Wednesday, 18 November 2015


Without respect we have wars, violence, abuse,  infidelity, self-harm, bullying, incivility .
With respect we can have peace, safety, love, acceptance no matter who we are , where we are , what we do.
I pray for respect in our sad  world gone mad.

Sunday, 25 October 2015

Why You Should Not Stash Fabrics !

I have had this piece of light weight denim for about  20 years now . It has been either stored in a covered basket ( when my stash was small ) or in various cupboards ( as my collection grew ) . It has always been kept away from the light . 
Check out that serious fabric foldline fading ! 
This was leftover from making a shirt that well never made it to a shirt. I  kept on sewing the patch pockets unevenly and was so totally frustrated I threw the project out . I remember that so well such was the frustration ! However I kept the large scraps and the sleeves which are in pieces ( I don`t know why ) because it is lovely soft smooth fabric and I paid a decent price for it. 

I was going to sew a knipmode tunic out of this . The tunic is made up of lots of pieces - the sleeves and back are from two pieces and the front from three pieces so I was hopeful that I could juggle all these small pieces onto my irregular scrap. Alas despite my best efforts I could not get those pieces to fit the fabric. Sigh. So again laziness made me turn to an  old pattern that I have made many times and I knew did not take much material. 

I may be trying to reduce my fabrics but I keep hold of old patterns. I bought this one about 10 years ago because I loved the white lace version on the front . Of course I have not recreated that look but I have now made this pattern up three times and I still do intend to make the white lace top. 

To get all the pieces on I had to cut the back from two pieces of material and I barely had any seam allowance. Trying to overlock that seam nicely was impossible so I used a fancy stitch and matching embroidery thread to sew down those seams. 
Then I repeated the stitching along the front neckline and bodice seams. 

I know some people would think why bother sewing with such faded fabric but it really is lovely and soft and as I have probably written before  I do not like waste . I am just calling this my shabby chic top :).
So this is just about the last of my really old fabric I have now . 
But please learn a lesson from me - do not stash fabrics ( well at least not for 20 years ) .

When Cynthia Rowley Meets Missoni. Simplicity 2472.

Mum gave me this interesting zigzag knit ( I do sometimes buy my own fabric ! ) . It is a textured knit but has very little stretch.  I admit  my choice of pattern was based purely on laziness . The pattern is Simplicity 2472 a Cynthia Rowley pattern for a top/ tunic/ dress  using woven fabric which has cut on sleeves. I was worried about pattern matching those zigzags so was attracted to that sleeve feature.

This is a deceptive pattern. The pieces look large and shapeless and likewise so does  the finished garment .
However wearing it is a different matter . I felt quite pleasantly trendy for a change !
It is incredibly easy to sew with just a front and back and narrow bands for the neck and sleeves. I was considering bias binding for the neck but having recently made a nightie with a very narrow neck band and liking the effect I stuck with the pattern .

I had to sew a centre seam in the back instead of cutting on the fold because of restricted amounts of fabric. However I need not have worried about pattern matching because the zigzags and colours are so irregular .
I should mention that I made the shortest version but would love to make the  dress one day . I would highly recommend this pattern but it is probably OOP like most of the patterns I seem to sew.

I have tried to capture the lovely woven texture of the fabric but as per usual the photography is the hardest thing to do here .
Happy Sewing Janine.

Saturday, 17 October 2015

Kwik Sew 3121 - Snuggy Shawl Collared Polar Top

taken without a flash 

I just made a polar fleece jumper  in time for the monster El Nino weather effect that is going to affect eastern Australia !  When I started this the weather was still cool but then bam all of a sudden we had a mini heat wave . Mum gave me the polar fleece and said it could make a blanket . No way Jose ! I only have two fleecy type tops both of which are ancient .

I used ( a rather tatty ) Kwik Sew 3121 . I really like the shawl collared option .
I used Size M which is very roomy but I like these jumpers on the larger size so I can easily wear a shirt and woolly vest underneath . There is no shaping to the body although the envelope gives that impression.
The instructions for the shawl collar are excellent and there are separate pattern pieces for the under and top collar. Because the polar fleece is so thick I used some leftover black ponte for the undercollar .However my polar fleece is navy so  I  under stitched and top stitched the collar pieces to minimize any peekaboo black sticking out .

Luckily our mini heat wave was only mini and typically the temperatures plummeted and I was quick to wear my new top while I could  . My husband commented that the top is very soft and it is indeed very cozy to wear. I would highly recommend this pattern for a casual

photo taken with a flash . 
I have made some more weather appropriate clothing that I just need to photograph - always the slowest process in this house.

Happy Sewing .

Saturday, 3 October 2015

Scrap Skirt One - The ( Faux ) Luxe Version .

I`m continuing on with clearing out scraps . I don`t like waste and  also find it a creative challenge to make the most with what I have.   I have had a small piece of ( faux silk )  satin in my cupboard for a looong time that was just not big enough to do anything with .It was starting to bug me what I could use it for .  For some reason I thought it might make a nice skirt flounce . I pulled out my navy blue fabrics and found the best match was with the ( faux ) suede a leftover from making my Mum a pair of pants and matching sleeveless jacket 13 years ago !
I then found three flounce skirt patterns but chose one from Burda April 2005 - this is the same issue that has the twist top that was really popular 10 years ago .
I changed the skirt a bit - it had a zip on the side and the skirt front had a centre seam with a split at the bottom. I changed the skirt so the back had a centre seam allowing the zip and split to be in the back.

I finished the skirt last week and was able to wear it out a couple of nights later to Hamlet at the local Arts Centre . I wore it with the navy charmeuse top I sewed earlier in the year and felt quite appropriately dressy and swishy . Unfortunately though it did not help me understand Shakespeare any easier although by the second half I worked out the plot . ( I didn`t study Hamlet at school - we did Macbeth and The Merchant of Venice ) .

I am in the midst of making another scrap skirt - this will be more a day / casual version but it is taking a bit longer because I am going to embellish it  . And there is  still some suede/ satin fabric leftover which I am hoping will be enough for a bag !
Happy Sewing Janine.

Wednesday, 23 September 2015

The Essential LRS - New Look 6896.

LRS being The Little Red Skirt.
Earlier this year I sewed up a really old stash inhabitant , the pink and blue plaid , and I love the end result. This got me thinking about other similarly elderly pieces of fabric. I do not subscribe to the theory that she who dies with the most fabric wins . I think about the lost opportunities , unfulfilled sewing dreams and not to mention the plain waste of resources . So I feel a bit ashamed to admit that I have  more 20 + year old fabric  languishing in my cupboard.
 This red crepe was actually a two metre  remnant ! I originally bought 5 metres to make a 3/4 length dress with multiple gores - very much a look at me dress - so not me ! I ditched that plan and  sewed another dress up but it was what I now know to be a wadder . I did wear it but  my sewing was less than stellar so I  turfed it after just a few uses.

I was skimming through pattern review a few weeks ago and saw a really lovely looking skirt . I then googled more images of the same pattern made up and the cogs started slowly turning until bingo I realised this would be a great way to use my red crepe . However after accumulating sewing treasures for 30 years I  knew I would have a similar pattern in my collection.

I found New Look 6896 in my French pattern magazine which was very much what I wanted . I really like this magazine because although I do not know the french language all the patterns have clear construction diagrams which are helpful in trickier areas.
The skirt is a simple wide yoked semi-circle style with belt carriers and pockets . The zip is on the side which was the only real difficulty because I added pockets from another view to my skirt .
I used some tips I found in a Vogue magazine to hem the skirt - first sewing a long gathering stitch to gently bring in some of the fullness of the hem before hand sewing the hem in place . I then removed the gathering stitches , gave the hem a press and it looks pretty invisible to me ! I added some cotton tape to the top of the yoke to stabilise this area and I think this does help a lot .

I have so many tops that coordinate with this skirt that it is a wonder that I never thought before  this was an essential garment to have !

I have worn my new skirt with a new top as well using  a long narrow remnant that Mum gave me . I used Kwik Sew 2695 which has become a favourite pattern to use up small pieces of fabric . It is so quick and easy but I managed to make more than one mistake in sewing this up . And now I have just realised looking at these photos that I have achieved the dreaded bulls eye effect so I don`t know if I will keep it or not now.
As I was sewing up my red crepe I felt quite pleased to be using up all my really old fabric until I realised that no there are still a couple of pieces left that are 20+ years ! So I predict a denim tunic coming into my life in the near future but the other piece is only good for night wear so that will probably reach its silver anniversary.

Happy sewing , Janine.

Saturday, 29 August 2015

A Bloggy Catch Up and Ramblings about Fabric .

It is a lovely Sunday morning here - the rain has stopped ( our sheep at one stage had their own personal olympic sized swimming pool with a Murray River run off in their paddock  - I put a stop to their backstroke lessons when I unclogged the roadside drain ) and it is sunny.
I have had my breakfast carefully supervised by my food taster . If he does not drop dead one millisecond after eating my toast ( multigrain BTW )  prepared for me by my husband then I proceed to enjoy. My fitness instructor has taken me for a walk. The fitness involved depends entirely on how many fitness instructors have preceded us. Sometimes we need to inspect every single blade of grass and other times a quick sniff of some select trees and fence posts will suffice. Now my bodyguard will allow me to sew whilst he pretends to curl up and sleep . However I see him opening a single eye now and again to check for any potential assassins .

This year I was making a concerted effort to really sew down my fabric stash/ collection / hoard or whatever you want to call it. I made a policy that if I bought fabric then I would HAVE to sew it up straight away.

This policy works really well. I bought the mesh knit for my knipmode scarf top  from my previous post .
I bought this cream cable rib knit above  for my practice run for my black lace bonded knit . The bust darts are too low and the sleeves are too short but I was happy otherwise.

I bought this border print from an op shop - a bare one metre and sewed up Simplicity 4368 again . This is such a nifty little pattern - to be able to get a top with sleeves from such little fabric ( I use size 12 )  . However it seems the fabric buying policy expired in late July.
My excuse is my daughter had an exam in a regional town a couple of hours away. I rarely go there and I had 3  1/2 hours to spare . So I went and looked at an op shop . And found a mother lode of fabric . In the end I limited it to just under 20 metres - taupe  tropical wool, cream rayon, floral dotted swiss , cream rib stretch, cotton-silk ( I think ) floral , lemon and rust coloured crepe de chines and a pale grey mystery . Yes so in one swell swoop I bought the amount of fabric it has taken me to sew for the year . Sigh - there is always next year yes ?

I will finish with a word about my  food taster / fitness instructor / bodyguard. Just in case you are jealous or think he is perfect , well he is not . I have given him several dissertations on how to make the perfect cup of tea. He knows the theory well but has yet to put it to practice.

Happy Sewing Janine.