August is button month

I am ready for August!  To celebrate and taking a bit of a cue from Collete's how to develop good sewing habits I have decided that all the outfits I make this month will involve buttons!!  Yes buttons and specifically button holes.  Outrageous I know!  But I want to be a better sewer so this month I am going to attempt some discipline (unless of course I win the pattern over at Handmade by Carolyn and then that jacket might be my one exception!!! ).   So, a couple of outfits that I would like to make that will challenge my previous unwritten no button hole policy:
1.  Banksia Top by Megan Nielsen.  Liberty fabric and buttons already purchased for this one so I should definitely get this one done this month and
2.  no. 15 drape cardigan from She has a Mannish Style.  There are plenty of buttons on that little beauty!!

And we'll see what else pops up during the month!  But it must have buttons and a buttonhole!!!

lo-fi, slo-fi knitting

I am making slow (and somewhat dodgey) progress on my lo-fi baby blanket based on the super easy baby blanket from Purl Bee. The blue ball took: a car trip to the snow and back, 2 episodes of Downton Abbey, Hugo on DVD, episodes of Ninjago (season 2 - yes with the boys)  and odd stolen moments from here and there to complete it (10 hours maybe?).  I cast on 150 stitches, so once I found some longer needles I did pick up the pace a bit because I wasn't trying to always squish the knitting onto the needles all the time.  I think I have to do 6 more balls, so I suppose I'm looking down the barrel of another 60 hours!??  Baby is due in early September so I should (!!!???) make it.  

I started the orange last night while watching episode 1 of Mildred Pierce so maybe I'll get quicker and shave a bit of time of that.  Now that it's olympics I should be aiming for personnel bests!!  I've made only one mistake so far... so that's where the tag will go!  Hopefully I won't make too many more otherwise it will turn into a tag blanket.

Upcoming decisions: what colours to use.. I should have thought about this earlier.. and given I don't know if she is having a boy or a girl (she already has 2 boys) this is also problematic.  I bought an orange ball as I had some crazy idea that I would do a Mark Rothko inspired blanket but that has now left me and I'm going to stick with the stripes.
Now onto far less lo-fi knitting, I bought this super cute knitted cacti from Hello Polly last week made by the very cool odds and ends.  Do yourself a favour and check them out!!  They are so fun and have some amazing things.

In SEWING news, my Banksia pattern from Megan Nielsen has arrived so might start on that soon.  The material is washed and the buttons bought, but the placket looks daunting. Eeek.

Drape Drape no. 17 (aka granny squares)

Here's another of my favourite dresses that I've made (in 2010) but that didn't get a run in Me Made May 12.
This dress is made out of the most amazing silk chiffon from Tessuti in Sydney, it's called Winter Evening Leaves. For those of you in Australia, you might have watched Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries and noticed that Phryne had a top made out of this fabric.
The pattern is number 17 from Drape Drape and I must admit that it was difficult for me to put together (as the pattern is crazy and in Japanese).  Just check out the pattern  that you had to trace and stick together.
Luckily the lovely Polly helped me with it.  It was the first outing for my overlocker and gosh I was glad I had just bought it!
I made it first for a wedding in Perth where I accessorised it with black and black beads.  Then I wore it for a friend's absolutely beautiful garden wedding  (different people so I could get away with it!!!) and I accessorised it much more 'me' as I'm not a bead person and wore different shoes.
 Lastly, my sister wore it for my brothers wedding.  
Jacinta wearing winter evening leaves
I adore this dress.

Drape mini dress


UntitledToday I thought I'd also blog about a couple of dresses that I didn't get a chance to wear in MeMadeMay12. The first one, Mini Drape Dress No. 12 from 'She has a Mannish Style'  While it doesn't look very mini on the mannequin, I can tell you that it is (although probably not quite so much as in the book).  Great dress, super easy and looks fab on.  I rarely get a chance to wear it though and have only worn it once to my friend's 40th.  The material is some slinky stretchy poly type number.  I still have heaps of it left over and dream of one day making a swimsuit out of it!

3 hours well spent and Metropolis

Yesterday, I had an afternoon learning more about my overlocker.  What a hoot.  I learned quite a few things about my little babylock which I hope will make my garmets a bit more professionally handmade. I also learnt about fray stopper.  What a revelation! In celebration, I came home and made one of my usual super easy tops, C from my nani iro book! I have made this pattern many times.  These tops are like tshirts in my wardrobe and I find it a nice and simple design for the sometimes, over the top Liberty fabric.  I used the Landis C Tana Lawn Liberty SS 12 inspired by the Art Deco architecture in the film "Metropolis"  I bought the other week.  I was silly and cut one piece too long (hard to believe !!??), which then meant I had to make it quite short. Shorter than I usually make... but I have high hopes for this top.  
I think it will look great with a McCalls 5591 skirt (maybe mustard or green)
The other thing I did - a bit too late in the sewing really - was decide I was going to add two little pleats in the neckline to assist with the shaping. I do like the subtlety of them. 
I think this will be a good work top, but here I am about to head off to the Playschool concert with Elliot wearing my new top and jeans.  Nothing like putting on something on hot off the press wondering whether you've cut all the lose threads off!
We had a really great time and the concert.  We ran into friends that Elliot used to go to childcare with and another one of our friends Sarah and her girls.  Jay Lag'aia and Abi Tucker did the concert so it was pretty special. 

vionnet love

Jersey gown by Vionnet
Jersey gown by Vionnet

I just spotted this dress by Vionnet over at  I probably wouldn't buy it in purple and the reality is that it is sold out and probably wouldn't suit a shorty like me. But wow.  I do love it.  I might just be putting a dress like this on my sewing wish list if I ever have need for a floor length dress. 
Photos courtesty of

ski weekend with a tiny bit of knitting

We went to the snow on the weekend. It was the boy's first time and it was my first time in such a long time (like 20 years) that I classify myself as a complete beginner, non skier.  We drove up after going to the lego exhibition, so the day already started off big for the boys.  I knitted in the car.  Yes, knitted.  Well first I pulled apart everything I had previously done as it was so wonky and then I knitted.  It was so therapeutic.  I agree with you all who said it was. It isn't the best road from Canberra to the snow but knitting away made it very relaxing.  I won't show you any photos though, because for all that talk, I probably knitted about 10 rows!
We stayed at a lovely place in Lake Crackenback, which is only a few minutes to the ski tube which takes you up to Perisher. Elliot is 3 and Oliver is 6 and to be frank, we are a pretty indoorsy family.  I like to think that I'm a bit outdoorsy but the reality is, that I'm pretty happy doing indoorsy things (like sewing), the boys like lego and drawing and Ben is a geek.  Enough said. But we had such a great time over this past weekend as a family. We were out of the house.  Ben was skiing which he loves to do and it was great for the kids to see him doing it.  The boys and I had some private lessons with a lovely lovely instructor and both boys enjoyed it and Oliver especially did really well. I enjoyed it and didn't break anything and I was really pleased (afterwards!) to be putting myself out of my comfort zone for a bit.
So, I don't know if it was the the boys enjoying themselves and achieving, the bright pink jacket I was wearing or the sun or the cold or the fact that we were away from home and housework, but I am now trying to convince Ben that we should go again this season.    
Of course, I'm nicely glossing over the complete nightmare it is to carry skis with kids whingeing and screaming 'hold my hand' when there isn't a hand left to hold or my aching unfit legs or the expense or any of the other things I could focus on.  But I won't.  Life is short and to hear Oliver say at the end of a run 'that was crazy!' made it all worth it. Oh and there is no better feeling than taking off those damn ski boots.

a cute little jumper

I bought this cute little jumper from hektik boutique after spotting it on present and correct.  It arrived on Friday. How adorable is it!? The idea is so so simple but so effective.  It's all done with cute felt like tape. 

Sweater Smile with Brom lightgrey kids
Photo courtesy of Hektik Boutique

ready for snow

About ten years ago I did a knitting course for beginners and managed to whip out a scarf and a couple of beanies.  Nothing since of course.  I never ventured past knit 1 purl 1.  Over the last year, I've often thought of how much I'd love a knitting machine but haven't done anything about it and plus where on earth would I put it.
We are off to the snow for a few days on Sunday so I had this romantic idea of me sitting in front of the fire knitting or crocheting something.  I took off down to the local wool shop and bought a crochet needle, but even with a bit of tuition from my mum, who in my childhood used to crochet all manner of things including crocheted bikinis..I couldn't quite get the hang of it.  So, I've pulled out some old knitting needles and so will spend tonight casting on!  I've no idea what I'm making.  A scarf?  A baby blanket?  A wash cloth? Who cares.  I'll probably be over it by the time we even pack to go, but for now, I'm into the idea of it....and, even though my sewing corner is smack bang in the middle of the house and the boys and the noise and the ruckus, sometimes I do feel as if I have my back to them so an activity that turns me around is probably good.  
Of course just sitting doing nothing would probably also be good but I would have to work harder on that... and then I would really feel like I should be doing housework.

Finished! The brocade skirt

After posting a pretty excited work in progress picture yesterday, I cleaned the house, made cookies, did some laundry, and then managed, with the help of one sick boy who wanted to lie about (and walk over drawings) and another little boy who was completely into drawing (lego) ninjago murals (next to my sewing corner) to finish off my McCalls 5591 skirt.  Yes, we stayed in our pj's almost all day!  Yay for the first day of school holidays and a Saturday with no committments.  Although I probably didn't need to clean the loungeroom at it will need to be done again today!
I was unusually careful with this skirt and every time the instructions said to baste I basted and even hand sewed the waist band on. I do like a bit of hand sewing so this wasn't really against my nature, but the careful bit absolutely was. So here it is.
Brocade skirt
I LOVE this skirt.

Of course there are always things I could have done better and this morning, in the cold hard light of day I realised there is a little mistake with the waist band and pleats.  C'est la vie. Overall I am so happy with the zipper and the pleats which are both way outside my comfort zone.  In fact this is probably the first time I've sewn a zipper in and haven't then thrown the whole thing back in the cupboard as a disaster.
The brocade was fun to sew and I love how it sticks out a bit.  I've never sewn a McCalls before and found the sizing a bit strange.  For example a 27" waist is a size 12-14 but with collette patterns it is a size 4???!!   Anyway, I've taken these photos this morning, but I will DEFINITELY be wearing this to work tomorrow and feeling money!
I'm wearing a stripey (what else!) and my good old black patent shoes, but I think this skirt has a few options for accessorising and I have a great pair of blue shoes in the wardrobe that would look great with this skirt for an edgier option.

I will definitely be sewing this again.

some fabric purchases and a work in progress

I popped into the sale at Addicted to Fabric yesterday and picked up a few bits and pieces.
First up, Landis C Tana Lawn Liberty SS 12 inspired by the Art Deco architecture in the film "Metropolis".  Think I will make a little top out of this.
Next up,  Viola B Tana Lawn from the AW12 Embellishment story. I plan to make a mini dress out of this.
And also a couple of 'kids' fabrics for different things.. Robert Kaufmann, Celebrate Dr Seuss (in PVC!!) and Happy Dreaming by Ed Emberley for Cloud 9 Fabrics. Cloud 9 are really doing some great stuff.  I saw this one while waiting in line and couldn't resist the look on that dragon.  I often 'wrap' presents in a little bag and this fabric is perfect for little big boys.
And here is my work in progress.. Just the front done so far... but I am loving this skirt!  Unfortunately I have a bit of housework to do before I get back to any sort of sewing and Elliot has been screaming all night with an ear ache, so off to the doctors for us this afternoon. 

ready for the weekend


The fabric (I bought last weekend) is now cut out using McCalls 5591, so the weekend is looking good for a bit of sewing. The big half yearly sale starts tomorrow down at the fabric store, so I may also be posting some new Liberty of London fabric tomorrow night that I picked up on sale.  Fingers crossed.  Although how many Liberty items does a girl really need!?  I do however need some lace for my stipey top (after the lace I bought last weekend was too small), so it is a must that I go!!
Enrolments now open for next course starting 16th July, 2012
I've signed up with a couple of girls from work to do the online sewing course at the Sew School Online by the Haby Goddess.  It's over 6 weeks starting 16 July.  It's so fun that they are so excited about it.  They are even going out and buying sewing machines this weekend!  I'm really looking forward to it as well. There are so many things that I shy away from sewing which I would love to do. Hopefully this will push me in the right direction.

when in doubt...leatherette!

I had the most fun at spotlight this morning with my next door neighbour.  We riffled through fake fur, stretch velvet animal print, and all sorts of other wonders that we almost walked out with, convincing ourselves that we couldn't live without it and we would look so money in a full jumpsuit made of leatherette crocodile print.  Of course there is some nice fabric there, although it's mainly cheap and you do have to rummage and rife.  I managed to come away with a few things....
Firstly some jersey stripe and lace trim ...  I've been obsessed about making a stripey boat top with a lace inset ever since I saw a Claudie Pierlot top.  This trim isn't wide enough unfortunately so will need to keep my eyes open for the perfect lace.  Ben is wondering what on earth I'm thinking, but I'm going to persist with this idea.
I also bought some gold  and some perforated 'leatherette'.  Only 25cms of each.. I thought I'd try out little pouches or something... if I can ever learn to insert a zipper properly. I made myself a little phone pouch out of the gold with pink stitching but it is so lo-fi I can't even post it!!
I also bought this fabric on a whim.  I think was called 'risque brocade'!!!!!  I'm not sure how risque it is.  I'd say not at all frankly! This is it hanging on the line.. I think it's going to make a great skirt so have sent away for a pattern this afternoon.  Stay tuned.  I have a vision for it!  At $40/metre the sales assistant nearly fainted when she rang it up as there aren't many fabrics that are in that range at Spottys. Trust me to find it.

Suzy bought some excellent stretch snake skin print fabric and has already whipped up a very  rock cowl neck top with it!!
My normal fabric store is having a sale on this coming weekend, so lucky there is a payday between now and then!