Friday, July 31, 2009


Online shopping is a lifesaver for me – the closest fabric store is just over 100km away so it is far cheaper to buy online than fill the 6 cylinder with a tank of gas to make the 3 hour round trip just to buy a pattern.
Plus Miss C has an undying hatred for the car seat so trips have to be carefully orchestrated around her sleep times.
As recently had all McCalls patterns for US$2.99, I picked out a mid season top and winter dress pattern to add to the stash.

So even when you account for the exchange rate and international shipping costs it’s still cheaper for me to buy this way. And they get delivered straight to my door in about a week yippee! In fact I do most of my fabric/pattern/notions purchases online these days.

So next step is to do some actual sewing. I am pretty skint at the moment so I have raided the fabric stash and come up with a fabric palette for summer.

What do you think?

Monday, July 27, 2009

As Miss C would say....

Yuckety yuck!

I have a very uninspiring pile of mending slash alterations staring me in my face, right on my sewing table. Sometimes it’s a little bigger, sometimes smaller but it NEVER disappears! Although sometimes I do try to hide it in a box or under the bed but it invariably finds its way back to the table. And I just cannot get my head around starting a new project when this is taunting me every day.

Today The Pile consists of
1. Couple of The Blokes workshirts, one needs a button replaced, the other who knows?
2. 2 pairs of jeans that need knee patches
3. A very nice vintage paisley skirt that needs to be resized
4. A wool nappy cover that needs the elastic replaced
5. A dress that needs a hook and eye
6. A top that needs a hook and eye (ooh think there’s a theme happening here)
7. A pair of leggings that need new waist elastic

Ho hum indeed as Pooh would say!

Friday, July 24, 2009

The jury's out.....

That lovely vintage rayon fabric that I posted about earlier has been transformed into a lovely floaty top courtesy McCalls 5808 – here’s a pic.

Oooh – lovely 70’s styling, nice yoke shape and floaty sleeves. Good choice!

And here’s the top on the dummy.

Nice job Sandra! Looks just like the pattern envelope. And I do like that natty black bias trim around the yokeline.

Now let’s see what it looks like on.

Oh dear

Well I am not exactly sure what it is about my body that can transform a perfectly acceptable top into a travesty of a puffy pirate shirt, am I too old for this style (note the jowls), are my shoulders too broad or is the print just too pretty? Whatever the reason I should never have forgotten that vow I made in 1987 to NEVER wear puffy sleeves again!

But I think I can salvage the pattern – maybe lengthen into a dress and take out the gathering in the sleeve head and try for a breezy summer dress. Maybe.
If you are interested in more of the nuts and bolts of the pattern mosey on over to Pattern Review and read my full review there.
Otherwise feel free to let fly with your opinion. I can take it.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

The carnage

This is what happens when I try to get fifteen minutes to sew and I DON’T have an organised activity for Miss C to do. Usually I will try to set up a game or bring out some toys she hasn’t had for a while or often she is just happy to stand beside me and ‘sew’ as well.

Anyway, today was a busy outside day. Lots of activity; feeding chooks, walking the dog etc and silly me, I thought I could steal some sewing time in the afternoon and she would be content just pottering around me.

Never again. She turned into Miss Destructo, pulling out everything in sight, harrasing the cat and causing general mayhem. I managed two seams before I had to rescue the cat from being kissed to death and save the lounge from being turned into a purple castle. With indelible marker (where the heck does she find these things?).

Sigh. There’s always tomorrow.
Edited to add: I'm afraid the frog didn't make it.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Decisions decisions

I reckon that I have just enough time for one last winter project before I start planning for summer.

I have a piece of vintage printed rayon fabric in my stash that I picked up from an op shop that would have only cost me a few dollars so I am willing to sacrifice it for the sake up trying out a new pattern.

So I have a couple of options. A Vogue Woman pattern, an Anna Sui Vogue dress, a floaty McCalls top and a vintage dress pattern from the ‘70s. My main criteria is that it has to be quick, with no need for a toile to check fit and I am a bit restricted by the fact that the fabric is 2.5m long but only 90cm wide.

Think I might sleep on it.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

But first more about me

So.... I studied fashion design at The Whitehouse Institute of Design in Sydney (and who now have a Melbourne campus – check it out here)so I am perfectly capable of drafting my own patterns but with a nearly two and a half year old I no longer have time to draft from scratch, test out the pattern with a couple of toiles and then sew up the actual garment, so I have resorted to using commercial patterns and tweaking them to suit what I want. I usually look for very simple shapes (preferably without zips, tricky fastenings or overwrought detailing) that are fashion current and quick to sew.

I am now officially a SAHM with said toddler and sewing for the two of us keeps me from running screaming from the house (on most days) and I also do a bit of paid sewing as well.

But why am I surly? Partly because that’s my personality... here’s proof.

And partly because the way commercial patterns are put together is often plain ridiculous (big pattern companies, here’s a tip: maybe if patterns were easy to follow, had limited handsewing and fitted well, more people might actually sew and in turn *golly gosh* buy more patterns).

So I try to apply my industry skills to what I make, generally ignore the sewing instructions and alter what I have to. My biggest bugbear with going back to commercial patterns is the enormous seam allowances; 1.5cm on a faced neckline is just plain silly, not to mention difficult to sew, especially if you are attempting a toddlers size 2 dress!

Well enough ranting for now, the next posts will be some of my sewing projects.

As soon as Miss C gives me back the pins.

Why does the world need another sewing blog?

Hmmm...good question. I’m not sure that the world needs this sewing blog but I figure that on the days that I don’t get to actually do any sewing then I might as well be able to write about it.

You see I have a bit of a love/hate relationship to sewing. I think about it all the time, it keeps me awake at night and I get cranky when visitors pop round and I can’t sew. But when I actually get to sit down at the machine then I am continually frustrated that I’m not sewing fast enough or I am thinking about the floors that need washing and nappies that need changing. So all in all sewing is NOT some wonderful mystical experience that elevates the soul – well not mine anyhow.

So what you won’t get at this blog is me waxing lyrical about the joys of creating or the sublime feeling of whiling away a day handsewing (who the heck handsews these days anyhow, there are clothes to be made dang it!) and looking at the sunset while cherubic infants play merrily in the background.

What you might get is a few tips on how to navigate the quagmire of commercial sewing pattern instructions, as well as some ways to fast track putting a garment together and how to handle tricky fitting problems. But be warned, there will be no handbasting, tacking, prewashing fabric or 2cm seam allowances so if these are things that rock your boat then you might want to leave now but if not.......on with the sewing!