It snowed last Fri­day in the upper Blue Moun­tains. It wasn’t just a few flut­ter­ing snowflakes, either — it was real, pile-up-high kind of snow you rarely see in Aus­tralia. Here in the Blue Moun­tains, snow like this hadn’t hap­pened in decades (or so the locals told me — we’ve only been here for six months).   The snow started late Thurs­day night, and when we woke up Fri­day morn­ing, it had piled up to a mag­i­cal pro­por­tion. snow in the blue mountains Our bal­cony cov­ered in snow. snow in the blue mountains Our front yard trans­formed. snow in the blue mountains View from my sewing room. washing line in the snow Oops I had for­got­ten to take in the laundry!

Our kids had never seen snow before. Upon see­ing the snow in the morn­ing, they began singing Christ­mas songs — which I thought was funny. Their excite­ment dou­bled when they learned that school was can­celled — not that our car would have made it through the snowy roads anyway.

Mark and I were just as excited. I grew up in Japan with annual ski hol­i­days, but I hadn’t seen snow in 10 years. Need­less to say, we didn’t get any work done on Fri­day or Sat­ur­day. snow in blue mountains The snow brought back my child­hood mem­o­ries. I had for­got­ten just how much fun I had as a kid, on those snowy win­ter hol­i­days in Hokkaido. Sled­ding, mini skis on the road, slid­ing down hills on card­board boxes, and of course ski­ing. Our kids had been miss­ing out! We might have to take them on a snow trip to Vic­to­rian moun­tains next winter.

Black and white day

Today I con­tin­ued to play with the black “boy” fab­ric.  I really love this fab­ric. First I made an insu­lated lunch bag.

insulated lunch bag for men by Piggledee

I real­ize this lunch bag may not look too manly.… A while back, I asked my Face­book friends if their hus­bands and boyfriends might go for a tote-style lunch bag if the fab­ric was suf­fi­ciently manly. And their answer was largely — um, no. Men don’t care about a nice lunch bag, and they can’t be trusted to bring it back home safely any­way, they told me. Or men would be too embar­rassed to carry a handbag-style lunch bag. Fair enough, I thought. But here I am mak­ing a hand­bag lunch bag any­way! Maybe I am hope­lessly opti­mistic that there are some men (or older boys) out there, who are com­fort­able wear­ing this adorable bag to work or school. Or there are women who would like to carry this cool lunch bag. We shall wait and see what the global Etsy com­mu­nity will say about this bag. 

insulated lunch bag for men by Piggledee


In that same Face­book con­ver­sa­tion, some peo­ple sug­gested that toi­letry bags might be the thing to make for men — assum­ing the fab­ric is right. So just to be on the safe side, I also made a large wet bag pouch in the same fab­ric. This would make a nice toi­letry bag with the water­proof lin­ing and all.

toiletry bag for men by Piggledee

toiletry bag for men by Piggledee

Speak­ing of black fab­ric, I sewed with a few other black (or black and white) fab­rics today — quite by coincidence.

black and white lunch bag by Piggledee

This is an extra-large insu­lated lunch bag in black and white stripe — this fab­ric is pop­u­lar. I’ve sold a lot of lunch bags in this zebra-chic fabric.

checkered cat wet bag by Piggledee


Here is a medium wet bag in a black and white check­ered cat fab­ric. I also have this fab­ric in pink, green, and blue, but this black and white ver­sion is my favorite. 

drawstring lunch bag by Piggledee


This one is a sim­ple draw­string back­pack lunch bag. It’s the same “Cocoland” series of cat fab­rics as the check­ered one. 

The draw­string bag has such a cute shape, don’t you think? I have a tuto­r­ial here if you’d like to make one your­self. It would make a great craft project bag, too! Here is the bag with my cur­rent craft project inside. It’s going to be a scarf for Mr. Pig­gledee (because it’s really cold in the Blue Moun­tains). My knit­ting nee­dles don’t quite fit in this bag, but if you use cir­cu­lar nee­dles it will fit with no problem. 

Most of these items are now avail­able at my shop

drawstring lunch bag by Piggledee




New fabrics from Japan

It’s a happy day when new fab­rics arrive at my doorstep — par­tic­u­larly if they’ve taken six long weeks to arrive. Here’s are the lat­est addi­tions to my sewing room.

Cactus fabric (natural)

cactus fabric (yellow) linen leaf fabric

leaf fabric insulated lunch bag by Piggledee

As Pig­gledee con­tin­ues to grow, I am now buy­ing more fab­ric in bolts, rather than a cou­ple of meters at a time. Bolts of fab­ric are heavy, so they get shipped by the least costly option — sur­face mail. I have to say, it’s worth the wait. 

There is always an ele­ment of sur­prise when I first “meet” a new fab­ric in per­son. For exam­ple, the scale of the cac­tus print was big­ger than I imag­ined (print scale is really hard to tell from pho­tos). These cacti are huge! But that’s okay, I love them all the same. While they may not be suit­able as smaller pouches, they’ll look stun­ning as big­ger items, like tote bags. 

This boy­ish fab­ric also had an ele­ment of sur­prise — I didn’t care for it too much when I ordered it (I ordered it for boys and men), but as soon as I saw it in per­son, I fell in love. It’s totally cool — for women as well as men. It’s the first fab­ric I wanted to play with — mak­ing a glasses case and a mini wet bag. I added faux leather zip­per pulls to add more manliness.

mini wet bag by Piggledee mini wet bag pouch by Piggledee glasses case by Piggledee

This leaf fab­ric was gifted to me by my mother a few months ago, so I already knew I’d love it. Here’s an extra-large insu­lated lunch bag I made with it before.

insulated lunch bag by Piggledee

My absolute favorite fab­ric in this ship­ment though, is the other leaf print.

linen leaf fabric

This one is 100% linen, and linen feels oh-so-wonderful against your skin. It also has amaz­ing col­ors and drape. At nearly twice the cost of other fab­rics here though, hav­ing a whole 13-meter bolt feels like hav­ing a pre­cious trea­sure. I just want to cud­dle the whole bolt!

I hope you like these fab­rics as much as I do. I can’t wait to make more things with them.



Janome Memory Craft 6600P

A few weeks ago I bought a domes­tic sewing machine — Janome Mem­ory Craft 6600P. I needed a back-up sewing machine in case some­thing hap­pens to my Mit­subishi indus­trial work­horse. I also wanted a rel­a­tively high-end machine so I could do stitches that I can’t do on my straight-stitch indus­trial machine — like but­ton holes, zig zags, and mono­grams. Auto­matic thread cut­ter was also a “neces­sity” now that I’m so used to it.

Bud­get was lim­ited though, so when I found a second-hand Mem­ory Craft 6600 at a rea­son­able price, I went for it. Hav­ing never owned a high-end domes­tic machine, I was excited! I bought a new sewing table and chair for the Janome and wel­comed it to my stu­dio — here it is next to my Brother overlocker.

Janome MC 6600

Sadly, my first impres­sion of the machine was… dis­ap­point­ment. It was a nice machine for sure, and the stitch qual­ity was good. But it felt like a toy com­pared to my pow­er­ful, respon­sive indus­trial machine. After a few hours of play­ing with it, I didn’t go back to it for weeks. It was that frus­trat­ing to sew with.

Even­tu­ally though, I decided to give the Janome another try. Maybe I judged harshly too soon. Maybe I just needed to get to know it bet­ter. It was unfair to expect it to per­form like an indus­trial machine anyway… 

Today was a lazy Sun­day. The kids were away at a local mar­ket with Mark. I decided to do some light patch­work and quilt­ing with the Janome.

Janome MC 6600 built-in walking foot

Piec­ing light­weight pieces together went trouble-free. Then I tried the built-in walk­ing foot. It worked very well! Much smoother, qui­eter, and more effort­less than the clanky walking-foot attach­ment I had for my old Janome machine. It’s great that the walk­ing foot is built-in — no need to attach it with a screw­driver. Finally, I felt a glim­mer of hope — maybe even love - towards this machine. 

Here are other things I love about this machine:

(1) The bob­bin winder that works with a touch of a but­ton. You don’t have to oper­ate the whole sewing machine to wind up a bob­bin, and the process is fast. 

(2) Auto thread cut­ter works like a charm, at the touch of a button. 

(3) The machine is a lit­tle faster than a reg­u­lar domes­tic machine — at 1000 stitches per minute, it is of course slow com­pared to 5000-stitch-per-minute indus­trial machine, but still fast enough not to feel too frustrated.

(4) The stitch qual­ity is solid and clean. I can def­i­nitely use this machine for my pro­fes­sional sewing work (although I haven’t tried out heavy can­vas bags yet on this machine).

What I still find frus­trat­ing is that the machine is not instantly respon­sive. I like to start sewing at a fast pace, but the machine starts out slowly for the first few stitches, no mat­ter how hard I step on the foot con­troller. I get the same slug­gish response when I stop and backstitch. 

I am also dis­ap­pointed in the knee lifter attach­ment. I had to get a height-adjustable chair just to reach the knee lifter com­fort­ably. How­ever, when I do reach the lifter, I’m sit­ting way too high to oper­ate the machine ergonom­i­cally. I have given up on the knee lifter for the moment.

Still, I quite enjoyed sewing with the Janome today. In just a cou­ple of hours, I made three small place­mats, a large pot holder / table run­ner, and a small potholder for our kitchen. I wouldn’t have made so many things if I hated the machine. That’s right, the Janome and I are finally becom­ing friends. 

Patchwork placemats for kids by Ppiggledee

Patchwork placemats for kids by Ppiggledee

Patchwork table runner by Piggledee

patchwork creations for the dining table

Fabric box pattern — coming soon!

It’s been years since I wrote pat­tens for an insu­lated lunch bag and draw­string gift bag / mini towel. I had lots of fun with them and had plans to do more pat­terns, but had since been strug­gling to find the time (I know, excuses, excuses.…). Finally though, I’m work­ing on another pat­tern — this time fab­ric boxes elephant fabric box by piggledee   Why fab­ric boxes? Well, every­one loves them. They are not only use­ful, but they instantly brighten up any space in your house. The boxes are also a snap to make once you get the hang of it, and the sat­is­fac­tion level when you make one is immense. Trust me. You can’t just make one. Echino fabric boxes by Piggledee Actu­ally I have writ­ten a mini tuto­r­ial on a fab­ric box before, but this time I’m using a dif­fer­ent con­struc­tion method, which is quicker to cut, sew, and wastes less fab­ric. I’ll be offer­ing sev­eral size options, but more impor­tantly, I will show you how to draft your own custom-size box.  Here are some sneak peak of the pattern-making process. Aren’t these bright fruity fab­rics gor­geous? They are my cur­rent favorite, by Cloud 9. They are organic cot­ton cor­duroy, and they are great for zakka sewing. I’ll write more about them in another blog post. fabric box tutorial photo by Piggledee fabric boxes for new pattern by Piggledee   Here are my kids “help­ing out” with a photo shoot. Can you guess what they were bribed with? kids helping out with photo shoot Piggledee kids helping out with photo shoot Candy, of course! fabric boxes by Piggledee Would you like to know when the pat­tern is ready for pur­chase? Please sign up to receive an email noti­fi­ca­tion of my blog post, and/or newslet­ter! Both signup boxes are at my front page. With the Face­book reach rather dodgy these days, I’d really love to keep in touch with you on this blog.  cloud 9 fabric boxes for Ppiggledee pattern Stay tuned!

Echino Tote Bag

Here is a sim­ple tote bag I made this week, using a stun­ning “Echino” line of fab­ric designed by Etsuko Furuya. 

Echino patchwork tote bag by Piggledee

I love this large-scale faux patch­work print. It’s very col­or­ful and the mix of dif­fer­ent pat­terns could have looked busy, but it doesn’t. The earthy tones of the col­ors make every­thing look cohe­sive instead of chaotic. It’s joy­ful and delightful.

I love this large-scale faux patchwork print. It's very colorful and the mix of different patterns could have looked busy, but it doesn't. The earthy tones of the colors make everything look cohesive instead of chaotic. It's joyful and delightful.

I designed the bag a while ago actu­ally, and made these for a cou­ple of cus­tomers. The first one was a very large one — great size as a dia­per bag.

I love this large-scale faux patchwork print. It's very colorful and the mix of different patterns could have looked busy, but it doesn't. The earthy tones of the colors make everything look cohesive instead of chaotic. It's joyful and delightful.

I love this large-scale faux patchwork print. It's very colorful and the mix of different patterns could have looked busy, but it doesn't. The earthy tones of the colors make everything look cohesive instead of chaotic. It's joyful and delightful.

The sec­ond one was a lit­tle smaller. This week was the sec­ond time I made this smaller bag.

Echino patchwork tote inside view by Piggledee

When the fab­ric is this spe­cial, sim­ple designs are the best. There is an exposed zip­per pocket and a large patch pocket inside. The han­dles are padded for com­fort. There is also a key-holder tab. But that’s about it for features. 

Echino patchwork tote keyholder view by Piggledee

After sewing the bag, I was left with a bit of scrap fab­ric. Nor­mally it would go into this big box of scrap fab­rics for use “one day.” But this time I felt too sad to toss this per­fectly gor­geous bit of Echino fab­ric in there. So I made this lit­tle… pouch thingy at the end. What is it? Hmm. I’m not sure. It’s too nar­row to be a tis­sue holder and too short to be a pen­cil case.

Echino coin purse pouch by Piggledee

Could it be a coin purse? Why, yes, it could! I hope my cus­tomer will enjoy this lit­tle impromptu gift of a coin purse, along with the bag.

There is just enough of this Echino fab­ric left for one more bag — and then sadly, that’s it!



Library Tote Bag

It feels good to make a new prod­uct for my shop. Yes I know I have so. many. prod­ucts. already, but there’s always some­thing new brew­ing in my head. I just can’t help myself. This par­tic­u­lar library bag had been brew­ing in my head for so long, sewing it up was the eas­i­est part.

Library tote bag by Piggledee

The bag is a flat tote bag in the “por­trait” ori­en­ta­tion, that is just large enough for a few books, and other A4-sized doc­u­ments and fold­ers. It’s lightly padded and I used heavy-duty cot­ton for the lin­ing, so it is sturdy enough to carry not only heavy books, but your iPad or even a lap­top com­puter. My 13″ Mac­Book fits in there perfectly.

Library tote bag by Piggledee

Library tote bag by Piggledee

This one is in the dark blue cat fab­ric, which I love. It’s not too child­ish, and a grownup cat-lover would (I hope) carry this to the office as a casual doc­u­ment bag. I know I would totally carry this “brief­case” to court hear­ings if I were still prac­tic­ing law. That would make me gig­gle inside, feel­ing like a small-time rebel in a world of all-black-and-all-serious envi­ron­ment. Actu­ally the clean lines and sharp­ness of the bag make it more grown-up friendly, allow­ing some wig­gle room for a play­ful print. 

Library tote bag by Piggledee


The tote bag is avail­able now at my shop. I have this gor­geous print in black and red as well, but if you’d like a dif­fer­ent fab­ric, please feel free to request a cus­tom order.

Oh, did you notice the cute felt cat mas­cot hang­ing from the bag? That was made by Ina Sud­jana, who made a bunch of felt bag tags in col­lab­o­ra­tion for my pop­u­lar prints, includ­ing the straw­berry print. She can even stitch an ini­tial to the back of the charm, which is a great way to per­son­al­ize your bag. It’s totally adorable.

Library tote bag by Piggledee

Here are more bag charms by Ina, and they are avail­able to pur­chase from my shop, as well as from Ina’s Etsy shop.

Ina Sudjana's felt bag charms


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Vegan Get-Well Muffins

It’s well and truly win­ter in the Blue Moun­tains, and our whole fam­ily has been struck with the flu the last cou­ple of weeks. First me, then Miss M, then Mark, and finally Mr. A fell ill as well. It sure sucks to be sick, but I count it lucky that by the time my lit­tle ones came down with a fever, I was rea­son­ably recov­ered enough to look after them.

Today I felt even bet­ter, so I made these healthy muffins as a treat for my kids. For days, they have been just man­ag­ing with milk, straw­ber­ries, and ice cream. It’s time I try to get them to eat some­thing a lit­tle more food-like, I thought. These muffins are full of whole­some good­ness, and acci­den­tally vegan to boot. Well, I just couldn’t find any eggs in the fridge, so I went with­out, and they still came out wonderfully. 

Vegan fruit and veggie muffins

I threw all the ingre­di­ents together with­out fol­low­ing a recipe, but noted the amounts just in case the muffins came out well and I wanted to make them again. And they did! So, lucky for you and me, I have a win­ning recipe to share.


1/2 cup apple sauce (cooked and pureed apples with a tiny bit of sugar)

1/2 large car­rot, grated

1/2 large ripe banana, mashed

1/2 cup maple syrup

1/4 cup olive oil

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1 1/2 cup whole­meal plain flour

2 tea­spoon cinnamon

2 tea­spoons bak­ing powder

How to make

1) Melt coconut oil in a small pan with olive oil.

2) Using a wooden spoon or spat­ula, mix grated car­rots, apple sauce, mashed banana, maple syrup, and melted oils together. Add the flour, bak­ing pow­der, and cin­na­mon and gen­tly mix the whole thing together.

3) spoon the mix­ture into sil­i­con moulds or paper muf­fin moulds. Top with slices of straw­ber­ries and bananas for decoration. 

4) Bake at 200C until baked — about 20 min­utes or so.

This recipe makes about 9 small muffins. The cute sil­i­con moulds are from IKEA. These muffins are not very sweet, but just sweet enough to feel like a spe­cial treat — or so I hope.


Vegan fruit and veggie muffins


Linen and Fox Lunch Bag and iPad Case

I love linen. Cute prints are great, too, but some­times, I love the sim­plic­ity and earth­i­ness of plain linen. It just so hap­pened that my mother, who recently vis­ited Japan, bought me this gor­geous fox fab­ric in navy blue. It went beau­ti­fully with 100% linen can­vas. Nat­u­rally I had to make some­thing right away. 

Navy blue fox fabric with 100% linen canvas

At first I thought I’d make an insu­lated lunch bag in a plain zip­pered sleeve style — no tote han­dles and no gus­set. Many cus­tomers have been pur­chas­ing my lunch bags for them­selves, rather than for their kids, so I thought another style of grownup lunch bag would be nice. Here it is. 

Insulated linen lunch sleeve by Piggledee

I loved it! It fits a large lunch box with com­part­ments per­fectly, along with an ice block and uten­sils. It was a lit­tle too big for my kids’ stain­less steel lunch boxes though.

Insulated linen lunch sleeve by Piggledee

Insulated linen lunch sleeve by Piggledee 

While I was test­ing the pouch as a lunch sleeve, it occurred to me that this bag will also be great for an iPad — doesn’t it look quite styl­ish car­ried under your arm? It just so hap­pened that I needed an iPad case.

Insulated linen lunch sleeve by Piggledee

So I made ver­sion 2. I adjusted the lunch bag size a lit­tle to fit my iPad. I used nor­mal quilt wadding this time, instead of Insul-Bright. I kept the rip­stop nylon lin­ing to keep my iPad from get­ting acci­den­tally wet from a leaky water bot­tle, etc. Then I thought how nice it would be to add a lit­tle pocket to the bag, to carry my sty­lus and other lit­tle acces­sories. So I made a “hid­den” pocket with the foxy fab­ric, just on one side. 

Linen and fox iPad case by Piggledee OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA


Per­fect fit! The pouch is wide enough so the iPad goes in and out smoothly with­out get­ting caught in the zip­per. Once inside, there is a lit­tle extra room for a small note­book, or notepad. 

Linen and fox iPad case - pocket view

This lit­tle pocket is so handy. It’s not big, but all I need to fit in there is my sty­lus, and maybe another pen. Here are the two pouches — look­ing quite sim­i­lar but serv­ing dif­fer­ent purposes. 

Linen and fox lunch sleeve and iPad case by Piggledee

Insulated lunch sleeve and iPad case

This 100% linen can­vas will go with a lot of dif­fer­ent “accent” fab­rics and col­ors. I can’t wait to make some more soon!


Easter Hats

Two months ago, we sold our house in Syd­ney and moved to a semi-country area called the Blue Moun­tains. We love it here. The air is fresh and clean. The traf­fic is non-existent. Our new house in a bushy area is incred­i­bly peace­ful. But the move meant our kids would attend a new school — a pub­lic school. Hav­ing only expe­ri­enced Steiner schools before, the new school has been as much a cul­ture shock to me as to the kids.

For one, this school has a lot of events — and I mean a lot. Every week there is some­thing new. Crazy hair day, cake stand sales, snake edu­ca­tion (yes there are snakes around here), excur­sions, and Har­mony Day dress-up. It’s hard to keep up, and I admit, I’ve failed to pre­pare the kids for a few of these events, much to their dis­may and embarrassment.

So when the school sent us a note that we needed to “make” spe­cial hats for our kids for the Easter Parade (and oh by the way, could you also con­tribute cakes for the cake stand?), I saw this as an oppor­tu­nity to redeem myself as a Com­mit­ted Parent.

I con­sulted my chil­dren about the designs of their Eater hats. My 5-year-old son imme­di­ately requested a “pirate bunny” hat. My 7-year-old daugh­ter didn’t have any ideas. So I thought I’d make her some­thing bright and rainbow-y, because she likes rain­bows. I got this Japan­ese hat-making book out (“Oshabe­rina Boshi” — or “Chatty Hats” by Yumiko Itoyama), and got to work.

Japanese hat-making book - Oshaberina Boshii

For the pirate hat, I mod­i­fied this brim­less hat pattern.

Japanese hat-making book - Oshaberina Boshii

I used black can­vas for the hat, and dark blue can­vas for the lin­ing. I mod­i­fied the pat­tern to make the sides wider, to make it resem­ble a pirate hat. Then I painted a skull-and-swords pirate sym­bol on a piece of fab­ric (yes you can laugh at my fee­ble attempt)…

pirate bunny Easter hat in progress

…and attached it onto the fin­ished hat with fusible web. Lastly I made a tiny eye-patch for a store-bought bunny doll, and pinned it to the hat. Finished!

pirate bunny Easter hat finished

For my daughter’s rain­bow hat, I decided on this tulip hat pattern.

Japanese craft book Oshaberina Boshi tulip hat

I used six dif­fer­ent Kona cot­ton col­ors in pas­tel shades.

tulip rainbow hat in progress

Then I pinned some store-bought pas­tel eggs at the top for the fin­ish­ing touch.  

Rainbow Easter hat finished

I was very pleased how these hats came out. And the kids seemed happy as well!



pirate bunny and rainbow Easter hats

I didn’t for­get to make car­rot cup­cakes for the cake stand, either. 

Carrot cupcakes with cream cheese icing

The Easter Parade was so much fun to watch. It wasn’t quite what I expected though, because other kids had truly crazy and bright-colored hats, which looked like they were made by the kids, not the par­ents. The black pirate hat espe­cially looked demure and tame among the ocean of colors.…

School easter hat parade

But it doesn’t mat­ter! Because for once I felt like a Com­mit­ted Par­ent on top of a school event. And my kids were happy to wear the hats I made, sing happy Easter songs with their class­mates, and eat yummy cakes for lunch — though maybe not nec­es­sar­ily in that order.

I hope you all had a happy Easter weekend!