Friday, September 27, 2013

Fabric Friday - Beach Days

Spring has sprung which, in Brisbane, means Summer is here! Cloud has been dreaming of lazy afternoons on the beach, eating fish & chips with lemon, then walking along the tide line with a nice cold icy-pole. The sound of the sea gulls and waves crashing and the bright yellow sun reflecting off the sand and water. This week's Fabric Friday is Cloud's take on her perfect summer afternoon. 

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So, who's ready for a trip to the beach this weekend :)
- Ky

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Totes Cute Tote Bag

When we order in fabric we ask, "What would you make from it?" before we buy it. If the fabric doesn't talk to us, we don't get it in. We had always planned to make a kid's version of the You Sew Girl Small Tote and Satchel but we were waiting for the perfect fabric. This ultra kawaii animal print fabric from Cosmo just screamed "Totes Cute Tote" when we saw the sample :) The fabric is a heavy canvas base cloth so it is very durable and the rich red background colour looks great teamed up with our Indigo Denim.
The Small Tote and Satchel pattern is a great project for a beginner as it contains lots of tips on the basics of bag making and sewing. For more advanced sewists it is a quick and easy project that can be whipped up in an afternoon / evening session (I think this one took me 3-4 hours in total).

After my Alexander Henry Mirage Carry All Bag blog post, Nicole from You Sew Girl suggested that I try using Medium-Heavy interfacing paired with H630 wadding. This would give me the structure I was after but not be as bulky as the Medium Interfacing paired with H640 wadding combo. I am happy to say that this is now my favourite way to interface my bags :)

Most You Sew Girl patterns come with a number of different finishing options. I have made the longer version of the bag, with a flap and internal zippered pocket. I think it is always nice to have a least one pocket on the inside for storing little bits and pieces. I particularly like the red zipper against the blue fabric. If you can't match a zipper to the main colour of a fabric don't be afraid to try matching it to one of the other colours in the print.
I have used plastic looplocs and tri-glide with 38mm webbing to make an urban style adjustable shoulder strap. You can find the tutorial on how to make an adjustable bag strap here.
Like all of Nicole's pattern the Small Tote and Satchel is very versatile and allows you to make many variations using just the one pattern. These are just a few of the variations that Nicole has made, you can find more images as well as descriptions on her website.

- Ky

Sunday, September 22, 2013

New Fabric in Store This Week - September 22

This week we have received the first part of the Ghastlie Holiday range from Alexander Henry. These designs were so popular that they sold out before we even got to see the sample here in Australia! Luckily for us they have been reprinted and we expect the rest of the range to arrive in a few weeks just in time for the Brisbane Craft and Quilt Fair.
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You can check out all of the latest items added to our webpage via the New Products link in the top menu of our web store.
Till next week, happy sewing :)
- Ky

Friday, September 20, 2013

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Pattern Road Test - A Travelling Beauty Case

I've been wanting to sew up the You Sew Girl Beauty Case pattern since it appeared in Homespun Magazine a few years ago. I remember my mum had a white beauty case when I was little and I loved to go through it and look at all of her make-up and stuff that was in it.

When the Passport range arrived from Northcott I knew that I had the perfect fabrics to finally sew up a sample of the case. The Vintage Camera fabric is a new favourite of mine and the Airmail Stripe from Clothworks works perfectly as the lining.

Beauty Case with my meagre make-up supplies
The multitude of pockets around the wall of the Beauty Case and in the lid create lots of spots to house make up or toiletries. It could also just as easily be used as a craft tote (as per the original pattern in Homespun).

I sewed this pattern using a Janome Memory Craft 4900 sewing machine. My machine has a needle down feature which is really helpful when attaching the top and bottom panels of the bag. I used the standard sewing foot and zipper foot that came with my Janome.

Nicole lists a Tailor's Awl and 18mm Clover Bias Binding Maker as optional equipment and I used both. The Tailor's Awl is very handy for holding pieces into place when sewing certain parts of the Beauty Case. Nicole adds in tips where this technique will help.

I used an Elna Ironing press for fusing the interfacing and wadding, it is quicker and gives a more even heat but you can also use a standard iron. We make a lot of bags and purses so the investment in a press has been a good one! 

All other equipment needed is standard - scissors, pins, etc.

Difficulty Rating
The Beauty Case is recommended for confident sewists (i.e. you can set a sleeve in, keep an even seam allowance, know your way around your sewing machine, etc).

The lid of the Case the first part to sew together. Pretty straight forward and easy at this stage.
Making the pockets, inserting the zipper and attaching the back hinge is also pretty easy. I used Vliesofix to hold the top and bottom pieces to the lining piece before basting them together. Nicole recommends using Quilt Basting Spray but I didn't have any so I improvised.

The side walls, the base, the lid and the hinge are all done up and ready for the final assembly. This is where the difficulty factor kicks in!
There are at least two layers of wadding, 3 layers of S320 interfacing, plus the fabric layers to sew through to attach the lid and base to the wall of the Beauty Case. Not only is it bulky, it is all curved. This is where having needle down function on your machine comes in really handy.

The raw seams are then hidden with bias binding which is quite fiddly to sew down. Nicole's instructions are very good at explaining the techniques to help you though all of this. As recommended in the pattern, I used my Tailor's Awl at this stage of the assembly and it was a really helpful tool because I could hold the binding right were I needed it to be while sewing. 
Persistence, practice and patience pay off! This would have to be one of the more challenging patterns from Nicole that I've sewn up but I am really proud of how my Beauty Case looks. It stands up beautifully, it has loads of pockets, it looks stylish and the effort was well worth it!
Front and back of the Beauty Case
If you are wishing to recreate my version of the Beauty Case here is a list of everything that I used:
Some brighter versions of the beauty case from the You Sew Girl blog post on the pattern release.

Have you made up this pattern, how did you find it?

- Ky

Friday, September 13, 2013

Fabric Friday the 13th - with discount code :)

Today is Friday the 13th and whether you suffer from paraskevidekatriaphobia (fear of Friday the 13th) or not here are a few tips on surviving the day.

Don't let a black cat cross your path, especially if you are wearing white and want to avoid getting black fur all over you :)
Magic Meows Purple by Alexander Henry | Piano Kitties White by Cosmo Textiles | Hocus the Cat Purple by Alexander Henry
Ships setting sail on Friday the 13th will encounter disaster, probably from a giant squid.
Pirate Island Blue by Alexander Henry
Consulting an astrologer on Friday the 13th is a very bad idea, I don't know if it a good idea on any other day either but each to their own.
Zodiac Brite Multi by Alexander Henry
If you leave the calendar on Friday the 13th, a witch will kill you the next day which really seems a bit of an extreme punishment for not updating your calendar. Never fear Gwendolyn would never kill you for such a little thing, she's a good witch and so cute to boot :)
Gwendolyn Goodwitch Tea by Alexander Henry
Starting a trip on a Friday will bring misfortune, in fact you should just stay home in bed... DOONA DAY :)
On the Road Travel Stickers by Robert Kaufman
If you cannot avoid any of these scenarios you can throw salt over your left shoulder to counteract any misfortune. Yep I know I never leave home without a packet of salt.
Tea For Two Salt and Pepper by Windham
And the final way to avoid bad luck on Friday 13th is to use our discount code to receive 13% off your Voodoo Rabbit Fabric order today (Yep is has been proven that fabric shopping is good luck, especially with a discount code *nods head knowingly*).
Enter the code FRIDAY13 on checkout to receive your discount. This offer is valid from Friday 13th - Saturday 14th AEST (Brisbane) so that our overseas fans have a chance to use it.
Good Luck
- Ky

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Redlands Quilt Extravaganza 2013

The Redland Quilt Extravaganza was held last weekend and we were lucky enough to be invited to be vendors again. I thought that I would do a real quick overview, sorry for the bad iPhone photos. Also I didn't get a chance to photograph any of the quilts as I couldn't leave the stand for too long.
We decided to trial having bolts of fabric and cutting on the stand which is something we haven't done since we could fit all of our fabrics in one car :) It seemed to work out well, we are hoping to do something similar at the upcoming Craft and Quilt Fair in October.
Market display setup isn't really my forte but hopefully it didn't look too bad. The big sellers of the weekend were the Quilting News Fabric (sold out), Ladies Diary Fashion Plates (sold out) and the Sew Retro Montage and Notions fabrics (still available).  The transportation bunting kits, sample hanging around the table, was also popular.
The Quilt Extravaganza is a community event so there are always displays from a number of the craft guilds including Queensland Quilters, Australian Sewing Guild, Embroiderers Guild and the Lacemakers Guild.
Here is the quilt that I didn't win in the raffle *sigh*. Maybe next time :)
Here is a pic of the one other quilt that I photographed at the Redlands Quilt Extravaganza, for some reason it kept grabbing my attention :) It was sewn up by a lady in her 80s and if you look really close at the bottom right panel you can see a piece of Black Echino Spider and Web Lace from Kokka.
Our favourite vendor is JoyPatch, Joy is the loveliest person you could ever meet and has been our neighbour for the last two Quilt Extravaganza's. Sunday morning was a bit quiet so I decided to try my hand at English paper piecing. I had been watching Joy working on her pieces over the weekend and she was kind enough to give me a quick lesson.
This is as far as I got, I have no idea what to do with it now. I'm open to suggestion?
There were a few other vendors including Wayne Achilles Wood Turning, he specialises in hand turning sewing and craft accessories which were pretty nifty. CherraBella Buttons who hand-makes very cute porcelain buttons, I was extremely jealous of her black and pink display stand. Bayside Stitchcraft and Melanie Screech Hand Craft were also present, sorry my photos were blurry of these two.
The Quilt Extravaganza is moving to a bi-yearly event so hopefully we will see everyone again in 2015.
- Ky

Friday, September 6, 2013

Fabric Friday - Special Guest Korina's Kreations

As a special treat this week we have Korina from Korina's Creations picking out today's fabric. Korina sews the most beautiful toys using Funky Friends Factory Patterns. We are always impressed by Korina's fabric choices for her toys and today she has been kind enough to pick out her three favourite patterns and suggest fabrics to make them up in.

Nose, Inner Ears and Footpads: Premium Solid Rose by Northcott

Don't be surprised if you see these combinations appearing on her Facebook page very soon :)
Here are a few of the toys that Korina currently has available for purchase, aren't they just the cutest, especially the trio of cherry ducks :) Click on each image for purchasing information.

Happy Friday everyone :)
- Ky and Korina

Sunday, September 1, 2013

New Fabric, Cake Patterns and Haberdashery in Store This Week - September 1

This week we have a heap of new Japanese designs from Kokka and Cosmo Textiles including kawaii pandas, hipster kitties and vintage cameras. There is also a green wild animal print that would make the cutest little shorts for the little man in your life :)
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We are also please to announce that we now stock Cake Patterns and most of the associated notions you require to sew them. These patterns also go really well with our Riley Blake Knit fabrics :)

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Till next week, happy sewing
- Ky