Wednesday 30 November 2011


Kindle Covers for Generation Awesome

sugar skull cover

Whenever I get an email asking if I can make something bespoke for someone, I always ask to hear a bit more about the recipient... what colours they like, what styles or themes they're keen on, if there's anything they're passionate about. This Kindle case was for the customer's mum.

sugar skull cover inside

I was not expecting to hear that she was into 'shoes, tattoos and skulls'. Coolest grandma ever.*

*Excluding any grandma whose uterus I have gestated within of course. Automatically cooler.

Tuesday 29 November 2011


Dental reviews: Now 100 % more thorough

Long-term readers might remember the review I did of my dentist earlier this year via the medium of True Blood. Reviews are great, of course, but better when they are not stand-alone pieces. Everyone is left wondering, 'How is this dentist now?', 'What was her six month check-up like?', and 'Did the dynamics of their relationship change now they are more familiar with each other and have gotten over their initial-appointment jitters?' Courtesy of my first cavity in 15 years, I bring you a follow-up review....

Dentist: Hello there. How are you today?
Me: Fine, thank you. How are you?
Dentist (harassed face): Meh.
Me: Bad day, was it?
Dentist: You could say that.
Me: (thinks) I hope it wasn't a malpractice suit.
Dentist: So. You're here because you have a cavity.
Me: Yes.
Dentist: And would you like to have pain relief?
Me: (thinks) Is this a trick question?
Dentist: If you don't it will be sore when I drill.
Me: I would like pain relief.

Pictured: Needle to scale.

Dentist: I have given you two injections.
Me: Okay.
Dentist: Just about to drill. It might still be sore, the injections were only small. Let me know if you can't take it.
Me: (thinking) What does this guy have against pain relief?
Dentist: Here we go....

Pictured: My actual response.

Dentist: Would you like another injection?
Me: Yes please.
Dentist: Okay, done. We might as well clean your teeth while we wait for it to kick in.

Pictured: Routine teeth cleaning

Dentist: Nurse, can I have the suction?

Pictured: Dental nurse

Dentist: Is it fully numb now?

Pictured: All of the paralysed nerves and muscles in my face.

Me: Yes.
Dentist: I am going to put this thing in your mouth.

Pictured: approximation of apparatus

Dentist: Let's get drilling.

Pictured: Dentists everywhere.

Dentist: Okay, all done. You should rinse now.

Pictured: Pre-rinsed.

Me: Thank you.
Dentist: You're welcome. See you in six months.

The end.

Monday 28 November 2011


Hoodies for Heroes

willow shroom detail

I got chatting to a customer recently about making a custom hoodie for her son, and it turned out she's a real life hero. Not a fire-woman, or a serial blood-donator, or a kitten-rescue-sanctuary-owner... an unsung hero. This lady is a fabric designer, bringing lovely fabrics into the world for you and I to admire and stroke. Once I got over my awestruckness, I agreed.

willow shroom hoodie

If you harboured any doubt about her fabric credentials, just stand back and appreciate the two fabrics she picked from my entire stash.

on a whim hoodie

I never would have thought to pair Willow Shroom with On a Whim. This is why I'm not a fabric designer. It's a tone-on-tone perfect match.

Saturday 26 November 2011


The Weekender Sale

Do you know how long it's been since I've actually had a fully-stocked webshop? Far too long. But it's all there now. After partaking in a couple Black Friday Sales myself, I decided to jump on the bandwagon and offer a sale through my shop. Through Sunday night at midnight, enter 'WEEKENDER' at checkout and receive 20% off your order.

There are two pages of clothes that are ready to ship, from appliqued rompers and organic t-shirts to baby shoes, dresses, and tunics. I'm planning on changing suppliers for my organic t-shirts and rompers so supplies are very limited and once they're gone they're gone! Have a good root around and snap them up quickly.

And four new Kindle cases in the accessories section. Patterns are where they always are, and a range of scraps packs are back in stock.

As always, the automatic postage rules are a bit screwy so overcharges on postage that are greater than one pound will be refunded through Paypal after I've posted them. Depending on how busy this sale is, shipping might not be until Tuesday.

Thursday 24 November 2011


Happy Thanksgiving

Hope all our friends and family are enjoying Thanksgiving today, we wish we were there celebrating with you. Here are some (very specific) things the kids are thankful for:

Disclaimer: Being outside the American school system, the concept of 'being thankful' was introduced to the kids today, with only moderate success. Jamie should have said that he'd be thankful if she stopped pinching his face.

Tuesday 22 November 2011


The Leaning Tower of Booties

It's High School Flashback Pop Quiz time.

baby booties 002

Guess who found more than forty pairs of baby shoes in a bag in their old craft closet?

Clue: It is not Imelda Marcos.

Monday 21 November 2011


Kindles Go Organic

organic cotton kindle covers both

It appears to be The Age of The Kindle. After the leather lovelies of last week, I returned to the book-style covers of yore with a commission for two organic cotton ones. As always, they have super thick board on both sides and a spine so the Kindle is protected from stabbing from almost all sides.

organic cotton kindle covers version3 spine

Unfortunately, I couldn't find my pattern so I had to re-draft the whole thing. While I was there, I added a pocket on the other size for sundries.

organic cotton kindle covers version3 open
Pictured: sundries

The recipient of this case hs an old-style keyboard model like me, so the cut out is to the right where the on/off switch and the charger port are.

organic cotton kindle covers version3 pocket

The recipient of the Monaluna Double Dots has a new-style Kindle so her pocket is to the centre where that version's charger port is. As this model is sans keypad, and has less height overall, I also shortened the pocket so it doesn't interfere with the screen.

organic cotton kindle covers version4 open

Amazon, stop changing all the specs unless you're going to send me one of each.

Sunday 20 November 2011


The Rainbow Party Frock

rainbow dress front

I was asked recently to make a dress for a little girl's rainbow themed birthday party. A bunch of Kona solids and some tinkering with my party frock pattern and voila!

rainbow dress violet

From the bottom up the skirt has violet, blue, green and yellow strips....

rainbow dress back

An orange sash, and red bodice. I hardly ever work with solids (in fact I had to order then especially), but it made a nice change from sewing prints. In my typical 'more is more' fashion I thought about adding an additional rainbow applique or some other embellishment but, actually, I'm really happy with the simplicity of this dress just as it is.

Friday 18 November 2011


Red and white and blue all over

front 2

Another knit bites the dust, sacrificed in the pursuit of an easy winter dress. I've had these pink, red and black polkadot interlocks for years, I think they might have been the first knits I ever bought (on Ebay, Nic-who-was-asking).


To break up the pattern, I added some blue trim to the sleeve ends, neckline, and into the waist seams. The skirt is quite full, with a curved waist so it drapes nicely.


I have no idea what is going on with my (new-ish) camera, it's behaving very badly. On one side of the garden it over-exposed all the pictures, and on the other side it under-exposed them. It's entirely possible, of course, that it's just me. Any ideas?

Wednesday 16 November 2011


The Knit Flounce Skirt

crouch skirt

From November until spring it's almost impossible for me to get modelled pics. Daylight only occurs during the hours the kids are away, and it's cold enough that coats should not be off for long. Plus the year-round grumbles about not wanting to model and deliberating gurning. One of these days I swear I'm going to click through a Pinterest link about getting kids to cooperate with picture-taking.

happy skirt

So I grabbed 45 seconds on the way home from school to get some pictures of her newest skirt: a full-circle made out of knit polkadot. See how the small girl twirls.


I'm going to be working a load of knit projects over the next couple of weeks (due in part to the imminent reveal of Top Secret Bizness), but my question is this: are some people still intimidated by working with stretch fabric? And what do you like or not like about sewing knits?

Tuesday 15 November 2011


Tutorial lite: Getting another year of wear out of a top

Disclaimer: This really isn't a tutorial and can probably be filed under 'Well, duh' but I'm sharing it anyway because sometimes the 'Well, duh's pass us by. Or at least they pass me by.

Due in part to me failing to make my own kids any clothes in forever, Maia has very few long sleeve tops that fit her now that the weather has grown cold. Like most kids, she has grown far more vertically than horizontally (she has actually lost most of her toddler shape) in the last year so tops fit her in the body but come up short. But with a bit of ribbing and less than an hour, half a dozen tops have been given an extra year of wear. Remember this one?

Let's give it another year.

A top that has normal hems (i.e. does not have cuffs already)
Ribbing (or jersey works too provided it's not too flimsy). You could also upcycle the ribbing from other out grown garments.

1 sleeve

Cut a piece of ribbing that is roughly 5.5" to 6" high and half an inch narrower than your sleeve hem when the ribbing is folded. Do this for both sleeves.

3 hem

Cut two pieces of ribbing that are roughly 5.5" to 6" high and an inch (or a bit more if your ribbing is super stretchy) narrower than your hem.

2 cut sleeve

Cut the sleeve hems off at the stitch line.

4 cut hem

Same for the hem.

5 sew ribbing edge

On the opposite side from the fold, sew the raw edge of a sleeve cuff together. Take a picture upside down to prove it. Repeat for other sleeve cuff. Then repeat to both sides of the hem ribbing.

6 flip down

Fold it down so the stitching is to the inside. Same for other sleeve cuff and hem ribbing.

7 pin on

With the sleeve right side out, place the cuff over the top of the sleeve edge so that all three edges are aligned. Stretch the ribbing to fit and pin in place.

8 sew on

Sew along the raw edge all the way around, stretching only the ribbing to fit. Repeat for other sleeve.

9 pin on hem

With the shirt still right side out, place the hem ribbing around the bottom edge so that all three raw edges align. Match the side seam of the shirt with the side seam of the hem ribbing and pin in place. Repeat on opposite side. Stretch the ribbing to match the shirt's edge and pin all the way around.

10 sew on hem

Sew along the raw edge all the way around, stretching only the ribbing to fit.

11 finished

Flip down all of the cuffs and you're done. An extra two and half inches to the sleeve and hem and another year of wear.

Monday 14 November 2011


The Creepy Baby Roadshow

Remember The Ghastly Dangling Baby Art Installation? Unambitious. Let's take this horror on the road.

Sleep tight.

Friday 11 November 2011


Kindle Covers: Now 300% posher

in triplicate

I've been a busy bee making some more Kindle Cases with my leather stash. Some of you asked on my last post where I got my leather from. In the case of the blue: Ebay. But these two?

red and brown

Hoo boy.... I was very lucky (my bank manager would disagree with the use of 'lucky') that I happened across these two hides in my local fabric shop . They are the most beautiful soft and supple Italian leather, originally intended for Liberty London. Honestly, they feel so nice that I'd you'd be tempted to cut it apart and rub it all over my your body. Warning: Please match up the striked pronouns, and then match up the non-strike pronouns. I don't want to rub the leather on your body. Much.

red suede

The interior has just been left natural suede because a) classy b) soft.

brown detail

The dark brown is very nice too, and Steven is still weighing up whether he'd like to switch to this more subtle cover than his bright blue one.

blue full

Speaking of Steven's cover, I've also tried mixing it up with a constrasting closure. Does it work? I think I like it. This leather is thicker than the Liberty ones and therefore a bit more protective for people who don't hold their Kindles close to their heart as I do.

blue detail

To answer more questions from last post, no, you don't need a super snazzy powerful machine to sew leather. You do, however, need to have heavy duty needles (I use leather needles) to punch through and they dull so fast. Get heaps, and change them regularly. You also need patience to go slowly and clips in lieu of needles. Once there is a hole in leather, it's there forevermore. Practice on scraps with tension, stitch length and foot pressure.

If you're interested, they are all in my shop :)