Monthly Archives: April 2014

Fresh Fabrics cover

Etsy Shop Spotlight – Fresh Fabrics Australia

Today I’d like to share with you an Etsy shop by the name of Fresh Fabrics Australia where you’ll find a gorgeous collection of the latest printed cotton fabrics and buttons. Add a few of these to your favorites and I’m sure you’ll be back.

Fresh Fabrics Australia is owned by Carrie-Ann who lives in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia and started her business so she could be at home to look after her girls whilst earning a bit of extra money. She loves choosing modern, bright and happy fabrics and enjoys inspiring people with colour and design to help harness creative endeavors.

Wee Wander

Sarah Jane – Wee Wander 9 Fat Quarter Bundle – Sunrise Palette (Michael Miller)

Bringing designer fabrics to Australia at an affordable price is what I’ve set out to achieve, this has enabled those who don’t have a lot of splash cash, to be able to afford gorgeous fabric at a fraction of the cost of quilting shops.


Joel Dewberry Fabric – 4 Fat Quarter Bundle Botanique – Golden Hour Palette (Red/Orange & Teal)

There are so many options for this sort of fabric – clothing, bags, softies, quilts or cushions. How about an a-line skirt or a mini handbag?  Buying precut bundles like these is not only economical and time saving, but pushes you to think creatively with your projects because you have a complementary set of materials.

Art Gallery fabrics - tule

Art Gallery Fabrics – 4 Fat Quarter Bundle (4) Tule in Terracotta & Bright by Leah Duncan

Because Carrie-Ann sells her fabrics by the meter, rather than by the yard, you’re getting more for your dollar – bonus!  All fabric is a standard price of $16.50 per meter.

Have you used any of these fabrics? Please, share a link below in the comments.

Fashion Books

3 Books on my Wish List

Do you keep a wishlist on Amazon? It’s handy to have and I love how Amazon lets you know if any of your selections have dropped or increased in price.

I thought it might be interesting to do a round up of books for aspiring fashion designers and was excited about what was available. I found three, one of which I already own but haven’t read yet. Fashion SketchbookFashion Sketchbook – Bina Abling

Spiral bound, 496 pages, Available new $91, and used from $63, at

This book takes you through step by step instructions on how to sketch  fashion figures by showing you how to translate runway photographs. The fashion archive at the back is particularly helpful for budding fashion designers wanting to learn the correct terminology  of  garment design features.

Other chapters include –

  • fashion figure proportions
  • basic figure forms
  • garments and details
  • accessories
  • layouts
  • men and children sketching

I think this book would become a valuable resource for years to come.

Flats Technical Drawing for Fashion
Flats; Technical Drawing For Fashion – Basia Szkutnicka

224 pages. Paperback with CD ROM available new $35 at

This book has caught my eye because it includes information on drawing with Adobe Illustrator – something I hope to teach myself this year. Knowing how to draw up technical flats is important for sharing your design with patternmakers and machinists as they will be looking for specific details and measurements when making the item.

The End of Fashion

The End of Fashion – Teri Agins

352 pages. Paperback available new $11.93 and used from $5.65, at

The End of Fashion details how fashion has influenced our day to day life throughout the ages and how it’s importance has changed. Designers could no longer afford to design for only the elite, and after the stock market crash of 1987, changes to the fashion business came swiftly. Agins covers how consumers habits shaped the way fashion is today and I’m really hoping to get back to reading this book soon.

So if you’re looking to add some new books to your library these might be worth a look.  Be sure to let me know if you own or buy any of these – I’d love to hear your opinions.

choosing the right fabrics for your project

Testing your Fabric

So you’ve designed this fantastic pattern to start making your next favorite item and you’ve found the perfect fabric to go with it. But wait – is this fabric going to work or are you headed for disaster and the dream project being flung out the nearest window? (Hey, it happens)

Have you tested the fabric?  You should, and here’s why.

Every fabric behaves differently in a garment so its important to test any new designs in the fabric as well as testing new fabrics with existing designs. Making a sample in the chosen fabric is always the smart thing to do as it could save you from a costly  mistake later down the track.  It would be better for you to discover if a fabric misbehaves after washing rather than your customer!

Once you’ve made a sample you should be checking for

  • drape – is the garment hanging as you expected. Are pleats sitting straight, are frills too stiff or too floppy? How about the gathering fullness – too much or not enough?
  • fit – if the fabric has stretch, is it too much or not enough? Does the garment have enough ease of movement (this is when a live model will come in handy.)
  • weight – is the fabric weight the right match for the design? A knit with 4-way stretch, for example, is going to stretch in length as well as width so be mindful if you’re making a long garment as it will stretch the longer it sits on a hanger. Is it going to be comfortable to wear?
  • print suitability – if you’re using a large floral print, is it going to be wasted on a design with small panels and lots of seams? In other words, are the seams going to interrupt the pattern and be distracting?
  • fabric content – is your choice of fabric going to match the intended use of the item? It wouldn’t be sensible to start making children’s play shorts in something that would require dry-cleaning for example. A cotton or something easy wash and wear would be a smarter choice.
  • fabric combinations -take care when using a combination of fabrics. For example the ribbing you used on the last t-shirt may sit differently to the new ribbing you’ve just bought. Adjustments to your ribbing pattern may be needed in this case.

After a while you’ll gain experience with more and more different types of fabrics and will be able to judge more easily how fabrics behave.

Here are some good resources on fabric types and suitable uses if you want any further reading.




Workroom Tools

14 Tools for the Sewing Workroom

Do you have a favorite tool to help you with your work? Here’s my top 14 items I can’t live without in the workroom and I’m sure you’ll find them handy too.

  1. magnetic pin dish – super handy if you drop pins
  2. seam gauge or 15cm ruler – for checking seam and hem widths
  3. thread clippers – they’re small enough to have sitting at the machine and won’t get damaged if you drop them
  4. small tray – handy to hold size, content and branding labels
  5. clipboards – great for holding work sheets and note paper
  6. plastic laundry baskets – will save your work from dropping on the floor and are easy to carry around
  7. tailors chalk – it’s quicker to use chalk to mark darts than pins
  8. pattern weights
  9. 15mm circle punch – for punching holes in your patterns ready for hanging
  10. tape for hanging patterns – or I use a selvedge of fabric
    top 14 tools650
  11. cutting table – ideally your table should be at a height where you don’t need to bend over. 90cm or hip height is good as you’ll be able to lean against it and reach without straining your back. It’s also good if you can walk around the end of your table – for when you’re cutting from a long length of fabric and need to have the excess hanging off the end.
  12. a sturdy ironing board with a clean, fitted cover
  13. a pressing cloth will save your iron from any excess glue from iron on interfacing and will allow you to press items that can scorch from a too hot an iron
  14. plenty of bobbins – and if your machine allows, fill bobbins as you sew.

Were any of your favorites on the list? Do you have any others to share?  Let me know in the comments below.