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!