Friday, August 26, 2011


So I've jumped on the bandwagon and started pinning on Pinterest.

It's fun, it's easy, it's addictive and I fear it may be another Internet time waster!

I certainly don't have the prettiest collection of images, but it is a great tool to collect sewing inspiration ideas.
Some of the collections on Pinterest are just stunning.

I'd love to follow more people so let me know if you're pinning and I'll follow you.

A life note: I had my first day of prac teaching on Monday and all went well. My class is lovely and so is my teacher. I am teaching all next week so probably won't be blogging as much as usual. I also finished my assignment this week and don't another major one due for a few weeks, so I can breathe again. I will finish this degree. The countdown is on - 10 weeks to go!

Happy weekend all!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Not sewing, shopping.

This weekend my husband has been away snow boarding, so I've been a single mum to three kids under 4 and I'm tired!

There hasn't been much sewing to show of late. I have three wadders that have appeared in my sewing room, a half finished, not-so-great dress and a pair of pants cut and waiting for attention.

While I haven't been sewing, there has been a lot of dreaming about sewing and a little online shopping. This past week I may have pre-ordered a book that I'm quite excited about, The Colette Sewing Handbook.
It should arrive towards the end of the university semester, which is when I'll probably have time to use it.

With prac teaching starting tomorrow and a number of assignments to attend to, this blog may be a little neglected for a few weeks. I have a few half finished posts in my drafts, but am struggling to find the time to take the photos. Sometimes I do feel pressure to keep my output high because of my blog and with so much on  my plate for the next little while, I really need to prioritize my time.

I'll be back from time to time, hopefully to show some successful projects, but just not every day.

Happy Sunday!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Local craft

Over the weekend I stopped by at one of our local craft fairs, just to kill a little time with the kids. We are lucky enough that our little suburban area hosts two craft fairs per month, just one suburb apart from each other.

While most of the offerings at these fairs are a little daggy, well, really daggy (think crochet tea towels and polar fleece dog coats), every now and then you find a gem.
This little cardigan was purchased for $8, from a stand where every hand knitted item was under $10. While some items were quite ugly, others were super sweet and retro.

It would take me months to knit this for Adele and I don't even think I'd be capable of  knitting those cables down the cardigan. Even though is just acrylic, I still can't believe it was only $8! I'll be back next winter to stock up her wardrobe in cute cosy knits.

Now back to my last post. I just wanted to thank you to everyone for the supportive comments (Amber, Lara, Jen, Karen, Sonja, Cat, Sophie, Trihn, my sis, everyone!)  about my current predicament. I am feeling a little better about my choices and after talking to anyone within range over the past days about where I'm at, I realise there are many others like me, both at uni and not, who doubt some of their big choices.

I begin prac teaching on Monday and I am looking forward to it. I think I will be OK and I will finish my degree.

To you Bernice: I am becoming a primary school teacher and certainly will get in touch if I need any help. Thanks so much for the offer!

Hope you all have a great weekend. It's cold and miserable here, but the 'glass is half full' again!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011


I'm having a bit of a down day today and don't have many people to talk to, so I'm going to *talk* to you.

I'm in my final semester of teaching and am seriously doubting this whole career change, but as I'm almost finished my Masters, I really can't quit.

I used to work in marketing and was quite successful. I had a good managerial job in an industry that most cool cats would want to work in. During the GFC and while on maternity leave, I was retrenched (yes it can happen, yes it was legal), as I had negotiated my role down to three days and they wanted me back five days and some.

The funny thing was, I was only planning on returning to work after the birth of James to save up enough money to quit and start my teaching degree, so this whole redundancy thing was just the kick I needed to get that happening.

So now, three years later and almost at the end of the teaching degree, I'm really worried about my career change decision. I'm really good at marketing and know that I could get a part time job that I'd enjoy.

Teaching though, is new and I know the first few years will be tough. I don't know if I'm ready for the change and I'm not sure I want to do it. It also doesn't help that my recent discussions with those who are teachers haven't been positive. Most don't like their job, the paperwork, the discipline, the work, the bureaucracy, etc.  No wonder I'm stressed!

I have my first day of prac teaching next Monday and just hoping that I get a nice, supportive, positive teacher. I'm desperate to re-invigorate my interest in becoming a teacher. I'm desperate to be reassured that I haven't wasted this past two and a bit years back at university.

Now because every post needs a photo, here's one that makes me happy. This is from our recent holiday to Port Douglas. This is what eating out with three kids looks like.
Pencils, books and beverages are a must while you wait for food.

Now I really must get back to this horrible assignment that I need to finish. I'm really not in the zone for writing it though, so it's taking f-o-r-e-v-e-r!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Sewing Jeans. Take 2

After making three fitting toiles for my first pair of jeans, I really felt like I needed to utilize that work once more to get better value from my time.
While I've had some trouble finding nice denim recently, a trip to My Hung in Hurstville resulted in this lovely blue denim finding its way home with me. Unlike the stretch stuff I used last time, this is 100% cotton and I'd say a mid-weight denim. It feels like it has a bit of give, but definitely no stretch.
These jeans are nicer than my first pair. The waistband is lovely and the fit is also quite good. I thought because I was using non-stretch denim that I'd have to add to the hip and waist of the jeans to make them fit, but ended up removing all that I added during construction.
I based these jean on Burda pattern 127 from 8/2009. I modified the leg, the rise and the pockets, which is why I originally needed three toiles.
Like my last pair these are supposed to be more trouser jeans with a bit of a 70's vibe, than jeans jeans. I am totally inspired by jeans like this, this and this. In particular, the pockets from these jeans have inspired my own.

After wearing these last night, I realised that I may have hemmed them slightly too short, but I did take a deeper hem just in case. I might wash and dry them a few times before I fix the hem.

The good thing about these jeans is the total cost:
1.5 meters of denim - $12 less 10% discount
Jeans zipper - 20c from the Op Shop
Button - from stash
Black top stitching thread - left over from first jeans
Pattern - free from the library
Total cost: $16.40 - Yeah!

I'm really struggling to take photos at the moment. I feel like I've lost all my inside locations and shooting outside isn't working for me and the dog kept knocking my camera over and I'm worried about what the neighbours will think if they see me. Out of 12 self timed photos only two are in focus.
And I don't know what happened to this one.
The good thing is my photography is so appalling that hopefully it can only get better. Maybe I'll just blame the camera.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

The calm before the storm

Many of you know that I am a student and with my university semester fast approaching full swing, I can't help but feel like this is the calm before the storm. There has been a ridiculous amount of sewing going on lately, but with my first assignment is due in just over a week and my prac teaching starting next Monday, I fear this enjoyable creative patch is due to end.

On top of that, there's been an extreme amount of anxiety and stress this past week during the lead up to selecting a school for my prac teaching block. I think anyone who came within a few meters of me this past week has heard me stress over this, because unlike during my undergrad (in the olden days to the younger students in my course), when selecting tutorials or other classes was done in person or via preferences, everything these days is online and the competition is fierce. When the clock ticks over and registration for anything opens in my course, everything fills up within seconds. That's hundreds and hundreds of positions that get snapped up within the first 60 seconds. There is no special consideration to those with family or work commitments, it's just first in first served, which means mega STRESS!

Thankfully after a stressful week, I was online just as school selection opened and managed to score my first choice, one of only two positions, for a little local school just a couple of minutes away from home - yay!
Back to the sewing. At the moment, my sewing space is in a state. It isn't pretty! I've half finished a skirt, but am so unhappy with the waistband that I think I may start again. I've been working on a master waistband for myself which is time consuming. I find most waistbands are too shaped for my 'up and down' frame and whenever I try to modify them they end up curving in funny ways. I'm no expert pattern drafter, so this has been a long process of trial and error. I'm also over half way through my second pair of jeans because after making three toiles for the first pair, I felt I needed to get more value out of that work and you can never have enough jeans! Then I have about four patterns traced waiting for attention on top of an ever growing 'to sew' list that needs some serious organisation.

I hope you all have a happy Saturday. I'm not work tonight, so you'll be able to find me at the machine.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Seriously Selfish!

Did you know that four other people live in my house? Because judging from the output from my sewing room you wouldn't. It's been a long time since anything for the kids, or the husband for that matter, emerged from my sewing room. Seriously, if the Selfish Seamstress were still blogging, she'd be throwing virtual 'high fives' to me for my selfish sewing efforts of late.
The remedy - make the kids super toys.
I picked up these Ooshka faces from Lisa at Sew It Together. Her little label, The Red Thread, has some super cute, quick sew products.
We have a massive super hero obsession in this house at the moment, so I knew the kids would love them.
They came together quickly, though I did piece the body with the segments in the wrong order, which is why they look a little malformed, but the kids don't read my blog or read at all in fact, so they'll never know.
Next up, sewing for husband. One pair of work pants have a massive hole in the butt thanks to some shufflling around in a roof cavity recently. I'd love to patch them with some bright pink floral fabric to match his work shirt, but he's already and specifically requested no pink repairs.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

New Look 6968 - a winner!

After reading Kristy's glowing review of New Look 6968, how could I not move it straight to the top of the sewing list. So with stretch sateen from Spotlight in hand (hooray for their recent 40% off fabric sale!), I set about making this super easy shift. In just a few hours all tracing, cutting and almost all sewing was complete. I love a quick project every now and then.
I still need to add the buttons to the welt pockets.
The sizing was almost spot on. I cut an 8 on top, 12 waist and 10 skirt, but did end up taking in the skirt quite a bit. I really should have cut an 8, 10, 8, but it's still completely wearable and comfortable and I think this sizing was my poor judgement.

As this is a stretch sateen, I didn't want to lose the stretch in the bodice by lining it, nor double up the fabric as it is thick enough, so I used a facing for the neck and bound the arm holes. I think this is a neat and easy was to finish this dress without adding any bulk.
Overall, I'm super happy with this frock. It will be an easy to wear work dress for my upcoming teaching block and very easy to match with coloured accessories and cardigans in my wardrobe. I'm thinking yellow belt, red shoes and purple cardigan for a bit of fun.

Happy Sewing!

Monday, August 8, 2011

This little corner of my house...

I know most of you are here for the sewing, but I blog for other reasons too. I feel like my house is in disarray since we played musical rooms. While the house is generally clean, it is currently untidy and things are not in the best place.

I adore seeing beautiful rooms on blogs. I love those styled rooms with cool furniture, artwork and storage, but I think having three little kids is no always conducive to having those cool spaces.

I feel completely overwhelmed by the amount of stuff that needs to be done around here and that's not just the stuff that the husband needs to do, building and fixing stuff, but the smaller things that will hopefully make this house a little prettier. So, to get it done I'm going to document it here. Each week I'll finish one little corner of my house, cleaning, organising, prettying and generally making this a nicer place to be.

First up, the wall behind the dining area.
BTW - photography has never been my strong point and that isn't likely to change :)

This functional corner now boasts a clean blind and window (such a pain to clean!), the picture wire (from Ikea if you want to know) no longer holds Easter and Christmas pictures and is a little cuter thanks to some new novelty pegs from Typo shop (I love this shop!).

My children are now talking about the new letters above the window, but I am still to see any improvement in their eating at meal times. Does anyone else have any better suggestions for getting kids to eat?
I've finally hung this cute little picture that I picked up from Scarlett Beautiful on Etsy . It's been in a frame for a year and has only now been hung - yikes!
So there's one little corner of my house. More will follow, probably each Monday, and little by little, this house will *hopefully* become a little nicer.

I wonder how many of you are still reading?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

On the sticks...

The 'knitting sticks' that is. I've cast on a Tea Leaves cardigan for myself. The yoke is almost finished and it's looking good. The only hiccup so far was dropping my knitting to attending to a yelling child and dropping two stitches which unravelled two rows! I almost cried. My husband sympathised (yeah). I've picked them up, but they still look a little dodgy. Hopefully it won't be noticeable when finished.
Now as I'm not the worlds fastest knitter and it takes up to three months to make a kiddy sized item, I'm giving myself a target of next Autumn to get this baby finished and I think that time frame is definitely workable.

I'm also making progress on my Short and Sweet crochet cardigan. I'm up to the sleeves, which require a bit of counting, but once they are done I'll be pretty much finished.
Then there's my Flowers in the Snow blanket. I haven't spent too much time on this recently and only have this pile of half finished medallions to show any progress. This is a slow burn project though and I do have another 2 years to wrap it up.

I do get a little anxious with three projects going at once, but this allows me to pick a project that I feel like each time I get a moment.

When I used to read books, other than kids picture books or text books, I always kept three on the go at once. One non-fiction, one 'easy to read' fiction and one more challenging fiction. With three books to choose from, I could always pick the type of reading that I felt like - never the challenging or non-fiction at night, and always a 'thinking book' when on the train travelling to work, you know, something to make me look smarter :).  I guess my yarn crafting follows this same principal. My knitting projects are mostly no brainers, with whole rows following the same stitch to allow maximum 'zoning out' or meditating. This current crochet project requires a little counting, which I'm not so great at after work at night.

Do you get what I mean?? Are you the same, with a number of project on the go at once? What are you hooking or knitting at the moment?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

New Look 6898 - Awesome!

Now, I should start by saying that this skirt is awesome, but I'm not to sure how much can be attributed to the pattern. In theory New Look 6898 (now OOP) should be awesome, it's just a simple straight skirt with slash pockets and a few pleats in the front. I think the design is really flattering, but the pattern itself runs really BIG, so you need to be prepared to work on it to get it to fit.
I cut a size 10 and still took it in by a couple of inches along the sides and waistband. This is the second time I've made this pattern, this is the first, and found similar problems last time. I had lost the front waist band pattern piece, but simply substituted for a different front waistband in my pattern stash.
The fabric is stretch sateen that I picked up from Spotlight last week for 40% off. I love this fabric! I think that it alone is why I love this skirt so much.
I could have done a better job with the zipper, but it will do. I find lapped zippers so difficult to sew neatly. I think I must be sewing them the wrong way and probably need to brush up on my skills a little. I'm such a fan of invisible zippers, but currently have none in my stash for unplanned projects such as this. I even had to put down a second skirt last night as the very short, metal vintage zipper that I did have was looking too shabby to finish with. I'm all out of kid free time this week and don't know if I can bring myself to taking the kids with me to buy zippers.

Hope you are enjoying a beautiful day like we are in Sydney today. Who'd have thought you could have a sunny, 26 degree day in winter??

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Vogue 8469 - Not my style

A little while ago I committed to making 5 dresses in 5 weeks and this is my final installment. I finished this last week, but thought blogging about the crap in my sewing room was more interesting than this frock.
So, lets talk about Vogue 8469.  I'm really not sold on this design. It's boring and dowdy and the sleeves aren't my style. I don't remember why I wanted to make it. It is well made and well fitted though. I think it looks OK on, and will make a comfortable teaching dress, but, well, blah!
The fabric is from Tessuti and it is nice and possibly saves the dress from the scrap pile. The pattern came together well and was super easy to make. I cut a number of sizes, 8 on top, 12 waist and a 10 skirt. I shortened the skirt to reduce the dowdyness and also omitted the sash as I didn't think it would work on me. I did have plans to contrast the sash and waistband in solid black, but couldn't find a solid black fabric in the right colour to go with the main fabric.

This dress will do, but it isn't awesome.

I'm back at university today. Hopefully the semester will fly by!

Monday, August 1, 2011

Downsizing and a good husband

How much sewing stuff do you own? Think about all the fabric, haberdashery supplies, machines, thread, books, patterns, gadgets, everything. I didn't think I owned a lot, until I had to move it.
Not all the stuff...
Thankfully, and very much surprisingly, my husband didn't comment once on the quantity of stuff.

More in Adele's room
I think I may have mentioned that we've been moving rooms in our house. I've been rather spoilt these last few years, enjoying a massive sewing area to work in. Seriously, a whole 40 square meters or so of space, just for sewing and housing an unused spare bed. Jealous??
I'll need to organise to re claim my laundry baskets

Don't worry, I've been put in my place now. My space is now a modest sized, single bedroom on the dark side of the house.
Even my sewing table has shrunk from a regular dining table, to a much smaller vintage kitchen table.

More books.

I'm not sure how much sewing will be taking place these next few days as I organise this stuff.
Storage furniture waiting to be filled.

I think I really need to clean out some of the crap that I really don't need. It's not like I've bought it all. A lot has been given to me and many things were picked up from the Op Shop for a few dollars or less.
Vintage dresser found on the side of the road, in need of a clean and minor repair

So tell me, make me feel better, do you have the same amount of sewing crap?? Or is your stuff so manageable that you wouldn't need to worry about moving it? Please tell me I'm not the only one!