I love to sew, mainly quilts and bags. I am 60, married to Fred and have one son, Matthew who is 21. 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. 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!

Monday, 23 November 2015



I started my Christmas sewing early this year and I'm all done!  I did a lot of Christmas Tree applique tee shirts for the younger members in the family and for friends children.  I have the Accuquilt Go cutter so cutting the trees was very easy.  The tee shirts were purchased at our local Target, K-Mart and the Best and Less children's store.  Some hand blanket stitch and all done!  too easy !

Another cute gift is the Reader Pillow.  The pattern is in the book Growing Up Modern but I'm sure if you google Book Pillow or Reading Pillow you might find online tutorials too.

In previous years I have made the little girls in the family a Dolly basket.  The tutorial is by Geta...  click here for link.  I didn't have anyone to make one for this time but here is a photo of the ones I made Bridget and Chloe back in 2011...

some other ideas.......

If you have little ones who love to draw and scribble....  a chalkboard roll!!  the pattern I found in a magazine and that website is no longer around but if you go HERE there is a tutorial.  It is similar to the one I make.....

Something pretty.....  the Tutu Bag by ricrac.    or some handmade shorts with matching tee!

I have made so many versions of this doll....  pattern by Red Boot Quilt Company, click here to go to website.

A mini I Spy quilt is always fun for a little one....  great to take in the car ....   idea from Make and Takes... click here.

These Quilted List Takers are always a hit with my friends...   pattern by JCasa Handmade.....click here to go to website.    The little reversible notebook is a great stocking stuffer... tutorial by Lara Cameron.. click here.  and that's a little needlebook above the notebook... so easy to make! just a rectangle with a piece of quilt wadding or felt for the needles!

I have gifted many of these Tea Wallets....   tutorial here.

Another great gift for the shoppers in your family....  The Market Bag....  ArtsyCraftyBabe.. here.

This Colouring Wallet is very popular ...   another JCasaHandmade pattern.  Here.

Pillowslips are a great way to use up large pieces of fabric...  

and who can forget Ruby rabbit in her sleeping bag??  ...  The sleeping bag pattern is by Flossieteacakes.... here   The Three Bears Sleeping Bag...

I hope you find something that you might like to make from the above lot.  I've made so many things over the years so I'll keep searching through my old Posts and let you know of anything else I think you might like !

Happy Sewing!!
Cheers from Helen

Sunday, 22 November 2015



Brisbane has suffered terribly hot weather these past couple of days so I spent most of the time in my sewing room, under the fan!

Our neighbours had a new baby boy October 1st so I'm making a little quilt for him.  I made his big brother the Farm Quilt  (click to link)  last year.  If you click on the Label below this post ..Mini Farm Quilt, you will see that quilt and other Farm quilts I have made. Click on Farm Quilt and you will see the full size quilt.

I purchased some lovely fabrics when I was away on my 60th Birthday girls weekend.  The fabrics are by Vita Mechachonis called Nursery Rhymes.

Sewing on my Featherweight 222K

My new Horn cutting/pinning table.  This is it folded up.

This is the table fully opened on both sides and I have marked my
centre points with kitchen skewers and blue painters tape.

Here I am placing the backing on the table.  Folded the backing in half,
placed the fold on the centre markers and then fold back the
other half.  Perfectly centred quilt backing!

Bulldog clips on one end, they hold the backing down and then I smooth it out and
place the painters tape up the other end.  This quilt is only 36" square.  If this was
a longer quilt, I would be using bulldog clips top and bottom.

Relaxing the wadding.  I don't hold the wadding down
with anything.  I use 100% cotton and it lays down quite nicely.
Once it is relaxed, I smooth it out with my hands.  It doesn't
shift after that.

The Storybook Quilt!  I used the same layout as my Mini Farm Quilt.
I love the different fabrics...  What are Little Boys Made of? on the outside border and centre
block.  Hey Diddle Diddle is the dark blue border.  Humpty Dumpty makes up the four corner squares
and I used coordinating fabrics for the four patch blocks.

A new toy I purchased at the recent Craft Show.
The Sasher by Pauline Rogers
Great for pressing binding and sashing strips for QAYG

I made the binding using a new gadget I purchased at the Craft Show.  It is called The Sasher and can be used to make the folded sashing that you use for Quilt As You Go (QAYG) or binding.  It makes multiple sizes too.  I cut my binding at 4" (or wider)  for children's quilts as I use a completely machine sewn binding technique, click here to read more about that method.  So this binding ends up at 2" folded so I used the 2" sasher for make my binding.  It's very easy and you can read more about it here.

Today is much cooler so I am getting ready to pin the quilt.  I will machine quilt this one on my Brother PQ1500....  I love quilting on this machine.

Happy Sewing!!
Cheers from Helen

Monday, 2 November 2015


Another Boat Quilt that is:-)

Feeling out of sorts today so decided to do some mindless chain piecing. 

This time I am building the centre panel first and adding the borders before I do the hand blanket stitching around the boats. The pattern instructs you to do this but last time I did the borders first and then made the quilt top.  I wasn't that happy with how that worked out so this time I'm following the instructions!!

Cheers from Helen

(As I keep posting to my Facebook more than posting to my Blog, I will try to do a quick Post like this one more often! I'm Posting from my phone as that always seems to be right beside me!)

Sunday, 4 October 2015

YES, I'M A BAG LADY.......

Some recent sewing and happenings .....

Vintage doilies turned in to a small tote.

the other side.

pockets inside too!

A friend asked me to make this bag.  She had seen one just like it and sent me the photos.  I really enjoyed chopping up my old doilies (I have a huge drawer full of them).  I use vintage linens in my home but I have a rule now.....  once a hole appears or the crochet edge becomes tattered, into the sewing drawer it goes!  The bag is just a simple nine patch on each side with the lace/crochet edge showing on the bottom row.  I used Calico for the background and added a fusible interfacing and fusible Pellon to give the bag some body.  A big pocket on the inside and handles that make it a shoulder bag if needed.  Done!

I am making a Teddy Quilt for my ODIBAG stash
(One day I'll be a Grandmother) stash
The whole block needs to be constructed so the Teddy
can sit in the window with his paws hanging
over the edge.
The Teddy is then finished with hand blanket stitch.

I have now completed all of the hand stitching, just need to build the flimsy.

This would have to be the cutest needle book I have ever received!
My sister-in-law was cleaning out her Mum's things and this
little gem was in amongst all sorts of sewing stuff!

It's like a pop up card!!  love it!

Hubby and I had a week away - once again up in Elliott Heads -
it is just so lovely up there.  Naturally I took my hand sewing!

I've been making these little Key Chain Pouches
Free tutorial by "Dog Under My Desk".. Neat
and Tidy Zippered Pouch
These make lovely gifts. 

Two more!
I made all of these on my Featherweight 222K

Figured I should make one for myself.
I used up the last teeny bit of this vintage green fabric and
a re-purposed metal zip.
September 11 was my birthday - the big 60 this year!

Okay, that's it for now.  I have other sewing to share but it's a secret :-)  I can show you next week!

This Friday my friends and I are going to the Craft Show here in Brisbane.  So excited!  YES.... I do have a shopping list!

Happy Sewing,
Cheers from Helen

Thursday, 3 September 2015


We delivered the Farm Quilt today.  It was a short lived "spare" quilt!  Holly (next door neighbour's cat) seemed to be very attracted to this quilt when I was trying to hand sew the binding....  she would not get off so the hand sewing took a little longer than usual!

Holly (neighbour's cat) really loved
the farm quilt

Just as well I always wash a quilt prior to gifting!  Cold machine wash, warm tumble dry... that's it! I like to give quilts that can be used, washed, used, washed... over and over again.  I also offer repair services if needed!!

I found a great board book to go with it!

So now I don't have a "spare" quilt or a machine sewing project "on the go" but don't panic.......... don't panic...  I'll invent something :-)  I do have plenty of hand sewing to carry on with :-)

Happy Sewing!!  Cheers from Helen

Visited Mum last weekend, she was in fine
form... so happy... not bad for 95!

Thursday, 27 August 2015


I have started the quilting on the Farm Quilt.  If I plan to do some Free Motion Quilting on a project I always stitch in the ditch first, usually down most row seams.  As I had planned to try some FMQ around the farm animals, I started the ditch quilting on my Featherweight.  I had purchased the Stitch in the Ditch special foot and tried that but after a lot of help from April Henry from April 1930's Sewing Shop, I now understand how this foot works and will probably keep it for under stitching on bags and dressmaking.  It has a flange that sits in the ditch of your seam but the actual stitching lands just a hair to the left of the ditch.   Results vary using this foot.  A thicker seam allowance results in more of a ditch allowing the flange to sit in there well and the stitching lands closer to the ditch.  I like my "ditch" quilting to be well in the ditch.
Low Shank Stitch in the Ditch Foot

So after a few goes with the SITD foot, I switched to my Walking Foot for my Featherweight.  I love using this foot for straight line and channel quilting.  I had not used it for stitching in the ditch before.  Now I should add here right now that I own multiple sewing machines and one of them is my Brother PQ1500 which I use for most of my quilting - walking foot and free motion.  The walking foot for the Brother machine looks like this....   you can see right up the centre of the foot, up to the needle so you can really see where you are quilting "in the ditch".   The walking foot for my Featherweight does not have such a clear view of the needle and I found it difficult to stitch in the ditch accurately.  Now this could just be me because I'm so spoilt having the big Brother machine but anyway I eventually switched over to the Brother to finish the quilting.  I'm almost done!   I finished up the ditch quilting and now I'm doing some straight lines down each side of the seam, walking foot width.  I have not decided if I will do anything close to the animal embroidery as yet.

Brother PQ1500 walking foot
This sewing machine is straight stitch only.

Note the reminder on top of the machine -  last time I did
Free Motion Quilting I was having dramas and only
right at the end when I was almost finished I noticed
that one of the thread guides had been missed!
That won't be happening again!

So as you can see, it's all about trial and error.........  I love all of my sewing machines and I try and give each one a chore on a regular basis so each one gets some use and maintenance.  My Featherweight 222K is a great piecing machine (and very handy to take away from home for sewing as it's so small) and I love it for straight line, channel and free motion quilting on a small project. I have said this before.... I think it's the best Free Motion Quilting I have ever done.  I love the special foot that April sells for this purpose, it is the best foot I have ever used.    It's a great top stitching machine too.  My big Brother machine is great for all quilting especially Stitch in the Ditch and Free Motion.  So it's okay with me that my Featherweight won't be used for stitching in the ditch, she has plenty to keep her busy!

If you are new to my Blog and you're wondering how many machines I have... two treadles, one 201K knee shift, one 222K featherweight, one 99K hand crank, one Brother quilters edition and the Brother PQ1500.  and an overlocker!

A rainy cool day today (thank heavens! those hot days were a bit of a shock!!).  Tomorrow I will hopefully finish off the quilting and get the binding on!

Happy Sewing and Cheers from Helen