Tuesday, January 27, 2009


I have been sewing a bit since I have had my machine back but with mixed results.

I was not altogether happy that my brown linen
trousers were a bit short so I added cuffs to those (no photos as yet). I also tapered the legs at thigh level as they seemed not quite right there. They look much better now but as the weather has been so hot I have not worn them as yet.
Then woo-hoo! my buttonhole foot works great now so I finished the Mccalls
shorts. Well not so much luck with those. The pattern fits OK except when you roll up the cuff - then the cuff is tight and they look like bloomers! I was so annoyed I hacked them off and turned them into short shorts!

Not the style of shorts I was after!

I should have slept on it and then moved the side tabs down and made them into long shorts (above the knee) but frustration got the better of me and I just cut them off! The length of the cuff was not very flattering either - I think you need really slim legs to carry these shorts off (like the drawn pictures on the envelope of the pattern). The other aspect I was not happy with was that the waist sits very high even though it states it sits below the waist - well slightly but only ever so slightly! Can you see me with my bottom lip out - that's how I feel!
You can link to the review here if you wish to read it.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

No sewing yet... but planning much!

My sewing machine is still at the shop *sigh*, so no sewing here. However in addition to the McCall's 5633 - linen shorts I was making when the machine went away, I have also cut out McCalls 5464 View A (without pockets) - a jumper to take me through late Summer into Autumn...

and BWOF 08-2008-103 blouse in the brown poly satin bought from the remnant table at Gardams.
I was planning to use the multi-coloured silk for this, but decided to try it in this first. If it works really well I may use the silk to make another one.

The biggest frustration is I have the time at the moment as I don't need to work so much while I have a University student working during his vacation. I think I will have to call tomorrow and ask after my little machine... *sigh*.

Anyway I am getting plenty of work-out time at the gym ... *sigh*... haven't got bored enough yet to clean the house though! :)

Saturday, January 17, 2009

No sewing yet... but shopping (...and catching up with reviews...)

I haven't got my machine back yet, but at least I have been able to catch up with reviews. At the beginning of this month I made Vouge 8486. I don't look very happy in these photos but here it is... My review is here. I am not overly fond of this dress but will use it. It looks better belted and I did buy a new belt today that looks better than the belt it is photographed with (more shopping... *sigh*) I wore it today shopping and it was quite comfortable to wear. At least I can add one and a half yards sewn to the stash contest.

Caity & I got together today. After a Powerfit class at gym (go Caity!) we went out for an excellent brunch at the Oxygen Cafe and then some shopping at our favorite fabric heaven Gardams to get the following -

The top three pieces were on the remnant table - a gorgeous wool/silk (1.5 m) to make a skirt/trousers/something for winter, a brown silk (1m - perhaps a cami) and a poly satin (1m - a top?) that is to die for.

The second row a poly/cotton/elastane mix to make BWOF 10-2008-106 (skirt) and the next another silk to make BWOF 08-2008-103 (top - I hope). All so yummy and totally irresistible to me!

Then we decided more shopping was in order so we went to our local major shopping centre and hit the shops. I bought a great brown curved belt from Cue and then we hit the jackpot - BNT has a sale so I got a pile of prettys for a bargain. I spent $116 and got the equivalent full retail value of $265 - so if you want to see my undie bargains here they are (all but the white & black lace undies in the corner are Elle McPherson) -

And yet another parting shot... we bought a bed for our dog to encourage him to not sleep on the furniture. We have not had heaps of success yet to get him to use it and not the sofa but I did catch him sleeping in it of his own accord the other night - success! Let's hope it continues...

Friday, January 16, 2009

Not sewing yet....

My sewing machine is away being serviced and having the buttonhole adjusted, so I haven't been sewing. I do have my old Singer if I get desperate, but as we have been away for a few days I haven't needed to get it out as yet.

We went to the Gold Coast and stayed in Surfer's Paradise. It was wonderful to have a swim in the surf but it was very rough and not at all any good for body-surfing. We took our youngest son Mr D so that he could do some activity this holiday and boy - did he get activity - we couldn't drag him out of the water! I haven't been to the beach in years but was very surprised about the lack of beach etiquette now so wonder if I need to write a brochure for the tourists... however some of the locals were very rude too!

For those who don't know -
  1. Never wear your thongs (that is the footwear, not the barely there knickers!) on the sand (unless the sand is so hot you cannot walk on it) and then walk near others sitting on the sand. Not once but twice we were spitting out sand that had been flung in our faces by thong-wearers without any grace! (thongs is slang for footwear - if you don't know what I mean maybe haviannas?)
  2. When in the surf, do not stand directly behind (and closer to the shore) than me. When I turn around to body surf - I do not want to slam in to you...or worse as the surf was so rough, if I get knocked over or dumped by the waves, do not be cross if my foot lodges in your face, if you stand right behind me!
  3. When I leave my towel and belongings on the beach while swimming, do not dump your property 10 cm in front of mine, then bend over to get something out of your bag and put your nether regions in my face.
Grrr! Beach rage - I am surprised there are not more incidences of it. When the 'lady' stuck her a**e in my face I came very close!

Apart form all that the holiday was interesting - watching the people was really fun. Cavill Ave is a great place for a meal and people watching. Anyway, it is not a holiday to get away from it all but it was fun! Also ate too much and drank too much but that is part of the holidays to me...
While I was away I did get a chance to road-test one of my recent sewing projects Burda wof 07-2008-115B.

This photo was taken on the balcony of our hotel room on the 21st floor. We faced the back of the Coast and overlooked the Hinterland. It costs more to get a beach view and I find the beach views too glary (being an inland gal). The night time views were good as nearby was a fun park with a bouncing bungy and swinging around thingy that lit up at night. You could hear the screams of pleasure (or abject fear) from our room.

I absolutely love this skirt. I enjoyed making it and I loved wearing it. I could wear it out to dinner or put it on over my togs - lurve it!

Here is my review for those interested. The reviews has more photos of some of the detail of this skirt. I had to make a buttonhole to slip the tie through and as my buttonhole attachment was not working. I made a bound buttonhole using the method I used for the fake welt pockets but basting the welts together , not sewing them.

I was really pleased with the finish it gave the skirt. I plan to make another of these skirts but just need to find the right fabric.. oops, an excuse to visit Gardams heaven... or perhaps a Bali print from my favorite quilter's store... oh, the difficult quandries I face!? ....

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Now I know why I fear the buttonhole!

I have never liked buttonholes but I did used to make them on my old Singer. Now that I have a Bernina, which came with an automatic buttonhole foot, I have found I have never mastered them. However when I first got my Bernina all I did was quilting so I never really needed them.
Now that I am clothes sewing I decided it was time to master them. So I have chosen a shorts pattern (McCalls 5633) to make as we are going to the beach for a few days next week. This means I have this week-end to make them (I know there is nothing like the last minute!)
So this afternoon I have reached the stage I need to make a buttonhole so I prepared a practice piece of fabric, watched the DVD, read the instruction manual & thought that doesn't look so hard! However I have followed the instructions meticulously and this is the result every single time:
The buttonhole doesn't go right back to the start to make the second sidebar! So all this time I thought it was just a mysteriously difficult thing to do and guess what - it is easy! BUT my automatic buttonhole has a fault!


Now it is Saturday afternoon and our local Bernina dealer is shut until Monday! Therefore no new shorts for the beach this time! I am just hoping and praying that it is something they can fix quickly and I don't lose my machine for any length of time! I may even see if I can take it in on Monday morning before I go, so that if they do need to hold it at least it will be while I am away. Wish me luck, our local dealer is not known for their friendly, efficient service... let's hope they surprise me this time!

OK... parting shot (copycat that I am!) This is a photo of a waterlily in the pond in our front yard. We have had the waterlily plant for a few years but this is the first year it has flowered...

Saturday, January 3, 2009

2008 Sewing year in review part 2

The second half of the year was much more successful than the first half of the year.
The first photo collage is a bit of a mixed bag. I love the Jalie twist top but what was I thinking when I made the cougar top? The next one in the top row is BWOF 07-2008-118B which I quite liked and have worn around the house but the back neckline didn't really work for me. I have since read a review outlining how to fix this problem, but I don't think I could be bothered to make another one.
The bottom row shows another more successful Jalie twist top and then Burda wof 06-2008-109 (top) which I love to wear casually and shorts McCalls 5391 - too big!

Next is dresses ... all winners this time! The first is Burda wof 04-2008-116 - only worn twice but I love it each time I wear it. The green dress (McCalls 5039) is made from silk with a silk slip (a New Look pattern) which I have worn twice as well and love also. The brown cotton spot dress is McCalls 5576 and has been worn quite a few times.The second row is Vogue 6343 - a 1960's vintage pattern which I have worn heaps as a lovely casual summer cotton dress (it has been quite hot this year) and then my last outfit for 2008, Simplicity 3833 a reproduction 1960 pattern which I have worn once but love!

Last but not least is my entry to the Endless Combinations contest. All of these have been worn multiple times except the HP tie top. It wasn't a big favorite when I made it and I feel it is more suitable for the office. I haven't been at work much lately but I am sure I will wear it when I go back.

Overall, as this is the start of my return to clothes sewing I am quite happy. I have through the year learnt how to-

  • tissue fit & fit as you go (Palmer Pletsch) and am still working on improving this.
  • check patterns for size and ease before cutting out!
  • press and use pressing tools to give a more professional finish
  • better choose fabrics & patterns ( and I am sure this will remain a continual challenge)
  • how to make a faux welt pocket!
  • fit pants - however I am not sure how I will go without a PP teacher helping me!

Other than that this year I have lost weight and toned up so I feel a lot better in my clothes - that is why belts have been re-introduced to my wardrobe (geeze - even shoes fit better!)

In 2009 for sewing I plan to -

  • improve my fitting skills
  • learn to line a garment more confidently
  • do buttonholes (why do they scare me so much?)
  • in general make garments that require a greater level of difficulty
  • make more vintage patterns
  • enter some more contests on Pattern Review

From a personal point of view I hope to increase my volunteer work. First up I will start visiting the blood bank on a regular basis and then when I see how much time work will allow me, I may take up some other volunteer activity (meals on wheels or community care transport perhaps).

I hope 2009 is a great time for everyone and I look forward to seeing what other sewists are doing this year!

Friday, January 2, 2009

Last dress for 2008

Before our work Xmas lunch I was able to make this dress Simplicity 3833. I made it in Linen so it was nice and cool to wear in our summertime Christmas. I found it very comfortable to wear, particularly useful that it is not too fitted, after many returns to the buffet!

My review is here for those interested.