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Happy Thoughts

October 15, 2010

To start with, some slightly more calming music to kick off the day

man I love Simon and Garfunkel

How exciting, this clever lady got to see a sneak peak of the new collette patterns from  Rachel Red Lips, who is doing an internship with Colette Patterns.  Hm, jealous much?

Time for reconciliation 🙂

Happy stitching

xo Flo


Set-in sleeve

October 14, 2010

Dear Set-in Sleeve,

I dedicate this song to you.

Yes, it’s a little extreme, but today you are not my friend. It is our first time meeting, and perhaps the judgement is a little hasty, but I tried so hard to make it work! It was all going so well for the Lady Grey muslin…

The front was looking good, minus a lapel adjustment required to prevent gaping. The princess seams were a breeze, despite flash-backs to the  slightly traumatic wedding dress times with them.

The side was looking pretty good too (minus hunchback look created by the back seam- easy, nothing to sort in comparison to you, Set-In Sleeve).

And the back was also looking pretty reasonable, minus a little tweaking to side seams or possibly making the waist a wee bit higher.

Just as I thought the sewing gods were smiling upon me, along came you, Set-In Sleeve. You rustled my patience, to put it nicely, and I was not impressed. I tried so hard the first time…

The second time around on the other sleeve, I figured I could turn the slightly gathered edge over my fingers to promote a cup shape and paid very careful attention to even distribution of the easing. I basted oh so carefully. And paid extra attention when stitching, trying to manipulate the little wrinkles along the way.  But it just wasn’t enough. There were still one or two pesky little gathers.

Hopefully it is not forever, these hard feelings between us. Because I must remake you in wool next time, and that is definitely not looking as straightforward as calico. In fairness to you, a tailors ham as opposed to rolled up hand towel might help, but I fear the issues are deeper than that. I might have to make a few more mock-ups to ease you into submission.

Until next time.


What’s in the bag Monday

October 11, 2010

Just a super dooper quick post today…

It has been a lovely busy past few weeks. We’ve been to Scotland, and enjoyed an amazing tour, with good food, heard some amazing tales, and made some lovely friends along the way. Will add photos later to Flikr. 

I’m having a wee break from quilting at the moment while I regather thoughts and am working like crazy on various clothes projects. This is part of my new blog project- A Home Sewn Year. It comes at a convenient time really, because I am literally operating of a very few set of rather sad looking clothes at the moment so am sewing out of bare boned nescessity! Here’s the first dress I’ve made. It was really a trial run of this pattern- am very cautious of bodices of any sort following wedding dress adventures!!

Also, have just heard that the Mr Toot tutorial will be featured later this week on Whip Up– how lovely.

Happy stitching folks.


Flo (a.k.a apparently Florence and the Sewing Machine)

10 things about me

September 23, 2010

Lovely Jaime has nominated me for a beautiful blogger award. So, here’s ten things that people might not know about me (except for the Red Buttons, who probably know most things there are to know about me)….

1. I hate with a passion being able to hear people eat. It drives me CRAZY!!! And given recent reliance on public transport, I think that eating on public transport should be banned. Full stop!

2. It has been reasonably hidden (I think at least) but deep down, my ideal dress style is super feminine. It has possibly been hidden for a while, because when I was about 10 I was teased lots by a girl for wearing frilly dresses all the time (damned schools not enforcing uniforms) and worked really hard at suppressing for a good deal of time after that. My ideal job (gees this is so superficial) is being able to wear gorgeous clothing to work everyday (fortunately I can definitely think of one place to work that would welcome this dress code).  I think this super femininity was possibly ingrained from a pretty early age as all we ever watched as kids were the 0ld school MGM musicals, Judy Garland and Micky Rooney movies, Fred Astaire and Ginger Rodgers etc etc. I hold my Dad responsible for this, who still thinks a teddy suit is the height of fashion.

3. For Jaime: I am ok at roller skating too. I passed all the ‘star classes’ to join th figure skating club and about two years ago took up ice-skating classes as an adult, with all these tricky little kids,as part of a complicated self bribe about doing more exercise. unfortunately it was short lived, but for seemingly good at the time reasons.

4. When suitably motivated I am super determined to master a new skill.  I started to learn piano when I was 13 and was one exam away from being able to teach it by the end of highschool. I would really like to work in an area where I feel so passionately motivated to excel, but honestly, that is possibly not so strong at the moment.

5. Just as I’m going to bed, I have a specific order re: lighting. Firstly, a lamp must be turned on, and then main light turned off. I can’t go to bed with big light just switched off, it’s some crazy thing about environment controll and also I just love lamp light.

6. I find often find the lamest jokes the funniest i.e, ‘why did the scarecrow win the nobel peace prize?’ ‘because he was ‘out standing’ in his feild’-tehe. (thanks Rae’s dad for that one)

7. When I was little, I was pretty convinced that I was going to marry prince William, because it seemed like the logical thing to do at the time. We’re pretty much the same age, (coincidence, I thought not!) and I could build a pretty neat castle out of cardboard- what more can a guy ask for?

8. Red is my most favourite colour, particularly red shiny things. Dorothy slippers may be largely responsible for this. As a result I had shiny red shoes for my wedding.

9. My ideal home would be a tree house, wrapped around the trunk of an ancient tree, in a cold rainforest with lots of rain and walls covered in shelves full of books. With Mr Sippity of course.

10. This is a bizare one, but I am so happy to be ‘grown up’. Since I was pretty little, I have always been a maker of things, and was so frustrated with lack of skill to make super cool ideas that I thought of. These days, if I thought about it long enough and tried hard enough I’m pretty certain I could make almost anything I thought of, and that is pretty darned exciting- the possibilities are endless when you think about it:) Does anybody else associate with this feeling??

Right, I know I’m supposed to nominate 5 people, but I don’t really know that many people in blog land, so I nominate Michele, from Quilts and Horses, who is also new to blog land.

 I’m taking a blogging break for a week or so because we’re off to Scotland for a while- yipee!! Am secretly hoping I will spot the Loch Ness monster and will be steering well clear of seemingly ‘vegetarian’ hagas (which apparently exists) ater mistake of eating black pudding.



What’s in the bag Monday?

September 20, 2010

Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend. We had a great one. First, there was the vintage car show (the Brits really do love their old stuff). It was an absolute highlight for Mr Sippity who sat in a lamborghini, for the first, but not the last time he assures me-huh!

My all time favourite was this sweet little caravan set up. The car comes fitted with picnic basket and a record player.

Second ranking, is the Austin mail service car. A few models before Postman Pat’s I reckon.

There was great novel value in this reproduction Chitty, which was even fitted with fold away wings.

This little bloke seems to have lost his way and is just consulting the map before he peddles away.

And this little fellow was trying to tough it up around the motorbike section. He is super cute, no matter how hard he tries.

There’s also been a fair bit of baking going on. On a second walk to Quar Abbey, I picked as many blackberries as I could along the way. They’re in full season at the moment, and the novel value of being able to pick free food has definitely not worn off yet. Despite the scratched up hands, and heaps of nettle stings. From this lot, I made a baked blackberry cheesecake with biscuit base, and blackberry muffins. Half is frozen and I’m not quiet sure what to do with them- any suggestions other than jam??

And here are some shots of Quarr Abbey. It has it’s own farm with fruit and veg and ): pigs. After meeting these little ones, I felt so very happy about being a vegetarian!! I haven’t met too many pigs before and they are surprisingly affectionate. I reckon I’d have a tea-cup one perhaps over a dog if I had the space. I think the church was built around early 1900’s, but I love the strange resemblance to a huge Lego model (thank’s David 🙂

Hm, and what exactly is in the red button bag this week? I really need to find a new knitting project to test my beautiful new needles! Well, not exactly in the bag, is the traced pattern for the Lady Grey Jacket. I’m so glad I have met Jaime in blog land. She is super organised and because of her I’ve finally started to make some progress. Have also finished muslin for this Vintage Vogue pattern. I’ve started a new blog (A Home Sewn Year), specifically to document dress making stuff following a self-imposed challenge of one year without buying new clothes (hah-thos- who have seen me on a regular basis may wonder why this is a challenge, given I pretty much live in 2 pairs of jeans and t-shirts).

Hope you have a productive week! I’m definitely planning on one at least



Friday Fun- Mr Toot Tutorial

September 17, 2010

The weekend is almost upon us, so no better time for a softie project. This little fellow will be going back to Brisbane for the arrival of my friends baby. Apparently in ancient Greek mythology, owls are a sign of good fortune, which I wish lots of for their new family. 

The first variation of this project was inspired by the left over babies clothes used to make a memory quilt, and I started with using the feet of a jump suit as wings. So this project could be adapted to up-cycle littlie’s clothing that might be a little stained etc you can’t part with.


– Roughly 1/2 a fat quarter for owl body (front and back)

-Scraps for body features (i.e. eyes, feathers, body stripes and beak)

 This version has been made with cotton fabric. However, if you plan to use a stretch fabric (as I did originally, to use the remnants of baby clothes from a memory quilt), use a light fusible interfacing to the front body to stabilise when adding the body features.

 – Roughly 1 A4 sheet sized piece of fusible webbing (e.g. applifix, wonder under, vlisofix)

To print pattern, right click and save to computer. Print from saved version on computer. 


(please note a 1/4 inch seam included for all pieces)

– 2 bodies. If using different material for front and back, lay front and back body material together, with right sides facing before cutting.

 – 4 wings

 – 4 feet

 – 3 body stripes

Make the feet:

 1. Place feet right sides together and stitch from one side of the foot to the other (leave base open for turning).

 2. Carefully clip edges to roughly 2mm away from seam.

 3. Turn right side out and press

 4. Repeat steps 1-3 for second foot.

Make the wings:

1. Place wings with right sides facing, and stitch around the curved edge.

2. Clip edges up to seam on curved edge.

3. Turn right side out, and press.

4. Repeat steps 1-3 for second wing.

 Prepare the body stripes:

 1. Find  centre of body stripe by folding in half and pressing with iron.

2. Fold the outer edge of the stripe towards the middle and press into place. This way, the edge of the body stripes will be turned, avoiding a raw edge. Fusible webbing will later be added to the back of these stripes.


3. Prepare remaining two stripes as per steps 1-2.

Make Mr Toot’s features:

1. Trace onto the paper side of fusible webbing:

– 9 feathers

– 1 beak

– 2 inner eyes

-2 outer eyes

-3 body stripes

2. Cut traced shapes on fusible webbing, leaving about 1/4 of an inch around each shape (this helps to ‘seal’ the edges once cut), EXCEPT for the body stripes, which can be cut directly on the line. 

3. Place the ‘webbing’ side of each shape face down on the wrong side of chosen fabric for each feature.  Also add the strips of fusible webbing to the back of the pre-prepared body stripes. (I like to do this step while standing at the ironing board to make the process quicker.)

Use a moderate iron and press gently over the paper side of each shape, to fuse the webbing to the fabric.

4. Cut shapes out along their traced outline using a pair of small sharp scissors. Peel the paper backing off the fabric. (If using slightly less robust fusible webbing, like vlisofix, you can gently score the paper on the back of each shape to release to avoid damaging the edges).

6. Arrange Mr Toot’s features on front body as per picture. Tuck the top of the feathers under the body stripe by roughly 1/4 of an inch. Gently press each shape to fuse to the fabric with the iron. (I also like to do this at the ironing board, to avoid hassle of pinning things down to transfer).

7. Trim body stripes to edge of body

 7. The quickest method of securing Mr Toot’s features is to use free motion stitching around the edge of each shape.

Alternatively, you may wish to use different embroidery stitches for some extra pizzaz, and use contrasting thread colors. In the original, I used chain stitch for the outer eyes, and blanket stitch for the inner eyes, beak and feathers. I straight stitched the edge of each body stripe with the machine.

 Put it all together….

1.Lay wings and feet on front of body in desired position, roughly lining up with edge of body. Stay- stitch in place either by hand or using the longest stitch length on your machine.

 3. Lay front of owl on back of owl with right sides facing. Pin together

 4. Stitch together, starting at beginning of turning space as indicated on pattern piece for body.

 5. Clip to seam edges around ears and corners for base of body. Turn right side out and press.

 6. Stuff . Hand stitch close using a small whip stitch.


Happy stitching



To stay-stitch or not?

September 14, 2010

Is stay stitching something you do religiously? When I made my wedding dress, I saw a sewing teacher who swore by this, in every stage of the sewing to avoid stretching or distorting the pieces. So I’m trying to be good and follow her advice in future sewing projects. This is the muslin for the dress that I’m ‘reinterpreting’ (sounds a little nicer than ‘copying’, because some modifications will be made). It’s going to get a lot of handling in the fitting stages of things, so it was definitely stay-stitched. But I can’t help thinking it’s a bit of extra effort that could possibly be avoided at times. What are your preferences- are there times you decide not to? Is your choice dependend on fabric type, type of garment, fit required etc?