Monday, October 20, 2014


On the weekend (geez that sounds like a primary school recount writing starter!) I attended a workshop at Shibori in Sydney with the Spoolettes. I don't often attend creative or sewing workshops, as it's just a little too hard to organise babysitters on the weekend, but this was one I really wanted to attend.

The workshop certainly didn't disappoint.  Pepa and Karen taught us the basics of a few different shibori techniques, then supported us as we dyed away.
While we were supplied a few pieces of fabric to experiment with, we were also allowed to dye our own. Susan kindly offered to purchase us fabric for us and I'm pretty sure most of us took her up on that offer. Here Lizzy and I are wrangling our silk and trying to fold neat, straight concertina folds. Why not use the best when learning right?
Thankfully both of our pieces worked out. My silk piece is the front of the line with the triangle block design.
By the time we finished the workshop, we has a whole clothesline full of pieces and many that were draped across chairs and tables to dry.
Hopefully in the coming weeks we'll see some finished garments from these unique pieces. Thanks again to Susan for coordinating the day. As I'm not a big photo taker, I've also borrowed one of her photos and a few of Melanie's. Check out Susan's blog for more pics.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Kwik Sew Swimmers for Adele

On the last week of the holidays I took the boys into the city to watch the 26th Story Treehouse at the Opera House. One of the many advantages of going on an adventure with just two older boys, rather than with two older boys and a temperamental 4 year old, is that you can negotiate with them. One treat for one fabric shop and a treat and some pocket money for two fabric shops. I managed to squeeze in a visit to both The Fabric Store and Tessuti!

As I don't really need much at the moment to enhance my stash, I was quite restrained. One thing I couldn't turn down though, was a 1m remnant of this swim lycra.

I've not had a lot of luck this year with swimwear sewing, which I'll share later, so decided to start again with something simple and make Adele a new cosi.
She adores the tulle skirt and only twirls when she wears it, including during swimming lessons. I wasn't sure how the tulle would fare in the water, but it is fine. I sticks to her, but poofs back up when it's dry.

The pattern I used is a vintage Kwik Sew pattern, 6573, that I picked up from the Op Shop many moons ago. It doesn't even have an envelop. Someone has torn the page from the Kwik Sew catalogue and taped it up to hold the pattern.
I made Adele a size 4 and the length is fine, but it is a little wide. After my mammoth journey last year to make nice swimmers for myself, I was quite surprised at how easy and enjoyable this was to make. I suspect Adele will have a matching rash shirt shortly.

Now the sad start to my own swimwear sewing this summer is that I ruined a delightful remnant of swim fabric that was gifted to me by Kirsty. I could cry!

I thought if I used the same pattern as my last suit I would be fine. I thought if I trialed adding piping and it worked, I would be fine. I thought I was very safely and carefully utilising this remnant, but I was wrong. I just couldn't fight the bulk that the flat piping added to the seams, even when I top stitched them down. I'm hoping I can salvage this fabric and perhaps make a colour blocked swimsuit. Hopefully!

Saturday, October 4, 2014

Alder Shirt Dress in Liberty V2

My first Alder is in such high rotation, that I clearly needed to add another.

Again I've used Liberty and if this print looks familiar, it may be because you've seen it here and here. Yep, that's right, I've purchased the same fabric three times over the last 3 years and made 3 different dresses! I'm totally nuts! Although it is quite funny to see how my style has evolved over the years. I seem to be making much less 'icing' or 'frosting' these days.
The print is called Anne Tyrrell and look here, you can still get it!! I won't rule out buying more :) I love the dark inky navy background with olive coloured willow trees that have a hint of bright pink and orange.
Unlike my first Alder, this time I made view A, without the gathered skirt. I would love to say that I'd be happy to wear this without a belt, but I just don't feel it's my style. So I made sure I hemmed the dress little longer to accommodate the loss of length that happens when you wear a belt.
I really adore this dress. I love wearing shirt dresses to work and I clearly love wearing Liberty. 

I have more holiday sewing to share, hopefully before school goes back on Tuesday :(

Friday, October 3, 2014

The Amelie Cape

I was very kindly asked by Thouraya from Amelie and Atticus to be a pattern tester for her first pattern, the Amelie Cape. I've always loved her whimsical capes, so how could I say no?
Thouraya and I met many years ago when we realised we lived close to each other. We've pattern swapped on a number of occasions, seen each other at our local fabric shop and way back when I released my bonnet pattern, Throuraya kindly tested it for me.

This delightful cape was simple to make and Adele loves it. When I asked her if we could pop outside for photos, she declared she was going to be Batman!! Those older brothers rub off on her in so many ways.  I took about 20 photos and most are of her running around and jumping.

Adele picked the purple fabric for the cape outer. It's a stretch twill and the shiny love heart fabric is a polyester from Clear It Out, the Alannah Hill fabric outlet in Melbourne. I fear she will not be wearing this cape to our next bonfire as it will likely go up in flames!

The pattern instructions are simple and easy to follow. I chose to attach the hood and finish the cape by creating a hood sandwich between the outer fabric and the lining. This made construction super fast.

Adele adores her cape and that makes me happy.

You can grab your pattern here, or check out the other pattern testers capes over the next few days.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Liberty Skinnies

This is one of those projects that I really wanted to make, but wasn't sure they would work. I think they work though. What do you think?
I purchased this Liberty canvas from Shaukat earlier this year. It is just like a stable denim/twill weave fabric with quite a bit of mechanical stretch. Perfect for skinny jeans.

It's always a gamble buying Liberty from Shaukat. It's really hard to gauge the scale of the print in those tiny boxes. The Liberty site isn't much better. I find the best way to visualise how a print will work is to find a garment made from it. For this print, called Childhood Treasures, I found this maternity dress. Which is kinda cute for those who need that type of garment.

This print has the inkiest navy back ground and very vivid orange, purple, yellow and pink flowers. It even has tiny dragon flies, butterflies and elephants. I'm quite smitten with the colours on this fabric, but quite surprised to find it is printed on a very stark white canvas. It will be interesting to see how it wears over time. I have pre washed the fabric twice and it still looks great. I'll make sure I update you if the colour fades dramatically with wear.

Like my last pair of skinnies, I used Burda 127/2009. As I still haven't found the yoke pattern piece, I substituted it with the yoke from my Grainline skirt and fudged it together to fit. Again I basted the jeans together to check they fit before finishing and top stitching. I'm really quite amazed at how well these fit. I didn't make any changes from my last pair.

To balance the rows of flowers on the print, I tried to cut the legs with as much navy running down the front and back as possible. Rather than pattern match, which would have been impossible, I staggered the flower patches so they weren't sitting next to each other, kinda diagonal. Does that make sense?

I think these pants are totally wild, but the 7/8 length helps balance the look a little. They will be perfect for Spring and perfect for wearing to school with sandals. I've even looked through my wardrobe for tops that will work with them and so far have this linen tank,  my recent Valerie top and I have a piece of purple linen that will shortly become another top.

In other funny news, when making these pants I quite possibly made the biggest sewing mistake I have ever made! My pant/jeans making process is a little relaxed these days. I've made numerous well fitted pairs of pants and am quite confident in my ability. So much so, that I often only cut the front/back leg and waist band from a pattern. The rest I often cut by eye, guesstimating as I go. Yep, I live on the edge!

Anyway, I needed pocket facings, so picked up the nearest scrap and cut them. Only to find that I had accidentally cut into the leg of my jeans!!! Doh!
Naturally I didn't have enough fabric to recut the leg, so I now have a slightly visible 'design feature' on the leg just below my knee. At least I've learnt a lesson about keeping my work space tidier so I can see the fabric I'm cutting in to!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

My husband said I couldn't have a new lounge...

But I got one anyway!
Well my old one, but better!

The funny thing about renovating is that there is a knock on effect from every change you make. You ever so slightly change the colour of your walls, just a shade lighter, and your curtains don't go. You pick darker curtains, and then your rug looks shabby. You update your rug, and your couch looks trashed. You ask for a new lounge, but then your husband says 'No!'. But I am a sewer and for the cost of a few meters of fabric and a short day of sewing, I got what I wanted anyway!!

I must say that I do agree with my husband about not getting a new lounge. This is a King Furniture lounge, which many Australians would know about, and it really has held up well after 10 years of sitting, spilling, jumping, sleeping and playing around on. The kids have certainly not treated this piece of furniture kindly, but the bones have held up remarkably well.

I last recovered this lounge about 4 and a half years ago, back here. As my lounge was already brown, I just picked a similar coloured fabric, but have pretty much regretted that choice since. I hate brown! Even more than I hate green!!

As I had covered my lounge before, it was very easy to do it again. I had the templates and the design sorted. It was just a matter of connecting all the sides, then attaching to the lounge.

Needless to say, I am very pleased with myself and how my house is shaping up. Hopefully soon I'll be able to share photos of our new kitchen. I'm just waiting for the shutters to be delivered.

Just incase you are interested. My next house project will be fixing up these dining chairs, which we inherited from my husband's grandmother.

She purchased them in the early sixties I think. I love their atomic style. They are so simple and cool! As we love them so much, and because there is family history, we are going to do fix them properly. Some chairs need welding on the back spindles, which my husband can take care of. Then I'm going to get them sandblasted to remove the old brown and grey paint. I'll probably paint the metal matt black and then refit the cushions with the citrus-like fabric below.
Given my track record though, this will probably be completed by this time next year. Till then!

Monday, September 22, 2014

White Summer Tank

I'm on holidays! Yippeee!! I have so much sewing planned. If I only get through half of it, I'll be happy.

I've been dreaming of pure white tanks for a few weeks. In particular, one with textured fabric, a high neck line and cut away arms. This pattern is self drafted, based initially on the Tiny Pocket Tank and Valerie, and has been modified to achieve this superb fit. I'm feelin rather smug about the fit :)

I adore this style and foresee this will become my new 'go-to' tank pattern this summer.

The white colour choice is an interesting change for me. Normally I'm all about black, but for some reason I've been dreaming in crisp whites for Summer. Naturally given my family and work life, I envisage I'll need a few more white tanks as they will in all likelihood, end up trashed.
While I searched high and low (on the internet) to find white textured knit or woven fabric, I didn't come up with much (please do tell if you find any!). One of the teachers at my school recently purchased a white tee from a discount fashion outlet with the most lovely geometric, embossed design on it. I'm tempted to drive quite far away to see if I can buy the same top to hack into another tank, but I really don't want to drive so far away and waste a holiday day without a guarantee. I know I'm not the only crazy that would contemplate this! So, being sensible, I ended up at Spotty and purchased some simple white, cotton seersucker.
As the fabric was a little sheer, I lined the front and the back yoke pieces with lawn. To perfect the finish, there are no visible seam lines or top stitching on this tank. I even hand stitched the hem, which is a rare occurrence
As I like to play with fabric, there is a subtle change in direction of the fabric. The texture runs horizontally on the front and back yoke and vertically on the back. I also angled the back yoke, for a little interest.
I adore this tank and will be back with more versions soon. I hope you are enjoying the Spring weather change, or Fall if you are in the Northern Hemisphere. I envisage more gardening in my future!