Sewing, thrifting and the like...

Saturday, 13 December 2014

Ultimate Cats

So this cat lady has gone and made herself some new strides! And in celebration I went and found the coolest cats in town..

The trousers are the 'Ultimate Trousers' by Sew Over It London. I originally made them up in a size 12, based on my measurements. However, the pattern is for a woven not a stretch so they were way too big. I am not a fan of muslins/toiles - I know, I know, I should always do them - but I would never have time to make anything if I made them all the time. So instead I fit as I go. So I made them up in the size 12 by basting them together. So I just undid them and cut them down, they ended up being a size 10 in the waist but a size 8 elsewhere. In fact they are probably a bit smaller than this in the leg, because I wanted them skinnier than the design. I can use these alterations on my next pair of stretch Ultimates, but I would leave them a size 12 for a woven pair.
As you can see, I chose to add the zip to the centre back seam. This made it easier when I was doing the altering truth be told, but also it saves having any bumps on my hip! I added a button tab for a hook and bar on the inside, to avoid any accidental flashing!

I made them up in a flocked cotton from Addicted to Fabric. They have 3% elastane in them so are a stretch, like a stretch denim really. They are of a similar thickness but then they have this rad texture, the blue feels and looks like velvet!

The pattern is super simple. Just a front, a back and two facing pieces.The instructions are really good and honestly, it sewed up in an evening.

 I am pretty pleased with them! I mean they aren't perfect by any stretch of the imagination. I am sure all you advanced sewists can see all the faults, but my standards are pretty low!!I am sure they will get plenty of wear. And yes, there will be more. I like the style! And i am sure there will more photos with these kitty cats in my future too!

Friday, 14 November 2014

A dotty holly

So my latest outfit is another By Hand London Holly hack!


I loved my previous version, I have worn the trousers heaps and they are really comfy. They go with lots of things and are great for summer. The top, not so much. In fact not at all. It just doesn't feel right. I will wear it, but I need more high-waisted trousers/shorts/skirts to wear it with. You see its a bit high cut, i am 36 and have had five children so my tummy is not in the best shape! I really love the look of cropped tops I just can't really pull it off myself. I decided instead to make something larger and boxier.
So I played around with the pattern:

So for the top, which is actually the bodice pattern from the jumpsuit. I went up two sizes, I took out the back and front darts (leaving just the bust darts). I trued up the seams to make boxier, and less fitted. I increased the length by 5cm front and back. I then removed the button band from the front, and cut it on the fold instead. I then removed the front neckline scoop so it was very high-cut as a contrast to the amount of leg shown :)

So I cut the back as a pair and added a button band.


The shorts are apart of the short version of the holly jumpsuit. I designed a facing and a button band for them. I find facings are more flattering on me, and the button band supports the zip so it doesn't come down.

The fabric is a beautiful, and I mean BEAUTIFUL, dotty spotty polka-dotty chambray from Tessuti. It really is the most divine fabric to work with. I am quite in love with it, and want more more more :) I spent quite a long time pattern matching the spots and have done it successfully in most places. I found it hard where seams curved but the side-seams and the button band are about as good as I can do. Those with better ninja sewing skills can no doubt do better though!

I think I will live in this outfit over the summer. It is so comfy and cool on a hot day (35deg c here today). And really, it is polka dotty, say no more!! I will wear them together but also as separates :) No doubt there will be more iterations of the BHL Holly in my life, but not for awhile, I have a few other WIP's on the go!!

 The rocking chair is one of my favourite thrifty finds ever, gorgeous hand-carved wood... $30 on gumtree. Bargain thank you very much!

 Beautiful location hey? Canberra is a pretty amazing bush city! I do love living here.

Bye x

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

Two became one...

I feckin adore the fabric I used for this top...


My dear friend Kirsty gifted me the Liberty Asaka A fabric after I literally drooled over it at a Canberra spoolettes meet-up awhile back. She was of course making something wondrous with it :). I have never owned Liberty before, and am not likely to again anytime soon!

So the fabric has been sitting in my stash for ages now, because I loved it so much and didn't want to ruin it and really how could it ever compare to a Kirsty make?? It was also only an 80cm remnant that she had left over, not enough to do a whole heap with. So it has been sitting staring at me from the shelf. I really wanted to make the Salme Kimono top with it - something simple that would show off the fabrics design. Trouble is there was not enough by about an inch, no matter how much wiggling I did with the pattern pieces it wasn't to be! Then I had a brain wave and decided to pair it with this beautifully drapey stripey rayon that I thrifted.


It also was a tiny off-cut, not enough for much, but too beautifully touchy to not bring home at like 50c! So in the end they became one :)

I originally bought the Salme Kimono pattern to make a silk top for my m-in-l. I do love Salme designs, she has some beauties! 

This pattern is pretty straight forward. Front, back, facings and cuffs. I stuck with the instructions mostly. Although I under-stitched the facings instead of top-stitching an inch from the neckline, for a cleaner look. I don't trust my top-stitching yet! I matched the facings to the main fabric, so floral for the front, and stripes for the back in-case they showed through. They don't :)

I also left the cuffs unfolded, the instructions had you fold them in half. I left them because I wanted more of the stripe visible from the front.

I am really proud of this top. I know it's very simple. But you see, I accomplished things that I have struggled with in the past. Like cutting accurately so the stripes are actually straight!!

And matching the cuffs so the same amount of white and black stripe was used in the cuff. I know it's a little thing, but for me, it IS the little things that make a homemade outfit look less homemadey and more professional! I even went as far, when hemming, as using black thread on the back and white on the front!! Ha!

I still have a loooooong way to go to make anything professionally, but baby steps people, baby steps!

So I love the top, however, I am not sure it really suits me. I am sure I will wear it to death because I love the fabric and it will be lovely and cool for summer. But just not sure whether its too voluminous on me? Appreciate your critical thoughts and/or suggestions for other summer tops?!

And now onto the million and one other makes that I am itching to make...
Bye x

Sunday, 26 October 2014

By Gosh it's Holly


This outfit has been a labour of love...well...just a labour actually! I have been working on it for aaaaaggggggges! The outfit began life as a By Hand London Holly Jumpsuit, but it is not really one anymore, I have fiddled again! I should have probably stuck to the pattern and the instructions but I am not very good at that, to my detriment. So this pattern is for an awesome jumpsuit (2 styles), or a pair of trousers (BHL Holly technical drawings below). Aren't they rad?

I have ended up with the trousers, minus the waistband but with a self-drafted facing and plackety thingy, and the top half of one of the jumpsuits, without arms or buttons or side zip or most of the darts. See what I mean...I fiddled!

And for me, at least, fiddling takes awhile because I didn't really have a plan and made shit up as I went along. I knew I wanted the trousers, I love me a pair of wide-leg trousers, but given the fact I have had five babies my tummy is a tad, okay a lot, on the wobbly side so I didn't want the waistband. Waistbands tend to dig in and give a bulge/a muffin top.

So I omitted the waistband, drafted a facing instead, and then instead of just adding the invisible zipper I designed an inner plackety thing too! I don't even know what it is called! Do you??

So onto the top half. I originally put all the darts in it, but they just didn't really look right. I wanted a boxier look, which I haven't pulled off as much as I would have liked. But you can see below how it sits away from the body a bit? I left the bust darts in (although i failed to iron them properly, oops, so they are a little obvious!). I think going up a size would have been a good idea to really box it up.

I did have some short sleeves cut out in a brown lace, which I bought at the same time as the main fabric, but it didn't look right...too country or something. So I just over-locked the armholes and turned in and stitched and they sit pretty right, no gape-idge!

I did search high and low for buttons and found some, but they looked a bit twee to be honest. And then I stumbled on a vintage orange metal zipper at a garage sale and I knew it had found a home with our Holly.

But it was waaaay to nice to be shoved on the side so I decided to make Madam Zipper the centre-piece of the outfit instead. So instead of buttons I have a zipper, surrounded by some slightly strange top-stitching because well why not. And this glorious lace. Oh me oh my! So this lace has history. I rescued it from a vintage handmade baby nightie that I was given in a box of handmade clothes and fabric from a friend of a friends grandma (!). The nightie was ripped and stained, but the lace was/is magnificent. I have been waiting for the right project to use it on...

The main fabric is a burnt orange/russet cotton/viscose blend from Tessuti in Sydney. I visited there with my gorgeous sewing pals when we went for Frocktails. I do love the colour, it is so warm. The fabric has a lovely drape and is very cool to wear, much like linen. In fact it crinkles like a linen blend would too! It's not too bad though. And ohhh, the colour :)

I will definitely wear this as a two-piece spectacular but more likely as separates. I will instagram photos of the trousers with a really boxy 80's style crop-top to show you the look I was after. The top would be good as like a little waistcoat over a dress too!

The next Holly I make will closely resemble the technical drawings I promise...Yes there will be a next time. Until then...

Tuesday, 23 September 2014

A hop, skip and a jump to me

Hi, me again :)

My dear dear friend Kirsty from Top Notch nominated me for this blog hop that is going around and around and around the world and in and out of all sorts of amazing sewing/crafting blogs. So thanks to Kirsty! I freely admit to stalking her blog and emailing her and FORCING her to meet me because she is just so damn rad. I absolutely adore her style, out of all the blogs in all the sewing world that I read, hers is the blog that I covet all, yes ALL, the goodness! She is totally modest about her skills but her clothes are as amazing in real life as they are in the photos. She is also the sweetest and luckily for me, my real life friend now too... OK girl crush gushy stuff over.... are the answers...i won't bore you too much, not sure anyone is really that interested!!

Why do you write?
I write a blog because well why not. I write it because I didn't write one and I felt like I was missing out on being part of this wonderful online sewing community. I write a blog because I am learning to sew, from literally nothing I have learnt so much in the last year and a half, and this learning has given me a desperate thirst for more skills, more sewing knowledge (more fabric), and more of a connection to those who feel the same.

I am a full-time mum to five little kids and they are my world, I love them and being with them dearly. But they are growing up and I am feeling the itch to do something for me, to explore what I can be. I have always had this creative bent in me but I have never been good at anything creative! I would have loved to be an artist, a designer, an author, a dancer, a musician etc but I have absolutely zero talent in these things! In fact i haven't ever been particularly good at anything, let alone gifted. Then i started to sew, and believe me when I say I ain't good or gifted at this either, BUT it fulfills my creative urge and I am passionate about it. I also feel that with time I will get to the stage when I am happy enough with my garments to actually wear them and be proud of them. So I am writing this blog to encourage me.

What are you working on?

I am always working on zillions of things at once, and when i am not working on them i am thinking about them. I dream designs, and looks, and about fabric. It feels like my head is always working on things, even if my body is too damn knackered to follow through! Anyone else the same??

At CIT I am studying clothing production, and this semester I am doing two courses, pattern making and clothing production 2. So I am working on skirt designs in pattern making (that shiz is seriously cool but seriously difficult on the old grey matter) and about a billion and one samples for zip types, collars, cuffs, etc for clothing production.

At home I have another Grainline moss cut for spring, I am sewing up the By Hand London Holly, and I am altering/up-cycling a shirt dress, but ask me tomorrow and there will probably be something different again that needs doing!

How does it differ from others of it’s genre?
Differ? Well there is probably far more yellow on this blog than is strictly necessary, and probably far too many grammatical errors, and too much cussing (bad me) and crappy sewing. But ya know, I am working on it, well the sewing at least - sorry grandma :) There are so very many very cool and amazing sewing blogs out there with squillions of groupies. They are far more experienced than me in writing and in sewing. I have learnt so much from these ladies (why do we have so few gent sewists/bloggers hey??) but I don't plan to emulate them as such because I think its important to be yourself.

I love texture and fabric and shape and the thought that clothing is wearable art. I don't follow fashion as such and have sadly no real knowledge of the industry. Obviously the clothes I buy and the patterns I make are influenced by the fashion of the day but I just go with what i like, not what I think I should like. So i am probably totally un-cool/un-hip and un-stylish!! But given my status as nearly middle-aged, I am pretty happy with who I am regardless! As I develop my sewing skills I would like to explore this love of texture, fabric and shape more to produce garments that showcase these. This is definitely a sewing blog genre I would like to get into, but I am not sure my skills will ever be good enough!! I think Oona has pretty well ruined it for any that follow as she is just so damn amazing!

As I get older my friends think I am turning into a tree-hugging hippy :) . I feel passionate about the world we live in, the people that live in it and the natural world around us. Sustainable fashion is an expanding market and a topic of real interest to me. I think the home-made movement can fit nicely within this genre. I love up-cycling and refashioning old or thrift shop clothes, clothes swaps and finding fabric and notions in garage sales and charity shops. I love the idea that the fabric, clothes and patterns have a history, and that I can give them a new lease of life. Both So Zo and Charity Shop Chic blogs cover these areas marvelously and I would certainly love to blog more about these things too.

So basically, I don't offer much in blogland at the moment that isn't already done a zillion times over, and in a far better way. But in time I hope to explore some of these areas of interest to me, and I hope people like to read it, and maybe just maybe they will learn from me down the track :) A girls gotta dream right?!

How does your writing process work? 
Well as you can see from the content of my blogs, words come out like verbal diarrhea. I write like i think. I am not a writer but then two years ago i didn't sew either, so who knows! Ha! It is certainly an area to work on. Really, I want the garments that I am making to do the talking, so first I need to work on my photography skills, then there can be more pretty pictures and less of me talking rubbish! Currently there is no process, other than to snatch a second or two where I can, and often it flows better with a glass of wine or a beer in one hand and some music pumping....which is the way I like to sew too ;)

So that's your lot. I am going to pass the blog on to two other ladies, who I am sure, with their talent and experience in sewing and blogging, will be far more interesting than me!

Firstly to Rachel who blogs at My Messings, a new sewing friend, also from England but living in Australia. A funny, vivacious, smart and talented lady. It was great getting to know her at Frocktails and I look forward to getting to know her better! So pop over to her blog next week and see her wonderful makes and her blog hop answers!

Last but by no means least, to the delightful Michelle from Buttontreelane. I love this lady. She is fabulous. She wears prints and colours like no other and always looks amazing. She quilts like a crazy woman, and wins national level awards for her work, she crochets (and probably does a zillion other things) and she sews awesome garments. She is a dear dear friend who is part of my sewing circle, and yes support and friendship circle here in Canberra. Over to you rockstar....


Sunday, 21 September 2014

Lets Frock This Joint!

Frocktails, ahhh frocktails! I have a few photos from last Saturday night. Look at the amazing outfits people! Amazing and hand-made! Honestly, I was in awe of all the dresses people made. They were all unique, just like the 24 wonderful women who wore them. I entered the venue only knowing the three Canberra ladies, but ended the night with some lovely new sewing friends. Everyone was so friendly and welcoming to me, a newbie in sewing and blogging terms. Thanks guys!

The Canberra posse stopping traffic..literally!
The hilarity from Amanda and Bohdana left me with a sore tummy and no voice for three days with all that laughing!
Beautiful Amanda and Myra, two of my darling Canberra sewing posse - love you guys!

Moi and a new found friend Rachel (in the coolest dress!)
Another sewing love Kirsty and another gorgeous new friend Eve

Nic and Amanda and Elizabeth i think (sorry) and the wonderous organiser Kat and Myra

An amazingly agile gymnast and amazingly talented sewer! (name? sorry)

The 24 rocking frockers, man we had fun! And look at all that talent!
And there you have it folks. There are a couple of names i missed, let me know, and i will add them!
Thanks to Kat for organising this event, you did great. I am so excited for next year already!! And hopefully i get to meet some of you before then.
I will be back on Tuesday for my blog hop, sorry lots of me at the moment!! Bye x