Category Archives: Sewing

Finish-Off Friday.

We’ve been finishing things off all week but today was the end of it. As usual, a pile of cute beanies and our latest crush, vinyl.

A plan begins like this. There are a couple of pages of technical stuff and then the all-important first sketch. I must admit I thought “Whaaaaaat?”
when I first saw this but I’m pleased I let him run with it…

Because the final Magikarp Pokemon was so unbelievably cute. The photo does not do it justice.

A simple request to “bling up my boring brown” was met with a storm of ideas which ultimately led to Andrew’s Elemental Earwarmer. He did the appliqué himself.

20130823-181740.jpg One of the most gorgeous children in the universe who gets all my jokes, snapped leaving school today.

Dino-buddies. Rather pleased with their spiky heads.

I’m so happy I managed to source some reasonably priced vinyl in licorice all sort colours because it made the coolest pouches:

As well as the coolest pencil cases:

And quite possibly the coolest wallets ever:

And now that’s all done, it’s my turn. I’m planning a while lot of simple, soothing, straight-line quilting while my family is off skiing this weekend.


Filed under Making, School, Sewing

Sifting Through the Dross.

Op shopping has been a bit rubbish lately. Lovely fabrics are thin on the ground and vintage linens practically non-existent. Everywhere I went yesterday, shops were being repaired, had moved somewhere else or simply vanished altogether. It wasn’t fun. I called into Tasman Traders since it was on the way home – they usually have a small selection of slightly overpriced retro fabrics, many of them truly ugly – but you never know. I found this scrunched up piece of fabric which I thought was overpriced at $10…

Until I got it home and ironed it and realised that there was nearly 5 metres of fabric. And it’s not ugly retro, it’s truly beautiful vintage rayon. Delicious blue and purple tulips with gold splashes looking like they’d been crayonned onto the sketchy gray background.

I usually default to a tried and true Kwik Sew pattern for vintage rayon but perhaps I should branch out into this Academy pattern passed on by my MIL who wore it in the 1950s. Looks perfect for cycling don’t you think?


Filed under Christchurch, Sewing, Thrifting

Finish-Off Friday.

Thursday and Friday were a bit manic as everyone tried to get their last project finished. But it was worth it… there were some real crackers.

I have 2 basic beanies which the students get in their Year 8 Pattern Pack. They are challenged to modify one of them to make an original hat which they would wear. Jay came up with the strawberry idea and a few people copied…

This is the second beanie pattern and Ada used it to make a penguin guy I’d never heard of. She grew 3 inches when someone asked her at party where she’d bought it.

Stef modified one of the patterns to make Cat in the Hat stripes. You can see it in 2 colour ways because its a fully reversible hat. Named The Stefacino in her honour.

Frosty needs no introduction really. Smile I said while I was taking the photo. I’m trying he said from under a drift of white.

This unicorn quickly became famous all over school… she really gets around. I managed to snap a picture as she scooted past my window.
And just in case you think it’s all sweetness and light:

“Mrs Smythe, have you ever majorly
screwed up anyone’s work” asked Kay as I was overlocking the final seam on her One Direction beanie.
“Only the once” I replied “and then I fixed it up so you couldn’t tell.”
“That’s nice of you” she said as she took the completed beanie, folded the band over and put it on her head. There was a collective gasp from the class as they saw at the same instant that the words on her band were upside down. And then a look of horror from Kay as she realised Mrs Smythe had just screwed up a second project. While she was talking about screwing up the first. Oh the irony.

“Hand me that seam ripper would you?” I said.


Filed under School, Sewing

For Miss M, With Love.

Henry’s class have a student teacher at the moment and she’s been ‘dreamy’. (Not my word!) She wears the cutest op-shopped outfits, sings a lot and enthusiastically climbed mountains on school camp. Whimsical is the word I would probably use. I think she looks just like a sweet, old-fashioned china doll with a porcelain complexion to match.

Henry wanted to make a gift for her because tomorrow is her last day so we threw some ideas around and came up with this upcycled bag.

We used this tutorial pretty much word for word, just removed the batting and added a button loop and a cell phone pocket. The bag is made from an old jersey of my own, a floral curtain remnant and the leather handles off an op-shopped purse. It was tricky going at times because the woollen layers were very bulky but I used a walking foot and took it slowly.

The leather handles might just be my favourite part. Or maybe the leather coat button? Or even the fact that there is new life for this comfy old jersey I have worn and loved for years. I am crazy about this whimsical little bag and can hardly bear to give it away, no matter how dreamy Miss M may be.

So, as a consolation, I awarded myself Student of the Week and hung it in the Highlights frame so everyone could admire it for at least one more day.

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Filed under Henry, Sewing

It’s Not All Sweetness And Light.

Some days it’s all I can do not to laugh at the silly sausages in my class.

Conversation goes like this:

“There’s something wrong with my zip.”
“Yes I can see that.”
“Can you fix it?”
“You cut the end off!”
“Yeah but can you fix it?”
“I know but you can fix it right?”

Of course I can. I’m a sewing genie. By the time she arrived next morning, the zip was working perfectly. It’s kind-of a promise in my classroom – if the kids make a major blunder, then I’ll get them back to where they were before disaster struck. It’s what my mum used to do with me.

What she didn’t notice was that it was a brand new zip. Actually, it was a brand new bag. I’m not that much of a genie.

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Filed under School, Sewing

Testing A Theory.

This scrappy trip around the world block – apparently everything goes. I hope so because I’ve just inherited a box of scraps that includes much brown, yellow and mustard.

And orange. Hmmm. I know this is only 4 blocks but I’m not convinced yet.


Filed under Sewing

A Pair of Quilts.

I started off making this quilt for myself out of all the red scraps I saved from last year. It’s still the Cozy Quilt from Sweet and Simple Patchwork Gifts  but I’m using less fabrics than the original scrappy arrangement and finding more of a rhythm in the design. As I stitched along, I realised that it would be perfect for someone else.


I wanted to make their wedding quilt in silk but I just couldn’t find the fabrics I saw in my mind. Although they feel different, these cotton patches still glow like the jewels I imagined. The quilt is quite girly so I decided to make a matching-but-not-matching boy version from the leftovers plus checks and stripes of shirting and some cars thrown in for fun.


I love the way they look together. The girl quilt has a cream Japanese flowered border and the boy quilt a tiny cream and red check. This week’s major sewing job will be to quilt them both. My mind sees a lot of hand stitched hearts. Reality might be somewhat more practical!

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Filed under Sewing