Sewjo is back

After being missing in action for quite a while my sewjo has recently returned. I think this has been partly due to necessity – a new baby needed a quilt and my work clothes wardrobe was looking rather depleted.  Whatever the reason, I’m glad it’s back.

These are some of my recent makes.

A quilttop for new baby Samuel which will be finished over the Christmas break. His parents are originally from Colombia and they requested the colours of the Colombian flag – hence the colour choices.  I made this up as I went along and I’m quite pleased with the result.Samuel's quilt

AG top


I drafted a pattern for this top from one in my wardrobe and made a few alterations such as lengthening the sleeve and adding side vents.  I used some Alison Glass cotton which sits well on the body. I have received compliments each time I’ve worn it, so I count that as a success. Plus it’s the first time I have drafted my own pattern and perfected a side vent –  some new skills have been added to my repertoire.


The next project was a Santa sack for my workplace secret Santa gift giving.  They didn’t have one and of course I volunteered to make one.  I didn’t want to mimic the northern hemisphere – it is very hot in Australia at Christmas, so I chose some Alexander Henry fabric which is more in tune with the bright colours of an Australian summer.


Each side is is different but from the same range.  It will get some use during the year as a quilt WIP bag.

Christmas tree

My latest project  finished last night is this improv Christmas tree wall hanging (approx fat-quarter in size). I live in an apartment and don’t have much room for a real tree, plus “the boys” Pepe and Cosmo, would probably tear it to pieces anyway. This  “tree” is about to be hung on the wall above my tv unit bench and the gifts will be placed underneath.

I just improvised  as I went along. I fused the green strips onto the background fabric and then zig-zagged the edges as a QAYG method. The red balls are beads that I hand stitched.

My new skill this time was making a hanging sleeve and it’s my first ever mini!

I have more making plans for this week so until next time – enjoy stitching and making.  Keep calm and eat cake!



You must watch this! Unravel is a short video by Meghna Gupta about how Indian women recast and recycle the clothes the West throws away.  It certainly spurred me on with my ongoing  2015 Simplify campaign.  It also made me feel ashamed of how wasteful we can all be, particularly in contrast to the people whose job it is to recycle our cast-offs.

The people featured in this video have so little and spend their days being confronted by the waste of people who have too much. They have dignity, grace, beautiful smiles and a sense of humour. How many of us can say the same?

I came across it courtesy of my blogging friend Maryline of Mary and Patch.  Thanks Maryline for letting us know about it.

A Site to See: 4

I stumbled across Open Culture after following a debate online about intellectual property rights and copyright.

It is a veritable feast of free resources on everything from art, language learning, audio books, movies and online courses.  I was particularly interested in the free art images, art books and exhibition catalogues, some of which would never be available here in Australia.

Take a look. I’m  sure you will find something of interest – some of the art gallery images are stunning.

Lyre  Charles JamesI loved this coat from the Brooklyn Museum Costume Collection at The Metropolitan Museum of Art – I want one just like it!

Some of the shoes are also divine….


Charles James “Lyre” dress ca. 1945 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Woe is me!

I decided recently to do some clothes sewing, partly because I felt like a change from quilting and mostly because I can’t seem to find clothes that I like.  I’m sure that I am not the only older woman larger than size 12 (US size 3 I think) who would like to buy some clothes, but you would not know it when you go shopping.

There are a couple of local designers that do cater for women like me, but they are in a high price range and I can’t afford to buy them all the time for simple clothes to wear to work.  My workplace is reasonably relaxed in terms of dress code, and on days when I don’t have meetings I tend to wear basics such as pants and a tunic with some colourful accessories.

Knit tunic pattern

Knit tunic pattern

Last year I bought some woollen knit jersey when it was on sale and it seemed just the fabric I needed to go with this pattern  (I tried to make the blue tunic).  Now I must admit I have never been good at doing the muslin thing first before I start cutting and stitching, but I did carefully check the measurements and the stretch in the fabric.

It was not a happy tale – I have a Janome Horizon which is relatively new and I hadn’t tried sewing stretch fabrics with it before, so I dutifully read all the instructions and tried the various stretch stitches on a sample piece of fabric with a ball point needle.  No matter what I tried the fabric slipped and puckered.  After reading this tutorial which I found on Pinterest, I tried once more with a twin ball point needle. Still no success.

End result – an unwearable garment.  I was simply going to toss it, but I have decided to persevere and re-cut the garment to a smaller size and try restitching. I have nothing to lose as I can’t wear it now anyway.  I think the main problem was that the fabric is extremely slippery and the pattern had too much ease so that it ended up being too big.  If all else fails I will buy some different fabric and give it another try because it is a very simple pattern and would be just the thing for some basic work clothes.

I’ll keep you posted – any suggestions are welcome.