Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Last makes of 2013 and final tally!

So this will be the last post of 2013. I am not going to enter into the hit/misses of the year as I was so distracted by uni and court cases nothing seemed to be the right size. I am promising myself a course in fitting and I hope it comes off early in 2014, but first I need to win lotto or get a job to pay for it!

I seem to have made 324,068,762 pairs of shorts for my son this year - mostly for school, and some only 2 weeks before the school year ended as they simply did not fit even in a 'made do' kind of way (bottle green, YUK). Last week I bought him a pair of board shorts from Kmart as even in home wear, nothing (really nothing - I made him wear the tight shorts to the shops) fit him. I had just bought him some black/grey camo print drill from East Coast Fabrics a few weeks ago ($6 per metre-I got 1.5m and made 2 pairs of shorts and have enough for half a pair) and a Burda board shorts pattern. I made him a pair in some nylon striped fabric (sorry no pic here) and they fit perfectly so I made the camo ones on Monday. I omitted the board short details (velco fly, tabs and fly insert thing), I also channelled my inner Urban Don and made the pockets in the shapes from the scraps. I topstitched in triple stitch mostly and some in normal and I used orange and Alex chose lime green for the other pair.

Front - used the selvage on the pocket edge

This pocket is great for his nerf gun bullets

Close up of pocket - the Star Wars dude is from some patched my friend brought for him in Germany last year.

They fit him perfectly! I love the Burda pattern. It has a curved and shaped back piece that fits the little booty properly. In the first photo you can just see that the back sits higher than the front. In real life they sit about 1.5cm higher but this shaping and the great crotch curve fit make these such nice shorts. All the shorts in the shops have a crotch curve that sits at the knees nearly and I despair when I see them and then can't bear to pay even $4 for some. These shorts took longer than the normal time due to triple stitch topstitching and pocket and tab details but they are really nice looking and importantly Alex loves them. So do I.

I'd like to say that's it for now but I have to add that today I went back to East Coast Fabrics and bought $84 worth of fabric (I DON'T NEED FABRIC!!) but in my own defence it is rayon (my favourite fabric) of nice colours and prints and I plan to make some summer dresses now with them. That $84 bought me 3 metres of a hot pink stretch cotton (I think) suiting fabric which is gorgeous and 4 x 2mt of print rayon plus 1 x 2.5mt of print too. I'll keep that for the new year. 

Last year at this time I was just finishing off my red sparkly dress for a new year function my sister (in black) and my girlfriend (in the middle)were going to. I'd like to update and say that we met these fellows on the night and my girlfriend and beautiful (inside and out) man in blue have been dating. 

I'm not adding to the hits and misses for 2013 but in total I made 17 items - not including shorts of either style, for my son. I made 2 skirts, 6 tops and 5 dresses and two pairs of pj's. I still have some UFO's. I also finished my degree (with distinction,no less), finished painting the inside of my house, finished my court case, covered my office chair, made 2 hats (Adventure time and Urban Don flat cap). All in all, a productive year for me!

Here's to a great 2014 for us all.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Silk flowers, finally.

This is Burda 4/2012 110A. The fabric is silk that someone put on the 'take' table at one (of only 2)Guild meetings I managed to go to. I loved it immediately. It is crisp and swishy and feels lovely on. Those of you who are a bit observant will note that this is a dress - but that Burda 4/2012 110A is not. It is a pants suit. This was a pants suit when I made it 12 months ago. I made it just in time to go to a friend's 40th birthday celebration in the park on a beautiful sunny Brisbane summer afternoon - sounds perfect, right? It was until my son said "Mum, you look like a clown!" I took it off and put something else on. 

The problem/s were:

Bodice cut one or two sizes too big,
Pants with pockets and blowsy top was unflattering (clown like)
and the pockets it had (no more) added bulk to this.

During the year, I took the bodice princess seams in about 6 cm and removed the pants from the bodice and cut off the pockets. Because they were designed as harem pants (which I did not do to the pants) there was lots of fabric and I cut each pant leg into gores and made a skirt. That's where I left it end of last summer. I finished it off today. I still think the bodice is too big but I think it will be an easy dress to throw on and wear. 

I took the middle photo first - forgot my hair was awol, but did remember a necklace. I wore it with my black belt. I also was lazy and just slipped my bra straps inside the bodice but for the 2nd lot of photos I put some lipstick on, tidied my hair and put my gold chain link belt on, and a proper strapless bra. Makes a bit of a difference.

Earlier today I made another thing from a Burda magazine for my girlfriend (Hostess, and husband - Captain)who live and work on a luxury private boat. They cater for their boss and his guests and family and also run charters. This is for the next post when I can get her to model it hopefully - they are in Brisbane visiting family and friends for Christmas and I shall see her on Boxing Day (can't wait). 

I'd like to take this opportunity to say thanks to everyone who follows my blog (I can't believe I have followers!) and to everyone who reads my blog and those who take the time to make comments also. I know I am not a prolific sewer at the moment and I don't offer a lot in advice or education but I enjoy to sew and I am enormously grateful to the bloggers who do. 

Merry Christmas to all. I wish you and your families a beautiful, fun, sunny (or white depending on where you are!)and importantly, safe festive season. 

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Urban Don Flat Cap

Here is my Dad wearing his new Urban Don flat cap that I made for his 80th birthday. (If you don't know Urban Don go have a look as he makes such interesting clothing, hats and jewellery. The photography  on his website is really amazing also.) No one even picked that I made it - not until I blew my own trumpet and told them! Dad loves it and even though he knows it isn't polite to wear a hat at the table, he wouldn't take it off! I guess that's a prerogative it you reach 80! 

I forgot to take photos when I finished it up yesterday - doh so unfortunately I don't have any showing the inside - there's another blog post in that when I get some photos in the next few days.

I will say it was VERY easy to put it together - I lined mine also and it fits him perfectly. He's very happy with it and I'm happy he's happy. If you haven't made a cap before I highly recommend Urban Don's patterns. Again big thanks to Urban Don.

Friday, November 22, 2013

On hold - Urban Don Cap Done!

The strawberry dress is hold for a few days. It's my Dad's 80th birthday today and we are going out for a family lunch on Sunday. My Dad has always worn hats and caps and when Urban Don released a cap pattern a few days ago, I knew I had my gift. (Also one of my cousin's child is coming to Brisbane for a working holiday on Sunday morning also so I'll be busy with him for a little bit). 

Edit: The cap is done but I will post when I get a photo of my Dad wearing it tomorrow. It looks great!

The cap pattern is so easy, but I did mange to sew the cap pieces together incorrectly and only worked it out after I had sewn the lining together and had the cap and the lining topstitched (doh!). I just thought it was going to magically become a cap but unpicked it last night. I have most of it together but need some Petersham for the inside band. I bought some 1" bias tape but I think I'll get the Petersham tomorrow in my running around.

The fabric is a stretch suiting - not sure of the composition. It was a remnant from years ago at the designer fabric sale I go to. I had a skirt cut out from it and thought I wouldn't sew the skirt up - it was cut out 2 years ago?? I checked in one of my bins of fabric and found a piece so I could still make the skirt although I don't wear brown so I don't know what I was thinking. The lighter colour you see isn't actually white but a pale blue but the other colour is pretty spot on. I have the peak made there you see, and the lining which is just pinned together. The lining is some brown cotton which is quite heavy (maybe quilting weight) that a friend's mother gave me. As I said, I don't wear brown but it's great for this and as the suiting is quite light, it could be a summer cap as well as a winter in Brisbane cap. Honestly I have not made a hat before, but I reckon that you could knock this over in an hour.  Top Cap! Oh Urban Don also has put combat cap pattern up on his blog too - both FREE I might add. Thanks Urban Don!

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Strawberry dress - help needed

I'm making Simplicity 8372. Instead of a shirt though, I'm making it into a shirt dress. I took the skirt pattern and put it on the top section and then cut it out. Made a boo boo though as I have cut the front skirt about 2 cm shorter. I don't need it shorter but will piece a big band on the bottom to make it longer and only you and I will know it was a mistake!

Then I straightened it at the waist area to get a smooth edge. I decided that just cutting it longer wouldn't accommodate my hips so I made it a little A line. This is more stash fabric. This is a left over from when I was making kindergarten sheets. It was bought at Spotlight about 4 years ago and it's just a cotton. 

 I used Sherry's turn of cloth tutorial for the collar. It works out really nicely. because it's just a cotton I used just a small 2-3mm allowance and that was enough. I also used a lime green polka dot fabric for the under collar.(you see the collar here with my small Ikea ironing board on the kitchen cupboard with the iron my son brought home from the street - hey it's just about new and is perfect for pressing while I'm sewing - saves me turing on the big water tank iron.)

Now I'm needing some help with fitting. It feels big under the arms but it feels like it is big across the front upper bust area. That is my narrowest point. Should I just take it in at the raglan sleeve area and up the side of the top? It feels ok in the back. 

When I sort the top fit out I'll put a casing and elastic in it too. I have 8 little buttons for the front in a soft blue-grey. I haven't made 8 button holes for a long time!

I added pockets to the side - easy!

You can see in this photo how I have somehow miss-measured and got a shorter length on the front. Measure twice, cut once springs to mind here. Is the fabric a bit 'young' for me?
I have these Simplicity 1918 Amazing Fit pants cut out in a black and colour stretch cotton to start on next. Actually these were cut out before I had the strawberry dress in my thoughts. They'll have to wait.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


I'm sure everyone has UFOs (unfinished objects). I think for every assignment I needed to distract myself from, I made started a new sewing project! Hence, I have had quite a few. This has now been rectified. I present:
(sorry it is formatting strangely after I post but the preview is fine)
Edit: Just wanted to add - all stash fabrics!  1. First up isn't really a true UFO but it needed to be done! This is the t-shirt that the owner of York Street Mechanic's in Auckland gave my son - he loves it but as a 9 y.o boy he is like "YUK!" at the boobies. So I made a slight modification below. I realise just now that's the photo with the pin in it, but all I did was zig zag around the bikini top and one boy happy again!

2. I had Butterick 5744 half made. I made it out of a light weight quilting cotton as a test run for the silk my friend bought for me in Vietnam. You can see the adjustments listed on the envelope and I have more on the instructions. It isn't a perfect fit. I think I forgot to add some length to the front bodice when I tucked a bit in the front so it pulls up at the front a bit higher than my waist and it looks a litre short in the bodice - I am very short waisted too. I would add a few centimetres of length to the skirt on my next one and made some more adjustments to the bodice - it's a little wide in the back neck so I may make an 8 for the back and 10 for the front grading to 14 at the waist. The skirt is really a good size - that's a 14 for this one.  From the back the skirt on the left side of the screen looks like I've hooked it under my arm or in the belt or something but it does sit straight.

I lined the bodice which is a first for me. I really like it. I used a very fine cotton voile I had on hand and it is very comfortable. This was good practice as the silk is white and I have bought some silk lining for it too. I didn't line the skirt because it doesn't need it. I love this dress. It is a very easy sew and it is very comfortable. It isn't perfect but I can see me making more of these and I think the fabric will disguise the use of the same pattern.

3. Simplicity 5128. I made a top from a remnant from the Fabric Store in Auckland. This is not a very flattering photo - I know but I was already wearing the white jeans so just took the photo (should have cropped it!). Anyway, this top is a little short but it was the whole length of the fabric but I think I'll add another colour strip on the bottom to make it decent. I love the fabric and the colour. A medium weight cotton knit. I lowered the neckline depth by about 3 cm as I don't like it so high on my larger bust. I t could go down another couple of cms I think. I have a royal blue remnant of the same length (both had a huge hole - like 20cm diameter - so I had to work around that) with another strip added on the bottom. I love this top too. Perfect casual but smart looking top for running errands. I wear it with a striped maxi skirt.

4. Butterick 3490. I bought this second hand and wanted to see the fit. I used a remnant that I bought at Spotlight a few years ago in Rockhampton. I didn't put the elastic in the waist and the elastic around the neckline is a little too long but I love this top. It is cool and comfortable and I normally wear it with some red jeans. I finished the edges with rolled hem on my overlocker and just quartered the elastic and stretched it out and sewed it on with a triple zig zag stitch. Quick and easy.

5. No photos, but I used this pattern late one night to make my son some more school shorts. Suddenly the old ones were just too tight and too short. I used some polo shirt fabric I bought at East Coast Fabrics at Springwood for $2 per metre! It is a bottle green. I bought 2 metres at the time and have made 4 pairs of trousers and 2 pairs of shorts. The trousers have been cut now to make shorts as they won't be long enough next winter. This is a really great pattern. When I placed the pattern pieces on the fabric it looked like the grain line was off but I trusted it and went ahead. They are a really great fit and so easy to whip up. It's quicker making boys shorts than getting in the car and going to the shops, as I've said before.

 6. This is a Butterick pattern too.

  I started this last summer and I just had to add facings and hem the sleeves and bottom. There was something wrong with the facings, I don't know what but they seemed short but they were as per the pattern piece. I think I may have marked the large pleat in the front wrong so I re pleated it to fit the facing. I made view A with fabric that looks very similar to view B. I really like the coolness of this fabric (Japanese cotton voile bought at Lincraft a few years ago) but I can't help thinking "pyjama fabric". What do you think - does it say top or pyjamas to you?

I have two more UFOs to show you. Both are Ottobre patterns. There are a couple more UFOs that won't get finished however - not unless I go down a size or two and that won't happen in a hurry. I have got a pair of Amazing Fit (Simplicity 1918) pants cut out but I'm not sewing them up until I get the other 2 UFOs finished.  More to come!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Cancelled - due to lack of interest.

I am cancelling the Brisbane Blogger's meet up. I have only had two takers and we think we'll try again next year some time. Thanks to Rosi and Bianca for their support however.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Brisbane Blogger's Meet Up - 9 November 2013

For a long time I have wanted to organise a Brisbane Blogger's meet up and finally the time has come!
I'm sorry there isn't much notice - combination of busy life, sickness and pre-booked holidays. 

I had some preliminary email chats with Rosi Button and we decided that we should just pick a day and  go with it and that we wouldn't worry about being close to a fabric shop (most people have stashes already I think). Anyway - I've chosen a café - The Foxy Bean at East Brisbane. I chose this one because it is easily accessible by public transport should someone not have access to a car. It will be for 2pm to 5pm in the courtyard. You can check out their menu on their website but it will be the Tapas menu for that time with the usual tea and coffee and cakes available also. I need to let them know next Wednesday for numbers it you could let me know in the comments if you can make it. (I couldn't get any café for a morning as they are all busy with the breakfast crowd and don't take bookings so I'm sorry if 2pm doesn't suit). Please bring swap items - fabric, patterns, notions, tools etc you'd like to swap with others.

Now I don't profess to know all the Brisbane Bloggers so please use the invitation below on your blog to pass the word around.

Brisbane Blogger's Meet up
Saturday 9 November 2013
Foxy Bean Cafe
Cnr Potts Street and Stanley Street East
East Brisbane
Bring fabric, patterns, notions, tools for a swap!
RSVP sewdarntired.blogspot.com 6 November

(Sorry about this rudimentary invitation... I've just spent about 1 hour to upload one I've made but I can't do it for some reason).

So... I hope you can come. I think I'll have some non blogging friends come too so you don't have to have a blog to come. 

Thursday, October 17, 2013


I made some pyjamas. I'd like to make (finish) some other more interesting things but I need new pj's. I used stash materials because I have too much. You'll recognise the aqua fabric from the last wearable muslin I made of the ImageWear top. I used that for the top and I used 2 1 metre remnant peices of cotton which is very soft and a perfect colour match. I made some bias from the spot fabric and I put some fuchsia ric rac on the hem. If I had thought of it before I would have put it under the bias on the top front but I didn't.The pink top is a remnant piece of broderie anglaise from years ago also and the black and white gingham was a left over piece from a friend who sews.

I'm going to Melbourne with a friend in a couple of weekends and my pj's (t-shirt and other sleep shorts I made a few months ago but not blogged about) are not ok to be seen in public. The pattern was one I found at the second hand shop for $2. It's a XS/S/M sizing and I made the M. It was very easy and now I have two pairs of summer pj's!

For those with greater observation skill will note an error I made when cutting out  the aqua top. Can you notice .... I didn't when I was cutting it out. I cut the top from the edge close to the selvage but didn't notice the embroidery was not there... I even made sure it was centred! Ha so much for my observation skills. Actually the pink top also has an error but when I sewed them up but you can't see it in the photo. Only a sewist will notice, but I put the back on right side facing in! DOH! How annoying but I only had the bias to put on so I didn't bother changing it. Now on to more interesting sewing.

Thursday, October 10, 2013


This it the Imagewear top pattern I made. It looks like a wide neckline on the pattern and it is.
 This is my iteration of the top. It is a little wide and I need to adjust the shoulders slightly and take out a wedge - about 2 cm at the neckline to nothing at the sleeve head. You can just see that the neckline is also a little wobbly with the bias edging. I think I stretched it out when I was doing it but that should fix up when I fix the shoulders. I really only made this up as a wearable muslin... they put in elastic in the waist and the sleeves - I didn't want it pouffy around my waist (I have natural pouff) and I cut the sleeves short. They look tight but they aren't. I love the fabric... just an end of roll from Spotlight last year. I also love it with my white jeans ($3 at Kmart one day and the fabric is very nice - score). Sorry about the stupid look, odd angle and sloppy hair but the camera kept saying the battery was out and shut down. I was over it by this time.

I can't remember what size I made, as I had it mostly made before finishing the painting, but when my flight to Sydney was delayed by 4 hours, I decided to finish it and take it with me. The instructions are pretty basic but this is also a basic top. I put the sleeves in flat and then did the side seams. I seem to get better results like this. This was the third time I had done a binding on a neckline and it worked out well other than the stretching. It's a bit like a swing type top (or others may mistake it as a preggy top). It is comfortable and now I will decide if I make it in some other fabric. I really want to make the trousers too but tracing puts me off.

 While I was in Auckland I popped into The Fabric Store too. There was lots of nice fabrics there but I only bought a few remnant pieces of knit solids.. just cottons. There was lots of merino wools but they were still $20 or more per metre and I just don't need it right now. I did buy some knit solids at my favourite fabric shop Centrepoint Fabrics in Newmarket. They have a fabulous selection of fabrics and there is parking in the back. I have some plans for some of those knits.

Below I've added some more photos from our New Zealand trip. These are all from the Auckland Museum and War Memorial. It is a great museum and you must visit if you go to Auckland. They have some fantastic Maori displays, traditional shows etc and a great display of older times - there is a whole town including bar, shops, homes etc. There is a great display of war history and our favourite is the volcano display. They have a lounge room set up in a 'home'. When you go in the tv starts with a news report that volcano activity has been recorded and recommending Aucklanders leave. They show people leaving, the problems with mass evacuation and finally the 'house' shakes violently and the power goes out. On the screen door in front, which has shown a beautiful vista of one of the bays, shows activity and then the volcano erupts and in an instant you are overwhelmed by the ash. It is pretty dramatic and realistic and a bit shocking. Apparently Aucklanders are pretty casual about their volcano evacuation plans and the government is making a concerted effort to get people prepared. They estimate between a number of weeks and days notice should activity recorded turn to eruption.

This is inside the Maori Marae in the museum. 

This is the 'screen door' from the volcano display. This has just changed to the eruption view, then it just gets bigger and ash etc rushed up and everything goes black. Then they show the 'after' view.. which is same vista covered in ash.

Town view from other times... I've included the drapers!

This aircraft was erected in the museum before the room was finished so it would fit. 

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

"Special" Morning Tea

Last Friday I went to morning tea at Parliament House (of the Queensland government) Brisbane. No, I don't have connections or special invite by the Premier - anyone can go. My friend who does a lot of work with government said one day he'd had morning tea at Parliament House... I thought he was skiting but he said it wasn't with work but it was open to the public. So we made a date and finally it came up. A few dates in the year are deemed 'special' where it is more expensive and you get a glass of bubbles and a classical string duo played which was really lovely. We went on a day that was deemed special because of the Queens Birthday (don't ask me why it was in October) or maybe it was for May Day (Labour day) that was moved to October so that holidays could be well distributed throughout the year. It was fun with very solid silver milk and sugar pot, lovely china and lots of treats. To be honest, the food was average quality which was disappointing. The day we went Sofie Formica was filming a segment for The Great South East a television program telling the people of south east Queensland about what is happening around our special corner of Queensland. There is also an included tour of the house if you care to partake, which I did. I have been before in primary school and another time a few years ago. Here's the link if you are interested.

I had planned on making a dress (half made now) but going to Sydney put that idea off. I still haven't had time to photograph that top, but I have cut out some pj's, some togs (swimmers) for Alex and another top.  

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Finn, Adventure Time Hat

My son loves Adventure time cartoon and asked if he could buy a hat from one of those games shops. He knew already it was $16 and of course I said "No, but I'll make you one." At which he replied "you always say that Mum but you never get to it." Hmmm. 

We found a pattern here, and I downloaded it and taped it together. It is made for A2 paper size but I fumbled around and got it onto 4 A4 sheets. Then we bought one metre of white felt (or you can use fleece but felt was closer to home so felt it was).  Alex helped me cut out the pattern and the felt and then I sewed it up - took about 30 minutes and it is self faced too. Easy. Great hat for winter but with 28 degrees here he said "thanks, I love it but it's too hot!" Of course I knew that but he'll have some school cred. 

I have made a My Image top too that I wore while I was in Sydney and when I iron it I'll photograph it too. Holidays are ending tomorrow and we have had a great time. It is perfect weather here in Brisbane and we are going with my parents and two sisters (of the 4) to a local seaside suburb to have some lunch and just hang out. Enjoy your last days of school holidays too.

Saturday, September 28, 2013

New Zealand... and busy, busy life!

We have had a busy, busy life the last few weeks. Immediately after finishing painting and cleaning, my German friends came from Köln (Cologne) for a week with us. We did lots of great things and they are so charming that they just love my house and love to stay in and we cook and eat and drink lots of wine and talk a lot!

While we are in NZ, they are driving Brisbane to Sydney, through the Hunter Valley. They LOVE Sydney (who doesn't) and over the more than 20 years we have know each other, have been many, many times. When I am more flush (with money) we usually go to Germany or they come here, but I haven't seen them since 2009 when we met up in Cyprus. It is always like we have seen each other the last week.

 Waitomo caves

We saw some ostriches while driving and stopped. They are huge and were very animated puffing up their wings and flapping them to scare us away no doubt.
 Food is playing a big part in our holiday!
 Riding in the Redwoods on rented bikes.
 Hitting the disc brakes too quickly - me after falling into knee deep mud!
 Lake Rotorua
 Lady Knox Geyser
 This lake is huge and at about 100 degrees celsius!
Sulphur at the hot pools colours the crater waters.

We are having a great time in New Zealand - North Island only. We have visited Auckland, the Waitomo Glow Worm Caves, Rotorua and the mud pools and thermal reserves, ridden bikes in the amazing Redwoods outside of Rotorua and are now in Tauranga. We have also been having the most glorious weather apart from some rain in Auckland. A real treat as the weather reports were for rain the whole week and we have had little of that. Actually Auckland can be a lot like what they say in Melbourne - if you don't like the weather, wait 5 minutes.. but not this trip, luckily for us. A few days left before I get home and fly to Sydney alone to have the last few days with my German friends before they go home. What fun !