Category Archives: How To…

Things We’ve Made: To give or not to give

Hello friends.

We enjoy blogging here in this little space and sharing the behind the scenes of our blossoming little business. Up until now things have all been rather focused on shop happenings and product developments – Cool, we hear you say, but we wouldn’t mind you shaking it up and getting a little personal on us …. Got it.

In our endearingly random blogging fashion, today we bring you the first of our somewhat-regualar posts ‘Things We’ve Made’. It’s true – we do make other stuff. Usually for other people (Christmas was  a whirlwind of present making), but sometimes we even manage to treat ourselves to something just for us. Like this bag (no whimsical name sorry, unless you consider ‘Mummy’s bag’ a suitable moniker):

Action shot, forgive the awkward disjointed shoulder look

I (Megan) began this project intending to give it to my Mum for her December birthday. Taking inspiration loosely from this one, I imagined a simple and quick project that would produce  a jaunty little bag just right for Mum to take on a much anticipated upcoming cruise. Snip snip, stitch stitch, wrap it up, back to the pile of Christmas present making – right?. Errr, not quite.

  • I don’t  like to follow the rules.
  • If there is a long, frustrating yet sometimes successful way of doing an otherwise simple thing, I will find it.
  • Things have to be just so.
Determined to use my existing stash, I sliced up the legs of my favourite jeans that had ripped through the seat (here’s a tip folks – don’t sit on the sharp heel edges of your favourite boots a billion times a day, unless you are looking for some backside airconditioning vents to appear). I also found one of Hubby’s old shirts with some rather nice squared off pockets for the lining. Got to have pockets, my Mum.
I sliced out the pockets from the shirt, and a back pocket from the jeans, and added them to the outer and inner layers…. a tiny tucked under allowance, a bit of topstitching and presto!
Here’s the bag ready for the handles to be threaded through:
A tricky bit of not-quite-straight-but-blow-it-it’s-handmade detailing here:
and here on the handles (I lashed out on some webbing for strength – my Mum works her bags hard).
Not exactly a simple rope bag as you can see, but I was really chuffed with how it came out…. there was even a little part of me that was a bit sad to be parting with it. Never mind, I happily imagined Mum sauntering around the cruise ship with it dangling off her arm, and prepared myself for parting ways.
Unbeknown to me, my sister had had a similar idea, and had spontaneously taken Mum shopping for  a new bag two days before her actual birthday…. drat! As she giddily showed me all the pockets and compartments and dangly bits of her new treasure, I realised that a plan B was in order – so a delicious massage voucher it was. Everyone was happy, and I have a new bag. Nice.
I am sure if I had set out to make it for myself in the beginning, it would still be languishing atop an unfinished avalanche of projects while I moved on to something else that had a gift-giving deadline. Hooray for lack of family present buying communication!
M & A

Tutorial Motherload

Hello Friends.

A quickie today to pay forward a wonderful find. The wonderful Ellen from The Long Thread (a must read on Megan’ s blog roll) has outdone herself with a massive post chock-full of tutorials.

Sewing projects, quilting, paper crafts and crafts – our heads are spinning with all the possibilities!

We particularly love the watercolour on fabric idea from The Girl Creative:

and one on the top of Megan’ s sewing to do list for this year, the free download for the Sorbetto top from the divine Coletterie:

Boil the kettle, put your phone on silent, and start browsing. Not only will you find a wealth of project ideas,  but you will find many new blogs to add to your reading list (after our good selves, of course!).

Enjoy 🙂

M & A

Show Me How Friday: Stichorama!

(Yes. You are right again. Today is technically Saturday. Seems someone forgot to press ‘publish’ after spell-checking and pressed ‘save draft’ instead. Someone was weary and not paying attention.)

Welcome to the first ‘Show Me How Friday’ for 2011 to all our loyal readers. Well, Megan’s Mum, Ali, our hubbies…. that makes at least four at least. Anyway, those of you who are following along may remember this post filled with much admiration for the ever-reliable whip stitch. Hold on to your hats people, because the information you are about to receive may send you into a stitching frenzy. Really, you should think carefully before reading any further….


…. ok. Glad you are up for it. Here we go…. Meet Sarah Louisa Whittle.

You will be glad you did when you realise the *immense* amount of time she has saved you. You see, lovely Sarah has created an easy and clear stitch-by-stitch photo tutorial for 43 different types of embroidery stitches. Crazy but true. Pick up your embroidery hoop, put on your thimble and get ready to squeal.

From Algerian Eye Stitch..

... to Bullion Knot Roses...

... to Fern Stitch... Threaded Herringbone Stitch.

I know. Awesome. And yes, I did look at every single one the minute I found them all. If your hand is not too shaky, click here to go to Sarah’s blog and the ‘Stitch A-Z’ list of amazingness.

My favourite of the moment is this one:

Closed Cretan Stich Leaves

I have so many grand plans for ways to incorporate some of this loveliness into our new products… bring on the needle callouses, stitching awaits!.

M & A

Show Me How Friday: Whip Stitch

Hello friends.

Those of you in Australia may feel the urge to gently nudge us and whisper “ahem, girls, it’s now Saturday, not Friday….”. We hear you, and offer the black circles under our eyes and auto-pilot parenting of sleep deprivation as our feeble defence. But we are pretty sure you will let it slide this time (for our non-Australian friends: we are usually coming to you from the future, so no doubt we have muddled your sense of time no end today. Sorry ’bout that).

Anyway, let’s put the calander away and get into it – our first ‘Show Me How Friday’ !

If you are like us (and by ‘us’ I mean the non-methodical Hare half of us) you began your hand stitching adventures in a gung-ho, stitch it up any old way. We were always so keen to see what the finished idea would look like that the stitching was, shall we say, a little ‘organic’. No more! This wonderful tutorial at futuregirl was a turning point. It clearly demonstrates how to achieve a neat and easy whip stitch for joining fabrics – great for purse sewing, soft toy making or decorative hand sewing.

Until recently we assumed this was THE way to whip stitch, however this terrific video on You Tube shows a form of stitching we used to call “the stitching my Mum does when she takes up the tricky hems on my suit pants”…. Useful for hems, linings or attaching embellishments with minimal evidence, it is a useful trick to have up one’s sewing sleeve.

As we type, one of us has a sore thumb from a whip stitching frenzy of Christmas present sewing…. yes, time is fast running out. Yes, one should have started earlier. Yes, said one should move Time Management of Sewing Projects back to the top of her To Do list.

Still, a certain little babe just can’t be without a handmade, love filled, slightly-wonky-in-a-characterful-way rabbit for her very first Christmas.