Monday, October 13, 2014

Queen Elsa - Frozen

Emma had a 'Frozen'-themed birthday party this year and wanted a Queen Elsa dress. I haven't seen the movie but I found a McCall's pattern that fitted the bill. Emma was quite pleased with the result.

I also made Emma some satin nightdresses (silkies), which led me to think about what Queen Elsa would wear to bed. This is what I came up with.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Winter knitting

John chose the wool for this jumper but, when I went to make it, I realised that I didn't have enough to make a jumper for him. So I made it up in a smaller size but no-one else in the family wanted it. I eventually found a home for it.

This scarf was a big change from the jumper - a bright, cheerful colour, quick and easy to make (I did it in one evening) and no sewing up at the end. And my friend, Wanda, was very happy with it when I gave it to her as a birthday present.

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Embroiderers' Guild Annual Exhibition

The Embroiderers' Guild of the ACT held their annual exhibition this week. I entered a few pieces that I've shown previously plus these two pieces. 

The first one is called "In Flanders Fields" and was my entry for the postcard challenge, which had the theme "Stitching Love and Hope". We were asked to re-interpret the silk postcards sent home by soldiers in France and Belgium during World War I. I'm really thrilled because my card won the viewer's choice prize.

I also entered this leaf. Back in March, I finished an autumn embroidery, and I saved all the thread snippets, which I then put between two piece of solvy, machine-stitched over it, cut out the leaf shape on the Accuquilt Go Cutter, and then hand-stitched the veins and stem. Unfortunately, this isn't a very good photo but it gives the effect of a decaying autumn leaf.

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Trapped objects

Many years ago, I came across a project in Stitch magazine that used trapped objects. I liked the idea but didn't want to do that particular project, so earlier this year I made up a piece using trapped objects plus stitching and beading and then made it up into a cushion.

Sunday, August 10, 2014


For some time now, Emma has been fascinated by cloaks. She would wrap any piece of fabric she could find (and there are quite a few in my stash) around her shoulders. So I decided to make her a proper cloak - purple, of course. 

And then I remembered the issue with bags at Christmas time, so I found some pink fabric and made a cloak for Olivia as well. Emma loves her cloak but Olivia was less impressed by hers - though she's happy enough in this photo.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Emma had a little lamb

It's fleece might have been white as snow once upon a time but its fur has greyed over the years, having been much loved and much travelled (Abigail has been to England, France, Switzerland and Italy). But Emma still loves her little lamb.

So, when I made a winter "silkie" for Emma, I machine-embroidered a lamb onto it - much to Emma's delight.

This photo gives a clearer view of the embroidered lamb:

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Organza pyramids

Last weekend, I played around with fusing fabrics. I wasn't very pleased with my results, except for these floaty pyramids, made from shot organza. They are like little clouds and look as if they could float away at any moment.

Sunday, May 25, 2014


I first came across a biscornu (seemingly a French word meaning skewed or quirky) in a Stitch magazine. I liked the shape but couldn't find the thread that it was decorated in. However, after making some fabrics earlier in the year - knitting, needle-felting and then free machine stitching - I decided that they would make up nicely into biscornus.

I'm very pleased with the result:

Sunday, May 18, 2014


I like the crisp, sophisticated look of blackwork embroidery, especially when done with white thread on a darker background. These cards proved very popular at a recent fund-raising craft stall.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Kanzashi flower brooches

I have been planning to make some Kanzashi flowers for a while and recently managed to round up my Clover templates, silk fabric and buttons. I had great fun making these little gems - they are very quick and easy to make. (I tried to group the photos - it works in the draft but disappears when I look at it Safari.)

Sunday, March 23, 2014


We are getting into autumn, although the days are still quite warm, but I started this encrusted embroidery in the height of summer. It seemed a little odd to be working with these colours when temperatures were well above 30C. However, I love the rich autumnal colours and the strong textures.

Monday, March 10, 2014

Christmas outfits

Okay, it's already March but here is the last of my December sewing bee - I can't remember what I actually made in December but there were dresses, hats, bags, Christmas stockings . . . And it's taken me this long to finish getting photos. 

Emma was reluctant to model her outfit: "I don't wear it every day, you know. It's only for Christmas and special parties". However, after some high-level negotiations involving chocolate frogs, she really got into the spirit of it. I used Simplicity pattern 5540 for the hat, dress and matching purple shorts (not visible in this photo) and scaled down the reversible bucket bag pattern from Lisa Lam's The Bag Making Bible for the matching bag - which is lined with the dotted fabric I used for the dress.

And here is Olivia looking very cheeky in her Christmas dress (Simplicity 7189):

Olivia wasn't very happy when they opened their presents on Christmas Eve. She acted as if there had been a gross miscarriage of justice - or someone had switched the gift tags around. Why? Because she didn't get a bag! So the next day (yes, Christmas Day), I made a bag for her to match her birthday outfit.

Here are the two girls with their hats and bags, posing with Daddy before heading off to the coast:

Both bags are reversible - this is the reverse of Olivia's bag:

Sunday, February 23, 2014

The Very Hungry Caterpillar saga - the final instalment - Olivia

When I bought the Very Hungry Caterpillar quilt kit (about 8 months ago), Olivia took the photo from the kit, climbed up on the couch and sat gazing at it lovingly. So I bought more fabric for a quilt for her - but then I had to buy more after passing the first quilt on to another child. She loved the quilts so much that I had to hide them whenever she came around. 

Finally, on her second birthday, she became the proud owner of her very own Very Hungry Caterpillar Quilt - and here she is enjoying it.

And I'm not making any more!

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Zigzag hemline

I made this dress for Olivia from a New Look pattern (6136). I'd never done a zig-zag hemline before and managed the sew the lower band on upside down, so had to re-do it. A very suitable outfit for the very warm weather we've been experiencing this summer.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

I can dye a rainbow

I've been very busy in recent months but that didn't stop me attending a fabric dyeing workshop at the end of November. The workshop was run by Cecile from uniquestitching and was a lot of fun, plus we didn't have to take anything. Cecile provided morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea plus all the fabric, dyes and anything else we required.

On the first day, we played around with colour: a rainbow, tints and tones and doing a run from a primary to a secondary colour.

The next day we looked at resists, particularly folding and scrunching.

I'm not sure where these pieces fitted in but I like the result.

The delicious raspberry colour in these pieces resulted from adding a small amount of chocolate brown to magenta. The fabric on the right is Radiance, a silk-cotton mix.

This is my favourite piece - it came out of the 'slops' bucket. At the end of each exercise, we emptied the leftover dyes into a bucket with a piece of fabric in it. At first, it looked just murky brown and I was very disappointed until I washed it out. It's actually a bit darker than this - a dark, rich rust colour with bright turquoise splashes.

All in all, a fantastic day and I'm looking forward to doing some more dyeing in the not too distant future, although I have more than enough hand-dyed fabric to go on with - I brought home 8-9 metres of fabric from the workshop.