Wednesday, December 16, 2009

To market, to market ...

I received an email today from a lovely lady I met at Stash reHash inviting me to have a stall at a local school's fair next March. As you can imagine, I was absolutely thrilled with the invitation - how lovely that someone would hunt me down and ask me to join their fair! Anyway, pending any unforseen double-bookings I'm pretty sure that I'll be there. More details on that to come once I've confirmed ...

But, it made me wonder about what other fairs / markets there are out there that I could be taking my wares along to. I had already decided that next year I want to attend more markets, especially after the fun I had at Stash reHash, but I have to confess to being a bit in the dark as to what options are out there. Given I'll probably only be selling fabrics (but maybe the odd bit and bob that I've made too) I don't want to go along to just any old market and find that either people aren't interested in sewing, or they only want to buy rubbish at bargain basement prices. I guess that was why Stash reHash was so good - hundreds of fabricaholics all in one room - the perfect target audience.

Anyway, I would love to hear from you if you have any suggestions of good markets / fairs that you've been to in the past and think a Fabrication stall would do well at. And, don't feel you have to limit your suggestions to Christchurch or Canterbury markets - I love a good roadtrip, so I'm happy to travel around the spectacular South Island. So, if you know of any markets or fairs that you think might be up my alley, please don't be shy, just either post a comment, or if you can't be bothered with the signing in palava, then email me at Thanks!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Finally, something for the boys!

Anyone who has boys knows that the fashion world just does not cater for them, and sadly, more often than not neither does the fabric world. But, David's Walker's Oh Boy! collection puts an end to that. This collection for little boys is just gorgeous ... beautiful summer colours and not a skull or cross bones in sight! I have had a couple of fabrics from this collection in for a while (Transport in Gold, Wheels in Brown and Animals in Green) but finally with the arrival of a new shipment on Friday I've got the rest of the fabrics that I ordered. There are dinosaurs, bears, monkeys, cars, trucks, trains and all those things that boys love, plus a stripe, and they're all available now at

My mind has been in creative overdrive trying to decide what to make with these prints, but I've settled on some summer pjs for Thomas, not only because the weather is finally starting to warm up here and it's getting too hot for flannelette, but mainly because his wee wrists are so chubby that I have a very hard time getting his current pjs over them. Now I just have to decide which of the new fabrics to make them from (no mean feat!) and find the time, something I'm sorely lacking at the moment ...  

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Day 12: Mini Photo Album

Today, for the last day of Fabrication's Twelve Days of Christmas, I thought I'd do something nice and simple, since the days until Christmas are ticking away, but also something that is a perfect present for just about anyone - a mini photo album.

I took the idea from Amy Butler's book Little Stitches for Little Ones. This book is full of totally gorgeous presents for babies and new parents. I developed a love affair with it the first time I saw it - all the beautiful projects, the stunning fabrics, the cute babies! Anyway, I just had to have it and it's been a wonderful purchase. Everything I have made out of it has been a hit, so if you're looking for a great craft book and you know lots of people having babies, this one is for you.

I've made my brag book for Thomas  rather than to give away (so I didn't put a love heart applique on the front cover like the pattern called for), since I've been a very remiss mother and despite having more photos of him than we know what to do with, I've never managed to get them printed and put into an album. So, I thought I'd rectify that a tiny bit by putting this book together for him, full of all his favourite people. I used David Walker's Transport in Gold for the covers which is very cute and goes with the boy theme. Hopefully he'll like it! And, since he's too little to care yet, he won't notice that I didn't always do the best job of making sure the photos on both sides of the card were in exactly the same place, so my stitching is a little bit off on the reverse pictures ... oh well, if it's perfect it's not handmade ...

So, that's it, Fabrication's Twelve Days of Christmas is over for 2009! Thanks to everyone who's been following this blog and for all the comments and emails. It's so nice to know that people are reading this and enjoying the daily posts. Think I'll take a bit of a break for a couple of days now ... see you all again soon, and Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Day 11: Matroyshka Doll

I have always been in love with Matroyshka Dolls and have long dreamed of having a set. The reason I haven't yet is because I have this romantic notion that if I'm going to get some they should be the genuine article, bought in Russia of course. However, given I'm unlikely to get to Russia anytime soon I decided that I'd make myself a stuffed Matroyshka Doll instead, based on some on the front of a card I bought recently. 

I made my Matroyshka Doll using Lecien's Pale Spots as the base fabric, then used Jennifer Paganelli's Marie in Sky for the scarf and Tania Wheelan's Picnic Damask in Red for the apron. I wanted my doll to be able to stand by herself, so I made her with a base and filled the bottom of her with rice, and I interfaced the front, back and bottom so she'd keep her shape. Her face and hair are made from felt and I drew on her features using fabric paint. Unfortunately while she was sitting out in the sun waiting for her face paint to dry she fell from a great height and smudged her makeup. Luckly felt is very forgiving and I was able to tidy her up a bit. She was great fun to make so I think I'll have to make a few more, decreasing in size of course, and given the way Thomas has taken to her I think he'll be needing a set of his own too...

As you can see from the photos above, dolls and other handmade toys make fantastic gifts for kids and they are so much nicer than something made of plastic. If you're looking for inspiration, check out the gorgeous Melly & Me patterns. Thomas got given a lovingly handmade Mrs Perkins the Giraffe for Christmas last year and he took to it like he has the Matroyshka doll. Melly & Me patterns are available in NZ from lots of fabric stores (unfortunately though not from Fabrication just yet), and are a great way to use up scraps of fabric, or even better, they're a great excuse to go out and buy some more.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Day 10: Christmas Stocking

Christmas just wouldn't be Christmas with Christmas Stockings and all the pressies that go inside them.

In my family, it is still very much a Christmas tradition to hang your stocking on Christmas Eve and see what delights it holds the next morning, despite us all being adults. Mum, er, I mean Mrs Claus, tried to do away with stockings some years ago, but there was such an uproar that she had to reinstate them. I'm sure she wonders what kind of children she raised when, being all in our late twenties and early thirties, we still need to have a stocking to delve into on Christmas morning.  

Anyway, stockings are a great gift to give to a new member of the family, or just to have on show at Christmas time. I've made this stocking using Lecien's Dotty in Red as the base fabric, with Joel Dewberry's Architect in Sky as the trim. Then I just added some gorgeous ribbon as the finishing touch and it's all ready to be filled with treats come December the 25th.

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Day 9: Goodie Jars

Day 9 of Fabrication's Twelve Days of Christmas ideas is for those of you who don't have the time or inclination to get out the sewing machine, but still want to make a lovely gift using beautiful fabric. Yes - it is possible!

Simply gather together some old glass jars, take off the labels, fill with goodies (lollies, jam, biscuits ...) cut yourself out some circles of fabric using pinking shears (or "peaking" shears as my sister calls them, because they make wee peaks), tie up with a ribbon, add a gift tag and you're done. Use any beautiful fabrics you like, or stick with the traditional Christmas colours of red and green like I have, using Apples in Green and Apples in Red, plus some Floral Drop in Tarragon.


As the saying goes, this idea is an oldie but a goodie. So get making your own goodie jars and you have a wonderful gift for just about anyone.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Day 8: Diary Cover

Today's idea for Day 8 is a diary cover. It seems to me that most diaries are just plain old ugly and are in need of a serious facelift, so that's just what I've done for my 2010 work diary. It was a horrendous maroon colour and was sort-of padded (very odd!), so I decided that it needed a makeover.  I used Jennifer Paganelli's Sally in Fuschia from her Pretty Please collection for the cover and teamed it up with some coordinating ribbon.

Now, there are a couple of ways to make a diary (or any book) cover. You can either make a pocket type like I've done, or you can get yourself some good craft glue and simply stick the fabric onto the outside. Either method is perfectly fine, but with the pocket type option you'll need to do some sewing. The advantage with this though is that your cover is removable, and you can add a few embellishments. For example, I added some ribbon, included a page marker (also from ribbon) and made a pocket on the front cover to slip my business card into (there's nothing like a bit of shameless self-promotion!).

If you go for the cut and stick option then you'll need to make sure that the outside of the diary is an ok surface to stick onto (i.e. this method probably won't work if you're trying to stick fabric to a shiny or plasticy surface), and you may still want to zig zag or somehow tidy the raw edges of your fabric, or else they may fray. Other than that, it's just like covering your school books in Duraseal.

So, if you know someone who loves to be organised, or someone who needs to be, why not give them a covered diary for Christmas and get their 2010 off to a gorgeous start.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Day 7: Pillow Cases

Everyone loves sleeping, so why not make it even more enjoyable by giving someone you love a pair of pretty pillow cases?

Rather than making the pillow cases themselves, cheat like I did and just buy some, then all you do is add a strip of fabric and some ribbon to each end of the pillow case and you have yourself some designer bed linen. For my pillowcases I've used Jennifer Paganelli's Marie in Butter, and I got some gorgeous coordinating ribbon from the Warehouse.

I added the strips of fabric to the wrong side of the pillow case. This gives you the option of having plain as well as pretty (although with pillow cases this lovely I'm not sure why you'd want plain), but you do need to be careful when sewing on your fabric - you don't want to catch the inside flap, otherwise you won't be able to tuck it over your pillow. I'd also suggest that if you're going to add 100% cotton fabric to your pillow case that you use 100% cotton pillowcases, and prewash both first. Also, make sure that if you're adding ribbon like I did that it's washable.

If you want to take this idea further, why not add a matching trim to a flat sheet? Or make a cot linen set for a friend about to have a baby?

Monday, November 30, 2009

Day 6: Needle Book

My friend Jo has very kindly made today's Christmas idea - this fabulous little Needle Book. She got the pattern from Cath Kidston's new book Sew! and has been churning them out flat-stick ever since. Apparently all you need to make one is some fabric, a bit of felt and some cardboard. Jo made this Needle Book using Amy Butler's Happy Dots in Linen. I think you'll agree that it is just gorgeous and the perfect compliment to Day 2's Pincushion.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Day 5: Coin Purse

Every girl needs a coin purse that doubles as a make-up bag. Luckily, that's just what I've come up with for Day 5 of the Fabrication Twelve Days of Christmas. This gorgeous little purse is made out of Art Gallery Quilts Colour Splash in Purple - I love the colours and the print is the perfect size for this type of thing. I've just lined this one with a coordinating purple cotton fabric but you could always use a waterproof fabric if you are wanting to use it for toiletries. Or, if you're really wanting to go for the coin purse look instead you could just as easily put one of those lovely old-fashioned looking clasps on it instead of a zip.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Day 4: Tea Cosy

I'm not really sure if too many people still use teapots these days, but regardless every teapot could do with a tea cosy. This tea cosy is a piece of cake to make, is fully reversible and turns your boring old teapot into a fashion statement. 

I made this tea cosy for my ad in the December issue of Your Home and Garden (you can read more about that in my earlier blog on it here). All you need is some fabric (I used Circle Pane in Gold by Dena Designs for the outside and Candy Stripe in Berry by Annette Tatum for the inside) some ribbon and some stuffing.  Basically you just make two double-sided rectangles (each 28cm wide x 22cm high), stuff them, thread some ribbon through and you're done.

This is the perfect present for that tea drinker in your life - not only will it keep their tea warm, but it'll brighten up their kitchen at the same time.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Day 3: Christmas Tree Decorations

Gone are the days or boring old Christmas decorations that could only be red, green, silver or gold. Today, Christmas decorations are a chance to have fun and can be as colourful as you like. Good thing, because I just love these gorgeous, bright decorations lovingly made by my big sis, Janey using three fabrics from Jennifer Paganelli's "Pretty Please" collection: Ann Flower Mural in BlueJackie in Blue and Marie in Sky and a fourth fabric, Circle Pane in Green, by Dena Designs.

To make them you need some cardboard, a bit of padding (not strictly necessary, but used here), fabric for covering them and ribbons for hanging and embellishment. Then you just cut whatever shapes you like from the cardboard, stick some padding on top, cover with fabric and then whipstitch around the edge to hold them all together. Voila, you're done!

And, if you don't need any decorations yourself, box some up and give them away as a lovely Christmas present that will get used for years to come.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Day 2: Pincushion

Yesterday for Day 1 of the Fabrication Twelve Days of Christmas I made a couple of cushions. Today, I thought I'd do a minature version made especially for pins. Yip, you guessed it, a pincushion. Why? Well, I found a great free pattern, you can have never have too many places to put your pins, and it was quick and easy. Oh, and they look really great too. Perfect!

So there are absolutely loads of places on the internet where you can get free patterns, and Heather Bailey's blog is one of them. If you don't know already, Heather is a fabric designer (her fabrics are printed under the Free Spirit label) and she also has her own patterns, paper range, and is generally one of those super-talented arty-farty types.

Anyway, to make the pincusion above I used Heather's Square Deal pincusion pattern and the very vintage feeling Floral Drop in Tarragon and Lodge Lattice in Goldenrod fabrics by Joel Dewberry. I just love the freshness of the greens and yellows in these fabrics.

Not only is a pincushion a great present for anyone already into sewing, but if you know someone who you think might just love sewing but hasn't gotten around to giving it a go yet, why not make them up a sewing kit for Christmas? Start with a pincushion like the one I've made, add some pins, a Fat Quarter Bundle, a tape measure, some scissors and you've got the perfect little gift.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas - Day 1: Cushions

Eek, it's the 25th of November already, and that means it's only one month until Christmas! So, now's the time to get cracking on making those gorgeous handmade presents that everyone loves so much.

Over the next twelve days I'm going to be putting up a new present and/or decorating idea each day in Fabrication's very own Twelve Days of Christmas. Hopefully you'll find something here to inspire you into making your own Christmas gifts. Every single idea will be quick and easy to make (honestly - no more than an hour, I promise!), and will feature some of the gorgeous fabrics available now at

Today, being Day 1 of the Twelve Days of Christmas, is traditionally supposed to be a partridge in a pear tree, or in the Kiwi version a pukeko in a ponga tree. I can't quite run to either of those, but how about a couple of cushions on a green chair instead?

Cushions are a fabulous idea for anyone. They are super easy to make and are such a simple way to brighten up a room. Here I've made a couple of cushions - one a standard sized couch cushion (45cm x 45cm) which took 0.5m of fabric, and a smaller one approx 41cm wide x 23cm high, which used a fat quarter for the main body of the cushion and a scrap of fabric for the stripe.

For the larger cushion I used Amy Butler's Park Fountains in Fuschia from her Midwest Modern II collection. I wanted to be able to wash my cusion cover, but couldn't be bothered with inserting a zip, so just used some velcro on the back instead. And, instead of doing a proper edging around the cushion I just topstiched right around the cushion about 1cm in from the edge. It looks just as good and is easy peasy!

For the smaller cushion I used Annette Tatum's Honey Comb in Pink as the base fabric and then just attached a strip of another Annette Tatum fabric, this time Diamond in Ribbon down one side for a bit of embellishment.

You can either stuff the cushions with pre-made cushion inners like I did (these are available lots of places, in NZ try Spotlight or the Warehouse) or stuff with loose polyfill.

So go on, make a cusion or two, tie them up with a ribbon, and you've got yourself a gorgeous present for someone you love this Christmas.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Creating order from chaos

I'm lucky - I have a sewing room that's all mine (well, except that is when it's being used as a third bedroom when guests some to stay, but that's another story ...).

My sewing room (or the Fabrication Suite as it's lovingly known in this house) used to be a man's workshop tacked on the back of the garage. When I first saw it it was filled with dust, spiders and decades of cobwebs, and was rather unsightly. But, I knew it had potential and it was one of the main reasons why I fell in love with our house before we bought it. This dream of having a sewing room away from the prying fingers of a one year old, where I could drop pins and know that they wouldn't find their way into Thomas's mouth, where I could shut the door on my sewing chaos and no-one would see, where I could be alone ... it was perfect! So perfect I was blinded by it and managed to miss all the flaws with our house to be, like the rotten weatherboards, the kitchen with no benchspace, the lack of insulation ... ah well, hindsight is 20:20 they say.

Anyway, transforming the dingy workshop was our first project when we moved in back in March. We put in a new window, reclad the outside, insulated, gibbed, painted, carpeted and decorated, and now it's my haven. I love it. Ok, so there are still a few things to do, like hem the curtains and finish paining the desk, but it's pretty much there.

It does have one problem though. It gets rather untidy. You know how it is, you're working away, sewing and cutting and pinning and all the while the loose threads and offcuts and all those other bits and bobs start to creep out of their homes and suddenly all is chaos. Now, while I'm not precious about mess (I'm very good at just closing the door and thinking "I'll get to that later"), I do like to have a good clean up now and then. Usually it's when I can no longer find my sewing machine for all the clutter, or someone is coming to stay.

Today was one of those clean up days (spurred on by not being able to find my desk, rather than the imminent arrival of guests). It might sound weird, but I think having a good clean up is for me almost as therapeutic as making the mess in the first place. All that order and free space. It makes one think that one should do it more often! It'll never happen though - there is just too little time to sew, let alone clean up afterwards everytime. Still, it's a nice dream ...

Monday, November 16, 2009

Ok, just one more week then

Yip, that's right, the fabrication pre-Christmas sale has been extended. Everything is on sale for 1 more week, but this time it really must end, so come the 20th of November it'll all be over. Get in while you can - fabrics are up to 30% off, so it's bargains galore around here!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

And the winner is ...

Thanks to everyone who signed up to the Fabrication mailing list at Stash reHash last Sunday. On offer was a fabulous $30 fabric pack for the lucky person whose email address got pulled out of the hat (well, actually, whose lucky number came up on the random number generator I found on the web).

The winner was number 47, Sheina of Belfast, Christchurch. Sheina chose the lovely (and very last bit) of Ink and Spindle fabric and some of the gorgeous Amy Butler Garden Maze in Red. Congratulations Sheina - I hope you'll enjoy your fabrics!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Exhausted but delighted!

Today was Stash reHash, and what a day it was. So much fun, so many people, and lots and lots of sales! It was fabulous, but very exhausting. Apparently there were people lined up around the block waiting for the doors to open at 11am, and when they did there was literally a stampede of women (and a few poor men that had been dragged along) jostling for all the best bargain fabrics, new and old. The picture above shows me just before the mayhem began. The pic below shows just how many people had streamed through the doors in literally the first 30 seconds!
My wonderful sister Jane helped me get my stall together for my first ever market. We spent the half the week and most of the weekend making fat quarter bundles, designing the layout of the fabrication stall, and of course gossiping as we went. It was great fun, but it did seem like a lot of work for a 3 hour market. It all paid off today though, and I'm so glad that we did put so much effort in, including mocking up the stall on our back lawn yesterday (see pics below - even Thomas was in on the act). We certainly seemed to be rewarded for it by the number of sales we made.
Unfortunately, though, Jane had to work today, so it was my trusty best friend Mary to the rescue. I literally couldn't have done without her today. She was a fabulous assistant and helped make the event a huge success. Here she is looking lovely behind a stack of fabrics.
Today was a huge confidence boost for me. After a few slow weeks on the site it proves that I'm on the right track with this fabric thing. There are lots of you out there that love the fabrics I love and want to buy them as well. And now, so many more people know about fabrication, so hopefully that will lead to more sales, more cashflow to buy more stock, and more beautiful fabrics filling NZ. So, to everyone who purchased something from fabrication today, thank you!!!

And finally, an extra special thanks to Deidre who organised the event. She has put a huge amount of time and effort into making Stash reHash the huge success that it was for all stall holders and shoppers. She deserves a medal for doing such a great job of getting the event promoted on a tiny marketing budget. I can only hope that she is on as much of a high as I am after the event and wants to do it all again. Fabrication will definitely be in if she does!