Sunday, February 22, 2015


After quite a binge of trouser making in early 2013, I'm only now finding that I need more nice pants to wear to work. After making a number of Thurlow based trousers, I thought it about time I try a new pattern. 
While I really like the idea of the Republic Du Chiffon Jacques trousers, I'm not sure they are for me. Maybe I'm just a little too stuck on the skinny/slim trouser look.
I think my fabric choice, which isn't as crisp as it should be, has also made these a rather ho hum make. I used a cheaper drapey poly twill fabric from The Remnant Warehouse. I think you need a crisp fabric to hold the pleat and the crease along the leg with this style of trousers.
When making this pattern, the biggest hurdle I stumbled upon was the sizing. After making a muslin, I found my size almost unwearable as there just wasn't enough ease. As a rule, I size down almost all of my projects. However, after researching the pattern a little online, I found that you are supposed to size up when picking your size. To avoid re tracing the pattern, I just added a little along the side seams and a few other places to size them up to my size. Yes, it's a little gung ho, but it mostly worked.
As you can see from these pictures, I modified the waist band significantly, adding a regular fly front rather than buttons (which are definitely not my style) and using my regular curved waist band, rather than the one drafted.
I was also not sure about the cuffed look, but think I'll go back and loose a little length to add them back on again.

Look they aren't that bad, but I don't love them. Perhaps when we get a cooler day in Sydney I'll try to wear them to work and see how I go. I think I may also try making them in a much crisper fabric, probably with a little stretch for comfort. 

See also

Friday, February 6, 2015


You know when you need to dash up to the shop to get milk first thing in the morning and the only thing you can find it an un ironed Archer? A crumpled up Alder? crushed Thurlows? Yes - it's a wardrobe crisis!! You need more t-shirts!!

Sewing basics isn't as much fun as sewing icing, but it is necessary evil. This basic tee was made with the Grainline scout tee pattern. I love the loose fit.
Even though this is a pattern for wovens, it quite easily translates to knits and just finishes more relaxed. The only change that I make to accommodate the knit fabric, is that I sew standard 5/8 inch seams, rather than the specified 1/2 inch.
The fabric was left over from this cardigan, which doesn't get as much wear as it should. I think it's because it's a busy pattern and my tops are often busy. So busy and busy don't go, right? Anyway, as I was working with a small, choppy piece of fabric, I didn't have enough to cut the whole back piece in one, so added a contrast back yoke with the fabric running vertically. Design feature right?

While on basics, I've also recently sewn another Scout in grey knit with Liberty binding.
This Liberty isn't a knit and it does not form to the shape of the neckline properly. So to fix, I ran a line of hat elastic inside the binding and pulled it in so that it sits on my skin properly. It's not a technical fix that you'd read about in a sewing book, but it works.

Lastly, I finally made myself a Grainline hemlock. Nothing terribly spesh about this top, but I like it. I often wear my Liberty Archers to the beach to stop sunburn and made this to have a knit beach top that will look less crumpled after sitting on the sand while I swim.
It works. It's good. Shame about the crappy photography. 

Fingers crossed I steal some time at the machine this weekend. TGIF!!

Monday, February 2, 2015

Another swishy dress

I love my confetti dress so much, that over the holidays I made another just like it.
Again I used a thin, drapey Spotlight poly knit. I found this print on the sale table for just a few dollars a meter. I don't normally wear red, but I really love this dress.

This dress is fairly similar to my confetti dress and based mostly on Vogue 1351 with the front drafted as a regular sleeveless dress rather than with a cowl neck. With this version, instead of sewing a tie to the dress, this one is removable. I added belt loops to the side so I can wear a regular belt or the tie that I made in the same fabric.

This dress is fully self lined, so it is very swishy and doesn't at all cling or show wobbles, which is always a risk with a knit dress. I was a little more successful at cutting the lining shorter than the dress outer, which gives a much nicer blousing look to the dress. I think this keeps it from looking too formal for school.

I hope you have a good week. It's going to be cracker in my house.

Friday, January 30, 2015

Lisa as a top

I'm trying to catch up on posting some of my finished items. Unfortunately, my photography is letting me down. Most photos are just not good enough for sharing on this blog. :(

This top was made last year in November. It's the Tessuti Lisa dress pattern as a top.
 The real Betty is getting in on the actions in these photos

As with all Tessuti patterns, I needed to make petite adjustments to the pattern. I guess I'm not tall enough for the pattern as drafted :( like many things.

Unfortunately my petite adjustments were made after constructing the top part of the top/dress, including finishing all binding. Due to my fitting oversight, I pinched out the excess length from the shoulders and sewed the new seam down. It looks like a flat felled shoulder seam, but it's a fitting adjustment. shhhh.

This fabric is a lovely, light, washed linen from Tessuti. I picked it up from the remnant table during one of my many visits.

I really like this top. The neck sits a little high due to my overlooked adjustments, but I often wear the buttons open to make it look a little more casual and a little less nun. :)

Thursday, January 29, 2015

It's done!

The 2015 school year has begun and this kiddo has started kindergarten!

She's so ready. She breezed through her first day and I'm sure we'll see her take off in the coming few weeks.
The boys are back too and I think they'll be fine. It's just school right?

Naturally, I am back at school too and this year, I'm working full time. I've been working part time since finishing university, but think that working full time will put me in a better position to get a permanent job, if anything suitable ever crops up. I'm really pleased my school has been supportive of me and I'm really excited about my additional work day and all the challenges it will bring, but I suspect it will negatively impact my sewing output :(

The third major change to hit our house this year - yes, even though January isn't over yet! -  is that my husband has made a massive career change. He has been a plumber since he finished school and has been bored senseless for years. He is now heading into an office role, designing plumbing and hydraulics for large developments and buildings. While this may not sound significant, he has been in an active, labour intensive role for years and now will sit in front of a computer, wear office clothes, and only work 5 days (only the wife of a tradie who works every Saturday will understand my excitement at having a husband at home to help with Saturday sport).

Naturally, these big changes in our lives bring much excitement and a huge amount of anxiety and stress. Finger crossed we make it to the end of term 1 in one piece! And hopefully I'll still be able to sew a little to keep my sanity. Although with my back log of sewing projects to share, I think blogging is my current problem, not sewing :)

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Vintage chairs and a look at our new kitchen

A few years ago my husband's grandparents passed away. As with most families, when these terrible things happen there is a whole house full of items that need to be distributed to family members, sold or given away. Interestingly, when this happened in my husband's family, most of his cousins refused to take the furniture. The items that my husband and I thought were cool, were just old to these cousins and there was no way they could put them into their modern furnished homes. Naturally we kept a number of items, including this lounge. But the most amazing thing we were able to take were these dining chairs.
They are very sturdy with their metal frames, but softened by teak toppers and cushioned seats. My husband's Nan always talked about picking them specifically for their newly built WWII house as they were slim and she could fit all 6 around her petite Laminex table. This same feature is a benefit to us as we can certainly squish an increased number of people comfortably at our dining table with these chairs.I believe Nan had the chairs recovered and resprayed in the late 80's.
It's taken more than two years for me to repair, refinish and reupholster these chairs. I think they look rather cool. My husband had to weld them in places where the back spindles has come off, then we scrubbed them, undercoated them and resprayed them matt black. The wood was in good condition and only needed a clean. The bases were simply reupholstered in a citrus coloured Warwick Fabric that I picked up from my local upholstery supplier. I reused the piping cord and foam as they were still in good condition.

While fixing the chairs, my husband and I also refinished our dining table. It's an oak extendable table from Ikea. Nothing flash, but the lacquer we put of the table top was turning to trash, so we stripped it and oiled the whole table. The finish is now much nicer, It's just a shame we didn't do this when we first purchased it.

While talking about house things, I thought it best to share some photos of our kitchen renovation from last year. Before we started, we had a pokey and dark kitchen that had been given a quick facelift when we moved into this house 5 years ago. Originally, the early 90's kitchen had black splashback tiles and black cupboard fronts - eewww!! Our house is a little dark inside due to all of the awnings and verandas attached to it, so this made the kitchen seem like an underground bunker. The kitchen and the main living/dining room was also separated by a wall, which made the whole space pokey and lack flow.

This is where I should post a 'before' image, but alas I can't find one!! My old phone had the pics, but when it smashed I guess I forgot to do something with them. So you will just have to use your imagination for the before photo :)

With the help of our builder friends, the supporting wall was removed and the kitchen and laundry were rebuilt to make the kitchen larger. We relaid matching floorboards through the back of the house to replace the old laminate and replaced old windows and doors.

As this part of the house is a little dark, we used a lot of matt white and really good LED lights.

The breakfast bar is, by far, the best change that we made. It's just so nice watching the kids eat in the morning while I get lunches ready and being able to watch and help them with homework while cooking dinner. I just can't remember these things being easy when they had to sit at the dining table where I couldn't see them.

The tiles took me forever to find and I LOVE them. They are white, which is what I wanted, but have a more interesting pattern than most things I could find at the time. The stone is a called Clamshell from Caesar Stone, which is a slightly warm, light grey colour. We still need to buy a tap, this is just a cheapy that my husband had lying around.

As I didn't want to hide my every day small appliances, but also didn't want to keep them on the bench, with the help of our fantastic kitchen maker friend, we designed these recessed stone shelves to keep together all the little bibs and bobs that you for every day use. This space can be a bit of a dumping ground, but a quick tidy is often all it needs to get it looking good again and at least we know where things are most of the time.

So there you have it - a new kitchen and a few other new bibs and bobs to update and freshen our home. As with most home improvement projects though, the more you change the more you want to change. This 'knock on effect' has now opened conversations to update the staircase and the down stairs bathroom, and don't even get me started on a trying to get a pool for next summer... we'll see though. My money tree is a little bare now :)

Monday, January 19, 2015

Kokka sateen two ways

I feel like my blogging has been a little strained these holidays. I've been sewing like a mad woman, but struggling to get motivated to put on make up and photograph my finished items. I managed to photograph a few items today, so hopefully some more activity on the blog front will happen.

I purchased this fabric last year with the intention to make a more playful and vibrant tank. It's a delightfully smooth sateen by Kokka, that I purchased from Miss Matatabi. You can see a different colourway here.
 Now I have it and I'm happy.

This is my own pattern which I have made numerous times before. There isn't much more to say about it, but I like it. I think I may retire this pattern for a while now. There are only so many tanks that you need in your wardrobe.

Now, rather than stash the remnant back into my over stuffed basket of scraps, I made them into a dress for Adele.

She was a little disappointed with this dress initially - not pink enough - but now has worn it a few times, so I guess it's OK.

I used a vintage drop waist dress pattern which I have used before here, but it appears she is a little too tall for the size 4 pattern and it isn't much of a drop waist.

Perhaps we'll both wear these together on our trip to Mr Maker at the Opera House tomorrow?