrics for her letters were bought on fabric shopping jaunts (from left to right) here in Berlin at the Turkish Market, at the Dutch fabric market, In Woking (UK) and in South Africa!!  I had not realised it until Danielle asked.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

I adore Beatrix Potter!

I finally bought the Beatrix Potter series for my embroidery machine.  It is so beautiful!

Putting it to good use already:

This will be a retro style baby bib

Tuesday, 12 March 2013

Starch & sewing

Until very recently, I thought the usefulness of fabric starch was limited to my husband's shirt ironing - he learned to iron shirts 'correctly' in the army, and boy was it drilled in well - not something I needed in my sewing room.  Oh how wrong I was!

Digitizing classes taught me this trick (as well as many others). Before you embroider - starch & iron your fabric - it holds up better, hoops more easily & helps prevent puckering.

Working with delicate fabric in appliqué? Starch & iron it first, it will be easier to handle!

Soft, static fabric - spray some starch on - it helps!  Yesterday I was working with shot taffeta - which is always very static, but in our dry Berlin winter, it is a nightmare! - and a quick spray of starch helped this too!

Working with satin bias tape - starch makes it easier to handle.
Silky, slippery fabrics: simply spray a little on, even if you don't iron & rather leave to dry, makes it easier to control while sewing.  Helps prevent rolling edges of stretch cotton while working & you can wash it out after.

Here is the starch I use:

I mix it in the spray bottle (one tiny pour of starch filled to top with distilled water) and apply generously to fabric before ironing.
This type of starch is ACTUALLY meant to be added to the washing machine, but it works very well this way too.  Also, it smells heavenly!

A few things:

1.    Shake bottle & spray bottle very well before each use
2.    Spray on reverse of fabric
3.    Test on small piece of extra fabric 1st - just in case
4.    Make sure iron is on correct setting for the fabric you are using

Monday, 11 March 2013


An extract of the message in the Newsletter today...

New Digitizers Joining The ATW Digitizing Team As Apprentices!

We are happy to welcome several new members to Holly's digitizing team from her latest apprentice class.  For those of you who are new to reading our newsletter, the apprentice class is an intense 8 week training course we run once or twice a year online.  The class is most similar to Army "boot-camp" with students learning and digitizing at a frenzied pace throughout the course.

The people who excel in the class are invited to stay on for a 1 year apprenticeship with Holly to learn what running a digitizing business is really like.  

Congratulations to the new team members...
Di Venter - Berlin, Germany
Petra Sieler - Brazori, Texas
Fran Walton - Vernon Hill, Virginia
Sandy Brinigar - San Diego, California

Soon I will stop grinning from ear to ear... soon, but not yet!

Oh happy days :)

Saturday, 9 March 2013

SOOOOOOO excited!!!!

I am over the moon right now!

I have just heard that I have been awarded a year apprenticeship with the digitizing school!!!!


This is what we learned this week in the apprentice training course:

Free standing lace!

Friday, 8 March 2013

Easter Chicks

Photos from Hannah @ We Lived Happily Ever After

Pop over to see Hannah's lovely tutorial for these little sweet little birds, that may just be the perfect decor item this easter!

She really does take wonderful photos!!!

Lots of great Stitching ideas on her blog - have a peep...

Thursday, 7 March 2013

Charity Sewing

I was invited to join in at a charity sewing day at thBjörn Schulz STIFTUNG which is a children's hospice with a branch here in Berlin.  It was founded by the Schulz family after losing their son Björn to leukemia.

Here is their story:
Benannt ist die STIFTUNG nach dem Sohn von Barbara und Jürgen Schulz. Der kleine Björn erkrankte 1978 an Leukämie. Obwohl ein schwerer Rückfall nach den damals neuesten medizinischen Verfahren behandelt wurde, verstarb Björn im November 1982 im Alter von fast acht Jahren.
Gemeinsam mit anderen Betroffenen gründeten Björns Eltern 1983 in Berlin den Verein KINDERHILFE - Hilfe für leukämie- und tumorkranke Kinder e.V. Das Anliegen des KINDERHILFE e.V. ist es, für die Eltern da zu sein, die die Diagnose Krebs für ihr Kind erfahren haben und für die Verbesserung der Behandlungs- und Betreuungsbedingungen krebskranker Kinder zu sorgen. Hilfe zur Selbsthilfe sowie die Förderung spezieller Forschungsprojekte werden vom Verein voller Engagement seit zwei Jahrzehnten umgesetzt. Aufgrund dieser Erfahrungen wurden größere und anspruchsvollere Aufgaben in Angriff genommen
Die Björn Schulz STIFTUNG wurde 1996 von der KINDERHILFE ins Leben gerufen, um regional und überregional für schwerst- und unheilbar kranke Kinder, Jugendliche und junge Erwachsene sowie deren Familien tätig zu werden.
Spenden und ehrenamtliche Arbeit finanzieren uns. Deshalb ist jede auch noch so kleineSpende wichtig!

The facilities here in Berlin are lovely, there is such a warm, sunny feel to the place - even on the cold, grey winter's day we arrived there to sew together.  We had a table of beautiful fabric to work with, donated by Volksfaden, Smilla & the Galleria Kaufhof in the ring center - see below:

The first sewing day we made children's aprons.  Everyone had different skill levels, different machines etc, but it was great fun!  

We were encouraged to make more aprons at home & as I had a week off from my digitizing classes & was determined to make the most of the time, I did just that:

 How pretty is this fabric!!!!

All the items we make will be sold at the market to be held (all proceeds go to the hospice) in an apple orchard in April - great way to see in Summer :)

Next sewing day:  23rd MARCH - in Berlin & want to bring along your machine & join in?  Inbox me!

BIWC April Sewing

Every month I give a sewing class for members of the BIWC.  Each month we do something different - bags, hats, lingerie, cushions, roman blinds... you name it, we have sewn it. Each month I try decide what members may enjoy sewing - everyone has different interests, skill levels etc etc.

Our April class will be a bit different!

I created a Pinterest Board and invited members to pin items they were interested in sewing  - did you know you could do this with Pinterest?  It is easy to do, and you control who can post - it works very well!

Here is a snap shot of the board:

Dresses, bags, softies, knickers, kitchen accessories, shoes... a bit of everything!

And now the participants get to vote!

Each participant gets 3 votes.

It was really easy to set up and completely free.  Quite fun!

I will keep you posted on what we end up sewing....

Happy stitching!

Sunday, 3 March 2013

This week in class...

This week we are doing free standing lace.  A topic (I have to be honest here) I was VERY uninspired to get to...   Kleenex box covers & bookmarks were mentioned.

That was true, until I did a bit of online digging, and discovered there were things I adored made from free standing lace.

You may remember the top I made for our little god-daughter using a hand crocheted doily..

And then you can see more of my passion for this type of thing on my Pinterest Board here

I am not alone.  Go have a look at the great pics Laura from Dishfunctional Designs (how cool is her blog name!?) collected from various blogs - all using lace doilies here

Well, it turns out - all these things can be digitized & stitched out on an embroidery machine!!

Have a look at these items I found (all digitized for an embroidery machine):

all from Urban

Imagine a whole tree with these (from

I adore the linen - lace combination from

Are you starting to see why I'm excited about this week's work?

Rearing to go!

Friday, 1 March 2013

Doll / Teddybear Carrier

I have tried quite a few patterns, but the best to date (by FAR!!!!):  Oliver & S
It is great!!  No trying to get handles over kid's head (and TEARS), it is super easy to get on & off and very easy to get bear / dolly into and out of!  It is comfy & fits many sized little people.
The book is full of great things to sew - this being one of them.

I made one as part of Luise's 2nd birthday pressie...

She was thrilled :)
Okay.... how cute is that little face?!

The cords were a little too long, but she refused to let me remove the carrier to fix them