Saturday, December 31, 2011

Outside table cloth

For a while now I have been quite frustrated with my outside table - needed to cover it.

Waterproof fabric

Bought this waterproof fabric so decided it was perfect for the job.  Needed to secure the tablecloth when it gets windy, so decided to try to somehow secure it like an ironing board.  Bought 7 metres of elastic and was now on my way.

Reversed the tablecloth and looked at the corners.  Hmm - decided to mould the shape of the corner and pin them into place.  As I pinned I marked along the line of the pins, either side - this way it gave me a sewing line.  I only decided to do this when I saw the shape of the corner and sewing was going to be the nicest finish.

Marked the pin line with a graphic pencil

Also pinned and marked the other side

I matched the drawn lines with a couple of pins and then sewed the corners.  I forgot and didn't leave one of the corners free - found out the hard way, the stitches came undone - not a problem, just secured with a safety pin (no one looks under there, except for Tiffany - the cat).

Sewed corner - great fit

This is the result after having sewn the corner - I'm absolutely stoked - it worked!!  Next to secure the length of the table cover - since I didn't use the elastic I decided to velcro it to the table.


Adding velcro under the table

This is the finished result - it didn't really take me that long - mind you I've had this waterproof fabric for just over a year.

The velcro keeps the fabric tucked under nicely and can be taken off easily.

Tiff likes it too

Now the table is complete and with the ornamental grape fully grown, it's a lovely place to sit even on a 35 celsuis degree day.   Party time!!!   Happy New Year!!!!!!!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Light-bulb moment

I wonder what is the trigger when you look at something and all of a sudden it hits you - "Why didn't I think of that before?"

It's called "a light-bulb moment".

When I purchased my overlocker over a year ago, I also purchased a base on which the overlocker sits and has a slot with a disposable bag underneath to drop your fabric and overlocking threads. I decided to use Glad Snap Lock, as the original bag was too small.  I think I was in a rush (will use this as the excuse, or else I'll look stupid) - and inserted the bag with the zipper at the top - I thought I was clever at the time...hmm, yes still thinking about that one!!

Babylock Imagine
Just the other day I needed to empty it as it was getting quite full - I looked at the bag and thought - hey, if I took that plastic bag and turned it upside down, all I would need to do is unzip the bag and the rubbish would fall out - this was my 'light bulb moment'!!!

Glad sandwich size bag with the bottom cut out

Inserted in the overlocker base

So this is the result - when I need to empty the bag, I just unzip it!!  How simple is that - don't know why it took me over a year to figure this out - okay, I'll admit - I "do now" and "think later" - better late than never, I say!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Jess' 21st Dress

Now I must admit that I made this dress, oh nearly 2 years ago coming up in April 2012 - birthday of my daughter Jessica but I really wanted to do this post as part of my sewing archive.

Jess fell in love with this fabric, you guessed it, from Tessuti, so it was destined for her 21st party dress.  I think it was called Siren sequin but alas it no longer exists.

Sequin has grey marking

Found this old pattern I had from when my mum was sewing for me - Style 2033 and modified it to fit Jess.  No need for darts etc - thought easy.  Made a sample in some stretch fabric in my stash and it fitted well (she still wears it today).   However, this was not to be the final design - it was only to be a guide.

When I looked at the sample dress I thought that the front was too low cut, so I used the 'back' also as the "front" (wanted a boat neck look) - I know this is not the proper thing to do but this fabric was so forgiving because of its stretch factor, that it worked - didn't need darts and was basically fit to shape i.e. her body.  I did need Jess to try it on a few times as I needed to take it in on the sides to get a really good fit so I really ended up making the dress in situ and the initial paper pattern became the shell from which I just used the shape.

Jess wanted "Balmain" shoulder pads - the amount of testing for this was educational.  Using existing shoulder pads, I traced out the shape and layered bigger to smaller shapes of cotton/wool batting (used for quilting) to give me the effect -  I was thrilled with the result - it worked.

Boat neck and Balmain shoulder pads

In case you're wondering, I actually took out all the sequins before I machine sewed the dress and then hand sewed them back - did this for all seams and zipper - yes it took a while to put them back.  I must have OCD as I then found myself looking for areas that needed filling - days of hand sewing sequins - but worth it.  I didn't line the dress - Jess just wore a slip underneath - the sleeves were a little itchy but not that uncomfortable, according to Jess.

The finished dress
Jess had a wonderful time at her party and she was thrilled with the dress.  Actually, she got a lot of comments - said "My mother made it"  I was so proud because it really looked great and I couldn't believe that I had made it myself.

Jess' brother -  Cameron

Here are my two most special people in the world - love them to bits!!!

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Christmas Party dress - finished

The day had arrived - Christmas Party at Longrain.  Finally, added the finishing touches to my dress and am really pleased with the result.

Really love the capped sleeve - I will definitely do them again. Sewing the sleeve facing was a little tricky when it came to the corner without the piping, but I think being my first attempt, I'm happy with the result.

Capped sleeve

Another tricky bit was the center 'v' because of the piping, but managed to fluke this one too.  I'm sorry I didn't take pictures but I am determined to perfect this technique, as I'm sure I'll be using it again.  

Center 'V'

Tiff wanted to be in the picture too

Finally, bought 30 cm of Silk Georgette and 30 cm of Crepe de Chine in the same colour as the piping and made this scarf.  I placed both fabrics together and basted them in place using '4' stitch length.  I then rolled hem all around using woolly nylon and isacord embroidery thread.   This is the only thread I use when I roll hem especially on silk fabric.  Of course, removed the basting stitch, ironed and voila!!

Had a great evening - great company, amazing food and the cocktail to start the night off wasn't bad either.  Can't believe it has been a year since the last party.   As for this pattern, will definitely be making it again.  

Wednesday, November 2, 2011


This morning received my package from "la france" - yes, my Phildar knitting mags have arrived!!!


Jess (DD) wanted me to knit her a striped cardigan - she tried one on recently while shopping, and as usual I said "I can knit that!!"

Scrolling through the Phildar website, came across the perfect patterns in their mags - so naturally I had to buy them.  Also got a bit excited when I saw Jorth's knitting in stripes - this was an omen - buy, buy!!!

Tempting little numbers, aren't they?

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Sneak Peak - Christmas Party Dress

Yes, it's that time of year again when scissors are drawn and the thrill of the deadline takes over.  Yep, Christmas party time again - what to wear.  This year decided to give myself plenty of time to make the dress.

Pattern:        Vogue 8755
Fabric:         100% linen from Tessuti Fabrics (no longer available)
Alterations:    Oh, just a few
Help:           I am so grateful to Mirta, who within only 2 lessons
                has taught me so much.

Help Explanation:  I enlisted the help of a sewing teacher to help me alter the pattern - have never done this before and I wanted to learn the technique properly, rather than experimenting and getting it wrong.  Fabric no longer available and party just around the corner - this was no time for experimenting.

I thought  this pattern would look good, however the front pleat turned out to be too wide which gapped quite a bit - not to my liking.  I could have eliminated it totally but decided to make it a style feature, so I sewed the pleat down, so it looks like an inverted 'v' - mirror imaging the top 'v' on the bodice.

LHS pinned to sew down

This linen fabric is quite soft and light, so a lining was definitely in order.  I was just going to line it, but Mirta showed me how to do interlining - I'd never heard of this before, but I am now totally won over by this technique.  It is basically sewing your lining with your main fabric, as one.  One advantage for me was that, because I was inserting piping of a different colour, the seam allowance would hide the piping and the white lining would only show through -  - clever!!!

Interlining - cotton voile

First alteration - the sleeves.  Wanted an elegant cap sleeve - the pattern's sleeve didn't thrill me.

The other advantage of doing your project with someone else is that they can fit you properly.  The bust dart needed to come down a bit, so was shown how to do this too - locked into the memory bank.

Extending sleeve and lowering bust dart

Second alteration - didn't like the neckline - I know I'm a bit picky.  It's too high and round, so decided to make it a 'v' which follows the design style.  Had already cut the piece out so decided to do this myself.  First try was not low enough, but the second was perfect.

LHS 'v' RHS - original neckline

Third alteration was, eliminating fabric from the front - when I tried the dress on, there was too much fabric, so cut off excess from the side to make it a true 'A' line dress.  If you look at the picture, you wouldn't think there would be so much bulk.  This is a good pattern to use as a 'block' and alter to your heart's content.

Large pleat and therefore too much bulk

Now to add the colour.  Jess, (DD and my style consultant) said that it would look cool to have a hint of colour just peeping out from the fabric.  She chose the citrus/yellow (colour which is in at the minute) - found the perfect colour in linen and decided to pipe the colour around the cap sleeves and front bodice seams.

Piping ready to go

Thought I'd see if the piping would suit the dress or if I was over doing things a bit - "less is more" so had to be careful.  Yes, I think I like this - it's staying.

Shoes from Danielles Shoes & Accessories in North Balwyn Village and OPI nail polish - hmm is that colour a bit on the daring side????? 

Okay - let's be daring!!!!!

Sunday, October 30, 2011


This year Spring has been fantastic and the irises and peonies have loved it.

Iris - unknown

Iris - Rare Find

Peony Kinshe

Peony Marchioness

Love the yellow in my garden

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Spring update

I really love this time of year, in fact I love all the seasons and living in Melbourne - some days we get them all in one day.

This year has been an exceptional spring and my garden is loving the weather.

Species geraniums at edge of small pond

Clematis creeping amongst hydrangea petiolaris 

View of the Bechtel crab-apple (Malus ioensis 'Plena')

Tree Peonie - unknown

The beaded irises are just about to burst into colour - but that's for next time.  Happy gardening!!!!!


Friday, September 30, 2011

No 3 Gather Drape Dress

Decided to make this dress for Jess - yes, she was thrilled.   I did make this dress back in July, but it has taken all this time to get some photos.

No 3 Gather Drape Dress

Had my eye on some 100% wool - Medium Navy Knit from Tessuti which would be perfect for this dress.   I only purchased 1.2m - since the fabric is wide 165cm and the pattern is cut on one piece, it was very economical.  

This book has some wonderful patterns which I have ear-marked - to add to Jess' Wish List.

I was a bit apprehensive, at first looking at all the gathering that was required.  Nic had already made it, so was able to give me some pointers, which was greatly appreciated.  Firstly, highlight the size before tracing - was going a bit cross-eyed there for a while - this really helped.  I added 2 cm in length as Jess doesn't like dresses too short.

No zipper required

Next, Nic had some problems with the zipper, which she subsequently took out.  Definitely - if you have a knit fabric, you don't need a zip.  

Love the gathering on the sleeves

The gathering was not hard to do - it's only gathering after all, I said to myself.  Sometimes, I do create in my mind the idea that it's difficult and start finding things to do -  sweeping floors, tidying up, making copious cups of tea -  everything other than the task at hand - JUST DO IT!!   Well, it was fine.  It was 8 o'clock at night and I literally sewed it up in a matter of an hour.  Don't know why it took me so long.

I couldn't believe it - was the simplest dress I've ever made - unlike other dress patterns.  It fits Jess perfectly and the colour - just right.