Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Single Girl Quilt

This quilt is divine. But sadly, I didn't make it.
I wanted to, but realised I probably didn't have the attention span or time or adequate attention to detail to do so. Instead, I asked mum to make it for me. She has made three quilts for us now. One for Adele and two for the boys. This one is for me. Maybe the husband will get one next...
I purchased the fabric for this quilt last year. Most is Denyse Schmidt Flea Market Fancy. Some is from the Denyse Schmidt Spotlight collection. I love the mix of fabric colours and I love the white. Mum even quilted this for me!
I'm so happy to have this on my couch for winter.

Thanks Mum!

Sunday, February 24, 2013


I've been thinking about making some changes to my blog and shop for a while now. When I first started my blog in early 2010, it was to sell kids clothes. I picked a cute name, opened an online shop, set up a table at a local craft market and sewed away. This worked for a while before I changed to sewing bonnets and then selling my pattern.

This little side business has provided me with some welcome play money over the years, allowing the occasional indulgence while I studied and took time to care for the kids. These days though, I work in a real job and earn real money (well a teacher's salary). Even the few bonnets that I have been making recently, have been horribly draining to complete. Seriously I've sewn hundreds and hundreds of them!

So really, the easy decision has been to shut my bonnet business. No more finished bonnets are available in my Etsy shop, just my bonnet pdf pattern. I know this sounds like an amazingly simple decision, but for some reason it has taken a while to get here and I feel an great sense of relief now that it's done.

The next change has been to smarten up my blog.

I've slightly changed the name to reflect to core content on my blog and also installed a new blog design (from here if you are interested). It's not too fancy, but it's a starting point and I doesn't have, nor need, any cutesy pictures on the header any more!

Finally, I needed to clear out all my bonnet supplies. But what was I to do with the fabric? Throw? Gift to kindy? Gift to my mum? Or sew one last batch of bonnets for one of my favourite shops.
Now I have a little extra play money to enjoy - to celebrate the end of my hand made business.

And every last scrap of bonnet fabric has been dealt with.
One day this will become a quilt.

Have a great week!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Planning Jackets

One thing I learnt last year, during my first year of teaching, is that it's very cold traipsing around a shady playground in winter. Not as cold as Toronto in the middle of winter, but too cold for me. I certainly don't have enough warm clothes in my wardrobe. In case you didn't notice, I have plenty of summer dresses though....

To remedy this, this year I hope to add at least a couple of coats or jackets to my wardrobe. The rough plans so far:

A Tessuti cape.
I love my first cape and wore it a lot last year. I'm clearly not being terribly original with this new cape plan. I'm really just ripping off Leith's style again. I wasn't super keen on this deep navy, Marc Jacobs coating at first, but now that I have two pairs of slim leg grey and charcoal trousers, I know this will get plenty of wear. Hopefully this comes together quickly.

Burda 09/2009 # 127
While I like the Colette Anise jacket, there's just something that I'm not sure about. Maybe the peter pan collar. I think this Burda jacket looks far more versatile and less cutesy.
It is drafted with 3/4 sleeves, but I think I'll change them to full length. I already have some lovely dark speckly wool from The Remnant Warehouse that I purchased at the end of winter last year. I really like the idea of this jacket. Hopefully it happens.

Vintage Butterick 3814
This pattern was an Op shop score. I love the style of this jacket and think it would be a nice huggable coat on a cool day. The fabric was purchased at the end of winter last year on my trip to Melbourne. 

Clearly these are big plans. Probably too much for one person raising three kids and working four days a week, but I like to dream big. I'd be super happy to make at least two of these for winter this year. Which will come first??

Monday, February 18, 2013

Simple Stretchy Maxi Skirt

This skirt was so ridiculously easy to make, it's almost insulting for me to post about it here for you fine sewing folk to read.
I've wanted a maxi skirt for a while. I'm keen to wear this to school on cooler days or when I don't want to show my legs. I also tested this at a mozzie infested park on the weekend with the kids and it certainly minimised the number of bites on my legs.

The fabric was purchased from the Fabric Store at our last social. The skirt was a breeze to knock together. I simply sewed a flared tube to the approximate measurement of my hip, then turned the skirt inside out to shape from hip to waist by pinning, then sewing. The waistband is finished with thick elastic, zig zagged on. Ridiculously easy and super comfy!

Pattern: Self drafted = Free
Fabric: (I lost my receipt from the Fabric store! boo! I'm guessing the fabric was $18 pm with 50% off. I was charged for 1.8 meters due to a fault.) 1.2m = $10.80
Elastic: $1
Total: $11.80

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Tank x 2

Just a simple linen tank made with my favourite Grainline pattern.
I added some length and a tuck in the back. I like it and it has come in handy to dress up slouchy shorts on hot days.
Another simple tank. This time I re purposed the skirt from a dress made waaaay back on the blog. So far back that I can't find it.
I really love this fabric and I put so much effort into the original dress, but it didn't fit very well.

There's nothing much else to say about these tanks. There are hardly worth blogging, but I like to document my output. I also don't think there will be any more tank tops in the near future. I certain that I have enough now.

Pattern: Tiny Pocket tank by Grainline. Used before = free
Fabric: Linen from The Fabric Store $17
Fabric: Re purposed skirt from existing garment = free
Thread from stash
Total: $17

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Sydney's Sewing Social

Yesterdays Sewing Social was great fun! Lots of shopping and talking about sewing and advice seeking about fabric selection and did I mention shopping?? I think I may have shopped more than most, but I don't head out too often to purchase fabric. Actually, Leith and Rachel smuggled most of their purchases into their accommodation prior to meeting us. I'm sure they'll win the shopping award once we see it!

We saw some familiar faces and some newbies joining in the fun. Now, I must confess I was a very slack organiser yesterday and didn't collate a blog roll with each persons details - sorry! I've tried to remember everyone, but I'm sure I've missed some. Please let me know and I'll add you to the list.

Some of the attendees included:

Leith - http://sewbrunswick.blogspot.com.au/
Rachel - http://boodogg.blogspot.com.au/
Janelle - http://sewhopefull.blogspot.com.au/
Gabrielle - http://upsewlate.blogspot.com.au/
Jillian - http://sewyourownpace.blogspot.com.au/
Lena - http://thesewingspace.com/
Yana - http://whitemousecreations.blogspot.com.au/
Annie - http://www.blogger.com/profile/06651214705548887814
Alison - http://nosilasews.blogspot.com.au/
Rachel - http://thetwowindmills.wordpress.com/
Wendy - http://costumesfromashoebox.blogspot.com.au/
Sandra - http://sewing.patternreview.com/members/Dilliander
Sharon - http://petiteandsewing.blogspot.com.au/
Velosewer - http://cleverthinking99.blogspot.com.au/
Here are some of us at Tessuti. I've nabbed this photo from Wendy's blog. I saw a few other camera's floating around, so hopefully we'll see more pics soon.
Pictured from left: Leith, Me, Rachel, Gabrielle, Wendy, Annie,
Sharon, Rachel, Jillian.
Thanks Wendy!
So, what did I buy?? Well, a lot really. But some of it is supposed to be fun, experimenting fabric.
From Tessuti - This silk crepe de chine possibly for Vogue 1152 and a strip of printed linen so I can copy Rachel's Vogue 8805 :) 
From The Fabric Store - lace and silk to make a dress for an upcoming wedding. I'm thinking of making something similar to this Anthro dress.
Also from The Fabric Store - black, thick striped stretch which is destined to become a maxi skirt (this should happen soon) and black super light-weight silk/linen for a shirt.
From The Fabric Store - the most disappointing purchase of the day is this navy wool. I didn't realise it was as navy in the lighting of the store. Oh well, it was cheap and half price so I'm sure I'll get over it. :) Also pictured is black silk for lining which obviously will still get used.
From The Remnant Warehouse - two remnants, one denim to re make this skirt with a greater over lap to prevent wardrobe malfunctions (I've actually worn the original skirt to death, but still can't wear it to work for fear of the wind blowing it open at the back and frightening the children!) and a rayon linen fabric for my planned Vogue 8805 (see above printed linen from Tessuti). Also a small piece of double sided knit to make something for Adele.
Lastly, also from The Remnant Warehouse two pieces of viscose or similar content stretch for a little experimenting.
Now this may seem like a big haul, but I do use my stash and it is currently quite a manageable size, taking up just half of a regular Ikea Billy bookcase. I should also note that of my purchases from the last social, two have been used and blogged, two sewn and awaiting blogging, two have firm plans that will eventuate shortly and I think one is a dud.
I think another Sewing Social will happen sometime mid year.  We might try socialising more at a cafe or similar a little earlier in the day, as many people did have to leave for dates, kids and husbands and we may even try to organise a swap for a little more fun!
I hope you're weekend has been smashing!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Sydney Sewist's Social

Can you believe there are just a few more sleeps till we catch up for our Sewing Social?? I'm excited!

Better yet, if you subscribe to the Tessuti and The Fabric Store email feed, you'll know that Tessuti has just received a new shipment of winter fabrics and The Fabric Store should be 50% off all fabric this Saturday. Perfect timing!

The details, if you need:
When: Saturday, February 9th
Where: Tessuti Surry Hills and moving up to The Fabric Store.
Time: 1pm

Leith and Rachel are hoping to head to The Remnant Warehouse as well, so if you are keen, you may see a few peeps wondering around The Warehouse from about 11ish or perhaps a little earlier. I think that will leave enough time to peruse and get to Tessuti for 1pm.

Some people have mentioned that they aren't able to make the shopping, but are still keen to catch up for a drink afterwards and that's cool. I think we'll probably end up back at The Clock Hotel. I might even phone them to double check they can accomodate us.

Naturally everyone is invited - bloggers, non-bloggers, serious sewers, starting sewers, any sewers or sewists - whichever you prefer to be called.

See you Saturday!!

 Things I'm loving from Tessuti

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Vintage Vogue 1853: DVF wrap dress

I frequent a few too many Op Shops in my not-so-spare time. Sometimes I walk away with a zipper or buttons, but other times I score a gem, like Vogue 1853 in my size!!.
The pattern, from the late 70s or early 80s, is a typical Diane von Furstenberg design - a classic wrap dress with flared skirt.
The skirt has the perfect amount of flare and the front wrap is drafted perfectly, with no gaping. I can't believe how well this dress fits or looks, and it was so easy to pull together. Better yet, the pattern only cost 50c!
The drafted sleeves were quite gathered and bell-like. Not something I felt I could wear successfully, so I folded the pattern piece after paper fitting,  to create a fitted sleeve with a simple Renfrew style band.
All other changes were minimal. I cut a few inches off the hem and sewed a narrow hem, rather than the deep hem drafted. I also interfaced the neck binding with whisper weft to help hold the weight of the fabric and eliminate any gaping or stretching.
The fabric is another cheap poly knit from Spotty. I purchased it on Friday and had this made by Sunday. I think I may use my Tessuti viscose knit from the last Sydney Sewing Social to make another for winter.
Pattern: Vintage Vogue 1853 Diane von Furstenberg  wrap dress from Op Shop = 50c
Fabric: 2.5m poly knit from Spotty on sale = $11
Interfacing and thread from stash
Total: $11.50

Friday, February 1, 2013

Vogue 1027 - The $5.20 dress

I know there is much debate about whether sewing your own clothes can save you money and well, I'd be lying if I said it always did. But sometimes, you sew a super cheap winner that helps bring the average cost per item down a little. This is one of them.
I picked up this fabric earlier today from Spotlight. It's a poly knit that was on the discount table for $3 per meter. I purchased 2.5 meters and with an additional discount coupon, the total fabric cost was $5.20.
I've used Vogue 1027 before, so with my accounting system, it means it has a $0 cost for this project. The thread spool was also left over from a previous project, so it too is accounted as free with my system (It actually ran out while sewing the hem, so the bobbin was changed to black to finish the project). Some actual accountants may dispute the validity of my system, choosing instead to average these expenses between projects, but not me, they were counted before, so now they are free.
It's raining right now, this is the best photo of the back I could get
I have nothing much to report with this dress. The fabric was a little tricky to work with, but I used my overlocker and walking foot to help with that. I used a mix of lightning bolt and zig-zag stitch set at .5mm wide on my regular machine. The only trouble I encounted was a slight gape in the front bodice as the fabric is so stretchy and my bust is minimal, so I pulled down the wrap points a little to tighten the neckline. While the neck is deep, it doesn't gape even when I'm fully bending down, so I can easily wear this to work without frightening the children :)
A better representation of the fabric colours
In addition to the low price, the dress was fully knocked together, from fabric purchase to completion within 6 hours and this included two school runs and a grocery shop! Seriously, I am a super mum! lol!

Pattern: Vogue 1027 - used before = free
Fabric: 2.5m poly stretch from Spotlight on sale and with coupon = $5.20
Thread: from stash = free
Total: $5.20