The highs and lows of sewing, 2016

Mostly highs. I’d have to say this has been a milestone year for me, in terms of sewing. I think I’ve moved to the next level and I attribute this to social media……particularly Instagram which has really broadened my horizons. And for that reason I LOVE Instagram. It has been a great source of inspiration for me.

My first intro to Instagram….. and I don’t know how I’ve lived without it


So how have I moved to the next level?

Its the first time I’ve drafted my own pattern.


It’s also the first time I’ve got ‘the fit’ right for dresses for me....and that’s a huge first given I’ve been sewing for years. I will say it wasn’t easy. I unpicked until the cows came home but the result is these dresses which I am more than happy with with.



It’s the first time I’ve  tackled this  jacket.  I’ve been looking at it for years but avoiding it because I thought it would be too hard/too much work. Turns out it was relatively quick and easy  and I think the possibilities for this style are endless . The blue is linen and the straw jacket is made from a heavy upholstery fabric.

Of course the big first was the fabric trip to Shanghai and London with my friend Wendy. That was absolutely brilliant and the highpoint of my sewing year. AND ………..hopefully the beginning of a tradition for Wendy and me……..we had so much fun.



And of course there were the formal dresses.…..a first because it is the first time I have agreed to step outside the pattern……….very significant if you are a rule follower!!! I agreed to do all sorts of things to these patterns………not really me at all.


Definitely the first time I have incorporated novelty prints into my garments.……and very effectively I have to say. I love them and will continue to use them. I love the fun side of fabrics.

Lets not forget the swimwear first.……..another whole story which I won’t start here but this was probably not one of my highest highs


Another first that deserves a mention is knitting with fabric.OMG this is just so fun! That’s all I can say. I got the idea while on the London fabric tour and it’s something I would really like to develop. I think the sky’s the limit here. But I have to fess up that this is a UFO……..but also very much a current WIP and I have some great ideas.


And not to forget the first time I’ve actively supported my daughter to try her hand at sewing….and with amazing results. She is very creative. Regrettably I am Mrs Rules so I struggle when she says but Mum I don’t need a pattern….it won’t take me long to make this top…all I need you to do is help me thread the machine. She was right. She made it in a couple of hours without a pattern and wore it that day. All I did was help thread the machine…..a learning curve for me!

img_2155img_2158And now for a 2016 sewing low.…… overlocker was ‘found’ by someone in the carpark when I put it down for 5 minutes (hidden, I thought) behind the car. I hope they have lovely overlocked edges on their seams because  I don’t !

To summarise 2016 sewing for me…….a really big year that I enjoyed. What I have most enjoyed is the online sewing community of which I have become a part.  Thank you to everyone who has ever posted a sewing image on any form of social media. I have found it enormously inspirational and even exciting…… much so that I try not to look at IG before I go to bed lest I should be so enlivened by a potential project that I cannot sleep!!!!! And that’s the truth.

On a very sad note….. my thoughts go out to David, husband of Katherine Scraper and her family. Katherine was better known in the sewing community as ….Pillows A-La-Mode.


Katherine was an inspiration to me…….creative, resourceful, positive and clever and the sewing world has been enriched by her generous contributions.












Breast cancer and sewing

imageI thought you might be interested in another sewing project ie breast cushions for Zonta ( I’ve blogged about Zonta before. Zonta is an international women’s group with a mandate to advance the political, social, economic, educational and health status of women around the world.

I am a member of the Sydney Breakfast Club and currently hold the position of Chair of Services. Translated, I coordinate our two major service programs. This post is about our breast cushions.


The kidney shaped satin breast cushion was the brain child (I understand) of the Botany Club (Sydney). The idea of the cushion is to use it to relieve the pressure on the mastectomy/lumpectomy wound, caused by the likes of seat belts and bed clothes. But I believe patients have used them in a million different ways because they are soft and light.

The cushions are made in a variety of shades including a taupe that is suitable for males. The satin is bought by the bolt and pre cut into kidney shapes, ready to be sewn. We have a band of fantastic volunteers who construct the shells to the point where they are ready to be stuffed. Before they are completed, the Zonta logo is ironed on.


Three times a year we meet as a group, on a Saturday to hold what we affectionately call a ‘stuffing event’ and we stuff and sew closed, about 150 cushions.


While we are stuffing, another group wraps individual cushions in cellophane and ties a ribbon around the package.


The individual packages are then grouped into bundles of about 50 and distributed to 3 hospitals in Sydney where surgery is performed for cancer of the breast.


When the patient returns from surgery, there is a wrapped breast cushion with best wishes from Zonta, waiting on her pillow. Unfortunately  our supply never meets the demand. So if anyone out there has a hankering to sew some shells, I’d love to hear from you.