Some Sewing

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You may remember that earlier this year I ran a series of posts titled “Sew My Stash Sunday”.  Well I have finally got back to my sewing room and continuing to sort and cull.  Of course, I did not get too far as I was inspired to actually sew.  I have made 2 little t-shirts (Size 1) from a piece of fabric that I found last week when helping my mother sort through some excess fabric.  I just have to put the ribbed neckbands on and they will be complete.  There was some blue ribbing that was with the fabric so that is what I will use.

008Next, I found a couple of pieces of fleece and have cut out some tracksuit pants.

009The black ones are a size 2 and the red spotted ones are a size 6.  The spotted fabric would not be my first choice for tracksuit pants but it was a piece leftover from a dressing gown I made for my grand-daughter a few years ago.  They might make a snug pair of pyjama bottoms that will keep someone warm.

That is a couple more pieces of material gone from my pile and hopefully will be of use to someone.

Sew My Stash Sunday – 16

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Today I got right back to the essence of what this series is all about – using up the stash of fabric that is sitting in my sewing room.  It does not have to be for what it was originally purchased nor for me or my family.

Several years ago I was visiting Melbourne and I friend offered me several metres of dark blue poly cotton fabric.  I accepted as I felt sure that I would be able to put it to good use at some stage.

Two years ago I wrote this post about making a fabric suit bag.  Some of the fabric was used for that but there was still plenty left over.

I decided a while ago that I would make up some simple shorts and donate them.  Today I cut out 9 pairs of size 4 shorts from the fabric.

2015-05-24 01They are a simple pull-on style with an elasticated waist.

Tomorrow I need to go into Maleny so while I am there I will call into one of the shops which has a sign about donations for Nepal earthquake victims and see if they would like to take the shorts.

I would like to make some other simple clothes for children who may otherwise have very little so will be looking closely at my fabric to see what else I can make.

Sew My Stash Sunday – 10


Another week has flown by and the sewing had not been touched.  Before I could start sewing I had to do the ironing and there was quite a bit as I did not do it last weekend and had just ironed a few things during the week to keep us going.  I got it all done early this morning and then we headed out for a few hours with our overseas guest.  This afternoon has been wet so it was a good excuse to sew rather than being out in the garden.

I could have finished the hand sewing on the green skirt or finished making the denim one but I decided that I needed a change of scenery.  The first thing I did was cut out a white shirt for my daughter from the pattern I had drafted a couple of weeks ago.

Then I moved on to drafting another pattern.  I have given quite a bit of thought to what style I would use for this piece of fabric.

2015-03-08 02I drafted the top from this ensemble but with a few modifications.

2015-03-22 01The neckline will be a ‘v’ rather than square.  The lower edge of the sleeves and body will have a few rows of shirring elastic rather than being gathered into a band.

I decided to make a prototype before cutting into my new fabric that I bought especially to make this top.  In the spirit of using up my stash, I found a pretty piece of lightweight fabric which was given to me a year or so ago.  Despite much thought I had never been able to come up with an idea of how to use it and there is just over 4 metres of fabric.  So at least some of it is now the prototype.

To get an idea of how it might look I decided to simply baste the pieces together in the first instance.

2015-03-22 02This is not a particularly flattering photograph but it gives an idea of the style.

Things I discovered:

I can easily get it over my head
The neckline is perfect
I will cut the sleeve a bit longer next time
I am going to recut the front body as there is too much fullness in the front
When I cut the pattern in the good fabric I will straighten the side seams and take out the little bit of shaping at the waistline

Even though this is just a test run, I really like the fabric and I am sure it will earn a place in my wardrobe.

Sew My Stash Sunday – 4


Just a short post tonight but I can show you the completed skirt.  This afternoon I inserted the zip, finished the hem and facing on the yoke.  It is now ready to wear.

060aThe fit is absolutely perfect so I am very pleased with the pattern making which is based entirely on the hip measurement for this skirt.  I will definitely be making other patterns from the system.  I will share more of the details with you next week.

The yoke on the skirt sits nicely and means that it can be worn with a fitted top like the one in the photo.  The skirt is lightweight and will be perfect for our Singapore trip but in the meantime I will probably wear it to work as our weather is hot and humid at the moment.  I will probably team it with this blouse.

2015-01-03 01I am pleased to have been able to create an entire summer outfit using fabric from my stash.  The total cost was $2.70 for the buttons and $1.15 for the zip.

Sew My Stash Sunday – 3

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As promised, here is an update on how my sewing from my stash is progressing.  This week I have done pretty well, albeit with a couple of hiccups along the way.

This is the polo shirt for The Duke that I started a couple of weeks ago.

001I have put the collar on and finished the tab front, however, when he tried it on it is way too big.  How did I manage that?  I chose the size of a multi-sized pattern based on an existing polo shirt that fits him well.  Anyway, now I know.  So, it is back to the drawing board with this one.  The sizing does not influence the neckline/collar or tab front so I think I should be able to cut it apart along the side, underarm and sleeve seams and recut the pieces to a smaller size while maintaining all of the neckline and collar.  Here’s hoping!

In the meantime I decided to make myself another pair of boxer shorts for pyjamas.  This was another sizing issue as I could not remember whether I had previously used the medium or large sizing of a multi-sized pattern.  I went for the medium and of course I was wrong but all was not lost.  I went ahead and completed the boxer shorts and a camisole top and have given them to my sister.

002I have now cut out a pair for myself in the correct size but have yet to start sewing them.  It is a quick and easy task so I may do that after dinner.

002A few weeks ago my mother gave me a book and equipment for making your own custom-sized patterns.  It is not for the faint-hearted or novice as there are no real instructions, just an expectation that you are familiar with dressmaking techniques and construction.  There is a selection of nearly 300 designs so there are plenty to choose from.

I decided to start with a fairly simple skirt using a piece of navy/white striped seersucker from my stash.  Once I had created the pattern I checked it for fit and felt that it would be OK.  Today I cut out and made the skirt apart from the zip and finishing the inside of the facing and the hem.

003It has loose inverted pleats off a wide, shaped yoke with side pockets and a centre back zip.  The fit is absolutely perfect so if the other patterns work similarly, I will be very happy.

I also managed to re-fashion one of The Duke’s long-sleeved business shirts into a short-sleeved one as the cuffs had worn out but the rest of the shirt was still in good condition.

I am not sure what my next project is as I need to finish these first but stayed tuned for more sewing next Sunday.

UFO’s No More

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UFO = Unfinished Object

This particularly relates to sewing and craft items in most cases.

I am not overwhelmed by fabric but I do have some on hand.  Several pieces are earmarked for specific projects but my problem is that I can plan and design faster than I can sew!

One of my goals for this year is to whittle the pile down a bit more and create some useful items in the process.  I am fortunate that several friends have generously given me fabric which they are unable to use.  Some of it has been substantial pieces rather than offcuts or scraps.

Towards the end of last year I was given some which included a piece of white embroidered lawn and I immediately decided to make a blouse for myself.  I made it yesterday and finished off the hems, buttons and buttonholes this morning.

2015-01-03 01The only cost was $2.75 for the 5 buttons.

I plan to wear it with this skirt.

2015-01-03 02The outfit will be a cool and comfortable option for work during the hot weather.

I have made 7 or 8 blouses from this particular pattern in the last 6 years.  It was originally cut from a blouse I had purchased that was worn out so I deconstructed it to make the pattern.  The benefit of using an existing garment is that you know that it will be a perfect fit.

On to the next project.

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This is a piece of rugby knit fabric which I bought to make a polo shirt for The Duke but it was never done – until now.  The fabric and collar have been tucked away for close to 20 years.  It is a while since I have made a polo shirt so I will have to refresh my skills a bit.

I am looking forward to moving some of these older projects along and created finished garments.

Patchwork – 5 Months Later


I have finally made it back to my patchwork that I first showed you here and here.  Well it is 5 months later and I have finally got back to doing some more.  I now have 31 blocks completed and here they are laid out on the floor in a totally random order.  None of the fabric was purchased specifically for the project.  It is all offcuts from dressmaking projects or small unused pieces from my stash of fabric.  That stash is a bit smaller now.  🙂

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By my calculations these 30 blocks should cover the entire bed but I am not too sure how much overhang I want at the sides and the end or how much I will lose when I add the wadding and quilt it.  I think I will sew all of these together and see what I think.  Then I can add another row or two of blocks if I feel it needs it.  I am also wondering whether to put a plain border of 6 – 8 cm all around the edge.

Please share your thoughts or experiences on patchwork/quilting in the comments.

I have also cut out another 80 squares for a smaller rug using the same technique but more about that another day.

Craft Challenge


It is Tuesday morning here and we have had a long weekend.  My mother came to visit and I have been spending time doing things other than blogging.  On Saturday we visited 6 open gardens as part of the local Garden Club’s weekend titled, “Gardening on the Edge” which is a specific reference to the escarpment location where we live.  These were large, mostly ornamental gardens with stunning displays of camellias which are in full flower at the moment.  One garden had a large, productive vegetable patch so that was of particular interest to me.

We arrived home at about 3pm just as it began to drizzle with rain. We have had consistent rain since then with it barely stopping, day or night for 64 hours.  The rain is not heavy – just gentle, soaking rain which is predicted to continue for another 3 days.  I hope my new vegetable seedlings don’t get waterlogged.

A 3 day weekend meant that I achieved most of the essential housework so I had time for some other activities.  Since it was raining I turned to my sewing room.  As always, there are some projects underway and many others planned and waiting to start, so my goal this week is to make some real progress and I will share it with you here.

2013-06-11 01This is a pair of pyjamas I have made for Izz.  I had finished the bottoms except for the waist casing and elastic so that was the first thing on my list.  This fabric was given to me and I had already made pyjama bottoms for myself and another pair for Izz.  This pair used the very last of the fabric and necessitated having an extra join in the back but it is not visible due to the casing.  I then found the tshirt fabric in my stash to make the top.  I was left over from when I was making school polo shirts for Belle (over 20 years ago).

2013-06-11 02The next project was another top made from scraps.  It can be a pyjama top or would be equally suitably to wear to daycare with her jeans.  The white ribbing for the neckband and cuffs is cut out and ready to sew.

2013-06-11 03This is some material that I cut out and prepared to make a sundress.  It will fit a little girl from about 12 – 18 months.  The style means that it is very flexible and can usually be worn for at least 2 years.  I am not making it for anyone in particular but may sell it or give as a gift.

Here is a piece of plain calico and a smaller piece with teddy bears.  I plan to make a patchwork cot quilt – once again, not for anyone special.

You may wonder at me making random items for which I have no specific purpose.  Although I do not have a room full of fabric stashed to the ceiling, I do have a reasonable quantity of good quality fabric and smaller offcuts.  I love designing and creating garments and useful things that use what I already have so my goal is to gradually work through the pile.

This week I hope to complete several projects and I will share more photos as the week goes on.

Please let me know what you are doing in the craft room, too.

Slow Living – February


This is my second month of joining in the monthly round-up at Slow Living Essentials and already I seem to be struggling with what to write.  A couple of things seems to have conspired against me – it is a short month – is it really the end of the month already? and the weather!  Since the dry spell broke on the Australia Day weekend (26th January) it has rained almost constantly which limits our activities somewhat

Here are the Slow Living categories:

{Nourish}  With the onset of some cooler weather with the rain it was an ideal time to pull out the slow cooker.

2011-08-10 02

I made a batch of pumpkin soup and and beef casserole.


{Prepare}  We had an excellent crop of figs.

2013-02-03 01

As well as eating lots of them fresh from the tree, I was able to dry some.  This was very successful so I am hoping to have enough to do again next year.


{Reduce}  This is always a hard one as we do this each and every day.  I turned a singlet of mine that was too short into one for Miss O.

2013-03-03 05{Green}  The weather has brought out the mould but I am keeping things clean and smelling fresh with the use of clove oil.  You can read a previous post here.

Clove oil

{Grow}  The warm, dry beginning to the summer meant that we had about 8 mangoes on our small tree.  We planted it about 4 years ago and this is the first time it has fruited.  I suspect that it is generally too cool for them here but this year’s crop has made it worthwhile.  They are some of the best mangoes I have tasted and the flesh is as smooth as anything with no sign of stringiness.

Last weekend we had a rare fine day so we bought and planted some vegetable seedlings.  They have more than doubled in size in a week.

2013-03-03 07{Create}  Since my sewing machine has returned from being serviced I have got quite a bit of sewing done.  I am working through my stash of fabric as well as some pieces I have been given.  Here are some of the results.

2013-02-17 03

Winter and summer pyjama bottoms.

2013-02-17 01

A new lining in my skirt.

2013-02-24 05

{Discover}  I don’t think I have read anything this month but in a different vein I did discover some fabric to be used when I was sorting out my stash.

{Enhance}  We gave away the used fencing wire via Freecycle.  I also shared some of the many self-sown cucumber seedlings with neighbours, work colleagues, blogging friends and also on Freecycle.

It is a shame that I did not take some photos of them.  Not so much for the seedlings but the innovative packaging.  I used some excess egg cartons that I had been given and each seedling and its soil was packed in a space in the carton.

2013-03-03 11An internet friend sent me some fabric and I used some of it to make a dress suitable for an 18 month old.  I will send it to her for her granddaughter who was born last week.

{Enjoy}  We travelled to Melbourne and spent a weekend with our daughter who moved there recently.  We saw her new home, sampled food at some local establishments and shopped.

2013-03-03 12I bought this dress to wear to a wedding in a few weeks.  I just need to finalise accessories.

The slow living this month has been heavily weighted towards sewing and I guess that is not entirely unexpected with being stuck indoors due to the weather.

Now I am off to check out some of the slow living blogs.

Til next month………..