Sunday, December 30, 2012

Vogue 8511 - surprise!!

There is no doubt that Vogue 8511 has been a winner!!   It also has made it on a website.

For those in Melbourne, Australia, there's the Royal Arcade - a fantastic arcade with gorgeous shops and a visit to this arcade is a must when visiting Melbourne - well it is for me.

A while back, I made Jess Vogue 8511, post found here.  I  photographed Jess in front of the shop window of Paint'n'Powder.   Sometime ago I received an email from the daughter-in-law of the owner of this shop, who was setting up her website, and asked if she could use Jess' photo.  Of course, I said 'yes' - what a surprise and honour!!!

If you want a special perfume, and can't quite decide, they have such a variety and also their knowledge is impeccable.  They are not driven by selling a particular brand - they pick perfumes that suit the customer.  

I'm pretty chuffed that Jess' photo made it on their website.    

Friday, December 28, 2012

Where have I been?

Yes, I've been a bit absent of late - a bit busy and not much sewing.  Hopefully, I'll get my blog-mojo back and start posting, sewing and gardening again.

Well as for the garden, it has been 2 years since I've seriously done any.  Why, because I've been working, albeit part-time, I've had to keep my hands pretty clean and manicured - gardener's hands and silk fabric just don't mix.

In September, I decided to hang up my scissors, primarily due to a pending operation (still waiting), travel plans now and future, and I also missed gardening.   I love working with fabrics and loved working at Tessuti, but my other passion is the garden, and this seriously needed my attention.  With all things considered, it was the right choice to make, and yes, I still go into Tessuti and checkout new arrivals and say 'hi' to all my friends.  It has been an amazing 2 years and I loved every minute of it, meeting people, sharing tips and hints and seeing the creations that customers made.  

My travels - in October my sister and I had the chance to go back to where we were born - Annecy, France.  A beautiful village in the Haute-Savoie region of the french alps - amazing!!  and meet up with my sweet Aunt Rose and cousins - after 50 years - which was also pretty amazing.  We will definitely be back to visit and share more special moments together.

While I have the time, and before it gets hectic next year, have decided to give my garden a make-over starting from the front verge to the backyard.  So, as well as some sewing, will be posting some gardening and maybe some cooking.

Lately I have been baking my own bread - which I had done in the past.  I was so spoiled in France with their bread that I can't bring myself to paying exorbitant prices for bread with french names attached - seriously, it is only flour, water, yeast and a few grains!!!  So I've been making my own baguettes and my family love them.  Recipe to follow soon!!

I wish all my followers and friends in blogsphere, a belated season's greetings but an early wish for a very happy, healthy and creative 2013.  

For now - I'm back in the garden and finishing some UFO's.

Cheers - Evelyne!!!

Monday, October 8, 2012


When Jess returned home, after a 2 1/2 year stint in Canberra, her bedroom was in need of a major make-over.   She desperately needed lots of space for her collection of novels, a study area and plenty of book shelves for uni books etc.   Colour scheme - grey/white and hints of black (yes, she loves Chanel).

After some of this

and some of this

we decided to make her bedroom just that, a bedroom and designate the spare room a study area and sofa bed for visitors.

Painted her bedroom in Dulux "Harlem" and ordered custom made book shelves, which Rod painted in Dulux "Antique White USA" - colour of all the skirting, windows and doors.

Lamp and side table

A new lamp and side table was a great find - perfect for the look she was aiming for in her new room.

With plantation shutters, new bed and gorgeous bed linen by Sheridan, the room was finished, except for final touches like mirrors and pictures for the walls.  But at least she could move in.


To double as Jess' study area and sofa bed for visitors.

I had in the past visited The Comfort Shop and was very impressed - would love to have purchased one of these beds, but the reality was that the budget didn't allow for such an expenditure.  The other downside was that they didn't have DB only single and QS (phew - this surely saved me).  I still loved the concept, so decided to make my own Murphy style bed.

Staring at the cover of the Ikea book - was the answer.  "Billy" would surround the sofa bed.

For the sofa bed I purchased the Footstool Sofa from Skyways - if you check their website just scroll down and you'll see the sofa bed in action.  The mechanism is made in Italy and they are local furniture manufacturers in Moorabbin.  I know they're comfortable as I've slept on one before at my sister place.

Design:  Footstool Sofa
Size:  1530mm (to fit a 1600mm cavity)
Fabric:  Warwick - Base Camp Earth
Wall Paint : Dulux "Hog's Bristle"


Word of warning (disclaimer) - these cupboards were installed by Rod (hubby) with nails galore to be drilled into the studs - this was necessary as the only part of the units which were to be fixed into the wall was the backboard - yes the flimsy backboard, so if you are thinking of putting these up on the wall, please make sure you drill pieces of timber into the unit on the backboard, as we did - this will support the units and not put undue pressure on the backboard - something Ikea should have thought about with this design.  

Busy studying

A table length of 1.8m was required but there were none in that size.  A kitchen bench top was chosen and it's the perfect length and hardwearing too.  The supporting unit is Vika Annefors and just two table legs at the other end, to give her more room.

View at doorway - now more space

Before the area was filled with a Queen size bed and used as a dumping ground.  Now the space is utilised all the time.

Lack shelf fits perfectly in this area.  I think it creates a balance with the study area.


Cupboards on the left and right and 2 cabinets above - again, screwed together and attached to the side cabinets for support.  We wanted them to be flush to the wall but our 21 cms (9 inch) skirting boards wouldn't allow for this, so 18mm strips of wood nailed to the back of all the cabinets covered this gap.

Again - dramas with the middle horizontal cabinets - they are Billy but, for some reason, they are heavier than the bookcases.  Had to bolt them together for stability and attach a long piece of wood onto the studs and then attach the Billy cabinets to the wood.  Oh, the side bookcases are attached to the wall using brackets.  Is nothing simple!!!

Sofa bed/couch

Finally finished the bookcases and it was all worth it!!!   Damn - forgot to include lighting above the horizontal cabinets - oh well, will have to run the lighting up and to the back of the cabinets.  Now I need to add something in the cavity - looking a bit stark and bare.  Made a cushion cover in missoni fabric.

Made a new cover for the bolster with the same fabric as the sofa.   Have already used the bed twice and 10/10 was the score given for comfort.

Bed ready for use -  sorry out of focus

Now the room is used for study and stay overs.  Well worth all the effort and a fantastic job done by Rod (hubby).   He is now wondering what else is in store for him for the next project.....hmm my sewing room needs new overhead cupboards!!

Thursday, September 6, 2012

V8511 - Dress for the Ball

The days were nearing the Monash Law Faculty Ball.  Jess queued at 6.00 am to get tickets to the yearly event.   She asked if I could make her dress and she chose her favourite Vogue 8511.  However this dress was to be long and have a 'v' line back.

The pattern was easy to adjust/alter but the grade of the skirt front was a bit tricky, as the original dress has that tulip effect and I need to grade the pattern so that there was just enough fabric for her to walk - she didn't want a Mortisha Adams dress.

After a couple of calico toiles, was confident that I had the right pattern and commenced.  Fabric from Tessuti - Dark Empire Wool Crepe, a blue/red which suits Jess far better than an orange/red.

The pattern has a waist seam, so I made a small belt from the same fabric to hide the seam and made a bow for the back which sits on the belt.

She loves it and I'm so happy it has turned out - had a few wobbly feelings there for a minute, but fortunately it came out fine.

She wanted the 'v' back because her necklace chain would fall down her back - quite elegant.
A couple of shots and we were off "To The Ball".

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Burda Coat Dress

When  I first saw this coat/dress I immediately thought of this fabric - although the pattern calls for a wool crepe, which would look amazing, I wanted more of a dressier coat but not heavy - one that Jess could wear out at night over something lighter.

Fabric is wool with the other side poly (I'm not a poly fan but sometimes it is necessary).

Burdastyle 1/2012

I just love the different pieces and the style is so elegant.   This time I read the instructions carefully, as I sometimes have trouble with Burda, but funny how this particular pattern didn't give me any problems. Maybe I'm just getting use to them - about time!!

Fabric bought from Tessuti and it is black poly and charcoal wool - unfortunately sold out in Melbourne.

Managed to figure out how to sew and pivot - did a test to figure it out, but I ended up sewing the front without testing and then that lightbulb moment - do a test!!  and the rest was easy.

Jess preferred the shiny side to be on the shoulder front and back.    This is in fact the inside of the garment.  Overlocked the opened seams and only overlocked one of the seams and cut back the one that was going to sit under - creating less bulk.

Square point - using pivot method

I rolled the facing forward to allow the black shiny fabric to peep through to mimic piping.

Unfortunately the model was not wearing the right outfit underneath - wanted her to wear burnt orange, but if I had to wait any longer - it wouldn't get posted.  This coat/dress is great to wear on a spring night when you don't want bulk of a winter coat but the nights are still cool - and the look is more slim line for an evening outfit - not formal though.   

I really enjoyed making this.

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Stripe Study Shawl

The weather in Melbourne has turned bitterly cold, so it's a real pleasure to be sitting at night knitting in front of the fire.

Pattern is Stripe Study Shawl by Veera Valimaki.
Yarn - 4ply Ella Rae Lace Merino MC - Chartreuse green (400m)  CC - variegated grey (400m)

At first had problems starting - totally my brain was the problem.  After a couple of emails and posting questions on Ravelry, I found that I was over thinking the pattern.   Hint:  the W&T marker moves in different positions as you knit, what I was doing was actually placing more than one marker - WRONG - it's the same marker, it just moves along the work, as you knit the rows.  Also, RS - is an increase row and the WS is the W&T row.   I can now knit without looking or ticking which row I'm on - great for the train trips to work.

Progress so far 

The colour of the yarn looks a more yellow, but it is in fact green -  need to practice my photographic skills a bit better.  I am really enjoying this pattern - it's so interesting to knit and I love my circular needles.  I only started knitting with circular needles last year for the first time, and at first was not sure, but I really love them now.  So much so, that I've invested in Addi Lace Click Interchangeable Needle Set, which should be on an airplane somewhere over the pacific, as I type.  Can't wait to hear that knock on the door -"postie here".

Have also started a charcoal grey and blue Stripe Study Shawl - this one is for me.  The green one is for my sister.  

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Vogue 8511 - a favourite

What does a girl need when attending a law clerkship seminar -  a corporate dress, of course.

Needless to say, Jess doesn't own such a dress - until now.   She was going to buy a RTW dress ($199) but it meant that I would have to take it in and hem etc. Making her this dress was the simplest, cheapest thing to do - not to mention I love sewing for Jess.

In my stash found this beautiful 100% wool fabric from Agnona (part of the Zegna group) so this suiting fabric is amazing.  Purchased when on sale for 50% off and was just waiting for the right occasion to use this beautiful fabric.  Sorry the picture is a bit light - should be darker in colour - dark grey but at least you can visualise the texture of the fabric.

The dress she found for $199.00 is very similar to Vogue 8511, which I've made twice before.  This was the perfect choice.   Sad to see it is now Out of Print.

Alterations:    Found that the front bodice was quite roomy for her and didn't sit flat on her chest, so I sewed a size 6 and fitted her properly by taking in the princess seams for a perfect fit.  Also, altered the paper pattern for future use.  I should have remembered this as the first V8511 dress was made when she was away in Canberra and all I used was her body dummy - fit was perfect.

Bagged the bodice top but underlined the skirt and sleeves.  Found the sleeves to be a bit roomy so took a good 3cm out the whole length of the sleeve.  Also, didn't like the gathering so removed this by altering the sleeve head.  Conclusion - I had to fiddle a bit getting the sleeves to fit - needed to take out more fabric but in the end, it worked out.

I much prefer to have sleeves with 2 parts to them - like they do in jackets.  I wonder if this is possible in dresses or are they cut in one piece.  Would love to find out what your thoughts are as I think a sleeve block for Jess is in order, for future dresses.

Of course, she wore this with a black belt.  Am currently taking this dress up above the knees - for next time she needs that office look.

Jess loves this pattern, so much so that she's asked for an evening dress - no sleeves and longer for a formal night at uni later in the year.  Hmm still thinking of the design and definitely the fabric will play a big part in the look.   The back would be a 'V' quite low - oh well, another project in the pipeline to think about.  I'll just add this to The List.

Monday, May 14, 2012

To Do List

A "To Do List" on my blog - after reading Suellen's post,  decided it would be a great idea to also have a list of my projects on my blog.  Suellen kindly helped me set this up, as I didn't have a clue - thanks Suellen.  I now have my list which reminds me of what I have in the pipeline.

This 'list' is a better idea than just pieces of paper and projects lying all over the place.  I'm a visual person so having my projects with fabric/patterns laying on top ready to make is a good idea, but I'm also an organised person, meaning that, if there's a heap of mess about, I get confused and have to clean up - but if I clean up then the projects get put away - out of sight, out of mind - it just doesn't get done!!

So here is the start of my list:-

Pussy Bow Blouse (Pattern Runway) - for Jess.

Renfrew top - for me.

DKNY 1287 - for Jess

Now I can tidy up my room and have order but still refer to "the list" so that I don't forget my projects.

Thanks again Suellen.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Burda Shorts 115 6/2010

When Jess spotted these pair of shorts in a magazine, I cut out the picture and added it to the inspiration board.  It was there for about 6 months but hadn't seen fabric which would suit, so was added to the wish list.

I thought it was going to be quite difficult finding this type of fabric, so I didn't really go out of my way hunting all the stores.  If I came across something similar - that would be fine. 

Just browsing one day at the Fabric Store, not really intending to buy, I came across this linen blend fabric and instantly had the image of those shorts that Jess wanted me to make.  This fabric was definitely pretty close to the shorts in that picture.  Now for a pattern -  I remembered the shorts that Nic made and thought they would be the perfect pattern.   She kindly lent me her pattern  Burda 6/2010  115 - thanks Nic!  

Since this was my first pair of shorts, had a bit of trouble with the fly zip, but thanks to the internet and tutorials, muddled my way past this.  I used my favourite lining technique (underlining) and lined the shorts with 100% silk/cotton.    

Finally finished the shorts and they fit Jess really well.   This is my first pair of shorts but won't be my last.  Quite enjoyed making them, so the pattern is a keeper.

Hopefully there will be more sunny autumn days for her to wear these shorts, but they won't date so she'll wear them this summer. 

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Caught in the Net

When this fabric came into the store - it sold out quickly.

Caught in the Net (Italy) 50% cotton and 50% acetate purchased at Tessuti.  Black still available in Melbourne.

Reverse of fabric

Top which I've copied
Purchased this top for Jess, as I wanted to copy it and bonus - it was on sale.

I've made this top twice already - once as a test in grey stretch (cheap fabric but Jess wears it anyway) and the other in merino wool, lovely deep green purchased at the Fabric Store when they had their sale.
This design really suits Jess, but this time she wanted one that was shorter in the back and longer at the front - more like a sweater, but still having that tapered look.   It's nice to see cropped fronts are still in trend.

Made the pattern, as per the above brief.   We decided to use the wrong side of the fabric for the dropped sleeves and a strip off the selvedge edge to use as a small collar.

As with most knits, overlocking all pieces before sewing is highly recommended to stop fraying.  To eliminate bulk, I hand sewed all the seams open, a task which I tend to leave for night time.

This top came together very quickly and Jess loves the fabric and top.  

"Ivory Smiles"

The black fabric is still available, so decided to purchase some to make a sweater for me too, in a different style.  

Sasanqua Camellia 'Setsugekka'

Camellia 'Setsugekka' flowering now in my garden.

Monday, March 19, 2012

It's a Wrap

The director exclaimed - "It's a wrap"!!!  No, I'm not in the film industry - I've just finished my first wrap dress.

I've wanted to make a DVF (Diane Von Furstenberg) wrap dress for such a long time.  Was googling one day and found this pattern (1610) on Ebay (another site which I spend too much time on).

Vintage Vogue 1610 

Considering that other patterns I've searched since are upwards of $40, I thought paying $28.00 (including postage) wasn't that bad - a bargain really.

The fabric is from Tessuti and it's called "Kissing Hearts" viscose/elastine.  Also available in red. There should still be some in the shop.

Kissing Hearts - Viscose/Elastine

I've been going to Mirta's place, an ex-Rmit sewing teacher to up-skill, fortnightly, so this dress has taken a bit longer than expected.  Alas, the warmer weather is slowly coming to an end (silently hooray) so have limited days to wear this little number.

Pattern size is 12 - had to grade-up - which Mirta showed me how to do.  Pattern was ready to be made up with some stretch fabric from my stash as a toile (sorry no pics).

The fit was fine but we didn't like the gathering around the waist, so we altered the pattern to eliminate the waist seam altogether - one pattern for the front and one for the back.   The sleeves seemed a bit passé, so changed these to cap sleeves.  Also curved the front neck a little instead of it being straight.

Bought some hideous and cheap fabric to test the altered pattern. After making up, I was really disappointed with the look of the dress (too embarrassed to take pics).  All I could see was horrible fabric and the dress looked bad.  I nearly gave up but was convinced to continue and just cut the original fabric - thanks Jess.

After a bit of procrastinating, I finally cut and made up the dress. Had a bit of a fiddle with the neck band but using my walking foot really helped.  So glad I did finish this, as I'm now happy with the fit and the pattern.

Through this exercise I've learnt that even though you like a pattern, there's always a bit of tweaking and changing that occurs, well for me it does, unless you're a perfect figure, in which case, I'm jealous!!!

Making a toile with the same type of fabric works well, in terms of fit, but not well in terms of the look, unless you pay a lot of money to buy fabulous fabric - in which case, why bother.  Hideous fabric always looks hideous but don't let it cloud your judgement, as it did mine - it's only a test garment.

Hopefully there will still be some fine weather for me to wear my dress to work - a cardi will help if the weather's bad.   Now I'm off to tan those legs!!!