Friday, December 13, 2013

Dr Who and space travel fabric place mats tutorial


My family wanted my place mats for the table.  We are lovers of space and especially Dr Who. But the problem arose of which design to use. I settled by making fully reversible fully washable mats with a collection of everyone's favourite designs.

To make simply draw the outline of your families biggest plate on a piece of paper and cut out. Next collect the fabrics of choice (Spoonflower has many wonderful options). Cut squares of each fabric (mine are 30cm) and interface one panel with light weight iron on interfacing and the other with heavy weight. 

Draw around your paper template onto the reverse of one of your interfaced fabric squares. match right sides together and mark an opening for turning of around 4cm.  Stitch the circle using a short stitch length.  Trim, clip curves and turn through.  Press to neaten. Top stitch the edge about 5mm from edge in matching thread.


I've used an astronaut and moon fabric for one, two cute Doctors and companions prints in blue for another, and the third is two Tardis prints.

Friday, November 1, 2013

Fast and easy Dr Who Christmas cushion project for the time traveller in your family


I made this quick cushion project as a Christmas gift for a Dr Who mad family member.  It was so easy with a lapped back panel and simple applique, I thought I'd share.


  • 1 fat quarter of your favourite Dr Who print (try Spoonflower to find them)
  • 1/2 m grey poly cotton fabric
  • 1 craft sheet of grey felt
  • small scrap of black felt
  • 20cm square of fusible webbing
  • matching sewing thread
  • 1 cushion insert size 14 (36cm square cushion) (try Big W or Spotlight)


Download and print template for Tardis image.


Trace an image of the Tardis and an image of the door highlight  onto the paper side of the fusible webbing.

Roughly cut around each shape from the webbing (not the pencil line)

Iron the shapes to the back of the grey and black felt

Use sharp scissors to neatly cut each shape and set them aside.

From the Dr Who print, cut a 38cm square.

In the top 1/3rd of the Dr Who print square, iron the Tardis outline.  Stitch around the outline with matching thread to secure.

Iron the black door highlight onto the Tardis shape and stitch to secure with black thread.

From the grey poly cotton fabric, cut two rectangles:
  • 35cm * 38cm
  • 25cm * 38cm
These will form the cushion back.

Using the 25cm * 38cm rectangle, fold a hem of 1 cm on one 38cm edge and press flat. Turn under another 1 cm, press and pin the seam.

Using the 35cm * 38cm rectangle, fold a hem of 1 cm on one 38cm edge and press flat. Turn under 4cm and press and pin the seam.

Stitch both panel seams using matching thread. Press to neaten.

Line up the two grey panels to form the back of the cushion.  This is done by laying the largest panel, right side up facing you.  Behind it, right side up, slide the shorter panel.  Overlap the panels to form a square 38cm in size.
Pin the panels together.


Lay the completed Dr Who panel on top, right sides facing each other.  Pin  around the edge and stitch using a 1cm seam allowance.

Carefully undo the pins securing the back panels together and turn cushion cover through.  Add the cushion insert and its completed.


Sunday, September 15, 2013

Button Mushroom Soup Pleasure

I am very pleased to receive this months Country Threads (Vol 14 No 6) because it features a personal milestone for me - my 51st article. 


Its so nice to pass 50 articles because up to now I have only been thinking of myself as a dabbler in writing but now with 50 projects under my belt I am beginning to feel like I am getting better at it.


The button mushroom soup project is one I loved making.  I am always fascinated by mushrooms and fungi and they are a wonderful shape to stitch. 

The buttons I used for this project were vintage weathered ones I found in the bottom of my grandmothers button box.  This project really seemed to suit using these charming character filled fasteners.

Since having this magazine come out I have had some wonderful conversations with other stitchers who have made up the project and they shared their love of mushrooms with me.  My favourite was using one of the stitchery panels as the front of a tote, combined with edges and back in a great mushroom fabric print.  Its great to see alternative uses for stitchery patterns and I think the make would be a fantastic market carry bag.


I thank Joy of Rockhampton for this wonderful variation. 

Sunday, September 1, 2013

Craft Idea - Tardis Quilt inspired by Doctor Who

Recently I located the Tardis quilt I made some years as a knee throw for my husband. It still looked quite nice, even after around 10 years, so I thought I would share some insights into creating your own Tardis quilt if you are so inclined.  the actual pattern has long since been swallowed by time but since there are so many images of the Tardis out there, making your own shouldn't be too difficult.

I decided to make this quilt as simply as possible.  I used simple blocks to create the Tardis shape, and then highlighted the shape using black bias tape. I based the overall quilt design on the Tardis disappearing down a time tunnel.  There are so many wonderful all over mulitcoloured fabrics they were ideal for the time corridor effect.

To create the time corridor panels, I believe I made a big background panel pieced from multicoloured fabrics that merge quite well.   I was a very inexperienced quilter and sewer back then and it just seemed easier to make a giant multicoloured surface and then applique the giant Tardis shape in blue over the top.  Thats exactly what I did!

This method uses extra fabric but then its a quilt and supposed to keep you warm so if the fabric is not too expensive then why not.

I then added black silhouette shapes over the top to form the door highlights.  I added grey panels for the windows and the light on the top. I appliqued gold shapes for the handle and key hole.

All of the highlights are done in standard stained glass window style and a black border ties it all together. The black lines work well to highlight the timey wimey bits!

The parts I wish I had done differently are the wording sections on the front.  I printed words onto paper and then painted the paper with acrylic lacquer.  This was not super successful especially after a wash!


On reflection, I would have done the big Police Box wording in Felt and stitch on.  The wording on the door :"Police Public Call Box" I would get printed by Spoonflower (professional and quite cost effective at about $10 a fat quarter.  I think I have even seen a couple of designers on there who have prepared one already - so much better then my original method. 

This was a standard size single bed quilt and I think it was not too hard to make or too expensive.  I know thought that after I did this quilt I realised how mach better smaller projects are.

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Mr and Mrs Smith and lots of Bees - Doctor who inspirations in craft


I have been enjoying the 50th anniversary year of Dr Who this year, and have been inspired in my crafting by this classic British Sci Fi TV show.

Examples of my inspiration now feature on this month's Patchwork and Stitching Magazine and Country Threads Magazine.

The wonderful relationship of the Doctor and Dr Song was very inspiring to watch.   I couldn't help myself.  These characters crept inside my softies in Patchwork ans Stitching Vol 14 No 6.  The cool hair was especially worth capturing in felt and fabric. They are heavily stylised and really don't look much like the originals but the quirkiness is hopefully still there.

 Little mini pillow softies are a great thing to snuggle into bed with so maybe these guys would appeal to your need to create.

The episode arc in Series 4 of the new Who where the question of what happened to all the bees kept playing through my head. I felt this was actually a real thing - bees do seem to be disappearing in the cities.

I felt a project celebrating this clever and hard working insect was worthwhile.  So this months Country Threads Vol 14 no 5 features a beehive overgrown with flowers and swarming with bees.  This is one of my recent favourite makes. It also celebrates my glorious found pets - a native bee hive living in some old ceramic art in my front garden.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Interesting sites snapped while walking

I love having a camera built into my phone.  Its a new thing for me and is so handy for those instant must have shots of things you see everyday worth recording.

Here are some of the nice sites I have seen recently:

The Pelican Fountain at Southbank

Wildlife enjoying winter sun

Crystal tree growing

Industrious spiders enjoying my yard

Cooking fun

Stunning fungi after rain

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Chummy Doll inspired by Call the Midwife

I recently made a soft country doll called Chummy after seeing the wonderful program Call the Midwife.  The editor of Country Threads liked her so much, she featured her on the cover of this month's Country Threads magazine.

The doll was made from cotton, with a coat I am very pleased with made of felt. The look is demure but approachable which I think lends itself to the character of Chummy.


Call the Midwife is a TV series based on the memoirs of Jennifer Worth set in east London in the 1950s, about a group of young midwives helping the women of a deprived area of East London.  The characters are hard-working and brave. 

The character of Chummy,Camilla Cholmeley-Browne, is my favourite. She is the daughter of a well-off family who has found her way into nursing and midwifery. She is  good-humoured and monumentally kind and a real role model.  She is played to perfection by talented actress and comedian Miranda Hart. 

I thought a doll based on such a wonderful role-model made perfect sense.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Whispers and puzzles - Articles in Country Threads and Patchwork and Stitching

I have been lucky enough to be featured in several craft publications this month.  The first is Country Threads Vol 14 No 2 where my Honey Puzzle project is featured.

With this design I wanted to explore the simple charm of bees and their wonderful design for their honeycombs.  They are a clever dedicated and valuable insect and I am fortunate enough to have a native beehive in my front year where I regularly view their industry.  Native bees are the best pets you could ever want.  They take care of themselves, they do not sting, and they help your garden grow!

This month in Australian Patchwork and Stitching magazine (vol 14 no 5), I have been fortunate enough to have two of my projects featured. 

The first is "Listen to the Whispers of your dreams".  Its an inspirational pillow I made for my grandmother.  I thought the sentiment behind the words was an uplifting one.  We often go through life ignoring our dreams in favour of the day to day dreary needs and sometimes it's worthwhile stopping and taking stock of what your dreams are trying to tell you - whether its a change of job, a new hobby, or simply more you time.

The other project is Flutterby, a simple and cute butterfly wall hanging.  I like things that fly. They remind me to again contemplate breaking free and soaring to new possibilities. With flutterby I wanted to capture the gentle quiet beauty of the butterfly in flight.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Sunshine and things that grow


 The winter weather is such a let down.  I want to be outside and tending my garden, but it just keeps on raining.  At least I was cheered up by the latest issues of Handmade Magazine (vol 31 no 6) and Patchwork and Stitching (vol 14 no 4) which both have some sunny projects I completed back when the weather was lovely.


Handmade features "My Garden" - a wallhanging with three smiling blooms in cheery spring colours.  Since I adore flowers this seemed like a perfect project to make.

Patchwork and Stitching features "Here Comes the Sun" which I have to say was inspired by the songs and fashions of the 70's when I was young (so long ago).
I don't know how many other sewers out there are inspired by music, but my making is always affected by the tunes in my ears.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Biddy and Isa Softies in Patchwork and Stitching Magazine

I was delighted to get this month's patchwork and Stitching Magazine (Vol 14 No 3).  My pattern for Biddy and Isa is on the cover.

This was a project I loved making.  It was inspired by two of my great-Aunts (Biddy - really Carol and Isa).  These two ladies are wonderfully full of fun.  I spent a lot of time with them when I was younger. They are cheeky and always got the best out of life.  The clothes for the doll were based on those cute little dresses and bloomers I know both wore as kids many years ago.

I love their names. They are so out of fashion now but are really inviting.

I made this doll to bring a smile to the face.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bear Hugs Hangers in Handmade Magazine this month

This month's Handmade Magazine features my pattern Three Bears Hanger Hugs on the front cover.  This is a project I designed especially for children's cupboards.  I used to love having special children only hangers for my clothes when I was a child. They made me feel special, like my clothes were really wonderful, and given my age, the hangers made me look after my clothes better.

Now I'm all grown up and a mum, I thought it would be nice to make some special hangers for my daughter as well.  This was the inspiration for Bear Hanger Hugs.

The design of these hangers is simple - a bears face and paws that seem to reach out to you.  Because I made bears, there had to be three (naturally - I remember my childrens' stories).

The pattern is fun to make up.  It's nice to work with felt and blanket stitch.  I hope you enjoy this pattern too.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Oven Mitt Fashionista

I am not fond of time spent in my kitchen.  Anything that can make it more fun for me is a welcome distraction. 

Recently I wanted a new oven mitt to replace the threadbare one I have used for over a decade.  I went searching in the stores and they were all cheap and thin.  That wasn't going to protect my delicate little pinkies!

Then I remembered I AM A SEWER.  Why not create my own.  And if I am going to do it right, why not create an oven mitt with attitude.  This is the results - a horror movie print wonder.
I love it and its strangely in keeping with the level of skills I show in the kitchen. 


I liked it so much I have just finished one for my mum for my birthday featuring her favourite Egyptian theme. 

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Craft Tutorial - Felt Flower Pincushion Biscornu


I created this simple felt flower pincushion as a wonderful way to enjoy lovely tools while sewing.  Pincushions are so useful and a pretty one can make your creating day brighter.


  • 1 A4 sheet cream felt
  • small piece of pale purple felt
  • small scrap of pale pink felt
  • matching embroidery thread in pink, purple and cream
  • 10cm square fusible webbing
  • polyester filling

Size: 10.5 cm square

To make:
  •  Print out the flower template at full size.  
  • Use the printout to trace a flower shape and a centre shape onto the paper side of the fusible webbing. Roughly cut out the two shapes (not on the pencil lines).
  • Iron the flower shape onto the pale purple felt. Cut neatly around shape on the pencil line with sharp scissors.
  • Iron the centre shape onto the pale pink felt. Cut neatly around shape on the pencil line with sharp scissors.
  • Cut out two 10.5cm squares from the cream felt.
  • Iron the flower shape onto the  middle of one cream square. Iron the centre into the middle of the flower.
  • Outline the flower and the centre in blanket stitch using two strands of matching embroidery thread.
  • Stitch together the biscornu shape: mark a pin mark half way along one edge of each of the cream squares. Match the pin mark on the flower top square with the corner of the other square and pin the square together on this seam. At the corner, pivot fabric and pin for second side seam. 
  • Work progressively around the side seams with a line of blanket stitch in two strands of matching embroidery thread. There will be 8 sides in total.  Stitch seven of the sides and leave final side open for filling.
  • Fill the shape to the required level.
  • Blanket stitch the filling hole closed.