Monday 31 October 2011

Love Me Knot Dress...

Here's my entry in the Pieces of Love contest to celebrate Dress A Girl Around The World's second birthday. I used the Love Me Knot Dresspattern by Little Lizard King.

Dress A Girl Around the World will be distributing all the dresses in the contest, to little girls who otherwise might not own a pretty dress.

You can see all the dresses entered here and the winners here. No, I didn't win, but I was more than happy to have my dress displayed amongst such an assortment of gorgeous dresses.

Saturday 29 October 2011

My Little Shopper Tote...

The little people in our family all have their own little shopping tote. It has short handles to keep the bag off the ground and is fully lined. Here's how to make one...


I used cotton fabric: Color Play - Moda Fabrics
    • 2 pieces 26cm x 26 cm - main colour for the outside of the bag
    • 2 pieces 26cm x 5cm - contrast colour for the top outside of the bag
    • 2 pieces 26cm x 29cm - contrast colour for the lining of the bag
    • 4 pieces 20cm x 4cm - contrast colour for the handles
    • 2 pieces 20cm x 4cm - sew in medium weight interfacing for the handles
    The bag can be made without the contrast at the top. If doing this version, cut 2 pieces of fabric the same size as the lining, for the outside of the bag.


    All seams are 1cm, unless otherwise indicated.

    1. With right sides together, sew the side seams of the lining.
    2. Sew the bottom seam, leaving a 10cm gap in the middle.
    3. Cut off the bottom corners being careful not to cut the stitching.
    4. Finish seams with a zig zag stitch

    Outside of bag - sew contrast fabric to main fabric:
    1. With right sides together, sew the contrast to the main fabric.
    2. Finish the seam with a zig zag stitch.
    3. Finger press the seam towards the contrast fabric.
    4. Topstitch 3mm from the seam.
    Step 1: sew contrast to main fabric...
    Step 4: topstitch...

    Outside of bag - sew front to back:
    1. With right sides together, sew the side and bottom seams
    2. Cut off the bottom corners being careful not to cut the stitching.
    3. Finish seams with a zig zag stitch.
    4. Turn right side out.
    Step 4: turn right side out

    1. Place two handles right sides together.
    2. Place one piece of interfacing on the wrong side of one of the handle pieces.
    3. Sew the long edges together.
    4. Finish seams with a zig zag.
    5. With a safety pin, turn the handle to the right side.
    6. Iron the handles.
    7. Topstitch 3mm from the edge of the seams
    8. Repeat for the second handle.
    Step 5: attach safety pin...
    Step 5: push pin inside...

    Step 5: push pin to the end...
    Step 7: topstitching...

    Join the handles to the bag:
    1. Place each end of the handle 6cm from the side seam on the outside of the bag.
    2. Baste (hand sew) into place.
    3. Machine sew the handle to the bag. I go back and forth four times for added strength.
    Step 3: sew handle to bag...
    Step 3: reinforce...

    Attach the lining to the outside of the bag:
    1. Place the bag inside the lining. ie: the right side of the bag is next to the right side of the lining.
    2. Line up the top edges of the lining and the outside.
    3. Tuck the handles between the outside and the lining.
    4. Baste (hand sew) the top edges of the lining and the outside.
    5. Sew a 1.5cm seam to join the top edges of the lining and the outside of the bag.
    6. Reinforce where the handles join the bag, by going back and forth a few times.
    7. Finish the seams with a zig zag stitch.
    Step 1: right sides together...
    Steps 5 - 6: sew seam and reinforce

    Turn the bag right side out:
    1. Put your fingers through the hole in the bottom of the lining.
    2. Gently pull the right side of the bag out through the lining.
    3. Topstitch the gap in the lining.
    4. Push the lining back into the bag.
    5. Iron the top edge of the bag.
    6. Topstitch 3mm from the edge, around the top of the bag.
    Step 2: pull the right side out...
    Step 3: topstitch opening...

    Step 6: topstitch the top edge...

    There you have it; a quick and easy little shopping tote for a child.

    Stepping out of my comfort zone...

    I like to continually learn. If I'm not learning, I'm not happy. The steeper the learning curve, the greater the sense of achievement.

    At the same time, I like to stay within my comfort zone. I like to perfect what I already know. It's a bit of a contradiction, I know.

    On those occasions when I have stepped out of my comfort zone, I've been very pleased with myself and have not only felt that wonderful sense of achievement, but I've learnt a lot as well.

    Here I am in my early twenties: a city girl learning to drive a tractor and the first female to do so on that farm. Just being on a farm was something new to me. Mr TMW must have trusted me, as he's sitting in the trailer.

    Getting my motor bike licence was another great achievement for me in my early twenties. Now in retirement, I'm going to relearn to ride, something I haven't done for many years.

    Here's a pic of me riding a trike. Yes, I know it's on the side of the road, but I had to stop to have a photo taken. It looks big doesn't it. It was! Mr TMW and I hired this trike for a weekend. We had a ball! Doing an unexpected hill start for the first time, in traffic, with Mr TMW seated on the back, certainly caused a bit of an adrenalin rush... for both of us. But, oh, I was so proud of myself and so was Mr TMW.

    So maybe sewing doesn't give that same adrenalin rush, but the feeling of pride is there, none the less, when I achieve something I was initially unsure about.

    In recent times, I made a little baby doll t-shirt dress into a bag, without using a pattern. Here's how I did it. When I began, I had no idea what the finished bag would be like. I really made it up as I went along. That's not how I was taught to sew. For me, it was like breaking the rules. The hardest part was thinking about it and actually making the first cut. Once that was done, I was away. That little bag is one of my favourite projects and I'm keen to do another.

    The Retro Pillow Challenge was a challenge for me in more than one way. Not only did I have no idea what I was going to sew, it was going to be public. There were many firsts for me with that challenge. I learnt so much and had lots of fun, so of course I'm pleased I made myself write the email to join.

    Last week I told you I had been asked to change a wedding dress into a smart day dress to be worn to a wedding. I'm well under way with the transformation. Again, the thinking about it has been the hardest part. Funnily enough, I haven't found it stressful. Mind you, at one stage I sewed the zipper to both the back and the front of the dress. I think I may have said something I shouldn't have, at that point in time. But, hey, that's why we all own an unpicker.
    The wedding dress in pieces...

    So, to sum up my Thursday Think Tank, stepping out of my comfort zone is good. I'm finding that the more I do it, the less stressed I am before hand. Yes, I do know it's Friday Saturday, but I still wanted to join in with Thursday Think Tank over at Making Rebecca Lynne.

    Are you a risk taker? Can you easily do new things?

    Thursday 27 October 2011

    New Header...

    I'm sure you've all noticed, that I have a new header and I just LOVE it. The talented Tash, from Little Ladybird designed and created my new header, along with three fabulous buttons. To see more of Tash's work and products, you can visit her website and her Facebook page. Pop on over and say Hi.

    Monday 24 October 2011

    Barbie and Ken...

    In my last post, I showed you these things pictured to the left, but didn't tell you what they are.

    Yes, I know, they do look a little unusual and they are definitely NOT examples of fine sewing, but they will be well used and we had lots of fun making them.

    Maybe the following picture will help you.....

    Ken and his two friends, Barbie and Barbie, like to go swimming. The problem was, they didn't own a swimming costume. Out came an old aerobics costume from the 1990s. Yes, I know, I should have taken a photo, but I didn't, so you'll just have to use your imagination.

    First up, I looked at the outfits Ken and his two friends already had. Eeeek!!! Have you ever seen such fiddly little clothes, all neatly sewn with velcro fastenings? Onto idea number two. I downloaded a couple of free Ken and Barbie patterns from the Internet. The instructions were as detailed as those for a child's dress.

    No, I just held bits of the aerobics costume around the dolls and hacked into the fabric. I then used a combination of hand and machine sewing to create rather brightly coloured costumes that can be pulled on and off without fastenings.

    I'm sure you've worked it out by now. Here are Ken and one of his friends lying on their new beach towels.

    Little Miss is at that stage where she is quite confident cutting pieces of paper, but she's not yet up to sewing. How to involve her in this project? She chose the ric rac and positioned each piece onto the towelling. She then had the very important job of cutting the ric rac to just the right length. The narrow ric rac she could manage if I held it taut. For the wider ric rac, I made the first little cut, then she could finish it. After the ric rac was sewn on, she also cut the threads as close as she could to the fabric.

    I tend to be a perfectionist and no matter what the project or its purpose, I still like to do it properly. Making Ken and the two Barbies' swimming gear, has shown me that not all projects need to be done to perfection. These little outfits will be loved and used just as much as if I had spent hours sewing them with perfect little seams and fastenings. Improvisation can be good.

    During October, The Artsy Girl Connection is highlighting Upcycled projects. I've entered Ken and Barbies' swimming gear. Head on over and have a look at lots of awesome upcycling projects. You can even vote for your favourite.

    Jill, over at Creating My Way to Success, has an ongoing Clothes Recycling Linkup, with over 158 fabulous ideas to turn old clothes into something new and useful.

    Sunday 23 October 2011

    Friday Night Sew In Achievements...

    This is my first time joining in Friday Night Sew In. Just a quick post to show you what I achieved.

    Two lined cotton totes for children. The first is made with Color Play, by Moda. Not sure what the other fabrics are. I'll do a tutorial in the next few days, showing how I made them.

    Can you tell what's in the next photo? I also made these on Friday night. See if anyone can guess correctly. I'll let you know in the next few days if anyone got it right.

    Tomorrow I'll see what everyone else has been up to for the Friday Night Sew In.

    Handmade by Heidi

    Friday 21 October 2011

    Pieces of Love ~ Time to Vote...

    Early this month I posted about Pieces of Love, a competition run by Sew Delightful to celebrate the 2nd birthday of Dress a Girl Around the World.

    Entries have now closed and it is time to vote for your favourite dress. I can't tell you which entry is mine, as all dresses have been posted anonymously.

    There are 22 beautiful dresses to look at. Pop on over and vote for your favourite.

    Sew Delightful

    So Much To Do...

    Busy, busy, busy!!! There are so many sewing projects that I want to tackle. I think I may have to put a hold on reading blogs until I cross off a substantial number of projects from my To Do list. Only kidding... I look forward to my daily dose of inspiration.

    I do have to prioritise though. Here are a couple of things that I will definitely be doing in October and November.

    Last month I took part in the Retro Pillow Challenge, hosted by Rikka and Keren. It's time to sign up for their next challenge. I had so much fun and learnt so much with their first challenge, that I wouldn't miss this one. Head on over to the challenge page and sign up. You'll find lots of ideas and inspiration to get you started. 

    The Crafty Christmas Club has been set up for anyone who will be making Christmas presents. It's a way to get inspiration and tips from others. It's also a venue for discussing your plans and showing off your projects, without spoiling the surprises on your own blog. I'm about to make up my Christmas sewing list in the hopes that I'll be so motivated I'll finish all I set out to do.

    I'll also be doing the Frame Pouch Along with Making Rebecca Lynne and I'll be turning a wedding dress into a good day dress to wear to a wedding.

    That's my Thursday Think Tank for this week.

    If you'd like to line up your graphics and text, so they appear where you want them to (instead of where Blogger feels they should go), head on over to this tutorial on tables. Thanks, Keren!!!

    Thursday 20 October 2011

    Huckaback Embroidery...

    My Spring cleaning seems to have come to a stop. Yes, I know, one day and cleaning out two cupboards hardly counts, but oh, that was so tiring... I have other more important things to do. Yesterday it was sewing and then gardening. Today, so far it's been sewing and later on I'll go for a stroll around the garden and maybe pull up a few weeds.

    Hopefully I won't find a red-bellied black snake, like Mr TMW did the other day. It's the time of year we call snake weather. It occurs in Spring when the weather starts to warm up and again in Autumn. The red-bellied black snakes are more scared of us, than we are of them. However, I still find them scary. It's time to do some Spring cleaning in the garden and keep the plants off the paths and clear up any old things left lying around.

    During my mammoth clean up inside, I found some huckaback embroidery that I did at school, many moons ago. I had wrapped the material around a glass plate to protect it.

    Wednesday 19 October 2011

    Circle Skirt...

    Here is the circle skirt I made last night. It is the quickest piece of clothing I have ever made!!! The tutorial is written by Dana, over at Made. Dana's step by step instructions are clear, detailed and easy to follow, with numerous photos, so you can't possibly go wrong.

    • Draft the pattern. (You will need measurements for the child who is to wear the skirt.)
    • Cut the fabric. (It looks like a large donut.)
    • Sew the elastic ends.
    • Attach the elastic to the top of the skirt.
    • Hem the skirt.
    This photo shows the colour the best...

    That's all there is to it. There are no seams and no gathers. The skirt hangs and twirls beautifully. What little girl wouldn't LOVE a skirt like this?

    Tuesday 18 October 2011

    Friday Night Sew In...

    I've just signed up for my first  Friday Night Sew In, over at Crafty Vegas Mum. The sew in for this month, takes place on Friday 21st October. I'm hoping to cross off a couple of items on my To Do list; especially some of the things that have been on the list for a long time. Perhaps that should read...  I'm hoping to start some of the things I've been procrastinating about; the things I say I'll do, but never seem to get around to because there's always something new that catches my attention.

    Come and join in the fun....

    Handmade by Heidi

    Monday 17 October 2011


    I've been back from holidays for almost a week, but haven't touched my sewing machine. That makes two weeks with no sewing. That's a long time.

    So, what have I been up to? I'm not sure what's possessed me, but I've been cleaning out cupboards. Spring cleaning I suppose you could call it. I'm trying to declutter and get rid of things that we no longer use. I have a tendency to keep things, just in case I find a use for them at a later date. Whilst I think this is good in principle, I overdo this and end up being disorganised with lots of clutter. With only two cupboards finished, I have boxes of things to take to a charity store. It feels good to look inside those cupboards and see how neat and tidy they are.

    Don't think I've been cleaning and tidying non stop since we've returned from holidays. Housework is something I avoid if I possibly can. Believe me, I'm doing the bare minimum.  Forget the housework, gone gardening... a plaque saying this was given to me by a friend. It sits proudly in the garden outside the kitchen. With the beautiful Spring weather we are having, the gardening has won over sewing in my spare time.

    I picked these flowers from my garden today: lavender, dianthus, daisies and diosma. The weather forecast is looking good tomorrow, so I'll be heading outside again. 

    Even though I may not be sewing, my To Do list continues to grow at an alarming rate. The other day, I was asked if I would sew a dress for a wedding. No, not the bride's wedding dress, but a dress to be worn to a wedding; a dress that has to look good. I said Yes.  Eeeekkkk!!!  What have I done?

    Seriously though, this should show whether I really can still sew. Many moons ago, I made my own wedding dress and veil. So, this should be a breeze, I think???

    We've been fabric and pattern shopping. We bought a cheap fabric to do a test dress first. Then there was a change of plans. Another idea was thrown into the ring. Could I alter an existing wedding dress to make it into a smart day dress, without a pattern. Now I do like the security of a pattern, but the idea seems easy enough. Cut the existing dress off above the waist, add a skirt from new fabric and add a belt. 

    I must admit, I am more than a little nervous about cutting into the wedding dress. There's no going back once the first cut is made. However, that's a week away. In the meantime, I'd better cross a couple of things off my To Do list. I'll see what I can do before the garden calls tomorrow.

    Friday 14 October 2011


    I've just returned from eight days spent in Brisbane, the capital city of Queensland. I had good intentions of scheduling a few blog posts before I left, but time ran out. We had a lovely time; lots of walking and lots of relaxing.

    I did keep up with reading my favourite blogs and I even managed to write up one non-sewing related post. Time also permitted me to find and comment on some wonderful new blogs.

    When we arrived home, I was very pleased to find a parcel of fabric in the post... yay!!! What a nice surprise to come home to. It was the fabric I ordered with the $25 Shabby Fabrics Gift Certicicate I won last month from Amy, at Diary of a Quilter.

    I have to admit, though, that I didn't stop at spending $25. I don't have a lot of willpower when it comes to purchasing fabric. It's not as if I need more fabric.

    Last month I took part in Stashbusting September and I was really pleased I did, as it most definitely curbed my fabric shopping for the month. Perhaps I need Stashbusting October, November and December.

    For my recent birthday, Mr TMW gave me some gift vouchers for one of our craft/fabric stores. This means I'll be able to shop guilt free for fabric!!!

    It's Think Tank Thursday, so tell me, are you a fabric-a-holic like me, or do you have willpower?

    Friday 7 October 2011

    Girls Just Wanna Have Fun...

    I tend to be very goal oriented and perhaps don't take enough time to relax, have fun and slow down to enjoy the little things in life. It's great to have goals, but balance is important. So.... here's a few pictures to remind me that it's OK to relax and take time away from my sewing and gardening.

    Enjoying the Brisbane Botanical Gardens in Queensland... 
    Strolling through the Hunter Valley Gardens in NSW with Mr TMW... 
    A visit to the Fleurieu Peninsula, SA, with my Mum...

    Mr TMW at Terrigal Beach, just north of Sydney, NSW...

    Mr TMW relaxing at Port Douglas, Queensland...
    Getting the right balance is not always easy!!!

    .... a very short Thursday Think Tank. Yes, I know, it's actually Friday and I should have posted this in the morning, when it would have still been Thursday on the other side of the world, BUT, I've had fun today doing non sewing, non blog related activities.