Saturday, 30 March 2013

what's new, international pussycat?

There's a crazy sale going on right now at Pink Castle Fabrics. Free Spirit are closing out some of their lines - like the previous Anna Maria voiles, Joel Dewberry Modern Meadow and Heirloom, Anna Maria Horner LouLouthi and Innocent Crush, Denyse Schmidt flea market fancy, plus more. Much more. All at $6/yard. Once these fabrics are gone there will be no more, so grab them while you can. I know I've been a bit crazy for the voiles lately, but I am stocking up on more yardage of fabrics for quilt backs and stashing. You know, just in case.

New in this week is Tasha Noel's new line, Little Red Riding Hood. Super cute and the perfect bias stripes for bindings too (red, grey and green colourways) as well as 58" wide chevrons by Riley Blake. check these out, because they're really cool. Regular weight cotton, but wider than normal (here's a simple baby shower gift idea - grab 1 1/4 yards of a wide chevron, and 1 1/4 yards of a cuddle cloth - sew them together for a super soft, super snuggly baby blanket. You could even cut the fabrics in half to make 2 small receiving blanket sized blankets.)

Glamping is new in at Fat Quarter Shop, I love this collection. Perfect picnic checks, vintage feelflorals and fun dots. It's a really great line of fabrics.

Another new arrival is Spring House - so fresh and pretty. And those textured 'solids' are to die for.

A couple of cool new arrivals at Sew Me a Song.....

This would be all kinds of useful...

this is just gorgeous....

Sew Fresh Fabrics are having a huge relaunch on Monday April 1st. With a new website - that's right, a .com site! You can find them from Monday at
To celebrate there's som e cool stuff happening;

  • the first 50 customers will get a 25% off gift certificate
  • a $100 gift certificate will be awarded to one of the first 100 customers, drawn randomly.

Head over there from Monday and give them a huge congratulations!!!

Ballarat Patchwork is up for sale - but don't worry, it's still open as usual and still has great stuff as always! Emma has decided that after being shopkeeper for so very long, it's time to think of new paths to wander down. If you know of anyone looking for a really gorgeous fabric shop to buy, then send them over!

These Riley Blake labels are brilliant. Just brilliant. You can get pink or blue versions too.

Zooming across the pond to the UK and Annie at the Village Haberdashery has a gorgeous selection of nani iro double gauze which would be perfect for Spring dresses. If Spring were ever to arrive.

This is my favourite, it's so hard to find good navy fabric, I think.

Kate at M is for Make also has a lovely selection of dressmaking fabrics. It's not a new print,but it really is one of the best. Turn of Events by Anna Maria Horner, in voile.

A couple of great sewing patterns at BackStitch that have caught my eye.

This skirt....

and this dress...

Follow Simply Solids on facebook for a chance to win a fabricy prize this week. Just share a pic of your Easter weekend makes! Simple as that.

Pre cut kona hexagons are in stock now. These are 2" sided hexies - perfect for english paper piecing.

Did you know you can get pre-cut paper pieces for a double wedding ring quilt block? Jessie has them at Sew and Quilt.

She has loads of different paper pieces - including the gorgeous and tiny 1/2" hexagons. How cute?

I've got a bundle of these Micro Mod fabrics waiting to be used, just like the bundle from Eclectic Maker. The colours are so great - it's a really cool masculine line without being dull.

Eclectic Maker also have Summersville Spring in stock. I saw someone looking for yardage on twitter today, but I can't remember who it was.

That's it from me for this week. Have a very Happy Easter to all those that celebrate it, whether it's purely for chocolate eggs or for a more Spiritual reason.

Next week I'll be in Exeter at a quilt show, and without a computer so what's new pussycat is taking a break for a week. That means I won't be tempting you with fabric for an extra week. You'd better stock up now to make up for it.

Friday, 29 March 2013

how to make a pillow {part 5}

how to make a pillow {part 5}

Here we go - a couple of days late, but blame that on the cuddle cloth.

The zipper. It's the one part of sewing that seems to put the shivers in people. I have to admit I don't like sewing zippers, but they're a necessary evil sometimes, and a zipped pillow opening does look nice.

There's a million different tutorials on inserting zippers into pillows, the ones listed below are ones I've used and work well for me.

Sew Mama Sew (pic below - this is my favourite method for inserting a zipper. It looks so good and it's fancy with that little flappy bit covering the zipper)


House on Hill Road

Design Sponge

Do you want to give it a go with me? What I'm showing today is the most basic way to insert a zipper. It's not the prettiest, but it'll give you the confidence to try something more complicated the next time round.

how to make a pillow

1. First up, cut a piece of fabric for the back of your pillow about 3/4" to 1" larger than your pillow front all the way round. Turn over one edge 1/2" and press.

2. Your zipper needs to be about an inch longer at either end of your pillow top. I used a 20" zipper for my 18" pillow here. Use a zipper that is a better match than mine - I chose black so you could see what was going on easily. If I was doing this properly I'd have chosen a white zipper. I'd not have chosen one that was so chunky either - zipit on etsy is the place to go for every kind of zipper you'll ever need.

3. Lay your closed zipper with the pull side down onto the right side of the bottom edge of your pillow top. Pin all the way along.


4. Sew into place with a zipper foot. I've adjusted my needle to the far left for a tight fit. You want to sew as close to the zipper teeth as possible. (Use a thread that matches - I've used contrasting so you can see the stitches)

5. Pin the folded edge of the pillow backing to the zipper, just as you did with the pillow front. Sew into place again.



6. Top stitch both sides of the zipper on the right side. This helps prevent the edges of the fabric getting caught in the zipper and gives it a neater look.


7. Unzip your zipper to halfway, and pin the pillow top and the backing right sides together all the way round. Change sewing feet to a walking foot and sew a 1/2" seam around the 3 open edges. Make sure you backstitch a good few times at either end of the zipper.


8. Trim down the excess fabric all the way round and the excess zipper length, and clip corners. Turn right side out and press.

9. Insert a pillow form (this is a 20" form in an 18" pillowcase) and zip up.


Easy right? Now go and try one of the more professional looking methods linked above. Your fear of zippers is gone.

You're welcome.

Jane quilted this Christmas donkey pillow top for me (thanks Jane!) and today she is sharing adding a button opening to a pillow on her blog, so please head over and check that out. She has great, clear instructions and lots of pictures.

And there we have it - if you have any questions on any of the previous posts, just leave me a comment and I'll do my best to answer them.

Previous posts are listed below.

I hope you enjoyed the how to make a pillow series and it's given you the confidence to try something new in your pillow making!

part 1 - getting started and essentials
part 2 - basic envelope opening
part 3 - simply lined envelope opening (and also binding a pillow)
part 4 - quilted envelope opening

Wednesday, 27 March 2013

voile (french) vwal

voile (French) vwal

voile [vɔɪl (French) vwal]
(Clothing, Personal Arts & Crafts / Textiles) a light semitransparent fabric of silk, rayon, cotton, etc., used for dresses, scarves, shirts, etc.
[from French: veil]


It's Wednesday, and that means what you should be reading now is how to make a pillow - the zipper edition. That was what I was supposed to do yesterday, but the postman brought me a package of cuddle cloth that I'd bought from Pink Castle Fabrics and instead of making a pillow with a zipper in it, I made a quilt back and finished the blocks for yet another scrappy trip along quilt. I promise the zipper will come on Friday. Promise. Pinky swear. I'm really sorry!!!!

Any how - as I got distracted, I thought I'd show you. Because I'm super excited about this quilt.

So, the quilt top is made from voile. I picked up this voile in Sew Mama Sew's crazy $6/yard sale. The stuff sold out in a matter of hours, I bought a lot, admittedly. Then a couple of weeks later it got restocked. Again, I bought a lot. Voile at $6/yard? That's just impossible to resist.

My plan with this quilt was to make a narrow border of a solid, and then a scrappy border. Yep, that hasn't happened. Because the cuddle cloth arrived and now I just want this quilted and on my body. Now.

cuddle cloth and voile = yum

Cuddle cloth, or minky, or plush fleece or whatever you call it is a polyester plush fabric that's 60" wide and comes in a heap of different textures and colours and patterns. This kind is the smooth kind and is produced by Shannon Fabrics. I've used generic no brand minky stuff before a few times and it was ok. It was a bit stretchy and that made me screwy faced and not overly happy, but this doesn't seem to stretch as much as the (cheap) stuff I've used before.

I had to cut my fabric and piece it with 2 seams to make a piece large enough to back my quilt top. Here's the cool thing - I cut it using scissors and used my ruler to mark where I need to cut it. because when you rub it against the nap, you can make marks that once you stroke it back the right way you can't see any more. That was cool, because I have to admit when I laid it on the floor ready to cut I had a little panic about how I was going to get a straight cut without marking with a pen.

cuddle cloth - nap

Piecing it was fine, it sheds a fair amount, so you need to vacuum up afterwards, but that's no different to flannel or velveteen and was no worse than a jelly roll (you know the bits you get from opening up a charm pack or a jelly roll? - that was about the amount of shed I got).

It didn't stretch weirdly when I sewed the 2 seams, and because of the way I had cut, I had to piece on a straight grain and also across the grain and both ways were fine. I lengthened my stitch a touch which I do anyway when I'm sewing a long seam. And I used a big seam allowance. Probably too big, but I wasn't sure about fraying (it didn't really fray - just shed fluff!) I also zigzagged the edges just to stop some of the shedding.

The colour here is called watermelon, but it's more a hot pink. Somewhere between pomegranate and azalea on the kona colour card. It's slightly more towards a coral scale of pink than those 2, but they're close. Close enough to get an idea, at least.

Colour matching cuddle cloth

I have to admit I've never really been interested in using cuddle cloth in my quilts before, at least, not for myself. My daughter has a real thing for it and she was pestering me to buy some to make her a new soft quilt, that's why I'd bought this pink. The minky backed quilt I made her when I first started quilting is a little babyish now (not to mention pretty terribly made) and she wanted something more suited to her teenage years. My voile quilt top was going to backed in more voile. I had it all planned out. But then this hot pink cuddle cloth arrived and that was it. I'm a convert. Now I need to order more for Grace's quilt, because she's not having this. It's mine.
I'm still going to use batting, I want it super snuggly. I'm not quilting it though, I'm handing that job over to Trudi so she can bring it to our next meet up and the Kitchen Guild girls can all have a stroke. I have quilted it before and I just made sure it was really well basted, it was fine. Remember - I'm not any kind of good quilter, so if I can manage it, anyone can.

This is a close up of Snoop's quilt that I backed with minky (yes, my dog has a quilt - obviously, he's pampered). I quilted lots of (not very straight at all) lines on this, and it was fine. No problems at all (I also really badly machine stitched the binding on that quilt. Ignore the badly stitched binding).


Brenda has 20% off everything in store this week (until Thursday or maybe Friday - use the coupon while you can) using code SPRING20. With the saving cuddle cloth works out especially good valueat just $10/yard
 3 1/2  yards will back a 72" square quilt with a 3" overhang.
2 3/4 yards will back a 60" square quilt with 3" overhang
4 yards will back a 80" square quilt with a 3"overhang or a twin quilt (65" x 88")

I'd better get back to sewing that zipper into a pillow.

If any more packages arrived, I'll ignore them.

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

mid week enabling

Brenda at Pink Castle is having a flash sale before she moves into her bricks and mortar store later this week and I don't think it'll still be on by the time it's what's new pussycat this weekend, so I'll give you the word now.

20% off anything in the store, including the new stuff. Use the coupon code SPRING20

Henry Glass 108" wide quilt backs maybe? Hot pink is back in stock.

Spot on extra wides?

cuddle cloth?

Some arrived this morning in the mail that I bought for a voile quilt I'm making. I got the watermelon colour - it feels like bunny ears, super soft. I pieced it into a quilt back as soon as it arrived, and it was really not bad to sew. It shed loads of lint around the cut edges, but so does flannel and velveteen and I love to use those, so it was no big deal. I just have to vacuum now. What's new?  I'll do a proper post on it soon (well, once it's been quilted and stuff). I really want some more colours to have on stand-by for backing quilts. My quilt is 72" square and I pieced a 80" quilt back from 4 yards of cuddle cloth. You could piece it from 3.5 yards to be honest, I had a little left over, but I wanted to be safe when I ordered and wasn't sure how much of the width would be usable. Basically it is fine to use from selvedge to selvedge - I'm sure you're not supposed to, but the selvedge edges don't fray and I'm all for less fraying. It's 60" wide, so bear that in mind if you're buying some. That teal colour is calling to me. And tomato. And opal. Come to think of it, the greys are awesome too.

New stuff in store includes mixteca, twenty three, and liberty lifestyle stile.

Oh - and the 20% off is also good on sale stuff too! There's heaps of stuff in the $5 section. 20% off $5 is (works it out and probably gets it wrong) $1 extra off? Is that right? (someone help me out here).

Monday, 25 March 2013

let's talk about hex, baby

I'm blogging on the Sizzix blog today (as always on a Monday!) and talking about hexagons. My favourite things. Go and check it out!

Happily hexing

Saturday, 23 March 2013

what's new international pussycat?

It's a beautiful Spring day here.

Okkaaaaaaay. What's all this snow about then?

Yeh, maybe not. Seriously - it's almost the end of march, and it's snowing. I had to help dig a neighbour out of our street because her car was having none of it and refused to move. My little bowl on skis was fine, probably because it weighs the same as a 2 yr old and has tyres as thin as bicycle wheels. Still, I'm sick of this adverse weather, so let's look at fabric to brighten up the weekend.

Pink Castle Fabrics has new arrivals including Liberty Lifestyle Stile, hello gorgeous (it really is gorgeous too), mixteca from Cloud 9 and PB&J precuts.

plus new bundles are in stock too. This one is a favourite of mine.

Fat Quarter Shop has new stuff in too.

These ginghams are amazing. (yardage and different sizes of gingham are available as well as precuts)

PB&J is in stock

this print is going to be a huge hit, don't you think?

New arrivals at Ballarat Patchwork include these lovely 30s repros from Windham

Sew Fresh Fabrics is shutting up shop for a Recount, Recoup, Renew break on Monday 25th March until April 1st when it will open with a huge bang again. Grab your essentials now!

Sew Me A Song has some great specials

Like this....

Everyone is all over low volume bundles at the minute...

 I like this pink one....

Amitie textiles in Australia are another new sponsor, and I'm sure you're familiar with their amazing block of the month series. Jen's new one will be available soon, and will be limited so to register an interest contact Lucy at Amitie and you can get first dibs. I'm signing up. The thought scares me, but I'm determined to give this a good go, just look at the sneak peek so far. It's amazing.

Skipping over to the UK, I have some paper pieces on the way from Jessie at Sew and Quilt. Because I'll be in Exeter for the quilt show for a few days all on my lonesome I feel the need to do some mindless english paper piecing. Nothing too taxing, just some simple hexies and the like.

I'm going to use some of these fabrics too

Comma has arrived at M is For Make!!!

The Village Haberdashery has a new workshop section! I'm teaching in both April and May (modern sampler quilt). For my class you need basic sewing knowledge and to be able to use a rotary cutter and ruler, but the class will be small so there'll be lots of help for anyone that needs a little extra hand. If you've never made a quilt before you may be better off with Judith's class, but you're still more than welcome to come to mine - I'd love to have you there! You will make a quilt top, but not a finished quilt in my class, over 2 saturdays.

Just because I love this line so much, here's Ruby Star Sparkle with added glittery gorgeousness.

I think Ruby Star sparkle would make an amazing bag. Like this one from Sara at Sew Sweetness.

The aeroplane bag is big enough for a sewing machine!

Tiffany made a Melody Miller version, I wonder if she'd like to make me a Ruby Star Sparkle one, just to spread the love? (I know the answer to that, it's a fat no, isn't it?)

In other news - have you seen the staple dress by April Rhodes? I've bought the pattern (it's a download) and it looks really simple (April promised me it is). I really love the shape and the simplicity and the fact that I can belt that baby up where it's shirred. I belt every dress I wear, whether it looks right or not. I'm a freak for a belt. 

Here's a pic of how I want the dress to look (I pinched the pic off April's IG stream) - LEOPARD, eek!!!!!!! (Imagine a big belt over that shirring. Are you as excited by that as me?) I want it right now. With a huge scarf and big thick tights and snowboots. Hmm. Maybe I should wait a few weeks. I will, however be sporting this baby (when I make it) at Pink Castle's camp stitchalot. Spring will be here by then, I'm sure it will.

That's it for this week. For those of you in the cold like me, wrap up warm and drive safe. It's mental that it's so snowy in march, I'm really over it now. Bring on Spring, please.

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