I'm running a special mushroom-making workshop in the beautiful old Federal hall, in the Byron Bay hinterland on Sunday the 10th December. We will spend the morning making some little fabric mushroom ornaments... just in time for Christmas.
In this workshop you will learn some soft sculpture techniques as well as various stitches for hand-sewing and embroidery.
This class is most suitable for adults with some machine and hand sewing experience.
For more information, or to make a booking, please visit my online store.
I've been slowly making a sort of diorama / doll's house room to display my cloth art dolls in. As with most of the creative projects I take on, this one took a lot more time and effort than I anticipated... but I've really enjoyed it and have learned a lot along the way.
I wanted to make one large room with interchangeable walls, windows, a door and wooden floor boards. I really love the way it's turned out - kind of like a cottage or cabin in the woods. I'll continue working on it - adding things like book shelves, furniture, curtains etc., but just wanted to show you what it looks like at this stage and describe how I made the floor, windows and door.
I'll start off by explaining how I made the tiny floor boards, and save the window/door tutorial for a later post...
To make the floor boards
You will need:
Suggestions for non-toxic DIY wood stains*:
So delighted to find this lovely article written by Janai Velez featuring my workroom in the November issue of Homespun magazine. It really is beautifully written and I love the way Janai has described my dolls. I always draw a blank when asked to describe my work so it's really helpful to hear someone else's words.
Homespun is a treasure of a magazine, if sewing is your thing, and is packed full of inspiring projects, tips and interviews.
The magazine is available in Australian newsagents throughout November and is also available as a digital copy online at www.zinio.com.
These embroidered star, tree and round ornaments are easy to sew, make great presents and look lovely on a Christmas tree. I've put together some simple instructions and free downloadable templates, to help you make these at home. You can read the instructions below, and download the templates here, which are ready to print. You can also download the entire sewing pattern (including instructions, photos and templates) which is 1.25MB here.
I hope you enjoy making these. If you would like to see more of my sewing patterns, please visit my online store.
Embroidered Christmas ornaments
You will need:
Sewing machine (recommended but optional – these can be hand-sewn if preferred)
Small pieces of medium weight fabric. Avoid very heavy or stretchy fabric.
Regular sewing thread
Toy stuffing - wool is ideal
Small amount of embroidery floss in various colours
Templates printed and cut out.
Sewing needle and embroidery needle
Disappearing fabric marker, tailors’ chalk or a soft lead pencil
knitting needle or chop stick (for turning out shapes and stuffing).
Hints and tips before you start:
These little ornaments are the perfect canvas for embroidery designs. The options for embellishing your shapes really are only limited by your imagination. The simple embroidery designs that I like to use are described below, and are also available to download as templates here.
I embroider these shapes after they have been stuffed, to follow the shape and curves of the ornament with my stitches. However, embroidering your fabric stretched on an embroidery hoop prior to sewing is also an option.
I've finally finished the group of dolls I've been working on these past few weeks.
So I'll have five new cloth dolls available to buy via my online store from Thursday 12 October, 10am (Australian eastern savings time (AEST). I hope you like them.
They each have a little cloak or cape and are packaged in their own handmade gift box with letter-pressed certificate of authenticity. Each doll will be priced from AUD$280 + shipping costs (worldwide).
I feel I should point out too that these dolls are intended for display only and are not suitable as a toy for small children, as they are quite delicate.
The group of cloth dolls I'm working on right now are taking a LOT longer to finish than I anticipated... and school holidays start next week. Soooo I hope to have five new dolls available here in early October rather than September (as originally promised). Here's one of their tiny dresses...
I made a little video demonstration (below), showing how to embroider French knots. I found this embroidery stitch quite tricky when I first tried it and looking at diagrams in embroidery books didn't really help me. But I've since taught myself how to sew them so thought I'd show you how I do it.
The key is to hold the thread taut with one hand while you wrap it around the needle and insert it into the fabric. Hold on to the thread until just before it is pulled all the way through the fabric (see video below).
This is an example of a singular French knot but you can make them larger by wrapping the thread around your needle twice rather than once. This video shows how I stitch the French knots onto my fabric mushroom hanging ornaments.
... and here is a little diagram showing French knots in more detail. I drew this a while ago for one of my sewing patterns. Enjoy!
I've been searching for the perfect thimble... comfortable but sturdy enough to protect my finger. Hours of hand-stitching and embroidery can result in a very sore (or even pierced) middle finger tip, but the hard thimbles always seem a bit cumbersome to me (maybe I'm not using them right?).
Anyway, a while ago I found a rubber thimblette, usually used for handling paper... I tried it out and now I never hand-sew without one on my finger. They are very comfortable, but a bit too thin to protect your finger when pushing a needle through thick fabric, so I cut a little disk of very hard leather and glue it to the inside of the thimblette, in the tip. The rubber helps to pull the needle through fabric too.
It works really well and feels so comfortable that I often leave the house with it still on. You can get them for around 70 cents each and they come in different sizes. I buy mine from my local office supply store.
I know there are a lot of different thimbles on the market that will probably do what I need. and I'd like to try them out, but these do work pretty well for me. What do you use? Can you recommend a good thimble?
This face looking up at me while I embroider his tummy. I know he's not real but I kind of hope I'm not hurting him...
Two new barn owl soft sculptures will be available via my online store from 10am Thursday 31 August (Sydney time).
Well it's taken me a lot longer than I anticipated but my platypus sewing pattern is now available for you to download.
I've really loved creating this unusual Australian animal soft toy and I hope you enjoy sewing it. It's a fairly simple tutorial, full of step by step photos, which includes machine sewing and some hand sewing. Great for advanced beginner sewers wanting to tackle a slightly more complicated soft toy project that includes darts, gussets (and some soft sculpture techniques for making the webbed feet). You can download the pattern via my website or my Etsy store.
My new Willowynn postcards have just arrived and I'm so pleased with them. They're printed on recycled Matte card and look so soft and dreamy. I'll be listing them in my online store in sets very soon.
June has been a very busy month for me. I've been working on some new designs, new sewing patterns and creatures. These three (above) will be available in my online store from 10am (Sydney time) Monday 26th June.
My fox is made from an old (and very vibrant) orange woollen blanket. The other guy is kind of a wombat/bear blend... also made from an old woollen blanket. I'm actually not sure what he is but I like him. I'll just call him a wombat. And then there is a platypus. There's more about him in my last blog post... what a journey. I hope you like them!
I've spent ages trying to perfect my platypus soft toy so that I can offer a sewing pattern with instructions on how to make one. The body is pretty straight forward but the feet and bill have really challenged me. I think I've finally figured it out now and I'm really happy with the way it's turned out, so I should have the pattern ready for you to download very soon. I hope you like it. *Pattern can be purchased here.
I've finally made myself a doll to keep. I think I'll call her Fern. Sometimes I feel sad letting go of something I've put so much of myself into - so I've decided to hold on to this one. I've painted a moody forest inside an old drawer, like a diorama - I'll keep her there.
Hello. I just wanted to let you know that I'll have three new cloth dolls available to purchase via my online shop from 10am (Sydney daylight savings time), Thursday 30th March. There are some more photos below.
My son needed a platypus (and this photo of me making it) for something at school. It took me several prototypes to get the shape you see here and there are still things I'd change... but I'm thinking of maybe offering it as a sewing pattern. Would you make a platypus? They're pretty fantastic creatures.
Here are some more detailed photos of the four little dolls I will be listing in my online store from 10am (Sydney time), on Tuesday 28th February. They are priced from AUD$320 + shipping.
...and here are the little boots.
Here's a pic of all four of the dolls that I've been working on these last few weeks.
This little group will be listed in my online store from 10am (Sydney time), on Tuesday 28th February.
My little Willowynn stamp isn't small enough for these tiny legs, so I hand-draw my label with my ultra fine waterproof pen.
Four new cloth dolls (and two pairs of mushrooms) will be available to purchase via my online store from 10am (Sydney time) Thursday 15 December. Each doll comes with her own cloak, handmade cardboard gift box and certificate of authenticity. Prices range between AUD$280 - AUD$340 + postage.
There are four little cloth dolls on my work table, that are almost finished. I'm just making some finishing touches to their cloaks and little boots. All four dolls will be available to purchase via my online shop from 10am (Sydney daylight savings time), Thursday 15th December. I'll also have two pairs of my mushroom hanging ornaments available to purchase online from Thursday as well.
Next week is the start of six weeks of school holidays here so I'll be slowing down on the sewing front while my children are at home. We'll be camping and painting mostly...
I hope to have a new collection of work available by early February... maybe some large animals this time.
Wishing you happy and safe holidays,
Oh my goodness... Country Style magazine, here in Australia, have just published a heart-burstingly lovely article about me, my work, house, kids, world... in their December issue (in stores now). Above is one of the photos taken by photographer, Mark Roper. You can actually see a snippet of it on their website (here) along with a little video of me (made by Hattie Morgan) babbling about what I do for a living. The magazine is available to buy online or in newsagents and supermarkets from tomorrow. Hooray!
Would you like to make these little hanging fabric ornaments? I've put together a sewing pattern for them which is available here. These ornaments make great little presents, and not just for Christmas trees... enjoy!
...and my fox and wolf toy sewing pattern is also now available to download. Phew... these ones took me ages. Thanks for waiting so nicely.
Thanks so much guys! Lots of hanging mushrooms (and fox and bunny dolls) in the post. It might not look like it, but that's a lot of work boxed up right there and it's such a great feeling to see them all finished and heading out into the world. Dolls, owls and whales next...
Hello and welcome...
My name is Margeaux Davis. I design and create cloth art dolls, textile sculpture and soft toy sewing patterns from the beautiful Northern Rivers region of Australia.