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?