Friday, June 28, 2013

Silk and which sleeve?

So I've made up another t-shirt from McCalls 5087 again today. The colours are a bit brighter like the top photo. I didn't have enough fabric to make the long sleeves so I thought I'd add a piece but then I didn't like the proportions so I thought about a cuff... it is pinned in the photo above and I haven't hemmed it or put binding on yet. You can't see the side seams because they are so well matched!! Ha ha yeah me! Even on the sleeves it's mostly perfect. 

I think I like the length of the cuffed sleeve best - much better proportion. I bought this at the second hand shop for about $3 and it is lovely medium weight soft, soft cotton. The colours are solid but what looks grey is a very fine blue or black and white stripe. I think I may but it a bit shorter too. I have a remnant piece of navy ponte knit so I might make an elastic waist skirt to go with it. 

Oh if you are in Brisbane, you must go to Trad's at Save City at Cannon Hill. It is one of those old style emporium shops that has everything including fabrics, elastics, thread, notions, basic but close and oh so cheap. (Lots of other stuff too... take your hubby... they have tools, curtaining, men's workwear.. the perfect shop!) Today I went and was surprised to find  a heap of Daniel Lightfoot fabrics. I couldn't resist a beautiful mint silk satin, and a beautiful hot pink silk satin  for $7.50 per metre! Read it and weep! The fold over elastic (only in white) is .80cents p.m. and undies elastic is .30cent p.m. They have a new range of thread (Madame Tricot Paris, anyone heard of it?) in cotton or polyester for $1.50 and also some machine embroidery cotton also for $1.50. You're welcome! Edit: A well known fabric shop in Sydney and Melbourne has silk satin for $48 per metre... now I know I got a bargain and will get some more me thinks!

Thursday, June 27, 2013

It happened at last!

Yes, finally I have sewed! Yesterday I hemmed two pairs of trousers for a friend of mine but I didn't bother taking any photos. Today I made McCalls 5087 from 1976 (I was 14 and in grade 10!). I made it from some cotton knit stuff I had just to test the size and fit. I didn't have enough of each fabric so I made it with the dots on the front and the back and sleeves out of this washed out stripe fabric. I had some scrap red knit stuff (notice my wide reaching knowledge of knit fabrics?) that my girlfriend had given me to make my first binding! 

I basted the red on with the normal machine then sewed it with the overlocker. Then I used a twin needle to finish it off and although I saw it wasn't quite right, I only noticed tonight that I should have put one needle in each fabric... of well this was just a test garment. 

Notice how one thread for the twin needle goes into the normal holder but on the other side there is also one. I've never notice this before and would just thread both the threads the same, until I saw it on a blog a while ago (sorry can't remember which one - tell me if it was you!). I haven't had time to see if my older machine has this too. Anyone else notice?

See here, one of the needles should have been in the red and the other on the white... I knew it was off but couldn't work out what and just finished it before having to go out so didn't really work it out till later.

I made view C but with no cuffs and I added the binding as they had facings included (as if!). I shortened the length ('cause I'm short.. 158cm) for the body and sleeves and am pretty happy with the fit and size. I love raglan sleeves and I have to say this was perfectly drafted. Not one millimetre out! I know it's simple but... 

This top will be a sleep shirt but now that I have tested and like the fit I will make some more. I have a lovely aqua merino wool that I'd like to make up and some other soft floaty stuff(more knit fabric knowledge) that I will make it up with. I hope to trace out a My Image pants and top pattern tomorrow. I have a couple of things I want to finish too. Tomorrow afternoon my son comes home from his Dad's and we have a week together so I guess not much sewing will happen. 

Oh after I looked at these photos, I went out to find some new bras... I have needed to for a while and just didn't have time. It takes so much time.. didn't find any and will work on making my own but I know that takes a lot of time so will have to buy some till that is worked out.

Monday, June 24, 2013


I had my final exam this afternoon, so now I guess officially I am unemployed as opposed to being a student. I think I shall miss the young people and the camaraderie I enjoyed with them the most. Of course learning never stops. 

I'd like to say a few things about studying at my age. Firstly, I don't feel my age.. but I guess none of us do. It has been a wonderful experience. When I started I had NO idea about  programmes like Powerpoint, Excel (still don't really), how to format in word etc but they young people didn't laugh or criticise or make derogatory comments; no they helped me and I couldn't have gone on without their encouragement and support. None of the young people questioned me being there; I was as old or older probably than their parents so it was very encouraging. I supported and helped them but they never let me down and that gives me great hope. I am grateful for being able to go to university at my age and to get an insight into something I didn't do when I was young and this helps me to know what it's all about when my son may choose to go in the future (he wants to be a robotics engineer at this stage). 

I would like to encourage anybody who dreams of getting a qualification or wants a change and a challenge and a great experience, no matter their age, to take the plunge and go follow your dreams. I have gained so much more than just the academic learnings. If I can do it anyone'll never know if you don't have a go.

Sorry I don't even have a photo I can put in here.... I have appointments this week but I do have time in between and my son is at his Dad's place so I hope to get sewing a wearable (hopefully) muslin of a dress for my graduation. I have some sparkly lace or a guipure lace that was my mother's. Either way I need a dress for my graduation ceremony for the 24 July. I have a couple of patterns I may test. Either way I have nothing to wear for anything so I better get onto sewing anything.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013


I bought this top for $5 a few months ago (it is inside out here) and I LOVED the colour and the gold sequinned cross on the front. What I did not love was the big sloppy nothing shape on me. So first chance I got (I had a concert to see last Thursday - Killing Joke if anyone is interested and there is a photo here from Scene Street Magazine where we made it in print!)I made the necessary changes. If you look closely you can see the shape of the change by the pins outlining the shape to make some arm holes and give some shape.
I used an outline from the pattern in the bottom left of this sewing magazine my German girlfriend brought back from Germany last year. I couldn't find my french curve ruler so had to use something. She also brought back some Simplicity pattern magazines and another one I think I can't remember the name of. I really like this issue - lots of really nice simple shapes. Of course they are like Burda pattern sheets (and the instructions are in German). The neck was still so big I had to put a pleat in the neckline so it stays on my shoulders. 

With the cut outs, I making a skirt for my friend's little girl.. she'll love the sparkles.. it could be a boob tube for someone who is pretty tiny, but I con't know anyone like that! I'll put a photo of the top when I get a photo. I really like this top now and it is a fun wear.

Monday, June 10, 2013

More food - pea and ham soup.

So more food. Pea and ham soup. A winter staple here but I've only started making it a few years ago. A smoked ham hock, carrot, onion, garlic, pepper and water. I put it in the pressure cooker for about 1 hour and then took all the meat off the bones and put in one pack (250 grams) of dried split green peas and slowly simmered until the peas softened. If it gets too thick I just add a bit more water. I don't like soups too thick. I put the meat back in the pot and then eat. Some nice toasted seedy sourdough bread and it's perfect. It freezes well too. Yummy for cold nights. 

Saturday, June 8, 2013


Sorry for the BAD photos! I must be the last person to make this skirt.. in my defence I made it last winter and didn't finish putting the zip in and hem it (although I had pressed the hem up!). Yep took about 15 minutes... If you don't recognise it it's the Rachel Comey V1247 that many have made. I haven't made the top - even though I like it, I think I have too tiny shoulders to make it work, but if I have nothing else to make up (ha) I will give it a go but without the French seams - I don't have time for fancy insides! I have this cut out (since last summer) in a white and green circles.

For this one I made it without the waistband and drafted some facings. I am short waisted and even without the waistband I feel the yoke of the skirt is at least 3-5 cm too long. The pockets sit (on me) right where my widest part is and accentuates my tummy. I'm wearing it here with the wool unlined jacket  I made a couple of years ago and then it shrank when I washed it (by hand). I got more of this wool last year at the fabric sale I go to so I will make another this year. 

I have a couple of things I want to finish off before I start new projects. 
I have my exams on 17th and 24th June and then I have my graduation ceremony on 24th July and I'd like to make a dress for that. I've been having restful time since last Wednesday and not looking at books or notes but I'm onto next week for my first exam. Wish me luck (I'll need it - International Finance is not more interesting than it sounds! Apologies to those who love finance.)