Melody on the Sunnyside

The Human (TH) has been working her butt off and didn’t really have a Friday finish so was panicking, but she remembered a skirt she hadn’t posted on her way home. I’m happy to report that TH took us for a walk first (Scarlett played ball and TH made me do some weird weaving stuff for tuna treats) so she had only 15 minutes left of sunlight left to find and photograph the skirt. So OF COURSE she couldn’t find it, let alone get a decent photo of herself in it.

Not in the wardrobe, not in the laundry, not on the line… Up until the last weekend, there had been NO wet stuff coming out of the sky for 105 days she didn’t think to look in the dryer till much later… I offered to take the photo for her for more tuna treats… See, I take a great selfie!


Which is how we’ve ended up with an inside photo of this Kate Spain Sunnyside skirt..


It looks MUCH better on… even with TH’s poor bald legs. Furry legs are so much nicer, don’t you think?
See all those lovely feathers on Scarlett’s legs? Poor human. I bet she’s jealous.

Now it’s time for you to link up. Remember to visit other TGIFFers and provide a link back!

FMQ at Avalon

A few weeks ago, I had the chance to spend a weekend at the beautiful Avalon Homestead out in Toodjay with Michelle of Handcrafter’s HouseThe aim of the weekend was to learn to use rulers with the Sweet 16. Michelle said we’d be making something like this.

Or this.

I thought Michelle was delusional. But we set up the Sweet 16s to humour the poor mad lady…


Turns out Michelle really knows what she’s doing. Here’s my effort by the end of Saturday.


I also got a bit of work done on my Mondrian quilt – and more of a plan but you will have to wait for that!
avalonMondrianBut back to my masterpiece. OMG!!!


Quilting this intense deserves a celebration, so I’m linking up at TGIFF which Leeane is hosting over at Devoted Quilter. It’s Leanne’s first linky party so make sure it’s a good one and go and say hi!


Dinosauring with Neeve

Perth Modern Quilt Guild asked me to do a free-motion quilting skill-share session. We are having one skill-share each meeting and this month it’s my turn. As we’ve been doing a ‘how to appliqué’ series, it was suggested that I demonstrate FMQ appliqué and trapunto.  I had an idea but I had to enlist some help.

Meet Neeve.


Neeve is 8 and was given the design brief ‘dinosaurs’. Actually, Neeve’s obsession with dinosaurs inspired the project. I just had to get her dad to find the time to come and visit. Fortunately her dad is a designer so while your average guy isn’t into designing cushions, Alan totally is. Here’s just a few of the dinos Neeve came up with.


Father and daughter were FAR more interested in drawing than fabric, but Neeve did learn how to put her own dinosaurs together.

Here’s her cushion front, pinned and semi sewn. (Her dad drew the letters).

And here is Neeve’s brother’s cushion front, just fused together ready for the demo.neevekNow, let’s just hope my Bernette behaves on Sunday!


Tokyo Subway

The first time I saw Elizabeth Hartman’s Tokyo Subway map, I wanted to try it. It’s taken me a while but I’ve finally started.

Cutting out a heap of 2″ squares was great for cleaning out the scrap bin… but I really had to break into my stash as well. Shock horror, I didn’t have many ‘true blues’. Plenty of aqua, but not much cornflower blue. Surprising as I’m a blue girl.

The method involves using fusible interfacing and ironing on 2″ squares like a mosaic. It’s addictive.


Then you sew on the reverse side, folding along the lines.tokyoblock2

You cut those seams and iron them open (this was the only boring bit in the process) and then sew the other way. Ta da!tokyofirstfinishedblock

I love this method. It’s so accurate and effortless to get those perfect joins. It’s quite a ‘firm’ finish so I’m not sure what it will be like to quilt, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it.

Do you have a favourite block method?

TGIFF take 2

Am I going to post TGIFF? Maybe. Maybe not. I am going to gloat. Because I saw this guy on his first Australian show in the most remote city on earth:


That’s a very sweaty Bruce…  Springsteen, that is. Doing a 3 hour, rockin’ show in 30 degree heat (it had cooled down around 6 degrees) at the Perth Arena. For three hours. Un-freaking-believable. The LITERALLY lifted the roof to let some of the heat out for those of you who are feeling the cold right now. And that’s him having sweat right through everything and looking closer to 32 than 60 … Ok, I’ll leave the rest to your imagination …  (Oh, Tom Morello was on guitar, wearing the Aboriginal flag on his shirt which was pretty cool). It was a big deal for the most isolated city in the world. The reviews said “If you see one show this year, see this one. Twice. And then see it again”. Yup.

 dogsbagSo anyways…. I had an awesome awesome TGIFF last week where I published the last instalment of my attempt at fusing humour and pattern writing in The Jimmy Bag… Unfortuntely, I was a week early and it wasn’t my turn to host TGIFF. C’est la vie. (I was going to post the pattern as a PDF but I won’t because I’m sulking because not enough people dropped by last week.  So there.)

Today’s finish is here thanks to the Perth Modern Quilt Guild. You can’t start a fire without a spark and PMQG and the Modern Blocks book provided the spark… I kicked of our Modern Blocks BOM club with Lemons and Limes. I asked for grey background with aqua and lime fabrics.
Lemonsnlimes - Modblock of the Month 1 - p92

I ASKED for grey background with lime and aqua. I got  everything from bright orange background with royal blue fabrics to bright green background with pretty much every colour under the rainbow in between.

Now I’m not good with scrappy – it offends me – so I was tempted to arrange it with Scarlett covering the offending blocks… But certain people (i.e. Gina) LOVE the offending blocks.
Lemons and limes WIP

But the finished product was better than expected. I have to admit, the colours actually make it pop but it was not something I’d ever have attempted on my own.


I bound it in royal blue with a scrappy splash of orange to tie it all together.

Here’s a closeup of the quilting detail. As it’s a charity quilt, I went for a fairly low effort quilting job.
lemonslimesdetailOk, it’s not something I would ever have come up with by myself, or something I’d ever have on my bed, but I hope someone likes it…

 Now time for you to link up! Remember the linky party rules:

  • You must have a finish
  • You must have a link back to TGIFF. If you can grab the button, even better.
  • If you’re linking up, it’s polite to talk to other ‘party-goers’ so say hi to some of the other lovely linkers!

Link away lovelies!

Two WIPs…

I’ve been playing with a bundle of Kate Spain’s Sunnyside. Here it is on my design wall (which is the back of an outdoor tablecloth – you can see the frangipanis through it but it sticks really well!). It called for half square triangles.


The layout requires a bit more work but I’m liking the low volume effect.

A quilt which is a lot closer to finished is Peak Hour 2. I’ve never done a disappearing 9 patch – I’ve taught it to beginners but never made one myself! It was cool how fast it came together but I think I prefer more of a challenge. Does that ring any bells with anyone?


It’s so nice and bright! I’m thinking of scrappy binding in the solids used in the quilt.

Linking up with Lee!

The Jimmy bag – Putting it together part 2

jimmybagwholefinishedThis is the last post in my Jimmy bag pattern series (so Thank Goodness that’s Finished, I hear you think).  You can find supplies and cutting here and Putting it together part 1 here. Most importantly, you can find the disclaimer here (although basically it says don’t expect this to be a normal pattern, no pin manufacturers or medical practitioners have sponsored any of these posts and I take no responsibility if your dog learns dirty words while you are sewing this). And if you are reading this as the first post in the series and wondering what the heck I’m on, it’s kind of a homage and an apology to Megan at The Bitchy Stitcher because I missed doing my promo post for her book, Quilting isn’t Funny, due to circumstances beyond my control. Sorry Megan.

E. Assemble flap

  1. Fuse exterior flap to fleece and quilt as desired.
  2. Fuse interfacing to inside fabric piece.
  3. Placing right sides of exterior piece and interior piece together, sew around three sides. Clip corners and turn right way out. Using 1/8” stitch width, top stitch around all three sides. Fold to find centre. Mark about 1/2” up from middle of stitched edge on inside and position one side of magnetic clip. Snip holes for prongs through interior fabric, insert clip and bend prongs out.

F. Assemble strap.

  1. Fuse the batting to one strap. Quilt through to secure it. With right sides together, sew ¼” seam down both long sides of the front and back strap pieces.
  2. I thought everyone knew this method but I was WRONG. So take a large safety pin and pin it through one layer at one end. Push it down through the middle of the strap, turning the strap inside out. Voila. Too easy. Press and topstitch (1/8” precisely so as not to embarrass your dog).strap

G. Assemble outer body

  1. Take outer pocket piece and position in the centre and about 2” down from the top of the bag. Pin in place and sew down two sides and bottom.
  2. Decide to quilt outer body pieces with really nifty hologrammatic thread. Recall how tricky machine is to balance tension and how often hologrammatic thread breaks. Whack a piece of applique on instead. I like to use baking paper so as not to fuse my applique to my iron or ironing board.appliquefront By the way, did you know that if you use a pin and score down the back of your fusible appliqué paper, you can then just tear it away instead of spitting over the fact you have bitten your nails down and can’t get the paper away from the fabric? appliqueback
  3. Fuse in place and add whatever stitch you can be bothered doing (e.g. machine button hole, free-motion quilting, satin stitch, hand blanket stitch – haha yeah right!!!! )
  4. Go ahead and quilt the rest of the exterior using whatever comfortable old pattern and thread suits.quiltappliquedetail
  5. Position other side of magnetic clip about ½” above the pocket and fit in place.  Cover your dog’s ears before you do this as language unsuitable for innocents is likely to pass your lips when you cut the hole to big, in the wrong place, or those little metal prongs fall off or pierce your thumb.
  6. As you did for the interior, place right sides together and sew sides and bottom of bag. Repeat steps D 2-3 for the corners. If you have a fancy schmanz machine and can alter the presser foot pressure, you might want to lighten it a bit.
  7.  Find the centre of the back of the top of the bag and the flap and pin flap to outside back of top of bag. assembleflapTack down.
  8. With the raw ends matching up with the side seams at the top of the bag, tack in place. Test for length, discover you’ve twisted the strap, unpick and redo.
  9. Making sure the interior pocket of the interior of the bag is at the back, position bag exterior (including strap and flap) inside the interior, right sides together. Clip or pin (I used wonderclips – see earlier pin conspiracy theory) around the top. Sew all around the top about 5/8” seam.
  10. Turn inside out through hole you have left in the interior lining. Top stitch around the top of the bag.
  11. Close hole in lining or, if you’ve run out of steam and can’t wait to head out to the beach with your new Jimmy bag, leave it there as a ‘secret pocket’ to lose/hide things in.

Now how is that for Thank Goodness it’s Finished Friday?!

The Jimmy bag – Putting it together – part 1

This post gives you a vague idea of how to make The Jimmy Bag. It contains mild humour, may inspire adult-rated language, and should not be attempted without alcohol on hand. You can find the original post here, information about supplies and cutting here, better quilting humour here, and serious and completely error free patterns elsewhere on the net.

A. Flap

  1. Take your two pieces of fabric 9.5”x5, plus one piece of fusible fleece and one piece of interfacing and stack them all together.
  2. As you did with the bag body, measure 1” in from each side and mark. Angle ruler from corner to mark and cut.
  3. Do the same with one 9.5”x5” piece of lightweight fusible fleece. Fuse without gluing anything to the iron or ironing board.

B. Assemble outer pocket.

      1. Sew 1.5” strips along sides of feature fabric piece.  Press then sew top and bottom strips on. Press.
      2. Fuse lightweight interfacing to back of assembled pocket front.
      3. Place pocket back and front right sides together. Leaving a 3” gap on the bottom side, sew around all four sides. Clip corners diagonally. exteriorstep1
      4. Turn inside out. Press. Pin. Sew around all four sides 1/8” away from edge.  If you sew more or less than 1/8”, everyone at the dog park will laugh at you and you will embarrass your dog.


C. Assemble interior pocket and bag body

    1. Fold 3” x 1.5” scraps in half and press.
    2. Cut metal end off zip. Place folded side of scrap ½” in from where metal stop was. Sew ¼” seam across zipper (not if it is a metal zipper!). You shouldn’t have any problem sewing through a plastic zipper, but you may want to go slowly or hand-turn the wheel.
    3. Place raw end against width of pocket. Open zip part way. Align raw ends of second folded zipper tab with side of pocket (see diagram). Pin and sew down. Trim back excess zipper.interiorzipperalign
    4. Place zipper right side down on right side of zipper pocket.  Sew down as close to zipper as possible. (Hint: when you get to the zipper pull, put your needle down, lift the foot, and move the zipper pull – unzip further – so it is out of the way). Fold back the fabric.
    5. With right sides together, match the other side of the zipper with the bottom edge and sew down in the same way.interiorpocketinsideout
    6.  Keeping right sides inwards, unzip the zipper most of the way. Fold so that the zipper teeth are about ½” from the top. Press top and bottom and sew sides.interiorpocketfinished
    7. Turn inside out. Repress.
    8. Now I believe that pinning is an ideology perpetuated by pin manufacturers and the medical profession who need the business of pin-related injuries. 99% of the time, fingers are fine. Unless you are sewing tricky curves or the timing on your machine is really out, a lot of the time, pinning is unnecessary.  So next time a quilt tutorial tells you to pin something, ask yourself “Who is paying them to tell you to pin?” Keeping that in mind, I say to you now: PIN about 2.5” down from top of back interior. Sew three sides – sides and bottom – using a 1/8” seam allowance, leaving top open. This forms a double pocket.interiorpocketpin

D. Assemble interior

  1. With the pocket on the inside, pin both interior lining pieces right sides together. Sew down sides and bottom, leaving 5” opening on one side. (Alternately, you can forget to leave the 5” opening then curse a bit and unpick. Either method works.)
  2. Take bottom corner of bag and match seam from side and seam from bottom together. Finger press. Using ruler, measure in 1.5” from corner to seam. Rule across diagonally.cutcorner
  3. Sew on line, backstitching at each end. Now is the time to cut corners. Literally. Trim back to about 1/4”. Repeat for other corner.

The interior is finished. Congratulate yourself and wait for the next set of instructions.

The Jimmy Bag pattern – Supplies and cutting

The Jimmy Bag is a bag commissioned by my mother. She wanted a bag to put what we Australians call her thongs in. Before you gasp and have to block mental images of my 67 year old mother in tiny knickers, let me explain that thongs in Australia are what the rest of the world calls flip-flops. Here’s my original post. For your pleasure and amusement, and to beg your forgiveness for the aforementioned mental image, here’s how I made it….

The Pattern

This is a quick’n’dirty shoulder bag with a zippered double interior pocket, an exterior pocket and a flap closure. It’s an easy-peasy beginner’s no-pattern pattern, put together fast with a smattering of irony. If you want a serious pay-for pattern – one which you can email and abuse the author if there’s anything you can’t quite manage – head on over to Sew Sweetness or SisBoom or someone with some serious sewing cred and buy one there. If you want to give this one a bash, take a grain of salt, your calmest demeanour and your sense of humour….

Choosing your fabric

First of all, spend about 30 minutes choosing the following fabrics:
• exterior (shot cotton) (about half a meter but I didn’t measure so don’t send me irate emails. Read the rest of the ‘pattern’ and do the maths then tell me what I should have put here)
• lining fabric (I used cheap batik picked up in Bali for $2.50/meter. You can use the exact same batik and pay $27/m because it’s gone from Indonesia via America to Australia. Your choice)
• feature fabrics (preferably not cat fabric because cats are creepy)
• contrast fabric scraps.

Your feature pocket will end up looking a bit like this (but hopefully straighter), if that helps with your fabric selection.exteriorpocket

Spend 30 minutes debating the wisdom of making the exterior from shot cotton. Ask yourself whether you should you waste shot cotton on a dog walking bag. Point out that you have only 3 meters of it and may have the urgent need to make yourself a – Interrupt yourself when you can’t think of what you may urgently need it for. Chastise yourself – it’s for your mother. She gave birth to you and she deserves shot cotton. Argue back that your mother is not a fabricoholic and will not appreciate shot cotton. Recall that it was only $7/m in Bali and going to the shop to get homespun is going to cost you as much and interrupt the flow of your argument with yourself. Both sides agree that running out of shot cotton is a good reason to go back to Bali and everyone is happy.

Bali fabric shopping

The next step is to consider making a psych appointment to discuss the arguments you are having with yourself. Decide that quilting is better therapy and hunt out the other requirements, namely:
• Zipper
• Zipper foot and walking foot
• Magnetic bag snaps
• Thread


Bag body – inside and out

Cut two 15×14” pieces of exterior fabric for outer body of bag. If it is not precisely 15×14, the world will come to an abrupt end and it will all be your fault.

Cut two 15×14” pieces for lining.

For all bag body pieces, angle ruler from corner of 15” side inch base to 1” in from top on each side, making top of bag 13”.

Inner pocket

Cut one 7×13 of lining fabric and one of lightweight interfacing. Fuse together.
Cut two 3×1.5” scraps for zipper ends.

Outer pocket

Cut 5.5” x 6.5” of feature fabric.

From contrast fabric, cut
• two strips 1.5 x 8.5” (top and bottom strips)
• two strips 1.5 x 5.5” (side strips).

Cut one piece of interior fabric 7.25 x 8.5”.


Cut two pieces of fabric 9.5”x5, plus one piece of fusible fleece and one piece of interfacing.


Cut two pieces of fabric and one of fusible fleece to 2.5” x the length you want.

There. That’s your cutting done. Now go and make yourself a cup of tea or a cocktail, and ponder how on earth you are going to while away the time till the next instalment…