Pillow Fight Time !

Today I'm joining the 'Pillow Talk Pillow Fight' event being hosted by the Fat Quarter Shop! This is a super fun event with selected designers making pillows from Edyta Sitar's new book 'Pillow Talk:  25 Lovely Pillows for Your Home Sweet Home', and then going head to head with another designer, with readers voting on their favourite pillows each week.

We are now in round 6 of the event in which I'm going head to head with my fellow Riley Blake designer Bev from Flamingo Toes. For my entry I made the Mother's Day pillow from the book. This was really calling my name, and I wanted to see how it would look in my own fabrics.

I've used a mixture of my last two collections for Riley Blake - Rhapsody and Summer Blush. I'm really pleased with how well they go together and how the colours 'pop'. I free motion quilted the pillow top on my Brother Luminaire - still finding FMQ a bit nerve wracking but the more I do it, the easier it gets. For the applique, I followed Edyta's advice in the book and used invisible thread (a clear polyester monofilament - available at most big sewing stores). Generally speaking I would never use a polyester thread, but I've got to say, it was a revelation. With so many different colours on the pillow front, it was great not to have to change the top thread every few minutes as I moved from one shape to the next. I also quilted the pillow with the invisible thread, so the quilting does not detract from the pretty flowers!

Would you like to win a prize? If so, please visit the Fat Quarter Shop blog to see Bev's gorgeous pillow too, and then you can VOTE FOR YOUR FAVOURITE PILLOW! The winner from this round will go head to head with the other quarter final winners, as you can see in the table below, until an overall champion is declared! Fat Quarter Shop are giving away prizes each week to one lucky voter, so get clicking.
Thank you so much for visiting dear friends, I will be back soon with two new patterns which are both in the testing phase. Can't wait to show you!

Butterfly Heart Wall Art Tutorial

Today I'm back as a guest blogger on my friend and fellow Riley Blake fabric designer Amy Smart's blog Diary of A Quilter, where I'm sharing a tutorial to make this sweet butterfly wall art!

There is something about butterflies that are just so cheerful, don't you think? I loved making them in all these mixed colours, using some of my favourite fabric prints. The butterflies are backed with felt, and the fusible web used to adhere them to the felt adds an additional layer of stiffness. So they are quite durable, and stand off the quilted the background so the finished art has a 3-D feel to it. Laying them out in a heart shape like this was inspired by a greeting card - I'm so happy with the ombre rainbow effect.

You can find the tutorial on Amy's blog - including the templates, positioning guides for the butterflies, and a step by step tutorial with photos.

Please tag me or email me if you make this wall art, I would love to see your finished creations!

Feeling Blue...

... in more ways than one! The new year brought with it a rejuvenated sense of sewing mojo, for which I've been incredibly grateful. Truth be told I had been finding it quite hard to sew since losing my mum a few months back, so it's been great being back at the sewing machine for long stretches of time and actually enjoying it. I also did manage to get an incredible amount of design work done over the last several months, both in the way of new fabrics and some cool new patterns - lots to look forward to in 2020!

My first sew for the new year was a blue version of my Desert Windmill cushion, which is one of my oldest patterns, dating back to 2015. The original version (below) was pink, and I wanted to see how it would look in a different colourway. The blue prints from Rhapsody worked pretty well! You can find the cushion pattern here, there is also a matching quilt pattern.

The second reason I've been 'feeling blue' is because of the horrific bushfires in every state in Australia - the whole continent is literally on fire!! The beautiful illustration below is from @melanippe_art on IG - it's so beautiful and sad at the same time. We are incredibly thankful that there have been no fires immediately near where we live in South Australia, so we have been safe so far - and in a bit of a blissful ignorance too if I'm honest. But last night the wind changed direction and the smoke from the bushfires on Kangaroo Island (over 100 km away as the crow flies) descended on our area. Oh boy. We woke up coughing at 2 am with the bedroom full of thick, rancid smoke. After running around and ascertaining the house wasn't on fire we hit the internet to discover where the smoke was coming from. It was suffocating, and we were SO far away - I can't even imagine how bad it must have been in the actual fire zones!

To do my little part for the bushfire relief and recovery effort I've made personal donations to the following two organisations. There are so many different fund raising efforts all over Facebook / the internet right now, and it's hard to know which ones would be the best to support!  I've had a lot of followers from overseas contact me asking where they should donate to, so I wanted to share these links with anyone else who may also find them useful. There are obviously many other worthy relief efforts out there, these are the two I have chosen.

Red Cross Australia (disaster relief & recovery fund) ----> donate here
WIRES Australian Wildlife Rescue (for animals / wildlife) ---> donate here

Also as every little helps, I made some silver plated bookmarks with those cute sewing machine charms from my last post, as well as some initial charms I had. I've popped them all in the shop - I will be donating all proceeds from the sales of these to Red Cross Australia. These were made following a tutorial from An Enchanted Life blog.

Sewing machine charms ----> buy here
Initial charms ----> buy here

Till next time, dear friends, and please keep Australia in your thoughts and pray for some rain!

'Rainbow Swirl' Mini Quilt in Rhapsody

Gosh, it's been an absolute age since I blogged a project! I've been busy with magazine commissions and some other secret sewing, as well as putting the finishing touches to a new collection coming out in 2020. Gone are the days when I could just sit down and sew something on a whim... just because. I guess that's the price you pay when your one-time hobby turns into a full time career - business commitments and design deadlines take over, and there is literally ZERO time for leisurely sewing - not that I'm complaining!  But anyway, I finally have a project that I can share with you, and it feels so good!

My Rhapsody bolts arrived a while back and I got to cutting some Fat Quarter and Fat 8th bundles straight away (which you can find in my Etsy shop for a fabulous price by the way - including free delivery within Australia). My cutting table was so cheerful that I was inspired to remake one of my oldest patterns: my 'Rainbow Swirl' mini quilt. And because I know you will ask, the little sewing machine charm is from Etsy. You can also get the Rainbow Swirl pattern here.

I pieced this mini on my Brother Luminaire (aka 'Lumy'), and quilted in 50wt Aurifil thread in a spiral fashion using straight lines - just following the pattern really. I love it so much - and my little quilt-holder-in-training did such a good job too, don't you think?

Oh my goodness, my kids are getting so big - STOP GROWING! As you can tell from the pics we are in the middle of summer here in South Australia, where Christmas day is typically 40C and many people celebrate it on the beach (still cray cray to us Brits, even though we've been here 10 years now!). Anyway I would like to wish all of you a very merry Christmas and happy new year (and new decade!). As a final note, I wanted to share my 2019 #bestnine on Instagram - so many great quilty memories here!

See you next year!

Backyard Chicks QAL - Week 6 (FINISH)

It's the last week of the Backyard Chicks QAL! 

Wow, didn't the last five weeks just fly by?! I blinked and this QAL is almost over already. I've loved seeing all the finished quilt tops this week - so many fabulous finishes and such a lovely array of fabric choices.

The winner of the week 5 prize is @offthepincushion! Congratulations - please email me at sedef@downgrapevinelane.com (or DM me on Instagram) to arrange delivery of your prize.

In this last week of the quilt along we will be finishing our quilts, by quilting and binding them. So there's quite a lot to do! I know some of you prefer to send your quilts to a long armer for the quilting process (as I do from time to time) so please do share your quilts on Instagram once you get them back - I would love to see everyone's finished quilts! 

Week 6

  • Finish your quilt top if you haven't already done so.
  • Piece your backing, following the pattern instructions, and make a quilt sandwich
  • Quilt as desired - I straight quilted mine for a superfast finish. Trim off excess fabric.
  • Bind your quilt, following your preferred binding method. Remember that the cutting instructions are for a binding that is 2 1/4" wide - if you prefer to have a wider binding cut your strips accordingly. 
  • Share your finished quilts on Instagram tagging them with #backyardchicksQAL, and you may win the grand prize!!

Grand Prize:

On Sunday evening I will pick a winner from all the finished quilts on the Instagram hashtag #backyardchicksQAL. The winner will receive:
  • Bundle of 5 fat quarters of quilting fabric (from my own fabric collections)
  • A Zakka notion set carefully curated by me
  • 5 patterns of your choice from my pattern collection
Thank you for joining me in this fun quilt along, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did! Please do come and join me again at my next QAL, which I will be announcing soon!


Backyard Chicks Quilt Along Details

Dates: 16 September - 27 October 2019 (6 weeks)
Block size: 10" finished
Finished quilt size: 60" x 80" (throw)
Experience level: Beginner


    Week 1 - Planning, fabric selection, cutting
    Week 2 - Make 16 blocks 
    Week 3 - Make 16 blocks
    Week 4 - Make 16 blocks
    Week 5 - Sew the quilt top together (+ catch up!)
    Week 6 - Quilting and binding


    Here are the fabric requirements for the quilt:
    You will also need the pattern!

    Follow Along

    • You can follow the QAL via my Instagram account here. Use the hashtag #backyardchicksQAL to post pictures of your progress and to see how others' quilts are coming along.
    • Sign up to the weekly QAL emails here
    • I will share a new blog post every Monday so feel free to check my blog each week for updates. 
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