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Mab’s Sewing Blog

Mab’s Sewing Blog.

12th January 2014-01-12

It is late but I wanted to write something before I went off to bed.  We have had a busy few days getting ready for this week’s classes.  We are excited about it all and hope everyone enjoys the experience. 

Kids classes are tomorrow and Wednesday and are fully booked.  We have had to prepare the kits for the girls to sew and choosing the fabric is such a fun part of what we do.  Each student will receive a cute kit bag which contains everything they need and will be fun for them to open up.  At the end of day one, where they learn all the basics of machine use, they will receive their machine driver’s licence. We think the girls will like that.  It is worth mentioning here that both Fee and I have a Govt. Blue Card and we carry full public liability insurance.  

On Tuesday we have two classes running, firstly the free one hour dress class.  We hope the women that come to this will see just how much fun sewing can be and that it is something they can easily achieve.  We added the second lesson of How To Use Your Sewing Machine when we realised that a lot of people will have received sewing machines for Christmas and the stores selling them don’t always provide lessons.  We want to help these people be in charge of their machines and be confident in their use.  We will repeat this class in February after the kids have returned to school.  Our adult sewing courses start in February  and will be informative as well as a nice social time too. We also have after school classes for kids starting in Feb and think they will be popular.

I am starting to look ahead at fashion for 2014 and look forward to sharing some new ideas with you. For me that is autumn and for some of you it will be summer so this gives me lots to talk about so till next time Happy Sewing


7th January 2014.

The very hot weather we have been having this past week really knocked me around and I found it difficult to do anything.  We have had record temperatures in the late 30’s and one day was 42.5 at our place.  That is close to 115 in what we call the old scale.  Too hot for me.  However today is back to 26C which is about where I like it.  Crazy isn’t it because those of you who live in the northern hemisphere are experiencing record lows.  My heart goes out to those of you in the UK where floods are a big problem.  I grew up in a flood area so I know what it is like but without the cold.  I live on a hill now.  In the US you are having record low temperatures and lots of heavy snow so I hope you are coping with that.  I can’t even guess how cold it must be in Canada.  Me, I like it 26C all the year round, and it is about our average temperature here.

I thought I would give you some ideas about buying a sewing machine as many of you have asked questions about that and it can be confusing. I have always felt that the important things are to buy from a place where you get good back up service and proper lessons.  I know there are cheaper models sold in chain stores but these are often more difficult to use and the only back up you get is if things go wrong they exchange the machine for you.  It may not have been a machine problem at all but a user problem.  Statistics tell us that those who buy the cheaper machines buy the highest number of machines over time.  I recommend that you spend as much as you can stretch to and learn to use it well and you will probably have the same one for years.  Choose a brand that has been around for a long time as those companies don’t usually sell machines that don’t work.  Look at a few different ones as each of the major brands have their own unique features. Brands that I would choose from are Bernina, Brother , Husqvarna/Viking, Janome, Pfaff and Singer.  I would have added Elna to that list years ago and I worked for them for seven years but they are part of the Janome company now and you are probably just as well off with one of those today.  They sell under the name of New Home in UK and Us I believe.

The features I love on my machine are needle up and down, great speed control so that I can easily do one stitch at a time when doing intricate work, a perfect satin stitch, a fully variable stitch width, a good range of practical stitches and the feet that go with them to make it easy.  I do have a wide range of decorative stitches which I love but I know that isn’t important for everyone.  I also have a true no jam bobbin and Auto foot pressure and tension.

Take a selection of different types of fabric with you to try on before you buy. As a point of interest I have a ten year old Husqvarna Designer, Fee has a new Pfaff and loves it and we have two old Elnas which still sew perfectly and a very old Singer, way older than Fee, that sews well too. My son in Canberra sells Bernina, Pfaff, Brother ,  Elna and Singer , at his store “The Sewing Machine Doctor” and as a technician tells me he has no real problems with any of them.

Summing up, look for the features you want in a well known brand, spend as much as you can afford with a reputable dealer who gives good service and lessons.

I hope this has made it a little easier for you. If you have any questions about this contact me and I will help where I can.



Wednesday 1st January 2014.

Sewing Is The New Black in 2014.

We are told that this year will be a big year for Sewing. With the pressure of modern life many of wish to get back to some of the simpler things in life and take great pleasure in using our creative talents.  There has been a big resurgence in Quilting in the past few years but now sewing in the broader sense is taking off. This is due, in  part, to The Great British Sewing Bee, a reality TV show produced by the makers of The Great British Bake Off which is set to have another series in 2014.  Comments on their Facebook page tell us that sewers in Australia are asking for better access to this show here or even having something similar for our TV.

The sales of sewing machines are up in Australia and many are now ready to take the next step to sew their own wardrobe.  Of course the biggest advantage of this is you can customize a style to suit your figure type with just a few changes to a pattern and so many of us are not a standard size, so by using your own measurements you can get a better fit. This is where we can help you through either our hands on or online classes.

We have added a “Learn To Use Your Sewing Machine” class to our classes as we know a lot of new sewing machines are purchased through chain stores who don’t offer proper lessons and knowing just how your machine works and being able to do your own simple trouble shooting gives you great confidence. Tomorrow we are filming “How To Correctly Thread Your Sewing Machine.” which will be available to you and should help.  Sometimes it is just knowing a few tricks that makes the difference.

So now, at the beginning of a New Year lets maximize our creative side and commit to finishing those UFO’s and share ideas and get sewing.





Monday 30th December.

As I type tonight I can hear The Edinburgh Tattoo on our TV.  This is a bit of a New Year tradition here in Australia for many families and we always enjoy watching it.

I have had a busy day today as I have this “thing” at New Year if I am not up to date with things I will be behind all of the next year, silly isn’t it.  So I was up at 5am to get my ironing up to date before the day became too hot.  Then it was off to the shops to get some new stationery for my office and of course the fabric for the one hour dress.  Not the best time to go shopping while the “Boxing Day” sales are still on.  People everywhere. I did buy the fabric I wanted[why is the one I want never on sale] and I hope to include a photo of it for you tomorrow.

Armed with my new folders and diary I spent the afternoon getting things up to date in my office and ,no, I didn’t hang up the new calendar today.  Now at least I have all the ideas Fee and I have for My Sewing Club in some sort of order.

The task for tomorrow apart from vacuuming will be to sort my sewing room.  I sew in part of the laundrey and it is pretty well set up except over the holidays it does become a bit of a dumping ground, so I can’t have that for the New Year.  Of course the real problem is that I have too many books and magazines not to mention my fabric stash.  Someone said my stash was a S.A.B.L.E stash which aparently means, “Stash Beyond Life Expectancy.” They were probably right but I can’t seem to part with my books or fabric.

I have been putting our wardrobe planning, as taught in our classes, in place though by starting with a clean out of my wardrobe a few weeks ago.  Now as I tidy my stash I make note of fabric that I can use to fill the gaps in my wardrobe. I do try to stay with the colours that suit me, that way things coordinate better.  If you aren’t sure of the best colours for you there are courses you can do but with the help of a trusted and honest friend you can do a good job yourself. You will need a variety of different fabric coloured fabric pieces to drape around your neck and shoulders. Borrow from friend’s fabric stashes for this if you need to.  Clean off your make up and cover your hair with a plain white cloth. Sit where the light is good and wrap the fabrics, one by one ,around your neck and shoulders.   The colour from these will reflect on your face and will soon show which colours are best for you.  You need your skin to be a natural soft skin colour, not too pale and yellow or too rudy and pink. Most of us are drawn to the colours that suit us best so its not as hard as you think. This can be a fun way to spend an afternoon with two or three friends. A book I can reccomend on this is an oldie but goodie called “Colour Me Beautiful” by Carole Jackson.

I will be so organised for the New Year that as soon as the holiday time is over I will be ready to hop right in to my sewing. I am looking forward to it.



P.S. I must perfect the photo applications of this website.  That gets added to my to-do list as well.

PPS. If you are a registered member of our club you can comment on my posts[be gentle] or ask me questions.


Sunday 29th December.

Well, here we go with me looking after the “blog” part of our webpage.  What a learning curve this year has been for both Fee and I.  We both had dabled a little in Facebook and knew the basics of using our computers but ,boy, have we come a long way from there.  Of course we had to upgrade our Facebook skills and learn about Twitter , Pinterist and Google plus.  We had a briliant lady help set up our webpage but we are still adjusting to just how it all works.  There are still a few things we want to adjust to make it easier for you to use but we are close to having it the way we want now.

I am still amazed when I watch the Sew Magic lesson series we filmed and feel proud at the way it all turned out.  Of course with the background both of us have had over many years in the sewing industry the sewing content was never going to be a problem and we knew exactly what we wanted to teach you.  Sewing has been both a joy and a passion for both of us and we wanted to make it fun and easy for our students as always.  However learning the best way to put this on film and doing the editing and then uploading it to the website was completely new for us and it did take a while to get it right.  Also I had to write an eBook to go with the classes and this also took a lot of time. But that is all done now and our DVD’s should be ready in another week or two as well.

Of course this is just the beginning as we now move on to film the Overlock, Applique and Home Dec classes next. For those of you who live on the Gold Coast you will be able to access our hands on classes as well.  So something for everyone.

We both take special delight in teaching kids and our recent free intro class went well on the Gold Coast with the holiday workshops booking now.

We had a staff meeting this afternoon at my place make our plans for the next weeks and months ahead.  It was quite a task as it was the hottest day so far this summer so we were working in our courtyard with a pool full of kids nearby.  Then we had a big thunder storm which did cool things down but we seemed to have wet kids and animals everywhere.  Not exactly a boardroom situation but we do have some great plans for you in the months ahead.

Now I am off to the fabric shop in the morning to buy fabric for our “One Hour Dress” lesson and lucky me it will be in my size.

Oh, and Happy 13th Birthday to my beautiful Granddaughter in Canberra.

Cheers, Mab.





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