Monthly Archives: August 2014

Challenge Results – Ribbon and Remnants

Ready to see what I came up with for the Ribbon and Remnant Challenge?  Hosted by Janine from Sarah Lauren Ribbons and Sasha from Fabric Fusion, ten bloggers were sent packs of assorted ribbons, trims and fabrics and had 6 weeks to come up with whatever took their fancy. I spoke about using creative challenges in this post here as a good way to push your own boundaries and come up with new ways of thinking.

This is what I started with…


And this is what I’ve made…

Advent wall hanging with branding















Advent wall hanging collage

All ready for Christmas!  I’ve never owned an advent calendar before so this will make a nice addition to the decorations this year. Still not sure what I’m going to fill it with – whatever it is it has to satisfy 3 rowdy boys so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Something like this would go well at Christmas themed markets too – get started now so you’ve got a good stock ready. (I’ll write up a plan with the measurements and post here on the blog soon.) Imagine it in different colour ways – pastels or traditional. Even hessian, canvas or cotton duck fabric would work well – all good neutral backgrounds.

Be sure to check out the other challengers’ creations at Sarah Lauren where you can vote for your favorite.

Nikky from Wonderfully Women
Sherrian from Sheridan Anne
Kylie from Dribble Pots and Tots
Narelle Cook Clean Craft
Tonya from The Crafty Mummy
Cate from {Life Behind The Purple Door}
Alix Fab Fit Mum
Renee from About the Garden About the Garden
Bel from Mums Take Five


Challenges and Parties

Lately I’ve been spending a LOT of time on Instagram and am loving the vibe from the sewing community. Everyday I find a new hashtag for a challenge or group and it leads you to the most creative people.  I’ve even joined one – the #australianhandmadebirthdayclub run by Tara aka @sewforshoes.

ahbc1 logoI’ve been lucky enough to be the first birthday girl for party 1 and have started receiving presents already, but I’m going to make you wait and do a post where I can show all of them at once.

Then over on Facebook I saw Clare from Clare’s Craftroom making a call out for people to join her crafty challenge. Each player is sent an image and a colour swatch and is to create anything they like. The idea is to simply get the creative juices flowing and interpret the inspiration any way we like. I’ve been sent an image of some nesting dolls and the colour Waratah from Dulux.

Clare's Craftroom challenge inspiration

There’s a few ideas buzzing in my head for this one so stay tuned as there’ll be a link up on Clare’s blog with all the challengers showing off their creations.

The third challenge I put my hand up for was the #ribbonandremnantchallenge hosted by Janine from Sarah Lauren and Sasha from Fabric Fusion. Ten Australian crafty bloggers were sent a pack of ribbon, fabric and trims and asked to create something wonderful.


I’ve got this project sorted, on paper anyway, and just need a day or two to get it made. There might even be a tutorial to follow!

So I think the benefits of taking on new challenges would be to stretch your creative brain, to try new things and to be part of something larger than yourself and I’m sure you already know that the craft and sewing community is huge and thriving.

Do you participate in any sewing/crafty challenges or swaps? I’d love to see – share a link below.

steps to perfect piping

5 Steps to Perfect Piping

Have you tried pipping an edge of your garment? Say a neckline or the hem of a short sleeve? Apart from looking super special it’s a great way to help ease in a gaping neckline or adding an extra pop of colour.

Step 1

I like to use knitting yarn inside my piping for clothing as it’s soft enough to sew over and is a lot cheaper than cord. Alternatively, cotton cord is sold by the meter and comes in a variety of thicknesses.  It’s what I prefer for soft furnishings.

Firstly we need to cut the strips. For clothing, piping should be cut on the bias because it will give us the stretch we need if we want to ease in an edge (on a neckline for example.) Soft furnishings and accessories piping can be cut on the straight grain and will use less fabric.

Cut bias strips 4cm wide and join if necessary.

Step 2

  1. Fold the bias strip over the end of your yarn and position under the half foot of your sewing machine
  2. begin sewing and use the yarn “bump” as a guide for the foot to run along
  3. sew all the way to the end
  4. trim so the seam allowance on the piping is between 6mm and 1cm (this is especially important when using darker piping in a pale coloured item as you won’t want the seam allowance to show through.)

piping collage 1

Step 3

Next we sew the piping onto our project.

  1. position the piping along the required edge leaving a tail hanging off the end. Sew on top of the first row of stitching
  2. with your lining facing the right side of your work, and the piped fabric on top, sew just to the left of your previous row (as indicated by the yellow line in the photo)
  3. and if all goes well you’ll have something like this.

piping collage 2Step 4

Now what if you have to insert a zip? You can make your piping sit back away from the edge which will give you space to add a zip.

  1. instead of leaving a tail hanging off the back, fold the piping at an angle
  2. sew on the lining or facing as instructed above
  3. see how the piping is now set neatly back from the edge
  4. leaving you seam allowance to insert a zip.

piping collage 3

Step 5

Or what about joining your piping when it meets?

  1. when you begin sewing, fold the piping at an angle
  2. then when you come around to where it meets, turn the piping at a slighter angle and run it off the edge. This is where you’ll be glad you used yarn instead of cording as you’ll be able to sew over the top with no problems.

piping collage 4


I’ll be doing a second post soon about further methods for joining the ends, how to sew a zip along a piped edge (like you would in a cushion cover) and how to sew piping on curves and corners.

In the meantime, practice and let me know how you go. I’d love to see your work on Instagram too so use the hash tag #stitchingrules.


help desk is here

Help Desk is Here!

Did you see it? Up in the top navigation bar next to Start Here, Blog and Resources.

Help desk is here!

Help desk

I thought we needed a special place on the site for you to ask questions about sewing, patterns or general business stuff. You can add as much detail as you like and even add a link if there’s something you want me to take a look at.

So ask away – if there’s something you’ve been needing/wanting to know, ask and I’ll do my best to send you in the right direction.