05 June 2015

Review: Strictly Ballroom The Musical

A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to be given tickets to see Strictly Ballroom The Musical and I was over the moon.  I'd already seen it earlier in the year, but couldn't wait to see it again!
We arrived half an hour before the show started so we got a quick bite to eat.  I'd dragged a friend along who hadn't seen the movie and dancing wasn't really her thing.  I was pretty sure she'd like it though.

Walking into the theatre was like walking into the dance comp.  The whole room was sparkling! The brightly covered seats, the postered walls and of course the mirror ball.  

The show starts with introductions to all the dancers whilst they waltz around the stage singing Strictly Ballroom.  They then have a quick costume change (on stage) into something a little more...sparkly for the Latin championships.  If you haven't guessed by now there was a lot of glitter in this show.

There was so much energy on stage.  It looked like the cast were having so much fun and it felt like you're up there with them.  

Some of my favourite moments:
Whenever Phoebe Panaretos (Fran) sang, her voice is ah-mazing and I loved the duet Beautiful Surprise with Thomas Lacey (Scott)
The flamenco scene before intermission.  The dancing, the vibe and oh my the voices of Natalie Gamsu and Fernando Mira. 

Getting up on stage at the end with all the cast having a dance to love is in the air.  What a great way to finish off the night!

I even managed to get a couple of photos with cast members, Lachlan Martin & Jarryd Byrne (from Dancing with the Stars) thanks to my friend for snapping them.  She even had a great night. 

All I can see is if you haven't seen it, go get your tickets now.  It's a fantastic night out with lots of sparkle, dancing & laughs.  You can find out more about Strictly Ballroom the Musical here.
And to finish on a quote from the show:
"A life lived in fear is a life half lived"

*I received these tickets from Nuffnang, all opinions are my own.

17 April 2015

A Sew Together Bag Workshop

Last month I went to my first bag sewing class which I was pretty excited about.  I've seen so many sew together bags on social media and really wanted to try one.  After a few weeks of checking out this workshop I quickly snapped up the last spot.  A month after booking I headed down to the Mornington Peninsula to a cute little fabric shop, Treehouse Textiles run by Emma.  If you are ever down there, this is a must on the list and if you're looking for fab workshops I highly recommend!

With so many fabrics to choose from (this is only a selection of one of the walls),  I somehow narrowed it down to these 3,  some Cotton & Steel and Amy Butler.

I think a lot of people get scared by the 4 zips in this bag.  Don't be as they are really quite easy.  I had the pleasure of being taught by Kay from Shocking Hocking and loved her tip to use the walking foot to make this bag (including zips).  No need to change machine feet and you really to need it when you start sewing through numerous layers. 

We had to speed things up a bit as the bag does take a little while to put together, although I think we all walked out with just the binding to hand stitch which was a pretty good effort.  I used my new green binding clips to hold the binding in place while I added the tabs to the ends of the main zip.  

After a little bit of hand stitching my Sew Together Bag was completed.  A great bag pattern, fantastic workshop and a funky new clutch for me.  I'd say the day was a success, thanks Emma and Kay for a great day.

26 March 2015

Photo Shoot with Kipindi

Last year I had the opportunity to meet up with Dannii from Kipindi for a family photo shoot* which I've been meaning to share sooner.  We met at Schwerkolt Cottage in Mitcham which was a lovely backdrop for the photos.  Sammy had just started to sit up and Oscar was (and still is) full of energy.  I thought it was a good time to get some family photos (and they make great presents too).  

It was a lovely day, overcast, no rain and not too hot.  Oscar had so much fun running around while Dannii took photos of him, I don't think Sammy really knew what was going on.  She was amazing with both the boys and captured some great photos.  I honestly didn't think we'd get too many as Oscar was constantly running away but there were so many to love.  I highly recommend Dannii not only for the amazing photography but also the way she was able to interact with the kids, she really has a way of working with them.  Here's some of my favourites.

Kipindi is currently having a birthday sale (33% off the session fee and any products ordered) over at facebook and the offer ends tomorrow (Friday March 27th) at 3pm. Now this is a fantastic offer but I'm not really giving you much time to decide and lock in a date with Dannii.  So I have asked and Dannii is happy to extend the offer until next Tuesday March 31st for all Ladybugs & Daisychains readers (Note: Dannii is based in Melbourne).  Simply email hello@kipindi.com.au and let her know that you heard about the sale here and Dannii will be happy to extend the offer for you!
 *I received this session at no cost to review, all opinions are my own. 

18 March 2015

Interfacing - Comparing the Brands

The Flirty handbag is interfaced with a medium woven.
Do you sometimes wonder which interfacing to use?  As a bag maker there are a lot of interfacings to choose from to structure a bag and it can sometimes get confusing with USA or Australian brands having different codes.  So to help out I have asked Kylie from Handbag Hardware Australia to give us a run down.

Welcome Kylie...

It’s an absolute honour to be invited as a guest blogger for Ladybugs & Daisychains and thank you again Amy for the opportunity to discuss interfacing.
Interfacing, the bones of our bags, an awesome topic and one I could chat on about for days. I’d like to present today a quick comparison table (below) of the most common interfacings used in bag making. Hopefully it makes it easier to convert international patterns into lingo we can relate to here in Oz.

Recently there’s been a change to the Pellon brand in Australia, allegedly due to some legal matter, they can’t use the word “Pellon” anymore and they have changed to “Legacy”. The product numbers have pretty much stayed the same however a few have changed completely so I’ve popped these in as a separate column (in the table below) as your international patterns will still be using Pellon references.

Vilene has long held market share in Australia and it’s the one we’re often trying to match the Pellon code with to create our beautiful bags. As such, it has its own column in the table to assist with matching.  There’s also an extra column for the common alternatives (Bosal / C&T Publishing) or AKA details. Work across the table to see what options are available in the same style of interfacing. Hope you find it useful.

Interfacing Comparison Chart  

Pellon Interfacing
Now Legacy in Aust
Vilene Equivalent – Most common brand here
Other Alternative / Extra Details

987F Fusible Fleece
L-987F Fusible Fleece
H630 Iron on Fleece (slightly lighter than 987F)

TP971f Thermolam Plus
L-TP971F Fusible Thermolam Plus
H640 Iron on Fleece (slightly higher loft than TP971f)
AKA 272 Thermolam in Europe

Medium Weight
Shapeflex SF101 (Fusible)

L-SF101 Cotton Woven Fusible

Vilene G700 (Medium Weight)

Bosal Fashion Fuse
Non - Woven

Featherweight 911FF

L-911FF Fusible Featherweight

Ultrasoft Iron-On (G405)

808 Craft Fuse

L-808 Craft-Fuse
S320 is the closest readily available to 808
V1035F-10 – commercial only hard to get but almost identical

Bosal Shirt Fuse (slightly softer)
Deco-Fuse Firm

L-809 Fuse-N-Shade™

S520 – Closest to Deco-Fuse

Bosal Dura Fuse  (sits somewhere between S520 and S320)

Peltex 70 (sew in)
L-70 Sew-N-Shape ™

Timtex - C&T Publishing
Bosal - Craf-Tex

Peltex 71F (Fusible Single Side)
L-71F Fuse-N-Shape™ single sided Fusible
Decovil 1 (closest equivalent though a little stiffer – very hard to get out here)

Peltex 72F (Fusible Double Side)
L-72F Fuse-N-Shape™ 2 sided Fusible

Fast2Fuse -C&T Publishing
Quick Conversion
turn sew in into fusible

L-805 Fuse-Under

The Foamies

By Annie

One of the originals - hard to find
Creating something close from what you’ve got @ home
Soft and Stable (Sew In) – arriving any day!!

Bosal In-R-Form Plus (Fusible)
Med-Heavy Int (eg. SF101) & 640 Fleece

 In stock @ Handbag Hardware Australia 

A special mention about the resurgence of Foamies in bag making. These were traditionally upholstery items, however they have been tweaked (made skinnier) for the bag market and By Annie ™ is taking the world by storm.

Foam is sandwiched between tricot which works like a surgical stocking to keep the foam in a flexible yet form binding position. This is my best explanation of how it works, hope it assists.

It is as advertised, soft and stable, will keep your bag sides upright and has a lovely feel to it. I’ve been playing with a couple of metres, these are my findings:

·       Pick your application, it’s not going to be for everything, it is thick (approx. 4mm), won’t work for purse frames, however it’s great for totes, computer satchels, general purpose not overly intricate patterns that can handle the thickness. 

·       Straight sides and the tricot…find its sweet spot and you’ll be fine, however it does have a tendency to cause your straight sides to warp. Can be overcome by allowing a bit more in the seam allowance and trimming back once sewn. It’s not a major issue, but it is noted. 

·       It is sew in, my Pfaff has a walking foot built in and it needed it, you have to sew it into the seams to keep it in place so they get bulky quick. Unless of course you’re a patch worker, you guys know what to do with sew in! I won’t even suggest anything here and secretly I think you’d love the stuff.

·       A potential alternative, which I’ve not tried as yet, would be to convert into an iron on with the Vilesofix. However as mentioned, I’ve not tried it, and I’m not too certain how the tricot will go, maybe it’s going to move too much to stick long term. To be tested.

·       Cost, it’s not cheap…..however, given the common alternative to foamies was two interfacings – (med-heavy iron on) SF101 and 640 Fleece, maybe it’s about right price wise – you are technically getting 2 for 1.

·       A note on Bosal, *whimsical sigh* hard to get, fusible and lovely, one of the very original foamies, if you find it try it but she’s rare.

I hope this has been of assistance in your search for appropriate interfacing.  If you have any questions I’m always happy to lend a hand.
Thank you so much Kylie for sharing the comparisons of interfacing brands.  It's definitely going to help me find the right interfacing according to a pattern.  It's also great to know that we can purchase most types of interfacing from you (the ones highlighted in the table).  I haven't yet tried Soft & Stable but it is on the top of my list to try.  It would be perfect for totes.  Join my patterns group on fb to be the first to see my patterns and get other tips for making fab bags.

Happy sewing,

15 March 2015

Quick & Easy Easter Basket

Yesterday I shared a fabric storage basket tutorial over at And Sew We Craft.   With Easter just around the corner, I thought I'd share a quick and easy way to make this into an Easter Basket ready for the Easter egg hunt. 

Using the same tutorial to create the fabric basket.  I've made this one a bit smaller (finished size approx 6.5"x3"x4.5") so my fabric pieces were cut as below:
Cut 2 x 10x8" from outer, lining fabric and interfacing with the bottom corners having 1.5" squares cut out of them.

To make the handle cut a piece of fabric and interfacing 10x3".  Fuse the interfacing to your fabric and fold the ends in 1/4" at each end and press.
Fold the handle piece in half lengthwise and press, then open out and fold both sides in to meet at the centre and press.  Now fold in half and your handle is created.
Top stitch around the edge of handle.

To attach to the basket measure 1/2" up from the fold and baste handle in place. 

As we are now sewing through a few layers of fabric you may need to hand crank the needle in some places to get through all the layers.  Stitch a rectangle to secure the handle in place and remove your basting stitch.

Your basket is now ready to go on that Easter egg hunt (yes I did go and buy Easter eggs just to take some photos).

Happy Sewing,

28 February 2015

Paper Piecing - I made a Koala

I've been wanting to try paper piecing for a while and it all kind of came together with this gorgeous koala pattern by Kristy at Quietplay.  You see my lovely friend Leesa is holding the annual Australian Textile Exhibition at the Royal Botanic Gardens in Cranbourne starting this weekend (i work in the cafe there) and I thought what better than to exhibit show off something where I work.  Time was a bit of an issue with such a busy month ahead of me but when the Aussie Animals pattern was on sale for Australia day I new exactly what I was going to make (it had to be Australian themed of course).   
This is my first attempt at paper piecing and I'm pretty happy with the result.  It took a while to sew and I made a couple of mistakes.  Tip: make sure the rest of the block is out of the way when trimming (insert tears here).  I colour coded my pattern which was another great tip as I'm sure I could have ended up with a brown body and grey branches.  I still need to get some more practice but this koala is just so cute.  Oscar's face was beaming when I told him I made a koala for him, he of course wanted to hold it.
I decided to turn the block into a cushion so he could hold it.  Another new move, an enclosed zip.  So easy and looks much neater. 
Paper Pieced Koala cushion - pattern by Quietplay
I bound the edges with a contrasting blue which I think ties it all together.
Love, love, love him!  

Linking up with And Sew We Craft

And Sew We Craft

18 February 2015

The Emma Clutch Tote

I am so excited to share with you my very first bag pattern release!

It's been a long time in the making but it is finally ready....

Introducing The Emma Clutch Tote

This gorgeous clutch was inspired on a shopping trip with my bag loving friend Emma.  This bag takes you from day to night with its versatility.  It also allows you to carry everything you need when you head out with your clutch as it is very roomy.

I'd like to thank my wonderful testers, I have appreciated all your comments and feedback.

 How amazing is this fabric that Melisa has used and fussy cut for the front of her clutch

This was made by Amy using Terra Australis

 Tanya upcycled a vintage sheet to create hers

 Emma was one of my pattern testers last year, I love the pink handles although slightly altered now.

 Jane has stuck with her owls in this gorgeous print, love it

 Emily has picked some amazing fabric for her clutch, isn't it stunning!

If you would like to make this yourself, you can purchase the pattern here.  Feel free to join my patterns group on fb too, this is where upcoming patterns are announced first.

Linking up with And Sew We Craft

And Sew We Craft

Happy bag making,