Tuesday, January 31, 2012

The Sad Little Beige Dress That Could

Remember this dress?  I wrote about it here.  It was the reason I bought Burda Style magazine and supposed to be THE dress for summer in my wardrobe.  Sadly it hasn't worked out like that and this dress hasn't made the favourites rotation.  I like to have all of my clothes worn regularly and this dress hanging in my wardrobe, unworn, was quite a sad sight.  The problem, I think is the colour of the dress.  I love muddy beige's and browns but sometimes they just don't like me and this dress is in one of the unlikeable beige's.  It washed the colour out of my skin incredibly despite the bright red piped trim, it still wasn't enough to lift the beige.  Yesterday, it was all too much for me so I just had to work out a way to add it to my autumn rotation.   Ahhhh...much better.  The red tee shirt, black leggings, black belt and ballet flats lift this dress to a whole new level I think.  This just may be a regular in my autumn wardrobe rotation and even a good option for a cooler summers day like yesterday morning was.  Now....what else can I reinvent!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Can You SPOT her?

This project was actually one I completed late last year.  It is a really soft white and black dalmatian print cotton elastin that lent itself beautifully to New Look 6648.  I have just about done this pattern to death, but these tops are my go to tees this year.  This tee and it's counterparts have been really stylish and useful additions to my wardrobe.  The only difference between this particular version and it's mates is that I made the sleeve opening slightly smaller.  I found with the other tops, as much as I love them, that every time I lift my arms, I show a lovely view of my bra down the armhole, hence the alteration.

Today, I am wearing my bat wing spot version tee with the denim skirt I wrote about the other day, for a spot of dog walking in the park.  It was a little short lived though because shortly after this photo was taken I spotted a large black rain cloud with was then followed by spots of rain.  I decided then to cut our walk short and head home for a spot of afternoon tea.  Oh....and by the way.....did you spot my dog, zero, taking a dip in the pond!

Thursday, January 26, 2012


With only a few more days left to spend with my kids before they head back to school, I have put my sewing projects on hold.   My youngest starts back at primary school next Wednesday and his older brother starts high school for the very first time on the same day with his sister following at the same school next Friday.  Every day I am reminded of the fact that my kids are growing up fast so I am taking every opportunity to spend time with them and the last few weeks have been all about picnics and swimming and today was no exception.  With the sun shining and not a breath of wind and the mercury climbing to 30 deg it was perfect beach weather, not to hot to sit on the sand and not to cold to have an excuse not to brave the ocean temperature.  Much to my kids amusement, today, I went boogie boarding.  I thought I did remarkably well but apparently I failed epically.  Never mind, it was a fantastic day.

Yesterday, in an attempt to kick start my sewing mojo, I popped into the op shop to see what had come in since my last visit in the way of fabric, and what do you know, this little lot above followed me home.  There is a good selection of linen, wool suiting,  sweat shirting, nylon Lycra, crushed satin and some woven cottons for good measure.  The best part about this haul though, is a beautiful piece of England made Mohair/Wool blend fabric.  It is fabulous and seriously good quality fabric.  I can't wait to make this into something special but for now the floral cotton piece is my starting point.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

A Wardrobe Staple

I made a denim skirt.  This has been on my wish list for quite some time but there was always a more interesting project to attract my attention.  This is another piece of fabric from my op shop fabric haul I wrote about here.  There was only a small amount of fabric, not even enough for facings so I was somewhat limited in my style choices.  I used New Look 6345 again because of my lack of fabric and also because it has become my go to pattern for skirts this summer.  I like the way it doesn' have a true waistband as I find this style very
comfortable to wear.

I had some left over denim in the scraps bin which I reversed because the colour wasn't right and added it as a trim around the hip.

To finish the skirt off I top stitched it in gold embroidery thread which was left over from another project.  All in all I think this skirt cost me under $2.  The only thing I bought was the fabric.  Even the zip was left over from another project.

I am really pleased with the final result.  I wore it out on the annual school stationery shopping trip yesterday with the blouse my daughter has affectionately dubbed the shower curtain blouse because of the taffeta fabric it is made of.  This was one of  the projects I completed earlier in the season and wrote about here.  My daughter may poke fun at it but my fur friend appears to like it!

Monday, January 23, 2012

Moving On

I seem to have lost my mojo for summer sewing.  I am not sure if it is because it is the last week of the school holidays and hubby has just gone back to work this morning or because yesterday was wet and cold complete with a thunderstorm or perhaps I just have enough summer clothing to satisfy my needs.  Add to that, a distinct lack of fabric that catches my imagination in my stash, and sewing funk has set in.  Perhaps a visit to the fabric store is in order to stock up on some transeasonal fabrics. 

We are only half way through summer but like a boy scout, I do like to be prepared and my autumnal wardrobe is sadly lacking.  I tend to have summer clothing and winter clothing and nothing in between.  I have got some really good patterns up my sleeve though.  I usually stare clear of Vogue patterns because they are exorbitantly expensive but when they recently had an online sale, I couldn't help myself.

Now you would think I would find some sewing inspiration out of this lot wouldn't you!

Friday, January 20, 2012

I did say there would be more.....

Courteney is not really a dress wearer so I was very surprised when she asked for a dress like my navy blue racer back in my last post.  We went shopping in search of fabric and she chose a lovely black knit with a fine rib with the stability and feel almost of rugby knit for the top and a lovely soft cotton print with a pink and purple rose print on a black background for the skirt.  It is a really feminine print for a girl who is usually more comfortable on the sports field than parading around in a dress.  Because the dress has a racer back, it has rather a sporty feel so perfect for the sporty girl.   She now has a total of 2 dresses in her wardrobe, quite a milestone because I don't think she has had this many since she was 6 years old.   It is really nice to be making girly things for her again.  She is not quite ready to have her face plastered across my blog though, hence the headless shots. 

I would have liked to have a photo of the racer back but unfortunately that picture came up with an error message when I was downloading it.....darn!


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Some Things Are Just Meant To Be

When I originally bought this fabric as part of my op shop fabric haul that I wrote about here, I wasn't sure what I was going to make with it.  It is a synthetic knit of some sort with a textured outer layer.  I originally envisaged some sort of tunic that I could wear with leggings but given I usually wear black leggings, it really was a non starter. 

 had seen this Cynthia Rowley by Simplicity pattern popping up on quite a few blogs lately and really liked the racer back and the casual feel of the dress.  It is the sort of dress that can take you from the supermarket to swimming lessons but is still smart enough to pop out for coffee.  Initially I didn't consider the navy knit fabric for this dress but I knew that it was stable enough and soft enough to be successful with this pattern.  The dress is super easy and I really like the way it has been neatly faced on both the inside and outside.  I did struggle initially with the zip.  I didn't have and invisible zipper and used a regular zipper out of my stash.  The ribs on the fabric made it impossible to insert so I ended up ripping it out and replacing it with the invisible zip.  The second problem I had was that I assumed I knew how to assemble the dress without the instructions.  This was also doomed to failure.   While trying to turn through the neck facings, I realised that actually I wasn't as clever as I thought I was and once again resorted to my seam ripper.   I did get there in the end though, even if it did take me twice as long to complete as it needed to.  I can see this pattern getting a lot of use and already my daughter has her order in.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

More Recycling

I have lost count how many versions of New Look 6648 I have made but this is my second version of this view.  I am not sure whether that counts as recycling but the fabric definitely is.  I bought this tie dye stretch lace as part of my op shop haul I wrote about here.  I have been sitting on it for a long time because I loved the colours and knew I wanted to do something with it I would love.  I have seen a lot of lace tops around this season but none that sparked my imagination.  I only had about a metre so my options were quite limited.  I really like the Desigual inspired print I made into this style earlier in the season so it was an easy choice.  This time however, I made the top 5cm longer as I find it sits a little too high on my hips and sometimes I just want a longer top.  I also added bands to the armholes and the back of the neck, like I did with my previous version.  Like in all the previous tops I added elastic to gather the waist band rather than gathering it as per the instructions. 

This top is super quick and easy to make especially given I have made so many and therefore a great easy option when I have a house full of kids home on summer holidays.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Cheaper Than Chips Top

It was finally too much for me over the weekend and I just had to start my first project for the New Year.  I didn't get too carried away mind you.  With every one at home, getting stuck into anything too challenging was not an option so I eased into the New Year with a nice simple knit top.  The pattern is Butterick 5497, a pattern I came across on the sale table at my local sewing shop.  I particularly liked the gathers on the shoulders and under the bust.  Initially I was unsure whether I would slit the back like in the pattern but am now glad I did.  I used some cotton knit that I got from the op shop for $2 and wrote about here This is a really nice top to wear but would give a really interesting tan line if worn for too long...lol.  I would definitely make it again but do find the neckline a little too wide so would definitely make this slightly narrower next time.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Going Green In Your Wardrobe..What Do You Think?

While browsing the news online this morning, this article caught my eye.  Now I know that fashion is very much a throw  away business, the number of hardly worn clothing in second hand shops is testament to this, but do we really need fancy fabrics to green up fashion.  Isn't it just a matter of buying quality and not quantity and recycling or repurposing what we know longer need.  In our grandparents day weren't most fabrics derived from compostable materials like wool and cotton?

I consider myself a green fashion follower.  I am not a slave to fashion.  Each year I replenish my wardrobe.  2011 this was mostly me made and hopefully 2012 it will be nearly all me made.  Although on the outside making something oneself does not seem very green, I do wonder.  I find it harder to part with items of clothing I have created and also because of the time taken to make something as opposed to buy something, I tend to accumulate less.  I also find items I make fit better than rtw so I don't tire of them as quickly.  Another thing I have noticed over the past year, is I tend to spend less time in the shops.  Whether that is because of the earthquake or because I now make most of my own clothing, I no longer have the desire to window shop and therefore don't impulse buy.  For some reason I don't impulse buy when I sew.  I think that because of the effort required to sew something, I take more time in the planning.  Does all of this make me more environmentally friendly....I think so.

I never throw wearable clothing items in the rubbish.  I always recycle.  Anything with value will get sold.  Some of my children's clothing gets passed down to family, some gets re purposed and the remainder of the discarded clothing from my home goes in those clothing bins that are on street corners.  I also make a point of buying quality.  I learnt a long time ago with my kids, that buying cheap footwear especially is false economy.  My kids could wear out a cheap pear of sneakers in a couple of weeks yet if I bought quality, I could get away with 4 pairs each a year.  It is all about life cycle costing.  I apply this theory to clothing for my boys as well.  My youngest son is not particularly fond of wearing his older brothers cast offs but because I buy quality for my oldest son, most of those cast offs are in near new condition.  Does all of this make me more environmentally friendly.....I think so!

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Still In Holiday Mode

You would think that after a week at the beach, I would be more than happy to come home and settle back into my regular daily life, but no!  The weather has been perfect beach weather and the kids are not ready to pack away their surf boards yet, so yesterday we once again were drawn to the beach.  This time we tried a new beach, just out of the city.  I had never visited this beach before and found it very quiet and the waves just perfect for the kids to surf. 

In this photo I am wearing the sun dress I wrote about here  This dress turned out to be a holiday favourite.  The fabric is lovely and soft to wear and best of all when camping, it doesn't crush.  A definite keeper I think!

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

2011 Wrap Up

Over this past week, I have been away camping at the beach with my family.  We have been swimming, surfing, sailing, kayaking, boogie boarding,  mountain biking and fishing.  During our time camping we were rocked by some quite large earthquakes and it is quite a spooky thing to be standing on the beach when an offshore earthquake hits you. The deep rumble that hits before the shudders, echo's off the ocean and you find yourself looking at the water for signs of a tsunami.  When a swarm hit us in the quiet of the night it was time to pack up and come home because we all got spooked about the possibility of a tsunami, something we don't have to worry about at home.  A lot of my time this week has been spent in contemplation.  I have contemplated mother natures natural beauty and her raw power and followed my kids as they took advantage of the many opportunities she gave them, usually from behind my camera lense.   I have also contemplated the many fish that we have caught and have made their way to my barbecue, which is what I am doing in the above picture.

At the end of 2011, I did not spend much time looking back, I don't think many of the people I was with did.  It is time to look forward.  I started this blog earlier in 2011 as a diversion from earthquakes and the uncertainty that became part of everyday life and it renewed my love of sewing.  I am still living in uncertain times and continue to have the same passion for sewing.  I have a stack of fabric ear marked for 2012 and a stack of new patterns I am keen to try out.  On Christmas Eve I packed away all of my machines and equipment and it is so tidy I am a little loathe to disturb it again, but now that I am home, I can feel that old familiar tug,  some sneaky ideas creeping in.  Maybe next week when my husband returns to work I will begin a new project but for now, I just want to head back to the beach......