Tuesday, October 20, 2015


I've used Burda 2711 again for some pjs for my Mum's birthday this Friday. She doesn't do computers so there is no chance she'll see these before she gets her gift.

The fabric is some more of the Japanese cotton lawn (is lawn anything other than cotton? I'm pretty sure it's not - please correct me if I am mistaken) bought from Spotlight a couple of months ago for just $4 per metre, although not quite Sarah Liz's recent bargains, a bargain just the same.

As soon as I saw it I knew it would be pjs for my Mum. She has always kept chickens (although these are  roosters I know); since as far back as I can remember, although she gave them up a couple of years ago as she's getting on. She'd also use them for food - oh I remember her chopping their heads off with an axe and them running around the back yard  when I was about 4 years old ...... that's enough, you get the picture.  TMI? I remember a time when at the dinner table, my older sister  suddenly said she's not eating that chicken for dinner as she couldn't remember Mum going to the shop to buy it, at the time when you went daily nearly... so we all didn't eat it (I have 4 sisters). That sister turned vegetarian at 12 years old. Wonder if that had anything to do with it?

I used bought satin red bias binding for contrast which in truth is a little stiff and not perfect for the little bow. I may remember to buy some red ribbon to do that again. I made these in a few hours this morning.

I always put my bias binding on in one go and to do this I always fold it slightly more on one side, the back usually so it doesn't show, and then sew close to the edge and I know it catches on the back. I don't use pins when I do this, I just hold it with my fingers. This is the closest to a tutorial I can manage :)

I have a few other things cut out and some started but they will still have to wait so I can make a start (and finish?) this weekend on a dress for Frocktails.

Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 18, 2015


I had this top cut out before the Burda top made recently but avoided making it. I don't know why - maybe all the pleats at the neckline? I've made this top before in a heavier knit in a tunic length and i call it my cycling top. I wear it with leggings when we go social cycling. I made a size 10 then and made a note on the envelope that it was big in the back and shoulders so of course I noted it and then cut out a 10!

It's made from a textured pure merino knit that is more summer weight and bought on sale at The Fabric Store a couple of years ago. I also made two infinity scarves out of it - on for my niece and one for my cousin's young daughter for her trip to Canberra during the thick of winter.

The back neckline only is finished with bias binding - I made mine from some scrap from the pjs I made a while ago.  The feature of the bias came in handy as the back was big so I threaded some elastic through it and it pulls it in on the shoulders for it to fit but it's still a bit big under the arms. I also had green in the overlocker and just used that - I love aqua and green so I didn't mind and I really like the way both these features look.

The neckline pleats. Not very accurate really and it really bugs me but I found the material kept slipping and I seem to recall some machine problem.... for some reason sometimes when I release the foot pedal the machine doesn't stop so i have to turn it off to stop it. (After I pulled it apart and gave it a good clean...it still does it now and again but not nearly every time like it was then).  Apologies as this top isn't ironed. I just figured as it's too hot to wear now so I won't iron it and it will get put away without getting photographed.  I have only hemmed the sleeves so far but as I've put it away it won't get done until it gets taken out again (if ever). It's not really good enough to wear out in it's own right, but being merino it will be terrific for layering.

I've made another top too.  It's Simplicity pattern 8741 view D but without the ties in the sleeves. I've got a lot of peasant style patterns, and most of them are pretty overwhelming and 'fluffy' but this one fits pretty well. I find a peasant style blouse is pretty flattering on a larger bust.  The neckline is a little bit squared which I really like and find flattering also. It has a tie opening at the front which has a little facing.

Sorry this is also not ironed. I'd just washed it and hadn't (haven't) done the ironing yet. It's a Japanese lawn or voile and funnily it was called "Lora and Fauna". It was on the sale table at Spotlight a few weeks ago for $4 per metre and after I saw the name of it I wondered if it was an error and that's why it was on sale? Really does it make any difference what it is called. Anyway I'm not that partial to birds but I really loved the pink flower below which looks like a gum nut to me and it was sold. 

I also bought another Japanese voile and am making some pjs for my Mum for her birthday later this month. Better get sewing as  I have to make a Frocktails dress too, but I've got an idea for that and will investigate it this week. I'll try and get some photos of me wearing the tops as it is Student Free Day from school tomorrow so my photographer is in!

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Ottobre Winter 2015 Jacket - Done

I finally finished the Ottobre jacket from the Winter 2015 issue. It's a terrific pattern and quite easy to make. I finished it a few weeks ago but just haven't had the inclination to blog about it. Some details:
it's made from the merino/nylon mix from The Fabric Store, which was only $8 per metre. It is very stretchy which posed some problems with the zip but so comfy and warm. The merino is the terry like loops on the wrong side and the nylon is the outer layer. I have it in some apple green too and they had some in a raspberry colour as well. I made leggings out of it for my niece and me a while ago and she still calls them the best leggings she's ever had!

The shoulders fit me perfectly! Really just like it was made for me (ha ha) but the hips are very narrow for me. It's a lovely two piece raglan sleeve with an add on cuff. This is left with raw edge by using the coverstitch, as is the collar. You'll notice below the cuffs and collar are lined with a red, very soft knit for contrast and softness... it's incredibly soft and a scrap from a friend's leftovers.

When I put the zip in, the final step, I tried twice but due to the stretchiness, just puckered terribly. I left it for weeks - finally I bit the bullet and just spent 15 minutes basting it in and then sewed it in with very little stress. Lesson - haste makes waste so baste - hey I'm a poet and don't know it! If you notice I also put in some red twill tape as I've seen on RTW but it isn't as perfect as it could be as I didn't baste it on just held it on while sewing the zip. because I'd done the coverstitching before the zip, I had to put the zip a different way to the usual way of sewing it on then folding back and topstitching. Wasn't reading the instructions by then, just winging it.You can see the coverstitching isn't the best but this was my first time using the machine so I'm pretty pleased with it overall.

Just when I'd finished I walked past a display cabinet in my kitchen and saw this little dragon fly thing which I'd found somewhere so immediately put it on my zip pull. I like it - pays to hoard (sometimes).

This is the inside of the collar and the twill tape on the zip. I'm glad I persisted on the twill tape as I think it finished it nicely and looks less homemade.

Nice to see my model has the same sway back and butt as me! Although I think her butt is smaller!

It's quite a long jacket but that's what you want when it's cold. I read a few weeks ago on another blog I can't remember, that Ottobre is a much smaller hip fit than Burda and I think I have to agree, but so far I haven't made a bottom piece so I'll investigate that further.

The collar with lovely zip insertion and coverstitching with strategically placed label, not to show off but to cover a very rough 2 cm bit of the coverstitching that went awol for some reason - inexperience probably. The collar also fits me perfectly and as you can see it really stands up and when zipped up no wind is going to get through that baby!

Wonky coverstitching aside, I'm pretty pleased with my jacket... how fortuitous to finally finish it just in time for 26 degrees! It's cool in my house and some evenings so I've used it enough to know the sleeve length and width, back and shoulders are perfect for me and that I need to widen the area below my waist. What do you think?

Just before I finish, a lot of people are making Maddie's Sierra free wrap around bra pattern and I saw this in a local magazine. So for those that this bra fits (not me unfortunately) this is great inspiration for making some fancy, expensive swimwear too. 

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Because you asked...

Ok, so only Tropical Threads asked but I'm obliging. (I was going to respond in the comments but that would be one too long reply).  I can't stand buying stuff I can make myself and that includes food. I love Thai green chicken curry but at nearly $18 a takeaway container, I cannot afford it (lets face it, even if I could afford it I wouldn't pay it).

In this Thai green chicken curry is capsicum, broccoli, mushrooms, snow peas and carrots.

The key to good Thai curry (I thought) is to make sure you use good quality coconut cream/milk and good paste if you don't make it. (I don't make it). (too many parenthesis ;) ) Although I've been making this for a long, long time, I couldn't get that same flavour when I bought it ... it was good but just something missing. Well it was kaffir lime leaves. For some tight wad reason I wouldn't buy them as I thought how much could they add. Turns out it was the missing link. Now I get them when they are marked down, finely slice them and freeze them and they are ready to go. I freeze nearly all herbs except coriander (cilantro) as it is too delicate for freezing, but I do freeze the roots which I also put into the green curry.

So onto the recipe. In a fry pan put a small amount of oil of preference and fry off the green curry paste. This is to get the raw flavour out of the paste and I forgot to do it when I made it in the slow cooker one day and it wasn't as good. Then add the coconut milk/cream and bring to the boil and let it boil for  a few minutes - traditionally the oil in the coconut milk/cream should split leaving the oil floating on the top, but if you don't like that, don't do it. Put the chicken in now (or whatever meat you are cooking - prawns, pork or beef thinly sliced and of the best quality you can afford). I use chicken breast not thighs but either if fine. Put in your veggies - I use anything I have and I like lots of veggies. I use any or all - snow peas, capsicum, pumpkin, sweet potato, broccoli, carrots, baby sweet corn, fresh corn kernels, spinach, kale, mushrooms and anything you like even though they aren't 'traditional' veggies. Then splash in some fish sauce and a large pinch of sliced kaffir lime leaf and let the chicken cook and the veggies soften a little. For a long time I use to fry the chicken up first, take it out then fry the curry paste, (like a stir fry) but a Thai friend put me on the right track with putting the chicken into the coconut milk. That's why the chicken doesn't dry out as it doesn't get overcooked or cooked twice rather. Serve with coriander on top and a slice of lime with some steamed jasmine rice. YUM!

As for the curry paste I've worked out with my taste for heat and flavour, I use  a large tablespoon's worth for a can of cream/milk but this may be too hot or not for you. Go less for the first go if you don't like the heat as you can add more fresh chilli if it isn't hot enough, but there needs to be enough curry paste to give it flavour and this is a spicy dish by nature.

Sometimes I make a vegetarian red curry.... same deal except use red curry paste, boil the coconut milk/cream, add veggies (and meat if you want) and serve. Yum. Also I make both in the slow cooker too if I know I'll be out all day, but I do always cook off the curry paste otherwise it has a slightly 'raw' flavour.

While we are talking cooking, when I cook chicken pies or anything with pastry, I always use the scraps from the horrible but convenient square puff pastry sheets for making little apple puffs - I just put fresh chopped apple or pear or a mix on the pastry sprinkle a little sugar and cinnamon, squeeze them closed and sprinkle a little more sugar and cinnamon on and bake at the same time. Bingo...dessert done too and those pesky shrivelled, not quite fresh apples and pears gone but used. No waste. Now to go and make some dinner... bon app├ętit.

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Catching up.

The Brisbane Festival was on during the school holidays and my niece had a busy technical role there. This meant busy days and nights (till about 3am!) for about three weeks while the public was there and many weeks pre and a few post. The upside for us was we got to see two free shows and we chose three shows to see as well.

If you ever see that The Listies are in town, you must go see them. They were HILARIOUS..

Gratuitous Thai green chicken curry - I'm seriously addicted. That was the third one in two weeks. Of course they always work out a bit different due to the veggies I use but either way it's always great.
You can see sewing is never far away, with a pattern piece on the stove top!

There has been sewing but I think I need to make two posts so I'll start with the stuff I made for my son. The last thing I made him were some sleep boxers from this one piece pattern. It's sized for men, teens and boys and he's moved into the teens size. One pattern piece makes it super quick and easy - it even has an opening fly, with elastic all around. The fabric is some cotton I bought years ago at Spotlight - pure cotton with red light bulbs and "I've got a big idea" printed on.  Hmmmm as I write that sentence, I just get some boxer innuendo.... unintended! When I bought that fabric it was for kindy sheet sets I was making and selling and there was (and still is) such limited fabrics for boys (teen boys even less) I thought it was suitable.... not really thinking about using it for boxers... anyway the pattern was op shop bought and it  has no instructions but really it's such a simple pattern you don't need them and these were whipped up in 30 minutes including cutting out.

Here's the boxers and three pairs of shorts I made also. The shorts bottom left are some I made a while ago but were way too big and now they would have fit but for the way too long elastic I had put in so that was sorted and now they can be used. I can't remember what pattern that was but I like those pockets (like jeans). The other two pairs I used a Burda board shorts pattern leaving off the fancy board shorts fly and just added pockets. I bought the black and white fabric from East Coast fabrics and it's a cotton blend. The other fabric  is part of the Star Wars fabrics I bought last year. There is another Star Wars shorts that are at my son's Dad's place at the moment. I made a pocket pattern piece and cut pockets and lined them just placing them on the front. I also added a back pocket to each too.

 I'll leave you with a photo of my son on some 3D chalk art that was drawn on the walkways at Southbank during the Brisbane Festival. There were 2 others but I liked this one the best... looks like Alex is taking off on that paper plane.

Oh and another highlight during, but not part of the festival was pouncing on meeting Bernice (and her sister) from Raindrops and Bellyflops. Of course I didn't think to take a photo but I recognised her blouse (number 4) and then realised it was her. She lives up north nearly 2000 kilometres away  and was just leaving. I hope I wasn't too big a fan girl - she actually asked me if I knew of her other sister who sews  - HA! of course, that's the very talented Katherine from Blooms Endless Summer.  Two of my favourite blogs.  There's more sewing to show but that's for next time.