This is me.

I’m Helene.

I shop here and here and here

Tessuti Fabrics

The Fabric Store

Handmaker’s Factory

Handmaker's Factory - sew, knit, refashion and reduce your footprint

The Craft Sessions

The Craft Sessions



My new Husqvarna Viking Opal 670 + Brother 3034D Home Lock

A few weeks ago, Moshe and I had a very serious and important conversation. The outcome? It’s time. Time for a new sewing machine. And – surprise surprise – a new overlocker! Wait! That sounds like I have one already. No, but it’s something I’ve wanted my whole sewing life. Well, actually since I bought my very first sewing machine, at age 19. That makes it oh, 38 years. A very long time.

I decided that my first port of call was to call the shop where I’d bought a fabulous Janome for my middle daughter several months ago – Liz’s Sewing Centre in Boronia, Victoria.

Liz's Sewing Centre, Dorset Square, Boronia

Liz’s Sewing Centre, Dorset Square, Boronia

Gita and I had been looked after so well there. The level of service, and the obvious, genuine interest the staff had in making sure we were completely taken care of, was phenomenal, and in stark contrast to the really bad experience we’d had at a couple of other stores. So, I thought it was a no-brainer to start my quest by calling Fotini at Liz’s, and asking her the question – “Which machine should I get?” I’d bought my eldest daughter a Janome too, for her birthday several years ago, and I wondered if I should also get a Janome so we could share feet, and bobbins, as Devorah had wisely suggested. But I wanted to know if it was the right choice for me, given I wasn’t a novice like my daughters had been when I bought their machines, and given that I already had a rather good collection of feet from my dear old 6230 Practica 5.

my collection of Husqvarna Practica 5 6230 feet

my collection of Husqvarna 6230 Practica 5 feet

She (Fotini) recommended the Husqvarna Opal, and after checking online for the specs and the reviews, I agreed. The perfect machine for me. I was pretty sure I could only afford the 650, and I was equally as sure that the 670 was out of my financial reach. Fotini mentioned that the Craft & Quilt Fair was coming up, and I should wait for that to get a great price. Agreed. Still thought they couldn’t possibly come down enough in price for me to get the 670.

Finally, Thursday came round, the first day of the Fair, and finally, at around 3:15 in the afternoon, I could get away to zip into town, and by 4:10, I was parked, and with ticket in hand, I walked into the Fair.

It was a very quick affair. By 4:50pm, I was walking away from the Husqvarna stand with not just a receipt for the Opal in my hand, but with a second receipt – for a Brother 3034D Home Lock! I can’t believe the amazingly great deal I got for the two machines, and I was ecstatic! I only had a certain amount of money to spend, which really shouldn’t have been enough for two machines, but … well, I’m lost for words! I got the 670! Check out the features on this baby…

Husqvarna Opal - features chart

Husqvarna Opal – features chart – click on the pic to enlarge it so you can read it clearly

I almost skipped out of the Fair, I was that happy! I’d wanted an overlocker for so many years now, and I think I’ll only get that it’s real when they call me to say my machines are in the shop, and I’m there, physically picking them up and bringing them home with me! Gotta wait about 10-14 days for them to get it in. Perfect amount of time to change things around a bit in my sewing room to make space for not one any more, but three machines! Amazing!

Oh, and on the way out of the Fair, I kinda ran into a Japanese fabric stand which cost me to the tune of 4x fat quarters. Oops!

wabi sabi Japanese fabric

wabi sabi Japanese fabric – aren’t they pretty? my next handbag


The Craft Sessions, are you going?

The Craft Sessions

I booked myself in the minute registrations opened! I love crafty weekends away. I love the Yarra Valley. I love meeting up with talented fellow crafters. The Craft Session is the brain-child of Felicia Semple, a very talented knitter (username ‘FlickaFish’ on Pinterest and Ravely). I’ve given my preferences for workshops I’d like to do, and I hope I get my first choices, but regardless, I’ll be equally delighted with my second and even my third choices, if it came to that.

Wiksten Tank

For Saturday, I’ve asked to do the Wiksten Tank Sewing class. Sophie Parslow from  Cirque Du Bebe is teaching the class, and even though I have made tank tops before, I’m really looking forward to spending the day with Sophie, and gleaning every bit of technical and creative inspiration I can from her. This class goes all day, so I should come away with a beautiful tank top, and heaps of fabulous notes, as well as the ability to do a beautiful, professional turned hem! Never have been able to master that one, so I’m pumped.

Embroidery  - Modern Sampler

Sunday is going to be a fun day with two classes, one in the morning, another in the afternoon. The morning will be spent with the wonderful Melissa Wastney of the Tiny Happy blog, who’s teaching the Embroidery – Modern Sampler class. Yes, I’ve embroidered before, eg. here and here, but I’m told that Melissa will be catering for all skill levels in her class, so I’m really looking forward to it. I love to embroider, and am keenly looking forward to learning more techniques to augment my skills.

Block Printing on Fabric

In the afternoon, I’ll be doing the Block Printing on Fabric class with Leslie Keating. I love her blog! I have followed another fabric block print rockstar, Geninne’s Art Blog, religiously now for ages and ages, and I’ve often thought about trying my hand with the Speedball lino, but just never really got to first base with it – which actually means that I’ve not bought any of it. So when I saw this class listed, I knew this was for me. I’m also rather partial to Leslie’s stamped fabrics that she sells in her Etsy store, maze & vale.

So, that’s what I’ll be doing on that October weekend. As well as taking part in early morning yoga session, enjoying a drink or two and indulging in that fabulous thing that happens when crafting women get together in a fabulous countryside location. Can’t wait! Do let me know if you’re also going, won’t you?

x Helene

PS. One of the items on the list of things to bring to the weekend is my sewing machine. I’m in the process of writing a blog post about a very exciting occurrence in that department. Should be ready to post it in the next 24 hours, so watch for it :)

A beautiful gift from Teegs

Look what rocked up in my mailbox this week…

beautiful Flores

beautiful Flores

It’s no secret that I love Ink & Spindle.  Do you know it? It’s where Tegan Rose and Lara Cameron create the most beautiful screen-printed fabrics over in their studio in Kensington, Melbourne, and I’m a huge fan. I’ve made many a bag for myself including this and this and this pouch and this earphones-pod using their stunning fabrics, and I have a little stash I’ve collected for making some of my new clothes later this year.

my ink & spindle fabric stash

my ink & spindle fabric stash

A little while ago, Tegan created a Pozible fundraiser to help her get to Mexico to study, and of course, without hesitation, I contributed.

I’d forgotten about what I’d been promised by my level of contribution, so when this parcel arrived in the mail, I was so surprised! I thought I was simply getting a lovely postcard or something, which would have been special enough, but I am so over the moon in love with this beautiful piece of deliciousness. Here’s a little note the Teegs put in, giving details of the fabric…

chempasuchil flowers

of course, the good old chempasuchil flowers! (never heard of them, have you?)

Now, I wonder what it will become – part of a skirt for summer? Or the front of a Victoria Blazer perhaps? Or possibly the front of a little Sorbetto tank? Hmmm… lots of possibilities.


Oh, and if you’d like to  get yourself some of this pretty fabric, sorry but, as you can read, this colourway was a special for those of us who supported Teegs  to go to Mexico. Did you happen to notice (as I just did!) that the Flores colourway will fit in perfectly with the fabrics I already have from Ink & Spindle? I must clearly love these colours, huh. I’m sure I also equally adore their other colours, but there you go!

Anyway, the good news is that Flores will apparently be in the Ink & Spindle shop in a different colourway soon, so if you like it, keep an eye out for it!

It's coming down!

My weight, that is. I’m on the (hopefully) last phase of my detox diet, and, in somewhere between four and five weeks’ time, I’ll be done. Woohoo! When I lose all the remaining weight and reach my target, it’ll put me in a size 8, the size I wore when I got married. Wanna see?

my wedding day - 1977


my wedding day - I'm 21, he's 24

I’m 21, he’s 24

How cute a couple were we! And how pretty is my Norma Tullo dress! It’s not that long ago. Only 36 years. Anyway, before I get too carried away with thinking those thoughts that’ll invariably lead me down a dark and gloomy path as I contemplate the passage of time and of my life, that’s what I’m aiming for. For the size I was then, not the actual weight. That might be at least a kilo or two more (read: up to 8 kilos more!), since I am just a smidgen older. All my 5 foot nothing (152.4 cm) height weighed was an itty bitty 48 kilos on my wedding day! Shame you can’t see my tiny little waistline in those photos that my beautiful white tulips are hiding.

I still have my dress of course, and the last time I was my ideal little self was in 2008, before the stressful years of my late father’s cancer, before Moshe’s kidney cancer, before my surgeries on my shoulder and foot. I’d tried on the dress, and it was only the eensiest bit tight across my chest. I could do up the zipper at the back, which was amazing. It didn’t look half bad! I really do have a small frame, which is why when I carry excess weight, no-one realizes just how much extra I’m carrying.

It’s only a matter of weeks now, somewhere around four or five perhaps, and I should be down to that size, and when I am, when I finally get there, oh boy, am I going to start sewing up a storm! I have all my fabrics and patterns on standby. It’s all so exciting. But I realized the other day, it dawned on me that now, with my goal almost nearly in sight, I don’t have any idea where to start. I mean, what I should sew first!

So over the past few days, I’ve begun to create a plan and I’m going to share with you my first cut at it. Since we’ll be smack in the middle of winter, with several good months of cool, if not downright cold, weather still coming our way, I’ll begin with some lovely wintery numbers, then move through to spring, and finally summer. Here’s what I’m thinking.

I want to make a couple of dresses. Possibly even three, but I’ll start with two. Then I’ll want two skirts, with blouses or shirts to wear with them. Also, two pairs of pants, including possibly a pair of jeans. And a few tops to go with. Oh, and then of course there’s my coat. OK, so now, I need to get to the specifics. What fabrics with what patterns. So here’s the beginning of my plan…

1. Vogue Patterns – V1328 Kay Unger

v1328-ponti-yellow v1328-ponti-yellow-02

I have a boiled-wool jacket that I love to wear (when I’m small enough to get into it!) The colour is one of my favourites. I love the offset cut of the front pieces, and the pretty embroidery embellishments on the front. I like the way the button draws the jacket in ever so gently across my waist.

The dress fabric is a ponti I bought from Tessuti a couple of months ago, and how great does it look under this jacket! I’m not sure that ponti is really a winter-weight fabric, but I think this can be a fabulous cross-season, pretty much all-year-round dress. I have it in another colour-way, in blue, but they’re all sold out now I think. Might be worth calling the Melbourne shop just in case. I think they may still have some in red, which is to die for.

The pattern is Vogue Patterns V1328 by Kay Unger. I seem to have a lot of her patterns. I really like her designs!

2. Burda - 10/2011 Knit A-line skirt #104

burdastyle-10-2011-knit-a-line-skirt-104-01 burdastyle-10-2011-knit-a-line-skirt-104-02
burdastyle-10-2011-knit-a-line-skirt-104-03 On another recent trip to Tessuti‘s, Courtney introduced me to the wondrous world of Missoni knits. I’ve always steered clear of knits, convinced that my 38-year-old Husqvarna couldn’t handle it, what with its limited stitch selection. But, thanks to Courtney who spoke so inspiringly and with strong conviction as she showed me the stunning collection, telling me that my little zig-zag stitches would be just fine, I dove in, as I’d fallen head-over-heels in love with this blue beauty. How’s that delicious selvage! I won’t be turning that under! You can take a look at what they have left of this collection in their online shop here. (Also, see below for another Missoni project I’m going to make.) Rather than going with a straight skirt, I think this Burda a-line skirt pattern will be great for this fabric. I prefer more fabric than less with this one, and if I cut cleverly, I could even have enough left over for a scarf! Happily, I have this mag, so I can trace out the pattern.

3. [find a top for the skirt above]

4. Vogue Patterns – V1247 Rachel Comey

v1247-skirt-01 V1247-skirt-02
V1247-skirt-03 I have loved this little skirt pattern the minute I set eyes on it. It’s Vogue Patterns Rachel Comey V1247 pattern, and I adore the front in-seam pockets! I’ll make it a little longer though. I don’t feel shorty-short skirts are flattering on me anymore.I bought this piece of linen at one of Tessuti‘s amazing sales where you really should just put up a tent and camp out for a few days, because they just keep bringing out new items on sale over the duration, and you never know when the thing you’re going to want most is put out!I have a couple of lovely cotton lawn pieces to make some tops for this fabric.Actually, the lawn tops came first, and I dug around in my stash cupboard looking for something to go with them. This red is perfect, as you’ll see.

5. Vogue Patterns – V8878 tunic

V8878-ahfr-eton-cream-01 V8878-ahfr-eton-cream-02
V8878-ahfr-eton-cream-03 I love this top! I’ll be able to tuck it into the skirt above, or wear it out. Think they’ll look good together, what do you think?Isn’t this butterfly fabric divine? It’s one I’ve had in my cupboard for a few years now. It was originally destined for a quilt of some kind, but luckily I didn’t get to make it, because I think it’ll be superb as  blouse.It’s one of Alexander Henry’s Fulham Road Cotton Lawn range, Eton in Cream. I actually only had one metre of it, but after extensive searching on the internet, I found another metre and snapped it up!

6. [another warmer top for red skirt]

And that’s as far as I’ve gotten to date. It’s late, and I can’t think anymore. I’m off to bed with my iPad to search for more ideas. G’night all.

x Helene

Page 3 of 1212345...Last »

Visit My Shop

Stitch 56 | the home of beautiful sewing notions, tools, patterns, and other necessary items

Creative Commons Licence

© 2009-2013 All Rights Reserved
Creative Commons Licence
25reasons by Helene is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Based on work at

Site Meter