Tuesday, 18 December 2012


Another ultra funky laminate arrived in the door yesterday so I thought it's about time to start getting you inspired to sew with it!

Laminated cotton is quite set apart from regular oil cloth laminate, as this is much softer due to the cotton underneath, and far more versatile!

First off does this not look perfect for the summer? Tutorial available here . We have a great range of fabrics that would work for this:


Then check out this super super simple circle poncho by Me Sew Crazy and again with our new Little Kukla laminate or even the fantastic animal print will be great for boys! 


If you are just looking for a small project to start with, try out this drink holder by Sew Can Do

 All our laminates are available here and can be purchased by the Fat Quarter or just add 4 to make it a meter

Monday, 10 December 2012

Girls Leggings Tutorial

Today we are very privileged (and maybe it was really just a bribe seen that she works in the shop!) to have Juliet from Tartankiwi guest posting for us today with a fantastic tutorial on sewing with knit fabrics. 

Designer knits are finally making their entry into New Zealand and I love the way the manufactures are bringing out not only knits but laminates & flannels all in the same ranges great  for co-ordination! 

My daughter is a fairly tall and slim four year old. Often when I buy her leggings, they end up looking like baggy, badly fitting pyjama bottoms, so when I saw the beautifully soft the Sweetest thing Multi Knit fabric at the Make Cafe, I thought that I'd try and custom make some leggings for her.

Now, I have never sewn leggings before and I have fairly limited experience of sewing with knits but I love trying new things, doing my homework and generally experimenting with my sewing. I'm the sort of sewer who enjoys working without a pattern and figuring things out. I thought it might be fun to share what I have learnt about leggings making with you.

To make a pair of leggings you will need:
  • a pair of leggings that fit well to use as a template
  • Knit fabric
  • an overlocker/ serger. (recommended, but not essential)
  • a ballpoint needle or a double needle for your sewing machine (I'll discuss this in a bit more detail later on)
  • a walking foot on your sewing machine (again, recommended but not essential)
  • elastic for the waist
Lets get started!

First choose a pair of leggings to use as a template. Fold them as shown in the photo and lay them on top of your fabric. Ensure to lay the long straight side of the leggings along the fold in your fabric.
Cut around your leggings allowing at least 1/2 inch at the sides, 1 inch at the top and however much you want at the bottom.
I left too much fabric at the top and ended up cutting about an inch off it.
Here is one of my leg pieces cut to size.

Next take each leg, fold it in half lengthwise with the right sides together and serged down the inner leg seam. Please note, you don't have to use a serger, but if you have one it leads to great results. Remember that knit fabrics do not fray or come undone if the edges are left unfinished.

Turn one leg right side out, leave the other leg inside out. Insert the leg which is the right way into the other leg, serge around the crotch seam. Ensure that the leg seams are beautifully lined up when you do this.

Turn your leggings the right way out now. They should be talking shape nicely now. The next step is to hem the bottoms. This is when I started experimenting. I was fortunate in that I was able to squeeze two pairs of leggings from one width of fabric. As such I was able to have a play and discover the best methods to use when sewing knit fabrics on a sewing machine.

Here's what I learnt:

For the first pair, I used a ballpoint needle, a walking foot on my sewing machine and a small zig-zag stitch. This was a technique that I had read heard would result in neat stitches with a certain amount of stretch. The results looked neat, but didn't have as much stretch as I had hoped.
For the second pair, I used a double needle, a walking foot and a straight stitch. I do not have a particularly fancy machine, but having read this blog post on the advantages of using a double needle on knits, I decided to give it a go. I was surprised how easy it was to install and by the instantly great results. I placed a bobbin with white thread under the thread reel and taking the two threads together, I threaded my machine as I would normally do. I didn't have to do anything special with the bobbin or the stitch selection.

The stitches have lots of stretch and after seeing the results I was immediately convinced as to the merits of a double needle on knits. To be honest, I'm extremely tempted to go back and unpick the zig-zag hems on the first pair of leggings!

Next, create a casing for the waist elastic. Leave a 2-3 cm gap through which you can thread the elastic.

Place a folded ribbon or a label of some kind in the back of the elastic casing (so that you can tell what is the front and what is the back.
Using a safety pin, thread your elastic through the casing.

I will admit that I used different elastic for each pair. For the first pair of leggings I used 1 inch wide elastic. Once the leggings were finished I felt that the elastic was too stiff and not particularly kind my daughters little tummy.

For the second pair I divided the elastic casing in two and used two lengths of 1/4 inch wide elastic. Its far softer with lots more stretch so its kinder to small tummies. When I make leggings in the future I will either use this technique again or 1/2 inch wide elastic.

Sew the ends of the elastic together.

Close the casing.

Try the leggings on your child (if you are anything like me, keeping your fingers crossed that they fit!) then stand back and admire your handiwork.

If your daughter is anything like mine, she'll love her new leggings! Can you tell from the photos?

I hope that these pointers have helped you and encouraged you to try sewing with knits- its fun and you'll love the result

Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Modern Applique Workshop


Last week we had our first Modern Applique workshop, run by this amazingly talented lady 

It was so much fun! During the 2 hour workshop you learn the 3 methods of applique and get to have a go and creating something wonderful like this!

All our workshops come with a glass of Charlies Raspberry Lemonade (so good during the summer!), something sweet to nibble on like chocolate & strawberry tarts or our gorgeous caramel or cranberry slice! Plus tea & coffee is served

You not only learn new skills during the class, but you have a great time creating and meeting new friends!

We have another applique class running this Sunday (there are just 5 spaces left) This is a great way to make some fantastic quick & special Christmas presents this year! Book here now and our gift vouchers are also valid for workshops if you know someone who would love to up their sewing & crafting skills!


And if you are an addicted applique fan already check out the Slice Fabrique! 100's of designs cut out at the touch of a button! The starter kit comes with everything you need to get going including a free design card with over 148 designs including a full alphabet & numbers

Saturday, 17 November 2012

Homemade Scallop Advent Bunting

Lucky us, Stella from The Golden Adventures of a Very Dark Horse  is guest posting today and has created a fantastic tutorial for homemade scallop advent bunting! Oh the treasures you could store in there!

Don't forget you still have time to enter our fantastic $200 crafty basket giveaway! View Here Closes 17th December open to NZ residents only :)

You will need:

  • fabric of your choice.  I used five fat quarters in these delicious designs via the Sew Pretty store.
  • Plain fabric in the colour/pattern of your choice, to use as backing.
  • Approx 3 yards of trim.  I used this pompom trim, but binding or pretty ribbon would work just as well.
  • A template for cutting out your scallops.  Hand draw and cut one from a piece of card, to suit your size and shape specifications.  I wanted my flags to be 4inches in width, with a quarter inch seam allowance.  In the end my template was about 4 1/2" by 4 1/2", which allowed for seams and perfectly fit my 3 yards of trim.
  • Fabric paint (normal acrylic will work as a substitute, as this project requires no washing) OR felt.
  • (If you are using the paint option) A stencil with numbers - unless you are willing to paint these free-hand.
Note:  I chose not to add letters to my bunting this year, so that I can use it for some upcoming celebrations, and because Eleanor cannot recognise numbers yet.  Next year I plan to glue hand-cut felt numbers on using fabric glue.

Step one:  Using your template, cut out 25 pockets from your chosen fabrics, and 50 pieces of backing using a plain fabric (I used white) leaving a extra 2" allowance for the 50 backing pieces (shown below).  

Pocket piece.

L: Backing piece.  R:  Pocket piece.

Step two:   Topstitch the top edge of each of the pockets with a single fold hem.  

Step three:  Painting the numbers onto the pockets at this point will give the paint time to dry, and remove the risk of paint seeping through onto the backing fabric (which could cause it to stick, as well as looking messier).  Alternatively if you are using letters cut from felt, now would be a good time to glue/sew them down (once you've done all that cutting out!).  I would recommend a dab of glue, even if you are sewing them on, to hold them securely in place.

Step four:  As soon as the numbers have dried, it is time to assemble the flags.  First you will lay the pocket atop the flag piece - wrong side to right side - as in image A.  You will then place the backing - right side to right side - atop both of those pieces, as in image B.  You will then attach all three pieces together using a single hem, with a 1/4" seam allowance - as in image C, leaving the top open.




Step five:  Snip around the curves of each flag, careful not to slice your hem.  Then turn your flags right way out, using a knitting needle if necessary to keep the corners smooth.

Step six:  Turn the top 1/4" of the exposed edges inside the flag, and press the entire flag (if you are using binding, it's fine to skip this step and leave the edges raw).

Step seven:  Attach your trim/ribbon/binding to the flags, like so! And then you're ready to pop some little treats in!

Easy, if a little time-consuming with all those flags.  But now you have the cutest advent bunting ever, and if you're like me, you won't want to take it down after Christmas.  In fact, who says you have to?!

Friday, 9 November 2012


So opening day finally arrived! It was a hard manic rush to the end but well worth it! We enjoyed celebrating with a few friends the night before and Angie from Bake Me Cakes (who will also be teaching classes at Make) made a fabulous last minute cake for us!

Here are a few pictures of the fabric side of things 

The reflection across the road  is the Lone Star (The historic Bush Inn Hotel originally) which was built in 1865 it's nice to have a bit of history around along with a place to make new memories!

You can book a table at the make cafe simply call 03 348 6187 or email info@themakecafe.co.nz. We also offer a special high tea for bookings of more than 8 which consist of bringing out the china cups and some tiered stands of sweet or savoury treats to try. Have a smell test of our 8 blends of Harney & Sons teas and then choose 3 to share at the table (filter coffee also available) at an introductory rate of $8 pp

Don't be afraid to bring the kiddos in either! We have a great section of toys in the cafe & fabric shop! 

I will post some more pictures up as soon as things are settling in :)


To celebrate our opening we are giving away not just one but 2 amazing gift hampers consisting of the following valued at over $200!

Mollie Makes Magazine
Gorgeous Quilts for Gracious living book
Fiskars ergo Control Rotary Cutter (for left & right hands!)
Robert Kaufman 18 pack of homespun (4.5 yards total)
A Jar full of buttons & findings
7cm purse frame
2 Fat Quarter Cupcakes
1meter of Adornit Damask Ribbon
Mini Embroidery Hoop
2 Madame Tricote threads
Martha Stewart Craft Paint

To enter to win just leave us a comment! 

We also have another basket in store so you have double the chance to win. To enter in store just write your email & contact number on the back of your receipt at checkout :) 

Closes 17th December - Winners announced 18th December (so you can get your prize in time for Christmas!) Be sure to sign up by email to this blog to see if you have won!