welcome To The One Thimble Blog
I first came across Nikki in the Australian Designers Make & Create group on facebook and was really excited when she got in touch about contributing the Penny Dress to Issue 6. I really enjoyed finding out a little more about her this week and hope you do too!
Nikki has recently launched into designing PDF patterns for sale. With a strong history of sewing and creating, this is an exciting evolution of her business. Her designs are fun and practical with a modern twist.
Can you tell me a little about how you got into sewing / designing patterns?
When I first left school, I wanted to be able to sew clothes from start to finish, which included the pattern drafting process. I enrolled in a private pattern drafting course in the city, which was just around the corner from Lincraft where I spent most of my lunchtimes. I finally convinced the manager to give me a job there and eventually became full time in the fabric department…heaven, right? I was then offered a job at Spotlight where I worked as a department manager for both craft and dress fabrics as well as working in the craft buying office.
I headed overseas for awhile to live in London and travel, but worked in administration roles before heading home. I stayed in the corporate world upon my return to Melbourne but was always sewing something in the background. When my first son was born and I was at home, I found I had more time to sew and really found my passion for sewing once again. When number two son was born and I found myself housebound during naptimes, I turned once again to pattern drafting and starting to make clothes for them. I then found Lauren Dahl’s fabulous course, Pattern Workshop, where she teaches you how to draft patterns using Adobe Illustrator which opened up so many more possibilities for me to work around my kids (I now have 3!).
What is your best sewing tip or do you have a favourite haby item that you couldn’t live without?
I can’t remember the exact quote, but I did read somewhere once that the more you pin, the less chance you have of having to unpick (kind of like, measure twice, cut once!). And I definitely could not live without my sewing and knitting gauge. I love that it has both metric and imperial measurements as well as that little slider thingy.
What inspires you?
I love Pinterest and get many ideas and inspiration for my designs there. I also love seeing what kids are currently wearing already (the school playground is great for this!!) and seeing what design features I could possibly use in my future designs.
What’s your favourite (of your) patterns and why?
At the moment, my favourite pattern is the Eloise dress. I love the little cap like sleeves and the pleating details in the front and back…I am a sucker for pleats!
What’s something people might not know about you (that you’d like to share)?
When I was living in London, I bought a sewing machine, which raised a few eyebrows in my share house!! Needless to say, it didn’t make it into the backpack for my trip home, but I did still have it shipped over!
What is your biggest challenge and do you have any advice for someone else in a similar situation?
I think believing in yourself, regardless of the set backs you may encounter and to keep trying new things until you find your niche.
You can purchase Nikki’s pattern for the Penny Dress as a single pattern HERE or visit Nikki’s website to find out more about her other patterns HERE
or Purchase Issue 6 which contains this pattern HERE
Today’s guest post is by Rebekah from Penny Petite. She tested the Blossom Skirt by Eliana and Thea from Issue 6 and then decided to tweak it to make it suitable for her crawling bubba. I was so pleased when she agreed to share this pattern hack with us!
I was so excited when the amazing Victoria from Eliana & Thea asked me to test out her Blossom Skirt Pattern. From the very first one I made, I fell in love. However, I knew this style wasn’t going to be suitable for my crawling munchkin – forever on the move and wriggling around, so too would be a skirt on her hips.
BUT, such a beautiful style, there had to be a way! So with a simple few tweaks, I decided to make the skirt into a nappy cover so it would actually stay in place when Miss Penny wandered on her four-legged adventures.
1. Firstly, construct your nappy cover. Any pattern style will do. Complete all steps until it’s time to insert the elastics and sew the crotch seam – we’ll do this at the end.
2. When cutting your Blossom Skirt, you will need the following pieces:
– 1, 2, 3, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10
– Note that the lining & tulle pieces (7 & 10) are optional, as is the bow (8 & 9)
3. Construct your skirt, following steps 1 – 11. There is no need to mark the halfway and quarter mark pieces as you wont be attaching the skirt to a waistband.
4. At this point, I like to tack a zig zag stitch down the pocket pleats the keep them sitting flat and prevent them rolling back and getting caught as we attach to the nappy cover. Sew down to the last pleat circle. We can remove the stitches at the end.
5. At step 11, also sew along top (within seam allowance) to attach the top pocket edge to the front panel.
6. Join your front & back pieces, right sides together, and sew down both sides, finishing seams.
7. Hem your main skirt per Step 25 or as desired.
8. Join your lining pieces by sewing down both sides & finishing seams.
9. Hem your lining skirt per Step 25 or following Step 26 if adding tulle.
10. Insert your lining piece inside your main skirt piece as it would appear when being worn.
11. Baste ¼” from edge all around the top and serge to prevent fraying.
12. Mark the centre of the front & back skirt by folding in half, matching side seams and cutting a very tiny little notch in the front and back.
13. Now we need to gather the skirt.
14. Firstly, gather your back skirt from side seam to side seam.
15. Gather your front skirt in the centre only, ensuring you do not catch the pockets in these stitches.
16. With right side facing out, measure on your Nappy Cover where you would like your skirt to sit. On this example which is a Size 1, I have measured 3” from the top of the leg seam. Draw a line with erasable marker on the front and back.
17. Mark the centre of this line on both front and back.
18. Here comes the fun part! Flip your skirt upside down and inside out.
19. Insert Nappy Cover so that the top hem of the skirt (which is now at the bottom) is resting on this line you have just drawn.
20. Align each side and pin, then align your centre points and pin.
21. We are going to complete pinning & gathering in 4 sections. Consider each gap between a centre marker and a side as 1 section.
22. Pull your gathering stitches from one side to make each section fit the nappy cover. Repeat for all four sections.
23. Pin edge of skirt against the line you have drawn. I like to use a lot of pins in this step to ensure my skirt sits as straight as possible along the line.
24. Sew all the way around 1cm from the edge of the skirt to fix to the nappy cover. Ensure your stitching is to the left of your overlocking, otherwise it will show through on the front.
25. Flip your skirt down so now the right side is facing up. Using your iron to press the skirt downwards so it sits nice and flat.
26. Remove any visible basting/gathering stitches.
27. Top stitch all the way around the edge.
28. Nearly there! Insert your leg elastic and sew the crotch closed.
29. Insert your waist elastic and close the casing.
30. Stitch your bow on…. And you are done!
I “discovered” Victoria from Eliana and Thea when she entered our Fat Quarter Competition late last year. I thought her little skirt was adorable and was over the moon when she agreed to contribute it to Issue 6 of One Thimble!
Victoria’s love of sewing was reignited while making baby essentials and lots of modern cloth nappies for her daughter. This inspired her to start her business Eliana & Thea as a welcome creative outlet after years of study and work in science and engineering.
How did you get into sewing and pattern designing?
I started sewing again seriously about 7 years ago. I had forgotten a lot of what I had learned from my mum and at school. So I bought myself a cheap little Brother machine, a few commercial patterns and a step-by-step sewing techniques book for Christmas. In my spare time I started re-learning by slowly sewing up the patterns. I chose styles I would wear so they were not at all beginner level but I learnt so much and loved every second.
Pattern designing felt like a natural progression, I found there were a lot of things I wanted to change about the fit of the MCN I made for my daughter. I was also disappointed in the quality, options and sizing of store bought children’s wear. So I took a pattern making course and learnt the basics of manual pattern drafting.
What is your best sewing tip/product you couldn’t live without?
For a long time I persisted with very pretty but not at all practical fabric scissors. I would get a bruised thumb with a blister on top after cutting out all my pattern pieces. I began to put-off sewing because of it. So I relented and purchased some old school boring looking scissors which cost far too much but snipped like a dream.
How well fabric is cut out will determine how the garment sews up. So sharp scissors are a must. My best piece of advice is to designate your scissors a particular job. Then label them! Just like we wouldn’t use our precious fabric scissors for paper, I only use my best scissors for thin cotton type fabrics. I have another pair only for cutting heavy bamboo type fibres. A huge long pair for cutting wading. And also my pinking shears, rotary cutters and craft knife. Now I have so many scissors that when people see my scissor bucket (yup I have a cute little easy access bucket) they ask, why so many?!?
What is something people may not know about you?
On my 30th birthday, with a 5 month old very fussy baby, and nothing better to do I taught myself to crochet. I watched YouTube videos while Eliana slept and started making little flowers. I think I made about 50! Now I am hooked!
What has been your biggest challenge and do you have any tips for others facing the same thing?
Time! I need more! Before becoming a mum I was a sit down and spend hours sewing kind of person. I like to get things finished and move onto the next project. With a baby who doesn’t enjoy sleeping this is not remotely possible.
I have had to adjust (and still am) to only being able to draft/sew for maybe an hour at a time. And mostly late at night. If I am lucky. To help with this change I use a dedicated pattern making notebook to keep track of where I am in a project. This is a habit I picked up from my engineering degree – keeping track of everything so that if you can’t get back to it for hours or days you can pick up right where you left off. And you also have a record of all the changes and adaptations so if something turns out a bit bizarre you can figure out what you did. Oh and SAVE your work on the computer! Even if you only get up for a second. You never know when a furry friend will try to ‘help’.
|You can purchase Victoria’s pattern for the Blossom Skirt as a single pattern HERE
or visit Victoria’s facebook page to keep track of what she’s up to HERE
or Purchase Issue 6 which contains this pattern HERE
Today’s blog guest is Lauren from Molly and Mama. She’s sharing with us a brilliant tutorial on how to use Robyn from Obbie Dobbie’s Fairywood Cottage Applique from Issue 6 as a Hoop Art!You can purchase the Fairywood Cottage Applique as a stand alone pattern HERE or as part of Issue 6 HERE. You can purchase a completed Fairywood Cottage Hoop Art HERE.
Lauren’s passion is sharing the imagination and energy of childhood in gorgeous applique templates, sewing patterns, beautiful clothes, accessories, home décor and more. Staying at home with her two gorgeous cherubs has given her the opportunity to build her business and dream big!Lauren contributed the Miss Miranda & Percy Pineapple appliques to Issue 5 and has lots of brilliant patterns & ready to go items in her store HERE and fantastic free tutorials on her blog HERE
Fairywood Cottage Hoop Art Tutorial
by Lauren from Molly and Mama
Hello lovely One Thimble followers. It’s Lauren here from Molly and Mama . I’ve been stitching up a super cute appliqué design using a lovely pattern in Issue 6 of One Thimble. So I thought some of you might like to know how to transform it into an adorable hoop art project! This one is perfect for a little girl’s bedroom!
You Will Need
· Square piece of linen fabric – 36cm / 14”
· Timber embroidery hoop – 21cm – 8.5” (or choose a size to match your project)
· Circle of felt the same size as the hoop inner
· Requirements to create an appliqué or embroidery for your project (as per the instructions in your pattern or tutorial)
· A water soluble marking pen
· Needle and sewing thread or cotton to match your felt colour
· Scissors or pinking shears
· Ribbon for a bow and hanging loop
Create the Appliqué Art Work
Your first task is to choose a beautiful appliqué or embroidery project for your hoop art. I chose the ‘Fairywood Cottage and Wood Fairy Appliqué Pattern’ created by Robyn from Obbie Dobbie. You can find it in Issue 6 of One Thimble Sewing Magazine. It’s such a cute design!
For this project I’ve used the Fairywood Cottage (toadstool) pattern. But I’m hoping to make another matching hoop art project with the Wood Fairy template. These two pieces will look lovely hung side by side on the wall!
Create your appliqué according to the instructions included in the pattern. Be sure to sew your design in the middle of your piece of linen or background fabric. I chose some pretty peach and gold shades of cotton to complement my linen background. Also ensure your completed design will fit inside the hoop you have (reduce or enlarge your template if required).
Robyn’s pattern gives fabulous instructions for hand appliqué, and I really love the finish of hand embroidery. However, for this project I machine blanket-stitched my appliqué design. If you’re after more appliqué tips and ideas for a sewing machine finish, you might like the tutorial HERE.
Once your design is complete, and you’ve added any embellishments you’d like, be sure to give your design a good press so it’s ready for the hoop. Be careful of your iron temperature though. Polyester fabrics or threads don’t like a hot heat. And you’d hate to destroy all of that beautiful work. So be sure to keep the iron on a warm setting only.
Frame the Appliqué in the Hoop
Flip your fabric over so that the wrong side is facing up. Place the embroidery hoop over the appliqué design and centre it so that it’s where you’d like it displayed in the hoop. Use your water soluble marker to draw a circle around the outside of the hoop, so you know where to place your design.
Use scissors or pinking shears (the zig zag cutting pattern will stop your fabric from fraying) to trim away the excess fabric. Cut around your design about 4cm / 1.5” away from your marked circle.
Place your fabric in the hoop using the traced circle as a guide. Lay the fabric over the hoop inner. Take the hoop outer and pop it over the inner (sandwiching the fabric between it) and tighten the screw just enough to keep it all together. Make sure your screw is centred at the top of your project. Take some time to ensure your design is also centred and sitting exactly where you’d like it in the hoop. Tighten the screw of the hoop and pull the fabric taut as you go. Be careful not to stretch it out of shape though!
Now your design is secure, we just have to take care of those messy edges!Finish the Hoop Art
Thread your needle with a long length of ordinary sewing cotton (enough to go around the perimeter of your hoop) and secure it with a knot. I used a bright colour so you could see my stitching, but a colour to match your fabric would be a safer option.Start above the hoop screw and stitch a loose running stitch around the perimeter of the fabric. Stitch a half an inch in from the fabric edge (or 1.5cm). When you reach where you started, draw the cotton taut. It will gather your fabric and bring your overhang under the hoop. Secure your cotton well to keep your fabric out of the way. I pulled both ends firmly and tied a knot.
If you’re keeping your project for yourself, sometimes this type of finish is enough. However, if it’s a gift, or you’d like a neater finish, you can disguise the gathering at the back with some felt.Lay your piece of felt over the back of the hoop. (It should be just the right size to stitch over so it covers the gathered fabric.)
Thread your needle with a long length of doubled over sewing cotton and secure the end with a knot. Begin stitching at the top of the design near the screw. Use a small whip stitch to secure the piece of felt to the gathered linen fabric. Bring your needle down through the felt and out through the linen at the edge of the timber hoop.
Continue stitching around until you reach the beginning. You may need to trim a small amount off your felt as you go (as the felt may stretch as you stitch). You want the felt back to also be taut. Once complete, secure your stitches with a few back-stitches before trimming away the excess cotton.
Now all that is left is to add a bow to the top! Simply tie it around the screw. You can also add a loop of ribbon if you’re planning to hang your art work. Wasn’t that simple? You’ll be hooked now!
– You can embellish your completed appliqué design with hand embroidered features, buttons, bows or other special trims. This will give your hoop art a multidimensional feel that will really add to it’s appeal when it’s hanging on the wall!- Use 100% wool felt for your hoop back if you can. This type of felt is much less likely to warp or pull out of shape.- If you’re pressed for time, you can secure the fabric at the back of your hoop with hot glue instead of gathering it. Trim away extra fabric so that you have just enough to fit inside the rim of the hoop (when the fabric is folded over it). Place a thin short line of hot glue on the inside rim of the hoop and gently stick your excess fabric to it. Continue to add more glue and secure more fabric until you reach the beginning. This is a quick and easy finish that gives the same secure result. It’s just not as pretty as the felt cover.- Instead of stitching an appliqué pattern, you could use an embroidery design instead. There’s a great tutorial on the Molly and Mama blog (HERE) that shows you how to embroider the pineapple design from the Miss Miranda appliqué pattern in One Thimble Issue 5. You could also stitch your children’s artwork or your favourite phrase or saying. The options are endless!
I hope you’ve learned something new here today! If you’d like some more crafty tutorials and sewing ideas, be sure to pop over to the Molly and Mama blog. And if you’re after some more appliqué patterns, you’ll find some lovely designs in previous issues of One Thimble.
Thanks for having me Jen, and happy stitching everyone!
Today on the blog we have Robyn from Obbie Dobbie. One of my favourite things about the hand applique Robyn submitted to Issue 6 is its versatility. You can handsew it as Robyn shows, or use your machine. Make it the included size or blow it up bigger to make a real statement piece. Later in the week we have Lauren from Molly & Mama on the blog with a tutorial for making a Hoop Art with this applique!
|Robyn is a wife, Mother and Grandmother and has been sewing and crafting for around 45 years, taught by her Mother who is a beautiful seamstress. Robyn is employed by Queensland DETE as a School Business Services Manager and is making retirement plans to dedicate more time to the craft she loves. She is wanting to replace her Diploma in Government Management for an embroidery machine manual. Obbie Dobbie began in 2010 after requests from family and friends for copies of clothing sewn for her new granddaughter. Her business motto is …for uniqueness…. as Robyn’s creations are often OOAK or no more than 3 identical items so ensure her customers are purchasing a unique creation. Robyn finds hand applique a relaxing and enjoyable form of creativity as the design come to life when laying fabric to create a project.|
Tell me how you got into sewing?
I have to give credit to my Mother who is a beautiful seamstress and I often feel bless that she instilled in me my love of sewing at a young age. Mum did dressmaking from home and would always sew for my three sisters and I. We were impeccably dressed, sometimes in the identical fabric, maybe a different style, but always with lots of frills and lace. My Barbie (yes, I only had one) was beautifully dressed although at first her clothes were pinned to her body! I still have her, the many pin holes still evident of the pain I inflicted on her. I excelled in sewing at school and when I first started working at 15½, I would sew most of my clothes. When we were newlyweds, my husband gave me my first sewing machine (yes, his Mother sewed as well). I can remember it still – a compact Singer Genie very colourful in orange. I loved it and it taught me to love sewing. Before we had even planned our children, I had sewn several matinee jackets and rompers for my “baby hope chest.” Our two sons regularly wore my handsewn rompers, often with applique boats, helicopters and cars. After the arrival of our granddaughter in 2009, her pretty outfits with oodles of pink, ribbons and lace were sought after by family and friends. My love of creating and the many requests led to the creation of Obbie Dobbie.
What is your best sewing tip?
I have a few…. Practice makes perfect; Take your time; Quality far outweighs quantity and of course the old saying, Measure twice – cut once.
What is your favourite haby item?
A small razor sharp pair of bird shaped scissors. They’re light, the pointed tip gets into the tiniest of spaces for snipping that elusive cotton. I take them everywhere. Also, they are not an item the males in our home would want to be seen using!
What is your favourite pattern and why?
My all time favourite would have to be the peasant dress. We wore these as children, they were as popular back then as they are now. (I have a photo of myself in a peasant romper at the age of around 8.) Not only are they comfy to wear, cool in our humid climate, they’re easy to sew, easy for littlies to dress themselves. As the elastic softens and stretches, the dress can be worn for several seasons to eventually be worn as a top, making it very economical as well as pretty. It is also the first item sold from my Obbie Dobbie page.
What inspires you?
Pretty, dainty and feminine is what Obbie Dobbie is all about and best describes my style. I often visualise a garment soon after spotting a pretty piece of fabric. This colour, texture and pattern in the fabric often dictates to me how it should be sewn. I am way too practical for my own good at times and constantly consider the safety and comfort of the child as well as designing items that parents can easily launder and care for. I’ve always loved creating, from crochet, knitting, quilting, anything to keep busy with the satisfaction of “I made that”. Of course, my granddaughters inspire me to create gorgeous garments for them so they can feel as loved and pretty as we believe theme to be. The positive comments from my lovely customers, and the smiles on little ones’ faces when they wear an Obbie Dobbie garment, inspires me to continue to create.
What people don’t know about me?
Goodness, where do I start? What are my secrets? Do I tell you that I am a Royalist…or that I love to op shop, or how much I love vintage, that I love to quilt, that I love anything British or French, that I love to plan and host bridal and baby showers? No. I will tell you that I have a blog. Yes, back in 2011, I created my blog (see, I am always creating something with my hands). I haven’t posted for ages as now I tend to stay with Facebook and my sewing surpasses my computer skills by miles. I would love to start a webpage to sell my garments, maybe in the near future this will become a reality (with some computer help I might add). Oh yes, I recently featured in the One Thimble magazine, which is a huge honour. To see a tutorial written by oneself is very rewarding.
What has been your biggest challenge and do you have any advice for people in similar situation?
As a Wife, Mother and employee, my biggest challenge has been (and still is) setting aside time to follow my sewing passion and dreams of creating beautiful and functional garments. With working full-time, studying and attending TAFE at night, caring for my family, keeping house, my sewing time was often the last item on the agenda. I would often feel it was indulgent of me to follow my creative passion and “guilt” would prevent me from hiding away doing what I loved. My prevailing “rule” was to always have an immaculate house, the washing and ironing up to date, meals and school lunches prepared for my family before I could even contemplate sewing. Of course, if I could go back a few years, no doubt I would still do these things but the guilt wouldn’t be so heavy on my mind. It is important to have an outlet to create or have something special you love, be it going to the gym, painting, walking. You shouldn’t feel guilty to have an interest. Now that the boys have left the nest, I regularly stay up until the early hours of the morning and then sleep in way too long on a Sunday. We can still be great wives, Mothers and Grandmothers and fulfil that urge to have an outlet just for yourself. No matter what it is, have faith in yourself and your ability to at least try anything new or challenging.
|You can purchase Robyn’s pattern for the Fairywood Cottage and Woodfairy Applique as a single pattern HERE
or visit Robyn’s website to find out more about her other patterns HERE
or Purchase Issue 6 which contains this pattern