Monday, December 13, 2010

Weekend sewing

The weather has been pretty gloomy here in Joburg this past weekend. Rain, rain and more rain. Perfect for reading (on my kindle) and sewing, of course. I decided to play around a bit more with sewing some shirred tops. I have been struggling to find the right tension on my sewing machine, but it seems I finally found it!

The pictures are not great because of the gloomy weather. This stretch knit fabric is a lovely bright yellow. I copied a pattern from one of my favorite store-bought tops. Really simple. I have been dying to try making a top with two different colour fabrics for a while, so here is my first attempt in yellow and black.
A close-up picture of the sleeve detail. I used a very fine zig-zag stitch, called an embroidery stitch on my machine, to finish the sleeve and neck edges. I decided to go for contrast detail and did it in yellow on the black fabric. Looks very nice. The original top had cropped sleeves that were shirred, but I made it longer and decided to rather go for a flair sleeve. I quite like it.
You might remember me making this bag a while back? All it needed was for me to sew in the lining. Shocking that I had cut and sewn the lining months ago, I just needed to sew it into the bag! Well, all done now. Love this bag!
My HTC cellphone decided to die on me just 3 months before my contract and free upgrade is due! I did not want to spend a fortune on a phone for just a few months and was delighted to find this cool Vodaphone for only R549! It has all the features I want and a camera too. Not that I ever use the camera on my cellphone...Best of all, it is simple to use and within hours I had my e-mail set-up on it, all my contacts in and my music saved on it.
I am officially on my summer holiday from today! 3 weeks of rest, I hope. So far, not much of a "summer" with all the rain, and not much "holiday" either as I have a few more deadlines to make this week. Lots of Xmas shopping to still do and of course, plenty of time for sewing and crocheting.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

I'm back!

I cannot believe I have been absent from blogland for 2 months! It started with a crazy schedule at work to a trip to the UK where I picked up a nasty virus it has taken me weeks to cure. I have however got some exciting stuff to share with you!
Ta-da! A brand-new, handmade cutting table! My FIL is a whiz with making stuff and I asked him to make me a table to specifications for my new sewing room. He added a second shelf below where my overlocker and some other essentials are neatly stored. I had to go buy another large self-healing cutting mat and my long steel ruler is finally being put to good use on top of this table.

Just love it and it works wonderfully for me. No more sitting on the carpet to cut out fabric.

The latest issue (#47 Summer 2010) of the quarterly Bernina Inspiration magazine was just the inspiration I needed to christen my new cutting table.

This purple top is made from jersey stretch fabric and is super-easy to make. Just 2 pattern pieces and some elastic makes for a fast sew. I did not however like the off-the-shoulder look that much, so I played around and modified the pattern a bit.

This is the end-result. Two pattern pieces, front and back, all-in-one. I modified the neck and sleeves and it fits perfectly now. Here are a few tops I have now made with this pattern.

The first one is made from a silk-jersey. Not the easiest fabric to work with, but well worth the extra effort. Love the bright colours! I wanted to try my hand at sewing the neck with elastic thread, using the shirring method, and it was a breeze.

The second is just a standard stretch jersey fabric with lots of stretch in orange and brown. I am wearing this top today for the first time and love it. Also shirred around the neck with elastic thread.

The other reason for my absence is this - my brand-new kindle. I got this for my birthday from my DH recently and have been a frequent visitor on Amazon to purchase books. This is such a fun gadget to own!

I have loads more to share, but will be back soon for that. Right now I have a cup of tea and will be visiting your blogs to say hello and see what you have been up to the last 2 months!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Decoupaged Cane table

I am still busy working on little details decorating my new sewing room. Last year I bought a cane table for R50 and it has been standing in the garage since. I was keen to restore it somehow and use in my sewing room. Sadly, the table is in worse condition than I thought, so I decided to just make it a bit prettier.
The table used to have a very flimsy meshy top, but we had to remove this as it was full of holes and broken. I purchased some ply wood from the hardware, my DH cut it to size for me and I sanded it down a bit before starting to decoupage it.
I went through my scrapbooking paper stash and found this lovely leave-pattern paper in pink and brown. I bought this at Hobby Lobby several years ago and have been saving it for a special project. I wish I had more of this paper so I could match it perfectly, but I think it still looks great. All I did was use modge podge to attach the paper, sanded it a bit for shine, and it took one afternoon!
I also bought two new books. Love Lisa's book! So many awesome bags to sew. Sew Liberated has a peasant top pattern in that I am also keen to try.
I have been sewing a bit lately, although not much. I made this very simple black and white top with some white stitching on the black fabric at the waist. I used my favorite top pattern from the Bernina Inspiration magazine and just modified it a bit. I am not a frilly clothing kind of person and although I love the ruffled neck, I should have made the ruffle smaller. When I wear this top, it feels as if the ruffled neck is HUGE!
Another one of my favorite patterns. I just love this bright fabric! This is the third top I have made with this fabric. I noticed though that the colors tend to run when it gets wet. This is handwash only fabric.

We have been trying for a long time to get a nice picture of all three our dogs together. Not an easy task! As you can see, my son had to hold the two smaller dogs for this picture! Both Maxine and Buksie have recovered well from their recent operations and Jessie is growing every day. Just look at those sweet faces!
Hope you are all having a great week!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

My New Sewing Room!

I can finally share some pictures of my new sewing room in the making! The built-in closet and shelves were done early last week, the room cleaned and I finally started moving in last week Thursday night. I have dedicated a corner of the room to each of my crafts. Above is a picture of my "library" and "quiet corner" where I can read, crochet, knit or just sit and admire my new room. Of course, over the last few days this chair has also become Jessie's new favorite spot! Love my new carpet that is a mixture of red, pink, lilac and purple.

Apart from the built-in closet, the carpenter also added a deep shelve all around the room where all my plastic containers with yarn can be stored. This was my DH's idea and what a great idea it was! I have sorted all my yarn by type and labelled the containers. I even have a container each for WIP crochet projects as well as WIP knitting projects!

This is my new Scrapbooking Corner. Although I have not done any Scrapbooking for over 2 years, lately I have felt like it, so I have hauled out some of my supplies. The closet will be divided into craft areas as well.

This is my sewing and computer corner. I must still sort out the wires. As you can see my sewing table sports a brand-new cover.

Another picture of my high shelving for yarn storage. I bought these really nice cherise pink fabric storage holders and labelled each one after I sorted the yarn by type.
This is my sewing (handbags and other) supplies corner of the closet. All my cotton fabric, handbag, apron and other patterns and tools for sewing is in this part.

This is the crochet/knit as well as part of my sewing (clothing only) supplies corner in the closet. Here you see (most of) my stretch knit fabric and clothing patterns as well as all my knitting needles and crochet hooks, etc.

The rest of the closet is still "under construction" and I hope to get it done this weekend. There is still my scrapbooking corner and the rest of my sewing supplies to sort out.

This picture was taken from the door. It shows the large open space in the middle of the room, in front of the window. This is where my new cutting table will be! My FIL is a mean woodworker and he is busy making me a wooden cutting table to my exact specifications. It will be a plain wooden table the exact size and height to make cutting fabric easier on me. I cannot wait!
I wish I had more time to finish my room but life has been very hectic around here. I hope to share more detailed pictures soon. My wonderful DH suggested additional, narrower shelves to display all my lovely stuff and I really like the idea. Still lots to do before I can actually do anything, but soon. Hope you all have a lovely weekend!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Sis Boom Meghan Peasant Blouse

I found the most delightful sewing pattern for a peasant blouse recently. The Sis Boom Meghan Peasant blouse pattern by Jennifer Paganelli is available in a downloadable PDF format on this lovely website Although the pattern is designed for cotton fabric, I used my favorite knit jersey fabric instead.

This is my first attempt. Lovely new flowery knit fabric I recently found at a local fabric store. I selected the size S (4-6) size and cut out the pattern on the second cutting line on each pattern piece. Each pattern piece has three sizes. The only reason I did this is because the first cutting line made the top front piece look extremely small. Although I do like the top, the front bodice was too big for me. The elastic part is not quite right.

This is my second attempt. My favorites - pink and polka dots. Another knit jersey fabric I bought at Hobby Lobby in Chicago. This time I cut the pattern on the first line and the bodice fit perfectly. Sorry, no pics of me wearing it, although I have warn it twice already! I also changed the bottom part to flare a bit and made it a bit shorter than the first version.

This is a stunning pattern. Very easy to follow with some really cool sewing methods I have never encountered before. Such as the method you follow to make the elastic casings. The method makes life so much easier and avoids puckering. I did not have to make any adjustments to the pattern for using knit jersey instead of cotton, which was also amazing. I highly recommend this pattern and plan to make many more!

You might remember I mentioned that I am re-doing my sewing room? It has been a very busy time with me spending several days clearing out my sewing room (I cannot believe how much stash I have accumulated!!) and getting it ready for the make-over. This is a picture I took this morning. The room has now been freshly painted and internet and power cables neatly laid. I just need to clean the carpet and wait for the carpenter to come in the end of this week. He will be installing shelves and a closet. The exciting part is coming soon!

This is where I have stored all my stuff. Our entertainment room looks positively terrible! This picture just shows a small section, it looks a lot worse! I will have to be more selective when I start moving my stash back into my new sewing room. And buy less!

I will share progress in the new sewing room as it happens. Once again, if you know of any good links to help me decorate my new room, please share them!

Friday, August 20, 2010

Crafty Stuff

I wanted to share a more recent picture of our little baby, Jessie. With lots of love (and don't forget spending quite a bit at the Vet!) she has grown tremendously the last few weeks. I remember weighing her at the Vet a month ago and we were so pleased that she had gained 200g, weighing 2kg then! Last night we weighed her on the bathroom scale and she is a whopping 8kg!I could not resist taking this picture! This is a first, Jessie sleeping on my cane chair in my sewing room. She was very affectionate last night, just wanting to cuddle up to me, so I put her on my chair for a snooze. Adorable. She looks like a rabbit at the moment when she runs - she is all long legs and ears!

This lovely surprize arrived in my post box yesterday! Thank you so much Karol-Ann! My lovely blog friend from the UK sent me a whole bunch of knitted and crocheted bag patterns from her old magazines. This top picture is my favorite. It uses the Rowan Biggy Print yarn and as you know, I am into the super-chunky yarn phase now.

I know, I know, I have enough stash to open my own shop, but I saw this lovely bag pattern on This drawstring bag is made from paper raffia and I happened to see some at The Crazy Store yesterday at a very good price and decided to try it. I started on the bag last night, but changed the pattern. Raffia is not easy to crochet! Maybe it's the type I bought, not sure. It looks really nice though.

I first went to Fiona's Fabrics in Randburg looking for Raffia and saw this new stock. They have just put out some lovely 100% cotton (from India) fat quarters. They call it Flat Fats and there are rolls as well, normally called jelly rolls I think. You can choose between green, pink or blue and there are some odd ones, like the yellow polka dots. They sell for R20 each where all the quilt shops charge R35 a fat quarter. I see lovely FQ bags or some smaller projects like pin cushions.

Earlier this week I was on my way to see a customer when I saw this African Artist selling wire and beads animals next to the road. What caught my attention was the sheep! I immediately wanted the smaller one and then forgot to stop on my way back. Yesterday I took the same route to another customer and on my way back stopped. Isn't this cute?

These Artists are just amazing. Look at the cute hoofs and tail! Its based on a wire frame and they add seed beads. This is the smallest sheep he had and it stands about 30cm high.

Just look at the detail in the face and ears. This is the literal translation of "beady eyes"! They have even re-created the "wooly" look with the way they attached the beads.

I don't think I have mentioned yet that my sewing room is going to be completely revamped? This will be happening very soon. In fact, I am starting to clear out the room this weekend, painting will happen next week during the evenings, then the carpenter will be coming in to install a built-in closet and shelves. I have been spending a lot of time on planning my new room, including a decent cutting table. Imagine how nice this sheep will look in my new room! I will take some before, during and after pics of my room to share with you. If you know of any great sites where I can get more inspiration ideas for my new room, please drop me a note.

Hope you all have a great, crafty weekend!

Monday, August 16, 2010

Reversible Bag

It has been very quiet here because I have been very lazy the last two weeks. I am in my sewing room a lot, planning to start projects or finish some of the WIP's lying around, but no action as yet. I did make two bags last weekend.

This is the Reversible Bag from a very crafty lady's blog. Visit to get the free pattern to make this cute bag and see this lady's fantastic sewing projects at the same time. I hate sloppy bags, so I ironed on some interfacing to the outer fabric. This was a mistake. Not only did it make the bag more bulky for sewing the curves, it is a bit stiff as well. I already used some home dec type fabric that is rather thick for the outer fabric, so it did not need interfacing.

This is another view of the bag showing the darts in the bottom. This fabric was a cut-off piece I got for a very good price at Jo-Ann's in Chicago last year. The photo does not do this fabric any justice. The pink flowers are gorgeous. A quick and easy bag to make. I plan to make another bag like this, but without interfacing.

Then I also tried my hand at making a leather bag. I have always wanted to try this. I was great fun to design my own bag and make it. I drafted the basic pattern and then cut it into three parts, including seem allowances. After attaching the three parts, I did topstitching on both sides of the seams. Love the way it came out. I do hate the handles though. I saw a bag where the handles were sewn on and tried it, but it does not look good. Maybe the handles are also too small for this bag? Looks that way to me. I am planning to remove them and make other handles. Maybe handles attached with O-rings.

I adore the inside of the bag. I used a fat quarter that I bought at Hobby Lobby earlier this year with the cutest pink flowers and birds on it. I also tried my hand at sewing in a divider with a zip. Yeah! Love how it came out.

I did however forget to add lining! When do I discover this? Of course it was after the whole bag was sewn. I am so not re-doing it.

I have also cut out another bag I plan to make, but not sure when! Hope my sewing mojo comes back soon! Hope you all have a great week.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Weekend buys and new stash (again!)

I had a great time shopping at the International Fashion Sale on Saturday with my sister and niece. We are all shopaholics in this family! The show was a bit smaller than previous years and there were less REAL bargains, but it still offered some great stuff. This is what I came home with, a few "investment" pieces for my wardrobe.

Of course, I had to buy some handbags. A lovely grey structured bag in a fake snakeskin pattern and a fab peacock blue leather drawstring bag. This blue bag has so many pockets inside as well as a zipped divider, which I think I need to try adding to my next fabric bag. Of course I had to buy TWO pairs of boots in the same color! Don't ask me why. This light grey top is a soft mohair organic jersey from Japan and wears wonderfully. So well, that I went back on Sunday to buy two more! At R100 (about $14) each, it really was a bargain.

This also arrived in the post on Saturday! As you know, I am on a mission to get my hands on some bulky yarn right now. Sirdar's Big Softie yarn is fabulous! As the name suggest, very soft to the touch and very thick. I have been drooling over it the whole weekend and now I am not keen to use it. I ordered three colors - Blancmange, Foam and Cupcake. I got these from this shop on sale at GBP1,70 each! Great service too!

I ordered these book two weeks ago from, a local online shop similar to, after I saw some of Leigh Radford's fabulous books and patterns on her website. Her felted bags and scarf patterns are awesome. You can see pictures of projects in her books on her website here

I love this bag from Alterknits Felt! On the other side this bag has a striped section and another section with big dots. It has lots of extra pockets and interesting design detail. You know my love of anything with polka dots! I am so going to make this bag!

And look at this interesting bag. It has a long zipper that covers a large part of the handle. Great designs! Hope you are all having a great week.

Our old lady, Maxine, went in for her big operation yesterday at the Vet. She was so high on drugs when we fetched her late afternoon and could hardly walk. We had to carry her around and she is no lightweight. Can you believe the Vet called her "fat"! My dog is not fat, ok, maybe a little...We set her up on the couch on the patio last night with lots of blankies and nice food and water, but apart from forcing her to swallow her pills, she was not interested in moving around or eating. I was delighted to see her moving around this morning and eating a bit. We forced some more pills down her throat and I hope to see her strong again soon! I will post a pic of her soon, when she looks more healthy.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Fabulous new stash!

I think you all know that this week is my LYS , Arthur Bales's, big July sale. Big surprize, I have been there twice this week already! I was a bit stumped when I said to one of the ladies working there that I won't be back again this week and she replied that she is sure I will! Ok, not really so shocking...Anyway, before we move on to my exciting new yarn (and fabric) loot, first some exciting post this week from my lovely, talented friend in Staphorst, The Netherlands.
Inside this lovely fabric parcel wrapped with gorgeous ribbon was a selection of fabulous original Staphorst cotton fabric. In lovely shades of purple, lilac and blue. I love the fabric, Gina! I have been keeping it close, staring and touching and I fear I won't use it for a while...but since lilac and purple is my current colours, I might just make that fabric bag I have been dying to make. A lovely postcard of Staphorst and an adorable keyring with Dutch wooden shoes. This is so going onto my car keys soon! Love the homemade strawberry too. Thanks so much Gina! Visit Gina here to see her lovely creations.

On to the new loot. Here are some of my new yarn, and yes, I did buy one piece of fabric. You can see my piece of lovely pink and wine red corduroy fabric in the photo below. It was rather expensive fabric, imported from Japan. I have been drooling over this for a while...I am going through my patterns looking for the right dress. I want to make a country type dress with a flair sewn on the sleeves and hem and since I do not have such a pattern, I will modify one I have.

This time I decided I am going to stock up on the more expensive yarns I hesitate to spend on, instead of stocking up on the cheaper acrylic yarns. So, first on my list was super bulky wool. Of course, Rowan Big Wool was a given. Not sure of the name of this colour, the package and label does not say, but I think it is called "Smitten Kitten". I have a bag pattern from the Rowan Big Easy booklet in mind for this. On the left is Sirdar Denim Ultra Mega Chunky, a mix of cotton and wool and really nice for a natural coloured bag or scarf.

The ultimate spoil for me was this - Rowan Pure Cashmere DK. Horrendously expensive, it arrived very recently and was on about a 20% discount, so I jumped on the last three in this lovely pink. I am thinking a summer scarf or wrap. What do you think?

I also stocked up on the last of the discontinued Elle Merino Solids felting wool (not pictured). My stash is looking good except for the yellow and black which I cannot find anywhere. So, here is the last of my new stash. I could not resist the lovely blue Elle Toy Time acrylic yarn. Not sure what to make yet, so will go in the stash for later. The Vinnis Colours organic cotton is to add to my growing stash to make a lovely colourful bag I have in mind and maybe also some washcloths and tray cloths.

Then I thought I will share what I am busy with right now. I have been working on both these projects during the evenings this week when I have a chance. This is a neckwarmer in moss stitch from a pattern called "Envy" on Ravelry. I already have the buttons picked out, but knitting is so sloooow.
Compared to crochet, that is, which is why I started another project this week. I just love these colours together! This is a wavy type pattern and i am using local yarns from Elle to make a unique bag. In fact, so unique, I do not even know myself yet what the end result will be! I saw a picture of a stunning bag online and sort of started making something similar, but as always, I digressed...

This Saturday I am shopping at the International Fashion Sale at the Coca-Cola Dome near my house. It's now hosted twice a year and an opportunity to buy expensive branded clothing, shoes, bags and perfume at up to 70% off. What woman can resist that?! My best friend, sister and niece will be joining me in a day of shopping and fun! Hope you are all having a fabulous week!