Sunday 7 June 2015


Just a quick post as an update. I haven't been sewing and my sewjo is lying around somewhere like a deflated beach ball waiting for inspiration and energy to blow it back up.

I had forgotten how exhausting it is to work full time. The things we do to be able to afford more fabric!  (I know I know - 1st world problem!) I am enjoying my new job even though it is a long day.

I used to start my leisurely life reading blogs over breakfast. Now I put on my makeup - toast in one hand, BB Cream, primer and spatula in the other. It is an hour drive each way so I leave home at 7:30 in the morning and get back home after 6 at night. Weekends I spend cleaning and cooking meals to warm up for weeknights. So no time or energy for sewing.

I hope that I will acclimatise soon and at least get one day of my weekend to sew. I find I am too tired to turn on the laptop when I get home so I have been catching up on blog reading early Sunday mornings - so if I normally comment on your posts and haven't lately it could just be I haven't caught up with your blog yet, I do find that I have over 200 posts to read though.

My work is rewarding and it is a wonderful place to work so all is good, I am especially appreciating that I am getting paid on a regular basis! I imagine that once I get used to the long days (for me anyway) I will get my sewjo back.

I just wanted to touch base and let you know you won't be hearing from me quite as much but I am still here and watching with great interest what my sewing sisters are whipping up.

Here is a picture of my workplace and a group of students waiting to get stuck into lunch (we put on lunch every Wednesday) how cool is that!

Thursday 14 May 2015

Quick update and small tip

I start my new job on Wednesday but dropped in yesterday to do some paperwork and to have lunch with everyone. The company puts on a lunch every Wednesday for staff and students. Yesterday we had BBQ chicken and chips - delicious.

Anyhow, I got the skinny on the uniform and my assumptions were correct. It is just a blouse that comes in different formations. My new colleague said "and I make up the rest". I am still assuming there will be no prints and must stick to blues, blacks and browns from what I have seen, but at least it will give me some things to sew.

Now my dilemma is what to sew. I need to re-invent myself as a sewist. Otherwise I will go crazy sewing navy StyleArc Linda pants and StyleArc Abby cardigans. Lindas and Abbys are what I know and what I am comfortable with.

I am not a weekend wear sewist. I tend to wear trackie dacks and hoodies around the house in winter and house dresses in summer. Both I have plenty of. I don't go out much, mainly to sewing events.... I know I am a bit of a hermit. I even grocery shop online. I have as much weekend clothes as I want and I know some people love sewing casual but that is not me. I like to sew work wear because that is where I am seen the most. And who doesn't like to show off their newly sewn clothes.

So - a good deal of thinking will be needed. I have plenty of slacks so it is really skirts I need to think about. There is a great selection of different skirt patterns available - however - skirts don't seem to suit me much. I need to find "the magic formula" like I did with my TNT dress. Something that will look okay with the company blouse.

And........ I may even have to try my hand at a jacket. I have had many false starts with jackets. I really do want to make one but I am somewhat scared of the jacket. I will have to try to overcome my fear and sew one up. I have fabric and patterns but not the backbone!

And now on to my tip. A non sewing one I must admit. But sort of related.

I am not an ironer. I do admit to enjoying pressing as I sew but not ironing after the item is worn and washed. So when I wash I hang all of my clothes on coat hangers and then hang them on the clothesline. When dry I just take them off the line and hang straight in the wardrobe. The one thing I don't like is the poke bits on the shoulders from the coat hangers - especially in the heavy waterfall cardis.

So this is my tip. Make your own padded hangers to protect the shoulders of your knits.

Now when you first buy the insulation it will stink of rubber but that will go if you leave it out for a week or so.

I then use the clothesline pegs purchased from Maid of Shade in Australia to hang them on the line. I leave these pegs on the line ready for the next load.

Hope this tip helps you. Do you have any tips to share?

Monday 11 May 2015

Serengeti Sabertooth Save and changes of plans.

Well I managed a save on the Sabertooth Swap fabric that the lovely Barbara Jane gave me as part of the Sabretooth Swap that Anne from Pretty Grievances hosted. You might remember my dismal neckline. As I mentioned in my last post I was able to purchase the last metre from Addicted to Fabric and then recut the front.

I love this fabric. The feel of it is fabulous.. So good that I asked ATF to send me some swatches of similar knits they had available - but alas - none of it was like this fabric.

Check out what Barbara Jane did with the Sabertooth swap fabric I gave her. Love it. I purchased some of the same fabric for myself and will maybe make a dress. Maybe - my clothing plans have changed recently as I will explain.

I entered the Artisan Square SWAP and also the Pattern Review Wardrobe contest. I had planned and was sewing my way through a new work wardrobe.

My self employed work has wound down quite significantly and I trained my last group on Tuesday 21st April. I have only had about 4 days work a month this year due to huge changes and cuts in Government funding.

So - I knew I had to look for a JOB.... Yes - actually working for someone else - gulp - and 5 days per week - gulp gulp. And hence I have been sewing my way through (and also purchasing some RTW) work gear.  I had a navy wardrobe planned and commenced.....

I have also been motivated and inspired by the book "Looking Good Every Day" that the very generous Sarah Liz of Sarah Liz Sew Style gifted me. It is a wonderful book  and I am really enjoying reading it.

It has a lot on wardrobe making and has really inspired me. The book features the gorgeous Cenetta in a feature on colour analysis. It also has some great styling advice. My fav part though is the wardrobe article.

Thanks Sarah Liz.

You can see my planned SWAP wardrobe here.

I had planned to sew the dresses from my SWAP at the weekend sewing retreat at Stanwell Tops organised by the phenomenal (you try organising a weekend for 30 demanding women) Sharon at Petite and Sewing. It has become an annual event (and here's hoping it continues to be) and is such a hoot.

Anyhow - like the best laid plans of mice and men - my plans went hugely awry.

I got a job.... yes my job search was fast and brief. Trained my last group on Tuesday 21st and received a phone call on Wednesday 22nd from a contact I have that owes a recruitment agency. After a brief discussion she put me forward for an interview and I was successful. And she rang me! Go figure - the universe surely works in a strange and wonderful way. After much toing and froing from the company as to where I will be based, I have landed in their campus in Merrylands.

BUT.... and it is a big but (pardon the pun)..... the job entails wearing a UNIFORM!!!!! And not a very pleasant one at that. I haven't worn a uniform since the not so very chic blue check of high school...  So.... all of my newly sewn and purchased items may now be redundant. As are my wardrobe plans. I haven't started the job yet so don't have the low down on what exactly the uniform consists of eg.. blouse only or the whole shebang. If it is the blouse only then I can utilise my colour appropriate sewn / purchased pants and skirts but all of my lovely dresses will be gathering dust (I guess my bright orange or red StyleArc Barbs are out - as is any animal print sob sob). From what I saw during my interview and the subsequent presentation I had to give, the uniform is blue so the navy slacks and skirt from my SWAP will fit in if I can wear my own bottoms...

So this also made all of the sewing plans for my weekend away no longer valid so I had to do some quick thinking as to what I could cut and take with me to Stanwell Tops to sew. I ended up taking some projects that I wasn't completely happy with or familiar with so consequently I didn't finish one  item. I still had a fabulously fun time.

1720's sewing circle

1952 sewing circle

2015 sewing circle

The morning after the sewing circle - where is everyone??? Must have been all that .... sewing ...... that exhausted all.

There was a lot of productive sewing at other times.

My area - seated next to Kristy from Lower Your Pressure Foot who is busy cutting out (and made some great items including a stunning skirt).

The naughty corner.

Anyway - wish me luck with my new job.

Saturday 7 March 2015

Butterick 5863 -The reverse Toile - aka - what not to do.

The first cut is the deepest

Before I get into my finished items I want to say I was wowed by the response to my last post.
An amazing 138 people voted on my haircut.... I don't even know 138 people. I apologise to anyone who had a massive time suck playing with hairstyles on after reading my post (along with pinterest, facebook, blogger, twitter etc it is a wonder the world still rotates and things still get done.)

So - did I get my haircut and who am I sporting? Yes the cut has happened......

I really really really wanted Lisa. I have never had my hair in a style like that and haven't had a fringe since I was a teenager...... only a few short years ago....... My hairdresser recommended against it. She said my hair is too curly for that short a cut at the front and it would take maintenance to kept it looking good. That unless I used product and straightened it each wash it would go woolley. I didn't want to risk it as I had never been to this hairdresser before, she is relatively cheap and I have never seen customers in her salon... Hmm as Alison said to me - not very good signs.....

I ended up with a kind of frankencut - a mix of Sarah on the top and Lisa on the bottom,,,, Kind of.

Before and after

I actually really like my cut and once I wash it I will know if I will keep it. Good on the hairdresser. She turned out to be a find I think.

Back to sewing

When my Pretty Grievances Sabertooth Swap partner Barbara Jane sent me this beautiful beefy knit I was drawn to Butterick 5863. I thought it plain enough to let the fabric speak for itself but also have an interesting neckline.

Now - me being me, I decided to "adjust" the one thing that drew it to me - the neckline. I always find necklines too high and narrow for my big neck so I always make them lower and wider...........

Hmm - did you happen to notice how low and wide the neckline is on the model?

This is what it turned out like..... (and haircut after 2 days)

Not bad for a street walker but not exactly the look I was going for. Luckily Addicted to Fabric (where Barbara Jane purchased the fabric) had 1 lonely metre left and waiting just for me - talk about luck! After exchange of emails and phone calls that lonely remnant has a home and is waiting to be a fixed Butterick 5863. I am so glad as I love this top and the fabric is wonderful and the colours really look good on me if I might say so myself. StyleArc had a great khaki bengaline that would match beautifully but it sold out before I could get my grubby mits on it... *sigh* ..... I am hoping for more stock soon.

I did modify the top in other ways too. I made the sleeves longer and added length to the body as well.

I am modelling it with a pair of modified Linda pants in an absolutely gorgeous navy hybrid crepe from Emma One Sock. I LOVE this fabric. I have it in a multitude of colours and it will play a big part in my Artisan Square SWAP. It is not cheap, especially when you factor shipping to Australia into the price, but well worth the cost IMO. It feels divine, hangs beautifully and has my favourite thing in the material world - stretch.

Navy is not what I would normally pair with this top but I was being frugal with my modelling as my visiting sister was taking pics for me. I say these are modified Lindas as I gave them a little flare at the bottom. I like the way they turned out.

Anyhow, after the Gulf of Mexico neckline (or should I call it the Great Australian Bight), I thought I had better do a toile - after the horse has bolted so to speak. I used fabric that I purchased on sale and very cheap from the Remnant Warehouse. It was about half the price it is now when I purchased 5 metres of it.

Being photobombed by Elle

 Back of top and pants - haircut has held up well for 2 days.

Next step will be to add maybe another cm to the neckline and then to remake the Sabretooth top.

I am looking forward to finishing it and adding it to my wardrobe and also seeing how Barbara Jane transformed the fabric I sent her.

Happy sewing.

Sunday 22 February 2015

A virtual haircut

First I would like to say thank you for all the wonderful advice on the RTW top in my last post. Can you believe I couldn't find any hand sewing needles so had to buy some! Now I have my new needles I will be able to make the adjustments.

On a different matter, I am desperate to have a hair cut. I haven't had my hair done since the PR tea party back in November 2013!.

Anyway, I was trying to decide on hair styles and came across this great site where you can try on celebrity hairstyles.

It is

So what do I do? Leave my hair long and just have it styled or cut it a bit shorter?

I have been sewing too..... But completely stuffed up my sabertooth swap top. Barbara Jane - if you are out there - where did you get the fabric from? I want to see if I can get some more. I love that fabric and it looks spectacular made up but the neckline is way too big.

Anyway, thought I would share my results of the hairdos with you all.

Here I am as my untarnished self.

Now with a bit of "virtual pretend" make up.

Now as a red haired Jane Fonda

As Sarah Paulson

As Eva Longoria

As Joy Behar

As Cynthia Nixon

As Lisa Rima

You can even add sunglasses to see which frame suits your face.

Interested to see what you think. Vote below.

(if you are reading this in a reader you may have to click on to the blog itself to vote as I made an error originally)

Which hair cut free polls

Tuesday 27 January 2015

My Jalie Skirt. Plus advice required - alterations on RTW top.

First a big huge thanks for all of the lovely comments on my Jungle January dress. Most appreciated.

Now my second post in as many days - hope you don't get sick of me.

As mentioned in my last post, I made a Jalie 8 gore skirt in a beautiful Hybrid Crepe from EmmaOneSock. This fabric is really gorgeous with stretch  :-)  :-)  :-) and 2 sides - one matt and darker and one a little shiney. I chose the matt side of course - shine being the enemy of the bulge. (I just read this back LOL - of course the fabric has 2 sides - DOH!)

I have made this skirt before but this time I actually put all 8 gores in LOL.. last time I carefully measured and when I altered the pattern to fit me I was surprised at how tight it turned out when made up (check out the pic of the back) - only to find the 8th gore months later under a pile of fabric on my sewing table (told you before math is not my strong suit - although one would think I could count to eight). I have since undone one seam and the top and hem and inserted the 8th gore and it fits much better now...... When making this version I counted each gore as it went in if only to prove I can count to eight!!!!

Anyway - I really like this skirt and can wear this style of skirt a lot easier than a pencil shape which tends to tent over my tum.

This post is not only to show off my new skirt but to seek advice on the top. It is a RTW top (yes shame on me - I broke my RTW shun pledge - in a HUGE way - in the TVSN sales in December). Don't you just love television shopping - although what looks great on size 8 model doesn't necessarily translate to looking great on size BeaJay.

It really doesn't look good on someone so top heavy. Looks like a toffee apple.

First - I do like a peek a boo shoulder but the whole arm is way too much sausage on show so I shall put a small tack half way down the arm to hold it more together... now .... about the "fluff".

Should I take in the sides and sleeves a bit?
Take away the elastic?
Or both?
Or is it a lost cause?

I do so love the fabric and it fits right in with my planned navy work wardrobe.

Knock knock - Mrs Mole - are you there?? Any advice from you or any other of my talented sewing friends out there would be greatly appreciated.


Thanking you in advance.

Monday 26 January 2015

Jungle January and the Sabertooth Swap.

The drought has broken.

It really took some doing to get my sewjo mojo a flowing. After so long with problems with my knee and our cold winter I lost the momentum with sewing. I did quite a bit of cutting and just a little sewing but really couldn't get my act together.

It took a great day at Tessutis with my sewing buddies (and Jungle January) to re-ignite my mojo. I took 3 items already cut out and ready to sew. At Tessutis I did the sewing of the seams on all 3, so all I had to do was the finishing - binding / hemming etc. The items made up so quickly and it really made me want to sew again.

In a beautiful navy hybrid crepe from EmmaOneSock I cut a Jalie 8 gore skirt and a pair of StyleArc Linda Pants. These are part of my Artisan's Square SWAP. These will be photographed when I finish some matching tops.

In a lovely fabric from Darn Cheap Fabrics I had a cut out dress from McCalls 5890. This is fabric I first saw on the lovely and talented Thornberry and HAD. TO. HAVE! With its fun scales it fits right into the Jungle. If you like anything animal head over to Pretty Grievances and check out the cat walk before the cruise ends. Yes - it's Jungle January.

It is quite a heavy ponte so will be put in the safari suitcase and pulled out in winter.

Of course I will wear it with a jacket or cardigan like below - but I am thinking more of the Orange StyleArc Fiona I have planned. There are touches of orange in the fabric but maybe full on Orange will be too much. I will have to look when I get the Fiona sewn.

Overall I am happy with the dress.

Oh - and btw - look at what Santa brought me.

This is so much better than the little cutting mats that I used before. Longer than my dining table. No more shuffling little boards around. It was purchased here and is 1.8m x 0.9m (or 71" X 36" for those not in cms). I was able to pick it up at Yagoona so even saved on the shipping.

On the cutting table....

I have some gorgeous fabric from The Remnant Warehouse. It is a Spirograph bengaline. It is more of a wedgwood colour than the aqua in the picture and quite beefy. The feel is lovely and it is a reversible jacquard - although I am only going to use one side (Can't decide which one though). I did purchase some of the red (which is less orange than in the pic on their website) for a dress and may use both sides of that one.

Although this is a departure from my A.S. SWAP, I can't help it - the fabric is crying out to be a pair of summer capris.

Also on the table is a lacy (from the remnants warehouse) little jardi. Short sleeved for summer. You can see the fabric in the pic of the cutting board but if you want a closer look you can find it here.

The lovely Anne at Pretty Grievances also gave me my Sabertooth SWAP partner. This is where we swap animal print fabric with a partner who then makes an item with it.

It was really exciting to receive fabric from Barbara at Barbara Jane Made. (And great to find another Aussie sewist). Barbara gifted me this lovely knit (and 2 spools of matching cotton - oh yeah!) and now I am deciding on what to make of it. It is thick without being too hot like ponte and has a nice recovery.

These are my picks. I can either make a top or use it for panels in a dress. I am leaning towards the top in the lower left corner.

Wish me luck.

Now before I go I want to share a tip I read on Sewing on the Edge. This tip is sure to CHANGE MY LIFE!!!!!! At the moment I and sitting in the loungeroom having a rest after the mammoth task of ironing steam a seam on the neckline and armholes of a dress (believe me - it is a mammoth task - especially in today's heat). Using Barbara's tip I shouldn't have to do that anymore. If you are one of the few who don't follow her or if you missed the post -  check it out.

P.S. I wrote this yesterday but hadn't taken the pics. The temperature has dropped 18 degrees celsius today (that is over 64 degrees fahrenheit) and it is actually cool - hallelujah.

Happy Australia Day to my fellow Aussies

Have a good sewing day.