Friday, December 16, 2011

Monday, December 5, 2011

Looky what I got!

I received my Op Shop Swap package from my partner Margaret today and boy does she know how to op shop!

Mine mine all mine!

I got a gorgeous fabric bag, mannequin with pins, 2 great kids patterns, some cute teddy bear lace, 2 reels of lace, a christmas book mark and some white cotton lace and a very cool Singer Sewing book that is in absolutely mint condition.

I have just had time for a flick through it all but I will share some of the gems in the sewing book next time I post.

Thanks Margaret, I love all of it! And thank you to Jody for hosting the swap. This is the first time I have participated in any kind of swap thingy in blogland and it was really great fun (I did of course pick up a number of things for myself while shopping for Margaret!).

And I did learn Rule of Life #173 the hard way: do not let 5 year old girls open your mail. Ever. They will claim all the loot for themselves! And they are very good at hiding things in secret places.

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Op shop swap-join the fun!

The lovely Jody Pearl is hosting a Christmas themed Op Shop Swap.
So if browsing op shops (Aussie slang for thrift or charity store) is your thing pop on over to her blog for a goosey gander!
Fortunately for me I can just squeeze the Hummer-esque size double pram through the door of our local op shop.
Unfortunately for me I can't get into the bank.
I might just have to raid Miss C's piggy bank!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

That reminds me

The first sentence of my last post reminded me of this sketch from The Fast Show.

And this one. Because it has Johnny Depp in it.


Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Baggy trousers

Is what I will most likely be wearing this summer. Apparently the cavernous gap between my tummy muscles is unlikely to ever revert back to normal without surgery. Which according to my Doc can’t be done for at least 12 months to give my body time to recover from the c-section.

So while I can brag about having Angelina’s boobs and bum, unfortunately I am stuck with Mr Greedy’s tummy for the next year or so.

And so to avoid having all and sundry commenting on why I am pregnant again SO SOON, I need to get cracking on making some loose tops and baggy pants to hide the non-baby bump.

And because I have been a bit out of the loop re new patterns and such, I need some help in getting started.

Do you have any favourite ‘go to’ patterns for loose, casual living?

Or what are the latest patterns that have taken your fancy?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

So what is it like having twins?

Is the question that everyone seems to be asking me.
So here is a snapshot of my day.
Wake up. Feed. Chuck. Poo. Feed. Poo. Sleep (maybe). Feed. Poo. Poo. Feed. Chuck. Cry (that’s me, not the babies). Repeat every 3-4 hours.
And then by about 4pm I look something like this.

Tim Minchin. Very funny Australian comedian/musician.

On the plus though, thanks to the round the clock breastfeeding, for the first and only time in my life I actually come close to resembling Angelina Jolie. From the neck down anyway. Super skinny with 2 huge bazoombas on my chest!

Which is going to make my summer sewing plans a little problematic. As I know the celebrity body is not going to last forever. Perhaps some empire line dresses might be on the cards?

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Who ate all the pie?

Is what our pediatrician said when he saw our two girls in their bassinette for their hospital check up.

Which isn’t surprising considering E weighed in at 3.75kg (yikes!) and S was only 2.45kg at birth.

The girls were born on the 5th July and have two very distinct personalities as well as looks. E is kinda boisterous where S is placid and calm which for me is quite a bonus as handling the feeding/sleeping merry go round with 2 bubbas is a challenge!
Miss C is beside herself and a great helper, although I am wondering if babies can actually handle being kissed and cuddled during every waking moment!

Needless to say there has been no sewing action happening of late but fingers crossed I may actually get some mending done next week. Not very exciting but at least I would be sewing again!

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Giving the game away

I know that I will be revealing the bubs gender by posting this before delivery day (and no, I am not having triplets! One of these rompers is for my sister who is expecting her first baby a couple of weeks after I am due), but I figured that my computer time will be severely limited shortly and I was quite proud of myself for getting at least one cute baby thing made up!

The pattern

The pattern is a vintage Simplicity, dated 1971 and sized for a 6 month old, which times in perfectly with our next summer.

The sewing
I made up the romper suit with the shoulder fastening in 3 different cotton prints.
All the fabric and trims came from the stash, 2 of the fabrics were op shop finds and the yellow was a newish piece that I think I picked up from a remnant table about a year ago.

The pattern sewed up really nicely, and this is the first commercial pattern that I have used that actually outlines a commercial/industrial construction order which was a pleasant surprise.

The only changes I made were to move the elastic casing to the lower edge of the pant in order to do away with the frill and I inserted snap tape along the crotch seam instead of sewing it closed to allow for quick nappy changes.

The verdict
I love this pattern! I have already cut out another 2 versions. Whether they get sewn up though is another matter, as I am now at 37 weeks and moving very slowly!

Although when I was taking the pics, I did not notice that the sizing seems rather large for a 6 month bub. Miss C is quite petite for her age, but these rompers would actually fit her quite nicely!

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Vintage kids dress.........done!

Thank you everyone who weighed in on my topstitching dilemma from the last post.

In the end I decided to go with the majority who voted for a darker colour because a) you are all very smart and b) I had an almost full reel of dark purple thread and spending $3 on a new reel of a lighter colour thread seemed frivolous considering the pattern cost 20c and the fabric was from the stash and I can’t even remember how much I paid for it.

Although, next time I topstitch corduroy I think that I will take Sharon’s advice and use 2 threads instead of one. A single thread doesn’t seem to have enough ‘weight’ on top of the cord and disappears a bit into the pile. I have tried using proper topstitching thread before but my machine never seems to handle it properly and I have heard of the 2 thread technique but never gotten around to trying it out.

Anyhoo here are some pics of Miss C’s one and probably only made by me garment for this winter. At some point I will try to get the wriggler to actually wear it and stand still long enough for a pic. In the meantime some detail shots will have to do!

Project details

The pattern
Vintage Butterick kids pattern from the op shop. No date stamp but my guess is maybe late ‘70’s or early ‘80’s.
Sized Small (ages 3-4), Medium (5-6) and Large (6-7)
I made the dress in the medium size but really should have made the small. It will probably fit her for the next um 3 years or so!

The sewing
The whole thing went together pretty easily. Internal seams are overlocked and I used a cotton print for the yoke facings to reduce the bulk a bit.
Otherwise I followed the pattern directions pretty much to the letter.
I adapted Sherry’s very excellent tutorial on attaching sleeve cuffs to sew the dress to the yoke and was really happy with the result. Much quicker than how I usually do it and resulted in very neat corners, thanks Sherry!

The gripes
The cut of the underarm is very, very low and is a V shape with no side seam.
The pattern calls for a bias binding finish but the shape of the underarm doesn’t really allow a bias bind to work properly here. If I make it again I will reshape the underarm to be more of a curve so that the bias works better.

And you can see that Miss C insisted on 2 different coloured buttons. I figured she is the one wearing it, so she could choose, but I am finding this very hard to come to terms with!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Topstitching me out!

I am finally getting around to making up a cute vintage pinafore dress for Miss C but have hit a snag.
I have a purplish pinkish pinwale cord fabric but cannot match the colour to a thread for the topstitching.
So when faced with the same problem do you go a shade darker or lighter when choosing the thread?
I could of course just run up a sample using 2 different colours and see what looks best, that would be kinda smart, but I thought polling the sewing/blogging populace might be fun!
So, opinions please!

Technically challenged note: poll is located on sidebar to the right of this post. I could not for the life of me figure out how to put it into the actual post!

Friday, May 20, 2011

Electrical appliances have lousy timing

Today our freezer decided to give up the ghost. Ordinarily this would not have been terribly much to worry about. But aside from having the usual frozen items, like erm 4 different varieties of ice cream, I had managed to build up a stash of about a months worth of frozen meals and was planning on doing more this weekend.

And cooking is not my area of expertise, so getting all those meals together took a considerable summonsing of effort in the kitchen on my part.

And while The Bloke is generally a bit of a genius at resurrecting non compliant appliances (he has managed to bring our washing machine back from the brink on more than one occasion), apparently the freezer has a problem That Cannot Be Fixed.

So tomorrow we head off on a trip to our closest Big Town to haggle with the electrical appliances salesman to spend money that we don’t have.

Oh well. It could have been worse. It could have been the hot water system. And being on the cusp of winter that would have been a Very Bad Thing Indeed!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Sweater love

I can’t believe it has taken me a whole month to get 2 sweaters done!

And to only have Miss C announce ‘But you know I don’t wear GREY Mum!”

Sigh. And both the sweaters are more like a size 6 or 7 so they won’t be getting any wear this winter. Maybe in a few years pink will be off the list and grey will be back on.

But I am happy with how they turned out. Using op shop knits and refashioning them, while a bit fiddly, is a good way of getting some nice warm sweaters that I know I can bung in the washing machine without fear of shrinkage. And they don’t really need to be ironed either which is a bonus.

And now with 7 weeks to go I am well and truly on the baby countdown, and most of my childfree time is going to be taken up with doctors and hospital visits, so those visions of lovely piles of handmade infant clothing are slowly fading I am afraid!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Winter sewing

We have definately turned the corner from summer toward winter here, and while we are still getting lovely mild sunny days, our nights and mornings are distinctly chilly.

So I really really need to get some winter sewing done. And firewood collecting. And freezer meals stockpiled.

And I only have 12 weeks now to D (delivery) Day. Eeep.

I find that I don’t really sew a lot in winter. I think because it is getting much harder to source good quality winter weight fabrics; the proliferation of polar fleece and awful polyester and acrylic fabrics seemed to have edged out wool these days, and so I tend to buy most of my winter wardrobe from op shops. I don’t knit either so making hand knits myself is out of the picture.

I could of course learn to knit but then that just opens up a whole new avenue of stash collecting and obsessing over patterns so I think I might just save that for retirement!

I don’t really need clothes for me, but Miss C has grown out of all of last years gear so a new wardrobe is definitely in order for her. And being at preschool means lots of warm sweaters and outdoor clothes are needed.

To get around the lack of winter stash fabrics and my current complete lack of desire to actually shop for new fabrics, I came up with the bright idea of sourcing second hand wool jumpers and refashioning them to fit Miss C. I had the following criteria; the knits had to be pure wool, they had to be machine washable and in nice enough colours that I didn’t have to muck around with dyeing them. I managed to find 2. Oh well. It is a good start.

I have made some progress on sweater number one. It is a grey knit from around about the 1960’s judging by the label design and the zipper in the centre back, and too small for me so Miss C was in luck.

First up I unpicked the side seams and then cut off the ribbed cuffs and waistband. That took about 20 minutes. Chasing Miss C around to get a photo and actually fit the darn thing on took about 3 days.

Help! Save me from the oversized sweater tickle monster!

Then I just sewed the cuffs and band back on to the jumper using the overlocker and sewed up the side seams, sewing through the bands. Easy peasy. It does need some kind of embellishment though to stop it looking like a regulation school jumper so it’s not finished just yet.

Inside construction of sweater

But that of course could take another 3 weeks going by my current motivation to do nothing besides sit around and eat!

What are you planning on sewing for the new season?

Thursday, March 31, 2011


I was very pleasantly surprised to be included in an Etsy Treasury the other day.

'Smokin hot' by cynmb

Olivia, Fine Art Print


Glisten ACEO -- Japanes...


White Cat on Red Pillow...


Scallopini tank


Sakura polymer clay foc...


Arnold the retro red fo...


Vintage Garden Plant St...


SMOKIN HOT - Long Dangl...


Little Winter Pure Wool...


Oriental Red Enamel Cop...


Two Red Birds and Heart...


Adjustable Dog Collar -...




Chick-A-Dee Play Set in...


Lily Wrap Ring with win...


Smeared lipstick - Baby...


Treasury tool by Red Row Studio.

I don’t have a lot of things in the shop at the moment, and since discovering we are getting a two for one baby deal the whole Etsy shop business has taken a back seat, so it was nice to see that some of my things are still getting a guernsey!

I had good intentions of making some new stock for our winter, even to the point of having designs worked out and fabric sourced, but my energy levels just can’t cope with making patterns, grading and sewing on top of everything else going on at the moment.

Miss C will hopefully get a few new things made for winter but other than that it is mostly going to be baby sewing (and a lot of sitting around on the lounge when I get the chance!) for the next month or so.

I have given up on any kind of sewing for me until I find out what my body ends up looking like post birth, even to the point of not renewing my BurdaStyle subscription. I have barely looked at the last couple of issues and my subscription is due next month. So I am still debating whether to keep it going or not. And buying single issues is not an option in my area so, can I do without it for a year or not? But it is the only ‘luxury’ thing that I buy for myself so maybe I am going to need that bit of joy in my letterbox once a month?

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Dobbed in

Beangirl, in her infinite wisdom and taste, has deemed fit to tag me for a Stylish Blogger Award, and considering that I can no longer see my toes and when I turn sideways I resemble Mr Greedy more than Coco Chanel it is mighty generous of her.

So in the spirit of reciprocal blog back slapping, I shall gladly accept the said award and play along, but as I am a) incredibly lazy and b) not that interesting I am going to steal Beangirl’s answers to the seven required questions and just apply them to myself!

1) I do not have any tattoos and am not likely to get any. I do not have anything against tattoos and often think they look very nice on other people. It has just never occurred to me to get one.

2) I have never lived in a haunted house, and despite spending large chunks of my childhood calling ‘here ghosty ghosty!’ have never had a ghostly experience.

3) I am not afraid of any animals. In theory. I do not go camping, swim in the ocean or spend any unnecessary time in the wilds of Africa, so I have not in fact tested out this theory. I am quite happy to coexist with spiders, snakes and other creepy crawlies as long as they remember their place and stay outside and I can stay inside sewing, where it is nice and safe and animal free.

4) I can wriggle my little toe independently of all the other toes. I do not know if this is unique to myself as I have never asked anyone else if they can do it too.

5) I am not afraid of heights. I love heights. To the point that I will scream blue murder if anyone dares tries to take the top bunk when on holidays.

6) I don't believe in reincarnation either.

7) One of my favorite sandwiches is ham and cheese. Preferably toasted. I am happy to eat this every single day for lunch. I don’t really need variety in my lunches. If someone else prepares and serves it up even better.

The final part of the award is to nominate other bloggers to participate, but I have done this a few times before and I am running out of friends, so instead here is a shortlist of some the sites that I lurk around when I should be sewing or parenting.
Childhood 101
The Artful Parent

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Dang and blast!

That’s the kind of title you get when you have been reading Roald Dahl’s Fantastic Mr Fox every day for the last two weeks!

I could have called this post The Best Laid Plans of Mice and Men, but seeing as I am not a mouse or a man quoting Dahl will have to suffice.

Despite being at preschool now for almost a month, Miss C has probably only been to three or four sessions. First up was a bout of gastro that went through the whole household and saw me being laid up in hospital overnight, which was no fun at all.
Then we at least managed to have one healthy week to squeeze in a birthday (Miss C is 4!) and the local Show (fair, fete or whatever you may like to call them) and then we all get the flu! Boo hoo!

And it is only this week that Miss C can get back to school and I can get back on my feet.

I did get to my local op shop though, and lucked on to picking up a total of 46 Burda mags dating from 1971 through to 1981! At first I saw a small pile of them and thought ‘You Beauty” and then turned around to find this ginormous pile, and all for the paltry sum of $5!!!!!!

I even had to call The Bloke to come and help me carry them to the car!

The chances of me actually making any of the patterns up for myself though are pretty small. I don’t really suit shirt dresses or zip front polyester pantsuits (although I did have a strong urge to dress like the Bionic Woman sometime in the late 70’s) but some of the kidswear is really cute and by golly just look at those recipes!!!!

I had completely forgotten how effective tinned pineapple and a glace cherry can be as a garnish!!!

And every single issue is complete with pattern sheets and English supplement! And seeing as how I live in a very small town that is three hours drive from the nearest city, I am still completely flabbergasted that something like this turns up in my local neighbourhood.

I am thinking that the original owner must have been pretty switched on to be a Burda subscriber (in German no less) in a country town in Australia in the 1970’s.

Now I just have to trawl through them to pick out the gems.
This could take some time.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

The battle plan

Judging by the comments from my last post, readers of this blog are uncommonly smart or my quizzes just aren’t hard enough!

Thank you for all of your nice comments; I am coming up to 20 weeks this week, so pretty much at the half way point. Early pregnancy is pretty dicey for me, we have had a few scares and hospital visits but so far all is looking good.

I have come to realise though that this is not going to be a ‘normal’ pregnancy. With Miss C I worked up until a week before she was born and pretty much ignored the whole pregnancy business except for vital doctor visits.

This time round though my ankles have already disappeared, the doctor has ordered me on light duties only (lucky that includes sewing) and I am the size of a small mini van, so I think some planning is in order.

And going by other people’s twin pregnancy experiences, I can probably expect to be unable to fit behind the wheel of a car or manage anything other than a walk around the block after 30 weeks or so.

Which means I have a scant 10 weeks to get things in order.

This is what I have on The Plan so far:
1. Make some more cloth 20 or so. And covers.
2. Make 2 cot quilts.
3. Sew Miss C’s winter wardrobe.
4. Sew some things for the shop.
5. Sew some things for me.
6. Spend some quality time with Miss C.
7. Buy another freezer and cook 6 months worth of provisions.

I already feel like I am preparing for battle rather than babies!

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Pop Quiz #1

What do I have in common with the following women?

A. I am married
B. I get mobbed by the paparazzi when I pop down to the shops in my trackie dacks**
C. I am having twins (yikes!!)

*for those of you living outside Australia, Princess Mary is a former Tasmanian who met Prince Frederick of Denmark in a bar in Paddington during the Sydney Olympics, married him and is now officially known as Australia’s own claim to actual royalty.

**Australian slang for tracksuit pants.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Surviving the slump

January always seems to be a difficult month for me. As much as I love all the lead up to, and the fun and games of Christmas and New Year, January seems to be a vacuum of not much to do.

In Australia it is school holidays for the month, and living in a small country town, a lot of the services and activities that are usually available shut up shop, so we are pretty much left to make up our own fun. And while we have had swimming lessons and visitors and a bit of travelling scattered through the month, I have had zero motivation to do anything except the most essential chores.

But today is a new month, and Miss C’s first full day at preschool. Which means, as of today I have a whole 12 hours a week to MYSELF!!!!!!!! For the first time in 4 years. And as I am all too aware of the countless weekends and evenings I wasted doing nothing BC (before children), I am determined to make the most of this time.
So to get the unslumping started I treated myself to some brand new Vogue patterns courtesy of recent sale.

They are all dresses and while some of these probably won’t factor into my immediate wardrobe, they will be nice for when I get back to work, and it will be satisfying to work on some more difficult projects now that I have the time.

So now I just have to wait for the postie to arrive, sort through the stash, put my feet up and have a cuppa!

Gosh it’s quiet here today! Might go see what the cat is doing!