Category: Sewing and Craft

Easy Baby Burp Cloth Instructions

As part of my trying to use up my fabric stash, i made these cute baby burp cloths for a friend’s baby shower I went to today. These are an easy and quick project for a beginning sewer, and also use up any extra scraps of fabric laying around.  You can make them any size you like, i made these a nice long length.


–  Patterned cotton/polyester fabric 60 x 22 cms

– Towelling fabric or fleece 60 x 22 cms (something absorbent)

– 170 cms bias binding in a matching colour.

All my fabrics were pre washed so that they were ready to use when baby comes!


1. With wrong sides together  pin both the fabric and towelling together.

burp cloth instructions
Pin together both layers of fabric


2. Overlock the sides together,  if you don’t have an overlocker a tight zig zag would be suitable.

Overlocked all edges
Overlocked all edges

3. Pin the bias binding around the edge and sew (straight stitch) close to the inside edge of the binding.  Being careful that you catch the binding on both sides.

4. Enjoy your work!

Finished with bias binding
Finished with bias binding

*If you are in a rush or need a ton of these, skip the bias binding.  The binding is a nice touch but without it the clothes still work perfectly well!


I know I’m a little late on the New Year’s Resolutions but I’ve been thinking long and hard.  For a while now I have been thinking about giving up sewing – I know that sounds drastic given that I am a sewing teacher.  But I mean I would still teach just give up on the sewing for myself and for Mona and Olive.  For quite a while I just haven’t been feeling it, so I thought that was decided… Until I looked at all my fabric.  If I stopped sewing what would I do with all that fabric – 5, 80 ltr tubs of fabric… I sorted through it, what I thought my mum would use I gave to my mum, that was about 5 pieces.  My mum and I have VERY different taste!     So then I gave my Mother In Law a couple of pieces because she wanted to practice and slowly get back into it, so another 5 pieces gone.

Leaving me with 4 3/4 boxes… Of fabric that I really liked!  So I have decided to sew it all!! So then I though all was a big ask for 2015 so I want to get down to 2 boxes at the end of 2015.  2 boxes!  Some I may donate to school but the rest I have to sew!

So then CJ decided that he would build me a desk and do up the study – maybe that was the reason I didn’t want to sew was the room!  (my new sewing room/office is a lot smaller than my old one so it gets very crowded very easily.) So we brought a 16 cube shelf from ikea and  CJ has built new a beautiful new trestle table for a desk and I’m hoping my mojo will return!

So i guess my resolution of 2014 not to buy fabric is helpful for my 2015 resolution to reduce my fabric stash by half! So be prepared for a ton of “look what i made today posts!”

My other 2015 resolution is to drink 1 ltr of water every morning before I drink anything else.  Any by anything else I mean Coke! For those who have ever met me – generally it will be with a coke in my hand.  I am an addict by the very sense of the world – if it’s in the house it will be drunk!  In the past i had been a 2 ltr a day drinker but at the moment I’m down to 1 or 2 a day, generally one in the morning and one at lunch.  So now I’m older and wiser i have decided that coke first thing in the morning can’t be good for me! (clever aren’t I!) I doubt i will be able to completely give up and as I don’t drink alcohol or coffee/tea I’m OK with that. But I started this 1 ltr of water before coke about Christmas and so far so good!!!

Did you make any resolutions? Or have you failed previously???  I would love to know

madonna xx

Home Office Inspiration

Home Office Inspiration


Home Office Inspiration by monaandolive featuring ESSEY

OKA floral decor
$53 –

ESSEY office accessory
$18 –

Trestle kitchen table

Home storage furniture
$465 –

Moroccan leather ottoman
$135 –

Gemstone pendant
$485 –

How I made this Wedding Dress – Part 3 Lace overlay

Part 3 of how I made this wedding dress – the lace overlay.


Jess on her big day
Jess on her big day

The lace overlay was probably the hardest part of the dress and definitely the part I dreaded the most! The thought of cutting in expensive lace and possibly making a mistake really got my heart pumping! But I managed (and sewed grandma slow!) and I think it was worth the effort! The lace fabric that Jess settled on, came from New Zealand! We searched high and low, but we didn’t find anything that we liked and was in our price range! But Grace and Lace had all the answers!

the wedding dress
Jess in her wedding dress

First of all, bust out the good scissors (this is what you have been saving them for) or at the very least get yours sharpened! If you are really nervous I suggest buying some very cheap curtain lace that is a similar width to your lace to practice cutting out so that you know if you have bought enough. Or which way to cut it out. Jess wanted lace with a scolloped border, which is understandable because it looks AMAZING! But that means that your cutting out needs to be perfect! For this dress we put the scollop around the neck and back and around the hem line to get the best look. The only problem with this was – this pattern connected two pieces of fabric to create the neckline – so I had to create new pattern piece for the the bodice to get the full affect of the scollop.

1. Using your original toile pattern pieces for the bust – roughly sew them back together so you can make a new pattern piece for the the lace. This is the only new pattern piece you will need to create. I laid out a large piece of paper, and put the toile bodice piece down, you want the straight edge of the paper in line with the neck line – this is how you will get the scollop edge to be neckline. Trace along the bottom of the bodice – move the toile neckline along the straight line. Trace where the toile ends – you will have a large pattern piece, to make this fit you will need to put a dart under the arms, but it is worth the trouble to get the scollop to become the neckline.

2. Roll out lace and start placing the pattern pieces down. I did each piece separately, but on my toile I took the time to label every piece which side was the right side and which was the edge we wanted the scollop on. Once every piece was pinned down, I cut each one out and left them attached to the toile pieces so I didn’t need to label the lace.

Cutting out the lace
Cutting out the lace

3. At this point you will need to change the needle on your machine to make sure that it is for fine fabrics such as lace, you will also need to use a scrap of lace and practice sewing on it. You may need to change the tension so you get a nice smooth stitch. You can see the massive difference changing the tension can make.

Sewing on lace before changing the tension
Sewing on lace before changing the tension
Changing the tension - makes the stitching so much cleaner and tighter.
Changing the tension – makes the stitching so much cleaner and tighter.

4. Sew together the skirt pieces first. I recommend sewing this with french seams – this means sewing your fabric with the WRONG sides together (opposite of the normal way) and then trimming the seams and folding them back so the the seam is enclosed in a seam and is neat. It is a good idea to do this with a fine lace because overlocking would be very obvious and it gives the seams extra strength and looks finished! Pin together the pieces starting at the bottom making sure that the scollop edges match up. Leave the side open – on the same side as the zip.

5. Start the bodice – start by putting the bodice on yourself (Pin at top of the shoulder) pin in a dart so that the scollop forms the neckline. Pin in darts on both sides – sew them. Try on again and make sure you are happy with the scollop placement and if you are – trim away excess fabric from the back of the dart.

5. Attach the bodice front with the back under the arm and at the shoulders. Leave one side open to get on and off.

6. Using the french seam method attach the bodice to the skirt – leaving on side open.

7. Roll the arm holes in onto themselves and hand or machine sew down. Alternatively you could make very thin bias binding from the satin and bind around the arm holes.

8. Place the nearly finished lace over the finished satin dress – mark where is zip ends with a pin on the lace. Sew using french seams the open side seam – up to the mark of the zip.

9. To get in and out of the lace dress I used clear plastic press studs hand sewn up the sides. I thought a zip would of been way too obvious. By hand I sewed 5 press studs up the opening.

10. Try on both dresses! Finally I marked by hand where I wanted more press studs to go. I put them on the shoulders so the lace wouldn’t slip off, at the back of the open back so to didn’t move, the neck line and lastly under the bodice so it would sit tightly on Jess’s rib cage so the lace didn’t just hang.

11. Once that hand sewing was complete the last thing was to do was make 2 small cuts in the lace at the centre back seam. This was so that the button and loop would poke through and the lace could also be hooked up at the back.

12. COMPLETE! Congratulations you have made your own wedding dress!!!!!!!

My big bro - pretty happy with his effort
My big bro – pretty happy with his effort
The perfect Day!
The perfect Day!

See all the steps for this wedding dress

Step 2

Step 1

You can check out Jess’s final dress

The Wedding!

How I made this wedding Dress – part 2 satin dress

Wedding Dress and Dress bag
Homemade wedding dress and dress bag – all ready on the big day

So this section covers how I made the under satin dress to this homemade wedding dress.
This part of the dress is was the easiest of all – After I made the pattern it was truly easy sailing. The pattern I had was for a bridesmaids dress but I made alterations to make it a wedding dress. I followed the basic dress instructions to finish the dress. I made it in two dresses – the satin dress first and then another dress from lining – then finished them by sewing them together.

1. Start with the bodice from satin, as you sew together the pieces of the bodice ensure that both your shoulders are the same width.
2. Once you sew together the top start on the back, again ensuring that the back straps match with the front straps. Sew together on one side – leave the other side open for the zip.
3. Construct the skirt, making sure that you leave the side seam open for you zip.
4. Sew together the bodice and the skirt of the dress – leaving one side open for the zip.
5. Finish all seams.
6. Do steps 1-5 again with the lining.
7. With both dresses right sides together – the satin dress inside the lining, carefully pin around the neck and back.
8. Sew around the neck and back, carefully turn back in and try on. you should have both seamed sided inside the dress, the right side should be outside (obviously) and lining against your body should be the right side of the lining so it is comfortable against your skin.
9. If you are happy with the neck and back line and it is even, turn back inside out. Once inside out clip and notch the back and neck line. (clip and notch means to cut out little triangles in the seam allowance – not cutting the seam. once you turn out the right way the neck line will sit flat instead of being bubbly)
10. Turn the right way out and admire your work! You are nearly done! At this point you need to work out if you want to keep your lining – because the bodice is sewn to the dress you can’t take it out and it looks much better with lining. But you don’t need to have it all the way to the ground! When Jess tried on this dress we found it was really hot with the lining to the floor, so we cut off the lining at the knee. It made a big difference!
11. Insert the zip in the side opening – I put in an invisible zip.
12. By hand fold in about 6 mm of both the satin and lining to the inside of the dress. Do this so they are not visible, pin as you move around the armhole. Top stitch around the armhole, starting and finishing under the arm. Repeat for the other arm.
13. Hem the dress, now I did this by hand because I wanted it to be as invisible as possible. If you are keeping your lining to the floor I would recommend you hem the lining into the dress especially at the back of the train. (If you aren’t going to clip up the back to dance then that’s not really necessary.
14. Jess did want to be able to clip up the back of the train so she could dance! So to do this I added a pearl button which I sewed onto the middle of the back seam about mid thigh.
The point of clipping up the back of your dress is so that you don’t ruin the back of the train but also so you can walk/dance easily. We did it so the dress skirt hung in a fan and covered the inside of the dress.
15. Have the dress hung up on a door and pinch the fabric up to match the button. You want the skirt of the dress to cover the folds and to fall in line with the rest of the hem line. Place a pin at the pinch make – this is where you will make you loop to go over the button.
16. To make the loop thread a needle and knot the end. Starting on the inside, create about 5 loops around your finger, all the same size. Starting at the base of the loop, tie a knot to tie all the loops together. Working your way around the loop and make the knots nice and tight. Once you are finished all around the loop, tie it off at the back of the of dress.

skirt button
Sewn button onto dress to hold up skirt for Dancing!


Creating loops to go around button


Creating knots around the loops to re-enforce the loop


The loop and button
The loop and button keeping the skirt up!

17. There you have it you are finished! If you are going to make an lace over view then I would leave step 11 -14 until you are finished the lace – that way you can be sure everything at the bottom sits properly.

wedding dress
The finished Dress ready for the Big Day

Please watch out for my Step 3 for how I made the lace overlay, it will be done shortly! But also check out these posts about the wedding dress too!

The beautiful wedding photos are from

The other steps are here

Step 3

Step 1

Or the important sewing tips for the professional look

15 Hot Tips




USA road trip

USA road trip

Our USA Vacation and Fabric – of course!

Grand Canyon
Grand Canyon from the southern rim
Road trip across the USA
Dawn at Monument Valley View Hotel

Recently my husband and I travelled to the United States. We had an amazing time, and didn’t want to come home. We drove across the country from Los Angeles to Miami. We saw some amazing places along the way! We started in Los Angeles but drove to Las Vegas as a starting point and were greeted with some freezing weather! We drove from Las Vegas to Zion National Park but we couldn’t get in because of the icy roads, so we crossed both Zion and Bryce Canyon off the list! So we drove back down to Vegas to stay the night again (lesson learnt – double check weather before we spend 9 hours driving to come back to the same place!) we then went through the south rim of the Grand Canyon and stayed in Monument Valley at Monument Valley View Hotel, which is the only hotel in Monument Valley. At -15 it was a tad fresh but worth it to wake up to this!

Monument valley sunrise
Our view from “the view hotel” monument valley

We then spent a couple of days driving to New Orleans, a city that I cannot speak of high enough! We LOVED it! Everyone is easy going, the city is beautiful and the FOOD is AMAZING! If you are going we visited EAT NOLA on our first night and joked we were going back every night after! thats how good it was! I had the Chicken Fried chicken and loved it, this place is a must do! We also did both a plantation house and a swamp tour which we loved, but the visit to Louisiana State Museum for the Katrina exhibit was just best thing we did, really makes you appreciate what an amazing city New Orleans is!

Oak Alley
Oak Alley Plantation House

From NOLA we drove to Memphis, we did a Sun studio tour and Graceland! We then drove through Atlanta to stop off at the Coke factory! Because that was a must do! From there we stayed in Savannah! WOW we always wanted to move to the USA and now I know exactly where I would live! I LOVED IT! It is a beautiful, stunning city and we had perfect weather while we were there!

Forsyth Park Fountain

While we stayed there we visited a fabric shop called Fabrika, if you are ever in Savannah and need a fabric fix this is the shop for you! It was gorgeous and I picked up some amazing flamingo fabric – which thrilled me even more! I love flamingos! I just now have to decide what to do with it!

From Savannah we drove to Orlando and did DisneyWorld which was massive day, we both agreed we are NOT taking our kids here! It was way too big, we got tired and grumpy – so DisneyLand will be our limit! We also did Kennedy Space Station, a bit of a drive out of Orlando but so worth it! And if you were planning to go with kids even more so! It was very interesting and their new exhibit Atlantis was amazing and very very hands on, so great if you had kids, you could spend half a day just there. We then went to Miami to relax for a couple of days! We drove through the everglades and saw lots of gators! And we even saw flamingos! My personal bird of choice! But the our highlight of the trip was seeing the Miami Heat play, I’m not into Basketball at all but the atmosphere there was awesome! It went into overtime and they WON! It was electric!

Gators in Everglades National Park
Flamingo Gardens

We spent our Christmas in New York and we even got a tiny bit of snow on boxing day while we were walking through Central Park! We lunched at the Loeb Boathouse, walked the High Line, saw the Knicks play, walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, hung out in central park and saw the funniest comedy show we had ever been to! And of course as we were staying in the fabric district, I hit the fabric shops (what a NERD!). I went to MOOD fabrics! WOW! I have never been more overwhelmed by a fabric shop, but in a good way! I had nothing in mind but still brought some awesome green printed cotton I thought would make a nice maxi dress. Mood is the shop that the contestants from Project Runway shop at. 3 levels of amazing! A must for a sewer visiting NYC! They also ship international, just in case you are wondering I asked while I was there :-)

USA road trip
The Brooklyn Bridge
The Alley Central Park NYC
The Alley Central Park
View of NYC from Highline
Street view from the Highline

From NYC we flew to Las Vegas to relax and see the New Year in. We saw Maroon 5 on NYE and then celebrated on the strip with 300,000 other people! Packed but it was worth it!

Then soon after we had settled in it was time to come home again! And now it feels like a distant memory, but I have a peanut butter cup addiction to comfort me! Still no white christmas, so I will have to plan another trip! xx

All these amazing photos are my talented husbands works, so please don’t steal them for your own personal use! He does sell prints if you are interested in any of these photos!

How I made this wedding dress – part 1 custom pattern

wedding dress pattern
How to personalise a pattern for your wedding dress

How I made this wedding dress – part 1 custom made wedding dress pattern

So, as most of you know I made my sister in law (to-be at the time) wedding dress. I have shared with you before my 15 top hints on how to make you own wedding dress and you can check that out here –

But today I’m going to explain how I went from old 90’s bridesmaids dress pattern to vintage inspired gorgeousness!

Base dress pattern
The pattern I altered to create Jess’s stunning dress

I am not a professional seamstress but this is how I made that pattern become this amazing dress it was on the day! You will need a rough pattern of what you would like your dress to turn out like, but differences can be made such as lowering a back or adding sleeves. I also used cheap cotton to make toile (basic rough draft of dress), traditionally calico is used but I used poly cotton because it was cheaper, even cutting up a sheet would do if you needed to cut costs!
1. First of all measure yourself, you want to make sure you are accurate! Write down your measurements, as you may need them later.
2. Cut out your pattern, cut out your largest size. So for example if you bust is a size 10 but hips a size 14, you will want to at this stage cut out a size 14.
3. Sew together your toile following you pattern instructions. You don’t need to overlock or edge anything, you will be ripping this apart. You also don’t need to hem or finish anything properly so make it easy on yourself and sew it together as basically as you can, at this point leave out putting a zip in or however it will be fastened.
4. Try on the dress, this is the first of many so get use to it!
5. While you have your dress on, this is the time to work out what you would like to change. Hopefully if you measured yourself correctly it should fit or be too big for you. Preferably on the seam lines or at darts, pin fabric in to fit. If the only other person around is the groom, grab yourself a lead pencil and draw on your dress where your seams or darts should be. I find drawing on yourself also makes it easier if you need to make adjustments where your zip should be, instead of trying to get out of a pinned up dress.
6. Repeat 4 & 5 until you are happy with fit of the dress.
7. Try dress on, armed with your pencil, start drawing on any alterations such as lowering neck lines or changing sleeves.
For me I had to add length onto the bottom of the bodice so it was higher cut, I also had to take a lot in under the bodice so it was firm fitting because Jess is teeny tiny (lucky thing!). We also cut the straps down to make them thinner.
8. Once you have drawn on these alterations start cutting down your pattern, make sure you still leave enough for a seam allowance. Once happy pin down all around the neck and sleeves to give yourself the look of how it will be once finished.
9. Try it on again! Just to make sure that your alterations are what you want! Take a photo front and back of dress just in case you need it for reference when sewing.
10. Once again write on each piece of dress, such as back middle etc. What ever as long as you know where it will go on your dress, this is important especially if your intending to put lace over your dress. I also wrote “top” on my dress pieces so once again I knew which was was up, which is important again if your doing a lace overlay.
11. Once your happy, unpick all your hard work! Yep all of it! You now have yourself a custom pattern for your own wedding dress!!!
When starting this process, please don’t try to alter a strapless dress to backless as well, think logically! (ie how are you going to keep up your dress). Also keep in mind your sewing experience. If you can find a pattern close to your dream dress as possible, that will only make your life easier! I buy a lot (some may say too many) of patterns on eBay. You can get bulk patterns that old ladies have cleaned out their cupboards for cheap prices. This is how I found this pattern, and I think it cost me less that $1! For the adventurous ones you could also put together a top of one pattern and a bottom of another, but once again start with the same size pattern and make sure the patterns have similar seem lines where you are going to join the two together. Stay tuned for the next two parts of making your own wedding dress! xx

The other 2 steps are now here

Step 2

Step 3


My New Years resolution

So, we are back from our amazing adventure across the USA. But this time I got a little bit home sick, around Christmas. That quickly evaporated when I remembered I was in NYC! Still not a white Christmas, but on Boxing Day we walked around Central Park and it started to snow, so still pretty amazing time of year to be in the big apple! Anyway, while we were nearly the last people to celebrate the new year, so while everyone was putting up their New Years resolutions online I was still not quite thinking about it! But since we have gotten home and I have done 5 of my 10 loads of washing I have started thinking about 2014. 2013 was a great year for us, and I am incredibly blessed with everyone I have in my life, so how could I make 2014 better? Tough question! My only thought is to focus on what I have already and not what I want or need. So not only my relationships but also material possessions, mainly my (some my say -out of control) fabric collection. I am truly my mothers daughter in this respect! Fabric everywhere, sewing room, spare bedroom, under my desk, currently on my bed, everywhere!



And so, 2014 I hope I will be able to sew a lot more, and start to use up some of my fabric. As it is is so easy to get so caught up and focus what you want instead of what your already have! Hopefully without it being something too overwhelming I can at least stick to it this resolution, and if I get off track it is easy to get back on! What was your New Years resolution? Was it as easy to keep as mine?

Ironing board DIY

DIY Ironing Board

diy washing machine
Perfect size for the top of your washing machine!

How annoying is it when you starting sewing, you come to a point where you have to iron, so you have to go down stairs to iron then back upstairs to sew. The down, up, down, up all day long! My craft room is too small to move the iron board up when I’m sewing. So I made myself a ironing board, it fits nicely on top of my washing machine so perfect for the quick ironing job without lugging out the big ironing board! WIN WIN :-) and perfect for sewing days, it can sit on the floor or on the ground.

What you will need for my DIY iron board
Piece of wood or chipboard cut to your desired size
Wadding, scrap pieces are fine as long as they cover the wood.
Think woven fabric eg drill
Staple gun
Spray glue/ glue gun

DIY Ironing board
Board, glue, wadding and fabric of choice!

1. Cut wadding to size of wood, plus approx an inch over each size, to fold over the edge. Depending on how thick you would like the ironing board. I used two layers. If using scraps just make sure that the wadding is nice and even.

2. Glue wadding to the board.

ironing board
DIY Ironing board

3. Once glue is dry and wadding is stuck, lay fabric out flat. Facing down.

DIY Ironing board
Inch of wadding extra on each side

4. Place the wood, wadding side down onto fabric.
5. Fold fabric up onto wood, turning raw edges under. Staple one side.
6. Repeat to following sides, making sure that the fabric taught. On adjacent sides, turn the fabric in creating a triangle edge.
DIY Ironing board
Fold excess fabric inward to create neat back and edge

7. Fold edges under to create neat appearance on the back, and so the board sits flat.
DIY Ironing Board
Finished back, with staple gun

8. Done! Enjoy not having to get the big iron board out every day!

DIY Ironing board- finished
Finished front

The Wedding Dress

the wedding dress

the wedding dress


Finally I can reveal the Wedding Dress that I made for my new Sister In Law!  As you can see Jess made a stunning bride.  It was a very special way of being part of the wedding! Very soon I will share with you how I made the dress  – now that the dress is out of the bag 😉 Hope you all had a lovely weekend – I sure did! xx

If you would like to see how I made this dress, check it out here –

Step 1

Step 2

Step 3

back of the wedding dress
Jess in her wedding dress – Back view
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