The Unusual Fabrics Sewing Challenge Winner is…

The 3rd and final Sewing Challenge for this year was taken up by a surprising number of people and it was another high quality contest with a diverse range of garments, fabrics and techniques. The challenge was to make something from unusual or difficult to deal with fabrics and was judged by popular vote.

Taking out the most popular choice and the prize of a $50 gift voucher (a great big thanks to the Fabric Store in Auckland) was new member, Rosemary H for her stunningly gorgeous sequinned Chanel-style jacket.



Lined with Duchesse silk, which was lightly quilted to the sequinned fashion fabric in places to hold it together, this jacket was a triumph of technical difficulty and utilised high-end couture sewing techniques including hand stitching, a custom-made plaited braid and was fitted beautifully to Rosemary’s figure.

We just loved the bling...

We just loved the bling…

Rosemary’s comment that she hadn’t known to cut away the sequins from the seamline prior to sewing created a laugh all around as she “only” broke 4 machine needles in the process. An intrepid and fearless sewist indeed!

A close second in the popular vote was a garment from another new-ish member, Cecile.  Her fun fur jerkin vest was very soft and smooth like a long-haired animal (although it was actually PETA safe thankfully).  This was a fashionable look suitable to wear with jeans or even smart casual.

Fun fur jerkin by Cecile


Congratulations to Rosemary and Cecile, but everyone was a winner on the day in this challenge.

Here are the some of the other contenders.

Rosemary M. did a fantastic job with a wool poodle cloth which had a high degree of stretch to tame. Originally styled for sweatshirts - this has become a stylish and comfortable winter jacket. Rosemary M. did a fantastic job with a wool poodle cloth which had a high degree of stretch to tame. Originally styled for sweatshirts, Rosemary modified the pattern for fit and style.  This is set to become a stylish and comfortable winter jacket with the navy contrast bands giving it all the features that she wanted. Another bonus was that the fabric was sourced from one of our group swap days!




Joanne created two tops for this challenge. This IMG_6441stunning green coloured velour type fabric had the perfect drape to catch the light and was sewn with a 3-step machine stitch suitable for knits.

Jill custom made a contrast fringed trim detail on this jacket adding flair and style to this Style Arc pattern


Jill custom made a contrast fringed trim detail on this jacket adding flair and style to this Style Arc pattern.



Here’s a stunning family “Clan Ross” tartan pencil skirt by Mary P.Family tartan pencil skirt by Mary P. Tricky matching that plaid lines.  Deceptively simple but it is always tricky matching those plaid lines but this was perfectly executed, and the result will be a wardrobe staple for years to come.  Can’t beat quality, can you.



A drapy silk and lace blouse by Joanne. Slippery lace can always be challenging but the perfectly colour matched lace added wonderful texture to the garment Another entry by Joanne was a drapey silk and lace blouse. Slippery lace can always be challenging but the perfectly colour-matched lace added wonderful texture to the garment.  Joanne added some additional embroidery to the front neck opening to give it added stability.


Thanks to all who worked so hard to get their garments ready for the meeting and for showing them off for close inspection.

Coming soon will be our ***NEW*** Photo Gallery page for other images from our October 2015 group meeting including our regular “Show & Tell” session for garments finished during the past month.


Group meeting on Saturday 2nd October


  • Judging of 3rd Challenge –  Sew a garment from unusual or difficult material ($50 fabric voucher for the winner).the inside quote
  • Show and Tell.
  • Share information on your favourites: e.g. books, websites, patterns, shops, classes etc.
  • Discussion of our booth at the Festival of Quilts (6th-8th Nov at AMI Auckland Netball Stadium, St. Johns).  (See the flyer in our other blog post at . We have an overall design we now need display items etc and volunteers to ‘man’ the booth. Can you help?

Look forward to seeing you on Saturday.

Sewing session on Saturday 5th September

Hi Everyone,

Even though a fair number of our members will be attending the Te Aroha Retreat that same day, there will still be the regular group meeting held between 9.30am and noon on Saturday 5th September at Highbury House.

There is no special theme or programme other than to bring your machines and sewing projects and enjoy a good couple of hours sewing with like-minded people.

If you recall the classic towelling turban post – – The classic towelling turbanyou may want to start putting your mind to the next sewing Challenge based on unusual fabrics.  Judging will take place (by popular vote) at the October meeting.

As usual, teas and coffees are supplied.

If you’re not already a member, talk to Jason about signing up on the day.  Also, bring a friend if you like.


Do hope you can make it on Saturday.

Thinking about unusual & challenging fabrics…

There’s a couple of months to get our sewing brains and fingers around the next group sewing challenge being judged on Saturday 3 October.

This challenge may be an opportunity for us to tackle a project or textile that has hitherto been low on the list of priorities or just too confronting to take on.

The classic towelling turban – you know that you want one!

So here’s a little list to start off the thinking process.  If you think you can add to this, just add your comments.  (Big thanks for the inspiration to the Contents page of Rosalie Giles’ classic book “Dressmaking with special fabrics” (1976, get this…Mills & Boon publishers!: London).


jersey fabrics

towelling (see above)

Velvet-A-Fabric-to-Love-Dallas-Texas - Copy

crushed velvet

plush fabrics with nap

bonded fabrics

quilted fabrics


Fur fabrics


stretch fabric including ponte

felton wool


Scubu / Neoprene (Raf Simons neoprene suit)

metallic/glitter thread fabrics

PVC sheeting or PVC coated fabrics

double-faced reversible fabrics


Guipure lace

net and lace

crepe de chine

sheer fabrics

Purple Crocodile leather – eek… hope it’s not real!

leather and suede

handmade felt

unconventionally made fabrics eg recycled or wearable art

and the best is last…BLING

all over sequins

Ooh, so many to choose from.  The word to keep in mind is “special”.  We all need a little touch of special in our lives now and then.  Let’s see what we can come up with.