Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year - 2011

I would like to wish everyone a very Happy New Year  for 2011.   We'll be celebrating quietly....with a good bottle of champagne  - local, of course.  Okay, Moet and Veuve would have been nice, but I didn't go shopping - have been told this one is a very good drop.

Yarrabank - Vintage 2006

Will have to wait until hubbie has picked up No.1 son from his party - "it's going to be a long night!.  I'll leave you with a quote from Lily bollinger - oops, forgot to add this to the list of preferred drops....

"I only drink champagne when I'm happy...and when I'm sad.  Sometimes I drink it when I'm alone.  When I have company, I consider it obligatory.  I trifle with it if I'm not hungry and drink it when I am.  Otherwise, I never touch it - unless I'm thirstly".

HAPPY 2011!!!!   I'll have what she's having......

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Simplicity 3833 - Chanel inspired dress

My DD (Jess) loves Chanel -  who doesn't!!   Earlier this year, I stumbled upon a shop discounting their fabrics by 50%.   Didn't know at the time it was the very expensive 'Stitches' of Armadale, but on perusing their stock, it did remind me of them, and upon enquiring, was told that it was Stitches' old stock which they wanted to move - hence the discount.  YES!! I was correct in my thinking.  Needless to say, I became their best customer and proceeded on purchasing big time!!  This is one of the results of a hard days work.

Chanel material

It is such a beautiful material and as soon as I saw it, thought of this pattern which I had in my stash, just waiting for the perfect fabric.   Jess was in Canberra, at the time, so made an executive decision - BUY!!!

View 'C'

Simplicity 3833 was the perfect pattern for this type of fabric and it was a quick and easy pattern to make up and the fabric was so beautiful to work with.  Trimmed the neck edge and sleeves with the selvage of the material - a bit too hard to photograph because of the colour.

Dressed up for Christmas Eve Dinner

Jess finally had the occasion to wear her dress - Christmas Eve Dinner.  She bought her Prada shoes on special too - 75% discount.  Suits the dress perfectly.

Perfect button

Of course, button purchased from Buttonmania - I just love that shop!!

Plum Pudding

Oh - this was dessert!!!!  My sister had marinated the fruit for 1 year - yes, it was the best pudding I've ever tasted, and she's got more marinating - yeh!!!


Simplicity 2588 - Christmas Party Dress

Pattern Simplicity 2588 - Project Runway

Material - Muted Check (silk/poly) purchased from Tessuti Melbourne

I really enjoyed making this dress and was happy with the pattern and result.  Originally was going to make a full skirt but thought it would be nice to have a dress for the occasion.

1/4" quilter's tape 

I found the pattern was easy to make - no dramas really.  I even didn't have to look at the instructions.  Tip - found it best to label some pieces with 1/4" quilting tape.  I've never had to do this before but the sleeves have a back and front part (seam on top of shoulder) so best to mark these first.   Actually,  I really like this type of construction - it sits well.

Seam on top of shoulder 

Would I make this pattern again - yes indeed.
Would I use this material - sure will!!    I am thinking of going back to my original thought of making a skirt, as it will go very nicely my Black Enigma top.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Garden update

Have been so busy in the sewing department have forgotten about my garden - luckily the rain has kept the garden well nourished.   Everything is growing so well - but I do need to do a little maintenance.


I planted this clematis and placed a purple wire stand over it - you can just see it on the left.  Trained it through the centre and, as it has grown, has formed a mass of flowers spilling over the top - I am thinking  of transplanting it to my purple wall.

My first apples

I have planted three dwarf apples in very close proximity (technique is planting 3 trees in one hole) - this means easy pollination and saves on space - I just don't have the room for three apple trees.  They should grown well together and I'm hoping that, in a few years, the trees will look like one - well that's my theory.

The varieties are Granny Smith, Bouge de Neige (Snow Apple) and Gravestein.   I first tasted Gravestein about 6 years ago and was sad when it was no longer available from my local grocer - but these days, all the fruit and vegies taste like cardboard anyway, so why wouldn't you grow your own.

I am liking the way the garden is taking care of itself and filling up very nicely.  You can just see on the right a New Zealand Marlborough Rock Daisy (Pachystegia insignis).  Although it is a hard plant to grow, it seems to like its position and has grown very well.  It requires very good drainage, but doesn't seem to have minded all the rain we've had.   I usually like to move my plants around, more so for design reasons, however this plant is staying put - have been told not to move it, or it will die.

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Prada's Black Enigma - Vogue 9456 top

On one of my visits to my fav 'op shop' found this pattern for $1 - a pattern prices these days, it's a bargain.

View 'C'

Wanted a simple top and View "C" was perfect.  I did however lower the neckline, as I have a short neck (well in proportion to my body).

Black Enigma by Prada

This fabric is so beautiful, unfortunately you have to view it with light in the background to appreciate the design.   Tried even lining with a white lining but the design doesn't show through.

Texture of fabric

The fabric is textured - picture doesn't do it justice - I think the flash has spoilt the picture.

Lace used for edging

After having sewn the pattern pieces together, felt that it needed 'something'.  I am fortunate to live just 7 mins walk to Bustles & Bows.   I just love visiting Shirley and Rachel they are so inspirational and their work is exquisite.  I always find such lovely things there and so I thought they would be able to suggest the perfect trim.  Shirley suggested this lace trim which suits perfectly sewn on the neckline, bottom hem and centre back where the buttons will be viewed.

Auto Buttonhole

Ah buttonholes - yes, was the easiest thing thanks to my Bernina Aurora 440.  This was the first time I've used this foot/feature and it worked perfectly.  Purchased the perfect buttons from Buttonmania - a must visit, when next visiting Melbourne.

Back showing buttons

This is the final result - I made this to wear with my McCall's 5591 skirt made in Japanese cotton.

Will wear also with my cream metalicus cardi for cooler weather - well that could be tomorrow, after all  it's Melbourne !! four seasons in one day.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Japanese Pattern Book - Stylish Dress Book 1

Thought I'd post this dress as it is the same as one that I have made in a beautiful 'brown' lightweight linen - sorry haven't taken a photo - but I wear it quite a bit as it is so comfortable.

This one is for Jess and I used Liberty Tana Lawn - Tatum Purple.  

Fabric from Tessuti

The pattern is so easy, hardest part is tracing.  I changed the pleats at the back and made them box pleats same as the front instead of gathers as it sits better.  Also, you need to lengthen the dress - check your length.

I always get comments on how nice the dress looks - need to make another one.  This time I think a dark grey.  I do have the fabric which I bought about 1 year ago and will make it to wear in winter with leggings.

Next on that 'To Do List' is the drape dress from Japanese Pattern book Drape Drape 2 - will make it for Jess.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Show Details

Christmas has come early - yah!!    Had always wanted to own one of the Show Details mags and now I have 2!!   I subscribed just in time for the Milan and Paris editions to arrive, which they did last week.

Milan & Paris Spring/Summer 2011

Gaetano Navarra - Milan 

I am so lucky to have these - they are not quite the size for reading in bed - they are huge, but it's so good to have some details on the garments - get's the imagination working - a bit like an inspiration board, which is still on the "To Do List".   Jess is going to love these mags, when she comes home for Christmas.

Bias Binding

I just love bias binding, especially making it myself.   When I made my apron, for the sewing retreat gift, one of the things I enjoyed was making the bias binding.  I am now using the binding for general sewing, the first of which is going to be used on the Christmas party dress.  I am currently making the final finishes using the Hong Kong seam method for the front collar facing and the sleeves.

I had 2 types of lining left over, so I decided to cut the strips and make them, to be used later.

Bias Binding 

The first is Unedera Silver Lining, middle is Fending lining and the third one is Unedera Silver lining reversed.   My dress is lined with Unedera Silver lining (the third one), which is a very shiny silver, so I'm using this binding.

Honk Kong seams

Sneek Peek - I haven't finished yet.  I think finishing the garment takes more time than constructing it, but that's the part I really enjoy - yes, I'm aiming for the professional look.  Stay tuned - will have it finished in a couple of days.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Storage box for sewing needles

Just to set the record straight from the beginning - THIS IS NOT MY IDEA!!!!  I found it on Bunny's blog La Sewista, a tip which she found on a tv show.   Am sharing this as I felt it was a great idea - always love to use alternative things to store my sewing bits - I like to be organised.  Also, found here in Australia, we don't have the same products as the US, so finally, after checking out 6 chemists, found one that stocked HUGE pill boxes - perfect for storing the needles.  This is how is goes:-

Ezy Dose 7 Pill Reminder

Found this Ezy Dose 7- day Classic Pill Reminder ($13.95 at Pharmore Pharmacy),which is the perfect size for storing your Schmetz needles.  Ps. Take your needle case with you for size.

Ezy Dose

This is not the same brand as Bunny's (Rite Aid Soft Touch) - it doesn't have the soft touch spring opening tab, which would be great, but this still will do the trick.

Adhesive strips

Next have to cover the dates on top.  I bought these adhesive strips, $5.20 from the newsagents, large enough to cut out to size and cover the dates.

Cut adhesive strips to size and place on lids, covering the date and Large Letter.

Completed covering tabs

PS - Also do the same to the inside lids.

Love my labeller

Next label your tabs - I have a brother labeller and label just about everything - well almost everything.

Compartments labelled 

This is the finished product and you can take your sewing needles with you, if going on sewing retreats or lessons.  

Needles fit perfectly

Again, thanks to Bunny for sharing her idea.  

Friday, December 3, 2010

What's in the pipeline - Christmas party dress

For our Christmas party at work, decided to make a dress - my first ever.   Have made dresses for my daughter but I've never thought it was really me - so I thought I might give it a go.

Simplicity 2588 - Green Dress version

Thought this pattern was really lovely.  Have decided to make the green version but thought maybe without sleeves would be nice too.  I will cut the sleeves and make up my mind later. Always worries me when picking patterns - unsure at this stage if it will suit - but for a night dinner party, thought it would be fine.


Have always wanted a little black dress, but am unable to wear black - doesn't suit me at all.   Found this fabric (Muted Check) at Tessuti  Melbourne and thought it would be perfect for this pattern.   It really is a bit different, and that's what I liked about it.  My daughter approved, so that's a good start.  Sorry about the photo - a bit out of focus.

I have 2 weeks in which to finish this dress.  If it doesn't suit - well I do have a backup outfit, but would really like to wear this dress.   Once I start, will feel a bit more confident.

Jess' D&G skirt

Finally arrived in Canberra, after driving 8 hours solo in my car - hubbie in his car.   Jess was so happy to see us, as we to see her.  Handed Jess the keys to my car, which is now her car and her new skirt.

She decided to wear it the next day - lunch at the Canberra Botanical Gardens.  She just loves the feel of the material and in particular the lining.  


Whilst having lunch at the Cafe, a visitor came by to check things out - he was really friendly and not at all perturbed by the flurry of activity surrounding him.

"Are you looking at me?"

We were able to get close to capture this look, and the waiters had to walk around him, as he wasn't going to move - it was amazing to watch.

Spent the rest of the day visiting the Portrait Museum and just spending time with Jess - talking, trying on  garments for me to finish etc.  Will miss her, as always, but now that she has her own car, it will make her more independent and mobile.

Her next trip is to Sydney next weekend, so I'll pray for her a safe journey there and back.  At least she has a good sturdy car (Subaru Outback) which is solid and very reliable.  Oh yeh - that means I need a new car!!!  

Thursday, December 2, 2010

McCalls 5591 - Another easy skirt - for meeee!

Okay - I'm now becoming quite used to skirts - should try something more challenging.   A Christmas frock will be the challenge for our Christmas party at work, and is currently on the cutting table - posting soon.  But for now, the skirt.....

Decided to use McCalls 5591 - View A but not using a different colour at the hemline.  The design was quick and easy, as I need it for work.

Japanese Cotton - with trim hand sewn at hemline

I had purchased this Japanese cotton fabric about 1 year ago, at Tessuti Melbourne, and was going to make a dress but decided it would look better on me as a skirt.

Finished skirt

I am really happy with the result and I can dress this up or down.  Am currently making a black top which will work really well, teamed with a cream cardigan - I might take a picture wearing both, when finished.

Material, hemline and lining

Whilst in Tessuti Melbourne fell in love with the Fendi range of linings.  Chose this grey/silver striped for the lining - could have gone cream, but felt like doing something out of the norm - I do like this contrast and the edging of the hemline is so pretty - gives the skirt a vintage feel.  I am now looking at hemlines in a different way - hmmm -  this could become an obsession.

Oh - now I need shoes!!!!!  

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Butterick 5285 Skirt

I've finally finished the skirt and it looks great and the lining is a perfect match.  Both fabrics were a joy to work with, so much so that I'm thinking of what else I can sew using Fendi lining.

Finished skirt

Fendi Lining

Pattern:  Butterick 5285
Fabric:   Dolce & Gabbana  "Inky Pea Soup" pure silk from Tessuti Fabrics.
Lining:   Fendi Lining

This would have to be my favorite gathered skirt for Jess.  It was a day's project - including hand sewing of hem, waistband and lining.  

Next project - frock for work's Christmas dinner....pressure!!!!


Tiffany - The Cat

Introducing Tiffany (Lilac Burmese).  She's now quite old, approx. 15 years, and yes she does have some ageing signs but she is still cute and we love her.

Tiffany - all she needs is a tiara

She sleeps ALL DAY! somewhere warm preferably but today she wanted to climb all over my sewing table, so I perched her up on the window for some rays.  Excuse my washing.......Will have to make her a long slim-line bedding to fit the window sill, if this becomes a habit.

Her day-time spot

Tiffany used to always be with her brother (CB aka Cheeky Boy - chocolate burmese).  He has been gone now for 18 months.  She now prefers sitting all over me especially when knitting or sewing bits/bobs.  

Her night-time spot

At night, she does prefer a softer spot - Rod's arms.   

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Vogue 8511 - In progress

I'm at the moment using Jess' 'body double' - ducktape dummy.  Made this 1 year ago, and it has been the best thing I've made, as I'm able to make her clothes (up to a point - can't hem garments) using this dummy, as she studies/resides in Canberra.    

I really enjoy this part of dressmaking - a bit like draping.  I've had to pin in for a size 6, but had to cut out a size 8.   This is the reverse of the material so at this stage, still adjusting for size.  


Have finished altering for size and have basted the waist line only - zip and lining will be done after she has tried the dress (on our visit in two weeks time).  Will then finish, hem and adjust, if needed.

Not finished yet

The only problem I've had with this material is matching up the squares.  Had to recut the bodice, but didn't have enough material to recut the bottom half.  I hope Jess doesn't mind.  It's always a learning curve for me - and will take this as a lesson learnt for the next garment.

I just love sewing!!