Little Fox - Simplicity 1477

I recently sewed up this little jacket for my daughter - Simplicity 1477 designed by Molly Goodall from Little Goodall. It's adorable! One of my favorite creations of late. There's something about children in animal clothes - and with ears! - that makes my heart glow. You can read more about the jacket here and here.

Figgy's Patterns

I recently took part in a pattern tour for the latest collection of sewing patterns by Figgy's Patterns. You can find all the info about the patterns and Spoonflower's lovely new modern jersey I used to sew up the tees, over on the Fiskateer blog.

Caterpillar to chrysalis

Neighbor Don, or "The Dude" as we shall now call him, brought us over a large monarch caterpillar last week. It spent about 5 days eating milkweed and exploring a homemade habitat made from a cardboard box, wooden skewers and netting made by by 9 year old.

Then, for about 2 days, it hung in this "J" position you see here in the first photo. After successfully catching a hatching butterfly on camera a couple of weeks ago, I was determined to catch the metamorphosis into a chrysalis, so yesterday I set my alarm to remind me to check on it every 5 minutes.

Sure enough, I caught the whole weirdly wonderful process on camera. For lack of any technical terminology (I am not a scientist) I can tell you that it really looked like a miniature, slimy, green, alien brain breaking through the skin of a caterpillar and wriggling around. It had no eyes, head, legs or arms, but once the caterpillar skin was completely shed, the chrysalis did a strange spinning and very deliberate dance, until finally hardening and becoming immovable. There, I told you I'm not a scientist. I'll just let the photos do the talking, shall I?

Hatching butterflies

Some pretty amazing things have been happening around here lately. Our neighbor asked us to adopt some of his monarch butterfly chrysalises that were growing on plants against the outside of his house. He was having his house painted and the plants would have to be moved, so to protect the forming butterflies, he removed the twigs and branches that had chrysalises attached, took them into his house for safe keeping, and gave us some to us to look after too.

New cushions - sewing tutorial

I've been spending much of my time writing the Fiskateer blog for Fiskars over the last 18 months, which leaves little time left for writing here. You know how it goes.

Today I'm sharing a project I just posted for the Fiskateers and you can see it here. There's a full tutorial and instructions on how to sew these up. There's piping detail on the side seams, and my new favorite closure method - an invisible zipper in the back. Go and take a look.

Tripod floor lamp DIY

We used an old farm surveyor's wooden tripod (I say farm, because when we first got it is smelled like it had spent time on a farm..) to make this standard lamp. This project was a year or so in the making, simply because it took us that long to find just the right tripod - and luckily for us we eventually found this one at a garage sale about 5 houses away from ours. I think we paid $60, which whilst a fair amount of money for something you'd find at a garage sale, it's less than the average asking price for similar items on ebay plus we got to see this in person before purchasing.

Fuse Hexagon Design Set & Expansion Pack Blog Hop!

Fiskars have added a great new design to their collection of Fuse dies and this one is going to be a hit! Who doesn't love hexagons?!? They are so popular right now, and I've seen them popping up literally all over the place.


This dies comes with two letterpress plates but there's also an expansion pack available that gives you 4 extra letterpress designs.

They are currently available at Joann stores and you can click on the links below for more info.

Hexagon Design Set

Hexagon Expansion Pack

Today some of the Fiskars designers are sharing their ideas on using this die - and I'm excited to see what the other ladies have come up with. Here's the list of designers and their blogs.

Fiskateers blog:
Emma Jeffery (ME!) :
Smitha Katti:
Lisa Storms:
Kim Garner:

Finished Hawthorn

I have been participating in the Hawthorn sewalong by Colette Patterns, and here's my finished dress. I opted for the sleeveless version, but the pattern also has directions for two lengths of sleeve and also a peplum top too. I think I'll be making up a sleeved version when (if) time allows....

I used Entangled in Navy by the fabulously talented Heather Dutton through Spoonflower, in Kona cotton. LOVE this print - it's fun and a little quirky - but extremely wearable, which is important to me.

I sewed the contrasting collar in white cotton and added white piping at the center fronts. I like the break in the pattern it creates. Here's I'm wearing it with a (Target) blue belt I own, but I might keep my eyes open for something a little more bright - I'm thinking yellow, or my color of the moment - chartreuse.

Colette Patterns sewalong - Hawthorn

Anyone else joining in with the Hawthorn sewalong over at Colette Patterns? I'm quite pleased to be sewing along for once - usually I discover a sewalong just as it's drawing to an end, and though the info and photo directions remain extremely useful, it's a nice feeling to also be doing it in real time, along with others, too.

I've been working on perfecting the fit of my muslin. So far I've done a SBA (here's the corresponding tutorial which has some amazing photos and very clear directions). In the photo of the muslin front below, you can see that the white fabric (on the left) is the section with the SBA and I think (even though I should have ironed out the dart before I took this photo) it has really helped to take out some of the excess fabric that you see on the right side of the bodice.

I assumed I was also going to have to make a wide shoulder adjustment but reading the symptoms of wide shoulders, I have thinking otherwise. I don't have any tightness across the back of the bodice and the armholes seem to be fine. If anything, the back is a little loose but that might be because I've not sewn buttons or buttonholes onto my muslin, I've just pinned it together. 

Which brings me to a good questions. Do YOU sew buttons and buttonholes to your muslins? It seems like the best way to get a proper fit, but it also requires an amount of patience and perfection I am not known to possess.

We'll see...

Baggy back...
There's nothing like using up all those cotton scraps to make a patchwork muslin.

French seam tutorial

I have a degree in French but French seams were never on the syllabus, more's the pity. I would have certainly paid attention to that lecture.

Despite that, I have picked up the method for finishing seams, and it's a great one for neat and tidy seam finishes on clothing, and because they are sewn twice, they are super strong and suitable for all kinds of sewing projects including bags and totes.

I originally wrote this post for the Fiskateers blog, but am posting it here too. If you'd like to go and read the original, click here.

1. Take your two pieces of fabric and pin with wrong sides together. The right sides will be facing out. (I know this seems counter-intuitive, but hang in there!)
2. Sew the two fabrics together, then trim the seam allowance to 1/4". 
3. With a hot iron and with the right sides facing up, press both raw edges to one side. 
4. Next, place the wrong sides up, and press the two fabrics along the seam line. The right sides will now be facing in. 
5. Pin the pressed edge, then sew with a seam allowance of more than 1/4".
6. To finish, open up the fabrics with wrong sides up and press the seam allowance to one side. The raw edges will be concealed within the seam.