Category Archives: SEWING

The air feels a bit prickly …


So my TAFE College Pattern Drafting teacher always warned us of the perils of holding pins in your mouth. She scolded us every time we put one of those shiny little buggers near our lips. Now every time I’m sewing with a mouthful of metal I always think of her warning, but I will be honest it doesn’t stop me from doing it. That was until I read this article … I Inhaled a Pin!

I think it is fair to say I will no longer be using my mouth as my pin cushion and may this be a lesson to us all!

Nifty Kneeler

My mum and dad are in the process of building and planting a series of raised herb and vegie boxes out the back of their house. So when thinking of something to make my dear mum for Mother’s Day I was pleased to come across this Nifty Kneeler in Kelly Doust’s book The Crafty Kid.

There was nothing too tricky about this nifty little number except the difficulties that sewing with oilcloth can cause.  If you would like some tips on sewing with oilcloth check out these from Sew, Mama, Sew.  Regardless I was happy with the results and so was mum … and her dicky knees 🙂

Necklace Top

So after about 2 hours of rummaging through fabrics and patterns and the mess that is my sewing space I finally settled for a basic top from McCalls pattern M6519. I bought this black ikat print silk Country Road top (below) some months ago and I absolutely love it.  It is just a simple pattern design with a cute print and so easy to wear. The kind of top that you can throw on with some casual shorts or dress it up in the evening with skinny jeans and some pretty accessories.  I adore this sleeve length and it makes a nice change from the tank style that is so popular … Not that I want to diss my beloved Wiksten Tanks!

With this said I was looking to recreate this style in some other pretty prints.  Obviously I could have quite easily drafted the pattern straight from the top as there isn’t a great deal to it, but I decided to try one of my newer patterns for a very similar look.  McCalls M6519 has a slightly higher neckline at the front and no panel on the back. I love the high neckline with this particular print because it looks as though the top has it’s own built in necklace … which is why I have named it the ‘Necklace Top’.

I will definitely be making this style again. The most difficult part about the top was having to make my own neck and arm binding. Not usually a super skilled task with my clover binding maker but with the silky rayon fabric this lot challenged me. I made twice as much as I needed and I am glad I did because it meant I could be selective and only use the nice straight bits 🙂

Bunny Love

For quite a while now I have made these adorable little bunnies, usually out of vintage fabrics, for family and friends. On Saturday I met my lovely girlfriends for lunch and gifted some of these cute bunnies to a couple of beautiful bouncing baby boys.
It is nice to know that the recipients love the bunnies as much as I do 🙂

This one was made with fabric from a vintage Sheridan beadspread, and I dare say Isaac looks pretty pleased with it.

Wiksten Tanks Times Three

Ok so as I mentioned I did happen to squeeze in a spot of sewing during April.  In fact I actually only did one night of sewing all month yet managed to produce three cute Wiksten tanks. I discovered this pattern online a while ago and have been itching to try it out. As I was packing for my holiday to Bali last month I suddenly realised how handy it would be to have a couple of cute little basic cotton tanks to take with me. Some easy tops that I don’t need to worry about ironing and can throw on with anything…but of course they had to be über cute to boot! So in true ‘all or nothing’ sewing fashion I made these 3 tanks the night before I flew out on holidays … Yes 3 tanks in one night!

I love this tank! Such a simple design that looks so effective on and works in so many fabrics. As you can see I used contrast binding on the arm holes and neckline, this was both for added cuteness factor as well as a time saving method. The contrast binding I used was pre-made and bought from the local fabric store. I should really sit down and make my own but for this last minute project the store bought variety worked wonderfully.

I must admit that I did ‘tweak’ the pattern ever so slightly, back in March I made one of these as a toile out of some cheap cotton. I am glad I did because as a result of my ‘mock-up’ I sized down from what the sizing recommended and I also scooped the back neck a bit. You can see from the photos that the red one was scooped even more than the other two.

This adorable orange Wiksten Tank was made using some floral folk print quilting fabric. I picked this doozy up in the clearance bin at my local fabric store while I was in there looking for the contrast binding.  At $2 per metre I am not complaining! Although the quilting cottons can be a little stiff when you first purchase them, after a couple of washes this one has softened up nicely. I tried to make them all slightly different so with this orange tank I added some of the contrast binding to the pocket edge.

The Red Wiksten Tank was made using a floral print Rayon that I picked up about a year ago … this fabric has been waiting for just the right project and I think I nailed it!  This top is the lightest and breeziest of the lot and an absolute dream to wear.   (sorry it looks a little creased in the photos) I decided to make this tank sans-pocket, for no other reason than just to change it up a little – definitely happy with my choice. I also extended the back of this one a tad, it works well with the soft way in which this rayon falls.

It is hard to say which of the three Wiksten Tanks is my favourite but if I had to choose I think this one would be it! This is a vintage piece if fabric that I picked up from the op-shop a few years ago now … the price tag still attached said $1.00. I love love love this print, at first glance it looks like a bit of a mish-mash of muted tones but on closer inspection it is full of the rich earthy hues that are so popular at the moment.  I can’t even count how many times I have pulled this little piece of fabric from my stash in the hope of being inspired to create something fabulous with it … I must say I am not disappointed with the result of this one. The cute polka-dot binding adds an obvious contrast to the tropical print yet ties in nicely. This version does have a pocket if you look closely but it blends in so well that it is hardly noticeable.

Final verdict … I think there will be a few (dozen) more of these in my wardrobe before the year is out. My next projects with the Wiksten Tank pattern will include a silk version  and maybe even a dress.

Happy Sewing!

Ps Thanks sister-in-law for the use of the cute coat hanger that I found in your wardrobe while house-sitting 🙂

Same But Different

Since my jacket for Mia turned out so well I decided to try my hand at a version for my gorgeous twin nephews Austin & Lewis who turn one next week. Using the same modified pattern from last time I widened and lengthened the sleeves on this version so they could be cuffed up to show the contrast lining. I also added toggle buttons for a bit more ‘masculine’ look.

Made for Mia

I wanted to share my latest project with you … This is a little jacket that I adapted from a quite frankly ugly looking pattern into what I think is an absolutely gorgeous wrap style version.

I was pretty chuffed with my choice of fabrics and overall super happy with the results. A cute jacket for an even cuter little girl … Hope you enjoy it Mia x

Some Photos of the super cute Mia wearing her jacket! I must say I was extremely pleased to see her wearing it on the couple of times I ‘hung out’ with her on the weekend 🙂 Another bonus is that Mia’s ever so clever mum realised the jacket could be worn reversible … another button added to the inside & hey presto now she has 2 new jackets!

For those of you who are interested the pattern was loosely based on the two below. I added lining to mine, removed the zip and extended the fronts to give it the cross over effect. I also removed the elastic from the cuffs and just tapered the arms so it sis like a traditional sleeve.  You could use any basic hooded, raglan sleeve pattern as your base.

My new best friend …

Who would have thought that a computer program and I would become best friends. But alas I have found one that truly understands me. Some time ago I embarked on a project of organising my sewing patterns … I have approximately 400 so this was never going to be an easy task. How would I do it? What would be the best method of sorting, by style, by brand, by date, by number … and then no matter which way I grouped them together in drawers I would still have to rummage through them when I am having one of those ‘what shall I make‘ days.
So I had the brilliant idea of taking photos of all my patterns and creating a photo catalogue. That way when I wanted to paw through the patterns I could do so with my lap top from the comfort of a lounge chair. Ok so my brilliant idea did have some flaws. I would have to manually enter the information for all the patterns into the data base, just adding the numbers alone was a drag … and I wanted more! I wanted yardage, fabric type, sizing and notions at my fingertips … where would I find the time to enter all this information? And so I introduce you to my newest gal pal PATTERNFILE, and what a doozy she is!

This amazing new friend of mine downloads easily from the internet (for a small fee) and not unlike other great software such as that music thingy that automatically downloads the album information, cover art and the like, this does the same but with your sewing patterns! Yes you heard it right people all I have to do is enter the pattern number and brand and hey presto the pattern pictures and back envelope information are automatically loaded into your own private database of patterns. This nifty little friend of mine has saved me months worth of data entry!  You can also edit the pattern details to add your own styling notes, search tags. sizing and more. The real clincher for me however was when I read that the PatternFile people are in the process of adding vintage patterns to their auto fill database. Considering my pattern collection comprises of about 70% vintage patterns this was definitely the deal maker.

So this is what she looks like…

PatternFile combined with the numerical ordering of all my patterns in drawers has created the ultimate pattern database … Project Complete! … well almost, only another 350+ patterns to enter …

The funniest thing of all about this project is that it took me several nights on the lounge room floor numerically ordering my 400+ patterns into drawers much to the amusement or perhaps bemusement of my housemate (trust me she doesn’t use my name and the word ‘organised’ in the same sentence very often). Whilst reading the company background online I was more than charmed to find out that the story to how PatternFile came about went a little like this …  “The PatternFile project started when my roommate, Liz, was sitting in our living room organizing her collection of over a hundred patterns into pattern file boxes and listing each pattern on the outside of the box with a permanent marker.  She turned to me in frustration and said, “Can’t you just write me a program to search my patterns so I know what I own?” … now that’s what I call friendship!

Drape Drape 2: No.2 1 Pattern drape top

Finally here is the result of my first Drape Drape 2 project. I actually finished the dress/top about 2 weeks ago but just haven’t had a chance to edit the photos and post the update.

Absolutely love this lycra knit, it has been sitting in my stash for well over a year … maybe two, just waiting for the right project. Totally happy with the result even though the shiny texture did make it a little slippery and difficult to handle, and there was a wee bit of unpicking and re-sewing around the armholes. Worth the extra effort in the end!

I might experiment next time with a slightly longer version and may even add some more draping if the fabric is soft enough.  At the suggested length this is a great versatile pattern that can be worn as a dress or pulled up as a top over jeans.

The Japanese instructions were pretty easy to follow with a little help from google translate and a couple of other helpful bloggers. If you are looking for some translated Japanese sewing terms HERE are a few of the basic ones to help you out.