I love to sew, mainly quilts and bags. I am 62, married to Fred and have one son, Matthew who is 24. I enjoy embroidery and applique and prefer to machine piece and quilt my projects. I love my vintage Singer sewing machines especially my Featherweight 222K. I've recently started collecting Miniature Sewing Machines, three Essex and one Singer 20 and a Vulcan Countess. My love of sewing I believe comes from my Grandmother - I still have the drawings she made for me to embroider on tea towels many many years ago!

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

KEEPING UP................THE BLOG !


Hello there!

Yes, it's me ......  really!     Gee whizz! I last blogged in January.....where did February,March,April and May go???

Let's get up to date......

ON MY PQ1500

My current project is the Teddy Bears Picnic quilt.... I'm up to the machine FMQing, having already stitched in the ditch on my Brother PQ1500...  The pattern "The Teddy Bears Picnic" is by Toni Alexander of The Red Boot Quilt Company. I've changed the sashing - I love using partial pieced sashing as you can cut it all the same length.  I cut the sashing for this quilt on my GO CUTTER using the 2-1/2" strip die... I had a layer cake of bright plain fabrics so my sashing is 2-1/2" wide and 10" long.  I cut the applique blocks back to 8" square.  The formula for partial piecing is block size (8") plus width of sashing (2-1/2") less 1/2".

 I'm playing with a new gadget too! I bought the VersaTool ruler  and I'm using it to go around the applique shapes.... so far so good!

By Air By Rail By Sea
Pattern by Heathers Designs
Patchwork at the Bay Window
At long last I finished my By Air By Rail By Sea quilt!  I've been doing the machine blanket stitch on this project since 2014!!!!!
Fun backing

My Brother Rob and I gifted the quilt to Amos when the family were visiting recently.   Smiles all round!  I quilted this one on my Sweet Sixteen with Aurifil 80wt thread.  This required altering the top tension to almost zero! but once I worked that out the quilting went well,  I even had a go at doing artistic shapes!   I put two planes in the sky on the by rail row and seagulls in the by sea row.  Lots of clouds all over and some trees on the rail row.  Lots of fun and a good way to learn more about my Sweet Sixteen. 

Hubby was overseas on holidays during April so I went to visit my sister in Port Macquarie..  I had made her this quilt but did not get it finished in time to take it with me but just today I've posted the parcel!  I loved making this one..... I collected shirts from Op Shops - small print cottons and I backed it with a vintage sheet. Pattern is Fat Quarter Slide   Vintage sheets and shirts make such lovely and soft quilts.  I learnt a lot making this one... for instance I've never been successful in adding the pieced border, in this case the tumbler border.  I've finally worked it out!  you construct the pieced border first, then measure it and then that is the figure you need to work out the size of the filler border between the quilt top and the pieced border!
Fat Quarter Slide

Once the Air, Rail, Sea quilt came off the sewing machine, I decided to try another machine applique pattern - this one is Citrus Sizzler.  I'm using zig zag stitch with Konfetti thread in needle and bottom line in bobbin.
Another current project
Citrus Sizzler

Zoe Zebra is finished!  I took the finished quilt to show my friends in "Frame Quilters" group and ask about how to quilt the four cornerstones and also if the quilt needed any further quilting.   They suggested a flower like the one in the quilt top for the cornerstones so I copied the flower and reduced it by 50% and then made a freezer paper template to use for the FMQing.   They suggested the purple flowers needed something so I did more quilting in those too.  I need to get a better photo of the finished quilt.


I bought a new gadget for my vintage sewing machine...... a Pinker! it attaches to the sewing machine where the foot screws on.  You either remove or unthread the needle.  To have a play I pinked the edges of the join on the backing of the Air Rail Sea quilt. Click here to see the gadget in action on the Featherweight Schoolhouse site.  What fun!!!  Takes me back to when mum made little fabric covers for jam jars !  we always pinked the edges!

Quite a few years ago I bought the Curve Master foot, so lately I've been having a play.  I attached it to my Featherweight. 

The Car Quilt I'm making for my ODIBAG stash is waiting for backing and quilting. 

We visited Esk for another Antiques Fair and on the way we stopped at Wivenhoe Dam for coffee, just lovely!
I've been playing with curved piecing too!
My car quilt almost finished
this one for my ODIBAG stash

During hubby's holiday I was in charge of feeding the Kookaburras!
This is what I woke up to one morning!!

Another Siggy for my collection

Wivenhoe Dam

Enjoyed a few days of r & r at our
Unit on the Gold Coast
New Easter shirts

The view from our balcony on the Gold Coast

Sunday, 21 January 2018


No! I'm not being interviewed on television!!  I have discovered once again that my friends were not able to leave a comment on my Blog Post.

I've fixed it!........ AGAIN!

Sorry 'bout that ...


Friday, 19 January 2018


Happy New Year !

January is not really the month to get much sewing done...... our weather is usually awfully hot and humid.  This January has been a little surprising.  We did have some hot horrible days but just lately it's been quite pleasant.  My projects this month ........


I love making these Reading Pillows but somehow I got myself confused with the measurements for the pocket so this one only has a very shallow pocket.  A little book still fits so that's okay 😀


I'm pushing myself to get the By Air ...... quilt finished.  I cannot believe this but I've been working on this machine applique project for three years!  YES! THREE YEARS!    I finished up all of the blanket stitch and now have it to the flimsy stage, just waiting for more of the backing fabric as I fell short when I went to layer the quilt.


Although I enjoyed making this quilt, it really was meant for machine applique (I did it by hand) so I'm pleased to be up to the quilting stage now.  I've done the stitch in the ditch quilting so now it moves over to my Sweet Sixteen for the Free Motion Quilting.

My hand sewing project at the moment is The Teddy Bear's Picnic blocks .. pattern by the Red Boot Quilt Company .   It's a lovely project and I'm really enjoying it.  To keep the applique soft, I use the method where you cut away most of the fusible web from the centre of the shape (so on the head of the bear, it's only got the fusible web around the outside edges, I have cut away the middle area.... this makes it much easier to stitch through the eyes and nose.  Here is a tutorial by Pat Sloan.  I do this to the larger pieces but leave the smaller pieces intact.

Siggy Block

How lovely to still be receiving Siggy Block requests.  This one will be on its way to The Netherlands soon.  You can find the information about the Siggy exchange here.  I have been in the Exchange for many years now.  Today I was stitching in a coffee shop but sitting outside so I tried out my new battery powered fan from Aldi.... works a treat!

I sew my siggy blocks on my Singer 99K Hand Crank..... very peaceful and quiet using this machine.  It sews a beautiful stitch.  I like to give each of my vintage machines a project, this keeps them oiled and maintained on a regular basis.



Thursday, 21 December 2017



Tomorrow is our 33rd Wedding Anniversary.....   we had the ceremony on Customs Wharf here in Brisbane and then went on a cruise on the Brisbane River for the reception.  I wore a two piece suit purchased off the rack and I can still see the look on the ladies face when she asked was the suit for a special occasion.... yes, I said "I'm getting married in three weeks!"  The only time I wore a real wedding outfit was for a Fancy Dress Ball, my mum made the most beautiful outfit !  Happy days! both the wedding and the fancy dress!

I purchased another Miniature Sewing Machine.... this time an electric Essex.
Just unpacked, haven't sewn with it as yet!

I can't wait to have a play with it.  This machine now rounds out my collection of Essex Miniatures.  I think this will be enough miniature machines.... I have three Essex, one Singer 20 and a Vulcan Countess.  All of these machines do a chain stitch which I use for reverse embroidery.

On the sewing front I've been busy too.....

Christmas tee shirts

New hand sewing project - Teddy Bear's Picnic
pattern by The Red Boots Quilt Company

Christmas Coasters

My first try at making a hand towel with a buttonhole!!

I used the vintage Buttonholer attachment on my Singer 222K Featherweight - what perfect button holes!!  I had such a lot of fun learning about this attachment.  It is so easy to use!

I've finished all of the hand sewing on my Zoe Zebra Quilt - haven't taken a pic as yet, here's the quilt when I prepped it.
Zoe Zebra

Here is a sampling of my 2017 sewing

Wishing you all a
Very Merry Christmas
and a Healthy, Happy
New Year

Cheers from Helen
Happy Sewing!!

Monday, 30 October 2017

Dolly Quilts


I’ve joined the Group Project KIN.  You can find out more info here .... 

I’m making Dolly Quilts- lots of fun, quick to sew and I’m using up some stash!

I have two more cut out ready to sew. 

The Organisation also has started a GoFundMe Christmas Appeal - 

I’m enjoying making the quilts, if you go to the linked Page you can see all the other beautiful items being made.  Perhaps you might like to join the Group or donate to the Christmas Appeal.  

No other sewing to show I’m afraid as I’ve been unwell for the past week with a virus ☹️ but on the mend now!

Cheers from Helen 
Happy Sewing!!

Sunday, 1 October 2017




A little Christmas sewing happening over the weekend, I'm making Microwave Bowl Cosies.

and I just love how quickly it goes together.

I'm making the rounded version as I like the look of it better than the square version.


After I cut out the beginning squares (prior to cutting down to size) I do a couple of rounds of quilting on each half (each half is made up of one square of fabric paired with one piece of cotton wadding) - I'm using the Circular Stitcher on my 222k Featherweight to do this...... love that gadget!!  I do two rounds of quilting, that's enough for this project.  It will get more at the end.

As I'm using a purchased pattern I won't go into great detail as to the pattern and methods used but I can share my tips and tricks 😃

To make the bowl shape you do four pleats.  I like to use a very small stitch length for this.  I cut my rounded edges using the pattern and my rotary cutter  (after cutting the pleats) - nice smooth rounded edges.

I use my walking foot for the construction, it helps to keep it all together nicely - my seam allowance ends up being just a smidgen over 1/4".  Trim the seam allowance to 1/8" after stitching the pleats.  Do the same for the seam allowance after stitching each half of the Bowl Cosy together.   The only bit I leave at full seam allowance is where I have left the turn through opening - I also stitch off at each end of the turn through opening.

Here is a similar method to how I sew the turn through opening...  http://keyka.typepad.com/my_weblog/2008/11/how-to-slip-stitch-a-seam-closed.html.

The only thing I add is that I stitch off to the outside edge at each end of the opening.  This keeps the 1/4" seam allowance in place when I turn the cosy right sides out.  The "opening" will press nice and flat and if I'm using a 1/8" seam allowance to top stitch then the opening will get closed with that topstitching.

So my turn through opening is in between the blue lines.  I stitch out on those two lines using a very small stitch length and I stitch between the two lines using a long stitch length.  Once I press the seams back after stitching, I remove those long stitches.

Once I turn it all right sides out I find giving the rounded "corners" a good press helps to set it in place ready for the final topstitching.  I topstitch using a little longer stitch length than I use for piecing.  I like to do the topstitching about 1/8" from edge.  The turn through opening will be closed with the top stitching.

The last bit of stitching is to quilt on the diagonal both ways from the centre of the curved corners.

You can see the diagonal quilting 

These are fun to sew.  I think the best way to do a bunch of these would be to prep a whole lot of them and then chain stitch.  I'm setting up two machines ... the 222K for the circular stitching and my Brother PQ1500 to do the rest of the stitching.  

Happy Sewing!!
Cheers from Helen