Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Kantha and Denim Dress

The Jury (my husband and I!) was out on this dress until I had added the facing to the bottom.  I tried it on and really was convinced I had just created a denim sack.  And, as you can see, it wasn't so  different with a hem but nonetheless I love it.  A lady also stopped me in the street to say how much she loved it which is always good! The hem is slightly shaped which is a nice detail and whilst oversized (I made a 38, would normally make a 40 at the moment) it does have a cocoon shape which is pretty trendy at the moment.  It also hides all your lumps and bumps, hangs away from the body so is cool to wear in summer and with the pockets is super comfortable and relaxed.

I have had the idea of combining some kantha stitched patchwork fabric I have with denim for an absolute age and finally I have.  The pattern appeared on Burda Style here and Spotlight opened in Busselton so I bustled in on opening weekend and nabbed a couple of meters of light weight denim.  The kantha quilted fabric is beautiful and I also lined the sleeves and faced the hem in it.  Its made from recycled saris and covered in fine running stitch.  It was also my 1st go at piping since I made a a Laura Ashley log cabin patchwork cushion in school needlework aged 15 but it seemed to go OK.  I omitted the back seam and sewed the zip in after a margarita or two hence, like I was, it's a bit squiffy.

My only complaint is that the sleeve design doesn't allow a huge range of arm movement but maybe that just means you have to hang your washing on the line another day!  I photographed this dress after wearing it for about 3 days, a bit creased but not too bad so maybe I can avoid the washing for a while.

Friday, 21 November 2014

Ink Splats Cut Out Dress

Hello Hello,

Its been over a year I know...  I haven't stopped sewing, in fact I've made lots of things that I am really pleased with and wear A LOT.  I've even taken some photos but somehow they haven't made it to here.  But yesterday I found myself at the beach in a relatively recent make, so here we are.

This is the hole back dress 116 from Burda Style 08/14.  I had this viscose that I had brought in Spotlight in the sale about 3 years ago and it had been waiting for a project with the required amount of drape.  Luckily I washed it before as it shrank LOTS and I had to do a bit of figuring out to get all the pattern pieces on.

I absolutely love the skirt on this, its full at the back and swishes about beautifully and blows in the wind but the front is shorter flattering length.  I am just not so sure about the bodice.  The neckline is a bit too square.  The shoulders give quite a nice cap sleeve type effect.  I decided to lengthen the bodice 5 cm as I prefer a slightly lower waist.  I should also have lowered the darts as they are almost exactly 5cm too high and create a bit of a pull across my upper bust.  Not sure I would lengthen it so much if I made it again as it sits strangely at the front but hey ho.  It also probably made the hole at the back smaller but that seems ok to me.

The other major excitement is that I discovered my machine's rolled hem foot and used it to sew the long hem.  It worked a treat and was really very easy and much much quicker than it would have been otherwise.  It made it a bit wavy (not sure how to adjust this) but that was perfect with the style of skirt.

Its not my most successful dress but it is easy to pull on and wear and has a nice summery relaxed feel.  I really love the fabric and would like to find some other nice printed rayon/viscose but have not found anything similar in spotty since.

The bodice is all a bit wrong but more than made up for by the skirt.

See you again a bit sooner!

Thursday, 22 August 2013


Wow, time has flown by.  I finished teaching my 1st set of classes in early July and its now late August.  Eeekk.  It was a lot of fun.  We got to cosy up in the Country Women's rooms in Dunsborough, eat cake and, importantly, make skirts.  The pattern I chose for the class was a great beginners one Megan Neilsen's Kelly Skirt.  Its a great one because it only has one important measurement which is the waist.  It's simple to sew with lots of straight bits but also some intersting things like pockets, pleats and button holes and the finished object is pretty stylish too.

Everyone was so excited by the pockets, its really the 1st thing you make and when they realised that they had put in 2 nicely shaped pockets there were lots of smiles.  Button holes too went pretty well.  I did lots of revision and practice before hand and am now also much better at them than I was before!!!

I learnt many other things too.... like it takes 10 hours to teach a class to make this skirt and finish it not 7 and a half.  Pleats also caused us a few headaches.  Not that they are hard to put in but that everyone needed up with skirts that were too long around the waist and so the waistband only just fitted (and was maybe a bit big finished).  I think for next time I will get everyone to hand tack them and check the waistband length before machine basting in place.  Its also really interesting to see what what beginners really need to know, what's too much and of course those things you think are obvious but totally aren't when you 1st start.

I had such a nice 1st group and three and a half finished skirts out of four.  Erin couldn't make the last lesson but I know she's brought herself a sewing machine after using mine to do the course so I think its out there somewhere!  Here are few pics....
Kim sewing away - she was super speedy!
Jen sewing too.
Emma with her Elks! Loving the scandi style.
Finished Skirts Happy Ladies
And here's a picture of me that I'm using for my facebook page for the classes.  I've cut my fringe.  I know you can tell I did it by that kink.  Well actually my husband did it but I can't be blaming him.  I haven't had one for years but I like it.  Look a bit crazed here, hopefully it won't put everyone off! 

More classes coming soon but I need to work out exactly when as I have started going to some too.

Yay, I'm so excited.  I'm into week 2 of pattern cutting evening classes at Bunbury TAFE.  I accidentally happened upon an advertisement for them, enquired and was told there weren't enough people............. then there were and there I am.  yey.

We are doing skirt and bodice blocks, styles, grading and all sorts.  I was amazed how well my skirt block fit - of course it would I guess.  I've done bits of it before and read lots so its not all totally new but it really does make a huge difference to actually do it in practice and have someone teach you, show you how its properly done and answer your questions.  I love learning anything really but to be able to learn this which I have been wanting to do for ages is a real priveledge.  A do you know what? Its not that hard either (she says after only 2 weeks and some VERY basic styles).  I think I will be making patterns for a lot more things myself.

Next up I'm off to do a day of natural dyeing in September.  After a quiet winter its all happening.  Feels good.

Monday, 12 August 2013


Well I've done a lot of straight line sewing recently with a few bits of twiddly stuff in the middle, namely some applique.  Not something I do much of, I always think of it as going on kids clothes or quilts.  No reason it has to be like that but I've never put any on anything for me.  No change there, I just made some seat covers and kids clothes!

I picked up 3 lovely directors chairs in the tip for $5 when we were dropping something else off.  (Is it only me that always comes back with more than I take?)  Nothing wrong with these just the seats were a bit ripped and mouldy and the wood needed some TLC.  I couldn't leave them behind.  They sat in the garage for about 8 months and then one drizzly saturday morning I just decided to get on and oil them.

I sanded them lightly and then brushed on organ oil which got rapidly soaked up.  It was an amazing transformation, they went from looking pale, worn and sorry for themselves to chic and shipshape just like that.  

Small one didn't want to miss out on any painting action so had a go on her new climbing frame her dad had just built. 

Next to the covers.  I had a large length of denim from the op shop, I'd had it in mind for these so just needed to get going.  I measured the old covers and reduced the size a bit to allow for stretch.  Then I did some applique feathers on the top just to add a bit of interest.  I had some fancy interfacing stuff that sticks on both sides that I brought ages ago, the feather template was on the instruction sheet of something I made out of Burda Style and it had stuck in my memory.  Easy.  Sew around the edge with small zigzag, and running stitch embroidery down the middle whilst watching TV. 

I'm totally pleased with them, but also pleased not to have to sew more straight lines for a bit!

Obviously comfy enough!
The girls above are infact wearing 2 very cute applique dresses, not by me, from Boden in the UK.  A present from their Grandma.  I tried my hand too.  Skye had been walking about with the lion Fabric for a couple of days, she even took it to bed, so I took pity and made her a paper bag skirt with a little lion on the big pocket.  I just made the pattern up, very easy, a slightly sloped rectangle with elastic!  In the photo its just come out of the wash, it could do with an iron but it probably won't get one. 

Modelled by miss on completion.

Thursday, 1 August 2013

Late to the Party

I made these PJs and even took the photos in time for the party but then I missed it.  Life and things got in the way.  But finally ............I present my 2 new pairs of pyjama bottoms!!!  Both of these pairs of trousers rescued otherwise unwearbale tops from the op shop and transformed them into pretty cute pyjama tops.  They only get seen under cover of darkness (by me and my nearest and dearest) so the obvious reasons I didn't really like wearing the tops out become unimportant and it seems pyjamas have different style rules which mean they are just fine.  I now have 2 sets of PJs that get lots and lots of wear.

1st up lets meet the karate/curtains/kung-fu/chintz pair.  I really am not sure what I was thinking when I made this top.  I did originally buy the fabric for a nightie or pyjamas but then decided to make a kimono top.  Its kind of ok and it did get worn out once - the day I made it of course.  But the sleeves are huge and show your bra and the print whilst very pretty and a lovely soft voile is really not my style and, well, doesn't go so well with the design.  Its pattern 121 from Burda Style 06/11. 

Back to plan A.  Bra showing is obviously no longer an issue if I'm not wearing one!  I had more of the same fabric and trim so enter a PJ bottom pattern from Burda 12/2007 (which incidentally has a much better looking kimono style top).  I have sepia-ed up these pics as it was all a bit harsh with the night time flash photography.  You can see the real colours in the last pic below.

 Next up a stripey vintage sheet pair.  Quite reminiscent mens PJS (although maybe not in pink).  They tone down the sweetness of the top.  I made this one when I was pregnant, (in fact I notice I posted about it 2 days before giving birth!)  It kind of worked ok for that although really the material was not drapey enough.   I tried cutting off the frilly sleeves to improve it and thought about shortening it but it didn't seem worth the effort.  Its one major merit was its extreme comfort (and of course its downside in that it looks a bit like a sack) so pyjamas it became.  I used the same pattern.

These were bottoms were obviously not complicated to make but were something I'd been meaning to do for ages and kept putting off.  I think I knocked them both out in one evening. Thank you to Karen, her pyjama party gave me the push to finally do it.  Two otherwise unloved items are now earning their keep.

Monday, 15 July 2013

It's just pants!

My computer has blown up, which is pretty pants, which means I haven't done some of the posts I want to as my photos are stuck on my camera.  So here is a little post from my iPhone.  Life not actually too pants although we have been having a bit of mid winter blues.  We reckoned that being from the northern hemisphere we would normally have Christmas to break up winter but over here we don't have any fun celebrations to so it feels super long.  So to lighten the mood I knocked out a quick fun project using some small amounts of things from my stores.

Yes pants! Yey.  Made using Zoe's free pattern, a metre or 2 of knicker elastic from my large store ( 2  big bags $5 at Albany auctions), and some scrap jersey from a dress I made.  I made 2 pairs, using blue and pink elastic to go with the grey fabric.

For the blue ones I added a small seam allowance so the leg and waist sides as the pattern is designed for fold over elastic and mine is just traditional knicker elastic (even though you do fold it over in the process of sewing it on).  The pink ones I left as is and I prefer these although the difference is minimal.  Only thing I would change would be to make sure I put a bit more tension on my waist elastic as I sewed it on.  They aren't falling down but more would feel better I think.  I sewed the elastic on 1st with a normal zigzag and once I had turned it over with a 3 step zigzag, a stitch I love on knit fabric.  


My over locker's timing has ******ed up again so its out of action until I feel rich or desperate enough to get it fixed.  Booo.  It wouldn't have made any difference to making these but it is making me hesitate to start some other projects (well its my most recent excuse for not making trousers with a front fly!!)

Anyway these pants/knickers/undies are great, super comfy and M&S may not get any more business from me (yes despite living in oz for 4 years now my mum still sends me parcels of my favourite M&S boy leg shorts.)  Infact next mission must surely be to trace a pair of these.

Monday, 17 June 2013

Beach Blanket Babylon

This coat started life as a blanket.  I think it started that life quite a long time ago.  It was made in the Albany Woollen Mills, now no longer there.  I don't know when they closed down but I am imagining sometime in the 80s.  I like that this coat has had a long life before and that it was originally made relatively locally.  I cut the label off the corner of the blanket and hand stitched it into the coat.

And here's the coat. Ta daaaa......

I made the this pattern from Burda Style 10/2012.   I made my usual size 12 (38) and it seems to fit pretty well.  I left out the inseam pockets as I thought that some on the front would look better.  I'm still planning to put in some welt pockets as I keep reaching down to put my hands in them only to find I haven't made them yet!  My excuse is that it was very cold and I just had to start wearing the coat.  I also brought a couple of buttons as I planned to put one or 2 on to hold it together rather than just the belt.  I still haven't put them on as I wasn't sure I wanted to have a big button hole (or a snap) on the collar when I didn't have it fully buttoned up.  My compromise is a kilt pin.


I hand stitched the blanket stitch all the way around, using some tapestry wool I got for $1 at the market.  It was quite therapeutic really and a just took me a couple of evenings in front of the TV.  I'm actually really pleased with it.  It kept me warm at the same time too.  Initially I had planned to do 2 or 3 rows of running stitch just inside too but in the end I didn't want to overdo the crafty-ness of it.

I think though that the fact that it does still look quite like a blanket is what has got me so many compliments about it.  I thought it was reltively ordinary but I guess its quite unusual and the fact that it does look handmade does make people comment on it.  I have even had a couple of requests for copies.

Its not lined as you can see so its a relatively easy make.  I did flat fell seams, with a raw edge where I could and I like the rustic look of these.

It was a warm sunny lunch time when I photographed this but its been a wonderful coat for the chilly mornings and evenings. So with the sun shining, a cosy coat for when it isn't and at a total cost of $6 for materials I really have nothing left to complain about!