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November 2015

Hello <<First Name>> 

What's on your 'To Sew' list for this month?  How are you plans progressing?  Anything I can help with?

There have been a few new faces join us this month so welcome aboard.  If this is your first email from me, you can catch up on the archived editions of this newsletter over on my website (you'll need to scroll down to see the list) -  Past topics include how to pre-wash your fabrics, cutting tools and how to press (or iron) your projects correctly.  There's even a few short videos to check out.

So this month we're talking about how to mark fabric.  There are various times when you might like to leave a mark or reminder on projects such as to mark the wrong side of 'tricky to tell' fabrics,  the spot to put bag handles or even just to remind yourself to leave a turning gap.  Scroll down for how I do it and my favourite marking tools.

If you're in the Albany/Denmark area on the south coast of WA, I'd love you to join me on Friday 8 January (tbc) for a introduction to 'quilt as you go' sewing class.  We'll be making these patchwork pillows and even very new sewers can join in the fun (it's all straight lines, you'll be fine). You'll just need to bring a sewing machine in good working order and possibly your lunch.  Hit reply to let me know you're interested and I'll fill you in on the other details.

Happy Sewing, ♥ Sarah x

The How & Why of Marking Fabric

If you sew garments, quilts, kids items or home accessories, you will find that at some point you will need to write on or mark your fabric.  It might be marking two pieces that will need to fit together or the placement of closures, darts, pockets or pleats.

Sometimes a pin or a small snip in the seam allowance will work but often you'll need something a bit more permanent or a bit easier to see while you work.

There are soooo many different types of marking tools that wading through the various options is both confusing and overwhelming.  So here are my go-to favourites which you might also like to try for yourselves.
Chalk / Chacopel Pencils:
These are my absolute favourites.  They come in lots of different colours so there's always one that you'll be able to see and use on a particular print.  I sharpen them like a normal pencil to get a nice fine point and they are very easy to remove with the wipe of a damp cloth.  Clover are my favourite brand as they are a little softer so they mark more easily than cheaper ones.  Love them!

Lead Pencils:
Good old HB school pencils are great to mark fabric in inconspicuous places and busy prints.  I only press lightly, just enough to see my marks.  I love them on denim when chalk tends to fall off when I move the fabric around too much.  I found this 4B pencil useful in sewing - it came with a set of those plastic containers that you can write labels for.  It makes a darker line than the HB without needing to press so hard.  I also lead pencils to write myself notes on pattern pieces and instructions - easily erasable when I change my mind or mess up the maths and there's less risk of ink blobs and any leaking onto other fabrics ;) 

Pens & Textas:
There are two main types of marking pens - air erasable and water erasable.  I've met people who swear by them but I've had mixed success with getting the blue ink out again.  Air erasable ones have been handy in marking projects that I don't want to get wet again such as delicate fabrics or on the right side of the fabric but under a layer of clear plastic.

Hera Marker:
This tool is my second favourite piece of fantastic plastic after my point turner.  It's called a Hera Marker and it is mainly found in a quilters kit for marking the quilting lines.  The curved end leaves a just-visible crease in your fabric rather than a drawn line.  It's also handy for folding up a seam allowance (crease and then fold rather than using an iron) and also for 'finger pressing' seams open.  Very easy to use as you just hold like a pencil and press down firmly on the curved end to mark the fabric.  It helps to also use a clear quilting ruler.  It's hard to photograph but can you see the line?  This tutorial shows more.

Other Marking Tools:

Here's a few other items I found in my drawers that mark fabric.  They're so handy that they're still in their packets!  Ooops.  

The white ink pen is nice fine line but it's 'heat erasable' with the waft of an iron; not as useful as it sounds.

The transfer pencil is for embroidery designs - you sketch out your design in reverse on paper using this pencil and then iron it onto the fabric, magic happens and the pencil marks transfer ready for you to stitch over;

And lastly dressmaking carbon and tracing wheel.  Place the paper chalk side down onto the wrong side of your fabric, trace over your dart or pleat pattern piece with the wheel, lift up and see a line of small dots to show you where to sew.  I remember using them in Home Ec classes but not since.

So that's my round up - what's your favourite marking tool?

Christmas Stockings

There are lots of different options for you to explore sewing Christmas stockings.  Gratuitous plug but of course I have a mailable kit with everything you'll need inside - fabrics, thread, pattern pieces (so you can make more), ribbon, alphabet template and a full set of instructions.
You can see it here -

This foxy fabric is heading to Simone's house but here's what Louise said about her sewing experience
"I made my santa stocking from my beautiful kit from Hunting for Ladybugs - my first sewing efforts other than a cushion and I'm super happy. Some dodgy stitching but for my first effort I'm pretty happy! Thank you Sarah"
  You choose the fabric here and then I match felt for the cuff and lettering ~ 

I'm also busy sewing stockings for custom orders.  I think I've got 12 at the last count and I have to keep remembering to take the fabric out of the album when an order comes in and I cut a new one out.  Thank you to everyone who's placed an order.  I'm thrilled that many of them are for subsequent kids joining the family.  They'll be ready soon if you're waiting for one so you should get them in plenty of time before the big day... er, Eve ;) 

Lastly, I was excited to be invited to teach a face to face class last Saturday at my local fabric store
Loose Stitches.  They have such a beautiful range of Christmas fabrics to pick from and the big and little girls did such a great job at sewing up their stockings.  I'm sure they or someone they love will take pride and delight in using for this festive season and many more to come.  As usual, I was so busy helping that I totally forgot to get a shot of everyone's finished stockings hanging up before they all scattered home.  At least I managed one of Megan to show you ;)   Thank you Loosies for having me along for the day x

Spring Sewing Retreat

I was thrilled to be able to attend the Spring Sewing Retreat hosted by Natalie of Sew for Life.  I was also excited to sneak in a little Ladybug Needlecase to each of the magnificent goodie bags.  There were about 14 sewing nuts (of varying experience levels - some were brand new at their sewing machines) who packed up and headed out just out of Perth to the Avalon Homestead in Toodyay.  It was blissful.  Two days of uninterrupted sewing - meals appeared like magic, creative input and energy flowed around the room and sewing machines hummed as everyone got what they wanted to both started and finished in a weekend.  Hurrah! 

Natalie is already planning another one for the 8-10 April 2016.  You can read her round up and see the booking details for the next one here -

Highlighted Custom Order

This one is for Rachel's wee thing who loves Toothless from the 'How to Train Your Dragon' series - of course I had to add the tail to capture complete character traits ;) 

My online sewing course that's coming soon.  I'll be doing a smaller pilot programme launching on 1 March with more sessions to come in 2016.  If you're interested, add your email address to to hear more details.
About Sarah

Hi!  I'm excited that you've subscribed to my newsletter and even more that you've made it all the way to the bottom.  

It's my goal to teach you how to sew, no matter where you live. To inspire others to drag out their sewing machines and make it come to life.  I want you to share that tingly feeling of pride in saying "thank you I made it myself". 

I live on a wheat and sheep farm in the Western Australian Wheatbelt region.  When I finally pull myself out from behind my sewing machine, you’ll find me tending a sadly neglected garden with a G&T in hand while the kids bounce on the trampoline. I may also be found occasionally in the sheep yards helping my farmer husband.
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