The Elusive Ms Midge

In the second of our “meet our attendees” interviews, Alison (aka The Baroness) lightly grills Melissa Gottliebsen, otherwise known as Ms Midge.


Ms Midge and I have a history.  Many’s the time we’ve been invited to the same events, scheduled at the same sewing days, and been at Ikea at the same time (“Are you at the Richmond store?” “No, Springvale!”).  And yet, we’ve never met.  I’ve met her mother for gawdsake, but not a smidge of Midge.  So when we decided to ask our attendees to interview each other in the hope that we’d all feel like old friends by the time we got to the retreat, I sneakily assigned myself Melissa.  There was no way she could avoid me now.  I pictured myself interviewing her ninja-style, popping up in the most unlikely of places to throw a random question at her, but in the end we settled on an interview via Facebook.  (She’s definitely avoiding me.)

I’ve been reading a lot of young adult fiction lately, so inspired by that style of writing and in no way related to the fact that I wanted to get this interview up and published as quickly as possible so I could get back to sewing, I decided to simply copy and paste our entire conversation for your reading pleasure.  (Oh come on, some of those YA books are written almost entirely in text messages!)

Ladies and gentlefolk, I present The Elusive Ms Midge

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Sooooo, would you like to explain the background to your moniker?

This is the background story to Ms Midges name….. When I was born I was 5p6o and by the time I left hospital I was 4p7o…. So I was basically very little and scrawny. My dad nicknamed me Midge. It was then my name throughout my entire childhood, even teachers called me Midge! It was only when I moved to Melbourne at 15 that Melissa started being used 😃 .  My friends all called me Midge though. The Ms part came when I was having to choose my first ever email address and I had to think of something to go in front of the Midge 😆

You mean to say “melissagottliebsen@hotmail” was already gone?!! I love the name – I always imagine you introducing yourself as “The name’s Midge. Ms Midge. 


If you moved to Melbourne at 15, where did you grow up?

I grew up on the Gold Coast.  Most of my years were spent in Coomera and Oxenford – where all the theme parks are.  My mum worked at dream world in the wardrobe dept and I went to primary school over the road. Made for great after school activities 😝

I know you learned to quilt from your (wonderful!) mum. I learned from the internet, and I’m incredibly grateful to people like you who take the time to blog, write tutorials and share knowledge, especially as I appreciate it’s a huge effort. What drives you to reach out into the sewing community in this way?

I actually didn’t learn to quilt from mum 😬 same as you, I got it all from online! I already had my blog, but it was a personal blog, so I posted just about life in general. Then when I started my children’s clothing I blogged a bit about that and then when quilting came along my blog somehow exploded with traffic. I have continued to blog and share because I feel like I’m giving back a bit to the community that helped me learn 😀

And you definitely are! Yesterday I was quilting a very large quilt and table basted it (which I learned from you), rolled it (which I learned from you) and used my quilting gloves (which I got from you)!

That’s fab!


Which bloggers or internet sites did you learn most from, or are most grateful to?

The main person who helped me out was Gemma Jackson aka @prettybobbins . We were in a little sewing group of friends and she had started quilting so when I asked about making my first one she encouraged me and pointed me in all the right directions. My favourite blog back then – and still is – is Freshly Pieced. Lee is an amazing quilter 😃

Molli and I did our first ever quilt along run by Lee. If you look up Bloom Bloom Pow 😜 

Oooh, I need to look her up! So many blogs, so little time for sewing as it is!  


Arghhh! You sent me off deep into blogland… and we all know it takes hours to get out of there!

Hahhaha enjoy blog land 😝


What’s on your sewing to-do list/bucket list?

I don’t really have a bucket list sewing wise. But there are two quilts I’d like to make – a drunkards path and clamshells 😃


Do you think you have a defined quilting style, favoured block or technique? I know that you favour FMQ for example, and your recent foray into offset borders is bound to start a new trend!

I don’t really define my style but would call it contemporary if I had to. Molli commented on a post of mine, I’ll try and find it, basically laughing because I don’t think I have a definitive style lol

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You’ve made some gorgeous things. Which is your favourite make (and why, if there’s a reason other than its overall gorgeousness!), and which are you most proud of?

And I truly don’t have any favourites! The closest I could come to choosing would probably be my Steam Punk :0


What would be your top 3 tips for quilters? Do you have any “secret” weapons or methods that you use?

Top 3 tips:

  • Have fun and enjoy the process.
  • Don’t worry about what anyone else thinks or whether they will like it
  • Invest in your tools – ie. great scissors, cutting mat and rotary cutter. Get the best quality you can afford and build your stash of other products slowly but surely 🙂

God yeah, especially the second one. It’s so easy to lose sight of who you are and just follow the crowd. I’ve adopted the Gretchen Rubin mantra “be Alison” (except, ya know, hers was “be Gretchen”).



Okay, talking of tools, what sewing gadget or device do you wish someone would invent?  I’m going for the never-ending bobbin.  I mean, my car can park itself for gawdsake, but we haven’t yet solved the bobbin crisis?!!

Hmmmmmm I’ll have to think of that

You take your time.  We want to be fully prepared before we go for crowdfunding 😉

Sewing device…… A totally ergonomically sound set up so nobody ever gets a sore neck back or arms!!


I notice that your sewjo has been in overdrive lately! What do you do to get it back when it goes awol?

Getting my sewjo back is usually when I have something I really want to make. Ie I have two outstanding orders for cushions from family and friends that I’m getting paid to do, but I just can’t be bothered because it’s in my have to pile rather than my want to pile! When I want to make something I can find the enthusiasm and get it done reasonably quickly!

Yeah, I have the same issue! A while ago I muttered something at a party about a friend’s toddler’s dress being super easy to make, and before I knew it she’d given me three fabrics and a bottle of champagne as “payment”!  I made one of the dresses, hated the process (it’s so hard to make for little people when you don’t have one of your own and you’ve no idea of proportions), and I’ve got the guilt of having drunk the champagne and still having her fabrics weighing me down!

That is hilarious!



I know what you’re thinking… how does it all end?  Do they finally meet?  And what happens then?  Do they fall in love?!!  Well in the tradition of any good Young Adult fiction, you’re going to have to wait until the next chapter to find out…


Alison x

(aka The Baroness)


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