My final quiltlikeaboss design

Header MyChosenDesign

#quiltlikeaboss  -if you want to see the rest of the posts in the series, check out  

This quilt is meant to be easy to follow, and a beginners quilt.

The quilt top itself is going to be cut from a co-ordinating fabric range, and I’ve chosen the ink and spindle range by Cloud 9 fabrics.  I’m just going to jump right into the maths.


If you miscut this – everything goes out of whack BIG TIME.  4mm can cause you a world of pain.

It’s australian, beautiful gender neutral fabric.  I’ve bought a 12pce fat quarter bundle, which means I will get 12 squares Australian Fat Quarter = half the width of the fabric x 0.5m.  The fabric will be 112cm wide, so I should end up with 50cm x 56cm squares.  Converted to inches, that will be 22″ x  19 1/2″.

Every seam or cut I make, will reduce the size of the finished quilt.

Let’s assume, I just trim up all my blocks to 19 1/2″ square.  Once I then sew up all my blocks together with a 1/4″ seam allowance, that will give me 12 x 19″ blocks.

The most obvious way to arrange those is in a grid, being 3 x 4 blocks.

The finished size would then be (3 x 19) = 57″ by (4 x 19) = 76″.

This is big enough to fit a double bed.

So what if I trim those down a bit more.  Let’s make of those 12 square into 4 squares.  Each square will be cut into 4.5″ squares.  I will now have (12 x 4) = 48 41/2″ unfinished squares.

Those, once sewn together will be 48 4″ squares.

If I do 6 rows of 8 – I will end up with a quilt (6 x 4″) = 24″wide and (8 x 4″) 32″ long.  Too small for a cot quilt.

The point of this exercise?  Do the maths before you cut, or buy ANY fabric.

So my chosen design is going to be inspired by this.


But look a little more like this image here.  I tried using quilt studio to plan it out, but it was a bit of a pain.  Good, but as I’m comfortable with the maths – I’m going back to le basico.

quiltlikeaboss my chosen design

To do the maths, I do the low-tech version of drawing on graph paper.  I make little tiny boxes in excel, and then do some guesstimates.  In this, each square represents 2 inches.  Initially, I tried each square representing 3 inches, but I didn’t have enough fabric for that.

If it looks a little like trial and error (shhhhh, it totally is).



For those wanting to ever make a quilt like this, I’ll go through it step by step.

I have 12 fat quarters, which if they are (rounded down) 22″ x 18′, then I’m using 11 squares x 9 square in the top right corner to represent the fat quarter.

My finished block has 6 pieces within it.  Therefore, if I can cut all 6 pieces from a fat quarter (before mixing them up and sewing them up), then I can have 12 blocks.  Huzzah!

In the bottom left, I’ve pulled out each part of the finished block, and worked out what size they are in the finished block.  I will need to add 1/4″ seam allowance to all sides.



So I’m still planning on doing the applique over the top, and using one of the styles of image from my pinterest board.

I’d love to say I’ve decided, but sometimes you need to see how a quilt is coming together before you can make a final call.

What do you think about a simple, large silhouette of a child reading?


Click here to go to the #QuiltLikeABoss page for links to all the posts in the QuiltAlong and other information!


Design inspiration

Header QuiltingAsAGarmentSewer

Welcome to the next post in the #quiltlikeaboss series. Today I’ll be talking about my design inspiration.

General design theme

My constraints are the following:

  • Baby quilt sized – The design needs to be bold, so the baby can see it.  Babies can only see high contrast things are first.
  • Using pre-cuts or pre-assembled fabric packs – I find it hard personally making all the fabric choices individually.  For gifts, I prefer to buy either charm packs, layer cakes or pre-bundled ranges of fabrics.  This means that one element, making sure the fabrics work together is already considered.  I then consider all the fabrics as a whole.
  • Feature some applique – Why not?  I fancy trying something new, and a baby quilt is small enough if I hate doing applique, there isn’t much to do.

Other considerations

  • The gift recipient – Let’s be honest, a baby quilt is really for the parents.  Making sure it fits their asthetic is important, and then worry about gender stuff.  HOWEVER.  I have made a quilt for someone who knew they were having a girl, and then at the 35 week scan…I was literally sewing on the binding when I got the text message that the sonographer got it wrong, and it was a boy.  With a pink quilt.  Strongly recommend gender neutral here people.
  • Time – I need to be able to make this before the baby arrives, so no fancy pants patterns here.  I want simple, beautiful and quick.  This also includes where I source the fabric from.

Let’s cover some basics

As mentioned above, my quilt will be made from pre-cuts.  So what does that mean?

  • Jelly Roll. A jelly roll is co-ordinating fabrics, pre-cut into 40 strips, measuring 2 1/2″ x 42″.  Personally I don’t like jelly rolls as they are really limiting.  The only baby quilt I’ve ever made from a jelly roll was just strips sewn together.
  • Charm pack. A layer cake is co-ordinating fabrics, usually pre-cut into 42 blocks, all 5″ x 5″
  • Layer cake. A layer cake is co-ordinating fabrics, usually pre-cut into 42 blocks, all 10″ x 10″.
  • General pre-cut. This is often a whole range of fabric.  A designer will release 10-20 co-ordinating fabrics from a set colour palette.  Often these can come as fat quarter packs.  This means that the fabric will be in 50cm x 50cm squares precut.  You can receive any quantity of fat quarters.

Hello Google

If you are a purely visual person, you could just cut straight to my Pinterest board.   The first thing I did was to scope out the parent to be’s Pinterest board.  This was so see if there nursery had a theme, or if their general design sense went one way or another.  This person had classic designs, that didn’t dominate a room or be too gender specific.  They also loved cotton and Steele and art gallery fabric.

With that in mind, I decided to focus on pre cuts without a really strong theme, and in gender neutral colours.  By that, I mean there are no bright Pink fabrics with brown and orange owls.  Super cute, but not what this parent would buy, so not what I would gift.

So then, I just googled fabric shops, and started browsing with a glass of wine!

baby quilt coordinating australian fabric

Ink and spindle quilting fabric

Houston, we have fabric.  I repeat, we have fabric.

The lovely ink and spindle quilting weight cotton it is.  There are 12 fat quarters included, and that should be plenty.


Looking back over my board, I’m trying to pick what will look good with some applique, and suits the fabrics.  Large prints don’t suits being cut into small blocks, and sometimes small prints look more balanced chopped up.

This could be nice, lots of straight lines but how would the applique look on top?


I think something like this could show off the fabrics, without looking like squares just sewn together (but shhhhh…thats what it is!)


Quilt tutorial by Reanna Lily Designs

So you can see, I’ve already got a fair idea of what it’s going to look like.  It’s going to be blocky, and use the applique as a feature, but not the entire focus of the quilt.


I’m going to consider applique at the same time, as different designs might change my opinion on which patchwork design to use.

As my fabric is Australian, I was thinking about trying to make a possum magic quilt.  The difficulty with that, is the images are so iconic, but wouldn’t work without fine detail.  If it would be recognisable as a silhouette, then it’s good.



Then I was thinking about Australian Flora, but would gumleaves just melt into the back and be too much?

I’m looking for a design to do in a dark colour, in silhouette, that makes me have feels.  But not owls, or boats or kitsch.  Tall order.

Click here to go to the #QuiltLikeABoss page for links to all the posts in the QuiltAlong and other information!

FO : Maria Denmark Day to Night top

Over the christmas break I went a little MIA from both the internet and my sewing room.  Finishing up at work on the 21st, I was at home until the 14th of January, so that should have been heaps of time to sew.  Right?

After loving the Kirsten Kimono Tee, I joined forces with the tweeters to pester Maria Denmark to release the Day to Night top after seeing a sneak preview on twitter.

Maria Denmark day to night top

In the week around Christmas, I greedily used every nap time and bed time to cut out all the glorious things I would sew.  And the Maria Denmark day to night top was one of them.  With a little bit of this cotton/rayon blend jersey left, I wondered if I could eek out another Kirsten kimono blouse AND the day to night top.  (The correct answer is yes, and I possibly could have cut out four tops if initially I had cut responsibly).

I spent AGES laying the pattern pieces out to get the four pattern pieces to fit, and then to fold the fabric on the grain.  Right, so picture my fabric folded up all neatly, with all my pattern pieces sitting perfectly on their respective folds on the floor.  I get halfway through cutting out, literally half way through one piece and the baby wakes up.  I duly attend to her needs, and pop her with Daddy so I could just spend 5 minutes to finish cutting out.  AND CAT-TASTROPHE.  This MONSTER has decided to play and roll about on my fabric.

Charlie, destroyer

Anyway, to cut a very long story short, the cat survived, I rescued my fabric and it probably ended up a smidge off grain.  The initial story was how I had the week of cutting out fabric, remember?  My sewing got hijacked by two weeks of DIY.

Tragically, sunflower yellow walls, burgundy trim and green cupboards that were the lovely stylings of our home were not quite our taste.  Variations of white on white on white?  Yesssss please.  In honour of my long arduous hours of sanding, paint stripping, priming and painting (which are still to be completed, there is a whole lot of gloss paint destined for those skirting boards, and doors to be hung), my newly completed day to night top has been photographed in the newly painted hallway and study.

Back view


Very comfortable.  This top is drafted without any seam allowances, (and I forgot to add them) and it fit beautifully, so for my personal preference for this top, this seems to be the right way to remove a tiny bit of design ease.   I am thinking I need to start doing sway back adjustments on my tops, there always is that pooling sitting there.  It’s an easy adjustment to ignore, as most the time I can’t see it.

The cowl drapes nicely, but can dip a little low at times.  Then again maybe I’m just getting more conservative.  Or, maybe I didn’t read the instructions right and missed something.  I won’t rule that out.  Ever.

Maria Denmark day to night top

Bend safe check


This is the same fabric that I used for my Maria Denmark Kirsten Kimono tee (what a mouthful!), blogged about here, managing two kimono tees AND a day to night top out of this.   Not bad for 2.1 metres and a grand total of $8.10.  Jealous much?

lovely soft knit fabric easy to sew


The construction of this blouse is quite straight forward, with side seams serged, the back neckline finished with elastic and the hems/arms done with a twin needle.  The twin needling needs a bit of a press in this photo.  The really neat thing about this pattern is how the cowl is folded and sewn into the shoulder seam.  It’s a nice detail and finishes the top well.

maria denmark day to night top

Future lessons

This top needs a fabric that won’t relax so much during the day as the cowl got a little more daring as the day progressed.  By 5pm at work, if the cowl dipped at the right angle it showed a little bra.  Just a little hint.  Which doesn’t bother me at work but a little more at playgroup.   All said, I’m really tempted to try and combine this top with the tiramisu waistband and skirt, a kind of take on SewbusyLizzy’s sewing dare, which is the day to night top as a dress!

FO : Maria Denmark kirsten kimono blouse

The real test of how much you love an item of clothing for me, is if it ever makes it to the wardrobe.  This top get pinched out of the washing basket and worn again before being folded and put away.  Admittedly, my washing does occasionally linger in the washing basket, but who wants to be folding clothes when they can be sewing?

knit fabric

Sewbusylizzy is a big supporter of Maria Denmark patterns, and after hearing about them so much on twitter, I decided to go the low commitment route and try her free pattern, the kimono blouse.  This was a pattern that I expected to never wear, as it’s completely unlike any of my other tops.  It fit perfectly with only a small grading between sizes as a lazy bust adjustment.

I named this one of my top 5 favourite patterns of the year as it goes with everything.  I wear it to work under a suit, with jeans or a skirt for days at home and at playgroup.  It’s amazing with with the heat wave we’ve been having as it just skims over your body.

Maria Denmark Kimono top


Perfect.  This top is drafted without any seam allowances, (and I forgot to add them) and it fit beautifully, so for my personal preference for this top, this seems to be the right way to remove a tiny bit of design ease.


This is a cotton/rayon blend from GJ’s fabrics on Lygon St Melbourne.  It was a quick remnant table find, and was a bargain.  I really shouldn’t tell you where it was from in case there is any more left to buy.  IT’S MINE.  In EVERY COLOURWAY.  I managed to squeeze another two tops out of the remnant.  That’s how much I love it, and the tiny slivers of offcuts are holding my tomatoes to stakes.  So also a great gardening fabric.

lovely soft knit fabric easy to sew


Time for a small confession here.  I didn’t follow the instructions at all, I did faux twin needling and was amazingly lazy in every conceivable way.  I serged up the sides, and used steam a seam on the neckline, hemline and sleeves before doing my shocking faux twin needling as my twin needle needed replacing.  At least I used a stretch needle!  The neckline stretches out by the end of the day, so really Maria has it right and I’ll be using stretch elastic next time.  Promise.

Future lessons

The finish on this would have more professional if I had made it as per the instructions.  While I can often sub in techniques, it doesn’t make them better.  A little knowledge can be very dangerous!

You can download this pattern either at Craftsy or at Maria’s website, ShopOnion.  There is a rumour on the internet that Maria will be releasing printed patterns this year… Very excited!

Renfrew V2 – another confirmed case of Renfrew-itis

**disclaimer – I do sell Sewaholic patterns, so I’m not blogging to sell her patterns, but I sell her patterns (and blog about them) because I really love them)**

SewbusyLizzy diagnosed herself with a severe case of Renfrew-itis, and it seems so be striking down sewers around the world.  (I suspect there are a few Melbourne cases with both Thornberry and SewBrunswick both up to large numbers…at last count I thought I saw Renfrew number 6 at SewBrunswick?

This really is my favourite pattern, I’ve worn my pink one as soon as it comes out of the wash, and having undertaken the Seamless pledge (no buying new clothes for a whole year) this is going to be a staple.  At the moment view C the cowl neck is my favourite, as it’s nice and warm in winter.  For real warmth I should make the long sleeve version, but inevitably long sleeves always get pushed up to my elbows anyway so might as well save on some fabric.

Please let me present, Renfrew number 2, the matched stripe stretchy version.

This one was quite difficult to get a decent photo of, as soon as we began taking photos I was attacked by a wild pack of dogs.  Or two overly affectionate Pointers.

We ended up with more photos of me patting the overly enthused dogs.

This pattern was pretty easy to cut out to make the stripes match which was unexpected, as long as you think long and hard about the seams lines, instead of the pattern lines you should be able to match up the stripes with a bit of thinking prior to cutting.


AS this knit was much stretchier than my first Renfrew (an interlock knit),  strangely enough it was loose.  Fancy that.  I lengthened the torso of the pattern by an inch, which wasn’t necessary in this fabric as lacks the recovery to ride up at all.  The lengthening just makes it look loose around the torso.  The other (now obvious) but disappointing thing was the cowl neck which drapes beautifully in a firm knit is droopy in this fabric.  In saying all the above, this renfrew is still completely wearable and gets quite the workout in my wardrobe rotation.


This was a pretty cheap cut, $7 a metre from Darn Cheap fabrics in Heidelberg, and it may pill.  So far it’s gone through the wash a couple of times and it’s still ok, but the large vertical stripes look faintly fluffy.  I won’t be too upset if it has a short life span, as the fit and collar could have been a little better.


To sew this, I used my normal singer sewing machine with a zig zag stitch medium stitch width and about 1.5 stitch length from memory.  The other adjustments was the use of a ball point needle and adjusting my presserfoot to 0 pressure.  Sewed like a dream!   To match the stripes I cut the corner of the front at the same point as the corner of the back (where the seams would match under the arm).  Really, once the grainline of the pattern pieces were straight, I checked the stripes of all the pieces to make sure the sleeves were sitting on the same ‘part’ of the pattern.  It’s hard to explain, but if you get a cheap stripy material with a changing patttern it’s easier to work it out looking at the fabric and the pattern pieces as you go.

Future lessons

I will use stretchy knits like this for a Renfrew again, but I’ll cut a much smaller size in the sleeves and from the bust down and make the round neck version.  My tip, if you are using a stretchier knit cut at least one size down.

So what makes this a case of Renfrew-itis?

How about the four Renfrews here?  Two are cut out (the purple and the stripes) and the black is laid out for cutting, and the blue earmarked for another!  I might divert it and make something else however, 6 Renfrews might be a little excessive?
I’m cutting all my knits in one go before borrowing my mothers serger, so I’ve been listening to the Stuff you missed in History podcast while laying out all this fabric.  Learning and sewing, it’s a beautiful thing.  My local library lets users borrow audio books straight to your Iphones so I’ve even been listening to some fiction.  Brilliant!

Oliver and S Bedtime Story PJ’s (v.2)

Also known as the version there wasn’t quite enough fabric for the sleeves.  Or binding.

Sometimes don’t you find a pattern that is just so easy and has such a satisfying result that you make it over and over again?  After slowly putting one together, this one was a cinch and was done in easily 1/3 of the time.  With the price of flannelette being so low ($4.99 at spotlight) last weekend I bought another 2 metres.  Which turned into versions 3 and 4.

It’s interesting however when you don’t have enough fabric how creative you can get.  There was an article in the weekend Age newspaper about a couple who renovated their house, but outside their new sliding back door was… a swimming pool.  Instead of pulling out the swimming pool, they built a bridge from the house to the backgarden over their pool, creating an amazing feature and talking point for the house.  That and technically the house has a moat, which is cool in it’s own right.  The point of all this is sometimes being forced into a bind can make something more gorgeous.  Now this is no bridge over a pool, but the shortage of fabric meant I had to twist and turn the pattern pieces to get them all on the remaining handprint fabric.

The result?  The neckband is three pieces of fabric pieced together, the ties and leg bindings match, and in proper kimono style the lower part of the sleeves is a contrasting fabric.  Wouldn’t it be amazing some of the things we could make if we tried this more often?

Sewaholic Renfrew

**Total disclaimer, I sell sewaholic patterns on so am completely biased.  On an interesting note this is the pattern that made me start selling sewing patterns online.  I HATE having to order things from overseas and wait, and sometimes trying to source independent patterns in Australia is painful.**

This week I sewed (finally) my first Renfrew, using the cowl neck 3/4 sleeve versions.  And I loved it.  This pattern was fast to construct, so fast that I think I’ll go and buy a few metres of different colour knits and sew up a storm in an afternoon and have a half a new wardrobe.  Or at least 3 Renfrews.  What took the longest amount of time while sewing was deciding how to finish the seams.  Actually what took the longest was unpicking the stupid stitching with a twin needle I did around the arm and then unpicking the arm as I sewed it while tired and stretched the seams.

I followed the Lladybird method of grading between sizes to get a full bust adjustment, but it’s just not enough.  Looking at the front the sleeves are really pulled out of shape and there are folds of fabric running from the sleeve to the bust apex. The bust is a size 12, with the rest of the top a size 10 as being a knit there is enough give for the top to be comfortable, and it fits like a knit RTW.  I’m just sick of the trade off between enough boob room and loose everywhere else or really stretched over my chest and hips to have any fitting around my middle.


The fit aside from the bust is great.  It looks like the fabric pools under the bust as it’s taut only there with the rest of the pattern loose fit.  That little bit of extra space around the hips is welcome, and the waistband helps stop the riding up.  I will lengthen the pattern next time for my long torso, to ensure no back gap between my pants and top.  This pattern is listed as intermediate, however a beginner confident with knit fabric would be able to do a great job.


Sewaholic Renfrew Pattern This is a medium weight interlock from Darn Cheap Fabrics in Heidelberg which was $7 a metre.  According to the pattern you need 2.1 metres (2 1/4 yards) for this version, but I bought 2 metres and had enough leftover to cut out a cowl neck dress for my daughter.    Darn Cheap fabrics does sell online, but if they do fabric samples get them first as the fabric quality tends to be either excellent or poor.  The colour looked wrong when I bought it, but I’m pleased with the end result.  Finally managed to buy fabric in a colour I wear, so it was quite amusing how uninspired the colour felt when buying it.

In trying to learn about the types/varieties of knits, it’s well worth buying (or going to the library) and looking at a fabric reference guide.  I used the Fabrics A to Z to work out what would work rather than tugging on every bit of fabric in the store.


After practising sewing with knits on 4 baby hoodies I’ve found the combination if techniques that work for my sewing machine.  After reading a wide variety of advice on how to sew knits, the general conclusion is use ballpoint needles, a zigzag stitch (or other stretch stitch) and the rest depends on your sewing machine.  My machine also enjoys having the pressure on the presser foot reduced to 0, twin needle stitching and a hot cup of tea while sewing.   There is still a great deal of improvement to be had in my sewing of knits, but my renfrew was finished well.  If you had an overlocker this would be half an hour of sewing.

It’s worth being pleased with the time it took to sew and the final result if your husband doesn’t realise you made it.  WIN.

Future lessons

A stable knit really works well for this pattern.  I know some people love the super stretchy knits but this has enough give to be comfortable and loose and still look nice.  Any more stretch and I would cut a much smaller size as the pattern is soft around your frame with a stable knit.  The next one I sew will have a FBA adjustment like VickiKateMakes rotating out from the arm, just to get the fit better around the arm.  Will I make more of these?  Of course!