Archive for the ‘sewing’ Category


I’m back from Craft camp.

And what an inspiring weekend that was.

I laughed more than I have for ages.  Ate amazing food.  Shared stories.  Met old friends and new, and was amazed, at how easy it is – when you forget that you are supposed to be nervous, how wonderful people can be.

Wonderful people they were.  And hilarious.

I came prepared for a solid weekend of sewing, and realised, mid-stream that this was my opportunity to actually take it slow.  I wished I had taken some pattern books to study and pore over – to think slowly about, to be experimental with and to take more risks.  I learned more about subtraction cutting (oh my gosh, oh my gosh).  I pumped out the projects.

But mostly it was just so great to be in the company of others who get the craft thing, and appreciate it is a journey and a pleasure, and something worth experimenting with in a stylish manner.  So great to learn, and discuss and open the mind to new possibilities.  Those ladies rock.

They do.




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Sew –  I am very excited.

An escape is planned for the weekend after next at Sewjourn.  With some fabulous, fabulous ladies. And I have been thinking about it for weeks. Wondering what to make in my precious time.  Things for me?  For the kids?  Pyjamarama? Travel bags?  Shall I paint?  TTV photography?  Shall I do all of that, or nothing……

For 2 – actually more days.  Uninterrupted in the sense of unwanted distractions.

(And speaking of distractions. I have to thank you for the comments on my last blog post.  It was a bit of a raw one.  You are the loveliest people.)

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All the sewing and sewing and sewing.  But such fun!

Ghostbusters costumes for a halloween (birthday) party we went to last weekend.  Pattern was adapted from a family pyjama one with skirts added for us girls, and the proton packs were elaborately constructed from foam, toy guns, tubing and vinyl straps.  We all had a ball and the party was great fun.

On a side note I think I may get my hair cut off…

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Rob Ryan (oh how I love Rob Ryan) plus clothkits plus a few hours sewing.  Heaven.

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Patchwork with the kids is a lot of fun.  Last year – for the birth of a special family baby we made a quilt – the kids came to help choose the fabric, then I cut it all into squares and we took turns piecing it on the floor.  It turned out beautifully and was a special family gift they were so proud of.  I just wish I’d taken a photo….

My girl is such a gift.  So funny and creative and helpful, and I feel that this year – she has had the short end of the stick a bit.  All those creative things we used to do just don’t seem to happen now she is at school and I am at work.  So when she was invited to a cupcake making party last weekend we spent the morning raiding the scrap bag and found some of the leftover squares of patchwork, added to them with some choices of her own and made an apron.

Pardon the mess – we were too busy to clean up.

4 squares made the top, 16 the bottom and the ties were all made from some binding I had floating around from an earlier project.  The reverse of the patchwork is an old pillowcase that ripped a few weeks ago (the cotton was too beautiful and soft to just throw).

She loves it – and loved that she helped make it even more.  And the cupcake party was fun I am told.

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colouring in


Remember back in the 80’s there was a book published called ‘Colour me beautiful’.  My mother jumped on the bandwagon, as did most of her friends from memory, and it was bizarre (to me) as a teenager to watch them pore over a book which presented firmly set out guidelines about what works for particular skin tones.  Why not just wear what you liked?

I have no idea why it popped into my head, but I googled it the other day and found this site.

Dare you not to try that. 😉

Then I got curious about what colours I am actually ‘supposed’ to be wearing according to the book, which led me to here and the purchase of a swatch that follows the test results.

When it arrived, I looked at it for at least a week thinking – that’s so not me. That’s not right, there’s hardly anything in there that sings to me.

And then I started looking at people I saw out and about and looking carefully at what people were wearing in terms of colour and if it semed to be working for them or not.

And it was amazing how much of it wasn’t.  Especially in Melbourne, where we wear a disproportionate amount of black.

I have a love/hate relationship with black.  It is not in ‘my’ book.  I am conflicted  by this and aware that in the circles I move in it can be a statement of ‘belonging’ that is almost universally accepted.  Which is weird in itself.  We are all ‘unique’.  Together.

A lot of the time I think we adopt a personal ‘uniform’.  For days when we want to blend in, for days when we want to ‘stick out’.  Sometimes I think I wear very bright things to take the attention away from myself.  Sometimes I think this has become a habit and it probably doesn’t do me any favours.  Particularly as I age.

And I remember a time I was in a shop, and a very sallow looking woman was insisting on trying on clothing all in the particular dull pale pink hue which she was wearing as she came in – and you could just tell she’d look a million bucks in something else, but was never going to do it ever.

So I took the offending ‘swatch book’ to a fabric store and noticed how often I was drawn to rolls which were definitely not in the book.  Damn.  This book is ridiculous.

I persisted, fighting against instinct and selected 3 rolls that were ‘by the book’, went to the mirror, and I’ll be damned if they didn’t make me look healthier and younger and didn’t fight for attention.  Problem is, I’m not sure if I like them.

And so I wonder how often we all do this.  Wear things that we think ‘make us happy’ out of habit without investigating the alternatives.  I  bought the fabric.  Wonder if I’ll be brave enough to wear it….

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To a Tee

It started here.  Because you know if Tina says it’s a good pattern it must be.  She is genius at that kind of thing. I downloaded it immediately and then worried about the huge pile of A4 sheets that the printer spat out.  OMG.


And a frustrating 2 tries at taping together the 75 page (I’m not kidding) jigsaw puzzle that this pattern turned out to be.


So beautiful those two large scale patterns are.  Not least because they were such a struggle to fit together.

Then, laid out, My size (from the enormous selection of child to plus size fully grown woman) was identified and traced on to lightweight interfacing to make a permanent, flexible and durable pattern.


I love working with this material for patterns.  It’s so easy to pin/fix to the body and see where the problems may lie before cutting the fabric.  In my case I always see the flat fabric, think I couldn’t possibly be that big, try it against me and get quite a shock (don’t laugh).

The first garment didn’t work out exactly as planned.  It’s amazing how a millimetre here or there can change the whole shape of a garment and how it fits on your body – adding kilos, making you look round-shouldered, ‘hiding’ a tummy and instead giving you a bigger one.


Back to the drawing board, with a long sleeved T-shirt that I love and love and love, to capture the neckline and gentle side-seaming that works for me, combined with the basic block of the Jalie pattern and I think I have it.


I’m not abnormally large, or tall or small.  I have abundant curves – which I kind of like, but current fashion makes it difficult for girls like me to feel good.  Sizing in the shops can vary so much that I never seem to be able to find a colour or print that I like in a flattering shape and my size all at the same time, which is why, at the earliest opportunity I will be teaching my daughter to sew (and hopefully to love it), so she will be able to gain control.  The Hours (actually probably months if I’m honest) of my life that I have wasted in shops trying to find something perfect, only to exit feeling significantly less good about myself is so counter-productive.  One day of industry to make a perfect block for myself was an enormously good investment.


Next on the list will be the perfect set of jeans.

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