textiles Feed

Not a quick sewing job

I have finished my sewing apron.  It was not a quick job but I am really happy with the result.  I have used this pattern before but this time I customised the fit to suit me and it is super comfortable to wear.

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The fabric is a Japanese screen printed cotton, which was a pleasure to sew.  The swing, cross over back means that the shape adjusts to your figure.

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And there are no ties to come undone.  Because I used a cotton fabric which has a lot of body to it the piece holds it's shape.  Now I'm waiting for a sale on a nice linen which I think would drape better.  This is based on a free pattern from Tessuti fabrics.  ( You can just down load and sticky tape the pages together.)  They have very good step by step printed instruction to download as well.

I found 2 You tube tutorials for this apron.  The first from Asia, very clear instructions, not a lot of talking and even gives some tips on how to stick all those A4 sheets of paper together quickly.  The second from England and she is a bit chattier. 

The instructions say "one size fits all" but I made my straps  a little longer and increased the size of the pattern by about 1cm all over.  I am a size 16 and found this a good fit.  If you are larger just lengthen the straps which will give you the extra room in the garment.

Now I can keep all those loose threads under control.


Looks like I'm going to be in lock down for another 7 weeks until I can get my second vaccination.  My little student will be unable to come here  and my life is going to be very contained.  Still, that's life in a pandemic. 

I am working on my quilt and it is slowly coming together.  All the vertical pieces are now in place and I will start on the horizontal ones tomorrow.

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But all those little 2" squares shed so many threads.  I seem to be covered with them so I have stopped to make myself a sewing apron.  I lost my original pattern so I had to start from scratch.  I now have it all cut out ready to begin.

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The kitchen island bench makes a great cutting table.  When I was teaching full time I always had access to drafting paper, not now.  I had a roll of paper I bought from IKEA for the grandchildren to paint on and I got creative with the sticky tape.  Does the job.  This time I am going to put the pattern where I can find it again.


Exhibition Part 2

These are the other pieces that caught my attention.I'm not sure if this was stitched by hand or zig zag on the machine.  It is a simple technique but effective.

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There were a number of pieces that were woven, which is one of the techniques favoured by Polish artists. This one looks to be needle weaving.

Wiodsimierz Cygan

"To weave or not to weave" (linen tapestry)

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And this one more pictorial.

Kith Mjoen

"I promise you a rose garden"

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A combination of a machined background with inkle loom weaving.

Maria Antonia Zecchina Herbaria

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I think this piece is woven it would also work well as an embroidery.

Dorota Taranek


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Although the embroidery is a messy technique I find the piece quiet charmning.

Marta Sienicka



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There are many versions of houses but the metal roofs made these ones stand out.

Teresa Rucinska


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A simple idea of using different coloured pieces of tulle and then embroidereing a grid, worked on paper. I liked the finished effect.

Lene Heimer Nielson

"Tasty Embroidery"


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There were other works with about a total of 40 pieces in all.  But it was nice to be able to walk into a gallery and enjoy these works.  Besides giving pleasure they also provide inspiration.  I will be so pleased when this pandemic is over and I can just enjoy things like this again.


I took the time on Saturday to have a look at a small exhibition that was on display at a Library fairly near by.  I had read on Sue Stone's ( U.K.) Facebook page that It was coming to my area and that she had a piece displayed in it.  The exhibition was called "Baltic Mini Textile Gdynia i"  and is quoted as being one of Europe's Leading reviews of textile Miniatures.  The works are all 20x20x20c, which makes it easy to transport and display.  The display was mounted by The Warwick Art Gallery (Qld Australia) in partnership with Gdynia City Museum Poland who curated the works displayed. ( I will take a few days to show the pieces that caught my eye.)

I found the piece by Sue Stone easily.  I had seen this piece before but didn't realise it's size.  When I looked into it I was able to see the intense detail in the background stitching.  (Her signature fish was in the picture.)

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The gallery is housed in a space in the Capalaba Library and this is an out of the way location.  Good for me because I had the place to myself.  (I asked the attendant if I could take photos and she didn't have any information that I couldn't, so I did.)  I was able to really look at every piece on display. 

This piece was cross stitch on Aida cloth and showed a really good use of colour and direction.  Simple but complex.

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There were some work by Queensland artists, two of whom I know.  That was a bit of a surprise.

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The top one

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and the second.

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And I was taken by this free form crochet piece.

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I had to look at this one a couple of times before I saw the image.

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To be continued....

Along with everything else...

As you have probably gathered I love knitting.  I also really enjoy Kate Davies blog.  At the moment she is looking at the "Blue Stocking" movement, if that is the right word for it.  She and others are working on a book about this and recreating some of the knitted "blue stockings".  This blog post is really interesting and in fact I may even embark on knitting some "Blue Stockings" myself. 

Screen Shot 2021-05-25 at 1.43.29 pmWe often use this term in a throw away manner.  "Oh she is a blue stocking".  It will be good to really investigate Elizabeth Montagu and just what made people call her a "Blue Stocking".

You can read more about this project here.

A bit early for Xmas but....

I know it is a but early for Xmas but yesterday I dropped into my local Patchwork shop to get some more sewing needles.  I don't know why but the eyes of the needles keep getting smaller!!!  Whilst there I saw this fabric which will make great little drawstring bags for Xmas.

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Cuteness overload.  I thought about them for the children and then thought that I know lots of adults that would like them as well.  There was also a print fabric to match this, so that went into the bag as well.

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(Some of those designs in the background would work well in fly stitch.  I will have to have a go at that.)   And I did get the needles.


Not a good week

I think I will just give up on this week or was it last week as well?

I got to my Quaker exhibition only to find they had closed it early due to work being done to the library.  After all I had to do to get there it was very disappointing.  I have the 1.5 to 2 hour drive to town to start with then because I haven't traveled by public transport for the last year they had taken all my money off my card.  I tried to top it up on the bus but was told all that has changed.  I then had to find somewhere to put some money on the card.  (It is just too expensive to park in town.)  Then when I got there, no exhibition.

The next thing was I have had to have 2 teeth extracted.  I had two root canal treatments about 8 months ago and now my body just rejected them so out they had to come.  The Dentist could find nothing wrong with the teeth at all, still, I have to admit I feel a whole lot better once they came out.  Shame about the $3,000+ that I had spent on the treatments.

The good thing is that now that those teeth have gone my mind is working again.  (Don't ask me what the link was I just don't know.)  I am in the middle of preparing a new class and am really enjoying the process.  Because it will be for beginners from outside of the Embroiderers' Guild and I already teach a class for new members, I had to come up with something different.   It is about learning the basic stitches but I wanted a project that gave them something finished to take away.  My solution was to settle on a set of 4 designs that can be stitched  in the allotted time.  I have actually drawn more designs than the four needed so that there is a lot of choice.  I have put the designs into my drawing program and put different colours behind each design.  Although I am using white cotton/linen fabric I think these could look good on a variety of fabrics.  (I see there is one circle outline I didn't cut after I added the fill colour, oops.)

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I got a bit carried away with drawing botanical things and have another two pages of designs.  They are only small, in circles of about 2.5" or a bit less.  I found I could fit 4 designs on a 6"x6" square of fabric.  I backed this with a fine muslin and tacked the two pieces of fabric together, put this into a frame and stitched.

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Because they are small they are quick to stitch and I am really enjoying this stitching.  When the students have finished this they will choose their favourite and then mount it in a mini-frame to use as is, or as a piece of jewelry.

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I think that I might glue a piece of thin wadding onto the backing board before it is mounted as well and I also think I had better buy some more of these frames because I could just keep stitching.

New fabric, new designer.

I am having trouble setting up my new camera so a trip to the camera store was called for.  To get into the shop I have to drive across numerous busy traffic lanes, SO, I decided I would come into the street from the other direction and straight into the parking lot.  To do this I had drive a suburb away and that is where my patchwork fabric shop is.  (I know this is convoluted logic but it did get me to the fabric shop.)  Of course I had to go in.  I wanted a charm pack for the butterfly blocks and whilst there I found this lovely fabric.

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This is an image from her website of the fabric made up as cushions.

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The larger design is printed on a cotton/linen blend and I intend to embroider all the bees in those flowers.

The fabric was so unusual I decided to look up just who the designer was.

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It turns out she is a young woman based on the south coast of New South Wales and her Instagram page has some lovely images.  Her web page gives some background on her work and on her blog I see she uses Procreate on her Ipad to do a lot of her designing.  I then visited "La La Land's"  shop and made a few purchases.  This is someone I will keep on eye out for in the future.



I think I have been sold a furphy?

Whilst rolling up all the wool I started to think about the process I was going through.  It was very labour intensive and I had been told time is money.  In fact that was one of the criteria that I used with students when they were reflecting on their garment construction.  But that is only part of the picture.  There are other factors to take into consideration as well.  If we are saving time because someone else makes the garment what are they losing?  Back then we didn't know about the working conditions and pay that workers in other countries had to endure, surely this should be part of the criteria as well? And then there is pleasure we gain from the meditative content of the process we are following, this also has a value.  Still, it is very hard to pass up that cheap garment even when we know someone else was exploited to make it.

To do my bit for recycling I have bought a selection of dresses and other clothing from Op shops for the grand-daughters to wear when they are on the island and I got to thinking about why these garments had been discarded.  The first dress had a slight tear in the lining.  It took about 2 minutes to quickly darn this on the sewing machine.

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This dress had been discarded because the owner didn't have the time on the necessary knowledge to fix this small problem.

The next dress I washed and ironed was a cotton sundress.  The girls love this because it ties at one shoulder.  It also had been discarded.  Now the child might have just grown out of it but I think it was discarded because it took time to look after the fabric.  The outer dress was pure cotton, the lining was a cotton blend.  When it was washed the outer dress shrunk just a bit more than the lining causing the lining to hang below the skirt line.  I just had to turn a larger hem for the lining to fix this.  But the other problem would have been the hem on the skirt.  It was a narrow hem and when washed this tends to roll and the more you wash it the more it rolls and the fabric remembers to do this.

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That is why the rule used to be that a hem shouldn't be less than about 3cm.  But that extra fabric over a few thousand garments equates to quite a bit of money lost to the manufacturer.  Also, there was an insertion around the frill at the neck.  Unless you use a spray starch to flatten this it will roll as well.

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All these small losses of knowledge have an incremental effect on our overall ability to operate in this world other than at the direction of others.  I was shocked to read that the Ford Motor Company in the USA made more money from the leasing of cars than from sales.  In their lease agreements the Company keeps ownership of the car and the payments from the customer pays the depreciation.  After about three years they dangle a larger brighter prize in front of the customer who signs up and the cycle continues.  If the customer defaults on payments the Company takes the car back and hasn't lost any money.  With Covid I suspect there is going to be a lot of cars being repossessed.

So that "time is money" catch phrase actually means that the manufacturer or large Company is the one who will lose money if a process takes longer.  For the consumer we are actually losing skills that will lock us into buying more.  It is only a little bit here a little bit there but it all adds up.

Just because I wanted to

I'm not quite sure why I bought all this fabric.  Because I really liked it, because I wanted it, because I can use it or because I could. 

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Or was it because of envy or even revenge?  My husband has come home twice this week saying he has bough new boats.  A new rowing skull, I don't know how he is going to get in and out of it.  It might just stay in the boat shed.  And then a new sailing boat that he can sail with the grandchildren.  Having always been careful where I spend maybe I am becoming a spendthift  in my old age?

This is the new Tilda range of fabrics called "Woodlands" which has just arrived in shops here.  The catalogue of this range can be viewed here.

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Oh dear.  I see they have yarn for making dolls hair.  I wonder who stocks that?

(They also have lots of free patterns you can download on their web site as well.)