Sonya May hem

A stitch in my side

The mother of them all

Well hello!  Another fabulous week to be sewing and creating and especially with it culminating in Mother’s Day it seems appropriate to do some special sewing for someone special.

I already had a store bought gift to give mum but wanted something personal to go with it.  Added to this I really wanted to try some applique and things were starting to become clear. But always a little practice first…

My inspiration came from a fabulous little pin from Flamingo Toes for some gorgeous applique feathers on a tea towel.  I would have done the tea towel but knowing my family it would be used to mop up some sort of tomato disaster… So, a cushion cover it became.  I love a good cushion cover – nothing brightens up a room quicker than a fresh cover.


Fabric Feather Applique

This is the first time I’ve tried applique although I’ve had the vliesofix (bondaweb) for quite some time.  The nice lady at the fabric shop wrote some brief instructions on how to use it but the interwebs is also awash with instructions.

I decided to up-cycle an old work shirt for this – a favourite that I hadn’t spilled anything on or accidentally written on.  Very unusual for me…

As this was my first go at applique, I tried zigzag on the edges but didn’t like the look – then I progressed to another stitch on my machine that kind of looks like blanket stitch but not quite which I still wasn’t happy with.  After some frustrating unpicking I decided to slowly stitch just on the inside of the shape with a plain stitch on the longest length.  It’s not as dramatic but I prefer the subtle stitching on the feather shape.

Well, as you can imagine I was so happy with the end product here that I decided on another cushion – for mum for mother’s day.  My mum loves owls, and although she likes her owls to look like owls there was no way I was going to do a brown cushion…. So, some secret sewing later I came up with this…


The Owl

I used two coordinating fat quarters of floral fabrics and some pale yellow for the eyes.  Again just a simple straight stitch to “applique”.  The template was just an image I googled and cut out. I added two little wooden buttons for the eyes ‘cos the stitching was awful but they needed something to bring them out. The white it sits on is another fat quarter from the stash – I really broke into my good stuff for this one!

Mum was really pleased with it and it now sits pride of place on her bed.  It’s hard to know what to get mum – she never knows what she wants (or needs), but as long as it has an owl on it then you’re half way there.

Hope you all had a lovely day with families [or banishing the family and spending some time sitting and relaxing or getting your craft on].





The Sister Quilt, Part 4

Another week done – another Sister Quilt completed and gifted!

This quilt was for my little sister, no. 4,  who celebrated a birthday with a big fat zero in it… ha ha.  I won’t say what the first number was but as a clue it rhymes with door.


The Sister Quilt, Part 4


This quilt was all made from Spotlight purchased fabric – FF Fancy Birdcage; FF Fancy Peacock; FF Fancy Paisley; FF Fancy Bird Toile. These prints are bird themed with lots of feathers and cages and all kinds of curls and leaves.

As with all my quilts I just cut squares and sew them together until I get the size I want.  A method that is yet to fail me! Although I ended up having to buy some additional yardage of the Fancy Paisley and Bird Toile – but not to worry I’m sure the left overs will be put to good use…

I used Quiltville’s Scrappy Trip method to ensure the pink chain fell in the right spot.  I really like using that pattern – it’s versatile and a quick way to construct a top.


The Sister Quilt, Part 4 — backing and binding

I chose to do complete machine binding in pink to echo the pink chains – rather than saturate it with any more of the duck egg.  The backing was some flannelette that I had leftover from another quilt – it’s a bit little girly but it is so soft and luxe to the touch, and pink, that it was just the thing to finish it off.  The quilting again was very simple – only this time I quilted just past every second line to keep it puffy and loose.


The Sister Quilt, Part 4

Of course, enough leftovers to make a cushion cover…


The Sister Quilt, Part 4 — Cushion cover

Pretty sure my sister liked it although I think she may have a struggle with her daughter over who actually gets to use it.

On to the next birthday quilt I guess – Dad turns 83 this month and I have a lovely stack of Sakizome Momen with his name on it.

Have a cheery weekend,



The Sister Quilt, Part 1

Well good day to you all.  With this superb weather we’ve been having here in Brisbane what better way to enjoy it than sit inside at a sewing machine!

Another good month for sewing – I completed two birthday quilts and a remote control pouch along with steady work on the hexie project and finally finding my bag of sashiko. Plus a visit to the craft show, a complete tidy up of “the studio” and the resulting piles of fabric unearthed all now neatly folded and stacked.

But for today let’s just focus on the first birthday quilt which I have imaginatively entitled The Sister Quilt, Part 1.  Obvious reasons – I made two quilts for two sisters. Now for ease of reference my parents have always called us No.1, No.2, No.3 and No.4 – no need to bother remembering names in your dotage when a number will suffice.  So… anyway, this quilt was for the eldest sister hence Part 1.  Ok…  and just to confirm how forward thinking my parents were – our names are in alphabetical order D, F, S and T  – all our names end in ‘a’ and each name has five letters.  Coincidence or OCD – I’ll let you be the judge…

Back to the quilt.  All the fabric was fat quarters from the FF Summer Rose range from Spotlight.  In total 8 fat quarters were used to create the 5 x 5 squares, the strip border and the binding, along with a panel lengthwise down the backing. This collection has a very pretty romantic feel to it with the roses and buds, paisleys and soft summer tones.


The Sister Quilt, Part 1

I usually hand stitch the binding down but for ease and durability I decided to machine stitch this one.  General quilting was just a straight line on either side of each row/column – I haven’t quite worked up to fancy free motion!  The backing was from my stash of mini dots in pale green also from Spotlight.


The Sister Quilt, Part 1 – back view

I also managed to squeak out a pillow with the leftovers.  It started off as a wonky log cabin but my need to straighten and cut overcame me and by the end it was all neat and straight and tickety-boo.


The Sister Quilt, Part 1 – pillow

I think my sister was pretty happy with it.  We’re not a particularly effusive family but she did clap her hands so I’m taking that as a win!

Until next time when The Sister Quilt, Part 4 is revealed have a lovely stitchy time.




The cat quilt

Another month without posting anything… however, if I’m not blogging it’s because I’ve been busy sewing!!

Perhaps I should have called this post Project X – ‘cos that’s about how many things  I have going at the moment…

However amidst all the on-goings there has been a finish. Ta-dah…




I started this in January and did actually finish the construction in February, but it took until last night to complete the binding.  It’s been really hot and when you’re literally sweating out your eyeballs you don’t want a quilt resting on your lap.

But anyway… the stats… the cats were made using the gorgeous pattern at Oh, Fransson! – providing you with 25 individual cat patterns so you can either pick one cat style or do one of each.  I did two of each pattern, which left me one spare to use as the label on the back which I then forgot to add.  My intention all along for this quilt was for it to be a wall hanging so it’s not especially large as some but I still wanted it to be substantial enough to be an effective “artwork”.

Each cat is made from the fat quarter stash – I tried really hard not to have any repeat fabric apart from the blocked colour.  Sashing was from white homespun and the binding is Pointilism from the Paintbox Collection by Cynthia Rowley for Michael Miller.  It’s a gorgeous patterned fabric — get some.  The backing is from IKEA, not sure what it’s called but it’s the one with birds and leaves (but then aren’t they all…).


You can check out some of the other finishes on Instagram.

Hope you’ve all had a happy and productive weekend – until next time,




Doctorin’ the Tardis

Oooh, remember that song… dreadful, but catchy…

I have a very dear friend who is a Whovian – she’s super smart, hilariously funny and a dedicated follower of The Doctor.  As her birthday approached late last year I had in my mind to make her something for her fabulously glamorous home in the city.  Something with a little elan, a certain je ne sai quois if you will. Well, what better than a paper pieced Tardis cushion!


Now, straight off I’m going to say this was one of the harder paper piecing works that I have done – a lot (lot) of little pieces to contend with, and I struggled with getting points and seams to match.  Notice the wibbly wobbly timey wimey windows.  But, overall, a pretty good job I think.

I used whatever was in my stash – I’ve been hanging on to the cloud print for some time and it was just the perfect background for the Tardis.  The large border has the look of the night sky to it with lots of gold and blue stars on a deep base.

I won’t show the back – even though I inserted a zipper, because in my excitement I made an error in where I was supposed to cut and well it’s not exactly pretty back there.  The Whovian doesn’t mind though – I just told her not to lean, sit, lie or use the pillow in any manner other than for looking or it may come undone.

This pattern was from Sewhooked available from Craftsy– it’s a free pattern as well (woohoo).  In fact there are stacks of fan fic projects out there for just about any obsession… Sherlock, MineCraft, Disney, Lego, Harry Potter, Star Wars and even Grumpy Cat!  If you really want to lose a couple of hours of your day check out Fandom in Stitches.

Sonya May Hem


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