Rash cacti






Something other than a #9! Number 8 on my holiday to-do list: the cactus flower rash suit and swimming bottoms for Miss 10yo. Sometimes I swear I must be the world’s slowest sewist as these seemed to take so long to come together. I thought they’d be nice and quick (fatal assumption!) but the bottoms took a couple of hours by the time I’d oh-so-carefully matched up the edges and lining, and ensured a lovely neat finish on all the elastic. Then the needle decided to go blunt and two of the seams on the top needed unpicking before I worked out that the needle was the culprit for the missed stitches. I am pleased with the outcome though and the fabric from Spoonflower is just fabulous. I love it so much I think I’ll make myself a rash top the same with the leftovers! The one thing that would make them better would be buying an overlocker since the top, while lovely on the outside, is not as neat on the inside as an overlocker would make it. If I were going to make lots of swimwear I think it would sway me to buy an overlocker again.

It was really hard to photograph – the black matte lycra looks like it’s a different shade than the print but in reality they match beautifully. I didn’t want to put a fully dressed photo up online buy here’s a little peek of the child to show how nicely it fits. She’s looking kind of mutinous but is really very pleased with the togs.

The bottoms are from Kwik Sew 3605, size XL, and the top is New Look 6241 view A in size 12. I sewed the bottoms exactly as per the pattern. For the top I straightened the bottom edge and heightened the neckband slightly which suits the swimwear style better. Apart from wanting to try out the Spoonflower lycra fabric, I partly chose to make a rash suit because ethically made swimwear options for tween girls are so few and far between, not to mention what is available is really expensive. So I was keen to add up how much these cost. The cactus fabric is $42 Australian per yard which is pretty bloody steep! But, I do have enough for another two child size rash suits or one adult one, so let’s say $14 for that (I’ll conveniently ignore the postage since I got another 3 fabrics at the same time..) Then there’s about $6 worth of ordinary swimsuit lycra from my local fabric shop, $1 or so of swimwear elastic I picked up cheap, and about $1.50 of thread. We won’t count the patterns even though I suppose I technically should. They’ll get used again. So that’s $23.50. Pretty good really (as long as I do use up the spare fabric), and at least I know they’re ethically made and the seamstress was provided with ample breaks, cups of tea and Netflix to watch while sewing.


Last make of 2016!




Another #9 – I made a bag! I decided to make it last night on the spur of the moment in my post Breaking Bad finale what-on-earth-do-I-watch-now slump, so I didn’t have a pattern, I just winged it.  It was meant to be quite a bit smaller but somehow turned into a messenger bag. There wasn’t any heavy interfacing in the house so I had to use a light weight one. It’s consequently probably a bit floppier than ideal but it’s fine.

The fabric is Cotton Linen Canvas from Spoonflower. I was going to make a skirt from it but it looks good as a bag. It’s lined with silk dupion left over from my Steampunk Pirate Waistcoat in a cool orangey brown which matches nicely. The silk is strong, but frays like you wouldn’t believe, so I’ve interfaced every piece, plus all the seams are hidden – hopefully it will hold ok. I only had just enough for the flap lining which was the last piece I cut out so it’s pieced, but actually looks cool.

I kind of made it up as I went.  I added a zip pocket on the front, and another inside. Also a big pocket on the inside which sort of divides the bag. I had some leather sitting around which was just right for attaching the buckles (buckles which I picked up a while ago in a bag for $1). The one thing I haven’t sorted is the strap.  I checked out a few op shops today looking for an old bag or belt I can source a strap from, but no luck, so I’ve temporarily used one off my day to day handbag.  I’ll keep looking, I’m sure the perfect strap is out there waiting!



I am completely in love with this pattern and this fabric. The fabric is the most wonderful puffin print in gorgeous organic cotton French terry. I bought it intending to make something for one of the kids, but when it arrived in the mail I loved it so much I selfishly kept it for myself. Unfortunately since it was going to be kidswear, I only bought 1 metre so it took a fair bit of creative playing around with the layout to squeeze the pieces out, but with a few very narrow seam allowances I triumphed in the end. The collar and cuffs both had to be cut in two pieces to fit them in and the bottom hem has been sewn with bias binding since it’s slightly shorter than it ought to be. The bias looks great though, a nice case of a compromise resulting in a better finish.

The pattern is McCalls 7061 and anyone could be forgiven for thinking they’d never seen this cute cowl pattern before, because the pattern envelope is a serious contender for Worst Pattern Envelope Photo of All Time. I mean WTF McCalls?? Fluffy pink camo print and blue neck bows?! I made view A pretty much as is except for leaving out the bow, and also left out the small amount of shaping in the side seams as I wanted a boxier shape. I do love a cowl neck in a knit since it means not having to faff around with binding or ribbing and gives a lovely professional finish. In the photo above you can see how few scraps I had left, which is sad as I would have liked to make something else from this beautiful print. The good news though is that it’s available on Spoonflower so I can order more if I want to.

I’m clearly not the only one who loves puffins, as I wore this last week on casual day at work and as well as a few compliments from colleagues I had two random people at the shops tell me they loved it. Shallow I know, but it’s nice when people like what you’ve made!

Shop and Sew Bicycles


Yes, all three at once – a vintage pattern, sewn up in the cutest bicycle print fabric from Spoonflower! Our work end of year ball was last night and this year the theme was sport. Lots of our staff like to do fancy dress but I didn’t want to come in sports gear, I wanted a pretty dress, so I hit on the notion of showing my sport via the fabric. It was down to the wire with the fabric only arriving on Monday (it took a whole month to find its way from the US this time, I think carrier pigeon would been faster but at least it did arrive). So I sewed all evening on Tuesday and Wednesday leaving Thursday late night for the shoe shopping and just got there.

The pattern is a 1960s dress and I’ve sewn view B. My waist isn’t as nipped in as the 1960s sirens on the pattern envelope so I cheated a few extra cms by tilting the pattern pieces at the centre front and back, with the added benefit of narrowing the skirt a little at the hem which I like. I also added an extra couple of cm at the side seams of the top and skirt, but took the bodice in a cm under each arm. I needed to slope the shoulders a little more that the pattern to get the back to sit properly and was ridiculously pleased with myself that I remembered to then take a little dart out of the collar pattern piece to slope it the same amount. I took about 20cm off the length which would otherwise have been much longer than it looks on the pattern (and I’m not short).  The back bodice is supposed to gather onto the skirt (the one bit of the design I wasn’t too keen on), so I hoped I could do darts instead. For various reasons I ended up doing two darts, plus still doing some gathering which seems to have worked well. The back is pouching slightly which I think indicates it’s slightly too long in the back, but never mind it’s otherwise all good.

I really love the collar, and the way it just covers my 45 year old mum arms while still being sleeveless! A lot of effort went into getting it to sit perfectly – trimming about 3mm off the under collar and carefully understitching so that the outer collar piece ended up a tiny bit larger and would curve nicely over the lining. I’m a bit worried I’ve clipped the notches on the collar too far and that they’ll fray, but they wouldn’t turn out nicely until I did. I intended to full line the bodice as I love the neatness this gives, but it made the back too heavy for the gathering, so I’ve ended up trimming the fabric off to turn it back into a facing. Not so neat, but it worked nicely. I’ll just have to put up with the visible seams on the inside! All in all I am super happy with this. It will be good for work on days I need to look schmick, and I’ll keep looking for the perfect shoes. These are ok but I’m imagining a cute pair of red or indigo mary janes would be perfection. And don’t you love my necklace! – From this wonderful Etsy seller.

Having only got back into blogging in the last couple of months I’m very late to the vintage pledge party, but better late than never – I’ve added the button to my blog. This is my second vintage pattern of the year but first with the button. I will hopefully get in a couple more before the end of December and can join in properly next year!