Friday, 30 December 2011

New Shoes!!!

I received my first pair of bespoke shoes today - they were a Christmas present. I designed them myself and they are hand made by Shoes of Prey.

Red fish skin and blue patent leather! I certainly wont see them walking down the street on someone else!

Bespoke shoes - designed by me - handmade by Shoes of Prey

Beautiful quality and wonderfully packed (includes a packet of heel grips and gel and foam inserts for your comfort.

It took a couple of goes to get the fit right - but Shoes of Prey happily stood by their guarantee and re-made the shoes for me. They are a pleasure to deal with.

Of course - this necessitates the making of blue and red clothes to match!! Luckily I ordered the material when the shoes were ordered so I won't have to break the fabric fast that I am on (purchased way too much during my fabric fever).

I had purchased blue linen, blue / red and white rib and a nice red wool blend crepe and lining in anticipation of the shoes arriving - I only have one blue pair of bengaline pants in my wardrobe so far so have to add to it. So why - I hear in the back of my head - did I buy shoes that don't match much in my wardrobe..? Much more sensible to order black shoes - or brown shoes...... BUT - if you are going to design them yourself - why design something you can buy at the local shoe store?
On the hoof (with the lounge cover described in "first steps" post in background)

Thursday, 29 December 2011

First blog member- yeah!

It was exciting to see my first blog member - welcome Sherril! It's great to see that people are reading my blog. I have only recently found the fun of blogging and reading other people's blogs to see what they are doing.

It is always nice to read comments and connect with people around the world. The first thing I do when I wake up of a morning is check in with the website to see what my fellow sewers have created whilst I've slept. I then check the blogs I follow and have a look to see if there are any updates. A great way to connect.

I have had to take a small break from sewing as my sister and her husband arrive for a visit tomorrow. Really looking forward to it but it means that I had to clear off the dinning table (also known as the cutting and sewing table) - pack away all of my tools and spend some time preparing for visitors. Although I am really looking forward to the visit - I am already feeling withdrawls and really wanting to sew and finish my first Lutterloh pattern. Oh well - I will still have time to do so after the visit and before I go back to work. For the next several days I will be enjoying the company of family. :-)

Tuesday, 27 December 2011

Lutterloh top - part II

I had some great responses to my query about drafting of my Lutterloh top from the members of Pattern Review website - and I thank them greatly.

I am going to have another go at it - however I still don't think it is going to come out like the pattern drawing.

I put some lines through the scaled drawing and they end up like I drafted it - diamond straight down one side and bottom line on an angle... This was without using my measurements but just straight lines on the drawing.

The 2 red lines are supposed to go through the side dots on the diamond. The left one does - the right one goes straight through the diamond middle. The green line is okay - it goes through the bottom diamond dot. The pink one however is supposed to go through the dot on the cuff

I then drew the 2 lines in question using the dots to go through and not the measurement lines

Seems that it doesn't line up - I would have assumed that the line for the dot in the right middle of the triangle should be an obtuse angle and on the right side of the paper and not an accute angle - so I will draft it once more and then cut and sew and see how it goes. I will trust the lines and not the picture.

Fingers crossed. I will update as I go.

Monday, 26 December 2011

Lutterloh top - Supplement 278 Aug 2010 (I think) Number 45

While I am waiting to get to the shops to purchase a hook and eye for my Butterick skirt I thought I would try Lutterloh... I picked a knit top that I am going to try in Chateau knit in honey from to go with my Butternick skirt, in preparation for a lovely white rib knit with red and blue splashes that I purchased from

I gathered my supplies and tore off a strip of paper (I'm lucky - one of my business clients is a printing company and they give me the end of their rolls - apparently they go though about 1000 rolls a week!!!!!). I have copied the pattern so that I don't have to ruin the page and I also made an enlargement for these old eyes to see the numbers better (not to actually use of course - but to refer to).


I then started on the design of my pattern. I drafted the pattern according to the tip from tucci4me on Pattern Review website (thanks Tucci4me!) and used my upper bust measurement for dots until halfway down the armhole and then I used my full bust for all of the rest of the dots - so we will see how this goes. I didn't add the FBA as well as this is a knit pattern and therefore I think it should be okay.

Commence Drafting

It took about 20mins for me to almost finish the first part of the 3 piece pattern

Going okay

And then I ran into trouble. One side of the where the pattern separates did not seem to match the scaled drawing - However it even looks to me like the pattern itself may be wrong????? I mean - I am new to sewing so what do I know - But it looks like the lines that need to be followed will actually give the results I got...... Am I supposed to get these results and not a diamond shape with a straight line underneath like the pattern??

Close up of pattern

This is what mine looks like

There is no *diamond* shape with the right side being straight

And the dot that comes off the diamond is not straight down - the light line is where the dot goes and the darker line is as in pattern

If any of you experienced Lutterloh drafters out there have this pattern can you run your eye (and maybe tapemeasure) over this and let me if where I went wrong??? This is my first Lutterloh and I would hate to not be able to do this........

Can someone help??
Thanks in advance and hope    :-)

Saturday, 24 December 2011

Butterick 4686

I have started Butterick 4686. I set myself a challenge (even though it said easy) as it only goes up to size 20 so I had to add a LOT of inches to the pattern. I really liked the pattern though and thought it worth the trouble. I like the yoke and the A line.

12:00 noon: I am taking a break now as I had to sit here unpicking an error.... I have a love / hate relationship with the unpicker.

I sewed the top of the yoke to the top of the skirt. The cut line seemed to follow well so I pinned it and sewed it. Then I remembered that I the yoke was self facing and therefore I had cut more and should have sewn the yokes together before stitching. (I cut it a couple of weeks ago and forgot). When I picked up the other cut pieces I had a "ah ha" moment and realised I had sewn the wrong ends together - hence the unpicker! I wondered why the length was different! I had taken the time to gather the bottom of the skirt so it fitted into the yoke - only to realise the fit was correct - it was just that I was sewing the wrong ends together....  @##$#@!

12:30pm and another break and round with the unpicker!! This time I sewed on the wrong side of the fabric! Seeing as the yoke is self faced - when I thought I had put the right sides of the fabric together to sew - I actually had sewed the wrong sides together - DOH!

And I am using an overlocker (serger) so my fabric is getting smaller as I cut away seam allowance!

Lucky I am doing a trial before using the actual fabric I want the skirt in.

Trial Fabric is a quilting cotton from

Real skirt fabric will be another quilting cotton - a lovely Posy border print by Michael Miller from (I surely must be a frequent shopper by now).

Now the big problem is getting the zipper in. I have decided for an invisible zipper. Never done one before. Have the invisible zipper foot for my Janome (she is one well accessorised lady) - but apparently put it on the wrong way and broke a needle. Teach me to check where the hole for the needle is - DOH and double DOH. Have left it in disgust and watched a bit of telly while I calm down... (Andrew Denton interviewing Nigella Lawson). Back to it now.

Who knew an easy skirt could be so difficult!

4:48pm - lots of struggle with the zipper - finally in and now I know how it all works it will be easier next time. Skirt is now all sewn up and just needs hook and eye and hem...... maybe tomorrow... I am over it now and need to go and purchase the hook and eye.

Friday, 23 December 2011

My first finished garment

This is my first finished garment

This is McCalls - 5896 Plus Size

I made version C (depicted in main photo) in a quilting cotton from Spotlight. This is my version.

As this was the first time I had finished a garment and am inexperienced, I cut the largest size according to my full bust measurement.and therefore had a huge gaping neck. The rest looked and fitted okay so I put darts in at the neckline to close it a bit. Not a great success so it will end up being a house top.

Picture of neck (I didn't take one before I put the darts in - it was way too gaping! Now it is uneven and puckering..... but ..... hey - it is a first attempt.

I lowered the bust line - mine is a bit lower than normal but apart from that I made no other adjustments. Next time I will cut it in a smaller size and do a FBA.

When I first cut this I had no idea what an FBA was. I saw  it mentioned along with cutting the pattern according to the upper bust not full bust on reviews at This website and the reviewers who take the time to put up their reviews have taught me so much already.

I will make this again with hopefully better results next time!

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

And yet more fabric!

I can't help it - I have purchased even more fabric. Maybe I should learn to sew properly first but I just can't help myself. As soon as an order gets delivered I am back on the Internet ordering more. So far so good - only a couple of bundles that didn't look like it did on the Internet. One was a fabric that looked like a great chocolate brown rib knit with a bit of sparkle in the picture actually turned out to be bright gold foil - that will teach me to read the description better.

What it looked like on the Internet - looks like a metalic sweater knit in chocolate with gold thread

Picture of actual fabric - it is actually even more gold and shiny than the picture shows -
which makes me understand the difficulty of trying to get an accurate depiction

The other big disappointment was a slinky fabric purchased from Denver Fabric website (which I believe is the same as

I absolutely fell in love with it and envisaged a cross over dress... however it looked like the picture but was covered in bright blue glitter - which didn't show in the photo and drops everywhere - Blue glitter is NOT me - neither is gold foil - so I am still thinking of what to do with both of these.

Mostly though - the fabric I have purchased have looked like the picture - or even better!

I have to promise myself not to purchase any more fabric until I have at least 5 garments finished (then I might reward myself).

It's funny - I think I am even more addicted to buying the fabric than I am to sewing it. Being a beginner, I worry that I will ruin the beautiful fabric when I cut and sew it. Oh well - you have to break the eggs to make an omelette!

Here is some of the fabric I have purchased - I don't have pictures for all as I actually walked into a shop a couple of times too!

Sunday, 18 December 2011

Bad News!

I went in to Spotlight today to pick up some zippers and found out that my sewing teacher will not be teaching in the new year ...... sooooooo ..... that leaves me back to my own devices! With lots of lovely fabric to ruin I will have to try hard to find another teacher.

Saturday, 17 December 2011

First Steps

I purchased my first ever sewing machine about 2 years ago and was all enthusiastic about learning to sew and making a vast array of garments, accessories and home decor items. I purchased about 10 metres of apparel fabric and enough upholstery fabric to cover our lounge (2 x 2.5 seaters, 1 armchair and a large footstool).

At the time I searched high and low for sewing teachers in my area to no avail (I didn't even do sewing at school)---- so I decided to go it alone, and my first project was covering my whole lounge suite... I kid you not .. no pattern .... no instructions.... no teacher .... just me, my new Janome DC3050, miles of fabric and tonnes of frustration!!!!. Let me tell you, it was not a good experience and the finished product ... well, it does the job but don't look too closely - uneven hems - parts not hemmed - half of the zippers are inside out (you have to put your fingers inside the cover to slide the zipper down), missed seam and ill fitting sides. The main thing I wanted was to protect the shiny new light fabric against wear and cat hair.

Anyway, after the week of sewing I gave up. I managed to make the covers and one unfinished dress. The rest of apparel fabric was put promptly into a storage container, the Janome packed away in its case in the pantry and sewing was forgotten.

Until now....

So what made me bring the Janome out of early retirement - provide her with a sister Elna Overlocker (serger) - purchase heaps more material and a mountain of patterns? (I do tend to get obsessed) .. Well it was a simple purchase of a top.

Picture from TVSN

I am a large lady. I am almost too large for the plus size shops here in Australia and the selection of clothing locally is not that great. I purchased a top from TVSN (Television Shopping Network - see picture from TVSN above). It looked great on the telly but when I received it I was so disappointed by the quality of the material for the price I paid (AUS$159). It was a simple tunic style with not one button or zipper in sight. I thought "I can make this" so I sent it back, got my refund, and started purchasing fabric.... and more fabric..... and more fabric... and patterns ... and more patterns .... and the Lutterloh System of Pattern Making (looks interesting) .... downloaded Patternmaker ..... joined PatternReview (fantastic font of information and like minded souls), found a sewing teacher at Spotlight and now I am on the road to sewing my own clothes. Hopefully with more success than before. My current foray into sewing has yielded one unfinished top (armholes way too big), one finished and then trashed dress - way way way too big (looked like a tent) and one top that isn't too bad IMHO... however the neckline was too big and I ruined it by putting in darts. However I am learning and I am still excited about the journey.