Friday, 9 October 2015

Friday, 4 September 2015

My recent FME work

Working from this photo I took:

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

Uni.Ball Signo on fabric

There is a new pen on the market that can be removed with friction, so I have tested all the colours I found, to see if the same issues occur as with the Pilot Frixion pen.

Here is the writing on fabric

And then I ironed it and it looked like it was completely removed

Until the light caught it at just the right angle, and you saw all the writing perfectly!

So, sadly this pen will not be great either!

Back to proper fabric markers we go!!

Friday, 14 August 2015

Using Frixion Pens in textile art

I discovered Frixion pens accidentally, I had drawn a template on freezer paper, and in the process of ironing it onto my fabric,  the lines disappeared.  I was smitten, an easy to use, very visible way to mark fabric and then easily remove the marks with no wetting, and no waiting for it to disappear!

I do know that if you place your fabric in the freezer overnight the marks will come back, my little god-daughter had great fun writing secret notes this way :)

But, I figured my work would never be in a freezer overnight, so all was well.
I have experienced the 'ghost marks' left on fabric, but, until the other day, I had only found this problem with the neon Frixion pens.  'Until the other day' being the important part of that sentence, as it seems the black one does it too.  I have not found this issue with the dark green, the dark blue, the purple nor the red so far.

You can see the ghost quite clearly in this picture:

Here is an interesting article regarding using these pens for crafting and why we maybe shouldn't....

Thursday, 6 August 2015


I am getting ready to teach something I have not taught since leaving Berlin, and in the preparations, and reminded how much I adore sewing bespoke knickers!

I used a gorgeous piece of silk I received a while ago from a lovely friend in Berlin - it is actually a piece of silk printed with markings indicating where to cut to make cravats!

What you cannot see in the photo is that the back of the knickers sports a ruched band of the silk, they look lovely on, but I was too shy to show you!
Maybe I can rope the lovely Viki in... she was kind enough to pose in the sleep shorts I made yesterday, but she may draw the line at knickers ;)

Monday, 3 August 2015

A student's work...

I enjoy every class I teach, but every now and again I teach a class, and find it filled with creative, talented, lovely people, and we just have so much fun together!  Last week's free motion embroidery class was one of those.

I wish I had taken photos of all their work, but Betty kindly sent me pics of what she did in class....

(All photos in this post are Betty's)

Sunday, 2 August 2015


My latest work was a commissioned piece featuring the Jo'burg skyline

Monday, 1 June 2015

Wonderful Wendy Dolan

I'm just back from a crafting class with Wendy Dolan in Spain, which was completely wonderful!
The course is run through Castanea Crafts, and was wonderful from start to finish!  The venue was great, the machines we used were lovely, we had gourmet food prepared for us at lunch time - and while it would have been hard to pull us from our machines, the food was amazing, so, after the first lunch we resembled Pavlov's dog when lunch was called!

Wendy Dolan is not only a great artist, but a superb teacher.  I cannot praise her or her teaching methods enough!

Here's a peek at what I got up to, and some of the sights etc...

Excuse the hair, I didn't pack a hairdryer, straightener nor the correct hair products.  I had BAD hair the whole trip!!  Hair wax that is wonderful in the UK, simply turns to grease in 35+°C

A fun product I used for the first time

A glass of wine?  Don't mind if we do!

At the studio

Me being VERY diligent!

Planning stages

Wendy hard at work cleaning brushes and sponges

My main piece

Berlin map with some of the architecture

We had a really lovely group of ladies, and we had as much fun sewing during the day, as we did drinking wine and chatting on the deck in the evenings!  A holiday in the sunshine, with like minded women, and a sewing machine!  I think I have discovered Valhalla!

What have I been doing since getting home?
Well, sewing of course!

I am teaching lingerie sewing classes again, so I have been experimenting with different patterns, frankenpatterning and dying white lingerie with everything from Dylon to coffee, hot chocolate, Annie Sloan chalk paint, and red wine!
(the chalk paint was not a success, everything else was!)

I am also putting some of the techniques I learned on Wendy's course to use:

You may notice the machine on my worktable is not my usual Juki F400 / Brother Innovis 4000.  Well, that is because Barry from Stitch Right is busy servicing my Brother and fixing a broken gear on my Juki, and kindly loaned me this Janome Memory Craft 6600 in the interim.

If you are in the South, Barry arrives at your home with a large tool box and services your machine right there for you, at a very reasonable rate!  He only hauls away when there are problems that need more hours work.

I am loving the HUGE extension table this machine has, as well as the heavy base that completely cuts out bouncing.  I miss my Juki's ability to stitch through ANY number of layers due to the powerful motor, as well as the thread cutting function on the foot pedal though.

This Janome's stitch for FME is definitely crisper when running in the 'normal' direction, you can see a difference that I have never seen with either my Brother or my Juki, not sure of the cause of this.

I do love that as soon as you drop the feed dogs the machine automatically goes to FME settings!  I suspect this machine is a quilter's dream.

Friday, 6 March 2015

Boxy Cosmetic Bag Pattern

This pattern will give you a (roughly) 20cm x 15cm x 10cm cosmetic bag.  It makes a lovely dopp kit for men, and you can use oilcloth as the lining if you would like it water proof - in case of liquid leaks.  See this post  and this post regarding making fabric water resistant, instead of buying oilcloth.

Let's start with our volume interfacing.  I like to use a felt interfacing as it gives the bag great structure.  I use CK0200 Felt White from Ceka Textilvertrieb (they have English speaking staff to help you).  This will become our pattern template for the other bag pieces too.

Cut a rectangle 55cm wide x 30cm high

You need to work VERY precisely, or your boxy bag will resemble the leaning tower, and you will not be happy!

Mark the centre line of the 55cm width with a pin either end.  Fold each 30cm side in towards the centre markers, and pin them in place.  You now have a rectangle that looks like this

Use your ruler to draw 5cm x 5cm blocks in each corner 

CAREFULLY cut these corners away

And, voilĂ , you have your pattern!

Now you know how to make this simple pattern, you can increase or decrease it's size.  Keep the corners you cut out proportional to the size you make, adding or subtracting roughly 5mm for each 5cm you add to the 55cm end, and 5mm for every 10cm you add / subtract to 30cm end
Keep them SQUARE!!!

Bear in mind:  if you are using a fabric with a pattern that has a clear 'right way up', then you will need to divide this pattern along the centre line (that you first marked with pins), and cut two pieces of this, adding 1cm for a seam allowance.

Make certain you use 1cm seam allowance throughout

Make this easy for yourself by marking 1cm from your machine's needle with a piece of black electrical tape, giving you a nice, clear line to follow.