Thursday, April 30, 2009

Star Trek Uniform and More Retreat Blocks!

Three more blocks arrived today from the USA :-) Beautiful floral fabric.

Thank you!

Now I'm off to continue sewing a Star Trek uniform for my 11 yo son who wants to look like Captain Archer on Enterprise. We found some blue velour in my stash and have chosen a jacket and leggings pattern from Ottobre. I've sewn two zipped patch pockets on the front and some yellow grosgrain ribbon over one shoulder and sleeve, I will have to get some more tomorrow for the other shoulder, I knew I should have bought extra! Here's a sneak preview :-)

We found a Space Shuttle badge and J used my machine's alphabet function to embroider "ENTERPRISE" on the badge, which is now sewn onto the left sleeve.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

More Retreat Blocks!

More retreat blocks arrived in the mail today from two ladies in the USA! Such a lovely surprise :-) I think these will look great trimmed with some spring themed sashing.

Thank You !

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Brilliant Mail Day!

Three packages arrived in the mail today!

My Ottobre Design magazine arrived from Finland, see my excited waiting with anticipation post here!

My first delivery of April Retreat blocks from the UK and the USA. Don't they look great together, I love the contrast :-)

and I'm lucky enough to have an early Rail Fence swap block in my requested colours of yellow orange and red. Such sweet fabrics :-)

Thank You

Monday, April 27, 2009

Formal dress for niece

I've always sewn for my little nieces and last night one of my older nieces asked me to sew her Year 10 formal dress, is she really 15 already!!! Her initial design thoughts are a knee length one shoulder dress in silk. I've been searching the net for ideas/patterns and fell in love with this gorgeous evening dress from Vogue. The all in one flounce and gathered shoulder strip are divine. Even the shorter length dress looks lovely.

Unfortunately I am trying to avoid making a fitted boned bodice which is required for this dress.

Well, I continued searching and found an easier design, also at Vogue, which includes silk in the list of recommended fabrics. I like the flared hem and I hope that having the princess seams will help resolve any fitting issues. This design looks younger and more appropriate for her age :-).

Both of these patterns are out of print so I may have to order direct from Vogue if they have the right size in the warehouse. Please leave me one if you rush out to buy the pattern ;-)!

Oh, just one more outstanding design to share from Smitten By Me, absolutely beautiful shoulder strap and fabric!

Any other pattern suggestions would be most welcome :-)

Saturday, April 25, 2009

We Will Remember Them

Today is ANZAC Day when we remember the fallen.

The Ode of Remembrance
They went with songs to the battle, they were young.
Straight of limb, true of eyes, steady and aglow.
They were staunch to the end against odds uncounted,
They fell with their faces to the foe.
They shall grow not old, as we that are left grow old:
Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn.
At the going down of the sun and in the morning,
We will remember them.

Lest We Forget

We're off to have a traditional ANZAC Day lunch with family, DFIL served in Vietnam. DH is marching in a nearby country town and will join us later this afternoon. I've cooked batches of ANZAC biscuits to take with us to share as always at the request of my DMIL :-).

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Ottobre Waterfall Blouse

My Ottobre Woman 'Waterfall' blouse is finished, pattern #5 in issue 2/2009. Many thanks to Pam for her tutorial on sewing the draped cowl neck, I highly recommend following Pam's instructions for a lovely finish! This top will be worn with my new Ottobre 'Swing' skirt sewn earlier in the same fabric, although it looks quite nice with jeans and I think it'll be beautiful with my grey, navy and turquoise Ottobre skirts. Very versatile :-)

Surprisingly the sleeves are a little shorter than usual on me, you may like to add a bit of length before cutting to ensure that the sleeve finishes past the wrist after hemming!

I'm sorry there's no modelled shot, my photographer is away on a three day practice hike for the Duke of Edinburgh's Award Scheme (Gold) :-).

Foundation Piecing pack

I wanted to learn more about foundation piecing and at Micki's recommendation I ordered a little starter pack from Carol Doak. Well, it has arrived :-), I took the book away to a two day work conference with me to read when alone in my room. Now I need to hog the TV and watch the DVD, then practice with the ruler and paper (and fabric).

I'll be starting the Surfing Sue quilt with miniature blocks once I get the hang of the technique. This is one of the projects I'm participating in at International Friendship Quilters

I won the block lottery!

I've been away for two days and came home to a lovely surprise. Wow, my name was drawn as the winner of the April Retreat lottery, with my QuiltingForAll Yahoo group. There are 53 framed four patch blocks on their way to me! Janice has shared photos of her completed blocks on her blog. The rest will be a surprise. Can't wait!

Thank you for organising the lottery Bev :-)

New Issue of Ottobre - Summer 2009

The new issue of Ottobre is on-line and the magazine was posted out to subscribers on 20th April 09 (see comments on the Ottobre blog)!!! Time to stalk the postie for the big white envelope ;-)

Look at these beautiful shots, Ottobre do a lovely job presenting the new patterns. Here are just 4 of my favourites :-)

A beautiful baby dress with 3 inverted pleats at the neckline,
there are also patterns for a hat and pants to complete the outfit.

I love the bow and pleated detail on the bodice of this dress.

Isn't this the cutest sailor you've ever seen!
There is a little sailor dress too.

Here's one for my son, t-shirt and shorts with an elephant feature.
I enjoy the little extras Ottobre comes up with to make an outfit look less 'homemade'
Thank you Ottobre !

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Costumer's Eye Candy

Before heading off bed just had to share photos from an auction site I found while surfing the net today. These are my favourite 3 items going up for auction later this month (links are provided below) If only...

Lavender Brocade Reception Gown, c.1870 The rich fabric and beautiful details on this dress blow me away!

White Afternoon Dress, c.1860 I love the purple on white and the pretty bows, looks like an old fashioned picnic dress :-)

Rose Silk Sack-Back Open Robe, 1770-1785

Looks like the flowers have been painted onto the fabric in the style commonly used on wood crafts these days! Look at the lace and the ruched curves, wow!

April Retreat Lottery

I'm participating in a weekend sewing retreat with QuiltingForAll. These are my completed lottery blocks as blogged here earlier, actually I only committed to 5 blocks (i.e. 5 entries in the block lottery) so I could increase my entry to 9 blocks and hopefully increase my chances of winning the block lottery, now that would be exciting!!! I was making ten blocks tonight but had a mishap with my cutting, shouldn't have been talking to DH ;-), so one fell by the wayside!

Looks like spring has sprung!

Ottobre Swing Skirt

I've sewn up the Ottobre Woman "Swing" jersey skirt, design 11 issue 2/2009, in a beautiful polyviscose fabric from Knitwit (Autumn 2009 portfolio no. 24 Chelsea Printed Knit Teal).

There is only one pattern piece for the 10 gore skirt, but to make cutting out easier I traced two pattern pieces. The skirt is hemmed with a twin needle using teal coloured thread. I've also used a twin needle to encase the elastic waist. I cut a length of 25mm wide elastic about 2 cm shorter than my waist measurement and overlapped the ends about 1cm to join.

The fabric was tricky to sew, being quite slippery, curly and fine so I basted most of the seams first and then sewed the real seams, unpicking the basting stitches afterwards. You certainly realise how long around the hem of a 10 gore skirt is after sewing around it a couple of times ;-)

I also have the "Waterfall" top cut out in this fabric, ready to sew! Hopefully it'll be a little easier to sew.

Spring Top Week - in Autumn ;-)

I'm going to join in the Spring Top Week challenge on the MadeByRae blog, what a wonderful initiative. I found out about it via Astrid's blog, another sewing blog I love to follow :-). I know it's autumn here but it's my favourite season and provides lots of inspiration for me to sew. Click on the button below to find out more :-) 27th May is a public holiday here so I know I can sew for at least one day, yay! Will blog more about my fabric and pattern choices in up coming days.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Costume Maker's online magazine

I gasped with delight when I found this amazing historical costume while surfing online today!!! See More pictures here. I was revisiting a Canberra Costume Maker's website, Earthly Delights as I had noticed an ad in the National Folk Festival program. I actually donated my beloved old Janome sewing machine to Aylwen G through freecyclecanberra and love to think of it enjoying it's retirement sewing historical costumes :-). She had a link to an on-line magazine called Your Wardrobe Unlock'd, the Costume Maker's companion, an online magazine for everyone who's passionate about historical clothing. There is a single pattern project readers can participate in and this is the pattern chosen. I'm in !!! Wow deep inside there's a definitely frustrated costume maker trying to get out ;-)

Long Tall with borders

Gosh it's hard to photograph finished quilt tops, looks more crooked than it is!! I found some cream fabric to use as the inner border (didn't quite have enough glitter accent fabric)which frames the darker areas effectively. I used the leftover background fabric for the outer border but had to halve the width from 6 1/2" to 3 1/4" to make enough strips to go all the way around :-). My daughter prefers this one to the Rock Star quilt top, more elegant and easy on the eye ;-).

Monday, April 13, 2009

Long Tall throw without borders

I've finished sewing the strips together for the Long Tall quilt top!! This is the throw size which is about 40"x60" at the moment. I'll be adding two borders, an inner border (1 1/2") and an outer border (6 1/2"). If I have enough fabric I thought I'd use the silver/black glitter accent fabric for the inner border and the background fabric for the outer border. Anyway I'll work that out during my next sewing session, time for a break .
The strips really had to be trimmed accurately to construct this top neatly, boy oh boy, spent a bit of time unpicking bits and pieces for this one and re-cutting some of the uneven strips (I bought the class kit!). It was an interesting logistics puzzle working out how to combine the strips to make the blocks and then to arrange the blocks so that the colours worked well. Relieved I've made it through to this stage, phew :-).

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Birthday J

My youngest was born on Easter Sunday and this year is the first time his birthday has fallen on Easter Sunday again. He says this is the 'best year of his life' which is just lovely to hear! He was really looking forward to being able to eat chocolate easter eggs for breakfast this morning on his birthday, LOL! He enjoys his soccer and was over the moon about being picked for the Under 11 Div 1 Gold team for his club this season, yahoo!

J is a very creative little fellow, thought I'd share a few of his designs.

Here is a lego bag he designed and helped sew, it includes a pocket for the instruction book and another for the lego pieces plus a handle.

Here's his gun shoulder holster

Here's his quidditch cape, he loved these two fabrics and definitely wanted a hood and a button. Not sure why the rocket badge ended up there but it had to go on, LOL.

Here's his ninja outfit, I was sure it was going to be too hard to make but he took me through step by step and got what he wanted ;-)

Some of his friends like AFL, so he wanted a roos top. He has number 29 on the back, can't remember which player that is. We had fun deciding where to place the blue vertical stripes, white background with paint splashes was acceptable for the white part of the shirt ;-).
Being a fan of Star Trek he just had to have a uniform (this is Capt Picard)!

Happy Birthday J

with love and hugs from Mum!!!

Saturday, April 11, 2009

National Folk Festival 2009

I just spent a wonderful day at the National Folk Festival here in Canberra. Aren't these Welsh folk dance costumes divine! This group came up from the Hunter Valley to dance for us and taught two dances as well, lots of fun. I especially loved the coloured 'jackets with tails' that the ladies wore. Features included generous pleats at the back topped with large matching buttons, large black buttons down the shaped front which was cut right back almost to the side seams to flow when dancing, and dark ribbon around the base of the short sleeves. They were all wearing dark skirts, stockings and shoes, with white aprons, blouses, lace shawls and caps, and different coloured jackets. Beautiful.

Friday, April 10, 2009


Micki (from passed on the news that there is a FQ giveaway at PigTales & Quilts in celebration of her daughter's 30th birthday

Certainly worth taking a look for a chance to win 30 FQs :-)

The deadline for signing up is 20 April 09

Best of luck!!!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Ottobre Elegance Pants

I couldn't wait to try this pattern out when the new Ottobre Woman (issue 2/2009) arrived! Ottobre now gives their patterns names, this one is called "Elegance" pants. I had some orange striped denim in my stash ready for a nice pair of elegant jeans, and this was the pattern that spoke to me :-)

I find that a shaped leg is more flattering on me than straight legged jeans and I love the wide hem at the bottom of the pants.

Darts (at the back) and a shaped waistband give a nice shape to the top. The best feature of all is that there is no chunky jeans zip at the front!

The front hip pockets are really interesting, like a bound button hole, it'll be interesting to see how they cope with wear and tear and how they sit during everyday movement. There is an invisible zip in the side seam of the pants. I followed the directions and put the zip on the left side but being a right hander I think I'd put the zip on the right hand side next time, I'm finding it a bit awkward to manage!

The inner waistband is bound with bias binding, made with a pretty yellow print in my scrap box. The wrong side of the fabric is a bit bright isn't it, LOL!

I only made a couple of modifications; I cut 8cm off the length of the pants (being petite) and had to fit the back of the pants by bringing it in 3cm at the centre back to cater for my sway back (or should that be my big butt ;-)) grading it gradually back to the centre back seam. I didn't sew on the back pockets, I thought the back would look better without them and I couldn't face trying to match the stripes :-P.

The front could be a bit more fitted, perhaps I should bring in the centre front seam a bit too. Sorry, not the best shot . Any suggestions?

Next time I'll choose better placement for the belt loops, I was trying to follow the design sketch but I'm not entirely happy, they're too close together at the side seams and not close enough at the front of the pants.

Despite these negative comments, I'm absolutely thrilled to have a new pair of more dressy jeans :-).

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Our Brittany

Kaeli is one of our dogs, she's a Brittany and is now 18 months old, how time flies. Her nicknames include Krazy Kaeli, Looney Lovegood, Jemima Puddleduck (when she wee'd with excitement as a youngster!) and Dogmatix (for the clouds of dust she leaves in her wake!). Mustn't forget Sweetie and Gorgeous Girl too, LOL. The Brittany is a very active gundog that needs to be busy!!! I must admit the laid back nature of the Curly Coated Retriever is more my style, but don't tell Kaeli ;-)
Here she is at 9 weeks coming home with us from Euroa in Victoria, what a cutey!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009


Introducing my new little nephew, born in December 2008. He has 5 big sisters so is a welcome addition for his Dad ;-) Everyone adores him and he obviously feels the same!
I've started a Jacob's Ladder quilt for him using transport themed fat quarters (a more masculine theme for the house), will have to name the quilt 'Mungo's Ladder' ;-). Here are the first 4 blocks. I might have to make a little outfit for him this long weekend, I've sewn many outfits for his big sisters over the years. Baby clothes are so quick to make (and use very little fabric)!

Monday, April 6, 2009

April Retreat

I'm getting ready for an April weekend retreat (17-19 April) with my QuiltingForAll yahoo group. We're sewing up Framed Four Patch blocks from the quilterscache site. The four patch section is to be white or white on white with any floral and the "frame" is to be light to medium green.

Just have to share the retreat organiser's reasons for choosing this fabric combination ... "I chose these colours because it's been a long winter here and I'm so starved for greenery and flowers." It'll be a pleasure to help out ;-).

Seeing as the four patch needs to be in 3" x 6" pieces I thought I'd buy a couple of 40 piece 7" charm packs. I bought a white on white pack and an Ivana's Garden pack and some lovely spring green fabric for the frame from my local patchwork shop, shown below.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Long Tall and Rail Fence Swap

Quilt class on Friday night was fun, we were walked through the construction of a strip quilt pattern from Cozy Quilts called Long Tall, then we got to go shopping :-) The fabrics in the class strip pack were lovely so I only needed to choose background and accent fabric. I opted for a dark rather than light background because I love the combination of rainbow colours and black. The colours pop! I tend to like fabrics with images from nature so chose an ivy leaf pattern, it also softened the blackness a little. I thought a glitter accent fabric would be a striking contrast between the black background and the bright coloured strips, and it looks like ripples in a pond.

There were enough strips in the class pack to make a twin size quilt but I've decided to make the throw instead, I'm more likely to finish a smaller quilt ;-) So I had fun selecting the fabrics to use and grouping them into low, medium and high contrast, as shown below.

I'm participating in a Rail Fence swap on my QuiltingForAll yahoo group, and was able to select suitable strips from the rest of the class strip pack to use in the Rail Fence blocks due this month. There are 11 members participating and each has requested a personal colour combination for the blocks and will receive 10 blocks in the month they are drawn (2 members drawn per month). I made a cream, rust and charcoal block for a member in the UK and a cream, lavender and pink block for a member in the US. Oops I'm sorry I forgot to take photos before sending them!

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Woooo hoooo!!! The Socceroos won 2-0 against Uzbekistan in Sydney last night (1 April 09) in a World Cup Qualifying match. Australia is now top of the group with 13 points, only one more point required (in the next three matches) in order to qualify for the finals of the FIFA World Cup!!!

We were there, to cheer on our heroes :-), at the Sydney Olympic Stadium in Homebush with a Horde of 12 family members; one from Sydney, one from Melbourne and ten from Canberra. Awesome to see all the big names like Lucas Neill, Harry Kewell, Mark Schwarzer, Bresciano, Scott McDonald, Wilkshire, Cullina and Josh Kennedy.
It was a very loooong day. I left work at 2:30pm, picked the kids up from school and DH from work and we headed out of Canberra at about 3:30pm. We only just made it to our seats for the national anthems at 8:00pm, it took the whole of the last hour to get off the M4 and into a booked carpark, traffic congestion!! After the game we had a picnic and disco at the car ;-) waiting for the traffic to subside and headed back to Canberra, arriving home at 2:00am. Believe it or not we all made it to school and work today, albeit a little worse for wear. Time to crawl back to bed, good night...zzz