Friday, March 21, 2014

Dawn's take on Preston, and the challenge that almost did me in...

The motel we stayed at when I was down in Melbourne a couple of weeks ago was the Bell Rydges in Preston, and my funny, generous-to-a-fault friend Dawn Hay, named the project she shared at Let's Get Stitched in honour of our location - "The Preston Bag"!


As soon as I saw it on display at our Sunday stitching day, I was in love. 
Already my mind was planning fabrics and threads, and a day or two to make it when I got back home - I simply chose to avoid the dilemma of never having made a hexie flower before.

I traced the block for stitching at Heather's on Monday, but as is normal with our chatty sewing days not much stitching gets done.
On Tuesday morning I set aside some time to work on the embroidered sections...

...and by Tuesday afternoon I decided to ignore the butterflies in my tummy and dive in with making those teeny tiny half-inch hexie flowers! For added interest I fussy cut each piece of fabric from those I intended using to make the bag (Cabbages and Roses)...

On Tuesday evening I declared to Mr E and Blossom that I would *never* again make a hexie flower less than 3 inches in size, as I could not understand the insanity of people who enjoyed such a trial of dexterity and wits with miniscule shapes.
But onward I tarried, sewing each of the little pieces together and even adding a little chain stitched border around the centre of the flower...

When I went to bed at midnight I only had the borders of the full front panel to stitch.
6.30am on Wednesday - I stem stitch and back stitch the borders whilst bracing myself for the migraine I can feel brewing...

9am on Wednesday, I have a migraine bursting from my temples and I take a lot of medication.
Now, medication does funny things. It kind of 'chills' me out. 
What seemed insurmountable suddenly holds interest again. 

After 42 years of migraines, up to ten a month, and still having to function as a young mum with up to seven kids in the house at any one time,  I taught myself to accept the pain and just do things a lot slower.
This ability is what keeps me sane a lot of the time.

So I filled a very large glass with water, and in the quiet of my sewing room I began cutting the fabrics and piecing the bag.
Drawing a pencil line through all the steps as they were completed so I didn't need to tax my mind and think too much about where I was up to at any given time, the day moved on, more medication was taken, and the bag evolved.

By 5.30pm on Wednesday afternoon my gorgeous "Preston Bag" was made!

The negatives:

1. It's so gorgeous I don't want to put a single mark on it, but I made it to carry my sewing things in so I'll just have to be very careful. 
2. I think the hexies gave me the migraine! (not really, it was the tropical low off the coast, but I will still blame the hexies if someone asks...)

The positives:

1. I learned two techniques in Dawn's pattern that were much simpler than the way I do them in my own designs.
2. Teeny tiny hexies are like childbirth. It hurts and you're never going to go through it again. But two days later you forget the pain. I'll make hexies again, just like I had six more babies after the first. 
3. It's gorgeous.
4. I finally got to use those beautiful 'Cabbages and Roses' fabrics from my stash! And don't they look sublime made up in The Preston Bag?

Dawn's "Preston Bag" pattern is available now in her shop as an instant pdf download.

She's the sweetest gal around, and we had a hoot in Melbourne... why not drop over to her blog (here) and say hi! She has more photos of her original Preston Bag and when you see the fabrics she used you will swoon...true. Little teeny tiny houses...yep, swooning.

I still have some of the 'Cabbages and Roses' fabric leftover, so I think while they're languishing on the cutting table I should have a bit of a play. You never know what I'll come up with...



  1. The bag turned out super cute! Too bad you had to suffer through making it. Hope you are feeling better today. I have never had a migraine, but I do get some bad sinus headaches. Yuck!!

  2. Um, so I am not going to tell you about the hexi book that I have that uses quarter inch patches and I have some.....oh what did you say? Your migraine is back?
    Gorgeous bag though despite the agony!

  3. Beautiful Jenny. Well done on conquering the 'hexi' fear.

    I am glad to hear your migraine is caused by the weather, that is often my theory as to my migraine but generally people think I am crazy. (I should say, I am not glad you have a migraine, just as to the trigger).

    Have a lovely Friday.

  4. Love the bag, Jenny. Not sure that I would tackle hexies that small the first time. I hope you are feeling better today; migraines are awful.
    Have a great weekend. I will be stitching with my sister on Saturday, something I'm hanging out for.


  5. I've been following your blog for years - since maybe 2008? In all that time I thought you only had 2 daughters. Quite the little bomb to drop today that you have 7 children! There are so many days I don't think I can handle my 3, women who have 5, 6, and 7 just truly floor me. I'm adding it to the list of things that impress me about you!

    The bag turned out beautifully - I know you will enjoy using it :)

  6. love this bag,well done Jenny.xx

  7. What a beautiful, beautiful bag.

  8. What a gorgeous bag Jenny! Your version of if is simply stunning - I wouldn't want to put a mark on it either... and those hexy's, you are brave indeed - i am happy to stay with my 1inch size!! x

  9. I really, really love the bag Jenny. I did enjoy your post but I sympathise over the migraine ... but you did have a lighthearted way of describing it & making light of it. The bag is just beautiful in your chosen fabrics. And wow !!! 7 children ... you deserve a medal dear girl. x0x0

  10. All this time and I thought you only had 3 children: Kezzie, Sam and Blossom. Seven kids!!! We'd love to know about them too.

  11. I like the part about the childbirth, that just about wrappes it up. Your bag is beautiful, you have to take good care of it.

  12. I'm glad you got over the hexies! (and your migraine) Its a great bag - very roomy by the look of it. I'd rather make 7 hexie flowers than deliver 7 babies . . .especially as I am now a LOT older...

  13. What a fab bag! I never realised that you had seven children... I just thought you had Blossom and Kezzie. Are there more grandchildren in the family?

    1. Yes there are, but the other kids are very private and do not want a public life on my blog - I respect that so much in them. xx

  14. Jennie! Wow! I love this bag!! I MUST make one!! Your fabrics are beautiful! I just love everything about it! Thanks for sharing! Sorry about your migraines! I know how bad they can be.
    p.s.~I never knew you had 7 children! I thought Blossom was the only one for some reason. Silly me!

  15. Delightful post! Love Dawn, love her new bag!

  16. It's gorgeous!! And you did it super quick AND through a migraine!?! WOW!

  17. Ah my sweet friend, your bag is Gorgeous! I had to smile when I read that you had avoided the small hexi patterns because I have never dared try them at all, though I love them. I was thinking if I made one of Dawn's bags, I will simply stitch the hexis as I know my fingers could never manipulate the tiny pieces. There was a time when I could have, but no longer. So I thought since they are just 1/2", that is small enough that maybe a chain stitch or something would look nice in the hexi flower design. We shall see :o) ....
    Now about those migraines! I also suffered horrible migraines, between 10 and 20 a month for years. Some bad enough to keep me in a completely dark room with total quiet for hours, occasionally for a couple of days. Then, when I reached about 58 years old, I noticed I was having fewer and fewer as time went by, and when they did come, they weren't as crippling as they had been. Now that I am in my mid 60's, I still have them, but at the most two a month and sometimes "Praise our Lord", I go for several months, migraine free!!! But you joke about the hexi causing doctor, a Neurologist, told me one of the strongest triggers for migraines, as with many health issues, is stress! I mention this only because he new I did fine sewing and lacy crocheting that taxed me at times and he said that would be enough if I was focusing so hard that it was stressing me even though I didn't really feel stressed. But, they can also just happen for no reason too, or no reason that we would relate to a migraine...certain foods, lack of rest (not just sleep, REST). So, maybe the hexi experience did have a little to do with it. But as you say, like childbirth, we will do it again, LOL. Big Hugs...Nancy Jo

  18. It's gorgeous Jenny - well worth the pain I am sure. I do sympathise - I went through a few years of migraines and I have no wish to go back there!! love your fabrics too. xx

  19. Your bag looks wonderful, and your stitching, as always, exquisite. I didn't know you had so many children!

  20. This bag is so beautiful. Almost too beautiful to use it :)

  21. Fabulous job on your bag...and as I find out that you gave birth 7 times I have more things to be in awe of about you! Hope you are having a wonderful Sunday.

  22. Hi Jenny. Somehow I missed this post. Your bag is absolutely beautiful. My bag is still on my to do list! Hopefully, not too far away.


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