27/04/2013: Almost May already! This year is going so fast!
02/04/2013: Happy Easter. I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend.
01/01/2013: Happy New Year!!
24/12/2012: Merry Christmas!!
13/11/2012: Getting hand-made presents ready for Christmas!!

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

New Look Happy Bobbin

This is the culmination of about a months work, including about 30 hours over the last weekend. I'm really happy with how everything is looking over on Happy Bobbin at the moment. This is also one of the reasons for a lack of sewing updates, but sometimes when I get excited about a website project everything else goes out the window.

The new site is wider and more colourful with larger fonts and larger images. While I haven't designed a site specifically for mobile, the clickable areas for the menu and products are larger which should make it easier if you are navigating on a mobile device.

Let me know if you spot anything that links to the wrong spot or looks broken. I just love it. I can't stop looking at it now it's finished!! :D

Sunday, July 28, 2013


I am super happy with my own take on the Matryoshka style popular at the moment. It is very hard to make miniature faces that are beautiful and detailed and even harder to find nice faces to buy so I made my own - and you can have them too!

The face I've used is one of 6 designs I've created for Matryoshka faces. The faces I designed range from traditional to Japanese anime inspired and they're printed on 100% cotton. I have them listed in my shop for $2 each or 3 for $5, but at the moment quantities are limited. The best thing about them in my opinion is that I've left the hair unprinted so you can customise them yourself. The face is a 3" in diameter design but I have extended the face background to 3.75" to give you plenty of space to move the face around and so that if you're not quite accurate you won't get any unsightly white showing through.

There are 6 face designs to start with and I have a couple more done up on the computer for the second print run so if you like them there will be more to collect at a later date.

The matryoshka design pictured is also for sale which includes basic instructions for the detachable heart and the head scarf tie, but if you want to make your own you can either buy a blank design as a base or make your own style around a 3" circle. I made mine into a simple bag.

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Hexagons - not forgotten

I wanted to post an update on the neverending hexagon project. Last time I updated was on March 30, 2012 and I'd completed six 9x9 panels. This project started on August 31, 2011 so I'm into my second year but I've been working on it very sporadically.

As a reminder, this project is using 1 inch hexagons interspersed with1 inch triangles because I'm a crazy person. I really like the look of the 1 inch triangles with this design because it is show casing the coloured fabrics and allowing each to stand on its own without clashing too much with the other fabrics around it. The triangles also form little stars around each hexagon which I love.

I'm using the paper piecing method to give the best accuracy and the entire thing is hand sewn. One time saving trick is to use 2.5 inch squares instead of cutting fabric hexagons which gives you more control over basting your fabric onto the paper hexagons and saves on cutting time as you can cut squares quickly with a rotary cutter. To cut the fabric triangles I start with a strip then cut it into diamonds which are then cut in half. You need twice as many triangles as you do hexagons and the triangles aren't as much fun to make so I tend to make them as I'm stitching the 9x9 panels together.

At the moment I'm just finishing up my 9th panel - yes in the last 12 months I've only added 3 more panels to my collection... how lazy of me! I don't know how big the finished quilt is going to be or how many 9x9 panels I need to make but I do know every coloured hexagon is going to be different. I've accumulated quite a lot of 2.5" squares as I take a little sample out of every fabric I've used and had some awesome friends send me some of their fabrics as well.

Back in 2011 I posted a link to the template sheets I was using but it seems they've now disappeared from the internet. Here are fresh links for your reference, but if these links break feel free to comment as I have copies saved to my computer as well.
- One Inch Hexagons
- One Inch Triangles

Saturday, April 27, 2013

Prototype (Oh Deer)

All quiet for a couple of weeks, but I haven't been doing nothing, I've just been contemplating whether to show you this prototype or not.

The tail that I showed you last time has been developed into a hippocampus plushie (or sea horse, seen here with my rudolph plush). I love the tail, however my husband pointed out that the head is a little deer-like and now I can't un-see it and I'm not happy with it anymore. I've been contemplating how to redesign the head so for now I think the pattern needs to stay on the shelf until I'm 100% happy with it.

Saturday, April 6, 2013

Projects in Sketches

Here are just some of the things I've been working on recently which are in various stages of completion. They're just the things that are on the top of the piles of concept sketches and half done projects on my desk at the moment. I like to call this design phase, though it often looks a little more like "procrastination phase".

The hen (small applique/pouch) is almost finished.
The skull (small purse) has been computerised and fabrics selected. (also seen in nov 2012)
The carousel horse (large tote bag) is in sketch stage only.
The tail... that was an idea I had last night which almost made me get out of bed at 2am to start working. It is an idea for a plush toy.

There are other things floating around my sewing room as well which keep getting put aside as I have new and exciting ideas. Do any of these spark your interest? What would you like to see finished? What would you most consider purchasing as a pattern?

At my day job we finally replaced the staff member that left in January so I can start relaxing into my new role and will hopefully be less exhausted now that I don't have to cover two positions anymore. I'm starting to get excited for the rest of this year but I really don't know how I got from January to April. The last 3 months are a blur!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mini Tote

I threw together this project late Monday night. I had the whole long weekend to work on it but instead I procrastinated until 8pm and then stayed up until 1am finishing this. My current bag is wearing through the fabric and because it has a gorgeous chicken on it I don't want to completely ruin it before I see if I can fix it so this is my new replacement bag.

I made it just the right size for me. It is about 10" x 8" with two zipper pockets. The main compartment is big enough for my purse and kindle while the outer zipper pocket fits my phone and the inner zipper is perfect for tucking away a spare shopping bag or small notebook. It fits everything I need to take with me perfectly and I don't have to rummage around in a larger bag anymore.

Monday, December 24, 2012

Santa Sack #2

Phew!! Now I'm really done! It is 11.20PM Christmas Eve and I've finished the second sack. I knew I probably would put it aside and not get this finished until this time next year if I didn't at least do a bit more sewing tonight and since I'd already cut out all the fabric it went together really quickly.

I love these bags with their chickeny cuteness and can't wait to show them off tomorrow. Now I'm off to bed so Father Christmas can drop off my presents. Merry Christmas everyone!!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Santa Sack

This is my last project before Christmas I think. I was going to make two of these, but it has been so hot today that just making one took 4 hours and it is tiring in front of my hot sewing machine. I have the second cut out so maybe if it cools down later tonight I'll get it out and finish it off.

I got these Christmas panels last year in the after Christmas sales. There are two of the tree that you see here and two which are more lime green with three chicks on gifts. I ignored the instructions provided and used some quilt batting to give the bag more substance and lightly quilted around the tree and border. Then I added handles and a bright red lining. Luckily I had heaps of bright red cotton for some reason and this project has used up nearly all of it.

Now I'm off to wrap presents under the air conditioning to fill my new sack!! Merry Christmas everyone!!

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Two Crochet Bunnies!

I finished the pink bunny last night. This time it only took me two evenings of work to finish the bunny but I don't know if my tension was tighter, my wool was a different weight, or I didn't follow the pattern correctly on one of the bunnies... because the pink one is smaller! That is ok though because it is going to a little girl and the red one is going to her older brother.

To finish them off I added a blue wool bow for the pink one which is stitched down so hopefully it won't come undone. The red bunny got a leather eye patch to turn him into a tough pirate! yarr!!

If you want to make one yourself see this post for a link to the instructions.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Bunny Amigurumi

The week wherein I get distracted looking at crochet on pinterest.com, then start teaching myself crochet on Wednesday, and have this finished bunny by Sunday.

This little guy took 3 days to finish, but I could have had it finished yesterday if I hadn't been so busy. It is a free pattern so you can make one yourself. It is very simple in that it takes three stitches - chain, single crochet and invisible decrease.

I added a little pompom on his bottom to help him sit! I made the pompom from the same wool using the fork method.

To learn to crochet I used a youtube video which shows the basics, a 3.5mm crochet hook ($2.50) and some old yarn. A couple of false starts which I unravelled and two starts which I clipped off and discarded as they were very wonky and I had constructed an approximation of a square as per the video. Next I printed the bunny project and used a pen to help note the counting and mark off rows I had completed. The arms and legs are the hardest part because they are such narrow tubes!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Developing a Pattern

Original designs can be a lot of fun to develop. When I have an idea I usually do a few drawings on paper to see if my concept design is worth persuing. If I like what I see I continue developing the design before I even touch fabric.

This skull design started with several skull templates of varying shapes. I like to cut them out so I can see how they look free standing outside of the contrains of an A4 sheet of paper (right). Once I have my shape and design I develop it further through the computer (center). The computer stage allows me to straighten the design, mirror elements and make everything more uniform. I always work from the computer design which will go into the final pattern if the mockup is successful.

On the left is the transfer onto fabric ready to begin the embroidery component of this design. As the construction stage begins you need to be prepared to trash your progress and go back to the start to re-develop the design if issues arise. It is good to take time with initial drawings and think about how you will be constructing your project and what you need to take into account before you begin.

So now... we'll see if this one leads to a finished project.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Dog Kerchiefs

I've been distracted from other projects because of a variety of reasons. First up I actually cleaned up my sewing area and put a lot of things away!! I'd accumulated lots of materials which I'd pulled out to contemplate and never put away though projects  I have planned hadn't started, so the last week has been mostly dedicated to putting away and finding new homes for things. I also tried to tackle the back room/junk room. It now looks worse, but it is on its way to being better. This weekend I need to spend some more time in there!

Second, I made another tote bag, like the green one, but in blues to match the cat pouch. A handmade Christmas is well on its way to being finished.

Finally, I made dog kerchiefs... Yes! Those things in the picture are for my mums dog. She asked if I could make her a couple and I thought they wouldn't take too long to whip up. She designed the pattern and gave me the sizes to suit her dog - a kelpie-cross. The first one took me about an hour and a half, but the second one was a breeze at only about 30-40 minutes. I only had red velcro, but I figured the dog won't mind!

They're going to be more than just cute too. Mum is using these as she has a hormone that assists in keeping her dog calm. He was a rescue from a farm where he was mistreated and the hormone really helps him manage stress when meeting people and in other situations that can upset him. The kerchief gives mum somewhere to spray the stuff where he can breath it in as he can't always be sitting on his mat for this treatment. He is a black dog so I used bright colours so hopefully he will look adorable too.

They're really easy to make, so if you have a dog you might want to try this.

How to make a Dog Kerchief

There are 2 parts to the kerchief. 1 x half square triangle (I folded an A4 sheet in half and added 1/2" all the way around) and a 21"x2.5" strip.

Hem the 2 shorter sides of the triangle. I used my rolled hem foot on the machine. Then take the strip, fold it in half and stitch down both sides and a short way along the bottom leaving the middle open.

Turn the ends and iron the strip, folding in the opening and ironing - we're just going to top stitch the triangle so it is enclosed in the strip next. Pin the triangle so that it is centred and inside the strip, then top stitch.

Attach the velcro (I used 3" pieces) and you're done!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

RGB Fast Flash LEDs

One of the things that has been suggested in response to some of the e-textile projects I've been working on recently is the addition of flashing lights. LEDs that have built in flashing ability are the easiest way to achieve this result. Years ago a capacitor and other components would need to be added to build a circuit which makes the LED flash, however with improvements in LED technology not only are we seeing different colours, but also these little all in one flashing LEDs which just need to be connected to a battery and off they go. That means our circuit can be simple and less bulky while achieving almost the same result - the difference is we have no control over the speed as it is inbuilt into the LED.

My camera doesn't like taking a video in the dark and had trouble focusing, but hopefully this gives you a great idea of the colours and speed. I had another cool electronic gadget to show you but my camera batteries died between taking the video and getting it to the computer so that will have to wait until batteries are recharged.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Cat Pouch

I've finished the little blue cat pouch and I think it is going to be an awesome Christmas gift!

There were a couple of really tricky parts to complete. Putting in the zip with the lining was very difficult and I don't think I'll do a curved zip like this again. I've done this technique before with straight zips - such as on the chicken purse - but this was a whole new layer of difficulty because the zip is not very flexible and the stitching needs to be quite close and precise. I took my time and got there with it despite some slight wonkiness.

The little fish on the strap was also really difficult as tiny things usually are. I think I spent as much time trying to make the little fish as I did adding the tail and head to the pouch base tonight. I planned on appliqueing the tail before sewing in the zip but completely forgot so I carefully sewed it to only the top layer of the pouch tonight. Then before sewing the opening in the lining I lightly stuffed the paws to give them extra body and squish. The lining is actually squared off and ends under the head.


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Cat Pouch Head

A floating head!! As the title says, this is going to be a pouch... and actually I'm a little stuck on if I'm going to try and embed the zip into the pouch sewing process or hand sew the zip in at the finish - Japanese quilting style - so I made the head first.

This little cat is inspired by the gorgeous design by Ning Rueanmai. Hers are phone cases, but I thought I would make one big enough to be used as a glasses case instead for a Christmas gift, and while I don't know exactly what it will be used for I think a little larger will give more options.

No patterns forthcoming for this one since it is someone elses design! Check out Ning's Etsy shop because she makes some gorgeous Japanese and Korean style quilted bags and purses!

Oh yeah... and I've been distracted from the embroidered band and nyan cat, but I'm using the excuse that I'm still waiting on the post! I'll get back to them soon as I was hoping to get one finished by this weekend!